Harrison, Sean, Aaron, and Black Song are standing outside of the mine over the body of the formor they have just killed. Orin locks himself inside of his father’s cabin, and the carriage driver flees in terror.
As everybody is not 100% on each other’s status as Garou, Aaron tries to get Harrison and Black Song to stay with Orin. Both refuse, and Sean walks into the mine grumbling, “It’s your life.” They all go in. Aaron slips to the back of the procession, shifting to Hispo form to keep an eye out, and Harrison takes one of the few remaining gas lamps for light as they descend. It being a silver mine, they feel a mite weaker as they’re trailing along. A long limb beckons them deeper into the mine, coming to a fork. Sean, using his skills as a tracker, sees that more of the strange, clawed tracks are coming from the right, so they head right and soon come to a hand-operated lift.
Going down about fifty feet, they catch on some sort of soft, springy thing stretched out underneath the lift. Peeking over the side into the six inches between the lift and the walls of the shaft, Sean quickly sees that it is a thick, sticky spiderweb that has caught. Harrison flicks the top of his cane to reveal a tiny spyglass concealed, and peers through it and into the Umbra. The spiderweb strands are a sickly green color, with tiny spiders skittering over it. Using his fetish iklwa, and Black Song following with his spear, they manage to shred the strands and descend the last twenty feet into an open cavern.
Going forward, they find the bodies of the former workers of Yancy Clemens all bound in web cocoons, and as they come to a corner, they hear footsteps and stop.
Coming around to face them is a man with four arms, four legs, sixteen eyes, and a fang-toothed grin. Introducing himself as “Nihancan,” Sean, Harrison, and Black Song (revealing himself as a Garou, Wendigo Ragabash) all immediately shift to the Crinos war form. Lifting a staying hand, Nihancan states that his errant children are responsible for the ‘mess’ in the mines, and invites them down a nearby hole (lousy with silver) where they dwell.
Sean moves to go down the hole, and Harrison notes that Black Song is for some reason unable to communicate, though he dearly is trying to. Picking him up, he takes Black Song’s feet from the spiderweb-covered ground and disconnecting a spiritual hold Nihancan had placed on him. Racing forward, Black Song pulls Sean from the hole, warning him that Nihancan was known by his people to have killed bear spirits in the past by luring them into such traps. With a shrug and a wave, Nihancan disappears…only to have called out two enormous, Wyrm-tainted tarantulas.
In the fight, Sean’s gun backfired and exploded, causing the gas lamp to be destroyed, and Black Song nearly kicked Harrison’s head off trying to find the spiders. After laying the creatures low, they made their way back to the lift to head out, Black Song stating that they needed to tell his father right away about Nihancan’s corruption. Sniffing quickly, Aaron notes something down the fork they didn’t take earlier. They find one miner, still squishy, being nibbled on by baby tarantulas coming fresh from their eggs. Running to stomp them out, a few escape through the Gauntlet and get away. Harrison checks the man’s body, and comes up with a brass snuffbox engraved, “Josiah Jorgenson, 1801,” which he promptly pockets.
Managing to coax Orin from the cabin (after shifting back to their natural forms, Aaron keeping low and hidden in lupus), they decide that the carriage driver is lost, and they head back to the village.
There, the Chief listens to their story, translated by Black Song. After he hears this and thinks for a bit, he says something, and Black Song relates to the three that they should go see the Starheeders Caern some miles off. There, the wise Garou who rule there would be able to help in sealing away Nihancan. Normally, Nihancan is a trickster spirit, not overtly malevolent, and has even been the totem for a few powerful packs in the Wendigo and Uktena’s past.
Then, the Chief says something else, and Black Song pales considerably. After a second, Black Song, eyes to the ground, turns to the three of them and says, “…My father would also like to extend his formal invitation, as his thanks in this matter, to my wedding.”
They accept graciously with some amusement, and Black Song adds, “It is to be this evening.”
Aaron laughs, thinking it a joke, but seeing the expression on Black Song’s face, he sobers.
The men are shooed out while wedding preparations are taking place. They note that all the silver has disappeared from the village, and that women are moving in and out of a tent on the other side of the camp with beads and feathers and bits of fabric, and the men have dragged Black Song, cajoling him in Arapaho, out to a preparation tent of his own.
