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 Bleak Winter

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The Laughing Stranger
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PostSubject: Bleak Winter   Thu 11 Sep 2014, 13:06

A lone figure crouched, touching three fingers down to the soggy earth, moonlight dancing and playing amid his long wild hair. In winter, the headwaters of the Neches became brown, dormant and still. Frosted cattails and naked cottonwood trees stood stiff and silent in the windless night. Even in by the light of the rising half moon, the evidence of battle was clear. Here, a still form of a Indian woman, slowly skeletonizing, trapped face down in frozen mud. There, the twisted leg of a horse jutted up from the cold soggy ground, its weight causing the rest of the carcass to have sunk beneath the mire in warmer times.

Scents-the-Lies heard the quiet, light approach of another, but still his gaze lingered on the fallen. When he spoke, it was like a mountain wind, sharp, sudden and biting-cold. "So pass the Tsalagiyi Nvdagi."

The older Philodox half turned, his tan face wan and statuesque in the silver light of the moon.

"I am glad to see you, White Owl. Tell me of the trails you have walked since our last parting."
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PostSubject: Re: Bleak Winter   Thu 11 Sep 2014, 14:12

As Zas B'ul approached his mentor, he himself took in the scene. His own heart brimming with uncontrolled rage over the needless slaughter that surrounded him. He only half heard his mentor speak to him as he drew near.
The Silent Strider knelt down to the ground and stared into the calm mirky water several feet away from the Wendigo elder.

It seemed to Zas that even Gaia herself was here mourning this tragic pointless loss as the river refused to move, and the trees did not shake, and the wind did not blow. Zas did not try to hide the anger from the older Philodox as he began, "My journey thus far begins and ends in Nacogdoches, and behind my footsteps death follows. I have begun the process of reuniting the bloodied tribes as I once set out to do, but my pace is slow. My pack was brought together by the whims of coyote and time and again we have proven how powerful we can be in the face of our enemies by standing together-Iron rider, Bone Gnawer, Get of Fenris, Shadow Lord, and Silent strider alike. We are of one accord. I have brought a Black Spiral willing to face the rite of the Silver Forge with the faint dream of bringing back the White howlers. I have also been able to work successfully with Red Talons, the Children of Gaia and...the Uktena-in Chief Bowl."

Zas at this point sits down and turns to look at Scents the Lies as he says while an angry tear cascades down his face, "The Great Horned Serpent adopted me as his own."

Zas takes a breath before he continues, "I have aided in the protection of the Camino Real Caern, the Forked Paths caern, and defended the caern of the Burned Rock as it was being first made. I have aided in the purification of the Bear spirit known as Kaermode who had been taken be Mangai the death bear."

Zas then growls despite being in his homid form as he says, "I have slain many mighty creatures of the wyrm, laid low countless mortal men whose minds became twisted from the Wyrm's influence, torn asunder the restless dead. I have destroyed weaver bound mortals and caused the final death of the Corrupted phoenix spirit known as Akna by eating her fully-Never to be reborn! Yet, I have seen Akna's master- the Eater of Souls and been shaken, have been unable to destroy a lone Black Spiral who eludes capture and I have fallen for powerful illusions from my enemies one of which looked like you."

The philodox then turns his head away as he says bitterly, "In exchange for me being able to be here to speak of these tales, too many garou have fallen in service to the mother. Too many great warriors have died standing before our wyrm foes who are lurking, and patiently waiting everywhere."

Zas then looks up and says to his mentor as he gestures around himself, "I have become who my pack needed me to be during wartime. It is not the time for White Owl-the guilty roam blatantly unafraid of judgement, the soft spoken Garou who withholds judgement is dangerous. Now is the time for Bloody Owl. Litu B'ul will bring about the end of all who would desecrate the Mother, who would so casually murder or shed the blood of the old and defenseless. Those who ignore the litany will suffer."

By this point Zas, found himself getting red in the face, and at some point during his words he had stood up and was able to hear his own voice beginning to reverberate around the otherwise silent area.  He took a moment and another deep breath as he bowed his head and said with gritted teeth, "My trails are stained with crimson, and...I find that I no longer know peace."

