As told by Faith Summers to Dr. Isabel Ryan
Okay, so you want me to tell you about this Rite of Passage thing. I'll do my best, but I never did too well writing essays back in school, so don't say I didn't warn you.
It all started when Sonja took me over to the sept after she came home from work. I asked her what it was all about, and she just acted all vague and mysterious – told me I'd find out when we got there. Well, when we did get there, Diana-rhya told me to go and wait in a room in the Nature Center. When I got there, Arianna was waiting there too, and so were three guys – a redheaded kid, a wuss, and a weirdo with a Gameboy and a screwdriver. We all just sort of stood around, until the redhead asked me what my name was. I told him, and found out he was Fin, the weirdo was Plays-with-Toys, and the wimp was Tobias.
Just then, Diana-rhya came back for us and took us to a clearing near the center of the caern. Alyssa-rhya, Shakti-rhya, and Lia-rhya were waiting there for us. Alyssa-rhya told us that we were supposed to find this thing called the "Egg of the Mother" and that if we came back with the goods, we'd be full Garou. Then she and the others started to leave. Luckily, Fin was smart enough to start asking some questions before they left. Shakti-rhya suggested asking a Moon-Dancer for more info about the Egg, then the three of them left, saying that the rest was up to us.
Fin remembered that he knew two Galliards, so we went into Lyonsville to see one of them – Ben, who's Sonja's alpha. When we got to his apartment, we heard music playing, and somebody giggling inside. Tobias called inside through the door, and Ben's roommate told us Ben wasn't home, and that he was busy. I'm kind of glad we didn't try to press the issue, ‘cause Ben's roommate is Diana-rhya's twin brother, which means he's a Full Moon too. Sure, I might've had a chance, but the rest would've been dog food. And I think I like Arianna and Fin too much to let that happen to them.
Lucky for us, Fin's boss is also a Galliard. We went to the Green Man Pub, where Fin gave everyone drinks and Plays-With-Toys spent most of the time in the men's room playing with the toilets. It's probably a good thing Tobias got him out of there – at least he's good for something, even if he looks like I could break him in half without breaking a sweat.
Fin's boss called up one of the fae, who came out to the pub and told us a story that didn't really have much to do with our quest, but was cool to hear anyways. It was about these three sister-goddesses who kept a cauldron that gave them power over life and death. One day, the king of the fae up and decided that he ought to control the cauldron. Typical male-dominating bullshit, I guess. The oldest sister told him to go screw himself, and he fought a really long war with her. Then his brother and sister made him a magic sword, and he used that to stab her in the stomach. Her sister tried real hard to heal her, but I guess even goddesses can't do everything, ‘cause that wound left her unable to have any more kids. So she cursed the king and his kids by not letting them come back from the world of the dead – maybe the fae come back over and over like Sonja says we Garou do?
Anyhow, another one of the fae (a woman this time, and Gaia, was she gorgeous! Almost as gorgeous as Sonja's girlfriend, Dru...but that's another story) came up and told us that the Egg of the Mother was hidden in a really deep canyon that was made when the king wounded the eldest goddess. She even mixed up a locator charm and took us to a fae holy site, where she said we could step into the Umbra and come out right near the canyon.
Arianna knew the most about the Umbra, so she volunteered to lead us in. I took one of her hands, and the guys took the other, and we stepped in.
When we came out on the other side, we were in this barren place. All of a sudden, the ground started shaking, and a hand popped up. Then this rotting body followed it, and more zombies started pulling themselves up out of the ground. It was like something out of the late late movie, you know? Skeletons and zombies that wouldn't stay down, even after we tore into them with claws and teeth. Even when we smashed them up, the parts just crawled back together. I thought we could take them if we all worked together, but the others started to run away; I stayed behind to cover them, and had to jump out of a pile of skeletons in hispo form. But it was okay, I guess, because these big dogs started tearing into the skeletons.
