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 Help from Beyond

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Rends the Gar

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PostSubject: Help from Beyond   Tue 12 Sep 2017, 14:45

Night lay heavy and still on the lonely road leading to the old fort. It had been a long, hard couple of days and the haunting cry of a hunting owl seemed to hang in the air a moment longer than it should have. Crickets sang their empty song, and two tall warriors marched to meet with the dead.

Rends was tired. He'd been pushing himself hard these last two days, going all out in an effort to inspire their allies to greatness in battle. While he'd never voice a complaint, he'd have been glad for more than the scant hours rest he'd allowed himself. But when they got back to the Forked Ash and saw how scant their intelligence on their next target was he knew their King needed more for these raids to be a real success, and he'd never been one to lay on his ass when there was work to be done.

He could see the Alamo just ahead, dimly lit by the stars since Luna had hidden her face behind the clouds tonight. He turned to Zas with a sigh.

"I ain't sure what to expect here. Seems every time you and I go off to meet with the dead they's some sort of scuffle, and we end up makin' a new enemy. But you said they was a ghost here who may be helpful?"
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Zas B'ul

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PostSubject: Re: Help from Beyond   Wed 13 Sep 2017, 01:38

The Silent Strider still reflecting on recent events turned to face the ahroun and recalled the last time he had been to the old fort.
"Yes...he seemed helpful. Shot a round into the wraiths that seemed bent on tearing me apart for looking in on them. Claimed his name was Crockett."

The Apache considered for a moment, "What are you hoping to get from this? I mean, assuming we don't end up with a new vengeful ghost out after us, what would you like to get from this? The fort in the hunting grounds still seemed ready for war. Are you thinking that vampire lied to us about what's really going on here?"

Zas nodded. "There's no sept further south and closer to Mexico than the Forked Ash. Unless there are more Uktena wandering around than I was aware of, I highly doubt that there is any garou force strong enough to wipe out whole groups of vampires without the caern being aware of it. That part of the vampires story did not mesh well."

Dead hands listened to the crickets and gazed up at the moon before speaking as much to himself as to Rends, "Something is coming. Malchizadek doesn't know what it is, vampires claim not to know. We don't know anything for sure....learning some more about what the world of the dead knows would be nice. You hoping the ghost who helped out before, may know something?"
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PostSubject: Re: Help from Beyond   Wed 13 Sep 2017, 20:33

Rends heaves a sigh and shakes his head.

"I don't know what I hope to get from all this. Reallly we jest don't have enough information to work with. Rawest Wind's records showed that Texan forces passed through the area durring the war. Maybe Crocket will at least be able to let us know the layout of the town or if they's any tactical strike points. All I know is going to a fight and not knowing everything you can is fighting to lose, and that ain't in me."

He's silent for a moment.

"I think by now everyone with their heads not up they asses knows somethin's comin'. Nobody seems to have much of an idea what it is though. I reckon it's likely the ghosts seen somethin'. Probably not anything useful by its self, but maybe combined with what we already know it'll be enough to tell us somethin' worth while. Even if it's jest a mess of leeches headed this way, if we can destroy this first wave fast and hard enough it may be enough to send the rest back where they came from or set their attention somewhere else..."

He looks off to the South, eyes distant.

"I jest hope we're as ready to deal with it there..."
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Zas B'ul

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PostSubject: Re: Help from Beyond   Wed 13 Sep 2017, 23:47

The philodox listened closely as his pack mate explained his purpose in seeking out the meeting, acknowledging his final sentiment with an affirmative grunt.

"I don't know what lies ahead...other than bloodshed, pain, and death. Anticipating the enemy's movements is almost as challenging as trying to predict a plan for our own pack's path. But I do see and understand your desire for wanting some more information to make a better strategy..." The apache's voice drops off, almost as if he were considering adding something but was reluctant to say it.

After a long moment, he resolves himself and turns to face the Fenrir, "Rends--, I understand your desire for needing answers, but looking for hope in the lands of the dead is a fool's errand, trust me; Our pack has pulled through some fairly serious situations before, but I have never seen you truly desperate."

