Werewolf - For the Love of Life
The Starheeders Sept
A massive valley between two sloping mountains of the Rockies, with a river running throughout. The Center of the Caern is a small island about 200 sq. feet tucked between two branches of the river that split and re-converge around it, rife with water vegetation. There are hand-made bridges crossing the river, which is about a quarter-mile across at its widest point, with one bridge on each side of the Caern Heart island connecting it to the mainland.
The human kinfolk of Arapaho, Cheyenne, and Sioux tribes who choose to live with their kin stay on the east side of the river, and the wolf kinfolk stay on the west. There are about 75 human kinfolk at any one time, and 30 wolf kinfolk. The wolves often go out to hunt, as they require more sustenance than the human kin. As a result, usually only the lower-ranked kin are around to look after the wolf pups.
Moots, Meetings, Medicine Lodges
During the monthly moots, the Kin pack up and move further away from the Assembly Area, which consists of an ampitheatre dug out of the rocky mountain outcroppings on the east side open to the night sky. Thier moots are usually held during the half-moon; both as a mark of respect to their sept leader and as a symbolic gesture to the balance that governs their multi-tribal caern.
The Medicine Lodge is where the knowledge and bane-fetishes of their fallen enemies are kept. Leather scrolls are carefully maintained and heavily guarded, and access to the spiritual knowledge is limited to only those with both the permission of the Sept Leader and Rite Master.
The Garou that make up the Sept consist mostly of Pure Ones, the Uktena and Wendigo, but there are notable exceptions. About five of the Garou are Black Furies, the result of pioneer women looking for an equal start in the West intermarrying with Uktena kinfolk years ago. Another few are Bone Gnawers, mountain men who have proven themselves useful to the caern through trial, and aid in caern defense in return for a safe place to heal and recharge. Silent Striders have also been known to pass through this particular caern, relaying messages from smaller Wendigo and Uktena septs and sharing their knowledge on the movements of the Storm Eater’s minions.
Due to the caern’s massive size, no less than twenty-five Garou warriors are on call at a second’s notice to defend it in case of attack. The bawn (Boundaries) of the caern are patrolled both by the Garou and the Umbral spirits that Shuns-the-Night and Tall Shadow have called upon to help serve, and are also concealed by various misdirecting measures, usually by the product of powerful gifts and rites enacted for the caern’s concealment. As one of the largest, if not THE largest current North American sept, they can also call upon other Garou from the Wendigo and Uktena, and some Black Fury and Silent Strider caerns, to aid should they be attacked in force. Due to their size, however, no Bane has been stupid enough to try. The only ‘vulnerable’ spots of the caern would be considered the north and south entrances to the valley, the east and west being flanked by tall mountains.
The dead of the caern are remembered on the west side of the river in a cave where the deeds of heroes are painted upon smoothed buffalo hide, and their weapons are laid to rest in niches nearby. Further back, the bones of the most ancient protectors and founders of the caern lay buried. There are barrows for the more recent dead outside of the cave, most notably a large section filled with markers, carefully tended even fifty years later. This area is for the dead who fell when the Starheeder’s Sept nearly fell to the explosion of the Storm Eater into the world fifty years ago. A powerful bane servant of the Storm Eater ripped through the Gauntlet into the physical world at the weakest point it could find, the center of the Sept, and killed most of the Garou there. Only with the intervention of Raised High, a highly skilled lupus theurge, and his son, Shuns-the-Night, were they able to enact rites to bind the Bane below the caern once again.
This horrific attack in their past is also the reason why they are so mixed these days. Before the Storm Eater’s banes ripped the sept to shreds, they were Uktena exclusively, and the bawn of the caern did not extend as far as it does today. To revitalize their numbers, Shuns-the-Night, after becoming Sept Leader, extended invitations to help tend the weakened caern to trusted Wendigo and other Uktena, and after the intermarriage of the Black Furies and Uktena kin, to their children as well. Their weakened state did not allow for many prejudices in looking for allies, and in the careful cultivation of allies, both Pure and Wyrmbringer, they have managed to raise the caern’s strength from near-death to one of the most powerful in the Americas.
The peace is maintained mostly through the works of Shuns-the-Night. A skilled Philodox, his mediation skills have kept the sept from succumbing to its differences. He disallows the outright shunning of outsiders, preferring to see what they can offer before being judged, something his contemporaries and Inner Circle do not always agree about. With the Pure One’s kin being moved all over the country by the United States militias and government, their numbers in Colorado are dwindling (and illegal, by the encroacher’s laws), and most feel they need to maintain their purity or lose all they are.
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