Songs & Stories
Storytelling is an intrinsic part of Garou life, and though they rely more on oral than written conveyance there are times when the claws must serve as the voice. Songs are sung or carved for a variety of reasons, from territorial markers to grand accounts. Lamentations and cautionary tales are written as reminders or in the wake of tragedies - or fools - while accolades provide a proud testament to the deeds of those deserving of renown.
Though the Silver Record contains the greatest of tales, many Septs (and anruth Galliards with poor memories!) keep their own records in glyphs.
Bitches of Anarchy[Sam "Trial-of-Hope" Holloway]
It includes the Tribal glyphs of all pack members (Get of Fenris, Bone Gnawers, Fianna, Children of Gaia), Auspice glyphs of all pack members (Ahroun, two Galliards, Philodox, Theurge), Breed glyphs of all pack members (Crinos-born, Homid, Lupus), and the glyph of the patron spirit Mother Anarchy.
Daughters of the Earth and Moon[Sam "Trial-of-Hope" Holloway]
Daughters of the Earth and Moon
We are the Daughters of the Earth and the Moon,
Seed of hope sown by Goddesses,
Fertilised by the nourishing light of Helios and Phoebe,
Born of soil wetted by blood,
Secondborn Daughters still lead by the First,
You cannot burn at a stake,
That which is immaterial,
The hunger, the need, the desire,
For vengeance, for justice and ultimately peace,
Daughters of Earth and Moon we are,
We are the Daughters and we witness,
We are the Daughters and we judge,
We are the Daughters and we kill.
HEARKEN TO THE TALE OF THE PACK, FLITS AMONG LILLIES AS THEY BATTLE A FELL WITCH OF THE ELDER SERPENT!"
Struts with Birds takes his sheathed weapon and pounds it on the rock rhythmically as he speaks. "The pack had three members, Judges Banes, Athro Philidox of Older Brother. Strikes with Ice Adren Ragabash of the Younger Brother, and Dances with Cattle, Fostern Theurge of Older Brother. They followed Wise Dragonfly. It came to pass that there was a Witch, defiling the stone buildings of our ancestral people, performing a ritual to summon a great Wyrm thing from the earth. So these three stalwart Garou rushed to the site of the ritual to stop the one who breaks names. The Witch had caused the very stone to rise up and try to protect it's foul deed. But even beasts of Stone can stand against the Grandmother's warriors! Spear lunged! Arrows flew! And mighty war club rained down!"
As Struts tells the tail of the battle he dances around on top of the rock, swinging and thrusting with his sheathed weapon. "Judges Bane quickly grew tired of the battle, and so used the gift granted to him from the spirits that gives him strength of of the Lords of the Earth, and used his bare hands to tear apart the golems of clay and mud!"
Struts with Birds raises his weapon above his head and strikes the rock forcefully. "Onward the three children of Dragonfly went. They burst into the room of the Ritual, but the Witch was ready. It summoned enslaved spirits to attack them, but Judges Banes summoned an army of spirits of his own. The Umbra shook with their battle! Judges Banes and Strikes with Ice sprang forward to battle the foe, but the witch had its rituals up, and they found themselves frozen in space. It would appear that they were in full control of the witch!"
He pauses and holds his weapon pressed to his forehead, looking full of sorrow and shame.
Struts with Birds continued, "But an Older Brother Theurge is not without tricks." He lifts his head and grins. "Dances with Cattle, though a Fostern was a wise and old Garou. For 50 years he had walked the Turtle's back as a Fostern of the Nation. When asked why he had not advanced in rank, he replied that he was to busy doing Gaia's work for such foolishness. He set to work on a ritual. Crafting it on the spot. As part of the Ritual, he drank a bottle of Fermented Peyote oil."
Struts with Birds weaves across the rock drunkenly as he continues. "When the Ritual was finished he stumbled up to the Witch, and despite it's wards and protections, he weaved forward." He stumbles off of the rock and approaches the alpha in a drunken Fashion. "Closer still he came to the witch. Slowly! Crookedly! But steady like the Sidewinder across the plains he advanced!" He also moves closer to the Alpha.