He gives a look of concern. "The acts of desperate men are downright dangerous and seldom lead to good ends. After your last interaction with Hanging Maw and our meeting with the Hierachy, I pretty much figured you had all but ceased giving any cares about the dark umbra or its citizens and what they had to say. You made it pretty clear that dealing with ghosts was-to put it mildly, a bad idea."

He sighs, "I guess I am just trying to figure out why exactly it is that you're willing to deal with them now. Is it because you think there's no other way to get information? Are you just desperately grasping for anything that may help you in a fight? I mean, maybe I am just still sore over getting used by Hanging Maw, but even I am leery about treading on this path...and your seeming to have had a change of heart is troubling me."

The Silent Strider shakes his head, "What has changed?"
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PostSubject: Re: Help from Beyond   Thu 14 Sep 2017, 10:52

Rends is silent for a long, long time. It almost seems as if he intends to ignore the Philodox's question. Then he heaves another sigh and turns to his companion.

"I don't know that this is a good idea. He'll, my gut tells me to jest take the warpack to the Alamo once Wes done with the leeches and clear the place out too. Every time we've worked with ghosts I've come to regret it, and I expect this to be the same. Still, I have to try."

He jerks a thumb back down the road, homeward.

"My family is back there. My wife and son, and one more in the way. They's the reason I do this. I've never had my family in the line of fire before, but if we fail here the Wolf's Tail is right in the way to the city. It'll get hit hard for sure."

Zas can see the Rage burning in the Ahrouns eyes. His words drop with conviction as Rends bites them out.

"I. Will. NOT. Fail. I will not put my family in danger. I don't care if I have to deal with the damned. I don't care if I have to burn all the Republic around me and scratch the stars from the sky with my own hands. Silke and Jack and all my family will be kept safe from this and I'll pay whatever price is required."
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PostSubject: Re: Help from Beyond   Thu 14 Sep 2017, 13:43

Zas initially said nothing, but the longer Rends went without speaking, the more impatient the philodox was starting to get. He was just about to say something when the ahroun started to respond so he clamped his mouth shut.

When he finished speaking, the Apache warrior bit his lip before replying. He reflected on this for a long minute before continuing, "Rends, what would happen if you do fail or falter, even just a little? What would happen if you weren't able to keep your family safe? Are you worried that your children or wife would resent you like you did your own father? Are you worried about falling into harano if you lost them? ...or are you just simply for the first moment in your life well and truly scared? Not for yourself, but for your family's sake."

Zas gives a sigh, "Look Sylvester, you got a lot going for you and you have a lot riding on all this working out...I get it." He says as he waves his hands all around to indicate the city and the caern. "You know who you are. You know why you fight..."

He pauses, "But you gotta realize that your family is not a pile of defenseless things. You cant just stash 'em away until you are ready for them. They may not be fighting in the battles with you, but they do still fight. Silke isn't just a trophy you dust off when you come into town. She's a mother. A friend. She keeps things running while you are gone. Her and the kid still face sickness, droughts, floods, natural disasters. And being kin to us, they also gotta deal with our tempers and egos when we come home. You can't stop them from experiencing life or death. The good and the bad comes in a package. I mean sure it sounds great being able to say we are fighting on the front lines to keep all the bad things at bay-which for the most part we do, but that doesn't mean stuff still won't happen. Us coming home from the front lines doesn't mean we aren't still on a battlefield, we just aren't in active combat."

He looks up at the Alamo and points, "That building is the perfect example. The men who fought here died in a battle, but where was the fight? Right here...at home. There were women and children in the hall bandaging the wounded, loading weapons while the cannons roared and their husbands and fathers clashed blades and fired shot to keep them safe. What I am trying to say is...you can't look at Silke and Jack as innocent weak people unable to defend themselves. They are warriors. Your home is not a safe zone. It is not a building. It may seem like it, but this is a false hope. Your home is the field of battle. We are the primary force, they are auxiliary troops. Think back to the attack on the white ash sept-did the kinfolk there wander about listless in the heat of combat? No, they banded together to repel the enemy, arming themselves with anything and everything they had...and they weren't even fenrir kin."

