Tooth and Claw
Karen’s story is one of sacrifice and loss tempered by love and gain. She has given more than she hoped to in order to achieve her current life style and will have to make more difficult choices in the future but she is more than capable of meeting those when they arise.
She was born amidst a small wolf pack in which her mother was the alpha female. Born a lupus and was raised a Fianna. From birth her mother expected her to be Garou and so she was taught the ways of honouring the spirits with song as she grew to maturity among her wolf pack. Her first change came when she was 1 year and 11 months was very controlled and monitored by her mother so there were no unexpected surprises or issues. She joined her first werewolf pack very shortly after that.
The new pack was a new way of life to her. Her mother was very traditional in her beliefs. She was the only werewolf amongst a pack of wolves and that was the way she liked it. Not Karen though. She wanted to adventure explore and learn of the lights and noise of faraway places. The city drew her to it like a moth to a flame.
Her first venture into the city was an eye opener, she loved it. She adored the city. Every sinew of and pulse seemed to move within her. She ventured back to the city as often as she could to revel in it. She began to build up a network of friends from the Kinfolk and soon she had arranged a flat and a new home for herself. She remained in the city from that point onwards leaving only to see the few of her pack who lived in the forest.
She remembers the exact moment she first caught sight of a man who seemed to stand out. He seemed to know the reality of the city around him as merely an illusion of sensibility barely containing the natural world. She liked him instantly. His name was Michael. She started hanging around his area of the city more often in the hopes of seeing him. He seemed like a quiet man, early 30s but not bad looking, ginger, unusual interest in rocks, unmarried. These were just some of the things she picked up about him, after all when hunting it pays to know your prey.
After a few weeks she decided it was time to close the trap. She “happened” to run into him in a café and they started talking. After that they began to meet for regular lunch once a week in the café, then twice a week. Finally he asked her out. They went dancing she liked dancing. They began dating proper and she could not have been happier. He showed her the sights and sounds of the city which she had never known; she showed him the hidden groves and starlit clearings in the forest. They fell in love. Nature however is seldom so simple
Michael was out of town for a month and she was in heat. Even with living in the city it was difficult to be free of all natural urges. She needed a release. She left for the forest and returned pregnant. This was a problem. Even if the child was Garou the city was no place to raise a cub she knew that. Michael would wonder what was wrong with her and why she suddenly had a pet she treated like a child. She wanted to go to her mother for advice but felt that avenue was not likely to end well and based on that she decided to raise the cub in the forest on her own and leave Michael for a while. She was more than capable, the time along might do her some good and absence makes the heart grow fonder. She found a small overhang and made ready.
She loved her cub on sight. He seemed so prefect so absolute. They spent the 4 months alone together as she raised him. There wasn’t a minute she would change. Wondering whether or not he would be Garou she laid out a plan for raising him. She had been raised in a traditional pack but that was not what she wanted for her son. She wanted him to be open to humans and human society more than to wolf society so that if he was Garou he would integrate easier and that meant introducing him to humans before other wolves.
When he was 4 months old she started leaving him and returning 5 minutes later in Homid. At first he was terrified and whined and yapped for her, not knowing his mother was in front of him. After a few days of bringing him meat he began to relax and the more he relaxed the more comfortable he became. He noticed her scent and started trusting her. It took 2 weeks but eventually he was as comfortable around her in homid as he was when she was lupus. He still treated her differently depending on her form; he didn’t think the homid was his mother but he was happy around her and that was the main thing.
At 6 months she began leaving him on his own for extended periods of time. This not only allowed him time to explore as he got bolder but also taught him independence to some degree. A happy side note was that she was able to return to the city, all be it briefly. She made a decision to try and introduce another, proper human to Cal. She met with Michael had a very fond reunion. After a week she suggested a walk in the forest to which he agreed. She led him deliberately straight to Cal. She found her son wandering around their den. He came bounding over to her the moment he saw her. She feigned ignorance and played happily with him. Michael kept his distance. She tried to get him to come closer but he was worried and a little afraid. He kept talking about the cub’s mother coming back and how they should leave. She could tell it was rubbing off on Cal he was unsettled around the stranger. In the end they left and she knew this would be a setback.
