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 Vernal Equinox: Stories and Songs

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The Laughing Stranger
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PostSubject: Vernal Equinox: Stories and Songs    Mon 07 Sep 2015, 23:10

In the hollow of the hills, guarded by two ancient pillars of stone, a group of werewolves drew together for the Time of Tales. Some were wet behind the ears, Cliaths scarcely more than pups, while others were scarred old-timers content to leave the bloodletting for another night. There were Uktena, gathered and seated in a dark circular knot, wrapped in their hide robes like austere monks, Bites-the-Snake and Liquid Panther among them. Bone Gnawers jostled about, jockeying with one another for good positions from which to watch the festivities, their rambunctious yells and shoves somewhat mitigated by Uncle MacLeod's watchful eye. Several Get were there too, those who had a thirst for both knowledge and blood. Juryk Silver Hands stood close by, his titular claws glinting in the starlight. His packmate Aslaug crouched next to him, nursing a mug of potent ale.      

As the hue and cry of combat washed over them, carried on the night wind, a lanky Get of Fenris stood and raised his hands to the darkened sky. Calth Poison-Eater, Galliard of the Dragon Slayers and Talesinger by fiat of the Get leadership, sang an anthem of praise to Gaia and Luna and Great Fenris. The Talesinger's cant began in the language of the Norsemen, and though the Prodigals could not understand its exact meaning, his timbre was clear and strong, rising and carrying over the muffled din of war. The Galliard took on the Glabro, and though his song deepened as his body changed, his voice never wavered or broke. Words of the First Tongue began to be woven into the musical tale, and Calth took on the Crinos. The Prodigals heard then of Great Fenris and his mighty companions, and how they slew both the living and the dead to achieve the balance of Gaia. The Talesinger told how the Great Grey Wolf destroyed the dark god Wotan in the days of yore, only to betrayed in turn by misguided Tyr, one of Fenris' own sons. By the time Calth had taken on Lupus shape, he had traversed the full vocal range of both human and wolf and then some. Luna showed her face over the burial hills, one half bright and happy, the other shaded as if with a veil.

Calth, his introductory performance over, looked over the assembled Garou. "Tonight we share in tales of renown and might, but there are many unusual guests here on this vernal Equinox. This is not a Get of Fenris moot, but a gathering with which we address the new year and look forward to the coming nights. I would that each of the gathered tribes present one of their number to tell a tale, each according to their ways." The Talesinger motioned for another of the Get to come forward. Ulf Eats-the-Troll, a thickset Get of Fenris who may have been another of Roaring Jacks sons, cleared his throat and took the Talesinger's place at the forefront of the gathering. He was not pretty- he had a more warts than battle scars, and his hair was wild and oily, but as he spoke there was a passion to his words, a hot fire that rivaled Eldgrim's forge or Surtur's breath.

"Fang and steel are the only laws of the Old North. To give you a taste of what it means to be begotten of Fenris, I will tell you the story of how my father, Roaring Jack, became Eldest of the Get."
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PostSubject: Re: Vernal Equinox: Stories and Songs    Tue 08 Sep 2015, 01:45

Zas made his way through the gathered Garou, nodding to father McLeod out of respect and giving a friendly nudge to Juryk in passing. The silent strider also acknowledged the Uktena present with a few words, but as the Fenrir galliard began his story, the philodox found his way to the rear of the crowd resting near one of the ancient pillars making sure he could still hear the stories clearly yet also wanting to have the option to leave early should the draw of battle grow within him.

As the Galliard introduction drew to a close Zas found himself paying close attention to what others may have merely called tribal myths though the names were foreign to him-Zas felt their significance could play a role in the cleansing of the fetishes.

His potential desire to leave early and join the battle, quickly was overcome by his interest in the story offered by the second Get speaker.

If we just committed to aiding him in a possible purge and takeover of a Caern, it's not a terrible idea to know more about the man. Zas thought to himself.

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PostSubject: Re: Vernal Equinox: Stories and Songs    Tue 08 Sep 2015, 23:53

Ten years ago, there was another Eldest among the Fenrir. Gunborg Savior-in-War, High-Jarl of the North. Savior-in-War looked on the Get, the other sons and daughters of the Wolf God, and gnashed his teeth. The Get-held Caerns of Scandinavia were hale and strong, their spirits thirsty for blood; and yet they were isolated and hostile to one another. They lacked organization, discipline- such creatures needed a commander, an alpha, to direct them to prey. So decided Savior-in-War. He thought they spent too much time bleeding each other dry, squabbling among themselves, proving nothing but their own foolishness. He worried the Jormungandr, the serpent that circles the world, would grow while they wrestled with each other... already there were tales spreading of nests of Black Spiral Dancers that had taken root beneath the mountains and on the islands.

