As the wax of the withered candle sought refuge from the flame...the cool subtle light of the moon preached a dim but yearning gleam upon the age old, tattered, leather bound tome which lay shut upon the fine oaken table. It was a massive tome… marked with but one alienating glyph...sealed only by dust settled over centuries marked by atrocities and miracles spawned by the likes of mankind.
Hethar gently laid her hand upon the ancient cover of the mysterious book...her eyes enslaved by the image of the pale celestial orb enthroned atop the sky through the tower window. As the light of the dying candle and the beams of the patient moon gambled for authority, she realized that the choice she was about to make could unlock secrets that may tear away the foundation of everything she and her loved ones had ever based their fragile existence upon. As she thought of the others...she opened the tome....and for the first time...the dust...was free. Her eyes became twin suns in the reflection of the ancient text burning off the pages of the tome……
.....Before Eberron birthed humanoid....before Siberys gave breath to dragon....before Khyber spawned demon.....there was silence. Before the gods came to be...out of the absence of time and space....there was darkness...nothingness...the Great Void. Tis said that of nothingness there shall always be, always was, and always will be... something. Being. Of the First Age of Entropy came Light...with its warmth and solidarity. Of the Second Age of Entropy came Magic...unbridled in its fury...impassioned in its will. Of the Third Age of Entropy came Law...master of the universe...director of time and space. Of the Final Age of Entropy came Life....dormant and infantile...oppressed by its predecessors...deaf, dumb, and blind to the cosmos. But of the Four Forms, it was Life that would extend its essence across the cosmos, absorbing and merging between and within the other Forms….expanding the dimensions of its existence. Then, upon one forgotten moment, the cosmos became aware and with it came the birth of the Primordials. One in particular was the Great Mother… the Archetype of protection and care….the supreme nurturer …the savage protector. The Great Mother would give birth to nearly the whole of the Gods in the multiverse, and the Gods gave birth to all within their domains…all were the children of the Great Mother.
Of all the primordials, the Great Void was driven to consume The Great Mother most. It despised her love for Life and existence. She foresaw a time when she and all who fell from her womb would meet that dark fate. And so from her bosom she planted seeds of hope…eternal souls created from the very essence of the Great Mother herself…mighty beings that were destined to protect and preserve all that the Great Mother had labored vigorously to create. Many scholars have scribed many names for these souls…Tak’aa Noa… Wendigo… Goa…but the few in Eberron who know of their existence refer to them as… Wulfe. It is said that the Wulfe lay dormant within a small number of blessed beings across the multiverse, only to awaken when the threat of the Great Void grew dire. Dark days have come…the Wulfe has awoken…
Hethar’s head suddenly jerked wildly in random directions…her skin pale as the moon. Everything around her faded to darkness. She fell deep within her psyche, feeling the power of the Libram forcing its will upon her. Within an instant, all was white and cold as the sound of wind howled through her mind….
“What in Khyber is wrong with her”, cried Hoekgore as his massive Half-orc form felt the blasting storm battle to topple him off of the mountain top. “Is she ok”, asked Vergennes…his bow still drawn as he and Starwise scouted the skies around them with their keen elven eyes. “We’re all gonna die” Janta stated in a dark, disturbing, cheerful manner as he slowly targeted a distant spec in the thunderous grey sky outside of the fallen temple. “Speak for yourself halfling”, Allaric replied with what would have been a smirk if you could see any semblance of a smile within his lifeless, blackened shriveled skin. Bocee the other Pale Master managed to utter what sounded like an attempt to laugh in response. “What’s the plan, Blime…is she ready for extraction? There will be more Storm Mephits arriving shortly”, said Balmoon as she knocked another arrow. “We wait”, Blime proclaimed as he stared deeply into the Reflecting Pool within the cauldron. He saw Hethar struggling. Both he and she knew the risk she was taking in infiltrating the ranks of The Twelve. The Libram was too important. The Pack needed to know why they had all heard The Calling…they needed to unravel their destiny.
