Nerigal

Nerigal is the Planetary Incarna of Mars. The Ice Warrior, who is sometimes known as the Blooded One, is the quintessential warrior; naturally, he favors Ahroun and the Get of Fenris.

Approaching Nerigal's domain, you will not hear anything, nor will one sense anything. Not until they get closer however. Then, and only then will travelers hear the clashing of arms and the screams of battle, and scent the smell of blood. The spirit minions of Nerigal are known as "Nerigal's weapons." They guard their lord's domain from any offending intruders, and must be bested in a physical battle or contest of sorts. Once proven worthy, then and only then may travelers pass beyond the perimeter of the Incarna's realm and confront the Ice Warrior himself.

War of the Worlds

From a distance, the realm appears to be completely red, but as one gets closer, they will be able to see that the colouration comes from the red-orange dust storms that rage over the whole domain. Before braving these storms however, one is met with a field of ice shards that circle the realm above the dust. Not all battles in this domain are against living opponents. Do not expect to emerge from either the ice field or the dust unscathed. The shards are composed of a substance called blood ice, and the dust storm's powerful winds and cutting particles also damage Garou.

Once beyond the dust storms, travelers enter the domain itself. Though much of the barren land is red, there are also portions that appear brown and gray or even smoky blue. These delineate great canyon features (similar to the canals seen from Earth) that stretch several miles deep and are as long as the North American continent side to side. The highest point in the realm is a great extinct volcano, the largest known among the realms of the Incarnae. It reaches over three times higher than Mount Everest. This great volcano's caldera serves as a proving ground for those who wish to win Nerigal's attention and favor. At two places, the poles, the realm appears white due to the ice found there. The Ice Warrior keeps his stronghold in one of these frozen regions, emerging to a pit himself against the rigors of his realm and any interlopers foolish enough to intrude unwanted upon his domain.

Nerigal keeps his realm quiet close to the realities of the planet Mars as it exists in the physical realm and invokes his right to force visitors to undergo the exigencies of the environment. While one does not have to breathe here (which is a lucky for travelers since otherwise they would be trying to breathe in a vacuum) or worry about differences in gravity, it is important because it means there is only water available at the poles and that water is locked in ice. Hence, you cannot find anything that will slake your thirst even though you must traverse his dust storm and trek across terrain worse than any badlands until you reach his proving ground inside the volcano.

The traveling wouldn't be so bad if the land was flat. But it folds and cracks in ridges and craters, thrust upward as stony, unforgiving mountains and plunges into canals and canyons deeper than the Grand Canyon. Add to this the fact that Nerigal's realm is cold. During the day, the temperature remains in the twenty degrees below zero or so, but at night, it falls to about a hundred and fifty degrees below. There is no real shelter. On must simply survive somehow and keep moving. This is Nerigal's way of allowing travelers to prove their worthiness, both to him and themselves. By the time one reaches the volcano, they will be weak. They will be hungry and thirsty, but they will reach it, if only they believe that they will. Otherwise, all is lost.

Nerigal expects deference from those who visit him, but he also respects strength and determination. If travelers grovel excessively or seem to lack the courage of their convictions, all they will receive is little more than contempt. Striking a balance between honoring Nerigal and the respect due to him, whiles retaining a sense of pride and worthiness, one stands a decent chance of receiving a fair hearing from the Ice Warrior. Nerigal expects honesty and forthrightness in those who deal with him. He despises trickery and obfuscation in all its forms and has little patience with anyone who attempts to curry his favor in an obvious fashion. One must take care not to be to obsequious, yet not offend him. The more honorable and honest you are with him, the better. Of course he also respects endurance and fighting prowess, so one shouldn't hold back from showing him their best if they have the chance.

When those who are visiting the realm make it to the Proving Ground, they will have already shown the Incarna that they possess both stamina and perseverance.

Nerigal's Proving Ground

Inside the caldera of the largest volcano in the Ice Warrior's realm lies Nerigal's Proving Ground. The volcano long ago became extinct in regard to actual eruptions, forming a hard, solid crust that one may move about on. Still, beneath its covering mantle of rock, deep fires remain, making the Proving Ground one of the warmest places in the realm. While not exactly balmy, the temperature inside the Proving Ground is above zero degrees Fahrenheit. Those who have reached this far have already proven something of themselves. Now, however a second phase of their testing begins, even while they are still weakened from the first. If one wishes to speak with the Incarna, they must accept the challenge laid before them. Travelers must be careful however, despite them coming this far, if they loose the challenge, Nerigal reserves the right to slay them all for weakness and incompetence.

