As I turned back to Mom, I heard the sound of what sounded like claws being dragged through the Earth over and over again. Mom was still smiling from ear to ear, but Dad had a more concerned look on his face.
I heard Uncle Jeff calmly say to me, “Byron, turn around and shift into glabro.” The authority in his voice told me to do it. As I turned around, I shifted up to glabro and then it hit me. I only saw a quick glint in the red light of the setting sun but I felt the fire rip through my skin.
I looked down and saw claw marks across my left pec, just like Mom had. I let a primal scream that was from the pride of knowing that I had succeeded and also from the excruciating pain from the claw marks on my chest.
I heard Mom’s voice but she seemed so distant for standing no more than five feet away from me.
“Those wounds will not heal like normal wounds. Silver will leave you scarred. You are now marked as a member of our clan.”
“Mom, is this why I have very few friends?”
“Yes, son, it is. It’s the Curse. Most people can sense the wolf inside you. You are a predator and you instill fear in most people.”
Uncle Jeff smiled at me, “C’mon Byron, we need to take care of some other business with your mother.”
As we walked off, Mom joined us with her bag. I was going to find out what was in it. There were two Rites performed on me that night, the most important in my mind was the Rite of the Talisman Dedication performed by Uncle Jeff so that I could keep my clothes as I shifted between forms. Mom performed Baptism of Fire to keep track of me until I had successfully completed my Rite of Passage.
The rest of the trip was downright dull and boring compared to all of that.
My sophomore year was quiet except for phys ed. My scar on my chest got a lot of attention. I told people that I’d been swiped by a bear while camping. They don’t need to know who I am. Most people didn’t bother me and that was fine by me. It’s easier to listen to people and learn about them when they don’t care about you and keep their distance.
The next summer I was sent up to Uncle Jeff’s for three months of “summer camp”. I don’t know how we survived! The version of summer camp up there is crazy! Battle circles? Backwoods survival? If anyone else ever found about that stuff, we’d all be locked away as survivalist crazies! As I wasn’t a “real Get”, which I was reminded of quite often, I was given the ‘soft’ treatment. I had more than my fair share of fights. They didn’t care that I had been tested and marked. I wasn’t a true Get. I was tainted by my father to hear them tell it.
Looking back, I have one thing to say to them: Fuck you! You pretentious better-than-you assholes! Just because you have blond hair, blue eyes, and great bodies; it doesn’t mean you are better. Yeah, you can fight. So can I as many of you learned. I kicked ass, I took names, and I made sure you fuckers haven’t forgotten who I am.
Each cabin was considered to be a pack. I don’t know how the packs were picked or if it was random. I can’t say that I care. All I know is that I was in a pack whose totem was Crow. We weren’t bound to Crow in the spiritual sense, but we were to think of ourselves as a pack whose totem was Crow. The first year at camp was spent teaching you what you needed to know of the Garou. I had learned the litany in the first week. Laws and structure are what allow one to grow and allow others to work together towards higher goals and means. Tribes, Auspices, and all that…were drilled into our heads every day.
Every day started with the 6am bugle call and breakfast at 6:30. The morning was learning the all about the Garou. It was so painfully slanted towards the Get’s version of history and culture that it was difficult for me to hold my tongue which didn’t make it any easier for me not being a true Get of Fenris.
Dinner was served at 7pm and from 8pm to lights out 11pm, we had free time. While most of the Get were off practicing for battle and trying to kill each other, I sought out the higher ranking Galliards to learn the stories of the Garou. Many of them were tales of Get battles and victories, but there were many stories of Scandal and Renown and how they were handled or punished. These stories held my attention. Honor. Glory. Wisdom. Not easily gained, easier to lose, but they are what gives a Garou his status in the Nation.
By Mid-summer, each auspice was having its own session in the afternoon. We spent five hours every afternoon going through Garou Lore and studying the major events and decisions. Were they made according to the Litany? was the Litany broken or did a Garou try to flex the Litany to fit their decision. Many afternoons were spent listen to a Galliard telling a tale. We would have an hour to ask any questions or clarifications we had, then we were sent back to our cabins. The next day, we would discuss the tale and dissect it like the judges and jury that we are. I began to see that the young Get around me needed some reminders of the Litany and why it was given to us.
Additional Wednesday Brief Authors this week: