When I met Eli Marks, he was just a kid, barely into his 20s. I was already well into my 50s, Id seen my own son grow up, get married and swear that hed never talk to his crazy old man again.
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Eli asked all the wrong questions. He asked me if I had kids, and he asked me where my pack was. He asked me about my wife, and then when hed picked himself up off the ground, he asked me why Id hit him. And finally I got tired of putting him off, and so I talked about my son and my wife and my pack, and you know what that son-of-a-whore said to me? Yeah, you do, because he said it to all of you.
He said, Good thing youve got a tribe to support you. Damn, but I got sick of hearing that. I never had much use for the Thihirtha Numea sorry, but I dont and I did not like him throwing it in my face. But you know, there were days that I got to wondering, where was my tribe when my wife was murdered? Where was my tribe when my son thought I was crazy for talking to shit that wasnt there? Where was Fenris when my packmates fell to their deaths?
I know what this sounds like, but Im standing over the grave of the Uratha that I Im sorry. Someone else can. Another werewolf reaches out and puts a hand on his shoulder, and he flinches, but then turns and nods in thanks. A woman steps forward. She is much younger, but she walks with a cane. The bandages on her legs are fresh, and the wounds there havent completely healed. Several of the werewolves here have offered to perform a rite to heal those wounds, but she has refused.
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She brushes blonde hair, still stained with blood, out of her eyes, and she puts a hand on her packmates gravestone. Eli Marks, I never would have thought youd go out this way. I thought youd outlive us all. But then Ive never been right about you, never once. You know the first time I met him, I thought he was human? Yeah, I know how ridiculous that is, but he had that stupid ring on, the one that masked his scent.
I actually hit on him. Stop that, assholes, I didnt know. He corrected me right away, and I ran. We were in DC, outside the reflecting pool. I was looking for spirits there, and Eli, well, he was looking for Uratha. He tracked me down at a coffee shop three miles away, and found me sitting outside chain-smoking and pounding down green tea or whatever the hell I was drinking back then.
And we got to talking. He pegged me as Farsil Luhal right away, and he ribbed me about not knowing he was one of the People. And he said it to me, too, Your tribe would understand, right? And I wanted to say, What? If I fucked a werewolf and gave birth to one of those god-awful things? Would Sagrim-Ur forgive that? But then I thought about it, and I wondered if he really would.
Do you lose points with the Firstborn for thinking about this shit? Anyway, Eli could get away with that kind of thing. He said it with a smile, and you had to figure that he was asking because he wanted to know the answer. And I had to think about it, because he asked, and I figured it out it doesnt matter if Red Wolf would forgive me. Red Wolf trusted me not to do stupid shit like that, and I dont want to betray that trust. Im sorry. I should be talking about Eli. Im no good at this shit. She takes a step away from the gravestone and throws her arms around another werewolf.
She buries her face in his chest and starts to cry, and he strokes her bloodstained hair. He has much that he wants to say, because Eli Marks was his packmate, too, but he cant, not when she needs him. Instead, he nods to a werewolf standing at the back of the group, and the assemblage turns to face him. The Uratha is younger than the first speaker, but he is clearly the most powerful Uratha here. He has a glimmer of silver to his skin, even though his marks arent visible. His name is Severn, and he leans upon a staff, into which he has bound a spirit of lightning.
When he speaks, the rumble of thunder speaks behind him. Eli Marks shouldnt have died this way. I know his packmates feel they fought their best against the Pure, and perhaps so. But for him to die fighting the Imru and the Anshega are still the People, no matter what you might think is a travesty. He should have died fighting something terrible from the Hisil, something that couldnt think or reason.
Eli Marks was a creature of reason, and this But there is nothing for it, now. Eli died well, Im certain of that, and my only regret in knowing him is that I never discharged my debt to him. When we met, nearly ten years ago now, I was a cocksure alpha of a pack of my fellow Iminir. I know that some here would say that things have not changed, but would you say it to my face? Eli did. That was his gift. He somehow managed to say exactly the wrong thing in exactly the right way. When we met, he was trespassing on my packs territory, and we surrounded him.
I demanded that he show his belly, and he did, but he said, Winter Wolf must be quite proud of you, youre so strong. He didnt sound sarcastic, but why would he say such a thing except to mock? And so I called down lightning on him, just to teach him a lesson And the lightning would not come.
Perhaps I simply failed to rouse the spirit of my staff, but I believed then and I still do now that Skolis-Ur disapproved of this show of power. And so I helped Eli Marks to his feet, and I dusted him off, and I told him that he was welcome in my lands. Three days later, our territory came under attack by a being that we could not see, feel or track. And Eli Marks knew how to beat it, using a Gift that no spirit in my lands could teach. And I told him then, as we stood on a battlefield marked with my blood, his blood, and the blood of that damnable creature that killed two of my pack, that I would repay him for his assistance and his lesson.
