The death of the well-known and beloved Collette Delacourt shook Garou tribes and kinfolk families alike. Hundreds were in mourning. And, having completed all the gatherings for the departed in her honor, they traveled from all over the South to aid the hunt for her murderer(s). The entire Delacourt kinfolk family turned out as well, except for two; one of direct Delacourt lineage, who was also Collette’s Uncle, and his expectant wife. Dame Belle Delacourt had just begun labor when the family began its part in aiding the hunt, and her husband Lord Arthur Delacourt opted to stay home with her.
Then, exactly 19 years to the hour after the eclipse that heralded Collette’s birth, another eclipse began, which isn’t too strange since Lunar eclipses occur every 6 months (though they usually can’t be seen from the same places and are usually only partial eclipses). However, this December 30th eclipse was as peculiarly dark and red as its “twin” 19 years before. Just as the Moon was emerging from totality, Belle gave birth. Surprisingly, the new baby girl was the second in as many generations to be the purest bred within the Delacourt family. The first had been Collette.
The coincidence of it all was not lost on the Delacourt family. She was named Rosemary, meaning “Bane of Evil.” Even house Gleaming Eye of the Silverfangs turned a bit of attention the baby’s way, hopeful she may have been sent to pick up the mantle of Collette. They sent someone with Scent of the True Form to determine her future. Upon attempting the gift, the Garou was surprised to find he could not access it. Instead an avatar of Falcon appeared. As the baby girl cooed to the shining silver bird, it proclaimed for her an important destiny in the Garou nation. Assuming since the avatar insinuated but did not state otherwise, the baby was pronounced Garou.
So Rosemary’s training began at a very early age, which turned out to be a good move on the part of the family. Even when she was a young child, Rosemary showed signs of being attentive and patient, which was somewhat of a surprise considering her supposed auspice (though no one was exactly sure what the auspice of an eclipsed Ahroun Moon was). However, she also proved not to be the brightest crayon in the box (which many chalked up to Silver Fang inbreeding). Thankfully, Rosemary did manage to learn everything she was taught. She simply needed to be given enough repetition for her lessons to stick or enough time for her to figure out an association to something she already knew. As she grew older it was discovered that she wasn’t as dumb as she was absent-minded; that she was in fact of average mental capacity. But due to lag in her learning curve compared to the rest of the population, school classes moved a bit too fast for her. Not too fast that she needed to be put in special classes, but enough so that her parent’s hired her a private tutor. She then managed to maintain a decent grade average. That is until she hit the pre-teen years and discovered distractions from school such as shopping and boys. Afterwards, even with the private tutor, Rosemary could never manage more than a C average. But considering the life she was heading for, no one in her family, Garou or otherwise, much cared as long as she learned her Garou lessons.
Hoping to repeat the supposed success of their first child, Rosemary’s parents had a second child two years after her birth. Belle again bore a girl, but much to their dismay she was barely half as pure as her older sister. A Scent of the True Form quickly showed she was not Garou. After this discovery, Annabelle soon fell under Rosemary’s shadow. Despite the large gap in the amount of attention the two received, even from outside the family, the girls were very close. They told each other everything. Annabelle grew into a quiet, book loving, artist who preferred her unobtrusive, slow, comfortable, and mostly unnoticed life to the life of high scrutiny and expectations led by Rosemary. Annabelle loved to listen to her sister talk, and fed her creative nature on Rosemary’s dreams and visions of her own future. In return Annabelle stoked Rosemary’s dreams and visions with her own stories based on Rosemary and the family. Despite her interest in Rosemary’s life, Annabelle on more than one occasion could be overheard saying she much preferred being hidden by Rosemary’s shadow than held in comparison to Collette’s.
Rosemary’s training was as extensive as permitted to one who had not yet shifted. She learned the basics of the tribes, auspices, forms, and breed. She learned the Litany and how to behave in the presence of elders. She learned about the triad, Gaia, and the enemies of both the Garou and Gaia. Being Silver Fang, she was also trained until etiquette was nearly second nature, and she was taught the basics of wielding a Klave. In contrast to her mental abilities, Rosemary proved to be talent physically, which some said they were not surprised to discover as she was technically born under the Full Moon. However, throughout it all Rosemary continuously showed skill in social situations and handling people so similar to the cousin she was supposed to succeed that actual elder Garou began to take a hand in her training.
