View Full Version : LGBTAitP Grows Some Teeth! (IC Thread)
10-17-2012, 05:54 AM
A Meeting of Wolves
You had been pushing very hard for hours. The woods seemed very strange to your wolven senses. Although you had been an Uratha for a couple of weeks already, everything still seemed new and exciting. Even the push of ten or more miles didn't tire you as much as you would have thought.
The others you were traveling with, the pack that called themselves the Twin Pines' Prowlers, flashed in and out of your vision, appearing in the gaps in between the trees. There were four of them, and they made the long travel appear easy.
They were taking you to a meeting, a gathering of sorts, where all of the packs from the city could get together and take care of whatever business was necessary. Including, hopefully, getting you indoctrinated into a tribe. You were already pretty sure which one you wanted to join: they had explained them all to you, and of the possible choices, only the Blood Talons felt right. The meeting was way out into the mountains, however, so that there was much less of a chance that any humans might stumble across it.
Suddenly, as you neared the crest of a small hill where the trees thinned, you smelled it - that scent like wet dog, without the wet. One you had recently become so familiar with. Uratha, werewolves. And there were a lot of them somewhere nearby. The pack had gathered at the crest, gliding out of the shadows like true hunters, and were staring down the opposite slope. Then, one by one, they turned to look at you. Their eyes gleaming in the starlight. They were waiting for you.
His head pounded while his breath flowed through his fur. Byörn still wasn't used to his wolf senses. Everything was brighter, smelled stronger and felt more.... real.
Except his headache, The Change had brought him nothing but improvement: Everything tasted more profound and his body could put many a times more strength and dexterity than ever before. Well, actually, his bodies could.
Now, running through the forest, he felt the trees reach out to him. Where he felt threatened, closed in on by the forest a couple of months ago, he now felt the vegetation embracing him, welcoming him: "Hello, brother"
But the forest wasn't the final stop. There was a clearing the pack was leading him to. The pack, that according to themselves felt like more than a family, like love without the sexual tension. Byörn himself, however, disagreed. Yes, his pack had accepted him an taught him the robes of being an Uratha, but they didn't seem like family, even less more.
They were.... friends, in a certain way. With benefits, but not the human like. They were friends in a corporate sense. They needed you, you needed them; that kind.
Yes, this pack was now leading him. He could (if he squinted his eyes) distinguish each seperate person in his pack. He didn't need to, however. He could just smell them. At first they all smelled like wet dog, but soon his senses sharpened: The wet dog became just dog, without the wet, soon thereafter Byörn noticed the difference, wolf had a more 'icy' smell to it. At last he could sense the different odors each of his mates produced, and thereby recognize them.
They all had their wolf-names, some cooler (both senses of the word) than others, and Byörn certainly hoped to get one of the cooler ones from this meeting.
They had arrived. The place where he would get his name, where he would meet others of his kind, where he (after much thought about the StormLords) would decide to join the Blood talons.
Everyone stopped. Everyone looked at him.
Byörn let out a growl: "I'm ready"
Looking down the far side of the hill, you saw a clearing. Cleverly concealed from all sides by the woods and rolling hills, it was the perfect place for dozens of Uratha to gather without being noticed. In the center of the clearing stood an enormous, dead tree, its twisting black branches reaching out into the night. Staring at the tree, you could feel a ghostly wind, like standing in a room where someone had left the window open. You had felt that before - the Prowlers had taken you through a locus into the spirit world before. But this one was big.
Ringing the tree was a series of small fires, although they were more like pyres than campfires, the piles of wood used to fuel the flames standing higher than a man. There were seven fire pits - five were lit. And around each of the lit fires, a group of Uratha was gathered. They didn't hide in the Hishu skin - here, they were separated from the massing Herd, and able to show themselves for what they really were. You could hear barks and howls, idle chatter and forceful arguments, in both English and the odd, feral First Tongue.
Standing next to the giant locus-tree was one last pyre, unlit. The stand of wood was enormous, and you could tell that the light from such a blaze would illuminate the entire clearing.
"[Let's go,]" Howling Gale, the Prowlers' alpha, growled in the First Tongue. It was odd how you could understand the language perfectly, but still not speak it. Yet. She sprinted down the hill, through the last bit of forest before the clearing, and her pack followed.
Gale led the way, the pack loping easily in the Urhan into the clearing. As you emerged into the clearing, she rose up into the Hishu. Some of her pack followed suit, others took the Dalu, and others remained in the Urhan. There was no need to worry about the Veil anymore - you had smelled the wards surrounding the clearing when you had entered. No member of the Herd would come anywhere near this place.
Gale led her pack through the throngs of other Uratha. Some called or growled out greetings, others snickered and shouted things like, "Hey Gale! You pick up a nuzusul?" That word - they meant you. New blood.
The pack approached one of the unlit pyres. She held out her hand towards the pyre, and you saw a subtle flow of blue-silver energy, something too faint for human senses to make out. In the middle of the pyre, a tiny flicker of flame ignited. It hissed like steam and spun in a quick spiral, drinking in the flow of energy. Then, with a sharp crack and a roar, it erupted into a powerful blaze, the flame spirit bound to the pyre appeased with the gift of essence.
"Let's get this party started," she smiled.
"What did you do?" Byörn asked. He was still too ignorant for the workings of this world. He looked around and realized that every pyre was for a pack, probably the ones living near this area.
They had called him something too, nuzusul, was it? It sounded demeaning, but while everyone seemed stronger and more apt than he was, Byörn had no intention to start a fight or talk back. He wasn't here for recognition, or for a show-off. He was here to get to know this world, to bond with his pack, and to become the thing he always had been: A Werewolf.
Byörn shifted into Dalu, looking at other campfires. He wanted to ask if he could go over there, speak with other Werewolves, but Byörn already guessed he wasn't allowed to. He instead just sat down, listened carefully to the conversations around him and stared to the big pyre, waiting for it to burn.
A lot of thoughts crossed his mind: "Why don't I feel at easy with my comrades? Why is Gale so silent if we're a group? Why can I understand the language, but not speak it? What will happen now?
All these questions, none to be asked, none to be answered. He would discover, sooner or later, but for now, he will just wait, wait for the pyre to be lit.
"There's a little flame spirit bound into each of the pyres," Gale explained to you. "I give him a little essence, and he lights right up. When we get started, we'll light the big one in the middle. Hey, Coyote!" She called, motioning for her Beta to come over.
Still loping in the Urhan, Coyote Wild, the only male in the pack besides you, dutifully came over to see what his alpha wanted.
"The Red Daggers still aren't here," Gale remarked, tipping her chin at the lone unlit pyre at the edge of the circle. "Go figure out when they'll be showing up."
Coyote sniffed an acknowledgement, and slunk off to speak with the wolves gathered around another fire. He wasn't gone long before he came back. "[They're not coming tonight,]" he reported. "[Apparently they've got some trouble in the Hisil they need to take care of." His eyes flicked to you momentarily. "[The Scar-Man isn't here, either.]"
"Huh. Sorry, kid," Gale said shrugging her shoulders. "Looks like you're not joining the Talons tonight. We've got no Elder to initiate you. We'll put the word out; hopefully he'll be here next time."
"They're not here? Well, great. Just my luck." Byörn wasn't quite so pleased.
"Can we still light the fire without the last pack here? Who's going to lit their fire?" He asked. It seemed only logical the big pyre could only be lit when all seven smaller ones were lit beforehand.
"And when's the next Gathering?" he continued asking. He had already waited a week before he could become a Blood Talon, why should he wait more? He deserved a clan!
"Urrggg - sounded a bit more like a growl - let's just get this over with" he was clearly annoyed. Maybe a bit too disrespectful, but he really was annoyed.
"Hey, calm down!" Gale said. "Howls-in-the-Starlight is running this ungin, and she's old school. You might not mean disrespect, but she'll take it that way. The next ungin is in thirteen days. We always have 'em five moon phases apart, so since Momma Luna's just gone Irraka, it'll be the first night of the gibbous moon."
She waved you away. "Now give me a moment, I've gotta get ready. Starlight will be getting us started anytime, now that we're here."
In fact, it didn't take long at all. No sooner had Gale finished talking ("Dammit," she swore under her breath) but a tall old Uratha woman, with skin like dark chocolate and short hair gone iron grey stalked her way to the center of the circle. She carried an old wooden staff with her - the tool looked frail and dead, yet green leaves still grew on the top, and you felt a tiny tremor in the ground after each time she planted it in front of her.
Howls-in-the-Starlight stood for a moment, turning her head to observe all of the gathered People. "Welcome, Brothers and Sisters!" She called. "There are many challenges that face our kind; the Hisil grows wilder by the day; our prodigal brothers harry us at every turn; and the Herd grows ever more watchful and alert. But here, let it be known that, no matter what small struggles occur between us, we are all the children of our Mother and Father, and let us let the bonds of that family give us the strength necessary to face those challenges!"
Starlight let go of her staff (it remained standing) and began to walk slowly in a circle around the great pyre, and as she passed between each burning mound and the central one, an arch of flame jumped out, which she caught in an outstretched hand.
When it came to be the Prowlers' turn, Gale sliced open her palm with a sharpened tooth, letting blood pool in her hand. She held it out to the bonfire in front of her, the red liquid reflecting back an odd bluish gleam. As she held out her hand to the flame, a dancing ball of fire separated itself from the mass to sit in her palm. Gale measured out the timing, then hurled it with all her might towards the Edler.
Once Starlight had completed her circle, she took the now massive ball of flame she carried and released it towards the central mound. The fire unwound from her hands, like a giant snake of living flame, and dug itself into the ancient wood stack, igniting into an inferno that made the entire clearing as bright as day.
All over, the gathered Uratha broke into howls. Ungin had begun.
Byörn was full of questions: "Did that cost essence? Are you fueling the central fire? What're we supposed to do now?" which he asked right away. This was quite an interesting meeting, even though there was nothing in it for him.
He watched the scenery unfold, and the fire grow larger. He watched the bushes outside of the circle now glow in the dooming light of the flames. He watched the smoke, rise up higher and higher, wondering if the city will see it. But most of all, he watched her, and her, them. Firstly the old woman, who seemed like she possessed power beyond imagination. The way she handles the blood-fire, calmly walking to and from.
And his pack leader, Gale. The calm that she used while cutting into her own hand and lighting a flame with no troubles.
What was going to happen now? Were they going to enter the spirit world?
The answers to your questions weren't quick in coming. The packs around the clearing howled ecstatically for several moments as the central flame was lit. Then the feeling of formality about the gathering was lifted. Suddenly, it was less like a ceremony and mroe like a family gathering. The different packs drifted towards the center, each of their members going off in whatever direction they chose. Some wandered towards other packs to talk. You saw several wolves showing off new scars or objects (fetishes they were called, right? Those things with spirits bound insie them?), and some began to haggle over trading fetishes or services.
The aura of the gathering wasn't completely at-ease, however - there was tension between some of the packs, that much was obvious. The Prowlers, however, seems to be on at least speaking terms with most of the wolves there, and as the gathering started, they split off to go socialize with the other wolves.
Gale shot you a glance. "Feel free to wander around if you want. Or you can go with Coyote, have him introduce you around. Your choice. Just don't follow me; I've got to talk to some of the elders, and I'd like it to stay private."
The vibe was incredible now. Packs were mingling, wolves chatting. The Uratha had a gathering, and it was a feast! There were casual talks, business talks, and after saying "yeah, sure" to Gale, a union of the clans leaders.
Byörn wanted to meet others of his kind. He did as Gale told him to and approached the Beta. "How about it, Coyote? Why don't you introduce me to other interesting people?"
Byörn never got why they called him Coyote. Even though he was the only male in the group, and the Beta, it didn't seem to him that Coyote seemed more like a coyote than a wolf. And it didn't seem like being called Coyote was honourful or anything. Byörn wondered if someday he could call Coyote just Coy, or some friendly abbreviation, that would be awesome.
He shook his head. Stupid thoughts. What childish to think of names and friends when meeting werewolves, the real ones! Byörn took on a broad-shouldered walk, to come off like a strong person, not a shrimp. Maybe he could impress them...
Coyote slunk along ahead of you in the Urhan, clearly more comfortable in that wolven form. His keen eyes took you in as you walked. "[You may want to tone it down,]" he commented. "[Uratha respect deeds, not bravado. Do you remember the silver brands we had when we were in the spirit world? That's how you gain respect.]" He paused for a moment, then continued. "[Of course, Gale might disagree - Rahu tend to be a bit more...Well, it's fine to look tough, but you have to remember that to us, it doesn't mean much if it's not backed up by brands. Let's leave it at that.]"
Byörn tones it down after hearing coyote's talk, and decides to just be himself. He hoped that would be good enough.
"Very well, let's go"
Coyote lead you around, seeking out the important members of the local circles and introducing you. Of particular importance were the alphas of most of the packs, and a couple of the elders, including an old Jamaican wolf, his face hidden by a mass of dreadlocks that fell down past to his elbows who felt the need to look deep into both your eyes and your mouth before being satisfied with you.
"[Now I'll introduce you to Falling Ash,]" Coyote said, as the old Jamaican elder sauntered away, chuckling to himself. "[Gale doesn't like her much. Actually, a lot of the wolves here don't really like her, but I think she's someone that we should all try to learn from as much as possible.]"
There was one pack that hadn't really mingled with the other wolves. All but one of their members were still gathered around their pyre, remaining outside the circle. As you approached, one of the wolves grew into the Urshul and growled a warning. Coyote, however, wasn't phased, and kept approaching. He did change his body language, though, lowering his head and assuming a placating pose, letting the pack know that he meant no harm.
The alpha came around the pyre to intercept you. Falling Ash was a young woman with long, dark hair and vivid green eyes. Her face was covered in long, thin scars. "Does Howling Gale want something from me?" She asked skeptically, her hands on her hips.
"[No,]" Coyote assured her. "[We've got a new Change with us, and I thought that he should meet as many of the Urdaga from around here as he could. And you and yours are Urdaga, same as the rest of us.]"
Passing by all the groups, and meeting the different wolves, Byörn realized werewolves weren't that savage. They were more... human... than he thought. Every one of them had their own personality, and every one of them their unique skills and characteristics.
There were lunatics, although Byörn had to call them crazies now (lunatics are people affected by lunacy). And there were the people on the other end of the spectrum: world-class scientists and autors.
Everyone was interesting, so interesting that Byörn had wished he could change packs every now and then. But he couldn't, and he wouldn't.
Getting to Falling ash, he felt the atmosphere thicken, becoming heavier, as if weights were being dropped on him. The woman was beautiful though. Her body, Byörn thought, could easily become a model, if she tried. But her face had seen many a night, and her words sounded like those nights all put together.
Following up on Coyote's words, Byörn spoke to her: "Nice to meet you" He then showed his neck, as a sign of friendship.
Falling Ash didn't answer verbally, but she did give you a curt nod that acknowledged your presence and worth as a fellow Uratha. It was more than a lot of the others had given.
She turned to Coyote. "And why exactly have you brought him here? I know you of all people must have a reason besides simply playing nice."
Coyote shivered and rose up into his Hishu form. He was tall and handsome, with dark brown hair, like his wolven pelt. Despite towering over Falling Ash, he posture indicated that he was remaining submissive to her. "We havn't told him much about the Pure," Coyote admitted. "Of all the Forsaken here, you have the most experience, and I thought your wisdom would be useful for him to hear."
"The Pure?" Byörn wondered, and asked. It sounded like something serious, or old and powerful, or both. "What are the pure?" he was almost too ashamed to ask. He was still a rookie, his knowledge of this world small, and his understanding of the specifics even smaller.
Up until now, he still didn't really understand how or why his transformation was triggered, or how essence worked. Any information was thus welcome.
He listened carefully, and proceeded with everything Coyote thought necessary for him.
Ash glared at Coyote for a long moment. "If it was anyone other than you asking..." She remarked after a while. She turned to face you. "You know that each of the tribes takes one of the Firstborn as their totem, yes? We've got five tribes, and one of the Firstborn died when she slew Father Wolf. But there were nine Firstborn. The other three didn't want to fight Urfarah, for various reasons. They were too scared, most likely. The tribes that follow them are known as the Pure."
She paused for a moment, her eyes far off, lost in her memories. "The Pure blame the Forsaken for the fall of Pangaea. We're at war with them, and we will be for as long as anyone can forsee." She gestured to her face. "All of these are curtesy of the Pure. Fire-Touched, the followers of Rabid Wolf. The Pure are fanatics, and it's almost impossible to reason with them."
Are there any pures nearby? Byörn inquired. It seemed weird they would name them Pure, if they were that war-driven.
"Oh yeah," Ash answered. "The Pure outnumber us basically everywhere. Getting here from the city means weaving through three or four Pure Territories. They're mostly out along the University stretch, where the city meets the wilderness."
She tilted her head to the side as one of her few packmates that had left their pyre returned, wearing the fierce front of the Dalu form. "They're gonna do a branding soon," he growled to her.
Ashes nodded. "Fine." She turned to her pack to spread the news. "Hey, anyone who wants a branding, you better get out there! Are you two joining in?" She asked, turning back to you and Coyote.
"A branding, sounds interesting" Byörn mentions, his eyes fixed upon Coyote. He's not to make decisions for himself, seeing how Coyote, the Beta, is the higher in command than him.
"Can we go?" Byörn asks, a bit too childish for his age. His tail is whipping back and forth from excitement. Something he had to control sooner or later.
This world was magical, new. The best world. Byörn would discover there is more to it than meets the eye, but that'd be later.
"Sure," Coyote answered. "You've probably done enough to earn some basic Renown. We'll talk to Gale about it."
The two of you left the pyre of Falling Ash's pack. The rest of her pack followed behind you, as well. Ash was the only one who remained behind. Near the large central pyre all the wolves had gathered in a rough semi-circle, all in the Man or Near-Man forms. Coyote lead you in next to Gale.
"You ready, little cub?" Gale asked, looking up at you and smirking. "This is like nothing you've ever experienced before! I got little Dancer to include you in our song."
"Song? What song? What do I do, what's going to happen?" Byörn mentions. He feels like he's going to get thrown into the fire just like that. He doesn't have any clue what's about to happen.
As he sees almost everyone in human forms, Byörn decides to switch to Hishu form. Twitching his body (a feeling he still wasn't used to), his hair retracted, as did his nails, he stood up straight and tall. It still was weird how everything seemed to shrink except for your size when making this change. Senses also seemed to dull, making the world a more grim and dull place to live in. This was the form Byörn needed when he wanted peace.
Something was off, though. Sure, the fire made by essence made sense, but still something was missing. Some urge in Byörn caused him to blurt the question out: "Wait, is this a locus?" he asked, knowing the entrance to the spirit-world was usually well-guarded.
Wait, that word. Locus. Where did he know it from? What did it even mean? It meant place in latin. How could he speak the word like he knew it? Being a wolf is so confusing sometimes... he thought.
"Has it started already?"
"Yeah, the old tree's a locus," Gale whispered. The ring of wolves was starting to settle down, to fall into a restless silence. "As for everything else, just watch!"
A member of each pack stepped forward towards the large pyre, joined by Starlight. Moon Dancer, the youngest member of the Prowlers was one of them. They stood facing the great fire, then threw back their heads and began to howl.
The performance was something unlike anything you had seen before. Each Cahalith praised their pack to Mother Luna, howling and singing their exploits in furious First Tongue, weaving tales of deeds that brought honor, those that showed deep wisdom, displays of cunning, unshakable purity, and blazing glory.
The energy around the gathering became frenzied, powerful, almost as though you were being swept away in a current of excitement. A deep roll of pounding drums began behind you. Some of the other elders had brought them out from somewhere, and they and other packmembers banged out a furious rhythm.
Each of the Cahalith had their own song, their own style. And even though they were all different, their voices mingling together as they raised towards the empty, moonless sky, all the songs seemed to flow together into one primal melody.
Howls-in-the-Starlight shivered into her Dalu form, and began a slow chanting under her breath. She waited, listening to the songs for a few moments, and then moved to the edge of the half-circle, going from wolf to wolf. She draw her clawed hands along their clothes and skin, and as she did, it seemed like molten moonlight flowed from her fingers, being painted onto the wolves in intricate designs; some graceful and delicate, others rough and harsh. As she appraoched each wolf and began to draw, other lines of silver light began to shine on their bodies and through fabrics as well, like tattoos in glowing, ethereal ink.
It took some time, but soon Starlight made down the line to you. She reached out her hand, and you felt a charge like you were suddenly surrounded by a powerful magnetic field. Starlight's hands were drawn by that odd force, guided to draw over your flesh in perfectly ordained patterns. It felt as though her claws were splitting your skin open to reveal a core of glittering silver light. The designs began up near your temples, but quickly wrapped down your neck and part way down your right arm. Unlike the other wolves, the designs she wove on you were the only ones visible.
The lines felt energized, like they were charged with electricity, making you want to howl with ecstacy.
Then the elder continued on, branding the others in turn. All the wolves at the gathering, save Falling Ash, who remained at her pyre, watching from a distance, were branded.
As Howls-in-the-Starlight finished and the songs and drumming came to a close, the gathering erupted in howls and cries once again.
"Wow" Byörn exhaled after the ritual. It had been a flurry of emotions, impressions and sensations. At first, it felt like the group connected, like it was a traditional chant that was being performed.
Then it became something more.
The group didn't just connect, no, it was greater, purer than that. The group wasn't connecting anymore, but it was becoming one. All these souls, these half-kin creatures were singing in unison, and with every voice that joined, the intensity of the song doubled.
Therefore, the waiting didn't take long. Howls-in-the-Starlight (quite a long name!), the branding woman, had taken her tour around the circle. She had gone from one wolf to another, branding each of them with intrecate symbols.
But when she got to him, it seemed different. It seemed like not the woman was performing the branding, but more like a forcefield was around his body, pulling the woman in, demanding her to trace the symbols on his body. And they felt right.
Then, while feeling energized, an incredible urge to howl emerged in him. He already found it weird that even in their human forms, everyone started to howl. Byörn though, was too ashamed of his newborn voice to howl already.
Then, an immense silence came upon the group. The session had ended, and peace was there. For a moment. Then everyone began chatting again. His body was still glowing from the symbols, warm and shiny.
Now, he had a lot of questions: "How come my body is the only one still glowing? What is the difference in the symbols? How come we have to be in human form, can't it work in Hishu or wolf form?Do you guys know how good it feels?"
He asked one question after another, excited beyond comparison. He wanted answers, and he hoped he would get them.
Until he noticed her. Falling Ash. She hadn't come to the branding, and instead sat alone at her pyre. Like she didn't want to... didn't belong to the group. It was a strange combination of sadness and confidence with which she sat there, staring.
Then Byörn asked the last of his questions, having been quiet a while: "Could I just go to Falling Ash for a minute, or do we have to do something else, be somewhere else?"
The entire gathering, their brands, both old and new, still glittering brightly, began to disperse. Many of those from different packs joined their friends and began to inspect their brands, asking about the acts of bravery or insight that had earned them.
When you asked about Ash, Gale's head snapped around fiercely, and a sub-vocal growl bubbled up from her throat. "Careful there, little pup. You don't want to get mixed up with the wrong sort. She's trouble, of one sort or another. Keep your distance, if you know what's best for you." Gale absentmindedly traced a series of glowing runes across her chest that looked like stylized claw marks. "We're gonna call up some spirits, throw our new brands around while they're still fresh. You wanna learn some gifts?"
Woops. That was not a right thing to ask, it seemed. Byörn just shut up, and decided to not let it bother him. He'd have to ask sooner or later, though.
"Yeah, let's learn some gifts" he said a bit intimidated and absent-minded. He hoped the distraction of yet another new thing would keep him busy. Why did everyone hate Falling Ash that much? She just seemed lonely!
So what kind of spirits will we call, and how do we do that? Byörn asked. He shook his head and was ready to go. Everything for the pack.
The Prowlers reassembled, along with another wolf who you had been introduced to earlier by Coyote: her name was Magus Mai, and she was the alpha of one of the smaller packs. Magus performed several intricate rituals, drawing out circles and cryptic diagrams in the dirt, calling forth spirits and coercing them to teach gifts to the pack. The spirits ran the gamut of different forms, from strange floating balls of pearlescent light, to a disembodied shadow of some horrifying creature that taught Coyote to disappear from plain sight.
The spirits Magus summoned for you were, in some ways, simpler and more "normal," if such a word could be used to describe spirits. The first simply seemed to be a perfectly straight shaft of moonlight. At Magus's behest, it swirled out from the summoning circle and bathed you in its presence, and suddenly you could feel something inside you awaken. You knew that you could call upon that light, that pure illumination, to call clarity to your mind and gain valuable insight into battle.
