Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Heart of Gaia

Werewolf:The Apocalypse: The Heart of Gaia

History

The Full Moon Rises For WEREWOLF : THE APOCALYPSE The Heart of Gaia

MY buddies at DreamForge are well the best.... Take a look at their company information dreamforge.htm. On Tuesday, March 2nd, the full moon shall rise and shed light upon the sixth insight into the world of ASC Games' Werewolf : The Apocalypse - The Heart of Gaia!

New and exciting information awaits you if you dare gaze upon www.ascgames.com on March 2nd! This full moon will feature an exclusive look at Werewolf:The Apocalyspe screenshots ¯ the first screenshots to be posted on the site! Executive Producer and former White Wolf author, Travis Williams, gives his insight on creating and developing the main character, Ryan McCulloch, in the 4th installment of Travis' Rants! Plus, you will also get an exclusive 1st look at the Werewolf:The Apocalypse character sketches for Ryan McCulloch. You will also be treated to Episode 4 of heralded White Wolf author, Phil Brucato's 10-part prequel series.

This full moon will also give rise to more Werewolf : The Apocalypse specially marked LIMITED EDITION Werewolf : The Apocalypse * The Heart of Gaia poster giveaway! To enter, register at www.ascgames.com and join the official Werewolf : The Apocalypse e-mail list. Winners will be selected at random and be notified by e-mail. So, come and join the wolf pack on March 2nd -- at !

Previews

By Al Giovetti

Price:

Genre: First/third person action

Release: Cancelled - January 7, 2000

Developer: Dream Forge

Lead Artist:

Programmer:

Producer: Travis Williams

Press Relations: Jeffrey Castaneda

Publisher: ASC Games

Phone:

Website: www.ascgames.com

Requirements:

Company Line

Game Play

Plot

Werewolf: The Apocalypse - The Heart of Gaia was an aborted computer "first to third person action game" based on Werewolf: The Apocalypse. It was being developed for the PC by DreamForge Intertainment, and executive produced by former White Wolf author Travis Williams. It used the Unreal engine from Epic Games.

The Heart of Gaia was to be published by ASC Games, but after a series of delays on the title ASC closed down on January 7, 2000. DreamForge, seemingly unable to find another publisher and struggling for funding, also closed down without ever completing the game. A series of prequel stories by Phil Brucato, titled simply The Heart of Gaia, were published on the ASC Games web site, but only four of the planned ten installments were posted before the company folded.

In the game the player portrayed Ryan, a teenage lost cub - a Garou who has undergone the First Change on his own and has yet to discover Garou society. Through the course of the game Ryan encounters other Garou and fights agents of the Wyrm, including fomori, Black Spiral Dancers and agents of Pentex. He eventually learns he is descended from White Howler stock and is destined to become a hero of legend.

A CGI commercial for Pentex, a promotional game advertisement/intro, 30-second clip of gameplay, and 14 of the 15 cinematics were developed and released for the game and are viewable on YouTube (see below).

Graphics

It used the Unreal engine from Epic Games.

Animation

Voice Actors

Music Score

Sound Effects

Utilities

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Multi-player Features

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References

The Computer Show's article by Al Giovetti

Prequel

The Heart of Gaia was a ten-part prequel story written by Phil Brucato specifically for ASC Games' Werewolf: The Apocalypse - The Heart of Gaia. For archival purposes, all parts of the story are found below.

The dream begins long ago, when a noble race of werewolves known as the White Howlers were corrupted by the forces of the Wyrm. The village of Kil na Korr - the town the Howlers once protected - was destroyed and almost all of its inhabitants killed. Among the inhabitants is a woman with child who just might hold the key to the savior of the White Howlers--will she make it out alive?

The cries begin far off, waking mothers in their beds. The moor-mist shimmers in the full moon's light. Around that moon, a ring of silver glistens and the air grows cold. There are reasons men fear the night, and in the absence of the sun they often come calling.

As a chill sweeps over the Pictish village of Kil na Korr, the Circle of the Spring, men stumble from their sleep. Sparks are struck, torches ignited, cook-fires roused from embers to blazes. The people of Kil na Korr hurry quietly to their duties, hefting weapons, hiding children or scanning the hills for signs of attack. They're hardy folk, these People of the Circle, and they ward a sacred place: the Silver Spring of Moon's End, a tributary of Mile-Deep Loch. Long ago, it's said, these warriors were charged with its protection. Till this night, they have kept their vow. But vows are fleeting things when the night has teeth.

Elyr Ma Cullogh staggers under the weight of her pregnant belly. Her new husband Fiorr kisses her warmly as he waves her from their hut. Naked in the freezing night, he paints himself with woad. Blue lines trace odd circles and spirals across his chest and arms. Warm breath puffs before his face. Leaving the hut, Elyr gazes back at her man. As he applies the last of the warpaint, he feels her lips against his. They hold each other briefly, then part forever.

Where are the wolves? she wonders. Surely they cannot be far away.

Across the misty hills, the invaders rise. Cold haze gives way to ghosts, to dark shapes, to glowing nightmares. Fomori, the people call them, jealous half-spirits bent by corruption. Long ago, these things rose from beneath the waves and clambered from the deepest lochs; in time, they twisted human servants in their likeness. Since the earliest nights, they have troubled the People of the Circle. Tonight, however, they gather in vast numbers.

And they are not alone.

Where are the wolves? Elyr half-prays as she slips like a shadow across the village. All around her, fires dance and painted men chant. Some women join them, shedding their sleep-shifts to stand armed and naked with the men, but Elyr is too pregnant to fight. In the past, she has raised spear and blade beside her clan, but tonight hiding seems wiser than war.

In the center of the village, an old and tattooed man lifts a severed head and keens to the skies. Pickled in lime, the head came from a powerful fomor this man slew in his youth. As he raises the head, old Cair Maar Cullogh calls the White Howlers, the traditional allies of the Kil na Korr. For long ages, these wolf-men have battled the fomori, bestowing blessings upon the People of the Circle. Granted, they have taken a toll, as well: Many an elder, wastrel or young child has disappeared into the night; many a warrior has fallen to the teeth of a Howler; every so often, a village woman gives birth to a strange, feral child, or dies in the embrace of a savage lover. No, the Howlers have never been peaceful folk. Even so, the wolf-men have always battled the nightmare hordes. But tonight they do not answer, and Cair Maar Cullogh is troubled. The fomori are far too close, and the warriors of the Circle are far too few.

Then the howls begin. The people cheer. The wolves have come at last! But Elyr Ma Cullogh chills; the cries are ragged and sick, tinged with madness. She knows the wolf-folk better than most, and these howls do not sound right.

As the gibbering horde closes in on all sides, the men of Kil na Korr raise their spears and voices. The mothers cluster their children in the huts or among the animal-pens. Even the babies fall silent as the fomori approach. Terror knows no generation, and babies aren't fools.

Where are the wolves? The thought races through the minds of warriors and mothers alike. Why haven't they attacked?

And then they do.

The howls swell. Clouds slide across the moon. The warriors grab firebrands and rush into the mist, meeting the howls with similar warcries. In past battles, those cries mingled and joined as man and wolf tore through fomori ranks. But now the tune is off-pitch; the wolf-cries mingle with the raving horde instead. Beneath that clamor the men of Kil na Korr are lost.

Then the screams begin.

Crouching in their hiding-places, the mothers cannot see. The sound of butchery, though, is clear enough. The warriors shriek like spitted babes. Flesh tears and bones crackle. Then silence. Long silence. Finally a young woman dares a look.

Claws catch her across the face. She doesn't have time to scream.

Then the wolves are upon them all and butchery becomes a game.

To the People of the Circle, the Howlers had been magnificent, huge man-beasts with brilliant fur and sturdy frames. The monsters which tear into the survivors are dark and stunted, gnarled mockeries of the white wolves. Some rise on two legs, tall as a hut; others race around on all fours, ripping into their victims with dagger-sized teeth. Women and children scatter, but escape is hopeless. Fomori follow the wolves into Kil na Korr and everything becomes madness and blood.

The mad werewolves celebrate their slaughter. Dark dancers gird themselves with victims' entrails and adorn themselves with severed heads. Young corpses are thrown into the fires or chewed to rags beneath the dancers' fangs. The parents' fates are worse. Those not slain in the fight take a very long time to die.

When the tortures end, the true destruction begins. Huts are trashed. Walls are shattered. The ravagers mark the ruins with scalding piss and defile the Silver Spring. The standing stones are knocked down, their markings obliterated. A tall werewolf vomits green Balefire across the clearing, burning the trees away. Unholy flames rage to the skies, followed by the invaders' howls. Animals are torn apart or eaten alive. Soon werewolves and fomori caper in green firelight. The dancers rake their own faces with jagged claws, and their laughter sounds like screams.

