Werewolf: The Apocalypse
Евгений / Yevgeny
Stealthy vampire hunter
Birthday: Unknown, 1993
Current age: 22
Origin: Caucasus Mountains, Russia
Occupation: Travelling vampire slayer
Religion: Eastern Orthodox (ordained)
Weight: 150 lbs.
Description: Caucasian. Brown hair. Brown eye. Left eye is missing; wears a black eyepatch.
Native language: Russian. Also speaks English fairly well.
Mode of dress: Standard dress is black denim pants, black hoodie, and comfortable athletic shoes. Is never without his rucksack, even when sleeping.
With a muted intake of breath, I started awake. My skills, honed to the point of instinct after many years of practice, came to me instantly, as I froze, ears straining for any sound out of the ordinary, nose silently twitching for the scent of danger.
My silent vigil was shortly interrupted by a repetition of the same sound that had awakened me in the first place – a soft groan, this time followed by unintelligible mumbling. I relaxed, feeling slightly sheepish at my reaction. While I had been sleeping on the road a lot lately, this was my… I counted on my fingers… third night sleeping on a real mattress at the Gaia Pacifica sept.
While others undoubtedly found the thin old mattresses uncomfortable, after sleeping on the ground all over the Western coast of the United States, they felt heavenly to me. Couple that with the garou on watch who kept the ghosts away for the most part, and I was having a hard time imagining a place I’d rather crash. The fact that I had to put with some noisy “roommates” here in the makeshift barracks was a small price to pay.
I relaxed back onto the mattress. I knew that after the brief adrenaline surge I’d just experienced, it would take me at least 30 minutes to fall back asleep, so I sat up and rummaged around in the rucksack I was using as a pillow for something to keep me occupied. My searching hand found my headlamp, a small flashlight with a headband attached, such as a spelunker might use.
Pulling the light onto my head and switching on the lowest setting, I began searching through the rucksack in earnest. I had that emergency knife, with the wrapped cord handle. It was something of a fun puzzle to try to find a way to wrap the cord around the handle in new and interesting ways. I found my flask of vodka, but I knew even a shot of the potent beverage wouldn’t help me sleep at this stage.
At the very bottom of the rucksack, my hand found a small collection of notebooks, and I pulled the bottom-most one out of the sack. As I brought it into the wan light of my headlamp, a wash of conflicting emotions washed over me. Swallowing back my hesitation, I opened the book and began to read.
I was born in 1993 in a small house somewhere in the Caucasus Mountains. As best as I can tell, it was near the town of Nalchik. I am sorry I cannot be more specific; the truth is, I do not know where exactly it was, and to my knowledge there is no-one left alive who knows either. It is not important anyway.
What I remember most vividly as a child was my family. Although they were not overly outgoing, I knew full well that my parents loved me. Life was difficult, and keeping food on the table for my older brother Alex and I was often a full-time job for both my parents. Alex, however, seemed delighted to have a younger brother, and for most of the first ten or so years of my life, I spent almost every waking minute at my brother’s side.
When my brother turned 13, things started to change. He had less time to spend with me, and started spending his afternoons at a local chapel with the priests there. Although I was initially resentful of this relationship in a typically childish manner, I soon came to accept this new responsibility of my brother’s. I started attending church with him on Sundays, although he insisted that he was not allowed to tell me what he did there on weekday afternoons, except that it was a sort of school.
The next significant date in my life is one I remember well. It is forever etched into my mind, as well as the mind of everyone else who lived through it: October 13, 2005. I was 12 years old.
Unenlightened men know it as the day the Islamic fundamentalist group Yarmuk Jamaat assaulted the town of Nalchik, slaughtering 35 policemen and at least 14 civilians.
My own memories of the event are hazy overall, but there are many events that stand out against the background blur, like a camera flash in a dark room freezing everything and burning it into your retinas.
I was asleep in my bed when I heard the front door of our house come crashing in, followed by terrified screams from my parents. As my sleep-hazed brain tried to understand what was happening, my brother appeared in the room. Immediately, he clapped his hand over my mouth and looked me dead in the eyes, his voice taking on a steely edge that I had never heard him use before. “You must escape. Go, out the window. Hide. I will take care of this, and come and join you shortly.”
His voice and gaze broking no protest, I quickly did as I was told, shaking more in fear than from the mild fall chill. My brother closed the window behind me and shut the curtains. This was the last I ever saw of my brother.
I managed to make it to our woodshed before my trembling knees gave out. I huddled alone there for what felt like hours, the sounds of gunfire loud in my ears.
Then, a shadow darkened the doorway of the woodshed. A man stood there, gazing at me with oddly expressionless eyes. As he slowly approached, my young mind started to panic. With my experience now, I can look back at this memory and see countless signs of what the man was, but at the time, I can recall only the very distinct feeling that this man was wrong somehow.
