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 Rites of Passage: Shadow Lords

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PostSubject: Rites of Passage: Shadow Lords   Thu 19 Sep 2013, 17:36

The edge of a crumbling sandstone formation jutted from the plain like teeth in a dead bison's jaw and provided a good vantage point. Drowns-His-Foes crouched and looked out over the evening prairie, scenting the early night wind. Ahead in the empty grass fields below sprawled Fort Dodge. The Shadow Lord could smell the dirty fires and animal shit of the town even from here, and his lip curled involuntarily. The farthest settlement in the Kansas territory, the eponymous fort had grown in the past eighteen months. Well, not grown, exactly. 'Exploded' was more like it. American settlers were flocking west, driven by hope and lies and greed, stampeding toward what they prayed would be a brighter, richer tomorrow.

Instead what they got was a place like Fort Dodge. The wooden stockade walls did a woeful job of protecting the burgeoning town, and rough tumbledown cabins, dugouts and the odd lean-to clustered like a multitude of children around a neglectful mother. Waste choked the narrow streets and typhoid and small pox were rampant.  

Drowns-His-Foes considered Fort Dodge for a moment. The place was like an oversized anthill, its inhabitants spawning, living and dying, working mindlessly toward empty goals as they swarmed over and through their all-too-fragile fortress. The werewolf shook his head and leaped down the short face of the cliff without a sound. Regrettably, Drowns-His-Foes had business in Fort Dodge, and the little scurrying ants had no way of knowing that their judgement was at hand.

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Kevian Goranov sat down heavily, the old wicker rocking chair creaking under his formidable weight. The night air blew across his face, and he sighed and loosened his collar. He didn't care if it smelled like cheap whores and cheaper whiskey, as long as it was cool. Kevian sat and rocked, listening to the drunken curses and stupid laughter spilling out of the saloon behind him. It wasn't so bad here. He and his were doing alright, selling liquor to the settlers and hustlers. Add in the profits from their gambling table and dogfighting ring, and the Ivanov's were downright respectable. Kevian chuckled to himself but he opened his eyes and his gaze drifted to the waxing moon. He thought of his son Kefka, wandering across the empty rolling wastes, and the elder Ivanov felt himself getting angry. He carried no remorse for running the boy off. When he and his other two sons had confronted the drooling bloody mountain of hair and claws, Kefka had been clutching poor Charles DeMere's heart and was speaking in tongues, his eyes rolled back in his head.

Thankfully, the kid had fallen unconscious not long after that. Kevian's luck still held, even after all these years. He reached down and picked up a large canteen filled with moonshine and took a long deep swallow. He heard the backdoor of the saloon bang open behind him and the heavy tread of unfamiliar footsteps. "Just piss away from the deck, bud," Kevian growled without looking around as he took another gulp. He sputtered it back out and leaped out of his chair when he felt hot, stale breath on the back of his neck. Kevian whirled to confront his visitor, his face a mask of shock and rage.

A tall hooded man with a black beard stood directly behind the chair that Kevian had so recently been occupying. Over his trail clothes he wore what might have once been a dark robe, but it had been torn and shredded away in the middle so that only a long flowing vest remained. His facial features were hollow and sharp, like the side of an eroding mountain crag, and when he smiled, it revealed a humorless mouth filled with straight yellow teeth. His grey-green eyes were steady and still as glass.    

"Satan in hell, what do you want? Why are you here?" Snarled Kevian as he raised his meaty hands into fists.

The outlander spoke in accented English, his voice deep and low. "I am Zhukov Vostok. I serve among the Judges of the Shadow Lords, and I request that you show me hospitality."


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PostSubject: Re: Rites of Passage: Shadow Lords   Sat 21 Sep 2013, 15:19

Kevian's shock had been swallowed up by his white-hot anger. "I ain't going to show you shit, you snake-bit jackass." The backdoor of the saloon slammed open again, and Kevian's sons burst out onto the porch. Abram and Vadim looked like younger, more sober versions of the Ivanov patriarch, their dark curly hair falling into sunken, surly eyes. They paused, gaping slightly at the strangely garbed outlander, their eyes quickly narrowing into wary slits. Vadim carried a breech-feed shotgun cradled in one arm.  

