A Pack Bonding Mission

[-singularity-] Last time on As the Maelstrom Swirls…

Kate’s doors opened onto the Great Hall of Calvin de Provence, Silver Fang King of the Gleaming Eye House. Yet upon her entry, courtiers gathered within began to bow to her, hailing her as the Queen. Katherine denied the illusion, accepting it as false as she approached the throne, only to find the apparition of her father stepping from behind the throne.

Identifying himself as Christopher Bellamonte’s spirit, the ‘ghost’ then instructed Katherine to sit the throne, claiming that it would symbolize her acceptance of her destiny and her father’s pride in and plans for her. When Katherine again refused the throne — repeatedly — and instead claimed her own path in the world, apart from anyone else’s plans for her, Christopher Bellamonte grew wroth and denounced her as a coward and a traitor. Flanked by her pack, Katherine resolutely departed the hall even as the crowds began to turn on her, hurling invectives and makeshift weaponry at her on her way out.

Once out of the room, Lukas warned the packmates that his room would be next, and self-identified rage and violence as his own weaknesses. He instructed that the packmates strengthen themselves with gifts and talens, setting out his stash of Gaia’s Breaths (3) and soak talens (6) for the pack’s use. Sinclair warned that his weakness may not be what he thinks it is.

[Honor's Compass] [Let the records show:

Kate still has Luna's Armor activated for +4 Soaking
Activating Resist Pain as we speak
Taking a GB in case as well as a Soak Talen]

[Echoes of Laughter] [[Sarita has no Gifts to help her. She is simple taking a GB and a Soak Talen and activating the Soak Talen.]]

[Brutal Revelation] [Let the record also show:

Sinclair took a soak talen (+3)
Steelfur is active (+5)
Resist Pain is active
She has her own GBs]

[Where the Sidewalk Ends] [Maddox:

* Offers up 1 extra GB per Garou (5 (including Margaret)), has more
* Has own soak talen, -1G +3 soak
* Shifts to Crinos
* Rolling for Faerie Light]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 3, 4, 5, 6, 6, 7 (Success x 3 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [And for the record, Lukas currently has:
- Resist Pain
- Luna's Armor +7
- Soak Talen +3
- Spirit of the Fray
- Bloody Bandage +6]

[-singularity-] Hands reach forward, talens taken and given. Small bursts of light as spirits are released. Faint rustles of steel as Sinclair’s fur changes; a dark-bright glow on the walls as Lukas’s Armor joins Katherine’s. In the end, the Shadow Lord takes his somewhat depleted bag of talens back, tucking it back into its dedicated form. Even in hispo, his eyes are crystalline blue, meeting each of the others’ in turn.

Okay,” he rumbles quietly. “Let’s do this.

When they come around the corner, the door is before them. Where the ones before had reflected the minds and thoughts and — sometimes — deepest darkest feelings of those who had stood before them, this door is strangely plain. Just a slab of metal, with no visible knob or handle, polished so brightly that they can clearly see themselves reflected in it.

As Wyrmbreaker nears, he raises a paw, puts it against the door. As soon as he touches it, it opens — a whisper of sound, and then a subaudible tremor in the tunnel, the floor beneath them, as the immensely heavy door slides upward.

It’s a room inside. Not a forest, not a Great Hall. Just a room, but far more enormous than one could have imagined. Threesided, one vertix of the triangle to either side of them; the third directly ahead. The walls are dark. The floor is dark. Everything is dark, and deathly still, and everything gleams faintly wet. Stinks faintly of corruption.

Two things wait for them in that room. Standing in the center of the room, direwolf-form, forepaws braced wide, head bowed, is Wyrmbreaker. He looks larger than their Wyrmbreaker, stronger and faster and far more rageful.

Suspended above him — drooping in midair as though hanging from unseen wires — is Maddox. He is unconscious. He’s bleeding at the side and from the leg, the exact places where their Maddox is bleeding. Where their Maddox’s blood is black, though, the unconscious Maddox’s is red. And though they cannot smell Wyrmbreaker’s scent on his duplicate, they can smell Maddox’s on his suspended double — stronger, more vibrant, more alive than the scent on their Maddox.

There’s no question about it. The Wyrmbreaker in the room is not Wyrmbreaker. The Maddox is the room is the true Maddox. The one they have been with all this time –

something else.

Not-Wyrmbreaker lifts his head. His eyes burn blue.

“He is my packmate, and I will protect him,” he snarls. “I will not allow you to harm what is mine.”

[Brutal Revelation] Sinclair would brush or bump against Wyrmbreaker, the real one, if her fur weren’t hardened, refined metal right now. So she just chuffs, standing alongside him: “Told you.

[Honor's Compass] Honor’s Compass, adopting her Hispo form as they slip into this last, worst room, takes one glimpse of what is there, bristling, readying to protect the dangling Maddox; the real Maddox, if blood and scent were to be believed and swings her great head to bare her teeth at the imposter entering with them.

She’s rounding on him.

Wordless, her teeth are very sharp as she snaps her jaw at him.

[Echoes of Laughter] She looks as they walk in, and her eyes widen. Back tenses. Jaw more or less drops open. Someone else may have seen this one coming. The Strider is not ashamed to say that she didn’t. Maybe she should have, but she didn’t.

“Oh, fucking hell.” She takes a deep breath as she steps up, going into Crinos. Her back curls place her stance as that of a power position, ready to act in whatever way she has to.

[Where the Sidewalk Ends] They enter the room, and Maddox shifts upward. He grows taller, adds to his musculature. He’s hideous in his war form. What should be powerful, even for a weakling like him, is wasted, emaciated. They can see the bones of his ribs and pelvis, even through his reddish fur. The skin of his head is pulled taut, accentuating his skull. He offers up talens and things, prepares for combat with the rest of them, grumbling all the while. He renews his little blue light.

Entering last, he’s the last to see…

himself. Suspended in midair like a forgotten puppet. His dark eyes widen, his jaw drops, and before he can say or so anything

Kate is rounding on him. The others are adopting positions of strength, readying for something more. He backs away from the Silver Fang, backs up toward the door they left, which is no doubt gone now.

[-singularity-] Lukas has nothing to say in response to Sinclair — just a quick snap of his head around. He looks shocked. Perhaps horrified.

Yet when Kate rounds on Sidewalk’s End, he lets out a low, rough bark: “Stop! Whatever he is, he kept the light faithfully for us. And whatever he is, every wound he’s taken has mirrored itself on Where the Sidewalk Ends. We get the real one back first. Then we worry about the double.

Across the room, not-Wyrmbreaker takes two menace steps forward, head lowering until his skull is level with his shoulders, until the bristle of the fur along his back stands taller than his ears.

“He is my packmate.” Foam flies from not-Wyrmbreaker’s jaws as he snaps his teeth. “I will protect him. He is mine, my duty, my responsibility, mine, and I will not allow you to harm what is mine!”

[Where the Sidewalk Ends] By all accounts, the Maddox with his back to the wall, with the light floating gently near his shoulder, who has snarked and snarled and huffed at the others most of this night, is the false one. He’s empty on the inside. When he bleeds, it’s black sludge that seeps from the wounds. The Maddox suspended up ahead is the real one. He smells right. He bleeds red blood.

The Maddox with his back to the wall doesn’t feel not-himself. Even the attitude change, which has gotten worse and worse, doesn’t feel not-right.

In fact, he gets angry when the not-Lukas snarls at them, comes forward with menace. The real Wyrmbreaker calls Kate off, and the Other steps forward.

No,” he says, though he doesn’t step past the frontlines of the Unbroken. This isn’t his room, or isn’t supposed to be. That’s how the pattern went, anyway. “He is me, which makes him mine. Nobody can have him but me.” His tone, in the High Tongue, says No one else deserves him.

[Brutal Revelation] Sinclair’s comment when they first came in and saw what this room has for them was offhand, but not as flippant as it could have been. Dreadful, in a way, gnawing at the fact that, well, she was at least partly right. She didn’t turn on Maddox — Lukas is right. Whoever or whatever this thing with them is, he has been faithful. He has not backstabbed them. She isn’t, in fact, even convinced that the thing dripping real read blood is actually the Maddox they came in with.

Striding alongside Wyrmbreaker, she says as much: “We not know sure. We be careful with both.

Not-Wyrmbreaker menaces, threatens, snaps his jaws, and Sinclair barks right back at him, a flurry of short, sharp roars threaded through with the sound of steel-on-steel. “We not harm. He ours, too! Wyrmbreaker ours.

[Honor's Compass] Katherine stops when her Alpha commands it, but she’s still bristling. There’s a low growl thundering in her chest; she chuffs and slides her claws over the floor. She is eying the Other Maddox with mingled mistrust and wariness as he steps forward and addresses the Other Lukas.

The Silver Fang rounds, and comes forward.

Her ears flatten against her skull at the threat implied by her not-Alpha, but she stands firm. “Not your duty. Part of Pack. Not yours to care for alone. Lukas not alone. Never alone.”

[Where the Sidewalk Ends] [C'mon, glow ball, stay on!]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 1, 2, 4, 6, 6, 10 (Success x 2 at target 6)

[Echoes of Laughter] Sarita is usually the one who talks. A little joke, a well-placed comment to make sure everyone’s keeping true…whatever. Right now, she’s not talking. Actions speak as loud as words, and the Strider takes up position with her packmates. Her brothers and sisters.

Her lip curls, and her body tenses. She’s just waiting for the sign. She doesn’t need to reiterate what the others have said; Maddox is theirs, and they will not let him go.

[-singularity-] “The pack is mine!” the not-Lukas snarls. “Mine to guide, mine to ward, mine to protect, mine, mine, my, MINE!

It’s hard to say who moves first, or if they move at once: both black hispos lunging forward, terrible claws flaying the floor open, all that mass moving out of sheer muscular strength, sheer power. Snarls explode from two throats at once: two rallying roars as both Wyrmbreakers charge for the other.

The Unbroken charge with Wyrmbreaker. But not-Wyrmbreaker has his own allies, and it’s not the unconscious, broken Theurge suspended in midair. As the pack roars forward, the ground shudders and shakes. A deep black crack splits the room, splits the walls, tears open to reveal

a nightmare. A flashing, insane world where black is white, and white is black: where the walls are wet and heaving, where the floor beneath their feet trembles and spasms like a living thing. A monstrosity rises out of that floor: eyeless, headless, more an octopus than a man; a snapping, screaming mouth at the end of each arm, an enormous devouring maw in the center of its body.

Six arms, they might notice. Six arms, and one ravenous hole.

Seeing it, Wyrmbreaker instantly changes direction. “Stay with me!” he barks. “Let me take the hits. Flank it, destroy it!

No more words. Wyrmbreaker lunges, teeth flashing –

and falls right through the creature, goes sprawling on the other side.

The shock is cold in the mind. He can’t touch them.

Meanwhile, the not-Wyrmbreaker comes snapping for their throats. Kate’s, perhaps, or Maddox’s. It doesn’t matter. He plunges right through them. Hits the floor — what’s left of it — hard enough to slam a grunt out of himself.

The two black wolves scramble to their feet, eyes wild, teeth bared. They pass right through their foes — both of them. There’s a panic in the air, crackling like rage; a burst of almost-incoherence on the totemlink, have to protect can’t let them fight alone they can’t, and then both Wyrmbreakers are wheeling on their haunches, lunging again, catching each other in midair, slamming together in a vicious snap of tooth and claw.

It’s impossible to tell who says it; or both. Perhaps it doesn’t matter:

No. NO! Not like this. I must protect them. Let me protect them!

[annnnd we should init!]

[Echoes of Laughter] [[Init +7]]
Dice Rolled:[ 1 d10 ] 4

[Honor's Compass] [+9]!
Dice Rolled:[ 1 d10 ] 7

[-singularity-] [THE NOMFIEND! +10]
Dice Rolled:[ 1 d10 ] 4 (Failure at target 6)

[Where the Sidewalk Ends] [+5]
Dice Rolled:[ 1 d10 ] 3

[Brutal Revelation] Stay with me! Let me take the hits! their Wyrmbreaker roars, and Sinclair snaps her jaws at him, thinks more than says

and Maddox and Margaret can’t hear it, but the others can, the thoughts she has no time to say aloud: LISTEN TO YOURSELF.

She’s not little-sistering him. She’s dead serious.

But there’s no time. He lunges and cannot touch the thing. Not-Wyrmbreaker goes right through her and she shudders. Wheels on the thing that their Wyrmbreaker can’t touch, at least knowing that not-Wyrmbreaker can’t touch them. Instantly, she rallies, barking aloud: “Sidewalk and Midnight Sun stay back, heal us if you can! Echoes, Truth, flank or get behind it. GO!

[+10]
Dice Rolled:[ 1 d10 ] 10

[-singularity-] [Midnight Sun in Crinos: +8!]
Dice Rolled:[ 1 d10 ] 1 (Botch x 1 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [Inits:
Sinclair 20
Kate 16
Nomfiend 14
Sarita 11
MS 9
WtSE 8]

[Where the Sidewalk Ends] [Stay behind the fighters!
1a:
1b:
1c: GBs as necessary]

[Brutal Revelation] Sinclair, lunging towards the six-armed beast at point, flicks her eyes suddenly, shouts mentally to the two packmates who are attacking with her, the sisters she runs with: Try to take out the arms first. We’ll finish it off together at the end.

[-singularity-] As the pack charges forward, seamlessly following Sinclair now, tight on her heels, the beast rears to face them. An obscene, shrieking mouth snaps and spits at them from the core; six others ring it.

They are not created equal. One is dark, corded and bunched with muscle. When it slams the ground in threat, the shudders threaten to knock them off their feet. Another bears a sickle-claw. A third is streaked in white and gold; gleams in the faltering light. A fourth: the mouth gibbering and snarling, spitting obscenities that cut the ears. A fifth, dripping with black sludge. And the last, trailing darkness where it writhes.

[Marge declare:
1a. Mother's Touch on someone!]

[Echoes of Laughter] On it. It echoes across the pack link as she charges, ready to dodge and aiming to take out a tendril. And she sees one that’s just her size.

[1: Save for Dodge
R1: Claw the shit out of the arm with the potty mouth]]

[Echoes of Laughter] [[If change is allowed; not the potty mouth one. Clawing the shit out of the sickle-claw one! If change not allowed--disregard!]]

[-singularity-] [Nomfiend!

Strong arm: Slam!
Claw arm: Slash Sinclair!
Pretty arm: Bolster Dark Arm!
Pottymouth arm: GIBBERHOWL at Katherine. (aka Something Evil.)
Sludge arm: holding action til later
Dark arm: Something Evil at Sinclair!

Core: 1) Quake!
R1) NOM Sarita
R2) NOM Sinclair]

[Honor's Compass] Katherine streaks around the monstrosity, ducking and weaving those deadly arms to come around flanking them. The Silver Fang’s pale eyes quickly absorb the waving limbs, zoning in on one in particular. She lets loose a terrible snarl and leaps at it; jaws wide.

1a.
b.
c. — all bites on the white and gold arm
R1.
R2.
R3. — same again unless it’s destroyed, moving to dark one.]

[Brutal Revelation] [1a.
1b.
1c. -- bites on Pottymouth, switch to Dark if Pottymouth goes down
R1.
R2. -- bites on Dark, switch to Strong if Dark goes down]

[Brutal Revelation] [1a. biting pottymouth arm.
dex + brawl -3 (split), +1 diff (steelfur)]
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 8, 8, 10, 10 (Success x 4 at target 6) Re-rolls: 2

[Brutal Revelation] [damage. +3]
Dice Rolled:[ 11 d10 ] 1, 2, 2, 2, 3, 4, 4, 5, 9, 9, 10 (Success x 2 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [pottymouth: OW soak]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 1, 5, 7, 7, 8, 10 (Success x 3 at target 6)

[Brutal Revelation] [1b. same!
dex + brawl -4 (split), +1 diff]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 1, 3, 3, 3, 4, 8 (Failure at target 6)

[Brutal Revelation] [1c. mother of god.]
Dice Rolled:[ 5 d10 ] 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 (Botch x 1 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [1-5: sinclair
6: sarita
7: kate
8: sidewalk
9: midnight
10: target]
Dice Rolled:[ 1 d10 ] 2 (Failure at target 6)

[Brutal Revelation] [ow! fuck!]
Dice Rolled:[ 8 d10 ] 1, 2, 2, 2, 3, 6, 6, 10 (Success x 2 at target 6)

[Brutal Revelation] [soak!]
Dice Rolled:[ 14 d10 ] 1, 2, 3, 4, 4, 5, 6, 7, 7, 8, 8, 9, 10, 10 (Success x 7 at target 6)

[Honor's Compass] [1a. Biting W&G Arm! -2 Split, -2 Behind, +1 TOO MANY SPLITS]
Dice Rolled:[ 8 d10 ] 3, 5, 5, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10 (Success x 4 at target 6)

[Honor's Compass] [Damage + 3]
Dice Rolled:[ 9 d10 ] 3, 4, 4, 6, 6, 7, 8, 8, 10 (Success x 6 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [i'm so pretty! *soak*]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 2, 4, 4, 5, 6, 9 (Success x 2 at target 6)

[Honor's Compass] [1b. Again!]
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 4, 6, 6, 8, 9, 10, 10 (Success x 6 at target 6)

[-singularity-] The first to draw blood is Honor’s Compass — snapping from behind, a startlingly vicious wrench of her jaws.

Only it’s not blood. It’s blackness, a cold pitchblack viscosity that oozes slowly from the wound. The mouth at the end of that squirming, fleshy tentacle howls.

[Honor's Compass] [Damage + 5]
Dice Rolled:[ 11 d10 ] 1, 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 6, 6, 6, 7, 9 (Success x 4 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [soak!]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 1, 2, 4, 4, 6, 10 (Success x 1 at target 6)

[-singularity-] — but not for long. The Fang’s next bite tears the arm off at the root, flings it to the ground where it writhes, shudders, melts away. Nothing but a dark stain left.

[for the record: Pretty would have bolstered Strong for +1 die per success (diff 8 roll)]

[Honor's Compass] [1c. WHO'S THE FAIREST OF ALL NOW? Biting that Dark arm]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 2, 2, 3, 6, 9, 10 (Success x 3 at target 6)

[Honor's Compass] [Damage + 2]
Dice Rolled:[ 9 d10 ] 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 8, 9, 9, 10 (Success x 5 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [OW! NOT THE MOUTH!]
Dice Rolled:[ 5 d10 ] 3, 3, 4, 4, 10 (Success x 1 at target 6)

[-singularity-] In seconds, one of the arms has been reduced to a stump. Another is bleeding darkness, squirming back into the shelter of the others. The obscene mouth at the core of the thing screams, howls — its arms lash out viciously, as one, in every direction.

[Strong arm: slam! special roll first: each suxx = 1 person affected]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 3, 3, 3, 7, 8, 10 (Success x 2 at target 8)

[-singularity-] [1-2 Sinclair
3-4 Kate
5-6 Sarita
7-8 MS
9-10 WtSE]
Dice Rolled:[ 2 d10 ] 3, 4

[-singularity-] [Kate, first shockwave!]
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 1, 5, 5, 5, 6, 6, 7 (Success x 2 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [bashing damage!]
Dice Rolled:[ 10 d10 ] 2, 3, 3, 5, 6, 6, 6, 6, 7, 10 (Success x 6 at target 6)

[Honor's Compass] [Soak!]
Dice Rolled:[ 11 d10 ] 1, 3, 3, 4, 4, 6, 6, 7, 8, 9, 9 (Success x 5 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [second shockwave!]
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 3, 3, 3, 4, 4, 9, 10 (Success x 2 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [damage!]
Dice Rolled:[ 10 d10 ] 2, 2, 2, 4, 5, 6, 6, 6, 9, 9 (Success x 5 at target 6)

[Honor's Compass] [Soak 2!]
Dice Rolled:[ 11 d10 ] 1, 1, 2, 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 8, 9, 10 (Success x 4 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [Claw arm: slash Sinclair!]
Dice Rolled:[ 8 d10 ] 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 8, 9, 10 (Success x 5 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [damage!]
Dice Rolled:[ 11 d10 ] 1, 1, 2, 2, 3, 7, 7, 8, 8, 9, 9 (Success x 4 at target 6)

[Brutal Revelation] [BLOW ME]
Dice Rolled:[ 14 d10 ] 1, 1, 1, 3, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10, 10 (Success x 1 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [additional effect, yes/no?]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 3, 3, 5, 6, 7, 9 (Success x 1 at target 8)

[-singularity-] [all subsequent healing is halved for 1 turn.]

[-singularity-] [pottymouth, GIBBERHOWL at Katherine. -1 die to actions per suxx, for 1 round per suxx.]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 1, 1, 2, 2, 4, 9 (Failure at target 8)

[-singularity-] [OKAY APPARENTLY THE SILVER FANG IS IMMUNE TO GIBBERS.]

[-singularity-] [Sludge arm: taking action now -- healing dark arm!]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 1, 2, 3, 8, 10, 10 (Success x 2 at target 8)

[Brutal Revelation] [OH THE IRONY.]

[-singularity-] Dark arm: Something Evil at Sinclair!
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 10 (Success x 2 at target 8)

[-singularity-] [Sinclair: blinded for rest of round!]

