2000 WW3082 Ananasi

2000 WW3082 Ananasi
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WMAS) Qangs of the Mtother~Que&i

A. Mioore

Special Authors: Brett Brooks and James A. Moore Developer: Ethan Skemp Editor: Aileen E. Miles Art Director: Aileen E. Miles Art: Jeff Holt, Steve Prescott, Jeff Rebner, Ron Spencer, Ryan Sook, Melissa Uran Comic Book Art: Leif Jones and Alex Shiekman Back Cover Art: Steve Prescott Layout, Typesetting and Cover Design: Aileen E. Miles

Rob “Van Dam” Hatch, for being Mr. Pay-Per-View. Justin “Credible” Achilli, for missing the card due to a debilitating injury. Conrad “Whipwreck” Hubbard, for bravely stepping into the land of beaks and feet. Rebecca “Hitmonchan” Schaefer, for insisting on making it to the stadium on opening day. Phillipe “Mr. Popularity” Boule, for discovering that you get a löt more visitors with a dog in your cubicle.



CLARKSTON, GA 30021 W H I T E W O L F USA GAME STUDIO © 2000 White Wolf Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without the written permission of the publisher is expressly forbidden, except for the

purposes of reviews, and for blank character sheets, which may be reproduced for personal use only. White Wolf, Vampire the Masquerade, Mage the Ascension and World of Darkness are registered trademarks of White Wolf Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. Werewolf the Apocalypse, Wraith the Oblivion, Changeling the Dreaming, Hunter the Reckoning, Werewolf the Wild West, Werewolf Players Guide, Ananasi and Book of Weaver are trademarks of White Wolf Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. All characters, names, places and text herein are copyrighted by

White Wolf Publishing, Inc. The mention of or reference to any company or product in these pages is not a challenge to the trademark or copyright concerned. This book uses the supernatural for settings, characters and themes. All mystical and supernatural elements are fiction and intended for entertainment purposes only. Reader discretion is advised. For a free White Wolf catalog call 1-800-454WOLF. Check out White Wolf online ät http://www.white-wolf.com; alt.games.whitewolf and rec.games.frp.storyteller


From Brett Brooks: To Jim, for looking ät me one day and saying, “Wouldn’t it be fun to write a book about spiders?”; to Cliff for being a great friend with great advice — not to mention giving me my writing break; to my Mom and Dåd for always supporting me; and to my loving wife Allyson, who understands me more than anyone should.

From James A. Moore: So many people to thank, and so little space…. Thanks to the internet gäng: Kristin (WhiteDove), ebergese/(“horsefly”), REZcat and Eetr O Brain, Matt Roberts, Bruce Baugh, Renee in New York, and a few dozen others. Your comments and insights were invaluable in making this book come together. I just wish I knew your

REAL names in many cases. Thanks to Craig Erikson, who just kept coming up with interesting ways to use webs as Gifts…. Thanks to Brett; the book wouldn’t have been half as good without you. Thanks to Ethan, whose guidance and patience are always powerful incentive to give my best and a little more. Thanks to Aileen Miles, ’cause you do a killer job lining up the artists, and I always forget to thank you. To

Bonnie for all the usual reasons, and to my family, for not thinking I’m too weird.

K4HASJ Contents Jntrodiåion: Ju a Wtadly Sacreb (Place Chapter One: Vint

12 18

The histoty of the Ananasi

Chapter Ciw; ^he


Werespider society and survivalism

Chapter three: Anchor


Ananasi around the world

Chapter Qour: Wetamorphosis


How to build a werespider

Appenftx One: A tChousant


Character templates and famous Ananasi

Appenbix tm: Coose (Chreafo


Information on real spiders and the truth behind Ananasi beliefs








\ A

i. R

They’d traveled a great distance in some cases, half a

their first time away from the earth and into the realm of

world or more as often as not. The trip was sometimes easy,

spirits. The great frozen strand of web spanned on for

often difficult and extremely necessary. They’d managed long enough on their own, second-guessing what they’d

eternity, reaching to the horizon and beyond, ever branching and expanding. From time to time they saw stränge things moving in the distance, and once a spider-thing that

become, trying as best they could to learn about why they were and what made them so different from their peers in both spider and human society. Now ät last they would have their answers, or they would know why. The procession moved nimbly över the great strands of calcified webbing, following their silent guides and gazing

Stood almost 20 feet in height moved past them ät a speed

that was simply not possible in the physical realms. The creature took notice of them and moved slightly in their

direction, but turned away again when it recognized them as brethren. That was just as well; they hadn’t wanted to kill it.

with curiosity ät their surroundings. In every case, this was

Introduction: In a Madly Sacred Place


Three of their guides extended hands that were long and supple and began moving their fingers, whispering into the breeze as they did so. Tendrils of energy came from their fingers, webs that wove together and tore at the very fabric of reality. In a few minutes, the webs formed a tunnel, and two of the three walked into the tunnel, guiding their charges down the proper path. Towards the back of the group a fourth guide grabbed a straggler by the neck, pulling him away from the others. “You’re not supposed to be here, my friend.” He hissed. “You weren’t invited.” The darkly tanned Native American struggled, gasping in protest. His captor’s body changed, growing larger and more powerful as he held his captive in place. The straggler struggled, desperate to escape, but found that a thick, sticky substance kept him locked to the powerful arm that held him. “You were not invited,” hissed his captor past mandibles that glistened with the threat of poison. “Only the Ananasi may enter this place.” The captive struggled, forcing his own change, revealing himself as one of the Nuwisha. Despite the situation, he laughed. “It was only a joke, brother spider. A jest among cousins.” A second guide stepped forward, already in the form

shoulders of two of the worst nightmares he’d ever seen, and taken with the others down the long web tunnel that held the fabric of space at bay. Moments after they’d left the strand, the tunnel’s entrance closed, leaving all as it had been before they passed. Some time later, the entire gathering entered the place they had come to visit, the sacred home of Ananasa, their Queen, their god. The Nuwisha saw everything, heard their voices, their tales, and the truth of why the Ananasi existed. Long before the tales were finished, his mind had fragmented. During the long, dark time when the newly arrived Ananasi were learning everything they would need to know about the new world they’d entered, the werecoyote’s laughter echoed through the great chambers and caves of crystal. For eight days and nights—as time passed within the great sacred caves — the newly changed Ananasi were taught about their bodies, how to control the changes that took place, what to avoid and how to survive in a

that blended spider and human. She was larger than the

Then on the ninth day, the real education began. Sitting before the long empty throne of Queen Ananasa, The young ones waited patiently while their elders gath-

male beside her, and he deferred to her. “We do not share your humor, brother coyote. I see by the markings on your face that you follow Ti Malice, but you are still not welcome here.” The Nuwisha smiled again, hiding his fear behind the grin. “Well then, I’ll be on my way. I have learned my lesson.” He pulled himself from the iron grip, fighting the urge to yelp out his pain as he lost a claw-sized portion of his pelt to the powerful glue that had captured his human form. He walked slowly, carefully away from the Ananasi behind him, feeling his heart thudding mercilessly in his temples. After seven paces, the first webs snapped around his neck. Other strands of the silky stuff that pulled his arms mercilessly back and bound his legs quickly followed the first. The pain was excruciating, but he struggled just the same, trying to shift his forms in an effort to escape. Each transformation brought only more of the webs, until he was completely entangled in the nightmarish stuff. “Oh, Coyote,” he prayed. “Help your foolish child on this day.” “Ti Malice cannot hear you. You are not in her domain.” The voice of the female was detached, unemotional. She spoke to the other monsters around her, using her massive arms and legs to strike the web beneath her and chittering in a series of clicks that meant nothing at all to him. Three of the werespiders swarmed over the Nuwisha and a moment later the coyote was hoisted onto the

hostile world. Those who did the best were allowed the privilege of feeding on their uninvited guest, never enough

to kill, but enough to appreciate the rare flavor of shapeshifter blood.

ered the proper ingredients for their ritual and began the

chant and dance that would summon the First Teacher. Finally, when even the most patient of them was beginning to contemplate the consequences of leaving without permission, three of their elders fell to the ground, convulsing as their bodies broke apart, spilling crawlerlings everywhere. The young ones watched every detail as the three groups of spiders gathered together and began a frantic dance, climbing across and on top of each other, building a new form that was fascinating in its complexity. Then the thousands of spiders held their place and changed, merging into one being.

Though they were almost without fear, they were afraid. Though little could impress them, they were in awe. The creature that stood before them was unique. Power emanated from its body in palpable waves, and a

strange, lethal beauty was theirs to observe; something the likes of which had not been seen on Gaia’s back in eons. The eyes that looked on them were cold and magnificent, eight eyes in a circular pattern, that glistened with a dark light, a sentience unlike any they’d ever

encounter before. The monster moved, and the lights that glistened from the walls of crystal were reflected off its carapace in a multitude of colors. When the creature spoke, the very fabric of reality shook. The voice that spoke to them was threefold: it was the voices of their teachers, but it was something more as


well. There was menace in that voice, and a sensuality that

stirred them all against their conscious will. It said: “I am Ananasa, your queen and creator. I could not let

you enter this world without meeting each of you at least once, for you are my children, and I love you. But I cannot hold my place here for long. I must speak to you, make you understand where you come from. After that, you will have your teachers back. Listen carefully to their words, for here

they speak with my tongue.” The gathering of spiders sighed, enchanted with their queen and already willing to do anything she demanded of

them. Had there ever been so perfect, so terrifyingly beautiful a creature before? Surely not. Ananasa smiled upon her children, and all was silent save for the screams of the lone interloper who’d dared too much and failed. “Listen to me, my children, and 1 will tell you the truth of your world, this place and the universe. But listen carefully,” she cautioned, “for after this day we will likely never meet again.” Queen Ananasa spoke, and the Ananasi listened…


Gaderin (Gad-ER-in): Wyrsta faction of the Tenere aspect. Grandmother Spider: The Weaver, one part of the Triat and one-time ruler over the Ananasi. Great Mother, the: Queen Ananasa. Great Web, the: The universe as a whole. It is no longer perfect, and that imperfection is what the Ananasi seek to repair. Hatar: Wyrm aspect of the Ananasi. Insect Races: The races of “shapechangers” created by the Weaver who originally threatened the Symmetry were destroyed by the Anansi long before most of the Changing Breeds known to exist today had come into existence.

Kar: The Myrmidon faction of the Kumoti aspect. Kumot The corrupt werespiders of Asia. Kumoti: The Wyld aspect of the Ananasi. Malum (MAL-um): Wyrsta faction of the Hatar aspect. Mother-Queen: Ananasa. Myrmidon (MEER-mi-don): The Warrior faction of each aspect of the Triumvirate.