The leader of the horde stands in the center of the flames, raising a howl to the moon above. Human heads hang from his belt; human skin hangs from his shoulders. Dark fur bristles from his scaly hide and green fire sizzles in his jaws. Once, he would have answered to the name Clonach the White, but the Black Spiral has done its work. Now he has become Adagach of the Balefires, Eater of Children. And he laughs, for he likes it better this way. Around him, the once-White Howlers dance their frenzied dance and drink the blood of their former kin.

The Circle is broken. The Spring is defiled. Kil na Korr is in ruins and the White Howlers are no more.

Not far away, a young woman picks her ways through the woods. Heavy with child, she minds each footfall, each root and twig grasping at her bare legs and feet. Her breath billows in the chill air, but she makes no sound as she leaves her home behind. There's a wolf-child in her belly, and Elyr Ma Cullogh will be damned before she sees it taken to the fire.

The Howlers have fallen. All they once were rests within a young woman.

The first dream ends. The tale begins.

Elyr Ma Cullough escapes and gives birth to a son, Alyn. Fathered by a White Howler, Alyn is the last uncorrupted member of the once-noble race. Unfortunately for both of them, the Wyrm knows that one has escaped the corruption of the Bane. Can Alyn's Kin-Fetch (spirit guide) protect the boy or are the White Howlers done for?

It's winter when the child comes. Wind sweeps away the screams of Elyr Ma Cullogh. Alone in a cave, she squats near a fire and prays it does not go out. Finally her labors end; soon a healthy child squalls in her arms. Although she is weakened, Elyr bites through the cord and wipes her new son dry. Although she is starving, she nurses him. Although she's in pain, she anoints him with blood and birthwash. "I call to you, spirits of my clan," she whispers. "Watch over Alyn Ma Cullogh, this last son of Kil na Korr, and bless his blood with the strength of his wolf-folk kin."

If only things were so simple.

Flesh is mortal. Given time, it passes away. But the flesh is merely a mask for the spirit; in time, that mask chips, fades, falls away and is renewed. The spirit, though, is eternal. It may change, but it never truly dies. In the shadows of man's world, the spirits gather. Ageless, immortal, they remember what man forgets.

One spirit in particular lingers over the birth of Alyn Ma Cullogh. Like a spectral hound, it hovers unseen in the shadows of the cave. As Elyr raises her son above the fire, this spirit-hound sniffs the blood and licks the child clean. Elyr cannot see the hound, but she feels its presence. As the birthwash disappears, lick by lick, from her son's skin, the mother shudders. The spirits have heard her appeal. She hopes this blessing will be enough, at least for now.

Far away, a malignant storm grows. Too faint for mortal senses, it boils across the barrier between this world and the next. As Elyr Ma Cullogh rocks her son to sleep, the clean, cold wind outside protects her from the spectral storm. Her spirit guardian, however, feels a sting of distant madness. Growling, it leaves the cave and goes out into the snow. In human terms, this guardian has no name. One of many, it belongs to a larger spirit-clan allied with the White Howlers. In the Pictish tongue, this entity is a Bly Tach, a Kin-Fetch, and it watches over the bloodlines of Kil na Korr. Like a loyal hound, it followed Elyr to her birthing-cave and offered blessings to her son. Now, as the dark storm approaches, the Kin-Fetch goes out to meet it, fangs bared glimmering in the twilight.

As snow falls in the mortal realm, its spiritual reflection catches the half-light and sends it shimmering like smoke across the Otherworld. In this realm, there is no day or night, only endless twilight and thick shadow. Scents are sharper here; sounds carry further. All things, living and otherwise, cast reflections that somehow seem more real than anything in the mortal world. In time, some will call this place the Umbra, the Velvet Shadow of the mortal realm. To the White Howlers and their kin, it is Tir An Ko'leh, "That Which Knows," the border between what is and what seems to be. Elyr Ma Cullogh has never seen this world, but her protector knows it well. To the spirits, it is home.

Umbral winds carry the scent of corruption. Like burnt flesh, the odor thickens the air. Underneath the stink, there's a fainter scent: purity mixed with desperation. Something is bitterly wrong, and the trouble is headed this way. Drifting in from the ruins of the village and from the hills around it, the smell raises hackles on the spirit-hound. There's a war in the land of spirits, and the ancestral friends of the White Howlers are losing.

The Kin-Fetch is a thing of duty, created to find those of Changing Blood, protect them, and return them to the fold if they stray from the tribe. Old pacts, made before time began, bind the spirit and its kind to the White Howlers, and those ties cut far deeper than any mortal vows. As it emerges from the cave to sniff the air, the Bly Tach is torn between two instincts: to ward the last survivors of Kil na Korr, or to join its kindred in battle. Soon the choice is made. Like an errant wind, the spirit flies away.

The Umbrascape is a whirl of white and silver, a wild bluster of sights and sensations. In its flight, the Kin-Fetch passes glowing knots of mystical power, small towns huddled against the night, deep shadows of nightmare and thick forests coated with snow. Not far away, near the site of Kil na Korr and the fouled Silver Spring, the battle flashes and burns. Stars have fallen to earth - stars and tempests. The stink of corruption swells; the Kin-Fetch does not breathe as mortals do, but it bristles with disgust. The Bane-spirits are loose, and they poison the air itself.

In a whirlpool of black and sickly green, spots of silver blaze. As the Kin-Fetch nears, it sees its kin, the spirit-friends of the Howler tribe, wrapped in tendrils of smoke and rot. Around them, clouds of Bane-spirits seethe like gnats, biting, stinging, corrupting their foes with spiritual venom. The weaker spirits, faint lights amidst the blackness, wink out like wind-blown candles; a few stronger entities burn defiantly, but as they fight the venom darkens them as well. Surrounded by shadow, they slowly fade.

The hound hesitates. A creature of battle, it does not fear extinction, but the fate ahead is worse. The Bane-spirits grow stronger as their enemies fail, and their poison turns the Howler allies into slaves or burns them away completely. Against this maelstrom, the Kin-Fetch is nothing. Far behind, a new child has been born and its mother is weak with hunger and birthing-pains. The fight offers certain destruction; retreat offers a return to duty.

As the Kin-Fetch watches, a small swarm of Banes breaks away from the battle and spins toward the spirit.

Duty or annihilation?

The Kin-Fetch chooses duty. The child must be saved! With a snarl, the spirit rises into the air and bolts away. Laughing like crackling ice, the Banes give chase.

In the cave, Elyr Ma Cullogh dozes. The wind screams like hungry wolves, but her new son snuggles into the fold of her breasts. With a trembling hand, she slowly feeds branches into the fire and watches light rise against cold shadows. She has never felt more alone.

She will not be alone much longer

Part 3: The Dreams Burn Like Black Ice...

Fat with the power of many a vanquished White Howler, the Bane comes for Alyn and makes short work of his Kin-Fetch. Possessed by evil of almost incomprehensible magnitude, the sworn protector of the boy turns on he and his mother. The dream ends with the fate of the White Howlers resting on the shoulders of a woman ravaged by childbirth, malnutrition, and exhaustion--

Like a cloud of corpse-flies, they pour across the land - Bane-spirits born in Malfeas, the realm of the Wyrm. As the blizzard grows, they whip through field and forest, chasing their prey. In their wake, the wind chills; thistleflowers wither and trees snap like hollowed bones. Ahead of them, the Kin-Fetch flees. Sharp ears catch the laughter of the Banes behind him, and keen senses recoil from the corruption they bear. His instincts draw the spirit-hound back to the cave, but unless he can mislead the Banes....

Too late.

They surround him like wildcats. Too many, too fast. He turns, bristles and bares his fangs. As they rush in, he shifts to a war-form, grows six extra legs and a dozen barbed mouths. The Bane-spirits laugh, a high, chittering sound, and throw themselves at him. The Kin-Fetch spins and slashes, scattering black bile and tatters of spirit-stuff. But a hound cannot stand long without a pack, and the Kin-Fetch falls beneath a whirling black storm.

The battle echoes in the mortal realm. Far away, people draw close to their fires and whisper old charms.

Banes pour into the Kin-Fetch. Like dirty water, they fill his ears and mouth, swell his belly, mat his fur. The Bly Tach howls as he drowns. His war-form shrinks and withers. Within him, Bane-essence washes away the old oaths.

Far off, a ragged howl rises above the wind. Then it gurgles, fades, and is gone.

Soon enough, the Bly Tach is dead. A new Kin-Fetch rises, Wyrm-born and treacherous. Soon he stands, growls and shakes himself. No longer bound to Alyn Ma Cullogh, he plans to return to him anyway.

Not the child, the dreamer prays. Not the boy!

At the fire in the cave, Elyr shivers. She has lost too much blood, has not eaten in far too long. The babe saps the last of her strength. But if she gives up and sleeps, who will raise him? If she dies, her child dies too, as does the line of Kil na Korr and the last of the White Howlers. Elyr has never felt so tired or alone. Even so, she doesn't wonder where the spirit has gone. She isn't sure she wants to know.

