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 A change of pace

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Zas B'ul

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PostSubject: A change of pace   Mon 27 Feb 2017, 00:33

Zas had been spending his evenings on the packs travel mostly by himself. Partly due to the fact that given what the pack had just survived had left him feeling the need to be alone for a bit, but also because he had a new trial set before him. The painstaking time and detail he needed to spend in the arduous task of creating another fetish was not something to be taken lightly. Every etching, paintbrush stroke, breath, and even technical adjustment he made to most effectively ready his item for a spirits blessing and agreement to become housed within-had been and would continue to be performed with the utmost care and diligence.

Tonight however, he elected to set his craft aside. Not because it wasn't important but rather that he no longer felt that his mind could completely focus as he was beginning to feel the strain of his work catching up to him.

He instead spent the majority of the early portion of the evening simply talking and spending time with his packmates. Sitting around the warmth of the campfire and just "shootin' the breeze" as Rends called it was a needed and welcomed reprieve. Everyone seemed to be in good spirits, and the merriment and laughter shared would have possibly even made the Fianna back at the home caern jealous.

The Apache warrior soaked in the moment. It was peaceful being out on the road. No one dwelled on the obstacles that lay ahead-they just found refuge in one another. The Shadowlord alpha mused on the pack's recent successes and reviewed how we could further seek to improve, until the Fenrir ahroun started tossing out jokes about the enemies that had fallen at the packs claws which the Ragabash felt compelled to further enhance. The pack Galliard laughed until his sides ached before also joining in on the fun by recalling more than a few tales where Garou victories had been accomplished in the most comical way possible; granted most of the stories were of the pack which in turn led to further laughter. Most of this appeared to go unheeded initially by the Iron Rider who set back and just shook her head. However, when the conversation inevitably turned to boasting about who had done what, she found herself drawn in to the fray-primarily to ensure the details of her resourcefulness and skills and everything else was being fully "appreciated." The Philodox for his part, offered a few jokes of his own; but no one laughed. It was truly a pleasant evening.

As the fire died down however, Zas watched as the pack theurge set off to spend time among the spirits. He followed after her and caught up to her. When the Silent Strider informed the Iron Rider of his need for a couple of spirits, the theurge was at first somewhat disgruntled as she had not intended to spend the evening making appeals to the spirits, but when she discovered that her philodox was asking her to summon new spirits that she had never tried before, her attitude quickly changed as did her level of curiosity as to what would happen next. She wasted little time and before long her first call for a snake spirit had been sent.
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PostSubject: Re: A change of pace   Mon 27 Feb 2017, 12:55

The moonlight danced across the penumbral prairie, Luna's beams playing on waves of long grass that shook and pulsed in time with the wind... yet there was one place where the light did not land- a sinkhole or burrow a stone's throw from where the Theurge crouched, calling to the spirits in First Tongue.

Zas B'ul approached the small unlit crevasse, only to see a dark shape uncoil and slither up and out. The Philodox steeled himself for a confrontation- the thing was a man that crawled effortlessly on his stomach, his back covered in iridescent scaled patterns. Zas could not make them all out, but the rising moon showed him a few he recognized, symbols of wisdom, honor, of old alliances of blood with the Garou of the Pure.

The man raised himself up a few paces from Zas. He appeared native-born, his skin both aged and timeless, a face like dried Manzanita bark. His clothing was a robe of stained red and white, which looked grey and silver beneath the moon. His headdress was an eagle, mummified and empty-eyed, its nearly skeletal wings swept back and down towards the earth. His arms and loins were hidden by strips of scaled leather, the stolen skins of desert vipers. He swayed gently, not quite from the waist, not quite from the ankles, regarding Zas without emotion.

"Greetings, tohopka. Why have you called me forth from my kiva to this unhappy land?"


His words were strange, a mingling of native tongue and the language of the spirits as syllables interwove with the nearly-silent sound of scales sliding across scales.
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Zas B'ul

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PostSubject: Re: A change of pace   Mon 27 Feb 2017, 13:43

The philodox still kept up his guard but took a knee carefully watching the creature before him. Though he found the spirit's words strange they also for some unknown reason seemed to feel reminiscent of something. This unusual feeling did little to set the Silent Strider at ease.

He turned to address the spirit and began, "I would not dare to request your presence here without just cause Great spirit. The time has come for I-Zas B'ul to learn from your ways."