So Savior-in-War dreamed of a united North, the Fenrir ruling the frozen mountains and chill fjords, the land forever free of the black touch of Jormungandr. He called for a great meeting of chieftains. When the others came to the Caern of the High-Jarl, he told them of his plan, to unite the warring Get with one purpose. He told of armies of grey-clad wolves uprooting the pits of the enemy; he spoke of scouring the land and bringing it under their dominion, as our ancestors did of old. Finally, he mentioned the other tribes, who would both marvel and fear at the collected might of the Fenrir, acceding that we were the alphas of the Garou Nation.

The other Jarls had not expected this; some had come expecting a brawl or clash of arms, not an assault of words. After a while, many agreed with the High-Jarl, for they were concerned with the growing strength of the World Serpent. Others, they thirsted for glory and rank, and saw this as a chance to exert their might. A few did not agree, saying that they would war with the World Serpent in their one way. Stone-Claw, an old Lupus chieftain, claimed only Fenris himself could unite his children, and that would only happen at Ragnarok. Savior-in-War was not happy with this, but he hid his rage for a time.

Roaring Jack was among those lesser Jarls who heeded the words of Savior-in-War, and soon he too dreamed of what might be accomplished were the Get of Fenris to unify. His hot-headed sons and their packs bolstered Savior-in-War's numbers, and soon the High-Jarl attacked one of Jormungandr's lairs, a pit deep in the innards of the great fells of Halti. Roaring Jack was with him, and together they and their packs slew Kralla'ax White-Coat and all of his terrible daughter-wives. Many treasures they found in the depths of that place, old great things made on dwarvish forges that could withstand the touch of Jormungandr. These they purified and bound spirits within, so now they had potent great swords and daggers and armor.  

Savior-in-War's appetite for success was whetted, and he was not alone in this. Even while the funeral pyres still smoldered, he set his sights upon the next pit: pestilential Akra'varg. A great fortress of ice and rotten whale carcasses, Akra'varg squatted on the all-but-forgotten Flesjarnar islands far in the north sea. When he declared his intentions to his followers, some balked. Aleit Kraken-Jaws said it was too distant. Old Hrothgar Winter-Wrath said the cost would be too great.  

While they argued, Savior-in-War said nothing. After a day of his followers debating his words and spilling each others' blood, he told them to be silent, to lift their eyes and look to the east. Roaring Jack came down out of the far hills, with him many Get from the holds of Norway. He had walked the moonpath and brought word of their victory to those who doubted, and many joined when he showed them the weapons he had taken from the pits of Halti. Others would not be won over with promises of plunder, but they agreed to fight Jormungandr.


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PostSubject: Re: Vernal Equinox: Stories and Songs    Wed 09 Sep 2015, 00:22

Akra'varg was far worse than any among the Get could have guessed. Tormented spirits of dead men and sea-beasts swarmed the werewolves as soon as they arrived, lashing out with talons of pure hatred. Blind mockeries bloated with plague stumbled through corridors of night, weeping and screaming. Rabid Garou whose corrupt flesh was pieced together with rotting blubber and whalebone fought with strength borne of dispair; and in the deepest place, a dark stairway that smelled of Hell, accompanied by the keening idiot-song of the Black Spiral...  

The fighting lasted more than a month, yet, when the children of Fenris withdrew, not a single living servant of Jormungandr remained. The cliffs that held Akra'varg were cast down and the sea swallowed them up, the fortress drowned forever under ice-cold waves.

None spoke against Savior-in-War now. Scores of Get had died, but the Eldest knew this was the way to winnow the weak and preserve the strong. He began directing the Fenrir to comb the countryside, to root out the Jormungandr wherever it dwelled, doing whatever was necessary.

This was accomplished through reckless slaughter. Violent purges swept through all the North, as the unified Fenrir were driven into a frenzy to root out weakness, no matter how small. Lip-service was paid to the Litany, only in that those who bore witness to the rage of the Fenrir were slain swiftly, regardless of purity or age or even number. Sometimes entire towns or villages would vanish. Some of the old wolves, such as Stone-Claw, said it was as the time before, when the humans were culled without mercy or regret... when some among the Get refused to engage in the purges, Savior-in-War's followers would challenge them, claiming their unwillingness to wet their claws to be a sign of weakness, an undermining of Get unity.  

However, the month-long assault on Akra'varg had not gone unnoticed by the others of the Garou Nation...