Zas then looks up slowly at the Wendigo as he says sorrowfully while another tear streams down his cheek, "My winding journey as you once put it, is just that...a path with no straight direction."
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PostSubject: Re: Bleak Winter   Sat 13 Sep 2014, 14:13

"Akna's death has been whispered among the Uktena. I know what others would say. What is done is done." Scents-the-Lies did not glance back at his pupil, but continued to look across the frozen marsh.

"I understand in full your hunger for battle. The winter calls to me, He-who-would-be-called Bloody Owl. Each gust of the north wind and every crack of the ice on the water tells me to kill the vainglorious white men. Yet we are unlike the Ahroun." The pale moonlight played among the still forms of men and trees, casting shallow shadows. The cold wind gusted in Zas' ears, and Scents-the-Lies paused, seeming to relish the touch of the freezing air.

"Destruction and death-making are their way. Ours is the path of law, not the path of blood-lust. Anger lends strength, but it also clouds the mind. Wet your claws with the blood of the enemy, but do not feed the unheeding fire of rage. Slay Gaia's enemies with purpose." Only now had the old white-haired Garou turned to look at Zas. His angular face might as well have been carved from stone, and when he spoke, hot steam hissed from between long, sharp teeth.

"Clarity of mind is our greatest strength, White Owl. You speak with one mouth. Be sure you are of one mind, also. You speak of guilt, yet you and your pack have united tribes of men and wolves. Peace eludes many in these dark days. The Garou Nation grows, threatening the holds of the Pure Ones. Whites conquer and slay Caddo and Cherokee and Apache, but the Comanche too wage war upon all who camp near their long borders. If you go to war, who will you fight?" The elder's eyes glinted with curiosity as he looked down at where Zas crouched.


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PostSubject: Re: Bleak Winter   Sat 13 Sep 2014, 15:19

Zas listens to Scents the Lies as he goes on. As the elder distinguishes between the ahroun and Philodox auspices, the Silent Strider nods in agreement. As he continues, Zas's face begins to sour up to the point when he is asked his question.

The younger philodox at that point stood up slowly as he formed his response-his face still wearing a displeased look. He then gazes back to his mentor as he says firmly, "My war is with the Wyrm-and any who serve it."

He pauses and then adds with ferocity "I will fight any who stand in my way-White man, Comanche, Garou, or even the Pure. It does not matter. I do all that I do for one purpose: the Unification of the tribes. Resistance or opposition to this will not be tolerated. I am of one mind as much now as ever."

Zas looks to his teacher and mentor for a long moment as he says, "You say you understand me and my hunger for battle, but I wonder to what extent you understand. You do not seem to be troubled by Chief Bowl's death. Does him being taken not cause your blood to boil?"
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PostSubject: Re: Bleak Winter   Sun 14 Sep 2014, 18:04

When Zas spoke of unifying the disparate tribes, the elder shook his head. "I think you know many of the Pure would be unwilling to so easily place their trust in the Wyrmbringers. Resistance to outsiders is the way of all people. Come to any Caern of any tribe with ultimatums, and you will be met with defiance and scorn. If your mind is already as stone, why expect the minds of others to flow like water?"

Scents-the-Lies's voice dropped to a murmur. "The divide between Pure One and Wyrmbringer is great. It is not a thing to be overcome by fang or claw. More spilled blood will only please the great enemy." The Wendigo crouched next to Zas, and the younger Garou noticed that the elder's long, thick nails were gradually lengthening in the moonlight.

"The destruction of Bowls-Over-the-Great-Foe pains me. So to, the loss of his people to the white insects. Hear this: their tale is both terrible and commonplace. The Tsalagiyi Nvdagi seemed to have learned nothing from their long walk west. They try to make peace with men who hear the whispers of the Destroyer. There can be no peace. Not while the whites lie and plot the doom of the Indian." Thick, sharp nails scraped deep lines in the ice, tracing a Garou rune that Zas did not recognize.