Drowns-His-Foes regarded the two brothers as one might inspect an unusual looking insect before turning back to confront the seething Kevian. "You misunderstand, the request was mere formality. It is not your place to refuse a better." Drowns-His-Foes placed his hands on the back of the rocking chair, the wicker creaking in protest as it deformed under his grip. His hands were bony and pale, with short, brutal fingers. The nails on his thumbs were yellow and thick.  

"I know who and what you are, and your damned kind isn't welcome here." Kevian bellowed, his fists trembling with barely-controlled rage. "Get out or my boy there will perforate your mangy hide." Vadim glanced to Abram and hefted his weapon, leveling it at the werewolf.

Drowns-His-Foes moved like lightning. He hurled the rocking chair at the brothers causing Vadim to unload both barrels into the tin roof overhead as his gun was knocked askew. The Shadow Lord lunged forward and seized Kevian, his gnarled hands locking around the bar owner's neck like a vice. His long, jagged nails dug into the older man's throat, threatening to crush his windpipe. "Your hostility betrays you, Kevian Ivanov. Confess your sin." The judge seemed to loom over his prey, staring down at the paralyzed wretch like a carrion crow eying a dying meal. Kevian met the burning gaze of the Shadow Lord and his furious oath died on his lips. In the outlander's eyes Kevian saw his family- his wife, his sons and daughters, all lying in a heap like torn ragdolls, a howling beast crouched over them, screaming up at a red demon moon.

"It- it was my son," Kevian grunted. His face felt numb and his voice was raspy and flat. "He changed three days ago, and I ran him off; I banished my own son because he was a monster... like you." Kevian's eyes refocused on his captor, his rage slowly reigniting, like a flame fed with green wood.

Drowns-His-Foes straightened and looked out into the night, as if nothing close at hand held his interest. "I will find your son. For your sake, pray that he is all right." Then he dropped Kevian unceremoniously off the porch into the dust and strode off into the street beyond the light of the bar's feeble kerosene lamps. Abram ran forward to help his father up as Vadim frantically reloaded, but before Kevian could regain his feet, Drowns-His-Foes was gone.
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PostSubject: Re: Rites of Passage: Shadow Lords   Fri 27 Sep 2013, 22:35

A joke.

It was all a joke. Kefka's world had completely fallen apart and he was now alone. A stranger in a new world. And it was funny. He was not a strong lad by any means, now he had the strength to kill with bare hands...well wolf ones anyway. Funny. His family threw him out to the wolves...for being one. Funny. Kefka could either laugh at the joke, or throw rotten fruit at the jokester in anger. But then he would starve. He laughed audibly as he forced himself to press forward toward what he hoped was a settlement. It had been two days since he awoke alone. Two days of blistering heat, suffocating winds, and lifeless nights. Two days of silence. Even his thoughts were quiet. That wasn't funny... He hated silence. He hated being alone. He knew he wasn't truly alone because he felt Thalia's presence, and if he tried hard he could feel others. They were there, but quiet. Watching him struggle, maybe hoping he would survive, maybe not. He couldn't tell.

He pressed forward regardless. He knew the truth of the world, and others needed it too. They might not listen but that was part of the joke. He held the truth, but no one wanted to listen to it. He would try though. That is how he would fight. While others sharpened tooth and claw, he would sharpen his wit and senses. The world is a joke. Life is a joke. You help tell it, or you become a punchline...and life loves slapstick.







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PostSubject: Re: Rites of Passage: Shadow Lords   Sat 28 Sep 2013, 15:45

Voices.
Not the ones in his mind.
Ragged voices piercing the silence of the night.
What luck.
Kefka dropped to one knee, both hands on the ground, his head tilted upward breathing in the night air and listening. He needed to know where those voices were coming from. He pinpointed the voices. To reach them he would have to travel NW at a quick pace, because he heard another sound, this one under the voices. He heard the tired steps of a horse who has been carrying his master for too long. He felt sorry for the poor creature, but if these voices were to be his liberators...what could he do. He got off the ground and dusted off his pants. It was a wasted effort trying to look good in the wilderness, but an effort Kefka felt okay wasting. He than began make this way towards the strangers, taking no effort to conceal his presence. It was an uphill climb and that meant he would more than likely reach an edge before reaching the voices. He just hoped he would be able to make out where they were headed. And he did. As he neared the edge he saw on the horizon a settlement. One smaller than his home, but that didn't matter. It would have a bed, food, and drink. He had no money to pay for such things, but there were always ways of getting that if you had the know how. Kefka laughed in victory as he raced towards the city.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"Well he found his way out, no thanks to you Thalia."

