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Glyphs have a sort of internal power. Each claw-cut pictogram of the Garou has been invested with a portion of more than a language... almost an entirely seperate way of life. It can be the vessle of something more spiritual in meaning. In some cases, Gaian spirits have come to recognize the gylphs that represent them, sometimes even going as far as to appear near their namesake. Many fetishes and talens are accordingly decorated with glyphs that pay homage to the spirits inside as a form of chiminage. Galliards and Theurges alike make ever attempt to learn the glyph language as quickly as possible; both Auspices recognize the power in names, and their duty to use this advantage wisely.
The Glyph Language used by Garou is not something intuitive, nor is it quickly learned. It is an exacting process that can, and often does, take a lifetime to learn. Some cubs and younger Garou find it hard to translate thoughts into Glyphspeak (a common terms used by non-Galliards to describe the Glyph Language), however all will attest that it is a skill than becomes easier to perform as one matures.
When assembling your own Glyph patterns, do not attempt to use full sentence structure, correct grammar, or the "one true way" to put things together. Garou Glyphs are part of a visual based language systems, and as such the only unbreakable rule is that it must look right.
History of Glyphs
Each tribe has its own say as to who first used the glyphs and how they came about. Since each tribe has been using the system since the times before the Impergium, each tale seems equally plausible.
The Silver Fangs claim that their Galliards devised the art during the first great battles against the Wyrm in an effort to remember deeds of those who had fallen. Conversely the Get maintain that Hrafn, the Raven, taught them the truth of power in sybolic marks, a power that they learned to harness as glyphs and runes. The Uktena proclaim that their tribe was responsible for the art of writing as thei occult searches regularly dealt in abstract and symbolic concepts that could not be easily communicated at the time. As counterpoint, the Silent Striders beleive that the Glyph Language evolved from trail markings used by their earliest anscestors. Perhaps the most argueable points are contestions between the Glasswalkers and Red Talons as even they make claims to being the first to use Glyphs.
No matter what it is inscribed on, the traditional way to inscribe a Garou Glyph is with the Crinos claw. Not only is the claw an instrument that is always at hand, but a message carved into a tree or stone marks the author as Garou. They are very few ways to counterfeit this - Bastet claws are too fine and do not leave the rough-shod edges (called Scoring), vampires with Protean or Vissisitude that form claws are invaribly of a smaller "hand" (though some can make a reasonable facsimile), Ratkin and other "clawed" Changing Breeds do not possess the strength to leave impressions in stone and steel, and the Mokole and Gurahl might possess the strength but they lack the texture to leave proper Scoring. There are a few ways to forge Glyphs, but for the most part only Garou can properly form the symbols.
Garou Glyphs predate all other forms of written communication. After all, it is commonly held that Garou were passing written messages to one another before humans learned how to bake clay into tablets. The original writing surface was tree bark, making it easy to string together chips to form a physical story of sorts. Whether worn as a necklace or simply carried, such was the early method of sharing tales between wandering Garou.
Recently, Uktena and Shadow Lords have taken to using Klaives to carve Glyphs to make certain points. A few Stargazers, Silent Striders and Uktena have used their claws in ink or blood to transcribe though onto paper or hide. The Uktena have even claimed to give such writing magical effects akin to those found in Talens. Bone Gnawers have even been so crass as to use praypaint and "tag" glyphs as graffitti, though all elders agree this to be disrespectful and dangerously "out-in-the-open".
The gylph language has been unchanged since the First Times. The only changes to it have been additions - as times progress and new concepts were discovered, the Garou might form a glyph to illustrate the new concept. To this day, each glyph represents a rough concept, framed not in the sense of words and paragraphs but as a raw symbol.
This open-endedness can befuddle most homid born Garou. Metis cubs tend to learn slightly faster due to their constant subjecting to their use, but it is lupus who shine when it comes to learning this language form. The mind of the lupus does not form sentences and complete thoughts - theirs is a mind that might seem fragmented, as their wolf-mind attempts to understand what it witnesses. Such instinct usually forces lupus to think of things in very simplistic terms. A building is a building, though one might be a school and the other might be a home. This simplified perspective actually forms the entire basis of understanding the Garou Glyphs.
They key to understanding Garou Gylphs is context. Take any three glyphs as they normally might appear. Arrange them in nine different ways and you have formed nine entirely different "sentences". Context is ervything - it is all important. For example, the glyph for Gaia might also mean earth, life, peace - all that is good is defined by that single swipe of the claw. However, place the glyph for Humans underneath it and with a few minor modifications you now have the Glyph for Kinfolk... "humans born under Gaia's grace" sounds an ample description of Kinfolk, doesn't it? The same holds for any glyph. The difficulty in reading the language comes from trying to ascertain the viewpoint the glyphs were written from.
Glyph Lore: the Ability
The Ability Glyph Lore enables a character to discover the nuances of the ancient Garou Glyphs. An acute observer can discern many things by simply paying heed to the angle of Scoring present in each glyph....
Glyph Lore Level One: You know all the commonly used Glyphs and many contexts to find them in.
Glyph Lore Level Two: You can tell the difference between glyphs inscribed with Crinos claws, Hispo Claws, Klaives, and other tools.
Glyph Lore Level Three: You know many glyphs used commonly by certain tribes, such as the Silver Fang House Glyphs, Astrological Glyphs, and so forth.
Glyph Lore Level Four: You are adept at discerning many tell-tale signs within Glyphs, and have acquired a basic knowledge of the legendary history that surrounds Glyphs.
Glyph Lore Level Five: You know as much as any living Galliard on the subject, history, contexts, legends, and usage of Glyphs.
Glyph Lore Level Six: You know several secrets of the Garou Glyph Language, including the true creators of the language.
Specializations: Tribal, Astrology, Abstracts, the Silver Record, Forgery
Possessed by: well-trained hunters, many Galliards, Theurges, and Philodoxes, and Soulhowler