Everyone was assembled in my loft, sitting around the oval table of the war room as I’d decided to call it. There was a palpable sense of unease in the air. The Darksiders and the twins were uncomfortably sharing the room. With Natalie throwing them darts with her eyes. They tried to ignore it as best they could, but it was clear they weren’t at ease.
“Alright. We need to talk about how we are going to take over.” I declared, breaking the silence. I walked to the whiteboard where a map was suspended, zones delimited with colored markers. “We have three major faction to contend with; Alessa and her groupies, the south side sorcerer and the Mamba shifter pack. The witches, the diabolists and the skulls are of minor import but still important. There are about a dozen and a half independents in the area. What we need now is to put them into categories; hostiles, neutral or friendly to our conflict. For that I need your knowledge of the area, you have more familiarity with it.”
“Which is why I should be leading this.” Natalie grumbled, still staring at the twins.
“If you want to try to take over, go for it, but I got us organized, funded and got us to destroy the pack who’d been harassing you over the last few months. But tell me do you really want to rule, have to police everything, be responsible and have to plan every detail or do you just want people to bow down to you?”
She grumbled something and I had a feeling I’d struck a cord.
“Alright, back on track.” I said. “Alessa the Maenad, what do we have on her?”
“She’s remained neutral in conflicts with other factions, but she’s still bound to the fae court on the northern shore so if they determine we’re against or for their interest, she’ll be bound to support or oppose us. She’s not much of a danger by herself but in a revelry, she can control those under her influence and empower them.” Lance answered.
I chucked her into the neutral bin.
“The south side sorcerer, Jacob Wilkinson. What do we know?” I took a blue marker and wrote on the board. ‘Scarecrow creation’
“He’s territorial, takes a good spot of oceanside near Elysium park and has challenged those who would deal with spirits, ghosts and et cetera in his domain. He’s had frictions with both the witches and the diabolist but they’re at a standstill. Word is he’d love an opportunity or a hand dealing with them.” Kaleb answered.
“Potential friendly then.” I said, writing the key notes. “Last of the big three: The Mamba”
“Bad news.” Kayla said.
“Yeah definitely.” Maika added. “I still have the scar.”
”They’re hold up in Chinatown, bar other shifters from entering and barely tolerate others passing through. They won’t accept you, that’s sure.” Her sister continued.
“Half of us are shifters, so I doubt peace will be even possible.” I acknowledged. “What do we know about them?”
“They only take Asians, Japanese for the most part, Koreans are allowed but they’re stuck at the bottom. By Lisa’s words they were maybe twenty or so of them, their leader is in his forties, the captains a little younger and the grunts around our ages. Unlike the Gibbous, many of them have warforms.” Kayla answered.
“It would be nice of you had them.” Kaleb commented.
“Nuh-uh.” Maika said. “It’s a pain to get, you need to spend months living as your totem and it changes you… You come out… wrong. I like how I am.” She shuddered at the thought.
“Maika’s right.” Her sister said. “There was another warform a few months ago in the gibbous, before he was cool, but he came back he was cold and almost murderous…”
“Alright, scratch that idea.” I said. “The Mamba are definitely enemies, but they’re far from our current theater of operation. “What about the witches and diabolists?”
“The Children of Baphomet are small time, tangentially associated with the Red Oath, they pay tribute and in exchange are allowed to dabble in demonology. Maybe twelve of them, we’re talking wannabe goth and angry nerds wanting power for their revenge fantasies. The Isis coven are just neopagan with a hint of juice and a clue, a mix of teenage girls and women in their midlife crisis.” Kaleb said, he was clearly the expert on the magical factions.
“What about independents, anyone we know?”
“The two medium sisters working at the Tabula Rasa, not really worth our time.” Natalie said. “I’d avoid the Hellhound, she’s a total bitch.” Coming from her, this was a scary thing to consider.
“I know a Jinx, she can cause streaks of bad luck.” Kaleb said. “She comes to the tattoo shop once in awhile and we might have had a thing going. I could probably talk her into siding with us.”
“Gabrielle Lopez, the Undying, controls the skulls, small gang, they keep off the boardwalk and do petty crime and drug dealing. If we can have the right mix of bribery and flattery, we could have her side with us. She’s trying to move into the boardwalk but can’t because she’s too afraid to piss of the powers that be.” Lance explained.
“Coil owns the security, we could probably negotiate something.” I answered. After murdering a person in cold blood the idea of being an accessory to drug dealing was underwhelming. “Who else do we know?”
“There’s a channeler who does parlor tricks with his ability not far from Land’s end on weekends.” Kayla said.
“I know two other adepts; a daredevil and a fellow skinner.” Kaleb said. “The former should be easy to get on our side, the latter I’d rather not…”
“Because she’s my ex-girlfriend… And my mentor. Neither of which went very well…” He said.
“What does a Daredevil do?” Maika asked.
“Control fate and chance.” Kaleb answered. “Well, kind of it’s a little more complicated that that. They’re all about being suicidally reckless. In fact I met him when I patched her up, got fucked up good from van surfing and falling on a patch of rocks on the beach.”
“So that makes three or four that could side with us. Not too bad. Kayla, do you think anyone else from the Gibbous would join us?”
“I don’t know, maybe Ricky, he was at the bottom like us. But the others wouldn’t join a group that can’t initiate new shifters.”
“How do you do that?”
“You need a totem tree.” Maika answered. “Like the one you burned down. We don’t know how to bless them.”
“Could you two talk with him, if he ask, give him the same offer I did to you.”
“Yessir!” They answered together with a salute.
“Alright. Kaleb, can you contact your friends and see who wants to join?”
“Can do.” He answered.
“Kayla, Maika, you two should talk to your old pack. If any of them want to join, setup a meeting with me.”
“Personally, I’ll contact Coil, get our ethereal allies stronger and maybe recruit more and try to get in touch with the Fae. Anyone has questions?”
Nobody had any.
“Good, now the really important thing. I’m getting takeout delivered, any objection to fried chicken?”