"You didn't help either I noticed."

"I am not the one who got him exiled from his family"

"True. I gave him the push to start his own life. It's his now."

"If you are abandoning him, why give him the push at all?"

"I am not abandoning him Lazar, if he asks I will try and help. I pushed him so he would not be controlled, not so I alone could control him."

"Who are trying to convince... the others, me, or yourself?"
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PostSubject: Re: Rites of Passage: Shadow Lords   Sat 28 Sep 2013, 20:29

As Kefka strolled into town the first thing that hit him was the smell. Was it the town that stank? Or was it the humans? When he was a human did he smell like that? What did he smell like now? Too many questions floated through his mind, being ignored still by the voices. He forced them aside quickly as he began hunting for a drink. Towns like these always had saloons. Some he imagined were built around saloons. All the towns not built around churches that is. He found the saloon easy enough and as he entered the stench of the town was quickly replaced by a more familiar scent, but one just as foul.

He made his away to a corner table ignoring the looks of the patrons. On his way he managed to swipe a couple of bills off a table. The customer was practically passed out, too easy. He sat smiling and reclined back in the chair waiting to be served. The blonde waitress bounced over and leaned on the table smiling.

"What'll you be havin tonight cowboy?" she winked.

Kefka raised a quizzical eyebrow in response. "Tonight? I should like to have some sleep, preferably in a bed. However if you were meaning to get my order I will take a glass of water to start. I am quite parched."

She crossed her arms in a pout. "you mean you ain't drinkin tonight?"

"I will be drinking water. Once I get some." Kefka smiled

"but water ain't a drink" she replied confused.

"I assure you it is. I will prove it to you when you bring me some. And I drink it." Kefka said rather shortly.

The waitress soon left and talked to the bartender. When she returned with his water, she brought none of her playful demeanor from earlier. She set the glass down roughly and bounced toward the rest of the patrons.
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PostSubject: Re: Rites of Passage: Shadow Lords   Sun 29 Sep 2013, 11:37

A cold wind barreled down the street and through the bar, rattling the cupboards and making the patrons pull their collars up and their hats down. Through the doorway of the saloon strode a hooded man, his wild beard spilling down his chest. The look in his gaunt face and grim eyes made the biting north wind seem warm and friendly. The barflies hunched over their drinks and pretended not to notice him as he advanced toward the corner table. The waitress was nowhere to be found, and the barman was cleaning mugs on the far end of the saloon with forced disinterest.

The dark outlander paused for a moment and cast his gaze around the room. It took him only a moment before he settled on Kefka and approached the haunted Garou. The stranger did not sit, but leaned over the table, his fingers splayed, thick yellow nails gouging shallow grooves in the soft wood. The strange man's smile was wide but his eyes were like twin pools of ice water. His tattered black robes seemed vaguely clerical in nature, but it was impossible to determine what high church vestry they had once been.

"Hello, Kefka Kevianov. I am Zhukov Vostok, and I have been looking for you."

Before Kefka could open his mouth, Vostok continued, his baritone lowering into a rumbling growl. "The eyes of the Lords of Shadow are upon you. Though your unthinking family banished you, I am here so that you may realize your destiny and claim what is rightfully yours..." The man's eyes were rimmed with burning intensity.

"... all I ask is that you prove yourself strong and cunning enough to take it."
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PostSubject: Re: Rites of Passage: Shadow Lords   Sun 29 Sep 2013, 17:48

Kefka stared hard at the stranger now sitting across from him. He took a long drink of water while the stranger talked before responding.

