The Claw is a constellation of four stars visible all year round. It spends most of the autumn and winter months relatively close to the western horizon only rising to its peak (roughly halfway to zenith) during mid-spring. The brightest of the four stars (the second of the four as you look left and right) is located almost directly above the tail of the Stork.
The Claw is perceived as representing natural law; things struggle, things die, nature is red in tooth and claw. Where the Claw strikes, blood is shed; sometimes this is part of the natural order of things and sometimes it is the outcome of violence. Equally though, the Claw can represent struggle against the odds or defiance of what seems a foregone conclusion; even confronted with armed and armoured hunters, the mother bear will fight to the death for her cubs.
In Wintermark the Claw is sometimes known as the Tusk especially among the Suaq - there is an old folktale of One-Tusk the walrus, a cunning old beast in children's stories who set one of his great tusks in the sky as a warning to the bears of the North. Even in this case though, Old One-Tusk’s broken ivory tusk is seen as a weapon to be feared.
Invoking the Claw in magic
The Claw is a destructive force but not a negative one. It is commonly invoked in rituals which deal with battle, inflicting injury, disaster, bloodshed and war. Battlemages often regard the Claw as a good constellation to make their workings under; its physicality and the violence it promises can be channelled into the ritual to provide the right mood and energy.
Like all such forces the Claw cuts both ways. Those who rely too heavily on it find that eventually they too will feel its sting. Personifying the Claw in ritual should involve a ritual hunt or kill; the splash of red in the dark, the cycle of nature made manifest.
Tulpas of the Claw
The thought-forms of the Claw are usually bestial in aspect and, unsurprisingly, clawed. They take the form of fusions of human and beast, or of beasts of unusual size. Old One-Tusk is believed by the Suaq to have been a Tulpa of the Claw; in the Marches some speak of Black Shucks, black dogs that sometimes walk as humans that work under the auspices of the Claw unleashed by rituals.
A ritualist who experiences the touch of the Claw may stalk or hunt during the ritual; or perhaps work themselves into a frenzy that only ends with a slight injury and the shedding of some of their own blood. The Claw is a dangerous constellation to align too closely to.
|The Chain (Things hold together)||The Chalice (Things heal; things apart come together)||The Claw (Things bleed)|
|The Door (Things move and change)||The Drowned Man (Things end)||The Fountain (Things live)|
|The Great Wyrm (Things change and transform)||The Key (Things are revealed)||The Lock (Things can be hidden)|
|The Mountain (Things are not easy)||The Oak (Things endure)||The Phoenix (Things learn)|
|The Spider (Things are watched by a hidden eye)||The Stallion (Things procreate)||The Stork (Things matter)|
|The Web (Things are connected)||The Three Sisters (Things are connected by blood)||The Wanderer (Things are not what you think or Things go awry)|