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 The Heart of the Matter

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Zas B'ul

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Posts : 637
Join date : 2013-08-29
Location : Texas

PostSubject: The Heart of the Matter   Sat 24 May 2014, 00:30

The chase was on! The open desert valley laid out in front of him. The blur of sage brush, cacti and Indian paintbrush all covered in freshly fallen snow whooshed past Snowy Owl. In his natural wolf form he had caught whiff of a white tail deer on the icy mountain wind and nothing would stop him from catching his prey.

The lonely cold winter months had lingered for longer than expected and as such food was in short supply. The apache natives had already lost several to the Cold Death and starvation. He had been sent out with a hunting party to try and bring back some mountain hares or perhaps a turkey, but the unmistakable scent of deer was too tempting of an offer to pass up.

Zas had seen the footprints in the snow long after smelling his prey and knew that he was quickly catching up. The hunger in his belly did little other than spur him on quicker.

The desert heat could be brutal in the Summer and finding water could prove difficult, but winter was downright unforgiving with its eerie stillness and the cold nights. Worse still if you had no food to fill you. No war-bride to warm your bed.

The thoughts of death and the loneliness get to everyone if you let them. The taste of meat in your mouth though could help quiet them briefly. Snowy Owl intended to do just that.

A great owl flew over Zas with only it's shadow alerting Snowy Owl to its presence. The large predator seeming to ride against the wind was perfectly silent-a bad omen for all apache who viewed the bird as a sign of death and spun great tales of Owl-boogeymen that came and took away bad children that dishonor their family; Zas always seem to find the birds comforting-their hollow sounding Hoot-hoots serving as reminder that he was never completely alone.

The sight of the deer fleeing rapidly away from him, refocused Zas. He gained on the animal. It was a 10-pointed buck. A useful kill in addition to food. Many tools and weapons could be made from such an animals antlers. It's skin would serve as a fine coat for one of the elders-it's hooves serving as a grounded up powder for medicine.

Yes, this was a rare find indeed. He hounded the animal for awhile, wearing it down, waiting for the right moment to strike. When the moment came-Snowy Owl leapt at the male deer's neck.

-Snap!-

He made contact. He clenched his jaws tight. He was not going to let this one get away. His claws and feet as well as his weight and angle brought the larger animal down into the snow. It struggled to regain its footing and even managed to give Snowy Owl a solid kick to his rib cage that would have likely discouraged a weaker man into letting it free, but once the animal slowed its thrashing, Zas placed his right forepaw on the deer's face to brace it while he jerked quickly up forcing his teeth up further into the skin of the beast tearing out through the other side in a bloody spray that turned the fresh snow to crimson as it landed and the deer went limp.

Snowy Owl reverted to his human form and wiped his face clean with the snow before gathering up the animal and making his trek back to the village.

Several hours later Zas returned home. He could see in the distance several of the tepees had smoke stacks burning and the smell of old leathery burning animal hide hung like an un-inviting fragrance in the air. That was the food that the apache lived on when real food was scarce-and it tasted terrible. The deer would be a welcomed and highly appreciated change of meal plan.

His father stood watch at the edge of the village. As Zas neared, Sho-Sho Ne saw the load he carried and rushed to help him and wordlessly brought the deer to the chieftain Gomez who eagerly distributed duties to each of the able tribe members to begin preparing the animal. No bit was to be wasted.

Sho-Sho Ne, after dropping off the deer returned to his post. Zas-after receiving many accolades from the others and a snack offering of Pemmican (A type of high calorie Indian jerky that last for a long time but is time consuming to make) for his efforts went out to rest while his dad stood watch.

Snowy Owl approached him, "Seen anything lately?"

Sho-Sho Ne replied drowsily, "There is little to see out here if you rely only on sight. There have been many things that crossed by while you were gone but most did not come near the camp."

Zas nodded and offered his father some of the Pemmican, "Did you meet anyone new?"

Sho-Sho Ne eagerly accepts the snack and munches on it as he says, "Not new, but unexpected."

Zas tilted his head curiously but says nothing.
Sho-Sho Ne gulps down his bite of the snack and holds out his hand for more with a smile and once Zas gives it to him he continues, "I met with one of the pure ones. He is an Uktena that goes by the name of Black-Rabbit. He spoke of ill times ahead and warned me to stay clear of the Wyrmbringers."

Zas gazed out into the snowy expanse as he listened, and spoke up after his father went silent. "You have told me of the Wyrmbringers. You have not told me of the pure ones. These Uktena..."
After a pause, "Are we pure? What are the pure ones pure of?"

Sho-Sho Ne chuckled at the younger garou's inquisition, "I think the answers you are looking for are ones that many much older wiser Garou than even me, don't know yet."

