- Tue Jan 19, 2016 12:02 pm
Aishe nodded assent with Corc. Outside was dramatic and wonderful for the grand legends, especially at night when the tapestry of stars spread overhead to share their stories. In the middle of winter in the early morning in Spiral territory, however, was not Aishe's idea of a good story telling venue.
She followed and observed, drinking in the sight of the pack's home. It was utilitarian, comfortable, and rustic. Something about it reminded her of the tribe itself. Maybe she was reading too far into them, but they were a simple tribe, unlike the Shadow Lords or Glasswalkers. The Spirals had one major motivation: Fight for survival. This cabin out in the middle of the ferocious wet winter set itself up against nature in the same way that the tribe set itself against the nation. Neither could compromise, and they both were made stronger by the defiance. Neither could submit...Aishe cocked her head thoughtfully at the idea.
The young Strider graciously accepted the plate from Corc's wife. She smiled thankfully and ate quickly. As story teller, they would be waiting for her. As soon as she as finished, she took her plate to where others were leaving their dirty dishes. Aishe kept her head down as she approached the fire in the middle of the room. She began clearly, but softly.
"Oh wolves of the frozen Scottish moors...Wild Cards of the Black Spiral Dancers, I stand before you as Aishe Far Runner of the Silent Striders, the first of my pack and my tribe to stand among you for over three generations, and I beg you to hear this tale. "
Aishe raised her hands to the ceiling and tilted her head back, a standing submission and placation for the totem spirits to hear the tale. When she dropped her arms, she swirled the smoke powder into the fire. The motion created a swirling, opaque vortex.
"In the beginning was the Dark. It held no stars and cared for nothing. Out of the dark ran the First of our kind."
She had timed her words perfectly. The smoke cleared as she began to speak of the nation's beginnings.
"The First was not male. The First was not female. The First held all of the tribes within itself, and it was the Nation as one. But Garou were not meant to run alone, so the First split itself, exploding across the dark into all of creation, forming the constellations, the totems, the stars, the land, the sea, and the Nation. From the First's heart came the Silver Fangs. From the mighty paws, the Shadow Lords. The fangs of the First became the Get of Fenris. The black Furies and the Children of Gaia were born from the First's motherly instincts, both to kill and protect. The Glasswalkers were the ears of the First, the Striders were the eyes. From the nose came the Bone Gnawers, always able to scent their way home. The Red Talons and the Uktena and the Wendigo were the legs of the First, always able to carry the Nation back to our heritage. The Fianna were born of the First's howl, as dangerous and joyful as the howl of any Garou."
She paused here. The order in which the tribes were named had a lot to do with the story being told, the audience, and the intentions of the story teller. The first and last tribes named held special honor. Traditionally, as alpha of the nation, the Silver Fangs were named first. The tribe named last was always the tribe of which the hero of the following tale hailed from. Interestingly, the second to last tribe named was almost always a place holder for the hero's rival. It showed that they weren't important enough to be named higher, nor were they the heroes. She wondered if the Wild Cards knew that detail in a story teller's arsenal. She continued, breaking from the traditional naming of the Spiral's tribe origin.
"But what is a Garou without their rage? And what is the Nation without the Black Spiral Dancers?"
She left the question to hang unanswered. It didn't need said; a Garou with no rage was no Garou at all.
"Wild Cards, children of the twin totems Lion and Whippoorwill, this is your story. It shall be remembered so long as Striders walk the nights, as long as Owl remembers, as long as the breath of the First remains in creation. Hear and approve, I beg."
She sprinkled her color dust into the flames, turning them blood red.
"There came from the south a demon. This agent of the Dark craved evil and thrived off of blood. He called himself the Butcher, and his totem was Death. Into the lands of the Isles he stalked, unafraid of the Nation and laughing at their stewardship. Left, right! He slayed as he saw fit and none dared oppose him. The White Rats, may the nation remember them, fell to the Butcher's silver claws. An entire pack was swallowed by the avatar of Death!
But then lo! Whippoorwill heard that his domain was being attacked, and he called to the elders of the nation. 'Call forth my champion so the world may know!' said he. The elders met and pondered. They fasted and called to their totems for many nights. 'Know what?' they asked."
Aishe spread her arms wide, dropping bright powder into the flames. She threw her head back in the flash of light and intoned in a high an ethereal voice the totem's reply.
"'That I am death! I am the end of life and the beginning of eternity! I am Whippoorwill, and my Fury shall fall at Twilight!'"
She waited a beat. The parallel was significant. No, she didn't have the exact words that the totems gave the elders, but that didn't matter. Soren was called, so she had the liberty to make his claw one of prophecy. She relaxed her stance back to a neutral posture.
"And so the nations gathered. They deliberated and searched for long weeks, until the Black Spiral Dancer known as Soren Sheperd was revealed to them. He is Twilight's Fury, beholden to the Lion, heir of the Whippoorwill, and beta of the Wild Cards. I, Aishe Far Runner of the Silent Striders, personally delivered the call of the nation to him. He received his task and accepted the call, eager to prove what the Black Spiral Dancers already know: He served the true totem of Death, and no Nosferatu or Garou could take that honor from him."
She gauged her audience. All eyes were on her and it was silent. She continued after a branch popped in the heat of the flames.
"And so it was that we went to the castle of humans called Hogwarts. The moon rose high and sang her song, a death dirge for the usurper called the Butcher. Ancient wyrm, evil thing of death though he was, he was wary. His caution proved his undoing however. As the moon sang to Soren, he revealed the power of the Garou. All who witnessed him were afraid, for they knew that he was their master and he was their doom. I myself bear the scars of submission to his righteous and terrible rage."
She tilted her neck so the silvery skin of healed scars showed in the firelight. She bore the marks proudly. She had survived a Spiral in his rage, and few could boast that.
"And so he hunted, did the avalanche of fury. His prey was quickly discovered and engaged. They met as lightning meets the earth, as surf pounds the shore, explosive and tenacious. The old monster was fast, armed with silver claws, and bearing the fangs of the Nachtweber; Twilight's Fury was strong, armed with the gifts of the nation, and bearing the fangs of the First. Bite after bite, claw to claw, the titans grappled. The Nachtweber laid traps for Soren, catching him in a blinding spell. That did not slow down the Garou. The blood drinker laid bare Soren's fore leg. That did not stop the Garou. The vampire took Soren's eye! The Garou made the Nosferatu pay with his life! But in the final, cruel blow, the demon buried his claws in the slayer's chest. Having won against the false avatar of Death, Soren Shepard found himself in a new fight against Death himself."
She mixed her red powder and her smoke powder together and tossed them in the flames. Blood red smoke billowed up and she continued her tale.
"Doused crimson in the blood of his foe and his own blood, Soren battled against Death, refusing to submit and follow. Whippoorwill acquiesced, relenting only for his totem-sworn's sign of fealty. So, Twilight's Fury survived the false avatar of Death and proved himself worthy to bear the scars of his totem. So witnessed, so told. The rage of the nation overcomes all adversaries."
She bowed her head, completing her tale.