Friday, April 13, 2012

The October County: Les Rouge Soeurs

If you spend enough time around the bayas of Snakewater Swamp, sooner or later you’ll hear tales of the loup-garou, a nasty piece of work that haunts the backwaters and lonely roads late at night. Chances are, especially if you’re from Earth, you’re already thinking you know what ol’ loup is. You’d be wrong.

Old loup-garou is a man or woman who went bad...real bad. So bad that when they died, not even Hell wanted a piece of them and so they walk the world of the living, angry, mean, and hungry. You can tell a loup-garou easy: he’s got a wolf’s skull for a head and is wrapped in the burial shroud they put him in the ground in. He’s got long claws and razor-sharp teeth, and he likes nothing more than a dainty bit of woman flesh to chew on. Fact is, old loup will stalk a woman a’fore he’d stalk a man. That’s usually bad news for a woman or girl caught out after dark when he’s on the prowl.

But loup-garou has met his match a few times when he thought he’d spotted a helpless waif alone in the dark. Sometimes it’s due to sheer luck; other times it’s because that helpless maiden was more than she seemed and knew what lurked out in the night. But the worst bit of news for a hungry loup-garou is that the little bit of girl he planned to put the bite on is one of the les Rouge Soeurs.

Nobody can recall who started the les Rouge Soeurs  (otherwise known as the Red Sisters to those who don’t habla the patois of the baya). Nobody outside the Sister that is; those who bear the crimson could tell you, but it ain’t likely unless they’re welcoming you into their krewe—and they’re only doing that if you’re a woman who got one over on old loup-garou.

Les Rouge Soeurs specialized in hunting loup-garou, bringing the fight to those critters with fire, silver, and mirrors. You can recognize one of the Rouge Soeurs by the red cloaks and dyed leather armor they wear. They usually ride chestnuts, sorrels, or palominos when they can find them and seat them with red saddles tooled with silver. Almost all the Sisters carry firearms, but each is a master with a blade as well. They work in teams of five or six, with each krewe responsible for a large region, oftentimes covering many hundreds of miles in area. Each group reports to a superior known as Grand-mère who works to coordinate her team with other krewes of les Rouge Soeurs to hunt down and destroy loup-garou wherever they might lurk.

Les Rouge Soeurs only recruit woman and teenage girls who have survived a loup-garou attack. For many of these victims, the sense of sisterhood offered by membership in les Rouge Soeurs, combined with the skills and tactics they learn upon initiation, helps them cope with psychological trauma they face in the wake of an attack and forges them into self-confident, powerful women. With this empowerment, few have any desire to return to the world and society they knew before they met their monster.

Although they specialize in loup-garou,  les Rouge Soeurs will hunt other dangerous creatures, especially those that victimize the young, old, or defenseless. They have an uneasy relationship with the Rambling Men and occasionally work with one of those travelling troubadours when their interests coincide, but the personalities and the misogynistic attitudes that some Rambling Men have tend to make those partnerships short-lived.


noisms said...

Les Soeurs Rouges, n'est pas? (Sorry.)

Very nice though.

Michael Curtis said...

Yes, I realized that after the fact, but haven't corrected the error. I blame my poor high school French.