Ovid (OH-vid): The other Changing Breeds, most of whom are really not considered significant in the grander

Agere: Myrmidon faction of the Hatar aspect. Amari Aliquid: Viskr faction of the Kumoti aspect. Anansi: The first of the Ananasi and the wisest by far. He is, according to some, still alive and kicking. Anomia: Viskr faction of the Hatar aspect. Aspect: The member of the Triat that the Ananasi emulate, whether Weaver (Tenere), Wyrm (Hatar) or Wyld (Kumoti). Atahsaia (Aht-tah-SEI-ah): The Hidden. The secret weapon of Queen Ananasa. Cabal: The proper title for each faction of the Ananasi. There are nine total cabals, three under the Tenere, three under the Hatar and three under the Kumoti. Chymos (Kl-mos): Wyrsta faction of the Kumoti aspect. Damhan (DOM-hahn): The proper name for the Ananasi. Estotilandia: A secluded territory in Africa, the mythic homeland of the Ananasi. Faction: The given role that each of the Ananasi follows, which, when placed in conjunction with the aspect reveals their place within the Triumvirate. The factions

include: Myrmidon (Warrior), Viskr (Wizard), and Wyrsta

(Questioner of the Way). First War, the: The great battles between the Ananasi and the Insect Races that led to the complete and utter annihilation of the Insect Races.

scheme of things. Plicare (PLI-car): Myrmidon faction of the Tenere aspect. Padrone: Cannibalistic hunters, once part of the Ananasi, who feed on other Ananasi. Queen Ananasa: The creator of the Ananasi and the guiding force behind everything they do. Spirit parent and

totem. Secean (ses-IAN): The Myrmidon faction of the Tenere aspect. Sylie (Si-lee): The haven and connection to the Umbra and Queen Ananasa that each Ananasi creates; something like a Den-Realm. Symmetry: The ultimate goal of the Ananasi and Queen Ananasa: the restoration of the Triat to their proper places and eventual restoration of universal balance. Tapestry, the: Proper perspective on the universe. According to Ananasi thought, the universe is made of endless strands; only by observing the whole of this grand Tapestry can any creature understand its proper place in the Universe. Tenere (TEN-eer): The Weaver aspect of the Ananasi. Triumvirate: The political body and duties followed by the Ananasi, as dictated to them by Queen Ananasa. Unweaving: Deliberate alteration or destruction of a

part of the Tapestry/Web, in order to restore Symmetry.

Introduction: In a Madly Sacred Place



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Viskr (VlS-kr): The “wizard” aspect of each faction of the Triumvirate. Their duty is to repair the damage that has been done to the Great Web. War in the Heavens: The great battles that lead to the fall of the Triat and the building of the Webs. Weaving: Deliberate alteration, restoration or creation of a part of the Tapestry or Great Web in order to restore Symmetry. Web, the: The barrier placed between the physical and

spiritual worlds by the Weaver; the Gauntlet. While this is a hindrance to most of the Ovid, the Ananasi use the Web to serve their own purposes.

Web of Ananasa: The connection and political body of the Ananasi as a whole. The entire race of Ananasi as relates to the great scheme of the Mother-Queen. Wyrsta (WEER-stah): The “questioning” faction of the Ananasi. Their duty is to follow the aspect of Weaver, Wyld or Wynn that they must, but to do so while trying to

understand what, exactly the goal of each member of the

Triat truly is.

(Recommended (Reading Caitlin Kiernan’s novel Silk is an excellent example of

the strange ways in which a werespider goes through the First Metamorphosis. A pleasant and unexpected surprise and an excellent read.

(Recommended “Websites http://www.xs4all.nl/~ednieuw/Spiders/Info/ spindraad.htm Is an excellent site, with examples of literally hundreds of different spiders from Australia, Europe and the US. Great care and devotion went into the

creation of this site. http://www.powerup.com.au/~glen/spider8.htm is actually a site in Australia, set up by fifth grade students. There is a good amount of general knowledge and a even a few surprises, like images showing the effects of necrotic poisons on human flesh.

(Reccommended Viewing The National Audoban Society’s Guide to North American Insects and Spiders is an excellent source for locating what sort of arachnids live in what parts of the US. National Geographic’s Wildlife Series of documentaries released a video on spiders. The video is rather difficult to come by these days, but is highly recommended for the attention to detail and as a wonderful method of gaining an overview about spiders and their methods for feeding and surviving. The Curse of the Black Widow is a surprisingly good movie about being an Ananasi. Though there are obvious differences, the movie also gives a wonderful example of the sheer scale of a werespider.


Kingdom of the Spiders, starring William Shatner, is a campy romp through the wonderful world of too many tarantulas. Highly recommended. Arachnophobia is, of course, seminal viewing for the proper atmosphere to use when playing an Ananasi. Even if

you don’t suffer from the condition, you just might by the time the movie is over. Tarantula, was one of the original big bug disaster movies. It’s a lot of fun, despite bad special effects and virtually no plot.

Introduction: In a Madly Sacred Place



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Such power and dignity, unhampered by sentiment….If I may put forward a slice of personal philosophy, I feel that man has ruled, this world as a stumbling, demented child-king long enough! And as his empire crumbles, my precious black widow shall rise as his most fitting successor! — Vincent Price, “The Black Widow” prologue, Alice Cooper’s Welcome to my Nightmare

When the Webs Were Hot yet Spun I believe the Wyrm was first. There was nothing, no light, no darkness, nothing. That nothing was the Wyrm, the Uncreator. It slept, sated from having destroyed everything that had been before, if there was indeed a before. While the Uncreator slept, the Wyld came into being, an explosion of great fire and chaotic birth that filled the void and disrupted the silence of the universe. The Wyld was everything the Wyrm was not; it was Creation, chaos without focus or purpose, and they hated each other from the first moment. The Creator created, and the Uncreator destroyed, unable to tolerate the noise and light, the cacophony of endless variables and changes. They would have fought forever, had it not been for the Weaver. Wyld claims it gave birth to the Weaver, for nothing could exist without its powers to create. Wyrm says it created the Weaver to reign in the endless changes of Wyld. Weaver says it was bom to create balance between the two. Perhaps

and Uncreation, given sentience because it needed to stop the newly forming universe from destroying itself and rebuilding itself endlessly. Whatever the case, from the chaos and silence that struggled for domination, Order was born. There was symmetry at last, a balance between existence and oblivion. The universe’s birth was complete. Wyld continued to create, and Wyrm continued to destroy, but Weaver put perspective on both of these tasks. What Wyld created took form, and was given time to exist before Weaver would allow Wyrm to devour the creations. Wyrm accepted this change, understanding that the constant fighting with its counterpart was useless. Though Wyrm remained hungry as it had ever been, it agreed to eat less, to bide its time between meals. As reward for patience, Weaver

Weaver was created by the constant fluctuations of Creation

enjoy the tastes. Wyld agreed to this as well, because it liked

gave each thing in the universe a different shape and texture. The Wyrm chose to eat some things quickly, because it liked the flavor of these things and could barely restrain its need to

Chapter One: First Threads


to have its creations around for a time, even if they were restricted to certain times and places and shapes. And so it went: Wyld created, Weaver shaped, and Wyrm devoured in an endless cycle. In time the cycle became

almost too regular for the Wyld, however, and it began a new way of approaching the changes. It created Life. It gave minds to the entities it created, and the Weaver, seeing this new addition as a challenge, began to give form to the Life as well.

Weaver had no idea what problems would come from the decision. At first life was simply there, minute entities so far removed from the Triat that it might as well not have

existed. Wyrm followed the rules just the same, consuming the lives as each fragment of existence came to the end of its allotted time. When Weaver began to expand on the life created by Wyld, it wanted the beings to exist as singular entities, one of a kind creations that would live, die and be forgotten. Wyld wanted nothing of the sort. Wyld touched the life again, after Weaver had already given it form, and gave of itself a second time, allowing change in the forms Weaver had created. There, my children, is where the troubles truly began. “Why have you changed what I already formed ?” Weaver

asked of Wyld. Wyld replied simply, “I did not like the forms you made, so I gave them the ability to change, to alter themselves to better suit their needs.” “I have allowed you to make life,” Wyrm stated dryly, “but I never agreed to this.” Wyld snarled in response, angered by the presumption that it should have to ask permission. Once again Wyrm and Wyld argued, and while many of the forms created by Wyld survived, many others were destroyed by Wyrm’s response to the anger. “If you can make them without permission,” he hissed, “I can destroy them in the same way.” Again the two fought, and their rage was enough to shake the very universe. While they struggled, Weaver touched the things with life again, reweaving their patterns, altering them as it saw fit. When it was done with this task, it looked to its siblings and smiled. “There is no reason to fight,” said Weaver.

“I have changed them again, so that they can be perfect. They will age and die, but before they do, they will have a chance to make more of their own, thus allowing them to continue in a different form. This way everyone is happy.” Wyrm and Wyld considered this for a time, and watched as the life on Gaia grew and slowly changed. Evolution took place and life became more than it was at first. The plants came into existence, and the creatures took shape. Amphibians began to evolve from the primordial life, and with them came the insects. Weaver was pleased: nothing ever truly went to waste.

One life form would eat another to survive and then excrete the wastes from its bowels, which would help yet another to grow and prosper. The life cycle was as it should be. Wyrm was content, because everything eventually died, allowing

less of the chaos and noise of the Wyld to distract Wyrm, and sating the endless hunger of the Uncreator. Wyld was only slightly mollified, however, wanting greater changes and more radical transformations. Unwilling to upset the balance again, however, Wyld turned to a different form of creation. Wyld created the spirits. Wyld gave everything a

spirit, even the worlds themselves, but the only one of significance in this tale is the spirit of Gaia. Gaia was the first of Wyld’s children. She was bright and beautiful and vibrant. Just as with her creator, Gaia wanted things to change constantly, but she allowed Weaver to touch her, to give her form and function, and allowed Wyrm the same privilege. All things would die eventually,

even Gaia herself. But Gaia was a powerful spirit, and her death would not come for a very long time. One day Weaver grew a bit jealous of Wyld. Weaver

realized that it could not create life, but could only define it, give it form and function. Wyld carelessly gave life to all things, and Weaver was constantly redefining the shape of the living things, making minor changes and improving upon the designs of the originals. Wyld would come back and touch

the living creatures again, making more radical alterations, and Weaver grew angrier and angrier every time. Wyrm, for his part, kept killing the living things, as was his duty. After a time, Weaver decided that it lacked symmetry. As a part of

the Triat it was complete, but without its siblings, it felt empty, lonely. Weaver needed companionship. Finally, unable to tolerate not actually creating any-

thing any longer, Weaver came up with an idea. Weaver took from its own energy and shaped another. Weaver formed the part of itself it had removed, shaping it until it was satisfied with the results. Then Weaver set that part free

to grow and change and prosper. Weaver looked upon its creation and smiled, happy to have an ally to assist with the

burdens of forming the universe. “I will call you Ananasa,” she said. “You will be second only to me, and you will help

me in my duties.” Thus I was born into the universe. If my beliefs and the Weaver’s were as one at first, that was something that changed in time. Initially I helped create order from chaos, as was my duty. My weaving skills were powerful, and I found that many of the tasks I had were far too simple. So I made changes on my own. I altered the ways in which certain creatures thought, making them more diverse, less like their

brethren. I did this not to disobey the Weaver, but because the

world needed more than it had to thrive and prosper. Where once there had only been the flying insect, I broke the pattern of the hive and allowed diversity. Soon there were bees, wasps,

hornets and the like. I recreated them, and the Wyld in turn gave them spirits. Wyld soon took a liking to my ways, and we became friends. Before long, Wyld had a great deal of influence over what I was creating, we worked together to make the

diversity that you see in the world today. But Weaver was not amused. Weaver grew angry, raging about my desire to make new things, and change the ones that were already there. “Gaia is not static,” I said.