At Zas' soured expression Desert Wanderer continues, "As far as who the Uktena are, that depends on who you ask. Whether or not we are pure depends on who you ask, and what makes the pure ones pure depends on who you ask."

Zas gives a low grumble about how difficult getting a straight answer could be under his breath before his father continued.

"In my experience, the Uktena are protectors. They keep much to themselves and part with information even less than our tribe tends to. I don't blame them for withholding information, and understand their reluctance to deal with the Garou Nation, for there is much...too much bad blood. This, what the white man call a trail of tears is fitting. It's the tears of Gaia being shed. You know how I feel concerning the Wyrmbringers-they have much to atone for. The tribes that make up the Garou nation have great potential...,for both ill and for good, though if there is any future for all tribes to come together it will need to be soon. The Uktena I've met, tend to feel that the Wyrmbringers only have potential for ill-a belief that continues to grow and strengthen with each new day. This causes further tension between them and the Garou nation."

Zas says, "Father, if the Wyrm is as bad as you say, why don't all Garou try and unite to kill it...put aside their differences."

Sho-Sho Ne's eyes grow saddened as he says, "I fear that is easier said than done. Grudges are difficult to overcome. Our apache tribe here is at odds with the Comanche. The Comanche tend to be kinfolk of the Uktena. This can cause trouble. The Wyrmbringers have problems with how the Uktena refuse to share their wisdom. The Uktena have problems with the Wyrmbringers being too close to the weaver and smelling of the Wyrn."

Sho-Sho Ne breathes a sigh..."In my opinion, the Wyrmbringers-as a whole tend to not be pure of heart, but there are exceptions. They see this land as needing to be claimed and see it as a way to strengthen their hold on their other caerns across the sea. They claim to know what is best and how things ought to be.
I think that The Uktena view themselves as pure because they think by defending what Gaia has given them and staying true to their cause of fighting the influence of the Wyrm in all it's forms-which they are good at; that this somehow makes them blessed and favored. They see the Wyrmbringers as a test given to them by Gaia to fight the subtle nature of the Wyrm.

I see both sides having good intentions and strong reasons to feel the way they do, but being unwilling to or unable to see the bigger picture."

Zas nods solemnly, "I think I do too."

His father then begins to walk around the camp as he carries on, "Your question as to whether or not we are pure has two answers. Our tribe, the Silent Striders is very different from the others. We do not do things like the others. I don't think I can say for certain if our tribe as a whole is pure or not. We are each very different.

As for myself, I tend to think that I agree with the Uktena more often than not, and have yet to fail at my own goal of purifying Gaia of any vampires I come across...so yes I am pure. The question you need to ask yourself is, are you?"

Zas takes a long slow bite of the last of his snack as he ponders the question. After he considers it for a long while he asks, "Father, if you are pure, and you have issues with the Wyrmbringers, why choose to live here among the sworn enemies of the Uktena kinfolk? Are we not asking for trouble?"

Sho-Sho Ne's eyes stare off into the distance as he stops walking. "That is a question that you'd also need to ask the Uktena. I was tasked with an important life quest. To rid Gaia's face of a deadly plague. I follow the Litany as best I can, and serve Gaia to the best of my ability. Yet when I ask for their help to destroy these walking plagues, to fulfill the litany, to perform a simple task of drawing tooth and claw, bow and arrow, spear and shield, against our shared foes my summons go unanswered. The Uktena seem to be under the impression that I should be satisfied with killing only the vampires that come onto my designated territory. That I should not pursue and destroy all of them I can. They are "Protectors" not assassins.

I live among the apache for the Apache serve my life quest best. They are on the move. Their home is where they rest for the night. Their territory ends when they can go no further. I can pursue my prey without being forced to return to a single area. My kinfolk are fighters, warriors, killers, assassins, whatever they need to be to get the job done.
Perhaps when every vampire lays slain I can find a single area to call home and to defend from the rest of the Wyrm servants, but until then...I will do what I must to see my quest carried out.

The Wyrmbringers and I don't see eye to eye on much of anything. The Uktena refuse to aid me in my journey, and thus here I am. Here we are."

Zas nods and purses his lips. "Perhaps on my journey I will find way to bring all the sides together."

Desert Wanderer looked at Snowy Owl and says, "If this is indeed your quest, I give you this blessing: May the sun bring you new energy by day, may the moon softly restore you by night, may the rain wash away your worries, may the breeze blow new strength into your being, may you walk gently thorugh the world and know it's beauty all the days of your life."

Zas smiled but said nothing. The two then walked along the rest of the way around camp in silence. Each of the Garou lost in their own thoughts.
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