"I appreciate you coming to find me. I admit I was unsure on how to locate help on my own. Will it be alright if I ask questions, or do you have other pressing matters to attend to?"
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PostSubject: Re: Rites of Passage: Shadow Lords   Mon 30 Sep 2013, 01:16

Vostok inclined his head slightly, one corner of his tight smile wilting into a smirk. "You seem to be taking your abandonment by your kin well." His cold eyes narrowed. "Perhaps too well."

"If you had no questions you would be a poor choice for the task set before you; asking should come as natural as breathing to one such as you, son of the empty sky." The darkly dressed Garou leaned back stiffly in his seat and steepled his fingers, his gaze fixed on the young prodigal before him.

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PostSubject: Re: Rites of Passage: Shadow Lords   Wed 16 Oct 2013, 12:44

Kefka tilted his head as he felt the cold eyes of Vostok upon his soul.
"What other choice do I have then to take my abandonement well? If I didn't it would only cause pain and hold me back. We are worlds away now."

He takes a drink and then smirks. "Asking does come easy for me, shall we test if answering comes just as easy for you? Why were you specifically sent after me? Who are the Lords of Shadow? You speak of destiny and claiming what is rightfully mine...is that in a vague sense or is there a prophecy you believe I may fulfill?" Kefka leans back in his chair with his arms folded across his chest, his eyes alive with the anticipation.
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PostSubject: Re: Rites of Passage: Shadow Lords   Wed 16 Oct 2013, 15:56

Vostok smelled like sparks and dry trail dust. "Your kinfolk are not worlds away. They do not possess that right, to be separated from us. Our kind protect certain families of humans, in order for more werewolves, Garou, to be born of the resulting unions." The distant voices of the other bar patrons grew increasingly muffled and indistinct as Vostok continued to stare at the pup opposite him. "In no uncertain terms, your family existed to create and nurture you. Instead, they abandoned their purpose when they banished their son."

When Kefka mirrors his own smirk, Drowns-His-Foes shakes his head slowly, his face a placid mask. "I am the inspector of the outlying settlements in the far west; I search for violations of the law code among our people and kin. When I discovered that you had been sent out into the wastes, my path was clear. My tribe, the Shadow Lords, are a confederation of werewolves who pride themselves on subtlety, scenting out the weakness of our foes before we strike."

"The Shadow Lords and our allied tribes are fighting for the very soul of the world. We need every youngling to recognize that they were created by Mother Gaia, the soul of the living world, for a purpose." Vostok's cold eyes blazed to life, but the passion in that gaze bordered on rage-fueled madness, and Kefka found that he preferred the older werewolf's cool dull-eyed look.

"That purpose is to join us in slaying those who would sully her name, through strength and guile."

After a moment, the Garou's mood passed and he hunched over the table, drawing closer to Kefka. "But that is not all. You did guess very close to the mark. There is indeed a prophecy of a far-flung dark moon being unjustly rejected by his kin. Perhaps you are him. We shall see in time if the prophecy is born out."
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PostSubject: Re: Rites of Passage: Shadow Lords   Tue 22 Oct 2013, 13:24

Kefka grins as he thinks of fulfilling a prophecy. He pushes it to the back of his mind for now, that will be something he can research in his own time. He drinks some more and takes time to let everything Vostok has said tosink in.
"If you are the inspector of these parts and you find the violations of the law code...I assume you are the one who deals with the violators? I don't want to be on your bad side so what is this law code that I must follow? Is it the job of all Shadow Lords to be the inspectors of all the tribes? If so, why do the other tribes not have their own judges? If you are of the Shadow Lords...what am I? Is it something unseen that decides tribe, or is there choice?" He pauses a good long while but speaks before Vostok answers. "What will happen to my family now that they as you put it, abandoned their purpose?" Kefka watches Vostok like a hawk trying to find the truth should Vostok decide to hide it.
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PostSubject: Re: Rites of Passage: Shadow Lords   Wed 20 Nov 2013, 16:16

Vostok continued without blinking. "My full and rightful title is Western Arbiter of the Judges of Doom. The law of our people is called the Litany, thirteen precepts that have guided the Garou Nation since before the flood receded. These laws are ancient, sacred, and absolute. They must be followed without question, for anything less will result in our extinction. Foremost among the laws of the Litany is to keep the existence of our kind secret- humans are weak but in numbers, they will overwhelm even us. You are also forbidden to take a spouse from your sisters in the Nation- mortals are to be our mates. The last among the High Precepts is to fight the enemies of the Garou wherever you find them. Our strength is great for a reason- so that we may be victorious over the enemies of Gaia. In time, I will teach you the lesser rules of our people."

