Title: The Lesson
Author: Mrs. Fish
Fandom: The Sentinel
Warning: Major sap alert!
E-mail address for feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org
Summary: A teacher relates the history of their race to his students. An alternate reality The Sentinel/Werewolf: The Apocalypse crossover.
Disclaimer: This story is written for the private entertainment of fans. No infringement of any copyrights held by UPN, Pet Fly Productions, or others is intended. This story is not published for profit, and the author does not give permission for this story to be reproduced for profit. The author makes no claims on the characters or their portrayal by the creation of this story.
Notes: I believe this one deserves a bit of explanation. I love stories about the paranormal -- mystical, magical realms which cross over into ours -- and the beings which inhabit them. Wolfen is one of my all time favorite movies, and I've written several stories based loosely on it, i.e., an elder race of shape-shifters who appear as wolves, but transform into humans when they mate.
Imagine my glee when White Wolf Game Studio came out with their Werewolf: The Apocalypse role playing game. Entire histories about these beings -- their origins and tribal structures -- as well as information about The Others.
Which brings me back to how this story came about. One of the other shapeshifting races introduced in Werewolf: The Apocalypse are the Bastet, or werecats. There are nine tribes, but the only one you need be concerned with are the Balam -- the werejaguars. When I read about them, it set off a whole orchestra of bells and whistles that screamed The Sentinel crossover. So here it is.
The first part of this story is taken verbatim from Bastet - The Players Guide to Werecats for Werewolf: The Apocalypse, Changing Breed Book 1. I do not claim it as my own creation. (But after reading it I hope you'll see what inspired me to write this story.)
Glossary of terms used in this story:
Bon Bhat: "Great parent"; a respectful term for an elder.
Caliah: Verbal lore, specifically about the beginnings of things as we know them.
Den-Realm: An Umbral (spirit world) home territory, staked out by a powerful Bastet.
Killi: Fellow shapeshifters, gifted by Seline (the moon), and Gaia (earth mother).
"We are the daughters and sons of the moon. Once, the spirits say, we lived upon the moon and ran like rushing water through her silvery forests and across her luminous fields. But that was long ago. We still dream of Ix Chel, for we above all others are her favored children.
"The jaguar is the mother of shamans, just as she is the mother of the jaguar changers -- we have many mothers. A shaman knows nothing without the aid of the jaguar. The jaguar is the jungle; there is no part that she does not command. To anger the jaguar is to turn the jungle against you. No one will protect you then; not the trees, not the streams, not the snakes, the birds or the monkeys. The jaguar will most often kill he who offends her. But other times she will take the offender's hunting powers. Woe to such a man and his family, for they will slowly starve. Under such a taboo, no animal will dare walk into a hunter's trap, or allow itself to be seen by him when he has bow or spear in hand. Revenge is reserved for the jaguar.
"Some say that the father of the Balam was Tezcatlipoca, the Smoky Mirror,
god of night. Perhaps this is so, for his nagual, or
spirit aspect, was the jaguar. But we owe allegiance only to Ix Chel, the Moon. Long ago, in another reality called the First Sun, the Balam killed a race of giants and claimed the jungles from them. They have ruled jungles ever since.
"The jaguars sometimes lived among humans, aiding them in their hunts, teaching them the powers of the plants. They introduced the ways of ayahuasca, sabo and nu nu, so that humans could speak to their prey in dreams, and if the prey was willing, gain visions of when and how to kill their meat. The hunting tribes of the jungle still remember these secrets, even though the children of the Olmec and Maya have long since forgotten.
"When the whites came, they brought their evil with them. Vile spirits
of disease and mania plagued the humans. Their masters
feared the power of the jaguars, and sent men into the jungles to tame them. The jaguars fought back, using their allies in the jungle to attack the foul spirits and their human puppets.
