Monster Hunter International

A Wolf's Song

Midnight Howling

My name is Brendan Cadeyrn and I am the sole survivor of my pack, this is my story as told to the M.H.I. operatives who saved my life, then interrogated me, then welcomed me.

A month ago my pack had sanctified a new Caern. It was only a small one, just the beginning of a Caern really. There were eight of us in the pack, sent here to start the Caern and to scout out Gotham city. There had been hard rumors from good sources that the Wyrm was moving into Gotham. The rumors were dead on, more than the tribal elders suspected, much more. We encamped about five miles outside of Gotham set up in a small cave in the forest for about a month. The den mother sent me to represent our small pack at the moot and report our findings and progress so far. So it was my blessing and curse to be away when the Wyrm struck.

I returned from the moot to discovered blood, death and desecration. My pack had been betrayed to agents of the Wyrm. All dead, all but myself and the betrayer. As I approached the Caern the wind shifted and the stench of rotting flesh and evil drifted too me on the breeze. I was already in lupus form so the scent was clear and sharp telling it’s story light a sign post to human eyes. Four leeches waiting in the shadows, waiting to finish their unholy business, waiting to kill me. Foolish really, overconfidence in their night time abilities, forgetting they are not the only creatures who hunt and kill at night. A few moments later, 1 minute or 10 minutes, I really don’t know, the leeches lay torn asunder, embraced in their final death. I smelled the death of my brothers and sisters long before I had killed the leeches, but now I scouted slowly and carefully. The ground told me the story, the scents confirmed what the ground said, the dead leeches echoed the final judgment. The Caern had been attacked, overwhelmed by sheer numbers. Ghouls, Blood Dolls and Leeches and something else, something darker, but what I don’t know the scent is vague, combined to kill everyone. The pack fought hard, I scented the final death of many of the Wyrm’s agents, yet they were doomed from the start, ambushed in a hail of silver and claws. All my pack killed save one, one who watched, one who led the Wyrm to the Caern, one who betrayed his blood and kin.

Agnar had always been something of a misfit, full of anger, ever ready to kill. Still this was not unknown in the Get of Fenris, always ready to solve a problem by bathing in blood. Yet Agnar’s anger went deeper, hotter, crueler. Agnar nursed a hatred of mother Gaia herself. A hatred soon sensed and used by the Wyrm. What I found in my investigation was that Agnar had joined with the Sabbat in his angry quest for power. I think the final straw for Agnar had come when he challenged me as war leader and lost the ritual combat to a Fianna, a bard, a poet and story teller. He could not comprehend, or did not want to understand more like, that Fianna are warrior poets, as the Celtic tribes of old. We hunt, we fight, we die hard, but all with a song in our hearts; sometimes a song of rage, sometimes a song of joy, sometimes a song of pain, but always with a song. So Agnar, called Snarl by his murdered pack mates, shamed by his defeat at the fangs of a poet, betrayed his Caern for the sweet promises whispered by the Wyrm; sweet promises cloaking the sickly sweet smell of corruption, sweet promises surrounding an ugly lie. Yet Snarl knew the value of the Wyrm’s promise, the true nature of the Wyrm’s being and still he bowed to the Wyrm, betrayed his pack, betrayed the Earth Mother. So I sang the howl of mourning, the requiem for the fallen, I shed tears for my brothers and sisters, my sacred Caern desecrated, my pack murdered. Then, once all was given unto the flames, my howl changed; the timber of my voice became dissonant and starting low in my gut it became a song of revenge. It was fitting my return was when the moon was full. My howl unanswered, by pack mates in this world, yet I know my pack still hears my song of revenge, my solemn oath to show our betrayer the justice of the pack. As the human poet Kipling said, “Now this is the law of the jungle, as old and as true as the sky; And the wolf that shall keep it shall prosper, but the wolf that shall break it must die!”

