Scions of Ingress

Chapter 1: Beginnings

"Put on your big-boy pants and get it done."

In the dark of a cave, voices chant in time with the beat of a single drum. One voice rises above the others, sounding of smoke and dark and sky and Earth. It says: “the time has come. Gaia calls you to war.”

Will: speaks with Cleareyes, another lecture about how this is his time. That she has held him back, shielded him for too long. But what else is a mother to do when it comes to her cub? The conversation is interrupted when Cleareyes is called away (on her red phone) to deal with something at the Asylum.

Em: struggles to emerge from the depths of unconsciousness. Her mind is confused, cloudy; the room smells of metal and despair. Looking down she sees her sister, pools of red, and knows that the Asylum has driven them to this. Filled with fury, she breaks out of her room and exacts her revenge on the guards of this place. The rage builds inside her until she is lost, an avatar of destruction, and knows no more until she wakes outside. She is naked, alone, with only a torn bracelet held tight in her hand. She flees into the woods to escape this place, only to find she is surrounded by water. Eventually she is approached by a stunning woman who introduces herself as Cleareyes and promises to explain all that has happened. Em allows herself to be led away, only after extracting Cleareyes’ word that her sister’s body will be returned to her. As they drive away from the Asylum, Cleareyes’ red phone rings again, summoning her to deal with an issue in the City. Instead, Cleareyes sends Will to see what has happened.

Terin: hunts her prey through the streets of The City, revelling in the beauty of death and destruction. She follows the wrong, wretched smell of Other and eradicates every host she can find. Until her last quarry, smelling not of Other but of simple human fear, begs her to stop. He pleads with her, using her own name. Reminded that she has a name, that she has friends, Terin returns to her human form and allows Wayne to guide her away. They arrive at an abandoned factory and Wayne does his best to keep the skittish Terin from fleeing. Although she hides in the rafters upon Will’s arrival, she is eventually coaxed down and convinced to leave with this strangely familiar albino man. As she leaves, she demands a promise from Wayne to get a letter to her mother – and only her mother – saying she will be gone for a while.

Em & Cleareyes: wind along the lakeshore road, passing a number of gated driveways leading to distant mansions. As they near their destination, Cleareyes’ red phone rings once more, alerting her to another new arrival deep in the woods near Raft Lake. As they pause briefly at a wrought-iron gate guarded by two stone lions, Cleareyes dials Will to let him know his presence will be required. The SUV comes to a stop outside a truly massive house, and Em is left alone briefly while Cleareyes goes inside to fetch clothes. Spotting her opportunity to flee, Em makes to open to door when she catches sight of her reflection in the rear-view mirror. It speaks to her, asking where they are and what has happened. Before Em can make sense of what has happened, Cleareyes returns and they head into the woods.

Sarajane: chases the bear through the woods. It is hideously wounded, covered in vicious claw-marks that seep an inky blackness. Although repelled by the bear’s scent, Sarajane needs to be sure it won’t come back for her sister. She is lost in the hunt, and has no sense of how much time has passed when she finds herself alone and naked in the woods. The bear is gone, if indeed it ever existed. The sound of a helicopter comes from above, and a brilliantly white spotlight criss-crosses the ground in front of her. The light finds her, and soon she is joined by an EMT who introduces himself as Jason. As he treats her wounds, Jason reassures her that her sister has been found and airlifted to the hospital. After further examination, Jason excuses himself to make a call. Upon his return, he says that someone will be coming who can help Sarajane better than the hospital. They wait.

Will & Terin: bypass the manor and meet Em and Cleareyes at Raft Lake. Strained introductions are made, and Cleareyes explains that they need to find another woman who had a difficult night. It will take too long to walk, she says, so they will need to change and travel as wolves. Reactions are a mix between disbelief (Em) and outright fear (Teri), but eventually four wolves are racing through the woods in search of a fifth. The sensation is one of absolute freedom and exhilaration, unlike anything Em or Terin have ever experienced before. They slow to a stop at the edge of a clearing, where newly keen eyes can see a man and woman sitting. Cleareyes and Will shift back to human – somehow fully clothed. Cleareyes instructs Em and Terin to remain in their current form, and “try to look non-threatening”.

Sarajane: is strangely unafraid as the little party emerges from the woods. Jason, for his part, seems torn between shock and awe at the newcomers, particularly Cleareyes. A brisk debriefing follows, in which Sarajane explains the bear attack, how she defended her sister, and the wretched smell the bear extruded. Despite her sense of calm, she is more than a little taken aback when one of the wolves asks her to describe the smell. Sarajane holds out her hands, where the stench has lingered, and allows the wolves to take the scent. They each recoil from the vile smell, which they immediately recognize in the depths of their soul to be wrong. Cleareyes talks Sarajane through her change, then announces that they won’t be leaving Jason behind. She has Terin change to a larger form – after assuring her she won’t lose control and kill everyone – so that Jason will be able to ride her back to the Lake. Rather than the murderous rage she expected, Terin is instead filled with a sense of belonging, of rightness, and bounds her way back to the Lake with absolute glee.

At the Lake, Cleareyes and Jason depart for the City, leaving Will to escort the women to the manor. Conversation is stilted, as each of the newly turned try to process the night’s activities. Will calls ahead to arrange for rooms and food. Turning up the drive, past the unwavering stare of the stone lions, Sarajane recognizes the house as Järnvilja Manor, home of the City Mayor and his albino grandson.

Inside the manor, Em showers before examining herself in the mirror. Her reflection appears to be nothing more than a reflection. Declining an invitation to join the others in the study for something to eat, she retires to her room.

The sounds of screaming and shattering glass bring the others running back upstairs. Em’s room is in shambles. Will is the first to react: stepping into the room, picking up a lamp, and smashing it against the wall. Between the two of them, they destroy everything not bolted down. Sarajane lingers in the hallway unsure how to help, while Terin flees to a dark bedroom to hide from the apparent anger of her two new companions.

Eventually, Em collapses into tears. Sarajane steps in and wraps her in a blanket while Will goes in search of Terin. He finds her easily and manages to convince her there’s nothing to be frightened of. Eventually, they are all gathered in the study with food. Em and Sarajane even decide to take advantage of the well-stocked beer selection.

Some hours later, Cleareyes returns. Solemnly, she informs Em that she has spoken with the detective in charge of the scene at the Asylum. Her sister’s body is missing.

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