I GM a lot of tabletop roleplaying. Well, I used to do more, but now I get into it now and again. Two years ago I ran a game of White Wolf’s Werewolf: The Forsaken. A game that is typically about scary werewolves dealing with scarier werewolves and terrifying spirits. Instead, we morphed the game to be about high school kids who had to deal with spirits while worrying about who to take to prom.
That game randomly stalled and ended in 2013. I still talk with all of the players. So when it was brought up again, I decided to do something weird. I wrote some ‘fanfiction’ of our game. It was argued that it isn’t fanfiction, because I wrote the story. Still, the primary characters are not mine, so to me, outright controlling them in a short story, is odd. Here is one of those stories now, about two years after the original plot.
Who Was Mike Jones?
It was impossible to focus. There were chattering voices everywhere, new scents and sounds, but that wasn’t the worst part. It was the eyes. No matter where Mike looked, everyone was looking at them.
That’s why he avoided these little get togethers as much as he could. He was running out of choices though.
“Are you sure this is a good idea?” Cam whispered to him.
Cam was at least a head and a half taller than Mike, and twice as wide. As far as Mike was concerned, he earned his nickname.
“I just want them to leave me alone,” Mike said back, pulling up his hood.
A voice boomed at the end of the Chicago dive bar. It was some biker-looking guy with a beard that needed trimming and eyes that looked bloodshot. Mike had gathered just from the time in the room that he was important, probably lead a pack of his own. A few other men in biker jackets cheered as he started to talk.
“Who is he supposed to be?” Cam whispered.
Mike put a finger up to shush him. For a brief moment he could actually feel Cam get angry. He didn’t know if that was some more strange magic stuff, or if he was just that used to Cam.
“This is it!” The man shouted, “This is the night we have waited for. This is when we take back blood for blood lost, and we show our ‘cousins’ what it means to be a hunter. No cheap tricks, no games, no distractions. This will be war, and they will cry to the heavens for a general worth the battle they have called down on them.”
The crowd erupted around them. Mike knew a little of what they were talking about, their battles with other werewolves, the ‘war in Chicago’. It kept encroaching on Naperville, it kept pushing their little ‘pack’, if it had ever been that, until everything fell apart.
Now, he was trying to finish his last year of highschool, and he couldn’t even name any of his teachers. What would Levi have called it, “Stupid werewolf drama?”
There were still a pair of eyes on him, and Mike found them at the front of the room. It was a woman he knew all too well. She was sitting in one chair of three set in a line, her legs crossed and her eyes focused down on Mike.
“She’s here,” Mike said.
“Who?” Cam responded, looking around before he saw her, “Oh… Meredith.”
There was another cheer, Mike was losing track of the speech.
“But this fight isn’t just ours, brothers,” The beard man said, “This is for all of us here in Chicago, that is what a war is. Our packs must stand together. That’s why tonight’s hunt belongs to the first to lose a Wolf-brother, Shifting-Winds.”
Some of the men and women in the crowd cheered, others grumbled just below what Mike could hear. Meredith stood, flattening the tank top of her outfit, hiking gear that looked out of place this close to the corridor.
She hugged the man as she walked past him, like a football player embracing a fellow player, and then they shared some quiet words.
“Oh good, I didn’t miss it,” Said Lt. Spatz from behind them.
Cam and Mike turned, the older man standing just behind them. He was slightly dressed down, but he still had on a ridiculous pair of shades, and looked like he hadn’t shaved that day.
“I’m glad you came,” Spatz said with a nod to Cam, “both of you. She’ll be glad you’re here, and safe.”
Somehow Mike didn’t feel like his safety was her main concern. This felt like a recruitment drive. There was food, he was being paid pointless attention. If Spatz was in an army uniform, it would be like any other army recruiter he saw at school.
“Yeah well, lets see if I stay,” Cam said, “I’m feeling a little out of place.”
Spatz laughed nervously, “If Charred-bone’s boys were here from Englewood, it wouldn’t look like a bike gang’s pit stop.”
Meredith cleared her throat, and a silence passed over the crowd. She narrowed her eyes and looked over the room. Mike had to admit, she commanded respect from her own. As far as he knew though, she also got a lot of her own killed. Long-claw, and wasn’t there another? At least Levi never lost anyone.
“I left Chicago for a reason,” Meredith started, “It was just over 10 years ago we were at each other’s throats. We didn’t care if it was Pure, or Uratha, we went for the throat. Chicago has a history, of cutting itself apart, and then crying in the pool of blood. We are both the criminal and the victim. Except that isn’t the story of the Forsaken, or the tribes of the moon.”
“Oh man,” Spatz whispered, “She is really into it tonight.”
“When Father Wolf fell, there was chaos, and there was blood. No one, not even his first born, could set this world straight. Then the Uratha answered that call, we became the soldiers in a world with no one to defend it!”
Though her voice raised, she stood stoic. Mike could feel the energy in the room rising. Whatever they felt about Meredith, the other werewolves cared about her words.
“Today we revel, and we drink, and we sing the songs of Mother Luna and Father Wolf. Because there is a poison in this city, vermin who stand with our enemies, mercenaries at the fore of a war it is about damn time we started winning.”
There was a cheer, and beer bottles clashed against each other. Mike even heard a howl, and it sounded feral enough that he expected a wolf to brush against his hand.
“And when there is nothing left of them, when they are nothing but a pool of blood at our feet, we will see that it was tears of pain, but the cries of joy. Because we are not victims, and we are not criminals. Brothers and sisters, we are the Uratha!”
She put a hand up, and everyone in the bar howled in unison.