f “•>,

;Q “Gaia goes through constant changes. Without the ability to change, to adapt to their environs, the creatures you give form will die too soon. Wyrm will kill them even faster.” “Why then must Wyrm destroy my creations?” asked Weaver. “They are perfect as they are, and need no changes. Nor should they ever fade and die.” “Ah,” I said, at last understanding what was bothering Weaver. “But you created them to die. You made them

Without another word, Weaver set out to capture Wyld, feeling that Wyld could not change the perfection Weaver desired if Wyld was bound. I called out warning to Wyld, but Wyld only laughed. “Weaver cannot hold me, little sister. I am chaos, and I have no form.” Wyld was right. Weaver tried again and again, but Wyld slipped away from the webs Weaver spun, as surely as

with deliberate frailties, thus allowing Wyrm to eat his fill and Wyld to continue creating. That is our purpose, is it not, Great Weaver? To make symmetry of chaos, balance from imbalance?” “My purpose is to give order, yes, but order alone is not

battle and moved over to watch, curious as to why Weaver would try to capture Wyld. Once again the battles were

enough. There must be structure, continuity and endless

perfection.” Weaver folded her many legs, content that she

had ended the argument. I was not so easily finished, however. “Endless perfection is not possible in a universe where change is still a

reality,” I said. “The lack of change would mean that Wyld no longer functioned. Wyld is a necessity.” “I tell you what is necessary, Ananasa; you do not dictate the ways of the Triat to me.” Weaver’s voice was a

j ^

hiss of frustration. What Weaver formed should not fall apart — in Weaver’s mind. Weaver wanted perfection, and that could never exist in a universe of change, but Weaver could not understand this, would not understand because the notion was not appealing.

water moves between stones in a riverbed. Wyrm heard the

mighty. Weaver cast the webs of order and Wyld danced chaotically from between the strands. The energies released would have caused harm on their own, so I captured those energies and began to weave them. Wyrm moved closer, drawn by what I was doing. You

see, Wyrm too had a special place in the universe, and while powerful, was unable to create. “What are you making, little

sister?” Wyrm asked of me. “I am making a new life,” I replied. “A life that is both Weaver and Wyld from the very beginning. Something that has never been made before.” Wyrm sighed, sullen and wounded. “Why can I never

create such things? Why must I only devour them?” Seeing Wyrm’s grief, I came up with an idea. “Perhaps you can help me make this one, then? It is already Weaver

and Wyld, perhaps by adding Wyrm, we can make the perfect creature.”

Chapter One: First Threads

Wyrm grew excited, and though he was not used to the notion of creating, he gave of himself, helping me finish with my new creation. When I was finished, I held the prize for all the Triat to see, and even Weaver and Wyld, caught as they were in their struggles, stopped fighting to examine the new life. “Look at what I have made,” I said. “Look upon

the first child of Weaver, Wyld and Wyrm.” Like proud, doting parents, the Triat looked upon the spider in my hands and smiled. Before any could respond, the spider did the unthinkable — it created its own spirit. We were

all surprised, but very happy. Spider was a perfect creation of the forces of the Triat in harmony. It could hunt and kill, was designed as a predator, but it could adapt of its own accord to

live in almost any environment on Gaia. And it could create. It thrived in places where Wyld was strong, thriving even in the face of chaos. Yet it worked with the meticulous patience of Weaver, constantly striving of its own accord to reach for

perfection. Spider was patient, calculating and independent; it did not need to be with its own kind to be strong. Spider was also a killer, fast, efficient and ruthless. Spider was the best of all philosophies, and beautiful in its symmetry.

Then there was a great debate between the Triat. What should be done with Spider? It was almost too perfect. If left to its own accord, it would kill everything on Gaia, and even Wyrm did not want that. Wyrm was always hungry, but had

learned patience and liked the variety of flavors Life provided. After many days of debate the decision was made: “We will make Spider small,” Weaver declared. “Spider will rule over the insects and other small things, keeping them from growing too far and controlling their numbers. For we all know that the insects are capable of great destruction when they are too hungry and too many.” Wyld and Wyrm agreed, and it was done. Spider was set upon Gaia’s back, and quickly spread across her, devouring the insects that bred too quickly.

For a time all was well. Then Weaver chafed again, frustrated by the changes that continued in what it shaped.

By this time there were many creatures on the earth, great fish that swam beneath the oceans and great lizards that roamed the earth. Even in this time the insects were everywhere. Weaver complained once more, but did nothing to mend the problems. For my part, I debated the meaning of the universe with all the members of the Triat. I wanted to understand the symmetry between them and make certain that it would last. Even then I feared the balance would be lost. Wyld saw the spirits of the animals and contemplated them. He’d made them for a purpose, but wasn’t sure how best to use them. He spoke to Gaia about the problem and together they arrived at a solution. They decided the best way to use those spirits was to have them aid him in protecting his creations. In the earliest times, he took the spirit of the Lizard and placed it within the bodies of the lizards that walked

across Gaia. “You shall be Gaia’s memory. You will remember everything that transpires, and you will remind both me and Gaia when we risk folly.” The Mokolc agreed.

Next he turned to the waters and placed the spirit of

Shark within certain of the sharks in the depths. “You shall persevere. No matter what the task or trial, you will survive, for that is the way of the Wyld.” The Rokea agreed. Weaver looked upon these creations and again felt envy. “If Wyld can do this, what is to stop me?” She asked the question aloud, but did not expect an answer. I answered her anyway. “There is nothing to stop you, Great Weaver. Are not the insects yours to rule over? Did

you not give them structure and order far beyond what most would comprehend?” Weaver smiled. “That is so. I will make my own guardians for Gaia.” Weaver turned to the spirits and caught them in her many arms. Where Wyld made but two, Weaver made many. The Bees were given over to the bees on Gaia, and the Moths were given to the moths. So too, the Hornets and the Locusts, the Ants and the Termites. “You will make Order from Chaos. You will build great structures in MY name, and you will thrive in multitudes.” They all agreed, save for the moths, and Weaver immediately crushed the spirits that were held within the earthly moths, destroying them before they could do anything. For a moment the universe itself grew quiet. Weaver had

done the unthinkable. Weaver had destroyed. Wyrm was overjoyed by the action, thrilled to think at last that someone

understood his feelings and desires. Wyld was outraged. “You would destroy ? You who are only to make structure and balance would destroy? Have you gone mad?” Wyld lashed out, striking Weaver and starting the first of the great changes. These changes came upon Gaia, great changes that have lead to the creation of many of the creatures on her back today. Luna awoke then, and in her time she too had life upon her back, but Weaver took the time in the rampaging battle to make Luna into an example of perfection. All that was on her died, trapped in the perfect silence of absolute order. Luna still lives as a spirit, but the life that once dwelled upon her is long gone. Still, the sacrifice stopped the war again, ceased the squabbles between the siblings for a time — long enough for me to make my point known to the Triat. I took the spirit of Spider unto myself, and we had

children. The egg sac was large, but the children who hatched from it were small. I gathered the children together in my arms

and carefully, meticulously, placed them in the bodies of spiders on Gaia’s back. While the war raged in the heavens, I whispered softly to my children. “You will do as I say, always, for I am your mother and I love you.” The Ananasi agreed. And thus were your kind born into this world. I am a child of Weaver, her sister and her daughter both, a part of her removed from the whole to aid in her tasks and to help make order from chaos. But I am not Weaver. I have never been Weaver. Weaver is unique, as I am unique. I have a different perspective on the universe. That finally became clear when Weaver did the unthinkable a second time. Wyrm was stricken by Weaver’s beauty. He always had been. But seeing Weaver destroy was something new, and


something that excited Wyrm. He wanted to teach her how to destroy and when to destroy. He wanted to help her taste the sweetness of Oblivion. Weaver had no desire for such things, but she wanted revenge. Wyld had spurned her one time too many, and had struck her for her actions. Wyld constantly changed what Weaver shaped, and allowed Wyrm to destroy what she,

herself, saw as perfection. So Weaver came up with a plan. Knowing of Wyrm’s desires, Weaver said that she wanted to learn from him, to be more like him. The notion appealed to Wyrm, and he came to her, eager to consummate their new relationship. He reached out to embrace Weaver, and instead found himself tangled in the webs she spun. Wyrm screamed, enraged by the betrayal, but no matter

how hard he struggled he could not break free from the webs. Wyld tried to help, but was almost captured himself, as Weaver had learned new ways of spinning her webs. Unable to help, he could only watch as Weaver dragged Wyrm into her lair. Wyld looked to me, confused and hurt, and asked what he should do. I answered him in the only way I could. I said, “You must protect what you have made. Weaver will see

everything locked in place, immobile and unchangeable. That will never do.”

We looked down upon Gaia and saw that my prediction was already coming to pass. The Insects were growing in

numbers, overwhelming the life that was on Gaia’s back, and would soon destroy everything. I turned to my children and asked that they stop the

Insects . . . but that is a tale for after I have left. I am tired now. I must return to my place of rest. Listen well to your elders, know that I love you and always will. I ask much of you, my children, but what I ask is for the good of all. What I ask must

be done if Gaia is to be saved.

