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Chapter 1: Awakening

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And this was why Micky was Alpha, Saibh lets loose her own snarling howl of agreement. The sudden change in scenery causing a shudder to run from neck to flank in a rippling wave. Gods above and Below, she hated dealing with Sprits. At least this one seemed to be mostly friendly.

 

Stepping quietly to one side, she allowed Deer-Stalker her face time with the Spirit, all the while keeping a close eye on her. She appeared friendly, for the most part, but she wouldn't be letting her guard down until it was a sure thing...... whatever "it" was, in this case. With how the Spirit was talking, she smelt a quest coming on. She practically salivated at th3 thought, leaning forward in anticipation.

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Micky stood her ground, teeth bared ready for battle, the fire of rage running through her veins, the Spirit spoke and the words were felt more than heard, the rage shifted. Deerstalker spoke her growls in the Garou tongue. but Micky wanted no mistakes with her words.

 

The Black wolf stepped forward again and as she stepped her from flowed until she stood a woman in and alien world. "You have called us and we have come. If what is ours is threatened we will defend it if Gaia is attacked we will fight, the darkness will know our rage. You have Chosen and we have come. For too long we have been incomplete, for too long our rage has been aimless. If those whom you chose before gave themselves with honor and sacrifice then we are honored to answer your call and accept your choosing. Let our rage honor their sacrifice with vengeance."

 

She drops to one knee before the spirit but keeps her head high.

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Umbra

 

The Spirit tilted her head, first at Deerstalker's question, as if she was recalling something long forgotten, and when Micky spoke She stood.  "I have no name to give you, for when they gave themselves, they gave their bonds to me, they gave everything, to see the Evil banished away.   I could give no less, and Gave my own Name."   

The spirit let out a small sigh.  "Ages of power, and it was only just barely enough.  So now you ask my name, I have none to give.  I have only what I govern, The Ideal."

She looked to Micky.   "Is your Rage enough?   Yes it can drive you in battle, to slay your foes, to let you go beyond the limits of your body.   That will NEVER be enough to Defeat our enemies.   You must have balance, or you will fall to disharmony, and eventually, the Enemy will take you.  You speak of sisters and a brother, that is good.  The pack is family, sometimes moreso than any other.    If you lack Compassion, or Wisdom, my gifts will eventually become a curse."

"My power is such that I can help build up what is there to its peak and even beyond, but if you cannot balance the power within you, it can unbalance and consume you.   Yes I have Chosen you, your pack, to be mine.  The First Pack of a new Age.  You are not the strongest, but you are perfect for how my power helps you."

Her attention turned to Howls, Sophia, and Saibh, and she smiled.   "I know she is your Alpha.  The leader of your pack, but this Covenant requires your voices as well.   I would hear the voices of those I Chose, and have welcomed to my home.   She can speak for you in some ways certainly, but here, only you can accept what I offer."

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Saibh pauses a moment, allowing the words to wash over her, a brief moment of confusion apparent in her stance, eyes flicking over to Micky's almost prostrate form, thinking deeply. Flicking her gaze once more over over Deer-Stalker, she hesitantly steps forward.

 

"Balance is difficult, but nothing in life worth doing is ever easy. If all you ask is our voices raised in acceptance, then to strive towards that Ideal I would agree." Nodding at Micky she continues, "For Vengeance and honour, for sure, but beyond that, and more importantly, that I would see my family thrive, to see kith and kin safe. Nothing would make me happier or more content, no matter the hardships we endure to get there. Vengeance for the fallen would achieve nothing if at the end of all that, those we protect fell while our gaze was turned elsewhere. "

 

Even if it meant dealing with Spirit's and the like more, because she had a feeling that the Spirit was talking about more than just the control of their Rage. Fuck, but when she got back home she needed to go out and get blitzed. This fancy talk and flowery shit was useful in it's place,gods it gave her a headache, though. She just wanted to be the best she could be. She could allow no less.

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On seeing the fomori, Ariel suddenly felt something freeze inside her as conflicting instincts went to war. Draw her gun and warn them to stand down? Change into a giant monster and murder? Draw her gun? Murder?

