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Aug. 25th, 2005 @ 02:12 am Why I don't sing my songs.
Current Mood: Harano Onset

Sitting alone in the bawn was about the only hope Modi ever had at solitude.  The mountainous terrain and thick undergrowth of the Ozarks made it almost impossible for anyone to approach without giving away their presence, and the sheer size of the bawn made accidental encounters almost nil.  The cubs were all in their beds and the rest of the sept was happily rutting away with the kinfolk or snuggled up in a cabin or under a tree.  Dawn would come soon enough.  Modi looked down upon the four brown stone slabs that he had placed here two seasons ago, before the grey hairs started to show, and before they called him Athro.  He had come back to the caern that his road started on and when he returned he brought back little more than he left with.  One klaive and four brown stone slabs. 

They weren't anything to look at mind you.  Each was of no real shape, just the shape that stone takes when it fractures, and they were only about the size of a hub cap.  They weren't made of some precious metal, and they weren't painted or artistically adorned really.  The only thing on them were the glyphs that made for names.  That was all Modi thought a gravestone needed really.  It would take a small mountain for him to put anymore than that, because once you start telling of a garou's life, there is no easy place to stop, and these garou had squeezed so much out of their lives.

Modi didn't know when it happened, but at some point he quit.  In his life he was always the pack member that did his duty regardless of the sacrifice.  He was always the one that did what had to be done, even if he didn't agree morally with it, and even if he knew it would cost him his peace when it came time to sleep.  That was what ShadowLords did after all.  They did what had to be done, and in many cases that wasn't pleasent.  In some cases, it was impossible to live with.  This had become a ritual for Modi over the last year.  He would walk out to the woods, find his packs resting place and contemplate taking the klaive he now carried to his neck.  Then he would fail to do that and drag back to his dark bed. 

Tonight was to be the night.  He would go through with it.  He would go to the here after, and their he would be condemned to the hell he deserved to fester in.  Then he would be flogged and beaten, skinned and gilded by the hundreds he had watched die during his life, only to keep on living himself.  Then they would all carry his macabre frame and throw him in a silver fire that would scorch and burn what remained of him, only to be put out by the hot tears of all the widows and family that Modi had returned to see and inform of their loved ones deaths.  They would curse him as he smoldered and crackled and cooled, each taking turns to recite the songs and stories he gave them instead of comfort for their loss or reasons for their beloveds deaths.  Then the two women that he had abandoned, the only two that had ever been sweet enough to love him, would feed him medicines and herbs to make him strong.  Their faces, masks of pain, as his mother watched him heal and leave to never see her again, and Jessica would wear that same hopeless face she wore when she finally left, unable to stomach one more night of Modi dragging himself through the door, a bloody thing that was only a man in name.  They would try and try to heal him and when he was healed they would watch as the process started over.  The thought that there was justice after all warmed Modi's heart.

We traveled the old roads, the ones that could only be seen from the heavens.  The roads that Raven only vaugely knew, and that Luna dreamed of.  We travelled the roads that Helios could not scorch and those that were mere shadows of ashe, burned into the landscape by the atomic wrath of the Sun Lord.  We walked the paths that the Uktena forgot and the Wendigo never knew.  We traveled in the velvet shadow, unknown lands and hopes unfurrling before us.  We crossed streams of steaming blood, running in torrents down the slopes of our ancestors sacrifice.  We climbed mountains that had formed over beasts too long dead to have a name.  We prayed at the shrines of lost gods, and spit blasphemy in the eye of the new infant deities that man has birthed.  We cringed at the cold winds of apathy settling in our elders hearts, and we were blistered by the searing gusts of rage that escaped and overwhelmed the young.  We dug our claws into rifts formed in a nation of protectors that were left defenesless and pulled until our frames were spent, and splintered.  We traveled in Ravens Shadow, and we were his and he was ours.  We are no more, and that is as it should be.  Let the Galliards forget, and let the lore masters look elsewhere for we have never seen glory or asked it for our deeds.  Let the ahroun howl forever, and let the trickster save his wit, for we are not looking to earn esteem in their eyes.  Let the judge sleep and dream of other things, for gaia sees us as do our ancestors, and they will be the ones that anoint our deeds with blessings and watch us for our failings.  Let us pass from the goddess and she passes beneath us, for with her death all we have is hollow words that tell of hollow deeds.  What garou can want for great deeds and great praise when he has no hall to hang his trophies and no breast to suckle his young?  Not these children that stand in the darkness of Raven's Shadow.

The song was done and the prayer was recited, what more could they ask of Modi?  What could Listens demand he do know?  What reasons could BearCat conjure?  What accusation would escape from Adens lips?  Would Crag dare raise claw against him, strike him down for his failings?  No, they could do nothing but accept that their long lost friend, and betrayer would come to sleep in the cold ground, lost and forgotten to none, by none.  As Modi removed his shirt, he folded it and placed the silk garment upon the four stones.  He then reached to the large scar dominating his right shoulder and ran his hand slowly over it, reaching into the other world and grasping the handle to his klaive.  As he drew the blade into the true world he read the glyphs upon it, "Deep Shall Bite This Blade, Strong Shall Be His Wrath, Swift Shall Be His Will".  Modi still didn't know whom had forged the artifact. 