The first to do so was SS, the Alpha of the Sept in which Collette had been a member. At first his interest in Rosemary was purely from a distance as he watched to see if she could fill her cousin’s shoes. And if so, to make sure she was being taught properly. That quickly turned into “if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself,” and he took over much of her early training. His expectations of her were higher and harder than most, and he always demanded the correct reactions from her.
Even when she was just barely old enough to hold a conversation, he began bringing her to council meetings. Rosemary always sat quietly and attentively for as long as she could. But being only a child, even just an hour could feel like forever. In such meetings she would eventually reach her limits, but from the very start of his training for her Rosemary knew how serious he took everything. So she never fussed nor even drew the smallest bit of attention to herself. Instead she would just curl up in a chair and fall asleep. As she grew older, her attention span grew some, as well as expectations of her. Eventually she no longer went to sleep when things got too long or too complex for her to understand. This was where she learned to daydream while keeping enough of an ear on a conversation to tune back in when something important to or relative to her began being discussed. SS used these meetings, as well as other methods, to teach her naturally expected Silver Fang etiquette, and she learned well for he expected nothing less from her.
What he didn’t expect was they way she managed to sneak into his heart. When she began calling him “Uncle SS” when she was six, he inexplicably didn’t dissuade her. Over the years their relationship grew close enough to that of parent and child. Rosemary’s parents didn’t try to change that, most probably out of fear of interfering with Garou, but also because they knew their daughter wasn’t truly theirs. They would eventually have to give her up, and they knew it would be easier on all involved if the process began early and slowly.
Eventually SS brought Rosemary to an actual moot. She sat in awe the entire time. During the revel at the end was the first time she saw a Garou in Crinos form. Though she was set on edge by being so near them in their war forms, Rosemary was also excited at all that was going on. The entire event gave her a new found respect for Gaia and the Wyld, and reaffirmed her beliefs.
When Rosemary turned fourteen in December of 1996, SS again brought her to a moot. But this was a special moot he and his Beta had arranged for the teenage kin in the area known to be Garou, to help them undergo their firstings in a known and controlled environment. To make the firstings a time of joy instead of unpredicted ones of stress, strife, and fear. The moot was designed to be a typical formal Silver Fang moot with a change of the revel to include inducing of the firstings, and then the addition of a celebration of the new Garou. News of and invitations to the moot spread quickly. Minor dignitaries from across the South came to participate with kin soon-to-be-Garou of their own.
The formal moot went very well. However just before the inducing of firstings was to begin, the event was set upon by BSDs working with members of the Technocracy. During the Technocracy controlled chaos that ensued, all the kin ended up successfully shifting, except one. Rosemary unexpectedly found herself with a new companion, Valad, and a new outlook on the world, due to her Awakening. It proved to be a benefit as she was able to free the newly shifted Garou from the Technocracy’s trap, leaving them with not enough time to drain the Caern heart of all its Gnosis (though unfortunately still half), but not in enough time to save SS, his Beta, and his Warder from the BSDs. One of the Technocracy, recognizing that she was going through her Awakening, managed to get near her in a moment of sorrow over SS’s death, and stole her right out from under the noses of the Garou as they fought to reclaim their Sept and Caern. (That was the short version, for the long version, see after end of history.)
The name the Technocrat gave her for himself was Jonathan. He promised to look out for her and teach her, and once away from the Caern and that evening, he began to teach her about being a Will Worker. A week later, it was apparent to him that her lessons growing up were too ingrained in her for her to turn from the Dynamic aspects of the world (read: turn from the Wyld) and accept a Technocratic way of life. But he was loathe to give her up to the Technocracy to die because she had a very strong Genius, and so could be taught to work great magic someday. He decided she was more beneficial as an ally against the deviants of the world, even if that meant allowing her to join the Traditions. He thought that if he guided her Magical upbringing, even through a Tradition, he could manipulate her to rendering him any aid he may need in the future. So he chose the Tradition she would join - the Celestial Chorus - as Rosemary had shown a deep faith in Gaia, and religion was one thing the Technocracy would not be able to wean out of reality for a very long time to come. It was too ingrained in consensus and there were simply too many sleepers that still strongly believe in religion. Jonathan even found her a teacher within that Tradition who followed similar beliefs to Rosemary and knew of how Garou society worked. He was right in his estimation of guiding her magical upbringing, and the two ended up being good allies and friends.