As he neared me, I could do nothing more than flinch away from him. But suddenly he stopped short and toppled over, revealing a shorter man in black priest’s garb behind him. “Ahh,” the man said, “was this creature bothering you, my child?” He stepped over the first man, holding out his hand to me. “We must go now, my son. What I have done will not stop this creature forever. I am called Father Pavel.”
What came immediately after this I can recall only brief segments of. I must have fainted once or twice. The first thing that I recall clearly was opening my eyes in a strange room. “It is good to see that you are aware, my son,” said a quiet voice that I vaguely recalled as Father Pavel’s. “Do you feel strong enough to go for a walk with me?”
After a few minutes collecting myself, I did feel well enough for a walk, and so Father Pavel and I took the first of many walks together. On this walk, Father Pavel introduced me to so much: vampires are real, the man in my woodshed was a vampire, and my brother was a vampire hunter-in-training.
Father Pavel explained to me that, while he would be happy to send me to live with any relative I knew of, he thought that my parents and brother were most likely dead. “In light of these circumstances, I am prepared to offer you a place with our order. As you may have guessed, we of the Zealots of Piety are actively involved in tracking down and slaying vampires. If you wish, we would be willing to take you in, train you in our ways, and eventually make you a full member of our order.”
Not having anywhere else to go, and nursing the embers of my lust for revenge, I agreed. Thus began six years of intensive training, not merely in combat, but also in religion. Although as a young student I felt that the combat training was the more important, as I matured I began to understand the importance of religion. For without the absolute truths of religion to anchor our morality, many well-meaning men have become the creature they were fighting. But now I am editorializing on my own story!
Now I must go, it is time for evening prayers.
Time flew by swiftly in my training. I soon discovered that there were a number of other students at the monastery, undergoing the same training I was. Coming from the small village I had, I was initially shy, but soon grew to be friends with a fellow about a year older than I. His name is Alexei. Our skill sets complemented each other nicely; Alexei was very studious and intelligent, while I found that I was a skilled acrobat.
Sometime around my 16th birthday, we as students were assigned into teams. By now, the teaching staff had had the opportunity to evaluate our individual strengths and weaknesses, and were able to put together teams with a good combination of skills.
I was assigned to Team Ivan, as the stealth and infiltration specialist. Alexei was also put onto this team, as the strategist. Filling out our team was a girl named Nastya as our combat specialist, and a wispy boy named Boris as recon.
We began training together and against each other, in order to learn to work together and to learn from the strengths of one another.
Much of this time blurs in my memory, and indeed, I do recall that time seemed to fly past as I trained. There are a few incidents that stand out in my memory, though.
One is the first time I sparred with Nastya. Nastya had developed a minor reputation as being nearly unbeatable in bare-knuckle fighting, so I was somewhat wary as we faced off. The instructor gave the signal to begin, and I quickly closed in and shot a right hook towards her jaw. To my astonishment, Nastya’s jaw wasn’t where I was expecting it to be as I realized too late that I had overextended myself and left myself open.
Suddenly the world went blurry as a freight train hammered into my solar plexus. I tried desperately to stay upright, but as the air rushed out of my lungs, my legs decided that lying down was much more comfortable.
By now, you have probably got a mental image of Nastya that is completely incorrect. She doesn’t have the grotesque muscle mass of a bodybuilder, nor even the bulk of an American football player. It is her immense skill, both inborn and learned, of martial arts that make her such a fearsome opponent, rather than sheer muscle mass. Her build is actually fairly average, but she does have a hard look about her that betrays her intense level of fitness. This hardness would certainly prevent anyone from ever honestly calling her “cute,” but make no mistake, she is attractive in her own stately, serene, and very dangerous sort of way. Her hair is blond, and her eyes are amber.
It was these eyes I found looking down at me in mild contempt as the world came back into focus. “Are you going easy on me because I’m a girl?” she demanded in her deep alto voice. I tried to assure her that I was not, but it came out as more of a wheeze. She raised an eyebrow. “C’mon, I didn’t hit you that hard. That was a point for me. Let’s go!” By this time, I was able to get enough air to gasp out, “I’m sorry, I need a minute to catch my breath.”
Around this time, the instructor came over to see what was going on. He took one look at me and quickly covered his mouth with his clipboard, but his eyes were clearly smiling. “Perhaps you should practice against one of the dummies for a few minutes, Nastya,” he said. “I think this dummy has had about all he can take for now.”
Later that evening, in the dining room, as I sat down with my tray and prepared to give thanks, I felt a just hard enough to hurt punch to my left shoulder as Nastya sat down next to me with her tray. “Look,” she said, “If we’re going to be on the same team, you need to at least know something about how to fight. After prayers this evening, meet me in the practice room and I’ll show you some of my techniques. I invited Alexei and Boris to come as well, since they could use some tips too, even though they aren’t as awful as you are.”
