The Waiting Stone

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Mama Cass
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The Waiting Stone

Postby Mama Cass » Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:14 pm

I first heard this tale from the man who composed it--Babbling Brook, Fianna Galliard. He was a Fostern at the time, and while his voice isn’t mine, it is unique, and so I’ll tell his tale in it. That, I think, will tell you as much about him as it does about the subject of the story: our own Thomas Brindle, The Waiting Stone.

“So as some of you might know, my favorite theurge is Too Far Gone, and he told me once that I had to go and follow this cub and his rite of passage. An observer, you know, and I asked him why, and he said that it was chiminage. Well, I've heard weirder and I've sure had to do weirder... remind me to tell you about the time I was walking around wrapped in tin foil... so I said fine and dandy, and so I did. And off I went to the grungy, weedy, humid world of the American south, and that's where I found a man named Thomas Brindle. Tommy! No, no, only his friends, his good friends, could call him Tommy. To anybody else, it's Thomas. So I'm-a call him Thomas because he didn't like me.

“Anyway, the fellow was kinfolk, late changer. It hit him around twenty and two, and may the Sun laugh forever about his first change. Child of Gaia kin, you know, but around Charleston, it's all mixed up with Bone Gnawers and whatever. He was a simple lad, big and goddamned strong. When he rolled out into the twenties, it was assumed well that's it, then, he's kin and that's all. But we know a lot from a man, don't we, when we look at who he was once.

“So who was Brindle? Good old Thomas Brindle was a simple man. He loved life, he stayed clear of complications, and one day he just decided that the one thing he was really good at... lifting heavy things! Could be a life-changer. He worked road construction and … oh what do they call it these days.... event staff? Physical security? Yeah, he was a bouncer. Oh but Thomas didn't have to do much, you should see the lad, he's bloody vast. Didn't really matter, though. The jobs were money for the things he needed while he worked at lifting. Power lifting. He was trying to qualify for Olympic status, did you know, and that's what made his first change so funny.

“See, he'd been trying to beat his limit. Get past the plateau, the iron jockeys call it. He wanted to lift more, and he kept training and trying, and it just wouldn't go. Well now, he didn't like that. His first change happened while he was lifting. Threw the goddamn barbell into the air at the jerk, he did, and bent the thing. It scared the hell out of him after, and he went to his people and told them what happened. Then, of course, well, he's not kinfolk any more is he. Sorry Thomas, no more Olympic dream for you, life's got to change.

“Well, he was pretty fussed about that, let me tell you but... what? Yes, I'll have another cider... anyway, the lad's a beast, ahroun, but so polite and soft-spoken that most people think he's just a ripped theurge or something. They didn't pay attention, though, 'cause let me tell you that boy has a rage in him like you wouldn't believe. We'll get to that, though. We'll get to it. I'll just leave you with this for now; when a gentle, courteous man stands firm and tells you quietly begging your pardon, but you shouldn't do that... you might want to take him seriously.

“Now, let's to it. The rite of passage was a pretty standard one for the area. Poverty and banes go hand in hand, and the American south is a great place for our corporate enemies, yeah? You get the idea. I tagged along, hidden for the most part. I was told I couldn't help, no matter what. I was just a witness. The others did well for themselves too... here, I'll name 'em, though this is about Thomas. Babette 'Big Stick' Lear, Jeremy 'Stolen Shoes' Shifflet, Ashley 'Just a Second' Cable and Davey 'The Jones' Merrick.

“There's five parts to this tale. Now, at first, I didn't think much of Brindle. He was quiet, yeah, but you could pick up the humming from him, like a big meaty generator. It's an ahroun thing. It was just different for me because I'd never seen a Full Moon so calm. He was real courteous, very pleasant, made little wisecracks. I had him pegged as something more than a meathead, but I didn't really get to see his measure 'til we ran across some Fenrir.