During that first week after the moot, Jonathan had kept Rosemary well hidden from the world. The Rite’s Master of the Sept had seen Rosemary carried off by the BSDs allies, but she had no idea that those allies had been Technocracy or where they had gone. Word quickly spread that Rosemary had been kidnapped and a search began. Everyone had feared Collette’s fate had befallen Rosemary. They were quite relieved when Rosemary was brought home by kinfolk police a week later. They were told that she had been dropped off as a Jane Doe in the county hospital a day earlier, and once she had woken and given the doctor her name the hospital had called the police for help in locating her family.
Kinfolk and Garou alike were relieved and happy Rosemary had been found alive, though disappointed when they discovered she hadn’t shifted. Only her sister was able to tell that Rosemary was not the same person she had been before the moot, that she in fact had changed in some way, though not shifted. Due to the closeness of their relationship, it didn’t surprise Rosemary very much when Annabelle confronted her on the subject. Over the years the Rosemary and her sister had become each others’ best confidant. In fact, Annabelle was the only member of the family with whom Rosemary shared her dark secret. It was from this confession and the level of relationship the two shared that Rosemary was able to accept not being Garou and even move on to a happy life as a Mage. What Rosemary had thought was a life ruining experience, Annabelle painted into a wonderful happening and making Rosemary’s life even more helpful to Gaia than being Garou could be. She told Rosemary of all the amazing possibilities that lay before her. And together they realized the plan that if Rosemary learned the proper paths, she could use her abilities in conjunction with natural tendencies (ie- a Silver Fang mate of high purity) to ensure herself all Garou children! Perhaps, if she ever became good enough, one day she could even do the same for Annabelle, or even other kinfolk! They were incredibly amazing thoughts, but they inspired both sisters; Annabelle to paint, dream, and write; and Rosemary to a new purpose in life.
However, her life thus far a stunning parallel to her cousin’s life, Rosemary’s family became very concerned for her well being after her disappearance. They soon decided that until the cause behind Collette’s death was found and taken care of, Rosemary should simply be removed from any conditions and circumstances that could possibly lead to the same fate. Not knowing what those were, Rosemary’s parents took her North to New England, specifically Massachusetts. To her family, it was seemingly a choice based on best safety and financial sense, but Rosemary and Jonathan knew otherwise. Jonathan lived in Massachusetts, he had only been in the South for the mission on which he found Rosemary. To get her closer to him he had manipulated circumstances to have Rosemary’s family choose Massachusetts. They knew the death of SS weighed heavily on Rosemary, and hoping they could reclaim part of their daughter before her firsting, they moved with her so as to spend as much time as possible with her. They fully expected to return home within a couple of years bittersweet at having to finally give up their Garou child to her duties as a protector of Gaia. Rosemary didn’t have the heart to tell either her parents or the Silver Fang that she would never shift.
Rosemary took well to learning how to be a Mage. Her first teacher related as much as possible to Garou beliefs and terms, which Rosemary already understood from her childhood lessons. And her faith in Gaia was strong enough to carry her through the rest of a Celestial Chorus education in typical learning time after her move North.
Rosemary’s parents enrolled her in Lawrence Academy for high school, where despite being a freshman she quickly became one of the popular crowd, even bridging grades. She joined the Varsity cheerleading squad, and even dated a popular football player. Rounding out her apparently normal teenage life were her consistent mediocre grades.