Thus Team Ivan started meeting a few nights per week to practice martial arts, under Nastya’s instruction. Although she was able to impart a small part of her considerable skill to me, I found that this type of fighting did not come at all naturally to me, and felt bad for being such a slow student.
[OOC: Yevgeni has one point in Brawl, which represents the skills he gained from these private lessons.]
A few months later, when melee weapon fighting was introduced, I found that this came much more naturally to me. I still had to practice hard to build my skill, but eventually the day came when I could beat Nastya when sparring with practice swords. After losing to me in a best two out of three match, she smiled wryly as she congratulated me. “Good work, Yevgeni. I feel a lot more comfortable having you on my team now that I know you can pull your own weight in combat. Just… try to make sure you don’t get into a situation where you don’t have a weapon, OK?”
The wisdom of this advice weighed on my mind. How could I ensure that I always had a weapon with me? I started carrying several knives on me at all times, and found that with practice, I could easily conceal even larger blades on my person.
Shortly before my 18th birthday, Father Pavel began sending us out on real missions. We started with simple recon, locating vampires for more experienced teams to do the actual takedown. Of course, there aren’t many vampires in rural Russia, so once we had proven our reliability, we started travelling farther and farther away from the monastery in our missions. Team Ivan quickly distinguished itself as one of the most reliable teams, and we moved on to more difficult and dangerous missions.
It was on one of these missions, a few months after my 19th birthday, that Nastya was very nearly killed. A vampire moved tremendously quickly – I would not have believed it if I had not seen it with my own eyes – and hit her full on in the face, knocking her across the room. I dropped down from the rafters where I had been concealed, and was able to stake the creature before it could finish her off.
As I relayed what had happened over my radio earpiece, the other team members sprang into action, and less than a minute later, Boris had us a clear escape route, and Alexei’s knowledge of medicine kept Nastya alive as we fled back to the monastery. The three of us prayed anxiously as we waited to hear word from the monastery doctors.
Finally word came: Nastya would recover, but she had lost her right eye.
I remember the first time I saw Nastya afterwards. She was smiling, putting on a bold face for the rest of us. Her hair had been cut short by the doctors. I felt the rage I’d been nursing inside me flare up. I added this injustice to my list of things to avenge.
After her recovery, Nastya continued to be our combat specialist. She needed only a short time of practice to get used to fighting with only one good eye. She continued to be a good friend to me, and an effective soldier against the vampires. Her combination of steely determination, brutal combat prowess, and warm friendship makes her stand out as the person I miss the most from that life, although there was never anything between us romantically.
But now I am getting ahead of myself.
Graduation day came shortly after my 20th birthday. Father Pavel told us that the results we had achieved in battle, combined with our book learning, meant that as far as he was concerned, we were now full members of the Zealots of Piety. Those of us who wished it, as I did, would also have the opportunity to apply for full membership into the priesthood.
Although I did wrestle with my desire for revenge (Scripture does say that we are to forgive, does it not?), I convinced myself that I was actually desiring justice. And so, I was ordained into the Zealots of Piety by Father Pavel himself.
Nearly a year passed, with Team Ivan earning quite a reputation in certain circles for being quick, quiet, and deadly.
The night it all changed is forever etched into my mind – or at least, the first part of the evening is. I was 21, and we were performing the assassination of the most powerful vampire we had yet encountered. Our intel said that our target would be alone briefly following a political meeting, giving us our window of opportunity. Alexei found a nearly ideal ambush point nearby, and we quickly prepared ourselves.
Right on schedule, Boris radioed in that the target was approaching our ambush point. I prepared myself for battle. Since this was an ambush, I would be using my stealth skills to get in close, stake the target, and then finish it off. Nastya was waiting a little ways up the road, ready to provide backup in case things didn’t go as planned.
According to plan, the target approached and then passed by my hiding spot. Without a sound, I leaped from my hiding spot and staked it. It limply dropped to the ground, and I quickly drew my sword and beheaded the creature.
As I reached for my radio to report my success, a voice came from behind me. “Well done, human. Vasily was becoming quite the thorn in my side, and you’ve taken care of him for me. Of course, it’s too bad I’ve come across this scene too late to save poor Vasily, but if I can bring your head to the Camarilla, I’m sure I can clear my name.”
“I’ve been made!” I muttered into my radio, as I turned and entered a combat stance with my sword and prepared for battle. I knew Nastya was at least 30 seconds away, and Boris would need at least that long to line up a shot from where he was.
