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 Subplot: Honor Your Territory in All Things (Jack Sullivan)

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PostSubject: Subplot: Honor Your Territory in All Things (Jack Sullivan)   Mon Apr 18, 2016 2:34 am

Storyteller Note:

This subplot is meant to primarily involve the PC detailed in the subject line. It will be more involved and contain more detail than some previous plot points and be treated as a sort of “mini-adventure” for the PC involved. These Subplot stories are meant to allow characters to flex a bit and “star” in their own little stories. Feel free to involve any other PCs as you go along as you wish. My preference as Storyteller would be that you not include too many for events that will require rolling dice as it will take up a LOT more time.

As an additional note, these Subplots are meant to introduce aspects of Arsenal and its citizens supernatural and mundane through organic story.

This is a story of Tribal Initiation.



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PostSubject: Re: Subplot: Honor Your Territory in All Things (Jack Sullivan)   Mon Apr 18, 2016 3:35 am

Jack Sullivan hung his feet off the truck bed with his eyes locked on a moonless sky. Half a dozen empty cans lay in a pile near the cab, a fresh one in his hand.

Under the stars of the Navajo Falls Cattle Ranch, he felt at home. At peace.

Except that wasn't true. Since it happened, the Change, he wasn't sure he could feel peace anymore. The world had gone sideways and left him permanently tilted. Unhinged. But out here, in the open plains, beer in hand, he could feel a brief glimpse of the peace hidden behind the faceless moon.

Lights from a distant car snapped him from his reverie. He sat up, confused and angry. No one came out here, especially in the middle of the night. Especially on something that sounded a great deal like an angry mechanical bee.

A teenage boy rolled up on the gravel road and parked his moped within a dozen strides of the truck. He loosened a small box that had been strapped to the back of his bike.

"Um...Jack Sullivan?" The constant fear and sweat of puberty rolled off him in waves.

Jack hopped down off the back of the truck, killed the beer and tossed the can. "What?"

"This, ah, is for you." The kid held out the package in one hand, a clipboard in the other. "Need you to, ah, sign and I'll be off."

Who the hell sends a package in the middle of the night? Jack eyed the boy's jacket. SPEEDY TIMES DELIVERY splashed across the sleeve and the name "Ricky" was emblazoned over the kid's left breast.

Jack glanced down at the package. No return address. His name, a time, and GPS coordinates stamped on the front. And a weird little symbol marked at the bottom. Two crossed Peacemaker pistols.

Oh shit.

He hadn't been a wolf long, but everyone knew the sign of the Peacemaker's Solution. As close to an "Alpha Pack" the city could have.

Jack signed and took the package, handed the kid a five - all the cash he had on him - and waved him off.

"Ah, she told me to tell you something before you opened it."

Jack frowned.

"Rules are made to be broken, she said." The kid shrugged, hopped his moped, and sped away.

Jack tore open the box. Inside was a smart phone, heavy in his hand. As soon as his fingers touched the screen it flared to bright life.

"Jack!"

He dropped it in the gravel road.

A woman's face, the face of Lovely Lady Loup, blossomed out of a rose and howled at the empty sky. "Awooooo! Welcome to the latest cast of Midnight in the Garden, the lupine musical fest for anybody who is anybody. Reach out and touch someone, touch em all, feel em up, and get grrrrr tonight ladies and gents!"

Jack stared down as the spiky haired Iron Master grinned wickedly up at him.

"Tonight is the night we call the red wolves to come and meet and greet and whisper the sweet secrets of the world. Tonight at the Red Willow Cabaret, all the wolves who are wolves will be present. All for you, Jack my boy, all for you. Come and see what we have in store. Come and see and say you saw."

Loup's face twisted and shifted on the screen into a weird screensaver. Iron roses mixed with barking dogs and her laughter behind it all.

"The night is young, puppy dogs. Here's a jam to bop and hum as you cruise on over to the happenest place that ever came to be. An oldie, but a goodie, while we wait."

The phone went black. Then the image of a dark flower shaped like a wolf's head flared to life. The symbol of Loup's podcast Midnight in the Garden.