The second spirit looked like a small wolf cub, except a shadowy aura of a monstrous wolf, bigger than even the Gauru form loomed over it. The spirit sniffed at you, and then looked deep into your eyes. Its solid, golden orbs drilled into yours, and you knew that this spirit was ALPHA. It was almost impossible to meet its gaze, but somehow you managed, and in doing so, you felt some of that powerful authority flowing into you. You could call upon it again, fill your voice with it.
It felt great. The little spirit who was just a small cub, no other than him (in a mental way), Byörn realized, was actually ALPHA, the leader of wolves. He had inspired him to the same courage, to the same prowess to command others. Not that he was needing them anytime soon... Gale was still the leader, no doubt about that!
Still though, the might Byörn felt at that moment was amazing. The golden profound eyes had blessed him, as had the small (weaker?) spirit. He had given him some sense of awareness, like his response would be quicker in any situation. He felt ready for anything.
Everything seemed awesome. Sure, he wouldn't meet the tribe he wanted to belong to, but man was he glad to have received his renown and gifts. This evening was a definite success. "Tell me you have more prepared for me? More spiritual gifts? Or training or delicious foods?" Byörn asked. He felt like this was a family meeting, and he had acquired quite a hunger by now. Who would've known gathering spirits could be so famishing...
The Prowlers laughed. "We'll see what we can do, little cub," Gale chuckled. "But just you wait until next time!"
10-17-2012, 06:07 AM
Born of Two Worlds
Soft pillows and warm blankets. That's what you felt first upon waking. As you slowly drifted back into consciousness, you noticed that things...weren't like they should have been. You could hear everything - water trickling through pipes, the quiet breezes outside rustling through leaves, the crunch of tires as a car drove slowly past, all of it, clearer than ever before.
And your sense of smell! You could smell that the bed you lay in belonged to someone else. A woman...no, not a woman, but definitely female. Her scent was like wet dog, but somehow without the wet. Inhuman. It reeked in your nose, brought your brain to attention. You could smell the detergent used, you could smell the brass of the bedframe, you could smell the beginnings of mildew somewhere nearby.
And you could smell the wo - person - who slept in this bed, and another female, with that same, odd scent, nearby. You could hear their breath, their slight mvoements. And you could dmell the coppery scent of blood.
Unbidden, shattered, confused images rose in your mind. Of the investigation, and the incredibly odd things that had occurred in that house. How much had been a dream? Had you really turned into a wolf? A...a male? Those thoughts gave you an odd charge of energy, and suddenly, you no longer felt sleepy.
Jaci sat bolt upright in the bed, her mind suddenly whirling. She looked down to check that her body was as it should be - human, and female. It quite obviously was, she noted, as she was also stark naked.
She squeezed her eyes shut, and began muttering "Just a dream, just a dream, just a really crazy dream. "
She didn't really believe it, though.
She bit her lip, and looked around the room. Looking for her clothes. She couldn't see them anywhere, though. Her best bet for finding them was the people who had stripped her in the first place.
She suddenly desperately hoped that her memory of the night's events was accurate, because the only other reasons she could think of for being naked in a stranger's bed were even worse. She just hoped what she was about to do wasn't a really bad idea.
Pulling the quilts up to cover her chest, she called out, "Uh, hello? Where am I?"
The room you were in was small, and outside the protective embrace of the blankets, rather cold. Somehow, though, that didn't seem to bother you as much as you would have expected. The lights were out, but a dull, red aura seemed to permeate the room. You quickly noticed that it came from the sunlight shining though the heavy red cloth that had been strung up over the two small windows. There were two doors; one stood slightly ajar, and you could see that it held a small closet. Judging from the clothes in it, the girl who owned this room - and somehow you knew that this room was owned: her smell was everywhere - she was probably only a handful of years older than you.
The other door was closed, but that was where the smell of the others, and, thankfully, the smell of blood, was coming from.
The walls of the room were mostly bare, except for a couple places where pieces of paper covered with odd, feral symbols in intricate patterns were pinned up. Strangely, the patterns of the symbols, and the symbols themselves, seemed to make sense to you on some deep, instinctual level. It was like this was something you knew very well - or at least, you once did. But you were certain that you'd never seen anything of the sort before.
When you called out, you could hear the two people outside start, followed by the scraping of chairs on wood.
"Huh, sounds like she's up," a female voice said. It was low and husky, and sounded like the speaker was probably in her early forties.
"Guess that means we go say hi," another responded. This voice was much younger, and probably belonged to the room's owner.
"Slink and Gambit aren't back yet," the first voice said. "We should wait..."
"Who's beta here?" The younger of the two cut in. "Besides, they could be a couple hours more, and she's up now. There's no harm in explaining a few things."
There was a squeaking sound of rubber sneakers as someone stood up from the floor. A couple of light footsteps, and the doorknob turned. Normal, florescent light spilled in, framing the short, muscular girl that stood in the threshold. "So, feeling better, are we?"
The question didn't sound nearly as innocent as it seemed...
Jaci flinched slightly at the question. In the past, maybe she would have ducked, or tried to shrink into a ball. Now though, for reasons she didn't quite understand - or rather, didn't even think about - she tilted her head up, displaying her throat to the newcomer.
"What... what happened to me? Who are you?" she stammered, fear starting to rise again.
The girl smiled at your reaction as she slowly stalked into the room. There was definitely something...off about the way she moved. It was too fluid, too powerful for someone as small as her. She was dressed in goth stylings - dark, artfully ripped jeans, a wide belt with spiked studs that hung down on her right thigh, a black tanktop, and a bunch of dangling bracelets and necklaces. She lacked any of the heavy makeup that you might have expected though. She didn't look (or smell! How could you tell that?) like she was wearing any at all, in fact. She had long hair, very dark, that had a large number of small items braided into it - some were beaded, some had feathers, others seemed to be small bits of bone.
The girl took a few short steps and reached into the closet. She removed a hanger and tossed it onto the bed next to you. "Here, get yourself dressed. Sorry it's not your stuff - we were more concerned about getting you out. Stalker let us take you without too much trouble, but he doesn't have much patience, and I'm not too sure we could take his whole court by ourselves."
The clothes on the hanger looked like they had been picked out specifically for you. They had the same themes as the ones the girl was wearing, but they weren't quite as outlandish - just dark jeans and a plain red blouse, with some simple undergarments to go with them.
You did begin to notice, however, that the smell of blood you had noticed was coming from the girl. The nails on her right hand were stained reddish...
Jaci hastily started to fumble to clothing on, hoping it would make her feel a bit less vulnerable.
"Stalker? You mean... that thing was real?"
"He's a real pain in our ass, is what he is," she scowled. "He's got an enormous court, and it scatters itself all over the city. We've got the wonderful job of keeping it in check, 'cause his house is right in the middle of our turf. I still haven't figured out what his ban is, and he keeps getting pushier and pushier the more we have to play nice."
Very little of what she was saying made any sense to you, but what could you say?
She tried not to look at the girl as she dressed, but her gaze kept being dragged back to the hand with the stained nails.
"Um... you're not going to hurt me, are you?"
The girl brought her nails up to her face. "What, this? Naw, girl, I was just working some of my witchery. It's nothin' to be afraid of!" A hint of southern drawl had crept into her voice. "You're probably pretty confused about what happened to you last night. We're gonna help you get your head around it, and then we're gonna take you to a...call it a big meeting. We can't keep you, unfortunately, so it's either see if anybody else wants you, or throw you to the streets. And that...let's just say that wouldn't be a very nice thing for us to do."
Jaci sighed in relief as she finished getting dressed and got out of the bed. "Uh, yeah... I think confused is kind of an understatement. Um, this is probably going to sound crazy, but... did I really turn into a wolf?
The girl smiled fiercely, and her canine teeth began to lengthen before your eyes, growing almost half an inch and becomeing razor sharp, before retracting to their normal length. "Well, that does tend to happen when you're a werewolf."
Jaci was about to reply in tones of flat disbelief, but she stopped. Memories of the night before began replaying themselves in her mind, and memories of her grandmother's stories flooded into her head.
"I'm... a werewolf? Really?"
She shook her head, amazed, and sat down suddenly on the bed.
"I guess at this point I'd have to be kinda stupid to not believe it." She smiled, and murmured almost to herself, "I suppose you had it right, agilisi."
She looked up at the other woman. "How many of the other stories are real?"
The girl opened her mouth with a smile to refute you, but then closed it and raised her eyebrows as you accepted her statement so easily. "Wow. That part is usually a harder sell."
She stood up and put her hands on her hips. "You don't want to use that human word, though; you'll get a lot of dirty looks. We're Uratha. And don't put too much stock in those bulls*** stories, either. Humans don't know what the hell they're talking about."
"Uratha." She pronounced the word flawlessly, her accent perfect. The shape her mouth made as she said it was strangely familiar to her, and its meaning came flooding into her mind. One of the People.
Questions came bubbling up, as her mind started to work again. "How? Why? And you still haven't told me who you are and where I am, let alone what happened to me last night. Apart from the turning into a wolf, I mean."
I'm Rave," she said. "And what happened last night was..."
"Hey, loudmouth!" The words came from the doorway, and had a feral growl laced underneath them. Leaning up against the frame was the other woman. She was definitely older, as you had guessed from her voice. Late thirties, early forties maybe. It was hard to tell. Unlike Rave, who seemed mostly normal except for her predator's air, this woman seemed wild. Her dark red hair was long and tangled, unbrushed, and her clothes were muddy, torn, and seemed to not be very well cared for.
"Slink still isn't back," the newcomer said. "Do I have to remind his Beta what he said?"
Jaci looked back and forth between the two of them, her courage starting to return.
"Look, I'm confused, and a little bit scared, and I'd really like to know what the hell's going on. Why won't you just tell me? You obviously seem to know. You guys rescued me from the hisil," - now how had she known that word? - "and for that I'm very thankful, but I'd seriously like some answers now."
"Sorry, little girl," the woman leaning against the door said. "Our alpha gave us a command, and - "
"Excuse me, who's in charge, here?" Rave shot back, a sub-vocal snarl in her voice. For a moment, the tow of them stared at each other fiercely. You felt like they were communicating somehow, with their eyes and the slightest twitches of their bodies. Some sort of very subtle "sign language" that you couldn't understand, except to know that Rave had the upper hand.
The red-haired woman's expression slowly became more and more sour, until finally she snapped, "Fine!" And stormed out of the room. "But Slink's gonna hear about this, you know!" She called back.
"Thanks, I wouldn't have figured it out otherwise!" Rave called after her. She chuckled a bit, then turned back to you. "So, anything in particular you're interested in knowing? I can't go into too much detail yet, or my alpha's gonna be less than thrilled about it, but I can try to clear up some of the bigger questions."
Jaci sat down again, thinking. "Okay, you said alpha, and you're - we're - werewolves, so kinda like wolves. I'm guessing you're set up in some sort of pack structure?" She looked up for confirmation. "And your alpha has said there's some things you're not allowed to tell me. So I guess the obvious question to ask first is what aren't you allowed to tell me, so I know what not to waste my breath asking. After that, I think how, why me, and why has no-one heard about real werewolves are good followups."
"Uratha," Rave corrected. "You don't want to get beat up."
She considered your questions for a moment, then said, "Those are good questions. First, pack is very important to us. You'll figure it out, soon enough. Go without a pack long enough, and you'll go crazy. And yeah, Slinking Shadow, our alpha, told us that we should wait to talk to you until he got back. Didn't say why.
"Technically I'm going against his order, but I can deal with him. So, how and why you?" She smirked at you. "Let's start with the second one. You've always had wolf blood in you, it just took until now for it to show itself. As for how...we're not really sure how it happens or what triggers it. Well, I suppose that we know the first "how," like, how we came to be, but that's a bit more in depth than I can go.
"As for why the Herd hasn't heard of us," she continued, "that's because we're really careful not to let them know. It's bad for both of us if they knew - a lot of the world they depend on stays the way it is because of us. And we might be powerful, but a mob of humans with silver could take us all down, and then everyone's screwed.
"It's one of our laws, not to let them know. And it's helped along by one of Mother Luna's...strangest gifts. We call it the Lunacy, but it basically means that humans go crazy and forget about us when they see us. It's not fool-proof - you gotta be cautious, even with that covering your ass, but it helps a lot."
Jaci waved her hand distractedly at the correction, eyes darting as she fell into academic mode. "Eh, linguistic connections. Uratha has no association with wolf, so it would sound like a non-sequitur to use the term when extrapolating about pack structure. And the second time I was asking about the reaction of mortals - the Herd, you said? Good term, primates are herd animals - who've never heard the word Uratha, so again appropriate to use it.
"Slinking Shadow, interesting name. Doesn't sound like a normal nickname, I'm guessing you use a system of deed names? Anthropology really isn't my field - should that be lycanthropology? - but it's fascinating anyway. Wish I had something to make notes on.
"Wolf blood? So one of my ancestors was Imru?" There it is again, a word she has no business knowing. She didn't seem to notice, though.
She continues in this vein, probing everything Rave said with academic enthusiasm, noting the claim to know a true creation myth, comparing Mother Luna to the figure of the moon as found in mortal mythology, and speculating on the possible neurological causes of Lunacy.
You hardly noticed during your analytical dissection of what she had said, but Rave's eye began to twitch as you continued. After a few mmoments of listening to you, she barked out, "Okay, stop!" As she did, she seemed to rise up and expand. Her hair became coarse and seemed to expand across her body. She grew, at least six inches. Her fingernails extended out into the beginnings of deadly-looking claws, and her face gains the echoes of canine features - amber eyes, slightly pointed ears, sharp teeth, and the beginnings of a muzzle. Somehow, her clothes grew and stretched with her, not ripping to pieces, as you might have expected. You did notice, however, that the claws on her hands seemed like they would be a great match for the tears along her jeans.
"Great, a scientist," Rave sighed, scruching up her eyes and pinching the bridge of her nose. She slowly begain to shrink back into her normal form over the course of a couple seconds.
"Look, you're gonna have a hard time adjusting to all of this is you don't start throwing out a lot of that human 'knowledge' that you have trapped up in there." She gestured towards your head. "The spirits don't care about physics and the laws of nature as humans see them. Neurology and whatever else is just the human way of trying to explain the interaction between the Flesh-world and the Spirit-world. Heck, the spirits don't even follow their own rules! I'm Ithaeur - means I first Changed under the crescent moon, but it also means that I was given an especially strong understanding of how the spirit world works. Let me tell you, I'm one of the best witches in this city - "
An amused snort sounded from outside the room. It seemed Rave's pack member was waiting outside and listening.
She turned towards the door. "I'm one of the best witches in the city," she repeated, putting unnessecary emphasis on the words. "And I barely understand how the Hisil works some times. I mean, maybe if I were a Bone Shadow..."
"Eep! Yes'm!" Jaci, shrank back, cowed by the primality of the Dalu form. As Rave returned to human, she frowned.
"That violates Conservation of Mass so har- sorry! Shutting up!"
She sighed as Rave finished talking. "If the physical laws we have don't do an adequate job of explaining reality, we find new laws. That's how science works. I've spent the last few years trying to find things unexplained by current science, and now I have. That's... unbelievably exciting, you understand?
"Now, the hisil... that's that strange place I was rescued from by (I assume) your packmates, yes? Some sort of alternate reality alongside our own. What exactly was that Strider creature, and the other little things around?"
"Stalker," Rave corrected. "And he's a spirit. They're all spirits. So are we, kinda. We're like half-and-half, actually: half flesh, and half spirit."
She considered you critcally for a moment, and then continued. "And good luck understanding the laws of the spirit world. Seriously, if that's something you want to try to do, good luck. Even Death Wolf herself hasn't figured it out completely, and she's an immortal god-totem that's lived for milennia! Although I think we've figured out what tribe you'll fit into best, which, once again, is pretty fast."
She paused again, looking you over once more. "Okay, I know you've got questions, and I'd love to sit down and answer all of them, but I've alreadt said more than Slink wanted me to. You've gotta wait a bit, but then after he gets done saying whatever it is he wants to say, I'll explain everything to you in as much detail as I can. Sound good?"
"Sounds good." An insistent sensation from her stomach reminded her of something important. "Though, if it's all the same to you... do you have any food? I'm starving."
"I was just about to suggest that," Rave smiled. "Come on, I'll show you to our kitchen. Slink's got the rights to all the good stuff, but we should have something laying around you can have."
She led you out of the small room; a hallway extended out from the door. Just past the threshold, there was an additional door, one to the left and right, and a second door to the right a little ways past. Like all the wall in this house, they were a uniform off-white. All the doors were closed, but the one to the left and the second to the right each had claw marks scrawled across them. The very sight of those marks sent a jolt through your mind. Those spaces were claimed. Do not enter.
Rave's packmate was waiting outside, sitting on a small white folding chair. She glared up at Rave and you as you passed, but otherwise said nothing. The smell of blood was stronger out here; whatever Rave had been doing, she had been doing it right outside the room.
Past the hallway, the house opened up to the left into a living room, and a second threshold to the left led into a small kitchen. Rave led you inside. It was shaped like an "L" around a central wall. There were two windows along the far wall, but the shades were down. They had two refridgerators. Rave open the first one and glanced around inside, but apparently found nothing she liked. She crossed to the second, and excalimed, "There we go!"
She withdrew several items: two pounds of ground beef, rolled up in paper, a package of sausage, a stick of pepperoni, and an onion. She grabbed a box of Hamburger Helper from the top of the fridge. "This is a real Uratha meal!"
Even frozen, the smell of the ground beef made your stomache grumble. But it seemed like a lot for one person.
Rave set in motion, cooking up a variant of mac n' cheese that essentially amounted to it being smothered in meat, with a couple of vegetables thrown in, mostly for color.
It smelled delicious, and even though the entire plate was piled high, you felt so hungry that it didn't seem like the massive meal would be enough. You hadn't realized you were that hungry...
While you ate, Rave excused herself, and disappeared back down the hallway. The door to her room slammed, and you could hear hushed voices drifting back to you. The other woman (who's name you still didn't know) was obviously speaking her mind. As they argued, you heard the front door shudder, and then it opened and several pairs of feet stomped in.
"Hey!" A male voice exclaimed as soon as the door was closed. "That smells great! Who's cookin'?" The feet made their way quickly into the kitchen, bringing their owners into view.
The first was very tall and thin. He looked like a basketball player, and was dressed in loose-fitting jeans and a white T-shirt, with a beat up and faded leather jacket unzipped over it. His hair was dark, but his eyes were a bright, stormy blue. As he saw you, he became tense and alert, and you could make out a flash of a pistol tucked into his waistband.
The second was still tall, but not quite as tall as his companion. He was of decidedly latino ancestry, and he looked like a bodybuilder. He was dressed like one, too, a wife-beater shirt, and faded jeans. He also had a gun, when he had taken out and was emptying of ammunion when he spied you. His arms were covered with tattoos, and his short black hair were set in spikes. The way he defered to the tall man's motion, he was lower in the pack heirarchy. Both of them seemed to be only a little older than you.
"Hey Slink," the taller one called, tilting his head towards the front door. "She's up."
Jaci ducked her head, embarrassed suddenly at the way she was shovelling food into her maw. She swallowed, and cleared her throat.
"Um... hi? I guess I should probably thank you for rescuing me?"
"S'no big," the Latino wolf drawled. His voice didn't sound too entirely comforting, though.
The two of them shifted aside (without breaking their unblinking gaze on you), allowing a third man to enter the kitchen. Slinking Shadow, as you expected this was, was nothing like you would have guessed the alpha wolf would look like. He wasn't the other man who had rescued you from Stalker's house. He was very short and slight. In all likelyhood, he was probably shorter than you were. He also didn't show the incredible muscle that his packmates did, although it was difficult to see his build too clearly. He was weaing a loose white button-down shirt with no tie, and simple grey slacks. There were dirt smudges here and there, marring the white of his shirt, but otherwise, he looked fairly clean. His face was one that looked like it was used to being incredibly cheery, with high round cheeks that indicated he smiled a lot, although at the moment it was serious. His eyes, however, were the most telling thing: a deep, warm brown, they seemed to pick up everything around him, and pierce into the substance of whatever he was looking at. Slink was a smart man.
"So I don't end up needlessly repeating myself, how much has Rave told you?" He asked.
Jaci set her fork down and started counting off on her fingers. "Uh... the basics about what we are - Uratha and everything - that I've got wolf blood in me from way back, touched on Lunacy and not letting norms know, and mentioned a little bit about spirits and the hisil not following normal rules. I think that's about it."
"I see," Slink said thoughtfully. "Very well. I have a couple of questions I want to ask you. I had hoped to ask them before you were told anything about the truth of your situation, but I guess I knew that probably wouldn't be the case."
His eyes bored into you, unblinkingly. "First, do you know why were you in that house to begin with?"
Jaci nodded. "I'm working on a doctorate in parapsychology; I follow up every rumour of paranormal activity I hear. I'd been hearing stories about that house being haunted for a while, I decided to check it out. It's the first one that's ever had any substance behind it, though."
She looked up at Slink, her eyes scanning his face. "Unless... you mean something else? Like I was called there or something?"
The other pack members snickered when you mentioned your degree, but Slink simply continued to look you over. He didn't acknowledge your question, but you got a feeling that that was closer to what he suspected than your conscious reason for being there.
"So, I was going to ask you what you felt before Stalker appeared, but since you've already discussed the Hisil, I'll ask instead if you have any idea how you crossed the Gauntlet. I've never heard of someone crossing over during the Change."
"Um, the Gauntlet? What's that? I kinda guessed that the... Hisil, you called it? is some sort of parallel reality, but I don't know any more than that. Let alone how that's possible."
"Then try to explain to me how it felt. Did you notice the crossing at all?"
"Um. For a while in the house, every time I blinked, these... things, would appear or disappear. There were, like, mini vulture things on a dead cat, and there were swarms of imp things. They pulled me down the stairs to the basement, I think, and then the world sort of... turned inside out, is the only way I can think of to describe it. It made me feel kinda queasy, and all the colours got bright and nauseating. It's like, I was in the same place, but... different."
Slink took his eyes off of you for the first time to look at his packmates. It was tough to tell, but you were pretty sure that this wasn't what they wanted to hear.
"Okay," Slink said, turning to lock his eyes with yours again. Holding the alpha's gaze was hard; your instincts screamed that you should look away, but you could feel he didn't want you to. "I have more questions, but they can wait for now, I suppose. Has Rave told you what we're going to do with you?"
Jaci cocked her head, eyebrows drawing together slightly at his reaction. What were they hoping for, I wonder?
"She mentioned taking me to some sort of ungin thing, where all the different packs get together or something?" Again, the First Tongue word slipped naturally from her mouth without her even noticing, though Rave had never used it. "I think the idea was to see if any other pack has room for another member?"
Slink nodded. "That's basically it. My pack's rather large, and we don't have room for another member. Our next meeting is only in a couple of days, so we'll take you there, get you initiated into a tribe, and see if anyone else has a spot open. If you choose to be a Blood Talon, I know the Red Daggers recently lost some packmates, so they're looking to pick up.
"There was another nusuzul last time, too. And the word going around is that there've been a number of Changes recently. We might even put you all together. A sort of trial by fire, as it were."
"Okay," Slink finished. "That's about all for now. You can finish eating. And since Rave seems so keen on teaching, I'm putting her in charge of making sure you're fit for presentation at ungin." With that, he sidled out of the kitchen, leaving you with his other male packmates. They began rummaging through drawers and cabinets, as well as the fridges, looking for food themselves.
Jaci returned to eating with a will.
"So," she mumbled in between mouthfuls, "what do I need to know before ungin?"
"A lot," the tall wolf said as his nosed through one of the refridgerators. "But Rave's pretty smart. She should be able to bring you up to speed enough." He paused his search to look at you, and gave you a smile. "Welcome to a much bigger world! It's gonna scare the f*** out of you!"
10-17-2012, 06:09 AM
Burning Eyes is the Dark
A cold fall breeze blew past the small little booth you waited in for the next bus to take you back to the hotel. The sun had just set behind the towering mountains - it was something you were still getting used to, the sun setting so quickly. Now, only a faint pink glow remained in between the towering peaks.
You were all by yourself at the small bus stop; the first time you had really been alone since that awful fire. You had been feeling awfully strange since that day. Some of it, you could attribute to the stress - the constant anger thrumming in your veins, that felt like it was about to explode out at the slightest provocation; the constant feeling like you were being watched, hearing odd voices whispering all around you.
But other things you simply couldn't explain away. How come all of a sudden, your senses seemed to be so alive? Your vision was clearer, your hearing more acute. And the smells! It was as if you had never actually smelled before. As you waited in the bus stop, you could smell the stale smoke from cigarettes stubbed out hours ago, the saliva stuck to some wads of chewing gum stuck beneath the bench, the smell of car exhaust and asphlat on the streets. And why did you so suddenly feel trapped and uncomfortable in your own skin? It was like you were itching to be something different, but you couldn't pin down what.
