Rage Across Baltimore

Story 10: Long Pig

The other white meat

Brace yourselves, friends, for your first guest storyteller. Dave will be entertaining and horrifying us for the foreseeable future. Perhaps there will be DOOM!

He should be able to fill us in with some commentary below, and if not I’ll just do it myself. After all, the log is here in part to record our exploits, because we’re forgetful!

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Almost two moons have past since the great BSD-throwdown and the dust is still settling. Wounds have healed, though some scars remain. For us, it has not been entirely peaceful, as banes continue to assault the re-taken caern, where Razvan’s cousin holds sway. In his new role as Wyrm foe, he has an occasion or two to lead various garou against the banes and drive them away. His recent Rank 3 test (which may not yet be complete) proved(ing) a decent test of his self control, and he gained? a new, little friend in the process…the rest of the pack’s tests may yet be ongoing…

In our now much greater freedom and free time, Razvan has thrown himself into work at the clinic, and has also volunteered at the worst emergency room (from a crime victim standpoint) in Baltimore, mainly to hone his skills as a healer, but also to keep an ear to the ground regarding strange killings and the like.

A recent victim, a college-age female jogger, was viciously beaten, raped and evidently left for dead near the entrance to the Susquehanna State Park. Razvan gets called over to take a look at her, maybe there is something he can do…he’s built a reputation as a bit of a miracle worker, either via pure skill or perhaps, a trickle of Mother’s Touch now and then. Raz’s contact in the police department gets a quick call, who sends Raz (and Zero) a few relevant files. This is more than it seems. Evidently, this is the second case with a similar MO in the past few weeks – 2 other girls, jogging near nightfall, are missing. The other case where a body was found was in similar condition to the wounded girl, except fully dead, and her legs both evidently bitten off by a very large dog or perhaps a bear? Forensics have not been completed as yet.

There are some odd things about the survivor, though. One, there is no sign of struggle where she was found, nor any sign of the perp. However, a few hundred meters into the forest and a bit off the trail, a crime scene was found. The girl’s blood, bits of her clothing, even an imprint of her body in the soft loam and fallen leaves. Further, there is sign of a great struggle, and a rather large pool of blood. Some of this blood, other than the girl’s, was identified and ID’d to a notorious skinhead and serial rapist, a man in his late 40s. Some large, canine-esque paw prints were also noted in the immediate area. Oddly, there is no sign of the likely perp, other than a few bits of clothing and skin, found in an area on the edge of the disturbed site, as if he was either running or being pulled into the thick trees…but that’s it. No trail or tracks of any sort (dogs were brought in), and no luck finding anything in the park so far, despite quite a bit of looking.

After a very successful surgery, the girl looks to most likely survive. The beating, which had fractured her skull and left her brain swollen and likely damaged, seems to be not quite so bad as first thought, or Raz really knows his way with a scalpel…perhaps when she awakens, we might learn another clue or two.

Comments

Chapter 1 notes:

The poor girl revives, and as Razvan is her primary caretaker for now, he manages to gather some details…she remembers starting her job, spying a middle-aged skinhead in the park, leering at her (but she wasn’t worried about him, she could outrun him for sure, and that she did), then running into a gigantic black dog, who chased and turned her way off trail until she found herself dashing down a trail in the dark, struggling to find her way out. The dog eventually bites her, leaving her crawling, desperate to find a way out. She fails that, the skinhead tracking her down, dragging her into the trees, and beginning what would have been a fatal encounter, with the black dog watching…were it not for the interference of yet another dog (or was it a wolf) who leaped out of the dark forest to do battle, first driving off the black dog, then biting the skinhead, leaving him bleeding out on the dirt. The last thing she remembers is being carried out of the park by the back of her shirt, by what she thinks is a huge wolf…who left her dying at the park entrance. Fortunately, passing motorists spotted the girl, calling 911, and ultimately saving her life via Razvan’s timely intervention in the operating room.