A piano flared to life. Warren Zevon sang his tune.

Below the symbol was a timer with less than a hour ticking away.






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PostSubject: Re: Subplot: Honor Your Territory in All Things (Jack Sullivan)   Wed Apr 20, 2016 4:43 pm

"Well, fuck me."

Jack leaned down and picked up the smartphone (he didn't have one himself, he was still using an old Nokia; he didn't need to bright screens, internet, and touch control) and slide it into the pocket of his faded Levi Strauss jeans. The back gate of his truck was locked up and beer cans rattled around in the effort before he moved around to the front driver's side door and hopped into the cab. His rifle was racked in the cab behind the seats, which was pretty typical for country living. You never quite knew when you'd need a big gun when out around the ranch. After having brushed with Artois, he was pretty adamant about keeping that gun close at hand.

With a twist of the keys in the ignition the headlights flashed to life and he was off.

The Red Willow Cabaret wasn't too far, he had heard about while drinking with the boys over the last couple of weeks. He had 800 acres of land on the ranch so he needed to haul ass through the dirt roads through the night that wove across his family's land before he could reach the main road. He was lucky he didn't hit a deer along the way as he made it onto the main road, tearing up and dirt and gravel as his tires hit the unimproved road that led from the ranch to the city.

He turned on the radio as his truck barreled towards the interstate. "Hell's Bells" blared loud across the radio as he drove and he rocked his head to the music.
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PostSubject: Re: Subplot: Honor Your Territory in All Things (Jack Sullivan)   Sun Apr 24, 2016 12:49 am

Jack hugged the wheel as he lurched the truck sideways into the parking lot. Tires squealed. The smell of burnt rubber burned his nostrils. He didn’t bother to park, but rolled straight to the door and slammed the breaks. He looked down and the counting phone.

A minute to spare. A beep. Another. Laughter exploded and the countdown raced all the way to 3…

2…

1…

“Jack! You’re late!” Loup’s face echoed out, but the image of the blinking 0 stayed. “You’ll get better. You’ll learn the road from here to there and all the shortcuts, all the cheats.” She giggled. “The city’s a special place. The ultimate expression of human ambition, a citadel of change, a palace of the new!”

Jack cursed and got out. All the lights were off outside the Red Willow Cabaret, but a single man waited at the open door. Lovely Lady Loup continued.

“Ever seen a werewolf walking the streets? Like an atheist in church. Werewolves see it, maybe even understand it, but they don’t feel it. They’re in the city, but,” she paused with dramatic flare, “they are not of the city.”

The blank eyed stare of the man greeted Jack as he passed.

“We’re not like them, Jack. When we hunt, the city moves with us. When we stalk our prey, the buildings tell us where it goes. The people tell us what they’ve seen. We’re the children of change and the city is our territory in a way that nobody else can understand.”

Jack passed through the dark hallways, Loup’s silky voice his only companion.

“It takes a special kind of mind to become change. Do you know what Change feels like, Jack? Twenty tons of TNT.”

Jack turned a corner and stopped. A closed door greeted him. On the other side, he could feel them. Could feel her. He felt eyes all over him and took a step back to look around. There was no one in the dark hall with him, but he felt it still. Eyes, red and low. A wolf in the darkness, watching and waiting. Curious.

“A lot of Uratha can’t think the way we have to think, Jack.” He hadn’t even noticed she had paused. “They can’t bring themselves to watch as humanity ruins the Shadow and the cities warp the world. That’s our job. We are the witnesses of history and we can’t look away.”

Jack put his hand on the door knob. He felt those red eyes follow. As he opened the door, the phone voice ceased, but her real voice continued. The Lovely Lady Loup sat a table with many others, all eyes on him.

She smiled.

“We do what we can. Red Wolf expects no less.”

Jack stood in a room with ten other wolves and he knew they all belonged to Farsil Luhal, the Iro Masters. He recognized some of them.

The Lovely Lady Loup sat at the head of a long table made of heavy wood. Jack could see the exposed bark on the bottom and realized the table was one massive tree, split in half and flipped over.