I never did. The thunder builds to a climax. Severn steps back, and heads around him incline out of respect. But Severn, too, is nodding, his head bowed to the gravestone. A long moment passes before anyone else speaks. The Uratha who speaks next moves to the gravestone without anyone seeing him. He looks over the rest of them with a slight sneer. He is thin, black and young, possibly the youngest present.
He wears a pistol in a hip holster, and although the assembled werewolves cant see it, the symbol on the hilt marks him as Meninna, though he himself would not use the First Tongue name for his tribe. You all make Eli sound like a faggot. Hey, goddamn it, think how I feel! Eli was my friend, and here I have to listen to you making him out like hes some touchy-feely hippie guru pussy!
Eli wasnt no faggot. He was People, and he was a fighter, and I dont know what the rest of you saw, but I didnt see him take shit from anybody. Not even me. Hell, I shot the fucker, and he didnt take shit from me. He rolled into Atlanta one night. Hes walking through College Park like he owns the place, and Im figuring somebodys gonna punch his card before too long anyway.
But then I realized hes one of us, so I better roll on him before someone else does. I told him hed better step off, and theres fucking Eli with his Yeah, I guess youre right, Id never see you coming, huh? And I look around, and Im standing in the middle of the goddamn street. Nearest cover is thirty yards away, and I cant exactly just change forms out in front of God and everybody. No, I didnt shoot him then. That was later, and that was over something I aint telling you all about. But I punched him in the head, and he punched me right back, and there we are knocking each other down and hes not budging and neither am I.
And finally I grab his ass and tell him whose territory hes in, and he says, Oh, OK then, and asks me if his pack could maybe find a place to hole up for a while. I walked away from that shit bleeding and sore, and you damn well better believe I never rolled on anybody like that again. All that time Im walking around Atlanta thinking what a badass I am cause Im a Hunter in Darkness, like the name means shit. Thank you, Eli, and fuck the rest of you. He sits down partway down the hill.
He wants to leave, but he wants to howl for his friend, too, and he cant do that until the funeral ends.
by Ronnie Filyaw
Elis Iron Master packmate has composed herself, and stepped away from the werewolf who comforted her before. He takes off a tan leather jacket and folds it neatly, handing it to her. Then he steps up to the gravestone and falls to his knees. He whispers in the First Tongue for a moment, and the wind dies down a little. The night is still cold, and only the barest sliver of moon shines. The werewolf traces the words on the granite with this finger, and then stands and faces the People.
He has tears in his eyes, and like his packmate, his clothes and hair are bloodstained. They have refused to wash the blood from their bodies until Eli is put to rest, and tonight is to be the cleansing for them. He doesnt know about his packmate, but he feels like this blood will never leave him. I killed Eli Marks.
I dont mean that figuratively. I mean it literally. But I want to explain what happened, how I failed. And then you can decide what to do. I was the last member of our pack to join up. The others didnt want to take me on because I was lousy in a fight. I guess youre expecting me to say Eli persuaded them otherwise, but he was the one who was most dead-set against it.
Eli would tell me it was because Id chosen the Bone Shadows. Hed say that we were so scared of death wed made a religion out of it, and that secretly we just wanted Death Wolf to reject us so maybe we wouldnt die. Hey, we all know Eli said shit like that all the time. Whats annoying is how often he was right. A month after my First Change, a murder-spirit started hanging around me. It looked kind of like a crow, but shit, you know how spirits are.
It wasnt a crow-spirit, you knew just by looking. It was waiting for me to kill someone. And finally I told it to fuck off, that I wasnt killing anybody, and it left. It was right, though, it was just early. When the Pure attacked us the other night, Eli was right next to me. The rest of the pack was half a mile away. They ranked us out. They hit Eli and me because we were the youngest and the weakest. Eli wasnt weak, but he looks weak.
Maybe he looks harmless more than weak, I dont know. But they hit us, and Eli took the time to howl because he knew we were screwed on our own. We fought them off as best we could, but by the time the others got there less than a minute we were already pretty cut up. And then the Zathu opened up and all I saw was crows. But not crows, these were murder-spirits.
All one spirit. They were If I hadnt done what I did, hed be one of them. Hed finally have found a tribe, because those bastards would have forced him. I knew that. I knew it by looking at those fucking crows, because I knew that they werent going to kill him. Thats what you get for looking at death so long, daring it to look away first. You know when its coming for you, and those murder-spirits werent there for business.
They were there serving that pack of Anshega. And they grabbed him. He was hurt, so hurt hed dropped to Hishu, bleeding from all over. They were picking him up to take him away. And so I I had to. He falls to his knees again, but he doesnt cry. He waits for judgment. The assemblage is stunned, angry, but they look to his pack. The Iron Master helps the Bone Shadow to his feet.
She looks long into his eyes, and she knows that he is not lying. If anyone knows death and when it is necessary, it is the Hirfathra Hissu. He thanks her silently, and then he changes to wolf form. The rest of the Uratha do the same, and they draw breath to howl.
