The setting begins with Orin Clemens.. A self-made man, his investments in the silver mining industry made him the right friends, the most important of those being Yancy Clemens. A middle aged man who spent most of his time in Colorado tending to his mine, he recently was horrifically killed in an ‘accident’ of sorts. Attending his funeral in Boston, Harrison is approached by Yancy’s eldest son, seventeen year-old
Orin asks Harrison, as his father’s old friend, to accompany him out West to take a look at his holdings, an offer Harrison accepts without hesitation, in the hopes that he can spin the situation into buying the mine from the naive young man and tighten his own hold on the silver industry.
Aaron Campbel has recently arrived in Denver, Colorado following an awkward exit from Kansas City. His ‘seances’ were well known in town, and he netted himself a modest living until one of his sessions ACTUALLY returned a real spiritual result. His client turned out to be the widower of an unsuspecting Kinfolk, the spirit of whom really answered Aaron’s ‘call.’ The answer was not to the widower’s liking, and he worked havoc on the Garou’s reputation in town, eventually forcing him to resettle elsewhere.
Sean Reynolds is working as an independent tracker and man-for-hire in the Rocky Mountain area, and was overseeing a couple of curious Englishmen on their first hunt of the non-fox variety. One of them, not terribly wise, came across a baby bear cub and tried to pick it up for ‘shipment back home to his sister.’ The baby bear’s cries, however, were heard by his mother, and Sean had to quickly raise his gun and shoot the beast before it mauled his charge to death. The next day, the men decided they wanted to head back into Denver and take the first train back to New York City. Exasperated with the greenhorns, he took the furs and sold them in town, coming into the Whiskey River Saloon, where Aaron was card-slinging for a table of gamblers.
Harrison and Orin arrive in Denver, having to head the rest of the way to the Clemens mine by carriage. The strong suggestion of finding hired hands to help guard the carriage is given to them by the man renting the machine out to them, so they head to the Whiskey River Saloon (Avoiding the Scarlet ‘Classy Lady’ Night Saloon, much to Orin’s curious dismay) to find suitable men.
Deciding that the best way to find the best is through trial by fire, Harrison taps a fairly large man on his shoulder and insinuates that another large man down the bar has made aspertions on his mother’s good character.
“Whore, I believe is the word he used, my good man.”
The man flew into a fury, and immediately began brawling the confused victim. In an instant, the more pugnacious men in the bar joined the fight, and friends of each of the two flew to their defense. Aaron kindly ignored the fight going on around him, even as the table he was dealing on overturned in front of him, and an exceedingly drunk man kept swinging at him and missing terribly.
As the fight seemed to escalate, Orin crouched underneath the bar and the barman going for his shotgun, Sean had enough and fired his pistol into the air. The brawl stopped, and he called for all the men to behave and leave immediately. They were unimpressed, one quipping, “You ain’t no lawman.”
In response, Sean calmly obliterated the man’s left leg with his hunting rifle. The men dutifully filed out.
Paying the barman for his trouble, Harrison chatted him up about occurrences in Colorado, getting a feel for the area, while Orin (Feeling rather manly having seen his first barfight) went to Sean to extend an offer of employment.
Harrison found out that the men in the bar were mostly railroad workers and miners waiting for the mine to open back up, and for a railroad being built three days away in Georgetown to continue building. Mining has stopped due to some ‘accidents’ at the Clemens Mine, and the Smithson-Card mine seemed to be in good running order. The railroad to Georgetown, however, has been having some interesting issues as well.
Hearing the barman speak, Aaron immediately became interested and joined the conversation, revealing his main work as a mystic. Orin, enthralled, asked him if he could contact his father. Aaron said that he could, and Orin continued on, wondering if he could handle himself in a fight. Revealing his fetish claws to Orin, Harrison saw them as well and correctly deduced that Aaron was Garou, like himself. Answering Orin’s fervent requests that Aaron come along as well, Harrison quipped that he was positive that this good man seemed to be more than willing to accompany them to a SILVER mine.