Beside her Jack saw Fix of the Scar Angels, the pack he and the others had defeated not long back. Fix’s eyes practically glared and the man nodded his head out of a deep respect.

On her other side was Christian Thorne, tablet in hand. He tapped the screen and Jack’s phone buzzed in his hand. A waving hand flashed across the screen.

“You know a few of us, Jack, but not all.” She gestured away from the two he knew to the others. Three wolves sat close together and glared, not at Jack, but instead at Christian. “These are the Silent Howlers.” Each gave a curt nod and turned their gaze back to Jack’s packmate.

A small Japanese woman sat by herself. Her lips were pursed, her eyes full of displeasure and all directed at him. “This is Minoko ‘SS’ Kurosawa of The Legendary. They own the territory where you Changed.”

An older man with haggard features sat closest to the door. Eyes that had seen tremendous pain looked up as he was introduced. Jack felt an almost overwhelming need to bow before the man. “This is Jagged Sky, formerly of Denver, but now with The Echo of Arsenal.”

Jack looked away before Jagged Sky. He noted two others of the People far in the back, in the shadows. The Lovely Lady Loup did not introduce them.

“Welcome Jack, to your initiation. Do you remember my message?”

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PostSubject: Re: Subplot: Honor Your Territory in All Things (Jack Sullivan)   Tue May 24, 2016 4:18 pm

Storyteller Note: The following is a story, related at the conversation. It is not especially relevant to this plot, but I wanted to keep this fresh with information.

The Mists of Time

This story is true:
Red Wolf was the original warden
of humanity. These strange little mortals changed the
Shadow with their stories and changed their environment
with their tools. She watched as they learned first to
harness fire, then to create it from naught but rocks and
wood, and she knew that this was good. This fire brought
with it new spirits, and many of them wanted to embrace
their creators. A large gathering of these new elementals
moved into the physical world, but Sagrim-Ur stopped
them. Burned and in pain, she knew that not all changes
are for the better.

Red Wolf was never satisfied with the world as it was.
He yearned for things to change, for new things to find
and new ways of being. To that end, he questioned Father
Wolf on matters that ranged from inane to sacrilegious.
The other Firstborn shunned him, but Urfarah answered
Red Wolf’s questions the same way every time: “This
happens, and it is good. Nothing more need be known.”
Urfarah never snapped at Sagrim-Ur, and never ignored
him. Every question received the same answer.

Nobody was there to see Red Wolf’s reaction to
the answer. Some stories say that he respected Father
Wolf for having a certainty in the world that Sagrim-
Ur lacked; others think he hated Urfarah’s unthinking
adherence to the way things are. One thing that the
stories do agree on is Red Wolf’s attention to humanity.
These strange tool-using apes changed the spirit world
around them, and changed themselves. Humans were
agents of creation then as now, and Red Wolf couldn’t
help his curiosity.

This story is true:
Sagrim-Ur felt no pity when Urfarah
lay dying. Her heart was taken with joy, for from
this moment things would never be the same as they
had been. She stood proud, witnessing the moment that
everything changed. Father Wolf spoke his final words
to Red Wolf’s ears: “Things will not be as they ought.
Mark well how they go, and remember what I told
you was good.” From that moment Red Wolf knew fear,
for change destroys certainty, and he knew power, for
change creates hope.

When the Forsaken came to Red Wolf, he tested
them with riddles and tricks like no other. Mirroring
the modern tribal initiation, those primal Iron Masters
had to think fast — and more importantly, they
had to cheat. Only the truly brave or the truly foolish
try to cheat one of the Firstborn, and Sagrim-Ur saw
within them the burning desire for redemption at any
cost. They would say anything, think anything, and
do anything in order to pick up where Urfarah left off.
They would have to: Father Wolf’s death had twisted
the world from the norm, and in Red Wolf’s eyes only
those werewolves who would change themselves to fit
the world stood a chance of success.