But when the howl comes, it is not the loud, dissonant howl of a pack of wolves. It is deafening. It is the howl of the fear of night. It is the howl of the taste of battle. It is the howl of the last breath of the dying. It is the howl of the fury of the storm. It is the howl of change and chaos. The werewolves look to the skies and see unbridled rage. There are shapes moving behind the clouds, five wolves that snarl with hatred and vengeance. And they demand blood. The assemblage runs, the ritual of laying Eli Marks to rest giving way to a hunt the likes of which this area has never seen.
The werewolves hear voices echoing from the storm, from the ground, from the world of spirits and from the paved roads, and the promise of blood. But Fenris cannot succor his children in their despair; he can only feed their fury. The young Hunter in Darkness knows that Black Wolf is there in the forest of the city, and that he has served her well and kept his territory sacred.
Bullets or claws, his territory has never been violated. The revered Storm Lord knows that he can repay his debt tonight, and his many silver marks blaze white-hot like lightning for a moment. He takes the lead and howls to the People to follow. Elis packmate, the Iron Master, spies a rail-thin wolf behind a tree, and she knows that she was right, that Red Wolf does trust her, and that she was right to be curious.
At the rear of the pack, a Bone Shadow stumbles. His guilt, his grief, drags him down, and he feels cold teeth on the back of his neck. Not yet, Death Wolf whispers, picking up her cub and setting him on his paws. Not tonight. Somewhere, a pack of Pure werewolves looks at the sky and shudders. They are right to fear. The Lushar Iduthag are coming for them. Tonight, Eli Marks will be avenged.
All rights reserved. Reproduction without the written permission of the publisher is expressly forbidden, except for the purposes of reviews, and for blank character sheets, which may be reproduced for personal use only. Tribes of the Moon is a trademark of CCP hf. All characters, names, places and text herein are copyrighted by CCP hf. This book uses the supernatural for settings, characters and themes. All mystical and supernatural elements are fiction and intended for entertainment purposes only.
Reader discretion is advised. Oliver Wendell H olmes, Jr. Stereotypes are not born in a vacuum. They do not spring whole cloth from fantasy, though they may one day cross into that territory. Buried within a stereotype is often a grain of truth. This grain is sometimes tiny, almost insignificant. Other times, it is a more robust thing, a seed whose growth emerges time and time again. Its easy to stereotype the tribes. The werewolves of the Blood Talons must all be warriors, grabbing at glory with blood-caked claws.
The Bone Shadows? Mystics and witches of the dark woods. The Hunters in Darkness act as wolves within the shadows, grim defenders with a fanatics gleam in their wild eyes. Clinging to their urban domains lurk the Iron Masters, adjusting a tie or a do-rag with claw-tipped thumb and forefinger. Then come the Storm Lords, barking orders from pride-bloated lungs. Does truth live in these stereotypes? Not only is there a foundational element in play, but dont forget that the Forsaken are culpable in the cultivation of their own stereotypes. A thug banger with piss and whisky for blood might see.
One hopes the Blood Talons teach him the truth about their tribe, but thats not always going to happen, is it? Get enough of those hot-blooded firebrands into the tribe and that is what the Talons become at least, in that region. But the perception of a tribe and its members neednt be a hard or fast truth, either.
A Catholic priest in Ethiopia looks and acts differently from a priest from Boston. A Republican in Kentucky is not a Republican in Massachusetts. So it is with tribe. Can a Blood Talon be a mystic? Yes; the Talons need their ritemasters and spirit-talkers as much as any other tribe. The Bone Shadows need their gnash-tooth warriors; the Storm Lords cannot be a tribe of all proud leaders the clich of too many cooks in the kitchen rings true.
Specialization breeds weakness. If they all become one thing, they fail at any task that demands them to be different. Sometimes, they embody such expectations, for better or for worse. Other times, they cast such weak assumptions into shadow. Just what is a tribe, anyhow? Strictly speaking, the term implies a society of people bound by blood interlinked families, often featuring generations born into the group.
This isnt precisely true for the Forsaken, given that the tribes are something a werewolf chooses as opposed to something dictated by nativity. But it isnt precisely false, either. First, some feel born to a tribe, even when they are not. Upon learning of a given tribe, a werewolf may feel an intense kinship to a particular group.
What a particular Tribe of the Moon does and why it does that is something that can speak to the heart of a character. In this way, she may feel that her blood in the metaphorical sense belongs very much to one tribe over another. Is this always the case? For some, a tribe is just a loose social group, a union or circle of like-minded monsters. To these werewolves, a tribe provides some social guidelines and the safety of the group, but they do not necessarily commit their hearts to the idea though the Firstborn through the vow and spirit servitors will surely try to push one onto a more committed path.
Can one be born to a tribe? Ones blood counts for something. If a parent or even a distant relative is a Hunter in Darkness, that Hunter may show up at the time of the First Change and leave little room for choice. Note that in the game this necessitates an understanding of the difference between player choice and character choice.
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The player chooses to what tribe the werewolf character belongs, helping to create the conflicted story. The character is at the mercy of this conflict, and is for the moment without choice. Dragged into the tribe of a parent or a relative is one way to be bound to a tribe by blood and birth.
