The Wolves of Brandenburg

Session Five
Black Out; December 1920

In December 1920 the Allied Control Commission finally seized Erwin’s plane as war reparations in fulfillment of the Treaty of Versailles. Flying had been one of Erwin’s few pleasures, and he bitterly resented the intrusion of the Allied commissioners.

The first moot of winter saw the challenge between the Sea Wolf and Fisheater. The Master of Challenge, Strong Counsel, felt both sides were petty and decided their challenge would be decided before the moot. The two would wrestle in homid form, and the first to throw out the other of the ring would enjoy the services of the other for the time of a complete cycle of the moon. The Sea Wolf initially showed more skill and strength against the younger Garou, but Fisheater triumphed at the end to the joy of the Get of Fenris.

The moot then proceeded, but there were some rumblings upon seeing that while the Sea Wolf participated in the moot that once again his packmate Erwin sullenly refused offers to involve himself more in its operation and content to merely attend and observe.

The real social highlight for Erwin was attendance of a special party hosted by his father at the family estate, although even here he had to be prodded by his packmate Otto. Erwin tried to be on best behavior and exerted his will against the Beast, quelling it enough to mitigate the worse of the Curse. He met various of his father’s friends as well as three young ladies his mother-in-law was obviously trying to match him with.

The party was obviously not his father’s idea, and the pack paid attention to Wolf Stoller, a banker who seemed to be the real organizer of events. However, before they could unravel the mystery, Erwin’s sister Mina finally arrived completely drunk and scandalizing the family. Erwin and Otto managed the situation to Erwin’s father content earning the rare praise of the family patriarch. Erwin himself felt some shame at his own behavior towards his sister, showing both the Beast and too much of his father’s own personality. Mina woke the next day without any memory of the night’s events, having suffered a black out from the sheer amount of alcohol she drunk.

The next day saw the men leave for a boar hunt, and Otto ingratiated himself with the group. The night ended though with the surprise arrival of a wolf bursting through the living room window. Quickly organizing a hunt, Alois von Geisthart lead the party and shot the wolf (actually a wolf-dog), but not before Otto and Erwin had managed to approach it and speak to it. The wolf-dog seemed to know of Erwin and cryptically hinted it wanted to speak to him before it bolted and was shot by Erwin’s father.

Erwin and Otto finally left the Geisthart estate with more questions than they had when they arrived.

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Session Four
Reminders of the Past; October 1920

Europe is saved. In two weeks of heavy fighting, the Polish army under General Pilsudski has inflicted a severe defeat on the Red Army and has pursued it back to Russia. The battle will be remembered as the “Miracle on the Vistula”. On October 12, Poland and the Soviet Union agree to a ceasefire and begin peace negotiations that will establish the international border. Europe and Germany sigh a collective breath as the menace of Bolshevism recedes from Central Europe.

With the military threat to Germany receding, Oberst von Geisthart took leave from his secret duties as one of the commanders of the secret and illegal “Black Reichswehr” that augments the small official German military to visit his son, Erwin, in an attempt to make peace. Erwin reluctantly accepts his father’s apology and agrees to rejoin the family in its next social occasion at Schloss Geisthart.

The other members of the Jaegermeister pack follow their own pursuits. Along the Volga River in Russia, Olav, far from his packmates, continues to serve in a Garou host to eliminate a plague of undead vampires feasting on a peasantry suffering from famine and the horrors of civil war. Otto overhears some insulting talk about his pack at the Maison am Havel near the caern, and assaults a Get of Fenris Ragabash who spoke them. Anna meets with her fellow tribemate and auspice member Dragongold who shares with her that the investigation of the “Waldheide Massacre” continues despite the lack of leads. Erwin’s father has used his political influence to stop any continued investigation into his son and friends. At a loss, the police are turning to a new methodology of the “occult sciences” – the use of a clairvoyant that the newspapers call “criminal telepathy”.

Otto and Erwin take Annelise to the hamlet of Eichenbach to meet the Get of Fenris kinfolk lead by Severin Brunning there. Although greeted warmly by many kinfolk, the pack’s suspicions are aroused due to the absence of Thomas Schultz, a prominent kinfolk who has been arguing with Severin Brunning. Upon entering the Penumbra around the ruins near Eichenbach, the pack sees a strange ephemeral tree that unnerves them which Erwin calls “the hanging tree”. Nevertheless, the pack decides the hamlet will be the focus of their protectorate and they begin patrolling its outskirts.

300px-The_Ant_and_the_Grasshopper_-_Project_Gutenberg_etext_199941.jpgOnce again it is Anna who is the first to witness the call to battle as the pack’s totem, Jaegerfuehrer, goes to her with news that Stag has sent the pack to answer a petition from one of the Fae to help him. Anna gathers Otto and Olav who meet near one of the sewage farms outside of Berlin where toxic industrial runoff has mutated some of the marsh rats into rodents of unusual size.