"He leaned and put his face right in front of the vile witch and met eyes with the Worker of Will!" He follows suit with his actions. "And then he..."
Struts with Birds pauses in the story and then belches loudly in the Alpha's face before straightening and leaping back to the rock. "With such a loud and odorous assault the Witch was not able to concentrate on it's ritual! With a loud scream, the ritual began to fail around them! The Wards fell, and the pack could move again! Thinking quickly, Strikes with Ice flung his packmates from the room with a blast of wind as a glyph burned bright in the floor and lightning striked around the room. He used the gift of mighty Younger Brother to give him the strength of the might pine and stabbed his mighty Fetish Spear into the glyph. With a heavy explosion, the room collapsed and was sucked into the Wyrm Creatures stomach!"
"When Strikes with Ice was found, his body like that of Ice, buried under rubble. Know this story so that when you face those who would shape the world to their wishes that you do not doubt their strength, and also so you do not doubt the strength and guile of a pack of Gaia's warriors!" He shifts to Crinos, and unsheathes his Macuahuitl and lets out a howl of Victory as he raises the sword above his head.
Johnthan looks absolutely impressed at the bravo and ability for this Galliard to tell a story! So caught up in the way that this story is told that he himself shifts to his war form and Howls With Struts!
Struts with Birds sheathed his weapon and slings it over his back in Crinos as he looks to the Alpha.
"High above the Twined Cities, I howl with no voice my pain.
Rides the Falling Waters my good friend has died.
Not in Glorious Battle, Not in honorable sacrifice,
But at the Claws and Teeth of another Gaian Garou!
One who's name shall be stripped of him in this Record!
He Violated our Litany when Rides bared his throat to him!
He did not allow for a honorable surrender
and tore out Ride's throat
when he heard the call of the Wyrm and gave into his Rage!
Strip him of his Honor!
Strip him of his Wisdom!
Strip the Coward of his Glory!
With his Judgment, he will be forced to help any Gaian Garou by putting Himself in danger!
And let his other name, One of Shame, One that be shouted loudly be known!
Johnny Jumps the Gun! You took a Wise Teacher from us! You took a great Storyteller from us!
Your punishment is not mine to make, but I take comfort in knowing Your Fate will be Just!
Rides the Falling Waters, Let this story of your death put your spirit to rest, return to the cycle my brother, return Gaia, and Return to Us once again my friend."
I began my quest at the Sept of the Stars,learning from my old friend Akim,Seeker of Inner Enlightenment and Wisdom,Theurge of the Stargazers.
Akim and I sparred with words and wisdom,testing our knowledge of the Umbra against one another.My friend confounded me again and again,forcing me to draw out the hidden lessons behind his tales.Again and again I tried to perplex him with my knowledge,but he evaded my most cunning snares.
In this way we sparred for forty days and forty nights.On the last day I caught him in a trap on the nature of judgment in Erebus.Satisfied that his student had matched the master,Akim wished me well.I left that night.
But weeks later I was no closer to my goal!The Legendary Realm, Battleground, Atrocity, Pangaea –I had visited them all and learned no new laws.
New laws! How was I to learn new laws?Generations upon generations of our ancestors had visited these realms.The tales of their adventures had been studied and tested by generations of theurges.During my visits I took part in terrible and amazing things,but my adventures would not stray from the patterns in the tales.These Realms were explored! Their stories were told!
I returned to the Aetherial Realm to think.But the cold and bracing starlight did nothing now to cease my troubles.Had Dusty Morningkill given me an impossible task?Did he think me unworthy, and so set me up to fail?I almost decided to head back to the Sept of the Stars –
But a falling star struck me.
I was burning; I was freezing; I was spinning off into the void.I halted my momentum with an act of will and whirled to face the star.
He was a lean, pale man with long white hair, dressed in silver and lace.
“Stand aside!” the star demanded. “I am late to Court.”
“My apologies,” I replied. “I am headed there myself.” It seemed like the thing to say.
