Original post to
Darkwind’s Garou Board
as "Wolf Tales (14)" on Friday, 05 December 2004
The Wolf pauses for a moment to sniff the
pre-dawn air. He's been sprinting from one location to the other for most of
the last five hours and he needs a break as much as he needs to get his
bearings. His pack mates are spread out in all directions from him; the
closest (Shamaness), is just over the rise of that meadow; the farthest (his
older sister), is some two kilometers distant.
"Seek," Leader said by way of "briefing" before this Pack Hunt started -- no more than that. In any other organization, his obvious question would be "What are we seeking?" but in this Garou Pack, "seek" is quite enough. If there were any details about the "what?", then Leader would share them, using the Pack's telepathy during the hunt.
But he provided nothing. That means that either he doesn't know what they're seeking or he wants the Pack Members to seek without the bias of fore-knowledge.
However, one thing is clear -- this is no "fun outing" -- it's something serious. All of them feel it.
Leader gave Shamaness the "guide" position for this hunt. She's the natural choice when so little is known or revealed about the hunt's purpose, for she is the most intuitive member of the pack. And so she determines the direction and speed of the Hunt,running on intuition alone. She changes directions often. Her speed is inferior to the Wolf's because she's in homid form. Her Garou nature still allows her to move faster than a normal human, but only "slowly" relative to the Pack. But homid is necessary if she is to use the full range of her spiritual powers, particularly the Vision.
Spread out all around her are the others ... our Wolf -- in full lupus form, only 100 meters away at this point. Younger Sister -- also lupus -- about 500 meters west. Older Sister -- in crinos, the half-lupus and half-homid form, similar to the popular "werewolf" -- some two kilometers east. Keeper (lupus) to the rear some 300 meters. And finally Leader -- crinos -- about a kilometer ahead.
But these distances and locations are unimportant, for they shift constantly as the hours of the Hunt move along, each member driven by whatever sights, sounds or feelings they experience at any given moment. But always they remain in contact with each other, sharing any relevant bits of information via Pack Talk.
Such "bits of information" have, however, been few and far between. Leader called the Hunt just before midnight and it's now five hours later with nothing to show for it. In another hour or so, dawn comes. That doesn't matter, of course -- the Pack is quite capable of hunting any time, day or night, light or dark and in all weather conditions. Well, rain makes it difficult, of course, what with lost scents. But the night is dry, a bit cool perhaps for the time of year, but otherwise quite fine for a Hunt.
And so our Wolf stands in the pre-dawn darkness, paws in the dewy grass, breath misting as he pants, sniffing the air and taking a short break. He glances up to check the moons. He doesn't need to use his eyes for this -- he's perfectly capable of sensing the moons at any time, no matter if the sky is clear or cloudy, even by brightest sunlit day. But he likes to see them. And he can, for the night is only partly cloudy.
Dailos -- the magenta moon of chaos -- is half-full, which is not far off the Wolf's own auspice. Markas -- the red moon of balance -- is waxing. And Tekal -- green and wise -- is full. Their combined light sparkles on the moist grass, and the Wolf takes joy at the sight of it.
Oops. Enough of this Pleasant Interlude -- time to get moving! This is a Hunt and I cannot remain in one place for long. Where now? His head turns automatically to a spot some 300 meters half-right from his present location. There. His leg muscles tense for the run -- but then freeze.
The Wolf puzzles. What..? I'm certain I can move now if I try again, but why did my legs betray me just a moment ago? he thinks. Why am I not arriving at that next spot, 300 meters from where I now stand? High time, there, Pup! Reason tells him. Could we get a move on, please? Before Leader or one of the others notices that we are not moving? Not slacking tonight, are we?
But still the Wolf makes no move -- a conscious decision this time, not the intuitive one from a moment ago that froze his leg muscles for no apparent reason.
Because he must understand why he didn't move, even if it means standing there all night. Because the Pack is seeking tonight. He recalls his lessons...
"It's like this, Pup," explains Shamaness, smiling gently as she always does when she gives instruction. "When the Pack seeks something, we sometimes don't know what it is that we seek. Sister Luna simply tells us that there is something we must find."
The Elf frowns. "Why doesn't Luna just be clear about it, Shamaness?" the perhaps overly-inquisitive Pup responds.