[-singularity-] [Core: Quake again! Everyone gets hit by this one.]
Dice Rolled:[ 9 d10 ] 1, 3, 4, 4, 4, 4, 8, 8, 10 (Success x 2 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [bashing damage!]
Dice Rolled:[ 11 d10 ] 3, 4, 6, 6, 7, 8, 8, 9, 9, 10, 10 (Success x 9 at target 6)

[Where the Sidewalk Ends] [Soak! JAYSUS!]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 1, 1, 3, 8, 8, 10 (Success x 1 at target 6)

[Honor's Compass] [SOAK MY GOD SOAK]
Dice Rolled:[ 11 d10 ] 2, 3, 3, 4, 4, 6, 7, 9, 9, 10, 10 (Success x 6 at target 6)

[Brutal Revelation] soak!
Dice Rolled:[ 14 d10 ] 1, 2, 2, 2, 3, 4, 4, 4, 7, 7, 8, 9, 10, 10 (Success x 5 at target 6)

[Echoes of Laughter] [[Blow Me Soak]]
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 3, 5, 5, 7, 8, 8, 8 (Success x 4 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [MS soak!]
Dice Rolled:[ 5 d10 ] 2, 2, 3, 4, 5 (Failure at target 6)

[-singularity-] Somewhere in there, the clawed tentacle slashes at Sinclair. It bites — though not very deep. It hurts like a bitch, though, even through her gift: like poison burning into the skin.

Somewhere in there, the ground shudders. The dark tentacle, trailing smoke, rears and spits in Sinclair’s face. Her world goes black. She can’t see, doesn’t know if she ever will again –

and then the world turns upside down.

The monstrosity rears itself on all its tentacles. Slams itself down — a blow tenfold more powerful than the one its strongest arm unleashed. A wave of destruction spreads in all directions, buckling the last of the floor, sending the last of the walls shuddering down in ash. All that remains is a mad world, lit by strobe-flashes of a sort of lightning, dark rather than bright.

And the shrieking mouths. And the writhing arms of the beast.

Sinclair goes down, unconscious. Midnight Sun beside her, hit so hard by the sheer shock of it that her bones are pulverized inside her skin. And Sidewalk’s End –

Sidewalk’s End seems to explode in black blood. Falls to his knees, retching and gagging, blackness leaking out of every orifice, every pore. A hand comes up to his mouth, tries instinctively to hold the tide back, but then

his mouth splits at the corners, his bottom jaw comes off, he collapses, loses form entirely, comes apart at the seams.

Dies.

Blackness for him. No rage, no flicker of survival, however faint. Nothing.

And then — ex nihilo — consciousness again. He’s coming back. His eyes are opening. He sees the scene from above, high above. He sees the ring of destruction around the monstrosity; his would-be packmates wounded or unconscious. He sees what remains of the thing he inhabited for so long.

He sees the two Wyrmbreakers howling as one, a roar-scream of fury and horror. He sees the smaller struggle toward the others; the larger drag him back, beat him down. They turn on each other, snapping and clawing. Every wound they open mirrors itself on the other.

And then his feet touch the ground. He’s alive, in control of himself again. He feels again. The last few hours — like a dream, or a nightmare. Over now. Time to wake.

Time to fight.

[Congratulations, you have your body back! You can pick up from your previously declared actions, unless you want to change them.]

[-singularity-] [and midround summary:

Strong: OK
Claw: OK
Pottymouth: OK
Sludge: OK
Dark: 2A
Pretty: x_x
Core: OK

Sinclair: 3A, 4B, KO
Kate: 5B
Sarita: 5B
Midnight: 2L, 5B
WtSE: is Lazarus! OK]

[Echoes of Laughter] [[New action +1: Claw the shit out of Claw arm!]]
Dice Rolled:[ 10 d10 ] 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 7, 8, 9, 9, 9 (Success x 5 at target 6)

[Echoes of Laughter] [[DAMAGE GRR RAWR!]]
Dice Rolled:[ 10 d10 ] 1, 2, 3, 3, 4, 5, 5, 5, 9, 10 (Success x 1 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [claw soak!]
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 5, 6, 7, 8, 8, 9, 9 (Success x 6 at target 6)

[Where the Sidewalk Ends] His feet touch the ground, and he is himself again. Tall and gangling, not covered in sludge. Wounded, but not so badly as before. Fleshed out and whole. He takes just a moment to look around, assessing. In the other body, he planned to heal those who needed it. Now that he’s whole, he’s got choices.

Well, not really. He told Lukas that he wasn’t much of a healer, or a fighter. His strengths lie in dealing with spirits, in the barter and trade with them. There’s only so much he can do.

Wyrmbreaker! Stop killing yourself!” he shouts. Then, the reddish Crinos wolf rushes toward his fallen comrades.

[1a: GB Sinclair (and when he notices it doesn't heal much)
1b: GB Sinclair
1c: GB Kate; -3G]

[-singularity-] [+4 to sinclair in all 3B remaining; +4 to Kate, 1B remaining]

[Brutal Revelation] [R1! biting dark arm!]
Dice Rolled:[ 10 d10 ] 1, 2, 4, 5, 5, 5, 6, 7, 7, 8, 10 (Success x 4 at target 6) Re-rolls: 1

[Brutal Revelation] [+3]
Dice Rolled:[ 11 d10 ] 1, 2, 2, 3, 4, 4, 6, 7, 7, 10, 10 (Success x 4 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [OW]
Dice Rolled:[ 5 d10 ] 1, 1, 1, 2, 4 (Botch x 3 at target 6)

[Brutal Revelation] [R2!]
Dice Rolled:[ 10 d10 ] 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 8, 9, 9 (Success x 5 at target 6)

[Brutal Revelation] [+4]
Dice Rolled:[ 12 d10 ] 1, 2, 2, 4, 5, 5, 6, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 (Success x 5 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [claw soaks!]
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 1, 2, 3, 3, 8, 9, 9 (Success x 2 at target 6)

[Honor's Compass] [R1. Biting Claw!]
Dice Rolled:[ 10 d10 ] 2, 4, 4, 5, 5, 6, 6, 8, 9, 10 (Success x 5 at target 6)

[Honor's Compass] [Damage + 4]
Dice Rolled:[ 10 d10 ] 1, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 7, 9 (Success x 2 at target 6)

[-singularity-] The dark arm — the one trailing black vapor, spitting blindness — drops next. Wilts to nothing under the ferocious Walker’s jaws. Fades to a stain.

Across the room, the two Wyrmbreakers look at Maddox as one. There’s a beat of stillness. Then the smaller lunges toward the battle; the larger drags him back again. There are words in those snarls, half incoherent –

No!
Have to –
– help them!
My pack –
– they can’t –
– have to protect them!

One sinks its teeth into the other. When it snaps its head back, it tears a strip of flesh free. The same wound, the exact same, opens like stigmata on its own shoulder.

[and claw soaks!]
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 1, 2, 5, 7, 7, 8, 10 (Success x 3 at target 6)

[Honor's Compass] [R2. Biting again!]
Dice Rolled:[ 10 d10 ] 3, 4, 4, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 10 (Success x 5 at target 6)

[Honor's Compass] [Damage + 4]
Dice Rolled:[ 10 d10 ] 1, 2, 3, 3, 4, 4, 5, 6, 6, 8 (Success x 2 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [soak!]
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 1, 1, 2, 4, 6, 9, 9 (Success x 1 at target 6)

[Honor's Compass] [R3! COME ON KATE, DON'T BE PRISSY.]
Dice Rolled:[ 10 d10 ] 1, 2, 2, 2, 2, 2, 4, 6, 7, 9 (Success x 2 at target 6)

[Honor's Compass] [FINE. WHATEVS.]
Dice Rolled:[ 8 d10 ] 2, 2, 4, 7, 9, 9, 9, 9 (Success x 5 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [ack!]
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 1, 2, 2, 2, 3, 6, 8 (Success x 1 at target 6)

[-singularity-] It’s the white wolf that takes down the clawed arm. It doesn’t want to go. Even torn off from the core, even fading to dust, it shrieks, it beats at the wet, heaving ground, it carves black-bleeding furrows into that oddly fleshy material until nothing is left of it

but a stain.

Deprived of half its arms, weakened, the core nonetheless lashes out again. Heaves itself wholesale from the ground it rose — or grew — from, pulls itself so long that they can see the striated muscle beneath skin stretched paper-thin. Its central mouth shrieks as it snaps at Sarita, that bloody howl muffling on her flesh.

[R1, nomf!]
Dice Rolled:[ 9 d10 ] 1, 3, 4, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10 (Success x 3 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [dam!]
Dice Rolled:[ 10 d10 ] 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 5, 5, 7, 9, 9 (Success x 2 at target 6)

[Echoes of Laughter] [[SOAKIE SOAK]]
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 3, 4, 4, 5, 7, 7, 8 (Success x 3 at target 6)

[-singularity-] R2. Same on Sinclair!
Dice Rolled:[ 9 d10 ] 3, 3, 3, 5, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10 (Success x 4 at target 6)

[-singularity-]
Dice Rolled:[ 11 d10 ] 3, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 8, 8, 9, 9, 9 (Success x 8 at target 6)

[Brutal Revelation] [HEY. not cool.]
Dice Rolled:[ 14 d10 ] 4, 4, 4, 5, 5, 6, 6, 7, 8, 8, 9, 10, 10, 10 (Success x 9 at target 6)

[Echoes of Laughter] [[CLAW Sludge Arm and -4 diff 'cause Damon said so]]
Dice Rolled:[ 10 d10 ] 1, 2, 3, 6, 6, 6, 8, 8, 9, 9 (Success x 8 at target 2)

[Echoes of Laughter] [[Damage]]
Dice Rolled:[ 13 d10 ] 1, 1, 1, 3, 3, 4, 4, 5, 7, 7, 9, 10, 10 (Success x 2 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [sludge soak]
Dice Rolled:[ 5 d10 ] 4, 5, 9, 9, 10 (Success x 3 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [End of round! 1 bashing autoregenerates. Summary in order of inits:

Sinclair 2B
Kate OK
Strong OK
Pottymouth OK
Sludge OK
Core OK
Dark x_x
Pretty x_x
Claw x_x
Sarita 4B
WtSE OK
Midnight 2L 4B, awake again

Go ahead and declare while I do a summary post! Midnight's declare:

1a. Fuck this mother's touch shit, GB myself
b. GB Sarita
c. GB someone else!]

[Where the Sidewalk Ends] [1a:
1b: Claw core from behind, change to GB as necessary]

[Echoes of Laughter] [[1a: Hey, it's not working anyway, so let's try it again! Claw.
1b: Claw
R1: Claw]]

[Echoes of Laughter] [[Oh, and all those on Sludge]]

[-singularity-] [Nomfiend:

Strong - Minor Quake again!
Pottymouth: Nomf Kate!
Sludge: Heal Strong!

Core:
1. Nomf WtSE
R1. Nomf Sinclair
R2. Nomf Sarita]

[Honor's Compass] [1a.
1b. Biting Pottymouth!
R1.
R2. Same!]

[Brutal Revelation] [1a.
1b.
1c. -- all bites on Sludge, switching to Strong if PM goes down
R1.
R2. -- bites on Strong, switch to Pottymouth if Strong goes down]

[Brutal Revelation] [1a. -3 / +1 diff]
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 2, 5, 5, 6, 7, 7, 8, 10 (Success x 5 at target 6) Re-rolls: 1

[Brutal Revelation] [+4 COME ON YOU WHORE]
Dice Rolled:[ 12 d10 ] 1, 1, 3, 3, 3, 5, 6, 6, 7, 9, 10, 10 (Success x 4 at target 6)

[Brutal Revelation] [1b. -4 / +1 diff]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 1, 1, 4, 4, 4, 5 (Botch x 2 at target 6)

[-singularity-] It has no eyes.

Of course it can’t see very well. It bites half-blind — a glancing blow that barely nicks Sarita. But sometimes it gets lucky.

That terrible mouth finds Sinclair. It shuts with such speed, such force, that she should be pulverized. Utterly destroyed. Steel shrieks on steel; her head rushes with the pressure. Yet when the creature flings her aside — expecting her to be a sack of bone and meat, destroyed — she isn’t even touched.

The same can’t be said for the Hispos across the room. Fighting, snarling, rolling — sometimes passing right through the combat without ever affecting it. Fur flies. Flesh rends. A bone crunches, and both wolves limp. They come together again and again, snarling and snapping, words like must protect and MINE and –

and eventually they wear each other out. The blows come lighter with every passing second. The blocks and parries slower. Their teeth clench shut, each on the other’s shoulder, and they haven’t the strength to let go; they lean on each other, exhausted, panting, huge paws sunk into thick ruffs,

until some errant flash of fury lights in their eyes at the same time, and they twist their heads savagely away.

An explosion of blood, like a fine mist. Two black hispos fall side by side, dazed, glassy-eyed, red blood and black. They stare at each other, sides moving fitfully with every breath.

Across the room — without them, without needing them — the battle rages on.

[sludge soaks!]
Dice Rolled:[ 5 d10 ] 4, 6, 7, 9, 9 (Success x 4 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [botch roll!]
Dice Rolled:[ 1 d10 ] 9 (Success x 1 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [damage on midnight!]

[Brutal Revelation] [damage! ack.]
Dice Rolled:[ 8 d10 ] 2, 3, 3, 4, 7, 7, 8, 10 (Success x 4 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [yelp!]
Dice Rolled:[ 5 d10 ] 1, 1, 2, 7, 10 (Failure at target 6)

[-singularity-] [that pushes midnight's health to 4A, 2L, 1B (shifting everything down!) -- incap again!]

[Brutal Revelation] [1c. AUGH]
Dice Rolled:[ 5 d10 ] 7, 7, 7, 9, 9 (Success x 6 at target 6) [WP]

[Brutal Revelation] [AUUUUUUUGH. yeah, you like that, bitch? AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUGH!!!!]
Dice Rolled:[ 13 d10 ] 1, 1, 3, 3, 4, 5, 5, 6, 6, 7, 7, 9, 9, 10, 10, 10 (Success x 7 at target 6) Re-rolls: 3

[-singularity-] [ackkk!]
Dice Rolled:[ 5 d10 ] 3, 4, 6, 6, 10 (Success x 3 at target 6)

[Brutal Revelation] [aaaaugh, i said.]
Dice Rolled:[ 13 d10 ] 2, 2, 4, 5, 5, 6, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 7, 8 (Success x 8 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [This is Kate, nomfing Pottymouth! -2 dice, -2 diff (back)]
Dice Rolled:[ 8 d10 ] 1, 1, 2, 5, 7, 8, 9, 9 (Success x 3 at target 3)

[-singularity-] [damage!]
Dice Rolled:[ 9 d10 ] 1, 1, 1, 4, 5, 7, 7, 7, 9 (Success x 1 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [pottymouth soak!]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 3, 6, 7, 9, 9, 10 (Success x 5 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [second nomf!]
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 1, 3, 5, 7, 7, 9, 10 (Success x 3 at target 6)

[-singularity-] whoops, wrong diff. +2 succ. damage!
Dice Rolled:[ 11 d10 ] 2, 3, 3, 4, 4, 6, 7, 8, 8, 10, 10 (Success x 6 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [soak!]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 2, 2, 3, 6, 6, 7 (Success x 3 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [Strong arm: quake again! how many hits?]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 1, 6, 6, 9, 9, 10 (Success x 2 at target 8)

[-singularity-] [and whom?]
Dice Rolled:[ 2 d10 ] 5, 10

[-singularity-] [Numbers were:

1-2 Sinclair
3-4 Kate
5-6 Sarita
7-8 MS
9-10 WtSE

-- so Sarita and WtSE! This is for Sarita -- ]
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 1, 1, 1, 6, 7, 8, 9 (Success x 1 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [bashing damage!]
Dice Rolled:[ 9 d10 ] 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 10 (Success x 4 at target 6)

[Echoes of Laughter] [[SOak!]]
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 1, 3, 3, 4, 5, 5, 9 (Failure at target 6)

[-singularity-] [and this is for WtSE!]
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 1, 2, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8 (Success x 1 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [bashing damage!]
Dice Rolled:[ 9 d10 ] 1, 4, 6, 6, 6, 7, 8, 10, 10 (Success x 6 at target 6)

[Where the Sidewalk Ends] [SOAK IT BETCH]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 1, 3, 4, 4, 6, 6 (Success x 1 at target 6)

[Where the Sidewalk Ends] [and +3 because I'm a dumbass and forgot he's in Crinos]
Dice Rolled:[ 3 d10 ] 2, 2, 5 (Failure at target 6)

[-singularity-] [midround summary:

Sinclair 2B
Kate OK
Sarita 1L 6B - KO
MS 4A 2L 1B - KO
WtSE 5B

Strong OK
Potty 3A
Sludge 5A
Core OK, but down 3 arms]

[-singularity-] [Pottymouth nomfs Kate! -1 dam mod]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 3, 6, 8, 9, 10, 10 (Success x 5 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [dam!]
Dice Rolled:[ 10 d10 ] 1, 1, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 5, 8, 10 (Failure at target 6)

[-singularity-] [well DUH, Kate would never let a pottymouth nomf her.

Sludge heals strong ... useless, because Strong isn't hurt. Dumbass Sludge.

Core nomfing WtSE!]
Dice Rolled:[ 9 d10 ] 1, 1, 2, 4, 4, 5, 7, 9, 9 (Success x 1 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [damage!]
Dice Rolled:[ 8 d10 ] 3, 3, 3, 3, 6, 8, 10, 10 (Success x 4 at target 6)

[Where the Sidewalk Ends] [SOAAAAAAAK!]
Dice Rolled:[ 9 d10 ] 2, 4, 4, 7, 7, 8, 9, 9, 10 (Success x 6 at target 6)

[Where the Sidewalk Ends] [1a: GB on MS
1b: GB on Sarita? If they're all in the same area and that makes sense]

[-singularity-] [sarita at 3B, MS at 2L/1B

sarita, take your turn!]

[Echoes of Laughter] [[OW OW fucker I claw sludge! -1 for wound penalty, -2 for split actions]]
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 2, 3, 3, 3, 5, 5, 7 (Success x 1 at target 6)

[Echoes of Laughter] [[Daamage]]
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 (Success x 4 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [onoz, i don't wanna dieee!]
Dice Rolled:[ 5 d10 ] 1, 4, 7, 8, 10 (Success x 2 at target 6)

[-singularity-] x_x

[Echoes of Laughter] [[Claw 2 on potty, -1 wound, -3 split]]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7 (Success x 1 at target 6)

[Echoes of Laughter] [[Damager]]
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 1, 4, 4, 4, 5, 6, 6 (Success x 1 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [ow!]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 2, 3, 3, 4, 8, 9 (Success x 2 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [MS:
1a. GB WtSE for 4!
b. GB sinclair cuz she's getting nomfed next!
c. and sarita too for same reason!]

[-singularity-] [MS - 2L/1B, WtSE - B; everyone else OK.
strong - OK. potty - 3A. core - OK.]

[Brutal Revelation] [R1 you cat-loving whoreslut! YEAH I SAID IT. (biting the pottymouth)]
Dice Rolled:[ 10 d10 ] 1, 2, 3, 3, 4, 4, 4, 6, 7, 7 (Success x 2 at target 6)

[Brutal Revelation] [+1 booooooo]
Dice Rolled:[ 9 d10 ] 1, 2, 3, 6, 6, 8, 9, 9, 9 (Success x 5 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [soak!]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 4, 7, 7, 8, 10, 10 (Success x 5 at target 6)

[Brutal Revelation] [R2 COME ON.]
Dice Rolled:[ 10 d10 ] 1, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 8, 9, 10 (Success x 3 at target 6) Re-rolls: 1

[Brutal Revelation] [RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH]
Dice Rolled:[ 10 d10 ] 3, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 9, 10, 10 (Success x 6 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [soak!]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 3, 3, 3, 4, 8, 9 (Success x 2 at target 6)

[-singularity-] x_x!

[-singularity-] It’s a bitter, harrowing fight. Again and again, the wolves go down. Again and again, they help each other, break talens over each other, crunch them in their teeth. Again and again, they rise to their feet

and plunge back into the fray.

One arm after another falls. Only two left now. Two, and the core with its terrible mouth. Bloodstained. Hideous. The ground roils when it moves.

Across the room, the two Ahrouns laid out side by side, exhausted, destroyed. Melting down to Homid now, where they are almost mirrors of one another; hard to tell which is which.

One reaches out to the other. He cups his double’s jaw, the side of his neck. It’s a strange gesture; something like brotherhood, or recognition.

[Honor's Compass] [R1. Biting... um, one that's still up! -2 split]
Dice Rolled:[ 8 d10 ] 2, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 6, 7 (Success x 6 at target 3)

[Honor's Compass] [Damage + 5]
Dice Rolled:[ 11 d10 ] 1, 2, 3, 3, 3, 6, 7, 8, 8, 9, 10 (Success x 5 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [soak!]
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 1, 2, 3, 3, 5, 5, 6 (Failure at target 6)

[Honor's Compass] [...IDEK. +2 dice!]
Dice Rolled:[ 2 d10 ] 4, 10 (Success x 1 at target 6)

[Honor's Compass] [1 Damage]
Dice Rolled:[ 1 d10 ] 5 (Failure at target 6)

[Honor's Compass] [R2. AGAIN. FINISH HIM!]
Dice Rolled:[ 10 d10 ] 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 6, 6, 9, 10 (Success x 5 at target 3)

[Honor's Compass] [Damage + 4]
Dice Rolled:[ 10 d10 ] 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 (Success x 5 at target 6)

[-singularity-] ack!
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 1, 4, 4, 5, 6, 8, 10 (Success x 2 at target 6)

[-singularity-] The last of the arms falls away, thrashing, its death-throes sending tremors through the earth. Or what passes for earth here: fleshy, pulsating, beating with some terrible dark heartbeat of its own. All that remains is the core, naked now, a bulbous clot of flesh, muscle that sometimes seems to rotate and twist inside its sac of thin-stretched skin.

It is weakened. It has been stripped of its attendants. But it is not defeated. Its claws are sunk deep into this realm; it will not die so easily.

