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Those Dang Infeliz

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  • Those Dang Infeliz

    Howdy folks, I will jump straight to the point- I need feedback on a village full of Los Infelizos. I want them to be wretched, but interesting, and having the potential to be dangerous zealots or helpful zealots depending on how my pack approaches them (and their leader, who is crazy like a fox trapped in a bag of cats). They could be brought into the fold of either the Pure or the Garou Nation, or perhaps(!) all three groups could be patched together as part of a tenuous unified whole. Alternatively, they could be scoured from Gaia's face, or be used as disposable suicide warriors by one side or the other.

    Let me know what you think.

    A dead horse and a rotten rider stand against the plain, trussed up on a twisted old oak tree stripped of branches. The body is covered with terrible burns, and it is only by the torn shield and broken lance that you can tell this was a Comanche warrior. Wooden spikes have been driven into the hands and feet as well as the horse's neck, bolting both mount and rider twisted but mostly upright. Closer inspection reveals that many of the burns have been made by dozens of overlaid brands that form twisted glyphs that say 'danger' 'fear' and 'unclean.'

    A ramshackle town of dugouts, mud huts and tumbledown houses clusters around a tall stone and adobe fortress. Atop the highest parapet flies a threadbare flag, not of the Republic or Mexico, but of old Spain. The crenelations and buttresses of the fortress, as well as the gates, are covered in metal spikes- repurposed bayonet blades and the heads of Conquistadores' halbereds. A mutilated few bodies hang from the walls, chains about their waists or necks or limbs, some sporting gruesome stigmata, streaks of old and new blood in an intermingling crusty trickle on the rough walls. The occasional low moan or the rare shrill cry reveals that the displayed men and women are still alive...

    The Storm Umbra
    The penumbra that hedges in the Infeliz village is in a state of perpetual chaos. The presence of the Storm Eater is strong here, but the terrible winds and shrieking gales never seem to trouble the village itself. Indeed, the town enjoys a strange and eerie calm, as if it were within some great and swirling eye. Stormborn horrors and maddened spirits walk the plains, but they do not trouble the Infeliz... whether this is due to the depredations of the Crippled Giant or because of some other mysterious factor, no one in the village can say.

    The Infeliz worship a jaggling known as the Crippled Giant (Novolador Títan). Appearing as hulking flightless bird-like creature covered with long ragged feathers, it stalks the edges of the Storm Umbra in search of prey. A ravenous and pitiless totem, the Crippled Giant forgives (and even encourages) the eating of lesser spirits within its domain. No one is sure where it came from, but the opportunistic spirit appeared shortly after the Shadow Lords vanished. The Giant has taken the self-destructive Infeliz under its withered wing, teaching all falcon/bird/Metis gifts up to rank 2. The only spirits the voracious Giant will not eat are servants of Falcon or the Sin spirits (see below).

    Original Sin (or El Herencio) is the personal totem of many of the Infeliz. Official, spirit-bound packs are nonexistent, but many serve this being, indicating it is likely a sort of guilt or self-hate spirit. These ephemeral beings appear on the first new moon after a young Infeliz completes the Path of Stones and Thorns. It gains strength from the sins (or perceived sins) of its followers. Those who believe their transgressions are great or unforgivable are shadowed by tall, vaguely humanoid things in the umbra, but these entities can only be seen when peeking. Trying to approach or speak with a Sin spirit directly causes it to vanish. However, the spirit is not merely a parasite. Those who follow it gain a measure of strength equal to their own self-loathing.

    Ancestor spirits are hated and venerated in roughly equal measure. Shadow Lord ancestors are seen as fallen angels or at best, martyr spirits, and if overcome are tearfully offered to the Crippled Giant. Uktena ancestors are kept hidden away, often bound into Christian icons and enshrined or worn beneath clothing, where they are beseeched for forgiveness and treated like idols.

    Individual Infeliz
    The Veil means little here, though the Infeliz often wait until the sun sets to perform their rites, for many reasons. It is cooler then, the crazy moon hangs in the sky, and their deformities are less visible to each other and to God. These Garou are clothed poorly, and often exhibit fresh wounds and scarring, either from fights, frenzies or ritually inflicted stigmata.

    Brother Benedict has far too many clawed toes on his feet, so he cuts them off despite the fact that they endlessly regenerate. His feet are covered in bloody bandages and he hobbles along with the aid of a walking stick. He is particularly attentive to the voracious Novolador Títan (sometimes he feeds the feathered beast his freshly-cut toes; he mistakenly thinks this builds rapport with the totem).

    Brother Othello has several rotten teeth and uncouth speech, but is otherwise a handsome lad. Young and good-natured, relishes eating insect gafflings. Etches parables and spiritual aesops on the walls of the presidio using only his claws, whitewash and the blood of supplicants (rarely his own).

    St. James is an older Garou, 1st generation Infeliz. Clearly half-Indian, he detests his Uktena-related mother. Fond of strapping himself to the highest parapets with a broken knife clenched in his teeth and experiencing what he calls 'Thunder's Wrath.' Has a nervous disorder and twitches, an ailment that vanishes when he gives himself over to his senseless rage. One of the stronger warriors among the wretched.

    Sister Magdalene bears terrible scars on her abdomen; this young Garou gave herself a hysterectomy during her first change. She is intelligent and ambitious, but she is also very pious, and due to the Infeliz faith, that makes her cruel, both to herself and others. She is beginning to show, her scarred belly just protruding from among her tattered robes. She suspects either St. James or Othello is the father. She doesn't know it, but the raging Storm Umbra is becalmed because of her.

    The Iscariot is at the bottom of the Infeliz pecking order. A hemophiliac who has been burned many times (both to seal his bleeding wounds and to denote his weakness), he was unable to crawl along the Path of Stones and Thorns, a vicious ritual that is the closest thing the Infeliz have to a Rite of Passage. He is not the first Iscariot, but he may be the last- he has secretly sought out an Uktena, and she has been teaching him many things... but the Iscariot wishes to use that knowledge to destroy the village that shuns him.

    The Final Legend or the Black Legend is the master of this wretched settlement. A aged Shadow Lord, he alone stayed with the Infeliz when the rest of his tribe abandoned them. Once he trusted in Gaia and acted as a steward, a stern but patient father figure to the natives and young Shadow Lords alike. Now he is a snarling wreck, a bitter remnant playing at being king. He has twice had to purge his own fiefdom with fire and sword, with many of his charges falling to the whispers of the Wyrm... or so he claimed. He never lets the Infeliz forget their guilt, and encourages them to greater and bloodier acts of self-mortification to prove their worthiness to the Violated Mother. He often seems to listen to an ancient silver mask that purportedly transmits the voice of the distant Margrave.