Ritual of Blood! last edited by jazz1987 on 10/20/18 07:13AM View full history

Can the Werewolf make it through the other beasts of the circus before facing Swami Rihva?

Trapped within a carnival lion cage by the diminutive feline tamer Mige, the Werewolf faces four of the big cats. The lions, goaded by Mige, attack the man-beast until the strong man, Big Elmo, intervenes. The struggle ends when the mystic, Rihva, enters the tent, and the humbled lions return to their holding cage. Rihva, knowing Mige is responsible for the trouble, slaps him, then the carnies leave the Werewolf caged for the night.

The next morning, Jack Russell, back in his human form but still entranced by Rihva, is moved to his own cage as Big Elmo relates Rihva's tale: an outcast telepath in Nepal, Rihva learned of the Bloodstone, a key to a hidden treasure. Visiting the monastery where the gem was kept safe, the mystic found and stole it. But the rituals Rihva performed upon the Bloodstone failed because he lacked the blood of a supernatural being. In his travels, Rihva gathered a group of outcasts who eventually allied with a carnival owner named Calliope, providing a cover while he searched for the proper blood.

Jack's sister Lissa and their friend, Buck Cowan, having tracked down the carnival, arrive and find Jack in a cage, but then they, too, are mesmerized by Rihva.

That night, after closing the carnival early, the Werewolf is gassed, and later comes to, finding himself strapped to a table with the carnies gathered around him. Rihva tells the story of the Bloodstone to the group: an ancient wizard king named Kaman-Ru had amassed a great fortune, which, as he neared the end of his life, he hid. He then etched a mystic map upon the surface of the Bloodstone, casting a spell by which only a supernaturally worthy being could read the the map and claim the fortune.

At the stroke of midnight, Rihva is about to plunge a dagger into the Werewolf's heart, but is stopped by Big Elmo, who refuses to be party to murder. Frustrated, Mige shoots the strong man, who survives long enough to snap Mige's back. They fall and knock over a burning candle, starting a fire. The Werewolf, who considered Elmo a friend, breaks his bonds, and the carnies flee. Rihva's final gambit is to threaten Lissa's life, but she comes out of her trance and claws her way from his clutches. Desperate, Rihva probes the Werewolf's primal mind, but what he finds there literally scares him to death. The Bloodstone falls from the Swami's hand as the Werewolf runs off amid the flames.

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