The Elf -- body covered in the strange ointment and the Beast ROARING inside him -- shouts his allegiance to the Spirit of the Wolf.

A strange power seizes control of his mind and body. An inner pressure quickly builds and pushes against the limits of his flesh. The Elf grimaces, tries to hold himself together, fists clenched, eyes tightly shut, teeth grinding. And then the pressure explodes out of him, finds egress through every orifice of his body and pore of his skin.

Suddenly free of it, the Elf goes limp. But a field of light and energy surrounds him and holds him in place, feet off the ground. And despite his closed eyes, the Elf clearly sees the Beast -- no longer merely inside him, but now all around him as well, holding him spellbound in its irresistible embrace.

Yes, says the Elf to The Beast, not with coarse and limited speech, but with pure and unlimited mental power.

I know you, he continues. You are me. I am you. We are one.

As if in answer, the light of the Beast blazes and, in the eye of the Elf's mind, he sees the light take form. The Beast opens its jaws, exposes sharp, gleaming teeth -- and sinks them into the Elf's shoulder.

The Elf convulses and cries out. Is it pain or pleasure? Anyone who observes the scene would not be able to tell; indeed the Elf, recalling it later, doesn't know. Nor does it matter. All that matters is that the Elf and the Beast are united; the two aspects of the Elf's being now irrevocably one.

The Beast releases its grip on the Elf's shoulder and, its work complete, dissipates. No longer held by the Beast's energy, the Elf crumples to the ground and, for an indeterminant amount of time, knows no more.


At first, it's the sounds.

That is what the Elf registers as he regains consciousness. Unnaturally many and loud, they are; this part of the woods wasn't so teeming with life when he arrived, he's sure of it.

Next, it's the smells.

There's a living thing very close -- must be the Old Man. By smell alone, the Elf now detects the Old Man's advanced age, but also his resilience. There must also be many woodland creatures close by -- bears, rabbits, deer, birds, various rodents -- he can smell them all. He doesn't recall that this area holds so much life! Am I still in the clearing with the Old Man? Or has he moved me somewhere else while I lay unconscious? The thought brings him to ...

... open his eyes. Yes, still in the clearing. And the Old Man is here, sitting in a meditative posture in front of a bowl of creamy fluid, eyes closed, chanting, occasionally waving his hands over the bowl. But where are all the woodland creatures? The Elf still clearly smells them, many of the scents so strong that the animals must be right next him. But there are none --he sees only the Old Man and himself.

A bird whistles from the tree tops -- a high-pitched tone that he never heard before, even though he knows every variety of bird in these woods.

The Elf grunts as he stands up, muscles coming slowly back to life. He stretches his arms and feels a pain in his shoulder, near the neck. He touches the spot, twists his head around so he can just barely see it: puncture wounds that break the skin and a short, jagged rip extending from each point. A bite mark. The Mark of the Beast.

And suddenly, it all comes back to him. Understanding floods his mind.

The odors he smells so clearly come not from creatures in his immediate vicinity -- they're farther away. The high-pitched bird cry was in an audio range that no humanoid ear could sense. He is no longer the Elf -- he is Elf, Beast, and Wolf, all rolled into one.

A dull thud brings him back to the present. The Old Man has finished his incantation and sets the bowl, now refilled, down on the tree stump where it had been before the Elf picked it up and unceremoniously dumped it over himself.

The Old Man turns to face the Elf, eyebrow raised, eyes twinkling. And the Elf hears the Old Man speak, but it sounds more like singing or a wolf howling and the Elf can hear it only in his mind.

That the Elf is now a Lone Wolf of the Garou; that he must learn what that means; that he must listen to the Stories; that he must find the Balance between Wolf and Human-kind. And that he must always fight the Unnatural and That Which is Against Gaia.

The Elf understands, because the message speaks directly to his Intuition where, freed from the bonds of logic and materialistic delusion, one may unerringly discern the Truth.

The Old Man nods, satisfied. He steps to one side and gestures with a hand, indicates a hole in the ground that the Elf didn't see before, but somehow he knows that it must have been there all the time. With his heightened sense of smell, he perceives the smells wafting from the hole; taken altogether, it smells like ...

... Home.

The Elf desends into the hole and disappears. And thus his life begins.

Original post to Darkwind’s Garou Board as "Wolf Tales (4)" Wed 07 May 2003 10:10

Revised 25 April 2019