The feral looking judge continued, his voice taut. "As for the joining a tribe, the process is alike to become adopted by family, not just of flesh and blood but also of spirit. It is not good for the wolves of Gaia to serve Her alone. You come from Shadow Lord stock, so you already possess the traits associated with the tribe of thunder- cunning, intelligence, and the will to not only survive, but thrive."

His eyes burned into Kefka, twin pools of deep, dark fire. "It is for this reason I have approached you. Regardless of the prophecy, you must still prove yourself as worthy of Gaia. I shall set a test before you, and should you succeed, I will grant you membership into the Lords of Shadow and teach you the secrets of the tribe."

"Which brings me back to your last question- what indeed will happen to your family? They have broken their covenant with the Shadow Lords and the Garou Nation. When they turned their back on you, they turned their back on all of our people. Their condemnation must be swift and complete." The black-garbed werewolf studied the young man before him. "I will meet you on the hill outside town, to the north, at midnight. There I shall pronounce my judgement on them, and you will begin your rite of passage into the Shadow Lords." The lanky werewolf stood up stiffly and without another word, strode from the saloon, the other patrons giving him a wide, wary berth.
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PostSubject: Re: Rites of Passage: Shadow Lords   Fri 24 Jan 2014, 23:17

Kefka watched as the judge walked away, taking with him any chance of enjoyment Kefka was going to get this evening. He grimaced as he turned his focus to the choice that lay before him. He began to mumble to himself "It's obvious to see that from the Judge's perspective my family has done wrong, but I'm still alive and kickin, so shouldn't it be no harm no foul? He didn't seem the merciful kind though...probably one of the the codes I will find out later." He scoffs and finishes his glass of water. "They are my family...if judgement is cast on them I should be there. The judgement will happen whether I am there or not, so I may as well show up and get some more information." Kefka stands up to leave, dropping a few coins in his now empty glass for the waitress he annoyed earlier. As he makes his way to the door he doesn't draw too much attention. not even when he grabs some matches, and a cigarette from some overly drunken patrons. he lights the cigar as he begins walking towards the hill, Vostok had mentioned. "Not sure I understood everything he said...but that prophecy bit is intriguing. Of course I will need him to expand on it. Then after hearing it, I can begin fulfilling. You were right when you said I was blessed with cunning, and intelligence; ane day you will learn how right you were." Kefka stops in the street a moment. Taking one last drag from the dying cigarette. He throws it to the ground and picks up the pace to meet Vostok.
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PostSubject: Re: Rites of Passage: Shadow Lords   Mon 27 Jan 2014, 17:33

Clouds hung low over the sky, blotting out the moon and stars. As Kefka reached to top of the hill, he could just make out Drowns-His-Foes' lanky silhouette framed in the weak light of the town behind them. A single silent lightning strike illuminated the hilltop, revealing that they were not alone. A tattered one-eyed crow crouched on Vostok's shoulder, staring sightlessly at Kefka with its one empty eye socket.

"Your tasks will not be easy, for Grandfather Thunder only recognizes those worthy of respect." The Shadow Lord spoke in a low tone, his words unhurried and precise. He paused and looked at the younger man as the slow roll of thunder from the distant lightning washed over them.

"The fallen kin must be excoriated; return to Fort Dodge. You must destroy your traitorous father without laying a finger on him, while taking something precious from your brothers. Use your wit and guile to accomplish this through any means, not your Garou-born strength. If you succeed in this, you will not only become one of the Shadow Lords, but you will also fulfill the first part of an ancient prophecy."  