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PostSubject: Re: Vernal Equinox: Stories and Songs    Wed 09 Sep 2015, 12:32

The Fianna of Kirkhall and Tannoc, old rivals of the Get of Fenris, had noted the absence of the war packs, and they wondered where the Get had gone. When they came across the fjords, Stag's sons realized how the Fenrir had gone to prosecute battle on an unprecedented scale; needless to say, the Fianna were concerned. When the Get returned and began violently cleansing the people of the North, the Fianna watched in dismay, and many kept to their own lands for fear of insulting and angering the great grey wolves.

Jormungandr, though sorely hurt, was still crafty, and instead of lurking in pits and strongholds of darkness, it had gone into the hearts of men. The Fenrir sought it out wherever it dwelled, though the harm they caused in so doing was great. The wild places swiftly became fearful for men who did not have the wolfsblood. The few cities of the North remained in blissful ignorance, but the fells and cold coasts were lorded over by the Get of Fenris, and the freezing winter nights echoed with the howls of werewolves and the screams of the dying. The Fenrir were almost totally unified, fanatically dedicated to the eradication of taint and weakness. Not quite all of the Get thought this was right, and one or two Jarls would grumble that the role of the Garou was to act as guardians and warriors, not as overlords or butchers of men. Aleit Kraken-Jaws said as much at one of the moots, but she was charged with unwillingness to do what needed to be done to destroy Jormungandr. Roaring Jack challenged her to ritual combat at Savior-in-War's behest, and silenced her dissenting voice.

More blood was spilled across the North, and the Fenrir grew increasingly strict and callous, their judgements of human weakness growing harsher with each moonrise. Some, who had been in the depths Akra'varg and heard the black whispers of the Spiral, deemed that those of certain race or creed represented weakness regardless of personal merit or stature; these Get slew many innocents, based on their own prejudice. Savior-in-War began to look to the cities, and considered how he might bring these places too under his rule, so that they might be cleansed. The humans were so many, he decided that he must have yet more Garou at his command...

Roaring Jack and other Jarls were sent to the Caerns of the other Garou of the Nation. Among them were the Fianna of Tannoc. Savior-in-War wanted the Fianna, an old thorn in his side, brought to heel, one way or another. He did not expect compliance, so for this task he sent his loyal destroyer, Jack. The Fianna of Tannoc were close to the border lands, and they could not help but see that the Get were running rabid through the North. Marcus Lith-Shaker, their elder, met warily with Roaring Jack, and warned that attacking the cities of men directly with the intent to rule as kings was folly. He also said that any act of aggression against the children of Stag would be equally foolish.

Roaring Jack quietly agreed. Marcus was surprised to find that Roaring Jack, rather than being a blood-crazed berserker, was grieved by the warped vision of Savior-in-War. The Get warrior explained that after Akra'varg many Get had lost their way. Jack asked that Marcus pledge support of the Fenrir in the future, but for now, to call on the Silver Fang King and also his brothers among the Fianna.    

The other Jarls were not so wise. When their overtures were refused, some of the Jarls attacked, incensed at the weakness they perceived in their 'lessers...'


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PostSubject: Re: Vernal Equinox: Stories and Songs    Wed 09 Sep 2015, 17:01

Many of the neighboring Caerns suffered as rage of the Get Jarls washed over them like a tide. Savior-in-War stirred them to fight, hoping that with swift victory he could intimidate or even inspire the survivors to take up the Fenrir cause. Those that died were of little consequence to the vicious High-Jarl, for in death did they not prove their weakness?

The Get stood on the verge of fratricidal war, even as Marcus signaled the Silver Fang King. Fyodor Raptor's Heart did not waste any time: his theurges had warned of Gaia's tears, and he called in many oaths of fealty as he opened the moonpaths. Soon the the might of many tribes stood arrayed against Fenrir's children. Yet, they stayed their hand, for Marcus' kept the forces of the Tannoc back, and would not permit his land to be used as an invasion point, not when he knew that Roaring Jack had yet to play his hand.

Still, even in the face of impossible odds, the Get of Fenris did not back down, for that is not our way. Honor dictated that we test our strength against these newcomers, and their charges of madness, that we unwittingly worked the will of Jormungandr, fell upon proud, deaf ears. Roaring Jack returned to the hall of the High Jarl, as the mightiest of the Get prepared to orchestrate the defense of their homeland.

At the gathering of Jarls, the Get saw that the might of the Garou Nation arrayed against them. Still, Savior-in-War spoke of the conflict as an opportunity, a chance to take the Silver Crown from the inbred whelps of Falcon. He howled that the might of Fenris could not be opposed, no matter how many faced them, the strength of the Get was unrivaled, and that this was just their final proving test from Fenris. In his pride, the High Jarl even said that after, they would cow the Garou Nation and rule all the North, from the Faroe Islands to the Bering Straits.