 

The sudden appearance of her packmate was almost a guilty relief as the thought that maybe she would just kill them all herself and spare Ariel the conundrum flickered across her mind. But no...this wasn't something that would just go away. If she didn't have to deal with it today, it would be tomorrow. And next time there might be a whole lot worse than a handful of Fomori.

 

One of the fomors spotted Ariel standing there and seized the moment she'd squandered. He ran to her, arm tilted back to deliver a lethal knife blow before this witless werewolf could change! He felt the impact of the blade in flesh down to bone and shrieked in bloodlust and glee...

 

...the glee almost immediately winked out though as he realized he was too late.

 

The knife had bitten into Ariel's left hand...but it could no longer remotely be called a human hand. Elongated fingers tipped with black, curved talons flexed. He could see the working of muscle and tendons too tough for a knife to do more than scratch under tough, bristly skin. The fomor yanked his knife out and desperately lunged to try to capitalize on whatever opening Ariel had given him...

 

This time she caught his wrist and held him still, the knife never getting close.

 

With a snarling, bloodcurdling noise that was somewhere between a howl and a roar, the creature Ariel had become put her claws to the fomor's collarbone, and ripped downward.

 

Murder it was then.

 

 

Spoiler

Failed 1 defense, succeeded 2nd, attacked with 4 successes; not sure what damage is until I see his defense so I'll let this rest here and update it once Justin fills me in.

 

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Umbra

 

The spirit  nodded at Saibh's reply, and Sophia spoke next.  "I fight for myself.   To see the Evil that taints this world cleansed, to hear the laughter hand happiness of my pack at the end of our battles.   I fight because we Garou alone have the strength of will and purpose needed to shoulder the burden laid upon us by this War, and the sins of our past." 

The spirit nodded, and turned her gaze to Howls With Wind.   "And you young one?"

Austin

 

The Formori seemed pleased with the amount of hurt they'd inflicted on Red Tips, circling in close to go for the kill. She was still hurt, even as bones knit and her flesh began to mend.   Ariel was hurt far less, but still facing the two Formori on her own.  One though had greatly suffered as her fangs tore a large chunk from him, his entire right arm and upper torso tearing away under the brutal edge of her claws.   Still there was no fear from the Formori, and it and it's fellow seemed to surge forward, preparing to attack again.

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Posted (edited)

Austin

 

Red Tips digs her feet in and braces herself as she takes a deep breath and then she howls. The howl is bone chilling and fearful, reminiscent of the stories of the banshees of tale. This was their best chance to buy them some time to heal and hopefully pick off a couple of the formori. She just hoped Ariel was ready for it.

 

Spoiler

 Details:[7d10 (5 3 5 2 5 6 6)]
Assuming default difficulty: 2 successes.

 

Howl of the Banshee (Level Two) — The werewolf
emits a fearful howl that causes those who hear it to run
in terror. A Banshee — a mournful spirit of the dead —
teaches this Gift.
System: The player spends a Gnosis point and rolls
Charisma + Intimidation. All who hear the howl must
roll Willpower (difficulty 8; 6 for allies of the Fianna) or
flee in terror for one turn per success on the Garou’s roll.

 

Edited by elynrae

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Howls paws at the ground with her front right paw, uncertain of what to even say, words from days ago still ringing in her ears, that her voice had no power, no sway. That she was weak.

 

"Don't know, if words mean much anymore. Words were life, words were existence. Stories, music, dance. Now not know."

 

The small wolf sighed heavily, head lowered, gaze to the ground.

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Umbra
 


The spirit rose, and moved forward slowly, the light touch of her fingers slowly tracing the underside of Howls' jaw, lifting her gaze from the ground.  "Words are power, they give and take life, bind and unbind, and when said cannot be taken back.  Masters of words must be strong.  Do not doubt yourself, or your abilities.  Only you can truly set your own worth.  Now, Why do you doubt yourself, and the power of your words?"  She looked to Micky, and there was a tinge of disappointment, though she still smiled.  A Leader must take care to see to the well-being not just  of the bodies of their pack, but their hearts and spirits too."   Her smile was matronly.  It was a rebuke certainly, but there was still indeed time to rectify things here.