“It was a bad time, out there. Plenty of others about, looking to make a name for themselves. These lads were five, also, young and brash, and they'd come across some metis, somewhere. Now, I'll not tell her story, this is Brindle's tale, but she plays some part in it. The Fenrir, they were tormenting her... as some do. Now, Brindle's pack came across this miserable scene and protested. There was a fight brewing, and I'll say I wasn't none too happy with the business at hand, and I was wondering whether my promise to stay observer really held on this... but then we all hear Brindle. Brindle rolls his big-ass shoulders, steps up and says 'A bully's nothin but a coward tryin to fake it.' And he looks at the Fenrir alpha like the alpha's some sad little pup. So the alpha starts snarling and snapping and challenging, and he says if Brindle don't step off, the alpha's going to beat his ass. And Brindle tells him, real calm, 'well, I guess that's an ass-beating I'm going to have to take.'

“So they face off, and I'm thinking, okay, Brindle's a big lad, but this alpha's a mean one. They go at it, it's ugly, they go rolling, and there's this little pond nearby, splash! And here's where it gets good. See, Brindle's keeping a cool head, yeah? The whole time. And I realize the whole time, he's been trying to get the alpha into the water, and then I find out why. He gets the alpha's head under, see, and the alpha's trying to get free but in the water, well, his mass doesn't mean as much, and I find out later, Brindle'd shuffled his feet hard into the mud so the alpha couldn't just push him over. And then all he had to do was sit on the alpha. Which he did, solemn as St. Augustine, and eventually the alpha stops moving. So Brindle drags him out of the water and looks at the alpha's pack real pleasant like, as if to bloody say 'well, shall we?' And then he wanted to get the metis somewhere safe, and they agreed.

“That's how he was. He was in no hurry to fight, no, but once his mind was made up, that was it. It was done, whatever it was. And the next part of Brindle's rite of passage tale is one about a fire door and bad odds. Oh, you've heard this one before, have you? I tell you, you haven't.

“The pack, they get to this place, it was supposed to be employee lodging. You can guess what lived there, yeah? And more than they expected. The pack has to regroup. They get into this big warehouse, there's a fire exit at the bottom of some concrete stairs, they're not sure where to go. In the fight on the way, a couple generators got knocked around, there were some sparking cords. Lots of broken glass on the floor, too. And too much open ground. So they get to the stairs, they rush there and they hold, 'cause Brindle took the firedoor off its bloody hinges and he was using it like a giant wedge to keep the fomori from hitting them. And they're all trying to figure out what to do, and then Brindle says hey, light me up. They all look at him like he's mad. And he says, no, really, set me on fire, wait and see.

“An honest man like that says a thing like that, and you have two choices. You think he's gone completely mad, which you can tell just by a look in the eye, or you put your faith in an honest man. They did the latter 'cause he was clearly not mad. And he stood there, waiting, fur burning, holding the door, and then all the nasty smoke and heat coming off him crept up and triggered the fire sprinklers.

“Now, you remember those sparking wires earlier? Yeah. They fried every single goddamned fomori in that warehouse what was still standing away from the stairs... and that was a lot of them. Brindle slammed the firedoor down on the rest, and that was that! They gave Brindle a couple minutes to recover... he's a tough lad, and they came out of there hale and hearty and ready for more.

“You might be catching a bit of a theme here, that Brindle was patient. He was. The third part of the tale is a short one, and it may not be as impressive as the other two... if you don't understand how hard it can be to rein in your own heart. They'd gone into the Umbra, you know, there were some spiritual requirements to this whole business... things that needed mending. And a spirit of war comes to them, and the spirit confronts them... as they do. Not called spirits of diplomacy, are they? So this spirit challenges Brindle and tells him to prove that they're worthy, and that's what everybody expected him to do. Ahroun, right? But no, Brindle politely declines, and everybody's looking at him like he's got bloody fish leaping out of his ears, but he tells the spirit of war there's no point to it, and he tells his pack just be patient, wait a minute.

