Day 7: A Look At The Idigam Chronicle Anthology

Sales, Werewolf: The Forsaken

Onyx Path’s Month of Nightmares features games, stories, and more to celebrate the spirit of Halloween. Count down the days with us by reading our excerpts, participating in the discussion, or by taking advantage of our special offers leading up to a haunted Halloween.

idigam chronicle

Ahead, in the darkness, I hear water rushing as if from a river. Something is gnawing at my mind, and a rising sense of unease floods my thoughts. Concentrate, keep focused on the task. “How can we fight it?” I ask. I try to keep the hope from my voice, to sound like the confident predator that the Keeper thinks I am.

You won’t

I scowl, lope ahead a few steps and block the spirit’s path. Before I can demand it to answer me properly, I come to a realization. The stench of brine is growing stronger. We’re worming out of the deep Shadow that the Keeper makes its lair. We’re going out to sea. I turn and stare down the tunnel.

There is no rushing river. Something vast and aqueous is washing towards us. I can smell the tainted Essence in the air.

What would a spirit of death give to someone it thinks it loves?

“You’ve betrayed me,” I spit, anger rising hot in my blood.

Your rite compelled me to answer you, not to keep you alive.

“This is why you’re not afraid. You’re its servant,” I snap. My flesh quivers; bones crunch and lengthen.

The masquerade of faces, wooden and flesh, paper and metal, offer a series of serene countenances to me. I am a survivor.

“But you’ve forgotten who I am,” I spit, as my face warps and lengthens, my teeth twist into fangs.

You are my pupil, my spirit-carved child, and you are ready for the final lesson of Death.

“I am Death Wolf’s child, Keeper of the Drowned,” I howl. The tunnel has become cramped, too small, like in the coffin. The Keeper has become small too, shrinking before my rage, and I reach out for it. “You have betrayed me! Su A Sar-Hith Sa!

I rip the weight from my chest, the dead man’s gift that bears more than a thousand years of memories within it. The Keeper wails in genuine fear as I wrap the chain that the ancient memento hangs from around its many necks. Armored legs and snapping pincers stab and slice at my flesh, but the pain is nothing, just a fleeting irritation. I scream my defiance in my mentor’s face and twist the chain, bind it tight, forcing the amulet against the spirit’s Essence-rich meat. I yank and haul, fighting the old glutton’s weight, straining until it seems even my rage is flagging. Desperate talons scrabble and rip into my guts. Blood and ichor mix with the salt-water at our feet, where the water foams and burbles with hungry glee.

At last, the Keeper’s struggles cease. Its limbs fall limp as a stream of black fluid vomits from all its mouths, and I toss the dissolving carcass aside. The old sailor’s charm burns into the corpse, blazing with Essence. It witnessed the spirit’s birth, hanging around the neck of the man whose drowning gasps brought the Keeper into existence. Now it has seen the Keeper’s end.

I raise my head and howl again. I give it all the fury, all the defiance, all the hatred I can muster. I can see it now, the idigam, a slithering bulk oozing down the tunnel towards me, but I will not show it fear. I was reborn beneath the gibbous moon. I will go down fighting, and I will give this horror scars to remember me by.

I let the rage take me.

* * *

The above is an excerpt from Last Rites, by Chris Allen. It’s an excellent depiction of just how dangerous it is for a werewolf — even a Cahalith — to deal with a spirit. The Shadow’s denizens aren’t just dangerous because they are malevolent, or because they hate werewolves. Their very nature is alien to creatures used to the world of Flesh. As the extract puts it, “What would a spirit of death give to someone it thinks it loves?”

That’s not to say that werewolves cannot know spirits, only that it may take them some time to figure out what’s going on. A Bone Shadow knows that turnabout is fair play; their tribal oath is Su A Sar-Hith Sa — Pay each spirit in kind. While they may not understand social conventions, spirits understand basic transactions. Do well by a Bone Shadow and he will do well by the spirit. Betray him, and face the consequences.

It also shows the sudden blooming of rage within the werewolf’s heart, how any slight becomes a reason for flesh to warp and bones to shift. A werewolf riding that rage is in control enough to use a spirit’s bane — in this case the memento and its chain — against his prey. Rage unbound is a terrifying thing, but in the face of the unknowable idigam it is the only weapon a werewolf has. He cannot stand alone, but the predatory fire within at least gives him the chance to die on his feet.

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  3 comments for “Day 7: A Look At The Idigam Chronicle Anthology

  1. Dan
    October 7, 2015 at 11:56 am

    Psst, you mean 20% off.

    • Ian A. A. Watson
      October 7, 2015 at 1:41 pm

      *cough* I don’t know what you’re talking about. It always said 20%.

      Thanks for the catch. 😉

  2. Darkfool
    October 8, 2015 at 1:21 am

    Are there plans to produce WTF 2nd Edition Condition cards?

Comments are closed.