[R1 - nomf sinclair!]
Dice Rolled:[ 8 d10 ] 1, 2, 2, 6, 7, 10, 10, 10 (Success x 4 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [damage!]
Dice Rolled:[ 10 d10 ] 3, 3, 3, 5, 6, 6, 7, 7, 9, 10 (Success x 6 at target 6)

[Brutal Revelation] [bitch, you ain't shit.]
Dice Rolled:[ 14 d10 ] 2, 2, 3, 4, 4, 4, 4, 5, 6, 9, 9, 10, 10, 10 (Success x 6 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [R2 - nomf sarita!]
Dice Rolled:[ 8 d10 ] 1, 2, 2, 6, 8, 9, 9, 10 (Success x 4 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [damage!]
Dice Rolled:[ 10 d10 ] 2, 2, 2, 7, 7, 8, 9, 9, 10, 10 (Success x 7 at target 6)

[Echoes of Laughter] [[SOAK PLEASENOWKTHXBYE]]
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 1, 1, 4, 5, 8, 8, 10 (Success x 1 at target 6)

[Echoes of Laughter] [[Owwwww claw attempt -5 wound penalty]]
Dice Rolled:[ 5 d10 ] 1, 2, 2, 4, 5 (Success x 1 at target 3)

[Echoes of Laughter] [[Damage]]
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 4, 4, 5, 7, 7, 7, 10 (Success x 4 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [HDY I AM THE CORE!]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 5, 7, 7, 8, 10, 10 (Success x 5 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [annnd end round! summary, after bashing regens:

Sinclair OK
Kate OK
Sarita 6A
MS 2L
WtSE OK

Core OK - somewhat weakened getting arms torn off, but looks like it can take a hit still.

Init order (taking into account wounds):

Sinclair
Kate
WtSE
MS
Sarita

Declare while I post!]

[Echoes of Laughter] [[1a: Fuck you you don't scare me bringer of my death I CLAW YOU!
1b: Yes, I know I have wound penalties I STILL CLAW YOU]]

[Echoes of Laughter] [[And R1: I CLAW MORE!]]

[-singularity-] MS:
1a. GB Sarita ffs!
b. GB someone else, and then i’m outta gnosis too!

[Where the Sidewalk Ends] [If possible, reflexive: Take hits for Midnight Sun (HAELZ STICK TUGEDDER)
1:
R1:
R2:
R3: Claws on Core]

[Honor's Compass] [Kate is:

1a. Smacking a GB on Sarita's ass, cuz she's sassy like that.
1b. Biting Core!
1c Biting Core!]

[Brutal Revelation] [1a.
1b.
R1.
R2. -- eat the Core]

[-singularity-] [ack! belated! you guys can free-change if you want.

Core:
1. EARTHQUAKE, FUCKERS!
R1. Again!
R2. SPAM AOE! BLOW COOLDOWNS! FACEROLL! PANIC!!!11oneone]

[Brutal Revelation] [NOMF]
Dice Rolled:[ 8 d10 ] 1, 1, 2, 7, 7, 7, 9, 9, 10 (Success x 4 at target 6) Re-rolls: 1

[Brutal Revelation] [grrrr!]
Dice Rolled:[ 11 d10 ] 1, 1, 3, 3, 4, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 (Success x 3 at target 6)

[-singularity-] The wolves array themselves around this last, terrible nexus of the realm. It is all contorting flesh and gaping mouths, all teeth, not sharp and white but blunt and yellow, which is somehow all the worse. Its smaller mouths shriek and gibber, no language any of them would want to understand.

Its largest mouth is purely for destruction.

And Wyrmbreaker can’t touch it. Neither of them can, just like they can’t touch their own packmates now. Their. He wonders when he began to think of them as that. Our. The face under his hand feels familiar; it should. It’s his own. He’s seen it a hundred thousand times in the mirror, shaves it, washes it, wears it like a mask for the predator he is, beneath.

“They are our packmates,” he tells his double softly.
They are.
“They are our responsibility.”
They are.
“We protect them.”
We do.
“We guide them.”
We do.
“We lead them.”
We do.
“It is our duty, and our honor.”
It is.

A pause.

” … but we can’t help them now.”

A longer pause.

We can’t.

“And they aren’t helpless without us.”

A very long pause.

They’re not.

Lukas smiles then. It’s strange to see it: that same smile, slow and warm and just a little sad.

“We are their Alpha. We are their friend. We are their brother. But we are not their shield, their shelter, their sole protection against everything.

And they don’t need us to be.

There’s no answer necessary then. Wyrmbreaker takes a deep breath. He can barely manage; a lung is punctured; he’s nearly killed himself. He holds out his hand. His double takes it, seizes it, ferociously hard, and –

Wyrmbreaker rises alone from the floor. He staggers toward his packmates; shifts; he rips a Bloody Bandage from his fur and as it unravels he picks up his pace, breaks into a run as it disintegrates. His fur is matted with blood and some darker, more viscous fluid. Even with the Bandage there are traces of wounds, doubly self-inflicted.

It doesn’t matter. He roars as he takes his place with his pack, shoulder to shoulder with them.

[Wyrmbreaker's declare:
1a/b/c - shit ton of bloody bandages as necessary!]

[-singularity-] [soak!]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 2, 3, 3, 3, 6, 10 (Success x 2 at target 6)

[Brutal Revelation] [OMMM NOM NOM NOM NOM]
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 2, 2, 4, 4, 5, 6, 6 (Success x 2 at target 6)

[Brutal Revelation] [I JUST WANNA DO DA-A-AM-AAAGE. :[ ]
Dice Rolled:[ 9 d10 ] 1, 4, 4, 4, 4, 5, 8, 9, 9 (Success x 2 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [soak!]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 9 (Success x 2 at target 6)

[Honor's Compass] [1a. Biting Core!]
Dice Rolled:[ 8 d10 ] 1, 5, 5, 6, 8, 9, 9, 10 (Success x 6 at target 5)

[Honor's Compass] [Damage + 5]
Dice Rolled:[ 11 d10 ] 3, 3, 5, 6, 6, 7, 7, 7, 8, 9, 10 (Success x 8 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [ack soak!]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 1, 1, 2, 5, 6, 6 (Failure at target 6)

[Honor's Compass] [1b. Annnnd again!]
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 10, 10 (Success x 5 at target 5)

[Honor's Compass] [Damage + 4]
Dice Rolled:[ 10 d10 ] 4, 5, 6, 7, 7, 7, 9, 9, 9, 10 (Success x 8 at target 6)

[-singularity-] [EEEP]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 1, 1, 2, 5, 9, 10 (Failure at target 6)

[-singularity-] It’s not that the core isn’t strong. It’s not that it, stripped of its attendant arms, is defenseless. Is helpless. Is harmless.

It’s not that at all. It’s simply the fact that it’s outmatched.

The Glass Walker holds its attention. The Silver Fang shreds it from behind, splits it open, cleaves into it. Utterly savage, utterly terrible, Honor’s Compass rips into the thing, and the last bite, the deepest, finds some critical juncture. Some nerve-center that, once severed, makes survival impossible.

A hideous keening fills this unformed space, this region of corruption and foul flesh. It sears their ears and blinds their eyes, rings in their skulls until one by one they must drop to their knees, cover their ears, close their eyes lest their heads simply burst.

And then — just like that — it’s over. An enormous, soundless explosion sucks at their ears. Rolls outward from the core, peeling back the flesh, the ichor, the blackness, the corrosion. Burns it all away, clean as white ash.

When they open their eyes again, the world has changed.

The room is gone. The flesh-chamber is gone. All that remains is a limitless whiteness, and this being. Purified now.

Where the core seethed there now stands a figure. Humanoid; innumerable arms arrayed behind it. Six arms larger than the rest, prominent, flawless, svelte and strong. Each bears a talisman: a sword, an axe, a sceptre, a dagger, an orb, a torch. Six eyes in its head, glowing blue. No other discernible features.

It does not speak to them. It looks at them for a very long time, recognizing them, seeing them. And then — between one blink and the next — it simply vanishes away.

There’s a door left behind. It’s open, waiting. Through it, they can see a passageway leading upward, curving right.

[-singularity-] [Final summary:

Sinclair OK
Kate OK
Sarita 6A
MS 2L 1B
WtSE 1B
Lukas 1Aish?

Core - 15A +2
6 arms - 7A each (plus overkill here and there)]

[Echoes of Laughter] She’s been knocked down in the fight. She got up. She’s been nearly knocked the hell back down again and she was on the verge of death. And still, Sarita threw herself at it. There are times that she fights smart. She’s sneaky, she aims for weak spots, she dodges and blocks.

This was not one of those times.

She’s ready to claw. She’s punch-drunk and ready to swing for the fences, and then it’s down and Kate’s standing in front of where it was. She blinks a couple of times, smiles when she sees Kate. Breathes easier when she gets the Gaia’s Breath, and shifts back to breed form.

“Fuck me, that hurt. Thanks.” She clasps Kate’s shoulder (whatever form she’s in), smiles when she looks around and sees that everyone’s still up. “Mission accomplished, I’d say. Awesome.”

She looks at the door, looks to the others. Waits to accompany them out.

[Brutal Revelation] When all is said and done, the Galliard thinks dimly that she would be angry, her pride injured at multiple failures, if only…

well, if only her rage weren’t so depleted, if her will weren’t sapped. But mostly: if only she weren’t so blindingly proud of Katherine, so worried for the rest of them. She shifts her weight from foot to foot, dancing in place as the Core dies, horrifically, right before her. As the world burns away, as the figure comes in front of them. Steel melts from her body and she recognizes the axe held in one of its arms. If she wore a human face, it might be smiling gently at that. And at the torch, truth be told.

She bows to it.

And as soon as it’s gone, she goes to Sarita, a keening note in her throat, lapping at the other Garou’s wounds as though that would heal them better than a gourd. When Katherine breaks one over her, Sinclair whuffs in satisfaction even though Sarita is not completely healed, and bumps her head against the sister she was snapping at just — how long ago was it, now? A lifetime ago.

She gives Katherine a nudge, too. A congratulatory lick. Good sister good good very strong sister sister good yay. A bark, a yelp to voice what is only over the totemlink for a moment, and then she’s checking on Margaret, on Maddox, giving each of them strangely familiar nuzzles, brushing against their sides as though they are already pack, already bound.

But truth be told, they are stops on her way to Lukas. She stops before him. Then opens her maw and gently, familiarly nomfs the joint between shoulder and neck, holding on in a savage sort of hug, their throats together.

Told you so, she thinks at him, and even her spiritual voice is soft. More tender than anything most would expect of her. Maddox and Margaret sure will be surprised. She lets go of him and bumps her head against his side, but there are no other words then. She just stays. Mentally, she urges Katherine and Sarita to come close, be close, come, come, everyone be close. Out loud, she gives whuffs and faint whines that say the same to Maddox and Margaret.

Come, come. Pack come.

[Honor's Compass] Perhaps she’s simply reached her breaking point.

Perhaps ever since leaving her own ‘room’, her own test she’s been a little more raw, a little more savage and unwilling to compromise. Honor’s Compass is her name, but let it never be said she would not destroy what she must to find that compass. To ensure her direction is true. She fights, Katherine, fights alongside her sisters and future brother and sister.

She fights for her Alpha, as he wages a bloody and in the end fruitless war upon his own other self.

They fall, but they do not die.
They drop, but they stagger upright again.

How long do they fight for, she cannot remember only that at the end, the arms torn away, only this mass left behind the Silver Fang lets out a deep, brutal roar and sinks her jaws so deep, so deep she finds the heart of this corruption — and rips it out of the Umbral space it inhabits.

In the aftermath, in the clear limitless whiteness, the Silver Fang’s fur is matted with black ichor. She opens burning eyes, the Adren and blinks several times. Sees stars and dots and sways on her feet a little before she can see the true core of this Realm, the untainted version, at least. It looks at them, and they look at it.

Honor’s Compass tilts her great head to one side, her ear flicks; wet nose inhaling clean scents with great satisfaction.

After it is gone, the snowy wolf finds one of the Gaia’s Breaths she’d stowed earlier, breaks it over her No Moon sister. Nuzzles her Galliard sister, then follows after to rub against her Alpha. To study him in a manner that suggests see, see pack can do much, not alone.

[Where the Sidewalk Ends] There was a moment in there, when they were being hammered, and comrades kept falling to the ground and Maddox and Margaret rush to heal, that it was just too much. Too infuriating. They were fighting and fighting, and so was the creature. And Lukas was off fighting himself, literally. In that moment, Maddox’s Rage spiked higher than it’s been in a long, long time. By then, he’d tapped his spiritual well dry, and almost didn’t know what to do with that excess anger and wrath. So he spent it.

Unnecessarily, as it turns out. It doesn’t matter, though. Maddox drops to his knees with the rest of them, claps huge handpaws over his ears, flattening them to his skull, squeezing his eyes shut. When it’s over, when it’s all finally over and he lowers his hands, he’s dazed.

No more Rage.

No more gnosis.

He feels empty, hollowed out, lighter even than when he was trapped in that other shell. The one that was hollow inside, and wasted away after a cleansing. He stares at the being, his head tipped up, swaying where he kneels. Then he shifts, becomes homid again. His dark hair is askew, his clothing is a mess. He stares at it, hands dragging at his sides. The look on his face is one full of wonder. And then it’s gone. It’s over. It’s over and he doesn’t feel so cranky, bitter, or angry.

Maddox just feels like himself. More than, less than. He needs rest. He needs to meditate for a goddamn day. Sinclair nudges him, and he huffs, but this time it’s amusement and relief. The Theurge staggers to his feet. He looks from packmate to packmate to packmate, ending finally on Lukas, brows lifted in query. Sinclair treats him like he’s pack already, but the final judgment isn’t hers alone. Placing one foot in front of the other, Maddox makes his way mostly steadily to where the others gather around their alpha.

[-singularity-] To say Wyrmbreaker is relieved would be true. To say he is a little abashed — also true.

To say he is proud: an understatement.

He has nothing to say to them. He lays his chin over Sinclair’s back and closes his eyes a moment. Nips at Kate’s ear gently. Bumps sides with Sarita. Only a little pause, and then he pushes his nose into Midnight Sun’s ruff; puts his huge paw over the back of Maddox’s neck and pulls him into a rough sort of proto-embrace.

Let’s go, his whuff says when he drops all four paws back to the ground. Let’s go, the turn of his body says.

There’s no hesitation as he takes the lead; no glance over his shoulder to make sure everyone was keeping up, to make sure no one was flagging, to make sure no one was left behind, no one was injured, no one was weak.

They’re not weak. Of course not.

Upward, then.

Up the way they came. Every passageway broad and pristine now. From the bottommost and seventh room to sixth — the triangular space where Lukas first met his double.

Another male stands there. None of them recognize him, not even Lukas, though there’s something faintly familiar about him. Dark hair, blue eyes; he looks a little like Wyrmbreaker.

“Love the ones you love, Wyrmbreaker,” he says. “Do not fear for them.”

They run on.

The fifth room; four-sided. There is a figure in there. Katherine recognizes him even before he turns. He looks the way she remembers him. Young; not much older than she is now. He is not her father, but he smiles at her anyway.

“Your father is proud of you, Katie,” he says,

and they run on.

The fourth room; five-sided. A little girl stands there, and they see her clearly for the first time. She is lovely. She looks like her mother. She speaks with her voice, but it is a spirit that speaks through her.

“You did not lose your family, Midnight Sun. They were taken from you, but you will see them again.”

And they run on.

The third room; six-sided. A girl waits inside, blonde and blue-eyed. Not Sinclair, but reminiscent. She doesn’t say anything; she just winks at Sinclair as she runs past,

and they run on.

The second room; seven-sided. Sarita’s double stands there. Cocky grin, but only if you failed to see the kindness beneath.

“Guess there isn’t much you can’t do, huh, chica,” she calls,

and they run on.

And the first room; eight-sided. Nothing there but a torch, burning on: the torch the god of the realm held, so far below.

They run on: homeward.

[Brutal Revelation] [thank you again Damon!]

Advice For Ox

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] Okay. So,She pulls up to the block where Ox said he’d be, smiling a little bit when she pulls to a stop. “Hey there, you. Nice to see you again…hop in.”

[Skull-Like-Ox] He nods, clambering into the van. “Thanks.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Of course.” She starts driving. She can’t just park on the street and risk a cop coming up if she’s in a no parking zone or some shit. “How’ve you been, Br…do you prefer Ox, or Brian?”

[Skull-Like-Ox] “Ox.” He nods again.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Okay.” She nods. “So how’ve you been, Ox?”

[Skull-Like-Ox] He shrugs. “Okay. What about you?”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Ehh…busy, which is good. I dunno, I miss being lazy every now and then.” A little chuckle. “But I can’t complain.”

[Skull-Like-Ox] “Oh. Okay. Good.” He nods, hands clasped in front of him.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Yeah, I guess so.” She looks over at him, curiously. “So what’s up?”

[Skull-Like-Ox] He keeps his eyes forward. “I need to talk to you about Amy.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She frowns a little now. “What about Amy?”

[Skull-Like-Ox] “What’s going on with her.” He shrugs his massive shoulders. “What she wants. What I want.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “What do you mean, Ox?”

[Skull-Like-Ox] “She’s scared of Stefan.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She frowns. “Scared?”

[Skull-Like-Ox] “Yeah. Scared. When she told him about Kieran she was scared he was going to kill her. Or Kieran.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Wait…when she told him about Kieran? What about…” She sighs. “Oh Jesus.”

[Skull-Like-Ox] “What?”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Well, I can put two and two together and get ‘sex’ out of it, hon.” She shakes her head. “I didn’t know.”

[Skull-Like-Ox] He pales a little at that. “I thought she told you.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “No. No, she didn’t.” She sighs. “Motherfucker. But okay…she thought that Stefan was going to kill her or Ki. Did she say why…or hell, did she even say it, or did you just pick up on it?”

[Skull-Like-Ox] “She said it.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Okay.” She frowns a little, and nods. “Well…here’s the thing. How much do you know about how things have gone down since Amy and I got here?”

[Skull-Like-Ox] “I don’t know. She doesn’t talk about it a lot.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “So, here’s the thing. I’m not going into details here. But she was with someone, and that someone found out that she did something with someone else. That someone shifted into Crinos and hit Amy so hard he gave her a concussion and rebroke a recently-broken wrist.” She puts a hand up. “He’s been dealth with. He’s no longer in the city. But you can possibly understand why Amy’s immediately gunshy about letting someone know that she cheated on them. If you think it’s something more, then…that’s something different.”

[Skull-Like-Ox] He’s quiet for a long moment, controlling his Rage. He has long practice at it, and though it flares strong, he keeps calm. He finalyl speaks again. “I do think it’s somethin’else.” He pauses. “I’m her soul mate. She said that.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] The frown is much deeper now. “And you’re talking to me about who’s soul mate she is…why?”

[Skull-Like-Ox] “I want to challenge for her. When she’s ready. She wants me to.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Okay…” She furrows her brow. “Listen. I’m not Stefan’s biggest fan. I don’t really know the guy, but he creeps me out from the one or two times I’ve seen him. She did tell me that he was good to her and that he loved her, for what that’s worth, and that’s why I gave my permission for them to be mated. That being said…I’m not her Elder anymore. She got mated to him, and she’s a Shadow Lord now. I’m still her sister, and if there’s concern for Amy’s welfare, emotional or physical, I’m there. But I have nothing to say in who she’s mated to anymore. It’s Stefan’s, or it’s Lukas’ if you want to get the Tribal Elder involved.”

[Skull-Like-Ox] “I know.” He nods a little. “But you’re still her only family left.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “I am.” She nods. “So I guess my question is…what are you asking of me?”

[Skull-Like-Ox] “I don’t know.” He frowns a little. “I just wanted to tell you. I guess. It seemed right.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “I appreciate that.” She nods, putting up a little smile. “I’m sorry if I’m coming off as wary. People who have been around Amy before have tried to use me to get to her. Thanks for letting me know. I can’t do anything one way or the other, but I appreciate being kept in the loop. It seems like she keeps me out of it, these days.”

[Skull-Like-Ox] “I’m not tryin’ to do anything. If I wanted to I would have when she tried to…She tried to do something with me a while back and I said no.” He shrugs. “It just seemed right to tell her family. I don’t know why she doesn’t talk to you. She talks to me some but I don’t always get it, and she’s got a big secret she won’t tell anyone even me.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “You should know…the one time we did talk recently, we talked about you and Stefan. She said that you think she’s the same as when she left, which she really isn’t. And when I asked what she was going to do about the whole thing, she said that she loved Stefan and wasn’t going to leave him. This was, like, three days ago.”

[Skull-Like-Ox] “She’s not the same but the same person is in there. I see it.” He shrugs again, then looks down. “She told me she wants to leave but he won’t let her.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Well…that’s Amy.” She frowns. “Telling different stories to everyone.”

[Skull-Like-Ox] “I guess so.” He smiles a little, still looking down. “It don’t matter though. I’m not gonna leave her even if she stays with Stefan. ‘Cause the way I feel for her, it don’t matter if I’m with her like that.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She looks at him and smiles. “Man. I wish I had half of my sister’s appeal. I have no fucking clue how she does it.” A little shake of her head. “You seem like a good guy, Ox. I’ll tell you the same thing I’ve told all of the guys in her life…if you ever hurt her, I’m-a kill you. Slowly. Litany or your superior fighting skills be damned…I have my ways. I don’t think that’s a worry. But I needed to say it.”

[Skull-Like-Ox] He keeps that same small smile. “She’s just special. But you don’t have to worry. I would never hurt her. Thanks for your time, Sarita.” ((crashing!))

Premature Screaming

[Amunet Knezevic] “Okay. Then we need to get you a phone.”

[Skull-Like-Ox] “Okay? I don’t have any money.”

[Amunet Knezevic] “I told you. I’ll take care of you.”

[Skull-Like-Ox] “Mariposa…”

[Amunet Knezevic] “What? I want to take care of you. What’s wrong with that?”

[Skull-Like-Ox] “You don’t have to buy me things. That’s not why I’m here.”

[Amunet Knezevic] “I want you to have a phone. That’s all. It’s not like I’m going out and buying you a ton of stuff”

[Skull-Like-Ox] “You don’t have to is all.”

[Amunet Knezevic] “Come on, Bri. When have you ever know me to do anything because I had to.”