According to the chart with incredibly tiny writing next to you, the bus was already five minutes late. Perfect. Another thing going wrong in an already bad week. Louie was probably staring at the door, waiting for you to get home and feed him.
As you waited, the pounding anger in your skull growing with every second that ticked by, a new smell drifted in around you. It was one that you had never smelled before - something like wet dog, but without the wet part, and not quite like a dog at all. It was oddly strong, like your nose was picking that particular scent out, making sure that you noticed it. The smell triggered something deep in your brain, like an old memory you couldn'y quite recall.
A howl echoed out from somewhere nearby, and that same part of your brain that focused so strongly on that odd scent somehow translated what it meant, with startling clarity: 'Prey found. The hunt is on.' A chorus of other howls joined the first, dissonant cries that replied to the first, 'Hunt! Chase! Take!' And when the chill crawled down your spine, you knew: they were hunting you!
In the moments before the ethereal howl, Rose's eyes remain on the chart. A melancholic air surrounds the French youth as thoughts turn to the many times "les enfants du Saint Hubert" had waited for another bus in another place, in a time that felt very very far away. The thousand new smells, sounds and sights barely register, feeling like nothing more than a part of a horrible dream.
Then the howl sounds, or rather, its dark tones echoes deep inside Rose's mind, seemingly surpassing the air in between. Turning to look at the growing darkness, Rose remains still. Brown eyes revealing barely any interest in the source as the battle of fear and anger is dulled by the melancholy. With a shake of a tired head, Rose speaks softly.
"I hope you are right, Docteur Cobb."
The words sound strange to Rose, but they are a small reassurance. Small, but there. Hope was not all lost yet, not for Rose, nor for Louis and maybe... Not for Alyse.
As you sat there, your heart pounding in your ears, an impossible mix of melancholy, fear, and burning rage boiling inside you, you could feel them getting closer. Closer. Closing in around you. They didn't call out again, but you knew they were getting closer.
Suddenly, you were surrounded. More than half a dozen wolves appeared out from the park behind you, snarling and yipping. Like they were laughing. You could somehow tell from the sounds they made that they were amused that you hadn't run. Their eyes gleamed in the orange light of the sodium lamp above the bus stop, like pinpoints of fire.
They danced around you, darting forward and growling, trying to startle you into fleeing. One of the wolves strode into view. Instinctively, you knew that this wolf was in charge, the alpha of his pack. You also felt that he was above you in that hierarchy. This wolf, with a big, ugly burn scar around his right eye, approached you slowly, trancing a circle around where you sat, a feral grin across his muzzle, and a low growl in his throat.
As the feeling of their presence grows larger and larger, Rose slowly gets up. Breathing rapidly, the French teenager looks around again.
Then the wolves appear. Their sudden presence striking such terror in Rose that the words die unspoken. The presence of live predators making it very clear that the danger is far far too real.
Backing away, eyes wide in fear and darting from wolf to wolf, Rose soon stands cornered against the bus stop. Staring in horror as the alpha emerges. Almost paralyzed beyond reason.
But only almost.
Closing her eyes, Rose breaks eye contact and turns. Darting as fast as legs can carry, Rose tries to flee.
You turned to flee, but two of the wolves moved to block your path. At the same time, they seemed to swell, growing from the size of a large dog to the size of a small horse within mere seconds. You could even swear that you had heard the sounds of bones crunching and skin slithering as they shifted, becoming more massive in front of your eyes. They appeared more like creatures from a nightmare, or from an ancient time, with long, sickle claws and massive, bulging shoulders.
The two wolves snarled at you, daring you to try and run past them. Everywhere you turned, wolves blocked your path, growing to monstrous proportions to block your way, then slinking down to normal size when your turned elsewhere.
They moved together as one, coordinated - a pack. And all the while, they slowly moved inwards, boxing you into the bus stop booth. The light of lamp above you shone across their pelts, revealing that each of these wolves was covered in burn scars, places where their fur no longer grew. But, rather than normal burns, these seemed traced across their skin, in intricate patterns and designs. Somehow beautiful, despite their grisly medium.
"[Well, well! Father Gurim has given us quite the treat!]" The alpha wolf spoke. He spoke! But not in any human language. It was a series of barks, growls, snarls, and spits, and yet somehow, it made perfect sense to you. You could understand him, even better than you could English sometimes, like it was a language you had know from before you could remember. From before the orphanage?
Stopping dead, Rose turns only to see more wolves blocking every escape. Breathing in panicked gasps, the terrified teen slowly backs into the bus stop booth.
"Pas vrai. Pas vrai. Pourquoi y at-il... Calme, Rose. Don't anger them."
Taking a deep breath and trying to shake the seeming insanity aside, Rose faces the Alpha. As composed as possible, Rose tries to appear non-threatening and harmless. Edging sideways without breaking eye-contact.
"Not an enemy, no reason to pay attention to me, just keep going..."
"[But I have every reason to pay attention to you!]" The alpha growl-spoke. "[You were blessed by Gurim-Ur, and it would be so rude for us to ignore what he's given us...]" He approached slowly, his pack howling and jeering at you.
Then, something heavy crashed down on top of the bus stop booth with a crash. That was followed up by the sound of a shotgun being cocked. There was also a new smell. In addition to the smell of gunpowder, there was another faint, metallic odor that sent shivers of phantom pain through your body.
"Back off the nuzusul, Vardus," a strong female voice commanded. "We've got you guys surrounded."
From where you were huddled in the back of the booth, you couldn't see who it was, but the wolves were all frozen and alert, staring at the newcomer and slowly backing away from the booth.
Rose reacts by seemingly trying to shake the voice of the Alpha out of her head. Muttering panic-ridden words that increasingly sounds like a mantra against madness.
Then something hits the booth. With a jolt, Rose stares upwards, as if afraid it would collapse upon its already terrified inhabitant. Hearing the voice, though shivering at the unknown smell, Rose breathes a sigh of relief.
"Grands dieux, another human. Je-did she speak to them?"
Realising something mid-sentence, Rose stares out at the wolves and back up at the place the sound had come from. Eyes widening once again.
"How did she get up there?..."
There was a chorus of clicking as several more nearby guns of various types chambered a round. Ready to shoot. The pack of wolves spread themselves out, not presenting a cohesive target. They all grew, bones snapping and flesh writhing, into the large, monstrous beasts that had blocked your way, save for the alpha. He remained a normal-seeming wolf.
From the shadows surrounding the booth, three more people emerged, weapons ranging from duel pistols to an assault rifle aimed at the pack. A fluttering shape dropped from above you as the woman jumped down to the ground, advancing with her fellows. You could only see her back; she had long, straight hair that fell halfway down her back, and was wearing a flowing black canvas duster.
"The alpha glared at her and growled in rage. "[You would dare! You would DARE to threaten us with silver! Look at yourself and how far you've fallen, Shining Child!]"
The woman gestured threateningly with her shotgun. "That's not my name anymore!" She growled back. The sound had a distinctly non-human quality to it.
"[Fine then,]" the alpha relented. "[But has betraying your Father made you so dumb that you've forgotten how to count? There are four of you, and eight of us!]"
"We just want you to leave the girl alone," the woman said calmly. "No reason for this to get bloody. Although, if it does, I've got the silver, and it's aimed right at your head. Your crew will likely win, but you'll still be dead. So if that's how you want it..."
Rose stared at the changed wolves in complete shock, paralysed and unable to even think about fleeing. Then Rose noticed that the Alpha and the newcomer were speaking, together. Sinking down on the ground, Rose tried to close off the maddening images. Eyes Clenched shut, the near-chanting continues.
"Can't be real, can't be real, c'est pas vrai. C'est pas vrai."
As the two sides growled at each other, arguing their odds of victory, Rose stopped listening. Shaking, the chant begins growing less and less fearful.
"Pas vrai, arrêtez!"
Eyes opened again, Rose looks at the arguing groups with surprise. Without thinking, Rose had stood and shouted the last word. But while the chanting had so far been a mantra of fear, the shout was a clear declaration of anger.
At your shout, a shudder passed through the two groups. The mass of nightmare wolves all spared a glance at you, sizing you up as you suddenly presented yourself as a potential threat. The gathered people seemed to want to do likewise, but they kept their eyes trained on the pack.
One of the men leaned in towards the woman and whispered something to her.
A car drove by on the other side of the street. As the headlights shone over the strange gathering, the tires screeched and the car swung around. The driver pushed their small car as fast as it could go the wrong direction up the road, their tail lights swerving drunkenly - or with fear. The car sideswiped into a light pole one intersection down, but the driver didn't seem to notice.
"You're spooking the Herd," the woman said calmly as the car sped frantically away. "And it seems like the nusuzul wants this all to stop, anyway. Scram."
"[We won't forget this sin you have committed, Shining Child,]" the alpha wolf sneered. The pack all shrunk down into the shape of normal canids, and then, slowly and cautiously, they slunk away across the road, towards the dark mountains in the distance.
Once the wolves were out of sight, the remaining group relaxed. They put away their weapons, hiding them under jackets and coats, and turned to face you.
"Sorry about that, kid," the woman said. Her face was pretty, but lined with very thin scars. She had fierce green eyes, but they were currently softened wqith concern. She wasn't much older than you - certainly not yet thirty years old. "Are you okay? Didn't mean to scare you, but we kinda had to interfere before something bad happened."
Rose, emotions still in flux between fear, anger and shock, looked from the green-eyed stranger, to the horizon and the shadows of the wolves, to the fading lights of the car and finally back to the woman. Trying to speak.
Taking a deep breath, Rose spoke more clearly. Voice still shaking, but the fear and anger seemingly subsiding. If only enough to form coherent sentences.
"W-what. Interfere with what? W-what just happened? H-how, talking with-"
Rose asked with a voice that was a mixture of disbelief and remaining fear.
"A-am I going mad?"
Rose added in a quiet voice, seemingly addressing herself more than anyone else.
The woman chuckled slightly at your final question. "It probably feels like it, doesn't it? But no, you're not going mad. In fact, that's why we're here, to explain everything to you, and give you some choices to make. And that's what those *******s wanted, to, although they were going to make all the choices for you.
"So, if you want, you can come back to our place, or we can come to yours, and sit and talk. Or, you can walk away. But if you do that, we won't come find you again, and I can promise that Vardus and his gang of nutjobs will keep coming after you.
"so, what do you want to do?"
Rose stared at the stranger for a short time, mouth opening for a response but closing again. Blinking a few times, Rose looks off. Eyes falling on the horizon where Vardus' pack vanished.
"I want-hope this is a dream, that you are wrong-"
Rose says in a tone that suggests that confusion is now fighting fear. Tearing eyes away from the horizon, Rose looks back at the booth. With a slight, nearly invisible, nod, Rose looks back at the strangers.
"-But I think I want to know. Make sense of every-of this... C-can we talk at mine?"
Rose says with as much determinism as can make its way through confusion and fear. Pausing for a second before asking about the location, a bit of worry entering the shell-shocked youth.
"Sure," the woman in front of you said gently. "You were waiting for the bus, right? We'll ride along with you."
"Not much of a wait," one of the men with her remarked. He was brushing the schedule posted inside the booth with his hand, his eyes unfocused. "It's just rounded off of Green Circle. Call it a minute or so. Vardus skipped out just in time."
True to his word, you could hear the diesel engine raoring as it pushed the massive metal behemoth up the road towards you. The bus came into view, pausing for a moment at the traffic light, before turning onto the street and in front of the little booth.
"After you," the scar-faced woman encouraged.
Taking a deep breath, rose looked briefly at the scarred stranger and stepped up, barely remembering to pay fare before taking a seat.
"Ils-They are not following the bus, are they?"
Rose asked as the other seat themselves, a tinge of fear still showing through the confusion.
"Vardus isn't that stupid. Besides, they don't really need to. It sounds like he already knows a lot about you, so he probably knows where you live."
"Anshega bastards," one of the men with her grumbled under his breath.
The woman and the three men sidled down the middle of the bus. They each flashed a card to the driver, but you noticed that the cards seemed to be blank. The driver didn't notice, however, and punched them through. The way the four of them walked, you couldn't help but notice the subtle but important heirarchy. The woman went first, and each of the three men waited until it was their turn to fall in behind her. Somehow you could see (and smell! What was going on) which one belonged where in that line. And you knew that you were last.
The other passengers on the bus seemed to react to the presence of the four of them. A little old lady with wispy white hair and bags of groceries began to quake subtly, and scooted over to the window seat, looking out as if the dark bus stop booth had suddenly become very interesting. Two dark, hoodied student-looking types, young men who appeared as though they thrived on looking tough both decided that they had something important to do on their phones, rather than look at the new passengers. Even the bus driver seemed nervous and flustered, and he handed you your receipt quickly.
The woman and her followers spread themselves out along three rows of double seats, claiming the area around them with casual authority. Looking at you, the woman beckoned with her head, inviting you over to sit with them, as though her approval was needed.
At least, a part of you felt it was.
Rose seems taken aback by the information, but shakes it off when noticing the effect that the group had on the humans in the bus. Following along slowly, Rose briefly ponders why "humans" suddenly seemed applicable only to the other passengers, but not to the group, and maybe not even to Rose.
Rose mumbles, mulling over the unfamiliar word. It felt like part of the same speech the wolves had seemed to use. Pushing it aside as well, Rose sees the leader's gesture.
The bus ride continued mostly in silence. While there were so many questions to be asked, you could feel that the others wouldn't talk now. Not here, where other people might overhear you.
The bus glided down the darkening streets, rare cars going by on the left, and the campus drifting by on the right. Five stops, then four, then three until you were home.
The group that you were with seemed relaxed, almost bored, but you couldn't help but pick up a subtle strain of tension in their ranks. You were being watched, somehow. You knew it.
Two stops left. One...
Rose took the silence well, visibly calming down on the trip. One deep breath, then another, and another. Though Rose's eyes were still so wide that the brown and black was tiny compared to the whites, and hands visibly shaking, the quietness seemed to let at least the adrenaline dissipate.
The closer they came to Rose's hotel, the more Rose looked to the outsides, seemingly looking for something. Maybe landmarks, maybe signs that the Leader was wrong about the Anshega, or maybe something else entirely.
You pulled on the thin chord wrapped in yellow rubber to signal the driver to stop. Moments later, the bus angeled itself towards the curb, grinding to a halt and letting out a hiss as the doors swung open. The leader of the little group of your rescuers picked herself up and sauntered out the back door, without even a glance towards the driver for thanks. The rest of her group followed suit, in the same order that they had boarded. Once again, you were last.
This bus stop was much larger than the small one you had been waiting at earlier, and it sat right in front of the Bridgewater Hotel where the school had paid for you to stay after the fire. It was a very nice hotel; maybe not a Hilton, but much better than a tiny dorm room for two. Unless those two had been best friends...
The hotel had a very modern appearance, its face covered in glass, punctuated only by the thin balconies some of the rooms sported. It was shaped like a giant X or a plus sign, with the entrance to the lobby in the middle of the cross. Your room was on the fifth floor, and faced the busy street behind you. Your eyes were drawn up, searching out your window. You found it, along with two timy pinprick of light that gleamed out of it. Louie was watching you. Somehow, he always knew when you were almost home.
"Okay, where to?" The woman asked. She appeared causal, her hands in her pockets, but you could feel that she was maintaining an edge of cautious alertness. Not worried, just wary.
As the bus' mechanisms hiss, Rose nearly jumped. Even the usual sound would have caught Rose by surprise, as the events of the day made the young Frenchman very clearly on edge, but the dizzying new clarity from Rose's senses made it sound like a supernatural snake, rather than a bus.
Distracted by the sound, Rose hesitated to move for long enough to naturally fall last in line, missing the repeat of the hierarchical atmosphere.
As the front of the Hotel's X towered above them, Rose pauses, calming at the sight of Louis' ever-watchful eyes. Despite Alyse's disappearance, the fire and the wolf pack, Louis never fled or forgot. Always there, the cat always seemed to have an air of reassurance in those shining eyes.
"Chambre 503, the dormitories are... I live here actuellement."
Stepping ahead to lead the way, Rose turned slightly. Still visibly nervous, Rose was nevertheless much more attentive now, picking up the alertness.
"Is there is something wrong? You said they would not follow us, is there something else here?"
Slightly alarmed, Rose looks for a clue as to what or whom could be dangerous. Banks of snow, lone passerbys, insects, nothing seemed more strange than the group themselves. At least at first glance.
"We treading kinda close to Red Dagger territory. Bowie doesn't like me much, and he'd take it as a personal insult if we tresspassed. But, I hear they've got a lot of problems, so he might not notice." Seeing the confused look on your face, she waved it off. "We'll explain in a bit."
The woman looked up at the hotel. "You live here?" She asked incredulously. "Okay. Lead on."
"Oui, I do."
Rose replies quizzically, but clearly chooses not to try elaborating again. Leading the way and reaching for the door, Rose briefly speaks.
"I am not sure I will care if you insulted every person in the city, but you sound as if you were talking about a Mafia."
Clearly unnerved, Rose proceeds through the door. Waving meekly to a short friendly-looking porter and mouthing the words "long story" apologetically. A lone patron bringing along such a huge group would seem quite out of the ordinary, but Rose tries to indicate that questions can wait.
The lobby of the hotel was crisp and modern, everything shining even in the mild light. There was a large open space in front of the desk, with the hotel's logo (the word Bridgewater in stylized letters) set into the marble of the floor. It was evening, and it was getting rather busy in the lobby, with at least eight different groups, mostly business-people and a couple families, checking in.
While your companions didn't seem entirely out of place, the porter still seemed to quake as their leader stared him in the eyes.
They followed you to the bank of elevators. While you waited for the lift to arrive, the woman smiled a bit. "Heh, mafia. That actually sounds a lot like Bowie. But, no. Well, I suppose in a way, but definitely not in the way you're thinking. Just wait, we'll explain soon."
With a mellow chime, the round circle above the elevator lit up green, and the sliding doors parted, revealing the mirrored car. The woman stepped in, followed by the rest of her group. Even though you lived here, you knew that you would be the last to board.
The response did not seem to make Rose particularly more at ease. Giving the leader a raised eye-brow, Rose stepped a bit aside as they continue toward the lift.
Noticing the group hieraki again when it arrived, Rose visibly began to take a step before the second of the strangers could move, but paused. Stepping back, Rose politely waited for the group to board in their own order.
The elevator rose up, whirring ever so slightly. It stopped on the fourth floor with a hollow chime, but the middle-aged woman who was waiting to board seemed to decide she'd rather wait for the next one. At the fifth floor, the doors opened again, and the group stepped out ahead of you, then turned to wait for you to lead. You could see the door to your room just down the hall, the second on the left.
Rose stepped out a bit quickly, but still last. Looking down the hall, eyes revealing a foreboding feeling, Rose lead the group to the second door on the left.
"My apologies for the lack of chairs, and bienvenue."
Opening the door, Rose gestured unceremoniously for the group to enter.
Inside, though dark to human eyes, was a small room, a plain bed with a nightstand and a commode with an old television marking it as the standard combined living room and bedroom found in many hotels, though illuminated by a quite large window. It was at this window that the feline owner of a watchful pair of eyes had been monitoring the grounds below, atop one of the items that made the room quite unique.
All across the room was a plethora of boxes. Some few seemed new packages, but several were quite clearly moving boxes, a single one laying open to reveal a sooth-covered picture-book and a bundle of clothes singed by fire. All the rest, save for a pack of sleeping pills on the nightstand, were unopened.
"Bonsoir, Louis. Nous avons des invités."
Rose greets the observant cat with a tinge of comfort, almost a smile.
10-17-2012, 06:13 AM
Ghosts to Come
You woke with a start, drenched in sweat and thoroughly tangled in your sheets. The dreams kept coming, stronger than ever before. They were so vivid, so incredibly powerful.
As you caught your breath, acclimating to the wking world once more, this newest set of images raced through your head. There was a storm - a horrible blizzard. Four shapes...no, five! struggeled to push through it. They were surrounded, large dark shapes hunted them from the swirling snow. You had tried to call out to them, to warn them, but you voice had been swallowed up by the swirling wind, and then your body by the piling drifts. You hadn't seen what happened to the figures. There was more, much more, but you couldn't remember it.
Off in the distance, you heard a howl. Before, when you had been human, you wouldn't have paid it much thought. You probably wouldn't even have heard it. But now, it cut through the night like a razor, causing your hairs to stand on end. It pierced through your conscious mind, and instinct told you what it meant: 'fresh blood!'
Kamau shakes his head, flicking away his cold sweat with a small rattle of beads. His breathing, ragged, falling through open, bared teeth, slows to a normal pace as he kicks his legs out of the bed, pads around the small apartment. Patrolling his territory.
It's been like this since since the change, since he clawed his way out of a waking nightmare to find the flesh was no longer all he could see. The same easy pattern, wake up, patrol, wolf down a scrap of food ("haha! That was good. Gotta remember that."), pump some iron. Calm that sense of being caged. Or he would follow, but the call... The howl. **** man, gotta get used to this. The howl coming out, calling blood on the wind. He forced himself to calm down, to be reasonable. To think.
Alright, no. To Hell with this. Kamau's face hardens and he bares his teeth into the bathroom mirror as he swings through the door.
Splashes his face with water.
Turns off the faucet.
Looks up. Locks eyes with the feral, snarling dreadlocked warrior captured in the roundness of Luna's silver'd glass.
"Damn dog, you know there aren't many wolves in this town man." His voice weary, like he was pleading with himself after hours of debate. "You gotta chek this out."
Pulling on a wife beater so new new it still smelled I plastic and industry, rolling socks old socks onto his feet, followed by sneakers and a jersey, both worn to a soft juice-colored purple and dingy yellow scented with his own sweat and tears, the youn prophet crushes the memory of et another nightmare under action. Stepping out of his apartment, Kamau tries to recall which way the howl came from, testing his memory and his newest senses.
You were fairly sure it came from the West, out towards the edge of town and the University. Not too far, though. Where the weird Coptic guy had said some packs who called themselves "the Pure" tended to gather.
Another howl sounded. Bloodthirsty. It was joined by others. Five wolves in total. On the hunt.
Listening to that chill arpeggio, Kamau shudders, just a little. Five wolves hunt by the driving snow, struggling through a blizzard. Is there a connection? Shoot.
Kamau bends down to fiddle with his laces, keeping them tight but leaving the tops open. Things go bad, he has to get big, he doesn't want to have to pad home naked, after all. A few flicks of each leg to test the sneaker's hold - they hang on like a drowning man - and them he sets off, pulling up his hood and shoving his hands into the over-large sweater's pockets to secure the urban camouflage. Just another guy out for a morning jog or stroll.
It's about two blocks of hustling that go by before Kamau worries about the Pure, and whether he should have brought his piece. Werewolf or not, man, gettin' cocky and leaving yourself unprotected, it'll get you killed, man. Damn. Lets just hope it's nothing too big...
The only sounds he makes for the rest of the trip are the soft pafft-skapp! of his soles striking concrete, and the quiet jangle of beads.
You quickly left your mother's small house behind, and passed through one of the reaching arms of the downtown area itself. The residential housing gave way to tall buildings and narrow, one-way streets. Graffiti tags, subtle markings that most people would miss, stood out to you like neon signs that declared the end of one gang's turf, and the beginning of another's.
It was very late - Mother Luna had just risen on the horizon, a glittering arc of silver, but her face was obscured every now and then by cloud cover and the towering buildings. Her subtle song echoed in your mind, mysterious and alluring, whispering secret wisdoms in your ear, only too quiet for you to make out.
It was another four blocks before the city began to fade again and the suburbs surrounding the University began to appear. The entire time you jogged, you heard the howls continue. Whatever prey was being hunted, it was avoiding its pursuers quite well. But you got the feeling that the hunt was coming to a close.
Jogging is good, moving. It keeps Kamau loose, fluid. He feels like a machine, ligaments pulled by bundles of fiber and swinging bones around like pistons and levers. He's not even close to tired, just focused on the workings going on. It's amazing. Not even the flashing territory markers driving warnings into his animal brain, or the dread of seeing first tongue runes hidden, lodged in the graffiti like bite marks claiming a carcass registered completely. They were claws of vaporous ideas that would catch up later, but not now. Not while moving.
But the howls...
The wolf mind could ignore human trappings, like tiredness or expectation. There was a chase; you moved or you died. The end. The howls broke that, shattered the concentration into a million million glass shards, forcing man and beast to stop, to think. Prey, Close. Close in, Kill! That gets Kamau's attention. There's no way he can get there in time on foot.