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Howls whines slightly, she hasn't meant for her words to shine badly upon her Alpha. This was her burden to deal with, though what caused the issue was spoken and aired infront of the entire pack.

 

"Could not, stand up for self. Not use words. Sister spoke words, was then told was useless, weak"

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Umbra

 

It wasn't the spirit who reacted, butt Sophia who moved, and her arms embraced her packmate.   "I was too harsh on you, Howls.  I didn't think it my words would shake you this badly.   I'm sorry.  You're pack, and you deserve better.  I apologize."   It was somewhat uncharacteristic of Sophia, but after hearing that it was her fault that her packmate was so affected by her words, She rose to the occasion to address it herself.  She sensed that unless they got past this, things would only deteriorate, and that couldn't be allowed to happen.  Sophia nodded once.  "Your words and your voice do matter, same as everyone else, even if we don't always agree."   Silent nods from the other members of the pack affirmed this.  

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Howls flinches slightly as Sohpia nears, unsure what she was about to do until the hug came. 

 

"Sister and I. We tend speak as one. Think as one. Red speak louder than I do, more often. I prefer tell story, gather story. Make sure stories remembered."

 

Howls looks around at the others of her pack standing there, looking between all of them, eyes finally settling back on Sophia, speaking more than her words ever could.

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UMBRA

 

Breaking free of the creeping dread they were dealing with a very Stargazery spirit indeed, Deer-Stalker settled down and finally chimed in, "My pack is strong, Lady. A bundle of sticks sturdy enough to slay any foe, bridge any gap, block any door. We will pass the tests on our hunt."

 

She chuffed confidently, tail wagging happily. Her mentor's stick test was something that stuck with her, a first vivid example of human tricks that could be used by her and not just against her as she had known before her First Change. Frustration, bewilderment, and finally, a tiny bit of elation when she finally got it, earning her reward. This would be okay. With her packmates by her side, how could it be anything but? 

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Austin

 

The effects of the Howl were immediate.    Three of the Formori turned and ran away.   At least two made it, but the injured formori tripped and fell, and went nearly catatonic with fear.   Two still were standing, and looking towards the two garou, their faces set in grim determination, before curling into a sadistic smile.  The Gift Red used had a drawback.  It affected your allies as well, and perhaps Ariel was too stressed with everything going on, but she too turned and ran, leaving Red alone and injured to face the formori.  They came at her with knife and chain, but both missed, surprised by the agility of the injured garou.  

 

It will take Ariel two turns to reach the center of the Caern and Clarity.   By that point the gift will wear off, and she can head back to Red.

The Formori have made their attacks this turn, so Red it's your action.

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Umbra

 

Micky spared a glare at the moving spirit before looking  back at her pack mates. "Words, more than anything, are what bind us as a pack together. The words of those who chose us before without consultation, whose desire was not for us to flourish but to reveal our weakness, to drive us away. The words we use to bridge the gap between our birth and our reality. We are mixed, we are, in the human parlance, mongrels. Mixed breeds, mixed heritage, mixed genders. But each of us has our own Heart and each Heart must be allowed to speak, no not allowed, must be made to speak."

 

She walks over to Howls, "Sophia spoke from the body and the spirit, she said the things her eyes see and the things her spirit tells her from the long line of her ancestors. But she did not speak from her heart. None of us do. Even I keep my heart guarded, for we have all been hurt and betrayed by the past."

 

She places a hand on Howls shoulder, comfortingly yet firm, "But you sister, hide your heart, even from yourself. Your body is strong, your spirit is powerful and wise, I brought you here with us today to hear your heart. I brought you so that your words could sing,  bring us, the conflicted together, make us stronger."

