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Zoe

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PostSubject: Antitheses   Thu 17 Jul 2014, 00:22

It had been a long, albeit productive, day of travel for the Prodigals. The fact that a tattered bloody wolf had been tracking them did not increased group morale. When Rends returned with a Red Talon metis, Zoe and the others felt some relief that their follower was not a Black Spiral or someone else will ill intentions.

Zoe eyed the lupine Garou curiously as he lay curled up at the base of a tree, keeping his own suspicious eye on the 'ape wolves.' She slowly shifted into Crinos as she approached, being careful not to show any signs of agression, a difficult task in her current form.

"Could I please speak with you in this form that would allow us to speak freely and comfortably? I am curious about the beliefs of your tribe as they are quite different from my own."
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PostSubject: Re: Antitheses   Thu 17 Jul 2014, 13:39

Shrike shook himself and then reared back on long hind legs, his stature growing in the light of the crescent moon. Zoe could hear the wet cracks and muffled groans of bone and sinew warping, smell his fresh and old blood mingling as cruel spines of yellow bone pushed up through his hide. With a final deep rumbling growl the Metis completed his painful transformation, the Garou's hulking, jagged form shaded by the boughs of the gnarled oak tree. She could hear his breath quicken, his nose twitching as he scented her.

"Yes. We are different. Ask your questions, monkey-born wolf."
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PostSubject: Re: Antitheses   Thu 17 Jul 2014, 15:21

The monkey-born Crinos curls her lip in a snarl, but calms herself, quickly reminding herself that his derogative nickname for her was no more personal than the Get calling her urrah simply for her allegiance to the Iron Riders. The prejudice against her tribe for their willingness to work with the Weaver and humans was understandable to a point because it was a conscious choice they had made; however, being derided for something that was beyond anyone's control was simply foolishness in her mind.

"I have never understood the distinction between wolf-born and human-born Garou. We all have four forms, though I am as comfortable in homid as you are in lupus form. I find our lupine form to be quite agile and beautiful though I struggle to communicate effectively while in it. I assume you also find it difficult to wear my native form but do so when necessary. It is fascinating to me that instead of choosing one or the other to serve as her warriors Gaia saw fit to create our most powerful form, which we currently wear, which combines the strengths of both bloodlines - wolf and human alike."

"Why then do you consider us who were born human to be lesser Garou than you who were born wolf? I would not suggest that we are greater than you but would be interested to see what you Red Talons believe make you greater than the rest of us or at least why you hold us in such derision."

Zoe's tone throughout is one of pure curiosity, with no intent to insult the Metis, his tribe, or his wolf-born heritage. It simply baffles her that in a place where Garou are scarce they would quickly dismiss many potential allies due only to their bloodline. Though in this day and age those types of prejudices were more common than not: wolf-born vs monkey-born, Pure vs Garou, white vs native, man vs woman, Texan vs Mexican, the list is endless.
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PostSubject: Re: Antitheses   Thu 17 Jul 2014, 16:30

Shrike's wild eyes glaze over as Zoe talks about the forms, and he roused himself with another shake before he replied. "Yes. The wolf-body is fast and strong. The ape-body is ridiculous, weak. I have worn the ape-body twice." There was anger and shame in the Garou's snarled words. "It was a hated punishment."

"Humans have no strength, they are cunning prey-beasts, nothing more. You two-legged wolves are impure. You are Garou, but you are not wolves." Shrike idly scraped a long claw against one of the curved bone-spurs jutting from inside his elbow. The sound was like dull knives being sharpened on one another.

"Your kind is whelped by monkeys and suckled by spiders. It makes you clever... too clever. Your minds are loud and complicated, like a machine, always turning."

"Your ape-thoughts are so loud you can no longer hear your wolf-heart beating."
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PostSubject: Re: Antitheses   Thu 17 Jul 2014, 20:54

Zoe is not surprised by the Talon's sharply worded feelings concerning the differences between their kinds. She wonders, however, if those were Shrike's personal thoughts or if they had been passed down from his elders, but she had no way to ask without offending his intelligence. Beside that, he had already condemned human-born Garou for having too much going on in their minds at one time, so they probably do not value original thought as much as her kind do or say they do.

"I agree with you that the 'ape' form is the weakest of our forms physically, but perhaps you discount the too-clever ape-thoughts too quickly.  Power does not only lie in brute strength and instinct, but in cunning and craftiness, which our human minds allow us to cultivate; however..."

Zoe looks curiously at Shrike for a moment, glances away, and then returns her gaze to the hulking, bone-impaled warrior before her.

"Could you teach me to quiet my mind and listen to the beating of the wolf heart?  If Gaia created us both, then I believe my wolf heart still lies within, albeit drowned out by the cacophony of human education and philosophies.  Though you appear to deem my kind little more than worthless, I may be able to do something for you in return if you wish.  I would hate for anyone to think you did an ape-born atrocity any favors."

