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Markesh: Fostern <2> Galliard, Silent Strider 

The Galliard stood up so he could be better seen in the firelight and looked around.

So ya wanna hear my story?  It’s not a happy one.  I’ve heard worse, but it doesn’t make mine any better.

Still here?  Ok.

Then let us sit on the ground and tell sad stories of the death of kings…  (sigh) No one reads Shakespeare huh?  Ok then, here goes.

I was an only kid and a lonely kid.  Most of us homid born are, aren’t we?  So I learned how to build stuff, how to tinker with computers, how to shoot guns, a little kung fu…  I know a little about a lot of things.

I was lucky to have both parents, and they loved me lots.  My mom, Laura, she was beautiful.  The most loving mother a guy could have.  She was good ol human, not kin or anything special.  But my dad loved her enough to stay with her.  That says a lot.  Most of us Silent Striders can’t settle down at all.  He sighs.

My dad, Skarra, had secrets.  He’d leave for a while, sometimes weeks, but he’d always be back.  He said it was for his job, but he loved the travel of it too much.  I knew it was more than that from when I was 12, but I never saw anything, so I never caught on.  Took me 5 years before I started wising up.  So I started sneaking around, listening to him and my mom talking.

I was doing that one night when I found out the truth, in one horrible moment that stripped me of everything I had and threw me headlong into another world.  This world.

What’s that?  Why didn’t they tell me I was a Garou?  Maybe they didn’t know.  Maybe they didn’t want to till I had my first shift.  Now be quiet or I’ll never get finished.

Now where was I? Ah yes…

It was a moonless night.  I never liked those, now I know why.  Luna’s gentle light is comforting, especially when you’re like I am, born with her so close to full.  I’m as much Ahroun as I am Galliard, but you’ve probably figured that out already.  The galliard smiles slightly.

My dad was late coming home, a day and a half late.  It’d happened before, so we weren’t too worried, but it kept mom up just the same.  It kept me up too, so I snuck downstairs the moment I heard mom’s shriek.  Dad was home.  He was hurt.  Badly.  He was barely walking under his own power, blood all over him, clothes shredded.  I stood there with my jaw hanging open and listened to words that made no sense at all to me at the time.

Skarra said, “It was those damn forked-tongue leeches.  They were waiting for us.”

Mom was about to freak by then.  “Oh my god!  Is anyone…”

“No, I got it worst.  We killed some and got away.”

“But how did they know?”

“We don’t know, but at least we escaped.  They’re going to contact some friends, send two, maybe three war parties at them.  The bastards will pay for this one.”

Now at this point my head was spinning.  My dad was hurt to the point that most humans would have bled to death, but all he was doing was staining the carpet.  I was about to come out from behind the door I’d been peering around when something kicked the front door in.  A big, pale, scaly looking, forked tongued parody of a human.  At the time I had no idea what it was.

Now I thought I couldn’t get any more confused, but then dad turned into a big, furry version of the Egyptian jackal gods.  You and I know it as crinos form, but at the time just blew my mind.  Then the evil thing got even more scaly and they started fighting.  Now Skarra was good, but he was wounded.  He hurt it bad before it killed him.  Yes, that’s right, I watched my father die.  I don’t know why I didn’t do anything.  I couldn’t move.  After my dad fell, it jumped on mom.  It drained some of her blood and the tore her up.

I still couldn’t move, but I felt something building in me.  Rage.  My first shift.  But I didn’t kill the bastard.  I ran.  My first frenzy was a fox frenzy.  I’m damn ashamed of it too.  I still feel like I could have saved them.  All I have left of my parents now are a few pictures, and my dad’s journals and fang dagger.

No one believed my story.  After all, everyone knows vampires and werewolves aren’t real.  He grins slightly.  They decided it was post traumatic stress syndrome.   That I had dreamed up some crazy story to convince myself it wasn’t my fault.  After almost a year, I gave up and played their game.  “Yea, sure, I must have dreamed it.”  Once the foster parents quit watching my every movement I took off.

I was lucky then.  I ran into another vampire, frenzied, and killed him.  One of the kinfolk found me and brought me here, where I finally got some answers.  I learned who and what I am, and I’ve been staying here in the Sept of the Flowering Dream ever since.  I am Markesh, Claith Galliard of the Silent Striders

What’s that?  Where’d I get this nice scar?  He traces a scar that runs across his face, starting just in front of his right ear and running across his face, stopping on the other side of his nose.  Well that’s another story, for another time.  The Galliard sits back down near the fire with a smile.  Now, what’s your story?