A couple years turned into four, and Rosemary graduated high school as Prom Queen with a 2.15 GPA. She was now 18 and still hadn’t shifted. Even with the possibility of being a late shifter, many were wondering about her being Garou. The Rites Master who had been in charge of the kin at the moot kept in contact with Rosemary’s family after they moved, to track her progress. She had noted at the time of the attack on the moot that Rosemary was the only kin who did not shift. But she had also watched as Rosemary had allowed the Caern heart and Sept members to be saved from the BSDs and their allies. Eventually she recalled the record of what had happened fourteen years before and realized that Rosemary had fulfilled her destiny at that moot as proclaimed by the Falcon avatar. She postulated that since the avatar had not said so, that Rosemary was in fact not Garou. Instead the avatar had only led them to believe she was so that she would be at the moot to help stop the attackers. A retry of Scent of True Form indeed showed Rosemary was not Garou, but kinfolk, much to the disappointment of family and tribe. Since the Rites Master had never encountered a Mage before, she interpreted the strangely spiritual “other” scent that followed alongside of “kinfolk” as Rosemary being embedded with Gnosis, which was also the only way she could explain Rosemary’s success in her destiny. However, after the initial reactions wore off, it was realized that she was still the purest kin and in a position to help the tribe through human ways Garou could not as well as by bearing Garou children (hopefully). Very soon afterwards Annabelle convinced Rosemary to reveal the abilities she had learned as a Mage (but not that she was one) in dealing with Gnosis to the Silver Fangs. “It never hurts to make yourself more desirable,” Annabelle had said, “and it should help you meet more potential mates!”
Rosemary focused her Mage studies on Prime, Life, and Spirit respectively; the three spheres with which Garou had natural connections. Through this and Valad’s guidance, she grew closer to Gaia, developing a love for spending time with nature. She shows this mostly through gardening, camping, and exploring. The last two activities she doesn’t actively share with her friends or others due to them not being popular in High Society circles.
Her family, while only powerful in the South, was still as rich in the North as they were before. With events turned they way they had, Rosemary’s father set her up in her own townhouse in Newton Highlands, much to Rosemary’s delight. Now she had a place of her own that she could practice freely in as well as when she made her solitary or group (with Mages only) excursions into nature. Her father also granted her a living allowance and a town car with a driver, Jacob. In exchange for all this, he required Rosemary to visit her parents at least once a week and that she would only date courtiers that he approved. Rosemary readily agreed, happy to be free to be herself and supported by her father all at once.
Having spent some time in high school trying to mix with socialites, Rosemary happily discovered it was much easier to gain influence in High Society living on her own. No one seemed to care that her father supported her, in fact it was half expected in the circle she made her way into. All her female friends where rich daddy’s little girls who only ever expected to use their lives to marry as trophy wives and have families, and the males she associated with only expected as much from the women. Rosemary fit right in.
Addendum: Eclipses in the real world
(1982) Total Lunar Eclipse Had Twin in 1963
The total eclipse of the moon which took place during the night of December 29-30 was a replay of another which occurred exactly 19 years ago. The times at which the eclipses reached their maximum totality differed by only 21 minutes! In 1982, it occurred on December 30 at 1:20 A.M. Alaska Standard Time. In 1963, it was the same date at 1:10 A.M.
In fact, nearly identical eclipses occur on this date every 19 years.
This period, called the Metonic cycle, represents the time between 235 successive new moons. This does not mean that we will have to wait another 19 years for the next total eclipse of the moon--only that one will not fall on this date until then. Even so, there is still some time before another total eclipse will be visible in the western hemisphere. This will occur on April 24, 1986.
Another coincidence exists between 1982's eclipse and the one in 1963. Just nine months before each eclipse (game note: which would have been right about when each child was conceived), a major volcanic eruption occurred in the tropics. In 1963 it was Mount Agung on Bali, and in 1982, El Chichon in Mexico.
The earlier eclipse has been called the "Dark Eclipse" because of the way it looked due to the quantity of volcanic dust in the atmosphere. It will be interesting to learn the results of measurements comparing the earlier event with the 1982 eclipse when El Chichon volcanic debris was still suspended in the atmosphere.
Although no direct sunlight hits the moon during the total phase of a total lunar eclipse, the moon is visible from sunlight refracted through the Earth's atmosphere during the eclipse. The moon gets its burnt orange color from scattering of blue light from the sun's spectrum in the atmosphere, the same reason the sun appears red at sunset, and the sky is blue.