 

Micky stands straight and her gaze takes in all of her pack then settles on the spirit. "Each individual is made of Body, spirit and Heart. And like each individual so too is a Pack made of these things. The heart always speaks truth, when it speaks. And you here today are the Heart of this pack. Now is the time to speak."

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Umbra

 

In the greatest depths of the Umbra, an ancient spirit, one who had seen the beginning, and had spent much of herself to stave off the end smiled, and rose to her feet once more.  All around them the garou could hear the sounds of nature return, the smell of the trees on the wind, of each other.  It was in that moment that they'd become aware they'd suddenly not sensed it at all, and the sudden return was noticeable, and powerful.  The Spirit, now pulled her power into herself, and the Garou there got their first true glimpse of who had summoned them.   

She now had black hair, and pale, almost alabaster skin, without any blemish, and was easily among the most beautiful person any of them had seen.  Golden eyes beheld them, as they bolstered each other, and worked to restore the harmony of the pack.  "All things strive to reach their potential, their apex of excellence.   My purview is this.   I have answered to .many names, but the one I tell you now, is among the oldest  If you accept this name, it will bind you to me, and me to you."

Each of the Garou nodded, and she spoke a single word.  "Arete."

The word was Greek for Excellence, and was prevalent in many ancient tales, but never truly as a Goddess.    But in their hearts, they each new her words to be true.   In the span of moments, they were shown the ancient world, Anicent garou, and the travels of such, from continent to continent, long before Man ever did so.   Some of her chosen remained in Europe, though many moved to the untamed wilds of what would become the Americas.   They would become the Croatan Tribe.

Each of the gathered Garou would see a procession of their own ancestors, from them, reaching back through time, all leading to those who'd remained in Europe, Each carried at least some small part of the blood of Arete's Chosen.   They were united more than as simple bonds between garou, but by ancient blood ties, not to a forgotten tribe, but to a lost one.   The importance, and Danger of this revelation was humbling, Staggering, and uplifting.   It was a burden, certainly, and a heavy one, but as she touched each of them in turn, a warmth flowed into them.   They had the strength to carry the burden, not alone, but together, as the First pack of Arete in generations.

 

 

[Each of of you should compose a post about the visions you see, of your ancestors, as far back as you choose to go.   To say Arete is ancient is no lie, and yes, the truth of this means their was precolumbian contact with the americas by Thousands of years.   your ancestors could be explorers, warriors, healers, you name it.  bonus xp will be awarded for exceptional vision posts]


Austin

 

For Ariel, all she could do was run, The fear of the Howl was too great, and even in her warform, she fled the source of it, her packmate Red.    of course red was truly fearsome, even injured, and this just confirmed it.

 

Red, meanwhile was left to face the remaining Formori alone.   That gift was a double-edged sword, and while it had worked in part, it also cost her her only ally.   Not one to dwell on things long though, she tore into the remaining formori with reckless abandon.   Managing to avoid any retalatory blows, her jaws snapped and claws rent flesh and bone with equal ease.   Soon it was over, leaving her covered in gore, but victorious.   

 

When she finally returned to the Caern, she found Eric walking up, his own clothing torn, but his wounds healed, and he made his way to her.   "Come on, let me take a look at those wounds."   When she finally sat, having returned to her homid form, She felt him place his hands upon her shoulders, and her side where she'd been hurt so badly.   The remaining injuries vanished under the power of his healing gifts, as warmth suffused her.   

 

"There, all fixed up."  he said with a smile.  "You two had a rough time of it.  I guess we need to go burn the corpses, and then purify things so the spirits can get to work."

 

Ariel was beside Clarity, who was assisting Carmilla in the Ritual, and Clarity had a somewhat pensive look on her face.  She knew what happened, but Eric didn't, as he'd only just returned himself.
 

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Austin

 

Red stood up slowly, testing herself making sure everything still worked after all that had happened. Once she's worked everything over, she nods satisfied. She walks slowly over to where Ariel and Clarity are.

 

"I'm sorry. Did not think we survive if I did not howl. I was hoping drive off as many as possible and handle rest without so many attacking. I did not mean to scare you in process." Red sighs, though it's more of a canine huff than a human sigh. "They better than I thought they would be. Should have waited for others to help. Sorry."