It was then that Roaring Jack stood from amidst the other Jarls. 'You have shown your madness borne of pride, Eldest,' said he, before opening a vein in his neck and tracing out the glyph of our tribe on his chest. The other Jarls gasped and snarled, for this marked the beginning of the most dire of rites, and yet to challenge a leader in a time of war was unheard of, a gross violation of the Litany. Jack new this, and was prepared: "War has not yet come, for the Fianna of Marcus Lith-Shaker has sworn fealty, and he will not allow Tannoc to be used for our invasion. There will only be war if you provoke it, and this, I will not allow, Eldest among Fenrir." He recited his lineage, all the way back to ancient Hrogar who hunted with Fenris. Jack told of his personal valor, from his first blooding up to the great siege of Akra'varg. He did not make note of his deeds the culling that followed, for there was no glory in misguided slaughter.

Roaring Jack charged that the High-Jarl's reach exceeded his grasp, that the Eldest dreamed of conquest at the expense of honor, and that he strove to exalt himself, rather than Gaia and Great Fenris. He said that Savior-in-War was overcome by madness driven by pride, and that ambition was his weakness, as crippling as any metis deformity, as unfitting on a High-Jarl as the mutated cancers of the Black Spiral Dancers.

Savior-in-War had just enough of his wits about him to accept the challenge rite before launching himself at Roaring Jack in a paroxysm of violence. The wounds he inflicted on Jack were deep and terrible; such was the Eldest's fury that Jack swiftly lost himself to his rage also. Their fight lasted scarce minutes, but in their boundless anger the two destroyed the lodge house and scattered the other Jarls, who for all their gathered strength could not contain the enraged leaders. In his madness Savior-in-War was terrible to behold, his fur slick and dark with gore, his innards torn out and flapping in the freezing wind as he hurled himself again and again at Roaring Jack. Jack, for his part, lived up to his name, howling so that a great white storm gathered, and it was said that Fenris himself was in the storm. Finally Savior-in-War gained the upper hand, beating Jack down with a great spar of ironwood. His victory at hand, the Eldest's rage ebbed somewhat. The High-Jarl pressed his advantage, crowing that when Jack was slain all his traitorous line would be extinguished, each and every one of his children, Garou and Kin, to be slain by blood eagle, so that they might fly to Great Fenris and apologize.

His boast was never completed- Roaring Jack hurled his dwarven knife right into Savior-in-War's eye, the blade burying itself up to the hilt. The High-Jarl was dead, and Roaring Jack, son of Gorm Rage-Maw, was Eldest.

What followed was called by some foolish Garou the Humbling of the Get, but we know that it was the rebirth of our tribe. Those whose minds had been bent by their time in Akra'varg were destroyed, and those who slew humans without reason or respect for the Litany were punished also.    

Roaring Jack was now Eldest, the Get of Fenris were his to rule by right. He renewed his oaths to the Silver Fangs, as did the other Jarls, and he bolstered the strength of the Get Caerns by bringing those of other tribes. These times were not easy, and marked with the occasional internecine conflict, but by the time Roaring Jack left the North, our homeland was as peaceful and righteous as can be possible in a place as harsh and unforgiving as that which belongs to Great Fenris.


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PostSubject: Re: Vernal Equinox: Stories and Songs    Wed 09 Sep 2015, 18:13

Ulf fell silent, his intensity simmering down like dying coals. Calth Poison-Eater rose, wearing a lanky Homid form, his hair streaks of grey and jet under the moon. He turned without words to gesture at the Uktena.

For a moment none of them stirred... then one of them rose, gliding to the front of the eerily quiet band of Tonkawa. Sharp teeth flashed, a razor-edged grin.

"The Tonkawa wolf-brotherhood are greatly pleased to be among you this night. It would not be so if it were not for the actions of the sons and daughter of Coyote; those who came to us unlooked-for in our hour of need." Liquid Panther held his trophy lance in a lazy, easy grip, and now its gleaming blade whirled around in a fast circle, as if encompassing the gathered werewolves, before stopping dead, pointing at the Prodigals.  

"Zas B'ul- Apache and All-Friend, this tale is to honor you and your pack."


