Mom got a serious look on her face. “You’ve had your First Change but you haven’t proven yourself as being able to fight. In our family, you must prove yourself worthy of battling for Gaia or…” she trailed off, but quickly added, ”I know you’ll be able to stand up for yourself.”
I looked at Mom with a puzzled look and then looked at Uncle Jeff, “What’s she talking about?”
“Byron, I’m an Ahroun. Allow me to fully introduce myself. I am Jeff Scours-The-City Lewis. Fenrir, Modi, Athro, Homid, Follower of Fenris, Member of the Sept of the Hidden Valley. I battle for Gaia. I am part of her claws, her teeth, and her defense. Any member of the family who shows themselves to be a Changer is tested. Do you understand Byron?”
I realized that Mom meant by proving myself but… but…”Mom, or what? What if I’m not worthy?”
Mom got pale and looked at me, “Then, we’ll find some relatives for you to live with and we’ll forget about you. We will not have had a son.”
I took a couple of steps back and felt the rage starting to build within. “What the fuck do you mean, just forget about me.” I took a large stride forward, “You can’t just get rid of your son.” I stepped over to Dad, “You wouldn’t allow this…I know you wouldn’t.”
“Son, I’m not a Garou. I have no say in this.” Dad said solemnly.
“Well then. I guess this is it then. How do I prove myself worthy of your love?”
“Byron, it’s not like that. Being Garou is not easy. There are horrors in this world that you’ve not seen yet and things I hope you never see.” Mom said and took down her shirt and exposed her left breast. I could see a series of scars … claw marks! “You are claws and teeth as a Garou…but you are also smart. You must use your brain as much as your brawn to survive. You must show that you are able to fight and survive. Unless something very unexpected happens, you will not be killed.”
“Jeff, would you do me the honor of testing my son to see if he is worthy? Do not kill him but test him to show he is worthy and capable.”
“Yes, Strikes-From-The-Umbra-rhya.” Jeff said with authority.
Jeff turned to Dad, “Lyle, do you accept and understand what may happen to your son?”
“I do Jeff. I understand what may happen to Byron-yuff.” he said hesitantly.
Jeff then turned to me, “Do you, Byron, understand what is being asked of you? Do you understand the nature of the challenge being put before you?”
“Yes, Uncle Jeff, I do.”
“Are you prepared to accept the challenge at any time? Are you ready to fight now?”
“I am.” I said confidently adding not-so-confidently, “yuff.”
Mom sucked in her breath and before I knew what happened I was laying on the ground and my jaw hurt.
Uncle Jeff was snarling at me, “You. will. never. call. me. yuff. Do you understand me?”
“I don’t. Dad called me ‘yuff’ but you called Mom ‘rhya’. I assumed yuff was like sir and rhya was like ma’am.”
Dad laughed and Mom let out a small sigh and said, “No. Rhya is a term of respect for those who are higher in the Garou hierarchy. Yuff is for those equal to you. In a different situation, your father would have been put in his place. He is not Garou, he is kin.”
Dad nodded and Jeff saw me turn to look at Dad. As I locked eyes with Dad, I heard Jeff say something in a guttural voice almost a growl. I understood it but it took a second, a second I didn’t have. I turned and saw an eight-foot tall creature standing in front of me that was neither wolf nor human.
“What the…” and suddenly, I was hit with a large clawed paw. I flew back and skidded along the ground.
“Fuck this shit!” I screamed, “You wanna fight dirty? I’ll show you dirty.”
I felt an hot burning rage boil up from my balls, something so basal, so primal…and yet, I could control it. I could channel it.
I looked at the large creature coming at me. I wonder…and I felt myself change and I was looking eye to eye with the creature who seemed to have a smile on its face.
I let my claws fly and went for the belly. It was a clean shot and I felt my claws sink in to the creature. I could smell blood and it only fed my rage. I was briefly pulled out of my rage as I felt claws tear across my legs. I truly understood what needed to happen. I had to fight. I had to win. I had to dominate. I had to have CONTROL.
I let out a guttural roar and launched myself at the creature I knew as Uncle Jeff. We fought for almost an hour before I had worn him down. I was feeling the effects of all the hits but yet I wasn’t as injured as I knew I should be.
I managed to knock Uncle Jeff down and jumped on top of him. As I did, he showed his throat while shifting into wolf-form. I shifted down and bit his throat. I didn’t want to harm him, but I knew to show dominance.
As I throated Uncle Jeff, he went limp for a moment and I released my grip on his throat. He shifted back to his human form and I followed.
“Damnit, I’m naked again.” I thought to myself, “but why doesn’t it bother me?”
I stood up and helped Uncle Jeff to his feet.
“Strikes-from-the Umbra-rhya, Fenrir, Godi, Adren, Homid in service to the Great and Mighty Fenris, your son Byron is worthy of being your son.” Uncle Jeff with a flourish.
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