Timeline: Shortly after midnight, April 5th, 2008
The lightning-quick strikes all over Eldon Well had thrown the populace into chaos and there seemed to be injuries everywhere. Children cried out for missing parents; parents searched desperately for separated children. Fire brigades had run hoses from fire wagons and worked to control the spread of small fires that lit the town from numerous locations. The police department had deputized a number of level-headed individuals to help return order to the town. The hospital was inundated with the injured and the school auditorium and gymnasium crowded with frightened town folk.
But things soon began to once again regain order. Strong leadership in the town organized people to respond more effectively to the various problems at hand. Aubrey issued a short but motivating statement:
“The menace that has attacked our homes, our friends and our family wants to scare us, make us leave our homes and abandon our town to them. They want to spread their corruption and terror for their own ill purposes. But we have not endured four centuries of suffering under the evil machinations of a spirit that once plagued us to simply buckle under and give up after one vicious and unprovoked attack.
“We will not run. We will not hide. We will stand and we will fight for what we have earned. We can defeat them and we will defeat them. We will not allow our homes to become battlefields. This town has great strength and now they have raised our ire. This attack will not go unanswered.”
Aubrey Honeywell’s speech had an immediate effect on the panicked citiznery. While some immediately began to help with stopping fires and others provided aid for fallen loved ones, more began to arm themselves.
Chaos reigned even on a personal level as John Beckett met the challenge of organizing panicked people and getting them to help bring the injured to the hospital or the school gymnasium. He had managed to stabilize Lyla, though clearly the smallest disturbance could set her on a crash course with death again. However, Chaska was right there and, once safely out of sight of the common folk, he set about healing her.
Lyla, as grievously wounded as she was, woke up after about 15 minutes. Due to her werewolf biochemistry and the fact it would not react predictably to pain killers, they were not an option. Still, despite the pain, her first question after regaining consciousness was, “Where’s Rey? She was supposed to be at the Brew tonight.”
John, with Chaska and Rose backing him up, made sure Lyla wasn’t going to be running across town in her condition by getting her to promise to go straight back to Ramiel’s place where Chaska and Grey could tend to her injuries.
Assured that she was in good hands, John was free to provide medical assistance. He knew that the hospital would soon have a large number of injured to care for, though he couldn’t know how many right now.
John managed to get some people to take the injured to the town center, instead, where he’d set up triage to determine how badly wounded people were and prioritize their care. He then enlisted some people with knowledge of first aid to help him and got the least injured people to help those worse off to the hospital.
The process took less time than John might have expected; in fact once he got things organized enough he could get to the hospital, the staff already had some numbers. Eighty people in town were in reporting various levels of injuries. Fifteen people had been reported to be taken by the “biker gang” as people seemed to be referring to the wererats. All told, that was barely more than 2 percent of the population. Only a few people were hurt so badly they were not expected to survive the night.
Rey appeared at the hospital as well, eventually. She had been injured but was helping others worse off than she. But by the time Doctor Riley was able to see her (John was in surgery), Rey was not only sporting the large bite mark on her shoulder, but suffering from a fever, nausea, and disorientation. She had been sedated by an EMT who told Dr. Beckett she had been behaving violently and irrationally, possibly due to the emotional shock of the evening.
Over the following few hours many others began to show signs of infection, as well.
Ann-Marie took to wing in the form of a carrion crow when she saw the glow of several small fires light up the low-hanging clouds over the city. She left the Mages at their Sanctuary and swept down into the valley, concerned for her newest aid, Jesse. She checked at her house, calling for the girl in every room, but she wasn’t there. However, there was a massive hole in the basement of her house — something had come out of there.
Then, realizing that at least some of the residents had left for the shelter at the school, Ann-Marie took heart and headed in that direction. Pausing for a moment and summoning everything she had to extend her will, she whistled for an owl to attend her. The nocturnal bird landed and rested upon her porch. Quickly, she wrote a short note to Michael explaining where she was going (the school) and that chaos reigned in the town after the attack. She whispered to the owl where to go and what to do and away it flew so Michael and Ramiel would be informed.