A new wind washes into the cavern, colder than the others. With surging panic, Elyr senses the returning Bly Tach. Strengthened by one hundred Banes, the Kin-Fetch manifests - a huge, grinning nightmare of teeth, fur and torn flesh. Elyr rolls to her feet; dripping blood, she grasps her child and snatches a burning stick from the fire. It's a poor weapon, but Elyr Ma Cullogh will not die on her back.

Keening, the Kin-Fetch advances. Elyr stands by the fire and curses him in Pictish. "Come at me, ye bastard! I'll put out a few of those pretty eyes before you take me down! My father was a warrior and I've stood beside my man in battle! I've seen worse things than yourself, and I'm not damned afraid!" The last is a lie, but the boast helps her spirits. Frantically, she races through her memories, trying to recall a warding charm. Nothing comes to mind. Like a wolf, the nightmare springs. Elyr steps aside, slashing out with her brand. The beast lands in the fire, cries out and is engulfed in flames. Elyr grabs the sharpened-stick spear she has kept these last few months, and she stabs deep into the monster's back. "Hach Ta!", she screams - a battlecry from her people. The spear crunches through a spine. The fire consumes fur and flesh. The creature screams, tries to stand, fails, falls. Its skin sizzles. Smoke bursts from its eyes and mouth, filling the cavern with a thickly-sweet smell. Alyn screeches. Elyr draws back, surprised. The beast is down. She stabs again as the Bly Tach writhes helplessly.

Surely it couldn't have been so easy?

No.

The Bly Tach has another plan.

åAs fire consumes its mortal form, the Kin-Fetch returns to the Otherworlds. Releasing his essence in a cloud of smoke, the Bly Tach coils around Elyr and Alyn both. As they choke on the sweet smell, the Bane-essence runs down their throats and drifts into their souls.

In a battle-fury, Elyr puts her son aside. Screaming obscenities, she runs her spear through the burning beast. Again! Again! Again! A dozen times. A hundred times. Every bit of fear and rage and sorrow she has felt since the death of Kil na Korr travels down her arms and pounds through the flesh and bone of the beast. Sparks shoot from the fire and burn her bare feet and arms, but Elyr doesn't stop. Cannot stop. Tears pour from her eyes and a torrent of words, sounds, screams flows from her mouth until her throat is hoarse and torn.

The baby is screaming, too.

The mother stops. "Quiet!"

Her child screams louder.

"Quiet!!"

Louder.

"Silence, you little beast! Quiet!!!"

And the spear lashes out.

The dreamer tosses and weeps, but cannot awaken...

Elyr knocks her baby sprawling with the haft of the spear.

"Ah! Gods!" The mother gapes, horrified. She drops the spear. "Ah, no." With a quiet stream of Pictish oaths, she kneels and holds her child close. In the confines of the cave, the infant's howls swell. Still Elyr rocks him, shelters him, promises him it will never happen again. A lie, as she'll soon find, but she means it all the same. As the winds and the child cry, she keens with them. Pain and poison bind the mother and her son. Their hearts open and the Wyrm drifts in.

And the dreamer hears a voice in his head, the cry of two thousand years:

"Thus is the line of Elyr Ma Cullogh, last survivor of Kil na Korr, accursed fourfold:

"Cursed with solitude. Their offspring will grow up alone. No spirit guides will teach the Old Ways. No brothers or sisters will comfort them. No packmates will stand beside them. No tales will honor them. Each Ma Cullogh rises and falls by his own hand, and none shall remember him.

"Cursed with hate. The venom of their blood will rise at the slightest challenge, and their passions will tend to brooding and rage.

"Cursed with sickness. Each one will bear a weakening flaw, and that flaw shall spell his downfall.

Cursed with thin blood. Not one in one hundred generations will bear the Changing Gift."

But the curse is not complete, nor is it eternal. Not even the essence of a hundred Banes can drown the hearts of the White Howler tribe. For the courage and love that sustained Elyr fights down the Banes' corruption. And the power of the Changing Blood, so strong within Alyn, protects him from a fomor's fate. The line is cursed, but not forsaken. The Ma Collughs will have another chance.

After too long a time, Elyr dries her face, kisses her child, sets him down and rises to drag the beast's carcass from the fire. Outside, cold winds scour her, body and soul. She raises her arms and face to the winter sky and prays for a forgiveness she cannot allow herself. And the dreamer weeps for her....

And soon he awakens.

Sean McCulloch's alcohol-addled mind is racing. The Red Book he picked up seems to beckon him to execute the arcane procedures it outlines. The candles are lit, the diagrams are drawn--maybe THIS will make his blood-soaked dreams stop.

How much can one man drink? Sean McCulloch is trying to find out.

You've heard of devils sitting on your shoulder? Well, in Sean's case, it's true. Feels that way, anyhow. At night, the little bastards come out to play, dancing inside his skull until he feels like crying. Men don't cry, of course, but if they did, Sean McCulloch would have good reason to.

At night - now, every night! - the dreams come, little bits of screaming glass wedged in his subconscious. Spirit dogs and bloody births and dark-skinned women with blue tattoos. Bits of flesh and body parts lodged in the mouths of howling monsters. Severed limbs on fresh, clean snow. It's like some horror movie, one of those low-budget shriekers like they show at the Portman, but with really good effects. Too good. How can you sleep when your dreams are washed in blood?

And so he drinks. Drinks a lot. Drinks a hell of a lot, truth be told. And he wishes the dreams would go away.

But there's a voice in his head, nagging at his sorry ass. Wake up, it says, and banish me. Call me up and face me, and all of this will go away.

Is it the dream, the drink, or the dole? Who knows? Sean hasn't worked in too long a time, and while the checks are there each week at the unemployment line they're a humiliating handout at best. Back home, there are mouths to feed and bill collectors to please, but every week Sean makes a point to water the dragon in his throat on the way home, first.

It's no way for a man to live. Oh, no.

Best to summon up the cause and dash the little bastard's brains out.

I didn't mean that, Sean thinks, realizing who he really meant by "the little bastard." But he does mean it. That's why the drinking has to stop.

Reverend Gallender used to say that drink was a demon. Sean hadn't thought he was speaking literally, but it turned out to be true. Now, in the flickering basement of his father's house, Sean lights the candles and checks the circles on the floor.

By the dim light, he compares the diagrams in the little red book to the chalk-drawn scribbles on the floor. Good enough for government work, as they say. And deep inside, Sean wonders what the f**k he's doing. This isn't his thing at all, this D&D crap. He always used to laugh at the nerds in the cafeteria, with their stupid games and their Crowley books and their Judas Priest albums and Black Sabbath T-shirts. But as he lights the last red candle, that laughter seems pretty far away.

Bleary eyes blur across the room. Loose knees shake as Sean tries to stand up straight. He can't focus. He's too drunk. Are the circles too wobbly? Are the glyphs drawn right? Christ, he can't be sure. He's had an awful lot to drink today. Everything looks like s**t, even by candlelight.

It's not just the dreams. It's not just the drinks. It's the chains he feels around his legs every day. You can't see them, but they're there. They started out as love-knots, but they turned into chains pretty quickly. Marsha had been a crush, a little puppy-love gone dog-wild. She was a great lay, but a lousy mother. Now she spends all her time lying in bed, and can't hold a job to save her life.

And then there's The Brat.

So much for condoms. You can't trust s**t these days.

So Sean, who used to run like a stag on fire, is chained up like a dog. And now he can't find a job, either. Things were supposed to work out better than this. Is it any wonder why he drinks?

Sean squints and tries to focus on the circle. His eyes have gone on strike. His mouth tastes like he's been gargling with sewage. Black Label with whiskey chasers. Food of the gods, if you're a drunk. Too bad that last beer is gone.

"La, la, la, la..." He can hear The Brat upstairs, singing babytalk even though he's old enough to read. Christ, what's wrong with that little s**t? Same old song: la, la, la, laaa. It's enough to drive you nuts. Good thing the door's locked, Sean thinks as he sways around the room and checks his preparations. Daddy would have a hard time explaining this to his toddling son.

To be honest, Daddy's not quite sure he understands what he's doing himself. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

The Red Book. It has a title, but Sean can't read it. He's not sure why he thinks he can read the words inside, either - they're pretty weird, not even Latin, but some other nonsense that looks a lot like The Brat's babytalk. Except it makes sense to Sean, at least when he's drunk. The words seem to echo in his head, as if a chorus of devils were sitting on his shoulder. And when he hears them, Sean feels drunk but happy, like a stoner on a cloud of Maui Wowie. The Red Book holds the truth.

"La, la, la, laa..." Shut up, kid, Sean says inside, but the words never leave his mouth. Living with his parents again, Sean has learned how to shut the f**k up.

