The Fox, The Rose and The One-Eyed King

“Gather round cubs,” growled the predatory female voice of Amber, “for there are tales to tell.”

Ever dutiful to their mother, the werecubs drew close, aided by nearby kinfolk depending on how they had developed.  Gathering around the fire at the top of Arthur’s seat as Amber tapped an ancient staff on the ground.  Lightly but with a beat, adding a rhythm to the cubs approach as the fire licked the air.  

A sharp strike signalled the attention of the cubs as the tale was to begin.

“Listen close my children.  Listen close for a tale of the Fox.”

The cubs howled their excitement and interest.  For the Fox was somewhat of a figure of lore and legend that walked amongst them.  A Superman walking amongst the people of Metropolis.  Though their mother cautioned care for the Fox was still a Vampire.  The mystery of such things brought desire to hear more.

Another sharp strike brought quiet once again to the cubs.

“You must pay attention cubs.  For this is not a tale of the Fox walking with our people.  No this is when he sat with a Vampire.”
The exuberance returned but different this time.  Growling and bloodlust coming to the souls of the cubs.
“Did the Vampire hurt the Fox mother?”  Asked one.
“I will bring death to it if it harmed the Fox,” declared another.
Amber roared her authority with the lungs of a full grown Garou.  Immediately silencing the rambunctious cubs.
“Sit and learn cubs.  For our tales bring lessons!”  The sharp authority of the mother wolf calming her cubs into obedience.  And with their obedience returned the mantle of teacher to the older Garou.
“This is the tale of when the Fox met the One-Eyed King.”
The flames crackled high as the Garou began.

“For you see, in the beginning.  Before the Fox came to us, he met the One-Eyed King.  A Balor he called himself.”
The cubs hissed disapproval.  For the tribes history reached back to Ireland.  And in Ireland.  The Balor was a demon.
The tale continued.
“But the Balor was wounded.  Hunters had pierced his heart and his soul.  Ripping hope from him.  And the Balor struck against those who wounded it.  And the Fox held it to justice and punished the Balor by taking his promise.  The one thing the One-Eyed King would not betray.”
“Did he banish it mother?”  A cubs asked with excitement, lost in the sway of the tale.  
“No.  He did more.  He bound it to protect.”
The cubs drew wide eyed at this.  Marvelling at the cunning of the Fox to bind the demon in such a way.  Their excitement became palpable as Amber continued to regale them.
“But it all did not go smoothly for the Fox.  For he was as held to justice as the One-Eyed King.  And the hunters who wounded the Balor used the laws to force the Fox to reward them.  Drawing anger from the One-Eyed King.  But bound by his word, the One-Eyed King was held.  Powerless to act on the anger that festered in the wound in his heart.  And soon, the wound grew black.  Blacker than the hearts of the Fomori of the old country.”Amber allowed herself a smile now, for the cubs were in the sway of her tale and this brought her joy as the cubs sat before the fire, enthralled with the tale.
“Darker and darker grew the heart of the One-Eyed King.  Hating the Fox for the hunters reward.  And in his hate, his protection grew darker still, visiting a fearsome vengeance on the enemies of the city.  But a black heart can only hold so long and would have broken the word of the One-Eyed King were it not for one thing.  The Rose of the Fox.”
The cubs gasped at the revelation for they had never heard of the Rose of the Fox.  Excited, like children at Christmas, they awaited the next gift.
“You see my children, the Rose of the Fox guided the Fox’s hand for many moons.  Taught him when to be soft as well as hard.  To flow like water or to rage like fire.  And the Fox grew from the guidance of his Rose.  Leading his people in a way we watched.  And soon we came to him, curious of what would bring a Vampire to walk like us.  And on finding, we struck the staffs and brought him to the pack.”Unable to help themselves, the cubs howled their excitement.  Their Superman more real to them now as their mother had revealed a new tale.  And Amber allowed them this, for the joy of the tale is in the heart of all Garou.
When they calmed, she continued.
“But the Rose did not come to the packs with the Fox.  She stayed, for without the Fox.  Darkness threatened the Fox’s people.  From within and without.  And she sought a defender for the Vampires that would honour the will of the Fox.  But the hunters sought only their own glory.  They wished tales to be made of them without the scars of battle that brought truth to the stories.”
The cubs hissed their displeasure at this, for cowardice had no home on Arthur’s Seat.
“And so the Rose of the Fox did the one thing that could bring their people a defender.  She walked into the dark where the vampires battle.  Then darker still, where the monsters live.  Seeking the one that could save them.  The One-Eyed King.”
Once again enraptured, silence fell upon the cubs.
“And their she found him.  On the throne of bones he made from the enemies of his people.  His lair littered with the remains of the monsters who threatened the normal people the Fox cared for so much.  And still stood the hunters wound in the heart of the One-Eyed King.  Bleeding black from anger and loss.  And his single eye fell on the Rose of the Fox”
Amber twisted her voice to mime the Balor’s speech.
“Be off with you, Rose of the Fox,” started the King, “Let me be alone with my pain.”
But the Rose of the Fox had more thorns than most knew.  She would not be scared by a wounded animal.
“That is your folly One-Eyed King.  For you are only alone if you wish it.  You only hurt because you do not wish to heal.”
“And why would I wish to heal Rose of the Fox,” mimed Amber, smirking at her lack of talent at mimicry.
“Why One-Eyed King, the real question is why would you not?”
“And so the Rose and the King spoke for 7 nights.  Back and forward.  The King trying so hard to hold onto his pain for in truth.  He feared life without it.  For he did not remember how to live life without the pain of the wound and the anger at the Fox.  But the Rose of the Fox spoke to him with truth and kindness.  Fearing not his gnashing or his gaze.  Fearing not the dark places he walked.  Desiring one thing.”
“To make his heart whole again”
The cubs began to shift, guessing the end of the tale had been reached.  But Amber steadied them with another strike of the staff.
“Patience children, we must see this tale to the end.  For pain is still to play its hand.”
The cubs quickly retook their places as Amber continued.
“And so the Rose of the Fox, with patience and understanding.  Mastered fear and brought the One-Eyed King to be whole again.  Filling the hole in his heart and healing his soul.  But while the Fox walked with us, a black weed brought the Rose low and brought pain to the Fox.  And to the King who was far across the sea.  And though the Fox healed, the One-Eyed King was all to familiar with the wound.  And it threatened to consume him again.  But the Rose had taught both far to valuable a lesson.  That pain must be allowed to heal.  That even a broken heart can mend if you wish it to.  And though the King angered at the Fox.  The Fox stayed his hand and showed the Balor patience and kindness.  Once again allowing the One-Eyed King to rise again.”

“And so the Rose of the Fox taught us that kindness can do the work that many blades cannot.  For to this day the Fox strives in the darkness, protecting his and ours alike.  But when times are darkest, the One-Eyed King rises from his lair and honours his word, the Rose and the one thing he never thought he would have.”

“A friend.”