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 "Friends" on the Other Side

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Eaton

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PostSubject: "Friends" on the Other Side    Fri 26 Feb 2016, 21:34

At long last, both Aara and Almira had finished their treatment. While the ordeal of removing their cursed flesh caused great anguish, they seemed to recover quite well thanks to Zoe's healing touch. That still left what to do with their Alpha however, who's infection resided well out of a knife or sword's reach. While the Ragabash and the Theurge put their heads together to arrive at a solution - while Rends urging them not to ruin his scars in the process- Eaton thought of a way to clear the two girls pained screams from his head. He thought he might as well start recording the events of Washington on the Brazo's, until he realized how removed their Philodox was their current situation. He stood quite a few extra yards away from everyone else, mutely watching the rest of the pack. That's when Eaton remember there was something he wanted to ask Zas about- he actually meant to much earlier, but it seemed more relevant in light of the proceeding hour's events.

However, he rehearsed what he had to say- The Galliard did not wish to say anything that might upset him. He approached Zas, giving an uneasy smile before he began, "So, Zas, about tonight..." He trailed off as the Philodox met his eye, and Eaton changed decided to take a different tack: "Er, more than just tonight, really- I always meant to ask: that ghoul back there," He motioned back toward the ruined city, still maintaining eye contact, " I know Silent Striders have some sort of affinity with the departed, but what was up with Hanging Maw? What did he want from ya?"
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Zas B'ul

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PostSubject: Re: "Friends" on the Other Side    Sat 27 Feb 2016, 01:33

The day had grown long, longer still as the pack considered what to do about their Alpha's body. Zas had kept mostly to himself since the pack had walked away from the broken town of the girls and was beginning to mentally re-examine exactly what all had happened, processing it as each scene played back slowly in his minds eye.

He was just starting to debate with himself over whether or not there had been another way to deal with the strange cultists they had killed as Eaton approached.

As his packmate neared and initially started to speak, the Silent Striders expression grew from a contemplative gaze to a bitter scowl and eyes full of wrath that seemed to deter the Galliards words temporarily, as much had happened recently that the philodox didn't care to hash out yet.

When Leper Friend instead inquired about Hanging Maw, Zas scowl quickly faded to reveal a deep pain.

The Apache sighed, "He came at my summons tonight."

He drew a slow breath, "I met him first-when I became a fostern...killed him at our first visit"

Zas gives a sad smile, "Met him again after Chief Bowels died and we dealt with the Hierarchy. Made a deal with him at the Crossroads."

He then looks away from the Bone Gnawer as he said, "I am a fool."

He looks back up at Eaton after a long pause and says with a haunted look, "I didn't know the reason the demons fled from my path was because the Devil was behind me."
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PostSubject: Re: "Friends" on the Other Side    Sat 27 Feb 2016, 11:47

Eaton nodded as Zas explained, though he could not help matching Zas solemn expression. He took a deep breath and said, "The reason I wanted to speak up 'bout this is cause from what I know of ghosts, they couldn't pass on, but we never see Fenrir heroes or noble Fianna warriors- the specters of the dead are tormented, only wantin' to make the livin' join 'em directly or by makin' their lives hell. A ghost story rarely ain't the tale to cheer someone up. That don't mean they don't have their purpose."

Pausing only for a second, he added, "Hangin' Maw clearly had an interest in you, and I don't like to think it was jus' cause you did whatever he asked. He even had a pact with ya, and all. What I meant to say is, did you see him as an ally, or as a tool?"
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PostSubject: Re: "Friends" on the Other Side    Sun 28 Feb 2016, 17:25

Zas acknowledged what the galliard shared about his knowledge of ghosts. The Philodox adds, "Learning information from the dead can be a wise course of action, but yes, if you try to seek happiness or a joyful outcome from the lands of the dead you are on a fools errand."

He considers the question for a time and then answers, "I often do not do what Hanging Maw wants. More oft than not, I found our means and methods to differ greatly. On occasion we have shared mutual interests, but even then he tended to wish to take the more bloodied approach."

"Up until tonight I believed that his wrath could be directed to serve Gaia-similar to how likeminded Fenrir serve her as he was once a mighty war chief of the Uktena. This combined with the potential information he offered-the whereabouts of Chief Bowles for instance-made him a useful ally in the fight of the wyrm.

Were he a tool of mine-his actions would be controlled and directed by me. I can assure you-he made and acted on his own accord to serve his own interests this night, and looking back-I see everything he's done has served his own purpose."

Zas grunts and says after a moment with empty eyes, "How do I see him now? I see him for what he is-a devil of the underworld, my greatest mistake, and the lesson I should have learned from Chief Bowels and all the lives lost under Malchizadek: Nothing and No one found in the realms of the dead is good and anything there is beyond redemption."