"Alright, scope the scene." He mutters in a rare slip of presence. Downtown, closer buildings. Older. Stoops, patio stairs, big brick and mortar monuments to comfortable herd living. But there were always shadows for predators who knew to look. Kamau runs into an alley like he owns it, sliding to the deepest shadows once he knows he's alone. The sweater comes off, then jersey, T-shirt. Then the shoes. Socks get bundled into each faded sneaker, boxers chucked down. Looking at everything, the young gangster is glad he didn't pack heavy. Brushing a few stray locks back into place behind his ears, he quickly bundles his clothes into the center of the sweater, stuffs his shoes into the pocket, rolls as much into his hood as he can before using the sleeves and the drawstrings to make a makeshift backpack.
"And now the hard part..."
It was a lie, of course. After the first change everything just made so much sense, the dreams, their contents, his sense of otherness. Changing was easier than it should have been, even for a newborn cub like himself. That's what worries him.
Kamau stands exposed, buck-naked to the world, arms stretched wide and eyes closed as the change to urhan takes him, pack securely if awkwardly affixed like a saddle blanket. There is a scrabble of claws on the stone and the hollow plastic clinking of beads as some fall lose from his once-dreadlocks, and Kamau the wolf runs like a wild dog the rest of his trip.
The world came alive as you ran through the deserted city. Your senses seemed to explode with new sights and sounds and smells, but none of that mattered at the moment. What mattered was the hunt. A new sound had entered into the symphony on predator and prey: a human scream.
You dashed down a narrow street, squat, one story houses on each side. The lawns were untrimmed, the trees and bushes overgrown and wild. The paint was peeling on most of them - college houses, where students with rich parents lived once they did their time in the dorms. At the end of the street was a larger main road, with a park on the other side. The field was open with few trees, but the left side was wild and tangled as the various plants waged a glacier-speed war with one another over the rights to the banks of the small creek that flowed by.
You could smell them now - Uratha, that scent unmistakeable. There was an old SUV overturned at the edge of the park, the doors flung wide by passengers desperate to escape. And in the middle of the field, halfway to a series of low concrete buildings, was where the hunt had come to and end.
Three humans shivered and shook, their backs together, as a pack of five circled them, braying and howling with glee at their success. Three of that pack wore the Urshul, out in full view of anyone who might be looking.
Kamau clips out a vulgar snarl. Plain damn sight, that's got to be against a rule or something. That oath the tribes took, right?
Still, the scene makes him pause. Wolves on a hunt, right? In their own territory, that's a natural as it gets. Some part, a large part, instinctively shies away from interference - He is the interloper. He is the Outsider. But then... Humans. "Cannibalism, that's not right, wolf or no. 'dog eat dog' is an aphorism, man."
Surprise and aggression. Once a fight starts you stick it out, keep your cool. Play safe, play smart, play to win. But when starting a fight, surprise and aggression rule the day. Shrugging off his sweater-pack, wriggling out of the drawstrings like a dog pulling off a cone, Kamau slinks closer, waiting for one of the Urshul to circle its back to him. Might not be half as big, but Kamau is fast, and speed was more important than weight right? Something about kinetic power and... Shoot, no time for that high school bullshoot now, lives are on the line. This is no time for dissent. This is time to put on your game face.
His claws flex, his hind waves an sinks, locking powerful sprinting muscle into place, tense and coiled. The visionary licks his teeth, gleaming bright and sharp, far sharper than any normal hound's teeth, before launching like an intercontinental rocket. At the last moment he snarls out a sharp bark, sliding into a throaty warning growl, intent clear; ""
The wolves were too focused on their prey, at laughing at the terror that the Lunacy was wreaking on their helpless minds, to notice you dash across the grass. Your target tensed at the last moment before you pounced, sensing your approach, but by then, it was much too late. You struck her right in the back, your teeth closing around the back of her neck. You tasted hot blood, and the wild, electric energy of Uratha essence as your bit down.
Your momentum, however, carried you over your target, flipping you into the circle and tearing your teeth away from your prey before you could bite down hard enough to bring her down. The result was a grisly wound, but not life-threatening. Least of all for an Uratha.
Your sudden appearance had an instant effect on the wolves that surrounded you. They stopped circling and tensed, their eyes fixed on you. The humans took the opportunity to flee.
One however, the lone female, hesitated a moment. "We have to help him!" she pleaded with her companions.
"We can't, just run!" One of the males grabbed her by the wrist and pulled her along, and after sparing a single glance back towards you, followed his advice and ran as fast as she could.
"Help Him"? Oh damn, either this kid was a bleeding heart, or knew something she wasn't supposed to know. Did Kamau Just get involved in a dispute between Imru without realizing it?
No changing it now. But if anything made a guy feel like he really earned that nuzusul slur, this was it. No backing out now. Standing himself in that ring of violence, Kamau turns to regard the fleeing 'humans' with his newfound senses, pulling in their air and rolling it around, letting his eyes scar over to the flesh side, hoping to catch marks of renown... Or better, their lack. All the while the wolf's posture, his mannerisms generating a sense of danger, mystery. A lone wolf in the circle of vicious hunters, with not a damn care in the world... He hopes the doubt will keep the pack from ripping out his throat for at least a few seconds.
You tested the air, but as far as you could tell, the fleeing shapes were simply Herd. The third shape was fleeing in abject terror, like you had heard the Lunacy tended to do, and even the girl seemed to be barely hanging onto her sanity.
You strained you eyes, flexing the spiritual muscle that allowed you to peer across the Gauntlet. You felt the odd itching sensation as the Spirit World opened up before you. You could see a cloud of tiny, black, many-legged insect-like spirits that trailed silver flecks streaking off in the direction of the kids, but otherwise, there was nothing of too much note.
As your vision faded back to the world of flesh, you saw the pack circling you warily. Although they had you outnumbered, they seemed wary. They tested the air, searching for something.
"[He's alone...]" one of the wolves said. He turned to grin at you. "[You've made a deadly mistake, traitor!]"
["Traitor."]Kamau snorts the word. It is a statement, not a question. ["When was I a cannibal murderer I wonder? Must have slipped my mind."] His voice catches in a lupine growl, rolling a challenge. ["You got game to back up that swagger, dog?"]
Kamau sits on his haunches - almost. He may be cocky but he is also aware that unless he is the next Samuel L. Jackson he is unlikely to enjoy being hit by a pack of pissed wolves with human intelligence. As inconspicuously as possible, the young nuzusul gets his legs in gear for a mad dash, and looks at the circling Pack. There has to be a weak point, someone less observant, too cocky, maybe off balance or mid-stride...
Yeah, I ain't that much a bad-ass mother****er yet.
["I'll tell you what. Why don't we make this fun? Instead of just me sending you home to Urfarah with your tails tucked, why don't we play -- TAG!"]
With a roar and a spring, Kamau-wolf drops his front legs, torques and leaps at his challenger mid-step, intent to spring off the wolf's face over his packmate to Kamau's left - the one which had begun to slink up to his flank almost unnoticed during his exchange.
Its time for a merry old chase! ...Unless one of them is able to snap him out of the air or hamstring the young banger.
As you watched them circle you, you noticed that most of them seemed less at ease with their wolven forms. The alpha, and the one you assumed was beta, were both moving naturally and fluidly, but the others seemed less certian. New Changes, perhaps?
You saw your opening when the wolf you had attacked circled around to in front of you once more. She was distracted by the wound, rolling her shoulders and head, trying to encourage it to heal faster.
She never saw your leap coming. She yelped and toppled over, giving you as much of a gap in their ring as you could hope for.
"[Forsaken bitch!]" The alpha roared, and he dashed after you, his frame exploding into the Urshul without breaking stride. "[We're gonna make you beg to your mommy to make the pain stop!]"
You were facing into the park. Where should you go? The river, try to get lost in the foliage? On the other side of the park was more commercial housing, maybe you could try to make it there? There was a lot of open grass though, and that would lead them in the direction their original prey. Whatever you chose, however, you had to make a decision, fast.
Kamau growls. We'll see who's cryin'. His banked anger flares at the insult. Here these punks are hunting something as soft as humans for sport, and they have the darn gall to think he is the weak one? Please. Buncha bitches probably haven't--!
No. No time for that now. The building fires cool to a simmer, and Kamau floats on the smoke from his cooled furor in a tight spiral. See a bunch of heavy sprinting urshul corner like this!
Making a tight swing around left, the young prophet banks past the barely-missing, gnashing fangs of his startled pursuers and heads straight for the overturned SUV, paws smacking up browned green blades of wet grass, the smell of hay and chlorophyll rising. He has to fight his instincts for a moment, to turn and fight, to bite, gnash, thrash. He could tear out the weak one's throat before he went down, and already he tasted hot blood and the rush of the hunt. But today was a day for quick thinking.
The pure pack is gaining, Kamau feels it. He can't explain it, but he knows, in the itch around his teeth, the shivering of his fur at the haunches. The urshul were closing by the second, by the yard, and that was the key.
It's like hunting in a way. Kamau is running full on into the underbelly of some mechanical beast, could probably very well tear out its wiry entrails, spewing hot oil and cooling transmission fluid like so much vitae. Instead, at the last moment he jumps. A car is only about five feet wide, an SUV maybe six and a half. It's a tall order, but at his speed he can do it.
There's enough man left for Kamau to land on his front paws and roll, soaking the impact of a hard stop into some bruised ribs, a partially dislocated shoulder. His uratha form already setting to work, tightening sinew like guitar strings, tuning the beast. He waits a heartbeat's span. Another. And on the first half of the third beat, when the hiding wolf is sure his pursuers are mid-air above the very vehicle he hides behind, Kamau bursts out from behind it, running back again towards the park. His body warps as essence pumps into it like adrenaline, legs lengthened mid-stride, tearing up the distance in a predatory lope, Urshul fangs bared in exertion and fury as his beads clack in the wind. Kamau shoots straight through the stragglers, willing to tear apart whichever unlucky Pure-tribe punk thinks they can stand between the Anubian jackalwere and his freedom.
There was only one member of the Pure pack left on the far side of the car; the bitch with the wound on her neck. She yelped as you plowed into her, thrown aside from the unexpected impact.
The collision broke your stride as well, but you recovered quickly. From behind you, you could hear growls of confusion and anger. Your little trick had bought you several precious seconds of time, and now you had the wide open park all to yourself. Plenty of space to run.
Kamau almost breaks stride... Almost. Seemingly limping on his right paw to keep from overbalancing, he continues to pick up speed as he angles back up the hill whence he came, looking, searching...
Behind a low, sparse bush that stank of sap and pheromones where he'd unwittingly snapped some branches prior, Kamau-wolf yanks his bundled sweater-bindle up in his jaws, and continues running. It's awkward, with the weight loose and padded and shifting, banging into his chest like a struggling ewe. It was irritating - no, infuriating - an Kamau could feel his anger surging with supernatural potency. He'd have to stop and either drop the goods, or get dressed, soon. But where? This was the suburbs...
Thinking through the high of such powerful, fluid motion, Kamau distantly remembers some remodeling, some renovations that went wrong. Something about removing grafitti on the drywall and busting a couple pipes? If they were still fixing the place up, it would be near-abandoned at this hour.
Hoping his rumor mill wasn't wrong, or that he wasn't late, Kamau banks towards the houses seeking the damaged ruins of human vainglory.
The Pure pack was still giving chase, but your lead kept you well ahead of them, even when you needed to slow down to grab your clothes. After a couple fo blocks of heavy running, the renovated building came into sight. Heavy tarps flapped in the light breeze across the face, and the smell of drywall, steel, and sawdust assaulted your nostrils as you approached.
With a tentative test of the air, you could smell the Pure female almost as if her fur was shoved right under your nose; the taste of her blood had given you a strong sense of her location. They were close, but not yet within sight.
Kamau whuffs out a sneeze in the heavy detritus cloud, and leaps into one of the heavy, tarped rooms. Dropping his bundle, willing the transformation to take place, psychically forcing his human will over his wolf flesh... No, that wasn't working. He couldn't fight it, he realizes. He has to work with it. One of the subtle cues since the first change that haven't steered him wrong yet.
And it works. It's like clenching his fist before unrolling his fingers, like relaxing and tensing at the same time. Standing, Kamau shivers as the guard hairs rearrange themselves into phantom impulses in a skin no longer mobile enough to rearrange them. He stoops to his package to quickly don what of his clothes he can, body on autopilot from over a decade of dressing himself.
The Cahalith can still taste the lingering licks of blood on his teeth. It's like biting into a steak and then leaving it sitting on the plate, not even chewing or taking the bite out, just leaving teeth marks in the meat. He shivers again, cold fingers tracing his spine. Enjoying biting someone should probably not come with thoughts of food...
But hell, if she's easier to trace from a bite, is that a werewolf thing? Kamau wonders. No one ever told him that. That means a random fight with some uppity wolves could lead to them following him home like stray dogs. It an exciting prospect, too. Letting them get a lick or two, so he can stomp their bones, leave their skulls on spikes outside his apartment. It's the kind of tale being a werewolf was all about, and he grins wickedly in the dim light. But first thing's first.
Kamau adjusts the tongue of his shoe and slips the sweater over his head. He looks around, grabs hold. Feels the warmth and texture of the wood, the muted sawdust odor over everything. With a heave and a twist, and a great crack like thunder building before its orgasmic release, a two by four breaks free from an unfinished wall. Holding it down and behind him and out of sight, Kamau goes to stand in the doorway nearest where the pack – where his first victim, at any rate, whose smell sat in his mind like a beacon – would be showing up. He can taste her air, a sensual stink of fur and fear and rage and sweat and the fetid rankness of outdoor living.
As you waited, tense anticipation sharpening your focus, you became aware of a new sensation. A feeling of a ghostly draft, not against your body, but against your spirit. This was one you had felt before, although only passingly - there was a locus nearby, a gateway to the spirit world.
The smell of the Pure bitch was growing nearer, but you felt like they had slowed down. The hunter in you understood: they knew where you were, but were loathe to go barging into an ambush. If this was their territory, they'd know about the locus. You might have the rest of your pack hiding in the Hisil, waiting to jump them...
Oh, man. That would be the ticket, wouldn't it? Victory, clean and easy. But suddenly, that rage is back, that Rage, and Kamau can feel the capitla letter burning in his blood, bouncing around, cutting away his resolve. How dare they think he would run into their turf, hook them like fish and lead them to a trap? How dare they?! He wasn't some pure flick, living in the dang garbage, tearing down those who did honest work for the Mother Moon over some imagined slight, some haughty sense of pride an epoch gone.
Kamau breathes in and clenches his hand around the wood, inflating as he takes in the air to the near-man form. Tricks were for Irakka, or for honest war, not petty turf squabbles and sins of cannibalism and murder. Hefting the unbalanced wood, the young prophet curls his right hand into a gaff hook, and scrapes away the splintered wood beneath his strengthened nails. There are a few splinters, a lot of pain, but it helps sharpen his focus, and te wounds are gone in moments once he picks them out with his teeth. Now w\that the broken beam has a handle, Kamau jabs it at the ground and begins scraping the pointed tip to a jagged bluntness on the concrete.
Urfarah, he was insulted! Cahalith, whose blood pounds with the glorious stories of a hundred hundred heroes before him, tales of packs and lone forsaken who have done the impossible by dint of their resolve, and these... these mongrel bastard domesticated.... PLOTHOLES think he has to lure them into a gosh-dang trap? Heck, no.
"What's the matter, dog? I thought you were gonna bring the heat? A pack of 'pure' wolves against one forsaken brotha? You scared of drywall, dog? Forgot what bein' human is like?" Kamau walks out of the building, spitting the word pure like he'd bitten into an apple and found a worm. "Why don't you pull your tail out 'tween your legs and step out, discuss this like civilized inhuman monsters?"
And these bastards had the nerve to insult him, too. Insult to injury then. Kamau smiles. "Or you could send out that wounded chica as a peace offering. I'll make up for that rip in her neck, treat her better than y'all can."
The pack had gathered outside, spread thin in front of the renovated house. They had finally taken the Urhan, yielding to the presence of the Herd not far away. A bubbling chorus of growls churned in their throats as you vented your Rage at them.
"[Take him.]" Their alpha commanded. Four dark shapes rushed forwards toward you, pale light gleaming against their eyes and teeth.
You weren't sure what happened. Maybe you weren't expecting them to give to their Rage that quick, expected more posturing before it came down to an actual fight. Maybe you thought their charge was just a bluff. Or maybe they were just too fast, blasting across the cold asphalt like dark missiles. But somehow, they were on top of you before you could even react.
The first Pure leaped up to tackle you, his jaws aiming straight for your neck. With a deft twist, you managed to avoid having your jugular ripped out, and his teeth sank into the meat of your shoulder, instead. There was a gut-wrenching ripping sensation, and the Urhan tore out a large chunk of your flesh. His momentum carried him over you to land sprawled in the wet grass in front of the house.
[Take 1 Lethal damage]
The second, the female you'd wounded in your first strike, tore towards you with fire in her eyes. She came in low, foam dripping from her teeth as she made to disembowl you. Still reeling from avoiding the first strike, your ability to avoid her was comprimised. You felt a searing pain as she tore into your gut, ripping you open.
[Take 5 Lethal damage]
[Roll Resolve + Composure to resist Kuruth]
Rage filled you as the pain flooded your system. You could feel yourself grow hot, the Gauru threatening to explode out of you as waves of Kuruth clawed at your mind. With the locus so near, you could hear the whispering of the spirits hiding behind the Gauntlet, sensing the Rage building, and tensing in fear of it, ready to flee.
The next two wolves dashed in, but the flailing female made it difficult for them to find a target. You could feel them, behind the Rage, tearing at your left leg and right arm.
[Take 1 Lethal damage]
[Take 1 Lethal damage]
Kamau reflexively heals lethal damage. Kamau also fails his roll against kuruth, entering the war form.
When the wolf sinks it's dirty teeth into his shoulder, Kamau grunts – more a hiss really – and starts sliding the two-by-four out from behind his back to ram it down the stinking mongrel's throat. He even keeps his cool when the third and fourth nip at his legs, despite one tearing his pants as it slides it's bloody mouth off him like sucking the sauce off of ribs. But that dang, stupid son of a— !
Kamau is looking down at the pure whelp, still holding his intestines in its jaws, dark red, blood soaked head clashing with the sickly white of her own wound, the strangled meaty pink of his insides and the darker brown-red viscera that was last night's dinner. The essence bleeds out of his reserves, sucking his split abdominals back together, slurping his entrails like spaghetti into ragged, ripped lips. It's obscene. The interstitial fascia weave like a web holding it all in, still pulsing and bleeding through his not-quite-closed skin, and Kamau half wants to just sit and watch in furious shock. It's a heck of a show isn't it?
Then all of a sudden it's like a video game, like he's playing gears of war. His peripheral vision is pulsing, the contrast ramps up and everything is edged in red. And then everything is a shade of red. Pretty soon it's all he can see, red and movement and targets and the Rage pours through him unchecked like river. It pours out of his guts and his face and his entire body, it spills out from under his fingernails and hardens into knife-length talons of blood and fire, it streams from his gums as his overbite erupts into a cartoonish clash of ivory teeth longer than fingers.
The rage pours over and through the young prophet, onto his soul and out his mouth first as a rising scream and then a pitched falsetto howl as he throws his head back, beads jangling on dreadlocks down past his now-massive shoulder blades, now covered in course black-on-black fur as his clothes tear at the seams, falling to rags.
Incoherent, Kamau crushes the flimsy wood of his makeshift club in a clenched fist, and slams his claws into the sides of the she-wolf while she is still licking the taste of his viscera from her chops. His talons flex and dig into her ribs, and hefting her upwards the raging Gauru brings her entire head up to his still roaring mouth, closing his massive jaws over her muzzle, fangs sinking into the flesh and bone of her forehead, her eyes, the beginning of her throat at the larynx. Kamau shakes in his fury like a dog tearing at meat, spraying her blood all over her packmates. And the entire time, don
Deep in his chest, he is screaming. ["DDDIIIIIIIEEE"]
Kamau scores six successes on the attack for a dramatic success.
In your bloody Rage, your teeth cut deep through the flesh of the Pure female. She let loose a keening screech of agony as you tore through her face and throat. That screech rose into a roar of fury and terror as her form writhed and twitched, growing into the Gauru like you. But instead of attacking in return, she turned and fled blindly, crashing into cars parked along the street, leaving horrible dents and triggering blaring alarms and flashing yellow lights.
Seeing your horrible transformation, as well as the deadly wounds you had inflicted on their packmate, the other wolves that surrounded you hesitated to attack. You could smell their indecision and their fear. Two of them surged up into the Urshul, growing into the more powerful form to protect against your fury. The third appeared to make a similar attempt, but his form didn't change. He let out a whine of fear, and trained his eyes on your every motion.
Kamau reflexively heals lethal damage.
Kamau continues to rage, flashes, blobs of color all he can see like blood splashed in his eyes. Golden-amber flashes of essence crackle like lightning through his still-open wounds, sealing them like he is being welded shut.
There's the smell of sweat and blood and fear, a canine Imru stink washed away and diluted to a targeting factor, another pinpoint in the shadow play of enemies, prey.
The wolf instincts take over, modified by the Gauru form, primed for war, for combat rather than hunting. An almost unnaturally keen sense for violence without sense. But the instincts are there, knowing to find the sick, the weak... The small. Braving the unseen claws and teeth of its packmates, small as thorns to the war form, insignificant, Kamau surges forward and down. His teeth flash like lightning, Odin's spear pinning the urhan foe to ground and sawing into the flesh around the creature's neckbones before clamping down trying to paralyze it for the kill.
Kamau scores 5 successes on his bite, for a dramatic success to try and pin his target and prevent it from fleeing on it's next turn.
You barrelled down on top of the tiny Urhan-formed wolf, a rush of seething claw and fur and fang. But he was quick, and his wary stance and nervous focus allowed him just enough time to dart backwards from you, avoiding the brunt of your savage assault.
Unfortunately for him, he wasn't fast enough. You claws hooked him and your jaws tore into his back, leaving tears that would be deadly to any but an Uratha. Your prey struggled to twist away from your grip, but he was weak, and under your power...
Kamau reflexively heals lethal damage.
Kamau fights like a thunderstorm, everything is roiling blackness and sound and fury, the petrichor stink of dust kicked up by a light rain of blood, the deep building growl of the storm god's hammerswing and finally a blisteringly fast roar followed by a crack of bones, as of thunder, following in the wake of lightning-fast frenzy.
Twisting his body beneath himself, Kamau sprnigs upward, arching his spine, twisting*his jaws. The scruffed welp in his teeth flies off the ground with the sheer momentum of it, before gravity catches a up and bears him back down. Kamau's fangs grind along vertebrae and tear through meat and tissue, leaving weeping furrows as his canines scrape along the back of the pure wolf's skull, finding anchor once more.
Kamau inflicts 3 lethal damage in the grapple.
At some point in your frenzy, your prey shrank down beneath your claws and teeth, becoming limp and unresponsive. With the Rage pumping through your veins and casting tis red haze through your vision, you couldn't help but throw your head back and howl with triumph.
The other creatures that had attacked you had already turned and were fleeing in terror of you. They were making noises, looking back towards you with fear plain in their eyes and scent, but they ran, along with a third little creature that had waited a ways off. As if they could escape from your might.
Then your ears pricked at movement above you. Something large was coming to challenge you! Raising your head in fury, you howled a challenge to this unseen attacker and...
You were coming to your senses, but it was hard, as if something was retarding them, making waking up a slow, sluggish process when normally it would be lightning quick. You were Kamou once again. Your memory of the battle was foggy: after that bitch had bitten into you, everything became a long, bloody-red blur.
You were moving, even though you were laying down. There were lots of people around you; you could hear them, smell them. They were shouting, they sounded hurried. And you were strapped down!
Kamau keeps his eyes closed and groans. No sense fighting around now, since it would just cause a fuss. With some effort, he floods his system with whatever ulal it needs. None of his wounds are on the surface, though several bones feel like they want to talk with him in a back alley, maybe with some weighted gloves. He'll just tell the paramedics he got lucky and the words were superficial – well, except for the ones that weren't. Kamau decided to wait and see if he could walk first.
He also decided to listen in on any chatter, since emergency crews showed up to find a naked black youth buried in rubble. With luck, they woul talk about his... Opponents (victims?) within earshot a well.
As you made noise, the paramedics rushing around you began to talk frantically:
"Sir, can you hear me?"
"It's a miracle he's not dead. There aren't even any cuts!"
"Can you move your arms or legs?"
"It looks like there's extensive damage. Get him to radiology!"