He holds up a hand, "I am not saying we shouldn't go talk to Crockett. By all means-we have had worse ideas. I just don't want you to go into this with a sense of desperation. Desperation is for the weak who have nothing left. We are garou, and they are our kin. We have each other, even in death. The wolf blood runs through all our veins. Living life means fighting for survival. This is the way of things."
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PostSubject: Re: Help from Beyond   Sat 16 Sep 2017, 10:01

Rends shakes his head, a wry smile curling his lips.

"I think if I told Silke she was some sort of porcelain doll and couldn't fight she'd box my ears 'till I saw reason. I know she's a fighter. I wouldn't have married her if she wasn't. But a Kin's fight is different from ours. They ain't equipped to fight Banes and defend Caerns. They can in a pinch, but by Gaia's grace that ain't their place. It's ours."

He turns to regard Zas again.

"You remember the raid on Houston. We had a few hangups, but overall everything went better than we could have expected and it was shaping up to be a huge win for the Nation. Then the shit hit the fan and the Caern came under attack. We nearly lost everything, and the only reason we didn't is because of the Silver Fang kin who held the line until we got there. When I say I don't want my family to be on the front lines, it ain't because I don't think they can hold or I want them to be sheltered from all the nasty. When the Kin are forced to fight our war with guns and knives, it's because the Garou have already failed in some way. I don't know how it is with Silver Fangs and their Kin, but my family deserves better from me."

A humorous glint gleams in his eye.

"Besides, I ain't desperate yet. My kid brother Travis always wanted to meet Davy Crocket. He was always pretendin' to be him when we was out pretend shootin' at Daniel while he was doin' all our chores. And Travis was always a good judge of character."
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PostSubject: Re: Help from Beyond   Sat 16 Sep 2017, 13:16

Zas looks intently at the ground as Rends replies, as his focus was on trying to simply listen, instead of trying to plan out his response. He nodded as Rends explained his understanding of what it means for kin to be involved in combat.

When the ahroun grew quiet Zas looked back up to him and said, "You think that when Kinfolk are fighting our foes, we have failed. Thats interesting."

Zas gives a grim look to the Fenrir, "Look don't get me wrong, in the middle of a scrap with some twisted mockery I would definitely prefer to have a garou in war form at my right and left instead of kin...but unfortunately more often than not we don't have our fights in ideal situations. Not one soul in the caern wants things to get as far south as Houston-thats why we are wiping the vampire cities off the map. But-if some scum of the wyrm does manage to hit a bit closer to home than we'd like, it does not mean we failed, it just means the wyrm was stupid enough to dare pissing off Silke, Harriet and Jana."

He gives a sigh, "You can't be with your Kin at all times. You can't fight every monster. But you can fight the worst of them. And honestly, thats the best we can hope for."

Zas then considers the comment about Crockett. "So this person is famous?"
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PostSubject: Re: Help from Beyond   Wed 20 Sep 2017, 17:42

The two Garou wound through the moon dust streets of San Antonio, headed for the Alamo mission house. They found the forlorn square, hedged with abandoned inns, shops and homes, much like before. Rows of broken windows stood alongside empty doorways, all crowned with sagging roofs.

It was unseasonably chill, and an alien wind swept up from the south like ghostly fingers playing with the Garou's hair.

The shadows lengthened. A distant gunfight broke out somewhere behind them, toward the center of the city- likely a drunken brawl turned shootout. The echoes of the sporadic shots came back from the cracked walls of the Alamo like muffled cannon fire.

A lone figure, armed with a stocky rifle, stood on the wall of the decaying fort. As the two werewolves approached, the man vanished, smoke on the southern winds.

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PostSubject: Re: Help from Beyond   Wed 20 Sep 2017, 18:22

The apache brave, already beginning to feel the hair stand at attention on the back of his neck, slid his hand down to his tomahawk handle as much a reflex as it was to soothe his nerves; the empty feeling of the decayed portion of the town added to his memories of the last run in with the ghosts and the distant shots ringing in the night did little to put him at ease.

The Silent Strider motioned for his packmate to hold his position as the philodox closely peered into the night, his eyes sharp as a hawk. He stoops down and takes a minute to carefully mark a strange glyph into the loose soil and upon completion utters a silent prayer for the spirits to power his handiwork.

