Werewolf The Forsaken ed 3 - Blasphemies ENG eBook (osloskop net).pdf

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the Dead
“This can’t be.”
The werewolf ran his hands across the basement wall,
feeling his skin tingle at the rough stone under his palm.
He brushed his ingertips across the images that looked so
much like cave paintings: the cavorting wolves and men,
the hundreds of spirit-igures and the howling wolves.
The nine howling wolves.
“This can’t be,” he said again, narrowing his eyes in
the darkness and peering hard to make out additional de-
tails. He knew his packmate was behind him — he heard
her breathing — but he still felt an uncomfortable pulse of
shock as she pressed her hand lightly on his shoulder.
“What is it?” she whispered. “You keep saying ‘it can’t
be’ as if I should be seeing something unusual here.”
The Cahalith trailed his ingertips across the wall
once more, roughly circling the howling wolf pack. “Here.”
He tapped the ninth wolf, which was slightly separated
from the others.
“I still don’t see whatever I’m supposed to be seeing.”
The Cahalith swallowed what would have been a
threatening growl. “There are nine wolves here. This
looks like the legend of the Firstborn, when Urfarah’s
spirit-children chose the eight tribes. Five Forsaken, three
“So what’s this ninth one there for?” She absently ran
her ingertips through her hair to keep a few stray locks
from tickling her cheeks as she peered at the wall. “I’m
thinking the artist actually knew his math and that there’s
something signiicant in all this, right?”
The Cahalith nodded and gestured to another part
of the wall. “Look here. Werewolves — in Gauru form
no less — killing Lunes. And here, in the sky, is a lunar
eclipse. So this massacre was occurring while Mother
Moon was blind to the world below.”
“How does that tie in with….”
“Look, look here. The same wolf that was apart from
the Firstborn in the other piece. He’s right here, watching
the slaughter of the Lunes.” The Cahalith took note of
the faint trails of blue paint that stretched out from the
lone wolf and into a large patch of blackness. Whatever
picture was once on the wall was now obscured by an old
scrubbing of charcoal. “It looks like this wolf — this ninth
Firstborn — isn’t tied to the other totem spirits. I don’t
know if that means he’s a false Firstborn or — or maybe
he’s just linked to whatever is under the black patch in-
stead. Maybe it means both.”
“You’re smart, boss.” The woman yawned lazily. She
had better things to do, and wasn’t afraid to let it show.
The Cahalith was gripped, and paid her words no heed.
“I think I’ve got it,” he said after a few moments of
awkward silence.
“Got what?”
“This black patch.” He traced a single ingertip over
the blackness, as if he could feel the shapes under the
dark cloud. “This isn’t a corruption of the original piece.
It’s intentional. This Firstborn is false, because he’s got no
connection to the rest of Urfarah’s children. What he is
connected to is the black patch.”
“Wow. You sure know your stuff.” The distracted
Cahalith heard his packmate’s words, but his own rush-
ing heartbeat drowned out the soft hiss of a knife being
drawn. “And what’s the black patch, boss?”
The Cahalith leaned closer to the wall, close enough
to smell the charcoal if it had had any smell left after so
many years. “This blackness — it’s got to be the Maeljin.”
He relaxed back a little, shaking his head. “Shit, it’s so
obvious now.”
“Is it really?” she asked without a smile. The Caha-
lith missed the edgy inlection in her words, and thought
nothing of her stepping a little closer. His wolf senses
would have smelled the silver blade clutched in her hand
behind her back. His human senses were still over-
whelmed by the stench of the basement.
“Yeah, don’t you see? This isn’t just some Pure grafiti
like we thought. This is a Bale Hound myth. Some kind
of false Firstborn that was created by the Maeljin, prob-
ably to interact with the Asah Gadar as a middleman or
“Is that a fact?” She took another step closer. “And
you’re sure?”
Now the Cahalith did notice something strange,
something threatening and predatory in his packmate’s
“Are you okay? This isn’t freaking you out, is it?” He
made the last mistake of his life by turning back to the
painted images on the wall. “Damn it — if only there was
some way of discovering just who this false Firstborn is.”
Section Title
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“His name… ” her words came out as a sticky growl
as she grew and changed and her blood heated with Rage,
“…is Soulless Wolf.”
The Cahalith turned, wide-eyed, into the lengthen-
ing, almost-Gauru face of his packmate.
“How do you know? What the hell ?” His reactions
were fast, but not fast enough. He was changing, shifting,
when the shrieking blows struck, but they struck too hard
and too fast, and the Cahalith hit the ilthy loor with his
lifespan now numbering in seconds. Stab wounds gushed
in sick rhythm to his pounding heartbeat. She had taken
chunks out of his body with her slender klaive.
