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 A Little Tribal History

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Zas B'ul

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PostSubject: A Little Tribal History    Mon 09 Feb 2015, 18:17

As the pack made their way away from the city, Zas looked around and noted the Laughing Stranger casually strolling along, with his trademark grin and cigarette.

The Silent Strider had been intending to speak with the spirit for some time, and now saw an open opportunity.

The Philodox turned to face the pack totem as he says inquisitively, "Our conversation back in Nacogdoches when Zoe and I played the Pharaoh game...I had mentioned wanting to ask you why you felt it was appropriate. Do you recall that?

Well, my curiosity can wait no longer. I have to ask. What did you mean when you said that? Did you know I would win--or did you have other meanings? If so, what were they?"
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PostSubject: Re: A Little Tribal History    Mon 09 Feb 2015, 23:27

The Laughing Stranger withdrew his smoke from his mouth and studied it as Zas spoke. "Just an off-the-cuff comment, my dear philodox. Silent Striders are said to have their origins in Egypt, land of mummified Pharaohs and crocodiles." The Laughing Stranger turned and walked backwards, motioning with his hands back toward the east. "Your father never mentioned the other sons and daughters of owl when you were growing up, I take it. So... you don't know the famous legend of your kind, then..."

"As for the game, I suspected you might win, but the truth is, I went easy on you." The totem spirit winked at Zas before replacing his coffin nail in mouth with an easy grin.
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PostSubject: Re: A Little Tribal History    Tue 10 Feb 2015, 21:36

Zas listens eagerly as the Stranger replies. When he finished speaking the philodox sighed wistfully as he stared off reminiscing of his past saying, "My father told me what he felt was important...not necessarily everything I was curious about. He spoke to me about our tribe little. He told me that our tribe had come from a far away place across the sea and that we had a long past but a short history...I didn't really understand much. He never mentioned specifics. I think he felt distant from the rest of our tribe for some reason, and I think I would have liked to have heard more stories of Pharaohs and crocodiles."

Zas then turned back to face the Stranger as he says, "As to your question, the answer is no. I don't know the legend of my kind...but I would be pleased to hear it if you are offering."
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PostSubject: Re: A Little Tribal History    Thu 12 Feb 2015, 19:31

The Laughing Stranger scratched his chin. "Well, I was joking when I was implying something about famous legends... to tell the truth, most Silent Striders seem to tell their tales to each other, 'cause I haven't many of their stories... on the other hand, most of the Silent Striders hereabouts seem to run with the Sicarii." The Stranger squinted at Zas. "However, I reckon I might have heard a few things about the spirits in Owl's brood. Kephra Sun-Scorned was one I've heard about. I can tell you about how she yanked an Incarna's avatar right out of the high heavens in order to surprise a few of the Strider's enemies..."
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PostSubject: Re: A Little Tribal History    Thu 12 Feb 2015, 20:04

Zas at first seems to sigh and deflate as the Stranger explains it was just in jest, yet as he mentions what he'd heard of the spirits under Owl, the Silent Strider's eyes widen.

"Can spirits really do such things? I thought spirits had a limits as to what they could do... Is this Kephra Sun-Scorned still around? Such a tale would certainly be worth hearing!" He says almost spitting out the words in rushed speech.

Zas reigns himself in after a beat before asking, "What type of foes would require such extreme measures I wonder. "
The philodox then begins to puff out his chest in pride as he says, "If such a tale is true, my tribe it would seem certainly has a much more powerful bond with Owl than I may have thought."
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PostSubject: Re: A Little Tribal History    Fri 13 Feb 2015, 03:25

"In old Egypt, there were two kingdoms- both ruled by walking dead. Their midnight wars tore the place apart and the Wyrm grew fat and strong. The Silent Striders did what they could, killing the leeches when they strayed into the desert and raiding into the cities, but that wasn't enough. The wars dragged on, and since vampires don't up and die from old age, they fought and killed and the rivers turned red with blood."

"So, the wisest of the Silent Striders got together and asked one of Owl's family, an old, tough insect spirit named Kephra, to plead for Lord Helios, Incarna of the Sun, to save Egypt. Now, all of Owl's followers are smart, but these crafty old Striders had chosen Kephra because she was also powerful, polite, and most of all, patient. It was decided that Kephra alone had both the panache and restraint to secure help from stubborn old Helios."

