I dropped by the Glass Walker's safehouse late last night only to discover they had a quasi-hostile new cub in their possession. She looked mean, too. (Although that might be typical of new cubs maybe? I'm sure I'd be more than a little pissed off at being kidnapped and held against my will. Oh, right. I was, actually, when Peter Kenworth basically held me hostage for a brief bit to tell me what I was. Of course, you tend to pay a lot more attention when someone puts you in a fucking cage made out of fucking fire.) I gave the groceries to Sue (who also happened to be there) and left immediately.
Val dropped by this morning. We got to talking a bit about spirits, and I theorized that if the garou did not have the innate ability to travel between worlds, they would not be so focused/fixated on the spiritual aspect of things. If the garou were not able to cross over, I suspect their entire culture would be different.
Val also talked about how Thomas didn't care for the stormcrow spirit--Storm's Shadow--she hangs out with. How he was snippy and irrational. How he might even have high levels of rage in him, though the rage might not be influenced by lunar phases because the kitsune are (apparently) not tied to the moon like the garou are. Val explained that there's a lot of bad blood between the garou over things done to one another in the past. For instance, the Shadow Lords, when Europeans came to America, decided the Native Americans (and thus the Uktena and Wendigo) were inferior and this engaged in slaughtering a lot of them. And, if you look around, it's pretty obvious who won that war. The Uktena and Wendigo--understandably--harbor a lot of ill will towards the invading tribes. I guess that probably means every tribe except the Red Talons. And explains how it's incredibly unusual for all the tribes to be present at one sept. And even though they're all werewolves, there's still a shitload of political crap going on between them.
As Val talked more about the garou's relationship with spirits, I realized that the spirits are simply what they are, but the garou affiliate with spirits by tribes and by packs. In essence, the tribes define themselves by the spirits they follow, and packs can further define themselves by the spirits they follow, but the spirits do not define themselves by the garou who choose to follow them. It's, in essence, a dysfunctional and lopsided relationship with the garou bending to the spirits' collective wills--or simply opting to follow a different spirit (if they're smart enough to not be abused). Spirits, on the other hand, use the garou and their ability to cross easily between worlds to affect changes they cannot directly influence in the physical world. It sounds like I might be able to barter with spirits--assuming I can communicate with one--with my newfound ability to cross between worlds. (Oh, wait. I could communicate with one using Mind magick--assuming there's a mind there to read that's not completely alien/incomprehensible mind like when I touched that Chimera spirit's mind earlier. Ouch.) However, I'm not terribly keen on testing this theory out. Let the garou be the spirits' slaves.
It occurs to me, however, that by directly reading spirits' minds and sharing my own thoughts with them, I might be able to develop even deeper relationships with them than the garou--although that seems more along the domain of the Dreamspeakers.
Val also confirmed my belief that very few spirits have the power to manifest in the physical world. Those that can often are nowehere near as strong as they are in the astral plane. I asked Val if manifested spirits had a weakness, like garou are weak to silver. She said that if a spirit does manifest, bullets can hurt it--but the garou's claws will cause even greater damage. I bet if I weave some Prime magic into an effect, or inject some Spirit resonance into a bullet, it'd hurt a spirit as if it were a garou's claws. But, like I explained to Val, if I'm fighting or even running from a spirit, I've already fucked up. I have no intention of brawling with spirits: I'll leave them at peace if they leave me at peace. If one of them attempts to manifest to come after me, I could probably slow it down or maybe even trap it by thickening the barriers between worlds. Maybe. Let's not test that theory unless we have to, Nick.
Val's still talking about--more seriously now--taking an extended trip into the spirit worlds with Storm's-Shadow. I encouraged her to go now that she's got a spirit buddy. She's a little concerned about it because her "spirit mom" (WTF is that?) went on a trip and never came back--apparently staying to work for a "wind incarna" thing. That doesn't seem like it's going to stop her, though. Hell, I'd be tempted to go with her if I wasn't so ignorant and new to all of it myself. How amazing would that be? Instead, if/when she decides to go, she asked me to watch her apartment for her.
With Mouse gone and Val considering an extended vacation, that leaves Salem as my only real connection to the local supernaturals as a mage--not as kinfolk. If something were to happen to him, I think no one would know I'm a warper--except for Charley. That would make it really difficult to assist discreetly with things or to get non-mundane help in return. I need to talk with Charley.
Thomas sent me a voice mail earlier warning me about huge rats downtown, and Val mentioned there was a guy spotted who opened a manhole cover and let rats pour out--and that the Shadow Lords knew about it. It sounds to me like there's a rat-shifting pied piper in town again. Wow, it's been a loooong time since I've seen one of those. What was her name again? Cornpop. Had this constantly runny nose. Invaded the sailboat I had at the time. Man, that could have gotten ugly. I'm glad she disappeared.