Old Stories and New SongsEdit
One thing for this sept - they treat you right. Their security ain't bad for a bunch of peaceniks, either. They knew I was coming before I got within three miles of the bawn, and as soon as I crossed, I had a big burly Guardian all up in my face, but smiling. "You gonna speak until sunrise?" They always ask me that. Yeah, I think maybe I will.
The sept is mostly Child of Gaia, though I'm guessing the Rite-Mistress is Uktena, judging from her coloring and her garb. That's good, because after the political bullshit and the other assorted headaches I endured at the last sept I visited, not to mention the fact that I just did a long stretch in the Holy Land, which is most assuredly too hot for comfort right now, it's nice to be in some friendly territory.
So when the Shadow Lord sits down across from me at the picnic table, my stomach clenches a bit. He's so obviously a Lord - dark hair, sneaky smile, pretty clear ancestry from the "nobility" of the tribe. But what's he want with me?
• • •
He walks into the clearing and heads for a picnic table, and my heart starts pounding. Now's my chance. If half of the rumors I've heard about him are true, he's been around the world and back and he's probably seen things that I can only imagine. Now, I'm no slouch myself, but this is Samir the Jackal, for Gaia's sake!
I dust myself off and walk over. These hippie septs annoy the hell out of me - never anyplace to freshen up, unless you feel like an hour hike to a park restroom, which aren't very clean anyway. I'm scuffed from the trip and the jeep ride out here, but he looks even more disheveled than I do, so it's all good.
This guy's got some stories I can use, I'm sure. And hey, maybe I can tell him some stuff, too? I sit down across from him and look him over. He realy does look wiped out, but I understand he's been overseas and just got back into the country. He's drinking a big glass of that naturally flavored crap the Children here like to serve their guests (I bring my own water for exactly that reason). He's a lot younger than I thought, but then, I'm pretty young to have done as much as I have, too. I wonder how I should introduce myself. We're not at a moot, and neither one of us is realy in the superior position, since we're both visitors. I think he outranks me, but i've heard conflicting reports about that. Finaly, I just decide to downplay the whole Garou thing and talk to him like a person. He should be able to get behind that. I extend a hand. "Hey, how are you? I'm Malcolm."
• • •
Samir took the younger man's hand and shook it carefully. "Malcolm what?"
Malcolm blinked. "Ummm... Malcolm Weathers?" Samir didn't blink or release his grip. "Malcolm Night-Smile, if that's what you want to know."
Samir let go and took another drink. "That's a start. What's the rest?"
"Christ, aren't we formal." Malcolm drew himself up straight and looked samir in the eye. "Malcolm Night-Smile, a Galliard of Shadow Lords and Adren. And you?"
The other werewolf paused, then smirked into his cup "None of your business." Malcolm cocked an eyebrow. He looked confused, as though he'd been expecting something quite different out of this conversation. Finally, he sat down and took a bottle of water from his satchel.
"You are Samir the Jackal, right?"
Samir tried not to smile, but it didn't work. "Yeah."
"The Galliard Who Speaks 'Til Sunrise?"
Malcolm nodded, "Oh, OK." They sat for several minutes, silently, Malcolm stealing glances at Samir periodically. Finaly, the Silent Strider stood up and stretched.
"Well, you realy know how to keep the party jumping, but I'm going to look around for some food." He nodded to Malcolm, and walked off in the direction of the lodge.
Malcolm stood up and followed, his normally cocky demeanor curdling a bit. "Wait just a damn minute. You didn't say anything either. At least I introduced myself."
Samir turned. "Yeah, true. So now I know your name. And if you hang around until the moot tonight, you'll realy hear something."
Malcolm smiled and ground his teeth. "Actually, the elders asked me to act as Talesinger tonight, in recognition of my services to this sept."
"What services would those be?"
"Guess you'll find out tonight." The Shadow Lord turned on his heel and sauntered away. Samir fought the urge to pounce - that wouldn't look good - but called after him.
"Well, in some septs that honor goes to the best storyteller, rather than to the richest."
A pair of young Garou training nearby almost dropped their weapons. The very forest around them seemed to go dead quiet. Malcolm stopped as if struck, and his entire body tensed. He did not, however turn to face Samir. "I beg your pardon?"
Samir simply smirked. "You heard me."
Malcolm turned. "You want to talk about what it means to be a storyteller? Suits me. Let's find the Master of the Challenge. I'd like her to hear this. I don't want you 'forgetting' what was said later." He stormed by Samir into the forest.
"Isn't your nickname 'Malcolm the Liar'?" Samir asked as he followed
Werewolves born under the gibbous moon have a complex and often underestimated position within Garou society. They are storytellers, yet, but to a culture based so heavily in oral tradition, that role is absolutely vital. The Galliard must not only tell the stories, but also learn and remember them as well. That requires learning a great many of the lessons taught to the other auspices - for a Galliard to describe a memorable fight scene, she must know how to fight. For a Moon Dancer to simulate the strange conversational foibles of a spirit, it helps if she knows how spirits talk. And it goes without saying that to properly convey the tragedy of a love-story about two Garou, the Galliard must know the Litany.
For a Werewolf player, the role of Galliard can be a tricky one to fill without falling into a "merry bard" archetype (not that there's anything wrong with that, of course). However, the gibbous moon produces Garou of infinite depth and possibility, and in this chapter, we'll show you as much of that as possible.
Under the Gibbous MoonEdit
The Master of the Challenge sat serenely under a tree and sipped her drink. The sun was setting, but the day was still hot, and both Galliards glowered at each other, trying to mask rivalry as good-natured competitiveness. Lucy Asks-Twice, the mediator, sat up and stretched. "Okay, so what's the deal here? You both think you're the perfect Galliard?"
"Well, by no means - " began Samir.
" - perfect," Malcolm finished. They exchanged a look, and the Shadow Lord continued. "I just think that given my rather unique experiences, I think I have a better bead on what we as Galliards should be doing in the world."
"Yeah, because my experiences in the field have been run of the fucking mill, all the way."
Lucy cocked an eyebrow. "All right, boys. Now I'm interested. Let's try and keep this civil, 'cause it's too damned hot to try and separate you two if it comes to claws. Malcolm, what do you mean about what Galliards should be doing in the world?"
Malcolm nodded. "Well, we Moon Dancers have always had a responsibility to the Garou Nation. I don't want to downplay the other auspices, but to be honest, in some ways I think our role is the most important."
"In what way? How?" Samir gave Lucy an odd look, and then remembered her sobriquet.
Malcom smirked. "Heck, let's do this right." He removed his shirt and folded it under him to form a cushion. "Let me tell you a story."
"Some time ago, before the Garou fragmented into tribes, we all had the same purpose under Gaia. Simply put, we were all warriors. Now we weren't the same sort of warriors as the Ahroun - we weren't all meant to be leaders, obviously. We were simply supposed to hunt down and kill anything that threatened our mother.
"But somewhere along the way, that go problematic. I imagine it was because we weren't diverse enough, and because we could think as humans as well as wolves, we got bored. So some of us started spicing things up a bit. Those folks would sneak around and play tricks, and act as spies. They were the runts of the litter and the cunning werewolves, and they did what they did under the new moon. Likewise, under the crescent moon, certain things are visible that don't show up in any other light. The werewolves who noticed them also realized that these beings could teach us much, and so they started hunting under the crescent moon to better understand these spirits. And so on.
"Those of us who decided to hunt under the gibbous moon, well, we're kind of hard to explain. The gibbous moon is almost, but not quite, fulfillment. It's midway between the balance and attention to detail that is the Philodox moon and the passion and rage that is the Ahroun moon. We understood the need for law and order and tradition, but yearned for the purity of the hunt and the kill. In short, we were kind of torn.