"Kephra agreed quickly, by all accounts. I reckon she was tired of all violence turning her desert home into a chaotic abattoir. The Silent Striders handed her fine linens, golden jewelry, gems from the sun-drenched heart of the desert, all in an effort to show their good will to Helios. Kephra took these humble offerings and went as fast as she could, scurrying away from the familiar spirit lands and out into the furthest heights of the high umbra. I haven't been there myself, but its been said that the vaults of heaven are farther across and deeper than the any and all oceans. Don't know if that is true, never been there myself, as far as I can remember. Still, Kephra climbed doggedly onward through terrible heat, always moving toward the burning light. After what seemed like forever, she reached the eternal citadel, palace of Helios. Kephra was mildly disappointed to learn that there were a line of supplicant spirits waiting to be allowed an audience with mighty Helios. What choice did Kephra have? She stepped on up into the long, long line."


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PostSubject: Re: A Little Tribal History    Fri 13 Feb 2015, 20:28

Zas listening with rapt attention only nodded slowly as the Stranger spoke. His mind lingered on the words of his father from long ago warning him of the threat the walking dead posed. He was only stirred from his thoughts as the Stranger seemed to end his tale abruptly.

He tilted his head to the pack totem but before he could ask his questions, the wily spirit shushed him. "Now, hold your terrifyingly dangerous horses, a man or spirit can't go on telling an ancient yarn with out a tobacco break." The Laughing Stranger breathed deep, burning down an entire coffin nail with one drawn out pull. "There we are. You can ask your questions when I'm through with the story." Bright yellow eyes smiled out from under the brim of the beat up old hat.
"Now where was I..."
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PostSubject: Re: A Little Tribal History    Sat 14 Feb 2015, 04:34

"The line stretched on and on, but Kephra, she didn't sit on her hands, no sir. After all, she was cunning and well-mannered, a dangerous combination by my reckoning. She bartered and traded her way up the line, wheeling and dealing like an auctioneer with his pants on fire. I won't get into the details, but suffice to say, Kephra was dedicated; Garou lives were at stake back on earth."

"Kephra, she bartered away the linens, the gold, and even rare glowing shards of crystal. In return she moved up the line, collecting some fairly curious goods from across the Tellurian as she went. Ancient wine brewed by long-dead Stargazers, a piece of Rorg the Many-Taloned's shadow, a huge stick removed from a Silver Fang's posterior, you name it. All manner of wondrous and alien items passed through Kephra's hands at one point or another. In the end, all Kephra had was a sliver of moonsilver, raw and totally pure. She had traded away everything else, but she was finally there, standing before the molten gold gates of Lord Helios' citadel."

"Owl's broodling stepped right up and was greeted by Hyperion, who was either Helios' avatar or butler, I don't remember which. Anyway, he greeted Kephra with an upturned nose. She wasn't able to even mention her errand before Hyperion told her that Helios was no longer hosting audiences and that she would have to wait another solar week to see him. What choice did she have? She waited, and while she waited, a lot of Garou died."

"I'm kidding, that isn't what happened. Kephra showed Hyperion her offering, the moonsilver, and told him that Gaia's sons and daughters fought and bled for the lands that Helios loved most. Hyperion considered her words, but he was haughty, and in the end decided that he would rather ignore Gaia's pups than take exception to Kephra's pleas."

"Well, that turned out to be a poor decision. Kephra had sacrificed a lot already, and even her patience had its limits. She snapped. She just lost it. I'm told she said something akin to 'guess we are gonna have to do this the hard way.' The smaller spirit then proceeded to grab Hyperion, and half tackle, half throw him right out of the gates of the citadel. They tumbled, grappling and flailing, through the high umbra as the few spirits who had remained in line fled in terror. And they were right to be afraid: Hyperion got over his initial shock mighty quick! Now, this might come as a surprise, but sun spirits, they get testy when their dander is up. Hyperion seethed and struggled and burned, oh, Coyote's eyeteeth, did he burn her bad. But that was just what Kephra wanted. She and her children walked the burning sands, and she had just spent what seemed like forever basking in the scorching heat of the solar citadel. She grit her teeth, rolled with the punches, and struggled and beat and wrestled the enraged fire spirit. They hurtled all the way through the spirit wilds into the cozy environs of the penumbra, blazing like a twin-tailed comet."

"Their titanic struggle was so frenzied, so loud, Luna herself waited in the sky to see what its outcome might be. By this point Hyperion was mad, mad enough that Fenris might have taken a step back and suggested that everyone settle down a bit. Now, Kephra released him and she ran, hopping right out of the spirit world. The furious solar followed after her, barreling through the Gauntlet, hounding her across the suddenly-daylit sands, only to tackle her amid the shallows of the Nile river. With strength born of desperation and cuss, she held him at arms length, even as his terrible claws of white fire reached for her throat."