He spoke to spirit within his fetish for the final time, "I hope your next servant is better than me and at least as good as Listens.  I am sorry for all of your time wasted in my hands, but I couldn't let you go after losing the others."  Modi waited as if the blade would speak, but he found only the violent and hateful silence that came with a klaive.  He gripped the pommel and leather wrapped handle, both hardened and marked by centuries of blood that had run upon them.  He placed the blade point to his neck and took one final deep breath as his body began to shift and swell into his man-ape form.  As he settled into the half form the silver began to irritate and scratch his flesh.  The suns beams reflecting softly off of the klaive as Helios shown through the canopy of trees.  Modi stopped.  Another night had passed and he still did not find the courage to end it.  He allowed the fetish blade to slip back into it's umbral sheath, and he reached for his shirt. 

Modi said his farewells to his fallen pack and promised to see them again the next night.  "I will see you all again, and I will join you as you left me; one moment before dawn and with courage in your hearts.  I am sorry my family, my life."  Modi hung his head and trekked on toward the cabin that he was given by the Keeper of the Land.  There he sat alone and quiet, his memories to haunt his waking life, and his nightmares of his life to haunt his dreams.

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Aug. 24th, 2005 @ 01:21 pm The Little Things are the Greatest
The cubs were long in the face tonight. Modi had worked their asses off making sure that they didn't have the energy to squabble and fight as they had the past two nights. This whole den father thing had to have been one of the worst assignments Modi had ever had to endure. He didn't like other people, hell, he didn't like other Garou, but here he was charged with training a multithread gathering of pups to be both. This was his fault though, he should have known better then to accept that challenge from Sand Seer. The Uktena had a reputation for trickery as long as the wyrms tail and still Modi was stupid enough to accept.

"This is bullshit!" The wise words were spoken form Adreana, the young Fianna that was supposed to be a philodox if Modi didn't kill her first.

"What is?" Modi tried to sound disinterested.

"What the hell does stacking wood, and carrying stones have to do with being a Garou? When do we learn to tear the Wyrms heart out, and howl the spirits back to Gaia, or break the Spiral Dancers? When are we going to do something worth while?!" The little scamp had hopped up onto a near by stump to make her little tizzy harder to ignore.

"After you learn to behave. When you have mastered not making an ass out of yourself then you will be on the road to becoming a garou." Modi was sure that this would only incite the brat and then he would have an excuse to cuff her ear. "Besides, you all seem to know all you need to know of fighting, and you look to me more interested in 'breaking' your own pack mates." Modi squared his shoulders and faced the young Fianna.

Instead she only slumped down and sat on the stump. She really was exhausted Modi concluded. "I only, well, I heard all these stories and tales of heroes and quests and battles. I figured being a Garou would be more, I don't know, epic." Modi looked at her and realized he had been a little quick to treat her like a garou, she was just a child.

"Gather up everyone, break time." Modi waited until the rest of the cubs sat in the shade near Adreana. "Here is the truth folks. I am working you so hard because you are going to need it. In the end everything is epic and the galliards will see to that. But for every battle and quest you hear of after the fact, during the actual events you will be required to do lots of mundane and backbreaking work." The cubs didn't seem to like that.

"That doesn’t mean that you haven't accomplished anything. You guys don't know it but the little things are the most important and in the end the most heroic. What good is a tale of an elder killing dozens of little banes? They didn't do anything special or great. Hell, what good is a story of me slaying a dandelion? The true tales of courage are when we push ourselves to great lengths and succeed. The great songs are about things that we can all related too and teach us of something." The cubs seemed to be listening now, which meant Modi had to make this count.

"I have told you all of how your pack is going to need a totem once the tribes have accepted you as cliath, haven't I? Well everyone must do this, it is important beyond compare. This is also one of those steps that all garou take. Does that make it commonplace? No. I was graced to share a campfire with a pack of Striders once, and while chatting their galliard blessed me with a story from their own history. It is about their totem quest, and you would have to look no farther than her words for an epic." Modi began to tell the tale and in doing so was just as enraptured by it as these cubs became.



(Story was provided by Pipkin. Thank you for allowing use of your epic tale.)

This is not for the weak of heart.

But for those who are curious and into reading long tails of epic Garou adventure, please, read on!! (and pardon the bad spelling.. >_<; )


PART I


Our Totem quest begins shortly after Greets-The-Sun had finished the rite itself. He'd left us, Eastern Wrath, around the camp fire in the clearing we had chosen with the advice that we should wait for our sign.

I cannot remember how long it was that we sat there, looking between ourselves with confusion and awaiting what sign may befall us. Boredom did sweep in quickly for me. I am a Galliard and I love to see things happening.

Luckily, the rest of my Pack Mates were not as antsy as I. Our Theurge, Walks-With-Dead, was keen in spotting the smoke that led off into a path between two trees. We had decided to all go investigate, seeing as how this could be the very sign for which we seek.

Cuts-The-Wyrm quickly took notice that the smoke was accompanied by tracks, which seemed to have belonged to a squirrel. It is a foreign creature to me. I cannot quite understand why it was this bushy-tailed rodent that took us so far. Spirits are odd things.

Shifting to our lupus forms was an easier way of tracking the little beast who seemed content on making its path quite obvious. Soon, we were moving over mountains whose cliffs reached high above a roaring snake of water. The noise of the angry river was quite welcoming to us, as we heard nothing from spirits this far on our journey. It was an unnerving thing, and I even now fear to think of how our Theurge felt.

The creature's path took us not to that river, but deeper into the woods that was soon being choked by thick bushes of thorns. The great plants formed a canopy that allowed little sunlight to poke through and gave one the impression of being on a long highway at night looking ahead.