"We hunted and howled under the gibbous moon because we understood longing for completeness, but knew that we couldn't have everything. We found, by and by, that we could tell stories and sing songs about perfection and fulfillment, even if we couldn't have it. And in a way, we found what we were looking for in so doing, because by telling stories of great deeds, we could teach lessons and inspire passion. And somewhere in all of this, Luna blessed us with a kind of mixed bag of Gifts.
"Think about it. Galliards have some pretty diverse capabilities. We can look through other folks' minds and call up illusions, but also walk the moon paths and commune with animals. I think it's because Luna understands that we need that kind of edge. We've got a demanding job."
Some younger Garou had gathered near and now nodded in agreement as Malcolm finished. Samir, however, rolled his eyes and looked to Lucy for permission to speak, She nodded at him.
"That's all very well, Malcolm, but you haven't realy said what Galliards do. Yeah, we tell stories. Yeah, we inspire folks. But there's a heck of a lot more to it than that."
The Last SongsEdit
"I'm not going to debate your history - it isn't as if that's anything more than a fable, at least for practical purposes." Malcolm bristled at this, but Samir continued. "But think for a minute about what it's like being a Galliard now. The world's ending, the Wyrm's opening its jaws to swallow Gaia. We've got the humans spoiling everything they can touch, including each other. They're blowing each other up over the stupidest shit. And here's the Garou Nation with its collective thumb up its - "
"I think we may have wandered a bit, Samir," Lucy said quietly.
Samir shook his head. "Right, sorry. My point is, if there's one thing our auspice suffers from, it's that our role is pretty darned vague. Realy, we've got a lot of different hats to wear, depending on where we are. Pack, sept, tribe, Garou Nation as a whole, and so forth."
The Galliard in the SeptEdit
"With that in mind, I think the sept is a good place to start. What are Galliards taught when they're brought into our society? Of course it depends on the sept in question, but let's think about what they see.
"Galliards can fulfill any of the sept positions, but you'll find us more commonly in some than others. Warders, for example, are usually Ahroun, not Galliards. The two positions we take on most often are Master of the Howl and Talesinger."
Lucy glanced between them and said nothing, but certainly felt the tension in the air.
"Now, the Master of the Howl's an easy one," continued Samir, trying to pretend he didn't feel the sudden strain in the air himself. "Galliards learn the Gifts associated with howls and communication, and we learn how to make those howls into song. So of course we're going to be the ones who begin the moots. I've met Howl-Masters of other auspices, but not many. It just makes sense - we're the werewolves who can summon the Garou from all over the sept, and who can realy infuse them with the spirit of the moot.
"Now, Talesinger is a different matter. Sure, we tell stories well - "
"More to being a Galliard than 'telling stories,' man." Samir looked up at Malcolm, irritated at the interruption. Malcolm flicked a bit of dirt off his shoulder and continued regardless. "It's not just about telling stories. You know that. It's about making sure the listener is getting the right lesson out of the story. And that's half of the Talesinger's job right there. Give you a good example.
"I was visiting a very special caern in the Great White North not too long ago. Had the pleasure of listening to a story told by a Red Talon Talesinger, although to call it a 'story' is to do a real disservice to her skills. Part howl, part pantomime - "
"Yeah, I've seen lupus tell stories, Malcolm."
Rather than argue and perhaps lose his turn to speak, Malcolm waved his hand at Samir and continued. "Anyway, the subject matter was about one of the tenets of the Litany. Specifically, it was about a werewolf who fell to eating human flesh." Malcolm seemed to relish the look on Lucy's face. "I know, pretty upsetting...to us. If any of the three of us told that story, there'd be no debate which side of the matter our opinions were on. But the way she told it, you actually felt hungry afterwards. It was incredible. The way she told the story - her body language and the scents she gave off - acted just like word choice and inflection would to a verbal storyteller like you or me. The whole point of storytelling is to elicit a response from the listener, and a good Galliard, no matter what method he - or she - uses, can elicit the response he wants."
Samir shook his head. "Bullshit." Lucy glanced at him, but didn't stop him from speaking. "Bullshit, Malcolm. The point of storytelling is to pass along a lesson, a bit of news, whatever. Just eliciting a response - shit, that's what American movies do. They jerk everything heartstring you have. That's not storytelling, that's manipulation. A Galliard has a sacred duty to the Garou Nation, and that duty is to keep the lore and the traditions alive by presenting them in a format that young cubs can understand. And that means that no matter how you dress up a story, there has to be some truth to it, otherwise it's just a method of getting folks fired up."
Malcolm snorted derisively. "Yeah, and what's the Talesinger's job, anyway? Last moot I attended, the Talesinger goes onstage right before the Revel. It's our - sorry, my - job to get the assemblage ready for what's coming next, and that means snapping them out of whatever depression the Cracking the Bone put them in. Let's face it, that section of the moot isn't normally the most cheerful these days. But we owe it to the caern's totem to put all we've got into the Revel. And that means the Talesinger needs to get folks in the mood. If that involves a little tugging on heartstrings, I'm game."
"So what are you saying, the role of the Galliard in the sept is a spin doctor?"
"Sure. Just as much, if not more, as it's his role to be a teacher and a chronicler."
Lucy cleared her throat. "Anything else?" Both Galliards thought for a moment, and then Malcolm spoke up.
"Yeah, I've got another one. Maybe this is just the septs I've frequented of late, but does it seem like the Gatekeeper tends to be a Galliard?" Samir nodded. "I've been thinking about why that is. I mean, it makes sense for the Warder and the Wyrm Foe to be Ahroun, but why shouldn't the Gatekeeper be a Philodox or a Theurge, given their tasks, rather than a Galliard? My guess is that we just fall into that role because it's the most social of the major sept positions."
Samir rolled his eyes. "I think it's coincidence. Higher-ranked Galliards often get taught the secrets of moon bridges. I think it just happens that Galliards take the role of Gatekeeper often enough to be noticeable, but I don't think it's any kind of real trend."
Malcolm shrugged. "Like I said, I've been visiting a very specific type of sept the last few years, so I'll concede that I can't support this very well. But realy, if I ever decide to sue for a sept position, it'll be Gatekeeper. There's just something about the job that appeals. You get to deal with... let's see," he ticked the titles off his fingers. "The caern's totem, the lunes on the moon bridge, visiting Garou, leaving Garou, and you get to choose emissaries. It speaks to the leadership-oriented side of our auspices, because Gatekeepers kind of get to manage others. They get to be the first to greet incoming guests a lot of times, and that gives them first crack at news or good gossip." He shrugged. "I don't know, makes sense to me." He took a drink from his bottle of water, and Samir took the opportunity to speak again.
"Of course, Galliards wind up performing some pretty important rites for the sept. Naturally, anybody can learn any given rite, but a few rituals fall naturally under our purview. Probably the most important is - "
"The Gathering for the Departed." Malcolm cast his eyes downward as he said it. Samir didn't notice.
"No, actually, I was going to say the Rite of Accomplishment. Don't get me wrong - the Gathering is certainly important. But it just seems to me that the responsibility to the dead could just as easily be fulfilled by a Theurge, whereas the duty of helping younger Garou along their paths is best served by someone who can make them feel proud of their achievements and help them remember what lessons they've learned." Lucy nodded, and looked to Malcolm for a rebuttal. He had one ready.
"You could just as easily say the reverse, though. Why not have a packmate of the guy receiving the Rite of Accomplishment perform it, or at least a tribemate? A Philodox, for example, might represent the recipient's deeds more faithfully than a Galliard. But I see your point. The thing about the Gathering for the Departed, though... how to put this." Malcolm pursed his lips and ran his hand over a leather band around his left wrist.