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PostSubject: Re: Vernal Equinox: Stories and Songs    Wed 09 Sep 2015, 18:18

This story is true: Coyote was going along, it is said, and while so doing, he climbed a mountain that was standing there, as mountains do. It happened there was an island with a camp below that mountain. Coyote, descending, swam to the island and arrived at the camp. It was quiet, empty. As he came to the last teepee, he heard someone softly weeping inside. Coyote, entering, said, "What is the matter ? "

The Woman said, "This camp has no people in it. They were eaten. An evil one is coming, and he is still very hungry."

"Well, don't cry," said Coyote, "tomorrow I intend to fight with this monster, whoever he is."

The Woman went out to the creatures of the wood and river and announced "Coyote says he will fight a great evil tomorrow!"

But no one listened. Coyote was a trickster, not a warrior, they said. The other animals thought he was lying or playing the fool. They did not go to the island and see the empty village. Only Turtle, who had swam around the island and saw that the monster had eaten the people there, agreed to help. "I will come tomorrow, but I am slow. I will send my sons and daughters, they are strong and will help kill the Hungry One."

That evening Coyote, going down to the river and cutting a stick of very hard wood, he burned it black, to a point, and put it away and went to sleep. The next morning he arose and going outside, he sat down facing the east and howled loudly. Sitting towards the south, he again howled; again towards the west; and, finally, he sat facing the north and howled.

When the Woman went out that morning, Coyote joined Her, and went to the island. And then the Eater was there. And that evil one was long with a great many mouths and terrible eyes that would always watch its next meal. Coyote hid. But even Coyote could not hide from the Hungry One, and it ran towards him, eating all things as it went. "This will not do," said Coyote. He fought that evil one. He took his stick and poked out one of the Eater's eyes, so that it came out and rolled on the ground. The Hungry One was very angry, and ready to eat Coyote. At that moment many wolves, sons and daughters of Turtle, came. They had heard Coyote howling, and now they were here. They fought the Eater, and Turtle did too.

The Hungry One ate Turtle, and all the wolves, but not Coyote, who it could not see. Coyote for all his tricks could not kill the Eater; but eating Turtle and his children had hurt its stomach, and the Eater left to rest for a time. It crawled away to sleep and left Coyote alone, but Coyote took its eye so he could see what it planned to eat when it woke up.

Coyote said then to that camp of no people. "Close tightly all these teepees", he said, and all the teepees were closed. So it remains to this day. Coyote eventually grew bored with the eye he had stolen, and so he gave it to his daughter... but that is a story for another night, another meeting.


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PostSubject: Re: Vernal Equinox: Stories and Songs    Wed 09 Sep 2015, 20:53

After the Uktena finished his strange tale of Coyote, Calth rose, lifting his hands towards the gathering. "The rebirth of Gaia is not a thing that belongs only to some. All are to celebrate Gaia's re-awakening this night. There are others among us with their own tales. His gaze drifted about, flitting among the Iron Riders and Bone Gnawers. "It is not only a time for skalds, but for any who consider themselves representatives of their tribe. With your stories, you give your brothers, sisters and totem a voice here tonight."

Zoe, moved by a sudden urge, stood up to share a story of her own.  All eyes turned to the young Theurge, who suddenly felt a bit nervous to speak in front of so many gifted storytellers.  Nevertheless, she inhaled deeply and projected her voice loudly for all to hear.  

“I, Zoe Hears-the-Song Kostas, Iron Rider Adren and Theurge of the Prodigals, will now tell you the once-forgotten tale of my father, Tycheros Dark-Fate Kostas and his battles against the beast Chrysaor.”

A few Garou leaned in as Zoe introduced her tale.  Their interest encouraged her to proceed with confidence.  

“Many years ago three Garou, led by Dark-Fate, pressed into the swamplands of Natchitoches in search of slaves who had been smuggled into the area.  What started out as a simple investigation, quickly turned dark when the warriors of Gaia discovered the slaves were not destined for plantation life but for a much darker fate.”

Zoe punctuated those last three words before inserting a dramatic pause.

“A grave sickness was running rampant among the people of Natchitoches and the men of the town were willing to do whatever it took to save their families from the disease.  Chrysaor, a powerful spirit of greed, was willing to keep the sickness away from their families in exchange for a simple payment…

“a steady stream of human sacrifices.”        

The Theurge paused again and allowed realization to settle on the gathered crowd

“Yes, the smuggled slaves were brought in to satisfy the blood lust of the beast Chrysaor in exchange for protecting the town from sickness.  But being a spirit of greed, the beast was never satisfied and his hunger simply grew stronger.  Whydah Phillips and a group known as The Stranglehold soon began taking people from the town to sacrifice to the spirit because they could not get more slaves in fast enough.”