This particular total lunar eclipse was called the "Vulcan Eclipse" because of the tremendous amount of material in the Earth's atmosphere from the El Chichon volcano which had erupted in Mexico a couple of months earlier. Because of this volcanic material in the atmosphere, the bulk of which was in the stratosphere some 16 miles high, the amount of sunlight refracted during totality was diminished, and observers recorded this eclipse as one of the darkest on record.
Info: A lunar eclipse occurs when the full moon passes
through Earth's shadow. Usually the full moon passes above or below the shadow
so no eclipse occurs. But at about six month intervals the moon's path takes it
into part or all of Earth's shadow and we have an eclipse.
Addendum: Rosemary’s Awakening
The formal moot went very well. The soon-to-be-Garou (stbG) kinfolk sat and stood quietly well behaved, especially considering the expectation and excitement that practically radiated from them. As they were not yet Garou, they were set apart during the formal moot. Once it was near completion and the inducing revel was about to begin, the Rites Master left the circle to prepare the stbG kinfolk. While this happened, the Alpha and Beta ritually moved to between the stbG kinfolk and the assembled Garou. They explained how the inducing would work and what the Garou’s part would be in it.
In the middle of their speech, a cry of warning was heard from the Warder. Before anyone could react, two large blue glowing half spheres sprung from the ground encapsulating the two separate groups. Only the Alpha and Beta remained untrapped. As they set themselves for the attack everyone knew was coming, they were joined by the Warder, who had a swarm of BSDs hot on his heels.
Many in both trapped groups tested the spheres, only to be burned and shocked back away from the walls by a simple touch of the finger. More bold attempts only resulted in more damaging injuries. The Rites Master, who had stepped sideways, returned to inform all that the barriers existed and were just as strong in the Umbra.
Once the fight began, more figures emerged as if from nowhere and in homid form, though the Rites Master swore they had not been in the Umbra. They were dressed in normal business suits and all but one carried normal briefcases. They didn’t make any move to join or help the fighting, being more interested in the half spheres and the devices they began pulling out of their briefcases.
“And just how do you plan to get these to the Node?” one of the suits asked the woman suit without a briefcase while tapping his.
“Watch and learn,” she replied, pressing a button on the small device in her hand. “I always plan ahead.”
Just then the half sphere surrounding the many Garou and the Caern heart began to split in two; a plane of blue dividing it as if a knife was being drawn across. Those inside who were not quick enough to get out of its path were seared, and in a couple cases severed. Once the sphere was precisely cut, the two halves receded a few feet from each other, leaving a human wide path straight to the Caern heart. The woman smiled.
“You have to teach me how to build things like that,” the suit whom had spoken earlier declared with an approving nod.
“Perhaps later,” she replied. “Right now, start draining the Node.”
As some Garou and kinfolk watched the suits, the rest watched the raging fight between the Sept’s Alpha, Beta, and Warder and the BSDs. The three Sept members fought in a triangle, thereby protecting their backs. Despite their rank and skill, they were simply being overwhelmed by the enemy’s numbers. As soon as they killed one BSD, another pulled it back and stepped into its place.
The Beta was the first to fall, and with him the others’ protection. Both SS and his Warder took nasty blows before they were able to readjust and fight back to back. This first loss, of obviously two more to come, while everyone else stood by helpless angered some onlookers enough to shift to Crinos, including a couple of the kinfolk. The other kinfolk instinctively shied away from the Rage as the new Garou blindly tried to break through the half sphere. As they seared and shocked themselves against the barrier until their Rage was spent, other kinfolk began to feel their blood boil. The Rites Master quickly realized she was about to have an epidemic on her hands. Being practical, and therefore not wanting the stbG kinfolk to shift and uselessly spend themselves against the sphere, she began to attempt to methodically calm them all.
But she wasn’t fast enough.
