Byron Kendall – Part 5

[Oops!  Forgot it was Tuesday night/Wednesday morning and forgot to post!]

At the end of the first summer, I felt my Garou nature far more strongly but much of what I was learning didn’t feel right to me.  The only thing that really felt right to me was that I was in a pack to Crow.  My pack counselor was a Fostern Ahroun named Bill “Aims for the Face” Gilmore.  He was a big guy and he spent his summers away from college helping with the camp.  He didn’t active try to protect me, but he also knew I wasn’t a Get.  I didn’t get anything from him that any of the Get wouldn’t have gotten.  By the end of the summer, I was better built, more confident in myself, and realizing that I’m a handsome man.

When I returned for my junior year, I didn’t and still don’t care what the other kids had to say about me, so long as it is true.  You lied about me, you spread gossip, and I would find you.  You will forever regret having crossed me.

I was starting to hear rumours and talk because I didn’t have a girlfriend or a reputation as a womanizer.  Tell me reader, does this make you honorable?  Does it allow you to better yourself?  No.  There is the reason why.  I was too busy planning my way to bigger and better things.

My junior year came and went with me becoming a reporter for our high school newspaper and me busting my ass to get on the honor roll.

The summer before my senior year, I actually found myself looking forward to going up to the Sept of the Hidden Valley Ranch.  Uncle Jeff was an excellent teach and he was already telling me that this summer would be a rite of passage.  I didn’t realize that he meant it literally.

As soon as school was done, I packed up my hybrid and headed up to Uncle Jeff’s place.  As we hiked out to the camp cabins, I noticed there were a lot of familiar faces but a few I expected to see were missing.  I asked Uncle Jeff about them and got a list of reasons why the missing weren’t there.  Some had been killed in accidents, some had proven themselves untrustworthy or worse, unwilling to fight.

It was just after the 4th of July that my pack had been chosen to go seek out a cave in the woods.  We were to camp there for three days and then return to tell our tale.  We were to rest tonight and decide who would be our leader with a reminder that we must follow the Litany.  We were to return at dawn to have a Rite performed on us before we left.

We went to the dining hall and ate dinner.  We noticed that once we sat down at one of the tables, we were the focus of attention but yet no one would sit by us.  We started eating and before long, the conversation had turned to our leadership.  My thought was to have the Ragabash lead us as they are the ones who are the investigators and spies.  Who else to find out information for us to find the cave quickly and set up camp?

All of us thought someone else should be the leader except our theurge.  Our conversation nearly erupted into argument many times but finally, we decided we had to find out who the theurge wanted to lead us.

Our theurge was a wiry kid who didn’t look any older than 13 or 14.  I actually worried about him setting out into the woods, but I also knew that if he didn’t return, the Get would simply brand him as unworthy and move on.  We all would move on, there is too much to do in these last days.

I turned to our silent Theruge and asked him who he wanted as the leader of our pack.

After a few seconds of silence, “You, Crow, shall be our leader.  You have been slow to anger and you have listened all of us in our discussions of who shall be the leader.  You have considered both the good and bad of each choice.  You are a fair person, but you are also not Get of Fenris.  I do not know if my Fenrir brothers will follow you, but I would select you as our leader.”

The cabin fell silent with only the occasional crack of the roof.  After a moment, Jared, our Ahround, stood, “My theurge brother speaks well.  While both of your parents were not Get of Fenris, your mother is a known and respected Get Theurge.  I have heard her name spoken of highly.  You have been in our cabin for the young summer and you have show a solid resolve and you are quick to anger.  However, once angered, you have shown yourself to be more than capable of fighting.  Moreover, you have been chosen as worthy by one of your clan and scarred as such.  I will second Byron as our leader.”

A few moments later, it had been decided, four votes to one, that I would lead the party to the cave in the morning.

The next morning, we went to the Camp Alpha’s office.  He greeted us and took us to the Alpha Philodox.

The first Rite performed was the Rite of Passage.  We were to go forth into the woods and find a cave.  You will stay there until you have completed your quest.  You will face many dangers on your Rite of Passage.  You may die, be horribly injured, and may see things you wished you had never seen.  There is a taint in that area.  I want you to explore it and see if there is any activity near the cave.

Wednesday Briefs Authors posting this week:

Byron Kendall – Part 4

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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:

Byron Kendall – Part 3

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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.