I followed Snarl’s scent to the city, a city reeking of the Wyrm, but lost it as Snarl’s sent faded like a mist in the growing light. I sought to find his scent in Homid form, using the human detective skills I had learned, not the same as tracking by scent, but sometimes more useful in a city. I found that Snarl had taken to hunting humans, killing for the joy of killing. My inquiries yielded no more information so my plan then was to ride the human’s train as it circled the city, hoping to catch the scent of my prey. At the point where the sky train and earth train meet I found Snarl’s scent. Swiftly I changed to Hispo form, the better to catch the scent, the better to run Snarl down, yet I was too eager, too filled with rage and found I, the hunter, was the hunted.

When I entered the human made cave I was ambushed, catching the scent of the Sabbat leeches too late in the oil and smoke filled cavern. There were ten of them, ready with claws of silver, puppets of some greater leech, a promise fulfilled to Snarl. I fought hard and killed four even as I took crippling wounds, the Children of Gaia do not die easily. Not being prepared they would have won the fight, yet fate intervened, tonight was not the moon of my death. A band of human hunters intervened, skilled they were and struck my attackers by surprise in turn killing all the leeches with fire and steel before the Sabbat killers knew what hit them. These humans were surprising indeed, unaffected by the usual fear of prey. I thought at first they might turn on me, there would not have been much in my crippled state I could do to stop them. I was wrong, they gave me succor, they healed my hurts, they fed and clothed me. Later, once i had been healed, they offered to help in my hunt, for they too sought the killer Snarl as he had victimized their kind as he did mine. They asked me to join them, to hunt with them in their pack they call M.H.I. (who can truely understand a human?). It was a debt of honor I could not refuse, it was a debt of honor I am happy to claim. So now again I have a pack, a strange pack, with odd scents, no Caern, and living in a steel cave. They reek of liquor, drugs, steel and other stranger things, yet I scent their inner souls, souls of warriors and they are my pack now, my brothers and sisters claimed in the blood of battle, fighting the Wyrm. I am satisfied, tonight I hunt again, tonight I hunt with a new pack. Soon the Wyrm will fear our scent, soon I will taste the sweet blood of the betrayer, soon I will howl at the night my song of victory, my song of honor for my new pack.

Comments

MHI Log 2

So soon after our last mission I find that I must again put down thoughts to paper to try and better understand them. Right now my mind is clouded and in turmoil, the foundations of what I have spent the last 20 years of my life have been fractured if not destroyed. In my ignorance I may have aided my foe without realizing it. There is too much, I must start at the beginning.
After returning with the warlock “Cold Fury” and recruiting him into our ranks at MHI it seemed there would be some time to lay back, rest and meditate upon how best to cook my next meal. In my life, outside of my katas, cooking and driving have been my great joys. I am not a master chief but it is a skill in which I take great personal pride, yet when my mind is full fewer things let me feel alive then to feel the wind whipping through my hair or to move around a new road and learn all its curves, potholes, and quirks. So it is with some satisfaction that I prepared meals for my team (and resisted the urge to bake surprises into Harriet and William’s foods). “Frenchy” as he is called enjoys a good meal and I enjoy cooking them so we get along well. Now as these things go it seems that we were the closest available unit able to solve a case MHI had just recently been handed.

This particular case was to find out what was killing humans with no discernible pattern except each one seemed to have been killed by tooth and fang. Almost too obviously a werewolf it included a clause to seek out contacts with any local werewolves, something that made me less then pleased. As I thought werewolves were nothing more than animals at best retaining an inkling of humanity. To my mind they are like those who become caught in the cycle of work, sleep, eat, work going about their same routine with mindless determination. Thus I reasoned that some were simply worse than others as they had allowed the wolf to overcome them and made killing a part of their routine in their never ended war with the Wyrm they so hated or in meeting one human working for the Wyrm instead of thinking, simply delegated all humans to opponents to be destroyed.