“When Dark-Fate and the others discovered this horrific situation, they began killing anyone associated with the Stranglehold, including the families of the men involved.  In response to the brutal loss of their families, Whydah and his men sold their souls to Chrysaor and became the creatures now known as Igohida, which translates to…‘the undying.’”

The Iron Rider flashed a prideful grin.

“Though our pack proved them to be undying only in name.”

“Circumstances led to a showdown pitting the Garou and the Incarna Mnemosyne against Chrysaor’s minions.  Dark-Fate and his allies found themselves making progress against the so-called undying when suddenly the creatures amass into a titanic, foul monster that is Chrysaor the Unbidden.  The beast knocked Mnemosyne’s spear from her hand breaking it in two.  Tycheros leapt on the spear and sacrificed nearly all memories of himself in order to repair the spear and deal a crippling blow to Chrysaor.”

“At that moment, everyone who had known Tycheros Dark-Fate Kostas immediately forgot nearly everything about him, including his wife…and his daughter.”

When Zoe mentioned her mother, deeply buried emotions came rushing to the surface.  By sheer force of will she managed to keep herself from tears.  

“Dark-Fate’s sacrifice enabled him to slam the spear deep into the beast’s back and give Mnemosyne a chance to regain her footing.  She rearmed herself and dealt blow after deadly blow, bringing Chrysaor near to the point of demise.  Just as the Gaians thought the battle was won, the Unbidden makes one final attack, tainting Mnemosyne and turning her against her Garou allies and breaking her spear once more.”

“Tycheros made one final rage-filled attack, tearing the head from the formerly Gaian spirit; however, the spirit’s final words condemn the Iron Rider to remain in the Umbra forever.”

Zoe halted her story and looked around the group.  Most of their eyes were fixed on her and she considered how much farther to take the story.  

“A few years later we, the Prodigals, found ourselves in the same swamp where this first conflict took place, seeking to destroy Chrysaor and his Igohida once more.  We, too, were accompanied by Mnemosyne, who informed us that reforming the spear was crucial to the defeat of the Unbidden one.”

Zoe lowered her voice and leaned in toward the crowd.  

“When the spear was reformed, memories were returned, and I realized that the Incarna spirit who stood before us was none other than…”

“Tycheros Dark-Fate Kostas.”
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PostSubject: Re: Vernal Equinox: Stories and Songs    Tue 22 Sep 2015, 23:20

The Garou howled their cheers, though some were clearly shocked to hear that Zoe's father had undergone a transformation into a mighty Incarna. Those Iron Riders who were present, Roach-Eyes, Walks-with-Spiders and Long Howl, howled and cheered their approval even louder than the rest of the gathered Garou.

Only Zas B'ul stood silent. His attention was elsewhere- he had noticed that during the telling of the Uktena's tale, their numbers had grown. Small knots of warriors had quietly come down from the hills, their backs to the rising moon, their faces shrouded in dusky shadow. At first Zas thought they were Garou who had grown tired of the fighting pits- the newcomers were taller than even the stout Fenrir kinfolk.

Now they stood, in twos and threes, and Zas saw that they were practically giants, looming taller than those Garou who remained in homid. Their shoulders, chests and arms were criss-crossed with immobile whirling patterns, but still their features were unlit, their heads bowed. The night wind rose, and Zas' ears pricked up. There were words in the wind, a murmur that seemed to be carried from far away.

The Tonkawa remember.

Yes, they are of Elder Brother-

Of course they would not forget.

Perhaps they will hear us now?

Even as the Silent Strider caught these snatches of conversation, the voices stilled. There was only the meaningless whistling rush of the wind as they raised their heads and turned as one to look at Zas. Their faces were proud tattooed masks, their deep-set eyes alight with the chill fire of the dead.
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PostSubject: Re: Vernal Equinox: Stories and Songs    Tue 22 Sep 2015, 23:45

The Silent Strider gazed at the towering strangers both out of curiosity and out of slight bewilderment, at least initially. His mind pondering their words carried by the wind.

Zas after a moment of consideration tries to mentally speak to the gathered dead as he had with Hanging Maw in previous encounters "Your story can be told. I All-Friend, believe I can aid you, but would you aid another in exchange? The invaders come, but there are some who fight back. Your might joined with the first beloved of the Cherokee in his war party would not be forgotten just as your tale told here will not be forgotten."

Zas pauses for a moment, "If you agree, use me as your voice. I need only your name and your word this night that you would answer the call to arms..."
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PostSubject: Re: Vernal Equinox: Stories and Songs    Wed 23 Sep 2015, 16:47

The Karankawa drew closer to Zas, oblivious of the doings of the Garou around them as their faint half-speech drifted on the cool air.