[Skull-Like-Ox] “If you want to. It’s okay. I’ll find a job soon.”

[Amunet Knezevic] “I know. You can pay me back later if you want to, but you don’t have to. I just want you to have a phone.”

[Skull-Like-Ox] “I want to pay you back.” He nods. “D’you know any garages that are hiring?”

[Amunet Knezevic] “No. I’ll ask around though. That’s what you’re doing, huh? Working on cars?”

[Skull-Like-Ox] He shrugs. “You know that’s what I’m good at.”

[Amunet Knezevic] “You’re good at lots of stuff.”

[Skull-Like-Ox] He laughs. “Nuh uh.” He smiles at her. “You’re really nice to me.”

[Amunet Knezevic] “You’re my best friend. Of course I’m nice to you.”

[Skull-Like-Ox] “You always have been.” He smiles at Amy and ruffles her hair.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] The Strider makes her way down onto the pier, a cigarette pressed between her lips. She seems to be in a pretty good mood…she’s been busy lately, but you know what they say about idle hands. And this is one devil who doesn’t need a playground. She keeps an eye out as she moves along, slipping around people. Her Rage doesn’t tend to upset as much as it slightly unnerves, so she doesn’t quite clear crowds. Still, that way she moves, like she’s perpetually on the hunt for a playtoy, is back and in full force.

[Amunet Knezevic] Amy wanders down the pier, arm in arm with a very tall, very well built someone that is clearly not Stefan.

[Skull-Like-Ox] He’s huge, wearing a ball cap with the Superman logo on the front and a baseball shirt with the same logo today. He seems very much at ease with Amy.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She arches an eyebrow…it’s hard to miss the giant man and the smaller kin. She exhales her last drag, flicking the butt into a garbage can and nods as she approaches.

“This just about looks like casting for a new Odd Couple right here…” She grins at the two as she comes up.

[Skull-Like-Ox] He steps in front of Amy protectively.

[Amunet Knezevic] “Bri, it’s okay.” She puts her hand on his hip, peeking around the wall of a man. “Hey Sar.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She grins a little, amused as Ox steps in front of Amy. “Okay, I like this guy already Ames.” She looks him over and extends a hand. “Hola. I’m Sarita…Amy’s sister.”

[Skull-Like-Ox] “Oh.” He looks Sarita over, then breaks into a broad smile, shaking her hand. “I’m Ox.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She takes the giant hand, shaking it with a big smile herself. “Pleasure to mee–” She pauses. Looks at Amy. Blinks. Then looks back. Little cogs are clicking into place in her head.

“Wait a minute…”

[Skull-Like-Ox] “Huh?” He looks confused. Pretty? Sort of. Big? Oh yes. Bright? Clearly not.

[Amunet Knezevic] She’s grinning like an absolute idiot, and nodding so hard that her head might fall off. “Yeah. THAT one.”

[Skull-Like-Ox] And back to Amy. “-Huh-?”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Okay, so this deserves a story. Y’all gotta explain this to me, ’cause I know I’m not in a Marvel comic so resurrection ain’t a regular thing.”

[Skull-Like-Ox] He looks back at Sarita. “It’s not really THAT common…”

[Amunet Knezevic] “He’s not dead. He wasn’t there. And now he’s here.” She wraps her arms around Ox’s middle, squeezing and letting go.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Well…awesome, then.” She grins widely, socking Ox’s shoulder lightly. “Look at you, all alive and shit. That’s bad-ass.”

[Skull-Like-Ox] He grins at that. “I just heard that some people from back home were here in town.”

[Amunet Knezevic] Her head rests on his bicep, and she’s still beaming. “I just ran into him. Gaia brought him here to me”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Apparantly.” She smiles and nods. “Well, good to know. And I gotta say, I like this one already, Ames.”

[Amunet Knezevic] “He’s pretty amazing, huh?”

[Skull-Like-Ox] “When did you get into town?” He smiles at Amy.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “It was what…early January. Like, first week or something.”

[Amunet Knezevic] “Seems like a lot longer.”

[Skull-Like-Ox] “And you two met up?”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Oh no…we met up like…little over a year ago. Short Round here tracked me down.” She gives Amy a wink.

“We been wandering ever since, till we came here.”

[Skull-Like-Ox] “Oh. Okay.” He pauses. “Short Round?”

[Amunet Knezevic] “Hey, you’re not the only one that’s got a nickname for me”

[Skull-Like-Ox] “Why Short Round?” He looks confused.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] ”cause she’s shorter than both of us here.” She shrugs. “It’s an Indiana Jones thing.”

[Skull-Like-Ox] “Oh. Okay. She is pretty short.” He looks amused now.

[Amunet Knezevic] “Only because you’re like, a million feet tall.” She makes a face at him, then looks back to Sarita.

“What have you been doing? I haven’t seen you in a while.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “I’ve been busy. I’m all one of the bosses now and shit, remember?” She grins. “Been running around from place to place talking to peeps. And yes, it’s exceedingly weird that someone put me in charge, to answer the question before you ask.”

[Skull-Like-Ox] “If I was a million feet tall I couldn’t breathe.” He gives Amy an odd look.

[Amunet Knezevic] “Oh yeah. Big boss bitch, too busy for the little people now.” She grins at Sarita, then looks at Ox and cracks up.

“Okay, yeah. Good point.”

[Skull-Like-Ox] He looks genuinely mystified at Amy’s sudden laughter.

[Amunet Knezevic] “He’s pretty fantastic, isn’t he?” Her arm links through Ox’s again.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Hey, I’m always available to chase your ass around. You just been all busy yourself, finding people who aren’t really dead and shit.”

She grins. “Yeah, he seems it.”

[Skull-Like-Ox] “Ramona is alive too.” He nods.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Awesome. Who’s she?”

[Skull-Like-Ox] “A lady from home.”

[Amunet Knezevic] “Shadow Lord kin.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Ahh….good to know.” She nods. “Little creepy that everyone’s congregating here, but hey, s’all good. Gotta be someone up there’s sense o’ humor.”

[Skull-Like-Ox] “It’s Gaia.”

[Amunet Knezevic] She beams at Ox, nodding. “It’s true. She totally sent you to me”

[Skull-Like-Ox] He nods and smiles at Amy.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Me, I’m putting my money on Owl. Don’t get me wrong, I know you ain’t one-a ours, but it’s all about the wandering and ending up in the right place.”

[Skull-Like-Ox] He nods. “That could be. That would make sense.” He’s definitely pondering the idea.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Seriously. Give a hoot, don’t pollute.”

[Skull-Like-Ox] He looks back at Sarita again, brow furrowed. “What?”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Woodsy Owl. Forest Service cartoon? You know, right there along Smokey the Bear?”

[Skull-Like-Ox] His blank look gives Sarita her answer.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “You know, I don’t know whether to feel old or just sit you down in front of a TV playing vintage Saturday morning cartoons.”

[Skull-Like-Ox] “I didn’t watch TV a lot.”

[Amunet Knezevic] “You watched TV at my house all the time.” She pokes his side.

[Skull-Like-Ox] “I wasn’t really watchin’ the TV.”

[Amunet Knezevic] “Then what were you doing?”

[Skull-Like-Ox] “Watchin’ you.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She smirks at that, letting them talk for now. It’s entertaining.

[Amunet Knezevic] “Oh.” She looks embarrassed, grinning and glancing at Sarita. “What the fuck is so funny?”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Nothing.” She smiles innocently. “I’m always looking like that, you know that.”

[Amunet Knezevic] “Bullshit.” She’s still grinning though. “We should get funnel cakes.”

[Skull-Like-Ox] He nods. “Funnel cakes.” His tone is quite, quite serious.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Hey, I’m down with that. Funnel cakes it is.”

[Amunet Knezevic] And they’re off, in search of funnel cakes. Amy gets one with chocolate syrup, letting the others order before paying for all three.

[Skull-Like-Ox] He takes his cue from Amy, ordering the exact same thing. His eyes are enormous when he sees what he’s actually getting, like a big kid.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She goes simple…powdered sugar. Amy gets an appreciative smile and certainly no protest when she pays.

[Amunet Knezevic] “Haven’t you ever had one of these before, Bri?”

[Skull-Like-Ox] “Um. Maybe?”

[Amunet Knezevic] “They’re good. Just be careful because they go right to your ass. I mean, just look at Sar.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Blow me, bitch.” She smirks. “My ass is just perfect. Or so I keep getting told.”

[Amunet Knezevic] “How is College Boy?”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “We haven’t hung out yet. Done some texting back and forth.”

[Amunet Knezevic] “He’s cute.” She tears off a big piece of the funnel cake and stuffs it in her mouth.

[Skull-Like-Ox] “Who’s cute?”

[Amunet Knezevic] “This guy that Sar met when we were out here the other night”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Dorian. One of our kin.”

[Amunet Knezevic] “Right. Doooooooooooorian.”

[Skull-Like-Ox] “Dorian? That’s a funny name.”

[Amunet Knezevic] “He’s a funny kid”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “It’s not a bad name.” She shrugs. “Heard worse before.”

[Skull-Like-Ox] “My name is Brian.” He nods.

[Amunet Knezevic] “Yeah, but it doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue to scream it, does it?”

[Skull-Like-Ox] He looks over at Amy, eyes huge again.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She grins. “I could practice it here and now if you’d like…”

She’s bluffing, right? She’s gotta be.

[Amunet Knezevic] “I dare you.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She raises an eyebrow, grinning. Oh dear. Amy just said the ‘D’ word.

“You sure? Don’t think you’re gonna be able to run away from this one. I will follow you.”

[cricket] [Oh COME ON, you're just ASKING for it. ]

[Amunet Knezevic] “No you won’t, because you won’t do it.”

(Come iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiin)

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] [[EVIL! CONSPIRATORS! Amy's setting her up! :D ]]

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “When have I ever turned down a dare, Amy?”

[Amunet Knezevic] “Never.” She smiles sweetly. “Until now.”

[Skull-Like-Ox] He’s just absently looking between the two, working on his funnel cake.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Oh, oh poor, silly, naive Amy…” She grins and walks over to Amy, slipping her arm around her sister’s shoulder. “Or should I say…

“Oh, Dorian…DORIAN…DORIAN…” She’s not screaming yet, but she’s working up to it to be sure.

[Amunet Knezevic] She cracks up, leaning into Sarita. “Jesús Cristo que estás loca”

[Skull-Like-Ox] He nearly chokes on a bite of funnel cake.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She cracks up herself, cackling. “You just KNOW that I’m not gonna turn down ANY damn dare, Amy.”

[Amunet Knezevic] “That was hardly screaming. You totally pussed out.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She raises an eyebrow. “What, you really want me to give the big guy a heart attack?”

[Skull-Like-Ox] His face is practically glowing red. He is currently VERY interested in his funnel cake.

[Dorian Del Maro] Everyone knows that the minute you do something that might just possibly embarrass yourself should certain individuals be present — they’re going to turn up as being such. So, you know, that’s no exception tonight. Although unlike the former occasion they met, Dorian Del Maro isn’t alone tonight.

He’s hanging with a group of friends, two of them jostling into position in front of one of those old school shooting gallery games. You know the sort that fired darts, you hit a certain number, win yourself a gigantic stuffed bear — everyone needed giant stuffed bears in their lives, according to Navy Pier’s amusements. Of course, it’s not Dorian himself who first catches sight (and sound) of the crying of his name, it’s his room-mate on campus.

A short freckled Science Major, Stuart had lucked out in scoring a room-mate like Dorian. The Strider Kinsman was confident, funny, charismatic to the nth degree. Pretty well the exact polar opposite of the red head who had been on the receiving end of peer torment in high school. Dorian, lining the plastic gun to eye height found himself being elbowed.

His dart shot off sideways and nearly extinguished the attendant’s eye.

Oh, Dorian!

“Stuart, what–”
“Dud shot! Does the gentleman want to try his luck again! Shooter needs to find his mark!”
“D, that girl is shouting your name. Man, she’s hot.”

Dorian, distracted by the cat-calls of the man helming the game held up the plastic pistol. “I’ll get it this time.”

DORIAN! DORIAN

Stuart was staring, Dorian fired and missed, turning and glancing over a shoulder. His eyebrows rose.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] [[Per+Alert: Do I see the subject of my impending embarassment?]]
Dice Rolled:[ 5 d10 ] 1, 4, 5, 7, 9 (Success x 1 at target 6)

[Amunet Knezevic] “Bri? He’s fine. Aren’t you, baby?” She nudges Ox.

[Skull-Like-Ox] He nods, mouth full. “Mmmfmm.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] It’s that momentary pause when Amy calls Ox ‘Baby’ that saves her from further embarrassment. She looks over at the two, curious now, and then has that feeling like she’s being watched. You ever have the hairs on the back of your neck stand up? Well, hers are currently trying to hide themselves, because they’re the Gaia-damned early defense warning system so they see what’s coming first. Sarita glances around and it takes her a moment, but her eyes light on the other Strider kin at the plastic dart game.

Her eyes widen, but to her credit, she only looks stunned and mortified for one moment. And even then, she’s grinning. After that, she busts up laughing. Laughter makes the world go around, and sometimes it hides embarrassment.

“Oh, yeah,” she says between breaths. “…that makes sense…”

[Skull-Like-Ox] Back to Amy, brow furrowed, mouth still full. “Whsssfmmnn?”

[Amunet Knezevic] “What makes sense?” She tears her attention from Ox to look at Sarita again, confused now.

[Dorian Del Maro] [Per + Alert, do I notice you noticing that I've noticed you, and if so, what else can I see?]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 5, 8, 8, 8, 9, 9, 10 (Success x 6 at target 6) Re-rolls: 1

[Dorian Del Maro] [I SEE ALL THINGS.]

[Amunet Knezevic] (He can like, tell what colour underwear everyone is wearing with that roll.)

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] [{Sarita doesn't wear any, so HAH!

...oh hell.]]

[Dorian Del Maro] “Here, take over for me.”

Dorian hands his gun over to the redhead beside him, now smirking as he notes the recognition that flits across Dorian’s face, followed rather promptly by a ghosting smile. “Go get her, tiger!” Dorian turned and grimace-smiled at his friend, the others were peering in the Garou and Kin’s direction curiously.

“Never say that aloud again.”

Hands in pockets, dressed in his typically immaculate [see: slightly rumpled collared shirt paired with jeans and sneakers] manner, the young man that crosses the crowds toward Sarita was neither smirking with evidenced delight or blushing as red as the one seated beside her — he seemed, somewhat disconcertingly, to be rather nonplussed about what he’d heard coming from this direction.

Dark hair curled over his brow and while product had been applied to it at some stage to keep it in check, curls were loosened by the night and breeze; his jaw was touched with the need to shave at some point and his eyes were intent; dark and thoughtful on the trio as he stops beside them.

A hand emerges.

“So, I might be pushing the limits of imagination here but my friend swears he heard my name being called.” Dorian’s eyes shifted between them all, returning to Sarita. The way he looked at her told her he knew exactly how accurate his words were, and more. He seemed to have an uncanny knack, this guy, for pinpointing things.

“Spare me embarrassment and act like it was anyway.”

[Amunet Knezevic] She cracks up again, entirely too amused that Dorian witnessed the display. Feeling wickedly smug, she leans into Ox a bit and picks at her funnel cake.

[Skull-Like-Ox] He puts a massive arm around Amy again, protectively, as Dorian approaches. “Who are you?” Yeah. He apparently didn’t get it.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] Her laughter has calmed down by the time he gets over, and she’s shaking her head. “I…~totally~ didn’t know you were around. My evil sister here…oh. Ox, this is Dorian. Dorian, this is Ox.”

She gestures from to each both times that their names are mentioned, making introduction.

“Sorry. Anyway, my evil sister here prayed upon my well-known to her inability to turn down a dare, ~after~ she brought your name up AND set up the joke.” A pause. “The calling…well. That was all me, I admit.”

[Amunet Knezevic] “I told her your name doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue when screaming it”

Always helpful, our Amy.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “I made no reference to such potential screaming before this, it must be said.” Yeah, she cut that in there quickly. Though she’s still got the hint of a chuckle remaining to her.

[Dorian Del Maro] Dorian didn’t exactly give off the threatening vibe, truth was, a man built like his namesake, Ox, could very likely crush him or fling the Strider across the pier length should he choose to. For all that, though, Dorian doesn’t seem cowed. Of course, he doesn’t exactly offer a hand out and stammer about his bloodline, either.

Sarita gets there first, he opens his mouth, draws in a breath and then says nothing until –

Your name doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue when screaming it

There went the eyebrows again, rising. “You know I’ve heard that, really kills the mood too.” A beat, his smile warms up his face; amusement notching in his throat. “Though I figured maybe we’d start with coffee before proceeding to the name screaming.”

[Skull-Like-Ox] “He’s that guy?” The big man looks between Sarita and Amy, brow furrowed.

[Amunet Knezevic] “He’s that guy.” She nods, offering the rest of her funnel cake to Ox.

[Skull-Like-Ox] He nods, taking it from Amy carefully. It’s rather impressive how quickly he puts it away.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Ahh, I see. You’re a traditionalist when it comes to name screaming.” She grins and nods, giving Amy a quick look, then back. “I can get that. We still gotta do the coffee thing anyway, so that order makes more sense anyway.”

[Dorian Del Maro] “I’m … that guy.” Dorian echoes both, managing to seem only moderately amused. His eyes venture to Sarita. “Was there a community memo about me being that guy? Should I maybe get it inscribed right here?” He raises his hands, framing a nametag on his right side over his shoulder.

There’s a smile, over his shoulder, the Strider Kinfolk’s friends were jostling one another. Calling out.

“Give him your number!”
“What’s your friend’s name?”
Oh, Dorian!

Dorian blinked slowly, determinedly ignoring them. “Yeah, we do. I got class tomorrow but I’m free later on. I’ll call you.”‘

[Skull-Like-Ox] “Are you guys dating?” He looks between Dorian and Sarita.

[Dorian Del Maro] “Well, I was going to ask her to go steady but the surprise is gone.”

[Skull-Like-Ox] He blinks at Dorian. The joke apparently goes sailing over his head. “Huh?”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Well hell. So much for that.” An overdramatic sigh follows. “What could have been…”
to Amunet Knezevic

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Well hell. So much for that.” An overdramatic sigh follows. “What could have been…”

[Dorian Del Maro] Dorian is still smiling, hands tucked in pockets. He feigns a concerned frown. “Don’t worry, we’ll always have our memories of the time we spent together, bonding, growing close.”

He turns, over his shoulder his friends are shifting their weight, gesturing at him either to hurry up, or get on with things and the college boy turns back, grinning. “I need to go calm the villagers, but I actually will call about catching up. You can fill me in on all the other things people tell you about me. I hear my ass is quite the talk of the campus.”

He half turns, nodding at Ox and Amy.

“You can take note as I go, I’ll quiz you later on it.” He’s just cocky, isn’t he — well, not exactly. There’s a general sense of acknowledged silliness edging in there in his voice; he’s playing the fool and knows it. There’s little malice to what he says.

[Skull-Like-Ox] He’s COMPLETELY lost now. “Bye?”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She grins and nods. “I’ll take good notes then. Catch you later, Dorian.” She watches him go, then looks back at Ox.

“Just a little banter and joking around with each other, big guy.”

[Skull-Like-Ox] “Okay.” He nods at Sarita, completely trusting, but obviously still befuddled.

[Amunet Knezevic] “You totally need to do that, Sar. Like, for serious. You’re just damned lucky that I’m unavailable now.” She watches Dorian go, then looks back to Sarita.

[Skull-Like-Ox] “Do what?”

[Amunet Knezevic] “Him.” She gestures in the vague direction that Dorian went.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Hey, hey. I don’t just jump guys outta nowhere…or at least, I haven’t since, like, Houston.” A little shrug. “We’ll see how coffee goes.”

[Amunet Knezevic] “And yet, you bitch about how you don’t get laid. Are you seeing a connection there somewhere?”

[Skull-Like-Ox] “Oh.” His face goes a little red, and he looks back at Amy. “She’s not mated or datin’ somebody. Why would she do that?”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Okay, you’re looking at the trees and not the forest. As in, The Northern Not-Getting-Any-Wood which are located within the Looking For Something More than One Night Stands Forest.”

[Amunet Knezevic] “Nothing wrong with a one night stand.”

And then she remembers who she’s standing next to. “You know. From what I’ve heard.”

[Skull-Like-Ox] He looks over at Amy, frowning. “But you’ve only…You know…That…With two people.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] Awkward.

She lets Amy answer that, keeping her mouth DAMN WELL SHUT.

[Amunet Knezevic] Her eyes get HUGE. “I. Um. Corn dogs. We should get corn dogs.”

[Skull-Like-Ox] “…Right?”

[Amunet Knezevic] “Right.” She’s so going to hell.

[Skull-Like-Ox] His brow furrows, and he looks over at Sarita.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Holy shit, would you look at the time?” She’s checking her watch by the time he looks at her. “I have to meet with some folks about that construction shit at the Brotherhood. An Elder’s work is never done and all that.”

[Skull-Like-Ox] His head swings back to Amy. “Mariposa…?”

[Amunet Knezevic] “Yeah. I’ll talk to you later, hey?” She steps forward to hug Sarita, not looking at Ox. “Call me and we’ll go out or something.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Hell to the yeah.” She hugs Amy back, then smiles at Ox. “Nice meeting you, Ox. Oh…you should stop by the Church Cabrini. Last Watch. Your family elder’s there…Kora. There, I’ve done my job and been all official.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] [[the Church ~in~ Cabrini.]]

[Skull-Like-Ox] “Oh. Okay.” His brow is still furrowed. “Thank you Sarita.”

[Amunet Knezevic] “I’ll show you where it is.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “You bet. If Amy doesn’t know the way have her give me a call, I’ll give you directions.” She smiles to both of them and does a little salute before she starts to head off. “Hasta manana.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] [[Delete that second sentence!]]

