The Battle

Original post to Darkwind’s Garou Board as "Wolf Tales (18)"

Revised 15.10.2021

"Reports to the Council" are meant to be precise and factual accounts of important incidents that have relevance not just for one Pack, but the entire Sept or even the Garou Nation. As such, they are short, to-the-point and free of sensationalisms. The side effect: sometimes they make the described event seem trivial or easy.

It was anything but. And the report doesn't tell the whole story...

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On Leader's Now!, the Pack howls its rage and surges forward. Keeper and Younger Sister each take the neck of a Lupus Dancer in their jaws and promptly tear them to hell. The Pup does the same with another. Leader, in crinos, embeds the left edge of his halberd into a Dancer neck, yanks it free, whips completely around and does the same with the right edge, decapitating his victim. Older Sister slices open her foe's chest with her crystal sword (Pup, of course, has no idea where she got such a thing), twirls with her momentum and, as she comes around, drives it point-first into his heart. Shamaness' opponent is already off-balance thanks to the wind spirit she calls in and now she violently brings her hands -- pulsing with eurus energy -- together, with the hapless Dancer's head between them. She digs the heel of each hand into a temple and the Dancer's eyes bulge, its tongue shoots out and the body goes limp.

Four seconds into the battle, the odds go from 4-to-1 to 3-to-1.

In the fifth second, the Dancers are fully aware that they're under attack and react. But they're spread around their prisoners, have suddenly lost a fourth of their comrades and need to regroup. The Garou Pack exploits the confusion and attacks again. The next round is not as easy because of lost surprise, but momentum is still theirs.

13 seconds since the attack began. 12 Dancers down, 12 remaining and six healthy Garou on the field.

The Dancers, now fully recovered from their shock, howl their own rage as they come on and the battle begins in earnest.

Clawing, biting, slashing. Growling, roaring, howling. Claw and fang, rage and terror. No mercy given. No mercy requested. Wolf and Wolfbeast of Gaea and of Wyrm, locked in struggle, here and everywhere, past-present-future, war unending through the ages until Final Victory or Final Defeat.

31 seconds. 15 Wyrmlings down. Four Gaeans lightly wounded.

Older Sister's crystal sword pierces a Dancer's leather armor, the abdomen underneath and gets hung up. The Dancer screams his agony and whacks her savagely upside the head with his stone club. Ignoring the thunderstorm in her skull, she wrenches the sword sideways with everything she has, roaring with the effort. The abdomen opens and its well-packed contents spill onto the ground, steaming in the predawn coolness. The Dancer convulses, eyes bulge and its weapon falls. She gives another mighty heave on the sword, this time upwards, wills it to find the creature's hideous heart. Suddenly, the light in the Dancer's bulging eyes goes out and the carcass slumps forward. Older Sister falls to her knees, drops the sword and holds her head, unable to ignore the migraine any longer, nor the warm, sticky flow of blood from her forehead.

Leader contends with two skillful crinos and is totally defensive, keeping them at bay with wide swings of his halberd. Keeper, having finished his last opponent, lunges at one of them and bears him to the ground. His teeth find the Dancer's neck. Leader exploits the opportunity, renews his attack on the remaining Crinos and despatches him after a flurry of strikes.

Shamaness is in trouble. A big Crinos has her in a bear hug, the jaw full of crooked teeth not on her neck only because her right arm is still free and her eurus-encased hand holds the Dancer's head at bay. But it's a simple, brute-force battle and, in her homid form, she knows she'll lose it. Even now the teeth graze her neck. Desperately, she brings up a knee and finds the creature's groin, but a thick layer of leather protects it. The shock is enough to compel the Dancer to relax his grip so she can break the hold, but his fist crashes into the side of her head and she goes down. The Dancer is on her immediately, pins her on her back, while both clawed hands wrap around her neck and squeeze.

Her distress call reaches the other five in the next instant, but they're too involved to come in time. Still, she continues to resist, calling upon Luna for strength, even as blackness fills her vision. Suddenly, the dancer convulses and the death grip around her neck loosens. A nauseating, liquid >thud<. The Dancer convulses again, eyes wide. Its tongue hangs out of its mouth and the lifeless body crashes on top of her. She pushes it away, sits up and beholds a strange sight.

A boy. No more than 15. Holding an axe. A Dancer axe. With fresh Dancer blood on it. A prisoner who escaped his bonds. His whole body trembles and his eyes are wide with shock and terror. He looks down at the axe as if he has no idea it how came into his hands. He meets Shamaness' gaze, eyes still wide, mentally detached from whatever just happened in a desperate bid to preserve sanity. His trembling increases. The axe loosens from his grasp and falls to the ground. The boy's legs wobble and he goes down on his arse, mumbling gibberish.

Shamaness scrambles over to him. He's hyperventilating. "Easy now, son, easy!" she soothes. "Breathe deep now and--" The boy chokes, turned his head to the side and vomits.

"There now," Shamaness continues, her very voice a relaxant. She has him in her arms and rocks him like a baby. "Easy now, it's over. You did fine. You're so brave! Breathe deep, now. Yes. That's it." The boy comes around slowly. She pulls back to look in his eyes. Still frightened, but recovering.

Pursue!

Leader's order. The battle is barely one minute old. 19 Dancers down, the other five in retreat. All Garou wounded, but only Older Sister unable to continue the fight.

Shamaness purses her lips. The boy needs more time, but there is none. She lays a hand on his shoulder and looks in his eyes. "I'll be back," she promises. "Do what you can for the others." And then she's off and running. She passes Older Sister, relapsed into Homid form. "I'll be fine," she assures Shamaness, although she looks up with a face full of blood and can't hide the pain. Another one who needs help, but again there is no time. Shamaness nods, mutters a prayer to Luna and hurries after the others.