This isnt permanent, of course. Despite the assumption that one is tied to tribe by blood, in the end it remains a purely social convention. Those forced to cling to one tribe over another can one day break free from such oppression when it occurs, and choose a new tribe or find a region where her existing tribe acts in accordance to her own ideals.
It might help to think of each tribe as a needle puncturing three layers it is a single thing that becomes different at each tier. Local A tribe operates predominantly on a local level. At this level, the tribe members are free to define themselves to a point. Their customs and habits can remain unique to them, perhaps found among no other members of that tribe.
A pack of Storm Lords in Brooklyn are cocky braggadocios, brimming with bluster. They have their customs: first names only; fingers full of rings, necks rounded with heavy chains; the five-member pack tries every night to outrun the train, associating the rattle of the trellis with the sound of thunder; and they know to stay the hell out of the Shadow whenever possible, because the citys spirit has gone mad.
Ah, but what of a Storm Lord pack in the Siberian taiga? Those Storm Lords, too, have their ways: their names are First Tongue deed names, and in fact they speak mostly First Tongue, as close to the way the spirits speak it as possible this allows the Storm Lords to rule spirits as well as Uratha ; they wear little clothing even in the coldest weather; their tests of ability are brutal, leaving burn-marks and abraded flesh; and they are the masters of the desolate Shadow, braving it perhaps too often.
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Neither pack would recognize one another. Yet they are all Storm Lords. Global To say again: Yet they are all Storm Lords. They may not recognize each other at first, but give them enough time to demonstrate who they truly are, and theyll see those common threads emerge. See, each pack is in some way about proof of power, about pride. Both packs know what theyve promised and to whom: none shall look upon their failings, none shall offer comfort or solace for their weaknesses because their weaknesses are buried, hidden beneath scabs and calluses, behind gold chains and the rumble of a train.
Each pack acts different, looks different and even sounds different in ways that go beyond mere language. But they are all Storm Lords. While no great Forsaken Nation exists, the tribes are a global phenomenon. A common thread must bind them, because if it doesnt, whats the point? Cosmic The strongest common thread belongs to the cosmic. Each tribe is given over to its totem, one of the Firstborn wolves, which provides a kind of cosmic mission statement for each tribe in the form of the vow which is as much ban as it is an oath.
The legacy forged by each Firstborn Incarna is key to the cosmic bond. It also provides myths, legends, a kind of spiritual touchstone for each tribe member. Of course, there remains a cosmic thread outside the werewolves control, as well. Spirits can be remarkably simplistic entities. Spirits often first see a Bone Shadow as exactly that, a Bone Shadow, regardless of how different that Forsaken is from any other member of her tribe. The spirits expect a certain model of behavior from those who serve the Firstborn, because that is how the spirits themselves behave.
Spirits are, to a degree, programmed. Sure, they have room for independent thought and this capacity swells as they grow in power or consume variant spirit types , but at a core level, a spirit does what it is; a spirits membership to a given type is emblematic of its behavior, almost predictably so. Hence, the spirits sometimes expect that to be the same for werewolves. This cosmic thread is admittedly outside a werewolfs control, but the expectation is present nevertheless, and must be considered. Such a Gift is without a dot rating. One doesnt purchase such an ability with experience points.
So what is a Milestone Gift, and how is it achieved? Milestone Gifts are bestowed by the Firstborn to a member of the tribe who has in some way embodied the ideals of the tribe and the totem. A Hunter in Darkness who comes a hairs breadth away from dying to protect the sanctity of an ancient temple or a powerful locus may be a candidate; so, too, a Bone Shadow who single-handedly puzzles out the ban to an idigam raging across the desert with its mad army.
The bestowal of such a potent Gift is not something given lightly, and it does not occur without fanfare. Each werewolf experiences the gaining of the Gift in a different way. One might find an intensely spiritual and personal experience; called to the Shadow, a Blood Talon finds. Another might experience something rather public: after negotiating a tricky peace between warring vampires using various half-truths and fulllies, an Iron Master may fall to his knees in front of his pack, and they all hear the cacophonous whispers and distant howls of Sagrim-Ur whirling about their packmate.
Note that each Milestone Gift is given a set of prerequisites. Harmony is fundamental to gaining and keeping such a boon: if a character drops below Harmony 6, she has three cycles of the moon to regain that lost balance. Fail to do so, and the Firstborn will snatch the knowledge of the Gift in his jaws, withdrawing the ability forever as in, the werewolf can never regain it.
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Many go at least a little mad with the loss of such knowledge, given that the werewolf becomes fully aware of just how keenly she has disappointed the tribal totem. Some even gain temporary derangements, lasting weeks or even months. A werewolfs own sense of treachery or weakness might plague her endlessly until she is able to regain some measure of Harmony and find a rough semblance of calm.
Before granting a character access to a Milestone Gift, the Storyteller should discuss the opportunity and cost with that characters player. Some such Gifts, while potent, are also with a troublesome cost. The Gift compensates for this, of course, but if that character falls below Harmony 6 for too long and loses the blessing of the Firstborn well, her eyes are still gone.