She proceeded to take off to the school shelter to see how she could help, summoning up her past knowledge of first aid from so long ago. But after seeing the house rummaged through the things scattered about she was mostly worried about Jesse, the young woman she had recently taken it. Upon arriving at the school she searched for her amoung the refugees.
Again, her search was fruitless but after she took to the air again to resume an ariel search, she spotted a lone figure in a long skirt running through the woods toward Ramiel’s house. She swooped lower and discovered that at last she had found Jesse.
A long, deep howl from Ironclaw set the werewolves to return to Ramiel’s house. Chaska carefully gathered Lyla up and headed that direction with those with him. Dark Sun and Wang Chi could not pinpoint the direction, but Grey knew where to go; he led them also back toward Ramiel’s house. All of them returned — with a prisoner in hand to be questioned.
Rey did her thing after the battle, trying to help people in the aftermath. As she got people helping move the last person who couldn’t help himself to the hospital, someone approached Rey.
“Hey you. You’ve got a nasty bite mark there. We better get you to the hospital, too.” Rey turned to see who was speaking and noticed Jesse. Her black and white ruffled skirt had been torn and her red v-neck blouse was marked with dirt that matched the smudge on her forehead. She was smiling. “Come on, Rey. I know one of the doctors and he’s good people.”
“Thank god you’re okay!” Rey wrapped her arms around Jesse to hug her, and then flinched and gave out a soft yelp of pain. “You know, that didn’t hurt quite so much until you reminded me about it.” She released her friend and took a step back. “I’ll be okay, but I probably ought to get it checked out, just to be safe.” She sighed, and winced when that hurt too. “Yeah, John will want to take a look at it, and probably read me the riot act for getting involved.” She grinned.
Halfway there, Rey heard a howl rise and echo from the hills surrounding the town.
Rey stopped abruptly. Ironclaw was summoning the Pack. Her link with them tugged at her, demanding she follow. “Jesse, I…. I gotta go.” But where? Her mind raced. She couldn’t tell where Ironclaw was, but he called. She had to go. Ramiel’s house. The cavern. That was the closest locus, and one of the fallback points she’d provisioned. She’d go there and wait. Turning around, she started towards Ramiel’s as fast as she could.
“Go? Where? And who called?” Jesse asked in confusion.
“He’s called for us. I have to go. They need me.” The pain from her injuries was getting worse, but Rey kept going. She was not going to let them down. She’d crawl face first in the dirt before giving up. She may be only human, but there was no way she’d let them down, make them ashamed of her.
A strong hand grasped her shoulder. “Miss, you need to get to the hospital.”
Rey shook his hand off and kept going.
“Come on, Rey, you’re hurt.” Jesse’s voice was faint in Rey’s ears, and the hedge witch ignored it.
Rey’s attempt to keep going was halted by a pair of hands grabbing her again from behind. “Let me go.” She struggled to get free, but failed. “Get your fucking hands off me!” she roared, and her fragile control over her temper broke.
Vaguely she heard the EMT who’d grabbed her swear and yell that she’d bitten him. She fought tooth and nail to get free, but found herself overpowered and on the ground. There was a sharp sting in her arm, and things started to go black.
The last words she heard were from a worried Jesse, asking if she’d be alright. Someone said that Rey must be hallucinating or something because of the stress of the attack, and that they’d sedated her so they could get her to the hospital and treated.
Jesse watched the scene in astonished puzzlement then located a phone book, but had no success in locating a number for “Ramiel Cambion” or “Cambion Ramiel”. She left the hospital and set off at a run to the house to look for Ramiel, whom she knew as Rey’s closest friend.
Ramiel was still concentrating entirely on his magic when Michael left to see what he could do to help in the town. It wasn’t long after that when Gillian arrived with news that Lyla had been hurt by an enormous monster. She didn’t stay long but fled back to the house where she knew she was expected to be to defend the Locus and regroup.
Michael saw things were rapidly calming down in the town, and that there was activity at Ramiel’s house. There he found Selene and the rest of the pack, as well as Dark Sun, Wang Chi, Ann-Marie and Jesse.