After discovering that the creature being called Nibbles the Clown can only permanently be killed by a special item that lay at the foot of a Blackhaw tree, the coterie gathered and did some research. They found this tree existed only in a place called the Hedge, which exists beyond the fringes of their own known reality. To get there, they needed someone touched by fae magic.
In their friend Miranda, servant of the leader of the Santa Monica Coterie, they found someone more than a little “touched” by the fae. She brought them over to the other side and led them to a goblin market to search for a way to find a Blackhaw tree that had an iron lightning rod lying beneath it.
Since they were fighting against clock and the coming sunrise, they split into teams to find the information that they needed. Aedan and Henry found and purchased knowledge of a trod that would lead them near the tree and one that would lead them back. Dottie and Kisumi were able to acquire a map. Miranda, seemed unable to focus on the mission.
With both pieces of information put together the team journeyed through the Hedge. Along the paths, they encountered only one serious danger — that of a pack of Briarwolves that hunted them and then attacked. They managed to drive the pack off after killing three of them. Individually, the wolves were extremely dangerous, but teamwork among the coterie won the day for them. Along the way, Crow, the ever-present spirit that had always been with Aedan, flew away. Where he went or what happened to him is unknown.
The trods ended at the shore of a vast sea. Beyond the sloping shore rose many jagged stones against which the sea raged. Beyond that were creatures whose tall, grey fins sliced the water. A small island stood in the distance. There were clearly too many to consider fighting. After discussing it a bit, Dottie mentioned getting the bodies of the Briarwolves and using them to lure the creatures of the sea away so they could cross. It took a little bit of work to figure out a safe way to do it, but they got it done. Then Miranda created logs of ice to help keep her allies afloat and they all swam to the island.
Once there they realized the sun was rising! A rapid search along the beaches of sharp, broken lava stone they found shelter from the light of the sun and retired for the day. Aedan stood watch for the long day while his undead allies lay in their deathlike sleep. Even Miranda slept through the day.
When they next rose it was night again. They turned to the great tree standing alone in the middle of the island. It seemed to have crow-like things sitting in its twisted, old limbs. Many trinkets of metal and bone and ivory lay beneath its dark boughs.
The coterie decided a battle was not something they wanted to have with this dangerous thing of the fae realms. Instead the fastest of them carefully planned her route and used supernatural speed to get close, take what she could, and retreat. The tree counter attacked with a cloud of tethered crows that sliced and tore at her the moment she stopped, but she survived and returned with not only the Lightning Rod, but several other items that had been laying here for an unknown length of time absorbing fae magic.
The coterie used the same technique to escape the island as they had to arrive, since they had saved some of the bodies to feed to the sea-sharks. From that shore, Miranda searched a while to find a way directly to the mortal realm, then opened a gate. They found themselves at a park in Pasadena. Most of the devices they had taken with them into the Hedge had drained or otherwise broken. And they found that a week had passed. It may have been lost when they slept…
Miranda’s frantic worry was eased when Kasumi called Dorien to let him know they were all back. The coterie also found out that Nibbles had been at work all week long murdering and terrorizing the city. The supernatural community wanted this problem resolved and now, the coterie had in their possession the only way to do it. All they had to do was locate Nibbles the Clown once more and corner it.
Easier said than done, but they began researching it over the next several days.
Aedan was called into his bookstore by an employee regarding a man who wouldn’t leave. He investigated and found a strange man with black feathers in his hair and a familiar face. Crow had returned in a new form. While Aedan stared in shock, he strolled out of the store…