"This is what I understand, White Owl. Challenge the Uktena to submit, and they will vanish like smoke on the water, as is their way. Nor should you seek those who serve the Horned Serpent. Now, the Pure One lands are ravaged by evils that grow in the lands to the east. Scalp hunters revenge themselves on the Comanche by killing Hueco and Caddo children. Soldiers burn villages and poison rivers. The scabs of the White man breed evil and filthy spirits. With Akna gone, look to your own lands before you lay claim to purity. Only then, will the Pure listen to what you have to say."
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PostSubject: Re: Bleak Winter   Sun 14 Sep 2014, 19:22

Zas looked on as his teacher explained himself, barely able to hold his own tongue. No sooner had Scents the Lies stopped speaking, did Zas respond, "Stone can be moved, rolled away. My mind is like a surging river-never ceasing-undeterred. I have moved as I needed, done as necessary to earn the respect of the Wyrmbringers, per your words. I do not bring Ultimatums but howl out calls of duty. Those who do not answer the call must suffer the shame of not fulfilling their role as Gaian warriors."

Zas then pauses as he gathers his thoughts before continuing, "You believe that the distance between Pure and Wyrmbringers to be nearly unbreachable. I truly hope this not to be true. The Garou nation may be powerful, but if they are to stand alone before the Wyrm I do not believe them to be able of defeating it. Fighting with only one claw is to welcome death."

Zas sighs as he says, "Chief Bowl was willing to work with me. Perhaps he was a lone wolf in his dream of peace, perhaps not. Whatever the case, my calling will require both sides working in unison and having each side tending to their own lands is only fighting with one claw at a time."

The Silent Strider gazes across the other side of the still river as he says, "Chief Bowl did not trust the White man. He did however learn in time, to trust us. I will not ask the Pure tribes to trust the white man. I will never ask that, for I do not trust him. I ask only that they trust in Gaia's warriors-in one another, as Chief Bowl did. When I spoke of fighting those who block my path, I refer to the ones who refuse to aid their Gaian brothers in time of need. That time, I believe will soon be upon us."

Zas then turns back to stare at his mentor as he says, "My own people are likely gone. The Natahay were to be overrun by the whiteman who gathered at their door, aided by hundreds of Comanche braves full of firewater and blood money when last I left them. This coupled with the Tsalagiyi Nvdagi's final days at the hands of the white man only further strengthens my resolve to see the tribes unified. Perhaps then the Whiteman could be driven to the sea, his wicked ways and the Wyrm destroyed utterly..." his thoughts fall to a whisper.

The Apache warrior then looks to the ground at the glyph and asks, "What does this mean?"
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PostSubject: Re: Bleak Winter   Mon 15 Sep 2014, 19:21

"You speak of duty, of fulfillment. You would call upon the Uktena to serve Gaia. The Uktena serve Gaia as assuredly as any tribe among the Nation. I tell you this, White Owl. The Uketna have held Grandfather Serpent fast by the tail for ten thousand years. The Wyrmcomers have caused that grasp to slip. The first one to be bitten was the Uktena, this is no surprise. Realize that the coils of the serpent are wound tight around the interlopers. Bowl made deals with your pack. Both sides honored your mutual accord. Now he is dead." The white headed elder shook his head grimly.

"White skinned men. White skinned wolves. They are not so different. They cannot be divorced in your mind. Both seek new territory. Both seek the secrets of this land. Their lives have long intertwined. Many among the Pure see deals made with the Garou Nation as folly. White insects follow in their footsteps."  

Scents-the-Lies turned to look at Zas, his eyes unable to hide his curiosity. "Do you truly seek to force the Wyrmcomers back into the sea? Few among the Garou Nation share this desire."
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PostSubject: Re: Bleak Winter   Mon 15 Sep 2014, 20:40

Zas studies the rune intensely, piecing together portions of other runes he knew trying to understand... Elder and Fool and Blood and something close to the tribe symbol for the Bone Gnawers. The younger philodox had no clue what to make of the symbol. He resigned himself to be patient...to let his mentor reveal its' meaning when the time was right.

His focus then shifted back to the conversation as Scents the Lies have his opinion of the Uktena. Zas cleared his head as heated words tried to come to the surface as he also drew in long ragged breaths until his breathing calmed. When he at last felt he had more control of his tongue Zas says, "You know much of the ways of the Uktena. You have spent much time among them. Though I am young, I have spent much time amoung the Whiteskinned wolves. I am beginning, I think, to know them.
Their ways are not the ways of the pure. They do not know it, but there is much they could learn."