Pointless werewolf drama.
Spatz put a heavy hand on Mike’s shoulder, and let out a loud howl of his own.
The crowd became a party. Beers flew off the wall, cheers started spontaneously, conversations started in every corner of the room. It seemed the speeches were over, this had to be the revels.
“Lieutenant,” Cam said as he turned on Spatz, “Now that all that is over, you heard from Levi?”
Spatz blinked, and then scratched at the side of his nose, “Why would I have heard from Levi?”
Mike rolled his eyes.
“I guess whatever he is up to,” Spatz said with a shrug, “He is still up to it. I’m sure he didn’t just want to up and leave you guys.”
Cam let out a guffah, “Yeah, because he always wrestled with guilt over every little thing.”
Mike smiled, but Spatz sneered for a moment before grabbing a beer from a passing girl walking around with 4 in each hand.
“Is this them,” Said a younger guy who looked like he was one missed paycheck from being a hobo, smelled like it too.
“Spike,” Spatz said with a nod of his head.
“Eech-Dubya,” the guy responded. Another guy came behind him. They both looked like they lived a tougher life than Spatz or Meredith ever had, with clothing that belonged to South Chicago rather than the suburbs of Naperville.
“That has to be them,” The second guy said, “They were the ones who told Taft to piss off, right?”
Spatz lifted his beer as an answer.
Mike felt naked. It seemed like a bad idea to bring any weapons here, and now these two came forward like two predators sniffing around for weak prey.
“Heard they took down a group of hunters too, killed the whole pack of them. You two’ve earned your fur.”
Spike grabbed a pair of beers and passed one to Mike and the other to Cam, then looked down at Mike, “You’ll make a good Meninna.”
Meninna, he knew that was one of the ‘Tribes’. The hunters in darkness, the ghost tribe.
“Has to be better than following Big Bird,” The other said with a laugh, then he turned a side-eye to Cam, “We can teach you a little discipline, tactics.”
“You have something to say to me?” Cam said with a step forward.
Spike turned on Cam with his teeth bared, “Sit down pup, or you’ll lose that little patch of fur.”
“Or maybe I’ll show you what I learned from Big Bird.” Cam jabbed with his finger.
“Whoa,” Spatz said, “Come on, Spike, Sack, they’re kids.”
Mike put a hand on Cam’s chest, “Chill, man.”
Cam took a deep breath, then popped the bottle off the beer while staring the two men in the eyes.
“Yeah,” Came the voice of Meredith. She reached between Spike and Sack and grabbed the bottles out of Mike and Cam’s hands, “And we don’t give the kids alcohol.”
The two hobo-wolves looked at Meredith like children being chastised.
“They’re going on the hunt right?” Spike said, “Come on, don’t you think they’ve earned it?”
Spike held his own beer in front of Mike, and Mike’s hand went out for it. Meredith knocked it to the ground with a tap of her finger.
“No,” She said.
“Come on,” Cam said, “Isn’t that a party foul or something?”
Meredith didn’t smirk, smile, or even groan. She looked at Spatz, and Spatz let out a sigh before kneeling down and picking up the dropped bottle.
“Tonight is our hunt,” Meredith said, “It would be our first hunt together as a pack, if you can accept that.”
“We’re still mulling that over,” Cam said, “You and Levi didn’t exactly get along.”
“Or Tim,” Mike added.
“And where are they?” Meredith replied, letting the question hang in the air.
Tim was in the city, Mike knew that. He knew what the little spirit binder was hunting for. The question was, was he making progress? He had no way to know, he was vague on text messages, and he never answered calls.
“Whatever,” Cam said, “I’m here. If you can take care of us, we can help you.”
Mike didn’t bother adding. Cam always did work as a good backup alpha. Mike wasn’t here because he needed someone’s protection, he was here because he needed to figure this whole situation out. Ever since he became a werewolf, everything was chaos. He couldn’t become some lycan-drifter. What did they call it, a ghost wolf? With Cam here, at least he had someone to talk to.
“Hunts-With-Heart,” Meredith said.
Spatz stood, and took a sip from his beer, “Yes, ma’am.”
“What about your eyes?” She asked.
He pulled out his cell phone, woke it up, and then put it away again.
“Dispatch has spotted them near Lawndale. We should have them coralled in Garfield park by sundown.”
“Good,” Meredith said, looking at the two hobo-wolves, “Relay that to Dusk, and you go see if Charred-bone has changed his mind. I want all the major packs in on this.”
They both nodded and walked away.
Mike had to ask.
“What is it we’re even supposed to be hunting? Why so many wolves?”
Was that a smirk on her lips? What did he say that she found so amusing? There was no easy way to tell.
“Go on,” Cam said, “Spit it out.”
The smirk faded, “We’re hunting a pack of abominations. Dog-shifters that have been working in concert with the Pure.”
Mike felt his heart thump in his chest, and Cam twitched and looked down at him.
“Dogs?” Cam said, “You sure?”
“Maybe your bird friend made mistakes like that,” Meredith turned and started to walk away, “but this is a war, so we try to keep our intel straight.”
Cam growled at her, but Meredith walked back into the crowd of werewolves.
Mike was trying not to imagine Shannon, running around Garfield park, being hounded by wolves. The image was so vivid in his head, the sound of clamping teeth, the look on her face as a wolf brought her to the ground. He could practically taste it as the blow came down on her neck.
“Relax,” Spatz said, “She’s intense, but she means well.”
Mike realized his fist was squeezed so tight, a sharp pain was in the palm of his hand.
“Right,” Mike said, “I guess we’ll see.”