The pack decides to follow up on the strange tale, Razvan being encouraged to do so by Mila, as this could definitely be a threat to very new caern, not to mention the Veil, if any of this gets out and is believed. We enter the park at night, reaching the crime scene easily enough. With a considerable effort, the pack finds a trail, up in the trees no less, a crafty predator or some sort of bane, perhaps, avoiding leaving any trail for the humans and their sniffing dogs. We reach the very heart of the park, the area furthest from any human or Weaver influence, and spy a glowing rune, carved upon the ground, visible to such as we, who possess Gnosis…a Battle Mandala, powerful ward against spirits, a Theurge working as well…the author of which must still be nearby to maintain it…the ronin or BSD remnant who carved it surely spies upon us as well…

Story 10: Long Pig
 

Chapter 2 Notes:

After some debate, the pack enters the Susquehanna State Park, just outside Baltimore, to inspect the crime scene. Following the directions provided in Raz’s kinfolk policeman’s files, we soon enough, find the scene of the crime. We note some abnormalities, including the lack of any trail when finally, a keen observer in the pack spots a drop of blood…up in the trees? Evidently, the perp, or perhaps the Predator who slew him, based on the girl’s story, went up to avoid leaving a trail. This worked for the police and their dogs…but not for the pack. The Battle Mandala is only part of the riddle, we move forward and soon enough, spot what appears to be a den, with a young she-wolf sitting outside it, gnawing upon a well chewed lower leg of what is most likely the perp. She angrily warns us to Go! We try to communicate, but her speaking skills seem a bit limited. Perhaps due to our non-hostile approach, the scriber of the Battle Mandala reveals himself. It’s perhaps a first, someone gets the drop on the whole pack, but there he is, standing right behind us, standing the she-wolf, his sister, down. He’s a young Red Talon Theurge, Long-Runner, a son of the lost pack who came southeast a while ago, looking for vengeance. They found it, and death, along side ourselves.

He takes us at our word, being surprisingly guileless, but then, as you find out, you’re the first contact he’s had with outsider Garou, other than a lone Silent Strider, who he found on his long run. We join in a Red Talon Rite, a useful one indeed for the non-human tribe…a means to share memories in full. Drumming on a mammoth tusk, Long-Runner invites our own Theurge, Willow, to join him. Consuming some sort of hallucinogenic mushroom, and with the drumming, we soon find ourselves Sharing the Dream with Long-Runner, who relays his life story to us. His mother, a rare kin who possesses Gnosis, was bidden to flee by her Garou Alpha, and this she did. Pregnant, she wandered north, into the territory of a Gurahl, who, perhaps taking pity on the old wolf, let her stay and bear her pups. A few months pass, and the old wolf, Blood-Paw, can finally take her pups back south to her old pack’s lands, only to find them lost and gone. She decides to head northeast, into the territory of a kin-pack, who had also used her pack’s caern for their rites. These welcomed her and her 5 pups, glad to have more wolves to assist in the battle against these strange humans and their weapons and powers, who seemed intent on eliminating the local wolves so their business could be conducted without any interference from local garou(wildlife), as it were. Long-Runner had his First Change during a raid by the humans, along with one of his sisters…the won that fight, and he began training under the pack’s old Theurge, having been born to that auspice, along with his sister. Several more battles ensue, and soon, his adopted pack makes a difficult decision….to seek ancient powers, the oldest ways. Long-Runner and the old Theurge, his mentor, head north…and north…to the last stand of Mammoth, an island in an icy sea. After much travel and trail, they make it, running across the frozen ocean to do so. The Red Talons of Wrangel Island find the seekers acceptable, and teach them their ways. More, they give the two of them a number of sacred Mammoth fetishes, to take the power south, perhaps the southerners might fulfill that which Mammoth wants most – to be saved, brought back, somehow. Given a Garou Bag of Holding fashioned from the hide of a mammoth, within it is a drum carved from a mammoth tusk, mammoth bone drum sticks, several cured bags filled with fresh mammoth blood (to be used in rituals, preserved, along with the bag and other relics, by Red Talon gifts that purify and preserve flesh), and knowledge of ancient gifts and rites that the southerners might find helpful.

But after another long-run back, Long-Runner and the old Theurge find the pack beaten and dispersed. His sister garou is dead, along with two of his siblings. Only his mother and one lupus kin sister remain. In their Rage, the two Theurge hunt among the humans, slaying many and tasting their flesh. Thanks to the humans, there is little game to be found, so they make do with the flesh of their foes. You don’t approve…but what would you have done in this situation? Red Talons often ignore the Impergium, and all it’s teachings…Long-Runner and his kin know nothing of such things. The old Theurge is soon slain and Long-Runner finds himself alone, with his pregnant mother and lupus sister to think of.