As the kinfolk watched, the Alpha took a mortally crippling blow. He staggered for a moment, and in that moment Rosemary felt something within her begin to stir as she screamed in horror. SS, her mentor, friend, and father figure, was being killed. SS took a nasty scar for the wound, regenerated a bit, and continued to fight. Momentarily forgetting about the sphere, Rosemary moved towards him and ran smack into it. The shock that resulted from the collision threw her back and caused her to nearly pass out. She landed on her back hard against the ground. Yet in that moment she realized that if others could make the world affect her this strongly, then she should be able to do the same to others. Then just as suddenly as it had come, she forgot her flash of insight. But that didn’t matter, another had just awoken who would remember for her.
Rosemary groaned in pain and groggily opened her eyes to try and find out what had just happened. Above her stood a large and well built man with features that looked like they had been chiseled and then softly worn by age. His hair was mostly chestnut brown, with just a few streaks of dignified silver here and there. Rosemary blinked her eyes and slightly shook her head to clear her blurry vision, for she thought she saw him surrounded by a fuzzy silver. As her sight returned to normal, the silver haze around him settled into clearly defined silver falcon wings. He looked down on her and wasted no time.
“Get up,” he told her in a Russian accented voice. Rosemary just lay and stared up at him in utter awe. He leaned forward a bit and raised his voice slightly, but enough for effect.
“I said, GET UP!”
Rosemary was roused from her awe and promptly did as she was told, completely unaware of the few kinfolk that had gathered around her. They jumped back at her sudden movements, and she was again able to see SS fighting for his life.
“I have to help him!” she proclaimed to the winged man as he informed her at the exact same time: “You have to help him.”
“How?” she asked of him.
“Open the sphere,” he told her as he pointed to it. She turned to face where he was pointing and looked at it with confusion. “Just put your hands in it and pull it apart,” he explained. Despite what she knew would happen if she even tried to touch the sphere, and that she had never seen this tall man before in her life, she felt she could completely trust him, and did as she was told.
Surprisingly to everyone around her, when she touched the sphere this time, it did nothing to her. All Rosemary felt was a tingly warm sensation at first. Encouraged, she pressed both her hands against the barrier. It didn’t even so much as bend but she could feel the energy powering the barrier skimming across her palms. She pushed with all her might. The winged man stepped up where she stood and placed his hands over hers. Quickly Rosemary realized her fingers were sinking into the sphere. She grabbed hold as best she could and began pulling the barrier apart as if it had a set of elevator doors in it. The winged man mimicked her movements. Suddenly she could feel the energy of the barrier coursing through her and the tingling turned into a burning sensation.
Those in the other half sphere didn’t notice Rosemary, they were paying attention to either the concluding battle or the suits. Most of the suits weren’t even paying attention to the fight, they were completely focused on hooking their devices up to the Caern heart one at a time. Only one of the suits noticed Rosemary’s attempt, and he just watched in hopeful fascination.
However, all those in the half sphere with Rosemary were paying attention to her. She strained as hard as she could, until she could no longer feel her fingers due to the pressure. Amazingly, a small hole appeared in the barrier. Realizing Rosemary seemed to be able to manipulate the barrier, and that it seemed she’d be able to open it further, the Rites Master called for the attention of the rest of the kinfolk and new Garou in the sphere. She informed them that their firstings were at hand, to be in defense of the Caern, and quickly gave them what preparation she could.
The suit who was watching tapped the first coming away from the Caern heart on the shoulder and pointed at Rosemary.
“Look,” he said quietly to the second, “she’s breaking through.”
The second looked over and nearly gasped. “How... What the...,” he stammered. “only a Master could do that. We have to stop her!”
“No,” the first suit said as he placed a forceful hand on the other’s shoulder.
“What do you mean, no? If she lets them out-“
“She’s going through Empowerment,” the first interrupted to explain. “I want to see how great her Genius is becoming.”
“Well, this is full,” the second said holding up his device before placing it back in his briefcase, “so it doesn’t affect me as I am leaving. But why would you want to risk the rest just to find that out?”
“It’s simple,” the first replied. “If she has enough Genius, then she’ll be worth the effort to train. And a strong agent as an ally in the long run is worth much more than what we’ll get from what we’re doing here now.”
“And if she doesn’t realize enough Genius?”
