Owls & Ashes
Thirteenth Movement: Toccata Precipitando
The Coterie were all directed to meet Doctor Kaintz and others at his laboratory at USF, where a few matters had come to a head. On her way there, Mila was in serious need of feeding, and managed to seduce a target into an alleyway, but was attacked by a crazed young homeless man who had seen some of the revenants moving throughout the city and knew her for what she was. Rather than killing him, though, she decided to place him under Vinculum to watch the city streets for her.
Meanwhile, Jan, working with Joseph and Li under Rickard’s and Gabriel’s supervision, had finally managed to reverse-engineer a means of drawing in and containing one of the Owls, although they were unsure entirely if it would work. Nevertheless, this ‘Hellcatcher’ as they dubbed it would have to do, as they were pressed for time. Doctor Kaintz had also, after several months, managed to perfect a way to induce a long-term lucid state in a revenant, and use it to track down its creator. The revenant in question, a man who gave his name as Stephen, was one of the few that had attacked the coterie months ago in Timothy’s old haven, now belonging to and secured by Violet.
Though unsure of his situation and barely remembering who he was, Stephen was pressed into service and minded by Rickard, who would be operating in Doctor Kaintz’ place in the field. Bishop Esteban elected to go instead of his childe Gabriel, wanting to see the matter through personally. The rest of the Coterie, having seemingly survived these attacks multiple times, were drafted to accompany them while other security teams continued to hunt down and eliminate the various revenants in the area if they could be found.
The team began a careful city-wide search, following Stephen’s urges as he strove to seek out which direction his ‘sire’ was going. During their search, Jan received a phone call from Remy, his sister’s boyfriend, saying that the two of them had been in an accident and that she was badly injured and in the hospital. Although it was possible that the Seventh’s minions had pursued her as she was both tied to Jan and a former host of the Sixth, there was nothing they could currently do, and his abandoning of the task (though shaken as he was) would not be tolerated.
Finally, late in the evening, they determined that the Seventh, as O’Neill, was hiding somewhere deep underground, and made their way through BART and MUNI tunnels beneath the hills of the city, finding various tunnels that were being hastily dug out of the various expansions being created by the city’s public works department; apparently in the last few nights, the revenants had been working to create a hiding place or nest for they and their creator to take refuge.
As the team made this discovery, however, they were set upon from all sides by the semi-Kindred, driven there to ambush them by O’Neill as the Seventh’s host. The violent confrontation left several members of the team injured, and as he confronted O’Neill directly, Esteban was also beset by revenants, nearly torn apart, and finally rendered torpid himself, but not before managing to do enough damage to drive the Strix from O’Neill’s body at the last.
In the final moments of the struggle, Jan managed to activate the ‘Hellcatcher’ they had constructed, tearing the Seventh out of the air from its dark miasma. O’Neill’s torpid form was recovered, apparently having been diablerized by Stephen as he had slipped out of lucidity so close to his creator, but the empowered Revenant escaped their clutches.
Esteban’s body was taken to the Prince, ostensibly to be roused, perhaps by the Prince himself, while O’Neill’s remnants, and the contained Strix, were brought back to Doctor Kaintz’ lab for safekeeping.
Late at night, Jan and Violet returned to their haven, whereupon he attacked her, near-incoherent, but apparently furious about “what he had to give up.” Violet initially mistook him for being possessed by the Sixth in search of its sibling, but realized that this was the Seventh, having somehow divested part of itself as a separate entity to be captured in its stead. She managed to briefly restrain Jan’s body, and made to call for help, before he suddenly dissolved into black smoke. Violet fled in terror out of the building to seek help—along her way knocking out someone in the building’s lobby: Miranda’s boyfriend, Remy, who had somehow found her haven . . .