The ragged bird croaked once and screwed its head almost completely around backwards, fixing Kefka with its good eye as Vostok smiled his unhappy grin.

"Are you up to this task, young pup?"


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PostSubject: Re: Rites of Passage: Shadow Lords   Tue 11 Feb 2014, 21:10

Kefka kneels in the ground at the crowing of the crow, he did not lift his head until Vostok asks him the question. Kefka is silent. He looks at Vostok, the crow, the moon...and then back to Vostok. " Ready is a relative them, especially with the several interpretations which can be made using the rules you gave me." Kefka takes a deep breath before continuing. "For example... let's take my brothers. You say to take something precious from them. What is precious to me is not to them, and precious to you not to me. Here in lies the problem. So we must ask what is precious to everyone? Life. Without life one has nothing else. If I take their lives it would surely destroy my father. Even without me laying a hand on him. That would fulfill your requirements as long as i don't rip them to shreds with new found power. That can easily be achieved. I can use guns, or trick my brothers into killing themselves... or better yet have my father kill them. This is of course just one was to complete said task. I could easily burn the bar down. Would be easy, take away my brother's futures and my father's business. Undo all the effort he put into giving us a good life in this country...Am I up to the task, that is yet to be seen. It is never easy going against one's family, but it is not impossible." Kefka smirks as he looks at Vostok, but upon facing his gaze out disappears. He stands up and looks off into the night. "Which punishment will it be sir, or have I missed the mark completely?
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PostSubject: Re: Rites of Passage: Shadow Lords   Wed 12 Feb 2014, 11:06

The Judge of Doom stepped close to Kefka, his mad grin almost luminous in the darkness. "Only the bravest or thickest of Garou ask a Judge to explain himself- let us see which you prove to be."

The Shadow Lord turned away from the younger werewolf and looked out over the black plain, night wind tearing at his unkempt hair. "What matters to a man or wolf may vary, yes, it is true. But this is not a matter of unthinking murder- this is judgement. Your father's sins are intolerable. He has led your family astray. His pronouncement is death. Your brothers are like idiot sheep, simply following blindly. It is obvious, even trite, to kill such men."

Flecks of spit flew from from his lips as he snarled out the words. He paused and took a sharp breath before continuing:

"No, Kefka, find a way to make them suffer and also a way to destroy your father through indirect means. Make this wayward clan feel the cost of their betrayal, rather than simply hurling them into oblivion. That is not our way. Bring them to their knees before striking, and in so doing, prove your worth as an initiate of the Shadow Lords."
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PostSubject: Re: Rites of Passage: Shadow Lords   Fri 21 Feb 2014, 08:25

Kefka runs his hands through his hair and turns away from Vostok. Pacing slowly in the moon light. The silence is finally broken by Kefka chuckling to himself and smiling. He whips around to face Vostok. "This will be difficult, but I think it could work. I go into town under the cover of night. A Friday night, because my brother's will be exceptionally drunk. I sneak into their rooms and steal their bracelets. Priceless heirlooms father never saw fit to give me... anyway. I take the bracelets and some of their clothes and tear them apart. I leave the clothes and bracelets in separate back alleys covered in blood, dirt and fur. Leave trails back to my brother's bedrooms. Father always wakes up early in order to clean the bar for their next night. Follows the trails. Curses his ancestors more. Does to my brothers what he did to me. There is no way he can cover up both sites of destruction before the rest of the town notices. I enter town under disguise. Get the people thinking, connect the dots for them if i have to, rally them into a mob. Burn down the bar, run him out of town. Mission complete. My father will have no sons. He will have no home. He will wander alone damned in the wilderness." Kefka gives Vostok a half smile. "Sounded better in my head... but still plausible."
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PostSubject: Re: Rites of Passage: Shadow Lords   Sun 30 Mar 2014, 19:07

By the flash of distant lighting Kefka could tell that Vostok's face had twisted into a dour grin. "This plan- I like it. It has the hallmarks of a great Lord of Shadow: equal parts cunning subtlety and ruthless brutality. Go forth, embrace the destiny that has been foretold. Return to Fort Dodge and your errant people. Seek your vengeance and preserve justice, young Garou."