[Dorian Del Maro] [*sneaks off* thanks for letting me cameo! :) ]

[Amunet Knezevic] “Night, Sar.”

And now there’s nowhere to hide.

Getting Up To Speed On The Black Sun Sitch

[Roman Turner] When the door was pulled open in response to the knock, it was Roman himself that opened it. Polite, believe it or not, when not acting his Moon, Roman was a polite person.

“Well howdy, what can I do ya for?”

He stepped back to wave Sarita in to the vast expanse of the church they called Pack House. Inside the surviving pews had been pushed to one side. A fire crackled in an old hearth on the other. Tables and chairs were strewn about, with most surfaces covered in carry out food boxes.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Hey there, you.” She smiles when she walks in. She’s never actually met Roman before. They were present at the moot together, and at Joey’s Ragabash meeting, but they didn’t interact at either and not much was said by either of them at either meeting. Still, she refers to him as if they do know each other. She steps inside, looking around.

“I love the packhouse motif. Nicely done.” And then a look back at the Gaian. “How are you, Roman?”

[Roman Turner] Paint spatters decorated the old gray tee that also bore a few holes where it stretched across his shoulders, showing the bones beneath. Dark mottled flesh rose up from the neck of that tee like fingers reaching for his jaw where the scar tissue reformed once smooth flesh. Grease, paint and lord knows what was smeared across the thighs and seat of the carpenter jeans he wore. There was even a hammer in the loop on the jeans.

“Me? I’m well and good.”

His puzzled gaze flashed towards Sarita’s face with the question as he shot the instant response out. Not many bothered to ask how he was. Those gray-blue eyes of his rest on Sarita for several moments even as he followed polite rules.

“How are you? And congrads on what I hope ain’t a pain for ya.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “I’m good, I’m good.” She smiles, finding his puzzled expression a bit amusing. “And thanks. I’m hoping that too, though I’m not expecting to be quite that lucky. You know what we’re all like. But I like a challenge.” Obviously, she includes herself in ‘us,’ and the comment is a good-natured one.

“That’s actually why I came here. Wanted to touch base with you, both just checking up in a general way and in a more specific way regarding the Brotherhood construction hijinks.”

[Roman Turner] “Hijinks?”

One dark brown brow rose. This was one of those odd situations. He was younger, yet a Fostern. Sarita was now the representative for the Ragabash in the city, acting as organizer and counsel to the Sept Leader in time of need. So it was with those big ole faded denim eyes of his that he gave Sarita his most innocent, puzzled look.

“Since word came down not to mess with them, all we been doing is watching. Gave this report at the meeting Imogen held the other night with all them folk there. So far we seen lots of protesting and yelling between the protesters and workers. Seen some of them Italian looking sorts sneak in during the middle of the night to steal their own supplies. Seen them same sort screaming about robbery the next morning. I think they are trying to stir up more crap between their workers and the protesters. I also think with them calling and reporting the theft, they are making money off the insurance company and then selling their stolen goods right back to their own company.”

[Roman Turner] ((Hey, my AIM is Bluwyng))
to Sarita Ecos de la Risa

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She nods, listening. The Strider leans back against the wall as she does so. She’s not making aggressive or territorial motions as the conversation about the Brotherhood goes on. She’s not giving any body language indications, at the moment at least, like she’s trying to pull rank. She’s just absorbing all the information and processing it.

“That’s slick of them.” She smiles a bit and nods. “I’ll give ‘em credit, it makes our supporters look like shit. Anything else that you’ve noticed?”

[Roman Turner] “Nah, mostly we watch them work. Been doing it in shifts between some of us. Then we compare notes. Staying out of sight and mind. Now, the theurges done took a look across the gauntlet and mostly just seen some of the strife spirits and such are starting to take notice and come closer. But ya might want to talk to them about what they seen. They gave a report at that meeting too.”

He waved to the pews.

“Want to take a load off?”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Don’t mind if I do.” She grins and moves to take a seat.

“Man…last time I sat on one-a these, I was worried that the skin on the backs of my legs were gonna start burning and bubbling off.” A chuckle. “What I’m sayin’ is…it’s been a while.”

She leans back, nodding to Roman. “Okay. So do you have any thoughts on what the next step should be?”

[Roman Turner] “I think we should keep watching. If a truck turns up in the middle of the night to steal from them, then we need to get the license if we can.”

He walked towards the corner, lifting the lid on a cooler.

“Want a beer or pop?”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Beer’d be great, thanks.” She leans back, nodding. She’s thoughtful for a moment.

“Licenses would be good. It’d be something we could give to Izzy or Derek, have then run the plates. Though if it’s the mob like I’ve been told, then the cops will only be able to do so much. How many people do you have working it?”

[Roman Turner] “Five volunteers.”

He came back with two beers, offering a bottle to Sarita. Water dripped from the brown glass, a chip of ice falling off.

“I asked them I seen and them that was staying at the Brotherhood and got five volunteers. Otherwise we would be standing around ignoring the Elephant in the room, ya know?”

He settled on the back of the pew. The beer hissed as he twisted off the lid.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “No, totally. The initiative is good, and I’m glad you stepped up and got on it.” She nods popping the top of hers. “All I’d like to do is get everyone on the same page, get you some more people so that each of you aren’t spending hours a day keeping an eye out. If you give me a list, I’ll get the word out to the rest of the No-Moons, see who else we can get in the rotation.”

[Roman Turner] “Well, I ain’t entirely sure who is out there anymore. This Sept has a revolving door, ya know? But them that was helping are me, Michael, Melody, Janis, Milo and Marni.”

His Adam’s apple bobbed as he took a swallow of his drink. Dragging the back of his sleeve across his mouth he continued.

“I’m sure ya know more of us than I do and ya might want to talk to them Theurges”

And then it was like a light bulb went off in his head.

“Oh man, I just remembered something.”

[Roman Turner] “Michael, he said he saw two men meeting just outside the fence while he was watching. He caught a few words, like Stooge, low risk and informant and take down. Dang, I forgot all about that the other night at that there meeting.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She frowns at that. “How long ago was that?”

[Roman Turner] “Hmm, day before Doctor Slaughter’s get together I think? Ain’t seen nothing of note since then. Though we’re still hiding and lurking around the place.”

Another drink and a nod, his own brows furrowed together thoughtfully.

“No, it was the same day of the meeting.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She thinks. Four days…crap. “I need to get that to Derek or Izzy. If that’s a police informant within the mob, they could be our best friend…or, conceivably, a major snag. And it could get ugly if a police informant gets taken down right outside the Brotherhood.”

[Roman Turner] “We ain’t been tailing no one what comes to the site, so I can’t tell ya. Not been doing nothing but watching since word came down to sit on our hands, ya know?”

Rubbing his nose, he thought for a moment.

“I reckon it could mean a police informant, but who knows for sure? Maybe like ya said, Izzy or Derek might have some idea.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Yeah. When I think the mob and I think informants, that’s what comes to mind for me, but it could be someone else I suppose.”

She sighs. “I guess for the moment it’s business as usual. See, if possible, if you can get any photo evidence of them stealing their own supplies without giving yourself away. We may not want to use it, but it’s better to have and not need then need and not have, you know? We might be able to give that to the right people to counteract what they’re doing, should the need come about.”

[Roman Turner] “Well, not so sure about getting away with a picture, though we can try. And might be we could follow any interesting lead to a vehicle and get the plate numbers at the very least. Though them pictures would be great proof if we don’t have to say who got em.”

He grinned, tipping the bottle back again.

“I’ll spread the word, unless ya want to take over or join in?”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “That was my thought.” She smiles. “Leaking them anonymously or something if we need to. But again, only if we need to. No need to kick up a hornet’s nest if we don’t gotta.

“I might join in. It’s a Sept-concerning issue, we definitely need to keep everyone aware of what’s going on. I’m still sort of taking stock of stuff, getting the lay of the land. Lemme get back to you on that one. Right now I’m more wanting to get the information flow going more freely.”

[Roman Turner] “Alrighty.”

His weight shifted on the bench, thumping the hammer’s handle against the back of the pew.

“Ya got a fine line to walk now. A line between trying to earn the trust of a bunch of New Moons who rather shake things up. And them what take themselves too serious sometimes.”

A grin teased his lips for a moment.

“Better you than me. I’m more for doing than talking about it in some meetin.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She chuckles. “Yeah, believe me, I didn’t get into this for the easy ride.” She gives a wink. “I know it’s gonna be a tricky gig, but someone’s gotta do it, right? Like I said though, I appreciate you taking charge on this whole thing.”

A pause. “Did Michael perchance give you any details on what these guys talking about informants and such looked like?”

[Roman Turner] He considered her a long moment then softly said.

“That’s not why ya challenged. Not because someone’s gotta do it.”

And just like that he switched with a shake of his head, his voice once more it’s normal conversational tone.

“Nope, not sure he got a good look at them. But ya might jar his memory a little more if ya talk to him. I can ask him, if ya don’t want to.”

“Ya hungry? Got some chips if ya want.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She furrows her brow, still smiling…though more curiously now. “Yeah…actually, it was. That and the fact that I thought I could do the job justice.”

A little shrug, and she nods. “I can talk to him, no worries. And no, no thank you. I’m good.”

[Roman Turner] “Nah, ya did it for the second part. Cause ya know, this Sept is unique, this seat is unique. It’s mostly an honorary thing, not depending on rank or standing, but the will to help when asked and to try and organize others when the need arises. The real reason ya stepped up for it now, rather than wait for the moot, was because ya thought ya could do it. Be honest with yourself, never do something just because someone’s gotta do it. Do it because your heart speaks to ya. Because your heart tells ya this is what ya can do. That way it’s not a job, it’s more something your soul can take pride in. Ya know?”

He winked and slid from the pew to walk over to one of the tables where he snatched up a bag of chips with a loud crinkling rattle of the bag.

“Sure ya don’t want some of these? French Onion, Sour Cream.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She watches him, listening. There’s a little smile on her face. She’s not angry at the implications at all. “Well…honestly, the only reason I didn’t wait was because I didn’t think we could afford to. We need someone heading up the scouting with a Hive at our door. You’re right though, that I stepped up because I thought I could, and that it felt lie something I could feel confident doing. The kicker was the need, and I guess they were both pretty equal reason.”

She’s appreciative of the way he lays it out. It’s exactly what a Ragabash should do. “I’m sure. You don’t wanna know what kind of gastrointestinal Olympics those cause in me. But thank you.”

[Roman Turner] He slapped his knew, laughing.

“Well now, ya gotta remember, I’m a guy and we live for ways to regal each other with just how nasty, how stankin, and how loud and long our farts are.”

[Roman Turner] His knew=his knee (this boy’s brain is on shutdown, sorry)

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She laughs at that. “Yeah, I know. Still…I should get going. Lemme give you my number, though. You need anything, gimme a call. I wanna make all the No-Moon’s jobs as easy as I can.”

She reaches in and grabs a piece of paper, pre-scribbled, and hands it over.

[Roman Turner] He did better, he pulled his phone out and programmed her in right away. Even offering his number for her phone.

“Who ya packing with?”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “I’m packed up with the Unbroken.” She pulls out her phone and types hers in as well. “If you ever need to find me, you can come by Bellemonte Loft, and worst comes to worst leave a message.”

[Roman Turner] “I’ll call if anything ever becomes that important.”

He rose with a smile to take her bottle and walk her to the door.

“Nice to sort of meet ya Sarita. Just use your smarts, don’t aim to impress and ya’ll do fine.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “That’s the plan.” She grins and heads along. “Catch you later, man.”

And with that, she’s out. [[Exeunt!]]

Meeting Melody and Ivan

[Melody Drake] Lukas suggested she make herself known to Sarita, so she is making herself known to Sarita. A little communication leads her to the loft where the Ragabash Elder usually stays. She’s dressed in a grey suit today, feminine, her hair wound at the base of her neck. Immaculate, since she has no idea what Sarita is like, and one should always make a good impression.

Adjusting her purse over one shoulder and tucking her phone away, she heads up and rings the door, clasping her hands politely in front of her as she waits.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] After returning from her Auspice challenge Friday morning, Sarita spent a good part of Friday just sleeping. It was a long, grueling test and she had barely been able to make it to her bedroom before passing out. The weekend was taken to recuperate–and meet a new kinfolk to her tribe in the city–until today.

Today, she’s been very in and out. Her rest accomplished, the Strider is now in work-mode. And while it may surprise some, she’s been very industrious, making phone calls and running in and out to check on various things. The always-joking Ragabash is taking her role seriously, it would seem. She’s in at the moment, taking a little bit of time from her running around and networking to relax. Which means that she’s out in the garage, working on her Bus. Working on her vehicle is a calming thing for her.

Her head pokes up when she hears the knock, and she rolls out from under the van, wiping her hands on a rag.

Melody finds Lucille opening the door. The stout, mature Hispanic woman lets Melody in, telling her that Miss Katherine and Mister Lukas are unavailable, but Miss Sarita is in the garage if that is who she is looking for. Well…until that moment, as Sarita is just walking in while Lucille explains such.

[Carter Roth] Life in the Loft, or as Carter preferred to refer to it privately, the gilded cage, was a life of routine for the wayward kin. He would wake, swim, exercise and go to work. He had just returned from the lab infact, returned from the job that did not suit the look of the man but none the less he held too it, pushed on, it was really his style after all.

His time at the loft had not been an entire loss though, Sarita could attest to that, when he had first arrived Carter had been mean, twitchy, vulgar and outright aggressive one might have compared him to a wild dog, the cunning nasty type that you didn’t want to turn your back on. But in the weeks he had been there, he had softened, certainly not the point where he was friendly and joking with all the big furballs, but he gave them a grudging respect, conversed without being cornered, and even partook in meals and any cleaning that might be necessary.

Infact that was what he was doing now, in his old ratty leather jacket, made of far to many patches of leather. He was taking the garbage out, doing the old maid a bit of a favour it seemed. He was out the side when he heard the doorbell ring, and his eyes narrowed as he wondered who was here now, as he stepped back in through the side entrance and slowly made his way towards the front door.

[Melody Drake] “Yes, that’s who I’m looking for actually,” she answers Lucille quietly, thanking her for letting her in. her eyes drift though when Sarita walks in, her head inclining ever so faint. “Miss Ecos de la Risa, I presume?”

The name isn’t lost on her, not at all. But as of now, it’s a last name, and unless Sarita indicates otherwise, she’ll keep calling her that. She’s not been entirely invited in yet, so she remains in the entryway, amber eyes focused on the Strider.

[Daoi Gladecu] *Daoi came. She had not visited her employee in his new inviornment. And was suitably impressed when she left her car and limp her way over the pavement. In one hand was a black cain with a gold wolf’s head on it. She used it to balance out the face that one of her legs didn’t work to well. On that same hand was a large gold ring with another head of a wolf, two twisted tounge came out , above which two yellow topaz eyes watched accusingly.

She was dressed in black slacks and lofters, under her sturdy peacoat was a white pressed sure. Everything she wore was pratical and of good quality. Dark grey eyes watched the place. Scaring along one side of her face pulled a little bit as she turned her head. The scaring looked like claw marks to those who knew what to look for. It broke an eyebrow into two and made an eyelid sag. She limped up to the front door and perceeded to knock*

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She’s just coming around the corner when Melody mentions her name to Lucille, and she grins when Melody addresses her. The Strider is in a black tank-top, with a couple of spots from oil on it and a pair of jeans. She’s always careful not to leave any mess around–the last thing she needs is Katherine freaking out on her–but you can’t do a little work without getting dirty.

“Oh god, please…it’s Sarita. Miss Ecos de la Risa makes me sound like a Spanish teacher in San Antonio or some shit.” She looks Carter’s way, giving him a smile and nod, then looks back to Melody and extends her hand. “I’m Sarita, yeah. Nice to meet you.”

She looks at the door when the knock is heard, and she waves Lucille off. She can answer a door right in front of her, she says to the woman in their native language. Lucille rolls her eyes and heads back further into the house as Sarita heads to the door with an “excuse me,” to Melody. The door is opened for Daoi.

[Carter Roth] As was so often the case, Carter tended to stay in the distance, stay at the edge of the room when the Garou congregated, it was his way of feeling out what was going on, he very rarely asked if he could join, instead waiting for someone to call him over, or to feel it was right. It wasn’t timidity, it was simply wariness of the creatures he lived with.

He did however nod in return to Sarita as she acknowledge him, and he took a moment to lean against the wall and watch the new comer for a few long moments.

[Daoi Gladecu] *The door was opened and Daoi looked at Sarita and Melody in a bit of supprise as the rage from the two billowed out.*

Ah thank you ma’am, I’m looking for Mr. Roth?

*She sais her head tilted to the side and her good brow up. Her voice was light and polite with just a bit of a Slavic accent*

[Melody Drake] “Melody Drake,” she answers, taking Sarita’s hand with a faint smile. “I’ll make sure to stick to Sarita then, it’s nice to meet you as well. Lukas-rhya said I should make myself known to you.”

Amber eyes looked over at Carter when he came into her field of vision, scrutinizing if only for a moment. Then there is a nod, an acknowledgement, before she looks to whomever Sarita let in. She takes in Daoi as well, staying quietly out of the way for the moment. Truthfully, while there’s Rage from her… there’s not all that much of it.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Hey…yeah, come on in. I’m Sarita.” She doesn’t know Doai, but the woman’s Shadow Lord breeding speaks plainly to the Strider, and she smiles as she steps aside to let her in. “Hey Carter, you got a guest.”

Once Daoi’s passed by, she smiles to Melody. “Lukas said you should say hi…I’m gonna guess that’s cause you’re along my particular moon phase lines?”

[Carter Roth] Melody scrutinized him, and Carter scrutinzed her back. Perhaps it was a mutual thing, maybe…maybe they thought of each other as predators, or perhaps they were just unfamiliar people in an unfamiliar setting trying to understand each other.

Carter of course sang with the feeling of thunder in him, Melody could feel it, Sarita could as well, but it was to Melody that it really called, really struck a blow in deep personal places. Of dark mountain tops and storms that spoke to the primal side of the trueborn.

Carter is polite, and he returns the nod, but his attention is drawn away as Daoi makes her appearance and Sarita tells him that he has a guest. “Good eye Sarita.” He says with a droll tone as he stepped closer and nodded to Daoi.

“Hey Doc, whats brings you by?”

[Daoi Gladecu] Daoi Gladecu…thank you agian.

*she says to Sarita as she walks in and limps past her to Carter*

I got bord, though I would come and see your cage.

*she gives him a half smile. House is quiet without you cursing the air blue.

[Melody Drake] … it seems there were a lot of Thunder’s Children here in the city.

There is, perhaps, a small shift when Carter’s breeding becomes readily apparent, that kind of call she’s still not used to. She wonders, briefly, if that was what she used to do back in Seattle and then dismisses the thought; she doesn’t have time for it. Briefly, she watches the kin interact, eyes narrowing at Carter’s statement to Sarita and Daoi’s talk of a cage, but she has business to attend.

Snapping her gaze back to Sarita, she smiles faintly again. “Correct. To be specific, Cliath Shadow Lord Ragabash, also known as Sweet Whispers.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] The comment from Carter rolls right off her back. If anything, she takes it as teasing. Of course, with Carter it could be more, but Sarita’s been very good–as she usually is–about no-selling any potential barbs. She gives the man a grin and a wink, then looks back over to Melody, taking in her name, her rank, and such. There’s a little nod.

“Nice to meet you, Melody. “arita Echos-of-Laughter. Cliath No-Moon of Owl’s brood, Unbrokenite, and Silent Strider and Ragabash Elder in the city.” She smiles. “C’mon, let’s get out of the doorway. Anyone want a drink?”

It’s directed to Carter and Daoi as much as it is Melody, as she makes her way toward the kitchen.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] [[Add an S in there as appropriate. :P ]]

[Melody Drake] “Water would be welcome.” She murmurs to Sarita, following her out of the entry way, eyes flicking around the loft curiously.

[Daoi Gladecu] ((Hey all just got a call from work, i gotta go, sorry!! Just say Daoi got a phone call and had to runish))

[Carter Roth] “We still have that whiskey hanging around.” Carter asks as he looks at Sarita with a questioning but guarded look. He then returned his gaze to the Doc and grinned rakishly at her.

“Well ain’t that sweet of you Doc taking time out of your busy free to go anywhere schedule to see the locationally challenged.” He said with a light laugh. “Besides, i think I was killing the refinement of your place with all my swearing.”

He actually moved to follow along behind the garou. It was then that Daoi got her call and Carter waved her off. “Thanks for stoppin by Doc.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “One water, one whiskey.” She waves to Daoi when she has to run off, and goes to get the drinks. For her part, she makes a mixed drink and brings the other two’s drinks out to them in the living room. “Just arrived in the city then?” she says to Melody as she takes a seat.

[Melody Drake] There is a murmured thank you to Sarita at the water, and she sits down after the other woman has. “Yes. I’ve been here about a week now.”

[Carter Roth] Carter for himself seems to consider what to do. He could go off on his own, do some more exercises. Or he could hang around the pair of garou who were surely going to talk business and ignore him for the most part. Amazingly, perhaps in particular for Sarita, Carter sticks around, finding himself a chair that gives him distance between Melody and Sarita, but sit he does, taking a drink of his Whiskey.

[Carter Roth] Carter also accepted the drink with a nod and a gravelly thank you. [just so you know.]

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Oh, a week? Hell, you’re practically a veteran, chica.” She says it with a grin. “Seriously though, it’s a young sept still, very up-and-coming kind of place. So you’ll be considered old hat in no time. My sister and I got here in the beginning of the year and…”

She pauses, then shrugs. “Well, it’s been an eventful 2011. Carter is one of your tribe’s kinfolk,” she said, switching the subject and nodding at him. “You’re involved in the whole alliance thing Ames is working on, right?”