We know nothing of the Cherokee or his foes.

Still, our tale is worthy, Silent Strider.

Turtle's sons and daughters were ours...

Our sons, our wives, our brothers and mothers...

They are all gone, but still we remain.

We have no desire for your war. And yet-

You may become wiser for hearing our words.

Will you lend us your voice?

Zas felt a long peal of dry laughter crawl down his spine as the tall wraiths encircled him.

"They have little choice in this matter. War is upon us all, living and dead- these shades just lack the wit to see it. Give them here, hahahaheh, leave them to me. I will make them see their folly."
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PostSubject: Re: Vernal Equinox: Stories and Songs    Wed 23 Sep 2015, 20:00

Zas closed his eyes as he focused on the approaching wraiths, "I would hear your words. I know that Turtle's children did not turn away from the enemy-they fought fiercely when called. Your bodies may be no more, but if you are truly Turtles children-I know that ferocity still lies within your spirit and I tell you now, you may not wish to fight but the fight will come. I would not have Turtles children stand alone when that time comes again."

Zas then says, "My voice is yours as is the choice for you to not stand alone. I will not fight you-share your wisdom through me."
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PostSubject: Re: Vernal Equinox: Stories and Songs    Fri 25 Sep 2015, 18:00

Each and every Karankawa swept forward, reaching for the Philodox with cold, tattoo-etched hands.

Zas B'ul strode through the assembly, approaching where the Talesinger stood. Calth Poison-Eater nodded toward All-Friend solemnly, indicating that the Silent Strider was welcome to speak as a new hush fell over the Garou. Zas B'ul opened his mouth and found that though the voice was his own, another spoke through him:

"I come to you with a tale of the Croatan, and the ones they left behind. This place is sacred and holds many secrets. Those who followed after Great Turtle walked these coasts, and these hills have held our dead for generations. On dark nights the wolves of the Karankawa placated our totem, the Fangfish, Gar. With the spirits' blessings the Karankawa were kept safe from illness, and our people safe from the slave-takers and the black robes."

"Then they went away, our guardians who kept the nights safe and our children free. When the outsiders came, there were no wolves to destroy them, no one to stop their evil. Still, we were mighty among nations, and we fought those who would trap and enslave us. When our neighbors too turned against us, tempted by the baubles and weapons offered by the outsiders, these too we fought. Even as the days passed, we told tales of hope and prayed that our Croatan warriors would return."  

"Yet they did not come back, for as the Uktena have said, they were gone forever, eaten by the Devourer. Many moons had passed now, and had none remained who could intercede with us before the spirits. Gar had abandoned us, or so we said. Sickness came among us, and famine with it."

"Our villages were suffering, and many were our dead. It was decided that even without the Croatan we must beseech the spirits for their favor, and we had many worth fallen who needed to be placed in the graves of their grandfathers. We brewed the potent black potions that would purify us, and then we came here."

"Gar would not speak with us, but we could tell that even the sacred places were falling to ruin, and we realized that we had abandoned Gar, and not the other way around. But what could we do? We knew some arts from when the Croatan walked among us, but nothing that would please a spirit as great as Gar, though we tried all the rituals and songs we knew."

"The night grew old, and never did the Fangfish answer. Instead, a strange man came to us here, and we were frightened, for he flew in the night on wings. We were not sure if he was a witch or a beast. He was dark and small, and came up from the south. He told us the way to appease our totem. He told us secrets that seemed so simple: Blood and flesh hold power. This secret was known to the plumed god-kings in his land, the bloodletting priests who ruled their empire of stone and gold to the south, or so he said. The spirits swore fealty to the god-kings, it was said, and when fed properly, our old totems would certainly do the same."

"The flying man vanished, and we decided that we would try, for our only other choice was our enemies arrows, or fevers and slow wasting death. One of us offered his life blood, and we called out to Gar to again grant us his favor."

"And the Fangfish answered."
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PostSubject: Re: Vernal Equinox: Stories and Songs    Sun 27 Sep 2015, 16:32

"We were as children, desperate, seeing only our own needs and little else. Yet how were we to know that that our Croatan had hidden Gar away intentionally? The Fangfish was an ancient who took whatever was given him, whether fair or foul."

"The first sacrifice of blood empowered the totem, and we returned to our huts rejoicing, for once again we were protected by the spirits. Our children no longer starved, and we strung our bows and sharpened many arrow heads. Our enemies, scavengers and invaders, fled before our warriors, who were armed with weapons and tools crafted from Gar's progeny. With each victory, we took prisoners and made offerings of flesh and blood to Gar and the spirits, who happily took whatever was offered. Those among the coastal peoples who were our foes told tales of how the Karankawa were cannibals and eaters of men- in truth, all that was eaten were eaten by Gar alone."    