Zas then looks to the frozen fields as he says, "The Uktena you say, have long held their claws in the tail of the Wyrm. Why in all that time did they not cut off the head? Were they lacking something? Did the great beast prevent them somehow? If the evil is to be destroyed fully, perhaps the Uktena's struggles could be shared with the White skin wolves. I see the Uktena as great teachers one way or the other. Their great secrets may very well hold the key to unlocking how to beat the enemy. Knowing your true enemy is one thing the Wyrmcomers need help with seeing."

Zas then turns back to his teacher. "I would call upon the Uktena to teach and everyone else to listen. In this I believe they could better serve Gaia."

When Scents the lies finishes his comparing the white men and wolves Zas B'ul sits down. "What you say is true. They are much in common with one another. The same however often is said of the Uktena and the Wyrm. This does not make them one and the same."

At the Wendigo's question Zas gazes back up his teacher eyes full of smoldering flame, his words like frozen iron as he says, "You once told me to shake the Tellurian to make my Gaia given path come to be. I intend to-by whatever means necessary."
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PostSubject: Re: Bleak Winter   Tue 16 Sep 2014, 12:43

Several long moments go by as the last few rage filled words burst from the Silent Striders mouth. Time seems to slow as the words find their way back to Zas's ears.

His face begins to lose its color as the full realization of what he had just said fell upon him. Jana, Harriet, his pack mates...all of them and their mates were white. When he said he would do anything to make his task true-he meant every word. Yet, he couldn't say those closest to him deserved to die...but what he had just uttered would sentence them to the same fate as the others.

The youthful philodox's demeanor then seems to crumble. His anger fades and is replaced by sorrow. His face seems to age slightly making him appear closer to forty than thirty as he half whispers, half cries "I have found my limits. My spoken words are not true. I will not be the cause for the destruction of all things. Chasing the white man to the sea would cleanse the ground of the Wyrm, but before the Wyrm loosens it's hold, the ground would be bathed in crimson rivers of Gaia's warriors. How can there be unity amongst the tribes when there is no one left to unify?"

Zas still struggling to regain his composure says, "I am not willing to pay this cost for peace. If this makes me a poor judge-so be it."

Zas then takes a breath and splashes water on his face from the river. As the water plummets to the ground, he speaks his voice falling like a gavel, "Justice punishes only the guilty-I cannot condemn all the whites for the crimes of some. I will have to resign myself to punishing the wicked I cross paths with. Purifying the Wyrmcomers one at a time if I need to. At least then my conscience will be clean when I stand before Gaia."
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PostSubject: Re: Bleak Winter   Tue 16 Sep 2014, 17:10

Scents-the-Lies turned his face from Zas, his old eyes reflecting the light of Luna as he gazed at the black wind-swept sky. "Many among the Pure would name you weak. I would be tempted to destroy all Wyrmcomers if it meant safety for my wife and children... but it is a false hope. Both Pure and Wyrmcomer lash out blindly. They yearn to strike like pained animals." The elder's voice grew low and grave.

"We must resist this urge."

Scents-the-Lies finished scribing the rune in the cold earth, and stood, indicating it to Zas with a slow nod. "This glyph is the symbol of memory for the fallen. I know it too well. We meet here not to mourn, but to remember. To gain understanding. Dead whites will never bring the Cherokee back."

"This is why I warn against the way of the Ahroun, the way of war. Now is not time. It is time for discernment, for judgement. No one nation or race stands against you. The true enemy is Grandfather Serpent, for he cares not who he corrupts. His taint has been expunged from the Comanche, but he dwells still in the hearts of Garou and men alike."      

The old Wendigo looked out, toward the low forested hills that edged the killing fields. "The Uktena have held Grandfather Serpent close. To devour evil spirits is to take them into yourself. The mightiest of evils can never be truly destroyed. The Uktena have found that holding them where they can do little mischief is best. Though I have not their mastery, I can teach you what I know of binding spirits, though even this small thing will take time."
----------
As Scents-the-Lies spoke, Zas caught movement out on the cold, hard flood plain. A pale bent figure trudged out of the shadow of a willow tree, slowly and carefully dragging a pair of stiff bodies by the heels. It was still few hundred yards away, and as Zas looked the figure stopped, kneeled, and began silently tearing at the frozen mud.
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PostSubject: Re: Bleak Winter   Tue 16 Sep 2014, 23:08

Zas nods quietly as his teacher gives reason not to destroy all the White men. Snowy Owl's eyes and ears perk up as the meaning of the completed glyph is explained. Zas studies the finished symbol and makes a note of it.
After a pause he bends down and scratches a simple symbol below it. A symbol the Wendigo elder would undoubtedly know as the sign for Togetherness. Next to that symbol however Zas carves the rune for a journey.