Soon afterward, the dogs' master showed up – a dark-haired guy on a big black unicorn, with these glistening black wings, like something off one of Sonja's CD covers. I guess we impressed him, ‘cause he invited us to his castle to rest up until the next morning.
At the castle, our host's sister, Lady Arwyn, volunteered to show us around. She was absolutely magnificent – long raven-black hair, perfect skin, the most beautiful sapphire-blue eyes, and a figure to die for. Maybe if we'd had more time, we could have had some time alone together....:-)
Anyhow, Lady Arwyn led us to the bath house in the castle so we could get cleaned up before dinner. I would've liked it better if there were private showers, but when Fin took off his kilt and went in I wasn't about to let a guy show me up. At least nobody remarked too much on the knife scars I got back when I was running with the Warriors – I think Fin might have even been a little impressed. He's not so bad, for a guy. And Arianna is really sweet. Maybe she'd be willing to fool around a little?
Anyways, we had a nice hot dinner. I never thought anything could taste so good – it was definitely way better than the stuff my aunt used to make! Then Plays-With-Toys told a story about his First Change and how he came to the looney bin we got rescued from. I thought some of it was kind of cute, in a way. Tobias told the story of how we fought the zombies, but it was sorta lame; kinda boring if you ask me. "We came here, we fought the skeletons, blah, blah, blah..." Are they sure he's a Galliard? Whatever...
We spent the night in a dormitory-style setup, and in the morning, after breakfast, we were given some lunch to take with us. Our host also gave Fin a map to the Wound of the Dark Mother, where he said we could find the Egg. Then Plays-With-Toys gave our host his "magic" screwdriver. The master of the castle was very gracious when he accepted it. I think it was just to make Plays happy, but you never know....
So we set off for the Wound, which turned out to be a big canyon. It was really deep, and there was a lot of mist swirling around in it, so we couldn't see the bottom. We didn't have any rope to climb down with, but then Arianna started pulling the drawstring out of the bag of food we had. It was a whole lot longer than it looked, I guess, because by the time she reached the end of it there was this huge coil of rope on the ground. So we used that to climb down. When we got to the bottom, the mist was so thick it was hard to see, so I took off my shirt and tied it to the end of the rope so we could find it again. Plays sniffed at my shirt, and said he could find it again, by scent, I guess. I guess that, because he started out as a wolf, he's better at stuff like that than we homids are.
As we were walking around trying to see in all the mist, we heard this really loud rumbling noise. We found out what was making it when we saw a giant with only one eye and no balls. I think Sonja would've called it a Cyclops. We tried to sneak by, but I guess we weren't too successful, since it woke up and started attacking us. Since I'm a Warrior, I stayed to fight the Cyclops while the others went to get the Egg.
The Cyclops was bigger than me in Crinos, but I guess having only one eye made it hard for him to aim at me, ‘cause he missed me twice. That only seemed to make him madder, and he hit me really hard with his club. It knocked the wind out of me, but I knew that the others needed me to keep him busy, so I got up and hit him again. His skin must have been awfully tough, though, because my claws hardly made a dent. The mist was a little clearer all of a sudden, and I could see something gleaming on the ground. I snatched it up, and it turned out to be this big double-bladed ax, just like the one Diana-rhya has – she calls it a "labrys." I swung the labrys with all my might, and it stopped the club. I kept fighting the Cyclops for what felt like forever, until the others came out of the cave where the Egg was supposed to be hidden. Arianna had this glowing thing in her hand, and all of a sudden, the place was lit up brighter than the sun! There was this really loud scream, and when we could see again, the Cyclops was gone, and we could see that the ground was almost covered with bones.
To make a long story short, we went back to find our rope and got ready to go back home. I wasn't about to leave the labrys after it'd saved my life, so at Fin's suggestion I cut up the legs of my jeans with a short sword he found and used the strips to lash the labrys on my back as we climbed back up the cliff wall. We made our way back to place where we'd first entered the Umbra, and emerged into the real world back at the sept, where the Elders said we'd passed the test, and would be acknowledged as full Garou at the next moot.
Pretty cool, huh?