Whether fortunately or unfortunately, cleaning up after the battle with Tyrannon left the White Necromancer busy tracing spirits and performing banishments, the Chauffeur rushing people to the hospital and chasing the demons “Satan” had allowed to escape, and Ranko (as the only one well-enough known to be recognized) explaining to the Canadian authorities. That left The Hauntsman in charge back at the Orphanage – and Uncle Aldis had heard about “Satan”, and the demon attacks on the place, and had flown in to pick up his nieces and nephew.
The man might be rule-bound, but he was neither stupid nor unperceptive – and The Hauntsman was very much against lying to people. With Theodore under treatment for demonic injuries (he regenerated nicely once the infernal energies were neutralized), Mina recovering from explosion and concussion injuries (and not really wanting to see him), that left sending for Hayley – and, however ill-advisedly – Vasilko, and the Triplets.
The truth came out clumsily, and left Uncle Aldis under the impression that both Vasilko and the Triplets were considerably older than they were, that Vasilko – as the obvious pack leader and only male past puberty – had simply been collecting concubines, and that Ranko, his guardian/master, had been grossly negligent. Worse, it was also admitted that he’d been lied to, that no one seemed to be willing to discipline Vasilko, and (thanks to being allowed to use the computers) that Vasilko had initially been issued a dog license, given shots, and had been neutered – something which should obviously have been repeated until it took.
The triplets wanted to mindwipe Aldis, Hayley wanted to ignore him (it hadn’t been like that at all), Mina was grossly insulted that Aldis would just assume that she’d acted like a dog in heat, Theodore didn’t want to leave his pack and friends, Vasilko wanted to protect his packmates (and didn’t at all like being taken for a monster), and none of them wanted to let Aldis split up their pack. Aldis felt that hauling in a pack of werewolves was an attempt to intimidate him, was in no mood to listen to children who – after two years – were obviously suffering from attachment to their captor, and he wanted Vasilko either persecuted for kidnaping, enslavement, and rape or put down as a dangerous wild animal.
The Hauntsman felt that Aldis – bullheaded or not – was the kids rightful Guardian and closest living relative, and that they should have been returned to him long ago. He sent them to pack… Theodore tried to run away, but he was only eight even with werewolf enhancements. The Hauntsman didn’t have much trouble catching him. He did remember to get the kids to promise not to talk about the War God and the other shapeshifters around, but they all got sent away with Uncle Aldis.
Aldis looked up what there was about taking care of Werewolf children, and took them to a doctor, to a vet, and to the local university for a through set of checks. While the fact that Mina hadn’t been sleeping with anyone did cause him to give more credit to the “rescue” story and less to his assumption that they’d been enslaved by a feral dog (Mina had to give him some credit as well: he resisted all her attempts to provoke him into beating her), and he did seem to care, he was still terribly clumsy with people. The kids kept using the transceiver links to try to get Vasilko – or the Chauffeur – or ANYBODY – to come and rescue them, Aldis was looking into legal action against Ranko and Vasilko, Hayley and Mina were getting awfully protective of Theodore (who was being justifiably rebellious), and things kept sliding towards total chaos…
The Hauntsman kept trying to remotely monitor to see where he ought to intervene – as well as attempting (and occasionally failing) to resist his mischievous streak and tendency for practical jokes. He tried giving Aldis some more empathy; at least that made him aware that separating the kids from Vasilko was making them miserable – and that getting Vasilko killed would be at least as bad.
While the Hauntsman investigated the professors of magic at the local university, and devoted a good deal of time to steering Aldis to one who would both give him accurate information and the kids the benefit of the doubt.
Basic information included that – as lesser werewolves – they couldn’t create or bond others, but he should still increase his insurance, have them privately tutored, and restrict their contacts with normal children simply because they were powerful enough to be accidently dangerous and would be more combative than other children. That they didn’t seem too allergic to silver, but it would still bother them, so it would be best to pack it away. That they’d apparently been getting excellent care – including concealed armor and protection in their clothing, several protective spells and enhancements, and assorted magical artifacts of considerable power – but that they would want to hunt, so it would be a good idea to make sure they had their shots and tags, to get a tracking/ID chip implanted, and – if he could find a skilled enough summoner – to get a spirit set to watch them. They should all be given contraceptive amulets if they didn’t already have them.
It would also be wise to lay in a tranquilizer rifle or pistol with the strongest doses available, some pepper spray, and – if he actually wanted to spank them – a heavy pistol.
On the mental front, the girls were normal enough – but, unfortunately for Theodore – there was very little data on very young lesser werewolves. In fact, there were virtually no cases on record: it wasn’t a normal situation. The boy certainly didn’t seem dangerous, but the man had to admit that Theodore – like any normal child of 8 – was somewhat instinct-dominated. He couldn’t tell if it was human or canine instinct. It was possible that he would exhibit the usual canine dominance-aggression behaviors when he hit puberty (which, for a werewolf, would probably be by age 10 or so) – but he certainly wasn’t showing anything beyond a bit of normal rebelliousness now. He recommended rechecking every six months or so for the next few years.
He also admitted that – if the boy did go animalistic – he’d probably have to be fixed, and that, since Aldis could easily afford to have it undone later, having it done now would be less cruel (and much easier) than waiting until he hit puberty. If he didn’t go crazy it could be undone before it really became a factor. Aldiss didn’t like that idea – but he was still thinking of Vasilko as a grossly-bad example of an out-of-control young werewolf – and of the fact that if Theodore did go mad, and he hadn’t taken precautions, he could wind up being judicially forced to have him put to sleep. Making sure his nephew got to live came first. If they realized, his sisters would surely understand.
He took Theodore down to the vet, made some excuses to have him anaesthetized, and had it done.
The Hauntsman intervened to make sure that Theodore and his Sisters wouldn’t notice that too quickly: they’d probably take it as more serious than it was. The plastic replacements the vet had inserted concealed the physical loss well enough, but it took some specialized illusions to cover the change in scent.