That evening, Harrison and Orin attended the requested seance, officiated by Aaron. Taking a gold pocketwatch of Yancy’s (now in Harrison’s possession), he decided to slip into the Umbra under the cover of darkness to inspect the item. The pocketwatch’s chain grew hot in Aaron’s hand, and the piece swung madly about on the chain until landing at a stop, pointing towards the direction of the mines. A dark shadow passed overhead, heading for the mines themselves, and the only words the Theurge could coax from the spirits in the area were whispers of “leave…”
Coming back, Aaron ended the seance and strongly suggested to Orin that he stay behind and let his business affairs be taken care of remotely. Orin, however, was adamant.
Heading out the next morning, the day’s ride was fairly easy. Orin was mentally preparing himself to deal with some ‘unwashed savages’ in the area, an Arapaho village that his father had had to deal with for safe export of the silver from his mine. That night as they camped, Aaron, patrolling the borders of the camp, saw something disconcerting. A face with sixteen eyes blinked out at him from the darkness, peering from the Umbra itself. It grinned a wide, fang-toothed grin, and disappeared.
Arriving in due time to the Arapaho village in the early hours of the next day, their business was announced and Harrison and Orin were led in to see the Chief of the village. There, it was revealed that the village got a whole one-third of the exports from the mine. Standing outside, Aaron and Sean both noted that the women wore decorations of silver, and the men had spears and other weapons decorated. Feeling queasy, they kept their distance. The entire village seemed lousy with silver.
Hard negotiations followed, in which Harrison managed to get the Chief to continue business as normal with only 1/6th of the exports. The Chief, however did not seem terribly perturbed, and even smiled a strange smile as he made eye contact with Harrison, studying him carefully. The only caveat was that they accept the company of the Chief’s son, Black Song. Fifteen and mostly untested, he would be their guide and temporary companion. Harrison agreed.
That night, they witnessed a native dance ritual involving woman dancing around four large wooden poles depicting the four winds, as the men stood by the fire and the Chief told the story of the creation of the world. The pole furthest away was the one that Black Song was paying the most attention to, and Harrison and Sean both saw him badly hide a smirk as a pre-dug trap in the ground caused an accident and a four-woman pileup during the dance. Nothing was outwardly given to be amiss, however, due to the presense of outsiders.
Aaron, in the meantime, reverted to his birth form of lupus to have a word with the timber wolves that had been shadowing them since the morning. Revealing to him that the Wendigo guarded this village, they told him that the mines held corruption deeper than they knew, and snarled about the Storm Eater to him. Aaron managed to get some useful information from them, but their general mistrust finally prompted him to go elsewhere, rejoining the caravan later in the evening.
The next day, they finally reached the Clemens Mine. A large, wide open area that had been cleared of the tall conifer trees was in the immediate area, as well as a lodging for workers and a private cabin that had belonged to Yancy. There were no workers, no foremen, no supervisors, no anybody. Smelling trouble, they slowly unhorsed and advanced towards the mine entrance. Lurching out from behind the lodge came one man, obviously wounded.
In a rare moment of usefulness, Orin ran forward with a handkerchief outstretched for his father’s employee. Aaron, though, seeing a dark flash in the man’s eyes as Orin approached, ran forward to yank him back just in time to avoid a sudden, bloody clawed slash. The man’s skin bubbled and turned a sickly color. He was a wyrm-tainted formori now. Entering battle, Aaron, Harrison, Sean, and Black Song took out the formori while Orin ran to hide inside of his father’s cabin, the carriage driver hiding inside of the carriage now. Sean entered Glabro form during the battle, and Aaron used his claws, causing the two of them to know about each other’s Garou heritage. Harrison and Black Song both seemed unperturbed, at least until the formori burbled one final laugh before dying. “Wait until you see what’s INSIDE of the mine…”