The star regarded me with narrow eyes. “Is that so? What business do you have there?”
A Court, I guessed, would have royalty in the manner of Silver Fangs.“The Queen is expecting me,” I lied, guessing that stars would have queens. “But I travel too slowly, not being quicksilver like you!If only someone could help me reach the Court, I am certain the Queen would be grateful to him…”
The star’s eyes shone even brighter at the thought of the Queen’s esteem.My guess was good. “Allow me,” he said, placing his hands on my shoulders. “The Queen favors the punctual.”
Drawing me along in his wake, the star resumed his plunge.The Court of Falling Stars, I realized, counted as an Umbral Realm.The theurges would call it a sub-realm, a daughter world of the Aetherial heavens.Its laws would be like those of the Aetherial, but not the same:being mentioned in few tales, the Court’s laws were mostly unknown.
I had solved the first great puzzle of this challenge!I would seek out the laws of the realms unsung,the child realms of the infamous fourteen near realms.
And so that was how my quest began.
A vast and sprawling palace of stone and ice, the Court of Falling Stars tumbles end over end through the Aetherial Realm.It sheds architecture and inhabitants alike as it spins, hurling them toward Eshtarra, Incarna of Earth.I arrived in the eighth week of my quest.
(Eshtarra hates the Court. That’s why she sets fire to any part or person of the Court that invades her own realm.)
I came under the pretense of being expected by Alcyone, Queen of Falling Stars.A bony but regal figure clothed in folds of midnight, she said she did not remember sending for me.I convinced her she had: and in this way I became the Jester of the Court of Falling Stars.
Now one day a star feared far and wide for his deadly sword came to the Court.The herald announced him: “Duke Rigel of the Horsehead Nebula, my Queen! He seeks audience.”
The Duke, a tall man with flashing eyes and a white mustache, stood before the court.“Queen Alcyone of the Court of Falling Stars, the time has come! I challenge you to a duel.”
But then I appeared between the Duke and the Queen!I had dressed like the Queen for this very occasion, wearing her second-best gown.
“I, Queen Alycone, accept your challenge, O noble Duke!” I replied in the Queen’s imperious tone. The court laughed.
The Duke sputtered. “What is the meaning of this?”
I drew my sword (a bolt of silver silk) and challenged him again. “Will you not face me, Duke of the Horse’s Ass?”
The Duke spat and drew his starlight sword. “Enough of these games,” he spat, and we faced off.
His attack was furious, and armed as I was with a bolt of silk, it was all I could do to evade his thrusts.I feinted and dodged, leading him in a chase all around the great hall, to the great amusement of the crowd.I stayed one step ahead, leaping off of chairs and swinging from the chandeliers.How he cursed me! Nobody curses like an angry star!
Then I tricked him close, wrapped him in my arms and spun him around. “You are a fine dance partner, Duke!”
The laughter of the court shook the walls. The Queen’s laughter joined the rest.The Duke was infuriated! I spun him away –
But he pivoted right back and impaled me through the heart.
There is a ritual stars do, when they finish a duel.He drew me close and whispered a wish in my ear.Then he drew back his sword and I collapsed.
The Duke spat on me and glared defiance at the crowd.Their laughter withered.He raised his sword to the Queen. “Now! Queen Alcyone of the Court of Falling Stars, I challenge—”
“His wish is for eternal power,” I revealed, standing and smoothing my dress.
Whispers swept the court.The Duke whirled on me, aghast.Stars die when you pierce their hearts; Garou don’t.
“Do I correctly remember the law of this court, Duke?” I asked. “If you kill a star in a formal duel and whisper your wish to their dying ear, your wish will be granted to you: and the greater the star you cut down, the greater the granting of the wish.”
The Duke could do nothing but gape, his face pale.The Queen smiled.
“But there is a second part to the law: the wish must stay secret, or else it shall never be granted.”
The court applauded me, for I had utterly defeated Duke Rigel, preserving the reign of their Queen; and the Duke left in disgrace, all his dreams of conquest lost.