Zas slowly gestured to the patterns on the Spirit and continued, "You bear some of the markings of my kind-symbols not lightly bestowed. Your willingness to come to my call will not go unrewarded, nor will your name be forgotten should you choose to share it."

Zas cautiously slid forwards, closer to the strange figure as he spoke, "I wish to learn two blessings from you-the first is that of the weak arm. I must serve the mother by striking at her foes where it will hurt the most...and when it will hurt the most."

He paused, "I also seek to ensure our dealings remain fair. My pack has accomplished much based solely on relying the words of honor. My mentor has cautioned me however that in these troubled dark days, that there are few who still keep their word-especially among the Wyrmbringers. For this purpose I seek to learn how to curse those who would betray and break their words."

He adds, "I am called to be a lawgiver. The law is meaningless if it may be broken without consequence."
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PostSubject: Re: A change of pace   Tue 28 Feb 2017, 20:15

The humanoid spirit stopped swaying and stood stock still, as if paralyzed, his unblinking gaze staring past and through Zas.

"Though the path before you is not clear, your mind and heart are united as one. I will do what you ask. Speak the most important law to a bird of prey flying at noon. Hunt down the bird's nest. You will find three eggs, if your path is true. Feed the eggs to three different serpents while telling them secrets all your own. Then I will grant you what you seek. But know that if you dishonor the Pure, my judgement upon you will be swift."

The ophidian spirit raised up a hand, snakes' rattles clinking softly together as a ebon-scaled serpent coiled around his outstretched arm. The creature lunged faster than the eye could follow, its fangs (or was it the spirit's clawed fingertips?) stinging sharply against his forehead. The Philodox' face twitched as his hardy body fought off the sudden dose of venom, but the Silent Strider was granted instinctive knowledge by Makya Eagle-Hunter, snake priest of the Hopi and Ancestor of the Pure. Now all he needed to make that knowledge complete was to find an eagle and its eggs...
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Zas B'ul

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PostSubject: Re: A change of pace   Fri 03 Mar 2017, 01:02

The Silent Strider, true to his word, gifted gnosis to the figure before it departed, leaving the philodox with quite the quandary and drowning in issues and questions to mull over. What portion of the litany do I find the most important? What secrets do I have that would be acceptable? How would any of this dishonor the Pure...or is the spirit meaning going forwards Shaking his head, Zas nodded appreciatively at his Theurge before heading back to the campsite. He needed to sleep on it before he came to any hastily drawn conclusions.

Thankfully, finding rest was not overly difficult and the Apache was able to begin the following day early watching as the Sun rose ever higher into the sky. His routine morning duties allowed him plenty of time to mentally chew on all that was required, but still found that he had no real clear solution or answer for some of the questions. Never the less, time waits for no wolf and the pack after setting out made good time crossing the open countryside. As the pack journeyed, he kept his eyes peeled and watchful to the sky for any sign or indication of an eagle activity. There was simply not an easy way to track a bird. As the others set about to try and find a good rest spot for a while, the Philodox set off on his own.

Fortunately the Philodox was able to locate an eagle as it gave out it piercing shriek before taking flight. Zas wasn't able to pinpoint where it initially took off from but it stood to reason that a large bird would want to have more wind to help take off, so keeping this in mind Zas began looking at all the surrounding taller cliff faces the pack passed through. The Philodox also paid attention to the time waiting for his moment when the Eagle would be near and able enough to hear him.

He did not need wait long as the large Golden eagle made its way over the Philodox's path soon, as the time drew close to midday. Having reviewed his options carefully, the Silent Strider gazed upwards and when the sun had reached its intended point, he found his footing and called aloud to the Eagle. "I will tell you the highest law." No sooner had he spoke the words than did the bird swing back around and find a perch high up on the top limb of a nearby deadwood tree.