It was at this point that we began to hear the sounds of creatures we could not recognize. Skittering noises happened up above us, and the plants themselves shook as if lizards and birds were running from our approach. Though we tried, we were unable to recognize the spirits, and I suppose all is well, for they did not want us to.

Hours of running soon turned to crawling as our canopy of jagged thorns took a disliking of us being there. But the tracks led on, and we are Silent Striders. What were thorns and darkness when we are so used to treading where others refuse?

There was a pedestal of thorns, holding up the pathway until it curved down to an end. I myself took to crawling around it, to check if there was any sign of path that continued to lead on. Walks-With-Dead assured us that where-ever this rodent that was leading us went, it was most likely up. He must have seen or smelled something that others had not.

Eternal Justice was the first to burst through the offending bushes in his great war form. Spirits scattered from his sheer might, and as always, we were quick to follow our leader. Right before our eyes, as Walks-With-Dead had suggested, sat the column of twisted thorn bushes. It reached high above us, towering through clouds as if it were to lead us straight to Luna herself.

After a moment of trial and error, it had occurred to me that we Garou are half Spirit. We can mix a piece of ourselves into the umbra to cause a change to our surroundings. A suggestion I made to our Theurge is what allowed us to continue.

It was a wonderful sight, to see him raise his massive Crinos arms into the air and focus on the twisted branches that reached into the sky. Tiny sparkles of light engulfed the tower from the bottom, and as they traveled upwards, we could see the very branches themselves twisting into a spiraling ledge to allow our passage upwards. It was still weak, and so I was obliged to lift my fellow pack mates up onto the pathway in their lupus forms.

Eternal Justice was the last to follow. There was a bit of a question in my mind as to how he was to manage without my help, and his solution startled and impressed me. He shrunk down, his form disappearing into the ragged bushes. From out of the holes in the bushes our crinos bodies made moments before, exploded his sleek, black lupus self, leaping onto the path where we stood.


PART II


It was not long before we began moving upwards. Thorns tore into the padding of our feet, but pain is nothing we Striders were not used to. Again it seemed as if we were walking forever, watching the thorn bushes turn to rolling hills as everything fell far below us.

Looking ahead, we could see the very path we walked on was turning to simply a, concept of itself, for lack of better wording. Thorns no longer pricked us, and the clouds above us seemed like something a cartoonist might draw on a piece of paper. The air grew thick as we traveled up and through the cloud, and soon enough we were forced to dig our way through it like struggling from out of a sand trap.

It's kind of what we were doing, actually, for we soon found ourselves crawling out of the dirt and onto yet another trail. The world around us was on television. It was written on paper with words actually naming what things were supposed to be. But the tracks led onwards, and thusly we followed.

Things were beginning to look familiar, as if they were a crude image of the sights we saw below. Again we moved along a path over mountains that were two dimensional. The river was jagged lines of unmoving water. We were back-tracking, but we were in another place.

As you may have guessed, the trail stopped where we had begun in this story. The very same camp fire was sitting, unmoving in its pit. Glancing around, however, we could see two differences. There was an axe on one side of the clearing, looking to be something Native American, and on the other side, there was a hole. It was deep, and dark, with torches burning off in the distance.

We were looking for a spiritual totem who fed upon the souls of the unjust. Stepping down into a cave that led deep into the earth was the only logical way to reach the Under World. Downwards we did stride.

After moving through the dark with little in sight but torches on the walls, we happened upon a large gate, made up of twisted metal and human bones. The tracks had ended long before this point, and so once the gate was opened with an ear-piercing scream of protest, it was decided that we step forward and keep moving that way, straight on from where the gate was.

We moved across a floor that was made of flesh and bone. The stench here was of decay because we were the only things that were living. Now that I think on it, we were pretty well the only things there at all. But in this empty place of death, we felt at home, for we are Striders. We tread where no other dares, and in some cases, where no other spirit dares. Because we have no true home, our only place of residence is where we walk.

Trees began to rise up, housing a great mist that choked the nose and dampened the senses. I began to wonder if we truly were alone, when I heard the sounds of something hovering above, flapping on great wings in circles around us; watching.

The great black bird landed onto a branch before us wearing a necklace made up of stones that sparkled even in this place that lacked any sort of proper lighting. Its head twitched in rhythmic moments as each of us was looked over by a piercing black eye, and then it spoke, questioning our presence here.

It was our Theurge who answered, for he was one who spoke to spirits. The raven was not impressed when told that we seek a totem of the eastern underworld. I am not familiar with powerful presences like the one of this great bird, but I must say that it looked down-right insulted that a pure-blooded pack as we would turn our back to it.

Ruffling of feathers and questioning of our intentions here gave us the impression that we still had quite a long way to go. Despite the disrespect of not wishing Raven for our Totem, the great bird soon agreed to lead us to where we wished to go in exchange for shiny glass trinkets that Walks-With-Dead offered to it. I really hope that most spirits are this easy to bribe.

Again, we were striding. This time we moved at a quicker pace with the Raven flapping far ahead of us. Our way led through terrain that was the very idea that westerners have of death. Trees had nooses hanging from them. There were great piles of freshly burned sticks, open coffins, and graves that were empty of their corpses. Though all this vast concept of death, there was nothing aside from the raven. No ghouls howled in their pain, and there were none that bothered to ask our assistance. This underworld was an empty, soulless, wasteland that led on for days, and still the bird we followed grew no more tired.