But the Queen was very angry that I had ruined her second-best dress.I was quick to leave thereafter.
In the ninth week of my quest I traveled to Wolftomb, land of wolf ghosts.A spirit realm in the shadow of Wolfhome, Wolftomb collects the spirits of wolves killed by human hands.
As you can imagine it is very crowded.
When you are not hiding from packs of dead wolves, you find an ashen land of hills and plains and forests, marred by roads and rundown human settlements.There are no humans, no birds, even no prey to hunt – except for you.The ghost wolves can smell that you are meat.
Gifts are hard to use there; so I roamed and hid, keeping my distance, watching.After some time, I happened across a lone she-wolf with a steel-jawed trap closed around her bloody hind leg.She tried to bite me, but the trap made her clumsy.Behind her I saw a shallow den of bony pups.
Rage rose in me unbidden.These wolves had been murdered by men, and their reward was to hunger forever in this bleak realm?Was there no way to set these ghosts to rest?
I tried many things.
I overpowered the mother wolf and pulled the trap from her leg.But the trap reappeared after I had thrown it away.
I went to the pups and brought up my last meal for them to eat.They were still hungry.They chewed on me.
I tried rituals, as best as I could in wolf shape: the gathering for the departed, the rite of contrition, the prayer for the prey. All failed.
But then a pale pack of dead wolves happened by.I could have outrun them, but they might have attacked the mother and her cubs.Instead, I held my ground and fought them, venting my Rage.But being dead already, the wolves would not die again: they wore me down, attacking again and again.So I fought only until the mother wolf and her cubs were able to escape, and when they were gone, I ran too.
I lay in hiding, nursing my wounds and considering how I could lay these ghosts to rest.Ghost stories suggest that unresolved issues bind such spirits to the world.And what issue could that be, if not the murder of these wolves at the hands of men?
I tracked down the mother wolf again, and she growled at me, but I promised her: I will avenge you.And the moment I promised, as if it had always been there, I noticed a new scent.A human’s scent – the only such scent I had smelled in all Wolftomb.
I followed that scent all the way back to the physical world.
I sidestepped into a graveyard.The spirit-scent ended at the grave of a man named Sullivan.The murderer of the wolf family was already dead: he had been dead for over a hundred years.
Was vengeance impossible?Could I do nothing to bring peace to these ghosts?The mother wolf with her blood-soaked leg, victim of a trapper’s greed; the skin-and-bone pups, starving to death when their mother never came home; their endless suffering in the lands of the dead – should I give up, simply because the murderer was dead?
No – I honored my promise.
The graveyard was in a country town.The townsfolk spoke proudly of their ancestry, of the families who had lived and worked and died there for generations.I found a Sullivan who was also a hunter.I told him about his great-great-grandfather and about the wolf family he had killed with his trap.He didn’t understand; now he never will.
I returned to Wolftomb with the man’s blood on my claws.The scent of the mother wolf and her cubs led me to a hidden gully, where their scent disappeared: but lying there in the mud was a bloody iron trap.The ghosts were gone.
A hundred other ghosts howled in the distance, catching me on the wind.
The law of Wolftomb is that the spirits trapped in that world can be freed by avenging them in our own.But avenging every ghost would be the work of many lifetimes.If there is a way to free them all, it will come in the Apocalypse, and that will be a bad night to be human.
In the tenth week of my quest I discovered Brobdignag, a neighboring country to Arcadia Gateway.It is a land of giants: men as huge as the hills.They live amidst mountains and biting cold.
One night I slept beneath a frozen waterfall.I woke suddenly as I heard the ice splintering around me, and then I was caught between a thumb and forefinger, each larger than I was!
The fingers lifted me high into the air where I saw a man so tall that birds had built nests in his tangled red beard.He sniffed at me.I put on a skunk's odor but the giant was not discouraged:he opened his mouth to swallow me whole.
That is when another giant called out to stop him.“Boggeragh!” She cried, her voice booming like distant thunder.I looked over and saw another face like a cliffside above the treetops.Her approach shook their branches. “Have you found something to eat?” she asked.