Sean's not sure why he has this book, why it speaks to him, why he took its weird contents to heart. Some bandy little bastard with a smoky grin had shown it to him one night in The Hound, and Sean just had to have the book. It cost him 20 bucks - the last 20 bucks he had to spare, but Marsha would have to accept that. Dad and Mom had money, anyway, and Sean was damned sure he wouldn't see anything like this book again. After he bought it and paid his tab, he stumbled home with it. Read it under streetlamps as he passed from light to light. Wandered between the pools of light like some drunken bug, scanning the pages that grew brighter, then blazed with intensity, then faded as he left each streetlamp's comforting glow and headed into the dark again.

He and Marsha fought when he got home. But he had The Book, so he didn't care. Marsha hadn't seen it - she'd blow a fuse! - so he waited until she went to bed before he took it out again. Pacing back and forth while Marsha cried in the other room, Sean felt the urge to read The Book burning at his palms like a rash. It wasn't until he heard her snoring that he took it out and flipped it open and watched its letters dance.

They did, you know. And as he checks the circle one final time, they dance for him again. They look like worms, he thinks. Worms squirming on the pages. Worms of ink, living letters. Dancing on the page for him. God, I'm so f**ked up!

Sean wants to get clean. He does. This is no way for a man to act - drunk and mopey and hating his kid! But somedays, it just seems like there's a weight on his chest. A fire in his guts. A devil or two (or three, or more...) ripping through his skull on a bender.

And now there are the dreams, and Sean just can't take it anymore. No matter how much he drinks, the s**tstorm never goes away.

But The Red Book might help.

He knew it when he first saw The Book. Just by looking at the pages, incoherent as they might be. The Book would help him out. Would help him summon up the demons of the bottle and the demons in his head. Summon them up so he could lock them up and beat 'em into submission and make them promise not to screw with him any longer. The Book could do that. The voices in Sean's head said so.

Worms in the brain. That's what they used to call it. It's worms in the brain that make you crazy.

He checks the lock on the basement door again. Hears The Brat babbling to himself upstairs. Ryan'll keep out of trouble, he thinks. He knows how to amuse himself while I'm gone. The ceremony might take awhile. Sean McCulloch gets to work.

The voices guides him as he strips naked and totters into the circle. As he takes the chalk in trembling fingers and begins to trace a spiral from the outside leading in, he begins to chant. Words from The Book. Words that make no sense. Embarrassed, he chants in a low, unsteady voice:"Bruhalla ka et nostrum bel. Ballah het an kastra no...."

"La, la, la, la. La, la, la, la..."

It's coming from upstairs. It's messing with his concentration. The Brat is singing again, and Sean can hear it through the door.

Sean continues, feeling like a fool. Gradually, his voice rises and the words come more quickly.

The cold basement seems to stir. The shadows from the candlelight seem to dance in the corners like the letters in The Book. Sean can almost feel the room recoil, drawing away from him as he chants the words louder: "So takena konkola swe, dok sele hes Karnala es. Foebok os konjimma oth! Sonjula! Sonjula! Es! Mahsstrac, Mahsstrac, es...."

"La, la, la, la. La, la, la, la..."

Sean digs his nails into his palms and chokes down the urge to scream. The dragon is boiling at the back of his throat. He needs a drink! He needs to yell! He needs to rush upstairs and....

He can see the woman. The woman in the snow, in his mind's eye. That dark-skinned little bitch with her big belly and that weird blue s**t in her skin. Barefoot in the snow like some kinda hippie. She laughs at him. She shames him. She's more a man than he will ever be.

"Khaaaloobh! Khaaaloobh!" The words bust up from Sean's guts like maggots. He can't stay silent. He's got to yell: "Hath gat an korra et! Parray! Parray! Abhorra din kandalla Kil na Korr!"

He doesn't hear the basement door open. The little feet on the stairs.

He wants to be clean. He wants to work. He wants to be a good father to The Brat. He does! In his dream, though, the dark-skinned bitch is laughing at him. He's pathetic! She guards her child so fiercely, goes through so much to have him and keep him. Sean can't even stay sober. What a loser. What a failure.

Above his voice, he hears them screaming. The people in the dream-village. The children in the monster's mouth. So many children. All noisy, all screaming, all too wrapped up in their stupid little worlds to know how loud they are...

"Laaaa!! Laaaa! Laaaa..."

So loud. Christ almighty....

"Sola a tinkola es!" Sean's screaming, now. "B'hari! B'hari! Lin ta kolero bran macha tola ki!"

Smoke coils in the corners. Comes together from the candles and swirls like worms in the still basement air.

"Laaaa!! Laaaa! Laaaa..."

Right next to him.

Sean spins suddenly, lashing out from the circle.

"Shut up, you miserable little shit!"

His hand hits something meaty. Something else hits the wall. And then The Brat is in the corner, its mouth welling with little bits of red.

The Brat?

My son?

Ryan?

The screaming stops.

Sean suddenly wishes he'd had even more to drink.

Then the door to darkness opens.

Sean opens the door to Malfeas - a horrible spirit world not meant for human eyes - just as his son, Ryan, walks in on his nefarious ritual. But as Sean crumples into a vomiting mess at the sight of his doing, there's something in Ryan's eye that glimmers with--recognition.

Like the hidden treasure of some monster temptress, the air itself divides, splitting and folding outward, revealing blackness and faint light within. Like the last breath of a dying wino, hot winds rush from the hole and bathe the basement in twitching filth. Like a landfill of lost souls, the barren fields of Malfeas glow on the other side of the gateway. Lit by green balefires, the landscape twists and writhes. Organic. Alive.

It’s too much.

Imagine that the biggest, foulest sewer rat in the world had taken a dump in a blender, made a milkshake, and forced you to drink it. That’s how Sean feels when the gateway to Malfeas opens.

It’s more than Sean can stand.

As the candles flicker from yellow to green, as the basement air turns to churning, cancerous smoke, Sean falls to his knees and pukes up everything he’s even thought of eating. Stomach cramping, eyes squeezed shut, he heaves up booze, bile and scraps of food.

Sean gets off lucky.

Ryan has nothing to vomit, no reason to turn away and no power to do so.

He sees everything beyond the gate. And the images etch themselves into his mind.

Slowly, the locks that shield him from insanity turn and close, one by one. And inside him, something surges. A primal birthright. A gift, hidden now but there just the same.

But for now, he simply sits and stares into Malfeas while his father crouches and pukes.

Finally, Sean runs out of bile, falls in the puddle, and begins to cry. Then to shiver. Then to shudder uncontrollably. He rolls himself in a fetal ball and sobs. The dreams were nothing compared to this.

And still Ryan watches the show — the vista beyond the gate, and the spectacle presented by his own father.

Sean feels his child watching him. Embarrassment sets in. Deep loathing, bitter shame. No father should break down this way in front of his boy, and no boy should watch his father grovel like some wino in an alley. With a surge of self-disgust and a flare of anger at his son, Sean pulls out of his fit and shoves himself up from the cold basement floor.

"What the hell are you looking at, you little freak?"

The words come out soft, almost lost in the roaring wind of Malfeas. I sound weak, Sean thinks. Not like a father. Like a baby. He looks like a baby too, when you think about it. What grown man would roll around in puke, crying like a girl?

Sean’s own father would never have tolerated this.

Sean’s hand whips out, cracks the child across the face backhanded and sends The Brat sprawling on his ass. The explosion of pain across his knuckles feels good, like a baptism. An affirmation. A man doesn’t roll on the floor like a cripple. A man acts!

Invisible to mortal eyes, something slithers through the gateway and spins in lazy circles around Ryan and his father, feeding the rage in their hearts.

Sean stands, shakily, then shrugs his shoulders and wipes his drooling mouth. A momentary lapse, that’s all. We all have bad moments, but a man can handle them. Beside his feet, the candles blaze with cold green light, illuminating the fog like neon torches. He bends to pick up The Red Book, happy that his "momentary lapse" hasn’t ruined the pages. In spite of everything, Sean smiles. If he could see himself, he might recall Eater-of-Children. His ancestor. His kin.

Somehow, this all seems very familiar…. The thought brushes through Sean’s mind, then settles in a corner and waits. It seems right.

Sean turns to The Brat huddled on the floor. Towers over him like a mountain. Throws his shadow across The Brat’s squalid little form. It’d be so easy to throw him in, he thinks, to toss the little bastard through the gate and watch him fall into Hell. Hey, it’d be fun!

Suddenly giggling, Sean reaches down to grab his son.

More time to sleep. More time for sex. More money to spend on better things than broken toys and clothes The Brat will outgrow in a week….

He should recognize the voice in his mind.

The unseen spirit begins to dance in the air. In the smoke, images form. Swirl into focus. Come to life. Vivid forms, like ghosts or hallucinations. Behind The Brat, the ghosts twist and shimmer. Monstrous spirits, Sean thinks. Dreams come to life.

What the fuck…?

First comes the woman from Sean’s dream, the tattooed bitch from Kil Na Korr. Then there’s a warrior, some Scottish chieftain with severed heads on his belt. Then a muscular girl with blood on her hands, and a howling wolf with blood on its jaws. One by one, they swirl in the air, then collapse on themselves and change into another, stranger ghost.