And now the Gift does not compensate for the loss of vision, making that character blind. Therefore, its worth having a conversation with the player and ensuring that he is comfortable with the cost and repercussion. Great power, great responsibility, as the saying goes. If the Storyteller so decides, a Milestone Gift can be purchased with experience points, though this is not the recommended fashion by which a werewolf would receive such a Firstborn blessing.
The purchase of a Milestone Gift is equivalent to 30 experience points. The Prologue offers a story of Forsaken from many tribes coming together to mark the passing of a friend and packmate. In each, youll discover the legends and histories of the tribe, full of shared truths and misconceptions. Youll also find new lodges, rites, fetishes and one Milestone Gift for each tribe.
Each chapter concludes with sample characters embodying the tribe and its ideals. Consider the view of each tribe as written from each authors individual perspective. Each brings his own views to his given tribe, presenting the tribe to you as the author sees it. No Ghost Wolves? This book does not feature information on the Ghost Wolves given that they are not actually a Tribe of the Moon. Its not that they fail to be deserving of deeper information, only that this book is about the literal tribes and their Firstborn patrons. The Ghost Wolves are without that connection, and as such are already detailed in books such as The Rage.
The door crashed inwards in a shower of splinters under Morriss booted foot. Lewis was right behind him with the shotgun, loaded for bear with double-aught silver buckshot, just in case there were any surprises. On the ground! On the fucking ground right now! The four bangers inside tried to rabbit out the back, only to run headlong into Guzman and Valentino, both heavily armed and thoroughly pissed off.
Guzman caught the leader in the mouth with the butt of his MP-5, and the punk went down, spitting blood and teeth. Morris and Valentino tackled two of his boys and wrestled them down, while the third decided Lewiss shotgun looked a hell of a lot more intimidating than a hit to his street cred and gave himself up. Yo, man, this our turf! The chief banger was still spitting mouthfuls of blood, so it fell to his lieutenant to defend their honor. You lost your claim when your boys broke the peace, T-Money, Morris said. You been dealin over by Bellevue. Chains doesnt like that.
T-Money snarled something ugly in the First Tongue, and the cuffs on his wrists burst as his body began to warp and twist into Gauru. Aw shit, here we go. General Ferdinand Foch You know what the worlds oldest profession is? No, its not whoring, and its sure as shit not farming. Maybe you could make a case but thats not so much a profession as it is not starving to death. No, Ill tell you what the oldest job in the world is: Soldiering. Yeah, thats right. Sure, maybe they didnt call it that back in the day, maybe it took a few thousand years to come up with the idea of a standing army, but from the day the first caveman looked at his neighbor and said, I want what you have, and that second caveman said, Fuck off, theres been a need for big, angry folks to bash in skulls on a professional basis.
Even Father Wolf was as much warrior as hunter why do you think we tell the tale of the epic battles between Father Wolf and the Plague King and the Spinner-Hag? Look, dont get me wrong, I respect the hell out of our brother tribes. They all do their jobs, and they do em damn well. Just remember which of us has been around longest. The Blood Talons are at once the simplest tribe to understand, and one of the most complex.
They are an elite warrior fraternity, dedicated to the ideals of combat and warfare. Thats an easy enough concept to understand; dozens if not hundreds of books, movies and TV shows have explored the concept of the brotherhood and ties of honor that bind men and. And yet, this emphasis on war and battle stands in contrast to the werewolfs nature as a hunter.
Every Blood Talon walks a fine line, balancing the dictates of his tribal philosophy with the instincts of his blood. Urfarah calls out to Blood Talons to hunt and stalk and kill, while Fenris-Ur urges them to rend, devour and destroy. Other tribes often see only the latter side of the Suthar Anzuth and write them off as bloodthirsty maniacs at worst or useful hired muscle at best. Short of inviting a pack of slavering Predator Kings to a tea ceremony, its difficult to imagine a bigger mistake in the arena of inter-tribal relations.
Combat is a part of every werewolfs life: whether its destroying a skittering Azlu bent on walling off the Shadow, pushing an encroaching pack of rivals out of their territory or just running off some stupid humans who dont know better than to get high and fuck near the Verge in that old factory outside town. Even the least martially-inclined individuals tend to pick up one or two things in the months after their First Change. Rahu of all tribes learn as much as they can about the arts of fighting, from hand-to-hand and archaic weapon techniques to modern SWAT tactics and infiltration skills.
To the Blood Talons, though, combat is more than a means of survival; combat is a way of life. Young, arrogant initiates who hold to such a view are disabused of the notion shortly after meeting their first Rahu veteran of another tribe. What sets the Suthar Anzuth apart from their fellow werewolves is the Blood Talons approach to the ideals of warfare. Combat is not merely conflict resolution; it is the principle by which they live.