After our priest (of what I am still unsure) William the Pleaser began a series of auguries to assist us in locating our target. It came back with information that our best approach was to attempt to find the killer indirectly and that it was indeed a werewolf. Here in a city of Metal it seemed a creature of Wood would be out of place, and yet we knew it remained within the city. So to assist us one more time we decided to seek an informant we had previously spoken with who seemed to have great gifts in the art of foresight, “Honest Eyes” a young chess player. We thus removed ourselves to the place he had been known to frequent, there we found him playing a game against himself and seeming to be oblivious to the world we saw. Perhaps he played against an ancestor or other spirit? Whatever the case is Igor Ritter finally gained his attention by beginning a game with him. During the game he commented about the need for an indirect approach, at night, and meetings at the “L”.

The L for those unfamiliar with Gotham is a network of above and below ground trains that encircles the city. I personally have rarely used it; it always to me seemed to be tempting the spirits to have Air and Earth work so close together even if they both were joined by Metal. After everything I have seen I question how one cannot believe the elements have a say in what goes on, although I certainly do not deny other powers, after all our priest to my knowledge does not worship Wood, Metal, Air, Fire, Water, or Earth.

After spending a short time arguing about how best to approach the problem we decided to simply ride the train with 2 people to a car and one ready to move between. Frenchy got to be in one with myself and William, an unenviable position. However at the junction between the below and above ground segments Joseph Cougar told us he heard the sounds of battle down a maintain tunnel, other picked up on the negative chi being radiated by whatever beings were in battle. We swiftly moved forward, as silently as we could to discover the source of the noise. To our surprise it was one werewolf beset by a number of lesser vampires, although he had slain many it was obvious that he was on his last legs. Here I came to a strange point, all I had to do to let one of those rabid creatures die was stand back and watch, however our leader, one I had supported, was ordering us to assist it. I spent a moment in indecision then realized that to let these creatures do this was not honorable when I could meet him face to face and defeat him in combat. An assassin’s blade or honorable combat? The choice made itself; I broke the nearest vampire’s neck with a chi-charged blow of my hands never taking my eyes from the werewolf.

There we stood as the dust settled, this was no cub but an old warrior, scarred and bloodied. I felt only one question at the moment was important. “Clan?” I demanded. Neither Get of Fenris, Red Talon, or Wendigo and lacking the dark chi polluting the Dark Spiral Dancers he was not one that to me needed to be put down immediately. It is rare that I faced one like this and could choose to walk away, I knew I could end him here and was sorely tempted but my honor, my oath, my distaste of killing all warred with each other. Finally I settled for simply ensuring he did not turn on myself or my compatriots. Let him know betrayal would have a price to pay, although having seen him in battle I felt he was the kind to tear a man’s face off from the front, after telling him he’d do so and thought he likely would show some honor.

So it was that William the Pleaser chose to take him to a lair of his own so that we could speak to him. It is perhaps a reflection on the things soon to come that I consider our new contact a “him” instead of an “it”, also William the Pleaser’s abode likely insults “lairs” or “abodes” to be used in reference so I apologize to whatever spirits watch over these things, and probably do not wish to meet those affiliated with our priest’s… location. Of note was that attempts to photograph the vampire bodies failed, which our wizard found very important.

Here we heard the wolf’s story, he was betrayed by a Get of Fenris and his fellows slaughtered by vampires, including one of the “Sabbat” high ranking vampires. His name is Brendan Cadeyrn, it is perhaps that his experience struck a chord with me that I moved to do the next thing, which would ultimately cause me much confusion.

