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 Finding the Way

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Rends the Gar

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Posts : 350
Join date : 2013-08-29

PostSubject: Finding the Way   Fri 05 May 2017, 00:01

Rends had been putting a lot of thought over the last few weeks into what kind of Garou he was. Ever since that night in Galveston he'd questioned his every move, willingly holding himself back and letting others take the lead; submitting to Robert's will and working towards his end - even if the pack still did things their own way. But he'd come to a sobering realization over that time, and the weight of it sat heavy on his shoulders while he sat on the dark Umbral beech and listened to Zoe's supplications to the Spirit of Leadership he'd requested. The darkness ate at him, gnawing at his heart and whispering venom in his father's voice.

You aren't good enough. These people all depend on you and you're going to let them all down and kill them.

He knew it was true, deep down in his heart. Luna knew he'd almost gotten his pack killed time and again already, and now what he'd started in that dark alley threatened to grow into a full blown war against well prepared and ready Mages. Rends bowed his head down, closing his eyes and trying to focus on the task at hand and what he'd say to make this deal to create a Fetish from the hook and chain O'Toole had crafted for him.

Suddenly Zoe's chanting cut off and after a pause she muttered a curse. Rends felt a spike of alarm. Zoe never stopped a summoning like that. His eyes snapped open and found Zoe stooped in front of him franticlly rearranging a pile of focus items.

"Zoe, everything OK?"

"Uh, ya! Sure! Everything's fine! Spirit's on the way right now! It just, uh..."

She trailed off, then turned to face Rends. Her face was stricken.

"It may... not... exactly be the spirit you wanted though. I started the ritual, and before I could narrow the casting field something just sort of... kicked down the door..."

Rends felt another spike of alarm, but before he could do more than get to his feet a sudden gale screamed down from the north carrying the bite of frost and the sweet scent of mountain flowers and old iron. A horn sounded, high and piercing and a flock of seabird gafflings took wing, lending their screams of panic to the horn's cry. The wet sand at Rends' feet froze and cracked under his boots as he put his back to the sea and turned to face the furious wind only to be sent sprawling to the ground when a fist slammed into his jaw. The world spun around him even as he crashed to the ground and before he could catch his breath a heavy boot smashed out what little air he'd managed to get.

A deep voice boomed out a loud laugh, not mocking but full of life and confidence. Rends spat out a mouthful of blood and started pushing himself to his feet as the laugh turned into a voice. He still couldn't see straight, but Rends knew the voice was not addressing him.

"Be at peace, Godi! Long have I awaited this chance! I will taste the fire that drives this one, and then when we have measure of each other will we talk, but not befo-oof!"

He cut off when Rends slammed a shoulder into his chest, bearing them both to the ground with a yell of his own as he slammed his own fist into the man shaped spirit's crooked red nose. Spirit cartilage broke with a loud pop, and the two laid into each other with fists and curses and laughter in equal measure. All the while Zoe kneeled next to her summoning materials, watching slack jawed. She shook her head as the spirit rolled on top and slammed his forehead down into Rends' nose with a triumphant yell, which was cut off when Rends hooked his fingers in the spirit's nose and heaved him over with a laugh of his own before the two crashed into each other again like two great bears. Zoe shook her head and moved over to sit on a nearby boulder.

"I don't know what that spirit is, but he's gonna be right at home..."

The two of them brawled for a while, but neither could seem to get the upper hand or secure a debilitating hold, and eventually they separated. Standing with bloody fists raised, shirt torn and his nose broken, Rends the Gar finally took a moment to take in the spirit before him.

It had the shape of a man, tall as Rends and thick limbed with long curling black hair striped with gray and a thick braided black beard that fell down to his chest. Carved whale bones and pieces of antler with runes inscribed in them were tied in his hair and beard and they jangled as he chuckled. His large nose had the crooked look that told Rends it had been broken many times. A mass of puckered scar tissue covered the place where his right eye should have been. His left eye nestled in laugh lines studied Rends with an intensity that felt almost familiar. He wore a simple but well made wool shirt and pants, and had a white mountain goat's skin wrapped around his waist. At his belt hung a curling ram's horn and on his stuck in the middle of his beard was a single small white flower.