She smiles patiently. "With some things, knowing the End affects your actions to attain it, and the End you arrive at is the End that you merely imagine -- but not the true End."
The Elf nods, keeping his eyes fixed on her. Sometimes, he has to admit, he doesn't know what the hell she's talking about. But he nods anyway.
Shamaness senses his confusion and chuckles. (She always knows!). "Often, Pup," she continues, "We just need to have a clear head. Sounds easy, but it's one of the hardest lessons to learn. Because when a question confronts us, we break our heads thinking, trying to reason it out. And sometimes, we actually get the solution that way. But most times, all we really need to do is just calm down, stop thinking, and get out of the way -- and then, Pup, the solution will find us."
Pup nods again, but his eyes are still blank.
She sighs and smiles. "For example, let's say we have a Pack Hunt."
The Pup's eyes light up. He loves the Hunts!
Shamaness notices (of course) amd grins before she continues. "Suppose Leader calls a Hunt, but he doesn't really know what we're hunting."
Pup frowns. "Leader wouldn't know?!"
Shamaness smiles gently. "Yes, it is possible. Sometimes the End is hidden, as I told you. Now listen without interrupting for a while! We call that a 'seek' -- we're looking for something. We know it's out there -- but we don't know what it is. It doesn't matter how Leader -- or any of us, even you, Pup! -- knows it. We just know it and that's all that matters. So we must 'seek' it."
"Now on this kind of Hunt, one of us is hopefully better attuned to the purpose than the others, and this one is the 'guide'. The rest of us move in all directions at different speeds -- but the Guide determines the general direction and speed of the Pack as a whole. So far, so good?"
The Elf nods. She goes on. "Now, at some point during a Seek Hunt, one of us -- maybe the Guide, but could be any of us -- discovers something ... important. It could be something big and obvious, like the remains of a battlefield where the corpses are still fresh. Or it could be something seemingly trivial, like a strange scent on the wind."
Shamaness shrugs. "Or we may be out all day or all night and find nothing. It can happen. In which case the Seek Hunt is still important -- to show us that we must better attune ourselves to the Earth Mother, so that next time we do not miss what we should find."
Shamaness pauses to see if it's sinking in. She nods and concludes, "So when the Pack is seeking, Pup and you come across some thing or some event or anything at all that is out-of-the-ordinary, no matter how trivial it seems -- it could very well be the 'sign' that leads us to understand the purpose of the Hunt. Don't just brush it off and continue! That's a mistake that even we older wolves make if we're not careful. Stop what you are doing. Clear your head. And let the reason find you!"
And so the Wolf stands in the grass, relaxes his thoughts and stretches out with his feelings.
And then he hears it -- barely within the audio range of even his super-sensitive lupus ears. Perhaps carried on the breeze just before a shift in wind direction would cause him to miss it completely, lupus-ears notwithstanding.
And he realizes that this is the second time he's heard it! The first time was just a minute ago, when his legs refused to move. It was so low and subtle that it registered only in his subconscious mind, which then froze the muscles in his legs. And now he's heard it twice, this time on a conscious level. The answer had found him.
The Wolf's single-word thought races over the Pack's telepathy and instantly reaches the other five, who immediately drop what they are doing and hurry to his location. Shamaness is closest, so she arrives first, despite her homid form and lays a reassuring hand on Wolf's head. She notices that he's trembling -- a reaction of fear ... and something else. Loathing. But she doesn't bother him about it -- all will be clear when he's ready to share.
It takes another full minute for all six of them to join up at the Wolf's location. After the last one (Older Sister) arrives, the Wolf gives them another word:
And with that, they all become still as stone, withdraw all energy from their other senses and concentrate only on hearing. For five long minutes there is nothing.
And then that barely audible sound again, just within the range of lupus ears. And this time, Keeper and Younger Sister -- the other two in lupus -- hear it as well. They stiffen. Shamaness feels the Wolf tremble again.
It's the call of a bird.
But no bird makes that sound -- rather, some other creature is calling like it.
It sounds again and Keeper growls softly.
It's the call of the Whippoorwill.
Leader, Shamaness, and Older Sister receive the information via telepathy.
Shamaness exhales softly, and a single word falls from her lips...