No title, or even a working nickname yet, for this story. It's about werewolves in White Wolf's new World of Darkness
(aka. WoD), and the trials they go through in establishing themselves as a pack and trying to defend their human kin. Scenes I'm writing for this story have been and will continue to be posted to this blog as I write them. But you can also get the scenes listed out in proper order for the story here
or by following the link up top in the left column.
Any suggestions for a title would be appreciated!A bit of history
I found out about the WoD novel contest about two weeks before the deadline for entering. The concept I chose came from a former character history of mine - a Mage set in the old World of Darkness - in which I established the existence of a trio of werewolves:
"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 ... Fortunately for the three Garou ... 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."
Starting with that, I scrambled to my local bookstore to check out the new WoD, which I knew nothing about, so I could adapt my idea properly. I wrote up a few different drafts of a synopsis (which can be found in the recent news list to the right), while trying to build a full story concept in my mind based around the werewolves instead of the mage. I think I'm doing pretty well so far!
I hope to write as much as possible before I find out if my synopsis was chosen, which is supposed to happen the first week of May. Mostly because if it doesn't get chosen I loose my motivation to keep writing, so I should use the motivation while I've got it and not just go stir crazy waiting to find out if I made it to round two. But also because if it does get chosen then I will already know a fair amount of what's going on with the story and it should be easier to get a first chapter together for round two.
Labels: Story, The Lost Song
Finally, Orion bounded up to the gathering in (wolf form), his maw the slightest bit spotted with blood. Melinda raised an eyebrow at his approach. The Alpha of the other pack was still speaking, so no one said anything about Orion's tardiness for several moments. Orion took the time to shift to (human form).
"Melinda," the Alpha finished with, turning things over to her.
She nodded her thanks, then turned to Orion. Before she could say anything he spoke.
"There were trespassers," he stated in a manner that indicated he didn't have to defend himself. He then took a seat next to Nathaniel and looked around expectantly.
Melinda motioned for him to elaborate.
He cracked his neck before complying. "It looked liked they were trying to bury a body on our land. Four of them, one definitely dead. They were two feet deep in a hole when I found them. But I drove them off quick enough." He grinned. "Scared the crap out of them too."
Melinda nodded. "Good. That should be the end of that. Now onto the matters at hand. We..."
Melinda's voice trailed off in Nathaniel's ears. He had a suspicion that wasn't going to be the end of that. He could feel something was amiss. He opened his spiritual eyes, and sure enough saw things weren't quite normal. The local spirits were acting with curiosity, heading in the direction Orion had come from. Which didn't help Nathaniel's curiosity at all. He knew he couldn't jump up and follow them though. Leaving now would not reflect well on Melinda. But he so wanted to go! He was sure this was a new mystery, and one right on their proverbial doorstep. How could he not investigate?Patience
, he told himself. This feels like this will be around for quite a while.
Nathaniel looked over the latest body. Female, Caucasian, perhaps thirty-five years old, killed the same way as all the others: beaten to death. That made seven in the last five months. None of them had any physical similarities. Male, female, married, single, parents, childless, a variety of races and ages and education levels. What's the common thread?
Nathaniel wondered for the umpteenth time. He had managed to learn a fair amount about three of the victims, as all of them were being left with whatever was in their pockets when they were attacked. And he had learned quite a bit about three more, due to them having their wallets on them.
"Four," Nathaniel commented to no one as he pulled a wallet out of the woman's coat pocket. This one also had a driver's license. It told him where she had lived, her birth date, and a variety of other information he would be able to use to learn about her life. Yet doing so with the last three hadn't yielded any common information, not even so much as the same place of work or the same phone company, so why would this case be any different?
He had decided he had enough information to narrow the possibilities to either old history or random happenstance. Such as perhaps they each had accidentally come across some information they shouldn't have. Or perhaps they had all once served together on some task force. Or perhaps they were the current generation of some common thread that existed in their family histories.
He could think of two options for a next step. He could try to track their movements for the last several days of their lives, not something he was particularly suited to doing. He could hire an investigator to do so, which would be too expensive and likely draw attention he didn't want. Or he could try to find spirits that had been around the victims during those days and interrogate them.
His second option was to start looking into the victims' families. Living, deceased and ancestors would all have to be accounted for. But that would actually be easier than trying to learn about the victims' lives, due to all the public records and genealogy reports readily available.
He lifted the woman from near the shallow grave that had been dug months ago by the first three "disposers". Orion had indeed scared whomever it was well enough to keep them from attempting to complete or repeat their task. Since then, each time they had come they hurried in and hurried out. But the untraceable removal of the body each time was too good of fortune for them to give up using this site to dispose of the bodies. One of them had turned the whole affair into a kind of game. He tried to get the body into the grave without getting too close. Nathaniel had watched him one time heave a body down the shallow hill that ran next to the grave, hoping as he watched the body tumble that it would land correctly. He had even commented to his partners about how he'd been figuring what the proper angle would be. And the body had indeed slid just far enough over the edge of the grave for gravity to pull it down in.
As Nathaniel left the site with this body, to take it off their lands, he again considered the cause of death, and realized a third option. It could be that the people behind this merely found enjoyment in beating and killing some poor unsuspecting person. Killing them slowly and painfully. There were never any puncture wounds, no missing parts, no blood. Always only bruises and broken bones. Blunt trauma, but not in ways that would kill immediately such as breaking the neck. And the attackers must have taken special care in what they did for none of the victims had even the smallest mark on their face or head. No, it was all too specific. It had to be premeditated. This wasn't random acts of violence by some sadistically joy happy amateurs. He didn't yet know what it was. But he knew he was going to figure it out, somehow.