 

Red turns and starts walking back to where Eric stood and nodded to him.

 

"Time to burn corpses?"

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UMBRA

The world fell away.

 

It was like watching a movie in VR but with smells and tastes and feeling. Micky was not there, and she was, she was aware of herself as a disembodied …spirt, she guessed, though there was no sign of her presence that those before her registered.

 

And by Gaia, those who stood there were unlike any she had ever seen before, and the place was spectacular to say the least.

 

The beach was guarded by rocky cliffs of red and white stone which stood some two hundred feet in places and stretched as far as the eye could see in either direction the beach was of fine sand with a reddish tint. The surf, which crashed in green waves upon the beach with a huge roar, bringing to mind the sounds of battles which Micky had never heard with her own ears but the echoes resounded in her soul where they lay in ancestral memory.

Along the coastline separated by ten or twenty yards each,  were numerous boats, boats which could hold fifty or more persons,  pulled up upon the beach and being loaded with material and supplies. The men, and the few women scattered among them,  who labored loading the boats, wore plain cloth tunics tied with a corded belt and were barefoot. These men and women wore no adornments and carried no weapons and were in no way anything but average. Most were of middling height and they were of fair complexion, their hair a mixture of blond and  light brown with some darker. All of them tended to stockiness and none appeared unhealthy or starved. But it was not these that awed Micky that spoke to her very being it was the others.

 

Along the beach, in front of but away from the work and the surf mingled many others whom Micky recognized as Kin, men, women and wolf all. These were tall, many, man, and woman both, standing well above six foot. The largest standing close to seven foot was a man with thick arms laced with sinew and muscle his broad chest encased in a filigreed breastplate which bore runes sacred to the Garou  at his hip a pair of great silvered Klaives. His face was handsome and fine featured, his beard and flowing mane of deepest auburn. His eyes the color of jade looked longingly with sorrow up the visage of the woman who stood only a few inches shorter than him.

 

She was  beautiful with full lips that pouted seductively and a straight regal nose, her eyes, pale blue like the ice far to the north under the eternal summer sun, the hair which was shaved along the sides of her head and braided into a mohawk of sorts made up of long braids, like yet unlike modern dreadlocks. She was similarly armed and armored as the man yet upon her back a powerful horse bow rested.

 

The two stood alone in a sea of people gazing into eyes arms clasped yet apart even though the desire to embrace was upon both faces, faces Micky knew in her heart. The man was Lycus Crion, known among the Garou as Cuts like Silver and his blood flowed in her veins and the woman was his mate and her line could be traced down the centuries uncut from this moment to the far off birth of Micky her direct descendant. She was called Dagger of Air and her name was Artaxas of Scythia.

 

Around the two lovers were  over thousand more men and woman, all of them Garou, all of them Scythian. Most of them were departing called by the great spirit to journey far far away. The rest a few hundred mostly women would be staying in their eastern homeland. These remaining women would spawn what would become the legends of the amazon immortalized by the Greeks centuries after.

 

As Micky lived this vision of the past she saw the Garou and her male ancestor depart for a voyage that would last far longer than foretold and would end with Cuts like Silver and his companions becoming legends, at least among the Garou, themselves.

 

 But the vision she was granted did not follow them but instead followed Dagger of Air who some months later gave birth to a daughter who in turn became a warrior and a soldier of Gaia who in turn beget a daughter who also begat a daughter. Each in turn down the centuries the Scythians became legends and faded but the line of daughters who changed, who could trace their lineage back to Artaxas of Scythia, warrior, queen, Garou, moved unbroken west settling among Greeks and as the centuries passed they migrated first north then eventually across the seas. The line continued and while the males seldom changed, the females always did for in them burned the soul of their ancestor.

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UMBRA

 

As Arete gathered her power unto herself and the forest bloomed with her, Deer-Stalker barely had the chance to assume a lupine kowtow, tail tucked under her body and head bent down, before the visions struck.