Minutes felt like hours. They all stood nearly motionless on the stone floor of what was left of the temple of one of the Hags of this monstrous nation. The cauldron stood in the center of what was now simply a roost for extra planar beings. The storm raged on, but the mephitis began to make less appearances. Still, Angies and Binjali stalked the perimeter of the ancient mountaintop in wolf-form…hoping to catch the scent of petrified ice in the wind and ozone before the next attack. Blime continued to stare into the Reflecting Pool, waiting to give the signal, as his hard wood and steel-framed body repulsed the hard rain like a Barbarian King would a kobold assault. “Ten minutes she has been in this trance” he thought to himself, “Yet it feels like an hour. Stay with us, Hethar.”
A loud whistle pierced the screaming winds from above. Blime had been concentrating so much he had almost forgotten the Winters Den anchored above the peak. Two women clad in heavy war armor, Vihn and Visionel, slowly floated down from the floating galley unto the platform, strangely unaffected by the wind. “Thank you Visionel, for not for you we would have been blown to Lord’s March”, said Vihn. “You’re welcome”, cried a smiling Visionel in attempt to overcome the sudden piercing wind howl. Starwise and Visionel exchanged a loving smile. Vihn, briefly distracted in concern of the image Blime was viewing, reported, “We just got word from Llordvador and his camp at Stormreach. Something very strange is happening in the Harbor at the great wall across from water works. Rojar and Ellzbeth along with a team have already gone to check it out.” “What of the ship’s condition” Blime asked, withholding his worry. A loud thump came from the southern edge of the temple floor platform, as a limp storm mephit bounced off of a fallen pillar and down into the grey abyss. Looking up , the Pack saw Michaela, with her repeater in one hand, her Arcane Cannon in the other…boot on the rail of the ship, rolled up tobacco stick at the side of her mouth…smiling like it was a summer day. “I guess she is done repairing the engine”, smiled Vihn. Blime nodded, still focused on the Reflecting Pool…wondering what move to make next as he attempted to gauge some sort of signal from Hethar in her stupor. It was situations like this that Ironwulfe warned him about, which is why he left him with the responsibility as Alphwulfe. Blime couldn’t help but wish for Ironwulfe’s input right now.
Hethar lifted her head up to what appeared to be a white sky….her face slowly growing wet…her feet warm, but moist. Snow! As soon as she attempted to harness her surroundings, rapid footsteps approached from behind her. As she turned three large fur clad humans…barbarians, rushed right through her body as if she were of wraith form. She was on a snow covered hill. Her would-be body invaders were running up to the top of the hill, beckoned by some sort of treasure within the ridge.
It didn’t take her long to realize that the Libram wished to open her eyes to something essential to her journey. As she crept up the hill like the phantom she felt she was, she saw the event that had been taking place. Three Northern folk: a middle aged man, a young girl, and a venerable woman, surrounded a small alcove in the snow. Within it laid a child wrapped in wolfskin. He did not cry, and his eyes shone like the moon…white as pearls. Though they began to speak in the Northern tongue, Hethar was able to decipher the words. The old woman placed her palm upon the child’s chest…her eyes became black as night as she uttered these words: “The Awakening has begun…This child is the first of many to come…with the gift of The Calling he will reunite the sleeping Wulfe within….for there is a great darkness coming to vanquish all that we hold dear…the time has come…the Great Mother has reared her head…her warriors are about to rise…it is… The Dawn of the Wulfe. The Howl has been cast!" The large man held the little girl close and whispered to her, “It is our duty to protect this child. Go ahead… give him a name”. “Ironwulfe”, she replied with a look as straight as a vorpal’s edge.
Hethar’s vision returned to that of the tower library. Drunken with magic, she collapsed to the floor fast and hard as the tower room doors were blasted off and out of the opposite double windows. As she saw a fading image of a group of wizards of The Twelve beginning to weave intricate incantations, she was suddenly on the deck of Winters Den…surrounded by her friends….her family… her pack. “Are you ok”, asked Blime. “What happened…What did you find out”, asked Vihn. Hethar simply replied with a whisper, “We are...Wulfe!”.
…….to be continued