"Melinda, help me figure this out?" Nathaniel called out.
Melinda got up from her charts and walked over to him. "What are you working on?"
"Of course still. Have I found the answer yet?"
Melinda chuckled. "If you keep being that predictable, you're going to get yourself caught in a set up."
Nathaniel shrugged. "That's what I have you for."
"True!" She leaned over his shoulder for a better look at all his papers. "How can I help?"
"I know there's some connection. I can almost feel it. Every time I pick one of the bodies up it's like a glimpse into something." He gestured non-meaningfully with his hands for several seconds as he fumbled for the words he wanted. "It's a sensation. I can't explain. I just know
there's a connection amongst all this."
Melinda nodded and pushed him aside. "I think it's that you're too close to the issue. Let me see everything you've got. You-" she pointed towards the other room "- go away. I've found that taking time off from things for a couple days can give me a new perspective. And even if it doesn't, it will keep you from hovering over my shoulder," she grinned at him.
He smiled back, and nodded. "Thanks. I think I can find a few other things to keep me out of your hair."
Orion frowned deeply. "Are you sure?"
"Yes, absolutely," Nathaniel replied.
He had gathered the entire pack to share his news. He had found the common thread of the victims being dumped on their lands for the last year. None of pack were happy about it. Their expressions ranged from anger and hatred, to shock and near disbelief. They all looked to Melinda.
"Wolf-blooded. Every one of them," she repeated what had been revealed as her mind absorbed the information. Nathaniel nodded his affirmation again.
"I'll kill them," Orion stated.
"Now wait a minute-" Nathaniel tried to say.
"All three of them," Orion informed Nathaniel pointedly. "The next time they show up, they're all dead."
"You can't just do that," Nathaniel protested.
"How can you say he shouldn't kill them?" Katrin asked, anger creeping into her voice.
Melinda stepped in the middle of her pack mates, to diffuse any confrontation before it even started. "I'm sure Nathaniel has a good reason," she stated authoritatively, then turned to him expecting to hear it.
Nathaniel nodded. "We don't know who's behind this. Those three are our only link. Our family is being hunted. Of course we have to stop it, but do you really think those three are operating on their own?" He looked around at his pack mates. "We need to know what they know, then we can kill them."
Everyone nodded in agreement.
Labels: Story, The Lost Song
Highly likely parts of this will change:
Nathaniel followed Rosemary down the hall. She made it to the bathroom, but it looked to him each step she took was less steady than the one before. From the doorway he watched her check herself in the mirror. She frowned at the blood trickling down from her forehead. Then she caught sight of his reflection and threw an exasperated look his way.
She sighed, but didn't press the issue. She needed to focus her attention on the injury. The nearest hand towel was soon scarlet red. "Damn," she whispered to herself as she discovered the wound extended beyond her forehead to her cheekbone.
Nathaniel narrowed his eyes at her. Why was she being so stubborn? Why wouldn't she confide in them? She had to know they couldn't trust her if she didn't trust them. And any bit of information she might be withholding from them could be exactly what they needed to know. Then again, perhaps she didn't trust them because they didn't trust her. Or perhaps she wasn't free to share the things they wanted her to share.That's it,
he realized as everything clicked into place. Like a spirit, she has a (ban). Maybe even more than one. Her powers look like ours, but they really aren't! They are only based on our way of life. They deal directly with essence and spirits. Of course she being secretive, she has to be beholden to some type of restrictions. No one wants to share their limitations and weaknesses. Nor go against their (bans).
He stepped into the bathroom and took her by the shoulders. She was having problems merely keeping blood out of her left eye, much less stop the bleeding altogether. Expecting she wouldn't respond to a gentle suggestion, he used normal strength to direct her to sit on the toilet. Then he took the towel from her hand and rinsed it out under the faucet. The expression on her face as he turned her head to the side indicated she was not happy. But she didn't say a word, so he started to tend to the injury. Every time he dabbed at the wound she flinched. Once he had determined it was mostly just a lot of bleeding and not very deep, he activated his gift of healing to close the wound. It would still hurt, and leave a scar for a while, but she wouldn't need stitches nor pass out from the blood loss.
"I understand," he said as he used the towel one last time to clean the remaining blood off her face.
"You understand nothing," she replied wearily.
"You're human, but you're more. Not like you were. There are a few trustworthy people who claim you are wolf-blooded, but you don't smell of it. Which means something changed to take that away from you. Your gifts fundamentally don't operate like ours, it's like magic to you. Yet you're afraid of..." he paused a moment to find the right words and judge her reaction thus far. "Of the repercussions of what you do, that is, of how you use your powers. Makes me wonder what the potential limits to your gifts are, because anyone who has real power should be smart enough to be afraid of it."
Rosemary's eyes rolled up to look at him with surprise, and a touch of dread. She shook her head oh so slightly at him. "You learn too quickly," she whispered.
"No," she cut him off, standing up and pushing him away. "Stop it."
Nathaniel let her push by him. "Don't worry so much," he said to her departing back. "That's what we're here to do."
She stopped at the door, lingering for only a moment to drop her head. "Thank you," she said quickly, and then left.
Labels: Story, The Lost Song