"OK, try this. Funerals among normal humans aren't realy for the deceased. They're to help the living deal with the fact of death, and so there's a lot of talk about remanding the person's soul to God, blah blah blah. Honestly, I think that's because human funerals have lost a lot of their celebratory aspects. Oh, you'll see it sometimes - I've been to Irish wakes - but every human funeral I've been to feels like there's something missing, something that everyone wants to say but can't quite put their finger on it. They used to know it, I'm guessing, but as people have grown apart from ancient traditions, their funerary rites have dwindled to just another showpiece for their hollow faith, just another way to bargain their way out of a similar fate.
"Our rites have some of the 'go to Gaia' aspect, but mostly it's about celebrating the deceased's life and/or seeking retribution as necessary. It's more about the werewolf who's just died, and putting everything right with him so that he, in turn, can return to guide his descendants. And given that even the more 'primitive' tribes look at it that way, I'm guessing that's the way it's always been. You talk about making sure that stories have a lesson - what better way to make sure the lessons survive than by ensuring that the venerable dead have somewhere to go?
"And, yeah, maybe a Theurge could handle the spiritual side of things. But if there was ever a time for acting as a spin doctor, baby, it's during a Gathering." Malcolm grinned, but the look behind his eyes was sad. He'd obviously performed one or two Gatherings himself. "As long as the deceased wasn't tainted and didn't bring shame on his sept and tribe, a good Galliard can always find something good to say. The Gathering isn't a time for brutal honesty. It's a time to send someone off into the great hereafter," he paused and looked at Samir, "or the great unknown, in some cases, secure in the knowledge that they served Gaia. No human eulogy ever comes close to that, because they don't have the same assurance that we do. And that's in large part why we're not just 'reporters' or 'storytellers' - even our so-called oral traditions are more history than mythology."
Samir let out a quiet "hmmmph" but didn't interrupt.
"I think it's worth mentioning too," continued Malcolm, "that cliath Galliards and higher-ranked Galliards have very different roles." Samir cocked an eyebrow, but nothing in his face revealed if he agreed or not. Malcolm went on. "Elder Galliards have started to grasp a pretty essential truth of storytelling that anyone who's studied folklore already knows - it's all been done before."
Samir groaned. "Great Gaia, not this old chestnut. No original stories? That what you're going to say?"
"Not exactly. Just that the higher-ranking folks in our auspice have heard all of the ancient tales of their tribe, their sept, and probably most of the Garou Nation. That gives you two possibilities, provided you aren't still with a pack. Either take a sept position, and we've already mentioned that Gatekeeper is a popular choice, for whatever reason, or travel the world and fill in the gaps in your repertoire."
The conversation paused for several uncomfortable seconds. Each of the rivals watched the other, apparently expecting the other to interject with some comment about his globetrotting. Suprisingly, neither did. Samir, however, spoke before Malcolm could continue.
"Well, just in response to your 'seen it all' theory, why, then, do we travel the world? If you've heard all possible stories, why do you go looking for new ones - especially in the caerns you visit? You think the Talons are going to tell you something you haven't heard?"
Malcolm growled, and his bare arms rippled as the muscles began contorting. Lucy laid a hand on his shoulder and shook her head, and he took a breath. "Touche."
Samir smirked, but didn't press the issue of Malcom's wanderings. "I think that exactly the opposite of what you suggest happens as Galliards get older. I think that they realize that in each and every fable is a real experience, one that just might turn the tide of the war. And sometimes the only way to learn the truth is to seek it out and hear the stories as close to firsthand as possible. If that means you learn stories from some old, grizzled werewolf who hasn't left his home sept in a decade, then you make the trek to that sept. Either way, you're continuing a zest for learning stories that begins...before the First Change, I suppose."
Malcolm shook his head. "I don't know about that. A lot of the Galliards I've met only started getting into the storyteller side of themselves after joining a pack."
The Galliard in the PackEdit
"You've never been part of a pack, have you, Samir?" The Silent Strider considered taking offense at the question, but Malcolm's tone didn't imply any malice or one-upmanship.
"No. I was supposed to once, and it fell through pretty explosively."
Malcolm nodded. "I was in a pack for awhile. Couple of years, realy. But what do you think a Galliard's role in a pack should be?"
It was a gamble, and all the Garou present knew it. Malcolm was allowing Samir to speak first, banking on his ability to make better points when his time came to answer. Samir didn't look nervous, however. "Well, we said something about 'reporters' earlier. Frankly, I think that's a pretty good analogy. A Galliard is an investigative reporter par excellence, or should be, anyway. He's got to remember what happens to the pack, and that means that while its often the Ahroun that gets the pack up in the morning to train and practice tactics, the Galliard is one watching his pack and making sure they're doing what they should be. Which means Galliards aren't often alphas, but we make natural betas.
"The Ahroun may be able to smack down the other Garou in the pack, but the Galliard has a different form of authority. Since it's the Moon-Dancer who tells the stories of the pack's exploits, either at a moot or to the Talesinger, a pack's Galliard gets to determine how the entire pack looks to the sept. That can make a big difference in terms of renown, which in turn can make or break a werewolf who wants to challenge for a higher rank or ask to be taught a new Gift."
Samir gave Malcolm a sidelong glance before continuing. "Of course, no right-thinking Galliard would use that advantage to manipulate or coerce his packmates. That kind of thing is definately dishonorable, and I've heard stories of Galliards undergoing the Voice of the Jackal for that kind of shit." Malcolm smirked, but didn't interject, "Likewise, while a Philodox makes a good representative from a sept or a pack during times of peace, you're better off with a Galliard in times of war. We've got 'people skills,' as annoying as that term is, and we can use them to smooth over a misunderstanding, or fan it into a full-scale war.
"Here's an example of that kind of skill. I wound up running with a pack in Ireland for a while - basically, I needed a favor from Owl once, and the trade-off was that I hang out with this pack for a month or so. Anyway, their Galliard was a sneaky bitch. She was a Bone Gnawer, and she could hang out and punch shoulders with just about anybody.
"Well, this pack was having trouble with this annoyingly evasive pack of Dancers. So the Galliard scouts around the city for a while, finds the Dancers, and actually introduces herself. Don't ask me how she did this without getting torn apart. She's real subtle about it, but basically she lets it slip that her pack is about a whisker away from walking the Spiral. She hangs out with them for a while - rumor has it she even sat in on one of their rites, but that's not confirmed - and then finaly she says she's ready to sell out her pack.
"Of course, she led the Dancers right into an ambush. But they bought into it, all because she took the time to communicate with the twisted bastards, to learn their names, and their personalities, to chat them up - in short, she gained their trust." He paused to sip his drink. "She was the quintessential waning-moon Galliard. If she had been waxing, maybe she could have convinced one of those Dancers to repent?"
"Yeah, right," muttered Malcolm.
"Anyway, in addition to watching everything going on and keeping tabs on his packmate's activities, and occasionally stirring emotions to a fever pitch, a Galliard also has to be a kind of cheerleader."
Malcolm groaned. "Rah, rah, Gaia. You're right, though. A big part of any Moon-Dancer's job is making sure that his pack doesn't fall into despair. Let's face it; we all see shit that makes us want to give it up. But a Galliard has a big advantage - we can see it in terms of a story."
Samir rolled his eyes. "Now, that's deep."