At last, we came to a great stagnant river that was choked with the bodies of the dead. Beside this stinking soup of rotting flesh and bone was where we finally came to a rest, for this part of the journey was an easy one. What lie ahead of us was nothing one could imagine.


PART III


From this point on, we followed the River of Death to what seemed would be its end. When we came across another large gate littered with bones and rust, Raven perched atop and informed us that while it was a symbol of Death, it was one of the Western Worlds, and was not welcome beyond the gate.

Thanking the Spirit for its helpfulness, Walks-With-Dead fulfilled his part of the bargain by paying the bird in shining stones. Cuts-The-Wyrm attempted to open the door to the gate, but instead of truly giving way like a door should, it crumpled to sand in his massive clawed hand.

Warm air gushed from the gate, and looking beyond, one could see vast rolling hills of desert. We had crossed concept of Western Death, and moved into something a bit more familiar to us.

Again, the world around us was empty. But for a desert, this was not exactly much out of place. When I did see something far off in the distance, it caught my attention right away, and in my Pack's case, it was not much different. There was a small black snake sitting atop a sand dune. Cuts-The-Wyrm had it in his mind to investigate and I had it in mine to test the pureness of its soul.

The stink of the small, but foul creature made the hairs along my back and tail stand on end. Indeed, its heart was heavy with the taint of the wyrm. Telling this to my Pack Mates, the creature's fate was already in our clawed hands. It would die.

Our underestimation of the creature's size came to attention when we moved in for the kill. It was just a sand dune away, but this was the umbra, and just how far away that sand dune was, was another story all together. Every step we took closer, the serpent grew in size until it was a massive coiling beast at least three-feet thick in its middle.

Our Theurge questioned it. The Beast informed us that it was waiting for its Master, Set. Little else could have convinced us that it needed to die, and upon the mentioning of that name, Cuts-The-Wyrm struck out with his mighty claws.

The serpent snapped back at the Ahroun with long, curving fangs of Silver. Indeed this was no ordinary opponent, but we are Striders. We do not cower when in danger! It is danger that we face every day! Cuts-The-Wyrm is not only brave, he is quick as well. Ducking out of the way of snapping fangs was no hard task, and in retaliation, he struck upwards, lashing the underside of the serpent's chin with his sharp claws.

Ooze as black as the foul beast's heart began spilling onto the desert sands by the time I took the chance to attack. Indeed the beast was fearful of its life seeing the pure-blooded images of Anubis coming for him on all sides. I did not get my chance for blood this time, for the serpent snapped its tail into my legs, sending me sprawling backwards as Walks-With-Dead raked claws across its scales.

Sparks were flying from the Theurge's attack as our great Ahroun took another chance to sink his fists into its soft underbelly and wound the beast. All this time, Eternal Justice was moving into position. As I jumped forward, digging my talons into the great snake's open wounds and tearing out its inky black insides, fiery thunder from my Alpha's hands sent the snake's silver-toothed head snapping backwards, spraying its dark blood over the sands.

Walks-With-Dead took another chance to slash at this image of Set, but missed because the creature was writhing in pain, and began to constrict around those closest. Caught in the middle, I had only one chance to remain unharmed. Up I jumped, leaping onto the massive beast's glittering black hide. But Cuts-The-Wyrm, who was HE to be afraid of a scaled body closing in on him?

With a roar mighty enough to coax even the weakest of hearts into battle, Cuts-The-Wyrm was true to his name. He slashed with his strong arms in rapid succession, digging through the Serpent’s body like a hot knife cutting through butter. When he finished, the snake lay in half, its tail twitching as blood flooded over the ground, staining it black.

How powerful were we as a pack, that we managed battle and defeat a serpent with silver fangs and come out completely unscathed! Before we left our foe where it lay, we removed one of its shining teeth to take along with us. We wrapped the deadly fang in cloth, and set out on our way.


PART IV


Again we moved over rolling dunes. Our fur was slick with serpent blood, and our paws crusted with gore. We did not get far before the wind began to pick up, scattering sands through the air with vicious force.

The wind harbored a kind of sentience, for it began carving out the image of a face out of the hill before us. We paused to investigate, wondering what sorts of spirit this might be, when its stern features addressed us.

Speaking that his name was Aker, the guardian and watcher of the eastern and western desert borders, he demanded to know our business. Walks-With-Dead informed him that we were in search of Ammet to ask her if she would be our Totem. He frowned deeply, telling us that our quest was futile for the spirit is guarded by serpents and we will never get to her before dying.

We had set out on our task, and information such as this was not about to get us down. As Garou, we are always facing overwhelming odds, and if we were to cower like pups upon hearing something the way we don't want to hear it, we would never get anything done at all! Cuts-The-Worm spoke that if we had serpents to cross, then they should fear for themselves for we would kill them all if we had to!

Aker laughed. If he was pleased, or mocking us, I will never know, I am no Theurge. Regardless, the sands shifted, and this great guardian spirit carved out a pathway though the desert for us to follow.

The way we moved was littered with broken statues of Anubis. The once proud figures stretched on as far as the eye could see, showing that at one time, the lands belonged to those of his blood. But our history is a sad one, shown in the introduction of small statues of Set.

Images of Set grew taller and grander as pyramids crumbled to the ground around them. The glory of our old ways were being choked by evil and in my heart was an aching I never wish to feel again. We were not welcome in this land, where Anubis had been banished and another taken his throne. The sands burned my feet, and though I should be proud as a Garou, here, all I could feel was an overwhelming sense of dread.