[Melody Drake] Her eyes slip to Carter, nodding faintly. “… I can tell. And Stefan mentioned a kinfolk alliance, that his mate… Amunet? Was involved in.”

She makes no effort to hide the approval in her voice. Kin taking the initiative? Absolutely a wonderful thing, and she agrees whole completely. Even better that one of her own is involved in it.

[Carter Roth] Carter looked between the two of the garou and then nodded as he let the whiskey roll around in its tumbler. “Just so you know, thats one in the same person.” He said in that gravelly voice before nodding.

“Yeah I am…I’m currently…well, I was planning the paramilitary and physical training of the kin involved. Until well…I was told to stay here.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Yep, that’s my sis. Gloriously awesome and aggravating handful that she is.” She says it fondly. There’s no other way to say such a thing. She looks back at Melody.

“Did you come by yourself, or bring a pack along for the ride?”

[Melody Drake] “Noted,” she says to Carter, her gaze intensely curious as he says he has to stay here, but she doesn’t ask why. Even if it kills her, because it’s in her nature to ask. There is a flicker of a smile though as Sarita explains her sister and a small nod, accepting the information.

As Sarita asks about a pack though, she shakes her head. “No, I came alone, though I’ve already found a pack here, something I’m grateful for.”

[Carter Roth] Carter reclines back into the chair and put his glass up on the armrest as the pair of women talked. Melody simply said noted, which got a slight creasing of Carter’s eyes, perhaps an annoyed look, something that didn’t quite sit right but he took a deep breath and it rolled off him like water.

They speak of packs, of things that Carter has no business in, and he simply tries to relax in the presence of their rage, taking a sip from his glass as he reached up into the dreadlocks on his head and scratched an itch.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Oh yeah?” She smiles. “Good to hear. You’re getting settled in, then…very cool. Getting the lay of the land too?”

[Melody Drake] A pause, and then a wry smile. “Slowly. Chicago and Seattle aren’t very similar and I find myself relying on GPS a little more often then I like. Someone told me I had to get lost in the city to actually learn anything.”

[Carter Roth] Carter smirks at their conversation, ahhh the mighty garou reduced to using a GPS system. In his days before the loft he might have said something openly insulting to the pair something deriding their natures and questioning their capabilities.

“Getting lost is the best way to get found. At least in the city.” He said with a shrug in an offhanded manner. Man how times had changed.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She grins. “I’d say that’s pretty accurate. I came in and just straight started wandering in my van. Always seems to be the best way to learn the layout.”

She lets that lie there, moving on. “So, you’re gonna have to forgive me. I’ve been Auspice Elder for all of about four days so I’m still getting shit organized a little bit. But it would be good to know what all you have experience with, where I might be able to call on you if I need to for the Sept.”

[Melody Drake] “That’s three votes for that method now,” she says, glancing at Carter with an amused look. “Perhaps I’ll have to try it then. Have you been in Chicago long, Mr. Roth?”

Her gaze turns serious though again, as Sarita asks her what she can do. “I have familiarity with the law and politics, and I currently rent and buy properties in Chicago so if someone needs a place to stay, I’m more then willing. I’m very good at speaking to people and gathering information that way, and I currently speak four languages besides English if that’s ever needed as well.” A pause. “I’m also passingly familiar with mental illness healthcare.”

A tap of her fingers on her glass, before she continues. “I don’t know if this has bearing, but I feel it’s relevant. I was kin for twenty four years, and believed to be kin all my life, until my more recent change. It gives me a unique perspective at times.”

[Carter Roth] Carter had been sipping casually on his whiskey, not wanting to have to get up it seems to go fetch another. He looked at the glass with a slightly displeased look, apparently he should have asked for the bottle to come along.

Melody asks him a question and Carter shrugged. “Maybe three months now?” He says, musing to himself over the timeline. “Yeah, three months seems about right.”

But then Melody drops a bombshell, something Carter had never heard of before, something he could never have even imagined. Melody HAD been kin, and Carters eyes almost bulge wide, and he actually chokes on his whiskey for a moment or two before coughing to clear his throat.

“Excuse me, the hell did you just say? How the hell is that even possible?”

[Melody Drake] Carter’s sudden exclimation actually startles her, just briefly, and her hands tighten on her glass for a moment before she arches an eyebrow. “Your guess is as good as mine. My twin brother changed ten years before me, and we went through much of the same life events up until that point. I was twenty four years old when I had my first change.”

A small shrug of her shoulders, bright. “My father thought I might change, but once he died, I was told that I was kin, to forget such notions, and go on with my life that way. And I did.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She smiles a little when Melody says that. There’s something…it’s not quite kinship. Sarita isn’t all ‘OMG ME TOO’ or anything. But there’s…an appreciation. Maybe a certain cousin to understanding. Empathy, at least. “Yeah?”

And then she chuckles a bit as Carter chokes. Not AT the choking, obviously, but the surprise. “It’s surprisingly common these days compared to how it used to be, Carter…which is not to say it’s common, just more than a ‘once an era’ kind of thing. They’re called Lost Cubs by some. People who don’t change until well after most people do. It’s a term that’s sort of interchangeable with people who grow up outside the Nation and don’t know much of anything ’till they change, ’cause the two sometiimes coincide.”

[Carter Roth] Carter recovers at last as Melody explains her half, and then Sarita explains hers. He rubs his neck for a moment and coughs one last time to finish clearing that burning sensation of alcohol from his throat before he takes another deep breath.

“Huh….well thats something new for sure.” He says as he looks between Sarita, and Melody. When his gaze falls upon the newcomer, the woman who had been treated as a kin all of her life until the day she had changed many many years after most, something seemed to stir in his gaze, perhaps it was curiosity, it was hard to tell with the man keeping his thoughts and feelings so tightly guarded here.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “I actually grew up outside of the Nation myself. Had no idea until I was sixteen, I changed and my father showed up to tell me the score. So I have an idea what it’s like, though obviously it’s not the same.” She nods. “That gives you a unique perspective. I can appreciate that, for sure, and it certainly could have its uses.”

She pauses, and leans back, sipping her drink. “How are your recon skills, if any?”

[Melody Drake] “It was certainly something new for me,” she admits, smiling faintly to Sarita in understanding, before her gaze flicks back to Carter. “It was… interesting, to see the changes in attitudes towards me.”

There’s a a nuance in her voice, something how she says interesting that gives away it was less just interesting and more a really really severe change.

Her head inclines as Sarita explains that she had no idea until she changed, nodding every so slightly. “… it must have been a shock. And… my… recon skills are passable, if you’re discussing legitimately sneaking around in the shadows. Walking into a building and talking to people and gathering information? That, I’m often very good at. Words… come easy to me.”

[Carter Roth] “I could imagine…one minute your a liability, the next your one of the soldiers.” He said casually, but it held a hint of heaviness, of something sour or hurtful in it.

“So what did you do…what did you feel when you made that change. How did others react?” He asked, suddenly pointedly interested in the woman who when she had just arrived he hadn’t really seemed curious about. He was also asking very personal questions, but the look in his eye said he wouldn’t stop.

He could also talk a good turn about recon skills…but that wasn’t his place either.

[Melody Drake] Unlike most, maybe, she doesn’t seem to mind the intensely personal questions. Instead, she seems to encourage it, shifting so she can face both Carter and Sarita. “… I was angry. I was being forced into a situation at the time that I didn’t want, and I remember feeling like I didn’t have any control. I can tell you the three Garou there at the time were completely shocked, and it probably didn’t help that I was laughing hysterically once I came to.”

A sip of her water, to wet her mouth before she inclines her head. “You’ll have to be more specific then others though, Mr. Roth. There were varied reactions.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She nods a little bit at Melody’s self-assessment of her recon skills, both physical and social, absorbing the information and filing it away. When Carter speaks up she lets herself fall silent, sitting back and listening to the conversation between the two Lords. Sometimes you learn the most not by asking questions, but by observing. That’s what she’s doing now.

[Carter Roth] Carter nodded slightly as if piecing something together with the woman’s words. From Sarita’s point of view, this was the most engaged anyone had managed to get Carter in a conversation, the reasoning was obvious, or maybe it wasn’t eitherway…it was something.

“I meant the other kin, as well as the….trueborns.” He says it like he had meant to say something else entirely. “What was their reactions to you after the fact…how did it change from before when they all thought you were kin?”

[K gotta step out...will only be 15 minutes or so, so keep going!]

[Melody Drake] “I wasn’t very close to any other kin at the time, so I regret I don’t have a truly good base reading for that. As for the trueborns…” She pauses, as she figures out how to say it. “When I was kin, and I asked why, the answer would be ‘Because you are kin, and we said so’. When I was suddenly trueborn, and I asked why, it became ‘Oh, because of x, y, and z. It’s good you ask questions!’. That is the best way for me to describe it.

[Carter Roth] Melody answered the mans questions, very personal questions that most probably would not have. It is a testament to Melody’s character, her openness and her willingness to learn and adapt that she did so, especially to a complete stranger like Carter.

However her answers do not evoke a smile or a expression of enlightened understanding, instead it darkens the look on Carters face and he nods.

“Yeah….that sounds about right.” His eyes briefly flicker over to Sarita then before returning to Melody. “Aint trying to interrupt buisness and all.” A hand gestures to Sarita to emphasize. “So one more question if you don’t mind….what caused you to shift?”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “You’re not interrupting at all.” She smiles and shakes her head, looking to Carter. “By all means, ask away.”

She looks between the two, finishing off her drink. There’s something discerning in the way that the Strider watches and listens…picking up the details, watching their reactions. Every detail of how someone behaves reveals something, they say, and Sarita seems interested in how both kin and Ragabash are reacting, both to each other and even to the fact that Sarita’s observing.

[Melody Drake] “I’m of the belief that questions should be asked,” a faint shrug. “No one learns anything if no answers are given.”

A nod is given to Sarita, in thanks, for allowing the little Q and A. She is aware she’s being watched and assessed, but that was bound to happen- Sarita was an Elder after all. Still Carter’s question gives her pause, a flicker of something in her face that’s very hard to discern. She’d be a hypocrite though, to say he should ask questions and then not answer them.

Using a sip of water to cover her pause, she finally answers. “… I had moved to Canada, and my former sept had sent a pack to find me and bring me back. I asked why, after some arguing, and was again told ‘because you’re kin’… I’m told that’s when I shifted, though I have no exact recollection of that moment.”

[Carter Roth] Carter blinks for a moment, looking at the shadowlord woman, this ragabash who was full of surprises and then nodded before looking down at his glass. Something passed over his features as he did so, almost a look of sadness, but certainly one of understanding.

But something shifts then, and Carter rises from his chair and says quietly. “Thanks for that, excuse me…I need a refill.” At that Carter moves towards the Kitchen slowly, obviously planning on returning, but well…he needed more booze.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Of course, Carter.” She nods, watching him head off to the kitchen, and looks back. “Yeah, so to recap…definitely gives you a unique look at things. Which is good for our Auspice. We’re supposed to be keeping people on their toes, and challenging them to look at things in new ways.”

“Who are you packed with?” The change in subjects is abrupt, and perhaps purposely so. She looks at Melody casually though, as if it were natural.

[Melody Drake] She watches Carter go as well, eyes narrowed, before Sarita is talking and all her attention is back on her Auspice Elder. A nod, agreeing about challenging people with a flicker of a smile. If the abrupt conversation seems odd to her, she doesn’t show it.

“Honor’s Forge,” she answers smoothly, “with Stefan Knezevic, Nathalie Bystrov, and Bronwyn Montgomery.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She raises an eyebrow. “Really.” Her head cocks to the side, definitely more intrigued now. “That’s an interesting pack. What do you think of them?”

[Carter Roth] [Go ahead and skip me this round]

[Melody Drake] She watches Sarita. “… they have their kinks to work out, as I suppose is with any newly formed pack. They however follow a totem and a cause that I believe in and when pressed, they do have the cohesiveness right now to follow their Alpha. I think, I will be good for them, and then will be good for me.”

[Ivan Press] [christ... DSL no bueno.]

[Carter Roth] It takes a few minutes, but Carter eventually wanders back into the living room from the kitchen, his glass now full to the brim with the amber liquid that constituted whiskey in this household. He glanced from one Garou to the next, his gaze lingering curiously upon Melody as he returned to his seat and eased into it with a tired sigh.

“I miss anything exciting since I went looking for the good stuff?” He asks as he looked from one to the other.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She nods a little bit. “Yeah? S’good to know. I don’t know Bronwyn–I think she’s another new arrival–but I’ve met Nathalie once or twice and Stefan’s my sister’s mate. I’m sure you’ll get the chance to meet her.”

She smiles slightly. “It’s an interesting pack make-up. A lot of times those work for the best.” She speaks from experience. About the last Tribes she every expected to be packed alongside are the Shadow Lords and Silver Fangs and…well.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] [[Okay, apologies, the submit puttong was being a bitch.]]

[Melody Drake] A small shake of her head, and a smile to Carter- no, he didn’t miss much.

“It is different than I expected, what little I knew of packs to be fair, but I think the dynamic works well,” she agrees with a small nod. “And I do hope to meet your sister soon, after all I’ve heard.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Oh?” She can’t help but grin at that. ‘After all I’ve heard’ can go many different directions when dealing with her sister. “What have you heard?”

She looks over at Carter and nods to him as he returns.

[Melody Drake] The makes her arch an eyebrow, amusement on her face. “I’ve heard of her work with the kinfolk alliance, Stefan seems very proud of her, and Nathalie seemed to like the idea and actions as well.”

[Ivan Press] Presently, Lucille returns with a new guest in tow. Mr. Ivan Press, she announces, a strictly no-nonsense, no-frills introduction. Hear to see Ms. Sarita de la Risa. Of all the packmate and its associates, Lucille might be the only one to give the liquid beauty of that last name justice. She seems to like dropping the ‘Ecos’, though. Maybe she thinks it fits better: Sarita of the Laughter, simply.

Lucille goes off to do Lucille-type things, then, leaving Ivan standing in the Loft, looking at its occupants with as much interest as they might show in the newcomer himself. That he is of Katherine’s tribe is unmistakable; even if the breeding didn’t give it away, the effortless grace of his posture and stance does. That, and the scent of money that all but wafts from him.

“I’m not interrupting, am I?” It’s more practiced courtesy than genuine worry.

[Ivan Press] [HERE to see. my god.]

[Carter Roth] They both nodded, or shook their head, either way they let him know simply that Carter had not missed a damn thing, not all that surprising, he hadn’t been gone that long.

He took another drink from his glass and seemed pleased with the make of his whiskey. But then the alliance was spoken of again, it is something that has been on his mind since he had been incarcerated here, something that he had not been able to partake in at all.

“Not everyone seems quite so thrilled.” He said roughly.

But then there was another Garou, someone named Ivan Press, Lucille just let everyone in didn’t she? Carter regarded the man blue green eyes narrowing slightly, not out of curiosity this time, more warriness then anything.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She nods at Melody’s response. Inwardly she’s thinking oh good, none of the insane stuff, but outwardly it’s just acknowledgment. “Yeah…she’s definitely got some good ideas going with that.”

Then she looks over at Ivan, smiling as he sees him come in. She stands up, thanking Lucille, and looking the man over. “Ivan, m’man. Good to see you. No, you’re not interrupting. How are you?”

[Melody Drake] Melody arches an eyebrow, turning to look at Carter as if to ask ‘Why not?’, the question on the tip of her tongue. However, the introduction of Ivan causes her to stay her words instead; business to be discussed later perhaps.

Placing her drink on the table, she folds her hands quietly in her lap and watches, a faint smile on her lips and her expression pleasant. Sarita seems to know the new guest and she quietly watches them interact, trying to decide if this is her cue to leave.

[Ivan Press] What can be said of Ivan, except that he is tall, golden, lean, privileged – a new-millennium sort of Fang?

Well; plenty, to be truthful. Depends on how much they’ve heard, how much each of them are plugged into the rumormill. The Presses are fabulously wealthy — the sort of wealth that’s accumulated past a critical point where it compounds on itself, becomes almost impossible to entirely lose. An empire of commerce rather than land, there are those amongst the old guard Fangs who mutter that these flashy Russians, who disguise their heritage behind a much more Fortune 500-friendly last name, have utterly forgotten what it is to be a Silver Fang. They mate with Glass Walkers now; they even dally with Shadow Lords. Sold their pride out for money and human influence. How despicable.

And then there are the rumors that surround Mr. Ivan Press himself. Popular on the club circuit; something closer to notorious in high society. Known for dropping tens of thousands of dollars on impromptu parties at various swanky locales around town. Never did a day’s work in his life; spends his family’s money like it grows on a tree, or falls from the sky — which for him may as well be true. Frequently seen with models and dancers and aspiring starlets on his arm, though some vestigial shred of modesty — or just pragmatism, or perhaps threats of getting his allowance cut off by mom and dad — keeps him from getting too far into the celebrity spotlight.

Not known for fidelity. Or faithfulness. Or any sort of commitment whatsoever. Can’t even bear to be in a steady pack for long. Is tagging along with some Shadow Lord pack. What sort of Silver Fang, what sort of wolf…

This is the creature that smoothly shakes Sarita’s hand. “Doing rather well, thank you,” he replies. “My congratulations on the Eldership.”

He turns his eyes toward the others, both Shadow Lords. “Ah, the dreaded and esteemed ‘enemy’,” he quips. “Never fear, I’ve a cousin twice removed who’s a Shadow Lord. Ivan Resplendent-Dusk, by the way. Ragabash Cliath of Falcon.”

[Mad Maddox] He’s been here before. Presumably, Maddox was given some sort of key. It’s also entirely possible that he used said key to get into the beautifully renovated loft. It’s also just as likely (if not moreso) that he didn’t. However the mangy Fianna got inside, he makes his way down from the upstairs, tall and gangly and passingly attractive. There’s a cigarette tucked behind his ear, dressed in jeans, a yellow t-shirt that emphasizes just how thin he is. Like a beanpole, or a scarecrow, especially today with his dark hair askew. His feet are bare.

He comes shuffling down the stairs, stops at the bottom just in time for Ivan’s introduction, and smirks.

“Really, that’s it? I thought your lot had intros so long they could wrap around the world thrice.”

[Melody Drake] More new people. There is a glance back at the new voice, but her attention is on Ivan; introductions are at hand.

“An example of keep your friends close and your enemies closer?” She asks, though the lilt of her voice at the smile shows it is meant in jest and she holds no animosity. A nod is given at his introduction and she replies, “Melody Drake, also known as Sweet Whispers, Cliath Ragabash and child of Thunder. A pleasure to meet you.”

[Carter Roth] Carter does much like melody. He falls silent and watches, watches the Silver fang as he introduces himself, this guy was as slick as oil on a sea otter, how knows the guys family might be in the oil buisness for all the money he reeked off.

The look Carter had was slightly unimpressed, sure he had money, sure he had connections but he looked…soft.

He nods to the man, he plays the civil game and even responds with his name. “Carter…” He says in his own gruff way before returning to his drink. Or he would have, when from behind them another Garou arrives, a long lean almost bean pole like fellow. Carter was now surrounded by Garou, from all sides, and their combined rage made his skin crawl.

The grip on his glass grew greater and his eyes slid shut for a moment as he tried to breath,, tried to stay in control.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She chuckles a little bit and reaches out to take Ivan’s hand. “Thanks. Nice to see you.”

Ivan’s entrance, he’s expecting. Maddox just popping out of nowhere from the upstairs causes her to snap her head around. It’s possible that she’s one of the prospectives, and it’s entirely possible that he’s not. Sarita doesn’t know one way or the other. The Strider gives the Fianna a long stare, looking him over.

“Uh, hi.” The ‘Uh’ part doesn’t seem to be a loss for words. Too much time passes between Sarita noticing him and the words for that to be the case.

[Ivan Press] “Actually,” Ivan explains offhand, “no, an example of business over personal pursuits. Her family was the controlling shareholder in PNA Telecom, and we wanted to buy them out at below-market price. She got a nice purebred mate to make lovely blackhaired cubs with; we got the shares. Good deal for everyone, and besides, she’s actually quite personable. Quite pleasant company at family retreats on the Black Sea. And Cousin Yuri’s branch of the family always had an unfortunate tendency to turn into drooling idiots at age 40, anyway.

“And I,” now he’s answering Maddox, “always thought your lot was typically too drunk to notice the difference. At any rate, if I gave my full introduction, I’d have to explain all the other scandalous little crossings in my family tree.”

[Mad Maddox] “Oh really?” he asks, sliding his hands into the pockets of his jeans and coming forward. It really is a bit of a shock for a stranger to show up right in the middle of what passes as close to a packhouse as the Unbroken have. There are things that could be assumed here, if the people chatting in the living room were the assuming type. Apparently, one of them is.

Maddox flicks his brows upward. “And what lot is that?” he asks, curious. There is no breeding that calls out to the Garou in the room, no features of some long-gone hero of old shining through Maddox’s countenance. They can’t even tell, at least not right away, that he’s Garou. Except, of course, for the kinsman who actually knows.

[Melody Drake] There is a slight vibration from her purse and she glances down, pulling out the phone to see the number. Eyes narrow and for a moment that pleasant expression is blank. And then she’s sliding the phone away and standing up, gaze moving to Sarita. “I’m sorry to leave so suddenly Sarita, there’s something I need to take care of. It was an honor to meet you.”

A glance at Carter, a faint smile. “You as well Mr. Roth. Resplendant-Dusk, I regret leaving so soon after our meeting, but it was still nice to meet you. I wish you all a good evening.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She looks at Melody and smiles a bit. “No problem, Melody…we’ll catch up more later. If you want to leave your number, I’ll give you a call, or I can probably get it through Amy.”

She looks back to Maddox and clears her throat, then speaks…slower, and louder. “UM. HI.”

[Danicka Musil] [a/s/l?]

[Mad Maddox] [23/m/your pants?]