There the pack meets Mr Green, a comical child sized grasshopper dressed in formal wear who asks for their help in destroying the rodents lest they harm his companion whom he calls the Little Master. The pack enters the fray and defeats around a dozen of the rat fomori. Although Otto almost falls to the swarm, the pack triumphs once again as Erwin Hungry Wolf slays all but a few.

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Session Three
Only the Dead are Safe; Summer 1920

782px-PBW_August_1920.pngIt is summer 1920. The Weimar government has returned to Berlin following the Kapp Putsch and governs the Reich uncertainly now that the loyalty of the army cannot be taken for granted. Besides political turmoil at home, the Red Army marches against Poland to seize that part of the former Tsarist Empire. The Red Army’s commander, General Tukhachevsky, issued his order of the day on July 2: “To the West! Over the corpse of White Poland lies the road to worldwide conflagration. March on Vilno, Minsk, Warsaw!” and “onward to Berlin over the corpse of Poland!” Not only Germany, but all of Europe, waits in trepidation to whether Bolshevism will invade central Europe.

The Silver Fang aristocrats of the Green Wood worry over the possible fate of their Kinfolk while Bone Gnawers debate their tribes earlier involvement in Petrograd during the Russian Revolution of 1917. However, the Jaegermeister pack’s attentions are drawn closer to home.

Bruecktal is a small town south of Berlin. The Bruecktal Invalidenanlage is a veterans hospital managed by the Reich Ministry of Labor. Originally a tuberculosis sanitarium, this thirty building complex was taken over by the military as a military hospital for wounded soldiers during the Great War. Since the war’s end, the national government has purchased the site as a permanent home for care of the permanently disabled and other worse case patients that cannot be integrated back into society. In summer of 1920, the Reich Ministry of Labor, recently designated as responsible for care of veterans since the war ended, has been consolidating patients into several central facilities. Bruecktal is one of them.

Annelise Schlegel was transferred there by her nursing agency to assist the facility during this process. While there she became concerned about the intense misery of the patients – the worst of the worst patients in terms of shellshock, poison gas, burn victims, multiple amputees, and brain damage among other maladies. However, it was the appearance of the Black Birds that caused her to contact her Garou pack members.
war-hospital.jpg
Hungry Wolf and Sea Wolf arrived since Olav Magnusson was away helping a multi-tribal Garou incursion inside Russia against a vampire plague that formed during the Russian Civil War. Their investigations revealed massive Wyrm presence in the Penumbra at the Bruecktal Invalidenanlage. The pack soon discounted that it was merely the misery of the patients which attracted or fed the Banes, but that there was the present of an obscene death cult at the hospital.

The Wyrm cult was made up of patients and staff at the hospital who worshipped Death in the hope of appeasing him, and could transfer the agony, pain, and hurt from cult members to others. Some seemed to have strange psychic powers, confirming them as Fomori. Confronted that their opponents were blind men, quadruple amputees, and formerly catatonics, the pack sought the wisdom of the Rite Master at their sept for guidance.

The pack then returned to the Penumbra to confront the Bane controlling the cult, a sadistic Psychomachiae haunting a nurse as the spirit of the baby she aborted during the war. Although the pack discorporated the Bane, severed the Wyrm investments in mortals, and seemingly redeemed the nurse who lead the cult; the pack is left with unsettling questions. The area seems to be a portal that leads to the Dark Umbra; a spirit who is not a Bane which seems to haunt the area and interacted with the cul; and various misguided members of the cult are known to still live. Whether these will be ongoing concerns of the Jaegermeister pack remains open.

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Session Two
Family Revelations; April 1920

The pack was congratulated by the sept for their victory over the Wyrm at Waldheide, but the caern’s elders felt the Theurge and Galliard should have shown more wisdom and respect for the Litany in their handling of events. Because of the potential damage to the Veil because of the police investigation of the “Waldheide massacre”, the members of the pack lost three Temporary Honor each and were forbidden to attend the caern for the next three months. Despite this, the sept encouraged the Jaegermeisters to continue their scouring of their territory of the Wyrm.

Erwin von Geisthart, Hungry Wolf to his friends, was surprised when Otto told him he overhead several members of the sept refer to Erwin as “Born in the Thrall of the Wyrm”. Obviously, Erwin’s reputation for the events of his First Change has alienated some of the members of the Sept of the Green Wood.

Wayne_Barlowe_Swine-Thing.jpgErwin decided the best thing to do with the time away from the caern was to pursue the mystery of the picture of his mother with the Kaiser mysteriously sent to him. The picture was obviously taken after the supposed death of his mother. He hired the eccentric private investigator Hans Licht to find the death certificate of his mother. Hans reported back that there was no such death certificate, and that all paperwork indicated she was most likely alive.