War tor Gaia The gathered children sighed, watching as the avatar’s host bodies broke apart once more. The Ananasi’s god left them, returning to her home. Their uninvited guest, theNuwisha, gazed blankly at the teeming heap of spiders and drooled. It was obvious to all the others that he’d fled into his own mind seeking solace. Three separate mounds of spiders pulled slowly, tiredly away from each other , piling again into humanoid forms . Chitin resolved into flesh, and then a woman of striking beauty stepped away from her brethren into the circle of attentive listeners. She smiled over the gathered children , her eyes shining with an almost

maternal spark . Though Ananasa was gone , her children sensed something of her presence lingering within the three who had joined to make her whole. When the woman began to speak, her voice confident and powerful despite the slight tremor in her limbs, the assembled spiderfolk all leaned in closer. From our earliest days we have served Queen Ananasa. She has been our connection to the forces that dictate the universe. In our beginnings, we actually did her bidding in

the Umbra, the place where spirits dwell. The events she spoke of did take place, but not in weeks or years or even decades, but rather over the course of centuries. We were among Ananasa’s builders. As spirits we helped weave the very universe around us, forming or defining the lives that exist even today. The Mother-Queen made us to aid her in

her work, just as the Weaver made her to assist in shaping the universe. Our spirits were made to balance, to bring order to the universe, just as many of the spirits serving the Weaver were made for the same purpose. But when the first of the Changing Breeds were created, we were taken aside, placed out of harm’s way by the Mother, and given new instructions. Just as our physical counterparts

When she first touched this world, there was no place called Africa, nor did the same location have a different

name. No, our kind is far older than that. When Ananasa first touched the world, it was a simple place, with only one land. That place had no name, it was simply the Land. Today, historians refer to it as Pangasa. The name suits it; it perfectly describes our view of the world of the past — and the world of the future — with its meaning, “a unified Earth-Mother.” Where precisely did we begin? Nowhere famous. The Simyan Mountains are a moderately sized range that cut

along the coast of our ancestral continent. It was here that Ananasa first placed us on the Earth to serve her. Deep within the bowels of those hills, in caves that were then and

were made to watch over the insects and keep them from growing too greedy, we were remade for a similar purpose.

may still be unsullied by human eyes, one spider grew into

Khe Qirst Circle

walked the world. That simple creature moved up out of the

Most people — both human and otherwise — believe that our kind originated in the lands known as Africa. This is the truth, and it is a lie as well. When our most blessed of

mothers, the great Queen Ananasa, was placed in her jail, she began to understand the insanity of her creator and captor. In her understanding, she began searching for the means to reach the outside, and bring sanity to the insane.

From her cell, she sought a place outside of the direct control of The Weaver, or even her siblings Wyrm and Wyld, to sow her seeds of the future. This world is that place, and we, her

children, are those seeds.

many. And that spider became a beast to rival any that dark and began to feed on the very creatures that once fed upon it. Some will tell you that it was a male, while others

will insist that it was a female. What must be remembered is the one simple truth: it was the first. Gender is irrelevant. Without one, the other would have no role in Ananasa’s

plans. I can tell you this much for certain: that one, the very first of our kind, was called Anansi. Shortly thereafter, Anansi began to breed, and the Ananasi were no longer an idiosyncrasy, but a force to be

feared. To answer the next question on your mind, no, we were not the first. We came after Brother Mokole and Brother Rokea, but before all the others. Like our earlier brothers, we


_ . _ _

were not things that took the shapes of humans—at least not at first. We lived in a time of monsters, and our shape was that of a monster. We were massive creatures capable of great violence, but we were nothing compared to the beasts that already prowled the world. Ananasa knew to give us the

power to survive, but more, she knew that we needed the intelligence to survive and thrive in this primal garden. So we hid in the caves, we lured in prey, and we kept away from the great creatures that would have destroyed us as best we could. The creatures outnumbered us by too much, though, and we died as much as we lived. Ananasa foresaw this fact, too.

From the deserts, the jungles, and the great plains we rose up. We sprang from every comer of the land, and we grew in

‘*•* ‘l r

brothers and sisters by land, and were forced to discover a new way to keep the web intact. Unlike any of our rivals—Brother Mokole and Brother Rokea — we were not limited to our larger size. We discovered that our gigantic stature wasn’t the key to our future, but rather the opposite. By returning to our beginning, we were able to come into contact with the essence of Ananasa, and through that communion, keep in contact with all of our others. As the land began to surround

the globe, we went with it, and we created a connection that mortals still do not understand. A circle was created, and from that outermost circle, we learned to see, communicate through and become one with, the Great Web.

numbers. To prevent our death, we rose up in life. Ananasa

Our Tirst (Purpose

didn’t want one finger in the world—she wanted eight. And so she extended her grasp into this world eight times; each

Weaver made the Insect-people to create order, to enforce the beliefs of Weaver above all else. Ananasa did

finger that she brought into the world was one more place that she could bring herself in touch with the world.

not agree with that decision. She had seen that Wyld and Wyrm both served their purposes, and so she made a contingency plan. We are the fruit of her labors.

By the time that all eight fingers came into the world, there were eight new creations each the same as before, but none of them identical. With so many intrusions into life, there was nothing that death could do but surrender us to life. We began to flourish after a time, and spread throughout the world. Sisters and brothers met each other, and the web of life covered the land. Then, a curious thing happened: The land began to spread throughout the seas. We became separated from our

Our duty was to protect the interests of Queen Ananasa — and those interests, as she made clear, are her own, not

the That’s. The Insect Races rose up, prepared to destroy everything. This was before the Mammals came to be, before the Garou, the Nuwisha and the Gurahl, before the Bastet, the Ratkin and even the Nagah. The Corax were not present, for even feathers were a thing not yet designed by the

Chapter One: First Threads


Weaver. The Mokole, for all their strength and wisdom, were not the proper soldiers to fight against the Insects. They were too large, too slow to do battle with the armies that assaulted them. The Rokea were not capable of straying from the water for long, and they too were not prepared for the battle ahead. But we were designed for just such a task. Have you noticed the differences in your mind since you first Changed? You are not as warm as you might have been. The flowers do not hold the same beauty for you as they did,

and likely your families are no longer as important as they were. This too is Ananasa’s doing. We are cold and merciless because we must be. We are hunters, destroyers and builders. All of these tasks require a certain… distance from the objects

we must work with. The Insect Races were much the same way, but they were far more single-minded than we are.

painful the realization. The first discovery came from the brothers that traveled with the lands to the south, in the land that would one day become known as Antarctica. As the land

moved south, the native creatures began to die out, leaving our brethren little food. The reason for their deaths soon took effect on the Ananasi, as the cold proved to be the first great

enemy. When Ananasa brought us to live in this world, it was a lush, green paradise. The cold was a rare thing, and it only lasted a short time. We were made to live in this warm climate, with creatures diat lived in this climate, and the changes in the planet brought about the first lesson from Ananasa: we are not indestructible. Many of the Ananasi died in learning this, and in honor of those that have taught us from the past, Antarctica remains a land free from our kind.

As a result of our first lesson, we took steps to see that we

The war was swift and merciless. The Insects fought hard, hurting many of our kind, but they could not win the battle. For all their ferocity, they lacked imagination. For all their numbers, they lacked independence of diought and action. Though many had wings, none of the enemies had webs. We did not stop the war even when they were prepared to surrender. Insects have long memories, and they were far too prolific for us to let them survive. Well before the Garou’s War of Rage, we fought and annihilated the Insect Races. They could not be trusted

would not suffer in the same way, and in doing so learned our second lesson. As the world aged, a new species rose up to join us as the intelligence of die planet: humans. The human was more adaptable to the climate, though not as sturdy a life form in other ways. Ananasa saw the wisdom of diis new species, and

and they could not accept change. We did this because Queen

There were sensations and forms that we had never encountered before, and in some ways this was intoxicating. We began

Ananasa demanded it of us. We were glad to aid her, and we feasted as we have seldom feasted since. We did not destroy the spirits of the insects. Those we

captured and made our own, reweaving their forms until they were no longer capable of being joined with flesh, never a part of the Changing Breeds. This too, was the order of Ananasa. All that remains of the great Insect Races is our memories, and the Gifts they’ve taught us over the centuries. The War in the Heavens was not finished, and by the time it was over, the Wyld had created more of the Changing Breeds. They were young, and we left them in peace for

they were not a part of our world, and because Ananasa wanted them left alone. At last, Weaver finished binding Wyrm in her webs. When she was done, she looked upon Gaia and roared her outrage to the world. Her precious Insects were gone, and mammals stood where there had been none before. Though she was angry, she dared not violate the rules again, for even

then she feared the Wyld’s rage. Instead she did what she was best at, and began weaving the Great Web.

The Earliest (Days: Ananasa’s Web As a colony in one land, we thrived and grew together. As a colony that spread across many lands, we encountered new problems. Some of those problems were foreseen, while others came from very surprising sources. From within, we found that our connection with each other was something more than just a link of ideas and concepts. We discovered that Ananasa has a role for each of us, and that we are to accept those roles, no matter how

brought us together for the first time to create the identity that

you now know as the modem Ananasi. Once again, Ananasa struck through her strongest, first hold on diis world, in the land that we now call Africa. At once, we relished in our new bodies.

to seek out the humans as companions, and even went so far as to take on die role of gods in their eyes. They worshipped us for our power, and we used them for their forms and for dieir blood. This proved to be our second lesson. It is important to remember that our greatest enemy on this world is not another of the shapechangers, but the form that they assume. Mankind has proven to be a formidable foe; they do not look upon gods widi favor forever, and when you drop from

the highest of places, you fall to die pits of their hatred. We were an arrogant race, feeding on them with wanton abandon, demanding sacrifice for our knowledge. For a time, this inspired fear, and fear inspired devout obedience. But fear can also create resentment, and from that bitter emotion arises danger. We went from being those that they worshipped, to those that they hunted and hated. They have passed knowledge of our kind from legend to legend, and we have been

installed into their very beings as a creature of revile and hate. You must always remember that your true form is something that is the very essence of the human nightmare. Use this to your advantage, and hide it for your protection. With the rise of man, they did something that no odier creature had before them: change die world around them.

They formed communities, which grew into villages, and towns, and cities, and die vast metropolises that surround the world today. As man moved into the city, we moved with diem, at least in part. Our human form may seem to be an inconvenience, clumsy and awkward in its shape, but diere is a strength that can be gained by moving closest to your

enemies. First, it keeps your odier enemies at bay, lest they find themselves at odds with die humans as well. Secondly, as


I’m sure you are well aware, humans are a necessity. In days of

old, before we had our human shapes, we could survive on the blood of animals; now, to help us maintain our semblance of humanity, we must join with the blood of humans.

site for a simple reason: she foresaw the coming of the dominant species of man, and chose them as the host for her human-born warriors. This is one of the finest moments in history, as we moved from one form to another — yet again.

The soft form of a human isn’t easy to maintain. It lacks the

Bom of humans, raised as humans, and living among humans

stability of our Queen’s body, and the shape in which she first

it became easier than ever before to gain the power of the blood that we so desperately needed. The Children in Africa thought that they had achieved our ultimate form on Earth, but Ananasa did not want one form… when many are better.

made us on this world. We must constantly infuse the essence of the human into our colony. We accomplish this feat in two

ways; through blood and through brood. Neither of these things came easily, but as we learned, both have their advantages. Their blood is power. If we drink deeply from the human we gain not only their lives, but also the strength of their souls.