“Then there’s no risk because she won’t survive long enough to succeed.”
Though she hadn’t heard it, deep down Rosemary knew that statement was true. Her muscles ached. She was sweating more than she ever had before in her life. The burning in her hands from the barrier was beginning to travel down her arms.
“I can’t!” Rosemary finally exclaimed.
“You can!” The winged man replied.
“You must,” the Rites Master replied, not having heard Rosemary’s Avatar. “The Caern is dying.... You’re our only hope to stop this all.”
Rosemary grit her teeth and tried to summon any last ounce of strength she had.
“Don’t fight the energy,” the winged man advised her. “Use it. Channel it. Let it make the effort easier.”
Rosemary did her best to do as he said, but she didn’t quite understand what he meant. She closed her eyes and put all the will power she could into the attempt. Somehow she then managed to stop fighting the barrier. Instead she let the flowing energy move through her unhindered, and soon she was able to will it to flow back on itself. Suddenly the barrier seemed to peel back under her hands. She stepped in between and held her arms out wide, holding open a large arch as wide as her wingspan.
She opened her eyes to see what she had done, partially surprised but completely satisfied with her success. Slowly she began to feel the half sphere pushing, trying to get back to its former state. As she began to realize the burning pain crawling under her skin, she looked back over her shoulder.
“Go!” she ordered.
Two by two they quickly ducked under her arms. Then a new battle began, and this time the numbers were fair. However, skills and experience weren’t. A couple of the new Garou soon realized this. In a quick thinking move that would later earn them Wisdom Renown, three of the new Garou pounced the unwitting suits looking for the small device they had seen the woman use on the other half sphere. Surprisingly to the Garou, they took a beating from the suits. But they also succeeded in maiming a couple of the suits and getting the device from the woman, which they then broke. Fortunately for the three Garou, their elders were ready when the half sphere disappeared, and they survived that night when many of the new Garou didn’t. They became a close knit trio, theirs a friendship based on trust forged in the heat of battle. They went on to doing everything together, and proving again and again their balanced skill in brains and brawn in service to Gaia. But that’s another story.
Minutes before, Rosemary soon reached her final limits and was snapped out of the half sphere with a bunch of popping sounds like bones breaking. She lay on the ground a moment trying to catch her breath. When she tried to sit up, her vision blurred and her head swam. She quickly realized she couldn’t feel her hands, and had to look to discern if they were still there. Her arms were alight with burning pain. She felt utterly exhausted and charged at the same time. And she had no idea of what to make of all that had just happened. All she knew for sure was that she was still alive.
The winged man lay on the ground with her, sharing the same pain. Yet in contrast to Rosemary, he understood what they had just gone through. He just didn’t know who had constructed the half sphere or what the motives were. But he did know one other thing for sure, he had Awakened.
Unfortunately for the two of them, the night was not yet over.
Suddenly remembering what had driven her to attempt her stunt in the first place, Rosemary rolled to her stomach and tried to look around for SS. She saw his body lying not too far. She tried to get up, only to be grounded again by disorientation. She tried to crawl, only to be granted shoots of blinding pain from even the slightest pressure against her hands or touch against her arms. SS may well have been miles away from her.
“It’s not fair,” she quietly gasped out between hard drawn breaths.
“It most never is,” the winged man replied with strain of his own.
“I feel I have energy to fly, but I can’t so much as move without being punished.”
“There is much to learn,” he simply said. He looked over at Rosemary and suddenly realized she was in fact just a girl. Still new to being a teenager, she was even young for an Awakening. “Until then, pretend you are the Little Mermaid,” he advised, intentionally picking something from her own mind that held meaning for her to use as an example.
He didn’t have to explain more. Rosemary remembered clearly the part of the story where the Little Mermaid, though every step she took felt as swords piercing through her feet and legs, successfully bared the pain because she was so focused on dancing with her beloved prince. Rosemary set her sights on SS and began the journey. What felt almost like an eternity later, she successfully reached his side.
He was covered with various shades of blood, and a large pool of his own lay beneath him. He had reverted to his homid breed form. Though beaten and broken, he still retained an aura of dignity.