"Just hear me out, OK? The Half-Moons are the only other auspice with our appreciation for history, and they only get the bare facts, for the most part. So let's take, for example, a pack that sees a river slimed to death by pollution. The Realm is bad, the Umbra is worse, and the whole pack is just standing there feeling like hell, because what can they realy do?
"The Ahroun might see Banes that need killin'. The Philodox knows that the Litany commands the pack to clean this up. The Theurge is probably half in tears at the damage to the local spirits, and the Ragabash...who knows? But the Galliard sees this sludgy river and remembers a story about something similar that happened in the past - even the very recent past - and a tactic that might be of some use. Or, at the very least, he can tell a story that might lift the pack's spirits out of the doldrums and get them moving again. The Ahroun and the Philodox can go being tactician and lawman, respectively, using the Galliard's story as a starting point - "
"What, so we're the fucking idea men?" Samir waved his hand in the air as though trying to clear smoke. "Oh, for God's sake, no. We may be able to tell some stories and lift some spirits, and that's great, but every situation is different. Learning the histories is important, but we're out there making new stories every day. It falls to us to make sure the legends of tomorrow are told and retold, so that Garou the world over know that there are some warriors of Gaia out there who are doing their jobs. You keep telling stories about the distant past, and the younger werewolves lose touch, just like human youths do when they're asked to believe in the Bible or the Quran or some other ancient - and totally inaccessible - text."
Malcolm stood up and raised his hands in frusteration. "So we're supposed to dumb down millennia of learning so that the last generation can understand it? No way. I think that we're teachers before interpreters."
"That's realy at odds with your reputation, and some of the stuff you've said already," Lucy observed.
"My reputation has nothing to do with my presentation of legends or stories of other Garou, thank you very much," said Malcolm, a bit more curtly than was probably politic. "And I've said nothing so far that indicates I'm in favor of altering the content of our heritage to suit the less-than-competent attention spans of today. In cases of political expediency, it might be all right to doctor things a bit - "
"Jesus, can you hear yourself, Malcolm?" Samir also stood up in disgust. "You're saying its not acceptable to put a story in a more modern context so that a modern listener can understand it without an hour of explanation, but it is acceptable to lie about the contents of a story in order to manipulate the listener? You should work in Hollywood."
Both Galliards went quiet for a moment. Lucy saw that they had locked gazes and that both had bared their teeth. She stood up and gave them both a shove that sent them sprawling over the benches. "It's not that kind of challenge, boys. Get back to it before I declare it a draw."
Samir and Malcolm muttered apologies toward Lucy and took their seats again. Lucy continued. "Right, I think we've about covered a Galliard's role in the pack. What's next? The tribe?"
The Galliards of the TribesEdit
"Very tricky topic," began Samir. "Each of the tribes has a very special and specific culture, and stories figure into all of them in different ways. I'd better start with the ones I know best, like my own tribe.
"The Silent Striders, of course, often trade stories and news for shelter and food. Other tribes do the "wandering storyteller" thing occasionally, but of course we're the best at it - we've had more practice. Very often, the news we bring is bad and the stories more warning than entertainment, which is probably why I like to tell stories that are both true and accessible. If a story is just for entertainment purposes, a Strider will say that at the get-go. If it's a warning, he'll sacrifice poetry for utility - sometimes." Samir paused. "Now, as far as other tribes - "
"Not going to mention the Pakiv Swatura, Samir?" Malcolm gave his rival an insolent smirk. Noting Lucy's questioning look, he said, "Absolutely beautiful. It's a form of storytelling through dance. You need a real appreciation of the art form to understand any kind of story being told that way, but watching the dancers spin themselves in the air is pretty impressive in and of itself." He glanced over at Samir, who looked openly surprised. "Oh, you shocked that I know some shit?"
"Actually, yeah. Anyway, that's my tribe. I spend a lot of time in urban septs, and so I've met a few Galliards of the two urban tribes. You might think that they've got similar tastes, but the truth is that their storytelling couldn't be more different.
Glass Walkers lean towards multi-media more than any other tribe, of course. Their Galliards are as likely to be graphic designers and animators than conventional storytellers, or at least they're more likely to use technology alongside conventional storytelling. Likewise, they wind up in charge of a lot of the information dissemination for the tribe, which means a lot of Glass Walker Galliards are proficient with surveillance equipment - bugs, wiretaps, miniature cameras, that kind of thing. Also, they'll incorporate technological spirits into their 'presentations' and the whole thing ends up feeling midway between a seminar and a cult meeting. It's scary at times, but pretty damned original, too.
The Bone Gnawers, on the other hand, get pretty down and dirty when telling stories. There's a real street-performer vibe to them. Their Galliards like to tell tales from the trenches, and they'll walk around while talking, pull people up from the audience to illustrate points, and tailor their stories to their home city, even if it took place thousands of years ago." Samir paused to relish Malcolm's disapproving look. "I love it. To me, that's exactly how storytelling should be. Remember what I said earlier, about how modern Galliards are out there in the world, making the new legends? The Bone Gnawers embody that idea. Their Galliards are well connected, and not just with humans. You'd be surprised what a stray cat sees."
"I haven't been to a lot of urban caerns recently, so I'll just take your word on those two tribes," said Malcolm. "But out in the woods, the focus is still on the older, more traditional stories and methods of telling them. Makes sense - not a lot of TV or movies for them to base stuff on.
"Just to go with the most extreme example of that, consider the Red Talons. You'd expect them to just howl real loud, right? Turns out they've got minds like steel traps, pardon the expression. They remember everythig, just to make sure they get the details of a story right. Plus, they tell stories that have been passed down for centuries or longer, pretty much unchanged, because the Talons don't reckon time the same way we do. In fact, there's one Talon sept in Poland - "
"Malcolm, focus," Lucy stretched her back.
"Right, sorry. Anyway, Talon Galliards don't just tell the stories, they're charged with making sure that the right facets of them get emphasized."
"That's realy something all Galliards should do," remarked Samir.
"Yeah, it is, but it doesn't always happen that way. Ever been to a Silver Fang moot? The stories those guys tell, my god. To listen to them, the Fangs are completely blameless, and are totally down to save the world with nary a muscle strain, just as soon as the stars are in alignment. Silver Fang Galliards are brought up on Silver Fang legends from day one, taught about Silver Fang heroes and Silver Fang kings, fed Silver Fang Crunchies..." He shook his head. "It's no wonder they're so goddamned tunnel-visioned about their stories." Samir grunted uncomfortably and shifted. "What?"
"Nothing. I've only ever met one Silver Fang Galliard, and I hate to say it, but he was pretty much just like you describe. But I'd also point out that he was an older guy - an Elder, actually - and wasn't at all well when I spoke with him. He told me some old legends, and they realy did have this kind of Russian fairy-tale feel; very grim, yet heroic."
"You'll find that doesn't change much from Fang to Fang. Even their lupus Galliards are like that. I think they over-teach them. Might be the same problem with the Fianna --"
"Hold on there, chief." Samir held up a hand. "The Galliards among the Fianna are the measuring stick by which we should all be judged. You think I'm full of shit? Ever seen the Fianna go into battle? Their Galliards are leading the way with war drums, bagpipes, war howls, and whatever the hell else they can get their hands on to freak out their enemies. And when it's all over, they can tell the story with enough fire and passion to make you feel like you were realy there. I hung out with a Fianna Galliard for a while south of here, right after I got back into the States, and asked her what had been going on. She told me about how she'd seen a caern fall, and you know, after she was done, we actually drove to hours to a city to go hunting vampires because I was too pumped up to sleep. you'll never hear a Fianna Galliard say 'You had to be there.'