Ananasa has taught us to channel that blood into a number of tools. She furthers her cause by making us powerful. Blood can make us more than what we are born into, and more than the humans can comprehend. But the power that blood grants is dangerous. It is intoxicating. We wanted too much, and we wanted it in force, causing the blood to become the most important thing in our life. We, in our arrogance, thought

In Europe, she began to breed humans of another form. More primitive, yet more powerful than the humans in Africa, these creatures had their own role, serving to pave the way for the species yet to come. Our kind had to be

established with the humans all over the world, so that the future would let us exist as one colony. The first Ananasi of this Neanderthal race was born almost 70,000 years ago. So it went throughout the world, with the Ananasi joining the humans to create a new breed. Each part of the world growing its own unique creation, with its own strength

that there was no greater gift than that of the blood — but it

and its own society, slowly working towards the goal that

is the use of the brood that created Ananasi as we are today. As the world expanded, the humans grew into the dominant species, the Changing Breeds came into being around the world, and the Children of Ananasa took hold in

Ananasa foresaw from the day that she first combined her Children with the children of the Earth: unity. So it was that 30,000 years ago, a mere drop of time on the

all the corners of the Earth. Our exodus throughout the world

world began to warm once again, and the less physical, more intellectual peoples of the world began to move throughout the

starts in our beginning in Africa, in the Simyan Mountains,

with the first Ananasi born of a human mother. This sacred event happened about 100,000 years ago. Ananasa chose this

skein of our existence, that the weeding of mankind began. The

lands. They established themselves as the superior species among

the humans, and the Children of Ananasa knew that they must

follow suit. So it was that the greatest tragedy in our history occurred. In the area that is now called Yugoslavia, in a city that was known as Krapina, die Neanderthal Ananasi gadiered at die will of the Great Modier and destroyed all of die humans of die city in a feeding frenzy diat lasted over five days. When die last of die humans died, diey turned on themselves, and die Ananasi fed on Ananasi — not out of hunger, but out of necessity. All of die Children of Ananasa from that region died in a space of less dian diree days. This was die first great death, and it shall always be

often found themselves stuck in die Web. Even as die first strands of die Web fell in place, die damage was done to Gaia.

In diose days diere was only one continent upon Gaia’s back, Pangaea. The great continent shattered, drifting across the waters and settling as several smaller places. Now there is not only one land, but multitudes of lands. That was not how Gaia was created, but that is how she stands now, fractured, injured

remembered. It is not remembered widi pain; Ananasa took die

but healing. The strands of the Great Web hold the continents in place, but barely. There are places where the continents shake and fracture, where the webs that pulled Pangaea

human frailty of pain from us at diis time, making us understand die will of die Mother is greater than the frailty of the Children.

apart are so strong diat they cause the very land to crumble. Weaver would have worked faster, but the new order

The deadi of die lesser Ananasi cleared die padi for our second birth. All dungs in life are built on die triumvirate, and our first physical birth began die web, while die second birth began spinning die pattern. When die time is right, Ananasa

caused problems for her as well. The Wyrm continued to

will guide us to die completion of die web, and die diird birth — the Great Birth itself— will lead us to our ultimate goal. With the Children that remained—die greater Ananasi — a link was forged. As diey grew out of Africa, diey left

behind them a trail, each point connected to the last. Over a period of 10,000 years the Ananasi traveled in both human guise, and as the hunter that followed die prey, until they had encompassed the world. Our kind knew the workings of dieir brethren on the opposite end of die globe, and they know these actions to diis very day. This link is called Ananasa’s Web. By keeping in connection with the Ananasi nearest you, you will always know what they are doing, and the next

down the line will learn from diem, and this will continue until the will of one is die will of all, and all serve the will of Ananasa. You may think of your own plans, and act on your own impulse, but all is under the guidance of the Great Mother. She is the force that keeps us all linked, and she is die will that keeps us all alive. Through this link we are all of one purpose; Ananasa’s Web is the ultimate extension of Ananasa’s wisdom, keeping her children organized despite diemselves.

We may fight, even to die point of war with ourselves and odiers, but it is all under the leadership of the Mother-Queen. One of our kind did not take die same path as we in diis lesson. The colony that took to die lands of eastern Asia created a very different life for diemselves, taking die human identity as only a guideline, and breaking from die strands of Ananasa’s Web. Our brethren there have decided to take the name of Kumo, and diey now follow die way of die Wyrm. It is obvious diat Ananasa has allowed diem diis action, giving diem die free will to allow die corruption to enter dieir body, yet it is well known diat diey continue to serve our Queen in their actions.

The padi diat Ananasa has set diem upon is one that we do not understand, but who are we to question the will of our Creator? With hardly a diought for the consequences, Weaver started separating the spirit from die flesh in an effort to prevent Wyld ever creating another form of Changing Breed.

Wyld tried to resist but could not. Widi Weaver bound to die imprisoned Wyrm, using Wyrm’s powers to a certain extent, Wyld was weakened. Symmetry was lost. The Great Web was spun, and the spirits diat tried to break through the barrier

struggle, trying to break free and do his work, but it was not meant to be. All Wyrm managed to do was hurt himself, until eventually his mind broke. His balance was destroyed. The Triat was broken and die symmetry of die universe destroyed. Though it took centuries, possibly even millennia, Wyrm was eventually able to begin his work again, but his goals were distorted by die pain he endured. He no longer sought to devour or to Uncreate, but rather to Recreate in his own warped image. Wyld continued on, creating and changing. Weaver had no choice but to finish what Wyld started, and spent much of her time shaping the diings created by Wyld. For diat reason, die Great Web has never been completed—diough of late, die

task is getting closer to finished dian is comfortable. You see, while each member of the Triat does its job to die best of its ability, die balance is gone. Weaver has grown more powerful, and Wyld grows ever weaker. Wyrm is distracted and cannot do what he must; his pain and madness eat at him constantly. The Great Web grows stronger, separating die Umbra from the Gaia Realm, crushing the Changing Breeds’ connections with dieir spiritual halves and making it more difficult for diem to do what Gaia and die Wyld demanded of diem. The Great Web

has become a flawed, tangled mess, and no self-respecting spider can stand a messy web. Ananasa tried to stop Weaver from breaking die spirit and the flesh, but she was punished for her indiscretion. Weaver imprisoned Ananasa in an opal die likes of which had never existed before. It was a gem of pure stasis, flawless and complete, without die smallest weakness. She dien threw Ananasa to die Wyrm, believing diat Wyrm would devour her. She was wrong. Wyrm is insane, but he has not forgotten his love of Weaver. Weaver is not his to possess, but Ananasa is. So he holds Ananasa as a treasure, one that must be preserved and cherished. More importantly, and more unfortunately, for a time she was a tool by which he could control her Children, the Ananasi.

^Cme of Madness The woman rested a moment, stepping back from her students and allowing another to come forward. She was dark where the first speaker was light, but just as beautiful. Where her predecessor walked with calculated grace, she moved with deadly precision. Hers was the gait of a hunter.


The Wyrm held Ananasa silent for a great length of time, leaving us to believe our God had abandoned us. During the Great Silence, humans were born, and as with the other Changing Breeds, we were drawn into them. They were soon to be the dominant species, and they were even then touched by the Weaver. The Weaver wanted nothing to do with us, was enraged by the actions we had made against her, and so the Wyld merged us with the humans. We became as we are now, one part spider, one part spirit and one part human. As

with all the Changing Breeds, we had a symmetry lacking in most of the other creatures on Gaia’s back. Despite the absence of the Mother-Queen, we continued on, doing as we always had, ensuring the Insects would never return to plague Gaia again. The Weaver’s silence was considered an ill omen by most, but Wyld still looked out for us, giving us aid when he could and guiding us gently. Many of the Ananasi began looking to the Wyld as a surrogate, and some even began to follow his tenets, seeking protection form the wrath of the Weaver. Most did not. Then Wyrm made his presence known to us. Wyrm sent his minions to talk to our leaders, and explained that Ananasa was alive, but now his captive. He made an offer to spare Ananasa, if we, her children, would serve him faithfully. We had no choice. We agreed. Wyrm is insane. Make no mistake about that. His struggles against the Weaver shattered his mind into fragments, and each fragment has its own agenda. There’s no great determination on Wyrm’s part to make us follow a particular path. Instead the Dark Ones, the messengers of the Corrupter, told us what to do, and in order to keep Queen Ananasa safe, we did it. Often the tasks made no sense. Perhaps we would be forced to kill entire villages of people, perhaps we would simply be told to give the local

humans who looked to us for advice the wrong answers to their questions. There was no rhyme or reason to our tasks. At least there didn’t seem to be any. In truth, Wyrm is cunning in his insanity. He worked not only against his enemies, but also against the will of some of the Damhan. He worked slowly and patiently, corrupting them and twisting their views away from where they should have been. Over the course of almost 200 years, Wyrm insinuated his philosophies into the minds of our ancestors, twisting diem

from the inside. And we, who were never prepared for this sort of situation, let him. There came a point where the silence from die Mother-Queen was no longer an emptiness in all of us. For some, that void had been filled with Wyrm’s poisons. Even when the situation was at its very worst, there were

those of us who held on to the belief that Ananasa was alive, and looked to that fact as our saving grace. Principal among our leaders at that time was a male, one of Ananasa’s chosen, who had lived for centuries already. His name was Anansi, and there

are some who claim he was the very first of us to hatch, and the first to touch Gaia. Others merely say he was the first of us to follow the Wyld, turning away from Weaver and Wyrm, and seeing them as weak in dieir twisted states. Only Ananasa can

say for certain what the trudi might be in this matter.

Anansi was almost unique among us. He reveled in the feelings of human emotions and he thrived on the challenges each day found for him. He lived a life that most of us could never hope to fully understand. Emotion is a foreign

thing to most of us, muted and barely understood. We were not meant to dwell on past victories and defeats, we were

designed to handle the tasks before us, and Ananasa always felt that emotions could be a great hindrance to accomplishing our goals. Most of you born of humans have already

realized the fact that little of your past lives is significant. That is the Blessing of Ananasa. She protects us from our pasts, from the dangers of too much love and too much

hatred. She keeps us strong, that we might do her work. We are truly lucky and should be grateful for this gift. Anansi did not fall to the Wyrm’s ways when he heard about his Queen’s capture. Instead he climbed the Great Web, leaving Gaia behind in order to search for her throughout the Umbra. His quest was long and painful, and there were times when he must surely have despaired of ever finding her. Still, he persisted. When he left he made clear to his followers that they must not, under any circumstances, obey the Wyrm or his minions. They obeyed him. While all around the world, the Damhan turned to the service of the Wyrm in order to keep Queen Ananasa safe,

Anansi himself continued his quest. Long before he was finished, the Ovid discovered what had happened, but not everything that had happened. They saw that we had

become servants of the Corrupter and lashed out against us, claiming that we were their enemies. First among our accusers were the Garou, werewolves and fierce warriors. They used our time of servitude as an excuse, attacking not only us, but the other Changing Breeds as well. 1 need to reiterate something to you before you can completely understand the magnitude of what they did: Gaia created most of the Ovid. The spirit of the Earth, gave each Breed a goal to accomplish. But we were not created by

Gaia, we were created by Queen Ananasa, and we were given no such tasks. Our creator was silent, captured by the Weaver’s deceptions and thrown to the Wyrm. We were a

lost people, and in us the Wyrm found easy prey. Somewhere along the way, the Garou fell to arrogance. They decided diat their goals were the same as Gaia’s and that

they should handle the matters of protecting the planet. They had long ago said to us that we were not needed, diat we were obsolete. We did not agree. Long before the Wyrm took hold of us, diere was enmity between our race and theirs. The

bitterness was seeded by their arrogance, by the presumption that their words were more important than ours, the selfassurance diat they could better handle die humans we advised than we could. Skirmishes had previously broken out from time to time, but never to the magnitude we would soon know.