"But the evil was too great, and the jaguar mother chose to make a supreme sacrifice. She appeared in the jungle as a black jaguar, the most dangerous and powerful of cats, and attacked the conquistadors. They hunted her down and cornered her, prepared to kill her and bring her skin to their captain. But she turned and growled, calling upon all her power of night. She grew and grew, squashing the men with her great bulk, flattening trees and damming rivers with her massive limbs. She grew until she reached into the sky, and opened her mouth wide and swallowed the sun.
"The world went dark. Night descended on all, and the celestial magics of the humans failed. The only light which shone in all the land was that of the moon. Ix Chel spoke then to her children, not just animals but some humans also, and told them of the coming dangers. The sun would rise again, as it must, but their power would be diminished. She gave them the chance to leave the dying world of humans and return to the moon. She offered her reflection in the mirrors of a thousand lakes and rivers. All her children had to do was leap into them and swim deep down, leaving this world for hers. Many animals ran to the rivers and dove in, seeking the moon. Some humans also went, and their tribes disappeared from the world.
"But the jaguars hesitated. Their anger was too great. Many wanted revenge. Blood must be paid with blood.
"The black jaguar could no longer hold the sun. It burnt her insides and she spat it out. Light flooded the jungle, overcoming the light of the moon, wiping her reflection away. The moment of true night was gone, and the offer of escape was forever denied those who remained. After this, it is said by the Balam that the Fifth Sun, the present age, began to die.
"To this day, the reflection of the moon causes deep yearning in the hearts of our tribe.
"But it is just a reflection, nothing more."
"This is the Caliah of the Balam, handed down from generation to generation since the time of the First Sun. Remember it well, for it is who we are." The teacher signified the end of the lesson by placing his talking stick, intricately carved and decorated with bone and feathers, on the ground before him. Clear blue eyes gazed across the fire into the faces of the young ones, obviously pleased at their rapt attention. Two newly changed cubs had joined them in the past week, bringing their number to six. It seemed such a short time ago that they had been only two -- the teacher and his mate -- when they had settled in their Den-Realm deep in the Peruvian jungle.
The teacher's face broadened into a wide smile as the newcomer silently
emerged from the dense foliage to join their circle.
Bronzed skin shimmered in the reflected firelight, highlighting powerful muscles as well as the silver armband -- a carved panther, inlaid with black onyx -- which identified the man as tribal leader.
The leader placed a tender kiss upon the teacher's forehead before gracefully settling down on the ground beside him. "Good evening, young ones."
"Good evening, Bon Bhat," they all responded.
"Tonight you have heard the history of our race. It is the first of
many lessons you must learn if you are to survive and grow to
adulthood. Our enemies are many and are as varied as the scents and sounds which surround you every day. You will be taught to recognize them all -- from humans, who would despoil and destroy our land because of their greed, to the Killi, shapeshifters who walk the Earth with us. But remember also that we have friends. The hunters of the jungle know and fear us, but have always honored and protected our kind. It is from these tribes that many of you will take your mates, so our race may once again prosper and grow. Think hard on what you have heard this night, young cubs, for you are the future of the Balam."
The two men -- teacher and leader -- rose as one, signaling the dismissal of their audience. The young ones turned and ran into the night, their playful laughs warming the two men's hearts.
A gentle caress across his chest brought the leader's attention back to his companion. "Blair..." He gathered his mate in his strong arms, pressing their mouths together for a deep kiss. When they broke apart, both men were hungry and aroused with passion.
"Jim... no, we can't," the teacher protested as he took a step backward.
"You're supposed to be with Aya. Why did you come
back so soon? Is everything all right?" Worried blue eyes searched his mate's face for answers.
The leader chuckled and shook his head. "Everything is as it
should be, Blair. The reason I've come back so soon is because Aya is with child. I've done my duty and returned to my true mate, the one I was meant to be with... you." Jim held out his hand. "Now can we go back to our den and make love?"
Blair jumped into his lover's arms, wrapping himself around the larger
man like an anaconda. "Yes!" he cried, laughing with pure
joy. He slid to the ground and retrieved his talking stick before taking his mate's hand and leading him home.