[Danicka Musil] [you are unhelpful and shall be summarily beheaded]

[Carter Roth] Carter watches as Melody gets up and states her intention of leaving. He nods to the woman before his eyes flicker to the others in the room before he speaks.

“It was good to meet you Melody….catch ya round.” His gravelly voice follows her as she heads for the door. Carter for his part, wishes he could follow, there were to many garou for his tastes…or at least too many garou he barely knew.

[Melody Drake] [And I just lol'd. Nice.]

“Of course,” she says, pausing to pull out a card and hand it to Sarita. “Thank you, again.”

With that done, she gives another nod to those in the room and moves to head out the door, already reaching for her phone.

[Ivan Press] “Pleasure to meet you,” he says to Melody, stepping a little ways out of the way to allow her an unimpeded path to the door. Not that there’s much impedance possible in a space as spare and open as the Loft.

“Think she’s talking to you,” he adds to Maddox helpfully.

[Melody Drake] [Thanks much for the scene!]

[Mad Maddox] It’s almost like a Mexican stand-off, excepting the noticeable lack of saloon, empty and dusty street, and ponchos. Maddox watches Ivan, Ivan pulls the Fang card and dismisses him to off pleasantries to the leaving Melody. All the while, Sarita tries to get Maddox’s attention.

Sarita…Oh right!

The Theurge’s attention snaps to the new Ragabash Elder, the Silver Fang forgotten. “Ah, my apologies,” he says, stepping toward the Strider with outstretched hand, angling his body in a half-bow. “Maddox Cartwright, Where the Sidewalk Ends. Lukáš Wyrmbreaker showed me around the other night.”

[Danicka Musil] Shortly after Melody departs the Loft, a car that’s rarely seen there pulls up. She comes here more than she used to, but there has to be a reason. Usually, that reason is a swarthy black-haired Shadow Lord, all tall-dark-handsome, the sort of big bad Ahroun that the pretty blonde kinswomen usually swoon for,

siiiiiigh!

But he isn’t here. His name just came up but he’s not here and yet there’s his mate’s slate-blue Infiniti coming to a stop. Then the mate herself stepping out of it, all sharp-toed stillettos and flare-legged gray slacks and a navy blue sweater with a low v-neck over a fluttery pink tank top with some floral embellishment that peeks out through that low v-neck and a crop-hemmed, crop-sleeved peacoat over it all because Chicago can’t make up its damn mind, weatherwise. She’s still here, Lukas or no Lukas, slinging her purse over her shoulder and walking right up to the door and smiling at Lucille when yet another person shows up.

Hola, Lucille,” she says to the maid, and: “Is Mr. Roth available?”

And soon enough, she’s heading towards the living room, her heels clicking on those hard, shiny floors.

[Carter Roth] Melody was gone, which meant there was only one person that Carter had any real contact with, which left him edgy, which required him to control his breathing. Thankfully the new comers had largely ignored him, which at one point would have annoyed him. But hes trying to control that anger, trying to keep it just beneath the surface…it was turning out to be an interesting night.

Carter was considering his exit strategy, he was looking back towards his room, towards the upstairs, nope..that wouldn’t work it was blocked, his only option was the pool and to pray to god he could beat them off with wet pool noodles.

But then the clack clack of high heeled shoes resounded through the loft, and through the voices of the Garou Carter could hear someone speak his name. This widened his eyes in surprise, at least until the person made themselves known.

As Danika stepped into the room Carter let out a low, inaudible snort and nodded to the woman. Not really happy to see her given their last meeting…but civil…for now.

[Danicka Musil] [per/emp: this is how we show our love]
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 2, 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 9, 10 (Success x 6 at target 6) Re-rolls: 1

[Danicka Musil] [...kbsdp.]

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Ahh, right.” She nods a little bit, the irritation and intense look that Maddox is getting dissipating. Somewhat, at least. A grin covers the rest of it, and she takes the hand. “Sarita Ecos de la Risa. Strider and Ragabash Elder. Lukas mentioned you. Just didn’t mention you’d be coming from upstairs.” A little quirk to the grin, and then she looks over as Danicka comes in. Lukas’s mate gets a smile and nod.

“Hey, Danicka.”

[Ivan Press] If Ivan had intended to answer Maddox’s earlier question, it was derailed and derailed again. He’s probably forgotten by now; turns as Lucille brings in yet another visitor.

“I’m just running into you all over the city these days,” he says to Danicka. “Are you stalking me again?”

He invites himself to take a seat. Not quite next to anyone — but close enough to Sarita to make conversation. Which is what he does next: “So, you mentioned you wanted to talk.”

[Mad Maddox] He chuckles, shrugs a shoulder, but doesn’t offer an explanation as to why he was coming from upstairs. Or where his shoes are, if he even had any to begin with. For the record he must have them somewhere, his feet are too clean for him to have been wandering around the city with bare feet. Or he made use of one of the bathrooms.

“I think it’s far more likely that she’s stalking me,” answers Maddox, with a grin for Danicka. The wink he throws, however, is not for the lovely, prettily dressed Shadow Lord, but for Lucille. If she ignores it (and honestly, who would dignify that look with a reaction?), it doesn’t phase him. Before Ivan can get to comfortable, Maddox turns his attention to Sarita once again.

“D’you mind if I raid the kitchen a bit?”

[Danicka Musil] Pausing in the entryway, Danicka looks directly at Carter first, and for an eyeblink — a passing moment, a half-heartbeat — she just looks at him. It’s hard to tell; maybe she’s getting some idea of whether he’s about to go to bed or not, if he’s in a pissy mood or not. He huffs like that and she raises an eyebrow, but by then she’s already gotten what she needs to out of that glance. She looks to Ivan, Maddox, and Sarita, smiling at the last.

“Hi, Sarita.” She glances at Maddox; Lukas mentioned him to Sarita, he’s living at the Loft, but she hasn’t been introduced. “My name is Dani&+269;ka Musil,” she tells him, but that’s all. “Mr. Press,” she says flatly, a touch dryly, without looking at him, “I had a lovely glass of vodka at your penthouse once. Try not to ruin a memory of a decent evening with a Silver Fang by making it about your self-destructive flirtations.”

To Carter, then: “Mr. Roth, would you take a walk with me? Around the block if there are no terms from Lukáš against it; around the pool if there are.”

[Carter Roth] Danicka had taken a moment to watch Carter, a brief moment, but a moment none the less and Carter had met her gaze. But unlike her, he took little away from it other then his own irritation. He listened to the garou make nice with the kinswoman, and why wouldn’t they? She was the mate of Wyrmbreaker, one of the most potent Garou in the Sept a princess with her prince.

The fact that she had asked for him had surprised him initially. When, having seen all the others in the room, it surprised him even more when the woman asked Carter to go for a walk with her. Suspicion flooded in at that moment but the Anti Kin did not immediately say no, instead he nodded slowly and pushed up from his seat and in one hefty gulp downed ever last drop of whiskey in his glass.

“I’ve gone for walks round the block and the spirits never got pissy before, lets get outta here. I need a smoke anyways.” He moves then, moves towards her without looking back. Infact he almost, almost seemed relieved to be getting out of that living room.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] [[Guys, I'm sorry, Sarita finds a way to excuse herself for at least the next little bit. The scene's gotten too big for and I'm still stuck working, I can't keep track right now. Assume that Sarita says yes to Maddox raiding the fridge if he's living here and is about to answer Ivan, but then gets a phone call and has to step away to take it. I'll bring her back in when I can]]

[Danicka Musil] [Aww. Take it easy! Come back soon!]

DJ Deadboy Meets The Laughing One

[Kieran Mondblume] So it doesn’t sound like it would be funny. So tell me.

[Amunet] “There’s a bridal show tomorrow. Like, the dresses and the cakes and all of that shit.” She tugs him into a shorter line for tickets.

[Kieran Mondblume] *He frowns at that, but he follows her.* That… sounds like fun. They have cake. Cake is NEVER bad. So what’s the silly point?

[Amunet] “It’s just. I knew I was never going to grow up and have some big wedding. That’s just not how we do it. It just….would have been nice if there was something, you know?”

[Kieran Mondblume] *He pauses at that, and he can’t quite hide it. He looks over to her. Just once.* Are you getting married?

[Amunet] That pulls her out of her thoughts, at least. “What? OH. Ohgod. No.” She squeezes his arm again. “I’m sorry. No. That’s not what I meant.”

[Dorian Del Maro] Navy Pier.

That nightly circus of activity. There was very little not to enjoy about a constant carnival and plus — hotdogs. Who didn’t like Hot Dogs? There was something purely indulgent about biting into suspect meat products lathered in sauce and mustard and surrounded by possibly the worst kind of bread (and the term ‘bread’ here was applied very loosely). So, of course, there was an expression of enjoyment on the face of the young man standing in front of the Ferris Wheel, studying it and chewing.

You could have called that expression thoughtful; considering; deep.

But, no, it was mostly just enjoyment. Standing at a little over 5’8, the Strider was quite leanly built; he was no Summer weed about to blow away in a breeze but his stature seemed to suggest a natural tendency toward the narrower body type. Dressed casually in Converse, jeans and a long sleeved shirt (a short sleeved over the top of this) he immediately gave off the impression of that particular sort of alternative university student.

Well, that, and the fact that the T Shirt read University of Chicago tended to give his game away.

Charismatic was a word often paired with Dorian Del Maro, handsome; not so much. His eyes were a warm hazel, and contained, at first glance very little but an openness, a particular ease that said much toward what kind of a response say, accidentally bumping into him would elicit.

“It happens,” as it turned out, was the reaction when it occurred and half his food was knocked from his reach. The young woman who had bumped him was fluttering, and Dorian dropped to his haunches, waving her off with a good-natured smile as she offered to buy him a new one.

“I’m trying to lay off the Hot Dogs anyway, gotta watch my carb intake.” His humor made her blink and he rose, dirt-smeared food in hand as she smiled a little uncertainly and moved off. Dorian frowned down at the remains of his food and started toward a trash-can.

“Right, jokes about carbs are crossed off my polite chit-chat with strangers list.”

[Kieran Mondblume] *He breathes out a sigh of relief.* Oh thank the mother. But… but still. You COULD. No harm in it, right? Having some sort of ceremony.

[Amunet] “Kind of pointless now.”

She half watches the whole dropped hot dog scenario, looking the kid over as he gets closer to reach the trash can.

[Kieran Mondblume] Not really. *He grins.* I think you’d look pretty in a dress. You want me to go to this place with you? *His eyes follow Amy’s to the sad, sad death of a hot dog. He looks so sad.* That’s a perfectly good hot dog!

[Amunet] “You’ve got stuff going on. It just would have been nice to have something to mark it by, you know? Other than sitting at the table going ‘Well, nobody has a problem with it, so it’s done’. I kind of want a hot dog now…”

[Kieran Mondblume] Just a little bit. I can take some time to go to this thing for like… maybe an hour. *HOGOD. Ki … at a bridal show. Where there is free food. And free samples of everything from chocolate fountains to shrimp and lobster. This is a bad, BAD idea.*

[Amunet] She chews at her bottom lip, studying him now. “Seriously?”

[Dorian Del Maro] The kid looks about, well, he looks about the age most young guys wearing University of Anything Shirt should. Early twenties; cute, in a scruffy, unmanageable, I’m-just-learning-how-to-do-my-own-laundry sort of way. At least Dorian had matching socks on, it was an accomplishment — he was fairly sure his room-mate hadn’t gotten that far yet.

Of course, accidentally shrinking all your underwear would do that to a guy.

Dark hair, swarthy complexion, if Amunet didn’t know better she’d imagine he was one of her Cousins, which, as it would eventually turn out — that’s a perfectly good hot dog! — Dorian stops, hand hovering over the trashcan; he finds the source and a very pretty pair of eyes on a very pretty face beside said voice watching him.

He smiles, he’s only human.

“Hey, you want it, I’m selling her dirt cheap.”

[Kieran Mondblume] *He really must be confident to be wearing THAT shade of purple. And for once, he’s considering it. Buying that filthy hot dog from that young man.* I hate to waste food, *he murmurs.*

[Amunet] She smiles at the college boy, nose wrinkling when Kieran speaks.

“It was on the GROUND, babe.” She laughs and shakes her head. “Come on. We’ll get non gritty hot dogs, and then go start rides.”

[Kieran Mondblume] But… it’s perfectly OKAY, *he almost whines.*

[Dorian Del Maro] Confident, perhaps. Or just a little on the kooky side.

He doesn’t seem to have any issue after dumping the Dog in wandering over to the pretty girl smiling at him and her — boyfriend[?]. You almost imagine that question mark hanging over Dorian’s head like a cartoon figure. “I hate to waste it, too, especially since that was half my money for the next two weeks. Now it’s strictly pop-tarts and coffee.”

There’s a slight five o’clock shadow creeping over the boy’s jawline. He digs a hand out of a pocket and holds it out to Kieran. “Hey, I’m Dorian. Mind if I hang out with you and your girlfriend?” Smooth, D. Really, really, smooth.

[Kieran Mondblume] *He blinks at that. And he grins, looking over to Amy.* I TOLD you we look like that. But you NEVER believe me.

[Amunet] “Yeah, well, at least you’re not calling me you mom tonight.”

She extracts her arm from his though, smiling at College Boy. “Hey. I’m Amunet. This is Kieran.”

[Kieran Mondblume] *He groans.* I had a concussion! What do you expect? *And no, he doesn’t look Irish at all.* But my friends call me Ki. *He pronounces it like KEY.*

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] The sounds of Kanye West come to the vicinity of the peer, for those perceptive enough. It’s coming from the dusty orange Volkswagon Bus pulling up to the curb which, like any VW Bus worth owning has a little mural on the side. In this one’s case, it’s of a unicorn being ridden by a Boris Vallejo-style female warrior–complete with barely-there golden armor–beheading a dragon while galloping along a double rainbow in space. Basically, the most garish thing you could could think of. Underneath, it bares the lines:

“You’re out of your mind.”
“That’s between me and my mind.”

The Kanye lyrics rock out for a few more seconds (no one man should have all that power, the clock’s tickin’, I just count the hours) before the engine dies and the Strider steps out. She’s finally over her emotional issues from that whole messy nightmare business…or at least, the nightmares are over. And she’s had a good week all in all, if exhausting. She makes her way toward the pier, a filterless cigarette lit as she walks away from the Bitchmobile.

[Dorian Del Maro] For just a second, Dorian’s near-constant smile drops away a little as he glimpses something over their shoulders. He looks that way for a moment, his brow furrowing a little. He blinks once or twice slowly, and seems to follow something or someone with his eyes before they slip back to the introductions.

Shakes both hands and alright, okay, perhaps holds on to Amunet’s a little longer than is strictly required.

Hey, he was twenty-two, give him a break. “That’s a cool name,” he could be speaking for both, though he’s smiling at the pretty-eyed girl as he says it before swinging around and falling in on the other side of Kieran. He’s interested, but he’s not going to get ahead of himself. Still, the guy had a nice voice, strangely familiar in truth.

Sort of had the smooth quality you’d expect from someone on radio.

“So, if you’re in the market for Hot Dogs, that guy over there sells great ones,” Dorian points, fingers in his jacket so he opens one side of it like a wing. “Not that one, though, he’s heavy on the mustard.”

[Kieran Mondblume] Sure! I can get you one too, *he says. He looks back after the Hot Dog That Got away with an almost sad look.* If you’re living on pop tarts… life is just evil, and I cannot allow this to pass.

[Amunet] She tries not to flirt. Really she does. But it’s just in her nature.

“So. Dorian. University, hey? What are you studying?”

[Kieran Mondblume] *He is going to get food, though he does notice Sarita, who he BELLOWS to.* HEY! SARITA! YOU WANT A HOT DOG?

[Amunet] She jumps at the bellowing, and immediately punches Ki in the arm. “What the FUCK, Ki?”

[Kieran Mondblume] OW! *He near leaps at the punch.* What? I was… I’m in line… for… for hot dog… and… and I was just being…. being polite, and… you’re not getting a hot dog for that. *He scowls. Mock-fiercely.*

[Amunet] “You like it when I hit you.”

[Dorian Del Maro] “Cinema and Media,” Dorian says without hesitation, his eyes following the direction of the bellow until he sees (and senses) the presence of a True Blood. His dark eyes flick back to Amunet, he adds with a slightly theatrical tone, “The pictures, dollface, I’m all about the art of it all.”

Oh yes, a voice belonging to the air-waves, there can be little doubt, especially since he adds: “I’m also the DJ for WHPK FM,” he provides a little mock arm roll. “Deadboy, the graveyard shift at your service and at every late night, early morning cram-session student’s, too.”

Oh yes, someone had personality.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She continues her way along, exhaling a drag of smoke as she walks. She’s in a fairly good mood, humming to herself as she does. Don’t ask what she’s humming, you probably don’t want to know, ’cause it’ll worm its way into your head and get stuck there and drive you nuts.

As she gets closer to the food stands, she glances over and notes Kieran and Amy. She smiles and starts to approach, pausing when the breeding of the person they’re talking to stands out to her. She gives Dorian a slow once over, then grins and comes up on them, trying to be a little sneaky as she weaves through kids.

But then Kieran screams at her, and she sighs. “Motherfucker, don’t ruin my entrance.” She grins and comes up to them, nodding. “Hola, peeps. S’up?”

[Amunet] “Dollface?”

She’s amused, clearly, glancing to Ki and then over her shoulder to spot Sarita before smiling at Dorian. “And a DJ. Of course. Explains all the sultry going on there.”

[Kieran Mondblume] *He grins.* I made it more EPIC by announcing it. Hot dog? *He’s already ordering six.*

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “The hell you did.” It’s her turn to punch Kieran on the arm, though possibly not as hard as Amy and with more humor. “I make my own epic entrances, thanks. Hey, sis.” She winks at Amy, then looks over at Dorian. “And hello to you too.”

[Kieran Mondblume] OW! What the hell? Both of you beating me up! It isn’t FAIR. Neither one of you gets a hot dog. *He offers one over to Dorian, and the five others… well. He starts eating.*

[Amunet] “Sar, cute smooth talking college guy. Cute smooth talking college guy, Sarita.”

[Dorian Del Maro] If Sarita is giving Dorian the slow once over, she’s getting something of the same in return. Dorian was polite enough about it though, he glanced at her, smiled a little and scanned her then looked back at his companions. You know, the way you do when you’re out with friends and are suddenly surrounded by attractive women.

What’s a guy to do, where’s a guy to look.
Anywhere but at their assets, if his mother had taught him well.

Amunet seems amused by his endearment, he laughs. An easy, relaxed sound and lifts his shoulders. “I didn’t say I was any good, just that I’m on the air and studying film. Though the fact you think I can manage sultry is a definite complement, I’ll take it aboard.”

Sarita greets them all; Dorian extends his hand again, isn’t he polite? “Hey Sarita, I’m Dorian.” He doesn’t glance down at his University shirt, but she knows enough already to guess about what sort he is, where he belongs. Kieran offers him a Hot Dog and Dorian takes it with a murmured — “Champion, thanks.”

Licks mustard off his thumb and says, muffled. “Smooth talking as well as sultry, I’m on a roll.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Screw your hot dogs, I already had my fill of processed meat parts today.” She grins to Ki. Dorian then gets his attention and she gives him a lopsided grin, taking the offered hand. “Yeah, I’ll give you sultry. I’ll have to judge smooth-talking on my own, though. Amy got smooth-talked by a fifteen-year-old in Denver once. And he was a little mentally slow to boot.”

Yeah, she’s in THAT kind of good mood.

[Kieran Mondblume] *He loses a large chunk of hot dog, as Sarita’s words actually make him choke. Ahhh… apparently he DOES get entendre. He starts coughing, hard, and spits out a chunk of half-chewed meat on the ground. He frowns, however, for a moment, looking down at it. Considering.*

[Amunet] “Fuck you. He was sixteen.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] Amusingly enough, she wasn’t doing double entendre. For once. She has no problem with letting Ki think that she did, though. “Fifteen and eleven months is not sixteen, Ames.”

[Kieran Mondblume] *He decides against picking up the lost meat, and he eats the rest of his hot dog, looking the other way.* Ahh… I’ma go catch the carousel. Not just gonna stand around here.

[Amunet] “Yeah, well, who got laid in Denver and who didn’t?” She grins at Sarita, winks at Dorian, and frowns just a little when she gets to Ki.

[Dorian Del Maro] Thankfully, he’s swallowed his own dog by the time Sarita says her line. So he can laugh, actually, really laugh and not fear choking on it. Kieran on the other hand, not so lucky. “Oh, my friend.” He sets a palm on the other man’s back in light handed comfort; a fist to his mouth in mock horror.

“She got you with the processed meat parts. Man card, please?” Dorian waggles his fingers at Kieran, then returns Amy’s wink. “It’s okay, I’m about on a par with a fifteen year old when it comes to my moves. I’ll take what I can get.”

Again, just for a split-second, Dorian’s eye wanders. He doesn’t frown, but he does concentrate a little too hard — glancing over shoulders will make any of their number believe he’s checking out the blonde’s rack, she’s in his direct line of vision. He’s back, though. Expression as jovial as it ever was.

[Kieran Mondblume] *He keeps his grin. He’s slowly edging away from them.* I’m keeping my man card. In my other pants, *he says sincerely.* Safe from people trying to take it. *He’s on hot dog number three.*

[Amunet] “Hey. How about we do the ferris wheel, Ki? We can all go.” Her hand reaches out to him, fingers curling around his wrist.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “By a FIFTEEN YEAR OLD.” She may be joking at this point, she may not. It’s really hard to tell with her sometimes unless you know her pretty well. Partially because of the perma-grin, the constant state of amusement. “I could have gotten laid too if I was trolling junior high schools.”

She looks back to Dorian, catches his diverted attention and smirks. “So, Dorian…are you new to town? There’s something about you that looks familiar…some intangible quality or another. Almost like family, but not quite.”