Zas continued, "The litany has many laws-all of which must be kept, but the most important law of all is to keep the sacred places sacred." The Eagle seemed to preen itself for a moment, but did not move, thus Zas continued. "We are charged as being the defenders of Gaia. This task is at the very core of everything it means to be Garou. All the Litany can be tied into this single law. We fight do not mate with other garou when gathered as we defile the holy place. We combat the wyrm and lash out against its forces when they draw near. Each tribe has territory in which to hunt in order to keep the prey from being overeaten, every sacred place likewise must be guarded. We accept honorable surrenders, for wasting precious garou blood is not our intended calling-the caern must have defenders. We submit to authority for those who have proven able guardians and stewards of the land must be learned from if the sacred places are to remain cleansed. All are of Gaia and every garou is needed from the newborn pup to the eldest alphas to protect the holy places. We do not eat humans for we are part of them-eating part of our soul defiles who we are; and if those entrusted to defend the holy places are foul-the caern has become defiled. We protect the veil as it helps protect the holy places from being overtaken. The old guardians who can no longer defend the sacred places must serve the mother in other ways. The one in charge of defending the sacred places should be the most fit, the most worthy, for the duties required. However, those who would hurt the mother by defiling the sacred places do not wait for the defenders to be ready-thus when in war those in charge remain in charge as they have proven able to defend the sacred places."

Zas takes a breath, "I am a Silent Strider. We have little to no Sacred places of our own left to defend. I know what it means to not have a holy place to seek refuge and restoration in. I know the cost better than most. We must obey the litany for failing to do so will result in our doom and the death of Gaia."

He pauses, looks at his feet and then back to the eagle, "I also seek to remember the Croatan. Their sacrifice will not be in vain. They were of the earth. They understood the importance of defending the sacred places and all died ensuring that their holy places would be left un-defiled and out of the reach of the wyrm. It is because of all this, that I can rest assured in knowing that the most important law of the litany is to keep the sacred holy places sacred."
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PostSubject: Re: A change of pace   Sat 04 Mar 2017, 03:58

The Philodox, having concluded his impromptu speech and justification quietly waited to see what would happen next.

The large, burnt-umber, feathered, Accipitrid was motionless save for the occasional eye blink for the longest of moments. To the Silent Strider it almost appeared as if the bird were contemplating and weighing his answer.

Before long the Apache began to wonder if he had somehow failed in his task and silently cursed. All doubts were erased however almost as quickly as they had formed as the hulking bird of prey subtly twitched its tail, hunched forwards, while raising its shoulders and unfurling the silent dark soft shaded feather cloak hanging loosely on its sides and pushed off from the perch gliding into the afternoon breeze, releasing a near ear shattering cry as the dreaded acuminate swords below the base of the beasts form curled into tightly packed fists of barely controlled fury.

The garou watching the display simpered, for he now knew his words had not been found wanting.  

He then turned to survey where he had first caught his glimpse of the grand raptor and set out to begin the second portion of his trials. He came upon before long a vertical rock exposure that jutted out from the surrounding plateau. It was here; towering far and above the dry prarie floor in an open aired crag that Zas located the nest just slightly protruding over the edge of the sheer rock face. Taking in his surroundings the Garou plotted how best to reach the eagles home. As he did this, the strange mingling of native tongue and the language of the spirits interwoven with the nearly-silent sound of scales sliding across scales filled his mind, "You have claimed that hunters must not over-hunt prey; this task must be done separately for each egg to allow time for the cycle of birth to begin anew."

With a grunt of acknowledgement and a quick prayer calling upon the spirits to empower him, the lawgiver leapt from his position and swooped upwards to the open unguarded nest in an instant to claim one of his prizes. He landed firmly and grabbed the first of the three eggs and then dropped down to the floor again. The Apache took a moment to gaze at the egg. One secret per egg. This will be easy.

The Philodox set out to scour the area to deliver his "packages". After a short time of searching, the garou met with black and brown patched rattler snake that easily slithered forwards to meet Zas and accept his offerings. As the garou leaned forwards to feed the egg he whispered to the snake. The creature eagerly devours the egg, but Zas watches in amazement as the snake swallows the egg, the mass of the egg vanishes rather than staying visible beneath the snakes skin. As he watched this unfold, the snake moved closer to him and coiled near the base of his leg and let out a low rattle with it's tail before like lightning striking and biting the Philodox leg. As the snake releases its venom and slithers away, Zas feels the knowledge of his gifts from the spirit begin to be accessible to him.

The garou shrugged off the poison from the animal and returned to the base of the eagles nest. As he readied himself and again called out a prayer asking for the spirits blessing like before, the philodox noticed something. He could not access his gift-he could not make his great leap. Then another more terrifying sense of alarm settled in as he tried-he could not access any gift. He still knew the knowledge the spirits had imparted on him, but try as hard as he might he simply could not will himself to use any of them. As the realization hit him, the familiar voice returned, "You claim all Tohopka are needed, even pups...complete this task without the aid of the spirits, be as a pup."

