The kids wanted to study advanced magic – using ambient magic and invocation as well as martial arts
Vasilko hadn’t really thought about just how “domesticated” he’d been becoming before… He’d been about eight when the war god came for him. his mother, his uncle, and his older brother – then about the same age he was now – had been ready to fight to the death for him. The only reason they’d survived was because the war god hadn’t wanted to kill them. They dominated a huge territory in Siberia and hunted and provided for themselves.
He was “hunting” at “Buddy’s Bar-b-que”, his “territory” was the mansion grounds – ok, a big yard, but still a fenced yard – and he had rabies tags. His life was bound to Ranko’s.
He’d let a late middle-aged human banker take away three members of his pack without even much of an argument.
He was a useless, cowardly, pet.
The Chauffeur spent some time trying to correct that idea. Vasilko wasn’t hiding from human society in the wilds, and – by human standards – he certainly wasn’t an adult. Yes, he’d been foolish to accept The Hauntsmans decisions as those of a dominant member of his pack (He should NEVER listen to the Hauntsman if he had doubts: the Hauntsman wasn’t more than remotely human), but he was fitting into an environment far more complex than most werewolves were willing to even try to deal with. In any case, uninhabited wilderness territories were in limited supply around New York City. He was still the dominant werewolf within a massive territory: it was just that it had people and buildings instead of trees.
Meanwhile, the White Necromancer was consulting with Yuki. The book seemed to have been written by the Red Dragon himself – and the material on bonding souls to things suggested something.
Wait a minute. Werewolves. Where did the wolf-spirits come from? He got Mina in to probe a bit. A centuries-old wolf spirit. Technically deceased. Bonded with a living creature and sharing its life and the powers that came from the flow of spirit energies over that link and from the sources it had been bonded too. Well, at least that explained why werewolves were so rare and why so few people – only the most receptive and persistent – became werewolves after being bitten: there were only a limited number of prepared wolf-spirits available, and new ones only came about when someone used some really powerful spells. It even explained how Vasilko had managed so many transformations so easily: his recruits had been utterly willing – and he was a powerful shamanic mage.
So if he bonded the spirits of his dead apprentices to those of young animals they’d be – well – werehumans. It would be easy enough to make their minds dominant. It wouldn’t be quite being alive again, it would be sharing another creatures life – well, maybe it would be, wasn’t the soulbond simply another form of the silver cord? – but the soulbond would make them into one creature without all those ethical problems.
That led to a lengthy discussion about what kind of animal they would like to be bonded with. He wasn’t doing any dinosaurs, anything much bigger than he was, or anything already sentient, but that still left a pretty wide choice…
The Vasilko Fan Club wanted to submit a “friend of the court” briefing in the werweolf cases. It was only tangentially relevant, although it did make the point that the soulbond wasn’t enslavement and that Vasilko had no need to force anyone into his pack: he could get plenty of volunteers. More importantly, checking on where they were getting their information led him to the unused Ranko Show video files… They’d had a camera assigned to Vasilko as well – and there was footage of him rescuing the kids from their pancaked apartment building, and a fair showing of just how badly they’d been hurt. Now that was something they could seriously use. As an afterthought, he did a little careful editing on his old files.
Persuading the kids that they didn’t want Vasilko’s parents to bite them if he wouldn’t was difficult – even if they had simply floated the suggestion as a negotiating gambit. Trouble was, they were more or less right; if any one of them had gotten hit like Theodore, they’d be dead – and none of the power packages made them much more vulnerable than any normal human. Worse, they already had enemies… The Mandate promised to think about it.
Meanwhile, things were going on.
Someone had gotten Paul Bressler – better known as Ankylosaur – out of prison by turning the entire place into a bunch of small islands in a sea full of sharks for an hour and just lifting him out. The dinosaurs down at the zoo were upset: someone had used a magical transformation to hold everything in stasis while they took tissue samples, and someone had turned all the visitors at the local museum’s dinosaur exhibit into begonias for an hour while they dosed the curator – a fairly famous paleontologist and evolutionary geneticist – with interrogation drugs and monopolized his time (the Chauffeur promised him some data and genetic samples from the arctic refuge). It all looked like transformation magic. Now who… The Duke. One of the Bricks old enemies. They still had the Triceratops he’d made out in the garden maze – even if it was only a poor imitation of a real one. What could he possibly be up too?
The Destruction Company had lifted the Ankylosaur armor.
A horde of animated mannequins had chased a man and a mannequin into and up the empire state building. Shooting at them just blew bits of plastic off.
People wearing power armor had been kidnapping people in Russia. So far they’d snatched 3 local superheroes, 4 minor villains, 16 apparently-ordinary people, and 11 kids. They’d used advanced power-neutralizing technologies and had apparently been very well prepared.
Finally, it looked like the Yakuza had offered a sizable dead-or-alive reward for a hit on Yuki. Well, that was kind of urgent, so Yuki promptly went out to try and track down who’d offered the reward. Unsurprisingly, it turned out that word had been leaked to try and lure here into a trap. Yuki got past some gangers, and Josef – apparently a minor fence – and met with the Yakuza, who promptly turned loose Icewind – an expert assassin with powers over water and cold – loose on her. Fortunately, the Chauffeur and the White Necromancer were there for backup. Unfortunately, Icewind turned out to be pretty powerful. He also had a young assistant with the ability to project a wide variety of psychic barriers and considerable personal defenses.
Luckily for the White Necromancer, Icewind didn’t target kids… They traced him to a ship in the harbor, dealt with the Yakuza, fought Icewind, and nearly lost the white necromancer to the youngsters anti-magic zone. They young man tried turning loose the volcano spirit he’d been imbued with to give him some offensive powers and render him immune to his master’s radius NND cold effects, but they kept him alive and dealt with it – even if it did take some time to drag Yuki out of the magma ball.
The police called the Mandate to deal with the (illusory) ghost ship full of pirates they’d left in the harbor, and got the werewolves. The Kids went down the block to help with an accident and fire, but at least it hadn’t been a trap for them.