Author Topic: Daniel's Athro Challenge Part 1(Warning! Very very long)  (Read 586 times)

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Offline Daniel

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Daniel's Athro Challenge Part 1(Warning! Very very long)
« on: February 16, 2009, 04:29:11 AM »
Daniel's Athro Challenge:

“There was a spiritspeaker of Middle Brother wounded deeply in battle before the Sacrifice. In his dying moments, he swore that the Eater of Souls would have no claim to his heart. He cut it out of his own body, gave it to a spirit of the earth who took it, made it to rock and hid it away. Find this heart. Return it to me. Tell the tale.”

Ahota! Which means listen –not with ears of the flesh but with ears of the spirit. I am no talespinner. My words are clumsy. So you must hear past them to the truth of this tale. For there is much of glory and honour and wisdom that true talespinners need to hear.

Itopa “Calls Down the Mountain” Elder Galliard of Youngest and Strongest Brother, Dog Fighter of the Lakota, you heard me proclaim myself an Athro of the Nation and set me a task. I stand before you now with the heart in hand. And here is my tale:

“I sought a beginning to this challenge and so I slept beneath the gaze of Salamander at the Sept of the Hidden Flame and he gifted me with visions. The spiritspeaker of the Croatan had died, but where? Though he had been gravely wounded in battle, his sacrifice came after the surge of fighting had past him by. His actions were not recorded in the Battleground. There was no record of his name.

No record of the spirit that he summoned. No record of those that Sacrificed themselves. How do you name one among an entire people?”

“And yet from landmarks gleaned from vision we found the place where the spiritspeaker had died. A great highway paved over the location. And so we ventured beneath the streets. This once battlefield now marked only by a weaver pole awash in the lights of the nearby city. There were tunnels that ran with filth, decay and the wastes of countless thousands. And there we met the Wyrm and defeated it wherever it dwelt and wherever it bred…

*     *     *     *     *

“Is it possible they smell worse than all this shit?” Daniel stabbed deep into the massive body bristling with arrows. The only sign that Seeks had heard him was a short snort and a renewed attack on the wyrm creature before him. A gout of foul ichor stained the young Wendigo’s arms to the elbow. One whiff seemed to answer his question.

The echo of gunfire told him that Makisha had reloaded and was once again methodically blasting into the wyrm minions. The three great beasts had been bottlenecked at a bend in the sewer tunnel forced to combat Daniel and his warchief in close while Makisha, Miakoda, and Spirit of Stone attacked them at range with guns and arrows.

The Wendigo Ahroun claimed first victory defeating one by himself while the second collapsed under the concentrated fire of the three ranged warriors. The third died shuddering beside the questing Philodox.

They carved out the hearts of the creatures and dismembered the bodies removing the evidence of their being from the Realm.

It was Makisha and Miakoda that first noticed the swirling in the water ahead…

*     *     *     *     *

“With me on this journey, I took Seeks to Restore the Balance -Wendigo Ahroun, Adren. Spirit of Stone -Wendigo, Ragabash, Cliath, Makisha -Medicine Woman of the Sioux and mate to Seeks, and Miakoda -Uktena, Theurge, Fostern.”

“The swirling in the water was revealed to be a stone turtle. An awakened spirit being guarded, hounded and contained by the wyrm creatures. This was the spirit that helped Middle Brother hide away his heart all those years ago. And it said that it would guide us on the path that we would have to walk if we wished to find the heart. But to do this we would have to show ourselves as strong as that spiritspeaker of Middle Brother and deny the Eater of Souls.”

“There are apparently four parts to the Eater of Souls. And the path that the Stone Turtle led us on went to one touched by Madness.”

“’There is a serial strangler. You must deal with this one in proper fashion.’ intoned the turtle which led us to the door of a house.”

“It should be understood that this house was not an ordinary house. It was wrong. It felt wrong. Spirit of Stone decried it as unnatural. And by appearance alone this could be seen to be true. The front door was carved with reliefs of birds. Pictures of birds hung on the outside. Suncatchers of birds. Windchimes with birds. And feather motifs everywhere. In the toolshed around back we found a laboratory of sorts with birds pinned and dissected beneath large posters depicting the anatomy of birds. When we entered the house we found the murderer in a back room aviary surrounded by dozens of birds. He had a young woman in front of him with a garrote of piano wire taut across her throat. As we stepped into the room we found ourselves cut off from our gifts of Gaia.”

“The birds tell me to kill them.” He said.

*     *     *     *     *

When Miakoda informed him by pack mindlink that the birds WERE actually talking to the killer, Daniel felt like an idiot. There he had been pretending to speak to the birds, trying to manipulate the man in his madness into releasing the girl.