Though I felt the ache in my soul could get no worse, I was not prepared to set my eyes upon the temples of the Old Gods. Snakes in the sands were so thick that you could not place your foot to the ground between them. They formed a great blanket over the earth, surrounding the temples that crumbled from years of neglect.

The Temple of Anubis lay in ruins. Others were crumbling to the ground. These gods had been banished or forgotten. And as if in a mockery to their memory, the temple of Set stood tall, its paint fresh and its walls smooth.

But one temple caught our attention. Though most of our Old Gods lay forgotten, the Temple of Osiris looked as if it were being rebuilt. No snakes dare slither upon its great steps, for they seemed to be avoiding it.

Heading to this temple was our only option, for it seemed that we may actually come across something here. Our main problem was getting to it. There was a great blanket of snakes in our way, and if we were to attempt to kill them, thousands...millions would come in to reclaim the place where our claws slashed!

But lo! What good is it to be a Warrior of Gaia if you can not think to keep yourself from diving blindly into battle? Walks-With-Dead solved our problem moments after we had realized that we had it:

Though the snakes were a large moving carpet of death, they all slithered in unison. If your eye was sharp, you could see the gaps in the sand that they made as they all slithered in one direction or another, forming a clear passage to the very temple we wished to walk to! We need not battle these creatures! We would simply stride to the temple that we wished!

Though the path was clear to us, it was not one without its danger. Snakes are quick, and their jaws are venomous. I am sad to confess that I lack the gift of speed taught by Cheetah, and so Cuts-The-Wyrm was forced to carry me as he, Eternal Justice, and Walks-With-Dead dashed through the slithering sea of death.

Cuts-The-Wyrm narrowly avoided lashing fangs and Eternal Justice seemed to be dancing through them, mocking their writhing bodies as they hissed in anger! Walks-With-Dead had the worst luck of the lot and I saw him stagger as one snake managed to sink its teeth into his ankle before he reached the safety of the Temple stairs.

He had not time to worry about his wounds. Mad with rage, our slithering enemies dared brave the steps to Osiris' temple. As waves of them came after us, we were forced to retreat inside.


PART V


Ducking through the doors, we flew past two massive armored statues in the image of Osiris. Snakes flowed over the threshold into the inner temple, hissing in anger and fouling the very name of Osiris with their presence.

Suddenly, serpents were sent scattering over the floors, slamming into walls, and leaving bloody marks streaking across the floors. Snakes were being trampled under foot as the massive stone statues came to life, hands and blades thirsty for the blood of those who dare follow the enemy of Osiris! Even the sky began to come down upon them in roaring flashes of lightning, scorching the serpents and filling the air with the stink of their burning flesh! The image of Set was not welcome here. But we? We were left unharmed.

Leaving the guardians to their battle, we quickly sprinted deeper within the Temple. More guards hurried past us, beating their Kopeshes upon their shields as they rushed to cut down the enemies that dare invade this holy place.

At the end of the long temple was the Throne Room. Here, guards glanced eagerly to the battle behind us, but they refused to leave their place of guarding. Not knowing our purpose either, they crossed their spears before the door, not allowing any entry.

Eternal Justice greeted them with utmost respect. To prove our loyalty, he offered the long silver snake's fang to the guards as a gift to Osiris. We had slain a minion of Set, who was the enemy of the God of this Temple. The guards were convinced, and thusly the door was opened to us.

The inside of the throne room was filled with beauty. The walls were covered in colored hieroglyphs, spelling out ancient stories that ache my heart for I cannot read them. Gold shone from decorations lying on tables or fixed to the walls, but through all this beauty, I could see that it was old and crumbling. Dust held in the air and layered everything around us.

Before us was a great golden throne, decorated with soft cloth pillows and dusty paint. Here is where the Silver snake's tooth was set by our Alpha, and in a flash of roaring fire, it disappeared.

A great chiming sound filled the air as Spirits flocked into the room. The ancient Gods themselves stood around us, cobwebs hanging from their shoulders, and dust darkening their once vibrant clothes. All seemed tired and worn, but in their eyes shown a great interest, as they were all curious to see us. We Silent Striders had been banished from these lands thousands of years ago! Even to a spirit, this is a long time! But here we were, laughing in the face of Set, and overpowering the curse he'd put upon us!

Ammet herself came forth, to speak to us. She was a mighty beast, baring the head of a crocodile, the body of a lion, and the hind quarters of the hippopotamus. Even she was covered in dust and cob webs, showing that like the others, she had been all but forgotten.

We were told that we had come along way where many had failed, and for this, we were welcome. Eternal Justice, our wise Alpha, spoke that we remember the old ways, and wish to have her as our Totem.

We are a noble pack of pure-blooded Striders! How could Ammet not be proud to have us following as her loyal servants? We offered ourselves to her, and were accepted under the condition that ALL spirits tainted by Apothis shall be slain in her name, and NONE shall escape!

Overwhelmed by the honor of baring Ammet's name before his Pack's own, Eternal Justice expressed his gratitude in a way that would impress any Galliard to hear it. Even now, I could give his speech no justice, for it was to be spoken only once, and for the gods alone. To him, our Totem looked pleased. She swelled her breast with pride, and dust began to fall from her fur, restoring it to a shine long lost in the folds of time.