When the fostern was satisfied with the carvings he stood up and nicks his hand with his tomahawk just enough to draw three drops of blood which he squeezes over the carvings-causing the nearby frost to fade as the warm liquid filled the impressions.

Zas then turns and looks to his teacher and says, "Now he travels with me. The Cherokee are not gone."

As his mentor informs him of his intention to teach him of binding spirits, Zas bows his head in reverence and says, "I will not waste this opportunity."

While he says this though, his attention is drawn to the lone pale figure in the distance. After a quick look at the scene, Zas turns to Scents the Lies and inquires, as he gestures subtly with his head in the direction of the digging individual,"Teacher, are you not the one who will teach me? Have you brought one of the Pure with you?"
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PostSubject: Re: Bleak Winter   Thu 18 Sep 2014, 18:18

The old Philodox looked on, keeping silent in respect for the dead until Zas B'ul had completed his work. When Zas nodded toward the newcomer digging in the icy field ahead, Scents-the-Lies glanced at Zas with puzzlement in his eyes. "I came to this place alone, White Owl. I will teach you, but it will take time. Wait until Luna moves from her high place. Then we will depart for the west."

The digging person stopped excavating the first grave, and moved on, beginning on another next to it. With long hands, the indistinct thing clawed at the chill marsh, heedless of the cold and hard, jagged ice. Within a few moments it had completed its work in that grave as well, and as it gently gently pulled the first of the corpses into the pit, it seemed to pause, and inspect the body, before giving vent to an unsteady howl that rose into a high warbling wail of pain, grief, and frustrated rage. The words contained in the howl were a varied string of maledictions, curses aimed at those who harmed the faltering kin and despoiled their sleeping forms.

If Scents-the-Lies heard the screamed words of First Tongue, he gave no sign, merely looking out across the floodplain, his long hair glowing the color of pale gold in the light of the half-moon.
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PostSubject: Re: Bleak Winter   Thu 18 Sep 2014, 19:02

Zas blinks once at his teacher then turns to look back at the lone figure eyes growing full of concern. As the figure howled out its cry, Zas watched his teacher for any sign of detection of the sound...but when he made no such movement, the Silent Strider nodded as if half expecting such a lack of response.

"I will wait teacher." Zas says to Scents the Lies, as he gets up and begins to slowly and quietly recede from the area and make his approach to the pale figure.

Zas waits until he is several yards away from his mentor making sure to not disturb his teacher further before shifting into lupus and sprinting in total silence, acting out his tribal namesake to the fullest heading straight towards the lone figure full speed.
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PostSubject: Re: Bleak Winter   Thu 18 Sep 2014, 20:03

The gravedigger did not cry again, but continued to do his grim work, carefully positioning the bodies, orienting them just so in their soggy tombs. As Zas burst through the final brake of dead sawgrass, the hazy, indistinct man-shape gave way to a hulking monstrosity covered in deep, bone-exposing wounds and braided hair-trophies. Skeletal eye-pits totally devoid of Gaia's love turned on Zas, and for a moment the apparition said nothing, its breath coming in uneven whistling gasps out from a slack, broken jaw. The wind picked up in Zas' ears, rising like the sea as it passed through the evergreens and rattled the empty cottonwoods.

Thin lines of drool snaked down from a lolling, wriggling tongue, twinkling obscenely in the moonlight. Hanging Maw regarded Zas B'ul for a moment, before turning back to arrange the bodies of the fallen, working with care and gentle precision. Slurred words slipped unbidden into Zas' mind. "Good to see you, message-bearer."
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PostSubject: Re: Bleak Winter   Thu 18 Sep 2014, 20:27

Zas had expected a ghost of some form as it seemed he was the only one able to see or hear the creature, but he was not prepared for this.