Get of FenrisEdit
"Realy, although the Fianna get a lot of the good press for their Galliards, I've gotta say that the Get of Fenris have a pretty good lock on the psychological aspects of storytelling, too. Be it to scare the bejeezus out of enemies or get everybody in the mood to fight, the Skalds of the Get can do the job. Their storytelling is interactive, much like the Bone Gnawers; they'll grab you out of your seat and use you as a dummy for battle scenes. If you're lucky, they stay in Homid form while they do it. They sometimes suffer from the same kind of thing that the Fangs do - everything's gotta be about the Get and their glorious warriors and noble self-sacrifice -- but then, most of their stories are war stories and their standards for fighters are pretty high."
"What, and like ours aren't?" Malcolm creased his eyebrows petulantly. "The Shadow Lords aren't always skulking around at night plotting to assassinate the Silver Fangs, you know. Our Galliards know a lot of dirty secrets about everybody, and that requires that we be good at allegory, implication, and, yes, lies. Teaching our lupus how to tell a story without naming names is a big challenge, but since a lot of our best stories are better left as fables, it's necessary. You want to know about using lore and stories to scare an enemy? The best kind of story is the kind that ends with a big fuck-you, or at least a twist ending. We use stories to make people comfortable, get them drinking, make them laugh - and then, in with the knife." Samir looked at his drink quizzically. Malcolm laughed out loud. "Oh, give me a break. We reserve that treatment for our enemies or worst rivals at least."
"That doesn't make me feel any better."
Black Spiral DancersEdit
Malcolm smiled. "Wasn't meant to." He leaned over the table and grinned. "Hey," he said quietly, "ever seen a Black Spiral Dancer Galliard tell a story?" Samir cocked his head carefully. "I have. You want to talk about some scary shit? It was like being at a tent revival in the seventh circle of Hell. Everybody there was screaming and gibbering and howling, while this crazy bitch was rolling all over the floor and yelling out prophecy and half-snarled sentences, changing shape. It was intense. Not great storytelling, but intense. I don't have the first clue what the subject matter of the 'story' actually was, but man, after it was over, everybody there was ready to go. That's about the time I lit out for friendlier climes.
Malcolm noted the looks on the other two werewolves' faces and cleared his throat. "Anyway, speaking of incomprehensible stories, I had the good fortune - I guess - of watching a Stargazer Galliard perform once. Ever see Japanese Noh drama? It's very archetypal, and very hard to follow if you're not Japanese and haven't studied theatre. Stargazer stories are a little like that. The characters are recognizeable on some level, almost instinctively, but the presentation is very formal. They don't have the same level of passion that most Garou do, but they're still very intense, if that makes any sense. Their stories won't get you fired up to go kick ass, but they'll sure get you thinking."
Children of GaiaEdit
"Children of Gaia Galliards are like that, too, I've found," murmured Samir, looking around carefully to make sure the sept's Gatekeeper wasn't listening. "It isn't that they aren't passionate, but dammit, they don't seem to get that we're warriors and that blood and guts are OK. Not everything has to have a happy ending. In fact, it probably won't. I think that their Moon-Dancers feed the tribe's general delusions about winning the War through non-violence. I admit I'm biased on that subject - too much time in the Middle East, I guess."
"No, I'm with you. But that may be too much time among the Talons," chuckled Malcolm. "Well, on the other side of the coin, the native tribes have both passion and blood in good measure." He smiled and looked past Samir at the carvings on an ancient oak, glyphs he knew to be Uktena in origin. "It's funny, realy. With the Uktena, you get kind of psychological or supernatural horror stories. A lot of their old tales involve ancient, restless spirits and how to bind them. Rumor has it that their Galliards are taught how to relay important information in allegory and still tell an interesting story. I don't know if that's true in all cases, but I have noticed that the Uktena stories I've heard seem just a little too innocuous. Like there's always a joke I'm missing. Of course, the other thing about the Uktena is that they'll soak up any cultural concept that isn't nailed down, so you can get anything from sand paintings to shared stories to interpretive dance in an Uktena moot.
"Now, the other surviving Pure Tribe, the Wendigo, though...wow. Their stories are brutal and bloody, but still retain that kind of mystical 'Thing-That-Should-Not-Be' ambiance. They put a lot of emphasis on maintaining old tradition through stories, and claim that in those stories are keys to beating our worst enemies - Leeches, Banes, even the Dancers. I don't know how the hell they'd know, since we Europeans brought a lot of those problems with us when we crossed over, but then, 'the Northern lights have seen queer sights,' right?"
Lucy smirked. "I'll have that poem running roughshod through my head all night now."
Malcolm grinned at her. "Sorry. Anyway, the Wendigo Galliards have some pretty specific methods of telling stories. Often, it's a group thing - the bravest or most honored warriors get to stand up and take on the roles of the winning side of the story, while the younger or just unlucky sept members get to pretend to lose."
"Yeah, I've seen that kind of thing. Actually, the Uktena do it too, and I've seen the Children pick up on some of that. Traditions spread." Samir shrugged. "It's probably good for us. Who'd we miss? Oh right, the Black Furies." He drummed his fingers on the table. "On the one hand, they tell some beautiful tales. They play flutes, lyres, and so forth, and sing songs that are just haunting. Some are funny, most are just moving. But then I hear stories of what the Furies realy do when they tell stories, the realy wild, Bacchanalian stuff. Mad women in the woods, calling down the heavens and bringing in spirits to illustrate their sagas. Never seen it, and I didn't hear it from a reliable source, so I don't know. And no sane man ever gets near a Fury sept without being invited, so I'm not likely to find out."
Malcolm nodded. "Yeah, I don't think I could pass as female, even if I can pass as a lupus sometimes." Neither man noticed Lucy's smile.
Growing up GalliardEdit
The sun had begun to creep behind the trees, and from somewhere in the distance, a howl sounded. All three Garou perked up, trying to identify the howl, and then nodded as they recognized it as an alpha summoning his pack. "That'd be Jesse Bane-Skinner. Young Ahroun. Seems pretty competent."
Samir chortled. "Needs to learn to howl, though."
"Easy for you to say," retorted Malcolm. "Probably was busy learning to fight. Is there a Galliard in Jesse's pack?"
Lucy thought for a minute. "Yeah. A young lupus called Underfoot."
"That's a great image," Malcolm laughed. "Bet she had something funny happen on her Rite of Passage."
Lucy slapped a hand on the table. "There's a good question, experts. What about a Galliard's young life and Rite of Passage? What kinds of things should happen to turn them into perfect Galliards like yourselves?" Malcolm gave her a polite smile, but Samir grimaced.
Galliards as CubsEdit
"I don't know who claimed to be 'perfect', but I'll answer the question. Of course it depends on breed as to what kind of young life a Galliard has, even after the First Change.
"Homid Galliards are often the types of people that remember stuff. Movie quotes, song lyrics, what people say and why. They tend to be confidants - right up until the Curse takes hold. More often than not, we're relieved to find out we're werewolves, just because it's nice to find out that it isn't our fault that our friends have suddenly started avoiding us. Once a homid Galliard starts under-going training as a Garou, we tend to delve pretty deeply into the more exotic legends we can find. I hate to admit it, but like Malcolm says, coming from a modern culture that bombards us with imagery and information all the time, it's easy to get jaded. But knowing - or believing, at least - that these stories realy happened makes it that much more exciting. A homid Galliard can keep his uncle up all night asking 'and then what happened?'"
"Lupus Galliards, on the other paw - "
"Ten points from you, Malcolm," groaned Lucy.