Just as the Wyrm used us as servants, the Garou used us as an example. The arguments between our people had never been substantial: We ignored their petty cries to leave the humans alone. They claimed sacred right to cull the

,m~ ^f

herds of humans, to choose those who could live and those who would die at their claws. They called this sacred duty of theirs the “Impergium” and held it as their most trusted charge. They used this claim of theirs to start the War of Rage, and they used us as an example. Over the course of several years they did all they could to destroy our Kinfolk, never understanding the ways in which we dealt with the humans we sometimes use as mates. We are not an emotional race, but we are a proud race nonetheless. The Wyrm took note of what they did, and he fed our pride, fueled angers such as we had never known before, and demanded that we retaliate. Many among the Garou ask themselves what started the War of Rage. We know. We started it, because they pushed us too far. With whispers of our own we told the other Ovid what they had done, and we also told them they would likely be next. In a few cases, where we were apparently wrong, we helped fan the flames, determined to make the “Warriors of Gaia” pay for their insolence. Before long, all the Ovid were engaged in a war with the Garou. And in the Umbra, Anansi kept looking, until he found the home of the Wyrm, the place called Malfeas. He moved carefully, quietly, and finally, he found our queen. She was locked away, held captive within an opal of incredible size and impossible strength. Try though he might, he could not free her. Ananasa saw her chosen, and smiled. Though she could not speak to him, she made her desires clear. She did not want freedom from her opal prison, for that powerful gem offered her protection from the Wyrm’s foul embrace. What she wanted was the ability to speak to her children again. Anansi left her in the Wyrm’s lair and made his way back to the Gaia Realm. What he found there angered him, and shocked him beyond words. Entire races of the Ovid were gone, destroyed by the War of Rage. Still, he had a duty to perform, and that took priority over his feelings about the war. His followers told him all that had happened in his absence, and Anansi began to scheme. Anansi gave the matter contemplation for almost a full month, and then he prepared himself. If all went as planned, he would stop the war and aid his Queen at the same time. Anansi went to the Corax, and told them that he knew of a treasure too perfect to be denied. When they asked him more questions, he hemmed and hawed until he knew they would bite, and told them where the treasure was. The Corax considered the treasure and knew they had to have it, but also knew they could not survive a journey to Malfeas. The Corax, who remained neutral in the War of Rage, in turn told the Garou of the treasure, claiming that the Opal was nothing less than the Heart of the Wyrm, and that if they could get their hands on it, they could destroy the evil influences of the Corrupter, freeing Gaia. And the Garou fell for it, just as Anansi knew they would. The greatest warriors of the Garou gathered together and made their plans, taking information from Anansi—given freely to the Corax, who gave it to the werewolves — and prepared for their greatest assault. They would storm the Wyrm’s lair and

capture his heart, freeing the world. They sang songs of conquest, and in the process they called more warriors to them, forgetting their sacred war against the other Ovid.

The Changing Breeds that remained took advantage of the lull and beat a hasty retreat, hiding in most cases, fighting on in others. The Garou stormed the Deep Umbra, attacking Malfeas and seeking the Heart of the Wyrm. Many of them died, and they were the lucky ones. Others were taken by the Wyrm and devoured, regurgitated only when he was done twisting their minds and bodies as he had been doing to the Ananasi for years. Those Garou still live, hidden in the darkest places slowly fighting the war that we once fought for the Corrupter. The Opal was drawn from the bowels of Malfeas, blackened by the efforts of the Wyrm to break into the prison that held our Queen. The Garou attacked it again and again, doing everything they could to destroy the prison, foolishly believing that they could kill the Wyrm with such ease. Finally, after they had reached the point where they hoped to escape with the Heart and take it to another place, a safer place, Ananasa made her presence known, thanking them for aiding her. Despite their best efforts, they could not break the Opal, but with their help, she had managed to create a flaw, one large enough to suit her purposes, and small enough not to cause her any risk at the hands of the Wyrm. The Garou were outraged! They howled their defiance to the stars, ready to war against the Corax. They likely would have too, if Anansi had not spoken up and told them that the Corax were also pawns. For while Anansi did not mind using the wereravens for his purposes, he did not want them to suffer for his actions. That was not his intention. With a simple claim of credit for all the Garou had accomplished and suffered, he drove the werewolves to hate him far more than the other Ovid. They chose to take their anger out on the Ananasi, and Anansi planned to let them… after a fashion. Have you ever tried to hunt down something that didn’t want to be hunted? It can be a challenge. Wolves are large; spiders are small. We can hide almost anywhere. We can be hidden in a thousand places, no one ever the wiser. There are distinct advantages to being a small army of spiders, especially when the Garou are on your trail. The Garou searched, tried their best to find us, and in many cases their best was sufficient. But we have always been patient, and we have always been willing to make sacrifices for the sake of Ananasa. Some of us died that the rest might live. They are remembered. Perhaps the war between our races would have continued forever, but we had other plans. We had other problems. Not all of us returned to the fold when Ananasa spoke to us. Some stayed with the Wyrm, traitorous vermin who call themselves the Kumo. They are not our kind; the Wyrm has seen to that. They are mockeries of what we are, what we were meant to be. They have lost the symmetry to be complete. Make no mistake about this, the Kumo are vile. Should you

Chapter One: First Threads


see them, destroy them. They no longer recognize the face of the Mother-Queen, and that is an unforgivable sin. But we shall talk more of them later. For now we talk of our history. The changes we have endured for the love of our queen.

Great Ananasa spoke to us, a rare thing, far rarer even than meeting her as you have just now. For she spoke to all of us, a drain on her power and dangerous in that it could have revealed her presence to the Wyrm. She told us that we had done well in her absence, and warned us of the trials to come. “You will

be hated and feared,” she said, and so we were, and so we are. “You will suffer great losses in my name,” and so we did and so we have. “In the end, you will be triumphant, for you will know

that my way is the only clear path to follow.” And we have followed her way ever since, and in small measures, we have seen the truth of her words. Victory and redemption do not have to be fast, nor do they have to be complete. We are not called the Patient Ones without good reason.

After the first War of (Rage The world began to change not long after the War of Rage. Perhaps the changes were actually in place before then, but if so they were not evident. What, you might ask was the biggest, most immediate change? Well, that would be the release of the humans from the Garou’s Impergium.

Somewhere along the way the Wolves changed their minds. They decided that humans should not be culled, but should rather be allowed to multiply, to expand their horizons

and grow in numbers. I have heard this decision called wise and foolish in equal measure. I have heard the Children of Gaia speak of the resulting changes that have come about as good tilings, and I’ve heard the same from the Glass Walkers and the Bone Gnawers. I have also heard the other werewolf tribes speak of the same decision with regret, and many have contemplated returning to the old ways—sometimes realizing that any such decision would come far too late to do any good.

I have heard it called many things, but always these answers skirt around the issue. What caused this change in the Garou mentality ? What made then suddenly decide that

their human Kinfolk should be allowed to propagate in numbers undreamed of?

Then they did what we always knew they would do; they turned upon themselves with no others to fight. That particular battle continues even today. The Garou fight themselves endlessly, often with words, sometimes with weapons, each convinced that their way is the only possible way to save the world from the Wyrm. We are an arrogant

race, but we can admit to our flaws and work towards surviving them. The Garou have never been as fortunate. Over the centuries we have watched them do their work, carrying out their sacred duties to Gaia and the Wyld, never understanding what they have lost along the way. We do not follow the Wyld, we do not follow the Weaver or the Wyrm. We follow Ananasa, and we allow ourselves to be a part of her tapestry, the plan she is weaving to rectify all that is wrong with the world and the Triat. We are threads upon her skein, and if we fail to see all of the patterns, we can rest easy in the knowledge that she shows us what we must see. Queen Ananasa told us to wait, to be patient, and to learn. We did so. But what she did not explain, what we do not fully understand even now, is what she taught us in the time after the First War of Rage. Ananasa spoke to the strongest, wisest members of her Children, speaking to each separately, and she gave instructions to them on how she wanted her Children led. She spoke to Anansi and his brethren, telling them that they should follow the laws of the Wyld, reveling in change and chaos, but cautioned them to never forget that they are Ananasi, and therefore forged from equal parts of the Triat. Anansi spoke to

his brethren, and they soon turned to the path of the Kumoti, followers of the Wyld’s Ways. She spoke to others, telling them that Weaver’s Way was best, but cautioned them again to remember their birthright as the first spirits crafted by Weaver, Wyrm and Wyld. She made clear to them that diey should

respect all parts of the Triat as necessary, but also cautioned them that Weaver was mad, and Wyrm fractured and insane. Arachne was the first to lead the Tenere, who follow the path of order as Weaver was meant to. Lastly, she spoke to the remaining leaders of the Ananasi, ordering them to follow the Wyrm, not as he exists now, but as he once was. “Wyrm no

so much more than they already were, their penchant for tools, and their desire to understand the universe around

longer knows how to control his impulses,” she cautioned. “He no longer knows what must die and what should live on. Do not fall to this trap. Remember that all things should exist if they were created by Wyld and shaped by Weaver.” All were told to follow separate paths, and all were told to follow those paths as best they could, never forgetting that they were a part of the Triat. Hatar was the first to lead the Hatar, who must follow the

them, and decided they could use a helping hand. With

path the Wyrm once followed.

Ananasa out of the way, no longer able to speak of balance and symmetry, Weaver found a new assistant in her grandest

One last warning she gave to the Damhan: “You have betrayed the trust of the other Ovid, making a great sacrifice on my behalf. For this I love you. But you have made enemies that

The answer is simple, brothers and sisters. The answer is the Weaver. Weaver saw the potential in humans, their desire to be

schemes, one only too willing to learn and to help. Weaver

grew stronger, and all the while, we sat and waited, we

will neither forgive nor forget what you have done. Now you

learned what we needed to learn from our Queen. There was a time when the Garou thought they’d all but destroyed us. We did nothing to disillusion them. They beat their chests with typical hatred and savagery, while we

must each follow your own way, and you must be merciless in the pursuit of your goals. The other Ovid are young and often foolish, they haven’t your understanding of the universe. They will attack you, and they will try to kill you. For that reason, you must

watched and learned.

never forget that you are family. Family is strong where those


who stand alone are weak. In all times, during all events, you must follow the paths I have chosen for you. You may meet again and fight and even kill each other, but you must not tolerate those of Gaia’s Children who would kill your family. You must fight together against the Ovid if one of you is attacked, for even

Your body is carefully armored to protect you from harm, keeping you safe from any natural form of attack, you see. Weaver looked at this and wanted us to have a weakness. If you look at

when your goals are opposed, even when you kill one another,

defense. Our skin is rigid, preventing minor attacks entirely, and

none should ever let their family be destroyed by outsiders.”

deflecting other attacks away from our vitals. We are perfect killers, and Weaver hates perfection she did not shape herself. And so, she formed our imperfection. A horrible attack

This Ananasa commanded, and this we do. We may walk among the Mammals, we may slither near the Reptiles and we

may even find reason to swim with the Fishes, but we are Spiders. Should all the Ovid gather together and join forces with the Kumoti against the Hatar, still we must never let them assault one of ours and be forgiven. Though we might

kill each other, we must always defend our brethren. We are family, we are the Children of Ananasa, and even in our greatest wars against each other, we must remember that.