 

Life and Death chaining one after and around one another like a lunatic spiderweb, a babbling brook of snow-melt water splashing over rocks. So much so much life from the loam wolf human garou human wolf garou human human garou garou each taking their time in the sun to laugh and dance and cry and learn and curse and bleed and fight and die after moments of joining that stitched together the next generation against the ravages of Weaver and Wrym . She was so small the smallest mite at the top of a pile of other mites that poked out of the currents of time in the Eternal Now. If she blinked she could could see the twin threads of Rage and Gnois spiraling into her from them, the moment where her line had crossed with the glowing pearl of something Umbral born. She wanted to whine at her smallness against the bigness of the future ever unknowable above her but knew that every single one of those that had surivived to lead to her had been just as small as helpless. They had made it. She would make it. Rage and Gnois. Red and Silver gifts spiraling into her to them meant it was her turn to stand against dangers real and imagined. Survive to be the next stone holding up the caern of life. 

 

Deer-Stalker shook her body head to tail, overcoming the sense of wonder and returning to herself once again. 

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UMBRA

 

As the vision coalesced itself in a sea of stars, lines of light began to connect the stars tracing a pattern like a pedigree. Highlighting this tree, brighter than the other stars, were pairs of twin stars. Every so often, these twin stars would appear in the tree. The vision focused itself on the first pair and then it shifted.

 

The scene that played out was one of a battlefield, a pair of werewolves in Crinos form, one mostly of black fur, the other mostly of red, their coats sleek and shining, ever the breed epitome of the Fianna. The light of the full moon shown on the one with black fur. At the same time, somehow, the light of the gibbous moon shown on the one with red fur.

 

They acted in concert on the battlefield, the black and red fur replacing one another as they fought their way through enemies, the dance of war of the Fianna in full display. The two together were a sight to see.

 

The vision fades to a scene of two werewolves, similar to those in previously, but different. The patterns were different in their coats, but one was still mostly black while the other mostly red. They danced and moved around a fire, telling a grand tale. Again, two moons gave their light to the wolves. The full moon on the black wolf and the gibbous moon on the red wolf.

 

The vision shifts and falls upon two wolves in lupus form, the black wolf had red tips on her ears, clearly Red Tips in her lupus form, the light of the full moon on her. The red wolf had the highlight lines of black, clearly Howls, the light of the gibbous moon on her. As the scene comes into full view, it shows the wolves approaching a camp of Fianna, both of them young. It seems they were destined to find this camp.

 

The vision finally fades out.

 

As Howls' senses came back to the now, she whined, dropping onto her stomach in Lupus as he legs gave way.

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Saibh lets out a whimper as she is overtaken and the scene of the Umbra fades away to be replaced with other visions, of places near and distant, and the struggles of all in the face of destruction.

 

An older man, here,  his tattered jeans and shirt doing nothing to hide the obvious power in his form as he strides towards a bloodied foe. The taint of the wyrm hangs heavy about the wretch as he steadily increases in size, his clothes finally being subsumed by the change. "Should have stayed away from my family" he growls as he-

 

-lunges at the soldier, the backdrop  of gunfire and screams never ceasing as she latches on to his throat in lupus, tearing it out with a vicious yank. All about her, her pack lay into the other soldiers, using the ongoing battle as cover. Letting out a vicious snarl at the next one to appear before her. He couldn't have been more than eighteen, the viciously snarling wolf sending him backpedaling, begging mercy. There was no mercy to be had, though, and she pursues. To see her people safe for one more turn of the sun, to see one more battle with the Foe before all was taken from them. She pounces-

 

-landing heavily as a shell nearby explodes, cradling the infant in his arms, turning his body to protect the little one. A nearby packmate yanks him back to his feet, snarling a command to keep running. About him, his pack and protectorate streak through the night.  He briefly laments the inability to shift with the child in arms. Snarling as a Dancer cuts him off, cackling gaily like they were on a stroll a the beach, rather than caught between two armies who seemed intent on flattening  everything in front of them. He lashes out with a kick which stops the laughing dead in it's tracks, sprinting once more, trusting his pack to deal with the dancer as he and others brought those in need to safety, glancing over his shoulder once at that awful laughter, turning forward once more, he-

