Tooth and Claw

Layers of protection

Julia crouched on the edge of the roof, carefully clutching the little box in her hands. The weaver spirit scuttled around inside, tapping wildly off the edge of the box as if it could sense how close it was to the final destination and its new home. The tiles were slippery beneath her feet, icy cold and wet from the morning rain. She was being very careful, but she hoped none of the neighbours were watching. They had done so well with making a good impression the other day, it would be a shame to undo some of that.

In hindsight it probably would have been smarter to deliver the creature into the large alarm, since it was going to apparently be occupying both – Annie had spoken to the spirit and promised it house-wide access. It wasn’t exactly what she had intended, but she supposed it wasn’t really a problem. Annie was the only one who could properly speak to spirits anyway, it was something Julia was still learning. The large alarm had controls in the house, so she could probably have avoided climbing out the attic window and onto the roof. Still, the hidden alarm was where she had originally intended for it to live, so here was where she was going to put it. Julia wasn’t afraid of heights anyway.

She had visited GeneCo earlier that morning with Annie to pick up the spirit. It had been an interesting experience, seeing where the Glasswalkers did their thing. She would have liked to spend a little more time there visiting and asking about some of the things they were working on, but it was certainly not the moment then. Their trip needed to be short and to the point, getting in for what they had come for and then leaving. There were things to do today. They had simply passed on the warning, asked Julie and the other Garou there to look after their own and spread the word.
Julie had smiled and promised that she would make sure things were done properly, which had been nice to hear for once. To be trusted and believed straight off was a rare thing. Still, there had been a few raised eyebrows and a part of her thought that at least some of the people there didn’t take them entirely seriously, which was frustrating.

Then again, why would they? The Storm Bringers were still a very young pack, despite their deeds, and they had a reputation for being unorthodox. There wasn’t all that much evidence either – two similar deaths didn’t have to mean a Garou-hunting druid out to do some terrible ritual. It could just be one of those run-of –the-mill serial killers who had gotten lucky and also magically didn’t leave any trace of their passing. Those guys were all over the place.

Julia breathed deeply, moving aside the part of the roof that concealed the second alarm system. She was going to do this part herself. Her pack had done the legwork of finding a suitable guardian without her, but she would finish this job. She needed some more practice with rituals and spirits anyway, and she knew the basics from her lessons. It would be the first time she had done this alone, but it couldn’t be helped since she was the only one home just now. She had told the rest of them to work together to contact their wolf family members if they were worried and they had gone away as a group. It wouldn’t be a good idea to be alone in the woods, even if her hunch was right and the killer wanted human kinfolk. At least one body had been found in the woods in the area – too close to their home for comfort – and there weren’t enough clear landmarks to make communicating positions easy if there was an issue.

She carefully drew the basic runes onto the tiles of the roof with her fingers, feeling the power tingle as they took shape. The spirit rattled against the box in anticipation, but she took her time. She didn’t want to mess things up here. Nice and slow. The meet with the Kinfolk would be this afternoon. For now her first priority was protecting her pack and their territory. She had given them all instructions and they had agreed without objection.

Stay alert. Don’t be by yourself unless you have no other choice. If you are going somewhere, tell the rest of the pack via the thunderbird link. Say when you leave, say when you get there. Check in on the hour until you are re-united with the rest of us. Be safe, don’t take risks. Don’t stay out after dark. Look after those you care about.

The runes fizzed and glowed as she carefully inserted the box with the spirit into the system and opened the lid. It was off like a flash, over the edge of the box and melting into the wires of the machine. She could briefly feel the power pulsing, as if every appliance in their house had suddenly turned on and off again and long fingers of electricity had run through the walls and floor. She could almost have sworn she saw filaments of bluish-silver web infusing the tiles beneath her feet. Then everything was still again like nothing had happened. The street was quiet.

It didn’t matter if others didn’t believe them. It didn’t matter if they were young and naïve and maybe they were wrong. It didn’t matter if the kinfolk were grumpy and reluctant to have their lives disrupted, if they refused to be co-operative. Julia was going to protect everyone she could, because if they were right and she did nothing then it would haunt her forever. It would still haunt her if they were too slow and this mysterious person killed another kinfolk. But at least they would have tried.



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