"Sorry. Feral Galliards also have great memories pre-change. They remember where the herds go for safety, where the dangerous parts of the forests are, what time of year the creek floods, and so forth. Just like in Garou packs, they aren't usually alphas, but make great betas - not great tacticians or bullies, but good at keeping the others in line, if that makes any sense. Once a wolf-born Moon-Dancers Change, they tend to learn very quickly. There's something about a Galliard's natural bent towards memory and storytelling that also helps in reconciling the wolf-heart and human-mind --"
"Sorry. Quick explanation: Animal instinct and human analysis often run counter to each other. Reconciling them is tough for any of us, but especially for lupus, in my opinion. But Galliards seem to have an easier time of it, probably because the notion of stories and learning from the past is already natural to them.
"And then we have the metis. The Mules have one big advantage, I guess - they're part of Garou society from day one. Whether they're treated like shit or not, they get to hear these stories all their lives, so when their First Change comes and they get to participate, they're two steps ahead of Galliards of the other breeds." He paused to sip his water, and then raised a finger. "It just occured to me that a lot of the metis Galliards I've seen incorporate a lot of self-deprecating humor into their stories. Lots of times it's centered on whatever their particular handicap is. Knew a metis Galliard at one point who was blind. He could get around all right - his other senses were frighteningly keen - but he'd trip over people or bump into trees during stories if it would be funny. Stuff like that." He looked at Samir. "You know what I mean?"
Samir nodded. "Yeah, I've seen that, too. Met a metis in Egypt name of Exalted-of-Gaia. She was allergic to silver - I mean, really allergic. She'd break out in hives if it got too near her, her eyes would burn, stuff like that. She'd use that to make fun of any hardass who came into her sept carrying a klaive or silver bullets - kind of like, 'What are you, nuts?' She was a Gatekeeper, come to think of it."
"A metis Gatekeeper?" Malcolm shook his head.
Lucy and Samir both glared at him. "So?" they chorused.
"Nothing, I guess. That's fine. Anyway, so what's typical of all young Galliards? Good memory?"
"Right," said Samir. "Respect for history, interest in stories, obviously."
"Language," said Lucy. The other two werewolves turned to her. "Sorry, go ahead."
"No, you're right," said Samir. "Most lupus and metis Galliards seem to learn human languages pretty quickly and I've seldom met a homid who spoke only one language. How many do you speak, Malcolm?"
Samir thought. "Four. English, Spanish, Arabic, and Garou."
Malcolm frowned. "Garou doesn't count, that's instinctive. We can all do that."
"Not equally well."
"Yeah, OK, that's true," the Shadow Lord conceded. "And, not to brag, but the Moon-Dancers pick up on it easily. Probably because a lot of the good stories get told in Garou, so we've got to learn the nuances to tell them right."
Lucy poked Malcolm in the arm. "How many languages, Malcolm?"
Malcolm blushed. "Two, fluently. English and French. I can get by in a lot of others, though."
The Rite of PassageEdit
Samir chuckled. "Guess you haven't been around as much as I'd heard."
Malcolm scratched his temple with his middle finger. "So, anyway, these cubs with good memories and language skills and a nose for news go through a lot of training. We don't tend to get taught how to tell stories, I've found. That kind of thing is hard to teach, and besides, every Moon-Dancer's got his own style. Mine's nothing like my uncle's was. What we're taught is the importance of doing it, and the reasons for that importance vary."
"And we've already heard 'em," interjected Lucy. "What about the Rite of Passage?" Both Galliards began talking at once, and Lucy raised her hands. "Whoa! Samir?"
"Thank you," he said, smiling sweetly. "Our Rites of Passage differ by tribe, of course, but much of the time, they involve telling or re-telling a story. Sometimes, we'll have to find a story; getting it out of a spirit or another werewolf. Others, we'll need to create one. It's usually in keeping with what a mentor teaches us, though."
"Yeah, usually," growled Malcolm. "Unless your mentor is a sneaky fucker like mine was. My Rite of Passage was fun. He sent me out into the woods and then used a Gift to call a Wyrm-creature. I knew exactly what the howl meant, so here I am, in the middle of the night in the forest, waiting for said Wyrm-creature to jump me."
Samir frowned. "What the hell was the point of that?"
"It took me a long time to figure it out, but I think it was a test of my courage and my ability to adapt to a fluid situation. Which, when you think about it, is important to any Garou, but very important to a Moon-Dancer. We can't afford to lose our heads no matter how bad things get, because we're the ones the other Garou look to for support and inspiration." He cast his eyes down. "I guess I did all right, because I passed the Rite and everything, but to this day I question the wisdom of my mentor's challenge. What if he'd called up something realy horrific, something I couldn't handle?"
Lucy patted Malcolm's shoulder. "I'm sure he knew what he was doing."
Malcolm looked up and steeled his face again. "Yeah, probably. But as Samir said, that's not typical of our initiations. It usually does involve a test of cunning, memory, and skill. Sometimes diplomacy, sometimes combat. Depends on the tribe. But we all have to tell the story afterwards and make it sound good." The other Garou nodded in agreement.
"After the Rite of Passage, though," Samir said, "whether we go on to join a pack or not, the urge to remember and retell is probably our most defining characteristic. And our tendency to talk a lot and go off on tangents."
"Actually, you guys aren't as bad," said Lucy. "I've only had to reign you in a couple of times."
"Well, we are the perfect Galliards, right? Anyway, as Galliards grow up, we start to see patterns, understand how stories fit together - chapters, acts, climax, resolution, whatever. Living in Garou society is better than a handful of degrees in theater, writing, and whatever else, because storytelling is part of our heritage, and our heritage is a living, breathing thing."
"You know, I said exactly that a while ago," Malcolm reminded him. "Remember that bit about seeing things in terms of a story? A Galliard can ask himself, 'Where am I in terms of the beginning and end of this matter? If I were telling this tale at a moot, what would come next?" Yeah, it's kind of a backward way to think about a problem, but it works more often than not." He cleared his throat and took a drink of water. "Problem is, of course, losing touch with reality."
Samir nodded vigorously. "If that ain't the truth. Biggest problem with a lot of Galliards, they completely forget that they aren't just living in a movie. they think that a well-constructed plan should go off without a hitch, that their enemies should behave consistently, and that the 'supporting cast' - like Kinfolk - should be only too willing to support them no matter what. Real life is a big letdown to us Gibbous Moons sometimes. I've seen a lot of rank challenges structured around dealing with a real problem, rather than a story about an old one."
"Rank challenges for Galliards can get pretty original, that's for sure. They have to," Malcolm cracked a smile, "because we've heard about all the old ones. That's one reason it's often considered acceptable for Galliards to challenge Garou of other auspices; it kind of guarantees we can't just delve into our mental trove of stories and figure out how to solve a problem."
Lusy broke in. "What's wrong with that, though? What's the big deal about using the past to solve the present's dilemmas? I'd think that's what Galliards are about."
The two Moon-Dancers started to speak up simultaneously. Malcolm apologized and gestured to Samir "Well," Samir began, "nothing's wrong with it, per se. But remember what I said about dealing with the real world? The stories of the past have been streamlined over the course of centuries, or even months, and that means they're a little too clean sometimes. The rough edges - all those pesky little details and setbacks that happen during problem-solving, get glossed over. It often benefits Galliards to have to face those problems. That's why I try to stress that the stories I tell are stories, not true-to-life renderings of events. Heck, the reason I can speak until sunrise isn't that I rattle off my shopping lists, it's that I know enough stories to do it. But that's a result of practice - so our challenges involve spontaneity and adaptation a lot. That's probably what your mentor was after, Malcolm, though I still think that's a damned freaky way to do it."