Red Wolf was no fool. He knew his Farsil Luhal
contained the risk-takers, the cunning, the devious
and those who just didn’t hold with doing things the
traditional way — every werewolf that the other tribes
didn’t trust. To save them from themselves, he made
them swear his oath alongside the Oath of the Moon:
Honor Your Territory in All Things. These words
keep the Iron Masters focused on why we try new
things, why we strive for change. Though many of the
original Iron Masters didn’t realize it at the time, the
oath kept them concentrated, and has done throughout
the years. It’s Sagrim-Ur’s insurance policy, a cunning
investment against the possibility of his children forgetting
their purpose.

This story is true:
The Farsil Luhal walked in the
first human settlements. They bartered for goods with
humans. When a human spirit-talker crossed into the
Shadow, they dragged him back. When the shartha stole
people to use as human puppets, the Iron Masters’ claws
ran red. But they were not as strenuous as they should
have been. In the first city, they ignored spirits walking in
the world of flesh, only intervening if it caused a problem.
An army of spirits built up the first spirit-cult in the
very heart of one of the first Iron Master territories, and
they let it happen. Red Wolf’s vengeance was swift and
terrible, casting them out so far that they were invisible
to the eyes of the Forsaken. The story spread, and from
that moment the tribe knew that Red Wolf’s oath is binding
in all dealings.

We Iron Masters often disagree on our stories of
Red Wolf, especially of the time when Urfarah still
walked the world. It doesn’t matter. The tribe as a
whole collects stories and legends of the great progenitor,
whether praiseworthy or critical. Red Wolf has
played every role in order to teach his children what
we must know, and he still does so. While no Iron
Master would admit to inventing a story of Sagrim-
Ur, we will admit to changing an older story to highlight…
new concerns. There’s no dishonor in adapting
these stories. Some Cahalith claim they dream of Red
Wolf watching them when they work on a legend or
fable, and they feel his approval.

All these stories are true, even the contradictions.

Examine the past as you examine the present. Find the
stories that make sense, and learn from them. Throw
away stories that no longer apply. And if you need
another legend, write another legend. Without adaptation,
extinction. If the stories don’t work for you, change
them. They don’t matter as much as you think they do.
Take what works and change the rest into something
else that works. Change is the only constant. Change
the past. Change the future. Change the truth. Change
yourself. Change the world.

"You are Farsil Luhal. Change or die."

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PostSubject: Re: Subplot: Honor Your Territory in All Things (Jack Sullivan)   Tue May 24, 2016 7:46 pm

"You talk a lot," Jack replied casually to the Lovely Lady Loup as he looked for his place at the table. "Which bit? This phone had your mug on for a while with you yackin' away."

He tossed the phone onto the wooden table which slid towards Christian tapping away on his tablet.

As he approached the table and surveyed the faces he pulled out a can of Grizzly and stuffed a wad of tobacco into his lip. With so many eyes on him the nicotine helped ease the anxiety of the moment. It felt like he was in front of a promotion board and his entire chain of command was about to drill him with questions. It was a dog eat dog world - literally. He had been hunted down by wolves, attacked by wolves, and nearly murdered by wolves. While he had begun to trust in his pack, he was still cautious about the faith he put in other strangers. From the looks of the others in the room the feeling was mutual.

He brushed his hands on his jeans before he sat down and looked around the table again.

"So... Let's talk shop. I'm the new kid on the block and I don't know a whole lot about nothing."
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PostSubject: Re: Subplot: Honor Your Territory in All Things (Jack Sullivan)   Tue May 24, 2016 8:59 pm

"Well Jack, if you can't remember that's going to make your task a great deal harder than it needs to be." Loup paused to look about the room.  She smiled, but there was something different about it now.   Something feral.

"You're right, Jack.  You are new.  So I'll forgive your poor manners this time." She winked, but it didn't put Jack at ease in the slightest.  The others all appeared to be measuring him and measuring how far she'd let him go.  He felt a feeling like a pressure at the base of his skull.  A migraine?

No.  Fear. An old, Primal fear.  These were wolves.  Werewolves.  Monsters out of legend. A tribe,like a pack, and he was currently at the very bottom.

Omega.

"Jack," her voice slithered across his spine. "Tell us about yourself.  We're all ears.  Tell us why Red Wolf should care about you."

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