 

-presses heavily down on gushing wound, packing it with gauze and keeping the pressure on. The kinfolk below him howling in pain, but unable to shift the much burlier garou off him. He snarls at two others, one to hold his arms and the other to keep pressure up while he got his tools so that he could actually close the damn thing. He swears, the smell of the makeshift hospital invading his nostrils as he gathers what little supplies he had. Hoping it would be enough. Too many had died already, but he would be damned if he didn't save this one at least, Wyrm take him if he didn't even try, taking a deep breath with a low warning to the kin below him, he-

 

-watched in the distance as the train moved like a track, moving through the hills with a certain serpentine suggestion. He grunted and spat, the horse shifting beneath his weight. The rest of the pack was behind him, silent, an air of tension and excitement heavy and heady around them. He lets out a grim smile as they take up position just behind him as he once more checks that he's loaded up, patting the rounds slung across his chest. Five special gifts, for anything that might need a little straight silver to help send on their way. One way or another, that train wasn't reaching it's destination. Pulling up the mask, he gestures to the others, and they spur into a gallop towards their target, the-

 

-man gurgling as his throat was slit, she pulled him back into the shadows where he was unlikely to be found by any of the others. Quick and quiet, that was the idea here, in and out before they knew there'd been a break in. Preferrably with the relic either on her person, or destroyed if needs be. Couldn't have the herd mucking around with things better left alone. God only knows they'd caused enough trouble just getting the thrice cursed thing. Cleaning off her knife, she stalks on. Her pack was waiting for the signal, and if she didn't get this done quickly,  they would have to go loud. To protect everyone, the relic needed to leave here tonight, she turns a corner-

 

-smashing the axe into the mans chest, the strength of the blow splitting the hastily raised shield, as well as the armour underneath it, carrying the other man to the floor. With a heaving wrench he retrieves the axe, gesturing to one of the other guards to step up and take his place, rolling his eyes with his replacement. Honestly, who was stupid enough to come at them when they held all of the cards. It was a new sensation for the Garou. He was used to fighting on a much steeper incline. It made him uneasy, waiting for the other shoe to drop. Was making him paranoid. He follows behind his steadily advancing brothers, each guard replacing one that began to tire, to allow all to fight longer, the steadily push their attackers back. His turn coming back up, he takes a deep breath-

 

-watching silently, concealed among the foliage as the party continues to blunder their way through the dense jungle. There was time yet for them to be herded away from the current path, and so they watch. The explorers completely unaware of their silent watchers, unaware of how close they came to death, if they insisted on trying to go this route. He silently urged them to turn away. He knew ultimately it would be for naught, that the jungle would hide new secrets by this time tomorrow, but he urged them anyway. Seeing a shift in the shade across the way from him, he closed his eyes in resignation. And so it begins. As the first screams rang out, his brothers and sisters making quick work of the trespassers, the thunder rumbled ominously overhead-

 

-followed quickly by another streak of lightning, he raised his hammer to the sky, roaring to the heavens. The others taking up the call, the compound ahead seeming to almost quake at the implicit threat. Most would hide, but it would matter little in the end.  His kinsmen would have their due and they would sail back, keels heavy with gold.  Bellowing out a chant, it was quickly taken up by the rest of the crew, already in high spirits at the prospect of combat, he smiles, the torches of party crackling merrily despite the rain. As the longship runs aground, he jumps over the side-

 

-settling heavily into the chair. The fire burning in the hearth warming her to her bones. Her newest child clutched tightly to her against the chill of the night. The scratching of her husbands quill as he continued his work leading to a drowsy atmosphere in the room. She relaxes back in the heat. IT was hard to remember sometimes, but nights like this helped to remind her of all that they struggled for. Whatever machinations the wyrm cooked up, they would endure, that all might continue to live in the face of it's frenzied thrashing. Maybe one day someone would strike the finishing blow, but till then, they would each buy one day at a time.