The quality of the light around you changed; now flourescent bulbs shone down on you from an off-white ceiling, and you could smell that stinging, sanitized smell that you were familiar with.
Alright. Not so bad.
Kamau inhales, exhales. Not so bad, yet terrible. He's alive, he's mostly unhurt, and these white shirts are wheeling him to a spirit haven, with prey at worst and a locus if he's lucky. But something about being held on a soft gurney, uratha body furiously knitting itself together with a speed that would leave the most open-minded medical professional slack-jawed, and surrounded by the fleshy weakness of the herd think he was one of them, weak and spongy and–! It was infuriating on a primal level. Not like the kuruth, exactly. It was... Insulting. His wolfsoul felt offended at the very thought.
Stranger still, it felt offended at his people – any of his people – being in their soft, grub-like hands. And this is like the death rage, his skin prickling at the thought of humans prodding and examining himself or the wounded Anshega, shaking their heads and tutting their tongues. Concern and pity in their cowpoke eyes. Yeah, not happening.
"GhhhghjkWhere is my friend?" Kamau coughs out some congealing blood with his first words. "My friend by that house. Where are they?"
If ever there's a time to keep your cool, it's when being wheeled into a hospital, passing rooms of sobbing people as beeping equipment. If he is lucky, Kamau thinks, they'll just think he's in shock, give him basic information to keep him focused and calm. If he's luckier, these poor S.O.B.s are burnt out from long hours, shoot pay, and too many civilians doing stupid shoot like being buried under a house, and will just give him the grossly rundown to make him feel stupid and guilty.
There's a slow moment between spaces, after he asks, before they answer, where Kamau wonders exactly what's becoming of his sense of humanity...
"Sir, who's your friend?"
"What'd he say?"
"He said his friend was in the house, too!"
"Sir, we didn't find anyone else in the house. What's your friends name? Can you tell me where he lives? He might need help!"
The jumble of voices, one female EMT who sounded pretty, and two males continued to talk over each other, and other voices, some giving medical directions, others reading off numbers and vitals made the entire situation feel entirely too cramped. The wolf in your soul stirred restlessly, uncomfortable at the closeness of so many others while being so vulnerable.
Kamau is relieved. They didn't find a body, so maybe... But no. No, he can feel it.
Okay, moving on. Focusing. It takes will and effort to calm himself in light of the noise and medicinal stink. Closing his eyes in focus, the young prophet tunes out the paramedics.
10-17-2012, 06:14 AM
"Wake up, you prick!" The harsh female voice snarled as frigid water splashed up against your face.
Your head felt like it was about to explode. No, not just your head - your entire body ached worse than ever before. And yet, strangely, you felt more alive, more vital, than you ever had before.
Your world seemed more vibrant, too: your senses were alive with a flood of odd sensations you had never felt before. You could hear a high-pitched buzzing, which you placed as some sort of electrical device; you could hear a very faint, rhythmic thumping coming from far off. It echoed slightly, like metal.
And you could smell. Oh, how you could smell. But the things your nose was registering were not things that gave you a very good feeling about your situation. You could smell blood. Lots of it, its tangy, coppery scent filled your nostrils. The water; some how it smelled cold. There was something dusty and familiar...rock? Concrete, maybe? Also steel. But the oddest thing was a scent that drove something inside you wild. It smelled like wet dog, somehow without the wet. Your nose focused tightly on that smell. There were three distinct scents, and the sources were very close to you. Standing over you.
Lying on the cold, hard ground, your awakening could not have been more frightening. And with that fear, an anger like nothing you had ever felt came bubbling to the surface, white-hot and potent.
I try to get up.
What's happening? Where Am I? Who are you people?...
I look for my backpack and pocketknife. ****, I'm not gonna lose the knife my dad gave me"
Wait a minute, Where is my stuff? And can somebody tell me what this smell is?
As you shook the fatigue from your eyes, helped along by the freezing water, you noticed several things. First and foremost, you realized that you were naked. Secondly, you were in a small concrete room, with no windows, and only a single metal door the only exit. A naked bulb was the only light source, with a small chain hanging down. Very obvious blood stains marred the uniform grey of the floor. Most of them had faded to reddish brown, but some seemed (and smelled) much fresher.
The most obvious things, however, were the three figures that towered over you. The first was a woman, carrying a steel bucket, wearing faded, torn jeans and a midriff shirt. She had a feral sneer on her face, and her eyes gleamed an odd amber.
Next to her, towering higher than anyone you'd ever met, was a vicious-looking man. His face was stretched, his ears elongated, and his teeth, which you could see through his snarl, were long and sharp. Like a dog's...or a wolf's. He was covered in thick hair, and his arms crossed over his barrel chest. He was wearing jeans as well, and a battered vest open to reveal his rippling muscles. He looked like one of those giant russian bruisers from action movies, but with primal, wolven features.
The third figure, and the most frightening, was an enormous wolf. He (you could somehow smell that he was a he) was as large as a small horse, with his hackles bristling, and his lips pulled back in a feral snarl.
When you sat up and started groggily asking questions, the woman stepped forward and, with a growl, slammed the metal bucket across your face. "You don't get to talk!" She snarled. "F***in' nuzusul, Changin' on our turf! Because of you...!"
A quiet growl from the huge man cut her tirade off. Cowed, she slunk back to stand behind him. Both of them, and the monster wolf, stared at you with impossible intensity.
"Get up." The man said. "Now." There was a power in his voice - you knew, deep in your gut, that this man was above you in some heirarchy that you were intrinsically a part of.
I get up.
You know, I would like some answers on my questions... Abduction is a federal offense and the fact that I'm naked here would indicate a whole host of other legal problems for you.
I slightly bend my knees but keep my arms hanging. If this is going to be a fight I won't be taken that easily... However, it won't do any good to provoke it by bringin up my guard. They each do look a hell of a lot stronger then me, let alone the three of them
As she slammed you across the face, you momentarily felt dizzy, and a wave of nasea at the pain. But, strangely, those sensations faded almost immediately. You could feel your jaw shifting, hear the crackling as the hairline fractures of your bone knitted themsleves back together.
The man that faced didn't acknowledge your questions. Instead, he leaned over towards the giant wolf. "What do you think?"
The wolf began to snarl and spit, emitting a series of growls, barks, and yips. And once again, something you couldn't explain happened: deep down, in that same instinctual place that told you that this man was above you, the sounds made sense, like a feral language you had forgotten you knew you spoke. "[Too scrawny. Plus, we've got a Half Moon already. It's not like we need two Judges."
"We might, if you keep pissing off all the spirits we meet, Bowie!" The woman chuckled, a wild glee in her voice.
The man shot her a stern look, however, and she immediately became more serious. "So what, we dump him at ungin? That new Rahu from last time was gonna be Suthar Anzuth. We could do a swap."
WHOA! What the **** *******! You could have let me figure out that I have healing superpowers in a different way. And since when can we humans communicate with animals?
Some crazy **** is happening. I still don't know where I am, who they are and what the **** is happening. Anyway, i will not be hit without repercussions
hey old man!
Hits the person who hit me back in an all out attack(brawl)
rolls: bloody, forgot closing tags :D
all out attack 3[brawl]+2[allout]
1st (substract defense): [roll0]
2nd (10-again): [roll1]
I will not be smacked around and let it slide. I will have some bloody ANSWERS to my bloody QUESTIONS!
As you lunged forward, the giant wolf tensed to leap, but the man in front of you stood his ground. As your fist approached, he almost calmly reached out and grabbed your arm, stopping your strike inches from his face. He was tremendously strong.
For a brief mooment, you were both still, and then he let go and jabbed forwards with his other arm, socking you square in the gut.
But this was no normal punch. In addition to his tremendous strength, you felt the impact reverberate inside you, causing an intense wave of pain, something you wouldn't have expected from a normal blunt impact.
[Martin takes 4 Lethal damage]
[Roll Resolve + Stamina - 2 to not fall to your knees; if you want to!]
Ok, clearly these guys are way out of my league. and what did that guy do to me? I feel like he punched right through me... maybe it's better to cath my breath and do that superhealing trick again.
Holy ****... *pant*
What did you do to me? No blood, but somehow I feel you punched a hole through me...
Who are you people!
You don't have anything to do with the disappearance of my father do you?
"[Heh, maybe I was wrong!]" The giant wolf chuckled in that odd, growling language. Then, without warning, his body began to shift. Bones cracked, skin slithered, and hair retracted, and within a few seconds, in his place stood a normal-looking man, barely a couple years older than you. He was of African descent, but his skin was a light brown, possibly indicating some mixed heritage. He wore a plain red shirt that seemed to be made of some fine material, maybe silk. He was wearing black slacks and shiny shoes, and his middle-length hair was slicked back. An odd look, but of course, you had just seen him looking like a giant wolf, so odd was a relative term. "Maybe he's got Fenris's touch after all."
"Nah, he seems more like some Iminir bitch to me," the woman said, putting her hands on her hips and studying you critically. "He's got that whole, 'You're beating me up, but I'm still better than you!' thing going."
They were ignoring you, completely unafraid, preferring to continue their confusing conversation about you instead of answering your questions.
It made you mad - an anger like nothing you'd ever felt began to boil and drum against your skull.
GAH!... are you guys deaf or something? I fall to my knees and put my hands to my head
Head... Splitting... RAAAAH!
Your head seemed about ready to explode with all the anger that swarmed through you.
And then it did. Only instead of a splash of gore, it pushed out. a buzz of silver energy, like lightning in your veins, reacted with your overwhelming fury, and your face extended into a muzzle. An itching, like the pins and needles of your limbs being asleep spread across your body, and you could feel hair sprouting at an incredible rate. Your body seemed to swell as the terrible RAGE filled you. Your hands and feet twisted, becoming paw-like, with wicked claws tipping your digits. A tail shot out from the bottem of your spine, and your senses burned with information that you hadn't noticed before.
And the terrible Rage took a hold of you, overwhelimg your mind with one simple thought: KILL!
TALK. TO. ME. HELP. ME.
Struggling through the rage clouding your mind, you were able to gasp out your plea. Your voice was deep and rumbling, and your mouth and tongue had difficulty making those human noises, when they were much more suited to barks and howls.
The change also had an immediate effect on the other standing in the room with you. The woman and the wolf-turned-man both immediately seemed to be overcome with a change as well, and they grew into shapes similar to that of their leader - large, hairy, with the vestige of wolven features about their faces. Somehow, their clothes shifted with them, growing to accomodate their larger, more muscular frames. But still you now towered over them, several inches higher thant he tallest among them. The woman scambed in her pocket, and came up with a small, brass key. All of them were focused directly on you, an animal intensity in their eyes.
"Okay, you got it," the young black man said, stepping so as to be in front of the others. All of them were still slowly retreating towards the door however. "You just have to let the Rage go. Let it flow out of you, and let yourself slide back into your...human skin. You remember what that body feels like, right? Just look for that, let the Rage go, and just..." He gave a big, exaggerated exhale, obviously looking for you to mimic him.
I close my eyes and I breathe. In. Out. meanwhile I try to focus on how I look. I try to picture my family photos.
...I smell a pugnent smell, unknown what it is
My picture I envision isn't exactly perfect. The eyes seem to be distorted slightly, my features sharper, my nails longer... it seems almost as if the smell interferes with the mental picture, calling up bloodlust or something or an eagerness to hunt...
I focus on restoring those... ...unusual... ...features.
...suddenly I imagine myself shrinking, my bones twisting and turning...
...the claws slowly retreating...
in. the smell is still there...
I open my eyes
When your eyes opened, you were back to your normal height. Your body felt normal, too; no fur, no tail, no muzzle with fangs. The three people in front of you were also normal looking once more, even their leader, who looked perfectly human for the first time. He was still tall, muscular, and imposing, but he no longer towered over you.
"Okay," He said. "Let's take you upstairs and get you some clothes. We've got some things to explain to you, and most of 'em will be pretty tough to hear."
The woman stalked over to the door, dropping the metal bucket with a *CLANG!* along the way. It rolled on its base for a few seconds before coming to a stop, the sound of metal on concrete grating to your ears. Everything was still too loud. She took the key she had drawn and unlocked the single door. Pulling it open, you saw a short metal staircase leading up to the underside of a trapdoor.
The woman stood aside, waiting for the leader and the well-dressed black man to pass through first, before moving to follow them. She cast you back a glance that clearly said, 'Are you coming?'
I follow the woman
hm... maybe I should hold off on the questions before it happens again, whatever it was...
I try to take in my surroundings. I try to hear and smell the evironment past the concrete.
Apparently what just happened was pretty serious, it's awefully quiet now and they all stared at me in shock. I wonder what comes next and after the answers...
The trapdoor was in the floor of a small house, a heavy rug trown to the side next to it, indicating that it was normally covered up. Outside, you could hear the rush of cars on some major road, the occasional blare of a horn as drivers jockeyed for who would get to their daily incarceration first. You were in the basement, in a small, windowless room. On one side, you could see the underside of a staircase. The room itself was basically empty, besides a small, wooden chair.
The gang led you out the only door, into a sitting room. There were a pair of couches and two chairs, arranged around a large wooden stand that encompassed a TV and several videogame systems. The furniture was old and ratty, like they had bought it cheap at some second-hand pace. The walls were covered in posters - various bands: rock, heavy metal, rap. Two small windows positioned near the ceiling let in sunlight.
As you emerged into the sitting room and the members of your abdutor group threw themselves down on the couches (except their leader - he remained standing), you noticed two things. The first was a ghostly wind, like someone had left a window open, and the thin curtains were brushing around you. Only, nothing was moving. And you couldn't feel it on your body...The second thing, though, was that there were the scents of five people in this room. Three of them were those of the people around you, but the other two - they were faded, difficult to make out. The people who owned them hadn't been there in weeks.
I sit down in a chair.
So, what's going on?
OK, here goes, maybe I can finally find out what is going on.
The moment you sat down, the woman began to growl, the sound so low it was felt more than heard. "That's Razor's seat..." She threatened.
"Give it a rest, Dagger," the leader of the group warned, giving her a glance. For a moment, they seemed to be talking with their eyes, a subtle form of sign language, perhaps, but the woman, Dagger, eased back from her aggressive posture. She was still watching you closely, however.
In truth, you could smell it yourself. The chair you'd sat in only had the smell of one person, that same canine smell that these people shared. Only the scent was faded - the owner hadn't been here in a while.
"Rapier, go get him some clothes," the leader said gruffly. "Normal clothes, none of that formal **** you wear," he added as the young black man stood up and moved across the room. He went through a door that was down a short hallway, and reemerged a few moments later with some clothing: a plain T-shirt, some boxers, and some loose, faded jeans.
"I guess now I knkow why I was still keeping this stuff," he remarked, wrinkling his nose at the horribly unfashionable mix.
The clothes were dumped on your lap, and the young man took his spot back on the L-shaped couch in the corner.
"Now, here's what's gonna happen," their leader said sternly, glaring at you. "You're gonna get dressed, and you're gonna listen to what I have to tell you, quietly. We've got some heavy truths to lay on you, and I won't have you interrupting me. Got it?"
I stand up
I put on the clothes
Yeah, I got it. no interrupting.
I sit in the chair again
the owner seems to have been away for some time, I guess he won't mind. let's ask where he is after all this is over
Now, let's see what they have to tell me...
"Here's the deal," he began. "You're not human anymore. You're a werewolf. Uratha is what we call ourselves. You weren't bit, you were born like this."
Then, he began to tell you the stories. It was surprising, but despite his stern face and serious demenor, he was an excellent story teller. His words were deep and rhythmic, almost like a slow, beating rap song. Laced with meaning. He wove them incredibly well - he told you of the true history of the world, how your People were the children of the Moon and some ancient hunter spirit called Urfarah - Father Wolf. He explain that you were half a spirit and half a physical being. He told of the sundering of the first pack into those who killed Urfarah to uphold his mantle, and those who fled that duty, yet still called themselves Pure. And he told you about the five tribes, and the great spirits that they followed.
"So, this is how things are going to go," he finished. "We're the Red Daggers, the only pack of Blood Talons in this city. We...lost two of our own recently. We were out for revenge when you Changed. And, to keep the Pure from getting their filthy paws on you, we had to stop doing what we were doing to keep you safe.
"What that all means is, you owe us your life, in ways you can't even imagine yet. You're gonna run with us for now. You'll learn by watching, you'll learn by listening, and you'll learn by doing. There's a meeting in a couple days - ungin, we call it. We'll take you there, and then you'll have a choice of which tribe to join. If the Scar-Man thinks you've got what it takes to be a Blood Talon, you can stick with us. Otherwise, you'll go with another pack."
He leaned in close, putting his face right in front of yours. The instinctual heirarchy made it very difficult for you to meet his gaze. "Or, you can feel free to go right now, if you feel like you can figure all this out yourself. But I'd bet a whole lot that you wouldn't make it the few days until ungin all alone."
He stood back, arms crossed in front of you. "What's it going to be?"
Ah... That, ehm, chages a lot. But you guys seem to have gotten the hang of it and thinking of what happened earlier I 'd like to walk with you guys.
I'd almost not believe it save for what happened earlier. If I stick with these guys (at least for now), I might get this under control so I can maybe do something with it.
Is it ok to ask questions now? I mean apart from the fact that a whole host of new questions has arised I still want to know where this is and where my stuff is. Like my pocketknife...
Pleaseohpleaseohplease don't get mad and smack me again. Please just answer my question and tell me you've found my knife
"Dunno where your sh** is," Rapier said. "We found you like you were when you woke up. Where do you last remember being? Clothes and stuff in your pockets are usually the first to go during a Change."
I try to lift the fog of my memory of the night before. Suddenly I remember the furniture flying around and scratches on the wall, almost like nailmarks
could I have been wrecking my room like this morning?
I don't know. last thing I remember is... *ahem* redecorating *ahem* my room in a... *ahem*... radical way... *ahem*. After that things are like foggy memories at best.
Where did you find me anyway? maybe it's the best point to start backtracking my stuff, or at least picking up a trail.
"Makes sense," Rapier agreed. "A lot of First Changes start like that." He glanced over at his leader.
He sighed. "Okay. Dagger, take the kid out and show him where we found him. Help him retrace his steps."
Dagger let out a rfustrated sound of protest, but a fierce glare from the leader cut off anything she migt have been about to say.
"Fine," she snapped curtly. She stood up and headed for the stairs. "Hurry up," she snapped back at you.
I follow after Dagger.
How did you come by the name dagger?
I try and keep up...
"Ugh, do you ever stop asking questions?" She asked aggressively. She was very quick; it was hard for you to keep up as she ascended the stairs, slipped through the hallways of the ground floor (what you could see of the rest of their house looked pretty much the same; used furniture, passingly maintained appliances) and out the front door into the mid-morning air.
She did, however, answer your question. "It's my deed name. We all get one from the elders when we join our tribe. My full name is Daggertooth. Everyone in our pack is named after a blade of some kind."
The sun was just starting to peek up over the houses. It looked like the pack was living amongst the small residential houses near the university campus. It made sense, in a way: no one would question a bunch of different people living together in a place like this near the university. Students did it all the time.
Dagger led you to the rusty old van that was parked on the curb outside. It looked very old and quite sketchy; you wouldn't have been surprised to find a "FREE CANDY" sign affixed to its side. It was covered in dents, and the original sky blue paint was faded and chipped. You also noticed several long gouges that could only have been made by giant claws. The sight of those claw marks sent a urgent signal to your brain: 'This is ours. Tresspass at your own peril.'
so, a deedname huh, interesting.
yeah, sorry if I ask too many questions, It's just that this whole being a werewolf thing is new to me and I don't really feel comfortable when stuff happens that i know nothing about. It's just how my curiosity works I guess...
You told me I'm a half-moon what kind of significance does that have? Isn't the one werewolf almost equal to the other?
The two of you got into the van, and Dagger dug out another key ring from her pockets. She inserted metal shard into the ignition and the van sputtered to life. It souded like it was dying, and the muffler was definitely on its way out.
She put the van into gear, and directed it out of the neighborhood and into the main flow of traffic. Dagger was an aggressive driver: she worked the pedals and the gear-shift with vicious motions, and she accelerated strongly and didn't brake until the last possible moment. As she turned onto the first big street, South Main, you were able to orient yourself as to where you were - you weren't far from your house, maybe two miles at most.
As she drove, Dagger answered your questions. You got the feeling, however, that she was doing so only to keep you from talking more. "The moon you first Change under is called your auspice. Mother Luna chooses it for you, based on which of Urfarah's traditional roles you're best fit for. Elodoth like you are called Judges - your job is to keep the spirits in line, make sure that everything is all balanced. Rapier's Elodoth. Me and Bowie are Cahalith."
She curtly explained the five auspices to you, their roles and abilities. "It's not about equality. Uratha know that that human sh** is just a pipe dream. Nothing is equal. That doesn't mean that it's dog-eat-dog, though. 'The Low honor the High; the High respect the Low.' It's part of the Oath. We may not be equal, but we repect those we're above."
nice, something about justice is apparently in my blood. good to know that i was on the right track with my studies.
"Why did you call me an iminir? It feels as if I know this word meaning to be winter something, but you said it like it was some kind insult.
And you said you were going to trade me away at some event. How does that work? I mean , I know how social protocols work for humans. Like justicial matters, political gatherings, social events (the posh ones). But how do Uratha discuss these matters?
"Iminir is one of the tribes. We got five of 'em, and our pack only accepts Blood Talons. You'll have to choose what tribe you want to join, but if you don't choose to be a Talon, you can't stay. So we're taking you to ungin, where you'll meet all the other packs in the area, see if our elder wants to take you on. If not, you'll have to run with someone else.
"Or go it alone, but that's a damn sure way to get killed."
She pulled the van into a side street, with low houses on one end, and a row of dingy grey apartments on the other. "Okay, no more questions. We're here." Dagger slid the van in between two other cars, parallel parking much better and quicker than you would have expected with such a large, old vehicle. She slipped between the driver's and passenger's seat, into the van's mostly empty back.
"Get out. Give me a couple seconds, then open the door," she instructed, pointing at the sliding door along the van's side.
I get out. I take a look around to see if anything is familiar or jogs my memory.
Now I'm a wolf maybe I should try to use my scent more. It's said canines have way more sensitivity when smelling instead of seeing. hearing too, but I guess my knife doesn't make sounds on it's own and I wouldnt recognise them. No, smell it is. So let's see, it should smell like me since I always carry it with me and like metal since the blade is made from stainless steel.
I try to smell for metal and my own scent. See if I can trace my knife or other stuff that's mine.
Oh, and the handle is wood and bone... See if I can identify those smells
I try to smell wood and bone in combination with the other 2 characteristics.
I should probably open the door now since a couple of seconds have passed. Or Dagger will wack me around again
I open the side door of the van.
Lead the way...
Your test of your new senses gave you several surprises: you could smell the grass, even though it hadn't recently been cut. The trees, the rabbits and squirrels that were hiding nearby, the fact that three different dogs and nearly a dozen different humans had come by here recently. But you couldn't smell your knife.
You opened the door, and a different Dagger jumped out. She was a lean and well-muscled wolf with a sandy brown pelt, just like her hair. Her amber eyes spared you a glance, and then she set to work, nose to the ground, tracking your scent.
"" she reported quietly, in that odd primal language. "[Give me some blood, it'll help bring out what the rain washed away.]"
Blood? I guess... I have nothing to cut with though...
I look around for something sharp. Nothing not tetanus inducing seems to be around, so I bite my thumb until some blood appears.
Here. Blood, and now?
The little cut you managed to draw in your thumb bleed a few drops, and then sealed up completely, looking brand new.
Dagger snorted. "[I need to taste it to track.]"
Well, let's get going then. Should I turn into a wolf too? And if so, How do I do that?
[I]While we're at it, it would be best to start cotrolling this stuff asap. I can'tlose my patience again. that rage the last time was horrible. I hope that will never happen again. I will not be manipulated into some wild beast.
The brown wolf licked your finger, taking the blood onto her tongue, and then returning her nose to the ground with renewed vigor.
That was, until you asked your question. She turned to look at you, her amber eyes somehow displaying her incredulity. "[Really? You think the Herd will take two wolves wandering through a neighborhood too well? Having a "human" around makes us look more credible. Besides, Bowie told me to help you find your stuff, not teach you. We'll show you how that all works later.]"
Ah, I see, so the humans will just think you're a big dog? No offense meant...
Damnit, I gotta have more patience if I want to survivie in this world of Uratha. So first my knife, and then we'll talk teachings.
I follow Dagger. I start to frown as I remember the day dad was gone.
