CAST OF PLAYERS:
Debora Silkotch…………..Casey Gavin…………………………..…Human Psionic

Jera Morrison…………..….Alseyne Aulaudin……………………Sidhe Changeling

Kendall Nye………….……Joseph McAdoo………………………..Ronin Garou
Aaron Murphy……………..Claws-of-Honor………………….Were-Tiger
Jeremy Whitener………….Korin Alabaster…………………………Were Mongoose

Aron Head………………….Story/Setting/Everything Else…….Game Master

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“Our friend Claws has been far and long from us,” Iggthor said ominously. “And I suspect he has brought his foes back with him.”

Alseyne frowned.

Casey’s baffled expression shifted slowly to one of horrified comprehension.

“Yes, I was wondering about the word Wyrm used,” McAdoo commented in a quiet tone. “Our friend carries no scent of wrymtaint.”

Claws cocked his head to the side. “Something I said… yes, I did, didn’t I?” His brow drew tight, trying to remember. “I don’t understand it, but it seemed important.” He pondered, “Brought them back with me? I remember no one. I was in the room alone, until Alseyne arrived. Alone with a sword, a dripping sword. Dripping…fresh blood? If it weren’t fresh, it would have dried.”

McAdoo slid his half-eaten pie away, shifted his chair away from the table. “I fear the story unfinished. “

Now it was Alsyene warrior who smiled. “Unfinished stories are the best kind because you can write your own ending.”

McAdoo snorted in wry humor. “Bloodthirsty elf.”

She raised an elegant eyebrow, “I am not a bloodthirsty elf.” She paused, and then a wide feral smile broke over her face as she laughed, “I’m a bloodthirsty Sidhe.”

“From the sounds of it, bloodshed follows me.,” Claws scowled. “Are you sure you don’t want to let me depart, as I offered earlier? If I have brought enemies to the fight, I may have served to tip the scales against us.”

Alseyne brushed that away, turning to Yggthor. “Why do you think he brought back foes with him?”

Yggthor answered without taking his eyes off Claws. “‘Our heroes’ silence brings the wyrm,'” he translated. “It is the first line of an old viking prophecy.”

“What’s the rest of it? Do you know who wrote the prophecy?” Alseyne asked.

“I know the rest of the first stanza.” He closed his eyes and recited:

“Our heroes’ silence brings the wyrm
But they will howl on the day of Ragnarok
And Jormungandr will devour them whole
Our heroes fail us
Valhalla is empty with none to cheer.”

He opened his eyes, frowning.

“Well that doesn’t sound good,” Percyndi observed.

“Wait, are you talking about the Edda?” Alsyene wondered. “Is that the prophecy you are quoting from or is this a more obscure one you are quoting?”

“Not the Edda. The Otrygg Prophecy predates Sturluson’s work by more than three hundred years.”

“I still don’t understand how you are tying this into Claws’ return and his opponents’s following him based on what you quoted.”

“I think I do,” Casey said quietly. She’d been in the Bastet’s mind before his “death;” he certainly hadn’t possessed a working knowledge of Old Norse.

“Claws quoted the first line in Old Norse,” Yggthor explained to Alseyne. “It is an obscure text. I doubt more than a few scholars know of it. His wounds… his size…that sword… Forgive me, Claws, but you do not have the scent of victory about you. I think you must have been in retreat when you came to us.”

Claws’ fingers traced the scars on his hands, his arms, and finally the one down his face. For the first time since his return, his look was one of something other than pride in his battle scars. “No honor in my retreat…especially if I left other valiant warriors behind on the field of battle, alone to die…”

McAdoo frowned, ” Or seeking aid for a battle. And given that time where he came from passed more quickly than here,” he looked toward Casey, “I’m curious to what you think.”

“I think I’d like to have a look into Claw’s head,” Casey said hesitantly. “May I, Claws? If nothing else, I think I may be able to clear up the mystery of where you’ve been.”

McAdoo grimaced. “Perhaps something best done with less of a crowd around? “

“The sooner the better, I suspect. But it’s your call, Claws.”

Claws turned his gaze slowly to Casey. “You want to get into my head. I don’t know if I like the idea of someone traveling through my feelings and memories… there is just something… unnatural about that.”

“I know it’s weird. It might be really important, though.”

“Then again, I guess some would say that there is nothing natural about us. I will trust you. Do not make us both regret that trust.” He closed his eyes and took a deep breath.

“I’ll do my best,” she promised.

Casey sent her percipience more deeply into him than she’d ever gone before. Wading carefully through the primal, predatory — but
essentially familiar — ‘tigerness’ of his thoughts, she searched for the presence of any other intelligences, other beings, that might have been hidden within him.

Claws was Claws, she discerned. Nobody else was along for the ride.

She began sifting deeply through his memories, searching for clues to, or actual images of, the ‘years’ between his escape from the sorcerer and his reappearance at the Pendleton. She peeled through the layers…found pain… and even fear.

Fear at having failed…

She fell… falling… tumbling… she… no he… fell…

“Come home,” A soft, assuring voice called.

He was accepted into cool mists, embraced by them. He was turned, righted. Above him, far above him, he saw a shimmering light. He rose now, floating toward an ever-brightening silver luminescence. It played across his damaged limbs, caressed his beaten chest, his battered head.

The moon’s light. He was awash in the magnificence of Selene. “Come home,” the voice repeated, her voice filled with joy.

And far behind him back in a world that seemed far less real now than it did moments before he heard the Sorcerer: “Damn.”

But that voice faded and was of little concern. He was cradled and bathed in the light. He slept…

…and awakened.