Other Wednesday Briefs authors posting this week:

Cia Nordwell

Carol Pedroso

Julie
Lynn Hayes

Byron Kendall – Part 2

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We were camped on the edge of a small river and had been
enjoying fresh lake trout for dinner.  Several of adults,
including dad, were sitting around camp having a few beers and
bullshitting.  Me, my older cousin Jerry, and a bunch of the
younger cousins decided we were going to go swimming and exploring
til evening.  We hiked up the river a mile or two and decided
we’d hang out there. We had a helluva time swimming, which beats
being in camp sweating yer balls off, but it was getting dark
enough that we decided we should head back to camp.

We started heading back to camp and were hiking along the river bank single file.  Jerry and I were leading the way when one of the younger
cousins farther back said that Zach wasn’t there. I turned around
and sure enough, Zach was no place to be seen.  He had gotten
separated from us and quickly was lost in the woods.

I told Jerry to take the rest of the boys and head to camp and I
would go back to find Zach.  I had walked back about a mile with
I heard Zach’s voice “Puppy!” and my blood turned cold. The
chances of a dog pup out here in the woods? I took off at a run and
had gotten close enough to hear a loud growl which was followed by a
scream.

I don’t remember exactly what happened next but I was covered in
blood and fur. I was curled up around Zach who was bleeding from a
large bite on his arm. I turned and looked to see the remains of what
looked to be a freshly slaughtered wolf carcass, well, shredded
laying about 20 yards away..

I tried to ask Zach if he was ok, but all I heard was a couple of
growls and a bark.  I looked down and realized I was a wolf!  I
clearly thought to myself “what the fuck?  I’m a human.”
and suddenly, I was human.  Naked and bloody, but human.  I
looked at Zach whose eyes were huge with what I thought was fear
until he looked at me, “Byron!  You can do that just like
Uncle Jeff does.”

I just looked at him, “Like Uncle Jeff does?” I said
surprised, “C’mon Zach,  let’s get you back to camp and
get your arm patched up.  I’ll let ya ride on my shoulders!”

Zach smiled and jumped up.  I picked him up and put him up on
my shoulders.  It must have been quite a sight to see me come
walking into camp naked and bloody with Zach up on my shoulders.
Zach’s dad and Uncle Jeff came running up to us.  Zach
was whisked off to a tent and Uncle Jeff shoved me towards my dad.

Dad was on his feet and running towards us as soon as we got into
camp.

There was a chorus of concern as the fact that Zach had been
attacked by an animal but also that I was covered in blood and
carrying him.

“Uncle Jeff…what is it you do?  I could have sworn for a
minute that I was a wolf.  I thought to myself that I’m human
and then I was human.  Zach said that Uncle Jeff does the same
thing.”

Dad suddenly smiled from ear to ear and went running for the
truck.  Uncle Jeff was right behind him and they both turned,
looked at me and motioned me to follow.

Uncle Jeff got a small bag out of his truck and Dad got some
clothes out of the car for me.  I came jogging over and Dad told
me to take the clothes and go clean up in the river, then get
dressed.

I did and as I finished getting dressed, Dad came walking up and
Uncle Jeff was right behind him with a solemn look on his face.

“Byron, sit down son.  You and your Uncle Jeff need to have
a talk.  I’m going to get your mother.”

“Uhm ok.”  I said as I sat down and Uncle Jeff sat down
beside me.

It was then that I was told of my parent’s real nature. Mom was
like me.  A Garou, but one of the tribe called the Get of
Fenris.  Dad was a Shadow Lord but he was not able to be a wolf.
Uncle Jeff explained that he was a ‘kinfolk’.  He had
the genetics but he wasn’t one himself.  I got a smile on my
face knowing that I was better than my father.  I was “bred
true” unlike him.

It seemed like hours had gone by, but it was only 90 minutes.
Uncle Jeff explained the Garou to me.  He explained each
of the tribes of the Nation and said that I likely a Shadow Lord
since I looked liked Dad but he didn’t know because he wasn’t a
Theurge but Mom might be able to tell.  He explained what Gaia
was and I explained all that Mom had taught me.  He was
impressed and said that Mom must have known that I was going to be a
Changer. I suddenly felt like I was playing charades with all the
stuff Uncle Jeff was having me do.

He had just finished explaining more of being a Werewolf to me
when I heard a commotion from camp.  I looked over and saw Mom
and Dad rushing over.