“I paint this.” The Gauru drooled as it spoke through
trembling jaws. “My work. My art.”
Moments later, the Cahalith’s body was inally
motionless among the others in the stinking cellar. The
Gauru shrank back to Hishu, panting and bloody all over.
“Everyone’s a fucking critic.” She spat on the still
igure of the Cahalith and made her way up the stairs,
wondering just what she was going to say at the pack
muster tonight. In the silent darkness of the basement, her
voice could be heard above, jokingly trying out excuses to
see how the lies sounded out loud.
• • •
In the near-darkness of the room, the Bale Hound
sliced open her wrists with a steak knife and wept at the
pain. Sticky gouts of blood spurted from her wounds in
time to her heartbeat, and her uncontrollable shivers sent
the hot luid spraying at every angle imaginable. With a
creeping, tightening sensation in her palms and wrists, the
slashes in her forearms sealed closed.
She didn’t stop crying when the pain in her arms
stopped. Instead, she crawled around the loor of the base-
ment, sobbing and drooling and near-blind in the dark-
ness, crawling on her hands and knees over bodies that
had been dead for weeks in some cases, months in others.
Her senses would have served her better in wolf form,
but she knew she’d never be able to stand the smell if she
shapeshifted in her hovel.
Finally, she reached the corpse of the packmate she
had murdered a week ago, and her hands moved over his
clothes and skin. He was already sticky with rot, and her
hands moved over ruptured lesh that showed signs of the
rats getting to him. As she rolled the decomposing body
onto its front, the smell was bearable no longer, and she
threw up sickening red-brown mush seasoned with nuggets
of cracked bone. Even in the semi-light cast by the candle
in her right hand, she clearly saw an undigested inger in
the pool of vomit.
That did stop her crying, if only for a while. She spent
the next few moments laughing drunkenly as she searched
the corpse of the Cahalith. She was too rushed, too keen,
and —
“Ow, fuck it!”
— she cut her hand on her silver klaive dagger as she
tried to pull it from the corpse’s spine.
It came free with slick ease, having been left there
since the inal stabbing blow seven days before. Now she
needed her ritual knife, and had crawled around in the
darkness of the basement for ive minutes trying to ind
it. No longer crying or laughing, the Bale Hound crawled
back to her makeshift altar by the stairs. Her knees
dragged through the cooling vomit, but she didn’t notice.
Her trembling hand set the lone candle in place in a small
beer bottle by her knee.
Kneeling in front of the suitcase of bones she had
been saving for just this occasion, she cut crazy, meaning-
less lines all over her left arm. The knife —
— sliced through her skin leaving a hissing trail of
tiny blood bubbles in the cracks of the thin wounds. It
didn’t cross her mind that she should have washed the
knife irst; the infections of a week-dead body meant noth-
ing to her.
Blood pissed out in graceless arcs, spattering on the
yellow bones jumbled together in the suitcase.
“Come to me, come now, and hide the sins of my
soul.” She talked without really hearing herself, and with-
out noticing the sick pleading of her voice. It would have
horriied her to have seen just how pathetic she looked
and sounded at this moment. “I beg of you, you who I have
served since my eyes were opened, I beg that you will send
the one who will eat my sins.”
More of her blood spurted out onto the bag of old
bones, and she felt herself growing faint. For endless min-
utes, she sat in silence, counting each second in her mind,
never realizing how she was just as often counting the furi-
ous thunder of her heartbeat.
Then the room shifted somehow. The still and rank
air moved for a moment, and a new smell, a smell of power
and sweat and ilthy animal skin, washed over her senses.
“I have come.” The voice was octaves below a mere
growl. There was no word for how it registered in her
mind. More than a vibration, less than a tremor — the
voice was as unexplainable as the creature itself.
She did not turn to see the creature behind her.
Instead, she tore strips from her sweater and used them to
bind the wounds in her arm. As she tied off the last strip
of her cheap and dirty tourniquet, the skin on the back of
her neck prickled at the touch of cold breath and scratchy
“Thank you for coming. Thank you so much.” Her
own voice was now a grateful child’s. She was dizzy from
blood loss and the gravity of the situation.
“I will eat your sins.” The wolf-thing growled as it
stepped past her. Their eyes met then, and she recoiled
slightly as she always did. The wolf’s eyes were dead,
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emotionless, like those of a shark. Even his expression was
that of a dead thing, for this wolf never sniffed the ground
or twitched his ears. It was pure economy of movement,
but not out of any grace — this was economy of life; the
creature showed no more life than it had to. The wolf-
thing was simply not that good at emulating something so
alien to its nature.