After a tense moment, the painted warrior called aloud into the night wind, his voice carrying a bit of commanding tone, "We seek an audience with the King of the undead frontier--whether we can speak on peaceful terms...or not, is up to you. We aren't looking to fight tonight, but we will if nudged. You offered assistance when last we encountered each other-I hope that was not a one time occurrence."
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PostSubject: Re: Help from Beyond   Wed 20 Sep 2017, 18:34

Rends peered into the night, shifting his weight unconsciously to the balls of his feet as his hand drifted towards Ribcage. Through the shifting fog he could just scry the scarred fortress, and for just a moment he thought he could see the shape of a man regarding them from behind crumbling stone. Then it was gone, and the empty night echoed Zas' words hollowly.

After a tense silent moment Rends grew impatient and barked out into the night.

"Davy Crocket! I've heard tales of you and yer good death! I ain't got no problem with you, all we want is to talk about puttin' a stop to invaders from the South. I figured we'd talk to the expert, so here we are. Come out, or let us come in so we can help each other. It ain't no coincidense yer fort is coming under new attack jest as our stronghold is threatened."
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PostSubject: Re: Help from Beyond   Thu 21 Sep 2017, 01:09

A man with weather beaten features stood before the Garou. He had a strong nose, above which sat deep, large eyes of indeterminate color. On his head was a short polecat cap and his dark shirt was stained black in several places. When the wind tugged at his buffalo hide cloak, a series small, clean holes could be seen, revealing a constellation of violence.

In one hand he held a stocky, powerful Hawken rifle, the butt of which had been replaced with a length of femur bone. The other rested on a plain, albeit large, tarnished belt buckle. The dead man did not seem to have any feet, or if he did, they were completely hidden amid the creeping edges of his cloak.

Crockett studied the two werewolves, before offering his free hand to both. His grip was firm but waxy, and far too cold.

"I know words of friendship and alliance make for great treaties and long-winded speeches, and I am not one to admire either...

The wraith did not smile, but an element of Tennessee warmth crept into his voice that was somewhat at odds with his grim countenance.

"I mean no harm to any who shoot straight and speak plainly. Red, white, Mexican or whatever manner of being you folks are. Makes no difference to me. What do you want with an old soldier, precisely? I can offer aid by way of my rifle, but my place is here, at the wall."

The wind gusted again, and somewhere close at hand a broken shutter beat out an arrhythmic tune.
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PostSubject: Re: Help from Beyond   Thu 21 Sep 2017, 13:32

Zas took a long breath as he took in the features of the wraith before him, contemplating the decision to work with another ghost or not. He had nearly considered not shaking the ghostly hand before him, but for a fraction of a second thought he saw something in the dead mans eyes...or maybe it was the hint of warmth in the mans voice; whatever it was, was enough to warrant a handshake.

Taking the proffered handshake, Zas nods once in recognition of the mans words and starts to reply in traditional formal fashion, "We are men of--"

Zas stops for a moment and then says, "Oh what the hell, we are Werewolves." As he places his other hand, in the process of shifting into a wolf paw, on the ghost's shoulder. He removes it once it's clear he's proven his point and releases the handshake.

"We are trying to keep the republic of Texas safe from lots of bad monsters and other things that go bump in the night that seem determined on destroying or corrupting our home."

The philodox considers for a moment, looking to Rends before continuing, "As for what we want...tonight anyway, we are on the hunt for some information, specifically on what exactly is going on here at this fort in the lands of the dead and anything you might know about the land, people, or creatures south of here-"

"...and if you have come across any others like our kind sniffing around the city" The Apache adds as an afterthought.
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PostSubject: Re: Help from Beyond   Thu 21 Sep 2017, 18:25

Rends trades grips with the spirit, surprised by the firmness of the man's grip even in death.

"More to the point, we's headed to a little town to the south of here called Los Als. We know some of the Rebel forces passed through it in your war, and I was hopin' you may be able to tell us somethin' about the lay of the land."

He hesitates for a moment, then gives a small shrug.

