At their basic level, auspices are the phase of the moon under which a werewolf undergoes his or her first change. More than that, they are a blessing by Mother Luna, a role to play and a path to power.
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Rahu: the Full Moon – The Rahu is a howler at the full moon, a reflection ofLuna’s warrior face. Rahu take the lead in war, be it quiet war against neighboring packs or open combat against their enemies. Rahu reflect every aspect of the warrior archetype. They are the ravening berserkers and the calculating generals. The two contrasting styles can even be found in the same werewolf. Uratha warriors pass down lore of combat ranging from Caesar’s battle tactics in Gaul to up-to-the-minute tactical manuals stolen from elite armed forces.
Cahalith: the Gibbous Moon – Every Cahalith’s First Change occurs under a gibbous moon — one either well on its way to or just past full. The Cahalith is a storyteller, vision-quester and lorekeeper among the People. If the gibbous moon is “pregnant,” the Cahalith who reflect that moon are pregnant with ideas, emotions and creative energy. Some Cahalith experience intense dreams every night, while artistic creation drives others to near-ecstatic madness. They are the visionaries of the Forsaken, frequently lost in reveries that echo the distant past or chasing faint glimpses of the future. As the moon waxes toward full, a Cahalith looks to the next night; as it wanes, she glances into the past.
Many Cahalith are driven to express their lunar dreams through music. More importantly, nearly every Cahalith knows many epic howls and histories, and has access to dozens more from allied spirits and Uratha. History is alive to a Cahalith. Just as a scent can tell her something of a person who passed by yesterday, an old saga can tell her about the life and passion of someone who lived long ago.
Elodoth: the Half Moon – Half Moons represent Luna half-hidden. It is said that half of them go through the First Change in the daytime, and half at night. Every werewolf’s personality changes slightly over the course of the month; becoming more easily aggravated during the full moon and a bit morose during the new moon. Elodoth feel that ebb and flow more strongly than other auspices do. (Some consider such changes to their mental state gifts from Luna.) Many Elodoth take their role as the bridger of gaps farther than other auspices do. They spend half their time in each native form, experiment with sexual partners of either gender or otherwise deliberately choose to walk in two worlds.
This ever-changing perspective gives Elodoth unique insight into the other auspices. As a result, Elodoth are trusted as judges and arbiters throughout the Forsaken territories. They are also excellent diplomats where the fickle and hostile spirit world is concerned, and it is usually the Half Moon who has the greatest chance of talking a spirit into or out of action. Many Elodoth believe they understand Luna better than other Uratha do, so they’re the ones most often nominated to stand in judgment over violations of the Oath of the Moon, Luna’s sacred law.
Ithaeur: the Crescent Moon – As a crescent moon, Luna is hiding most of her face. She reveals just a sliver — an eye or the line of her jaw. Werewolves know she’s there but she’s concerned with other matters — or she doesn’t want them to think she’s watching them. The children of the crescent moon are the occultists of the Forsaken, those who learn the secrets of mastery over the spirits. Where an Elodoth sways a spirit with sophisticated reasoning that appeals to its very nature, an Ithaeur decisively binds it through magic or strikes at its ban. Ithaeur maintain libraries of occult rituals of all stripes — ranging from harmless prayers to skyshaking rites that could slaughter humans by the score.
The Ithaeur is the one who cannot walk away from the shadowy terrors of the Shadow Realm. He’s the one who has to master the darker side of the spirit world. Any werewolf can parley with a Lune or wolf-spirit, but the Ithaeur has to be the one to master spirits who would as soon destroy an Uratha as bandy words with it. The Ithaeur’s life is a dangerous one — and it isn’t always true that the rewards match the risk.
Irraka: the New Moon – When Luna cannot be seen at all, then the Irraka hunt. The Irraka are the scouts and stalkers, the cunning hunters who elude the worst threats only to strike at their vulnerable spots from behind. They ply their wits socially as well, testing the dedication of other Uratha to their packs, their tribes and the Oath of the Moon. The Irraka are forever on the boundary, sometimes stalking the borders of their pack’s territory, sometimes wandering the boundaries between Uratha and human society. Some Irraka function as ambassadors between werewolves and the rare humans, wolf-blooded or not, who can be considered allies. More often, though, they direct their efforts toward distracting humans into looking at their own lives and society rather than digging too deeply into matters best left to the Forsaken.
The Irraka is a creature of keen wit and great cleverness, like the fox of ancient fables. The new moon’s path leads through dark places, but also reveals shortcuts; an Irraka who plans an attack will more often assemble a cunning ambush than an overpowering direct assault. The New Moon’s talent for skullduggery serves a greater purpose — showing his packmates the shadow way. Where the Cahalith inspires with emotion, the Irraka prods them with cunning. By his wiles, they may hit upon the tactic their foes would never expect.