The woman started crying again, this time from relief,
and the wolf began to lick the blood from the bones in the
suitcase and crack them into pieces with its jaws. As the
irst mouthful of various human bones slid down its throat,
the wolf-spirit drew a shallow, shivering breath. The wolf
seemed to be enjoying the taste of its meal.
“You have killed many of your own kind,” the wolf
growled, and somehow, the Bale Hound detected amuse-
ment in its voice.
“Yes.” Her voice was barely above a whisper. “The
pack I was hiding in. I attacked them this evening.”
The wolf spoke even through a mouthful of bloody
bones. It sounded like a bear vomiting gravel. “Yes, I taste
it in your blood that coats the offering. And you killed
them all?”
The Bale Hound narrowed her eyes and shook her
head without saying a word.
• • •
Christopher was alone for the irst time in seven
years. Not literally, for there were other people in the
room with him, but alone in the sense that he was now
packless, without a totem and with no way to defend his
hunting ground.
The one thing he was certain he could do — or at
least, certain he could give his best shot — was exact a
little revenge.
He considered this fact as he lay on the basement
loor. Once Maryann’s betrayal had been revealed and
she and all her crazy-ass spirit allies had struck the pack,
Christopher had done his level best not to freak out, but
the truth of the matter is that Chris Roof-Runner was a
coward. He’d seen the overwhelming odds, seen Eric and
Jojo go down like twin sacks of kicked shit, and Christo-
pher had decided that it was time to get going from there.
He could have (perhaps, he admitted, even should have)
stayed and tried to ight, but he was certain that the last
sun had set on the Inner City Gurus, and his pack was
mighty fucked. First she took out Johnny the Blue (and a
better singer you ain’t ever heard), and then a week later
she’s lipping out and handing the rest of the Gurus their
own guts.
That bitch was going to get it. Coward or not, Chris
wasn’t going to let this go by unchallenged, even if it
meant beating the Bale Whore back to her “hidden” crash
pad, sneaking into the body-illed basement and hiding
under a pile of corpses.
The corpse he was laying under was none too fresh,
and the smell of the basement itself was more than
enough to make a guy throw up more than once. But
abject cowardice had its own virtues, and being too scared
to open your mouth is an advantage that Chris was rela-
tively happy with right then. Breathing slowly and softly
through his nose, he swallowed tiny chunks of the puke
in his mouth, and as Maryann chatted about sins and
sacriices, he licked his teeth clean of any residue.
The spirit-wolf-thing crunched its way through
whatever was in the suitcase. Chris had nearly panicked
when that beast had come along and turned things to
an ominous bent, but again, Chris’ cowardice kept him
rooted and immobile, half-hidden under the body of one
guy and half-lying on top of another corpse’s legs. His
eyes had adjusted to the darkness a little, and he could see
Johnny the Blue’s vacant, rotting face turned toward him
a little way away.
Christopher had a hard time swallowing his Rage but
managed by letting his fear come back to the fore.
He had to wait for the spirit to leave, because there
was no way he was leaping out of a small pile of bodies in
order to ight a Bale Hound and her freaky sin-fucking to-
tem. If Chris had known the expression about “discretion
being the better part of valor,” he’d have congratulated
himself on his caution. As it was, he just lay still, trying
not to tremble or twitch or even breathe too loud. He
needed a piss, too, and that was hardly helping matters.
Finally, the wolf–thing began to dissolve and vanish,
as if it were turning into smoke and dissipating. The mist
coiled around Maryann, and seemed to be whispering.
Chris didn’t even want to know what the spirit was say-
ing as a parting note, but he hoped to God that it wasn’t
anything like, “There’s a guy hiding in here.”
• • •
“Another heart beats in this room, Asah Gadar . You
have earned this warning because of your gracious offer-
ing. Until next time, then…”
The whispering died down as the spirit dissolved be-
fore her eyes completely. The Bale Hound, still feeling the
ache in her brain from the emotional and spiritual trauma
she had suffered this night, was instantly alert.
“Who’s there?” she hissed, reaching for her silver
knife. She believed she knew who was down here with her,
laying somewhere in the darkness. Slowly, again on her
hands and knees, she crawled along the loor. Every time
her hand brushed a motionless body, she rammed down
with the knife.
• • •
Chris was far beyond simple panic now. He could hear
her somewhere in the basement, scrabbling around on her
hands and knees, and giggling like a clown as she stabbed
into the dead bodies all around. It was time , he igured, to
make a scene .
A scufle from nearby — very nearby — galvanized
Chris into action. He tensed his muscles, ready to leap up
to his feet.
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