Anyone passing the cave that night would have heard the sound of soft moans coming from within. Had they remained, the moans would have turned into cries of pleasure as one, then the other man found release. But if one had been so bold as to actually peer inside the cave...
The light from the fire cast eerie shadows upon the rocky walls as the two men lay nestled on a bed of soft furs. Both were naked, their bodies covered with sweat; the air heavy with the scent of musk.
Jim rolled Blair onto his back and swept his eyes over his lover's muscular body. "So beautiful... I never tire of looking at you." He traced a line from the silver earrings, strung now with bits of bone and feather, down the jaw and neck, stopping momentarily to finger the silver neckband -- an exact match to the band on his arm -- before coming to rest over his lover's heart -- the heart he had captured so many years before in another land, another life. He closed his eyes and sighed in contentment, knowing his decision to claim this human as his mate had been right.
Blair reached up and twined his hand with Jim's, shifting closer to his lover as he did. The pleasure he saw reflected on his mate's face made his heart leap, and filled him with such joy he almost cried. "I love you, Jim," he whispered, knowing the other man could hear him.
"I love you too, Blair," Jim replied before kissing his lover tenderly.
He studied his mate for a long moment, his face suddenly
becoming serious. "Blair... are you happy here with me?"
"What!? What kind of question is that? Of course I'm happy, Jim. What makes you think I'm not?"
"I don't know... It's just... Somehow I can't believe this is the path you envisioned your life to take after you got your Ph.D."
Blair blew out a long breath. "You're right, it isn't. How can this
compare with teaching Anthropology in a stuffy classroom to a
bunch of freshman, half of whom don't even want to be there? How can this compare to working my ass off, and kissing other
people's, hoping that someday I'll get tenured? There is no comparison, Jim. And there is also no place else I'd rather spend
my life. Besides, if you think about it, I am still practicing my chosen field of study, only not on human beings."
"Logical as always." Jim squeezed Blair's hand, then pressed it firmly to his own chest. "Two hearts..."
"...One soul, bound together for eternity. I am now and forever your mate, forsaking all others until death parts us." Blair's voice broke, and a single tear slid down his cheek as he spoke the words. "I hold our vows sacred, Jim. Don't ever doubt that, or my love for you."
Jim quickly covered Blair's body with his own, holding his human mate tightly against him as he rolled them to their sides. "I know, Blair. I know. I think this is just my guilty conscience talking. I felt as if I were betraying you every time I had sex with Aya."
"The critical words being 'having sex with', Jim, not 'making love with'. There's a difference. We discussed the need for you to mate with a female and produce offspring, and you agreed it was necessary for the repopulation of your species. Are you saying now that we were wrong?"
"No, no, of course not. This just goes against every belief my people have. Honor and family are the two most important parts of our life. And once we take a mate, we never stray from them... never."
"But most matings are between males and females, Jim. You said yourself
that a male/male relationship was extremely rare,
although not unheard of among the Balam. It's important that you pass on your genes. If I could bear your child I would, believe me. Unfortunately human science hasn't figured out a way to do that yet. But when they do..."
"You'll bear me a litter." Jim's laughter filled the cave. He caressed his lover's face as he said, "I remember, Chief."
Blair's heart rate skyrocketed at the endearment. "You haven't called
me that in eight years. The last time was when we left
"It felt... right. I'm sorry now that I stopped. When we came here to begin a new life together, I foolishly thought I could put the old one behind me completely. I was wrong. I'd lived among humans for too long to forget their ways. You don't mind if I start calling you Chief again, do you Blair?"
The young man's smile gave him his answer. "I never realized how much
I missed hearing you say it until now. It always made me feel so special,
especially after we'd made love." Blair leaned closer, burying his face
against his lover's neck; licking and
nuzzling the soft skin there.
"Mmmm... feels so good, Chief. Everything about you feels good. And you'll always be special to me, my love. Always..."
Blair claimed his lover's mouth, bringing a momentary silence to their den. But anyone passing the cave that night would have heard the sound of soft moans coming from within...
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