I had long known that my family was slain by werewolves but little did I know of the matters surrounding the event. Slowly I had gathered information and sought out instances of other creatures attacking humans, never had I found the creature I so often see in my nightmares. I had learned of the World of Darkness and it’s denizens, I had even slain some werewolves and vampires alone. As I had delved for more knowledge I had learned of more and more creatures of negative chi living under humanities’ nose. I had sought information of why my family was attacked but again and again it lead to dead ends. I continued to develop and expand on my chi in the hopes that I would reach enlightenment and also result in some kind of understanding, yet it never did. But time and again I have avoided seeking information from divinations and magical auguries, perhaps it was because I was worried that I had in fact killed it or it had died and then I would be left without a purpose, a plan, a way forward in my existence. However today I made the request for William the Pleaser to consult his cards and tell me of my family’s murder. In a way it was perhaps a challenge to Brendan Cadeyrn, to show him that my fury was righteous, my cause pure, a holy Fire. And perhaps it was that by holding my hatred so close for so long without knowing the truth had exhausted me.

When I first was recovering from my family’s death I felt that Water, my family’s traditional element had abandoned me. I felt that there was no way I could flow with these events, to move with the tide life had presented to me, instead I embraced Fire and Metal, seeking to destroy and forge my hatred into a blade that would destroy these evils with the passion and heat of my anger and wrath. It is thus that I have shaped much of my life away from contemplation and meditation instead to action, destruction, and knowledge of how might modern man be able to gain advantages over ancient terror. My comrades have seen my destructive impulses, in a way they are a front, an embraced image of avenger and destroyer, a mask I have worn so long I am no longer sure if it is my true face or if my old self was a mask. In forgoing Water I may have made progress in understanding destruction, Fire, and Metal but I have lost balance and dipped dangerously towards negative chi, to the Wyrm. This I began to realize now and will mean a new struggle for myself as I fight for balance in my heart and mind.

William the Pleaser cast his cards and told me a little of what I did know and much that I did not. Perhaps it is a sign from my ancestors that they revealed so much to him that they were waiting for me to seek a different path. I learned that my parents had once hunted those that Danced in the Shadow, and those that fell to the taint of dark chi, because of this they had made enemies of a “Bishop” of the “Sabbat” who ordered three Dark Spiral Dancers to kill my family. The one who ordered the deaths of my family still existed as did the three that carried out that thing’s orders.

With this information my feelings were thrown into turmoil. I had long unquestioned the concept that werewolves were all monsters to hunt, yet I had too often seen them act less than monsters, our new ally Brendan Cadeyrn, when I looked him in the eye has the soul of a samurai. I had reserved all my hate for werewolves and none for vampires, but now this would change. I have come to the conclusion that the Dark Spiral Dancers and Sabbat vampires are beings that must be purged from this world without exception. My old anger has melted and flowed into a new shape, to be reforged. I feel that the Wendigo, Red Talons, and Get of Fenris should be treated as enemies of my enemy, watched, fought beside, but never trusted, killed if showing the least sign of taint. In my research I feel that they are the most likely to fall to the Wyrm as it is a few steps from the taking of people’s lives to accepting the Wyrm.

With this much determined I chose to accept Brendan Cadeyrn as a friend in the first step towards no longer hating all his kind. Of course I also challenged him to arm wrestling as a way to satisfy my need to fight him. In human form he was no match for me, with my chi focused I tied even his Crinos man-wolf form (although had he continued a few moments longer my chi would likely have given out). William the Pleaser needs a new table though as I believe we rather damaged it.

Finally I believe I have come to a semblance of balance, for too long I have recklessly stepped close to letting dark chi consume me in my hatred, I see now that there is balance in all things. The werewolves guardians of Earth, Wood, and Water have among them negative and positive chi, as do the vampires creatures of Air, and Metal. Humanity then must be the race of Fire, a thought I will have to at some point muse upon further. For now I must find the positive chi I have neglected, perhaps then I will find enlightenment and begin to reach my full potential, not as a destroyer, but as a living creature, as a being of chi. To this end I devote myself not to destruction and vengeance, but to removing the dark chi that corrupts and destroys, although I will make a point of removing the dark chi creatures responsible for my family’s death, personally.

And so to put my thoughts in balance I write them to so that I might better understand them and gain insight.

A Wolf's Song
Grimsige

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