"And I was wonderin' if maybe you fought any Vampires in your war. I heard stories of how your last battle played out and the crimes the Mexicans committed, and it seems like the kind of thing a bunch of blood crazy puppets would do with a leech at their head. I think what we have now may be a second wave, but this time they's attackin' from both sides so to speak. On that subject, I don't guess you can say what you's fightin' in there? May be that once we're done with the leeches we'll feel the need to do some more cleanin' closer to home."
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PostSubject: Re: Help from Beyond   Sun 24 Sep 2017, 14:37

The ghostly frontiersman listened to them both with dour gravity. "I am not familiar with your kind personally, but I cannot say I am privy to all the laws that govern creation. I confess, I am a poor witness of the goings on in Bexar. I have had few dealings with vampires or werewolves, and the deeds of the quick matter little to me."

Crockett waved his hand across the desolate windswept square, hedged with decaying buildings.

"Few come to this place, other than the lost traveler or the rare drunk, and I pay them little heed. The lands beyond are unquiet, and I find it unsurprising the quick folk avoid this old battlefield."

He shifted, hoisting the rifle over his shoulder. His boots were hide crafted from some charnel beast, the leather black, hairy, and beginning to rot.

"So I man the walls of the Alamo still, as duty compels me to hold this post... the fallen sleep fitfully here, and when the wind blows from the south, sometimes they wake. The soldiers remember only their bloody death, or false memories of distant wars. Conflict with these shades is inevitable, and it is for their sake that I maintain my vigil."

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PostSubject: Re: Help from Beyond   Thu 28 Sep 2017, 17:18

Rends' shoulders sag just a little bit.

"Well I guess I weren't expectin' much in the way of help anyhow."

He takes a moment to take in the forlorn fort and its crumbling aspect, marred by the battles of yesteryear. He thought he could just pick up the scent of gunpowder and old blood. Then he quirks his head and turns back to the ghost.

"Wait, what do you mean conflict with the shades is inevitable? Do you guard this place for or against the other ghosts inside? Ain't you one of them, at any rate?"
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PostSubject: Re: Help from Beyond   Thu 28 Sep 2017, 19:22

Zas looks to the south and then slowly back to Crockett.
"The ones that dwell in the pit within the fort that you shot at...are they captured shades that you speak of, or something else? Former brothers at arms?"

The Apache gazes towards the Alamo, "They did not take kindly to me...seems like they were up to something."
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PostSubject: Re: Help from Beyond   Sat 30 Sep 2017, 01:35

Crockett wordless watched each Garou, squinting quizzically as Rends seemed to scent the wind.  

"Brothers and old foes alike seem to have made their return. The Alamo and her dead slumber fitfully. There were others, at first, who shared these walls with me, even after death. Captain Forsythe, Neggan, Uriel Mendoza, Sam Blair."

The veteran wraith's voice lowered to a dry whisper: "Good men, one and all."

The stars moved overhead in their creeping dance, and the ghost's black, colorless eyes grew glassy and distant.

"A scant few years passed... one by one, they became angry or disconsolate, hysterical to the point of frenzy. Others simply vanished. Now I alone watch this sacred battleground."

"Perhaps it is my faith in Providence that has allowed me to retain my faculties, but I tell you the truth when I say that I do not know why I or any of us linger here, restless and unsleeping."

Crockett roused himself, stamping his feet and re-adjusting his hold on his rifle. He leaned slightly closer to Zas, in an almost conspiratorial manner.

"But I do know why el voraz are awakening. I think they are being stirred up by this infernal southern wind. Something is driving up the fallen, disturbing them... and when they awaken, their is precious little remaining of the men who fought and died at the Alamo. Perhaps there is nothing left of them at all, only grave rot and old hatreds."
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PostSubject: Re: Help from Beyond   Sat 30 Sep 2017, 13:57

The Silent Strider sniffed the cool night air once before asking, "The restless dead stir as the southern wind blows ...by south do you mean the way of Mexico or further down into the underworld?"

The Apache mulls over something further before adding, "...and do you hear any message carried in this evil wind?"

Dead hands gives the wraith a long look, "I know it is not meant for the quick to be in the fields of the dead and that you are not familiar with us, but have you heard of something called the Hungry Ghost who once haunted these parts? Many of our kind fought it-many died...but I also know that your kind can be pretty tough to keep down permanently."
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