Our quest met, it was time to be leaving this place of the dead. There was an opening in the wall behind the golden throne of Osiris, and this was the Spirit Path provided by the Gods. Stepping through the wall, we were plunged into darkness, falling great lengths until we were spit out into rapid-moving water.

I do not know how long we were thrown through the rapids, for the currant was so violent that it trashed my body against walls and rocks until I knew no more. When I awoke, I was with my fellow pack mates, beside a great roaring river whose water exploded out of the mouth of a thin gorge carved through the middle of a mountain.

We, Ammet's Eastern Wraith, gathered our soaking selves from the river bank and began our stride back to the Great Caern of Cooperation. As we trekked our way over jagged rocks up the river bank, something had caught my eye. Beside me, as if forgotten in time, was a warped sign pointing towards the screaming water. Two words were charred into the rotting wood's surface: Hell's Gate. ((This is an actual location near Vancouver BC, where the story is set..))

END.


The sun had set by the time Modi finished the tale. The moon had risen to its full height and was listening down as well. The cubs had never really moved, except to let blood back into their legs and then only for a moment. Modi's throat was drying up and he was in dangerous need of water, but he would have gladly blacked out to sing the song again.

"Do you see how even the smallest of steps is as an epic to our people? This is what your life will soon become. This is what you will have to accomplish and live up to in the future. I can guarantee you that these brave striders were miserable in the underworld and that the desert heat was almost unbearable. That is why you have to work like this, that is why I ride you so hard about making the effort to control yourself and to learn to do a job right. You can't be fighting and jacking around when you have your whole pack relying on you." Modi moved to the water bucket and indulged in a ladle full. He then turned to face the cubs again.

"Do you know any other stories of Ammet's Eastern Wraith? What has become of them?" The fat little Uktena was called Sated Snake, showing that the Uktena do have a since of humor.

"I might know a few, but it is not a good time for more. You might hear of them again, or you might see them one day. What matters is that you understand what they went through and what is required of Garou, even in the most common of our duties." Modi drank from the ladle again. When looking at the children rising up from the ground and stretching, he realized that they were the only thing that would keep this big green goddess safe after he and his pack passed away, and more than likely, some of them may end up in songs themselves.

Modi was walking to his own cabin thinking of the tale he had shared. The Eastern Wraith had suffered greatly and had accomplished much. How often had Modi let the little things go, how often had he let his reverence slip and what did that cost him? Before opening the front door, Modi looked over his shoulder and saw Luna’s gibbous form hanging in the sky. He stopped and for the first time in many years, greeted her with the personal prayer his uncle had taught him when he was a cub.
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Aug. 21st, 2005 @ 02:30 am Constitutions Song (beat poem)
Current Mood: revolutionary

“I’m getting old Modi.”  Bearcat was sitting on the hood of the packs old Plymouth taking a drag off of his joint.  Modi didn’t bother to respond, he was sure that his pack Theurge would continue with the story rather he wanted him to or not.  “I had a young Theurge ask me why his mentor insisted that Rat was an aspect of War.  I really didn’t know how to answer that question though.  So I just said, ‘that is the way it has always been.  You shouldn’t question your mentor.’.”  Bearcat let thin wisps of smoke snake out of his nose.  “I oughta kick my own ass for saying something like that.”  Bearcat offered the joint to Modi.

 

Modi reached over and took the joint, took a long pull on it and chuckled.  “Are you asking my advice?  Is the world renown Child of Gaia, Moonbeam Bearcat asking the advice of the accursed Shadow Lord, Modi DirgeHowler, for advice?”  Modi was reminded of those annoying and often imitated credit card commercials.  As Modi exhaled, he passed the Pinter back to his pack mate.  “On a matter of the spirits, no less.”

 

“Well, try not to sound too proud.”  Bearcat took another toke and spun on his bottom to face Modi fully.  “I don’t really look to other totems much, you know?  I was raised in a caern populated mostly by Children, and I learned pretty quickly about the ephemeral brothers and sisters, but the other tribal totems were never a strong area of interest for me.  I know more than your average bear though.”  He was quick to add that last part. “It is just that, well, the gnawers following a war totem seems so out of place.  Look at the Talons and the Fenrir.  Those bastards obviously love the war, but how often do you see a gnawer smacking around their cubs or one another?” 

 

Modi killed the roach that was being offered him.  He didn’t like what he was about to do, but it couldn’t be helped. “Look, Bear, you know when I rag on you for living in a commune, and not knowing what the world is really like?  Well no one but the gnawers really know what the gnawers are like.  I ran with one of their galliards in Miami for awhile, right before I joined Raven’s Shadow, and trust me; Rat is a totem of war.”

 

“I don’t think I understand.  How is it that they always grovel around, if they are so bloodthirsty?” Bearcat was already licking the paper for his new roll. 

 

“Oh they are bloodthirsty when they have to be.  There is this song that Constitution sang once at a mostly all Gnawer gathering.  He had a style all his own, and I am pretty sure that I am going to sound like an idiot when I try this, but I hope you get the point of the words and not necessarily what the style implies.”  Modi began to beat a rhythm on the car hood and began to chant the words.

 

(The author,Constitution, intended this to be more of a spoken word then a rhythmic rap.  Try to keep that in mind when reading.  Also think of the hard work and courage it took to perform this at a 50 player larp.)