"At that moment, a harsh sizzling sound, the sound of cooking meat, filled the air. With Hyperion's coming, all the country's vampires burned away to greasy ash, amid the triumphant howls of the beleaguered Silent Striders."

"Confused but still angry beyond reason, Hyperion lunged even as Kephra slumped in the water. Even as he prepared to strike her a final time, she laughed at him. 'You should have just let me through the gate, Hyperion. I got what I wanted, in the end.' Hyperion looked around. He saw the packs of Silent Striders drawing near, and he could see Luna up in the sky. He knew he was not meant to be in the world, that this was not the time given to him or his master Helios. The solar spirit looked down at Kephra, and even though he new he must depart, he was not going to leave her unpunished..."


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PostSubject: Re: A Little Tribal History    Sun 15 Feb 2015, 04:02

"Hyperion drew himself up, and with the authority of Helios, he cursed Kephra. 'You have shown your might, and it is prodigious. From now till judgement day, you and your children are tasked with carrying excrement across Egypt, so that your great strength will be proven again and again and again.' Kephra looked up Hyperion, and though she was stricken with the curse, she smiled defiantly. She had no pretext of manners now: 'That is fitting, Hyperion, Steward of the Burning Citadel. I reckon I have a fair amount of experience putting shit in its place.'"

"The sun spirit was apoplectic. Hyperion looked down at Kephra with pure murder in eyes, burning hands clenching; but the Silent Striders were having none of that. They growled at the glowing spirit, realizing that he'd been forced to come, and that they had Kephra, not Helios, to thank for the timely intervention. Old Wepauwet, a grey-headed Ahroun, strode between the two beings, and though he didn't say a word, his intent was clear: the Silent Striders were ready to protect the spirit that had saved Egypt, even if that meant fighting the avatar of the sun. Hyperion, faced with the daunting prospect of losing two fights in one night, flushed deep crimson and fled back to the high heavens in humiliation. Wepauwet bowed low to Kephra and the theurges prepared to heal her wounded essence as everyone drew back into the spirit world."

"To their surprise, on the other side of the Gauntlet, a wild daughter of Luna was waiting for them. She looked to Kephra and grinned. 'Luna has seen what you have done, and though the curse is terrible, we will help you bear the burden. Carry out your duties at night, so that Helios and his slaves will never abuse you again. Luna offers to guide and watch over you and your children as long as the curse lasts.' Wordlessly, an exhausted but grateful Kephra handed the piece of moonsilver back to the great Lune, but the glowing spirit shook her head. With a few deft twists of her hands, she shaped it, mixing it with some of the ashes of Kephra's wounds. In moments, the sliver had been molded into the form of a mask. The spirit handed it to Wepauwet, telling him that the Garou should keep it as a reminder of what Kephra had done, but Luna would help the Silent Striders and their allies find refuge from their enemies, now that Helios had abandoned them for good. The fetish came to be called the Dusk Mask, to commemorate when night met day."

"I got that story off one of the death spirits we met near Mangai's realm. To this day, the children of Kephra, the desert beetles, still go around rolling and wrestling with little bits of poop, or so I am told."
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PostSubject: Re: A Little Tribal History    Sun 15 Feb 2015, 09:53

Zas gazed upon the pack totem as he finished his tale with wordless awe. His father had never told him such stories but given that it involved slaying all the servants of the wyrm that he hated most-Zas felt certain his father likely knew the tale. The spirit of Kephra surely was an ally with honor. Maybe when the pack had a little time to spare, Zas could have Zoe summon one of Kephra's children just to offer his own thanks.

As the Stranger completed the story Zas began to try to form words for his own questions that normally flooded his mind. He considered several before finally choosing to ask, "If all spirits truly serve Gaia, why would Helios have initially refused to help Kephra in destroying the wyrm servants throughout the land? Luna herself you claim saw that what Kephra did was honorable. Does Helios not honor gaia?"

After a moment the Silent Strider fumbled around his personal belongings before reaching what he was searching for. He held up the mask he had collected from San Antonio and viewed it with scrutiny as he said, "I have not been able to figure out what purpose this serves. I wonder if this is one of those Dusk Masks you mentioned. Surely, one as well traveled as Malchizadek would have heard of this story. He also spoke of his efforts to unify the spirits with the Garou to stave off the apocalypse-maybe the Sicarii wear these masks for such a purpose."
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