At 7 months it was time to introduce Cal to a wolf pack. What better pack than her own mothers. She brought Cal along when she went to visit her. Having been raised alone he was nervous being around others wolves. Karen explained to her mother that Cal was her cub and it was time for him to join a pack. Her mother was angry that she had not brought him here sooner. He should have been born among them. After a brief argument it was agreed that Cal would join the pack but Karen would keep her distance. She was only allowed to visit him from then onwards. She knew this was a terrible idea. Being raised alone then deprived of the one who raised you would have some serious effects on him as he grew. What choice did she have though? He needed to be part of a pack now.
She visited as much as she was allowed to. It broke her heart to be treated as a threat to her own child. When she saw him he was happy, calm and playful as he had always been but as he grew she heard stories of his anger. He grew stronger and fiercer every day. She knew he resented being separated from the only person he knew he could trust, the only person he knew cared for him. When they we’re apart he became more animalistic.
She watched as he learned how to hunt and kill. He took more pleasure in that than he should. She watched as he grew taller and stronger than those around him. He would snap and growl at any who irritated him. He seemed to live only for her visits and spent the rest of his time away from most of the pack. She worried deeply about what would happen when he reached maturity. He was only going to get worse.
Her own life was troubled during this period as well. She grew distant from Michael. He could tell something serious was playing on her mind but she wouldn’t explain. How could she? She took solace in her own pack and unwound by hunting maintaining her territory and spending time with them. More often than not though her thoughts returned to her son.
She grew more and more nervous as he approached the age of 2. He was barely controllable. There was no longer any doubt about whether he was lupus or not. He was too powerful not to be. Too full of anger. Much to her relief fortune took a turn for the better. One of the few other wolves he interacted with took an interest in him and him in her. Slowly they built up an emotional connection. He began to relax around her and his anger dissipated. They hunted together, they slept together, and they spent almost all their time together. Another connection was only a good thing. There was hope that her son would become more than simply a hate filled beast distaining the world that ripped his mother from him. There was hope he could be reasonably normally adjusted. If he could form one more bond he could form many more. He could be balanced. Nature though is seldom so kind.
First she smelt blood in the air, then came the howls of rage and terror. There was chaos on the wind and at the centre of it was her son. She ran to the pack and arrived as the carnage reached fever pitch. Cal was tearing his way through the pack wolf by wolf in chrinos. Something had finally pushed him over the edge. Those who did not run were being annihilated in his path. There were 10 wolves already dead and there was no sign of her mother. It appeared that he was pursuing the alpha male. Her father. There was no way he would escape Cal was too fast. She watched in horror as her son tore her father in half.
She became lost in herself. Unaware of what was going on around her. She heard snapping and tearing and pain but other than that very little seemed real to her. What could she do? What choices remained open to her? She would either have to forgive her son or kill him. There was no middle ground. She could either try to contain and pacify him or recognize that he could never be saved. The answer was provided for her. As she came back to reality she saw that Cal had began to calm. He was in hispo nuzzling against the silver wolf. He appeared to be licking a bite wound she had. All around them lay death and carnage and yet they seemed sweet together. It was one of the most bizarre and strangely horrifying things she had ever seen.
Cal looked up and saw her. There was regret in his eyes and dispersed hate. He stalked over to her slowly like a wounded animal. She was not afraid of him, she pitied him. The other kept her distance from Karen. Cal stopped in front of her, head bowed. She reached out her hand slowly and petted his head.
“It’s ok son. It’s ok”
When she looked up the silver wolf was gone.
Over the next month and a half she explained the basics of werewolf society to Cal. She learned that her father and bit his potential mate and that was what had pushed Cal over the edge. He was always incredibly protective of those he cared for. She taught him to honour the stag with song as she had been taught. She knew he needed to find a pack soon but more importantly the pack needed to be of his own choice. When he was forced to give up something or someone he was prone to anger. He was afraid of being alone but hated being forced into things. He needed the freedom of choice. In hindsight raising him alone was a terrible idea, but what was done was done. All she could do now was hope he would find some new family in his pack. She planned to return to her own pack shortly after Cal’s summons. They needed some time apart. She would try and work things out with Michael if that was still possible.