I’m going insane….

Some are warriors, some are monsters, some seem to heal, and others wade through ashes. As he stands, hypnotized by the procession, Sean feels a blood-tie calling to him. Nothing speaks, but Sean can see an odd resemblance between the floating spectres and his son.

And that resemblance scares him. Badly.

My ancestors? Our ancestors? What are we?

Behind him, Malfeas starts calling. A chorus of ragged screams carries through the gateway.

The Brat tries to move away, but the shock has been too great. Trapped between the ghosts, his mad father, and Malfeas, Ryan simply cowers.

It’s too much. Far too much.

The dancing spirit, once a Kin-Fetch, now a Bane, breathes hate into Sean’s heart. The green light brightens. The wind picks up and its stench intensifies. Sean’s hands itch to hit The Brat again. To beat his little brains in and throw his corpse through the gateway.

There’s a presence behind him, suddenly. Something that’s come through the door. Something with a wolf’s soft snarl and throaty, gasping breath.

One last ghost swirls into focus: a gigantic, snarling wolf-man. A white-furred monstrosity with bloody claws and surprisingly familiar eyes.

Ryan?

Never!!!

Sean reaches out to take his son.

And behind him, something stirs….

The Bane is back and is reaching for Ryan through the Malfeas. Sean - half-drunk and terrified - won't let him go. What will happen when Ryan's mother, Clarissa, interrupts the ceremony? Can this be the end of the White Howler?

"Give it to me!!"

The cry, more snarl than words, rips through the basement air like claws through old burlap.

Sean spins, sees, staggers as though he were struck.

oh shit….

The old ancestor. A ghost of a wolf. An Eater of Children.

"Give me the brat." The lupine thing, twice a man’s height, bends low in the basement gloom and extends a sharp-taloned paw toward Sean. Behind it, the flames of Malfeas cast a green pallor across matted fur. In the darkness, its eyes burn with inner hells.

"Give it to me." the words come not from its mouth, but from its mind. They churn through Sean’s thoughts like a flaming chainsaw, leaving tatters and ashes behind. "It’s a beast, like me. Kill it. Now."

It’s a trick. Drunk as he is, Sean can sense that much. This thing, if it wanted to, could tear Sean into ribbons and chew his son like old tobacco. If it needs to demand something, he thinks, suddenly sobered, then it needs me to make the next move.

To hand it Ryan. His son, the monster.

Despite himself, Sean moves between the gate and his son: "Fuck you. No"

He expects the monster to leap from the gateway, grab him between its massive hands and turn him into confetti. Instead, it laughs, a barking, hollow, booming cough.

Suddenly, the room is gone. Sean stands on the wastelands of Malfeas, naked in the hands of the gigantic wolf-thing. Somewhere in a-place-not-here, he feels concrete slam into his knees, feels the hard shock of bruising kneecaps. But here, he’s in the grasp of a monster. The Child-Eater from his dreams.

Then this must just be one more dream, he thinks, but he’s not that lucky.

"Keep the little bastard if you like." The wolf-thing is "speaking" again, ravaging Sean with its mind. And then the scene shifts and the ground is slick with blood, covered in torn limbs and gaping corpses. "If that’s what you want, to Hell with you."

The wolf-thing laughs again and retreats, pulling away from Sean and leaving him knee-deep in carnage. "He’s your son, after all. Your son, my descendant. A drunk and a monster. What a proud legacy he’ll enjoy!"

The booming laugh rumbles in his ears. The landscape fades into spinning darkness. And the Bane dances in the air as Sean awakens face-down in a pool of puke.

"You drunken sot bastard. What in Hell have you done?" It’s Clarissa’s voice, harsh with worry and disgust. Her soft English accent sharpens the venom in her tone. "Lost your mind as well as well as your job, and your stomach on top of all?"

Sean levers himself up on bleeding, crusty hands. The gateway is gone, the wolf-thing banished. In the candle-light, Clarissa kneels beside her son, holding him far out of his father’s reach. The darkness can’t hide the look on her face.

oh jesus, what a mess, what a mess this must look like….

"Holy God, you smell terrible." She stands, lifts her bleeding, silent son. "Are you perfectly insane?"

Sean shakes his head, tries to find the words….

She cuts him off: "Don’t even bother." Candle-light catches the faint glint of tears, but her voice is firm. "You’re out. Tonight. Don’t even bother washing up, just leave."

For a moment, Clarissa looks like the woman from his dreams. Like the tattooed Pict defending her child against the beast. Only this time, he’s the beast.

Out of sight, the Bane settles into Clarissa’s heart and begins to feed. Anger, loss, love, betrayal. A wonderful banquet of human misery.

"You rotten drunk bastard," Clarissa rasps. Inside, spite begins to build, a hundred fights and a hundred more unspoken, rush up and spill out in a torrent: "You miserable excuse for wretched garbage…."

It starts — the fight that’s been coming for so long.

Ryan begins to growl.

Clarissa doesn’t notice. As Sean shoves himself to his feet, she lays into him with a ferocity he’s never heard. Not like they haven’t had their fights, but this…! Clarissa boils over with insults she’s never dared to speak. Taunts of impotence, incontinence, insanity… Sean fumbles, tries to apologize, but she cuts him off. Rakes him with verbal talons and leaves him for dead. Meanwhile, her son is snarling too, baring his teeth at the spiritual attacker in his mother’s breast.

Finally, Sean surrenders to the hate. He bares his verbal claws and lays into her like an angry hawk.

The Bane is having too good a time. Somewhere far away, it notices the presence of a young Garou, but the meal is too sweet, the hatred running too fresh and hot to ignore…

Ryan bites his mother.

"JESUS!!"

Clarissa screams, drops the child. Ryan hits the floor with a loud crack.

The Bane, startled, flees its host.

"Good God, ‘Lissa!" Sean lunges for his son. Ryan starts to scream, and his voice sounds a little like a wolf-cry. "You stupid slut…"

"Get away from him!" Clarissa shoves her husband aside. Grabs her screaming son. Blood starts seeping through the front of her shirt, but she doesn’t seem to notice. "Get OUT!! Just GET THE HELL OUT!!"

He does. But not without a fight.

"Clarissa stops the unholy ceremony before it can claim the life of her only child. As Clarissa kicks Sean out of their home, the unsated Bane watches in impotent rage from the Malfeas as the last White Howler gets one more chance to unravel an aeon's-worth of corruption."

It takes only a few minutes for a lifetime to end. A short shower, a pile of clothes tossed in a suitcase. A few recriminations shouted back and forth as Sean packs his things to go. He makes sure to pack The Red Book beneath a pile of shirts. He doubt’s he’ll use it again, but who knows? Nothing is certain when your son is a monster.

Clarissa is a firestorm, a barrage of accusations and screaming threats. All the things which have hovered unsaid for so many years come blasting up like some poisonous geyser. And the unseen Bane bathes in the hatred and feeds it like a bonfire.

It’s one hell of a fight, but it doesn’t last for long.

Ryan quiets down as his father prepares to leave. Clarissa and Sean shake the windows with their rage, but Ryan just sits on a bed and licks his mother’s blood from his lips, his nostrils twitching and his fingers flexing open and closed on the bedspread. Somewhere, not far away, there’s an enemy watching. An enemy Ryan can’t see, but can feel just the same.

Deep inside, a birthright stirs and begins a change. A slow change, but an inevitable one.

Outside the door, the battle crests, falters, fades. Ryan sits in silence, now, but he can hear the footsteps and heavy breathing of his father.

Sean hesitates in the bedroom doorway, staring at his son. How did we get here? he wonders, but the thought remains unspoken. "Ryan?" he asks, his voice hoarse from shouting. The boy looks back at him with haunted eyes, but doesn’t say a thing.

"Ryan?" Again, no response.

Sean leans in, reaches out to the kid. Maybe to touch him one last time, maybe just to wring his neck. God knows I could do both right now….

Ryan snarls. Snaps. Sean withdraws his hand wearily: "To Hell with you, then." In Ryan’s eyes, Sean sees a ghost of the monster in the basement. That wolf-thing seems too close, somehow, to be a delusion. Too real. Too right.

It’s all broken. Nothing but blood can fix it now.

Blood? Whose blood? Better not to ask, Sean thinks. "Bye, kid," he tells his son. "Good luck. I think you’re gonna need it."

Clarissa stands beside him, arms folded tight against her breasts, no tears in sight. "I don’t think he wants to talk to you," she says in a battered but defiant voice.

"What he wants isn’t going to matter soon."

Her eyes go flat and bitter. "Get out."

He looks at Ryan. Creepy kid! "Gladly," he replies.

"Bastard."

"Surely after all the shit you’ve already said, you can come up with a better parting shot than that." But he’s already moving down the hall and neither one of them has enough energy for more.

Ryan sits in silence as the door closes downstairs. With unusual acuity, he hears his father’s footsteps on the flagstones outside, but he doesn’t move from the bed. He’s seen enough tonight.

There’s a buzzing in his ears, a dark smell around his head. The boy’s skin ripples with disgust, but nothing looks out of place. He hasn’t learned to see the spirits. Not yet, anyway.

The Bane is sotted, sated on years of smashed hopes and broken vows. Lazily, it spins across the room, perching like a bloated fly on shadow-furniture and eyeing Ryan like the meal he is.

A last White Howler. A Ronin with no tribe, no allies and no idea of what he is. The change will be long in coming — years from tonight — but it will come. The Bly Tach can smell it, and the scent makes him dizzy. A breakfast of souls will be served soon enough.

With a last, lingering look at the cub, the Bly Tach departs. The Eater of Children must be kept informed.

Outside the room, stairs sag beneath a weary mother’s weight. "Well, kid, I guess it’s just us now," Clarissa says, leaning heavily against the doorway. "How’re you doing, Ryan?"

He cocks his head like a hunting dog. "Ahh?"

She walks in, slumps by the side of the bed. "I’m sorry you had to hear all that, then. Your da and I had a few things to discuss, but I guess we could’ve saved you the trauma, eh?" She lays across the bed and sweeps her son into her arms. "Sorry about that, kid. I hope you can forgive me someday."

Ryan remains still and silent, searching for the Bane. Clarissa ruffles his hair. "Come on, kid, snap out of it, eh? Your mum’s had a hard day. Don’t go making it any harder, all right?" And for just a second, Ryan smells unwashed skin, blood and ashes, and feels the cold breath of winter blow through the warm bedroom.

It feels like home, somehow.

Clarissa keeps her tears locked inside. The mess downstairs will have to wait. (If only Mum and Da stay gone until tomorrow, she thinks, when I’ll have a chance to clean it all up.) She sits for a while in silence with her son, then takes out the Bible and starts to pray. For her husband. For her son. For her own soul.

Ryan says nothing. But in his heart, he echoes the prayer.

Deep inside, something answers. But the change will be long in coming, and he has growing to do.

Outside, the night goes cold.

"Time passes. The dreams that once tormented his father now torment Ryan. But - almost unbelievably - the horror isn't from the pure content of the dreams. It's from the ethereal taste of blood that brings an uncontrollable smile to his face... what is happening?"

She can hear him screaming in the room next door.

It’s the forth time Ryan has awakened this way in the last week, and it’s not a new experience. In the years since Sean walked out the door, Ryan has had nightmares of uncompromised ferocity. And they seem to be getting worse all the time.

Clarissa lights a cigarette and waits till the screams die down into sobs, then into heavy breathing. It kills her to sit around while her son’s in pain, but she doesn’t want to embarrass him again. He’s a young man now, after all, and young men have their pride. No teenager wants Mummy walking in when he’s in tears. Mother Mary, what a mess. She shakes her head as the smoke curls up from the ember. Sean’s made such a cock-up of that boy.

He’s a good kid, she reassures herself. Deep down, I know he is. But he hasn’t been acting the part. Truth be told, he’s been a little prick, a brawling, sullen layabout with a head full of bad music and nightmares. It’s be expected, Clarissa thinks, but when is he going to grow up? When is he going to put the past behind him?

It’s not like there haven’t been counselors — he’s seen nearly a dozen. Or drugs — there’ve been experiments with Prozac, Lithium, Thorazine, even something too new to have a reputation. (Clarissa doesn’t want to think about that one; the doctor seemed almost pleased when it turned Ryan into a near-vegetable.) Claire even moved the boy back home to England, hoping the change would do him good. Too wild, the States, or so she thought. But it didn’t make a damned bit of difference. In fact, it seems to have made him worse.

He’s on suspension again this week. Another fight, another boy sent to the doctor… for littering, or some such. It’s the third time this year, and if it happens again Ryan will have to be boarded off.

Not like Claire can afford that, but what can you do? A child is responsibly, she always believed. No matter what they might think in the States, you don’t just dump a kid when things go sour.

Ryan quiets in the next room, and Clarissa pulls on her robe and musses her hair. It won’t do to look like she’s been up awhile. She grinds the cigarette out in the ashtray (full— must empty that tomorrow, she reflects), and assumes her just-woke-up voice: "Ryan? Are you all right?"

In the darkness, Ryan can smell the cigarette and the sleepy scent of Mother long before she speaks the words. Dammit! He needs her again, but he doesn’t want to see her. It sucks, this wake-up-every-night-screaming-like-a-faggot thing. He hates it, but can’t help it. If you saw the shit that’s in his head, you’d scream, too.

Sometimes he looks into Malfeas, sees the stinking pools of sewage and the lost souls bobbing like little bits of shit. Sometimes he sees a spiral, a harsh labyrinth filled with revelations he doesn’t want to think about. And sometimes, he’s being tossed in a pit, or locked up below ground in a cell too small to stand in. Every time, he knows, it’s forever. The voice in his head tells him that.

Oh, we are freakin’ crackers, aren’t we? he thinks. Voices in the head and the whole damn thing.

Then there are times when he feels like some kind of animal — a big one! — running around through the streets all naked and shit, biting dripping chunks of… ew… out of tentacled nasties.

Once in a while, he sees a dancing monster, some sorta wolf-thing with a build like Stone Cold Steve Austin and a head like a nightmare. (Doh! It is a nightmare, dumbass, he thinks.) There’s a pile of dolls piled up around the thing’s feet, and he’s chewing on ‘em like a fatass. Only they aren’t dolls, and sometimes they shriek when he bites down….

Or there’s the babe with wings, laughing and twisting… holy shit, is that skin?… off the poor dude who hangs screaming from her ceiling in chains….

Or the Catholic fundie in his weird robes, ordering these Men in Black types to… oh, man, I really didn’t wanna see that!

Or the drowning chick in the pond, swimming down, down, down, then getting tangled in the branches of a sunken tree and thrashing around, screaming out her last breath into a silent, watery hell….

Then there’s Dad, looking nastier than ever, all scragged out and drunk off his ass, standing in some devil-star with a red book in his hands and screaming all kinds of eerie bullshit. Outside the star, there’s a hurricane tearing the room to pieces, scattering books and papers everywhere. Dad’s hair is blowing wild, and his eyes look all crazy and fried.

What’s that all about?

The worst ones are the ones where he wakes up tasting blood. First time out, he figured he’d just bitten his lip or something. But the taste seemed too fresh, and there was too much of it to have come from a cut on his lip or tongue. It tasted big, all salty and meaty and just a bit dead, and it always followed those "I’m-running-around-biting-shit" dreams. Great, he thinks as he catches his breath. I’m a fucking American Werewolf in London. If it wasn’t for the taste of blood, he might get into those dreams — they’re pretty cool sometimes, and ILM couldn’t match the effects.

The problem is the blood. He likes the taste too much. And that’s no special effect.

"Ryan?" Mom’s up now, her soft feet creaking on the wooden floor. She raps gently on the hollow door, and Ryan hears her thumbnail tap the wood beneath her fingers. Smoky breath hangs on the other side of that door, and Mom’s robe smells like it hasn’t been washed in weeks. She’s worried. She cares. Better let her come in. He takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly.

"Hey, Mom," he whispers, and as the hinges squeak open, he’s glad he let her in.

The night’s too scary to handle alone.

Not that he’d ever admit that, of course.

There’s too much of his father in him.

(Another fight. At least it's not in school this time, so he won't get suspended for it. But something's different this time. There's a smell in the air Ryan recognizes from the night his dad left: the sick, curdled smell of a soul gone wrong. It's all he can think about as his body performs miraculously during and after the fight he would ultimately consider to be "fun.")

"Put the cat down or I’ll kick your ass."

Another fight. Mom’s gonna kill me for sure. But when Ryan heard the kitten screeching and saw what these Brit assholes were getting ready to do to it, well, what’s he supposed to do? Pretend nothing’s wrong, just walk away?

Uh, uh. Screw that.

Damn, I hate England, he thinks, scanning his opponents. Stupid bastards can’t even dress right.

Spice Boys, that’s what they are. Five tall, boney twits dressed more for flash than for comfort. One’s shaved bald, like some rivethead geek; another has longish hair and a longer horse-face; the third Brit is short, shaggy and cocky, like some manic hippie freak; the fourth… damn, he’s tall, and muscular in a lean killer way. The last dude looks like a mad scientist, bald like the first guy, short like the third, and staring at Ryan through expensive mirrorshades.

What a bunch of geeks!

But there are five of them, and one of him. And the tall guy looks pretty strong.

I am gonna get pounded, he thinks. But what else could he do?

It’s dark in the alley — too dark for anyone with a sense of self-preservation. It’s a blind alley, too. Tall Dude Spice has the kitten by the scruff of the neck. Hippie Spice’s got a firecracker and a lighter out. They must have cornered the cat after offering it a little food. There — Ryan spots the foil bag of cat treats near a trash can. Man, he thinks, they actually went out of their way to do this! Sick bastards.

"Oi," says Mirrorshades, "get a loada this little toffer."

Hippie lets out a high-pitched giggle, lights the ‘cracker. "You lost, little boy?"

"Little Yank," Horse-face corrects. "Lookit him. A regular Bruce Willis."

Ryan lowers his shoulders, steps in. The alley sharpens, its sights and scents jumping into vivid focus. It’s the adrenaline, the rush you get just before someone beats your ass. "I said put the goddamn cat down, you Limey turds." He hopes he sounds more ferocious than he feels.

Tall Boy tsks, tightens his grip. The kitten spits, claws the air, shoots a stream of piss all over Hippie Spice. "SHIT!" he screams, dropping the firecracker. "Little bugger just pissed on me!" Startled, the tall dude lets go. The cat leaps, claws out, twists in the air, lands, runs off. The Spice Boys are too busy laughing to care. Hippie Spice cusses like Ice Cube on crack. "It ain’t funny," he shrieks, red-faced. "It ain’t funny!"

"Oi, shut up, Malk," says Mirrorshades. "Let’s stuff it up his arse instead."

As they jump him, Ryan smells ashes and a cold winter wind. In his mind, Rob Zombie kicks into "Superbeast." As a war-song, it’ll work.

In books and movies, the hero fights with power and precision. A series of cool moves drops his enemies like bowling pins. When he’s hit, he grimaces, clenches his teeth, and kicks ass even harder. The outcome may be bloody, but it’s never in doubt. As Ryan knows from too much experience, a real fight’s nothing like that. Instead of dramatic dialogue and telegraphed swings, the whole world narrows to a blur of sensations:

…punches too slow and weak to matter… …burning chest, ripping breath… …sharp blows striking flashes of light… …dazzle-blasts swimming through your vision… …mangled cusswords, half-articulate… …arms behind you, grabbing, holding… …grips too firm, hands too heavy… …hammers crashing again and again into your stomach… …rising sickness, burning eyes… …rockets of pain set off in your balls… …sudden flight, falling bodies, thuds, curses—

The impressions blast into hi-rez. Center on one guy’s neck and the spongy give of flesh. The abrasion of razor stubble and the bright tang of blood. It tastes good.

"Holy shit," somebody yells. "The bloody Yank’s gone psycho!"

But psycho isn’t quite the right word. Ryan’s on a rush of sharp sensations that rise up out of a fog and scream through his eyes and nose and ears. It’s not like other fights — the pain is similar, sure, and the feel of meat beneath his fists is plain enough. But this time there’s a surge in his guts that has nothing to do with stupid drink commercials. He snarls as his teeth rip into Hippie Spice’s throat, and for the first time in years, he feels alive.

Strong. Whole. Powerful.

Cool!

Tall Dude and Mirrorshades snag his arms and tear him off their buddy. Body-slam him into a brick wall and pound him with hard fists. He grabs Tall Dude’s hand — far bigger than his own — and twists it suddenly back.

The snapping wrist is muffled by the Tall Dude’s scream.

Hippie Spice scrambles to his feet, holding his bloody throat. "Screw the little freak, let’s go!" Even five feet away, Ryan can smell the cat-piss. Bet you’ll have a hard time getting that outta your pants! he thinks, smiling. Mirrorshades busts Ryan’s grin with a punch that smacks him back against the bricks. Blackout.

Blood in his mouth.

Wonderful.

One last kick in the ribs. A black spiral of pain.

Then running feet and pained obscenities.

After a while, Ryan opens his eyes. A little longer, and he can stand.

oh, shit, does that hurt!

Another shirt ruined. Another couple of days of bruises, cuts and achey limbs. Still, he’s been healing quicker, lately. Maybe this won’t be too bad. At least the cat got away.

As he leans against the wall and checks his teeth with his tongue (all there, all solid. good), Ryan feels a sizzling rush. His head goes light and giddy, and he actually laughs. That wasn’t as bad as he expected. Rob Zombie’s still singing inside his head, and the worst of the pain is settling down to dull rumbles.

That was actually kinda fun…!

Then he catches the smell, riding foul over the stench of trash cans and blood: A weird, creepy smell he noticed long ago…

…the night Dad left.

Ryan’s high spirits fade. The hair on the back of his neck literally bristles, and the fuzz across his arms rises into goosebumps. What the hell is that? he wonders. Self-consciously, he sniffs the air again. The scent is there, but drifting away.

I’d better get outta here. Something’s wrong.

As he limps back home, a dozen small wounds heal. By the time he gets to Kensington Market, he can walk upright again. Far off, he swears he can hear the howl of a wolf. Hey, he thinks, tonight, anything is possible….

An old evil is coming home to roost as Ryan becomes unconsciously aware of his Gifts. Can the last of the White Howlers harness his inner power in time to save the world from enslavement by the Wyrm?

By the time he reaches home, the only evidence of the fight is a bloody shirt. All injuries - and there were a few - have healed. It's kinda cool, but creepy, too. What the hell is happening?

Mom's in the kitchen; he can hear her even before he opens the door. Quietly, Ryan eases the front door open, steps in gingerly, and slides it shut. Slipping off his Docs, he glides down the hallway, reaches his room, and shuts the door. Sweet!

The shirt's wrecked. Ryan peels it off regretfully, slam-dunks it in the trash, and goes off to the bathroom to wash away the blood. Down the hall, he smells grilled chicken and mashed potatoes. Cool! I'm hungry.

The rush of cold water in the sink drowns out a familiar stench nearby.

It's been a long day for Claire - a dispute with some co-workers (bloody wankers!), a balky Net connection, and a chewing-out from Brian in Accounting. On top of all, there's been a nagging sensation of being watched, and a mother's intuition that her son is in trouble. Frazzling day, really. To top it off, she almost caught dinner down at O'Tolley's, but felt sick as soon as she opened the door. Something must be wrong in the kitchen, she had thought. Well so much for supper here tonight! Funny - no one else seemed to notice. So Clarissa chalked it all up to a day from hell and hauled out the chicken when she got home.

Ryan's room had been empty when she returned, and that set her nerves a little tighter. Where's that kid?! But as she fixes supper, Claire hears sounds down the hall. Ryan must be home after all. Good. Soon, the W.C. door opens and Ryan clumps down the hall to his room. Surly bugger, she thinks, lighting a cigarette. Too much of his Da, sometimes. Good heart, but a lousy temper!

At least he hasn't been in any more fights recently. Thank you, Mary, for small favors.

Ryan slides into another shirt and slips the headphones on. His blood's still going from the Kensington fight, so he picks out some mosh-tunes and grabs a few comics. From the smell of it, dinner won't be ready for a little while, and Ryan hopes to cool down a bit before dealing with Mom again. She's good people, and he doesn't want to weird her out.

Funny how he can smell dinner cooking, how he knows that it's not ready yet just by smelling the air. Every sense seems so much stronger, lately. As Shaken Baby Syndrome screams through the headphones, he adjusts the sound just a little. Jeeze, it seems so loud, and not in a good way.

Gotta turn it down a bit, yeah, that's better.

Wrapped in a blanket of sound, Ryan zones out and dozes. Outside, an old evil comes home.

The chicken's almost finished when Claire hears knocking at the door. Oh, great, she thinks, wiping her hands. Now what?

The men outside look like constables; as she checks them out, one flashes a badge. It's not the first time this has happened. Dammit, what's that kid done this time?

"Good evening, ma'am. Might we have a word?"

Claire sighs as she opens the door. "What can I do for you tonight, officer?"

"Are you Mrs. Clarissa McCoullogh, ma'ma? Mother of Ryan?" The tall cop looks kindly, but there's a coldness in his eyes.

"That would be me." Claire shakes her head and smiles sadly. Mother Mary, that kid will kill me, yet!

Behind the tall cop, his partner licks his lips hungrily: "Mmmm. chicken."

"May we?"

"Come on in."

A sour smell drifts in on the wind. The scent of blood and ashes, cold wind and decay.

It's a long way from Kil Na Korr, but some wars never end.

Ryan's war is just beginning.

The Wyrm has come to claim its prize.

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Werewolf: The Apocalypse Heart of Gaia

We continue to get a lot of questions about the status of the Werewolf: the Apocalypse computer game that was being produced by ASC games.

Unfortunately, production on that game has been delayed. No further information is currently available. White Wolf will post new news regarding the status of this game as that information becomes available. We will not be able to respond to individual questions about the status of this game.

This is all the news we have available at the moment.

Travis Williams Interview - Werewolf The Apocalypse - April 09, 1999 » By Squacky

1. Tell us a little about yourself and your role in Werewolf.

My name is Luka I live on the second floor...

No, my name is Travis Williams and I am the Executive Producer of Werewolf: The Apocalypse for ASC Games. Basically, I make sure that the game is on time and on budget. Just like any producer my responsibilities range from chasing Epic down for new code updates to making sure that thematically the game is what we all envisioned it to be back in 97. I also make sure that the team is motivated. I do this by putting them all in the figure four leg lock when they try to slack off. If you haven't tried this as a management technique you should. It's very refreshing.

2. For those who haven't heard could you give a summary of the Werewolf storyline?

Anyone who knows White Wolf Storylines knows they can't be brief. So have a seat this might take some time.

Three prime forces control reality in the Werewolf: The Apocalypse mythos. These are The Weaver (Order), The Wyld (Chaos), The Wyrm (Change). In it's attempt to set reality in order the Weaver became "sentient" and has gone insane spinning its influence into every aspect of reality (the dominating ideal that is technology). Since the Wyrm was a force for change it was his job to set the Weaver straight. In its attempt to do so it got caught up in the Weaver's madness and cannot break free. So it's role went from being a force of change to a force bent on destruction. Now the Wyrm seeks the end of all things. Maybe it sees this as a means to finally beat the Weaver...

Okay? Got that part? Okay keep reading.

The Werewolf tribes are some 13 tribes of Werewolves that come from various parts of the world. Long time ago the Werewolves used to keep population controls on humanity (back in our hunter / gatherer times). Since Werewolves fancy themselves as protectors of Mother Nature. As soon as humans become stationary animals their numbers began to increase. This threatened the balance of nature and the Garou (what Werewolves call themselves) would cull the humans so that their number never got out of control. This lasted over a thousand years. And now humans have an inbred fear of the Garou in their Crinos form (half man half wolf form). Werewolves call this The Delirium. It means that humans totally freak out when they see them in the form that used to prey on their ancestors. That means they will do anything from sit there and spit on themselves, run like the wind or pass out. Sometimes they even attack. Go figure.

Still with me? Good.

Okay now being a Werewolf doesn't mean you got bit. It means that you are descendant from a Werewolf. But just because you had a Werewolf parent doesn't mean you are a Werewolf. Sometimes the trait skips whole generations. One of the tribes of Werewolves, The White Howlers, decided that they were going to put an end to the Wyrms corruption. So the whole tribe went to fight the Wyrm in the Umbra (A dimension that is more spirit than here). Instead of winning they were converted and became twisted versions of the Howlers. Now called The Black Spiral Dancers these evil Werewolves fight against the other tribes of the Garou. So the White Howlers weren't totally wiped out. Some of their non-werewolf kinfolk survived. Occasionally, there will be a rogue werewolf born with White Howler blood. The Heart of Gaia is the story about a teenager with White Howler blood. Although he isn't a White Howler (The Tribal spirit of the White Howlers has been corrupted) he has the blood of one.

All right here's the good stuff.

So you begin the game as this "lost cub" and in the process of playing the game you just might grow from being a smartass punk kid to a hero of legend...

3. What do you mean by a "first to third person action game"?

Basically, it means that you can play the game in 1st or 3rd person perspective. Chances are people will play both of them as certain tasks are just better suited in 1st or 3rd. For instance, if you were firing a gun you might want to do that in 1st person. However, the melee combat system is much better played in 3rd (But then again that's just my preference). We have auto presets so you don't have to bother with changing your perspective all the time.

4. Werewolf is based on the popular pen-and-paper game. What type of role-playing elements will be included in the video game?

You will be able to direct how you gain powers in the game. So character development is gonna be in the hands of the player. Since we have quite a few powers you can choose how you grow as a player. I think that's gonna please a lot of players who want to play a certain way. Also since we are going to keep track of how you finish each level you will attract the attention of different totem spirits that will help your cause as long as you further their causes.

5. Will there be various "classes" with unique abilities?

Werewolf doesn't work like D&D; so there aren't any "classes" to speak of. However, in multiplayer there are Werewolf Tribes. Each tribe has it's own set of powers. So when you are playing multiplayer you can have several different choices of what kinds of powers you will have. And it's a little more involved than just heavy, medium and light body armor.

6. What types of weapons/inventory are planned?

The normal compliment of handguns, shotguns, machineguns, experimental weaponry, magical items, 6 foot swords. Isn't that enough?

We are making an effort to make the Hand To Hand combat fun. So we are building in what we call "Z Lock." This means that when you are in your half wolf (Crinos) form the camera will lock on your enemy. Then all your movement is done relative to your enemy. It works really well and it keeps the Melee combat in order. I just wrote up a development diary on it. Check out the web site www.ascgames.com. The programmer who did the code (Keith Leonard) helps me in explaining it. Besides he wrote the code. What do I look like explaining it.

7. Big question. What's multi-player gonna be like?

Even BIGGER secret...Ask me again in a few months. ::Wink Wink::

8. Can you explain a little about the "morphing" technology used in changing forms?

In 50 words or less...

The morphing system uses algorithms to make a smooth transition from one shape to the other. These algorithms take each vertex of the original shape and calculate the closest vertex of the second shape. Then, an invisible line is drawn between the two points. Because the relationship between the vertices is pre-calculated (not actually done while the game is running), morphing won't bog down the processor. When a creature morphs during game play, the vertex of the mesh moves along the invisible line from the starting to ending point, based upon those pre-calculated figures.

Did that make sense? I dunno dude I was one of the kids who wanted to ride on the short bus cause those kids looked really down to earth.

Essentially what happens is the morphing engine makes sure that WHATEVER you are doing in one form has a corresponding animation in the other form. That way the transformations don't make you stop and pose. Runs in the half wolf form flow seamlessly into the wolf form. It's actually pretty choice. Give me a few days and we will make a QuickTime movie of it. I think that was a little more than 50 words.

9. What types of supernatural enemies can we expect?

All the enemies come from the White Wolf World of Darkness mythos so people will see a lot of creatures that have only been seen in books. Some of the creatures will morph just like you... The Formori (Demonically possessed humans) can change right in front of you. One minute they are harmless innocents. The next minute they are the gnarled massive creatures with a few personal issues. There are rival Werewolves, Black Spiral Dancers (Werewolves who now serve the Wyrm), and maybe even a Vampire. I think everyone will be satisfied with the amount of enemies we have. The variety is pretty good too.

10. Thanks for your time! Any other comments?

Yeah, like when's Unreal Tournament coming out? I played it and... well, it rocks.

Oh wait here's a comment...WHERE THE HELL IS PLANETWEREWOLF?! What are you guys waiting for The Apocalypse? I know you have the url... so what's up?????

If you want more info on this awesome game in development, head to the Werewolf web-site!

ww_morph2_1_.avi

One of the best looking games of all time was slated for PC in the fall of 1999-spring of 2000. Based on the ecologically based drama Werewolf: The Apocalypse, Heart of Gaia would have been the driving force of gaming if it were released. The game was originally going to be a 1st person/3rd person perspective game. It was powered by the Unreal engine and had an amazing story along with it. The main character by the name of Ryan, a teenage kid who discovers to his amazement that he is a Werewolf, more aptly called a Garou. His journey crosses present and past history to find out who he really is and reclaim his lost tribe's heritage. Pursued by minions of the Wyrm (a demonic entity that threatens to kill the earth, enemy of all Garou), he has to fight for his survival.

The Wyrm, a demonic entity, wants nothing more than the world being destroyed. It accomplishes this by many means. Pentex, a huge mega-corp that kills the environment and people for at the same time, profit. In addition to that, the Wyrm has many more servants. The Black Spiral Dancers, evil werewolves who forsakened the ways of the Garou and Gaia, serve their master, the Wyrm.

Icky, to say the least.

Here is the hero Ryan, and just like all Werewolves, he can change into three forms, (5 in the RPG) Human, Chrinos, and Wolf.

Some of the Wyrm's minions are Black Spiral Dancers, Werewolves who fell to the madness and the corruption of the Wyrm, Banes (corrupted-spirits), and most powerful of all, Pentex (a huge corrupt mega-corp that nearly dominates all of human society). Needless to say this game would have easily would have won it's way into the hearts of gamers and those who love epics of yore. So what did happen to the game? The publisher of the game, ASC games apparently went under. This is definitely apparent when going to the website for the game. What does this mean? It most likely means that the game has no publisher and confirmed by EGM in 2001, that it is in limbo. Without a good publisher, the game will not be seeing a release anytime soon. Too many companies don't have the courage to pick up this great game. White-Wolf, which is the game company that makes the Werewolf line, has no comment and will only give details as they come. Who knows why it's being quiet. Hopefully since Vampire the Masquerade: Redemption did well, maybe Activision will publish it, or rather this will get White-Wolf in gear to find someone who can. I will have the introduction of the game so you can get a feel of what the game looks like, plus the game's pics with descriptions below, with more information about the Werewolves. I really hope someday like many that this game will be released. Only time will tell huh? For more information on the best-selling game Werewolf the Apocalypse, from which this PC game was based on, go to white-wolf.com or if requested I will do an article on the actual RPG.

Another type of creature that serves the Wyrm are the Throwbacks. These are creatures were once human, until they were experimented by Pentex.

And this is when Werewolves like Ryan fight the Wyrm and show it who's boss.