Malcolm nodded thoughtfully. "I challenged him for the rank of Fostern, too, actually. Not sure why, after my Rite of Passage. I guess I maybe wanted to prove I wasn't as chicken-shit as he thought I was." He paused and glanced around them. The forest was growing dark and the air had grown cool. He pulled his shirt back on. "He sent me to a Get of Fenris sept and told me to compose a song of glory about it. Never mentioned that he had a reputation among the Garou there and they hated him, and that they knew whose protege I was."
"Yeah, mine was pretty similar, if not as unpleasant," said Samir. "I actually challenged a Philodox. He made me solve a riddle - fucking complex one, too - and made me explain my reasoning as I went. If I couldn't cite a story at least a century old as my reason for making a decision, he wouldn't accept it."
"So it's all about heritage, either remembering the past or looking to the future," said Lucy quietly. The three of them sat back in the gloom of twilight and looked about, listening to the faint sounds of the sept preparing for the moot. They didn't have much time left. "What about the Umbra? Surely you guys have a place in the spirit worlds."
Galliards and SpiritsEdit
"Of course we do," said Samir. "Some Galliards are more at home there than others. It's always a bummer to me when I go to Egypt, because it's dangerous to step sideways in a lot of places. I love being in the spirit worlds - besides the fact that it hones your ability to describe things to all senses, you can gain some perspectives in talking to spirits that you'd never get otherwise. Of course, that requires being able to talk to them, which is sometimes a pain."
"Ancestor-spirits are usually willing to talk." A pained look crossed Samir's face. Malcolm covered his mouth with his hand. "Oh, shit, I'm sorry. I completely forgot that you --"
"It's OK. Not being able to talk to our ancestors just means that my tribe remembers its history in other ways. Writings, dances like the Pakiv Swatura you mentioned, things like that. What's it like for you, talking with ancestor-spirits?"
Malcolm considered. "It's...confusing sometimes. They've got a very different take on things than we do. They don't speak with the years of experience you'd expect; it's more like they get stuck in their own minds and don't learn much more beyond when they were alive. Now, some are more lucid than others, and some more helpful, but I think it's an important part of a Galliard's ongoing battle to preserve heritage to be able to interpret what an ancestor says and wants. That means learning history. Just can't get away from that part, I guess. The more you know about context, the more sense the old tales make."
Galliards and KinfolkEdit
"What about our heritage now? Our human and wolf Kin? You think that's part of your job? You guys feel like you're responsible for them?"
"We're all responsible for our Kinfolk, Lucy." Malcolm stood up to stretch. "But yeah, I see your question. With our human Kin - with humanity in general - we've got some major angst. We're not like the Ragabash, whom the Curse hinders only slightly. We're just a notch below the Ahroun in terms of raw Rage, and that means we're limited in what we can do. A lot of us who choose to take real professions in the human world try to be performers of some kind. A certain amount of eccentricity is permitted for actors, singers and artists, and performing keeps us aloof from our audiences - we can express ourselves without interacting, so we don't scare people.
"With Kinfolk, who aren't scared of us as a matter of instinct, it's a little different. Galliards tend more towards monogamous relationships that other auspices --"
"Don't know where you've been, friend." Samir was also standing, stretching his legs like a runner. "A lot of the Galliards I've seen are real sluts. Myself included. But to be fair, its not about sex, it's about passion. We spread ourselves around because we like interacting too much to be monogamous."
Malcolm shrugged. "OK. I think some Galliards stay with one partner exactly because of that passion - they find someone they can realy click with, and that's a big draw for us. I'd also remind you that you're a vagabond, so you might have a different take on that sort of thing."
"So what are you?"
"Not a vagabond. Not by nature. I'm on a pretty specific mission."
Samir cocked his head. "Like what?"
Lucy stood up. "Uh, guys? Challenge? Galliards? Remember? We need to wrap this up; the moot's going to start in a sec."
Malcolm looked at Lucy and then back to Samir. "I don't know, I can't realy find fault with much of what he said. I don't agree with all of it, but --"
"Yeah," Samir said, nodding. "I'd be happy to split the duty tonight, if you'd be amenable. I mean, I know you said you'd been asked to be Talesinger for services rendered, so if that's the case..."
Malcolm gave a guilty laugh. "Oh, I was lying about that. They did ask me, but it was because I was a guest and I got here first. I'll trade off stories with you, though, if the elders don't mind."
Lucy nodded. "They won't. I'll put in a word. Us Galliards have to stick together." She dropped down to Lupus form and trotted off into the forest as the Summoning howls began to ring over the sept.
Samir looked at Malcolm. "Did you know she was --"
"A Galliard? No, I thought she was a no-moon." Malcolm watched the wolf disappear into the trees. "Wow. Now that's diplomacy." He shook his head and looked up at the gibbous moon rising, and slowly changed to Lupus form. Samir followed suit.
"Race you," said Samir, his tongue lolling out.
"Nice try," answered Malcolm. "Come on, let's go before she takes the Talesinger position."
The two Moon-Dancers darted off towards the moot-fires. There were tales to be told tonight, and many werewolves waiting to hear them.
Playing a Galliard presents unique challenges to both the players and the Storyteller. Some players might feel intimidated by a Galliard's task of telling stories to the group. Others might feel nervous about the responsibilty placed on them - if they do not represent the pack well, the pack may lose Renown, but if the Galliard lies, she risks her personal honor. Likewise, how much weight should a Storyteller place on a player's presentation of a story, especially if the character's Traits would indicate a more sterling performance than the player can muster? This section seeks to answer these and other questions. On with the show!
All of auspices are multi-faceted, and the Galliard is no exception. While the easy tereotype of the gibbous moon auspice is that of "Lorekeeper" or "bard", there are many other possibilities. One of the first decisions a player can make to flesh out her Galliard character is whether that character is born under the waxing or waning gibbous moon. Waxing Galliards inspire their packmates with promises of rewards and victories, whereas waning Galliards goad their fellows on by frightening them with tales of defeat. In addition, waning Galliards are much more likely to use their gifts (and Gifts) to manipulate their fellow Garou, eliciting the emotions necessary to bring about a desireable end. Galliards of either stripe can be downright Machiavellian if necessary - bringing a saga to successful end might require methods that cause suffering (or even Renown loss) in the short term.
Something a Galliard's player should consider from the start is the character's relationship with her heritage. Moon-Dancers are the keepers of oral history and lore in a society that passes down almost all of its wisdom in such a manner. That means that no matter what tribe or breed, Galliards cannot escape the songs of the past. How the Garou feels about that should be a defining point in her personality.
Below are six "archetypes" for Moon-Dancers, along with notes on how they change when embodied by a waxing and waning Galliard.
Probably one of the most important and solid archetypal presentations of the Galliard, the historian is also the Lorekeeper. She might focus more on learning and collecting the stories of the past than on telling them, or she might feel that stories are only a useful as the talespinner makes them. The historian might be a traditionalist, telling stories in the Garou tongue exactly as they were hundred of years ago, or she might instead choose to modernize them, moving their settings to the cities, relating them to events in human history for the benefit of homid Garou (who make up the bulk of the Garou Nation, after all). A Glass Walker creating computer-animated version of her favorite stories embodies this archetype as easily as a traditionalist Fianna bard telling stories by the fire.
A historian might seek out legendry by venturing through the Umbra, consulting with elder Garou, traveling the world in search of forgotten lore, or by adventuring with a pack and discovering the legends of tomorrow. She might search for old prophecies, for a sign or an overlooked detail that might win the war against the Wyrm. However, the historian does not often create her own tales; she instead hones her skills at recalling or presenting those created and passed down by her forebears.