“You’ve haven’t done it yet have you Jeff?”

“No Nancy, I haven’t.  I wouldn’t do that before you
were and Lyle were here.  I just finished explaining the basics
of Garou life to him. You did a very good job of getting him to
understand and love Gaia.  Fenris would smile upon you.”


Other Wednesday Briefers posting this week:

Cia Nordwell

Julie Lynn Hayes

Byron Kendall – Part 1

(Note: I’ve been battling a diffuse medical issue for the last several months, well years honestly, but it was finally diagnosed last month. Now I’m on medication and doing better. I’m finally doing well enough to write again. #fuck multiple sclerosis)


I was born in
Machesney Park, Illinois. Where you say? Machesney Park, Illinois.
It’s a suburb of Rockford, which itself is an exurb of Chicago. Thank
Gaia for that. There’s nothing to do in Rockford. You can only climb
the social ladder so far in a town like Rockford. An easy two hour
drive and I’m in downtown Chicago shoulder to shoulder with power
brokers and decision makers.

But I’m getting
ahead of myself, you want to know all about me.

Mom wasn’t your
typical Midwestern woman. It wasn’t until later in my teenage years
that I found out who she really was and why it was so important in my
life. She was of an average height but she was a strong stocky woman.
Many people mistook her for a farm wife when we were out and about. I
learned at an early age not to cross her or else I’d incur her
wrath.

Dad was a line
manager at the Chrysler plant in Belvidere. He was a union man and
had risen up from being a line worker. Plant management had a respect
for him that had been earned. Dad knew how to work both sides and he
made sure that his workers, his fellow union brothers, were treated
fairly and paid well.

A couple of years
after Dad had gotten promoted to line lead, Mom got pregnant. She
started to make plans to birth me at home and raise me in the ways of
Nature. I can hear you laugh at the thought of a strong independent
woman raising a child in the ways of Gaia. I don’t mean the weak
aimless ways of the hippies or flower children. She wanted me to
understand and respect Nature and Gaia.

I had a normal
childhood or so I thought. The part that was odd was that looking
back at it, I spent a lot of time in parks and in the woods. There
aren’t a lot of real “wild” forests left but we took a lot of
vacations up to northern Wisconsin and camped in the “North Woods”.
Now, I have to tell you, people in Wisconsin have a strong dislike
for people from Illinois. Given the nature of most of the people from
Chicago, it’s well earned. But no, not all people from Illinois are
from Chicago and no, we are not all FIBs (Fucking Illinois Bastards).

In my early teen
years, I started to figure out that there was something different
about my family. They were respected up north as well. If there was a
minor medical emergency, they would call my mom. She always carried a
small leather bag with her. It didn’t matter if it was grocery
shopping or hiking in the woods, she always had that bag with her. It
wasn’t unusual for people to come up to our cabin at 3am for a
medical problem and Mom would be up and ready, bag by her side, and
out the door in just a couple of minutes. She wasn’t a doctor or a
nurse, but she just seemed to know what to do and could help the
person until a doctor or ambulance arrived.

Dad was more
‘normal’ if you could say that about a factory man. He had his
“Wolf’s Den” as he called it. Mom never went in there and it
was like a secret “man space” for Dad and I. I learned a good
many things while I was in the den. I learned how to keep a straight
face and how to mislead people while playing poker with him and a
couple of his work friends. Right before I started high school, I was
finally aware enough to realize that Dad and his friends that played
poker all shared a common trait. They were all “power” men. Be it
poker, management at the plant, or just how they lived life, they
were all seeking physical strength and power in the relationships
with those around them.

Other than those two
things, I never really noticed anything odd about my parents. My home
life was as normal as could be and seemed like all the other families
I saw on TV. It’s what I deserved as a smart only child.

Everything changed
when I was 15. It was the summer after my freshman year of high
school. We were at a family get together over Memorial Day weekend
with my mom and her folks. We were going to be staying up there for
two weeks to get away and enjoy the woods. It was somewhere up in
Wisconsin. Rainland? Runtland? Oh yeah, Rhinelander. Call it what you
will, it was still a podunk small town surround by woods. I enjoyed
going there for the woods, but the people there? They are about two
cousins away from being fully inbred and showing obvious signs of it.

We had been up there
for a couple of days when it was decided that the men would take the
boys out into the woods for a couple of nights.


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