She adds that last sentence with as much of a sly grin as possible in their monstrous war form.
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PostSubject: Re: Antitheses   Fri 18 Jul 2014, 16:09

"Yes. I would hate that also." Shrike nodded, his growled enunciation flat and emotionless. Zoe realized that her sarcasm had been lost on the Red Talon.

The towering mutant said nothing for a moment, just standing still and quiet in the night, the only noise the breeze through the tree tops and the harsh, insistent scraping of claw on bone. Zoe noticed small spines or even quills sprouting from the base of the larger spikes, and on these were hung the odd dessicated rodent or lizard carcass.  

"Even if I hungered to show you the ways of the four-legged, I would likely fail. Like you, I am an atrocity, Urrah. My own wolf-heart is often silent, but my mind is clouded, conflicted."
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PostSubject: Re: Antitheses   Fri 18 Jul 2014, 16:39

Zoe's eyes filled with concern for the creature standing before her.

"I understand if you did not wish to show me the ways of the wolf, but why do you believe you are likely to fail? And why do you call yourself an atrocity?"

She thought that he referred to his deformities as a Metis, but wished not to insult him for something that, like her human ancestry, was beyond his control. She instead decided to delve deeper if Shrike would allow.

"What is it that clouds and conflicts your mind?"
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PostSubject: Re: Antitheses   Mon 21 Jul 2014, 01:41

The misshapen Crinos made a short chuffing noise. "You are not blind. I am sin-that-walks. My bones grow long. I never sire pups. Gaia's wolves, two-legged or four-legged, must not rut. Yet I exist. I am an atrocity." Shrike stopped sharpening his cruel bone spurs. He idly plucked a half-decomposed gecko from where it had been impaled on a long yellow spike of what would have been an elbow on a more wholesome Garou. He held it in the palm of his claw, regarding it, looking in its mummified eye-sockets.

"My mind is not that of an ape, but I must hunt long and hard for my wolf-heart. At all times I hunger for the deaths of apes, to feel soft throats on my teeth. I hunger for the destruction of their dens, to pull the dead wood and stone apart with my claws." Shrike slowly looked up at Zoe and clenched his claws into a gnarled fist, pulverizing the lizard corpse into dust.  

"The wolf does not crave these things."
The Red Talon's words were anguished, and in his eyes Zoe could see a terrible fusion of turmoil and fury. "I hate, Urrah. I hate."
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PostSubject: Re: Antitheses   Mon 21 Jul 2014, 06:09

Zoe's eyes grew both sad and furious as Shrike explained his impassioned plight.

"In the same way the Talon's despise us for being ape-born, something that is beyond our control, it is wrong to despise a Metis for the sins of his or her parents and the deformities that occur as a result. If your improperly grown bones cause you pain, I am sorry, but especially in this form, they provide a level of terror that the average Garou does not have. I mean, look at me. Sure, weak apes might fear to meet me, but other Garou would think twice before fighting you. Your bones provide an additional level of both offense and defense against your foes. I am sorry that you will never sire pups, but you can still serve Gaia with your teeth, claws, and heart."

Zoe's eyes grew concerned as he described his unrelenting hatred of humans and his unquenchable desire to destroy them and their homes.

"Have you always felt this way about the humans, or did something happen in your past that caused you to desire their demise? I know that your tribe promotes the destruction of humans, but you seem to speak as if yours is an unusually strong hatred."

Realization struck Zoe and she slowly shifted her weight away from the Metis Talon. "Does that hatred and desire apply to ape-born Garou as well?"
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PostSubject: Re: Antitheses   Mon 21 Jul 2014, 17:00

The Red Talon grunted. "I hunt Wyrm-prey, yes. Many are my scars. I bleed often for Gaia. I am her claw." As Zoe leaned back from the other Garou, Shrike instinctively leaned forward and closed the gap, and the Theurge could feel his hot breath as it streamed from his nostrils.

"I do not kill apes because I must. I kill them because it is right. Before, all Garou hunted the humans. Now, only we remember the old ways."    


"I hate the apes, for I am not an ape. The hearts of men have no wolf, only the Wyrm is within. Two-legged wolves are not this way; I would have killed you by now."
The metis' words, though snarled, are unhappy. "Though it would have pained me."


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PostSubject: Re: Antitheses   Mon 21 Jul 2014, 17:14

Zoe narrowed her eyes at the hulking Crinos mere inches from her face.

"Who's to say the ways of old were right? Will you continue blindly following an outmoded belief that all humans deserve to be killed and refuse to evolve with the times?"

She paused momentarily, cocking her head slightly to the side. "Why would it have pained you to end my life even if it were the so-called right thing to do?"
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PostSubject: Re: Antitheses   Mon 21 Jul 2014, 17:43

In response to her slit-eyed gaze, Shrike drew back, and the movement reminded Zoe of nothing so much as a rusty, coiling spring. "To turn claws on another of Gaia's wolves, even a two-legged Urrah, is painful. You have not shunned from me. You have not snapped at me. I am grateful."  

"Garou exist to hunt the Wyrm. We found the apes had Wyrm-hearts. The Litany was clear. For some time we hunted them. Then feeble tribes tired of following Gaia's purpose. They begged the other wolves to stop killing humans. The other tribes listened."
Sadness, bordering on despair, tinged the Red Talon's words, before being quickly replaced by smouldering anger.

"Now the apes have spread like fleas across Gaia's body. The apes rut and feed, kill the wolf-kin, and harm Gaia. They must die. The Wyrm's prey would be gone. The Wyrm would starve, as before. The Garou must starve it again."


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PostSubject: Re: Antitheses   Mon 21 Jul 2014, 20:47

At his declaration that all humans had Wyrm hearts, she held up a hand to stop him.

"Wait, Shrike. What do you mean the apes have Wyrm hearts? Have you been told that all humans are of the Wyrm?"

Zoe looked inquisitively at him then sighed in sad realization. "Because of your...deformities...and your upbringing...you have never interacted with humans outside of killing them, have you? You yourself said that the only times you have worn the homid form was in punishment. Of course you think poorly of them. It's the only way you know how to think about them."

Her eyes held pity for the bone-pierced creature standing before her. He was born of a forbidden union. He may never have known his parents either, but if he did, they lived a shunned, painful existence.

"I do not know my parents personally as I have never met them. From what I have been told, my father was Garou and my mother was human, likely kinfolk, but still human. For reasons unknown to me, they left me when I was very young on the streets of Galveston. A young pup, who didn't know she was a pup, was all alone in a world full of humans. And you know what happened? The humans helped me. Three boys took me in and gave me a place to sleep and helped me find food and clothing. A few years later another man took me in and acted as a father to me for many years. I had friends at school and teachers who cared about me and helped me catch up, since I had not been in school as a child. My adopted father taught me his craft and how to get along in human society. Sure, some humans are horrible and likely to be Wyrm-tainted, but overall, humans are just looking to survive and not bother any one else in the process."

She laughed softly to herself. "I would love to introduce you to some of those humans, but I'm not sure I trust you to keep years of hatred under control in such a tempting situation."

She shook her head sadly. "I'm afraid you underestimate the strength and flexibility of the Wyrm. If you were to destroy all the humans, the Wyrm's thin-spread forces would focus then on destroying us."

She laughed again. "Instead of looking at the humans as a feeding trough for the Wyrm, look at them as something to keep the Wyrm distracted and occupied while we devour and destroy every last bit of it."
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PostSubject: Re: Antitheses   Tue 22 Jul 2014, 16:19

Shrike blinked and squinted at Zoe, puzzlement etched into his monstrous features. "I understand little of your words. School and craft, streets and clothing. Why does a Garou hunger for these things? Your ape-mind will betray you, sliver moon." He did not sneer at her, but his words were short and punctuated with meaningless rumbling growls of frustration. "Hunger for the meat of prey and Gaia's breath on your face. Hunger for the warmth of a mate in winter and the howls of the young in spring. Dream of days when the cities crumble and the Wyrm itself lies dead."  

"Ape logic will have you chasing your tail. There is no difference in hunting the Wyrm and hunting apes. They are the same. We are called to hunt the Wyrm. I have scented the Wyrm, I have found its lair: it is in the heart of man."


As if as an afterthought, the metis added: "Do you wonder why Gaia's wolves are commanded not to eat the flesh of men? They are impure, sick. A wolf does not hunger for spoiled meat."
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PostSubject: Re: Antitheses   Tue 22 Jul 2014, 16:35

Zoe growled in frustration and took a step forward toward the Red Talon, poking her claw into his bone-riddled chest.

"You are wrong, Metis. Human Garou hunger for the things of humans because in Gaia's wisdom she saw fit to create us like them. Wolf-born Garou hunger for the things of wolves for the same reason, not because it makes you better than us. If you have a problem with human-born Garou, take it up with Gaia herself!"

She takes another step forward, eyes filled with righteous indignation. "If anyone is opening himself up to Wyrm control, it is you and your kind with your blind hatred of things you do not even know or attempt to understand."