Zas looks back to Eaton and apathetically says more out of respect for his packmate than actual interest in learning the answer, "Why do you ask?"
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PostSubject: Re: "Friends" on the Other Side    Sun 28 Feb 2016, 18:11

"Well, from aside from just bein' curious." Eaton said, voice trying to sound more vital, "You wanted to find out what the dead know of the wyrm, learn of advantages ain't a bad idea. And as you said, those beyond that veil may not be redeemable or wholesome; but I hope you ain't gonna call it quits dealin' with the dark umbra."

He reached out and put his newly regrown hand on Zas' shoulder. The Philodox noticed the skin was now a shade fairer than the old one, veins now dark and pronounced.

"Just cause Hanin' Maw might of used ya doesn't mean they're ain't more secret's lurkin' in the afterlife. I don't need a vision to tell me were gonna need all the help we can get in the comin' days. I know you ain't the first ghosts have tricked- Just do as every mistake we've ever made and learn from it."

He then smiled, "It's best not to hold on to our regrets- that's somethin' ya shouldn't learn from those spooks."
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PostSubject: Re: "Friends" on the Other Side    Sun 28 Feb 2016, 21:03

Zas listens to the galliard, his focus shifting between the efforts of his pack theurge in front of him and the decrepit city behind him but says nothing. When Eaton laid his hand on Zas's shoulder the Philodox turned to face him.

The Silent Strider regarded the Bone Gnawer before then saying, "Getting upset because things didn't go exactly the way I had hoped-like I've done before, does no one any good. That won't change what's happened. I'm going to focus for now on the fact that this was a victory-a nearly tainted one perhaps, but a victory nonetheless."

He gives a look back to the fallen city and says coldly, "The Dark umbra though...no-I am far from done with that. An entire umbral space full of the damned, the forgotten, and void of a single shred of honor-a prison wherein all who dwell want their voice to be heard. Any plans or weaknesses the wyrm has I will glean by gladly listening to the pleas of the restless dead. Hearing their mournful cries as they fall into oblivion will just be a fringe benefit."

At his latter comment Zas nods, "Do you regret having your visions?"
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PostSubject: Re: "Friends" on the Other Side    Sun 28 Feb 2016, 21:49

Eaton smiled back at Zas, "Well, I'm glad to hear that. Ya seemed kinda down since we left time; doesn't look like that fire in yer belly's any dimmer."

As for the question he posed, Eaton scratched at his chin before he said, "Directly- or the fact that I get visions frequently- no. That don't mean I don't get upset when I can't control myself after seenin' something particularly nasty or tauntin'. I ain't gonna cry or cut myself over it, but I suppose yeah- but that kinda goes for everythin' we do. I wish I could say I as proud of everythin' I ever done, but there are few things worse than a lyin' Gallaird."

Dismissing the thought, he adds, "But yer right- even if some of us picked up some new scars- physically or otherwise- we still came out on top and foiled those bitches' plan. Even if our allies weren't as pure as we thought, that shouldn't take from that."

At that mention, Eaton suddenly seemed curious again, "Speakin' of such, did you know why Hangin' Maw was a ghost? Why wasn't he able to move on?"
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PostSubject: Re: "Friends" on the Other Side    Sun 28 Feb 2016, 22:10

Zas looks back to the Galliard and says, "I recall him mentioning that he was killed-slowly and painfully by people he called long knives. Most likely white men, given his typical response to the rest of the pack; he seemed to view his death as a means of delaying his enemies to buy time for his people to get away, and held a potent grudge against any who hurt his people...but other than that I'm not certain."

Zas beginning to become more intrigued by the questions, "Why do you ask about his death? You think that is important for something?"
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PostSubject: Re: "Friends" on the Other Side    Sun 28 Feb 2016, 22:31

Eaton eyes actually widen when Zas mentioned he wasn't certain. To answer his question, he said, "'Cause werewolf ghosts ain't common. Most are given over to Gaia's embrace, some even sayin' her greatest warriors are sent back for another go 'round. But Hangin' Maw's death would have been important if it made certain that he couldn't move on."

Eaton shrugged, " I mean, revenge, greed, lust, guilt . . . there's plenty he mighta been hangin' on to. I thought that maybe that's somethin' ya'll agreed upon- not just he was a useful spook, but that ya'll had some sort of understandin' for one another."

Eaton looked to Zas questioningly, "I mean, ya seemed to like him all right before this. Er, at least tolerate 'em. What did he do to win you over instead of destroyin' him at first sight? And do you think he was just lyin' to you this whole time?"
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PostSubject: Re: "Friends" on the Other Side    Mon 29 Feb 2016, 00:31

Zas gives a small frown, "When I first met him, we came to blows over Chief Bowles son. The chief wished to give his son permission to pass on. Hanging maw wanted to be the one to do it in a darker way. I killed Hanging maw then-but even then his path and mine were similar."