A waxing-moon historian has great respect for the authenticity of the old tales, and seeks to present them as faithufully as possible. A waning-moon sees legends as a means to an end, which means that changing a detail here and there won't hurt anyone.
Galliards excel at guessing and guiding the emotions of others. When dealing with creatures as passionate as werewolves, being able to successfully goad one's fellows into one feeling or another is a powerful tool. The manipulator is superb at this sort of "guidance" and his greatest weapon is the ability to listen, rather than talk. By finding out secrets, proclivities, and details about others, he learns what buttons to push to elicit a response and feed into others' emotions. He learns to paint his enemies with the right brush so that his allies will do his work for him.
However, the manipulator is not necessarily a scheming bastard. The same archetype applies to those Galliards who choose to be diplomats and counselors. Being able to read emotions enables a Galliard to aid communication, which means that these Moon-Dancers make superb interpreters between tribes and breeds. They also commonly speak for their pack, even if not technically as alpha. And, when Harano descends, the manipulator can ease a werewolf back into the fight gently. "Subtlety" is this Garou's watchword.
Manipulators don't care as much about the legendry and heritage of the Garou Nation as a whole as they do about the history of one particular subject. They learn tribal histories because it enables them to know how to play other Garou; learning stories about a tribal hero's greatest victories - or dimmest failures - can help a Galliard ingratiate herself. A Child of Gaia who helps Ahroun cope with their anger is as much a manipulator as a Shadow Lord emissary trying to play one sept against another.
Waxing-moon manipulators use their insights into others' psyches to help them and smooth out differences between parties. Waning-moons of this archetype, however, are the sorts of Galliards who gain reputations either as skilled diplomats or consummate liars
The Ragabash might poke fun and the Ahroun must lead in battle, but the Galliard raises the banner high and screams the war-cry, inspiring all around her to fervor. The rabble-rouser is similar to the manipulator, but doesn't attempt to direct emotion so much as inspire it. Of the Galliard archetypes, the rabble-rouser is most likely to lead a pack - she can't help but call attention to herself anyway, and her personality is magnetic and infectious. This isn't always a good thing, however - a violent or brutal rabble-rouser leads a pack to similar inclinations. Rabble-rousers are bundles of energy, and are extremely proactive. This sort of Galliard will volunteer her pack for dangerous duty and then get them so excited about the mission that they forget the peril
The rabble-rouser can be an activist as well as a flag-waver, though. If she sees something within the Garou Nation that needs changing, this Galliard adopts it as her personal cause. A Silver Fang Renewalist might embody this archetype...as might a Red Talon calling for the return of the Impergium. Rabble-rousers love exciting tales, whether stories of recent victories over the Wyrm or classic legends of epic battles.
A rabble-rouser born under the waxing moon is a shining example of a warrior for Gaia. She takes her zest for life and for her cause and runs with them, drawing all around her into her whirlwind of passion. The waning-moon rabble-rouser, however, stokes the fires of Rage to a fever pitch and draws her packmates into bloody battles, where no quarter is asked or given.
Not all Galliards tell stories by literally relating tales. Just as many recite poems, sing songs, or give vent to their muse through complex howls. Some choose even more permanent forms of artistry; paintings, sculpture, even fetishes. For these Galliards, the creativity involved in telling a story outweighs the lesson contained therein (though few artists would admit they feel this way) - relating a tale is the artist's chance to shine as a performer. "Shy" is not a word often associated with Moon-Dancers, but some artists are indeed frightened of the spotlight. It is these sorts of Galliards that compose beautiful poetry, pain or draw pictures of their pack's exploits, and otherwise create art that doesn't require the spontaneity and ability to think on one's feet that telling stories at a moot does. These Garou find great difficulty reconciling their tasks as keepers of heritage with their creative urges - they want to present their own work, not re-tell the same stories that their audiences have heard for decades. Others are only too happy to re-interpret the past, but they are anything but traditionalist. Maybe a tale of the Impergium would make a good performance piece? Perhaps the story of the War of Rage could best be expressed by a heavy metal song? No matter what medium the artist works in, she must put her individual stamp on all of her endeavors. Whether Bone Gnawer street musician or a Silent Strider who paints murals on walls as he travels, an artist resents being told how to do her Gaia-given task.
Waxing-moon artists are exuberant and vivacious. They often work in several different mediums and are always willing to try a new method of expression. Waning-moons, on the other hand, are typically surly and arrogant, believing that their methods are best. They embody a more "tortured artist" archetype and focus on the pain of the world as their inspiration.
Theurges may be seers, but Galliards make the best prophets. The language of a prophecy determines the interpretation, and Galliards, of course, are masters of language. The prophet may or may not actually be a visionary. If he is, he plays his oracular abilities to the hilt, soaking up the attention befitting a modern-day Delphic. If not, he makes predictions based on the most likely (or most desirable) outcomes, couches them in the most beautiful (and vague) terms possible, and works hard to make sure his visions come true. The prophet understands the utility of Destiny - if something was fated to be, a certain amount of responsibility is lifted. After all, a werewolf destined to sire a metis can't realy be blamed for his indiscretion, right?
Prophecy plays a large role in Garou history, and any Galliard looking into this history will find that wars have been fought and won over the interpretation of a small snippet of prognostication. Being a prophet is a dangerous game - a prophet, as someone once said, is never welcome in his own country - but some Galliards feel their calling is to the future rather than to the past. However, learning the old tales is still important, if for no other reason than a Garou's ancestors' deeds might well determine his own fate. Prophets therefore pay close attention to Garou with strong Pure Breed and connection to their ancestors - destiny expects great things of such werewolves.
As the Apocalypse approaches, prophecies appear with great regularity (which isn't uncommon to any culture with Armageddon obsessions). Garou prophets are often called upon to interpret, clarify, rephrase, doctor or even create portents and predictions, and Galliards excel at all of these applications. While the Red Talons have historically been renowned as seers, a Get preaching tales of Ragnarok or an Uktena who foresees the awakening of the Great Banes have just as strong a place in the prophet archetype.
Waxing-moon prophets attempt to bring hope to their embattled fellows, reminding them that prophecies rarely make sense until after they come to pass (meaning that even the bleakest portent might have a silver lining). Prophets born under the waning moon are doomsayers of the worst sort...but that doesn't mean their predictions don't come true.
All of the auspices have something to teach, but the Moon-Dancers are arguably the best at it. After all, they can teach by parable and by example almost instinctively, or, if a pupil requires it, actually sit down and tutor more directly. While most cubs spend time with a Philodox, learning the Litany and other basics of Garou existence, it's the mnemonics and riddles taught by Galliards that helps them remember these essentials.
Garou heritage is of paramount importance to the teacher. She must know what cubs of all auspices and breeds are traditionally taught and what challenges they might face so that she can better prepare them. Her lessons must be of direct, practical application - there is no time for unnnecessary schooling. These Galliards might help young Garou find their own identities within their tribe and as werewolves, help them decide what sorts of rites and Gifts they wish to learn, and how to best use these abilities once granted.
The methods of teaching vary greatly, of course. A lupus Galliard might teach cubs via mock battles and play, while a homid can use Socratic methods of instruction. The subject matter, of course, is not restricted to the supernatural. A Black Fury teaching a women's self-defense course is as much a teacher as a Wendigo training cubs in the best use of the Rite of Cleansing.
A waxing-moon teacher makes sure that her students understand the lessons and their utility, and takes time with any "late bloomers" to ensure they aren't left behind. A waning-moon teacher commands a harsher classroom, so to speak, and anyone who can't appreciate her methods is left behind - if they can't handle a controlled environment, how will they cope with the real world?
This category has only the following subcategory.
- [+] Galliard (1 C)