Erwin asked Otto to come with him to visit his father, the Colonel. Erwin knew his rage might get the better with him. The meeting between Erwin and the Colonel did not go well and ended in acrimony as the Colonel became enraged when Erwin accused him of lying about his mother’s death. Afterwards Erwin took Otto to his aunt and uncle who reacted under the influence of the Curse. Despite this, Erwin learned from his uncle that the family considered his mother to be mentally ill, and that she had abandoned her daughter shortly after death. Despite their best efforts, she was never found.

Erwin retired at that point to consider his next options. Upon return to his estate, he saw evidence of a Wyrm creature, a horrid swine-like creature, having disturbed the area near his home. He tracked it back to a marsh an hour away in lupus form. Erwin and Otto laid an ambush for the creature if it should return. They did, but the creature proved to be quite formidable almost killing both. With Otto incapacitated, Erwin managed to land the killing blow, but only after receiving a battle scar from the beast.

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Session One
The Watchers in the Sky; Spring 1920

On March 12 the pack was to gather at the town of Luckenwalde. They were invited there by the Garou Dragongold who lived there in his guise among the Flock. He was concerned of this young pack of Cliath, like him, claiming territory for their pack in the vicinity of his home. However, the Jaegermesiter pack would have a series of encounters that morning that would distract them.

Annelise Standing Stone discovered one of her patients had a bizarre facial tic. While the other nurses and staff at the hospital believed it was a side effect of a stroke, she found evidence that suggested it was more like an infection from strange black birds. Erwin saw similar birds while flying towards Berlin as the mysterious flock formed into a strange twisting spiral formation. His compass, altimeter, and watch began going haywire as another flock smashed into his plane engine, causing a descent from which Erwin recovered and landed. Intrigued, he pulled one of the bird cadavers to show his pack later, feeling this was no natural occurrence. Lastly, Olav had a cryptic vision from an Ancestor Spirit that revealed there were strange birds that had appeared before and were now back again. These flocks of birds appeared to be watching – what and why were unknown.

Kapp-Putsch_Marine-Brigade_Erhardt.jpgThe pack met at the Landgasthof Kramer, and over dinner with Karl Dragongold they discussed the mystery of the black birds. Feeling that local folklore may have reported past appearances, they decided to break into the Elsthal Library and research the archives for clues. After many hours, they had collected enough information to form a lead to the small village of Waldheide. However, the pack fled Luckenwalde soon after by discovering that armed men of the Freikorps Gesithart had occupied the town as part of the Kapp Putsch against the democratic government in Berlin of “November Criminals”.

Disdaining involvement in affairs of the Flock, the pack continued its investigation. Returning to the hospital, they discovered Annelise’s patient had died over night, but that his corpse left a black stick fluid. When a flock of the black birds took over, the pack pursued and followed them to a copse outside Waldheide.

Erwin talked with some animals, learning that they avoided certain animals and humans who had “the sickness”. An owl, fearful of this strange wolf, agreed to show him some who had the sickness if he promised he and the other wolves would not kill and eat him. They were lead to a house near a sheep pen and the village pub and inn.

Annelise stole some clothes from a house a mile away and returned so that she, Otto, and Erwin entered the pub as travellers. There they observed several villagers showing signs of Wyrm taint, and paid for rooms for the night. Olav remained outside in lupus looking for appearance of obvious Wyrm creatures. Eventually the villagers retired to home, and the pack began culling the town of its Wyrm creatures, specifically some sheep showing the taint.

The pack also investigated the shepherd’s house, but found nothing. They merely knocked him out so he would not wake up to discover them, and hoped to frame it that he fell out of bed. But at midnight, they noticed a young girl of sixteen heading towards a strange flat stone in the woods. They prevented her from slitting her wrists, and determined the stone must be a source of the Wyrm activity. They returned her home before going back to bed.

When the pack awoke the next morning, the villagers had called a council at the local Lutheran church about the theft and killing of the sheep. During the discussion, multiple villagers talked about the various strange disturbances the town had witnessed over the past several months including the strange black birds, mysterious lights in the night sky, and strange chantings after midnight. It was only these strange acts in the past which likely caused the villagers to not accuse the three Garou of these crimes. The town meeting revealed much to the Garou.

watchers.gifThe pack determined that a Wyrm cult existed in the village and would meet at the old stables. The Galliard Erwin talked with the horses there and confirmed people would meet at the stable at midnight. Erwin convinced the horse to whiney a warning when many people gather at night.

The horse’s cry would not wait long. At midnight, Olav heard the whiney, and the pack approach in the form of Crinos and Hispo. They heard strange chanting that was a mish mash of German, Latin, and other languages – Lutheran Liturgy, nursery rhymes, and songs. On top of the stable and inside its rafters were large numbers of the birds; watching the ceremony. The pack charged into the stable and quickly slew all the humans while the birds scattered.

