Blood and Draca stepped outside the restaurant, each determined to bash humility into the other. In full view of others waiting for a table, Blood swung. She cracked Draca across the jaw, sending the young girl’s head back a bit. After the first strike settled across Draca, she gathered her bearings and quickly stepped into Blood’s space, double-tapping her. A blow to Blood’s ribs and one to her face, sending her reeling back. The little changeling girl didn’t deal a shit ton of damage. But jesus christ, she was fast.
Inside, Mick grumbled at the food. What kind of fucking people ate fish that was never cooked? Was a fire too damn hard to find in China?
Peter and Jenn meanwhile discussed the group’s first assignment. Handing her a note with directions to a storage facility just outside of Boulder, Peter explained that their first task would be retrieving a critical token and then setting up their base of operations in Mr. Wild’s Hotel Seraphim.
Julie Winters got a call and excused herself. Outside Joseph sat back and watched Draca & Blood punch it out, certain that he’d be needed at some point and anxious to get Blood delivered to Guido for her stripper job. Mr. Wild just brooded on his soup and said nothing. Mick sneered at the sushi and asked if anything good was in this place. “Do you like fried chicken?” Peter asked him. “Sure. Who doesn’t?” Mick answered. “Then you should order the chicken tempura.” What the hell, Mick figured, that sounds close enough to edible.
Julie returned with a frantic look. She explained to Mr. Wild that one of his recent rescue cases, a young girl named Panthera, was at the Hotel Seraphim and potentially under attack by briarwolves. Mr. Wild wasted no time. He stood up from the table and said his goodbyes. When Peter asked where he was going, he gruffly answered “Danger” and left Sushi Zanmai with Julie.
Once outside, Mr. Wild interrupted Draca and Blood’s punch-up by situating his large bulk between them. He asked Draca for her help and, never waiting for the answer, turned to make his way down Broadway.
Joseph, noticing the determined hurry, asked Mr. Wild what was wrong. “Danger” he said again and hustled across the street. “I’ll help!” Joseph said, following suit.
Peter shrugged and figured: “Well… I guess now’s as good a time as any to acquaint everyone with Hotel Seraphim.” He invited Mick to come see, told him he could take his chicken with him in a go-box and he and Jenn scurried out the door.
Mick didn’t lag far behind.
They all arrived near Broadway and Arapahoe, under the bridge and near the creek path. Mr. Wild quickly leaned in to the painted wolf mural on the bridge wall and kissed it, opening the gateway to his Hollow. Julie and Peter stayed behind while the motley entered for the first time.
Inside they could hear the faint screams for help from a young girl. Running full tilt to the screams, Blood and Joseph got there first. Blood shifted into Urshul form and tackled one of the assailing briarwolves, tumbling with it into a wall. Joseph whipped out one of his scalpels and tried to slide, action-star-stylee, under one to gut its stomach. Sadly, he skid only a few feet in front of it, dust billowing around him.
Mr. Wild and Jenn followed. Jenn drew her gun and tried to fire but missed. Mr Wild stormed the one nearest Panthera but before he could swipe at it, Mick jumped in and began cutting into it with his knife fingers.
Blood bit down hard on her briarwolf’s throat and crushed it completely, a gurgle of blood its only death rattle. While Mick was battling hers, Draca stepped in, drew her sword and sliced the last briarwolf’s arm off at the elbow. Then finished it off with a sword blow to the neck, decapitating it completely.
With the invasion quelled, Mr. Wild saw to Panthera. When he was certain she was unharmed, he looked to the others. Joseph asked how the attack had happened and Mr. Wild, in his own monosyllabic way, made it clear that he was one changeling, handling the upkeep and wards for a rather large Hollow. He insisted that he needed help maintaining the place.
Joseph was the first to ask about available rooms, preferably one isolated and away from the gang. Mr Wild led him upstairs to a small apartment on the roof. When he opened the door to the apartment, nothing stood behind it but brick and mortar. But when he closed that same door and offered Joseph to re-open it, a snug little cloister appeared. This was the way Hotel Seraphim worked. Mr. Wild had to introduce new occupants to it formally before they could rest there.
Meanwhile Panthera had found Draca, who was outside the hotel looking out warily into the Hedge. She insisted that her brother, Aslan, was still around and wanted Draca’s help finding him. Draca sought out Mr. Wild, who picked up sounds coming from the room Panthera and her brother shared. Sure enough, the boy had been hiding in the closet. Panthera wasted no time giving her a brother an earful.
Everyone else had wandered through the hotel, trying to pick the place up as best they could. Mick was cleaning the kitchen area. Blood was tossing large bits of debris and rubble into the Hedge. Jenn was looking the place over. Mr. Wild was seeing to it that Joseph was given cleaning utensils. And Draca was exploring as well.
After cleaning the kitchen of vegetation, Mick sought out Mr. Wild, looking for a permanent place to crash. He lead Mick downstairs to the boiler room which, like it had for Joseph, first opened into a brick wall and then eventually into a decent little basement apartment, near the pipes and stove. This suited Mick just fine.
Draca meanwhile was checking out the kitchen sink. When she turned the tap, only a thick green ooze spewed out. Disturbed by this, she asked Mr. Wild what could be done. He shrugged and went down into the boiler room. They looked the pipes over and decided, fuck it, we haven’t the first clue what’s needed to fix them.
Trudging upstairs with Mick and Draca, Mr Wild ran into Blood. Tired from all her labors, she asked Mr. Wild if there was a way out. She wanted to go home and see to her grandmother. He nodded and opened the main Hollow entrance in the courtyard. She thanked him and made her way out. With the gate to the mortal world open now, everyone congregated in the courtyard.
Peter, oddly enough, had been waiting outside the Hollow the whole time. He slipped in as Blood slipped out and greeted Jenn. He wanted to make sure everyone had settled in to the hotel and if anyone was ready for the next step in their mission. After getting a consensus, Jenn agreed. Draca, with no interest in wasting time in the mortal world than she wanted to, said she wanted to stay.
And so Bulwark Expedition stepped out of the Hollow, set to begin their first adventure.