The judge lifted his head, his nostrils twitching as he sniffed at the wind, his thin-lipped smile clinging to his face like an unchanging mask. "Though it is too early to say if you are the Dark Moon of the ancient prophecy, the spirits, they draw near to you. They flock like stormcrows before a great tempest." Grinding thunder rolled over them and the ragged outline of the older Shadow Lord turned towards Kefka in the darkness, his long-toothed smile the only detail visible on his darkened face.

"I will be watching you with much anticipation, Kefka Kevianov."
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PostSubject: Re: Rites of Passage: Shadow Lords   Fri 04 Apr 2014, 00:13

"If you are watching, i shall do my best not to disappoint, Judge Vostok." Kefka gives a curt nod and turns around before letting the fear wash over his face. He takes a deep breath and concentrates, slowly he transforms into his Lupus form as he darts off into the night. Back towards his home; not as a long lost son, but as vengeance and justice manifest. He was not sure he could succeed, but he had to try. This new world he got thrown into was certainly darker. He didn't even know how he came up with the plan he told Vostok. He never had thoughts like that before. He had no choice though. He had to follow through. A Judge of Doom was watching him. Running away was not an option. Not that he had anyone or anywhere to run to.
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PostSubject: Re: Rites of Passage: Shadow Lords   Thu 08 May 2014, 15:29

The young Garou raced across the dark, empty prairie, visions of the roiling clouds overhead occasionally burning into his retina as lightning snaked through the sky. It took him most of the night to return to his forsaken home. The black night grudgingly turned murky grey, the early pre-dawn lighting up the hanging storm from beneath. Fort Dodge remained much like Kefka had left it: a heap of festering desperation in the middle of a woefully flat plain. Approaching in lupus form, he could scent the cholera on the settlers' breath and the reek of their animal piss spattering the ditches and gutters. He sat on his haunches next to a broke down one-wheel mule cart, and regarded the town from a distance, considering his options. He was tired from running for so many leagues, but he did not want to disappoint his waiting mentor. A screeching murder of crows descended out of the clouds, their harsh cries distant and ghostly. Kefka blinked and they were gone.

A presence stood beside Kefka, a raven-haired woman with bright eyes flashing like sparking flint. A yellow and violet robe of unfamiliar design hung close on her body, the wiry muscles of her arms and shoulders powerfully outlined. Her fingernails were long and stained brown-purple where old spilled blood still clung. She looked at him, unsmiling, and indicated the town beyond with a single outstretched talon. The unfamiliar woman began speaking in a low chant, her words raw, primordial, impossible to form in a human throat:  



Heir of wood and man,
Empty sky of noble blood,
Thrown into darkness...

She smiled, a cold, appraising expression, and lowered her arm, crouching close by him to whisper in his ear. Her cool smell was that of half-forgotten mountain flowers and ancient crumbing stone.

"Is it really you, scorned son of Doom and Thunder? Is your time at hand?

Before he could respond, she was gone, vanishing in the pale old night. His eyes wandered back toward the twilit Fort Dodge, and he made out a figure stumbling out from the cluster of ramshackle buildings to finally stand on the edge of the windswept prairie. It was Kefka's brother, Vadim. From the look of it, the man had been drinking quite heavily, and Kefka was somewhat impressed that he was still conscious. Vadim sank slowly too his knees and yelled, a alcohol-drowned scream that warbled across the plain.

"I AM SOrrrrrrRRRRY!"

He ended his pathetic outburst by sinking to the ground, insensate.
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PostSubject: Re: Rites of Passage: Shadow Lords   Sat 28 Jun 2014, 15:04

Kefka looked around for the presence that spoke to him. She was no where to be found. He shuddered as he thought to himself. That couldn't have been just in his head. It felt different, sounded different than those inside. His brother's scream brought him back to the task at hand. He transformed back into Homid as he snuck over to unconscious Vadim. He made sure he was out cold before hefting him up and walking away from Fort Dodge. There was a barn off in the distance. The perfect place to frame his brother for Justice to be served.