It was just that he was gone one morning. He had left a note ofcourse, but everyone knows that doesn't solve anything. He had written a note for me and my mom, seperate. My mom had not let me read hers. Even to this day I don't know what was in there. My note was different. It was enclosed with his knife. it read the following:
Sadly I must leave you and your mom. It not something I can explain at the moment, neither is it something you should know. Though there is a good chance you will see me again, it won't be for some time yet, that is if my suspicions are confirmed. I leave you my knife since I have never had need of it anyway andyou will understand why (but I got it form my fater so...) Take good care of it and don't forget the lessons I taught you. They may be of use in the future. Take good care of yourself and your mother and respect your prey.
Dad always was a huntsman. He was a gamekeeper for the woods and often took me there to learn hunting and stalking around the woods. At my 14th birthday he gave me my rite of passage. he said that I was to survive in the woods for 2 days. Mom thought it was silly, but it wasn't. It was dead serious. dad was there but he was only there to observe. I had to make my own fire, hunt my own prey, everything. he did lend me my knife though. Funny. Now I think about it my dad always got a little bit more feral when we went into the woods. I thought it was silly at the time and that it was only a trick of the light at the time but he must have been uratha too...
I start grinning while following Dagger.
I will get that knife back. Whether I need it or not.
Lost in thought, you follow Dagger as she trailed your scent, from a broken and badly damaged street lamp, through the small neighborhood. The pack lived pretty close to you, actually. Which made sense, if you thought about it: they found you on their territory, which wouldn't extend too far. You recognized the streets you had wandered down, and Dagger led you on a meandering path that ended at the side of your house.
"" she said, looking up the side. Your window on the second floor was blown out, the glass sprinkled across the lawn. "[Your house, I hope.]"
though I remember it a bit differently then it is now. that window on the second floor for instance hadn't shattered.
See if I can get inside...
I try to go inside. the door is locked.
Stay here, I'll climb upstairs and open the door from inside
I climb the drainpipe to the second floor. Upon reaching the balcony I look around for glass and things that don't belong on a normal balcony. [I]some of the things that are obvious are clawmarks, bits of plaster, glass and blood. Some of the glass still in the window too have blood on them. Obviously someone (or something, Uratha do exist now) wanted to get out as shown by the glass laying outside. also the tracks made by claws point outward.
I climb inside, careful to not get cut or ripping my clothes. and I notice that whatever my room looked like before, it didn't now.
I walk to the front door and open it.
None of your house-mates were around; most likey, they were all at classes, or otherwise occupied.
That was lucky, especially as explaining what had happened in your room last night would have been difficult.
Dagger! Come in!
Welcome to cases de me!
Meanwhile I get a bathrobe and put it down in sight.
I don't know if she wants to change back to Hisil, but if she wants she can at least wear this robe...
I start looking through the mess. here and there I see bits of fur as if they are ripped out. I also see that someone has tried to move couches and the table around in an attempt to make it fit properly. the only problem is that both have teeth and clawmarks riddled all over them. or are smashed. O are lopsided.
I start cleaning the mess a bit to create some order in the chaos.
I can better start cleaning up a bit, else I won't find anything in this warzone...
As you began to pick through the remnants of your room, you began to notice a strange scent. Everything smelled much stronger than you remembered, and you felt cozy and comfortable here, surrounded by the scent of you. But this was different. It had a ghostly, woodsy smell, as well as smelling like darkness. Somehow. What did darkness smell like? It was indescribable in any language you could think of.
Dagger slipped into the room, glancing around alertly. She was back in her human form, and somehow had the clothes she had been wearing earlier. How had she done that? She hadn't been carrying anything with her, and a wolf wearing clothes would have been pretty obvious.
She gave an exploratory sniff. "Hey, why do you have a fetish in here?"
A what? Please tell me that doesnt mean for you what it does for normal humans...
A fetish... what the hell is that? An how dd she get her clothes back? They were like in the van or something?
I start moving towards the dark smell.
She scoffed at you. "No, a fetish is an object with a spirit bound inside. The spirit gets a permanent home, and we get to use their powers for our benefit. Everybody wins. Well, usually. Some spirits don't like being bound into fetishes..."
As she spoke, she continued to sniff about, searching for the source of the scent. As you followed the strange smell you had detected, it soon became obvious you were both looking for the same thing.
"Fetishes stink of the Hisil, you can't really get the smell of spirits off of something once it gets on."
Dagger kicked aside the shreds of some clothes, and bend down to pick something up. "Aha!" She declared, holding it up and giving a final sniff. "Here it is!"
She was holding your knife.
it was only my fathers knife. it never did anything special. At least I think it never did anything special. or is a fetish something that only a specific person can use?
But that would mean, no it doesn't mean anything. the knife always was just that: a hunting knife. Never more, never less. I kept it sharp, and sued it while hiking as well as a remembrance to my father.
I walk up to Dagger and take the knife. I study it for a while and flick it open...
As you opened you knife, that odd smell of darkness worked its way into your nostrils. It was strong, and unlike anything you could have imagined. You could also feel, for the first time, a presence resting within the knife.
"Anyone can use a fetish, unless it's specifically made to not be useable by others." Dagger said. She seemed angry that you had so unceremoniously taken the knife from her, even though it was yours. "I'm not really that good with 'em, though. I can use 'em, but I don't really have the skills to talk to the spirit and figure out what they do. You'll have to find an Ithaeur or a Bone Shadow at ungin to help you."
She looked around. "Okay, you got your precious knife, grab some clothes and your toothbrush and whatever else you need and let's go."
I close the knife and put it into my pocket.
So, I have, like, a spirit in my pocket
I get my traveling bag (one of those northface backpack thingies), stuff it with all kinds of clothes, and other stuff liek toiletries, cables for phone, hiking gear and walk towards the door.
Why did my dad wanted me to have this? Why me? Why a spirit in a knife? I get the feeling there is some really logical answer to this, but I can't see the picture just yet...
I write on the whiteboard in the hall:
"gone hiking for a week, I'll be back before midterms. Good Hunting!
OK, I'm ready, let's go.
I walk towards the door, cast a glance back to my room. It looks like a mess as if some rival frat trashed the place. I lock the door.
if my dormmates ask for it I'll say I know nothing about it and make up some sort of story of a rival frat pushing us around. Might even get some cred out of this, we freshmen were due some cred anyway... For now, learning how to be a wolf and anything inbetween. Oh, and when I can I need to get this knife checked out by the Ithaeur guy.
Oh, and before you ask, students have deednames as well.
I flash a grin towards Dagger, lock my roomdoor, and open the front door.
My lady, after you...
I follow Dagger out of the house and towards the van.
10-17-2012, 06:15 AM
Slowly, you drifted back into consciousness. Your senses began to engage once more, and they couldn't have seemed more foreign. Smells were sharper, sounds more acute. You could tell that you were lying on a cold stone floor, covered with a light layer of dust.
Disturbingly, you were naked. Something small, warm, and furry was curled up next to you, sharing with you a small measure of warmth.
There was another sensation, unlike any you had felt before. It was as though a ghostly wind was blowing past you, like you were being caressed by thin drapes disturbed by the draft of an open window, but you couldn't feel it on your skin. Your exposed flesh registered still, stifling air; this otherworldly breeze was felt against some entirely other part of you.
The first thing Mireille became aware of was cold. Not just any cold, but a weird unsettling chill she never felt before. Cold she thought as consciousness came back to her. I don’t remember falling asleep she wondered while reaching for a nonexistent blanket to shield her from the cold. Rough stone was the only thing her hand could find though.
This isn’t my bed she thought with a small knot of panic starting to form in her stomach. Slowly she raised herself up, rubbing her eyes fiercely trying to remove the last cobwebs of sleep that still lingered in them. Sitting upright and looking around the room she felt something bristle against her leg. A small ball of spotted fur lay against her leg.
Two thoughts flashed through her mind. The cub! was the first one and was quickly followed by Where are my clothes? Red blotches started to form on her cheeks as she suddenly became very aware of her nakedness. What happened? she asked herself with rising panic. Then suddenly it came back to her: the graveyard and pairs of burning red beads surrounding her from all sides. Overtaken by the vivid memories she pulled her knees up to her chest and started to quietly sob in fear.
Your concern wasn't lessened by where you found yourself. You were inside a mausoleum. Behind you, a raised stone coffin sat inside a circle of tall statues of angels. The angels had their heads bowed, and were crying. You were in the hallway of the crypt, perhaps ten feet or so from the door, which was open ever so slightly to the night.
Lying next to you, curled up in a little fuzzy ball by your chest, was the lone wolf cub. You could smell him, in a way you had never experienced before. At your movement, he uncurled and gave a yawn before rolling over to snuggle up next to you again.
The sound coming from the little creature pulled her out of her panic. Again, she felt inexplicably drawn to the fragile-looking cub. She slowly moved her hand over its soft fur, feeling an odd kinship with it. Vague flashes of a distant past flashed through her head; memories of a time when they still walked the same path. Carefully she picked up the cub, holding it against her chest with one arm while trying to conceal her nakedness with the other.
Guess I better have a look around, she thought and slowly stood up, trying to not disturb the cub. She sneaked over to the coffin, putting down every step with utmost care, trying to not make a single sound. Entering the circle of mourning statues, she looked over at the lid of the coffin, trying to make out if there was anything written on it.
Carved in ornate letters in an arc over the coffin's face were the standard words: REST IN PEACE. Below that was written,
"Here lies Albert Barnstock
Loving husband, father, grandfather, and brother
May he be remembered always as the kind, caring man he was"
Whoever Albert had been, he or his family must have been very rich, to afford a mausoleum for his final resting place. The feeling of the cold wind that never touched your skin continued, but now you could feel something else. There was a tinge to it, a touch of some ethereal feeling upon your very soul that you had never experienced before. It brought a lump to your throat, and a sense of sorrow deeper and more poignant than anything you had ever felt before. But it was separate from you - a taste in the air, a feeling etched deep into the marrow of this place. You could almost hear the voices of mourners around you, crying out for the loss of someone, who, by the looks of it, had been a great man.
12-03-2012, 04:02 PM
BONDS OF TRIBE
As the Twin Pines Prowlers crested the hill above the meeting glade, Byorn was strick by a powerful sense of deja vu. He had been here just over half a turn of Mother Luna, and had been awaiting the same very thing: entrance into his tribe, and being bonded with a pack. This time, however, as the Prowlers held for a moment on top of the hill, there was only one pyre burning in the clearing below. Gale had wanted to arrive early, and it seems that she had. A twitch of her tail summoned her pack, and Byorn as well, and they descended down into ungin.
For Jaci, the space that the packs of the city had cleared for their meetings held a powerful sense of wonder about it. The old, charred tree in the center seemed to tug at her soul. The Shadow Wardens, the pack that had taken her in, had taught her a lot about the Spirit World (Rave especially; even though Jaci was Elodoth, the goth Ithaeur had remarked several times on how quickly she seemed to pick up matters of the spirit), but she had never before felt the presence of a locus that enormous.
The Wardens lounged around the blazing pyre that was claimed for their pack. Aside from two lone wolves - a grizzled old wolf covered from head to toe in scars of every size and description, and a ageless-looking dark wolf with long dreadlocks - there was no one else at the meeting place.
Or at least, there hadn't been. Loping out of the woods came five low shapes, Uratha in the Urhan form. Over Jaci's shoulder, Rave gave a sniff. "Those are the Twin Pines Prowlers. Howling Gale's pack," she explained. "They've got a nuzusul with them as well. I think he's pretty dead set on joining the Talons; he didn't get initated last time, and the only elder missing was the Scar-Man." Rave pointed towards the very aptly named Scar-Man as he stood nearly motionless in the Dalu near the old tree.
Howling Gale slipped into the Hishu once she reached her pack's pyre, slicing open her palm to allow blood and ulal flow. The tiny flame spirit sparked, then ignited into a rush of fire, announcing their presence to all others who would come.
So, here's how the pyres are arranged, such so's you know:
The "P"s are the big pyre, the "L"s are the tree/locus. The numbers are the pyres, and the ones that are red are the ones that are currently lit. Jaci and the Wardens are at pyre 5, while Byorn and the Prowlers are at pyre 7.
12-04-2012, 04:42 PM
Byörn perceived something. While approaching the locus for the second time in his life, he smelled something that wasn't here before. It was emanating from the group at one of the pyres, he group that was unmistakenly the Shadow Wardens. The new smell, although very well mixed with the primal smell of an Uratha, was still fresh, and slightly human. By the time Byörn had descended along with Gale, his eyes had gotten enough time to adjust as well as his nose had, and he could distinguish the new member of the Wardens apart from his group.
Gale had told him about this. They were trying to set up an experiment. To unite a lot of different wolves, wolves that would normally become Ghost, into one big pack. For Byörn it was something he wouldn't worry about just yet, seeing as there were more important things at this gathering: The Blood Talons. The tribe of his choosing, of his appeal and soul-connection would be here. Last time they couldn't make it, but this day was finally the day he would join them. He had been waiting the moon to be mirrored for these moments.
Sure, being with Gale could be fun, even though she could be quite the disciplinary boss sometimes. Even so, Byörn always felt left out, as though he wasn't a complete Uratha. They would pass the time talking, hunting and patrolling their territories, Byörn always in the back, or last. Eating last, running last, saying the least. He was quite sick of it really. But not anymore. After today, he would be a wolf worthy of the name, and he would stand up for his rights.
Though being treated as the Omega, Byörn wasn't the weakest, and he knew that. Nor had he an awful life at his pack, no sir, he had more luxury than most humans could say (at least, that's how he perceived it). He even had some spare time to be (re?)taught the First Tongue, which he had become quite adept at. His words.
Byörn was exited, and feeling a little cocky, so he decided to just ask: "Say Gale, you done? Can I go initiate myself with the Talons yet?"
12-06-2012, 08:52 AM
"You're always so impatient!" Gale barked. "Just hold on. We don't do the initiations until everyone gets here. You wouldn't want to have your party when there's no one here to celebrate, would you?"
Gale glanced over at the other pyre, casting orange light onto the faces gathered around it. "Looks like the Wardens found themselves a nusuzul. And I heard the Red Daggers picked themselves up a cub, too. Interesting. I know they were wanting to grab you for themselves, but if there are enough young cubs, the Elders might put you all together."
She looked back to you with a feral grin on her lips. "Which might not be too bad for you, actually. You'd have a pretty good shot at becoming an alpha. Plus, you ask a lot of questions, and Bowie and Daggertooth get really annoyed by that." She snickered. "I wonder how they faired with a nusuzul around for the past couple weeks? Hopefully she didn't run her mouth as much as you do, or her new regeneration would have been put throguh its paces!"
12-06-2012, 12:20 PM
, yeah, not there yet, but obviously on our way, sorry, but I can't contain myself any longer :smallbiggrin:
I walk behind Dagger towards the collumn of smoke. The last scratches healing away from teh last questions asked.
I might have done wisely to barter a better deal for myself, like 10 questions per scratch instead of 2 for 1. Ah well, it will soon be over and I'll be able to barter a better deal...
I scratch my chest. it really itches.
In my had I fiddle with my knife. I still have no Idea what it does or what spirit resides in it. It does smell dark en mysterious though...
Hm... I had one question left might as well use it now...
So, Bowie, any other nuzusul like me around tonight?
I tense up a bit for a possible incoming attack, you never know, it was a question for all intents and purposes...
I smell the scent of burning wood, and something thick and smelly. I guess spirits will be present as well... I also smell a lot wolves in the area. I sharpen my senses and try to identify smells and sounds.
12-07-2012, 09:36 AM
You could see the orange haze tinging the trees ahead, and thin columns of smoke drifting lazing into the air. The meeting place was still obscured, but as you passed between two trees, your senses lit up. There was a smell and a feeling here: like it had been scent-marked by a fearsome predator. There was some sort of spirit magic at work here. You couldn't tell what it was suppose to do, but the musky scent flooded your brain, making you slightly loopy for a moment; whatever it did, it was rather powerful.
Bowie stalking ahead of you in the Urhan, snarled. The pack had, at his demand, refused to teach you any of the First Tongue, so as to prevent you from asking questions while in your lupine forms. Unfortunately for them, they had neglected to consider the fact that this would make you spend more time in the Hishu and Dalu, slowing them down.
"[Yes,]" Bowie growled. "[There's going to be one. He wanted to initiate into the Talons last ungin, but we had skipped, and apparently the Scar-Man did, too, so he couldn't. We're gonna take him. We need a fourth pack member.]"
Rapier's tongue lolled out of his head, a laughing look on his wolven face. Bowie seemed already decided that you wouldn't become a normal member of the Red Daggers.
12-07-2012, 01:05 PM
Btw, im in dalu at present, as an excercise in getting used to being a werewolf. Btw. I found a document with the description of ungin protocoll. Martin would have sacrificed hp for the protocoll of uratha. Both because of elodoth and skills.
I fight off the dizziness.
So... everybody wins. Let's see if one of those iminir fellows is around and if they like me. And then to see if I can join a good pack. Maybe if there is time I might find a person to help me with my knife.
I firmly grasp my knife, my knuckles white my half claws digging in my skin.
I use meditation excercises to clear my mind and steady my senses. I feel the calmness spread through me as I walk along.
So, time for ungin. First declaration of alpha pack, then declarations from other packs of how important it is to not waste time. Then problemdebates and news sharing, inuagurations, socializing and storytime. Almost like fraternity
I try to guess what Bowie is thinking. He seems eager to get a new fenris, but he is also troubled by something.
I wonder what Bowie is hiding from me... whatever it is, I'll find out soon enough.
12-10-2012, 01:02 PM
So, time for ungin. First declaration of alpha pack, then declarations from other packs of how important it is to not waste time. Then problemdebates and news sharing, inuagurations, socializing and storytime. Almost like fraternity
It's quite likely that I won't stick to the given process for how an ungin is supposed to go. Mostly because I have my own ideas :smallsmile: .
"[Hey,]" Dagger barked as they reached the top of the last hill. "[Get down on all fours! We're not going to wait up for you!]"
As Martin reached the top, the scene below him unfolded like something out of a dark fairy tale. The old dead tree, vibrating with power to his Uratha senses, the circle of pyres, most unlit, and the two packs of wolves in various forms that lounged around the fires.
As promised, the Red Daggers moved on, unimpressed with the scene, loping off much quicker than his Dalu legs could carry him.
Below, the gathered packs stirred, testing the air with their noses. They had sensed the arrival of another pack.
During the waiting, Jaci noticed that the dark-skinned, Jamaican-looking elder had begun to saunter his way over to the Wardens' pyre.
12-10-2012, 03:56 PM
Byörn lifted his head. He had smelled something. Wet Dog.
Another pack was arriving, and turning his head to the hill, his sight confirmed what the smell had already told him: a new pack. Or at least, new for him, for this pack hadn't been present at Byörn's first Ungin. He had to contain himself a bit, knowing these were the Red Daggers, the pack to take him in, and initiate him to the Blood Talons.
He tried leveling his voice, to sound as neutral as possible before asking, Gale didn't like so many questions after all: "Those the Red Daggers?", inclining his head to the arriving pack.
Byörn waits for their fire to be ignited, and lies next to his fire.
12-11-2012, 02:17 AM
I run after Dagger
Yeah, yeah, I'm coming...
So, this is it. Ungin
I see Bowie gathering essence in front of the fire, he alsways has this scowl if he does. I chuckle softly.
You know, I'm gonna miss this lot if I don't end up with them, and I probably won't. It might be fun to announce our presence by spreading our smell... I can't imagine Bowie letting another pack be alpha.
I presume I know my gifts by now so, else I have the scars to prove it...
I call a slight breeze from behind us. (Call the breeze, no resources neccessary)
I grin even wider.
apparently not :smallfrown:
12-13-2012, 12:23 PM
I presume I know my gifts by now so, else I have the scars to prove it...
You'll know up to two of your gifts at the moment, and have two of your Renown. The last one will come when you get initiated, which will be the one for your Tribe...which is Call the Breeze. Sorry, you keep trying to use it and keep getting shot down :smallfrown:
"Yep," Gale said, eyeing the new pack as they approached. There were four of them. "Huh, that's the cub they picked up, but where are the other two...?"
Bowie lead the way out into the clearing, his tail held high. He loped up to one of the fires, and then rippled into his Dalu form. He waited for the rest of his pack to catch up, and then turned to face the pile of charred logs. He sliced open his palm and dripped blood into the center. Nearly invisible waves, like ripples of heat, rose up from the drops of blood, and were caught by a tiny spark that appear in the center of the wood stack. That spark spun in a tight circle, gathering up those waves of heat and growing, expanding, until it erupted with a powerful "WOOSH!" into a roaring blaze.
As the Red Dagger's pyre sprung to life, another wolf pack slunk out of the woods. There were four of them, three females and a male. Byorn had been introduced to them at the previous ungin, but for Jaci's sake, Rave explained: "That Shiva and her pack the Lost Ones. They're kinda odd - they don't have a specific territory per say. They're wanderers, but she's a good alpha. They respect other packs' territory, even if they don't claim their own for some reason."
The Lost Ones moved past the Daggers at their pyre, and moments later a fourth flame sprung to life.
The Red Daggers are at pyre 2, the Lost Ones are at pyre 1.
12-13-2012, 12:42 PM
So, Bowie, what are the other packs like? And who are they?
If I'm gonna end up in another pack it would be best to know what they are like in the first place...
I creep closer to the fire
I guess hte only things I can do are wait and gather information
12-13-2012, 01:04 PM
Bowie snarled as Martin asked his question, and lashed out with his fist, slamming the unfortunate cub in the face. Even expecting the blow, Martin was unable to evade, and Bowie's fist connected with his jaw, resulting in a very audible crack. But at least the alpha hadn't used the gift of strength that he often did.
[Martin takes 4 Bashing damage]
Even across the clearing, the wolves gathered at the other pyres could clearly see the attack, and hear the unpleasant crunch as fist crushed bone.
"If you're so curious all the damn time, go f***in' talk to them yourself," Bowie growled.
By the Prowlers' fire, Gale snickered. "I guess he didn't learn to keep his mouth shut. That either means he's really dumb or really stubborn. Perfect Iminir attitude, but that's probably not what Bowie was hoping for."
12-13-2012, 01:25 PM
I move my jaw around to set it straight, again
If I didn't know better I'd think you were making me look like some sort of warhero
I chuckle rubbing my jaw.
Well, in that case I'll have a look around then. See you guys in a bit.
I walk towards the pire next to the Red Dagers' where the lost ones are.
Hi there! the name is Martin.
I greet the freshly arrived pack.
12-17-2012, 06:11 PM
From the moment she arrived, Jaci hadn't been able to take her eyes off the gigantic tree in the middle of the clearing. She could feel its power, and moreover she could feel the shadowy world on the other side of it. It was a gateway, she knew. The Gauntlet was thin here, easier than ever for her to see both sides of reality.
"Hey, uh... Rave?" she asked, distractedly. "D'you think anyone would mind if I went and had a look at that big tree?"
Using Gift: Two World Eyes. What do I see?
12-17-2012, 06:12 PM
Byörn turned his ears. He could hear the shift in weight as a fist slammed into a cub. He chuckled a bit at the very audible crack, then remembered he'd have to behave when with the Red Daggers. Byörn was lucky to have learned all tips and tricks of being an Uratha from Gale already, so he needn't to ask unecessary questions to his maybe soon to be pack.
The cub now moved to the pyre next to his.
Seemingly, it was OK to go look to other groups. Maybe he could go meet the Red Daggers now?
Byörn already assumed a bit of his pose before meeting the RD, making sure he wasn't to be intimidated, when he went towards the group. He said a quick "I'll be back before the main events" to Gale, and took his leave.
Approaching the RD, Byörn used the usual courtesies to demonstrate he was a friend, just out to talk. Then he proceeded: "So I heard you were the ones that can help me join the blood talons."
12-18-2012, 09:21 AM
The Lost Ones stared at Martin for a moment, the red-orange glow of their fire glinting off of their eyes.
Shiva stood taller than him in the Dalu, but only slightly, meaning that she would probably be much shorter in her Hishu form. She had dark skin indicative of South-Asian heritage, which fit with her name. She was wearing ornate clothes that had designs and patterns that hailed back to India. Her outfit seemed somewhat impractical, but the fine material and intricate designs certainly gave her a mystical and regal appearance.
Two others of her pack has taken the Hishu: a very young looking girl who coldn't have been more than fourteen, but whose face showed several prominent scars. She was of Asian descent, and she was also wearing formal clothing - a silk kimono, traced with white and red floral patterns, although it had obviously been altered to allow for freer movement. The other was a tall man, the second oldest by appearance, with pale white skin and fierce blue eyes. He was wearing a thick longcoat lined with fur over a fine uniform that looked like it was from Cold War Soviet Union.
The last member of Shiva's pack, a female, remained in the Urshul, her coal-black pelt absorbing all the light from the fire.
