So first off, some good news, it looks like things are lining up so that we might be able to get Sean back into the game. No promises yet, stuff is in the works, etc. But when the time comes, you'll know.
Also, this is another session that picked up mid-scene so you might want to refresh yourself with where things left off last time.
So we started off with the pack in the lodge building, trying to figure out what to do about the railroad spike. They're afraid to remove it from the building but they're worried that the Stumps or the Spirals will find it if it's left there. Jerry, possibly with the benefit of a couple of weeks to think about it OOCly, has a solution. He's going to use the Wuxing gift (which is absurdly versatile and has basically no cost) to turn a large brick in the fireplace to water, put the spike (with that crystal still attached) in it, and let it resolidify around it. Then he wants to leave a note in the space where the spike was, taunting the Stumps and letting them know that the pack got to it first. This is so they'll stop looking for it, and also to try and lure them into an ambush.
Åke, so rarely the voice of reason, points out that establishing any sort of place and time for a fight is just going to guarantee counter-ambushes and make sure they can concentrate their forces on taking out the pack. He suggests sending Wants-to-Know back to the sept to get Strike's opinion on what to do, and the other two argue against it. They decide to just hide the spike and leave a 'ha ha, we found it first, come and get us' note and leave it at that. So they wait for a time when the cops aren't currently poking around the building in the physical world and step sideways and do that.
So now the pack heads out to where they figured out the tannery was. On the way there, traveling in the Umbra, they notice the recent proliferation of Pattern-Spiders and other Weaver spirits brought in by the increased police/government presence. Jerry comes up with an idea and asks if Åke can get the attention of one of them and bring it over to them off to the side. The theory is that as spirits of order and patterns, a Weaver spirit might have an ability to sense the 'disruption' caused by the presence of a magically-empowered object buried in the soil.
So they get the attention of one of the big-ass spider-spirits, and Åke (because he's the social guy) explains to it that they need help finding the spike. It asks what the purpose of this search is (basically to justify taking it away from its usual rounds), and Åke goes on to explain why finding this spike will help protect the town from a major calamity. Lights on it start flashing and beeping, and Åke gets the distinct feeling that if he doesn't choose his next words very carefully, he's going to convince it to panic and go into "summon every Pattern-Spider for miles to descend upon the town en masse, calcifying it to save it" mode.
Fortunately, he manages to keep it from panicking. The spider then asks if its presence is necessary, or if they can do this without it. Åke admits that they're just trying to get its help, but he offers it Gnosis as an incentive. One now, two more when the job is finished. And no questions -- wait, that's something else.
The spider finds this offer acceptable, and when Åke offers a hand to shake on it (and/or offer the Gnosis), the spider jams a hypodermic needle into his hand without warning and 'extracts' the Gnosis from him. The pack leads the spider out to the lot where the tannery used to be, which being the site of one of those old 'half the town worked here' factories is pretty large. Some fancy sci-fi-looking scanners come out of its many eyes, projecting laser beams around the area. The pack can actually see ghostly images of part of where the walls used to be. It spends some time scanning the area and narrows it down to a 3-meter by 3-meter square, and no more than 2 meters down. They ask it to hang around while they do what they can to confirm it's there, at which point they'll pay it and it can go on its merry way. Wants-to-Know and Jerry step back across to the physical world, and as Wants-to-Know gets across first he's pretty sure he sees someone in the nearby trees on the edge of the field before Jerry makes it across. There's no obvious sign of anyone, though. The two of them consider planning to come back later that night, shifting to Lupus or Hispo, and just tearing up the lot. But that's going to be a lot of digging.
Jerry comes up with the idea to use Wuxing to turn chunks of the earth into water in basically holes as deep as he can manage, systematically checking the area a couple of feet at a time until they find the spot with the spike. And, again, the extremely versatile gift has no cost so it's only a matter of time and not being caught. But since it's not like the gift produces a lot of visible special effects that'd be seen from the road, they're just careful not to look too shady as they systematically search for the railroad spike. They find the spot where it is, pull it out of the hole, and tuck it away. Jerry, bouncing a message off the pack totem, tells Åke that they found what they needed and to 'pay the man.'
Now, apparently he was being facetious and he and Wants-to-Know were planning to step back across and each of them would pay the spirit one Gnosis each to cover the balance. But not realizing this, Åke just offers the spirit his hands and it proceeds to painfully extract two more Gnosis. Åke's actually a little freaked out now by having his spiritual fluids drained by the spirit, and this provokes a little mini-argument. But either way, the spirit is happy (as happy as Weaver spirits get) and has returned to work with the juice it needs to do an efficient job making up for lost time and then some.
So now the pack has moved two of the seven spikes out of the Stumps' reach, as far as they know. They're not sure whether or not that is enough to stop what they have planned (as the plan could require all seven). They plan to stash the spike they've got back at the cave and plan their next move, perhaps see if Deborah can come up with anything useful. On their way out of town, though, they get a distinct feeling of something greasy and just wrong watching or possibly following them. They pick up the pace, and on the way out of town they hear a familiar scream in the distance, and we leave off there.