Werewolf the Apocalypse Rage Across St. Louis
Black Spiral Dancers
The orgins of this tribe can be traced back to the days of the Roman Empire, when legions of soldiers struggled to build a nation that would place Rome at the center of the known world. In distant lands, generals conducted campaigns against chaos and barbarism. After 80 A.D, their most valiant enemies were the fierce tribes of the Northern Britain. While the southern tribes quickly fell before the Roman advance, the stalwart defenders of the north held off the assaults of the Romans for over two centuries.
Hadrian’s Wall marked the furthest limit of this empire with a boundary of stone and mortar. The edifice was originally constructed to defend Roman settlements from the raids of the northern tribes. On the north side was Caledonia, where dozens of tribes warred incessantly against each other. To the south, the furthest outpost of the empire served as refuges for Roman civilization.
The last defense of the northern caerns depended on the White Howlers, a fanatic and dangerous tribe stalking in the Scottish highlands. Long after the Impergium, the Howlers remained isolated in Northern Britian. This desolate landscape was also home to the Picts. Legends tell of a hero named Cluid who lead them on an epic journey to these lands – thus, their descendants reffered to themselves as “The Children of Cluid” or “Cluithi.” The greatest Pictish warriors became Kinfolk to the White Howler tribe.
Aided by Pictish Kinfolk, the Howlers were truely awesome in battle. They demonstrated courage and ferocity in action. Their greatest totem, Samladh (pronounced SAU-lah), represented these qualities. While Roman centurions hid behind armor and shields, the Picts often fought in the nude, proudly displaying warpaint and tribal tattoos. Invigorated by the chilly Scottish winds, they raced each other across Roman battlefields screaming horrible war cries. Many warriors painted themselves a fierce shade of blue before battle to draw upon their deepest energies. This use of warpaint and tattoos inspired the Roman name for their tribe: the “Pictii” or “Painted Men.”
The white-furred Howlers fought without restraint, reveling in savagery and brutality. Ancient heathen rituals and violent Rites of Passage had made them incredibly vicious. The most arduous of these rituals involved spirit quests into the darkest reams of the Umbra. Cubs proved themselves not only by defeating physical foes, but also by descending into the dark heart of the underworld to prove their worth. The greatest arena for these ordeals was a Malfean realm known as the Spiral Labyrinth. Picts knew the shamanistic tradition of confronting these spirits as “walking the spiral”; Howlers used Gaia’s blessings to travel further into the spirit world than any human mystic ever could.
While the White Howlers were masters of shocking violence, the Wyrm’s legions were more subtle. Many thought that continual assaults on the realm of Malfeas would strike at the heart of hell, weakening the Wyrm’s strength and purifying the bawns of their caerns. Unfortunately, Banes from outside the Malfean labyrinth had already begun to seduce and possess their Picktish Kinfolk. Slowly, they tainted the Picts, stunting their growth and corrupting their minds. While the werewolf rulers of the tribe maintained the purity of their own blood, their Pictish Kinfolk became bestial and degenerate.
From this point on, legends differ. Some modern Galliards believe that the Wyrm’s servitors spawned in the Scottish moors faster than the White Howlers could slay them. Others relate that a few enemy spies within the northern septs betrayed the Howlers to their undead enemies. Allegedly, vampires and the Garou they subjugated opened Moon Bridges to call down diabolical allies. In these tales, loyal White Howlers were completely overwhelmed and the Wyrm’s assault completely eradicated all traces of the tribe.
Though the original tribe is indeed extinct, these stories are not entirely correct. By completely abandoning themselves in combat, the White Howlers’ Rage became utterly uncontrollable. Their heathen beliefs also insisted on the tradition of descending into the Malfeas to improve their insight and prowess, placing them at spiritual risk. By following these two beliefs, the White Howlers succumbed to the Wyrm’s temptations.
As their heroes’ journeys into darkness became more perilous, the warriors who returned understood many dark mysteries of the underworld. Blasphemous revelations tested their sanity. In glimpses of insight, some survivors argued that the Wyrm was not a force of corruption, but merely one of balance. Those who rejected this idea responded with overwhelming rage, but as the Howlers indulged in violence, forces unseen preyed upon their kinfolk. The tribe was never destroyed from without. It was corrupted from within.
By the time Roman legions finally broke through the Picts’ defenses, the vampires who came with them were unprepared for what they found. The White Howlers had descended further into corruption than their Cainite invaders. To secure the freedom of their homelands, many within the tribe had made dark pacts with infernal forces. After witnessing the true nature of the Wyrm, they willingly opened gates and portals leading to infernal depths. These spiritual visionaries destroyed those who questioned their desperate defense of their homeland. By the time the Romans arrived at the first corrupted caern, hellspawn waited to shatter their minds and consume their souls.
The last caern to fall was the Sept of the Mile-Deep Loch, an island where the purest members of the tribe ruled over the White Howler werewolves. Elders looked out over the bleak moors of Scotland from a high peak at the center of the lake. When they learned of their brethren’s treachery, they tried to summon reinforcements from distant septs, but by then, it was too late. Outsiders could do little but watch as wave after wave of Wyrmish forces assaulted the sept’s defenses.
When the sept was finally defiled, black tendrils reached out from the depths of the lake and dragged the tribal elders into the underworld. Destiny awaited them in the greatest gateway to the Spiral Laybrinth, a Malfean fortress known as the Temple Obscura. There, the last heroes of the White Howlers prepared for spiritual corruption. According to legend, Coruroc, Last of the White Howlers, was the final victim to fall.
In the weeks that followed, the Romans were driven back past Hadrian’s Wall, but at a perilous cost. The Picts had secured their Scottish homelands again, but their Garou guardians had fallen prey to the conqueror Wyrm. The caerns of the north became breeding grounds for banes, which werewolves immediately bound into Wyrm-tainted fetishes. Eventually, the elders of the tribe returned from their final journey into the depths of Malfeas, but when they did so, they emerged as werewolves of the Black Spiral tribe.
Black Spiral Dancers are organized into packs called Hives. Caerns where they raise their young are called Pits. Black Spiral Dancers have lived underground among foul and cancerous children of the Wyrm for centuries. Their Hives are nestled amidst labyrinthine cave systems, most of which are filled with industrial waste and monstrous things.
The Dancers have lived underground among horrors for ages, and all are quite insane; however, the Wyrm has given its slaves terrible powers of their own, as well as a violent hatred for the Garou. The average Black Spiral Dancer has a short and violent life, their goals bringing them into direct conflict with the remaining Garou tribes.
Black Spiral Dancers roughly resemble other Garou; however, many of them are malformed, either through metis birth or close proximity to the radioactive balefires of the Wyrm. The heads of their Crinos forms are often huge and slaver-jawed, resembling a hyena’s, while their ears are hairless and pointed like a bat’s. Their eyes are huge and round, glowing with red or green luminescence, while their fur is patchy and usually either albino-white or grayish-green. Black Spirals’ human forms are usually twisted and deformed, but some are quite beautiful.
The Dancers’ totem is Whippoorwill, whose mad call the Dancers emit during their hunts. They name themselves after a mysterious Labyrinth that exists in the realm of the Wyrm; they are said to “dance” this Black Spiral to gain dark powers and wisdom. Indeed, to dance the Black Spiral and survive is considered by the Black Spiral Dancers to be the most sacred of feats.
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Black Spirals in St. Louis
The caves under Lemp Mansion and brewery are thought to be home to a large majority of the Black Spirals. Most offensives that targeted the area have failed.