Werewolves and vampires share a common weakness; the moon’s phase. I didn’t quite understand it all but they had a common origin and the moon empowered them. New moons were the best time to strike, something I wish I’d known when I had decided to hit Coil shortly before the full moon. Two weeks and two days later marked the beginning of the new moon.
The Gibbous pack as they called themselves were Lisa’s pack, mostly teenagers on the southern edge of town that occupied the southern edge of Oceanside and the boardwalk. Out of convention, most of them were wolf shifters. Lisa was the only one who had earned a war totem.
As Coil had explained to me, Shifters gained forms, called totems, independently and once one was obtained, they could improve it into a war form by living for months at a time as an animal. Not something pissed city kids could just do. We’d given the pack nearly eight days to recover. As luck would happen, that monday was Founder’s day, a paid holiday in the city in honor of the city’s creation. An apt coincidence for the founding of my new reputation, sometimes fate arranged bizarre little occurrences like that for you. Other times, you’d get humiliated on Victory day or something. I was hoping that day wouldn’t be one of those ironic twist.
The pack made it’s home in Chester’s Park, one of the large but anonymous park that hid in the corners of large cities. Before they’d settled in, it was a haven for homeless people and junkies, but now everyone was afraid of the large aggressive pack of ‘dogs’ that had taken residence there that the city couldn’t seem to get rid off.
“That’s their totem tree.” Lance said, pointing at a large tree where lots of random junk was hanging from and symbols had been painted or scratched on. “It’s their flag if you will.”
Although it was dark enough he could have teleported us in, we had walked there from the nearest darkside entrance.
“Well that gives me an idea for an entrance.” I said with an evil grin. I’d been clean of blood since Friday evening, but part of me was still positively devious. I wasn’t sure if it was left over blood in my system or if it was natural.
There were maybe a dozen or so people in the park, camping around it, barely visible silhouette on a moonless night. I wouldn’t have been able to see them without enhanced vision. Most of them were high school aged, with maybe one or two in college and another pair around middle school age. An all too familiar figure was talking to them. Lisa.
“Go time.” I said. The others followed my lead and walked into the clearing.
With a pair of finger snaps, Natalie created a pair of bonfires to illuminate the area, casting long dark shadows and bathing us in reddish glow.
“Good evening Gibbous.” I declared coming in. I probably looked silly with my big coat in the heat, my backpack with the hanging plush and my small frame, but I didn’t care. “We’ve come to accept your unconditional surrender for last week’s scuffle. We could request blood payment for risking the Covenant by engaging us by the shore, but we’ll accept your immediate disbanding instead.”
Lisa’s minions immediately changed into their wolf form and began growling menacingly at us. Despite her pack having been burned pretty badly, they’d healed perfectly, one of their shifter boon. Although only their animal form would heal well, in human form, they were effectively normal.
Lisa walked toward us. “What makes you think we’ll let you even walk out of here alive? We have you outnumbered nearly three to one.”
“You seem to overestimate the worth of your shifters and just how strong becoming a wolf truly makes you. None of these kids are war totem material, that I know. Which leaves us to one worthy opponent and a bunch of… Disposable lackeys. My offer of surrender is available to all of you, just bow your head and lay down and we will consider you spared.”
None of them moved.
“Seems like you empty talk is failing.” Lisa declared.
“Sadly, it seems none of you will come to reason… Truly disappointing. Natalie, I believe you know what to do.”
She chuckled and extinguished the bonfires before extending her arm and snapping again. This time, the Totem tree caught ablaze.
“You… Fucking… Bitch!” Lisa screamed like we’d kneecapped her mother.
“You know how to find us, just follow our trail.” I said. “Lance.”
Everything went dark before they could answer and we were back to the tunnels of darkside. I’d chosen an opening in the service tunnel, a wide circular room.
“ETA five minutes maximum.” I declared. We placed the lighting we would need for the battle, batteries powered work-lights illuminated room but leaving the tunnels mostly dark. Darkside as a battlefield had several advantages for us, we knew the terrain, there was nobody to hurt or hear us and above all the location we’d chosen had only two entries.
They all grabbed the packs we’d left behind and armed themselves. Collapsible batons and large riot shields along with stab vests for everyone but me. I had the received the custom order I’d made; titanium mail between layers of ballistic fiber.
The wolves weren’t being quiet, howling, panting and making as much noise as they could.
“Lance get into position.” I said. He walked to our back, hiding within the lightless corridor.
From my belt I took a pair of spheres, pressing the detonation before throwing. Natalie and Kaleb had done the same. I saw the wolf turn the corner and walk toward us. We bunkered down behind the plastic shield and Loud bangs filled the cavern as the grenades exploded.
I could have gotten my hand on fragmentation grenades easily, but instead it had went with stinger the same principle but rather than shrapnel, the wolves were hit by hundreds of super fast hard rubber balls. They might heal fast, but they weren’t immune to pain. A good number of them went down, letting out horrible sounds of pain while the rest, protected by others or in Lisa’s case too jacked up, continued our way.
A huge war form shifter accompanied by five gray wolves came our way. We split up. To my surprise, Lisa came my way. I unsheathed my rapier and lunged it at her, the blade going through her belly. She didn’t stop. Lisa was the only one I didn’t care what happened to, she’d tried to kill me for being vaguely associated with Kaleb. The kids, I didn’t want them to get too hurt, but she was an animal and needed to be put down.
She tried to bite my neck off but Liam made the save, hitting her torso with all his mass. To my irritation, werewolves weren’t vulnerable to silver or any easy peasy weakness, instead you had to cut them up badly or fill them with enough lead until they stopped moving.
“Spirits.” I muttered, letting my senses open and quickly cutting my off hand open on the blade. My ghost squad hurried to my side, they’d been lethargic for the last few days. “The big one, destroy her.” I said, pointing once they’d drank their share.
One of the relatively small wolf pounced toward me, but I caught the movement as he was mid air, I tossed myself to the left. He landed on his paws and turned to face me. He growled. I got back up and faced him with the sword engarde. He lunged at me and I slit his side pretty nastily. Not enough to kill him, probably, but enough to hurt and put him out of commision for a while.
That’s when Lisa hit me. She was persistent and really really hated me.
“Kill you!” She said. Sort of, it sounded more like kiiiiir uuuur. Followed by “Trick! Mean Nothing!” not quite eligible, but that’s what I figured the guttural grunting meant.
With one of her paws, she pressed my sword hand down. I wasn’t sure what Liam was up to. Probably some of the wolves had gotten back on their feet.
She raised a claw to strike.
“Did you ever wonder why I carried a plush?”
She slowed down a tiny bit and like a savior, Lance appeared from behind, shooting her with a beanbag and then wrapping the empty gun around her neck. She flailed trying to get him off. Agility wasn’t the strong suit of muscle bound monsters like her.
“Lauren! Something?” Lance said. He’d come to help me even if his job was to finish the wolves off. In darkness he was super strong. He called himself a grue, something about an old computer game from before my mother was born.
“Innocent, I temporarily unbind you under the terms we have agreed for.” I yelled.
Slightly to my left, a little girl in a white dress was standing, bunny and knife in hand. She looked famished… Lisa didn’t stand a chance at this range.