Her voice lowers to almost a whisper, though it carries just as much passion. "And did you ever think that perhaps Gaia forbids us to eat the flesh of humans because they are precious in her sight, that she has called us to protect her creation? All of it? Even the humans?"
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PostSubject: Re: Antitheses   Tue 22 Jul 2014, 23:55

A long trail of drool unspooled from Shrike's fangs as he looked down at the smaller, determined Theurge with scarce-contained rage. "You claim we are of the Wyrm, Urrah?" Shaggy red hackles rose, and two dark eyes gleamed with anger and disbelief. The Red Talon's low, breathless growl was sounding less and less like a sentient being and more and more like a feral beast. "You are as blind as any ape! Tear the cobwebs from your eyes, or I will answer my calling and do it for you."
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PostSubject: Re: Antitheses   Wed 23 Jul 2014, 00:15

For the first time in talking with Shrike, Zoe genuinely fears for her safety. It is clear to her that though he speaks first tongue well enough, his ability to reason intellectually was lacking, as is the case with most animals. If the look in his eyes and the words in his mouth were any indication, these next words could be her last, so she should choose them carefully. Her eyes were panicked and pleading and she fought to maintain composure of her voice. She quickly shifted into her lupine form and barked out a few simple sentences.

"No! Wait! You are not Wyrm. I am not Wyrm. Black Spiral are Wyrm. Banes are Wyrm. Akna is Wyrm. Humans and wolves are not Wyrm. Please understand me, brother."

Her last words almost bring tears to her eyes from frustration at talking across their cultural and language barriers as much as from fear of having to take on the larger, rage-filled wolf standing before her. She also hoped that shifting to this form was a sign of her attempt to communicate more clearly and did not offend him. It also gave her the slightest advantage if she needed to run.
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PostSubject: Re: Antitheses   Wed 23 Jul 2014, 00:56

The spine-riddled Crinos was silent for a moment, his lunatic fury simultaneously tempted and frustrated. After a few tense moments the Red Talon crouched down on all fours in front of Zoe, giving her a look of wary consideration. "The Urrah and the atrocity are different; but both hunger to understand, and hunt for truth." The snap-crack of bones and skin signaled the deformed Garou's transformation, and after a few painful seconds, a ragged, red-furred wolf nosed closer to Zoe, his intent easy enough to follow as the metis scented her fear and relaxed. His animalistic gaze met hers and she understood. It was not enough to hunt for mutual understanding. The hunt must be successful-

Then she was running heedlessly through the night. Impulses, the scent of a terrified mule deer in her nostrils, the feel of the rocky red soil flying beneath her feet, the rough touch of tree and shrub as she scrambled and dove after the prey. Her pack was small, just one other wolf, but together they cornered and brought down the struggling stag, his kicks and thrusts not enough to protect him from two hungry Gaian wolves. Zoe's first conscious thoughts returned as she stood over her kill, licking her sticky muzzle, the crescent moon low in the south eastern sky. Shrike stood nearby, patiently watching her eat, his wolf-claws wet with blood that, in the shadows, appeared nearly black.
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PostSubject: Re: Antitheses   Wed 23 Jul 2014, 01:19

Zoe eyes the red wolf with curiosity, remembering how she got to this point as if watching someone else's memories instead of her own. She sensed that he had done something to reduce, or perhaps enhance, her to the point of hearing her wolf-heart above the drone of ape-thoughts.  She bows her lupine head toward the ground in gratitude for both the meal and experience. She then turns her back to him as she rests on her haunches and gazes up at Luna's slivered light.

She breathes deeply through her canine snout, inhaling many scents, but her instincts concerning each one is clouded by her conscious attempts to sort them out.  Her heart is saddened and conflicted between her desire to be fully ape and fully wolf at all times.

She turns back toward the Metis.  Her large green eyes, slow pace, and sunken shoulders relaying her inner turmoil.
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PostSubject: Re: Antitheses   Wed 23 Jul 2014, 17:09

Shrike nosed up to the fallen deer and took several large, gulping bites, messily devouring his meal before he approached the Theurge. His body language was passive, almost... relaxed. His dark amber eyes caught Zoe's glance, and he waved his tail at her, unconcerned. Zoe realized that the Red Talon cared little for the forgotten past or the threatening future, or for the struggle between their dual nature. In this moment, Shrike cared only about existing, free from hate and pain.
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PostSubject: Re: Antitheses   Wed 23 Jul 2014, 20:50

Upon seeing Shrike's casual stance, Zoe mirrored him with her own relaxed posture and waving tail. She closed her eyes, inhaled deeply, and allowed the scents to just be scents with no deeper meaning or consequence. The strongest scent was that of fresh blood, and she again gulped down a bloody bite of deer, relishing the taste and texture as she did so. Finally, she turned her face to the sky and released a howl. It held no preconceived meaning or intent, but simply flowed out of her as easily as she drew breath. In this moment, she felt more in tune with her inner wolf than ever before, aside from the moment when Shrike's gift helped her along.

She then spotted a fallen tree that had been overgrown, forming a small shelter. She crawled inside, walked in a tight circle, and lay down curled into a ball in her makeshift den.
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