Night falls and the drums sound. A medicine woman stands at the head of the large central tribal fire, and Black Song is brought forward, along with his father. The girl comes forward with her parents, and her face is revealed. She is pretty, and around Black Song’s age, but appears to have a large wound along the left side of her face, still covered in the healer’s clay. Black Song winces in apology at the timid girl, but they take hands and become husband and wife.
Its revealed to the three guests that the girl is one Black Song had sneaked off with one evening, only to undergo his First Change and hurt her. Her older sister had followed the pair, and managed to get her sister away before being killed.
The rest of the evening is jolly, with drink and dance and general merriment. For their helping Black Song become a man (his fight with the spider was actually his test in disguise), they are welcomed and Orin is well-tolerated. Harrison catches the eye of Black Song’s new sister-in-law, and the two of them sneak off into the woods while Sean manages to keep Orin from trying the same with another Indian lady.
The next morning, Black Song rejoins the three of them in packing up the carriage and heads out, stating that he has to be back at his village in about a week or so. He seems happier than he did the previous day, and wears ornaments of manhood on his vest.
As they move to go, Orin states a desire to find civilization, and the rest of them after some discourse, agree it would be best to get rid of the normal human BEFORE going to a werewolf-filled caern. Black Song suggests Georgetown, about fifteen miles away, and they agree.
What they find is a quaint town set on the platau of the lower mountain ranges, with a nearby spring and healthy creek of mountain runoff, and the remains of a railroad operation nearby. Sean goes to the general store to replace his lost gun, and Orin dashes to a telegraph station to update his mother. Harrison makes a play to offer to buy the mine from Orin, but he resists, stating that he’ll have to consult with his mother first. Harrison then goes to the inn in town, called the Harvest Moon, and leaves a note with the gal at the desk with a monetary offer for the business, and takes up a room for he and Orin for the night, heading to the saloon nearby and leaving Orin to sleep.
Aaron is cardsharping in the saloon, the Drunken Coyote, and meets the energetic Jesse Simmons. Sean and Harrison join them and speak to Jesse as well, learning of his general like of stories and gossip. Breaking off in the middle of a tirade, he notices that a Friday night show is about to start, Serendipity’s. Going to a set of switches to some harsh electric lights, he snaps them on and a show begins on the small stage in the saloon.
Six well-dressed young women come out and dance and flirt for a bit, until Serendipity herself steps out. Dressed all in pink, with strawberry blonde hair, blue eyes, and a giant pink feather in her curled and pinned hair, she begins her portion of the show. It mostly involves bantering with the men in the audience brave enough to stand up to her barbs. Sean laughs audibly, and Serendipity finds out there’s actually new men in the audience that night. Going out to them, she pokes at them a bit, fussing with Sean’s beaver-skin hat and scratching Aaron under the chin, who was trying to avoid attention. She hears Sean speak, and deducing he was from England, sang an old English ditty for the assembled men. After her show, she came back out to get to know the three just a bit better while she did her real money-making business; she was a madam.
The six girls came out with her as well, and she began to take money from men who had washed and dressed nicely that day. Getting all her girls sold for the night, and turning down a hefty lump of silver a man offered for herself, she retired for the night.
The next morning, the men had to get a move along the trail. Harrison, finding out that a stagecoach came through once every two weeks from Georgetown to Denver, decided to have Orin on it the next time it came through to get him back home to Boston. Harrison tracked down Serendipity, who was out for a walk that morning, and paid her well to have Orin NOT lay with any of her call-girls. Amused, Serendipity took the bribe and sent Harrison on his way.
Black Song, who camped outside of town that night, met them and they went off again. It was a fairly winding trail, well-hidden with marks only found by those who knew what to look for. Finally, they had to abandon the carriage at a shrub-laden knell, covering it and hiding it, and taking the horses for Harrison and Aaron to ride. Approaching the caern, they were met with guards in Glabro form, and ordered to approach in lupus. Becoming wolves, Aaron began at the edge of the territory with the Howl of Introduction, Sean, Harrison, and Black Song following suit.
Allowed entry, they padded in to the large hidden valley caern. They saw kinfolk tipis, and a wolf pack running off to another side. There was a large hut by the center, with a fire in front, and from there, a lupus wolf wearing a sarape, ancient and grizzled, walked out to meet them.
“Welcome, strangers, to the Starheeders Sept. I am Shuns-the-Night.”