He was lying in a loamy, dusty area on the side of a hill. Small rocks and boulders were strewn about. Above was the clearest, most brilliant night sky he’d ever seen. The stars were magnificent!

Standing, he realized that he was fully healed. No wounds, no scars. Even his eye had been restored.

Stepping to the top of the hill he was struck by a most wondrous image. Earth rose just at the edge of the horizon.

That could only mean one thing… but that wasn’t possible… this was the moon?!? He was in the realm of Selene… “Am I dead???” he wondered aloud.

“You always talk to yourself?”

Claws looked around, surprised by voices on the moon and the fact that his senses hadn’t picked them up. He sniffed the… air?

They smelled like children: Sweat, dirt, jelly.

He turned to face two small children. Both were clad in animal skins and coarse fabrics. They were fair skinned children. The boy was blonde, the girl red-headed. The boy held a primitive fishing pole. And the girl held a large clay jug. They appeared to be about eight years old.

“Not always,” Claws rumbled. “I have to sleep and eat sometimes. Biting things makes it hard to talk. Who are you?”

“I’m Hjuki,” The boy answered.

“I’m Bil,” The girl smiled. “You’re not from around here.”

“I’m not really sure where ‘here’ is, so I couldn’t say.”

Both children laughed.

“…But since I’ve not seen anyone like you, I think you’re right. Where am I?”

“You’re on the moon!” Hjuki explained.

“How did I get here?”

“Selene brought you here,” Bil answered.

Claws nodded. “The last I remember, I was trapped with a mage. Am I dead or did she spare me?”

“This isn’t Valhalla,” Hjulki said.

“It’s not Niflheim either,” Bil added.

Claws dug through his memory of the legends. Valhalla rang a bell, slightly. “Ok… not dead… got it. Where would I find Selena?”

“I don’t know,” The boy shrugged.

The girl suggested, “Mani would.”

“Yeah, he would.”

“Do you want to ask Mani?”

“Mani? If he knows about what’s happening here, then yes. I would like to talk to him.”

The boy and the girl led Claws up the dune hill and down the other side. Claws found this place, this Moon, very disorienting. The horizon was too close.

In the distance, a wolf’s howl echoed across the cold star field and the harsh desolation of the moonscape.

Claws’ head snapped in the direction of the howl. He wouldn’t have expected a wolf or a garou to be here, instead of in the Umbra. He couldn’t see the source of the howl.

At last, they came upon a long wood framed home with a grass rooftop. White smoke puffed from the chimney.

A large man approached from the horizon. Thick ringlets of black hair flowed from under his iron helmet. He was bearded and brawny and wore a vest of chain mail over his long, linen shirt. His blood-red woolen cloak whipped about him as the weapon at his belt — a gigantic sword — bounced against his hip. A long coil of rope was looped from around his left shoulder to his right hip. As he approached the house he shed the rope, tossing it over a post.

“Ves heill!” He greeted the Bastet. “And who are you that comes to my home?”

The Tiger bowed his head in greeting. “I apologize for intruding on your den. I am called Claws-Of-Honor. Until a short time ago, I was in Austin, battling beside fairies and weres in defense of the city. It seems that there was an evil threatening to end the world. In a battle with a Magi, I was brought here by Selene.” He looked the man in the eyes. “And what are you called?”

“I am Mani, son of Mundilfari.” He eyed the Bastet. “Battle? Alongside the fair folk and the beast people? I am a man who enjoys a tale or two of wars fought against evil sorcerers. Come. Sit at my board and take some supper. I’d have that tale of yours.” He threw the door open.

Claws was one to prefer his meats fresh from the kill, but he had to admit that the smells coming from within were sumptuous…

Casey snapped free from the memory, blinking. Something had pushed her from Claws’ mind. She frowned. “Mani, son of Mundilfari. That name mean anything to anyone?”

“Máni is the god of the moon and a son of Mundilfari and Glaur.” McAdoo seemed surprised by the question. “Máni pulls the moon through the sky every night, pursued by the wolf, Hati.”

Regathering her power, Casey made a cautious but determined effort to reenter the memory stream where she’d left off.

She sneezed… once… twice… three times.

Magic.

Rubbing her nose grumpily, she gave up the effort. “Claws, I think someone has magically blocked your memories of the missing years. For some reason they don’t want you to remember what you saw, or learned, or whatever it was.”

She turned back to the big troll. “Yggthor, what did you mean by ‘he’s brought his foes back with him? I’m not sensing anyone else in there.”

“There is another line or two from the Prophecy that I recall.” Again Yggthor closed his eyes, reciting:

“And the moon clan’s Jarl fled the bloody plain of Ginnungagap;
Escaping to the safety of friends, he brings final twilight to home and hearth.”

“I hope there’s more of this prophecy that reflects hope,” the werewolf added evenly.

Alseyne’s smile was hard. “That’s doubtful. This is based around the Nordic mythos and they are not known for stories ending in ‘happily ever after.’ Which doesn’t mean that we can’t still fight and prevail. I’m not much one for letting someone else try to determine my destiny for me.”

Now it was Alsyene warrior who smiled. “Unfinished stories are the best kind because you can write your own ending.”

McAdoo snorted in wry humor. “Bloodthirsty elf.”

She raised an elegant eyebrow, “I am not a bloodthirsty elf.” She paused, and then a wide feral smile broke over her face as she laughed, “I’m a bloodthirsty Sidhe.”

“From the sounds of it, bloodshed follows me.,” Claws scowled. “Are you sure you don’t want to let me depart, as I offered earlier? If I have brought enemies to the fight, I may have served to tip the scales against us.”

Alseyne brushed that away, turning to Yggthor. “Why do you think he brought back foes with him?”