Across the barren field lie countless pits and traps of all sorts — the sorts of traps the Romans used to construct in their arenas to handicap their gladiators. Some are deadly, some merely inconvenient. All are expected to meet and battle foes of the Incarna's choice out there. Weapons lie about, waiting to be picked up, if one so chooses to use them. Otherwise, claws and teeth remain the best tools. Nerigal expects them visitors to fight as a team even when they break off to fight individual opponents. One or more may fail, but others can make up for those losses through winning their own challenges and combats. One is utterly committed to winning — honorably — or he may slay you on the spot for wasting his time. A warning: One must strive with every fiber of their beings to triumph, but they must not give into battle lust. Although berserkers have their place, that places is after everything else has been tried. Battle should be as much about intelligence, planning and skill as ferocity. That is what distinguishes warriors from mere beasts. Should fighters prove themselves superior, they should not be surprised if the Blooded One himself challenges them. That one, they aren't expected to win, merely make a good show, and fight bravely.

If Nerigal's challenges are overcome, then he will hear out those who have come to speak with him and may grant them fetishes or Gifts. He has been known to give impressive warriors Ice Klaives, a particular weapon that he himself carries. He may also reward those who battle honestly and fearlessly with shards of blood ice. Certainly, Nerigal's realm is one of the most challenging and deadly among the planetary Incarnae, but the Ice Warrior is also generous in his rewards to those who deserve them.

Dangers of the Realm

It seems odd to describe the dangers to be found in Nerigal's domain since the whole realm is dangerous in and of itself — and is designed to be that way. Almost anything in the domain can potentially be deadly, from Nerigal's Weapons to the ice shards, from the dust storms, to the prospect of dying from thirst. Traversing the realm from the point of entry to the volcanic proving ground takes approximately four to five days. Those days should be an exercise of hellish proportions. Unless all cooperate, the group won't survive the journey. Once they reach the arena, however, Nerigal provides them with water and a chance to rest and heal for an hour or so before they begin their combats.

Nerigal's Weapons - These are martial Star-spirits who intercept all visitors to their lord's domain. They immediately attack rather than pausing to parley. Should the party respond in kind, the Weapons attempt to take their measure without killing them. Anyone trying to talk to the spirits or use Gifts against them become subject to more attacks as more Weapons arrive to deal with them. Nerigal wants to know the group's fighting prowess and physical capabilities, not how diplomatic they are or how many Gifts they know. Using Gifts that enhance one's combat abilities not seen in the same light and is perfectly permissible. Once all of the group has attempted direct combat with the Weapons, the spirits accord them respect and allow them to pass unhindered.

Blood Ice - These sharp shards of ice encircle Nerigal's realm about twelve or so miles above the surface. The ice looks as though it were form from a mixture of blood and water. Some almost seem to hold drops of blood within otherwise clear ice, while some are streaked or flecked with red. The ice crystals are razor-sharp and can inflict aggravated damage on Garou. Moving among the shards without being cut by them is near impossible. And it is possible to become disoriented within the ice field.

Dust Storms - A never ending dust storm made up of particles of rock, rust and dirt from the surface rages for miles above the actual realm. Located just below the encircling field of ice shards, the dust storm is some ten miles thick. Those passing through the storm find themselves about a mile about the surface when they emerge from it. The flying debris and ferocity of the winds can harm Garou, even though it isn't aggravated damage. It takes a great deal of time to pass through the storm, where visibility is impossible, and if travelers aren't holding hands they will become separated . Only when they reach the surface are they able to regroup. It can be easy to become lost in this storm, and the buffeting winds can render a Garou unconscious. Once out of the storm however, one is free to heal as per usual.

Foes In the Proving Ground - These could be almost anything — leeches, Black Spiral Dancers, physically powerful Banes, Star-spirits, beasts from an other age or weird alien creatures. Whether these are real creatures the Incarna has somehow captured for use in his tests or phantasms he conjures for those who come to fight, is totally up to Nerigal. However they can and do act intelligently and cause real damage.