“Some of them are telling me that I should let the girl go and kill you. Some of them are telling me to kill her.” He spoke in the slow dream cadence of the truly insane.

Daniel could feel his rage gathering into a tight ball. “Which ones are telling you to kill the girl?” he demanded.

“The parakeets.” Erik Johnston motioned with his chin.

Daniel turned and stalked over to the indicated perch. He stared at the row of birds, “Oh really. You want him to kill the girl?”

The parakeets nodded their little heads as one.

Daniel’s fist flashed out hammering one of the parakeets off its perch in a small cloud of blue/green feathers. It fell broken to the ground and fluttered weakly at his feet. He covered it with the heel of his boot.”

“You want him to kill me now, don’t you? Or maybe I need convince another one of you that he should let the girl go?”

The row of parakeets shook their heads violently and chirped with renewed enthusiasm. Erik Johnston growled and shoved the girl away from him. She crashed hard in the corner of the room. Makisha quickly scurried forward to pull her to safety.

“They say to kill you now.”

He ground his heel into the hardwood floor listening to the soft crunch. If you couldn’t influence the madness, argue with the ones with influence over the madness. He smiled “Somehow I thought they might.”

*     *     *     *     *

“Things did not go as planned.”  Daniel offered to his Elder.

*     *     *     *     *

Daniel checked his step toward the strangler as his opponent seemed to go into convulsions. Erik Johnston shed his skin like a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis. Yet even as Daniel thought of this analogy he knew it to be inadequate to his rising sense
of horror. Unless somewhere there was a nine foot tall flaming butterfly covered in chitinous plates screaming wordless obscenity.
Daniel tried to call on one of his gifts to freeze the creature in place but his connection to the sacred wellspring of Gaia was still broken.

*     *     *     *     *
“This was when Spirit of Stone shot the once man thing with an arrow. Miakoda likewise attacked. And Makisha fired more bullets. But the creature’s attention was drawn to the Wendigo Cliath. It saw the talisman that Spirit of Stone wore around his neck. A dead bird. And frenzied charging at the Ragabash.”

 “I rose to Crinos and stepped into its path. My claws scored across it’s bony armour and I learnt that the flames were not just for show. I have had balefire spat at me by skull pigs. I have been burnt by a flamethrower. Nothing burnt as fast or as hot as this creature. In moments the flesh from my arm all but melted away. But still I stood before the thing knowing that if it hurt me so deeply, it would surely kill the Cliath.”

“I speared it with an iron pole that had been supporting one of the many birdcages. It pummeled me again and drove me to my knees then leapt past me and gave chase to Spirit of Stone. I will say here if not for your gift, Rhya of the Polar Bear Claw, I would now be dead.”

“It caught up with Spirit of Stone and savaged him brutally leaping onto the lupus’ back. Perhaps he might have escaped out the front door but the cliath was cognizant of the Veil and declined to flee into the night. A large wolf dragging a flaming skeleton creature.”

“Seeks to Restore the Balance laid into the tainted wyrm birds killing many. The parrot followed after the once man and with its leaving Gaia’s gifts returned to the Ahroun and he killed many with great rushing winds. And crushed the head of another in his claws while that foul creature tore bits of him away with a barbed prehensile tongue.”

“And still I could hear the gunfire of Makisha. And the soft phft of an arrow passing close and then finding its mark in the beast.”

“I raced to Spirit of Stone and wrestled the burning creature off of the Cliath throwing it down the hall and away from the Ragabash. He wisely took the opportunity to escape into the Umbra. With his absence, the thing that was Erik Johnston focused its anger on me.”

 “I was sorely hurt. I dodged once and did not know if I had within me the strength to do so again.”
“And then the retort of Makisha’s gun and the creature toppled over dead.”

“Not enough is said of our kinfolk. Sometimes they fade into the background. Sometimes they want it that way. But I say to you, Elder, that Makisha saved my life that day with her marksmanship.”
“And then we killed the parrot. And with that bird’s death our connection to Gaia was restored.”

“The house had caught fire in the struggle and turned the place into an inferno. We pulled the once captive girl to safety. Though the fire was born of evil, I watched it reduce that unnatural place to ash. As we performed rites of cleansing, the turtle told us that we had seen and learnt that madness could be defeated by reason.”

Daniel smiled slightly “But in truth the lesson that I learnt from that encounter was ‘always kill the parrot first.”

End of Part One

Elder Wendigo Philodox Homid
Pure Breed x4 Diplomatic x4, Persuasive x4