Original post to
Darkwind’s Garou Board
as "Wolf Tales (21)" on Sun, 21 March 2004
There is a very special hill a short way to the
west of the Garou Cave of the Darkwind Sept. It is a hill that anyone who
ventures through the thick forest can see, but for some reason known only to
the Powers That Be, only a Garou may actually find the way up. A Garou who
climbs this hill may discern a strange yet reassuring sight as he or she
nears the summit -- a large rock formation that, with a bit of imagination,
resembles the form of a sleeping wolf.
"Sleeping Wolf Rock," the Garou call it, and it is second only in importance and sanctity to the Caern of the Sept itself. It is here that a Garou comes to converse with Lady Luna, choose Auspice and define his or her destiny.
Aside from that, the panoramic view atop Sleeping Wolf Rock is arguably the best vista on the entire continent. Here the land and sky open up before the eyes and soul of the one who sits upon the rock. The experience is even better at night, for each of the stars in the sky seems to speak a word and, taken together, these words form an invisible song that plays in the head of the Garou whose spirit is tuned to hear it.
Sitting atop Sleeping Wolf Rock this fine morning Is a lone homid figure -- stock still, eyes closed, heartbeat and breathing dramatically slowed down -- just enough to keep the body functional. His back is perfectly straight and neither the wind, the pre-dawn chill, nor the occasional flying insect compels him to even the slightest twitch.
The man has been this way, physically unchanged, for over five hours. Physically. His spirit, however, roams the Umbra, visits and converses with various spirits or simply enjoys the serenity.
Dawn. The first light of the new day gently nudges the night away. The eyes behind the closed lids twitch; that barest of movement signals the spirit's return from the Umbra, across the Gauntlet and back to the physical world.
But still the man remains motionless for another half hour, heartbeat and breathing a bit quicker now, but still less than normal, as he mentally winds down from his spiritual journey.
Finally, the eyelids lift. At first, only the whites are visible, but then the irises come into view as the man rolls them back down from their previously upward-looking position. And now the entire face moves as the man takes a deep breath -- his first in almost six hours. And another deep breath. Soon, he breathes normally.
The man gingerly moves his head left and right, then rolls it in a circle on his neck, stretching, restimulating the flow of blood to his brain. Dawn's light increases now and reveals his facial features to any who may be standing there: tough, leathery skin, creased and worn; dark, too -- probably a Souvraeli. Age? He looks at least 50. Could be 60. But perhaps the creased skin and deep-set eyes are less from age and more from whatever cares the man carries.
And now the man moves his arms, stretches them out to either side. He carefully gets to his feet, gives the muscles time to adjust to the change of position, stretches and twists this way and that, the old body coming to life again -- and radiating a power that defies the appearance of age.
Stretching finished, the man stands atop the rock, hands on hips and looks out over the wide landscape. He sighs happily as the corners of his mouth turn up in a smile.
I so love this time of day, he thinks. If ever I should leave this continent, this I shall miss most of all. The Dawn is never so beautiful nor dearer to me than right here, on this spot -- Sleeping Wolf beneath me and Sister Luna above me.
The man's smile grows wider and he closes his eyes. Just a bit longer, he thinks. Just a few more moments before I go down the hill, back to the Sept and begin the day's duties. Just a bit more time to bathe in the bliss of this moment, this perfect moment, this--
The man suddenly and sharply frowns. His eyes snap open, alarm written in them. Something... and then it hits him -- not physically, but on the intuitive level. The psychic blast knocks him clean off his feet and he lands on his back. The very rock beneath him shudders.
The man rolls onto his left side, props himself on his elbow, pants, eyes wide and darting around at nothing. He gulps in air, chokes, gets to his feet. He removes his deerskin cap and runs a hand through his close-cropped, black-silver hair. He shivers from the cold sweat that suddenly breaks out over his whole body. He puts the cap back on and speeds down the hill as quickly as possible.
And as he starts down the hill, the Shaman -- for that is what this man is, as the astute reader may have already guessed -- reaches out with his mind to find his companions...
Two full seconds pass -- must have been asleep, he reckons.
Moon Gate in 20 seconds! Need my bag!
That leaves no time for anything but the absolute essentials -- weapons and armor for the Pack Leader, who fights in crinos and the Shaman's "bag", which the Pack Keeper, who fights in lupus, grabs.
16 seconds later, the Shaman reaches the bottom of the hill, takes one second to calm himself and one more to focus his energies to the Incarnae of Phoebe. Two seconds after that, the link forms, the bridge appears and a brilliant arch of moonlight appears in the air and expands beyond sight.
And sliding down the bridge of moonlight are two figures -- the Shaman's Pack Leader and Keeper. This pack has only three.
The Shaman places his right hand over his heart and bows. "Ranolf. Tamika. Thank you for coming."
The two return the bow. "Uziah," they say in unison. Tamika the Keeper hands Uziah the Shaman his bag.
"What goes, Shaman?" inquires Ranolf the Leader.
Uziah sighs and looks into the distance at nothing. "I know not exactly, My Leader. But it is not good. And it comes swiftly this way."
The Shaman's eyes narrow and he adds, "The Wyrm has been about this night."
The eyes of the other two Garou widen slightly. The three wait, steeling themselves for whatever is coming.