“And so what if I have, Ballyhoura?” grumbled my captor.
“Give it here! I am hungry.”
“Are you my wife, or my child?” roared Boggeragh. “Find your own food!”
This began an argument that shook the mountains, causing avalanches of ice and snow in the high reaches.
And then the giants heard another voice. “Excuse me!” it said. “Could I perhaps help settle your argument?”
This voice was mine. I had to shout very loud to be heard.Both giants turned their tiny eyes on me with surprise.
“How can you help us, morsel?” asked Boggeragh.
I opened my mouth to shout, meaning to explain how I was known as a great peacemaker: but no words came out.
“See how it tries to deceive us, husband!” shrieked Ballyhoura. “It does not know that you cannot lie to a giant of Brobdignag!”
I was very upset to discover this law of the realm.Later I learned that this was called the Jackstongue Law, an ancient sorcery laid down by the giants to humble the thieves and giant-killers always questing through their lands.
I had no choice but to speak the truth. “You have caught me! I am a liar and a thief! But I can help you settle your argument!”
The giants traded looks, for now they knew I was telling the truth. “How can you help?” They asked.
“When my people disagree, they settle the argument with a challenge.”
“A challenge? What do you mean?”
“Two mighty giants like you should have a challenge of strength!” I shouted. “And since it is about who will eat me, let us see who has the stronger jaws! Who can crush the hardest stones in their teeth? That giant will win this morsel for dinner!”
Boggeragh and Ballyhoura looked at one another, knowing my pledge to be eaten was the truth.Each giant bared its fearsome teeth.
“This sounds fair,” said Ballyhoura, confident. She remembered eating a king and his castle once.
“I agree,” said Boggeragh. He remembered devouring a hillside just for the juicy bear-filled center.
“Then let the challenge begin!” I cried.
For half a day I watched as Boggeragh and Ballyhoura crushed great boulders in their teeth.Each was so determined to defeat the other that they chewed and chewed until their mouths ran red with blood.Tears rolled down their craggy cheeks from their tiny eyes.They ate until the hills were flat.
At last Ballyhoura spat blood and bone. “Ah, it hurts! I cannot take another bite.”
Boggeragh seized me in his fist. “And so it is decided – the morsel is mine!”
He popped me into his mouth.
But he had no teeth left to chew me with! He had broken them all off chewing boulders.
The giant mushed me between bloody gums and swallowed me whole. Unhurt, I sat in his cavernous stomach and waited.
Hours later I heard his breath like thunder coming and going in the rhythms of sleep.I drew my klaive and cut myself free.By the time the pain of it had traveled from his stomach to his brain, I was gone.
In the eleventh week of my journey I came to the Umbral homelands of the Oder Brother tribe.As I flew along the shore of a great lake, I came across one of my tribesmen, busying himself at the water’s edge.
I flew down to greet him, but he greeted me first. “Yá'át'ééh, brother. You must be the trickster Talking Crazy, if I know the tales.”
“And you must be the talesinger Rain Chant, to recognize me by those lies!”
Rain Chant nodded. “That's me. Do not let me keep you from your journey.”
“You won’t,” I said. “I see you have painted yourself thick with grease. Is there some danger beneath the lake you mean to face?”
Rain Chant's eyes flashed. “I can't say. My business is secret.”
“A dangerous business, by the length of your fishing-spear! Tell me your mission, so if you die the tale will not be lost.”
"It’s a secret, I said. If I told you, you’d have to join me. And with due respect, Talking Crazy-yuf – this is a mission for a warrior, not a fool."
I laughed. “But you are a storyteller first and a warrior second. Your enemy beneath the waves must be a creature of legend.”
“No legend you’d know—”
“Ah, but I do know. I see a nightshade talen tied to your spear. There is only one tale of a legendary foe, beneath the waters of a cold lake, whose hide only weapons of shadows can pierce.”
Rain Chant scowled. “How could you have learned that story?”