The Silent Strider still dazed by the change of events again grunted in understanding and proceeded to reassess the situation. He now had to complete his task without his gifts. He was numb and powerless. How can I get that egg now? His eyes focused after scanning the area and resting on the outcropping itself. I can climb it

The Apache set to his arduous task with haste and began to make his ascent using the rough edges of the cliff face to find handholds and grips. The going was slow, but eventually he neared the nest again and grasped his second prize. The hard part then came as he had to balance himself while holding the egg and returning to the ground. Upon reaching the base of the cliff, he set out once more to locate his second reptile. Without much effort he located the light reddish-brown hue of a copperhead snake coming into view. He dropped to his knees and delivered his prize and uttered his private words in whisper. Upon swallowing the egg, the scaled copper hued beast lunged forwards and pierced the skin of the Apache again delivering its own dose of venom which he again shrugged off with no ill effect. The creature then vanished back to the scrub as the Silent Strider once more ventured back to the base of his cliff.

Zas scanned the cliff again, trying to see if there were any other possible way he could more rapidly accomplish his goal without using his other gifts. Much to his dismay however, his vision began to grow cloudy before eventually fading to empty blackness. He was completely blind. At this point, Makya Eagle-Hunter's words filled his head, "You have been a pup. You have made this journey several times-now you must do as you claim; as an old guardian serves the mother in another way-do this task now." The voice then faded away leaving the defenseless Apache to his own devices.

Zas mind churned through various possibilities-each steadily worse than the previous. He again tried using his gifts to no avail, he tried feeling his way around attempting to find a handhold with no success. Eventually he reached the conclusion that he physically could not climb the cliff in his current state. There's no guarantee that if I fail to accomplish this test that i will get anything back. I cannot fail, but there's just no way to do this.

It was then that from the dark recesses of his mind a thought occurred-or rather a memory was relived, "Malchizedek continued: I do not agree that you are as removed from the spirits as you think- remember that you yourself are a creature not only of flesh, but of the aether. Every child of Owl is a nexus of potent spiritual energy."

As the memory came to a close, the philodox developed a plan-it was dangerous, foolhardy, and some might say suicidal, but it was his chosen path. With a bit of concentrated effort and strength of will, the garou forces himself to reach across the barrier between worlds and steps into the umbra. He blindly walks forwards, oblivious to any creatures or spirits likely lurking nearby. The umbral winds are strong through the area and the Silent Strider's steps are difficult but possible. He walks forwards until he reaches out and touches the umbral cliff face whereupon he feels a strong but unexplained burst of wind come strangely barreling from beneath him and it sends him sprawling skyward. The wind stops just as soon as it started but as the Philodox reaches forwards again he is buffeted through the umbral air expecting to collide into rock or something worse. Hoping to catch and protect  himself the Silent Strider guards his head but instead of feeling pain he feels nothing. His feet touch down as he braces for the worst.

When after a long moment there is still no sudden pain or change in his status and the wind settles, the Silent Strider concentrates and reaches back into the physical world. As he crosses the barrier he at once feels the power of the spirits fully accessible to him and his vision slowly begins to return. He is able to vaguely make out that he appears to be standing in the eagle's nest. He collects his final prized egg and makes ready to leap down once more when he hears a loud screeching cry followed by a clicking sound from right behind him. The Apache quickly drops to his knees narrowly missing the razor sharp talons of the creature as they scrape just over him. The garou rolls forwards and leaps out of the crag and dives down the cliff side still cradling his prize.

The Silent Strider makes his way to the final serpent. He does not search long as the coiled mass of muddy brown and black scales lays gathered in the middle of the path with its jaw open wide. The Cotton mouth readily accepts the egg and the offered secret. The snake then turns it's head and snaps its mouth closed driving its fanged teeth deep into the philodox's hand. The snake then releases Zas and scurries away.

The Apache for his his part is immediately able to see and fully understand and grasp the promised gifts granted by Makya Eagle-Hunter. As Zas vision fully returns, he makes his way to rejoin his pack.
As he walks he hears the spirit's voice once more, "You have claimed that the one in charge of protecting the holy places should be the most fit, the most worthy. You have proven worthy and most fit for my blessings. Remember this lesson and remember your oath...and remember mine."

And the voice faded away.
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