White Howlers

Did ya know there were once lions roaming across these lands? Yeah, back when the Picts ran through these woods and the White Howlers ran among them.

Yeah… them. I know they’ve got a bad rep these days, but back then - hell, they were more fierce than their reprobate cousin, the Fianna (that being us). They were savage all right, in a way none of us Garou are today, except maybe the Talons. They bred among Picts, fer Gaia’s sake! Painted themselves blue with scary tattoos and danced around screamin’ and yellin’ all the time. Hell, they didn’t need to control their rage - their kinfolk sure didn’t!

The land’d be different today, ya know, if they had survived. If they hadn’t been all full up with pride and Rage and Gaia knows what else, storming down into a Wyrm pit an’ all. Yeah, I’ve heard the rumors, that the Wyrm planned it that way for a long time, but I don’t think it can plan anything. It must’a been a sickness inside the Howlers all the time that done them in. I mean, to all go to the Wyrm like that? It’s not that easy or so quick. Nah, they were sick inside.

And the land would be different. No Romans, that’s fer sure. They woulda kicked Rome’s butt back to the boot it came from. But instead, they went ta the Wyrm and invited the bastards in. That’s why we’re in such a shit today, ‘cause the White Howlers failed.

The British Isles were once home to a powerful but small Garou tribe called the White Howlers. Known for their spooky ways, the Howlers were considered strange even by their neighboring Garou cousins, the Fianna. Preferring to live on ghostly moors and along lonely North Sea shores, the Howlers are said to have courted spirits of the animal dead in a more grisly fashion than other aboriginal peoples. Their kinfolk were primitive Picts, and thus the tribe resembled more a relic of the stone age than it did its Garou contemporaries.

The Howlers followed the Lion totem, and from it they received hunting secrets that made them some of the best trackers. They also received its strength, which gave them mighty thews, often misshapen and disproportionate-seeming to the aesthetic Celtic eye. Their woad-painted tattoos were imbued with spirits who aided them in war or mate-stealing (a favorite activity of theirs, since carried on by their… descendants).

The White Howlers did not die; they became Black Spiral Dancers. While other Lost Tribes of the Garou can boast powerful sacrifices and some degree of martyrdom, the White Howlers merely failed. The bulk of the tribe, flush with pride and hubris, went down a Wyrmhole and came out gibbering, slobbering, maddened creatures, their wonderful white coats now manged and blackened, their eyes glowing with balefire. These altered Howlers, with the aid of the Wyrm, hunted down all their kin and exposed them to balefires, twisted mockeries of their Celtic cousins’ holy fires.

They then proceeded to corrupt their human kinfolk. Within a generation’s time, they turned the Picts into stunted, dwarfish brutes. Eventually, the Picts died out, although Viking legends from the Orkneys speak of them as living in the dark earth as late as the ninth or tenth century. A few Picts, of course, interbred with invading Celts or Saxons, but for the most part, there is little evidence of their lineage left behind.

Of that tiny number, an even tinier percentage still carries the White Howler gene. Thus, while it is not unknown for a White Howler to be born in modern times, it is extremely rare. Such pitiable creatures don’t have much of a chance anyway, for the White Howler Kin-Fetch spirits were corrupted also and are alert to the birth of any White Howler. The spirits diligently report these births to Black Spiral Dancer Theurges, who then organize a hunt for the child. They consistently find such a youngling before any other Garou even knows the babe exists, and they perform the old changeling switch, taking the White Howler-to-be and placing another baby in the crib (usually a Black Spiral kinfolk from a nearby family all too eager to sell the baby for crack money; the child rarely even looks like the baby it replaces). The White Howler babe then undergoes a hellish baptism that ensures it will grow up to be just like its corrupt “family.”

The Garou hate to lose their own, and many werewolves have eulogized the Howlers as great warriors lost to a power greater than themselves. But the truth, as perceived by some Fianna Galliards, is that they were on the fast track to destruction anyway. The White Howlers found the Weaver totally alien and were unable to cope with the more civilized invaders of the Isles. Like their kinfolk, they never crawled out of the past. Whereas lupus tribes such as the Red Talons survive by breeding in the wild, the White Howlers’ wild lands were quickly becoming the home of others, most of whom the Howlers refused to breed.

If the Wyrm hadn’t taken them, their own intractable ways and refusal to change probably would have. As the Fianna Ahroun, Rory Axebiter, says: “I’d say rest in peace to ‘em, but the worms ain’t dead - they’re still crawling around pissin’ in our pots!”

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