A Blood Talon seeks to be a great warrior not because he wishes to defeat all of his enemies, but because honing his body and mind into a weapon is to honor the spirit of the Destroyer Wolf and, through him, Urfarah himself. This devotion to the arts of battle extends to all aspects of a Blood Talons life, and the majority of the tribe thinks in terms of conflict and battle when faced with an obstacle. Thu Ibiru bears similarities to the philosophies espoused by Sun Tzu and Miyamoto Musashi, albeit in a simpler form.
Some Cahalith of the tribe have posited that one or both of these men were influenced in part by conversations with Blood Talon warriors, and a few even claim the men as wolf-blooded or even full-blooded Uratha, but the evidence for such a claim is anecdotal at best.
According to the principles of Thu Ibiru, to think of the Destroyer Wolf solely in terms of physical destruction is a limited understanding of the Firstborn. Fenris-Ur is more than the destruction of the flesh; he is the destruction of all obstacles, physical, spiritual and mental alike. When a Blood Talon truly lives Thu Ibiru, she can bring the full might of her warrior heritage to bear in any conflict. That doesnt mean a Suthar Anzuth challenges her mortgage broker to a duel to first blood when her loan is denied, but she approaches the problem of money with the mindset of a general faced with inadequate supply lines: who can do without what and still be able to fight tomorrow?
Maybe a pack with a large and lightly contested territory can afford the members to be evicted from their apartments to afford the medical care a pregnant wolf-blooded mate needs. In a small or exceptionally dangerous territory, it might be more important to keep the authorities from trying to drive the pack out of their one and only safe haven.
Can resources be pooled and supplies redistributed to ensure that everyone has at least something? Three packmates working shitty, minimum-wage jobs is safer than. This combative mindset gives the Talons a reputation for stubborn hardheadedness among the other tribes. To a certain extent, thats true: when you think of negotiations in terms of feints, ripostes and retreats, its all too easy to see concession as surrender, and that treads perilously close to a violation of the tribal vow. The ability to see the distinction between surrender and discussion is what marks the difference between a skilled warrior and a wise leader.
The Blood Talons are one of the easiest tribes for a newly-Changed nuzusul to fall in with. This isnt because its easy to be a Blood Talon the Suthar Anzuth have some of the most stringent and punishing initiation rites of any of the Tribes of the Moon but because the basic tenet of the Talons philosophy is one that is very easy for a new cub, still thinking like a human half the time, to understand: We have enemies. We destroy those enemies.
When compared to the mysticism of the Bone Shadows or the almost alien outlook of the Hunters in Darkness, its easy to see how a young werewolf might cling to the Talons simply to have something he can wrap his head around. Despite their easy appeal to the young, Ragefilled werewolf, the Blood Talons are among the most discriminating of the Tribes of the Moon when it comes to accepting new recruits. Stupid, violent thugs or psychopaths are rarely accepted into the tribe unless there is a dire need for new warriors; the Suthar Anzuth want warriors strong in body, mind and soul.
One neednt be a Caesar or a Rommel to be accepted, but most Talons look for candidates with at least a basic understanding of tactical thinking and battlefield savvy. In many cases, nuzusul with good instincts and an iron will are given preference over dull-witted thugs who can kill a man with their little finger. Anyone can learn to kill in many interesting and creative ways, especially with the natural talents Uratha have at their disposal, but as one famous Suthar Anzuth alpha from the Mississippi Delta is fond of saying, you cant fix stupid.
One of the most famous figures in the tribes mythology, Boneless Harald, earned his place as a warrior of the tribe and alpha of his pack in medieval Sweden, despite being born a cripple and. He was given the initiation despite his handicap because he had a knack for seeing to the heart of a conflict and divining the swiftest way to crush the opposition. All of this doesnt mean that the Blood Talons reputation as brutal, savage warriors is entirely undeserved. The tribes ethos does attract those with a penchant for mindless violence, and sometimes prospective members arent screened as diligently as they should be.
Sometimes, war and attrition require that standards be relaxed; better to have a subpar line of defense than none at all. Sometimes, a particular candidates peculiar talent or zeal for the tribes goals is just too good to pass up. The tribe sometimes tolerates those maladjusted, violent brutes who end up as Blood Talons, but those brutes generally end up as the omegas in Blood Talon packs.
Ironically, this pushes such brutes to leave their tribemates behind and seek out mixed-tribe packs, whose members might be more inclined to be impressed by displays of brute force masquerading as leadership, thereby further cementing the stereotype in the minds of other tribes. The Blood Talons are infamous for their simple and yet brutal initiation ceremonies. Where a Bone Shadow might be required to bargain with a spirit or give a dissertation on some obscure piece of esoterica, or a Storm Lord might be expected to take charge of a group and earn obedience solely on the merits of his aura of authority, a Blood Talons task is usually more straightforward: Destroy an enemy.
End a conflict. Dont surrender. Just because its straightforward doesnt mean a Talons recruitment is easy; just surviving a Blood Talon initiation rite is a feat worthy of Renown. Prospective members can expect to be tested to the absolute limits of their physical and mental endurance, and sometimes beyond. Rahu are held to especially harsh standards. Blood Talon tradition holds that their tribes Irraka, Ithaeur, Elodoth and Cahalith are equal to the Full Moons of any other tribe, and their own warriors are expected to be the very avatars of Mother Lunas wrathful face.
