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 Rites of Passage: Bone Gnawers

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The Laughing Stranger
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PostSubject: Rites of Passage: Bone Gnawers   Mon 11 Nov 2013, 14:24

Uncle MacLeod leaned back in his chair, a creaking contraption creatively welded together from parts of an overstuffed ottoman and a cracked stove. Outside the spring warmth was quickly fading, and Eaton could feel the first evening draft slipping under the door of the ramshackle lean-to as the hairs on his neck prickled. MacLeod's one good eye was fixed on Eaton, his uneven teeth a jumble of wood and sharp ivory. "So, pup, you want to be a Gnawer, eh? Well, Skulks-Forever and Raises-All-Hell mentioned that you had shown interest in our organization. You certainly don't look a stranger to the hardscrabble life and you stink of the trail, so I am inclined to agree to let you in."

Eaton said nothing; he had not expected it to be this easy. The older Garou lurched out of his chair and reached into his pocket. MacLeod withdrew an old old turkey thighbone and broke it in two, and with the sharp edge of one of the pieces he drew a runic symbol in the dust. He pensively chewed the other, the hard old bird bone making clacking sounds against his motley collection of false teeth. Then he scooped up a handful of the dust and, motioning for the younger werewolf to bow, sprinkled it on Eaton's head.

"Alrighty, that's done. You are anointed into the service of Mama Earth, congrats. May Rat watch your back."

After a short, stunned silence, Eaton blurted out "Wait, that's it?!" Uncle MacLeod turned and regarded him with his one clear eye as the young one contined. "There has to be more to it than that. I am ready to prove myself."

At first the elder said nothing, simply regarding Eaton. His face was a neutral mask, but in his gaze Eaton caught a searching, faraway look. Eventually MacLeod simply limped back to his chair and sat down.

"You wash out of the Fianna? Or did the Black Furies kick you out? C'mon kid, why do you want to be a Bone Gnawer?"

Seeing no reason to continue kneeling, Eaton rose to his feet. “I have been an outsider all my life: I don’t fit in with any of the tribes, nor do I wish to. Others claim the Bone Gnawers are slackers, the untalented and the dimwitted. The truth is, I think you just don’t give a damn about what the other Garou think, and neither do I. Each tribe has their own agenda that their members follow, but I don't want to choose sides; I want to dissolve them."

Uncle MacLeod's good eye narrowed into a slit, but his uneven smile grew wide. "Not a bad answer, kid. But what are you gonna do? Werewolves hold grudges that have lasted longer than human civilization... but hey, my interest is piqued." The more experienced Bone Gnawer leaned forward towards his new protege, producing a new series of discordant creaks and moans from his chair. "Tell me, how does a one fleabit pup change the proud hearts and rage-filled minds of the Garou nation?"

Eaton avoided the elders questioning stare and fidgeted a bit, as if he was at a loss for words by the question. He then turned back with a smile, "I'm not sure yet. But I'll do whatever it takes. I'll never finish if I never get started." He lowered his gaze slightly, not entirely sure he would accept that answer. "...I was hoping my rite would have helped me discover that..."

"Heheh." MacLeod emitted a low rumbling chuckle. "Whatever it takes, huh? Well, you are right, not all of Rat's people are lazy or disconnected. Some us are giants, destined for a quiet powerful greatness. Our kind does not seek the glory that howls its pride from the mountaintops, either. We strive for the strength that is unseen, silent until it is needed most."

"Us Gnawers help those who don't got anywhere else to to turn. Our calling ain't glamorous. Nonetheless, we are supposed to protect humans, and that includes the outcasts, the poor, sick, you name it. Some of our Garou 'betters' claim that they are weak and should be left to their fate, but they are, frankly, full of shit." He pulled out his upper set of false teeth, picked a string of old gristle out of some nook before setting it back into place with a loud wet popping noise. "Look,these are the people most in danger, both from predatory humans and evil spirits. If we protect them, maybe make their lives a little more bearable, we might save ourselves an unwinnable fight down the road and even make some allies. After all, friends in low places are still friends, and that makes them a sight better than enemies."

MacLeod shook his head, grumbling. "Anyway, just listen to me ramble. If you aren't just blowing idealistic smoke out your ass, if you really are up for rising above the rabble and doing whatever it takes, I think I got a rite of passage for you, sure. When were you born, kid? What moon shone on your bald little head when your momma squeezed you out?"

"Uh, I... I don't know, that is a strange question..." Eaton stammered, but the older werewolf drew in a deep breath, unconcerned about the answer to his rhetorical question.  

"Bore under gibbous moon, eh? Well then, you are a storyteller, a loremaster. You tend to pick up stories as you wander, I take it. Well, I am going to give you a task befitting your moon sign; when you finish, come back and tell me a story about what happened." Uncle MacLeod settled into his chair, a dry grin on his rough features. "I want you to go to a biddy little settlement called Olvidado. It's on the southern edge of Bexar county, well outside the confines of San Antone. Head on down the old Spanish road about fifty or sixty miles then head west into the low hills. I would say you couldn't miss it, but it is a hole in the wall and if you aren't careful, you just might."

"When you get there, give 'em this." He reached behind his ramshackle throne and hoisted a bulky burlap sack that smelled of salt and stale dough. "Think you can manage that, Eaton? Good. Lemme know how it goes."
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