Instead of returning to the Hunt, and slaying as many as he can before dying, a little spirit, a Snow Owl, comes to the lost Theurge and tells him she can lead him south, maybe find his father and his uncles. Filled with hope, the Theurge takes his two kin and takes up the trail.

Several months of traveling ensue, during which he battles his way across Canada, meeting a lone Silent Strider along the way, who teaches him and his two kin a gift or two, one of which allows for very fast travel. He threads the needle down through the US, avoiding humans in large part, guided by the Owl, but finds the trail running cold outside Baltimore…perhaps the Weaver disrupted it, or the Wyrm who is to know? He finds himself worriedly watching over his heavily pregnant mother, who cannot travel any further. Digging a den, she gives birth to pups, the last gasp of the Red Talons of his now dead kin. He patrols about, finding a freshly slain human female. Disturbed at finding some Wyrm energies at the site of her death, he still takes the girl’s legs for food back to his kin. Keeping an eye out, he sees this happen again, about a week later, and this time, he is moved to action…he disrupts what appears to be some sort of Wyrm rite, driving off a BSD and some sort of Bane or evil spirit in the process. He kills the human who was raping and in the process of killing the girl. Taking pity on the human (Elk forbids eating of pregnant females, and she is) he picks her up and carefully carries her out of the park, lying her down near the road. Seeing her dying, he works some healing magic on her, sealing the wound over her heart, but is driven off by the bright lights of a truck…a passerby, seeing the girl and the dog. He retreats, and the girl is saved.

We share our own visions with Long-Runner, who decides in his simple, untainted ways to accept us as friend. You are perhaps surprised by his abrupt turns, but then, he is not human, he sees things maybe more clearly than the homid-born. But, there is bad news, He tells us the BSD had laughed at him, warning they would come for the pups! Thus, he carved the Battle Mandala, to keep the foul Wyrm spirits at bay while he did battle with whatever comes..we might not be familiar with such things, but a wolf would never abandon pups, and these ones, being but a week old, are too young to move by any means they are familiar with. A short trip of a dozen meters or so in the mouth of their mother, might be possible, but no further. They are far too fragile, and the young Theurge would not think of using his talons to carry them. He’s probably never taken homid form, the soft hands of which would be well suited to carrying the tiny pups. .

While we are all, to one degree or another, appalled by he and his kin feasting on human flesh, we might find mercy yet and perhaps more, a chance to do the right thing. After all, half the pack is Metis! He’s clearly a very raw Garou, having spent little time among even the feral Red Talons, spending most of his short life among wolf kin or on the road, battling first north to Wrangel Island then again to Baltimore. We might excuse his behavior, though Scully finds it most disturbing. Then again, Scully now knows some Red Talons who might take this tiny, remnant pack in. Long-Runner’s ears pricked with interest in hearing such a thing. However, it is a rare gift to have such a group of pure lupus come among us city folk, maybe we might get them to stay? Who knows? Perhaps Tracker might take a mate from the pups, or he might like the young Water-Dancer, a lupus kin with Gnosis, a rare gift, and with Garou gifts of her own. Maybe Razvan might take a mate among the lupus, he seems to want to create a sub-pack of Shadow Lords independent of his family, for reasons not entirely understood by the rest of us. Both Blood-Paw and the young Water-Dancer are perhaps the lupus version of the face-kin we’ve met. More than kin, but less than Garou. But, there is first battle in the offing, as we know the BSD and whatever foul Wyrm creatures aid it mean to come here and seize the pups…No matter what we might think of the Litany breaches Long-Runner and his kin have made, we will surely find common cause in this defense?

Story 10: Long Pig
 

Chapter 3 notes:

So we decide to stay, and aid this tiny pack, though it seems rather hopeless when a bit of scouting by Razvan, using his new gift, an ability to summon and direct a spirit crow, reveals a vast number of skull pigs, led by a BSD, running through the spirit world, soon to storm the lair. The BSD means to take the pups, it would seem to convert them to the Black Spiral and increase their kind at our own expense. In the doing, he would pervert the final gasp of the lost Red Talons, likely a deed to gain him great honor among his own kind. Our new friend seems almost too calm, ready to trust in the spirits to aid us. He means to perform an ancient rite to call for help from the mighty Mammoth.

