Friday, July 13, 2018

Aware Wolf

I've been waiting for Bone Gnawers/Stargazers to come up in the queue since I started this re-read, mainly because it gives me a chance to share my favorite Werewolf art/Aware Wolf meme.

That would be the cover art for Stargazers, which is actually the second book in the duology, but you know, it's a great picture.

Anyway, we start off with Bone Gnawers by Bill Bridges and Justin Achilli. (The latter is mostly known for his work on Vampire, or his time as Gangrel in the WWE. Most figure the blows to the head he took in the ring explain his take on the entire line. The former is the guy with the credit for developing the entire Werewolf game.) As such, we're following around Carlita (aka Big Sis), a Bone Gnawer from Tampa, Florida, and member of the Silver River pack. The Bone Gnawers are one of the two more urbanized tribes, although unlike the Glass Walker counterparts, they generally are poor, and protect the downtrodden of humanity.

There's a bit of retconning (for those unfamiliar with the term, it's the process in which what was originally released as cannon suddenly gets changed with or without explanation) in her story, since when she was introduced back in Red Talons, she stated that she was there because the original messenger got tied up with something else. Now, we hear about how a Uktena tricked her to put her in a situation where she was forced to go to New York to wind up in the pack. Any rate, The Silver River Pack flies out of New York to Spain for a Werewolf business meeting, followed by traveling to the Hungary/Serbia border in an attempt to stop the Tiza river from feeding Jo'cllath'matric. Which sort of succeeds, although Cries Havoc gets his memories eaten by one of the new banes and even Uktena's deus ex machina appearance can't fully stop the awakening.

In the meantime, Stargazers centers on Antoine Teardrop, the one who prophesied the entire Silver River Pack in the first place. When said pack returns to the Catskills with the comatose Cries Havoc, it is he who sort of figures out how to wake up Cries Havoc. He's also guarding the also comatose Mari Cabrah, and trying to discourage King Albrecht from going to Europe. Anyway, he does manage to wake up Cries Havok, and sends the pack on a quest to find the Record Keeper, who may hold the key to returning ALL of Cries Havoc's memories that got sucked out by the bat bane.

Following that farewell, Teardrop does have another vision that leads him elsewhere in the Umbra (you can tell the developer is writing, since he uses the same poetic language in the book that the rule books uses), where he comes across the knowledge of the Silver Thread. Thinking the knowledge of this path through the madness that encases the Wyrm should go to Albrecht, he follows another path that winds up leading him to the disgraced Arkady. The two work together briefly to open the path to the Silver Spiral, thus setting up Arkady's end game later on.

While the series has a few more plot holes than I remember and more than a few silly moments that you can almost hear dice rolling in the background, it still remains fun to read. It's also interesting to read the in game explanation for why the Stargazers left the Garou Nation for the Eastern Beast Courts, rather than the whole "Well, we needed ways to tie in our Eastern line to the more popular Western line, and we already removed the Gangrel from the Camarilla, so we need to have someone leave in Werewolf Revised..."

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