The barn itself was about a half mile outside of the town proper. Far enough away that they shouldn't be bothered in the set up, yet close enough the town will arrive to see the slaughter and the blood red hands of Vidam. Normally there were a couple of guys watching over the barn, but overtime they had grown complacent. Nothing ever happened and their desire for alcohol only grew stronger. Kefka opened the doors as quietly as he could, the animals needed to stay quiet, for now at least. After making sure the coast was clear he dragged his brother's body into the barn. His mind a constant war between revenge, and regret.
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PostSubject: Re: Rites of Passage: Shadow Lords   Tue 08 Jul 2014, 13:53

Vadim gave a sudden muffled groan as Kefka picked him up. He twisted in his brother's arms, trying in vain to get his blood-shot eyes to focus. "Kef-Kefka?" Dull confusion was etched on his face. "What- what are you doing here?" Then the older brother pushed away from Kefka and attempted to struggle to his feet. He failed miserably, collapsing into the old dirty straw. He rolled onto his back and squinted up at the Garou. "You here to talk with the nasty folks that came to town after you left?"

"Them's looking for you, say they want to speak with you, and find that Vostok character." It took most of Vadim's concentration to slur out his words. "They wanted to find out where you went, and Pa, he told 'em," Vadim's head sank down into the smelly debris-strewn floor. After a moment, his muffled voice floated up "They are commin' for you, Kefka."

A crow flapped noisily into the barn, perching on the lintel of the open loft door. It croaked once, regarding the would-be Shadow Lord with a beady yellow eye.
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PostSubject: Re: Rites of Passage: Shadow Lords   Thu 10 Jul 2014, 19:10

Kefka cursed under his breath as his brother awakened. The cursing continued after listening to what Vadim had said. Kefka stood in the silence with his eyes closed. Trying to figure out his new plan in the moment. The Crow distracted him from his thought and as he turned and looked at it he realized time is of the essence. He walked over to Vadim, knelt down and grabbed his face staring into his eyes, forcing Vadim to stare back into his.

"First he sends me away to get rid of me, and then he sends people to hunt me down? Father's crimes are growing... tell me everything you know. Who they were. What they looked like. What they said. Provide me this information and you can leave town safely. Forget father. Forget me. You and Abram run away"

Kefka pats his brother's face and stands up to look down over his brother.

"I am all ears brother. Speak!"
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PostSubject: Re: Rites of Passage: Shadow Lords   Sun 13 Jul 2014, 13:01

Vadim cracked a bloodshot eye and looked up, his dirty countenance suddenly grim. "I'm not runnin'... our father might be a tyrant, but I stay here. I was saddened to see you run off, little brother, but you aren't gonna force me to do the same." He sat up, eyes shining with tears, and looked at Kefka defiantly.

"I don't know much about the others, just that Pa was cooperatin' with them. I saw two of 'em, might be more, and they talk funny, with dark hair and eyes like thunder." He sank back to the floor, blinking as he glanced up at Kefka. "They stayed at the bar this morning, but I don't know where they are now. Maybe they are still there... maybe they are out looking..." Vadim trailed off lamely. After a moment, he mumbled "what are you gonna do?"
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PostSubject: Re: Rites of Passage: Shadow Lords   Mon 21 Jul 2014, 15:46

Kefka looks at his brother with sad eyes, but a smile. Nodding along as he speaks.

"I admire your courage brother... and your loyalty. Because of this I will answer your question. I am going to do what I am called to do. There are new laws I must act in accordance with. Laws father knew and broke. He shall pay the price. If you get in the way, you must also pay. That is why you must leave town."

Kefka gives a toothy grin and before Vadim can prepare Kefka grabs his head and smashes it against the wall knocking him unconscious. He then begins to strip his brother so that he may use his clothes as a disguise, at least at a distance. He then hefts his naked brother onto a horse, making sure to lock his feet into the saddle. He walks the horse a little more out of town before showing his rage and scaring the horse away from town. Carrying his brother away to be safe for the time being.

With his new disguise he walks into town acting as sloppily drunk as he can. He stumbles into bar and begins to climb the stairs, falling twice for show. When he gets to the top he looks around for his father, the strange visitors, or Abram.
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