Soon enough, the skull pigs and the BSD, a Theurge, attack! The battle is fierce and short, and we will soon be overwhelmed, though we do down a few of the Wyrm pigs. Long-Runner’s call for help is answered! To our shock, an avatar of mammoth manifests in the mundane world, stepping out of the trees, trumpeting a challenge, and sending a few skull pigs whirling through the air, victims of it’s fierce tusks! Taking heart, we press forward, and manage to down the BSD Theurge. The skull pigs, losing heart, retreat, leaving several of their number dead. But before they go, they appear to pay homage to the Mammoth, an odd thing. What might this mean? We don’t know, but we do take joy in our victory…none of us were badly injured, for once, only Scully getting a taste of some sort of balefire belched upon him by the BSD Theurge. Long-Runner, though gored by the skull pigs, soon heals and is healed to stand among us in our victory.

The powerful mammoth spirit cannot stay here for very long, and we get a very rare chance to interact with a Gaian spirit from the primal times, long before the tribes fell to bickering and dissent, even before the War of Rage and the falling to the Wyrm of the White Howlers. It’s an amazing sight to our eyes, all the Gaian spirits we have seen so far are little things, none ever more powerful than we. We have the little creatures, and the BSD have Nexus Crawlers and ThunderWyrms…Weaver has giant spiders and Dreadnaughts…it fills us with a rare joy, and hope, to fight side by side with a Gaian spirit of such great power. Even Raz is greatly awed, stroking the thick red fur of the mighty spirit with a black-furred cranes talon. The mammoth bears a very simple message, for those who can hear it’s words…“Save me,” the mammoth says…“Save me however you can.” We don’t know if this is possible, or even how to start. Yet, those of us who are tech savvy realize that our new Red Talon friend bears relics that contain untainted mammoth DNA. Perhaps…there might be a way? If so, Weaver might certainly be needed…speaking of which…

The BSD Theurge, rendered temporarily helpless by Razvan, is subject to our questioning. He seems bitter over the casting down of the BSD in Baltimore, but perhaps more motivated to warn us about Weaver…who the foul, tainted Garou seems convinced is our true enemy. Regret is in it’s voice as he tells us we should have fought together against Weaver, the common enemy of all of us. We might ponder this strange tale, in the future, but for now, we get him to tell us of his new home, a church, where this strange woman, the “Wyrm woman with wings,” Long-Runner spoke of, appears to reside at..

We know after all this that Long-Runner and his two kin lupus, and the pups, can’t stay here, the hunting is poor and they appear to know nothing of the Impergium…whether by accident or design, we cannot tell. We offer him refuge, and he takes us up on it, trusting us in his simple way. He commands his mother and sister to bring forth the pups, tiny, blind things not fit for moving, yet move them we must. He doesn’t know how we mean to do this, perhaps with one of the iron machines he has seen moving along the rock trails. He also knows where the BSD made its lair, having tracked him through the city, an appalling idea for us to think about, yet, the young Red Talon has gifts when it comes to stealth. Perhaps he was not seen? At any rate, we are resolved to help him, and track down this Wyrm influence, and perhaps teach our new friend something of the Impergium, before he falls to ruin. Wise in very ancient ways, he is very naive of all else, it would seem. But, he’s a storehouse of new gifts and old wisdom, we could learn from him. As well, he’s the last one of his pack, and his kin did us great service, in the end…don’t we owe him and his?

Story 10: Long Pig
 

Chapter 4 Notes

Long-Runner uses his alpha status to do the unthinkable for a mother wolf, move her pups before their time. Trusting in us, he orders his mother and sister to bring the 4 tiny, newborn pups forth, and we carefully carry them to the Razmobile. A journey they were too little to survive in a wolf’s jaws, but softer hands – and even Crinos talens – are up to the task. Long-Runner demonstrates yet another unknown gift prior to our departure. With a gesture, he renders the human remains to forest compost. The flesh and bone dissolve into tiny grains of dark, soil-like particles, and mesh with the compost of the forest. A most useful gift, one perhaps we might learn. An excellent way to eliminate evidence, no doubt of it.