“I will tell you after we have defeated your foe.” I plucked a nightshade talen from my pouch and tied it to my klaive. “Lead the way, alpha!”
In the days to come, Rain Chant and I would trade many stories, and between our adventures and his tales of the Older Brother homeland, I figured out a law of the realm.And he figured out that I really hand no idea what story he knew, but bluffed him into thinking I did.
We went beneath the lake, and what we faced there, and how we defeated it – well, that is a secret.
For this is the law of the Older Brother tribal homelands: you always leave with more secrets than you brought in.
The twelfth week of my journey took me to a strange and tiny realm whose father is the Battleground and whose mother is the Mirror Zone.It is called the Antitheater, or the Looking-Glass Stage.
This realm appears in many ways in many stories: in mine, it appeared as a large half-circle of benches around a sunken center stage.At the back of the stage was a tall mirror.
I was sniffing around the mirror when I caught a familiar scent and heard a familiar voice.I did not see him arrive, but he is good at being hidden when he likes.
I looked out from the stage and saw my own face.
The other Talking Crazy loped onto the stage, grinning a crooked grin, a glint of madness in his eyes.We circled each other. His fur was dyed blacker: there was a chemical smell.We shifted through our forms.He had a bow of Bat's blessing to match my bow of Duck's.Instead of Raven on his chest, I saw Whippoorwill.
“I have dreamed of you,” I said. “You are the one who commands legions of the Wyrm.”
He laughed. “You are the soft Gaian clown, commander of cubs.”
We regarded one another from lupus to homid, and then settled back into our war shapes, for there was only one way this kind of story could go.
From the corner of my eye I saw the benches fill with all manner of evil spirits: his legions.
“This is the part where I tempt you to join us,” he said.
“What an army that would be!” I replied. “The Garou Nation can barely tolerate one of me on its own side. Two of me against it would bring it to its knees.”
“You accept, then?”
I grinned back. I knew him, and he knew me, and neither of us could trick the other.
We circled. The Wyrm-legions hooted and jeered me, cheering on their commander.
When I had my back to the tall mirror, he lunged.He tackled me and would have thrown me into the glass if I had not twisted sideways at the last moment.We crashed to the stage beside the mirror.
I deduced that the mirror could end this fight.
We bit and feinted, kicked and clawed.I was about to gamble on pulling my klaive when I thought – why not pull his?I let him close. He bit deep into my throat but I reached around him and drew his blade.I drove the silver deep into his side.
He howled and fell off me.With my other hand I drew my own klaive, expecting a renewed attack, but the other Talking Crazy lay dead on the stage.
“Nice try,” I said, advancing. “I used that trick to teach a lesson.”
I struck with both blades, but dead Crazy rolled aside, and the klaives were stuck in the stage. He swept my feet from beneath me. “I used that trick to kill a rival,” he grinned, pinning me down.
But what need have I to keep my feet beneath me?I flew, hurling him off.He flew as well.The other Crazy's legions craned their necks from the benches to watch us fight in the skies.
He drew his bow and loosed a barrage of arrows.Drawing my own bow, I dodged and twisted but was struck in the chest.I fired back, but my fingers were starting to shake.I felt weak.
“My arrow gorges on your blood, clown,” boasted the other Crazy as I fell from the sky. But before I struck the stage, I shrouded it in darkness to hide in.
The audience roared in hungry anticipation.Their leader descended, tuning his senses to find me.But before he reached my shroud, I summoned my strength and fired back.The arrow found his eye.
He howled and tried to pull it loose, but Duck's blessing made it too slippery to dislodge.Then dizziness washed over him, and weak, he sank to the stage near the mirror.
“You used my own arrow,” he snarled, staggering as his paws slipped over the bloodthirsty shaft – blessed by both Duck and Bat.
I banished the darkness and advanced on him as he fell to his knees. “The Wyrm devours its own,” I observed. “And so my path is of Gaia.”
I raised my foot to kick him into the mirror, but he kicked first – at the mirror. It shattered like spring ice, littering the stage with a thousand gleaming fragments.