As the all too familiar voice spoke into his mind, the Philodox stopped in his tracks and shifted into Crinos as an immediate reaction upon seeing the decaying form of Hanging Maw. The Silent Strider responded in a very unfriendly but not completely aggressive tone as he says, "I wish I could say the same."

Zas gazed at the spectre in confusion, but the philodox did not allow his voice to waver or shake as he asked, "When we last met, I came with words intended for another-down into your realm. Tell me, why do you come here? Do you seek to haunt me now that I am of the last of the Tsalagiyi Nvdagi?"
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PostSubject: Re: Bleak Winter   Sat 20 Sep 2014, 19:50

"You? Last of the Cherokee?" The dead Garou glanced over his shoulder, his tongue squirming upward along his grotesque overbite. "Hahahhahah! Your words are so... amusing. As before, you greet me with jokes and nonsense, hehehahah..."

"I have come to pay my respect, and to mourn the actions of those who still breathe. There are other Cherokee that walk among the living, though they are unworthy of their ancestors. They have forgotten the old strength, they care not about the sacrifice of their chieftains: my blood and Bowl's, and Fool Warrior, Old Tassel. We, who gave our lives and bodies so that a few could live still. Yet those blind people squandered our gift, appeasing their white slayers." As he spoke, Hanging Maw continued to bury the fallen, shoving claw-fulls of cold, wet sand and dirt into one of the graves, his work slow and unhurried.

"Hahhah, but then, these forgetful orphans came here. This place, this cold hard ground is sacred, made so by the deaths of those righteous Cherokee, those willing to bleed and rot so that others might live, as I did, so long ago. Bowl was a fool, but he was no coward; he died well. He and the others suffered greatly, and their descent into the happy hunting grounds were neither quick or clean." The ghoulish wraith stood as he placed the last handfuls of dirt on one of the two graves, and moved on to fill the next. This time he faced Zas, his eyes glinting occasionally with a virulent green corpse-glow.

"I tell you this because our last parting was not as friends. I will never forgive those who have harmed my people, but you... hehhah, you seem to count yourself among the Tsalagi. Is this true?"
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PostSubject: Re: Bleak Winter   Sat 20 Sep 2014, 21:16

Zas stares unflinchingly as he gazes deep into the creatures black empty eyes and says, "I was born of the Natahay. They will always be a part of me. I have accepted though, that apart from me, they are no more. I have not and do not forgive their slayers. I will seek their destruction. Blood for blood. Like you."

Zas then releases a long slow warm breath, "Chief Bowl claimed me as an adopted one of the Uktena. In that, we are the same. I entered into a vow of protecting his people when he was unable. Now he is unable again. I am not of the Tsalagi- but I believe the spirit of the Tsalagi is with me now. My vow remains unchanged. So long as I draw breath, I will be their protector. I will become their avenger if necessary-for I am of the Pure and I honor my word. My bow, axe, teeth, claws, and every drop of blood flowing in me will be used to keep my words and to fight for I am Apache."

Zas then considers for a moment before he holds up his collected scalp, "I do not think we need be enemies further. We share too many other foes. Would you consider aiding me in my vow?"
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PostSubject: Re: Bleak Winter   Mon 22 Sep 2014, 17:12

"Hahaheh, I would agree to be friends, heehah... but I say your vow is too narrow. Those who have ceased drawing breath, they too need protection in these black days. Look around you-" The mutilated shade stopped digging and turned in place, casting his hollow-eyed gaze around the frozen marsh, gesticulating with dirty claws.

"Have you sought for Bowl's bullet-ridden corpse? No? Yes? HahahahaHA! It doesn't matter...! Bowls-Over-the-Great-Foe is not here among the fallen. His husk has been stolen, for there are those who have vile designs for the Tsalagi, even in death." Hanging Maw pulled a smooth river stone free of the sandy soil, and held it to his mouth, sharpening a yellowed canine as his words continued to seep into Zas' mind.

"This is why I am here, Bowl's son. You are among the few who still has the honor of speaking to the restless dead... without resorting to wicked arts and bad medicine." The spectre had stopped laughing, his eye-pits twin bottomless wells of pain and despair.