"Hello...Martin," Shiva greeted you. There was a touch of amusement to her voice when she said his name. She gave a sniff, testing his air, then shrank into the Hishu. She was very short, barely over five feet tall, but she still kept an alpha's baring. "What can the Lost Ones do for you, young cub?"
Gazing with the worlds in both eyes, the vision that visited Jaci was nothing short of amazing. The Wardens had told her stories of Pangaea, and what lay hidden on the other side of the Gauntlet must have been what it had looked like, or clsoe enough. The huge old tree was anything but, rising towering above the earth covered with shimmering silver-green leaves. The clearing was filled with trees of all sort, each of them swaying in some spiritual breeze. The moon shone enormous and bright in the sky, Mother Luna's Visionary face lighting the Hisil as much as Helion did. The stars in the sky gleamed like jewels, and the stream of the Milky Way could been seen in purples, blues, and blacks. In fact, it actually flowed across the sky like a great river. The spirits of animals wandered and frittered about, although they seemed to be tensing, nervous at the nearness of so many Uratha.
Rave cast a questioning glance to Slink, making sure that he approved. When he nodded, she turned back to Jaci. "Sure. Just don't take any essence from it. The elders do a lot of work to maintain this thing for us. They won't like it at all."
The alpha of the Red Daggers glowered at Byorn's approach, but once the cub spoke, he lightened. "Ah, you're the new Talon?" He growled in his Dalu voice.
His Omega, the female, lounging in the Urhan, lifted her head and gave a wolfish grin. "[Hey, not too bad,]" she remarked.
The alpha, Bowie, Byorn had been told, approached, moving around you in a circle and gazing at you critically, and sniffing. "What auspice are you, boy?"
12-18-2012, 10:09 AM
I maintain my meditative state to remain calm and collected (damn I love that meditative mind merit. It might not be a real mechanical asset, but the fluff is hndled so well)
Well, i'd like to get to know most of the Uratha here and introduce myself. If you have any questions about me I'd be more then happy to answer them.
I take a slight bow
Since chances are very slim of me staying with the Red Daggers, and I need to choose a tribe, or rather to be chosen by a tribe, I have taken it upon myself to gather information on both aspects of Uratha life. So, please tell me about you and your pack, lady Shiva and help a young cub choose wisely.
I assume the 1 dot in occult is enough to know at least the basics of Indian faith and allows me to know that Shiva is the goddess of death in India and her wearing Indian garb is disturbing (noticing that is merely intelligence+composure (total 6 dice) or Intelligence + skill (either 4 or 5 dice)
Hmm. Indian patterns, name shiva, goddess of death. these people might just be more spiritually aware then the run of the mill Uratha. Mental note: do not mess with, might be much worse then with Bowie...
12-18-2012, 12:34 PM
Jaci moved slowly over to the tree, almost in a trance at the incredible beauty she could sense. She laid her hands on the rough bark, and closed her eyes, feeling the pulse of essence flowing like sap inside the majestic tree. Heedful of Rave's warning, she didn't try to draw any - quite the opposite, in fact. She opened herself to the silver light, and her form began to grow fuzzy and indistinct as she started to slip across the Gauntlet.
12-18-2012, 05:48 PM
For a moment concern flashed across Byörn's mind as he saw one of the cubs touch the tree. Her body began taking spiritly forms and dissolving into the tree. Bowie's question, though, pulled him back.
"Luna, the complete Mother Luna, is the one that invoked my change. She made me determined and strong, if it answers your question." he responded to Bowie. He analyzed the group and proceeded: "If you've got any more questions, it's better to get them out of the way now, than discovering something unpleasant during a patrol - Byörn took a breath to show his use of sarcasm and at the same time show his teeth in a wide grin -, that is, if I may join of course"
Byörn was content with the fact that at least the Omega already thought of him as not too bad. He had to make sure he could take a moment to have some alone time with her :smallwink:
12-28-2012, 08:26 AM
A slight ripple passed through the Lost Ones at Martin's request, a subtle growl that they all shared. Shiva's posture shifted into a slightly more aggressive, defensive stance, and her expression became cold. "What makes you think you deserve to know our pack's secrets?"
To Jaci, it felt like taking a deep breath before a plunge into the ocean. The Gauntlet pressed in around her, amazing pressure like the deepest ocean trenches, and just as bone-numbingly cold. Her senses were nearly blinded, with ony jumbled sights, sounds, and smells reaching her. She couldn't breathe, even as she felt the breath pressed from her body by the enormous pressure.
After what felt like an eternity, she emerged, gasping, into the Hisil. It was warm and bright, and pervaded by a intoxicating lil of primal wilderness, of savage nature let loose. The great tree rose in front of her, its branches reaching out and up into the sky where Mother Luna hung, enormous and bright, singing her haunting, ethereal song of glory and visions.
Several spirits, cat-sized things that looked like squirrels with too many tails and large, raking claws scurried into the trees branches, hiding from the Uratha now in their midst. Other creatures could be heard in the foliage nearby, and even the bushes shrank back, some scuttling away on their roots. Everything seemed filled with Luna's silvery light.
"Hm," Bowie frowned, his critical gaze travelling up and down Byorn as he circled him. "Rahu, huh? Good, we could use a Rahu. You need to be worthy of the Tribe before we'll consider letting you join, but it looks like you might have what it takes." The large alpha stopped in front of the cub, looking deep into his eyes, challenging him to keep eye contact. But you're the Rahu here. Why don't you tell us what your strengths and weaknesses are."
Byorn, needs to make a roll to resist Bowie's attempt to intimidate him, or to try to intimidate back. You can roll Resolve + Composure (for general strength of purpose), Expression + Presence (to show how strong you are) or Intimidation + Composure or Presence (to try and cow Bowie in return), whichever path you think Byorn would take. Don't just go for the one that gets you the most dice :smalltongue: .
12-28-2012, 09:20 AM
Please, please, I woudln't dream of just casually asking for your tribe's secrets and walking away, I was just casually asking for information and getting to know you, preferably more then only a name and a face...
Wow, gotta go easy on this one.
that is, unless any and all infomration about you and your pack is a big secret. In that case I'd respectfully end the conversation and move on...
12-28-2012, 10:01 AM
Shiva and her pack eased back, but there was still a nervous tension you could feel amongst them.
"You should be more cautious about how you speak, Martin. Amongst the People, as among the spirits, knowledge is power, and asking so lightly for a pack's secrets is seen as a grave insult." She steadied herself, and then smiled slightly. "But I see you are eager to learn, and that is an admirable trait. Perhaps you shall follow Death Wolf as well - she is always keen to help those of her tribe seek out secrets in the dark places of the world."
12-28-2012, 10:50 AM
I thank you for the advice. I will heed it. I bid you a good Ungin.
I take a slight bow and take my leave.
I look around. I see another tribe close by at pyre 7 and walk towards it.
Good evening fellow Uratha. My name is Martin, might I get acquainted with ou and your pack?
12-31-2012, 02:22 PM
Rolling here, waiting for ST reply before writing the story.
Resolve + Composure
We have a dice thread for this sort of thing, you know :smallsmile: .
01-09-2013, 08:29 AM
As Martin approached the next pyre, he could see that the alpha was already watching him. She was of middling height, with long, tangled hair. She wore a fur coat, but it looked like it wasn't made by human manufacturing. Had she made that herself? She was staring at him, her eyes reflecting the orange fire-light. Her arms were crossed in front of her chest, and an amused grin sat on her face.
Martin also couldn't help but notice that one member of this pack had split off around the same time he had, and had gone over to talk to Bowie.
To Byorn, the Blood Talon alpha looming over him sent a shiver down his spine. He could feel the wolven heirarchy like it was a physical thing: this one was alpha, and he was a cub. Bowie's eyes seemed like magnets, pushing Byorn's away, lest he overstep his bounds.
01-09-2013, 12:07 PM
A shiver went down Byörn's spine. He had never encountered such a strong presence from anyone, not even Gale. He had to watch out with bowie. Making sure he didn't show (much) of the effectiveness of Bowie's intimidation, Byörn responded: "Thank you, sir - sir? he had never said sir before... - my specialties are mostly fighting and survival, though I can do anything if I set my mind to it."
He had never sounded so formal before. He tries again: "About my gifts: I can be quite fast in battle, and quite 'present' too"7
Byörn had wanted to inquire about the Red Daggers too, but as little as he felt with Bowie's eyes on him, he didn't dare to ask anything.
01-09-2013, 12:07 PM
Hah, some chump trying to join the daggers... I hope for them he's a talon and quite the brawler, without any questions, else he will lose limbs or something...
I shift my stance. I see the Alpha in a rather, intriguing coat.
Yeha, intriguing is the right word. That is wolf in there, and some rabbit on the cuffs and neck area...
I slightly reduce my length by shfting stance to not appear too overconfident.
I fiddle a bit with my knife no wait, fetish in my pocket against the nerves. and put on a smile awaiting the answer to my greeting.
Like Shiva said, I shoudln't overstep my bounds, but I can't appear too timid or I'll be shred to bits, well, probably not directly, but eventually I'll come across as weak and that can't be too pretty if I am to go on what happens in Bowie's pack.
01-10-2013, 06:38 PM
Jaci burst from the Gauntlet panting, a grin splitting her face. That was invigorating!
She looked around. Such a place, pure and unsullied - this was not a place for humans. Hardly thinking, bowing to the call of nature, she shrank down and swiftly sprouted fur, shifting into urhan.
The changes felt strange, but oddly natural. Her feet extended, the ankles rising up her legs. Her face extended into a muzzle and her teeth sharpened. Her eyesight became dimmer, her hearing and smell burst into amazing detail. And two organs that shouldn't have been there descended between his hind legs.
What? That's... that's not possible. The doctor took them out! How... how am I male?
Jaci stared awkwardly between his legs at the irrefutable evidence that he was in fact male. As a human, Jaci was entirely happy being female. She'd never had any thoughts otherwise, never even wondered what it would be like to be male. And yet, now he was, somehow. Possibly the strangest thing about it was that he wasn't more freaked out. Somehow, this form felt comfortable, natural. The wolf body felt indescribably right, despite being male. It wasn't good, nor bad. It just was.
Shaking his head, Jaci looked around. As a wolf, such questions didn't seem important. There were far more interesting things to occupy him. The sounds and scents of this strange and beautiful place were wonderful, fascinating. He trotted around, letting his nose sniff out new things, exploring the wondrous bounty of this place.
02-02-2013, 12:17 AM
"Hmm," Bowie remarked, still imposing his presence on Byorn. His beta simply grinned, apparently amused at the young cub's formality.
"[Hey, get him in shape a bit, and he'll be a great asset,]" the Omega said. "[He's no Calan, but...]"
Bowie gave a deep-throated growl, whirling on her and staring her down. Her ears folded back and she wined in protest. Clearly, the Red Daggers' alpha didn't like what she had said.
Howling Gale stood as still as a statue as she watched Martin approach, a feral grin on her face. A fang elongated past her lips as her smiled widened for a moment, then retracted. She was clearly watching him, and had probably seen (and maybe heard) his conversation with Shiva.
What she thought about it, however, she wasn't going to show.
To Jaci's wolf nose and Uratha senses, this entire place was bursting with life. Almost an echo of Pangaea itself. It was no wonder why the packs in the area had chosen this place for their ungin: in the flesh world it seemed dead, but it was very much alive.
The energy from the locus was ambrosia-like, intoxicating. What might it actually taste like, if Jaci were to sample it? The thought sent an involuntary shudder through his spine, causing his hackles to rise in anticipation...
02-02-2013, 05:07 AM
I straighten my back a bit but don't shift to any form or show my fangs. It would be disrespectful.
and it just wouldn't do to insult an alpha, I have learned that by now
So, Whom might I be adressing?
02-02-2013, 08:38 AM
The moment the alpha's attention got deviated to the omega, Byörn felt a little bit of weight fall off his shoulders. It was as if this really heavy atmosphere had been lifted a bit.
It seemed inquiring about this Calan wasn't a good idea, so Byörn tried to shift the attention away from the omega (who seemed about to be punished for naming Calan), and back to himself:
"Ehhhmmm... Anymore questions, perhaps? Or should I leave now?" suggesting the Daggers maybe should resolve their quarrels without him in the vicinity...
02-10-2013, 11:56 PM
Gale seemed to ponder Martin's question for a moment, almost as if she was debating whether or not to answer it. The rest of her pack had also taken in interest in the young pup that had approached them, and were all staring with lupine intensity at him. It was unnerving, even for another of the People, to be alone and have the attention of so many other wolves.
Finally, after the tension of silence had grown to an uncomfortable level, the alpha broke it by answering: "I'm Howling Gale, and this is my pack, the Lone Pine Prowlers." Her grin intensified. "Bowie's been treating you well, I see."
The alpha and omega stared furiously at each other for a second, their eyes communicating furiously in a way that words could not. But then Bowie turned back to Byorn. "Yeah, yeah. We'll catch you after your initiation..."
02-11-2013, 08:25 PM
One foot and then another. Slow.
Kamau trudges On toward the smoke, landscape bleak through fatigue.
"You'll get your damn fool self killed, and I won't stop it."
Jesus. Whatever was wrong was still pretty severe, and the pain crackled like a living electric thing. His skin held, his gait was even, his gaze focused. Still, if he thought about it for more than a moment, he had to admit he was screaming inside, rhythmically. It had begun with his escape and escalated to an even low beat, a constant exasperated "ow, ow, ow, gorramit OW" in the back of his head.
"My job was done when I pulled you off the street. You're alive, you are Imru, you know what is stupid and you know not to do it. Don't come for me again, boy. I'm not your keeper."
The path shifted into an uphill climb, a slog through brush and vine and tangle. The smells were thicker here, even in hishu, an animal smell he'd never noticed before. And... More. The air was charged with something, that same feral shiver that ruined his childhood when the dark sent needle-fingers into his nerves while he huddled under the covers. Kamau stops, at that. How much more terrifying to remember all that and know now that the boogey-monsters are real.
"You want someone to care about you child you go find them and make them do it. Prove you're worth it. I'm going back to my own affairs. My vow is discharged. My promise is done. Go to the hill. Go to Ungin. Get out of my face."
Kamau bites his tongue. Drives the old man's voice out of his mind. Flick that guy. Focus. Keep present. A shiver, feels like that house, feels like spirits. Feels like a gift, or power, or something. Feels like he's close. And there, the orange flickering of light through the haze. He closes his eyes, trusting what he'd already seen to take him the last few yards before he comes up into wherever he's going.
Kamau is aware of focus, scrutiny. He's loud, and slow. His scent has got to be caught on that breeze there. He's sweating, slightly, and all he's got are worn out jeans, old shoes and a hooded vest that was once a hoodie until the death rage took him. And worse, his own wolfspirit was actin up, a pacing beast anxious in the cage of his ribs. Walking blind into an ambush thick with others, predators who knew to take the weak and the slow and the poorly hidden. It was torture and only his exhaustion, a dogged determination to just keep going kept him there without fidgeting. At this point, Kamau is resigned, after all. The consequences can't be worse than walking back with a broken everything – at least if they kill the young prophet he can rest.
The edge of the... Place, is an almost tangible social barrier. Keeping himself cool, Kamau scans the assembled.
02-12-2013, 01:00 PM
"All right, boss Byörn said, and left the pack to deal with their issues. If and when he'd be accepted into the pack, he'd have to make sure to establish his position right away. Alpha certainly was out of the question, but ending up as the omega was something Byörn definitely didn't want.
The night was soft, and a cool breeze entered from one of the sides. Byörn, together with a lot of other wolves turned his head, immediatly noticing the scent. It was a wolf, though weirdly enough really human still. A newborn? The strangest thing was that it was only one smell approaching, not a whole pack.
Then Byörn noticed him. The lone wolf at the top of the hill. He seemed quite worn out, though he tried to hide it (or he was just a really bad joke), saying: "Sup?"
Anyway. Something for the elders to deal with.
Byörn decided to walk back to his group, making a small detour to the tree in the centre. The other wolf had just disappeared in there, and Byörn was eager to discover what could be found at the other side of this locus.
Something for another time.
Getting back to his pack, Byörn notices Martin. He walks past him to greet Gale first, as she's his alpha: "I'm back, Gale" before turning to Martin: "And who might you be?" he asks, calmly lying next to his pyre. Byörn is calm and keeping an eye on the wolf on the hill, while asking. He's also cautious to not be too curious, or Gale will get mad at him for taking over her role of speaker.
02-13-2013, 11:18 PM
As Martin began his conversation with Gale, ears began to perk throughout the gathering. Something was moving closer to the ungin site. Slowly, clumsily, but determinedly. A stiff breeze fluttered through the small glade, bringing with it the scent of Uratha, still tinged with the scent of the Herd. A new Change?
Whoever it was, he was being painfully obvious. When the dark face emerged through the brush and gave his tentative greeting, it was to a mass of wolven faces, each staring intently in his direction.
Gale was still too distracted by the appearance of this newcomer to acknowledge Byorn immediately. Apparently, this was something that didn't happen often. Almost immediately however, one of the elders moved to intercept the young wolf. The old, crazy Jamaican. This seemed to satisfy the gathered crowd, as they slowly went back to what they were doing.
A lone wolf moved from one of the pyres that glittered at the edge of the circle and made to intercept Kamou. He looked to be in his late forties, and was dressed in nothing but torn, ragged clothing. Long thick dreadlocks cascaded down from his head, apparently keeping their shape by virtue of the caked on mud, dirt, blood, and what looked like wax that had been matted into them. His face was virtually hidden by his tangled hair, except for occasional glints of shining eyes. He carried a short cane with him, although the large knob of wood on the end made it seem more like a club, especially the way he brandished it as he approached. The old wolf and his cane reeked of the dark, bitter stench of the Hisil.
"'Cha doin' har? Speak 'ar name!" He demanded of the young cub before him. To the young Kamou, this wolf's presence was nearly overwhelming. He was no ordinary alpha.
To those Detroit Rock City readers out there, no, this is not supposed to be Rags, nor an attempt to mimic him :smalltongue: . A player asked me to include the character. Think of him as more of an homage, because no attempt I make at an NPC as awesome as Rags could ever succeed!
02-14-2013, 06:08 AM
The young gangster was familiar with violence and the treat of violence. He knows that authority is impressive, frightening, but nothing to worry about until you flick something up.
That just means he had better not flick this up, of course, not that he was safe.
Pitching his voice so as to be hear over the flames, across the clear spaces, "I am Kamau Nazandal. I became a wolf and ran under the Prophet Moon, and a man who claims to know my father told me of the Uratha, that I should seek my place among them – seek that place here – and beat the shoot out of me until he was satisfied I would survive until he left the country." Kamau instinctively picks up the Jamaican's inflection, his name coming out a clear three syllables instead of the usual slurred two.
A bead of sweat runs down his side, under the torn sweater. He tells himself it's the fire, the hike. He lowers his voice now, to just a normal outdoor range.
"And no disrespect on your turf, but either let me in or send me away. We all know you'd kill me if I pissed you off, so holding me here doesn't prove a dang thing."
02-14-2013, 09:40 AM
I nod my head to Howling Gale
Greetings Howling Gale of the Lone Pine Prowlers. I am honored to make your aquaitance.
So far so good.
Well, while Bowie might not be the easiest teacher in the ways of the Uratha he has a way of making things clear.
I chuckle softly remembering every blow traded for questions
I crack my neck flexing while noticing another uratha approaching and brandish a grin. I turn towards Byorn.
Greetings fellow Uratha, I am Martin, an emmisiary of Luna, pleasure to make your aquaintance.
I nod to Byorn.
I see you have gotten away from Bowie unscathed. I take it you had no questions whatsoever?
I turn back to face Howling Gale and notice him watching an appraoching uratha with great interest. I follow his gaze to see a ragged Uratha confront the newcomer. There was something about this fellow that unsettled me. he seemed to have this habit of trying to intimidate everything he encounters into doing his bidding.
Let's hope he remembers to talk first before resorting to his teeth and claws or it could get messy.
the newcomer states his name to be Ka-ma-u.
It seems he has the sense to speak first and fight later, even though he seems to have had no shortage of fights for the moment.
I study Gale again to divine what he is thinking, thusfar he seems to be puzzled and mesmerized by the newcomer, probably even weighing his options.
It won't be long now before Ungin starts, I had better get back to Bowie and maybe speak to Gale at a leter time.
It was a pleasure meeting you Howling gale of the Long pine Prowlers. In light of current events I had better report back to Bowie should unexpected things happen. I hope to meet you again.
I take a light bow and walk back to Bowie. I silently rejoin the Daggers, only just out of reach of Bowie next to Dagger. I nod to Bowie that I have come back to take my place for when ungin begins or proverbial sh*t hits the fan with the newcomer.
02-20-2013, 12:56 AM
Even though he was in the Hishu, the elder's ears seemed to prick up when Kamau mentioned his name. The elder's face lightened, becoming more inquisitive than angry. "Oh, char de Erd-walka's boi? Dan my apologize." He dropped the cudgel he was carrying, freeing his hands as he gestured for the dark-skinned cub in front of him to come closer. The heavy end of the club sank much deeper into the ground than expected, and even though he was no longer holding his weapon, the old Jamaican didn't feel like he was unarmed. "Cam har, let my have look a'cha!"
As Martin walked away, Gale's smirk cracked as she attempted to hold back a snicker. She failed, and let out a snort. The others in her pack laughed too, with the exception of Coyote Wild. "What the hell was all that formal ****?" One of her packmates asked. "He sounded like one of Shiva's pets, all dressed up in their formal outfits, pretendin' ungin's some fancy ****in' royal ball or some ****."
"Maybe he's Elodoth and he's just getting a little carried away with it," Gale suggested. "Or maybe Bowie told him to talk like that?"
"Nah, Bowie wouldn't be able to stand that, even for a joke."
Sorry Socratov >_< ! I know that's just how Martin is (and it's great!), but there's no way Gale's pack isn't going to make fun of him for talking all formal-like...
But like they said, the Lost Ones talk like that (at least here). At least Martin has some kindred spirits around!
02-20-2013, 02:10 PM
Kamau's eyebrows raise. Great, the crotchety bastard has friends in these parts.
Approaching, the smell of the elder wolf was potent, all wax and dirt and blood – old and new – and a peculiar blend of wolf and wild and something else. the smell of warm skin after exertion, the smell of bloody teeth smiling through marrow as bones crack. Indescribable things.
Maybe it's crossing that line that does it, being accepted into the Circle even a little. But now standing in front of this Jamaican beast of a man Kamau is too bombarded by information to do more than accept the orders given.
02-20-2013, 06:16 PM
Jaci sniffed the air, sampling the smells, sorting through them to find one that smelled particularly good. The locus was foremost, but Rave's warning still echoed in his mind, and he did his best to ignore that siren call. No, there was plenty around to catch his interest. After all, he was a hunter, and these woods were full of prey...
02-21-2013, 06:27 AM
After the all-too-formal Martin had left, leaving Gale's group with a smile on their faces behind, Byörn got really bored. He understood why Martin was so formal, with the almost dictatorial force with which Bowie kept his pack in check. Byörn wasn't too sure either if he wanted to join them, as that would limit his possibilities a lot. Still, it was better than with Gale, because although Gale gave him enough freedom, Byörn didn't really connect with her as much as he wanted to. They simply had different personalities.
On top of the hill everything seemed to go smoothly. The human-smelling wolf was talking to the jamaican and seemed to have lowered his guard. Currently, they were walking back.
With still the possibility in mind that Byörn had to form a new pack, with other wolves here, he decided to inquire about the things he had to do when in a new pack (or possibly being the new alpha of a pack):
"So Gale: If we form a new pack today, what will we have to do first? I mean, I know a totem is the first and foremost thing to get, but after that? Does an alpha just boss his packmates around? Do you feed essence to the totem? What kind of things does an alpha have to do different from packmembers, and what should packmembers do?
Byörn waited for an answer, hoping he would catch Gale in a good mood, although, knowing her a bit, with the laugh Martin gave her, she'd be willing to answer some, if not all, of his questions.
02-24-2013, 06:25 AM
No problem, this might just play out for laughs, might get real, who knows? :smallamused:
and yes, Mrtin is like this. Things ought to be done right with the right customs and such, he is/was going to be a lawyer any way, so...
I hear Howling Gale and her pack laughing loudly
Well, at least I didn't insult them, so it's something I guess...
I look at Bowie and the newly come uratha talking to the jamaican, easing up a little since the discussion between the two moved more in a direction of recognition and approval.
I decide to keep my questions close to me since Bowie will probably no way in hell answer them and give me hell for even thinking about asking them.