Breathing heavily, the two studied each other for a long moment as they slowly circled. Then just as he was about to spring forward again Rends saw something in that lone eye and he felt a joyous laugh bubble up. He let it out with a bark and a mad grin, both of which were mirrored by the spirit, then they stepped forward and embraced warmly. They slapped each other's backs hard, and all the fight left them in an instant.

"Well met, Rends the Gar! The favor of Great Fenris lay upon thee as a mantle! Deep is the sea thou hast made by spilling the heartsblood of thy foes, and Hell is filled with the screams and lamentations of those damned by thy own hand! Hail, Rends the Gar! Long may thou be the cause the Jormundr's dismay!"

Rends stared at him for a moment, dumbfounded. He snuck a quick look at Zoe but she just rolled her eyes and muttered something he didn't catch. Rends turned back to the spirit, smiling but at a loss.

"Uh, thanks...? I reckon you's the one who interrupted the - "

"Interrupted? Me? NEVER! Thy Godi called me forth, sure as the north wind! Long have I watched thee from the Halls, and now in thy need I answer!"

He slapped Rends' shoulder, then pushed past him back to the tree line where he retrieved a long gnarled walking stick that looked like it had been carved from bone. He then turned back to Rends and made to sit on the frost covered sand, waving for Rends to join him.

"Come, we are now rightly acquainted! Sit and make thy plea to join me! I have found thee worthy, and will hear thee out, but know that not for little do I leave the domain of Great Fenris, even for a short time!"

Bemused, Rends sat opposite the spirit.

"Uh, I appreciate it, I guess. But I don't even know yer name yet and I -"

The spirit sprang up to his feet, aghast.

"Heimskr's teeth! Canst thou not guess? Hast thou not heard the tales passed down?!"

Rends turns back to Zoe, lost. She just shook her head, choking down a laugh of her own.

"Don't look at me. I study spirits, not narcissism."

Rends and the spirit just stared at her blankly for a moment before she waved her hand dismissively.

"It means... oh never mind. He's obviously your ancestor spirit. I can tell that just looking at the two of you. I'd guess grandfather?"

The spirit barked out another loud laugh, turning back to Rends. He spread his arms wide, smiling with a feral joy.

"Near the truth her dart lands, yet not truth entire is caught! Hark! Behold the favored son of Fenris Hr├│├░vitnir! I lead the Berg Sklaverei to much glory, and all honor! I am he who bathes in blood of witches on moonlit nights, my voice scatters their Covens! I am he who broke open the Schloss des Verfalls and slew the King Under Night! I throated the lowly Fianna and held the Giant's Pass against the Silver Hate! I am mightiest of the Mighty, Lord of the Brocken-Mountain-Bloodied-Fist and High Jarl of the Get of Fenris! I am Sigivald Iron-Teeth, and from my line sprang Aleit Kraken-Jaws who was father to Helen of Harz, thy own mother!"

The two prodigals exchanged a look.

"Yup. He's definitely your kin."

Rends shook his head, coming back up to his feet.

"Wait, so you's my ancestor? My kin? But Ma never told me her daddy was a Jarl!"

Sigivald nodded gravely, voice dropping some as the fire in his eyes turned dour.

"And rightly did she hold her tongue. Far has our line fallen since the days of old glory, and shame now lives where glory should dwell. Long have the years run, and ever the old bloodlines are watered down and much did we lose. Nay, all was on the brink thanks to the heedless wrath of the last Jarl of my line. Strong was his hunger for war. This is good, but misdirected was his hate."

He shook his head, resting a hand on Rends' shoulder.