Ananasa’s ways are not always ours to know, but the rules she gave us are there to help us survive in our ignorance. Since the end of the First War of Rage, we have distanced ourselves from the fights of the Garou and the sacred duties of the other Changing Breeds, as Ananasa demanded. But we have not

gift to our enemies that could destroy us. A brutal gift without remorse or consideration for her own child’s creation. If it had been one simple thing, we could overcome

it, but this is not simple, it is dangerous. Weaver gave man the ability to make weapons. Oh, I can hear you scoffing my words. What are the weapons of mere humans to you? How does this affect you? Well, that is the sign of your ignorance. One man with a spear, a sword, a gun; no, he is no threat. A group of men with their bare fists—again, hardly dangerous. But we must always be careful of men who travel armed and in groups, because we lack the swift healing of other

enemies. I have fought against the very Damhan who stand

numbers — these two things make humans dangerous even to

but we have always been family.

us, even without the second terrible gift of the Weaver’s. Haven’t you guessed? The mastery of something that can kill us completely even in Crawlerling — fire.

Weaver’s (Revenge


upon us, and upon Queen Ananasa herself. Weaver gave a

with me now as your instructors. We have not been friends,

Webs we have established where peace must rule, we are

fir >4

structured. Our organs are placed at the optimum location for

shapeshifters. With a full belly of blood and time to concentrate, you can mend cuts and bullet wounds easily enough, but what if you don’t have time? You see, then. Weapons and

been idle. We are at war. Away from this place, away from the


the body of the Ananasi, you will notice that we are perfectly

An old man came doddering up next, carrying with, him scores of rolled-tip paper of some size. The pages were so large and voluminous that they almost hid the tiny man that carried them. When he reached the stopping point of his journey, he slowly and carefully began to place the pages on the ground, taking time to turn them the direction that he desired. When he was finished, he turned and looked out at the gathered assembly. He looked at each person directly, meeting their eyes and then moving to the next. When he was finished, he reached down and picked up a small easel, setting it beside him. To the assembled, he seemed almost fragile. He was small, and weathered to the bone. It seemed as though any sudden movement wouldbreakhim. Manyevenfehpityforhim, and dreaded becoming like him in later years — which was exactly what he wanted. He set up the first of his pages on the easel. It was an illustrated image of a man, showing the internal organs, and where they sat in the body — but a man without normal human organs. This was an Ananasi, and these were their innards. He smiled, and the young spiders felt a sudden chill rush through their bodies. “Now, little ones, we will talk about what it is that will kill you.” When our Great Mother, Ananasa, created us, she did so with loving care and careful design. She made it so we were the ultimate hunters, fearing no other life, as they are all beneath us. Even her wisdom could not foresee the anger of her creator at this action, and in an act of pure jealousy, the Weaver made her displeasure known.

Within History “What happened after the War of Rage?” The question was redundant, and none of those listening even considered answering. The new speaker was a huge man, with a distinctive Southern draw!. He was dressed in Biballs and a T-shirt, and his shoes had seen their best days a few years back. Still, not one of those assembled so much as whispered a slight as he paced forward. “The easy answer is that we fell back, got our little groups together and licked our wounds like there was no tomorrow.” He smikd, an amiable face with a hundred-watt grin and a face that said he was just shy of gullible. His smile wasn’ t answered—and the man nodded contentedly and began speaking again. “Fact of the matter is, that’s a loadofhorseshit. Nothing is ever black and white in this world. We’vekeptbusy. We’vebeenfightingamong ourselves, and following the agendas laid out for us by the Mother-Queen like there’s no tomorrow. Which, 1 might add, there might not be if things keep on the way they are now. “We’ve done amazing stuff, and the best part of it is, no one knows about most of it but us. I can’t begin to tell you everything we’ve accomplished, but I can give you a few ideas about how we’ve done what we’ve managed, and if you’re half as smart as 1 suspect, you’ll be able to divine what I’m getting at. He paused then, turning toward the cackling man sitting off to the side of the group, surrounded by three of the other teachers, though there was little doubt he. could break from the shroud of webs that kept

Chapter One:First Threads


him stuck to the ground. “We’ve already discussed our abilities to mate and increase our numbers in brief, and we’Ugo over it again, but I have a question for the whole lot of you. What is one of the most important things we’ve accomplished since the War of Rage?” One of the students raised her hand, a delicate, well sculpted hand attached to a bod;y that was equally deceptive. The hayseed who asked the question nodded to her, his simple smile still firmly in place. “Do you know the answer, Elizabeth?” “Yes. We’ve kept the other Ovid from guessing at our true

numbers.” The instructor nodded, but a frown creased his sun-darkenedface. “Halfway to the right answer there, darlin’. What eke have we done?” She puzzled over that for a moment, her porcelain face almost expressionless. “We’ve established our power bases?” Her voice was unsure, but she brightened slightly when he nodded. “That’s right. We’ve built our strengths and we’ve established our power bases.” He nodded at the Nuwisha stuck to the ground. “Go get yourself a sip of him, but don’t get too greedy. We ain’t finished with him by half.” The girl rose with a grace and demeanor that would have shamed most debutantes, but which drew no stares from her brethren. She kept her ears carefully sharpened to the instructor’s speech while she fed. The flavor was interesting, but the strength the blood gave her was incredible. Most of what we know about the past’s been handed

down by our ancestors, much as you’re hearing about it today, but there are exceptions. We’ve learned a lot in the last century or so, and we’ve done amazing things. The difference is, we’re still around to tell it first hand. We aren’t like the other Changing Breeds. If you haven’t figured that out yet, you may never get the picture. We weren’t created to serve the Triat, we weren’t created to save or defend Gaia. We exist solely to serve Ananasa, whom we love. To that end, the different factions of the Damhan have done what they’ve been told, and we’ve always done it in the same sort of fashion when possible: by that I mean we’ve done it quietly. There are exceptions, but I’ll get to them. Be patient for a while longer, and see if I don’t. Where you find our kind, you find a certain symmetry. That’s important to us. The Web can’t hold without it, and we can’t abide a life without it either. In order to maintain that symmetry, we’ve always found the best way to accomplish things is the same way you build a web, one strand at a time. Spin out too much silk in one place, and die web will become a mess and collapse. And yes, before any of you ask, I’m speaking metaphorically. We are the Grandchildren ofWeaver, and no matter who we follow, that’s a part of us that can’t be forgotten. For that reason we’re methodical, and we’re precise. It’s in our nature just as sure as bears use die woods for dieir toilets. One strand leads to the next, and from there others are spun and connected. Unlike the Garou, who can sing songs of their victories, or the Nuwisha who’ll gladly go on for weeks telling tales of what they’ve accomplished and who they’ve humiliated, our victories are slow and subtle, which is the best way to handle the matter as far as we’re concerned.


You don’t need bragging rights as a Damhan. The end result is obvious to anyone who knows how to look. Major things we’ve accomplished? Well, there’s that whole Jericho thing…

Kite Will of Jericho There’s one big lesson to establish our place in history. About the year that the Europeans have designated 7500 BC, one of our kind took a great step. A man who would come to be known simply as Jericho took not only the form, life, and guise of a human, he became a leader of humans. Jericho was a visionary. He understood that the humans were a disorganized race, not grasping the concept of order and structure. He brought to the city that would bear his name leadership unlike any they had seen. He guided them to build great walls to protect their city, and designed a center tower that served as the nerve center of the city. Jericho brought the humans together to save themselves. Almost two thousand humans were under the guidance of the first Ananasi that used the human system to rise above diem, as is our rightful place. He protected them, he guided them, and he fed on them as he needed. Eventually, the people came to fear for their lives and protected themselves with ancient magics and talismans in die form of skulls dyed with the

flesh of die dead, and filled with the earth of die grave from which the skull was exhumed. This had the desired effect, keeping Jericho from the houses that bore diese skulls on their hearth. An unseen foe had changed the course of history.

Through his own will and actions, Jericho turned a city of humans into one of the most structured societies on the planet, and paid the ultimate price. He underestimated the humans. They would not sit idly by as his will was served, even though his actions benefited their nature as no other had before, and they struck at his heart. Jericho was dead, but his city lived on, and the lesson that he taught was only beginning. From this circumstance, the family of Jericho learned of magic, and the force that it could exert upon die living world. His family asked a great gift of Ananasa, that they, too, could learn the gift of magic so that they may weave a new web.

Ananasa in her wisdom did not give them this gift directly, but let them discover magic and weave their way into the spell. The descendants of Jericho to this day are gifted with the ability to interweave with the forces of magic on a variety of

levels, adding one more strand to Ananasa’s web on Earth. What else… ? Lessee…. Though you’ll never read of it in the history books, we were behind the abolition of slavery in

much of Europe and in the United States. We did not sign the papers, we usually didn’t actually fight the wars, but we were partially responsible. A woman sleeps with a powerful, influential politician. The politician explains the woes of his government, the woman suggests a solution. Oh, I guess maybe the politician disagrees, but when die grander scheme of things gets examined, he finds his lover’s suggestion makes a certain sense. That’s what happened in die USA, when the right words were whispered to an aide of the president. The


president listened, knowing he could trust the aide’s advice, and though the Civil War was over no sooner, the scales were adjusted by the lover’s suggestion. How? Simple, really. The suggestion to abolish slavery was already popular with certain factions, but more importantly, the abolitionist movement prevented other countries from interfering, except in the

most subtle and secret ways. England had plans to fight with the Confederacy, to get themselves into the war for strictly financial reasons, but the when slavery was thrown in their faces as an issue, well, they just couldn’t be seen backing slavery. That helped strengthen the Northern position. Why? Well, that’s even easier. Might be you’ve noticed a lot of us are of African heritage. A good number of our kind have Kinfolk in Africa, and not a whole lot of them folks came to the US

by choice. Hell, I don’t reckon a single one of ’em decided getting whupped on regularly was a much better idea than living a life they were used to. I’m betting not any of ’em thought living a life of forced labor was better than being free. Lots of our Kinfolk were abused in the slave trade. What better way to resolve the situation? Aww, hell, might as well be blunt about it. The end of slavery was merely a bonus of the entire affair. The real reason was simpler by far; we wanted the North to win, to expand the Industrial Revolution into places where it had not yet made serious strides, because it suited our goals at the time. The Wyrm was too strong, and using the Weaver to balance the situation was expedient. The Wyld would have been a preferable tool, but the Weaver was faster and more certain. There are times for each member of the Triat to grow stronger, right now and for the past few centuries, the time has been the Weaver’s. Eventually the Wyld will have another turn, but not quite yet. What else have we done? Lots of things, but few as direct in consequence. Our manipulations often take decades to bear fruit, and only rare incidents have the impact that our actions in the Civil War reflected. Oh, there have been others.

one that already exists to your advantage. The folks who develop new technologies are the ones who get the blame when things go wrong. The ones who create unpleasant situations are reviled for centuries afterwards. We prefer to work behind the scenes, to influence the ways in which the events unfold rather than to create the events themselves. The vampires and Garou have yet to learn this lesson, for which we should all be grateful. Well, okay, the vampires are actually getting pretty good at it, some of ’em anyway. Do you reaRy understand how easy the manipulation of events is? Most of you do, I suspect, but just in case, I’ll give you one more example: The stock market. Most of us dabble in the trades of the humans. It’s a good way to make money,

which in turn is a powerful tool. But the trading game’s only a diversion, a place to study probabilities and learn the worst aspects of human nature. Greed is the primary motivator on Wall Street, but it’s also a tool that has many advantages.