“Now there is no escape for either of us,” the fallen Older Brother laughed weakly. “And I have a weapon you do not: legions.”
His Wyrm-legions stormed the stage in defense of their commander. I fought fiercely, slaying dozens, but there were more.They overwhelmed me.
The evil spirits stripped and tortured me while the other Crazy worked on the mirror.He tried to puzzle out if it could be fixed, but the shards of glass had all gone dark, reflecting nothing.Eventually he gave up.
“I cannot send you through the mirror,” he said, piercing my body with shard after shard of glass. “But maybe I can send the mirror through you!” He laughed.
In Battleground when you die, you escape the realm.I didn't know if this realm was the same.I was not about to try!
One of the spirits holding me was a long-fingered specter of greed.He had stripped me of my medicine bags and hung them around his neck.I spent the last of my strength to shift in an instant to human shape, slipping from their grasp.I plucked the bag from the spirit's neck, but there were too many and I was weak – they beat me down again and took back the bag.
They held me up to face my double. “It has been fun,” he sneered, “But I think I will end this before you try any more tricks–”
His eyes widened as he realized what he and I kept in that bag, but it was too late.I struck him with my pocket mirror.I carry one to get in and out of the Umbra, and I had palmed it when I took the bag.A flick of my wrist bounced the mirror against his chest.With a howl he was pulled inside it, his screeching armies with him.
He is still trapped in that mirror; you can see him behind your reflection, puzzling out a way to escape. I don't think there is a way, but I keep the mirror well-hidden so nobody breaks it.
In the thirteenth week of my journey, I went to the Abyss to put a friend to rest.
The friend was called Sparks the Leeches.He was a Theurge and an Elder of the Children of Gaia.He died by sacrificing himself so that the Abyss would swallow a mighty enemy.
I was afraid that his spirit would be trapped in the Abyss forever.This had happened to me once, due to an mishap while I was a fostern.Sparks the Leeches came to rescue me then.How could I do any less for him?
The Abyss is a place of unspeakable danger.Shall I tell how I crept unseen through the territory of the Hive of the Jagged Maw?Shall I tell how I tricked the minions of the Nightmaster into revealing the resting place of my friend’s body?These are tales in themselves.But what I have to tell tonight is this:
I found the remains of Sparks-the-Leeches in a chimney of stone, deep in perfect darkness.The hidden scavengers of the place had all but picked his bones clean, but my rituals could tell: it was Sparks.
I sat there to think.
It is very quiet, so deep in the Abyss.
I had smell. My friend’s scent was faint but present.
I had touch.I held a dessicated hand that had once been gentle and healing.
I heard a voice.
Take me home, it said.
“Sparks-the-Leeches?” I whispered. For the first time I reflected on what an inadequate name it was for him.
Yes. I brought the spider-god here and sent it into the depths. But it destroyed me.
“You were a hero.”
Give me a hero’s burial.
I was silent.
Take me home a hero.
“You are not Sparks,” I sighed.
Only silence answered me.
I realized that Sparks’ spirit was not here.If it were anywhere, it would be here: my rituals had led me to this place.But here there were only whispers and bones.
For the first time since entering the Abyss, I felt peace.Sparks was not here!His spirit was free.And even as I thought it, I heard Unicorn’s voice as if from a long way off: He is free.
I considered why Unicorn hadn’t told me sooner.Was there something I was here to learn?
I sat with my dead friend in the silence and the dark and thought.
He had died a hero.He was free.Even dying here, in the cold, in the dark, in the silence, deep beneath the earth – he was free.
And was this not what I have run from, all my days as a Garou?
Fleeing a cold death, dark and deep beneath the earth, eaten by the sacred mountain of my ancestors?
Had not Sparks suffered the same, and yet died a hero, free?
After some time longer, I left.
I left Sparks’ bones there. He has no need of them.
But I left my fear as well.The sacred mountain cursed me with an omen of my death: but Sparks-the-Leeches showed me how to die.
I fear the end no longer.