(S Hartwell 1989/1990)

Back in the days of role play game round the dining room table, we started the cult of the Wolf and the Rose.

For the record, my character was an obese merchant called Augustus Jellicoe, nicknamed "Gusty" for his flatulence and "Augustus Jelly-Belly" for his corpulence. There was a "woodman elf" called Meraieth, a Deerkin (a sort of satyr but with deer's legs and stag's antlers which were rather inconvenient indoors) and Gusty's ascetic-looking business partner whose name I forget. I don't remember much beyond that except that the main town was the east coast harbour town of "Seagate" (named after the hard disk drive manufacturer - we're talking geek here!).

The Wolf and the Rose Cult held that wolves were the ideal - family-oriented, faithful to their kin, co-operated in hunting. In contrast, the rose was a symbol of false-hood - beauty hiding vicious thorns (which in the role play world were also painfully poisonous). The symbol was the stylised face of a grey wolf holding a red rose in its mouth (stalk to the left, flower to the right). And, of course, we needed some sacred verses to quote at non-player characters! We ended up with these parts of the sacred text of the Cult of The Wolf and The Rose. The numbers simply refer to the order they occurred in during play.


All glory to the Wolf, father of the fang,
The clean kill, the merciful end without suffering.
All glory to the wolf, grey smoke-shadow of the night,
Whose piercing cold eyes be forever clear of sight.

All hail to the lord of the plains and forests,
And to the great pale lord of the snowy reaches.
All hail to the merciful fang of the clean kill,
The gentle father, wise mother and strong young.


He kills not in vengeance, nor in spite,
He wastes not the flesh of the victim of his bite.

He kills not in bloodlust nor for joy of killing,
The proper balance is preserved by his hunting.


The thorn that bites without provocation
The beauty turned sour, hidden fang which bites without reason;
Bloom that lures the seeker into a thicket of thorns for no gain;
Oh rose thou art false promise and siren.

Blood nourishes the earth beneath your claws,
Yet you eat not the torn flesh upon the thorn.
Sweet petals, lure of beauty fall within a day
Oh rose thou art an inconstant temptress.


She casts out her seeds to the fickle breezes
To grow where they might, twining and stifling other seedlings.

A million children are borne of her rose-hip womb,
To lure the unwary into rending thorn.


Wolf-wife gives succour to her offspring,
Her body brings forth the milk of life at its own expense. 


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