The pack quickly followed the birds past the flat stone down a hill side where an abandoned quarry stood. Delving into the tunnels, they found an ancient cavern complex. There they fought one of the bird swarms, and in a climactic battle, a formless black inky figure whose tentacled touch seared the flesh of the Garou with its many appendages. The rage of the pack won out, and the Wyrmspawn fell.

Staggered the Garou returned to the surface under the crescent moon. They made their way back to the old stables which they set aflame. Otto then performed the Rite of Cleansing many times as the pack abducted any villagers showing signs of Wyrm taint before returning them back. With their own battles scarred in battle, Otto, Erwin, and Annelise claimed they were abducted at night too, and quickly left the next morning. The pack had won its first battle against the Wyrm together.

The day after, Detective Hans Eichelberger of the Kriminalpolizei (Kripo) arrives in Waldheide. As an officer of the Free State of Prussia’s criminal investigative agency, he must investigate the heinous crime of eight murders and arson in this small Brandenburg village. The eight victims had been horribly mutilated before being burned. The perpetrators are obviously savages of the worst sort. While there, he is given descriptions of the three mysterious strangers who were in town during the murders and were abducted and harmed like several of the villagers. The detective also learns of more petty crimes that occurred around the same time – the theft and killing of several sheep, the possible home assault on the shepherd, and the theft of clothes from a house a mile away.

Over the next several days, the Democratic government, having fled to Stuttgart, called for a General Strike against the coup. All over Germany workers did not go to work. Railroads, power utilities, hotels, and other industries stopped completely. Unable to govern, the Kapp Putsch collapsed, and the democratic government returned to power. However, except for the top coup plotters, no action was taken against those who acted against the government. Control over the courts, police, and military was too weak, and the German democratic government remains weak.

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Erwin Journal Entry Part 3
Journal Entry part 3
From my brother I may have learned to love the sky, but it was from mother that I learned to love the earth and music. Long wilderness walks while my father the Colonel was away were the meat and drink of my early childhood. With her golden hair and jade eyes she seemed more like a magical forest creature than an officer’s wife. If she was with me I was always safe no matter how dark the woods might become. I often dream of the day my mother awakened my love of the violin. Vivid dreams that embroider on my waking memories quite a bit, giving the trees and animals an effervescent quality that border on the surreal. Even my mother looks different in the dream, her daytime features a faint echo to the terrible radiant beauty that suffuses her in my dream.
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Erwin Journal Entry Part 2
Journal Entry part 2

For me it began with my older brother Eric. He was the one that helped me fall in love with flying I think. I remember going up in that flimsy balloon of his. Father ordered it for him from Berlin after Eric showed him a similar one in an aviation catalogue. Father adored Eric above all his children so no one was surprised when it showed up on Eric’s birthday soon after. It took weeks to put everything together properly. I remember my brother letting me help him construct that silly wood and straw basket that we went up in.
And the fire, I had almost forgotten about the fire. I accidentally set the woods ablaze playing with the igniting mechanism that fills the balloon. Father was furious. Why was I out of bed and in the woods in the middle of the night, my father raged? To tell the truth it was my fault. I had snuck out of bed to play with the igniter because Eric (a teenager at the time) wouldn’t let me touch it. He had been right; I was only six years old and wasn’t overburdened with thoughts of self-preservation or safety at that age. Who knows what would have happened if my brother hadn’t noticed my absence and come looking. Luckily Eric put the fire out with a nearby extinguisher that I had in forgotten in about in my panic. When our father arrived a few moments later suffused with fury it was my brother who took the blame. I am ashamed to admit I let him. When I asked him about it later he told me that it was his job as my older brother to protect me. Eric said that father would only give him a slap on the wrist but would have punished me much more severely. Eric was right, a few days later Eric was forgiven and up we went in that balloon. There are no words to describe the sense of freedom that first balloon ride gave me, and I will not cheapen it by trying. Suffice it to say I chase the feelings of elation from that first balloon flight every time I get into a plane now. Sometimes for a few precious moments I manage to recapture it.

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Erwin
Journal Entry part 1
In my dreams I search for them still. Though the clouds just out of reach they wait for me. My plane sputtering on its last drops of petrol always stalls before I can reach them. I scream and reach for them my hand outstretched, but it is too late. My plane spirals into the darkness and is lost. Perhaps one day I will soar out of the darkness to my long awaited reunion. But I am getting ahead of myself. I must break the chains that hold us in the present and drift into the bitter sweet ether of the past, to explain how I got to be upon this precipice. Perhaps then you can make sense of things, but I make no promises. Promises are chains, and I will forge no more of those.
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