As I turned, I saw that the creature who was speaking had brought a good number of “friends” with it. This was going to be a tough fight. I started it off with a lunging thrust at the throat of the lead vampire. It laughed as it sidestepped my attack, counterattacking with a wicked-looking dagger that I managed to block just in time. “Sorry human, but I don’t have time to play with you tonight. Die!” It shouted as it thrust the dagger directly at my face, faster than I could react.
My whole world exploded in pain as my left eye went black. My thirst for vengeance on my parent’s death flared up violently inside my chest, burning into an uncontrollable rage at how unfair it was that my life would end like this.
Then everything went black and I knew no more.
When I woke up, my first thought was how surprised I was to have awakened at all. Then came the realization that I could no longer see from my left eye, and finally surprise that I wasn’t in pain from my injuries.
I sat up.
“Good, you’re awake, pup,” came an unfamiliar male voice with a strong accent that I couldn’t identify. I looked around to find the source of the voice. It was a dark-skinned man of approximately 40 years old. He gave me a wry smile. “You might find this hard to believe, but we’ve been expecting you to show up here at some point. It wouldn’t do at all if you ended up dead before our first meeting.”
“Who are you?” I asked.
“I think the first question we need to address is, who are you?” the man shot back. “I think you’ll find that you have a few new abilities you didn’t have access to before. Heh, you thought you were a badass before, well you ain’t seen nothing yet. Don’t worry, we were all as confused as you are the first time we changed, so we put together a little class for the newbies. Olya here will tell you what you need to know. When you’re finished, come back to me and then we’ll talk.”
After several days of lessons, in which I learned that werewolves exist, that I was one, and that I could change at will, I returned to the dark-skinned man.
“Well, you’ve taken this better than a lot of folks do. That’s a good sign.” he said. “Oh, my name is Maahes. My family comes from Egypt originally. I’ve taken an interest in you because I’ve been reading up on your ancestors, and one of your grandfathers was friends with one of my grandfathers. He was a werewolf too, and he was pretty famous for slaying vampires. I was pretty impressed with your performance even before your first change. I’ve been keeping an eye on you for the past few months, hoping to catch your first change, but you kinda got away from us there the other night.”
“What happened to my team?” I asked.
Maahes frowned. “I don’t know. After you changed, you went completely nuts on that vampire and his buddies. I heard a rifle shot at one point, and somebody a lot less stealthy than you was moving around in the underbrush. After you finished with the vampires, you took off and I followed you. I assume your team returned home safely, but I don’t know how much they saw.”
“I have to tell them what’s happened to me!” I exclaimed, standing up.
“Well now, hold your horses there. Your friends are what we werewolves call ‘Hunters.’ Now, I know you and your friends were concentrating on hunting vampires, but most Hunters will kill anything that isn’t human. And guess what? You’re not human. The best thing I can think for you to do at this point is to hear me out, then get as far away from here as you possibly can.”
I sat down again numbly. What Maahes had said rang of truth. Sure, we had been hunting vampires, but that’s because vampires were the only supernatural creatures that Father Pavel and the rest of us knew about. If I had known about werewolves, I wouldn’t have had any qualms about killing them the same way I’d been killing vampires for the past 3 years.
“Ok,” I nodded. “You are making sense.”
“Glad to hear it,” he replied. “You see, your great-grandfather a werewolf as well, who was famous for hunting vampires, as I said before. Now, he was specifically famous for hunting vampires with a very unique weapon: a sword, hundreds of years old, dedicated to the purpose of killing vampires, and bound with the spirit of an angry viper. He called it a D’siah. And I think I know where this weapon is. You interested?”
At this point I will interrupt my narrative, as if this account should fall into the wrong hands, I do not want unnecessary details recorded that could endanger Maahes and his friends. So I will simply say that, after some amount of trouble, I was able to recover my grandfather’s D’siah, and it is a truly magnificent weapon.
After this, Maahes helped arrange passage to America for me. Although the Zealots of Piety do range quite far from the monastery on a regular basis, it would take something quite important to take them to America, so I think I will be safe if they decide to hunt me.
To condense nearly a year of time into a few short sentences, I walked south from my arrival in Washington state, travelling through Oregon, Nevada, and finally into California. I met many interesting people at many Septs, but everyone I met treated me with aloofness. My understanding is that werewolves from my tribe, the Silent Striders, are revered for the wisdom they pick up in their travels and for their abilities to deal with the undead. Perhaps it is some fear of being disrespectful that has kept others at a distance from me. Perhaps it is my obvious foreignness. My English is getting better, but it is still not perfect.
In any case, I stopped only for a short time at each Sept, taking care of any undead that were causing trouble in exchange for room and board. Eventually, I ended up in southern California. My next stop will be in a Sept called Gaia Pacifica. Perhaps here I will find some who are willing to befriend me…