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Part 2  

Back at the Sept of the Green, the local Glass Walkers denied any knowledge of the memo, but they vowed to get to the bottom of it. They demanded that this was a tribal matter, and they would deal with it themselves.

~Leaps-Turnstiles~, only just coming out of the shock of what he'd been through, was fuming with anger, and openly accused The Glass Walker elder, and the entire tribe, of being in league with the Wyrm. The elder, for his part, was on the brink of frenzy, as this young street rat, barely out of his rite of passage, dared to speak to him in such a manner. In the

meantime, in the back, the Silver Fangs commented to each other that such turmoil would never have happened if they were still in charge...

The Bone Gnawers were outraged and demanded blood. Somehow, ~Shares The Last Slice~ managed to keep the Sept from turning on each other then and there. If there was no truth to the matter, she reasoned, there would be nothing to find at the facility ~Leaps-Turnstiles~ memo indicated. At the very least the rest of his pack was missing, and that alone was worth investigating further.

But the Glass Walker elder was staunch in his demand of sovereignty, the other Bone Gnawers out for blood. It seemed the two most populous tribes of the Sept were about to be at each other's throats. ~Shares The Last Slice~ was forced to resort, for the first time in her tenure as Alpha to a tactic she disdained. Angers flaring, her own rage barely in check, she growled out...

"If a word of this is true, we are already at war. The Claw has already left to strike the first blow. Let us all hope he finds nothing at which to strike."

Leaning back for a moment, the old man takes a slow draw from his pipe as he examines the youth sitting on the floor before him "Tell me, pup, you should know your Litany by now, what was she saying?"

The youngster's lips move silently, reciting the Litany to himself as he tries to figure out the question. After a few moments his eyebrows rise and his head turns upward "The Leader May Not Be Challenged In Time of War."

The old man smiles, Good boy... now, this wasn't the first time, nor the last, that an Alpha has resorted to using that rule to silence debate. Invariably it ends one of two ways. Either the debate is silenced, for a time, and the crisis passes, making the point moot... or someone strikes out. It was a risk that ~Shares The Last Slice~ took. She hoped that the dishonor of breaking the Litany would be enough to quell the Glass Walker's pride... alas her gamble did not pay off.

You see, his dishonor was already unavoidable, when the truth would come out. The prospect of these mangy mutts bringing down all the 'great work' his tribe was doing was too much for the Glass Walker elder, and he was gripped with Frenzy, he lunged for the Alpha, and within moments the Caern proper was stained with blood. Soon all of the bawn echoed with the howls and snarls of combat, as the two tribes ripped in to one another. That was the beginning of the end of that world, and the birth of the one you now live in.

The Bone Gnawers outnumbered the Glass Walkers, at least at the Sept, and soon the majority of the Glass Walkers were driven out. But

you see, now ~Shares The Last Slice~ had tipped off the Glass Walkers about the Claw's pack...

All the while as this was happening, the Claw's pack had reached the complex, a heavily guarded facility, concrete walls, guards patrolling the perimeter, cameras on every entrance, guard towers in the centre of each courtyard, and machine gun emplacements no doubt armed with silver bullets. It was clear the only way in was going to be through the umbra.

Stepping sideways here was difficult, and once through they were faced with a seemingly endless throng of pattern spiders. Thankfully such things were already common around New York and the pack made their way further in. They'd already passed back through the veil and found the first of the cells when the alarms sounded. Steel doors drew closed at every doorway, bright red lights flashed along the ceiling. Soon, the steady thumping of boots could be heard. And in the cells, just out of reach, the naked and abused bodies of their Kinfolk.

Over the loudspeakers the Glass Walkers demanded surrender. Over the sound of warform claws ripping through metal walls the pack gave their reply. Even as the soldiers arrived, they would not yield, throwing themselves into the fray, wave after wave of silver bullets ripping into their flesh. They would not yield. A bloody mess, theirs and their opponents, left in the wake of that hallway. Several of the pack members fell, and even the Claw could barely walk as he led the kinfolk out to the courtyard...

His body broken, bloodied, it was all for naught, because in the courtyard his executioners awaited. Calm, cold, the glass walkers in their white lab coats, dozens of them. They piled upon him, the first of them cut down at his claws, the second by his jaw, but soon their blows were too much, and darkness took hold of his vision.

The Claw expected their revenge to be meted out with the swipe of a klaive, or the cut of a claw. If only history had been so merciful.

"You know, he was a great warrior to have made it this far. It would be a shame to waste those genes..." They were the last words he would hear, the kinfolk he'd just freed being rounded back up, the last sight he would ever see. His unconscious body was dragged back into the facility.

The youngster's jaw stiffens, a horrified look on his face "But, they went back, they saved him, right?"

A sigh escapes from the old man, and he turns a stern gaze upon the boy "That isn't the world you live in. Horrible things happen to the best of us,

for no reason at all. There aren't happy endings to be had, not in this world. Not anymore."

His gaze softens as he reaches out to lift the boy's chin, to force him to look into his eyes "You can't afford the luxury of innocence. I'm sorry, I wish it was any other way, but this is the world you've inherited, because of our ancestor's mistakes. Maybe, if you're lucky, you can change it for the better. Maybe your children will get to grow up in a kinder world than this one, to spend their childhood playing in the field, instead of training to fight upon it. But even if they do, it will be in the blood of your generation that their fields will grow."

A long moment passes in silence, and the old man leans back to take another smoke from his pipe "Do you want to hear the rest of the story? It doesn't get any better."

He sighs slightly, offering with an apologetic tone, "I told you when we started, I'd tell you your history. I never promised it would be easy."

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