Black Spiral Dancers

Tribe Information

Also known as the Lost Tribe, the dreaded Black Spiral Dancers are those Garou who turned to the Wyrm. Once the White Howlers, a noble tribe from Scotland akin to the Fianna, they were corrupted by the Wyrm into the foul, vicious things they are today. The Dancers have lived underground among horrors for ages, and all are quite insane; however, the Wyrm has given its slaves terrible powers of their own, as well as a violent hatred for the Garou.

Black Spiral Dancers roughly resemble other Garou; however, many of them are malformed, either through metis birth or close proximity to the radioactive balefires of the Wyrm. The heads of their Crinos forms are often huge and slaver-jawed, resembling a hyena's, while their ears are hairless and pointed like a bat's. Their eyes are huge and round, glowing with red or green luminescence, while their fur is patchy and usually either albino-white or grayish-green. Black Spirals' human forms are usually twisted and deformed, but some are quite beautiful.

The Dancers' totem is Whippoorwill, whose mad call the Dancers emit during their hunts. They name themselves after a mysterious Labyrinth that exists in the realm of the Wyrm; they are said to "dance" this Black Spiral to gain dark powers and wisdom. Indeed, to dance the Black Spiral and survive is considered by the Black Spiral Dancers to be the most sacred of feats.

The Spiral

Since the latter days of the Pictish Kingdoms, Black Spirals have descended into Malfeas to further their spiritual decay. One particular realm of the underworld is the most effective for bringing further communion with the Wyrm. It is a dimension known by many names: the “Shattered Labyrinth” and “Black Spiral Labyrinth” are the most common. A Black Spiral cub typically pursues his Rite of Passage in this realm around the age of 14. He also visits it each time he is about to increase in Rank and “spiritually devolve.” The metamorphosis that takes place in the Shattered Labyrinth is known as transmogrification.

When a Black Spiral Dancer has gained sufficient Renown to increase in Rank, he is recognized before his Hive with an elaborate ceremony. A Theurge begins the rite by tracing a complicated design on the floor of her Pit’s central chamber. A Galliard then acts as “speaker” for the initiate by chanting the dancer’s accomplishments. (If a cub is undergoing his Rite of Passage, a simple recital of his lineage will suffice.)

Over the next ten minutes, the mystic energy creates a gateway between the physical world and Malfeas. After the Black Spiral initiate enters the trance-like, shuffle state - the “dance” for which he is infamous - the Theurge then helps the werewolf step sideways directly into the Black Spiral Labyrinth.

The initiate’s spirit may then attempt to penetrate the various thresholds of the labyrinth. As the dancers moves “towards the within” on his Malfean quest, every aspect of his being is tested, from his insight and cunning to his rage and sanity. Various occult texts - from the latest editions of Chronicle of the Black Labyrinth to the apocrypha of the Pretanic Order - recognize nine such tests. Each corresponds to a “circle” of the labyrinth. Respect is accorded by the number of circles the Black Spiral Dancer has crossed.

Garou abducted from other tribes can also be hurled into the Black Spiral. The victim usually abandons all hope after entering the First Circle, when he receives insights into the taint of evil within himself. Since the poor fool is not a Black Spiral Dancer, this revelation usually drives him insane. It is possible, though rare, for a valiant hero to cross three or four circles during his first visionquest, rising to higher orders within the cult. Regardless, the experience reshapes the initiate’s very identity. In fact, the first syllables the adopted bastard mutters after leaving the labyrinth becomes his new name within the tribe. (Of course, particularly famous Black Spiral Dancers often gain deed-names if their claim to fame is more widely spoken than their name.)

A Method For Madness
As the Wyrm is enraged by its growing confinement, its servitors echo its madness. Just as the Garou feel sympathy for Gaia’s suffering in the throes of Harano, the boundless rage and fury of the Wyrm is strong enough to shatter the sanity of many Black Spiral Dancers. Though not every Black Spiral is driven insane by the Rite of Passage, many are gifted with madness.

This insanity is taken as an omen, indicating that one of the Urge Wyrms has blessed the initiate and showed his potential for infamous achievement. The spirit may even choose to speak in voices to the initiate throughout his cursed life, offering secret guidance. Usually, these dementia are not strong enough to incapacitate the initiate’s usefulness to the tribe - “deranged” does not have to mean “useless.” Absolute raving lunatics are usually either released as shock troops against the Garou, abandoned as Ronin, or immediately destroyed, especially if they are flawed enough to jeopardize the security of a Pit.

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