Aside from the actual combatants, the arena holds numerous traps designed to test the reflexes and strength of the combatants as they battle. Pit traps with silver spikes at the bottom, walls that spring up and entrap a fire on two sides, and missiles which emerge from stelae to briefly weaken or paralyze a limb are just a few such obstacles. Nerigal may be about combat, but that doesn't mean he isn't creative.

Nerigal as a Totem

The Ice Warrior is among the more willing of pack patrons; it please him that packs should shed blood in his name. He will lend his favor to virtually any pack brave enough to seek him out and request his guidance.

Whatever form Nerigal takes, he is an imposing figure. He appears sometimes as an enormous gray-white wolf with golden eyes and in both man and Crinos forms. He is said to take other forms but assumes a form that is more familiar to those he meets with. As a man, the Ice Warrior stands well over six feet tall, with broad shoulders and a lean, muscular frame. His light brown hair is worn long and falls freely over his shoulders, since he disdains to keep opponents from grabbing it during battle.

Bearded and battle-hardened, he prefers well-worn leathers, and furs. His beard and furs are both like ice rimed and his cobalt blue eyes blaze with intensity. He carries no weapons with him, but can summon any he needs with a thought. in battle, he prefers swords and spears or the Ice Klaive which his his special chosen weapon so that he may face his foes directly rather than trying to harm them at a distance. By his nature, the Ice Warrior is violent, but he is also honorable.

Children of Nerigal never enter fox frenzy; they always enter berserk frenzy. The Ice Warrior also grants the knowhow of hand to hand brawling, and how to use of melee weapons. Packs aliened with Nerigal gain two temporary Glory renown. Finally each pack member can soak damage dealt in battle more easily. However silver still affects them.

Nerigal's children are forbidden to show fear. They may not retreat once combat is joined, and are not allowed to avoid obstacles rather than overcoming them.

Nerigal, the Ice Warrior: The First Lunar Month

Aetherial Realm - Mars
Auspice - Ahroun
Colours - Reddish orange
Element - Fire
Other Names - Ares, Mars, Thor, Anhur, Akhnet
Quality - Ferocity
Tarot Card - Chariot
Tribe - Get of Fenris
Vices - Anger, battle lust
Virtues - Courage, fighting prowess
Zodiac Correspondence - Aries

The lunar year begins fittingly with the cry of battle. Nerigal, the Ice Warrior, reminds the Garou of their duty as warriors of Gaia, chosen to protect the earth from the ravages of the Wyrm. The spirit of war churn relentlessly within our hearts, calling us to fight the enemies of the Mother and to defend all that is Hers. The Ice Warrior embodies fighting prowess, courage in battle and the ardent desire for victory.

Human civilizations have long associated the planet Mars, home of Nerigal, with battle and conquest. The reddish-orange colour attributed to Mars not only reflects the blood of battle, but also the fiery bloodlust that fills the hearts of driven soldiers.

Not surprisingly, Nerigal serves as on of the rulers of the Ahroun auspice. Garou born during the Ice Warrior's month, even if they fall under one of the other auspices, may tend toward aggressiveness and ferocity. A Nerigal Ahroun exemplifies the warlike qualities of their Celestial patron to the fullest. Philodox born during the first lunar month often choose to back their judgments with strongly worded arguments and powerful oratory, while Galliards excel in inspiring their packmates in battle through their skill in recounting tales and songs of past conflicts. Theurges ruled by Nerigal use their knowledge of Gaia's mysteries to increase the odds of victory as well as to heal the wounds of their fallen comrades. Even Ragabash who fall under the influence of the Ice Warrior manifest a belligerent attitude in their tricks and rebellions.

The Get of Fenris have a special affinity for Nerigal; the icy Umbral realm inhabited by Nerigal recalls the cold northern lands that gave rise to the Get.

In Western astrology, Nerigal corresponds most closely to Aires, the heavenly ram, also associated with the planet Mars. The Ram, long a chosen animal of sacrifice, serves as a reminder that, in war, soldiers give their lives for the cause of victory. Death and bloodshed reside close to the heart of the Garou. As warriors, they fight — and die — to protect Gaia.

Just as bravery and skill in battle epitomize the noblest qualities of those born during the first lunar month, anger and uncontrolled battle lust represent the shortcomings of Garou governed by Nerigal. The Rage that sets them apart from their human and animal Kinfolk can burn too brightly within them, driving them to frenzy. Nerigal's children continually struggle with a greater tendency to give into the worst aspects of the Garou's anger and outrage.

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