 

 

It’s just another day another dollar

So let me here my herd, holler

I aim ta bring home some noise

So I wanna hear all of da girls and boys

 

I’m fed up with my toxic promised land

Home of the free enslaved by the man

I try to make a difference with these two hands

But I was to dumb to swim when the others swam

 

There’s a war that I fight

Each and every night

To try to make it right

To try to shed some light

 

But I lose more often than I win

And time and again, I drown in the sin

 

That my hood has started to mass produce

Let the demons loose

A consumerized noose

That is strangling the life out of me

Yet I eat at the local Mickey D’s

A super sized number 3 washes down my hypocrisy.

 

The few times that I have managed to get a victory

It gets crushed by my people, taken away from me

You act like your intentions aren’t plain to see

 

Turned up pure breed noses

At my renowned prose’s

Pushing up plastic roses

My family’s sacrifices get overlooked

My songs at the fires get me the hook

I live honest, but I’m painted as a crook

 

So fuck you and your fascist nation

I bleed blood to fertilize your plantations

Where the slave tribes, lose their lives

Only to here a dirge when your people die

I won’t live for a king that doesn’t know me

I won’t let bygones go, bitch you owe me

 

I live in the battlefield that scares you

The land that has forgotten you

Nobility impairs you

My wisdom forgotten by you

 

When was the last time you were told to know your place?

Treated like you were inferior to your face?

 

This is the reality

That you have given me

And you’ve driven me

To be what you see

 

So think of all of this

When you are drinking your chasubles

And I am fighting your war with my fists

And dying for your cause while you don’t notice

 

The dragon that I slay rolls deep.

He makes his layer on each corner of every street,

And his claws are strapped

With flames and silver in his gats.

He roars in stereo and your people are running back

I’m left to face his minions of dirty money, easy crime, and so sweet smack.

 

Stay hidden behind your trees,

It looks like a forest to me.

And when we all die on these streets,

I will only be mourning your defeat.

 

 

By the end of the poem, Bearcat had taken beating the rhythm into the car hood as well.  The two pack mates had left little dents all over the most expensive of their Alphas few material possessions.  When they realized what they had done, both started to laugh a laugh that was only made worse by their attempts to restrain it. 

 

“Well, I guess Constitution succeeded in recruiting me to vandalism.”  Modi spoke through the tears his outburst of laughter had caused.

 

“Yeah, I guess so.” Bearcat was wiping the tears from his eyes and taking air in more easily then Modi.  “I didn’t know that Gnawers felt like that.  They seem to either not notice the other Garou or just make jesters of themselves from what I have seen.”

 

“It’s an act.  All of it.  Don’t feel bad though, I know plenty of Lords that fall for it too.  Constitution was an angry fella though.  Not all of the Gnawers feel that way.  On the other hand, I have heard that the ones that are that pissed don’t come to multitribal moots.”  Modi just shrugged.

 

Both pack mates just sat there for awhile until finally Bearcat spoke, “You know that I am going to be forced to tell Listens that you fancy yourself a gangster now.”

 

Modi showed all of his teeth in the most evil grin he could muster “About as much as you fancy yourself a warrior.”

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Aug. 21st, 2005 @ 12:07 am The Lessons of Shakti BaneSlayer
Current Mood: Mournful

Every inch of his hide and every bone in his body was sore. The battle had lasted far longer then anyone at the sept had anticipated, and the numbers they faced far greater. "Leave it to a Silent Strider to be vague in his doom, that you can always count on" Modi whispered to himself. When all good Garou were sleeping off the effects of the battle, or getting cozy with the kinfolk, Modi was walking along a thin, muddy switch-back in the gaia-forsaken hills of Galtetee, Tenessee. The price of being beta was getting to be too high for the young Shadow Lord. "If that damn pup would just learn to keep his mouth shut until I say he can speak...."Modi let the thought trail off.

Modi was releaved to finally see his packmate, Crag, sitting on a poor defenseless granite jut coming from the bowels of some 'hollar', that is what they call cleavage in hickland, still covered in blood, still hot with rage. The night had been less then epic for the young Fenrir and when everyone was praising the bravery of the Warder, Knows-the-Woods, Crag felt that they should have been praising him. Modi was old enough to know that wasn't gonna happen, but poor Crag was still green from his firsting and as the youngest of the Ravens Shadows, he had never seen first hand how much gets overlooked when a questing pack does the killing.

As Modi sat down next to Crag he winced in pain and allowed the air to rush out of his lungs in a sigh. He looked over to the massive garou and was reminded that this was a boy, no older than 17. "You can vent to me for about five minutes and then I will teach you two lessons about glory. Your time is ticking." Modi didn't really feel like being empathetic and the Get of Fenris had never known it existed.

"I killed those fomor! That fucking faggot of a Wyrm poxed Child was getting his pretty little ass whipped!" Right, well, Modi had expected anger. "I know the litany says first rights go to the eldest but, fuck that! How did that limp wristed cocksucker ever see Athro? Who the fuck faced him in the circle? I mean for fucks sake..."

"Alright time is up! You are wasting your breath and you sound like an idiot." The Fenrir swung his gaze around to bore a hole through Modi. The gaze was returned and the kid tried hard, but eventually had to relent. Few could make Modi flench or face is harrowing stare.  In his youth he had found himself in a good many challenges due to his own pride. "I earned what I have Crag. I suggest you not attempt any of that playground shit with me." Modi let his voice soften some. "I am gonna teach you two lessons, and I hope to accomplish this with one story. If you listen you will learn something that will benefit you until you reach Valhalla, if you don't you will never have enough deeds to get there.