Why fight an opponent when the right words can cause more harm? Only a few of us are in the sort of position where a phrase or a whispered implication of doom for a certain company can make a change that’s radical, but those few who are there have influence that is just plain scary when you look at it. The right words can bring a company to its financial knees, or elevate the value of the corporate stock to levels that have stunned the best of the Wall Street analysts. Most of the time the situation doesn’t require action, but when one of the most influential people on Wall Street talks, everyone listens. When three or four of the most respected figures in the industry agree on something, everyone listens. We don’t fight the war for dominance in ways that are familiar to most of the Ovid. They respect physical prowess and savagery. Only a few of them understand the subtleties of politics and economy, and even those who do seldom

comprehend the fine art of manipulation. The Garou and their ilk use force to make their point known, even within their own ranks. Among the Damhan, fistfights and guns are

I’ve heard it told that the Hatar had their hand in the Inquisition. Some of our kind hold long grudges, and the

a last resort. Politics and power are just threads in the Web, and if those threads are sometimes as deadly as a garrote,

name given to us by the other Ovid, “the Patient Ones” means more than most ever realize. The Inquisition was a tool, just like any other, but one that held great satisfaction for us. The Garou paid for their assaults against us in those times, and if others paid as well, that is a price we were willing to pay. What’s that? No, kid, we didn’t create the Inquisition, but we took full advantage of it. Many of the priests were less-thancelibate, and others were easily convinced to look for the wrong signs to find a person guilty. Manipulating the fanatics of the Inquisition and the Church was child’s play.

then we’re able to use them like a really fine surgeon removing a cancer from the deepest parts of a human’s body. We don’t tear the flesh when we can make a simple, precise cut that is far more effective. That’s one of our strengths. We don’t suffer from the maddening rage of the Garou, and we ain’t nearly stupid enough to think that physical efficiency is the best way to handle the appointment of our leaders. The world is a web of conflicts and innuendo, a tapestry of deceit and manipulation. We’re the weavers of that cloth. There are others who try their luck with the tools we use, but

That’s the case in most of the situations where we have

most are amateurs. Most cannot understand the pattern laid

had an impact on the humans’ world. We found a tool that was already there, and used it to the best of our abilities, which is often an amazingly simple task. And that, spiderlings, is what we do to make our way in

out on the skein of life, and their ignorance is just another tool in our arsenal of weapons.

this world. It’s best not to create a situation when you can use

of fledglings and apprentices.

Never allow yourself to think that we’re the only ones who use subtlety, but know this: we’re masters in a world ful\

First Threads



\\v ,4 •

\ V

Have you ever heard of insect politics? Neither have I. Insects don’t have politics. They’re very brutal. No compassion, no compromise.. .we can’t trust the insect. I’d like to become the

first insect politician. — Jeff Goldblum, The Fly The disciples were given time to absorb what they’d learned. They spoke among themselves for a day, carefully ignoring the pitiful creature who still cackled in their midst. Though the teachers were present, they did not speak to their youngprogeny. Instead they listened, learning about the new Ananasi and watching them interact with each other. Some fought each other with words, and others merely studied their brethren and the caverns in which they all waited. Others practiced shifting their shapes, leamingwhat they could of the changes that had taken place in their bodies. A few, those who were the most

emotional or who simply wanted to see what they could accomplish, /ought among each other with fists, fangs and occasionally weapons.

The only rule enforced was that they could not kill each other. The nine instructors simply watched the fights, observing their students. When one tried to win victory over his opponent by lethal means, he was torn asunder, his remains leftwhere theyfeUasaremindertothe rest—though one of the instructors took care to push the bod;y around

for a bit, just to make certain it was properly deceased. If any had previously felt they could break the rules, the nine instructors had remedied their notions with that decisive action. For three days and nights the teachers and their students relaxed and learned about each other. Then, on the fourth day, the instructions began anew. The first to speak was a wizened old woman with

short white hair and an expression on her face that could freeze scalding water. None dared even fidget when she spoke. You have learned of the past. Now is the time to learn

of the present. The world is not what it once was, not by a long stretch. The world has changed more than most people ever realize, and the changes are continuing. The Weaver grows stronger every day, eating the chaos of life and spewing forth the webs of order and discipline to a terrifying degree. We love order, for we were created by the Daughter of Weaver, but we were never meant to thrive in a world where order has consumed everything else. For that reason, we will work against Weaver as we once worked for her. She has grown too strong and too demanding. She must be put back in her place. The Wyrm is constantly growing madder, but in a way that has a certain pattern. That pattern is a mystery that we are still unweaving, and when the time is right, we will erase the Wyrm’s madness. But not just yet. The Wyrm is far too strong and far too deadly to confront when the time isn’t yet right. Lastly, there is the Wyld. Wyld is dying, crushed by the weight of the Great Web and pinned beneath the bulk of the Wyrm’s twisted desires. This too will change. The Wyld cannot die, not truly, but the notion of a world where random chaos

can’t make the necessary changes is not one we find appealing.

Chapter Two: The Web

What does this mean to the world at large? That’s very simple. Technology is increasing in leaps and bounds, growing faster than most people imagined would ever be possible. Science fiction has become science fact. But there’s a flaw that’s manifested in this more orderly society: the human element has been left out of the equation. What do I mean when I say human element? Well, child, that too is easy. The world is suffering because the very virtues humans claim as their own are overlooked in the process of changing the world and making a better tomorrow. People are numbers, not individuals. Forests are inconveniences that must be destroyed in order to build more offices for the humans who make the world a better place. Charity and kindness have

become obstacles in the path of making a profit. There are exceptions, to be sure, but they shouldn’t be the exceptions, they should be the rule. If these simple human emotions were considered by the humans who claim they are the dominant

species on the planet, Wvrm would not be as powerful, and Grandmother Spider would not have sway over everything. Don’t misunderstand me. I care nothing about the technology that is sweeping the world. All the better, I say. But these changes are driven by the forces that created the universe, and these forces are out of control and imbalanced. The better cars still produce gross amounts of poisons, the air

conditioners that cool the places where people could once have never survived with ease are destroying the atmosphere, and the removal of the trees is causing repercussions we’re only beginning to understand. In seizing so much of the world, the Weaver is destroying that which is most important: symmetry. Without symmetry, we are lost. The wheel can’t run smoothly along the road if half of it is flat and the other half over inflated. The building cannot stand if the foundation is uneven, and the world

cannot continue to exist if the symmetry between the members of the Trial is not reestablished. That is simple fact. What’s that? No, spiderling, we will not discuss die examples of what is wrong and why just yet. We will, instead, discuss ourselves and what we are doing to repair this colossal error. We will discuss the world in the simplest of terms, waiting to explain the details later. To explain them now would be to leave you in the dark about too many important facts. Mostly, however, we will discuss what the Ananasi

are, and how we work together even in times of civil war. Now enough questions. Wait until I’m finished, or meet the fate of your brother with the bad temper.

^triumvirate You have before you this day nine teachers. We are all Ananasi, but we are also all different. We follow different ways of living and serving the Mother-Queen. None of these is wrong, for that is what Ananasa demands. We are following the pattern that she is weaving, and we have no hope of fully understanding the tapestry she creates. The scale is too large, the picture too vast for our comprehension. But someday all will be revealed to us^for

she has promised us the answers in the fullness of time.



Metamorphosis £xplaineb I


Unlike the Fifst Change for tnost of the Ovid, the Metamorphosis is usually a slow pfocess. I»ong befofe any physical changes occur, the fledgling Ananasi begins to change emotionally, losing many of the traits that have marked the person who undergoes the transformation. The first noticeable difference is a marked increase in curiosity. Even the worst cases of Attention Deficit Disorder suddenly

Aiditionally, there’s the problem of “muscle ….„.„.. The djjanges that take;place within the Ananasi are often unrnmfrvrfaKlpafK^Qt . As Ac flipnrnr^csic the process isGradual gradual, it’cnnrmalKr it’s normally

start noticing details that were almost always overlooked

unusual swellings that move undeerhe skin; sometimes it’s

before, because details show a portion of the Pattern. Where many teenagers go through strong and often violent outbursts while suffering through the throes of puberty, the

blatant, like having a few extra limbs and eyes pop out of the body. Eidier way, the Ananasi normally see this with the

Ananasi starts withdrawing more. This has nothing to do

seen as nothing more than a cramp or two, or involuntary musclp spasmSlat first. It’s only later that the full realization comesaround. Sometimes the physical manifestation of the Metamorphosis is small, a hand or arm that suddenly grows

same detachment they do everything else: it’s something to be studied, not something to fear. Most of the new Ananasi

with a need to be alone, but rather is a side effect of constantly

simply concentrate and make the new changes go away, or

watching other people. Observation rakes the place of conversation. It becomes more interesting to see how others react to a situation than to react in person* “•

practice making them change shape and size. In a few days or

Other people often consider Ananasi cold, and that is perhaps the truth. Emotions wHich were once like bright, vivid colors, become muted. The average Damhin becomes less attached tp the people in his life, knowing them and

perhaps even still caring for them, but only in a vague way. The process is gradual, and it normally takes around two weeks for

the young human teenager to become completely detached from any emotional dependency on others. Not surprisingly, a good percentage of parents get the idea that the teen is “having emotional problems,” or “getting into the drug scene.”

It isn’t unusual for the parents to send their child for professional help, or even to have her institutionalized for her own benefit during this time. This seldom lasts for long, however, because the child isn’t actually suffering from mental or emotional problems, but rather is becoming more rational.

even hours, the Ananasi will discover all of her forms

through trial and error. Instinct tell| her not to 4*3Je this new knowledge with others/ “X^ / ^*SS