Erik Stellan Virtannen was racing down in Southside, on a stretch of street. The street, around 1 am or so, gets bare of any beat cops or patrols for a few hours, making it a great spot to run drags and races.
He waited in a nearby dance club until racing time. He walked out, to his ride. A tall, italian racing rival then walks up. Calling him “Tanner”, the rival quips that “this time I’ll win, you Finnish bastard and things’ll change.”
Erik smells something… bad about the italian. Like a ruined car, or a nice car belonging to a jackass who doesn’t appreciate it. He ignores and gets into his car.
Race starts. A bunch of 80s rejects in jackets are on one side of the street. Betty starts the race. After a block, the Italian turns and rams Erik’s ride. Erik slams part of his car- punching a seat and knocking the Italian’s ride back a few feet.
A moment later, no one is driving the italian’s car. There is a thump on the roof of Erik’s car. With fangs in his mouth, the Italian looks down through the windshield from the roof. Erik grabs a crescent wrench.
Thats where Erik blacked-out.
He later woke up at the University of Chicago Medical Center. No injuries, the Doctor asks him what happens, and shows him the image of his car. The roof appears to have been wrapped around the body of the Italian. The Doctor leaves, not before telling him that his Uncle has come to visit him.
The uncle is someone Erik hasn’t met before. Calling himself “77”, he tells Erik that they have to leave before “they” come for him. He doesn’t mention the “they”, but sidesteps Erik into the Umbra and takes him to the Caern of the Rusted Dream.
Dante O’Neil had finally lost his handlers and was done with shopping at the mall. He was standing outside waiting for his ride to show. A girl walked out as well, chatting on a cell phone.
A homeless man from a nearby alley then approached him, carrying a bottle of booze. The man, calling himself “Bone-Larry”, then proceeds to begin berating and insulting Dante. At one point, he grabs him by the scruff of the neck.
Confused, Dante tries to explain that he doesn’t know what “Bone Gnawer territory” is. The girl is equally confused, since both of them seem to be talking in some weird language she’s never heard before. “Do you know this guy or something?”
Dante turns. “I’ve never seen him before in my life.”
Bone-Larry knocks it up a notch. He turns to the girl and lays it on to Dante. “This is a cocksuckin’ mother fucking bastard. You and him leave. Now.”
He moves toward the girl, and thats when First Change hits Dante. He wakes up on the sidewalk. Its cold and hard. He hears voices nearby.
A man in a suit and Bone-Larry are talking. Bone-Larry “apologizes” and demands some sort of tribute. Or payment. Dante doesn’t register it.
“The usual talens then, at the normal place,” The suit pinches the bridge of his nose.
“Double for that fucker. Stinks of Urrah.”
“Fine, fine. You’ll handle the body then.”
“Yeah, yeah.” Bone-Larry then tucks the arm of a young woman behind some trash. “Thrall of the Wyrm on his first time. Sure is goin’ to be a great guy.”
The man in the suit helps Dante up. “Dante O’Neil right? I’m Jindal LCD-Only-Machine. We’re going to take care of this for-”
“What happened?” Dante moans.
“Lets get to a safer spot then, first.”
With that, a car driven by Erik arrives. They get in and Jindal explains how Dante killed and raped the girl during his Frenzy. He points out the full moon and takes him to the Sept of the Rusted Dream…
Edmund Michael Fitzrichards or Mike walked out of the civil law class at 5. As he leaves class, he sees a canine watching him from under a tree. It clearly is watching him. Feeling a little creeped out, he calls a taxi and heads downtown to his loft.
The taxi driver barely understood and spoke English. Mike then looks to see some of the cityscape of Chicago, but instead sees thousands of strands from the sky. Webs, and lines coat the landscape. Only a building here and there was still there. Such buildings were coated with the webs and strands that stretched down from the sky.
Mike seemed to stop moving and saw the same canine sitting there. Almost smiling. “You will do nicely. Remember to stand your ground.”
“Here go you, 540 on 51st. Forty-five dollars.”
Mike awakes, a bit startled from the odd daydream. He pays the driver and walks up to the building.
“Long day, too much legalese. I need some sleep.”
He pauses when he notices that the Doorman isn’t the usual guy. When asked, the man removes his hat (revealing a nasty boil) and says that he’s filling for Alfred since he took the day off.
“Good luck for you, then.” Mike continues on to the elevator. He then walks up to the loft’s front door and pauses. He smells something nasty, and opens the front door. He sees his three roommates’ bodies, all slain on the couch. He blinks, and the bodies are gone.
“Edmund, we’d like to make you an offer,” intones a voice from inside the Loft.
“What kind of offer?” He glanced around, deciding not to enter the Loft to see who this voice was.
“A family, a place… a job.”
“Uh… no thanks.” He smells two stinking smells from both sides of him. Doors open and close.
“It doesn’t matter. Either way you’ll walk the Black Spiral.”
A man with a small deformed arm approaches him from the loft. He then grows in height, and shifts into a snarling, wolf-man form. A twisted and slashed werewolf came at him from the left; another with a missing ear and no fur ran at him from the right. All of them stink, and bear foul scars.
Mike feels hair grow down his neck. He then enters his first change.
He wakes up at the Caern of the Rusted Dream, bloody. Surprised, the sept leaders explain that they didn’t expect him. He didn’t have a kin-fetch, and in addition, they stumbled upon him while running a counter-raid against the Black Spiral Dancers.