"This story was told to me by a Fury Galliard when I was traveling lone in the DC area. Her name was Diana, and she had one of the most refreshing voices I had ever heard. I will tell you the story as she did, for she was there and it was as she sang." Modi cleared his throat and aloud his voice to timber in a higher pitch.

"In the place that the humans call Virginia, there is a caern called the Seven Trees. Long had the Garou defended it against the ravages of the Leeches in the nearby city of Washington, D.C., but as the years went on, more and more of the Weaver's webs encroached upon the caern, until, by a time not so long ago, the wild places around the sept had shrunk to a fraction of their previous size. And yet, perhaps through the powers of Gaia and Pegasus – for the sept was under that totem's protection – the caern endured. However, there were those among the inhabitants of the city who were desirous of the caern's power.

One of these was a young Leech who wished to impress his elders. To this end, he struck a dark and secret pact with the powers of Darkness, and called forth a clutch of Banes to ravage the caern and bring him its Pathstone. On a moonless night, he crept toward the edge of the Bawn, the Banes gibbering about him in the spirit world. The Warder of the Sept of the Seven Trees was a wolf-born Black Fury Full Moon named Shakti Baneslayer, a Warrior of high esteem among both the Furies and her sept as a whole. Many were the foes of Mother Gaia and Her sister Luna that had fallen to this Warrior-wolf's claws, and tonight, as she patrolled the Bawn and caught the foul stench of the Wyrm's minions, she knew that her skills were needed once again.

Lifting her head to the night sky, she voiced The Warning of the Wyrm's Approach. Then, as the Guardians appeared, she took on the war-form and called out with the Anthem of War, a howl that was taken up by the Guardian pack as they slipped easily into the Umbra to deal with the invaders. The Guardians fought bravely, their claws rending the substance of the foul spirits as a hawk's talons rend a flightless pigeon, but it seemed that for every one they slew, another rose up to take its place. Battered and outnumbered, the brave warriors nevertheless gave it their all – one of them, the Stargazer Half-Moon called Seeker-After-Truth, tore one of the foul things to pieces, only to be set upon by another. His packmates rushed to aid him, but though they managed to slay the second Bane, Seeker-After-Truth had fallen, never to rise again.

Shakti Baneslayer tore through her foes, living up to her name many times over. Her night-black fur was stained with the foul ichor of the Banes, and with her own blood as well, but still she fought bravely, her claws slicing through the Banes' armor to find the tender flesh beneath. Many were the howls of agony from the Banes as the mighty Fury and the Guardians brought them down despite the Garou's own injuries. As the last Bane fell, the Guardians saw the Leech who had summoned them fleeing for his very existence. Determined not to let their foe escape, Shakti gave chase, bringing him down with a mighty leap. Pinned beneath her, the Leech scrabbled madly at the monstrous she-wolf atop him. Shakti felt acid run along her nerves, but she refused to yield, burying her jaws deeper in the throat of her prey as he struggled. Her magnificent black coat was stained with crimson, but she clamped her jaws harder, until her foe moved no more. With a mighty snap, her jaws met, and the Leech's head rolled away, both body and head turning to nothing but a fine powder as the first rays of Helios's fingers showed over the horizon.

Then, and only then, did the mighty Fury Ahroun relax into the arms of the Mother. Great was the mourning at the Sept of the Seven Trees that day, for Shakti Baneslayer, Wolf-born daughter of Luna's full face, Warrior of the Black Furies, and Warder of the Caern of the Seven Trees, was no more. She was laid to rest with great honor in the sept's Graves of the Hallowed Heroes, and her tale was spread to other septs by the Moon Dancers of the Seven Trees, so that her heroism might never be forgotten." 

                                                     ---Story provided by THEGAMEMISTRESS

Modi allowed the final notes to slowly fade in the morning air, and looked to the young Fenrir.  The boy was transfixed by the tale, and he had calmed substantially.  Modi liked Fury songs for that reason, they always seemed to have a calming and purposeful effect on the listener.  He would let the moment take hold, then check to make sure the fostern wasn't shell shocked.

"What do you think?" Modi asked the young Ahroun.

"Shakti was a badass." Crag answered, driving home that he was still only 17.

"Yes, and you should have learned a few things as well. What were they?" Modi would have slapped the young warrior across his head, were he no so sore.

"Great deeds are always sung and in song we reach immortality.  My grandfather always used to say that.  I understand it now.  Even though she is dead, she still lives as a lesson to others on what bravery is."  The Fenrir might not be as stupid as his anger lets on.  Perhaps he just has to calm down.  "I hope to have a glorious death like hers."  Then again.

"That will do for one lesson, but what of the second?"  Modi was looking Crag in the eyes now.

"Her mind was on her task and on the battle, not on the glory that she would achieve from it."  As the words left Crags mouth, his head tilted down.  He knew that he was in the wrong this time.  As the realization sunk in Crag slumped in place.  "I  am going to have to apologize to the Sept aren't I?"

"We are going to have to do more than apologize I fear.  Listens has been speaking with the elders all night.  Get some sleep and we will slay that dragon in the morning."  Modi stood up, his body fighting him the whole time.  As he began to walk away, Modi looked to Crag, heavy with guilt.  "You fought like a warrior twice your age last night.  You should be proud of that.  Glory comes to the gifted in time, it cannot be denied them.  Be patient."  Crag looked at Modi, and seemed relieved, but said nothing.

As Modi walked away he thought of the third lesson.  Most sacrifices go unsung, just ask Seeks-After-Truth.

 

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