For all the vaunted brutality of a Blood Talon initiation, the ordeal is rarely fatal. The Talons choose their candidates carefully, and seldom offer a nuzusul the chance to prove herself unless theyre already pretty sure shell cut it. Tradition dictates that. If a prospective Talon dies during her initiation, it reflects poorly on the ritemasters Wisdom. Conversely, if the supplicant doesnt come back thoroughly beat to hell, it likewise reflects poorly on her patron.
In rare cases, a prospective member is made to undergo a second initiation rite if the ritualists judgment in choosing a task is deemed fatally flawed by the rest of the tribe. A second initiation is considered a grave insult to the ritualist bloody duels have been fought over such slights. The supplicants Renown is not considered slighted by being forced to repeat her initiation: the fault was the ritualists, not the supplicants. In the event of a nuzusul failing to accomplish the task set before her for initiation, her patron brings her to the attention of one of the other tribes.
By the time such an event occurs, the patron has a good idea of where the nuzusul might fit better, and makes arrangements accordingly. Some Blood Talons take this duty more seriously than others; at the bare minimum, the washouts patron might put her on the cross-town bus and tell her to look for the graffiti markings that look like little gravestones. Out in the Great Plains, theres a story going around about a Blood Talon who uprooted his entire pack and took them on a month-long journey up into northern Canada, just to deliver a nuzusul who failed the initiation to a pack of Meninna he thought would be a better place for the cub.
Such devotion is rare, but certainly worthy of Honor Renown. The Suthar Anzuth consider themselves the elite of the elite. Much as Delta Force or the U. Navy SEALs are to the rank-and-file enlisted soldier, so the Blood Talons see themselves in comparison to the other tribes. This elitism can lead to arrogance, but it also fosters a strong feeling of camaraderie amongst the tribes members. Oftentimes, this esprit de corps is its own recruitment tactic, especially for all-Talon packs who work well as a unit. Frightened, unsure young nuzusul see this group of werewolves who have their shit entirely together, and naturally want to be like them.
Most Talon packs will at least sound out a newly Changed cub who expresses a desire to join the tribe, just to see whether she actually has what it takes to join the Talons or is just enamored of their badassery. A candidate being actively recruited is invited to join a local Blood Talon pack on a trial basis; while running with the pack, the Talons accord the cub the same respect and honor as a full member, and the initiate in turn is expected to adhere to the tribal vow and the tenets of Renown as espoused by the Suthar Anzuth.
Most packs consider it an honor to receive a new recruit even if they complain incessantly about having to break in the newbie , and in the case of cubs with particularly auspicious destinies attributed to them, rival packs have been known to come to blows over the right to initiate the nuzusul.
If, after a few weeks, the tribe judges the candidate worthy, they invite her to swear the tribal vow and become a member in her own right. This tactic is most popular in territories where the Talons have a large population, and usually at least one stable pack fully composed of Blood Talons. While the tribe isnt averse to demonstrating the efficacy of mixed-tribe packs, such egalitarianism doesnt have quite the same punch as far as convincing young Uratha that the Blood Talons are the best of the lot. A young man becomes a heart surgeon because a cardiologist saved his fathers life; a girl joins the police academy after a dedicated detective finally brings her sisters killer to justice.
That same emotion can influence a cubs choice of tribe as well: if a pack of Blood Talons destroys a Host intent on killing the cub and her family, that cub is quite likely to be favorably inclined toward joining the tribe. While this might seem an unlikely means of recruitment, remember that the intense spiritual disruptions that precede the First Change are violent and far-reaching, and Uratha arent the only ones who can detect the disturbances. Its a sad fact of life that many Uratha are killed or worse yet, claimed by the Pure Tribes before they have even the faintest inkling what they are.
Wrathful spirits, Hosts frightened of a potential new predator and even mortal monster hunters can and do conspire to kill nuzusul before they master their newfound gifts. When the Talons learn of a cub undergoing the First Change, one of the first things they do is to. Usually, the pack just quietly takes care of the threat on its own, but jaded or desperate packs lurk out of sight and conveniently show up just in time to rescue the cub. Sometimes an overzealous pack will deliberately steer some sort of spiritual predator in the direction of the nuzusul, engineering a situation wherein the pack can show up, save the day and draw the recruit into the tribe.
Rarer still, and generally considered one of the most despicable acts a pack can commit, the predator might be steered toward the cubs human friends and family, which has the dual effect of conveniently severing ties with human society and pushing the cub toward the tribe as a surrogate family. All too frequently, a newly Changed Uratha finds himself unprepared for the torrent of emotions and utterly unable to control it. The stories of cubs murdering their entire families in the throes of the First Change are regrettably common, and the grief that comes along with that can destroy a young werewolfs mind.