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Umbra

As the visions passed, their host Arete smiled   "You have seen abit of your past, and I hope now you know yourselves even better.   You've seen your connection to me, and accepted it.  Now, we should return home.   I will consecrate your home as my own, much as I once did when my children first moved to those lands."
 

It was clear their new ally was ready to return hom, and the moonbridge came into view before them.  She took a small stone, no bigger than a man's palm, and inscribed a symbol none of the garou had ever seen before, a small clockwise whorl, which when viewed a certain way looked like a flame from a torch.  To either side were lines that made an "X" but only just barely beneath the whorl.   Underneath, was a long crescent, encompassing it all.   
 

"This is my mark, one only my chosen may wear.  Place this at the center of the Table, and it will serve as an anchor for my power, and allow me to return to my home."   The stone shone with powerful essence, and it was handed to Micky, the Alpha.
 
With a nod, Micky shifted back to her lupine form, after placing the stone in a pocket.   She felt a warmth surge through her, and as the others prepared for the journey home, Arete spoke one last time.  "Have each member of your pack touch the stone, before you place it, so that I may claim you all as mine."

With that it was time to head back home, and the pack began the long journey.
 

Austin


In all told, three full days passed.   The Caern was beset each night, and yet, the quartet that had remained  was up to the challenge.   Each suffered some injury, but their nature as Gaian warriors, and the ministrations of both Clarity and Eric were easily sufficient to heal any wounds.   Eric and Red hunted, and he brought more modern food for those who preferred it.   Ariel had to work her day job, but still, they managed to protect the Caern.  it was at midnight going into the fourth day, the moon high in the sky, when the bridge began to react.  

"They're coming back"   Carmilla called to the quartet.   Eric and Red were already in their crinos forms, having just returned from another battle and purification.  
 

"That's good, because we're about out of useful talens, and I still have a sense that things aren't over yet." Eric answered.  Clarity'd done her best but she spent a fair amount of time spelling Carmilla, so she'd seldom left the Caern's center, and hadn't had much chance to craft for them.

 

All together now

 

Micky and the others emerged from the bridge, and moments later Carmilla collapsed, the effort had been exhaustive, and it was only due to the care she received from the others that she had managed to hold things so long.
 

Seeing the elder garou seated on the grass, with her packmates both tending to Carmilla, and then the state of Red and Eric, the pack could smell blood and ash, and Eric, in his usual manner, gave a toothy smile.  "You ladies missed some fun, just so you know."  He looked at Red, who chuckled, and even Clarity and Ariel laughed.   
 

"Damn I'm glad you're home."   Those words, said along with a what passed for a hug from the only male Garou present while in crinos,  him laying his hand on her shoulder and a surprisingly gentle squeeze,  were Micky's greeting.
 

He looked at the others, and smiled  "I trust you found the answers you went looking for?"

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Fluidly shifting up to Homid, Saibh lets out a grunt, beginning to pat down her pockets, looking for her smokes. That was probably the longest she'd stayed in Lupus since she first changed. Nodding her head at Eric as he gives Micky her "hug", the only sign of how pleased she is to be back a quirk at the side of the mouth.

 

"We certainly found something, all right. Met some interesting people. And didn't have to kill them, for once. Nice change of pace.  Dare say the boss'll fill you in properly." she nods towards the seated Elder "Y'all right there Gram? Didn't keep you waiting too long, did we?" 

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Howls flies out through the portal and straight for her sister, talking her in a hug and licking her in greeting, but also using the opportunity to check Red over for any wounds.

 

This continues for a while as the others make their way back.

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Red laughs as she catches Howls in a return hug, checking her sister over as well to see that she's well. The ritual seems to still be a remainder of their time being wolves.

 

"I'm fine. The caern was attacked, but we defeat our foes. I missed having you standing by me going into battle. Your war songs always make battle a performance and art worthy of stories."

 

Red watches the others arrive, checking them over visually for injuries or problems, letting Howls continue to make sure she's completely ok.

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