"In the aftermath of Chief Bowles death, I met with Hanging maw on the killing fields. Hanging maw, much to my surprise was alive and well claiming to pay his respects to the fallen as he was digging them graves. When we spoke he treated me as an honored enemy until he learned that I was an adopted son of the Cherokee and agreed to protect Chief Bowles people.
At that point he became willing to work with me. Our interests aligned in finding the Chiefs body and preventing it from being used in foul rites. I tested his words. His words were true and led to the chief."

He then says, "Later, when Rends and I went to meet with the Hierarchy, he appeared and warned us of the threat the Hierarchy posed and told us that we had been deceived by them and they had used our actions to strengthen themselves. Again I tested his words. His words were again true."

He adds, "I doubted his claim to keep the ghosts off our backs when we faced one in Crossroads-he held up their scalp to show his most recent kill. His words were again true."

Zas sighed, "Even now, he came to my side and his forces killed some of the wyrmspawn that allowed us to reach the final witch, as he promised to do.

Every time I have doubted him or his words, he had proof and truth. He did not win me over, but I could find no evidence to support that he was untrustworthy nor that he was serving the wyrm."

Zas grinds his teeth, "But his actions this time, spoke louder."

At the latter question Zas shakes his head, "I know he was not lying to me-I now know though that he was not telling me everything, but as he was one of the Uktena-that's hardly surprising."

Zas grumbles, "That's half of why I feel like I do."

"Is it really betrayal if someone has never changed who they are since you met them?"
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PostSubject: Re: "Friends" on the Other Side    Mon 29 Feb 2016, 19:06

"Oh." Eaton said, somewhat surprised at the Philodox's explanation. "Even if he was tellin' you the truth and ya'll happened to agree upon some things, that still should have sounded some bells. It doesn't take a lie to manipulate people- tellin' 'em what they want to hear goes a heck of a long way. Keepin' you in the dark of what his goals were doesn't sound like somethin' you'd want to ally with. Though I don't want rag on that- even if ya did have your suspicions, I don't think ya woulda been ready for what he did tonight."

Eaton let out a long exhale into the cool night air before he said, "I guess I wanted to make sure ya weren't bein' to hard on yourself- everyone screws up, and I honestly don't think too many Garou are gonna care that those folks died. I was kinda in the minority there. Just be a tad bit more careful before ya promise anymore towns to the undead."  

Eaton seemed to be ready to let Zas reply, before his eyes widened as he asked,  
"How did Hangin' Maw fit into your plan to try and bring peace between the tribes? A spirit that hates all "paleskins" seems kinda contradictory, ya think?"
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PostSubject: Re: "Friends" on the Other Side    Tue 01 Mar 2016, 00:05

Zas nods to Eaton and says, "I'm certain that very few others will be as gracious in their comments about this evenings events as you, but I appreciate your words-and rest assured I have no intention of promising anything else to the dead save what they already have coming to them."

Zas gives a sad smile as he says in response to the Galliards question, "That's one way to look at it, but it was actually his hatred that I found most helpful. His direct involvement-you're probably right, would greatly harm my cause, but his indirect assistance is--was invaluable.

His arguments for why I should stop serving the wyrmbringers and instead devote myself solely to protecting the pure is a sentiment that I think many of the pure likely share. Hearing his side of things better prepared me for when will I try and unite the two nations, as I will have had time to work out a stronger response for some of their more vocally resistant members."

Zas smile fades, "Perhaps that was too much to hope for from one like him."

Zas turns to looks back at the rest of the pack, but asks the Bone gnawer "Be honest-would you have done what I did tonight? Would you have called on some other force to aid the pack in our fight with the witches if you had the chance? Or do you think that it was a mistake?"

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PostSubject: Re: "Friends" on the Other Side    Tue 01 Mar 2016, 22:40

Having answered Eaton's other question's easily enough, the last question caused the Gallaird to raise an eyebrow,

"I wouldn't have a problem callin' on some other force in the face of certain death- Rat encourages his fangs to pull out all the stops if it comes hell and high water. Course, knowin' when to utilize somethin' like that is key; I dunno of the ghosts bein' called was really necessary this time- sure, they mighta chased off a few of those fire-eatin' townsfolk, but the Stranger had to keep 'em diverted for an almost equal amount of time- I commend ya for wantin' to see those girls stay dead, but that kinda seemed a little much. Course, hindsight would be the only way to tell ya that."

Eaton let out a exhale through his nostrils, "Havin' somethin' at your command, keepin' your pact so you can call their aid-you just gotta be aware of the price yer willin' to pay. The rat spirits I call on- they know and trust me well enough to attack what ever I'm directin' 'em to. But if they tried to gnaw the limbs off of ya'll if I played a sour note- well, I wouldn't be willin' to call 'em as often as I do. There's too many stories of Garou who thought they had an ally they could trust or keep a handle- 'till the spirit wormed it's way out or bent the rules. Ya gotta be careful what you promise the spirit- light or dark umbra."    

"So to answer your question: I think it was a mistake this time; but I trust you'll know when to rustle the dead next time."
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