Enter the Blood Talons. Thanks to their tribal affinities, they understand Rage in a way that few Uratha do. Furthermore, many of the tribes members have a similar story haunting their past and can relate to the grief that comes with the knowledge that you are responsible for the deaths of your entire family. The Talons promise to teach the cub how to control that Rage, how to bottle it up and release it against worthy enemies rather than innocents.
Sometimes the tribe will even teach the nuzusul a Rage Gift or two, as assurance that they can deliver what they promise. A few Irraka aside, most members of the tribe prefer not to mince words or bandy about with elaborate schemes. Its not too surprising, then, that one of the most common recruitment tactics the tribe employs is simply to approach a cub shortly after his First Change, lay out the facts of his new life and offer him a place in the tribe. This sort of recruitment appeals particularly well to cops, soldiers and others with disciplined personalities Joining Up.
Ask any experienced soldier, and hell tell you the soldiering life takes all kinds. The Blood Talons are no different. The fact that werewolves are neither born nor raised in a tribal environment gives them a less unified character than the term tribe might initially suggest. Still, like calls to like, and if one were to take a random sampling of Blood Talons from around the world, most would share some common traits: Courage: A warrior who shrinks and cowers from the first sign of danger is no warrior at all.
The Blood Talons dont expect their brethren to charge shrieking into battle against every foe, no matter how overmatched the warrior might find himself, but when the battle is joined, every member of the pack has to step up and do his duty. Wits: Its all well and good to be a pound brute who can crush skulls in one hand, but if you dont know which skulls to crush or in which order, you arent much good to anyone.
Blood Talons thrown into battle quickly realize the need to keep a sound head on their shoulders and make snap decisions that wont get their packmates killed. Significantly rarer but greatly prized is the ability to maintain some semblance of tactical thinking in the Rage of the Gauru form. Fortitude: Offer no surrender you would not accept. Thats the central tenet of the Blood Talons, and those who cant stomach it dont cut it in this tribe. A Blood Talon might be stubborn as a mule, tough as an old oak or as implacable as the tide, but she wont give in and she wont give up.
Ferocity: Every Blood Talon is a warrior. Even the tribes scouts, healers, seers and shamans know how to handle themselves in a scrap. Some are more capable than others, to be sure, but all are children of the Destroyer Wolf with all that that entails. Whether its a talent for knock-down, drag-out brawling, a knack for knives in the dark or a particularly vicious streak when fighting with fang and talon, the Blood Talon who doesnt know at least one or two ways to maim an enemy is rare indeed.
Confidence: Self-confidence comes from the knowledge of your own ability to handle any situation thrown at you. As the finest warriors of. It might take the form of a quiet self-assurance or a loud, boastful braggadocio, but its hard to survive more than a few weeks as a Blood Talon and not develop some kind of self-confidence. Revelry: Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die. While some Blood Talons hold themselves to a severe, ascetic lifestyle, many recognize the eternal peril in which they live their lives and, consequently, try to squeeze every bit of enjoyment out of this world that they can.
Why eat plain, boiled rice when that place down on 5th Street makes the best hot dogs in the city?
Why drink rainwater out of puddles when the good Lord saw fit to invent liquor? Why live a live of celibacy when Father Wolf graced you with the body of a well-tuned machine and that natural predatory sexuality? Thats not to say the Blood Talons are a bunch of effete hedonists quite the opposite. Any Blood Talon who expects to live more than a few weeks knows not to overindulge to the point of self-impairment but most see fit to revel in the pleasant things life brings, especially when they come along so rarely. Camaraderie: All werewolves have a strong pack instinct, but the Blood Talons marry that instinct to the bonds of brotherhood that form among members of elite fighting units.
Of all the tribes, with the possible exception of the Hunters in Darkness, the Blood Talons are the most distrustful of lone wolves. A warrior without comrades to watch his back is a corpse waiting to happen. In order to find a place in the tribe, a prospective member must survive a savage beating delivered by the established members of the tribe. Depending on the region and the size of the local Blood Talon population, this might be anything from one or two members of a single pack all the way up to a dozen or more representatives of the tribe from across several packs.
Being jumped in by an all-Blood-Talon pack is a point of pride in urban territories on the West Coast, and nuzusul thus initiated may wear red cloths around their left arms to signify their status. Isaiah Curwin is an Old Testament-style prophet and zealot. Glib excuses like religion and politics. This story is one of the first places to have werewolves operate in packs, led by an Alpha.
They take him to a drive-in theatre and playing on the screen is, of course, the Lon Chaney Jr. One particularly sexy panel shows Layla dancing provocatively on the roof of a car at the drive-in with two of her beta males on all four at her feet howling. But now I realize I was just being repressed. These were human traits. Going the full C. Jung, Jack crawls into the cave of his psyche and finally integrates with his shadow which he had pushed away and repressed. Jack chooses a path between the biker-wolves and Silver Dagger, rejecting both of their worldviews and finding a healthy middle-way.
And what you fear you destroy. Look around. Madness and death!! Your God has no mercy! But there comes still one last bit of superlative writing. Savagery is our heritage, blood and madness our birthright. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account.
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