"Seasons passed, and those who had begun the feeding of blood to Gar went to the happy hunting grounds, and eventually in time their children also. But all was not well. With the passing of time, the black drink changed. Before, the ceremonial brew had purified us, prepared the Croatan and their chosen kin to visit the sacred places. Now the drink caused agitation, anger. Those who tasted it would often wish to walk the warpath, though our enemies were growing scarce."

"The grandchildren continued to feed Gar his meals of blood, and so he defended them from disease and starvation. Still, among the Karankawa, the thirst for violence grew."


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PostSubject: Re: Vernal Equinox: Stories and Songs    Wed 30 Sep 2015, 17:06

Another peal of ragged laughter echoed in Zas' mind before he heard Hanging Maw's voice, his words slipping down the Silent Strider's spine colder than ice water, interrupting his telling of the ghosts' story. I can feel their anger still, pulling them downward, hahahah ha! Ah, but this is no holy rage born of Luna- just unthinking malice, like a child lashing out in desperate fury, kicking and screaming. Let me have them, they would be useful against the pale-skin dead... otherwise they are wasted, empty things longing for a time long gone, that will never be again...  
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PostSubject: Re: Vernal Equinox: Stories and Songs    Wed 30 Sep 2015, 21:32

Zas focuses inward as he speaks to Hanging Maw, "I gave the choice to join us to them-like I promised you I would. I also however gave them my word that they would be able to tell their story."

Zas pauses, "That said, once their tale is done, I will ask again. If they do not come on their own-for their own safety-I will give them to you. I would see them honor the memory of the Croatan and fighting the invaders sees to that end. Then at least they would not stand alone."
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PostSubject: Re: Vernal Equinox: Stories and Songs    Sun 04 Oct 2015, 20:51

"The Karankawa made war on our neighbors, raiding and destroying, not just to feed meals to Gar, but because we could, for we were mighty again."

"But one day we met those we could not so easily defeat, even with our blessings and drinks steeped in rage. A fortress was built out in the bay, a stronghold that held warriors both crafty and savage, who sailed in great canoes that rode the wind. We were not sure what to make of them, but then one of us was taken, abducted by the lecherous newcomers. The Karankawa grew angry, and Gar's hunger stirred. These new raider's blood would make a pleasing offering. We sang for a night, consumed the black drink as never before, and the thirsty spirits writhed in the air among us and crept into our bodies and minds."

"We attacked just before dawn, our spirit-strength tearing apart stone and breaking down gates. Hand-to-hand we fought, and their blades and fire were fierce, but no mach for Gar and his Karankawa. Soon the pale-faced raiders who still lived fled to their canoes. We tore apart the fortress, found the Karankawa girl who had been stolen away and took prisoners of our own. The invaders, however, had not run back across the sea as we had expected- when we emerged, they opened the bellies of their canoes and rained down fire and death. Some ran back to find safety in among the stone walls, but many were caught on the open beach, torn to pieces by the rain of fire. All morning the canoes roared and bellowed, and when noon came there were no walls left, only broken stone and dead men. Nearly all of our warriors were slain that day, even also the girl we had come to save, and only a few escaped back to their campfires."

"Now there were too few Karankawa, barely enough to bury what little remained of the dead. Gar could not be fed now, for never again would we raid our enemies. Those who went to try to placate starving Gar with offerings of their own never came back. The graves of our forefathers became a terrible and feared place, were the spirits yearned for power denied them... power that only comes from blood."

Zas stopped, for the Karankawa dead had suddenly fallen silent; from somewhere far away, he heard a cold rattle of harsh laughter.
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PostSubject: Re: Vernal Equinox: Stories and Songs    Sun 04 Oct 2015, 21:27

Zas addressed the Karankawa mentally as he had before, "What if I were to tell you that among the pale faced raiders the Cherokee fight-are some who would use your fallen to their own purpose; that they chain and enslave those who no longer dwell among the living to serve dark ends and foul rites? What if I told you that they are coming this way with armies at their command but that you have a chance here and now to stop them from fulfilling their dark plans? Would you change your mind? Would you aid Hanging Maw?"

Zas gazes into the gathered Garou crowd as he then adds to the ghost again, "You offer wisdom and wise counsel with your tale. I offer the same-take up arms with the Cherokee. Stand tall and be a force of greatness once more. Honor Turtles children by protecting their sacred place. Together we can be mighty, alone we are doomed."
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