Rosemary looked him over. She searched for a pulse, like they did in the movies, even though she had no idea how to take one. But it didn’t matter. She knew he was dead.
She curled up next to him and lay her head on his chest, crying. She had no idea of what to do now. But despite SS being dead, she still felt safe being near him, as if he was somehow still continuing to protect her from the other side. Rosemary would have been content to stay there in mourning until everything was finally over or for as long as her body let her, but others had other ideas in mind.
The suit that had been watching Rosemary had smiled in approval at her success in briefly opening the half sphere. Then he warned the other suits of the escaping newly shifted. The second suit to have taken her full device from the Caern heart and placed it in her briefcase took that moment to follow the first, who had already left, to safety. The others set around the Caern heart to defend each other and their work of draining it dry.
The suit intent on Rosemary still kept an eye on her as a new battle began raging around them all. Suddenly he left his post. Another suit called after him, demanding to knew where he was going.
“After a new recruit,” was all he could say before he was too far away to be heard over the fighting.
Rosemary soon felt the hair raising tingle of a Garou in Crinos close by. She turned slightly and blinked through tears to see a young looking BSD approaching menacingly. Finally thoroughly drained both physically and emotionally, Rosemary couldn’t do any more than cringe.
The BSD thought that since she acted with as much pure breeding as the Alpha whom she was huddled next to, that she must be his daughter. And he was going to get to kill her. But before he could lift a claw against her:
“Don’t touch her,” an authoritative voice ordered.
The BSD turned, and Rosemary looked up somehow expecting SS, to see one of the suits standing with a short metal pole. The BSD nearly laughed, completely underestimating the clearly human suit, and turned back to Rosemary. The suit practically jumped between the two, jabbing one end of the pole into the BSD’s side. The BSD yelped in pain as he was forced into homid form. He then glared at the suit with hate in his eyes, and finally some caution in his judgment.
“She will not be harmed,” the suit said to the BSD.
He snarled back. “You said they are all ours to do with as we please.”
“Yes we did, but she is not one of them.”
“She is,” the BSD insisted. “She’s at least kinfolk, if not a cub.”
“She is one of us, and *will not* be harmed,” the suit informed the BSD.
Rosemary listened to the conversation until that point, when she saw SS approaching her. As she lay against his side, he knelt beside her.
“What’s going on?” she whispered in half disbelief and half relief to her new companion.
“He’s moving on and has come to say goodbye,” the winged man replied.
“But I don’t want you to go,” Rosemary said to SS as tears began to form again in her eyes.
He smiled sadly at her. ‘Be Good’ she read from his lips, his voice not carrying across the Gauntlet to her ears. She nodded that she would. He tried to place his hand on her head, as he had always done as his sign of affection for her. It passed through, much to the dismay of them both.
“He’s not actually here,” the winged man informed her quietly. “He’s on the other side of the Gauntlet from us. Pretty soon you won’t even be able to see him.” (As the effects of Awakening wear off,) he added in thought to himself.
SS then stood and turned to leave. Rosemary sat up, trying to find some last ditch way of reaching him.
“No, don’t go!” she tried to call after him. But her voice was too weak even if he had have been there. “Who’s going to look after me? Who’s going to teach me?” she lamented between rapidly falling tears. “Who’s going-“
“I will,” replied a voice she recognized from earlier.
Rosemary looked over to see the suit who had come to her defense.. Behind him the BSD was obviously dead. Behind that were two other suits. The suit who had defended her knelt down next to her, coincidentally almost exactly as SS had just done.
He reached out and pulled her away from SS’s body. Then he scoped her up into a cradle carry. She began to try and say something, but had no idea what. Not that anything would have been intelligible from her between her slowed crying and her almost non-existent voice.
“Shhh,” the suit said with the practiced voice of a father. “I’ve got you. It’s time to go. Your ordeal’s almost over.”
As he began to carry her away, Rosemary looked around and saw that the Winged man was staying right beside her and the suit. Finally realizing she was the only one who could see him she gave him a questioning look. He nodded once.
“I’m yours, and yours alone. These people will explain it to you. My name is Valad. And I’ll be right here, always.”