"I could but watch from the halls of our fathers as he brought the old Holdings to the brink of war against the Nation entire. Rightly did Roaring Jack lay him low, and honoring the old ways he took the defenseless kin of my now vanished house into his own. When he sailed across the sea to the New World he took fair Helen with him and his house."

His grip tightens.

"Long and perilous was the journey, yet at last they did set foot on this new land. But woe was before them as well as behind. Fell spirits descended upon them, and many Kin and Garou alike were slain in that first of our wars on this shore. Then in the darkest hour, when all hope was lost there arrived a lone warrior with no Tribe nor even pack who with fist and fang and terrible magics drove our enemies into the sea. In gratitude, Roaring Jack gave to him the hand of fair Helen and welcomed Tames the Weaver into the Get of Fenris."

Rends could only stare and listen, rapt. Sigivald shook his head teeth clenching.

"I could but tear my beard in death. How low had my line fallen to sell off our last daughter to a bastard Tetrasomnian! How could we lose our way so quickly, and how could the Get fail to follow us in our disgrace, we who had been the Jarls of old, highest in Glory and paragons of Garou!"

Rends nodded his head.

"I seen it too! We's better than we are, but it seems like the whole Nation has lost they way. That's why we were calling a leadership spirit tonight."

Sigivald smiled then, some of the joyful spark returning to his eye.

"This I know, son of mine. For this reason I have come to thee. My heart sings in joy to see the old strength rising up again, for it will surely be needed in the days ahead. Long have I watched thy struggles, not least of which are thy struggles in thy own heart. I see in thy eyes the same war inside that I fought in my youth, and I see in thee strength enough to master thyself and bring that mastery forth to the world."

He holds up a finger, cautioning.

"But know this, son of my line. This war thou art fighting will never end as long as thou draws breath. It is a thing of the old blood - Luna's Rage burns ever hot within thee, and ever it will endeavor to overthrow thee. Do not give in! Only by mastering thyself canst thou bring mastery to thy Hold. This is the first advice I offer thee.

Rends nodded after a moment, grasping the ancestor's shoulder.

"Thy second advice is this: we Get of Great Fenris win glory on the battlefield, and ever are we called to war in service to the All-Mother. But the place of a Jarl is to tend his people in all things. While he leads, a Jarl must be as a servant; ever beholden to those who are under him. For leadership and Rank are not things of title or to be taken ever. Rather they are a gift from those who you command. A Jarl may say 'do this!' but if he does not have the respect of they who follow him, they will look to another when the enemy comes howling at the gate, and in this division all will fall. This is where I can aide thee. For twenty three years did I sit as High Jarl, through many trials I led our people and ever came out the stronger, but leadership in a Great Moot is... different from leadership in war. You must be quiet yet commanding. Listen, yet let thy words always be heard. Do not ask, command. Be thyself the Garou thou wishest to see in the world. Is this thy desire?"

Rends looked at him for a long moment, then nodded his head once. A wide grin split the face of the Jarl.

"Good! Then it is agreed! Call upon me when thou hast need, and I will help thee navigate the ways of court as a Get of old, and together we will have those who now whisper jives behind thy back will hang upon thy every word and we shall have thy foes quaking at the very mention of thy name!"

He paused as he turned away, reconsidering.

"Well, quaking more than they already do. Well has thou mastered the arts of war, but with my aide thou wilt soon truly command the respect of thy peers, one and all!"

He turned, then blew a final blast on the horn. The chill north wind rose up again, and in a flurry of frost and dead leaves his form vanished and merged into the iridescent chain laying on the beech.

Rends picked up and patted the chain, hand shaking just a bit as he slung it over his shoulder and across his chest, looping it several times.

I won't let the Get fall. War with the Mages is the wrong path. I'll make Robert see that, and keep us focused on the Enemy, even if I have to do it from the shadows...

He looked out over the sea, lost in thought.
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