“Well, the spirit's not having it. It demands. Brindle asks the spirit if it hates the Wyrm. It says of course, the Wyrm is a filthy coward monster. Brindle tells the spirit it's a waste for both of them, fighting each other just to prove, and I quote, 'who needs to wear the larger pants', when there's plenty fighting to be done for purpose elsewhere. Oh, the spirit didn't like that, not at all. It starts goading him and pushing him and who knows what it said? Who knows but Thomas Brindle what it pricked at his heart with, but I saw the veins in his temple, and how his knuckles went white, and nobody could've called him a coward, not with that look on his face. And he waited. And he held. And he refused. And he did all of that long enough, fought himself long enough that even the spirit was finally satisfied. But it told him he couldn't do this forever. It said one day he'd realize what was in him because it wouldn't be silent.

“And that spirit was right. There's a glorious monster inside Thomas Brindle. They didn't see it until we get to the fourth of our little stories here. And here, we meet the Fenrir again, poor sods. They'd been winning some glory of their own, yeah? But there were some Pentex folk who were just people stuck in miserable jobs, and they were cornered, and the Fenrir were going to kill them just to be sure. Now, I'm right pleased this turned out the way it did, because my oath was burning me on this one, let me tell you. Brindle's pack found out, they protested, the Fenrir said what are you going to do about it, and that's when Brindle finally lost his temper.

“I've seen a lot of berserk in my day, but I was bloody impressed. The fury coming off him was like fire, and watching him charge into the Fenrir alpha was like watching an avalanche whomp a cottage. The cottage didn't stand a chance. The alpha fought hard but no matter what he did, Brindle just didn't feel it. Some of the wounds barely even touched him. Anyway, it didn't stop 'til the alpha was a bloody mess on the floor and then, maybe thinking he had a better chance, the pack's beta decided to have a go, and he found out Brindle had plenty of go left. He got bloody ragdolled, right through a wall and into a car before even the rest of his pack could do anything. Brindle took hold of himself then, which was good. We thought he was gone. Nobody was doing anything. They were all staring. And then he ground out 'I think it's 'bout time you left,' to the other Fenrir. They scooped up the still-barely-breathing bloody messes and they hauled out like kicked puppies.

“Well, that sure changed things in the pack. They started looking at Brindle like Bruce Banner... what? You don't know who that is? Big green ahroun. Now, what's the fifth tale, then? You'll like this one. When the pack had just about done what they'd set out to do, they still needed to wake up a Wyld spirit all locked away in slumber from the Pentex factories. And they were talking about it, figuring out what to do, and the theurge … that'd be Davey 'The Jones' Merrick... he figures out a thing they can do. All of them have to play a part, you know the sort of quest I mean. Now, I couldn't observe a lot of this. Some of it was private, you know. But it gets to the last guy, Brindle, and the spirit's awake, and it's mad and crazy, and Davey's like Brindle, you got to do something to calm it down! Brindle just nods, gets into Davey's bag and rolls up a big fat joint, and he just sits there in the Umbra getting stoned as hell with the spirit. Now, I couldn't see any of that. None of them could. The spirit simmered down, Brindle came back high as a bloody kite, and that was that. The man's body has no chill but his mind sure does.

“And that, there, is the main part of the tale of Thomas Brindle's rite of passage, and how he earned his deed name. What's that? The Waiting Stone. Some people around Charleston still call him Waiting Stoned, though, which is funny. He doesn't even smoke all that much, but man, he's into it when he does.”
'Mama' Cass Summers
Homid, Fostern, Child of Gaia, Galliard
Member of the Neighborhood Watch, Keeper, Den Parent
Appearance 4 (Lovable), Charisma 4 (Comforting), Manipulation 4 (Tell Me More)
Leadership 4 (Mother Knows Best), Empathy 4 (Psychological Damage), Performance 4 (Singing), Crafts 4 (Cooking)
Rage 4, Merit: Friendly Face, Accent: South Carolina
pronouns: she, her & hers

"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly now, love mercy now, walk humbly now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it." ~The Talmud

"That's my secret, Captain. I'm always angry." ~Bruce Banner

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