03-04-2013, 11:12 PM
The old elder's smell assaulted Kamau's nose, a mix of blood and dirt and sweat and Uratha...and Hisil. That one, the dark, slithery, shadowy scent was very strong on him.
The elder grabbed Kamau's shoulder's tightly yet gently as he pulled him in. One large, amber eye peered out from behind the dreadlock tangle, peering deep into the young wolf's. The elder took several seconds to stare deep and piercingly into each of Kamau's eyes. Then his hand clenched the banger-wolf's cheeks hard, forcing his mouth open so the elder could look inside.
A small group of the squirrel-like spirits were scrabbling in the dirt at the base of the great tree, some of the few that hadn't noticed Jaci's arrival. They were digging for something, and the scritching noise their claws made caused his ear to twitch involuntarily. There was prey there, and it didn't even know he was near!
Gale turned her head to Byorn. "What?" She asked, her voice still filled with mirth. "New pack? Oh!" She shook her head. "Nah, the first thing you gotta do is get all these pups through their initiation. Might be one of 'em dies, and then there wouldn't be enough for a pack. But if the elders did stick all of you together..." She trailed off for a moment. "Totem's are important, yeah, but they're not the first thing you do. The elder's would give you a territory, and the very first thing would be to pick an alpha in whatever way the pack thinks in best, then get out and clear your territory and make it safe. Totems don't want to bond with packs that don't have their home straightened out - packs like that tend to die quickly, and then the totem is out a pack, see?"
"Of course," she continued, "we didn't do it quite that way. We found Fury while we were getting our territory set up, and he was impressed enough that we bonded with him then. Helped a lot with getting the rest of the riff-raff out."
Byorn had heard of Hidden Fury, the shadowy spirit that watched over the Twin Pine Prowlers. He hadn't ever seen the spirit, and the pack was loathe to talk about it more than mentioning its name. Still, it was quite obvious that the spirit's presence was there. Especially when Gale and Coyote Wild had disappeared the week before to perform some sort of task for the totem. None of the rest of the pack had mentioned what it was; they treated it like the entire thing was perfectly normal.
"And you don't really need to feed your totem directly, see," Gale continued again. "By following its bans, it gains the essence it needs to keep on keeping on, and to power up the pack besides. As for what an alpha and her pack needs to do, just keep to the Oath. That's the best guide you've got."
Suddenly, Coyote, who was lying nearby in the Urhan, pricked up. It was soon obvious why - the scent of Uratha was once again wafting over the trees. Another pack was arriving.
"Hmm," Gale mused. "Twice in a row. I didn't think she liked coming to these things."
Luckily for Martin, Bowie was preoccupied with disciplining Dagger for some mistake when the cub returned to the Red Daggers' pyre (this time, "disciplining" involved breaking her paw). However, as the scent of the newly arriving pack filled the clearing, the large alpha was distracted, turning to the East to watch the newcomers, a deep sub-vocal growl in his throat. Whoever was arriving, he was not pleased that they were there.
Running in the Urhan through the woods was invigorating, with the scents and sounds of the living forest making Rose feel alive in ways that she never had before as a human. In the few short weeks that she had been Uratha, this experience came the closest to lifting her soul from the sorrow of her Change.
Falling Ash lead her pack to the clearing which already blazed with light. Before they had left, Ash had noted that she wanted to arrive last, so that they didn't have to spend too much time with the others, mostly Bowie, the alpha of the Red Daggers. A strong scent ringed the hills around the clearing, smelling of urine and spirits. A protection of some kind, like a spiritual scent mark. Soon, the pack crested the hill, looking down at the great dead tree and the ring of fires that sat around it. While it wasn't as strange or frightening as some of the things Rose had been shown by Dawn in the spirit world, the majesty of the scene was certainly unique. Most of the wolves gathered below were staring in their direction, anticipating their arrival.
"[Are you ready, Little Thorn?]" Ash asked the young cub, using the nickname she had developed soon after the night of that first fateful meeting.
03-05-2013, 02:11 AM
I look worried to Dagger. As her paw hangs limp for a couple of moments I feel her using essence to speed up the healing.
Obviously the most potent trick for an Uratha near Bowie...
As I notice the new pack arriving I again try to see any form of reaction of Bowie, but he seems stoic except for watching what's coming...
This worries me, I genuinely know next to nothing about what happens here and who are coming. I hope I get to initiation soon so I can gain som freedom to find some stuff out... and I want to meet these stormlords, they can't really be much worse then Bowie as a teacher, I mean, he rarely told me anything at all to begin with.
I relax a bit confindent in Bowies capacity to defend us when **** hits the fan
He is good in defending the pack though, I wonder what happened that took 2 packmembers away earlier...
03-05-2013, 07:43 AM
Even after all these days, some of the Uratha rules were still pretty vague. Byörn decided that after getting his name, or whatever happened at this Ungin, he would just see what happened and figure the rest out.
He knew what the Oath was, luckily, so anything else shouldn't be that much of a problem. Byörn wondered when the ceremony was about to start. He still craved for that pure and raw animalistic power that surged through the locus when chanting to the moon, as it did at the last Ungin.
Coyote lifted his head. Another pack was arriving! It wasn't until Gale spoke of her that Byörn recognized Falling Ash. This time, the pack seemed different, though. Something had changed. A new wolf!
It seemed like there really would be enough wolves for a new pack to be created. That would leave Bowie's pack undermanned (or is it underwolved? UnderUratha'd?), but he's a tough guy, he'll handle it.
Byörn decided to lay down and just wait for the Ungin to start.
03-05-2013, 01:18 PM
Kamau's teeth sharpen reflexively and he growls, but it's the sound of a cub being scruffed and everyone knows it. "Iah ðissþ nah—" he pulls back after what he thinks is a sufficient inspection, rubbing his jaw ruefully back into place.
"Is this normal, dawg? I ain't no horse, man, this better not be the secret Uratha handshake."
03-06-2013, 02:19 PM
Rose, uneasily standing on unfamiliar, yet more familiar than Hishu limbs, paws, takes a moment to respond. Shifting attention from the jet-black fur adorning a now-canine body, to the smells and sounds of worlds unknown to humans and finally to the pyres below. Brown lupine eyes seeing none of the fire in the clearing, lost in the fires of the past.
"[As ready as I can. Waiting has ended.]"
Rose replies in a language that should still be much too foreign, yet it was as if Rose had known of it for years. Nodding, or doing the lupine equivalent of nodding, Rose indicates a readiness to continue to the Ungin.
03-09-2013, 11:05 PM
Rapier, seemingly uncaring about the pain inflicted on his pack sister, looked up with Bowie at the approach of the new pack, his hackles high. "[What're they doing here? Weren't they here last time? Hey, is that a new member they've got?]"
"I wish the Elders would just rip that bitch's head off," Bowie growled. "I don't know why they let her come here." Uncharacteristically, however, Bowie's remarks were said softly, as if he were afraid of someone overhearing. The Elders, of course - they had sharp ears, and obviously their choice had been made.
"Wow," Gale mused. "Another new Change? I haven't seen this many nusuzul in..."
"[Ever?]" Coyote offered, a grin apparent on his voice.
"Yeah, basically," Gale agreed. "Well kid, it's looking more and more like a new pack might be in order. We'll have to see what the Elders want, but that's usually SOP for these sorts of situations."
As Kamau rubbed his cheeks, the grungy elder "harumph"ed, apparently not entirely pleased with his inspection. He didn't respond to the younf cub directly, instead poking a single strong finger sharply into Kamau's arm, causing the ache in his bones to flare into a spike of agony. "Yar inna bad way. Kam, Aye's settin' ya right 'fore di fiyas is lit."
"[You'll do fine,]" Chains reassured Rose, the big wolf giving her a friendly check with his side. "[Word on the street is that there are a bunch of new Changes like you here tonight, so the Elder's will probably put you in a pack together.]"
03-13-2013, 04:35 PM
As Kamau rubbed his cheeks, the grungy elder "harumph"ed, apparently not entirely pleased with his inspection. He didn't respond to the younf cub directly, instead poking a single strong finger sharply into Kamau's arm, causing the ache in his bones to flare into a spike of agony. "Yar inna bad way. Kam, Aye's settin' ya right 'fore di fiyas is lit."
"What? Nah, man. I'm good. It's fine. Nothing's poking out, I can walk, it's cool. Let's just do this werewolf thing."
Kamau's confusion would be more understandable if one were to note that everything Uratha has involved violence and gore, doubly so when wounds are involved. Nothin worse that admitting you're hurt in a literal pack of wolves.
03-14-2013, 05:00 AM
Jaci's lips pulled back from his teeth, and a growl started in his chest. He squashed it before it could emerge from his mouth - wouldn't do to alert the prey - and began to pad silently forward towards the squirrels, sticking to cover when he could, keeping downwind of them.
03-17-2013, 09:12 AM
"[New life, new duties and a Pack with no experience?]"
Rose's ears shift to a questioning expression, the newfangled Urhan looking as sceptical as a black-furred large wolf can. The expression only lasts for a second, however, as Rose speaks again in the growling and strangely natural language of old.
"[That sounds almost fun, actually. Like home.]"
Rose says with a faint glimmer of the lupine equivalent of a smile. Clearly still affected by the shock of the fire, Rose is not quite back at normal yet, but the Ungin seems to bring some hope.
03-17-2013, 04:14 PM
The possibilities of a new pack were increasing, and Byörn really liked the prospect of a pack with no leadership yet. He would directly take alpha, or, if he wasn't fit for it, beta, instead of having to deal with slowly climbing it up. Besides, he wouldn't get knocked around by bowie either.
The blonde wolf decided to go for a stroll and greet the newcommers. He really wanted to get his name this meeting, something warrior-like perhaps. He neared the fire Rose was at. Showing his bared neck, he approached to the group and spoke: "Good evening" he said, nodding slightly to Falling Ash and the Pack. "I see you've brought a new person?" he said, glad he wasn't the youngest one, like last time.
03-25-2013, 07:50 PM
The elder stopped and turned to look at Kamau once again. He hardly spared a glance at the new pack that loped past to one of the last unlit pyres; the look on the grubby Jamaican's face was one that could, in the words of the gang-bangers Kamau once hung with, had said, "Really? You're gonna play it like that?" The disbelief and skepticism was so obivous as to be painful.
Then the elder shrugged and turned away. "Iff'n ya's wanna die in di ini'tia'shun..." He offered, wandering back to wards the central fire.
The tiny spirits paid Jaci no attention as he slunk nearer. They seemed to be digging up a stash of acorns - if acorns had gaping venus-flytrap-like mouths with gnashing teeth - and adding more to it, protecting their source of food for the future. This sort of foresight seemed odd to Jaci - smaller spirits usually had little concept of things beyond the now, and often used up their food supply without thinking. Of course, since the spirits looked somewhat like squirrrels, they might actually gain sustenance directly from the action of storing food. But that mattered little as the hunter drew near enough to pounce...
Falling Ash lead her pack with Rose in tow to one of the last unlit pyres, past the place where Kamau stood talking with the grimy elder. As they approached, Ash cut her tongue on a fang and flicked it, sending a few sparkling drops soaring through the air to land on the ancient wood. The motion was practiced, and it allowed Ash to light the pyres quickly without needing to shift to a humanoid form to do so.
Almost instantly, the drops seemed to combust, and shortly the fire was burning bright and warm for the pack to gather around.
Soon afterward, one of the younger wolves from a different pyre came over. At his greeting, Falling Ash stood and looked him over, still in the Urhan. "[Hmm, you're name was...Byorn, yes? Gale's cub?]" Ash's eyes flickered over to the pyre where the Prowlers sat, Coyote Wild's glinting eyes watching Byorn as he wandered.
"[Yes,]" She answered, "[we rescued her from Vardus and the Black Flames a few days ago. Little Thorn?]" She called, turning to look at Rose. "[Come say hello: you might end up in the same pack together.]"
Pyre 1: Lost Ones
Pyre 2: Red Daggers; Martin
Pyre 3: Falling Ash's pack (As of yet unnamed); Rose
Pyre 4: --
Pyre 5: Shadow Wardens; Jaci
Pyre 6: --
Pyre 7: Twin Pine Prowlers; Byorn
03-26-2013, 02:46 AM
Kamau growls. A human one, more a rough breath than anything threatening. "A'ight, look. Y'all seem to be waiting on something. You're the expert here, but do you have that kinda time? Bruises take seconds. I could survive a slit throat by holding my breath, burning that ulal if I'm in a hurry. This has been a day. How long we gotta wait, if I get patched up?"
Kamau points to the moon. "Because this meeting? It runs on her time, not mine."
03-26-2013, 07:40 AM
I see the young wolf from the prowlers walk towards the new pack. I walk towards the newly arrived pack, not having heard bowie's comment in all the commotion on the hill.
If I want any information on all the new ones I'd better gather some with that young guy I almost met and the newly arrived pack.
I call after [Byorn] not too loud, but loud enough for him to hear me.
Hey! Dude! I didn't quite catch your name back there!
03-26-2013, 08:51 AM
Stepping carefully towards the light-furred newcomer, Rose gives Byörn a curious look. Or as curious a look as someone can give when simultaneously pondering if all Uratha blood was flammable to the point of starting pyres. Nodding in greeting, the near-black wolf speaks.
"[Hello, it is good to meet you. I am Rose, or Little Thorn. First is a bit difficult to say as a Wolf...]"
Rose's says with a voice that seems a bit distant and uncertain. Taking a deep breath and changing to a taller stance, Rose continues with a bit more certainty, seemingly trying not to think about the odd nature of talking in an inhuman language with what appears to be an ordinary wolf, while being a wolf yourself.
"[You are a new change as well? That means you have not been to an Ungin before either, doesn't it?]"
03-31-2013, 02:12 PM
Calling back to Martin, he answers the question: ["Byörn, nice to meet you!"] with a smile.
["Little Thorn, nice"] Byörn mentioned, looking the young girl wolf up and down. She was seemed quite fragile to him, and although he was sure she had lots of potential, with a voice as timid as hers, it was almost impossible not to grin.
Byörn quickly turned his grin into a smile, answering her question: ["It's actualy my second Ungin, today"] he told her, standing a bit taller, proud of his 'experience' ["And I heard, as Falling Ash just said, that we might get into the same pack, so I decided to come on over, see what kind of person you are"] he said. Giving a wink to her while he turned away, he said ["And I like what I'm seeing"] :smallwink:
Walking back to his own pyre (again), he came across the young Kamau, who seemed quite beaten down and rebellious, with the aura he had around him. Byörn decided to leave it, and instead began walking circles around the big pyre, as to warm himself and know when the Ungin really started.
He finally seated himself down and watched Rose in Falling Ash's pack (which he still didn't know the name of).
04-01-2013, 04:08 AM
Björn, gotta remember that.
I spot another newcomer and move towards her.
Well, hello, my name is Martin, might I get yours?
04-11-2013, 11:30 PM
"Baaah!" The old elder exclaimed, batting away Kamau's words as if they were annoying flies. "Dar be time 'nuff. Asides, Aye's is kepin' da words Aye's gif. Ya wanna die? Do it afta Aye's fixin' ya." He turned and started walking towards the other elders gathered in the center, clearly expecting Kamau to follow him.
Jaci, roll Dexterity + Stealth for me to sneak up on the little spirits! ...If the dice thread has died, feel free to start up a new one...
04-12-2013, 03:32 AM
Kamau shrugs. What the hay? If nothing else, it's a chance to see what another Uratha can do. He's got spiderweb-bones. How's the old wolf gonna fix that
With as much speed as he can make look natural, Kamau follows.
04-16-2013, 02:19 PM
Looking after Byörn, Rose lowers an ear in a quizzical expression. Shaking hear head and sending waves through nearly jet-black fur, Rose mumbles something which might have been a human language, had Rose had a human mouth.
Looking aside again, Rose sees Martin approach and turns to face the new arrival. Speaking again, Rose seem to be a bit less uncertain by now, if still not very relaxed.
"[My name is Rose, though Falling Ash-]"
Rose indicates the pack leader as respectfully and elegantly as a newcomer to the lupine body can do.
"[-has taken to call me Little Thorn. Good to meet you]"
Rose pauses to see if Martin can follow the response in the First Tongue. It was not easy to learn a new language, even if being Uratha helped with the First Tongue.
((Assuming here that Martin is in Hishu and asked in English, apologies if I misunderstand. ^_^'))
04-17-2013, 05:21 AM
I know this is the First Tongue, if only Bowie had taught me more of it beyond follow, run, kill and other hunting terms.
"I'm sorry, I didn't quite catch all that. It seems I may need to work on learning hte First Tongue beyond simple hunting terms. That or I'll need to find a tutor haha!
I see her gesture towards the alpha...
I nod courteously towards the Alpha.
"Pleased to meet you. My name is Martin. No deedname yet I'm afraid...
I turn back to Rose.
"I understood something about thorns though... So, when did you change?
04-18-2013, 02:14 PM
Rose gives Martin a look that looks a fair deal more confused than amused, even if Martin has little skill at reading the facial expressions of a furred quadruped. Lifting a paw, the very inhuman canine tries to scratch a few line sin the dirt. While nimble, Rose's claws are not made for writing in loose soil, but the letters are somewhat legible.
Pointing at her muzzle, Rose tries to indicate what the issue is.
"[You do need that, and someone to tell you that wolves can't speak Hishu languages. A teacher of pups, maybe?]"
((It says "Wolf Mouth", in case that is even less legible than intended. ^_^'))
04-19-2013, 01:29 AM
Ofcourse I know that you can't speak english at the moment due to your chosen form.
Oh, and I do know I haven't been taught anything by my pack beyond healing myself and shapeshifting reliably."
It seems she knows a great deal about the First Tongue, maybe if we end up in the same pack she could teach me. Wouldn't do much good if I couldn't speak the First tongue as a diplomat...
Say, if we end up in a pack together, could you teach me the First Tongue? nod for yes, shake for no.
I flash a grin
I'm a fool. Don't get carried away.
04-21-2013, 10:23 AM
Rose's head tilts in confusion at the reply. Looking back at Falling Ash with an expression of befuddlement.
"[Is there an Uratha custom for talking without being understood?]"
Turning back, the young wolf pauses slightly at Martin's question. Considering what to answer while absently opening and closing her mouth as she instinctively tries to give a verbal answer, but remembers the linguistic barrier. Instead, the brown-eyed wolf tries to rely on experience and gives a short, simple answer.
"[Don't know... maybe]"
Rose tries to keep the tone clearly apologetic and shrugs along with it to signify the intend.
05-04-2013, 11:57 PM
The old wolf clomped back towards the giant stack of old, burnt wood in the center of the clearing, not waiting for Kamou to keep pace. Near the pile was an old, grimy backpack, which he began to rummage about in. Soon, he came up with an ornate wooden bowl, and a sports water bottle, the cap nearly chewed down to worthlessness.
As Kamou approached, he sniffed at the young wolf, a criticizing look on his face. "Go an' drink deep a' da pathweh der," he commanded, pointing his club at the giant dead tree. "Ya be needin' lassa Ulal fur dis."
05-06-2013, 03:31 AM
"Uh, yeah. A'ight."
Kamau turns from the grizzled old wolf, and scans the area. Pathway? What the heck is he talking about? There's wolves, smells, tastes. The bundles for fire ("Ha, bundles. Riiight. Like a buffet is a snack, yeah?") with their pitch and flame smells, and the tree-locus, full of some kin of essence, buzzing in his nose like a combination of nectarines and having to sneeze, and—
Oh. Oh. The Locus is the pathway, isn't it? Because a wolf can step through there to the other side, right? Dang. Kamau shakes his head, biting the inside of his lip to gore in frustration. Instead of a damn hospital trip and wasting everyone's time, he could have, like, jumped through the locus an pulled the plug back at that house. No fight, no time wasted on his sorry broken ass... Shoulda, woulda, coulda. Yeah, right.
Kamau stalks purposefully to the tree, keenly aware of all the eyes riding him. Pretty sure that if the old grizzly wasn't so loud, someone would take this chance to tear him apart for his impertinence. Just like back on the streets, right? The web work of old branches rears above the young prophet, and for the first time the spirit world's presence makes him feel small, but not like insignificant. Like a seed.
Kamau puts both palms flat against the tree, almost tenderly, and stretches his hamstrings against it before relaxing and flexing his wolf-side muscles, pulling in...
05-06-2013, 06:00 AM
Good! Looking forward to it then.
This could prove very useful.
So, you think the newcomer isany good? Nod or shake uffices
05-06-2013, 01:41 PM
Rose gives Martin another confused look, lifting a paw to point between her, Byörn and the general direction that Kamau was in when talking to the Elder.
"[Which one? I am not sure who you...]"
Pausing, Rose shakes her head a bit before continuing.
"[Probably not me, B-y-ör-n?]"
Rose pronounces the name as clearly as a Wolf can, trying to be helpful despite being clearly distracted or confused about something.
05-07-2013, 02:11 AM
Byorn? Ha, no, he's good... I mean the guy with the dreads, Kamau I think his name was? He seems a bit rebellious, but we'll see.
Anyway, I'll see you later, I think we're about to start with the Ungin.
I wave Rose good bye witha big smile.
Rose is a little shy, Byorn a bit eager, I'm lacking in the knowledge department and that Kamau guy seems a bit snippy. This is going to get interesting to say the least.
I wish I wasn't picked up bybowei's pack though, It could have saved me a lot of trouble and allowed me to learn a lot more about Uratha and the First Tongue. I hope I can keep up...
A tiny shiver crawls down my spine as I walk back to the Daggers. I transform into Dalu drinking in the atmosphere through my slightly heigtened senses.
This new pack of all the new guys and gals might need some good old fashioned pledging to become a full pack. Good thing I've allready done this sort of thing. I've got to make sure we beocme a unity instead of fragmented individuals. We wouldn't want a situation to occur like last year's pledgers at Delta Mu Sigma...
Delta Mu Sigma is the ingame (fictional) fraternity where Martin has pledged before undergoing the change.
05-15-2013, 12:32 PM
Rose looks after Martin and shakes her head, muttering to herself.
"[-But it may be a good idea, to learn more about the others. I won't get any closer by sneaking about alone.]"
Looking upright again, ears and eyes attending, Rose tries to take in the Ungin and the other newcomers in full. A glimmer of thought, or perhaps secret plotting, mixes with the hope and nervousness in the young Wolf's eyes.
"[Uhm, how did the Ungin begin again?]"
Rose says sheepishly, turning ever slightly towards Falling Ash's pack.
05-15-2013, 10:52 PM
As Kamau flexed his spiritual muscles, a veritable flood of energy poured into him, making him feel full in a way that he had never felt. The essence was laced with a heady, primal flavor, causing his muscles to twitch involuntarily, like a sleeping dog's did in dreams. The rush of the hunt seemed to fill his senses, even though there was no prey about.
Kamau can draw in up to his maximum in Essence!
"It looks like we're just waiting for that nusuzul there to finish up with whatever the Elder is doing for him," Dawn and Eve said to Rose, pointing lazily towards the giant tree where the dark-skinned youth stood. "The elders spend a whole lot of time making sure that the essence there has just the right resonance to be of the most use for Uratha. They don't normally allow us to drink from it. Whatever it is, it..."
She paused, watching the grizzled old Jamaican. "Ah, he must need some healing. Looks like Night Brother is getting his things ready. Once they're done we'll probably get started; I'd guess the last pack isn't coming tonight."
05-16-2013, 03:34 AM
Kamau draws in the essence over a few minutes, his foot tapping a stochastic rhythm. Dayum.
It's intense. It's like a sugar high, a caffeine rush. It's like that time Stones bet him fifty bucks he couldn't finish a pallet of red bull in three hours, everything buzzing and ready to go. He's like a motorcycle barely in park, and it's fantastic. Only unlike a sugar binge, there's no sense of hollowness or runnin on fumes. This stuff was the down home wholesome real deal, and the words to describe it were almost beyond the young wolf.
On the way back to the elder Kamau begins to throb, a deep ache coming out of his bones and burning into the skin. He stops halfway, and starts again, a slow and measured walk instead of the upbeat bounce from moments before, mindful that deep down, he's still in a sorry state. He stares at the jamaican's back for a few heartbeats before speaking up. "I'm uh, I'm ready. I think."
05-22-2013, 11:03 AM
Rose looks up at where Kamau is standing, studying the nuzusul and the Elder before speaking.
"That-That is very nice to know. Sounds dangerous, but good that we have the healing changed essence."
With a peculiar glance around, almost as if trying to study the invisible essence manipulations, Rose cheers up a small bit. Speaking again, Rose asks another question.
"Do they normally come?"
07-01-2013, 05:58 PM
Whoah! did that dude just eat the center tree? How is this possible?
I look at Dagger with a questioning look, hoping she ahs any idea what's going on...
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