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PostSubject: Re: Bleak Winter   Mon 22 Sep 2014, 23:27

At Hanging Maw's gesture, Zas gazed around him. After a long pause, the Silent Strider nods his head and says, "I will uphold my vow. I agreed to protect the people of the Tsalagi until my death. My words include the defense of his fallen people as well."

Zas then raises an eyebrow at Chief Bowls body having been taken. He growls as he says, "I will find the great Chieftain's body and surrender it into Gaia as is right. The Tsaligi will be bothered by none. He deserves the respect of one of the Old ones. Desecrators and violators of the fallen will be punished as I find them. These things I swear before you and Luna herself."

Zas then runs his hand through his hair, eyes ablaze with passion and unconcealed concern, "One among the living disturbs the Restless dead? What foul creature of man hunts and seeks out those of the Happy Hunting Grounds? Surely such a beast is of the Great Horned Serpent. Do you know who or where this being is?"
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PostSubject: Re: Bleak Winter   Sun 28 Sep 2014, 14:20

Hanging Maw's head twisted to one side as he studied the Silent Strider. "Hhehhh, haaahhh, your zeal is... inspiring. Perhaps, someday, hah, you will follow in my bloody footsteps and give your life in honor of the Mother."

"The place is Crossroads, Texas. Find Bowl's husk there, but tread carefully, Owl's son, oh yes. That place is a stronghold, haheeeheh, a mighty camp of hollow-eyed spirits. Trust not the words of their legions; the dead things that walk among the beating hearts at the Crossroads warp minds and work perversions. I can tell you little more, for I can not approach for fear of their mad-eyed hunters."

The image of the mutilated Crinos flickered for a moment, replaced briefly by a dark skinned Cherokee chief with blazing eyes and warpaint on his gaunt cheeks. Then Hanging Maw's visage twisted and curled back into the broken, rotten war-form. "Save my Tsaligi one last time."
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PostSubject: Re: Bleak Winter   Sun 28 Sep 2014, 16:36

Zas listens closely to the Ghost's information, nodding where appropriate. When Hanging Maw had finished speaking Zas reverts into his homid form and says, "I will not fail. I will get him whether in this life or the next-I will not fail. I have made an oath-it will be unbroken. "

Zas then looks at the pale towering figure in front of him as he says, "What name did you go by when you were a beating heart? You knew him. What did he call you? I ask to know simply because there can be no secrets between great alliances."

Zas then reaches down and begins to push dirt over the bodies. After several minutes of burying the corpses, Zas looks to Hanging Maw and says, "If I call on you for aid in my warpath, will you answer?"

Zas then, almost as if in a daze adds, "You died long ago, and you have continued to travel beyond...have you in your journey after life come across others of Owl's children who have fallen in service to the mother?"
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PostSubject: Re: Bleak Winter   Fri 03 Oct 2014, 22:26

"Hehahahha, then you will destroy him or her or it or them? Then, good." The apparition nodded, its jaw swinging ponderously though the air. "I will hold you to that oath, dead-listener."

When Zas asked about Hanging Maw's history, a high pitched, whistling giggle escaped the dead Garou. "Heeehaeehah, secrets? I make no secret of my past. I was and am Hanging Maw, First Beloved of the Cherokee! I slew many pale long knives in the wars before the Trail of Tears... and I died very, very painfully." Hanging Maw stroked his eponymous wound, running his clawed fingers over the jagged shards of bone that had torn free of his old, weatherbeaten skin. "No matter what was broken or where I was cut or crushed, I did not cry out. I died for my people and my home. I have no shame."

"You wish the aid of an old warrior? Despite the vitality of your own strong, beating heart, you want the righteous dead fighting alongside you, hahahah... a sign of your own holy purpose, hahahaha. It is not so easy for me to claw my way into the land of those who breathe, but I will do what I can. Strong winds blow across the endless plains, and trails from the happy hunting grounds twist and turn strangely. If I can visit you, lend you aid, I will, as you me."

"I will promise you this boon. Set your foes on the cold trail that leads ever down into the happy hunting grounds, and I will do just that... hunt. Happily!" The Uktena ghost cackled long and hard, before he grew suddenly somber.

"I have seen few of your kind, and those I caught I killed, but that was long ago. Perhaps one of your kinfolk walks among the thieves of Bowl's body, hehha... given his... unnatural medicine... I think it more than likely..."
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