We drive a few miles through the city, soon reaching the altered church where the BSD and Long-Runner both claim is the lair of the “winged woman,” some Wyrm thing, no doubt. We try to enter it from the spirit world….and are rebuffed! A powerful ward against our kind surrounds the building. Yet a doorway is offered. We are expected. Of course we take up the challenge and enter! What else is there?

A young, goth-girl opens the door for us, bidding us enter. We do, and soon enough we meet the temple priestess. A woman of supernatural beauty. She is not at all what we expected, not some Bane or Fomor…nor vampire, she’s got a heartbeat, she’s alive. She seems to be emitting some powerful scent, some glamour, and while we manage to toss off the worst of it, we are held back from the attack momentarily. She also does not attack us, but instead, begins to tell us a most unusual tale. She claims to be one of the “Fallen,” as in – a fallen angel – a demon, you suppose. Yet, she claims that she’s here trying to make things better. She says she followed her new follower, the BSD, who she had high hopes for. Yet the Wyrm-tained garou power almost lured her back to what she says were her “old ways,” which you learn are the ways of sacrifice and ruining. But she’s past that now, one of the Fallen who try to help humans, the “Reconcilers.” They seek to be forgiven, make amends. This, she says, she tries to do here. She says our new friend disrupted a ritual her thrall – the human – and the BSD, who had corrupted him, were engaging in while she was considering how to end it herself. She also informs us that if we wish to fight, she will, and more…she’s not alone! A vampire, some ancient Spanish conquistador, Castanon, makes himself known. He tells us flat out that he had been sent here from Mexico City to deal with the Garou threat to the Sabbat faction. But we had slain the Sabbat leadership in Baltimore, and the others had been dispersed by the other faction, the Camarilla. This allowed him to defect, as he had long grown tired of the interminable vampire conflicts. He says he means to find peace here, feeding only off donated blood or the blood of the evildoer. He follows a Path of Harmony. We do not know what all this means, but Willow and Zero have heard enough to at least not attempt to kill them immediately. Razvan seems tentative, at least partly under the sway of the Fallen’s glamour. Yet he might act, if someone else takes the initiative.

In a rare break with his Alpha, Scully rises to the occasion as our new Philodox, he knows in his heart, this is all wrong. We must kill them, and now. It’s what we came here to do, isn’t it? Still, enough of the Fallen’s story, and Castanon’s, rings true enough to stay our hand. The Fallen tells us her human name, Chavi, and promises she means no further harm to mortals, her thrall fell under the spell of the BSD, and resulted in the loss of her thrall as well as needless exposure for her. Willow and Zero buy it. Razvan seems passive, he might follow Scully’s lead into battle…but Scully cannot do it.

We talk further, meaning to investigate what our kind might know of the “Fallen” but for now, we leave her and the vampire both alive. Long-Runner is confused, didn’t we come here to kill them? Yet, even to him, the Wyrm sign from the both of them is…weak at best. Perhaps there is indeed more to this story. We can always come back and take them out, we think, taking our leave. Scully is furious, how many insults to the Litany and our war against the Wyrm must we endure? This isn’t right. Fuming, he stalks off into the early morning pre-dawn darkness as we climb aboard the Razmobile, to take our new lupus friends to a temporary, safe haven. Also, someone must teach them about the Impergium! We can’t have garou and lupus hunting and eating humans in Baltimore!

We have earned much honor this night, perhaps a bit of glory, and certainly a bit of wisdom. We saved the tiny pups, the only garou shaman who calls Mammoth his totem south of Wrangel island, and the last gasp of the Red Talons who died helping us moons ago. Lupus among our kind are dying out. But tonight, we helped give them hope, and the Garou nation along with it. We can learn from Long-Runner, and he from us. We’ll see where that goes. Perhaps a new personal totem for one or more of us? Who knows? We’d never heard of these “Fallen” before, a new mystery, and perhaps, a new ally? What if she was telling us the truth? We mean to find out. We’re a Wisdom pack, after all. It’s our job! If Scully doesn’t convince Razvan to come back and kill her first…

Story 10: Long Pig
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