[Kieran Mondblume] Oooh. *He frowns slightly.* Nono… you go… ahh… do the… talky… thing. Ohh! *He grins to Sar, then.* Congrats! I meant to say.

[Amunet] Her fingers curl tighter and she gets close to him, leaning up to whisper.

[Kieran Mondblume] *He wrinkles his nose at the whispering.* You look like you’re having fun with the chats. And I wanna finish my questionable hot dogs, before getting some questionable funnel cakes.

[Dorian Del Maro] [Intel + Intuition, I think she's asking you something more than where you come from, bro. You feeling that?]
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 2, 3, 4, 6, 6, 8, 9 (Success x 4 at target 6)

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] [[What sneakiness are you planning, Amy? Per+Alert]]
Dice Rolled:[ 5 d10 ] 1, 2, 4, 7, 9 (Success x 1 at target 6)

[Amunet] “Okay…” She scowls, letting go of his hand. “Whatever.”

[Kieran Mondblume] *He looks confused. A definite ‘what did I do’ look that seems to be very common on his face these days. He offers the hot dog over to Amy as a consolation.*

[Amunet] “I don’t want a hot dog. I want to go on the ride.”

[Kieran Mondblume] Okay. So… ahh. *He looks back to Sarita.* What about you? And … err… newguy smooth-talker?

[Dorian Del Maro] Dorian certainly looks like he’s family. Maybe not a direct relation to Sarita herself, but with his dark hair, naturally curling as it grows longer, and his dark eyed and tan complexion he bears that same noticeable familiarity of Striders in times gone by. No instant blink-worthy sense of staring an Egyptian God in the face, here, but his bloodline was still strong enough to bear breeding in its wake.

That alone made him a commodity to Sarita’s tribe.

He seems to sense what she’s saying without her actually putting word to it. He looks at her long and steadily a moment without it being overly a challenge and says, slowly, with a certain assurance that is surprising given what has actually been suggested. “I have that same irresistible pull I suppose anyone from my family way might have. A particular potency in the blood, I’d guess you mean.”

Amunet is scowling about the Ferris Wheel.

Dorian glances between Kieran and the pretty-eyed female as Kieran gives in to the former and Dorian has to cut a glance down at his sneakers to prevent the smile surfacing. He looks back up, at Sarita, shrugs. “I’ll hang here and try out more of my best fifteen-year old lines on her.”

He looks plaintively at Sarita. “Did it hurt when you fell from Heaven?”

[Amunet] “Ohmygooooooood…..” Her nose wrinkles as she tries hard not to laugh.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She chuckles and looks at Amy and Ki. “You guys go ahead…I’m cool. Just make sure you throw something buy a Slurpee to ‘accidentally’ drop when you hit the top on my behalf. That shit never gets old.”

She looks back at Dorian when he speaks up, and a little smile curves up the corner of her mouth. “Yeah…that, I think, is exactly what I meant. Potency in the blood…it happens. And then we get these kinda fortunate path-crossing. Our peeps do that, wandering as much as we do.”

And then he busts out the line, in that expression, and the little smile becomes a laugh. “You know…” She cocks her head to the right, looking him over. “Every other time that lines been used in my presence, I’ve had the same response. Which is… ‘Yeah, it did…I landed right on my ass. Wanna make me feel better and kiss it?’” She grins. “Your delivery was impressive, though. I give you a C- for content, A+ for delivery. So you’re not doing bad.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] [[Take out the 'throw something.' Stupid mind changing directions midstream.]]

[Kieran Mondblume] *He grins at that, and he looks excited.* Okay, let’s go! *And he DARTS towards the ferris wheel.*

[Kieran Mondblume] ((And I dart out meself… Ki will go after the ferris wheel, citing patrol.))

[Dorian Del Maro] Dorian’s expression slides back from its doe-eyed lament about Sarita’s heavenly ways and he smiles at Amunet. “Wait, I have more.” He reaches over, takes Amy’s hand and clasps it between his own larger, swallows and looks up at her in a state of tortured shyness.

“I think you should know, I’ve had to report that there’s an Angel missing, she’s standing in front of me, making the Heavens ache.” He lifts her hand and kisses it. Smiles, and lets it go, glancing back at Sarita, or rather, at the part of her anatomy she’s referencing. “To which I reply with all respect and hope for my manhood remaining in tact, I’ve never been so jealous of the earth that it landed on.”

A beat, he smiles and lifts his shoulders, sobering a little.

“I don’t exactly fit the mold though, my ah, that is my real parents, aren’t with us any longer. I was adopted, so less wandering on my side and more … helping those that are.”

[Marni] Ray’s working late, again, and Indy just will. not. sleep. So, against her better judgement, she’s bundled the Bean up in his sling, wrapped them both up in an oversized jacket, and taken a walk.

It’s been miles, and finally Indy’s gone to sleep. Marni’s a wanderer, though and out like this, in the middle of the night, stretching her legs, feeling the concrete miles disappearing under her beat up old boots – well, it feels right. Feels like home.

So she walks, cradling the baby against her chest, purely for the experience.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] Dorian’s grandiose gestures don’t go unappreciated. She laughs again with his cheeseball line said to Amy, and then smirks when he turns back to her.

“Okay, I’ll give you smooth-talking,” she says during that beat. “Only the smoothest mofo on the planet could make those sound as good as you did.” She’s teasing, but good-naturedly. Hey, it’s better than a week and a half ago when her nightmares forced her off to another part of the city where she could drink herself to sleep and avoid the risk of waking up packmates or guests at the Loft.

The demeanor evens out to something more serious, of course, when he mentions that his parents are gone. The amusement drops, the expression that remains one of empathy and a real sort of understanding. “I’m sorry to hear. I understand the feeling, sort of. So does Amy…we both lost our parents too, though not early. Did you know them, or was it that early of an age?”

She glances over, noting Marni. She remembers the Gnawer both from Joey’s Elder challenge and from the brief Ragabash meeting that the same successor at the Auspice Elder table held. She gives the woman a smile and a nod, then looks back to Dorian.

[snail] [GODDAMMIT i can never catch creamed corn!]

[Marni] She’s been noted, and ask such lifts her chin in something of a greeting. Her fingers sooth over the back of the sleeping infant, and she debate changing her direction, and heading the other way. In the end, though, she continues on the path that will bring her past Sarita and company.

[Dorian Del Maro] [oops sorry! I had to go check on food! *typing*]

[Amunet] She’d laughed at Dorian’s efforts before darting off to the ride with Kieran. After several minutes though, she comes back alone and smiling.

[Dorian Del Maro] Kieran gets a wave as he ducks off toward the Ferris Wheel with Amunet, but for the most part — unless he does that sudden, slightly unfocused staring into the distance over Sarita’s shoulder, or brief, but decided side-long glances toward the ground with his head slightly tilted as if listening to a faraway beat — his attention remains with the Ragabash.

His mouth gives a little at a smile; it’s appreciative of the understanding but not forlorn to discuss it: “Not really, I have fragments, you know,” he touches fingertips to his brow, drops the hand away. His fingertips are smudged here and there with what looks like ink marks.

“I was about five, so. You’re more interested in playing with bugs and mud then hanging on to the idea of how your mother looked. If I could go back and shake five year old me into doing that, though,” he smiles and it’s rather charming. Dorian is, in total, rather charming. There’s a certain ease about him, even discussing his biological parents — he is not overcome by grief. In fact, he seems quite calm about it.

“Wouldn’t we all?”

Another True Born approaches and this one with an infant. The unknown male next to Sarita smiles at her, nods a little, gaze falling to the sleeping infant. He looks over Marni’s shoulder a moment; there’s a minute shake of his head as if he were telling someone not now.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Yeah.” She nods slightly to that, giving a faint smile. “I think we’ve all got things we’d like to tell our younger selves.” She lets a beat pass, thinking about her own, but it isn’t long. His little shake of the head at nothing, the sidelong looks get a curious expression. Something to file away for later. Even Sarita doesn’t point out someone’s eccentricities on first glance unless they piss her off.

“How long have you been in town? Met any of the other locals yet?”

Amy comes back soon enough, and she gives her sister a grin. “Have a fun ride?” Marni approaches, and she gives her Auspicemate a little tilt of her head, as if to invite her over if she wished. Then her attention is back on Dorian.

[Marni] This one, with the infant.

She is all curves and curls, Marni, even without the lump of sleeping baby slung across her chest. Motherhood has done nothing to deminish her cuteness, either. In fact, it’s only enhanced it. When she smiles, it’s almost impossible not to smile back…

and she smiles, now. A tired grin, really, as she lifts a hand and waves, and joins the little group.

[Dorian Del Maro] “Oh, boy,” he says with a little apprehension at the question though its delivered with a smile; he digs his hands into the pockets of his jacket. It’s black, and the cords hanging from either shoulder are a little frayed. In total, he looks as if he were not lying in the slightest when he said he will mostly be sustaining himself on pop tarts and coffee for a fortnight.

“The dreaded locals.”

Dorian breathes out, rocking on his heels a little. “I’ll be honest with you, because as smooth talking as you tell me I am, I’m not the greatest liar in the world.” What a thing to say to a Ragabash, really, he’s just asking for it now. “I tend to sort of avoid family when I can.

Not because there’s anything wrong with you guys,” he draws his hands out in a pre-disposed means to soothe potentially ruffled egos, then expands on his thoughts. “But my parents, the ones that took me in, they aren’t exactly down with the whole expanded universe that actually exists and if I get too involved, inevitably, something freaks them right out, so.

I just moved out, came here for college and left them a safe distance. So, that’s about it.” A beat, he considers all he’s said. “I just totally ruined my mystique, didn’t I.” Marni, all curls and curves and baby pulls up and Dorian’s eyes are on the baby in an instant with a strangely bemused expression. He’s trying hard to ignore something, it’s pulling at his attention and he settles for reaching over to let tiny fingers wrap around a finger.

“That’s a cute miniature person you have there.”

[Amunet] She nods, standing close enough to Sarita that she can lean into her and listen to Dorian while looking him over.

“This guy isn’t bothering you, is he? I”ll kick his ass.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] When Dorian starts says that he avoids family, there is a look of frustration that creeps into her expression. It’s not even his fault..she’s just had a couple kin now who have tried to keep their distance, and one in particular who’s cause her no end of grief over it. But the words after, and the gesture, banish that frustration quickly, and she smiles a bit.

“Okay, well that’s understandable. Adoptive parents who don’t know the score…that’s absolutely something we wanna avoid upsetting. So I get that.

“Still,” she adds, cocking her head to the side. “It would be nice if we could exchange numbers, even hang out a bit from time to time if you’re down with that. I’m sort of the HBIC of our line, if you get the meaning, and the last thing I ever want is for my peeps to come under trouble. Particularly now…there’s something around that’s been looking to cause some grief to members of the extended family like you and Amy, and it would make me feel better if you could check in, so I know you’re all right at the very least.

“I promise, I’m not gonna drag you anywhere kicking and screaming, and I don’t wanna make your life any harder. I’m-a do me, and you do you. If anyone gives you shit though, you’ll know where to go to. Plus, I tend to buy when it’s drink night, so there’s that added bonus.” A little grin at the last.

Marni gets a friendly smile. “Hey, chica. What’s shakin’? You’re lookin’ good.”

And Amy gets a chuckle and a counterlean. “Nah, no ass-kicking necessary. He’s only bothering me in the good way, and I’m lettin’ him.”

[Marni] Ah, see. Now THAT’S the way to get on a new mother’s good side. Point out how utterly adorable their babies are. Marni’s smile deepens into dimples and she beams with a quiet serenity that only the truly exhausted and slightly delerious can accomplish.

“ain’t he though?”

She snorts, amused, at Sarita. “I look like fuckin’ hell.” She doesn’t. “Indy here don’t wanna sleep but a couple hours at a time. Bout to take him home and let my baby daddy take his turn though.”

[Amunet] “Well. Don’t let him smooth talk you. Dorian, it was nice meeting you. Sar, I’ll talk to you later, hey?”

She nods to Marni, having never met her and taking the presence of the small human as her cue.

“I should be getting home before Stefan comes out looking for me.” (Because jesus christ it’s 3am and I need to sleep.)

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Ooh, yeah…” She nods to Marni, giving her a sympathetic look. “That’s the fun part of the early part of mommyhood, way I hear it. Sounds like a good plan with the baby daddy, though. Let him get his share in.”

“Say hi to Sparky for me.” She grins and hugs her sister. “I’ll chat atcha later, hon.”

[Dorian Del Maro] This guy isn’t bothering you, is he? I’ll kick his ass.

Dorian may have heard that, or at least he’s glancing between the pair as if he had and does that slightly unconvincing attempt at not listening that he does so not quite well. The tiny person on the other hand, seems quite delighted with having a new toy to play with — that being, Dorian’s finger. “Hey, Indy? As in Indiana Jones? Because if so, totally awesome choice.” He offers her a rueful smile.

“Sorry, cinema major, everything is pop culture to me.”

He listens to the No Moon’s spiel and to his credit he doesn’t seem affronted at being asked for contact details, he seems fairly non-plus, to be honest. Cute girl, wants his number, what’s not to be alright with in this scenario, again? “Yeah, sure. I’ll give you my digits, I’m living on-campus, so. It’s not like I have anywhere to hide.”

As Amunet begins to leave, Dorian throws her a grin. “Seeya, dollface.”

[Amunet] She flashes a quick, highly suggestive grin at Dorian “If you play your cards right.”

And she’s off to home. (Thanks guys. Passing out now!)

[Marni] She chuckles and shakes her head. “Nah. Not Indiana Jones, though everyone thinks so. He’s named after my packmate… Indira.” By the sadness that crosses her ever expressive face, it’s a former packmate. Lost to the war…

She shakes it off though, and nods. “Yeah. He’s good about takin his turn – just waitin for a family member to get here to help out.. play Nanny and shit. Speakin of Ray though – I gotta get back.. it seems…”

Indy begins to fuss, and she chuckles. “It’s breakfast time.”

[and lessa just realized how tired she is.. *L* thanks for letting me crash!]

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Night, Marni. Have a good one.”

She smiles to the Ragabash and gives one to the little’un as well. She then looks back to Dorian and grins. “You’re a pop culture freak. You just became my favoritist person ever…or at least, that I’ve newly met in the present-to-immediate-past.”

She grins and takes on a remarkably bad Bogie voice. “Dorian…I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

[Dorian Del Maro] When Marni talks about Indira, there’s a strange sort of understanding, perhaps a much greater degree of sympathy, than she expects that drifts over the Strider’s features. While not movie-star handsome, Dorian’s face was one that seemed born for animation and in being so, it made him far more attractive than his natural appearance might suggest.

He watches Marni for a long moment, and lets her little one’s hand go as she makes to head off. Dorian glances after her for a minute. “It’s funny how often people talk about being being lost to death.” He tucks his hands into his jacket pockets, but doesn’t expand on that rather deep statement about existance.

Rather, he pulls his phone out and tinkers with it for a moment; it’s an iphone, he taps in the name Sarita, and holds it out for her to enter her digits into. “I am, you can tune in and listen to me being such on the air if you like, I’m on between midnight and five AM every Tuesday and Thursday.” Dorian’s voice drops a notch, smoothing out. “This is DJ Deadboy and you’re tuned to WHPK 88.5FM.”

[Dorian Del Maro] ["others being", that should read. Ahem.]

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] Her head cocks again, brow furrowing as she considers the implications of that statement. There is a thoughtfulness in her expression, some consideration and no small amount of curiosity. She doesn’t press for an explanation, though…time for that later. Instead she smiles and takes the phone, tapping in her phone number. It takes her a minute until she sees the blue “save” button, which she presses and then hands back.

“Radio, eh? Well, that’s beyond cool.” She smiles. “I’ll be sure to tune in. You know…just to know you’re okay.” She grins and winks.

[Dorian Del Maro] He knows it’s weird.

Usually, he’s more careful about saying anything at all and keeps himself to himself about his little visits from the other side of things. It isn’t that they’re always around, but a larger crowd, more stories, more people lost that want to cling to, or check in on or simply find themselves drawn to this side of things.

Mostly, he’s noticed from glimpses; the dead want little to do with the living unless its someone they felt strongly about. Or he crossed a death scene — now those, those he hated above all else. Pit him around that much residual energy and the other side, they were like dogs salivating at the gate.

Usually though, it’s like this.

Easy, he can smile and flirt a little with a girl or two and nobody can tell he’s any different. Because he wasn’t honestly. He was just open to things other people weren’t, the way Dorian saw it, Sarita was open to some things he didn’t understand, either. Considering overly long that she could turn herself into a wolf was a little more than he typically liked to have to handle.

“Hey, do it and I’ll dedicate a song to you. I can’t promise it won’t be thematic, though.” He takes his phone back, looks at it and tucks it away. “So, uh, should I be offering to walk you somewhere,” he grins, “for my own protection, that is.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Dude, if you dedicate a song, it had damn well better be thematic. That’s totally up my alley.”

She chuckles at the last line, brow raising. “You wanna walk me somewhere, I’ll feel downright obligated to…for your own protection. And I consider what you just said asking, so…there you have it.” She’s being playful, keeping it light. She’s not the kind of person to spread the gloom and doom to a new kin that she just met who tries to keep the Nation at a distance so as to protect his adoptive parents. Plus, she appreciates someone with a good sense of banter.

But the truth is, she wouldn’t be comfortable with him heading around alone this late at night when she just met him. Odds of problem? Low. But even she doesn’t lose her kin first night after meeting them.

[Dorian Del Maro] He laughs a little as they begin to stroll; Dorian in his sneakers and jeans, his hands alternating between pockets and being used as tools for gesturing about whatever takes his mind. It was a quick one, the Strider beside him will come to grasp if she hasn’t already. Naturally open to discussion, it was no shocker to find out Dorian Del Maro liked to talk.

A lot.

His choice of study at the University of Chicago aside, the fact that he worked late nights DJing with a name like Deadboy was a (pardon the pun) dead giveaway to a natural inclination toward discussion, itself. For a Kinfolk, he’s just awfully happy to talk to her like she’s totally normal.

Her low Rage no doubt helps with that, along with the fact that if he’s been adopted and away from the Nation for the most part for eighteen or so years, he’s not jaded or burned enough yet to practice holding his tongue around a True Born. Whatever the reasoning, this swarthy skinned man walks through mingling crowds with her, no more or less noticeable then the dozens of others their age out with friends; on dates.

Hanging.

“So you know I’m a student, I’m adopted and I don’t mingle with the family much, oh and I’m a pop culture nerd. Our instant status as best friends aside, what should I know about those locals you mentioned earlier? Any I need to stay away from? Fear being man handled by?”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] [[Pausing!]]

Ragabash Elder Challenge

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She’s thought about it for a couple of days since Joey came to her and told her she was leaving, and that she had recommended her for the spot. She’s still vaguely new to the city, she’s certainly not the highest-ranking member of the Auspice here and…well, she was weird enough with the fact that people called her the Strider Elder. She’s not fuckin’ old, after all. In addition, challenges aren’t something that she can take lightly. Her pack’s totem demands that they pick and choose their battles, and having the wisdom to know when the risk is worth it. Should she lose this, it’s not just her that pays. She has to consider all of this.

But it would be good for the city, and good for her, to get new perspectives. That’s what being a Ragabash was all about, right? Making sure that new perspectives are seen, and no one gets settled into old ways for the sake of them being old. A Devil’s Advocate had to be in place, especially during a time of change in the Sept like this. Her pack chose her for this very reason, and she chose them because she knew she could complete them in that way. If she was a fit there, then she could be a fit here as well. It’s time for her to step up.

And thus, Sarita makes her way into the Sept, seeking out Balance-Without-Fault. She’s dressed simply—black tank top, jeans, cowboy boots and that ever-present duster settled on her shoulders. When she comes upon the Grand Elder and acting Master of the Challenge, she gives him a little incline of her head. A touch to respect and deference for the Adren.

“Good afternoon, Rhya. Joey told me that she was leaving town and thus that the Ragabash Elder position is going to be empty as a result. I’m here to hopefully fix that and challenge for the position.”

[Janis Ian] Sarita was not the only one that had considered the ramifications of Killswitch’s absence. Word travels fast about the departing of the Auspice Elder, while Janis’ concerns for Joey are kept to herself with the Rotagar’s sudden leaving. The Fenrir has given a hard long thought to the position; she happens to catch the Silent Strider on the same afternoon heading for the Grand Elder.

She tips her head in a curt nod to Sarita in greeting, red hair spilling down her shoulders in two twin braids that touch to her hips. She tucks her hands in her pockets, waiting for the Strider to speak first as they both approached the Grand Elder.

There is a respectful tilt of her head downward, her body bowing like the branches of a tree caught in a heavy storm, “I too, most esteemed Alpha, come to challenge fer the position.”

[Balance Without Fault] Balance Without Fault regards the two Ragabashes a moment. Then he paces a circle around them where they stand. Dust puffs as he drags the toe of one boot through the dirt.

Challenge circle inscribed, he steps in with them.

“This will be a multipart challenge,” he informs them. “Part one: you are allowed to ask one question of each other, and one only. Make it good.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She looks over at Janis, nodding to her a little and giving a faint smile. There’s nothing in the way of malice in her eyes toward her auspicemate…only the appraising look of a Garou sizing up her competition. She smiles a bit and returns the curt nod with an amicable one of her own.

Her eyes remain on Janis while Balance Without Fault inscribes the circle, looking at him when he steps inside. The first part of the challenge is heard, listened and considered. It is a couple moments before she looks at Janis, head cocking as she crosses her arms over her chest.

“We No-Moons, we have to be good at ferreting out information. We also gotta be good at pointing out where others fall short, so we can help shake them out of their set ways and force them to look at situations—including themselves—differently. By needling them if necessary, hitting them with whatever we have to. We’re there to make sure Litany is considered and understood, not just accepted at face value in the way other people say it is.”

“So,” she says with a half-grin, “that being said. Why, with the Litany in mind, is it a bad idea for me to be Ragabash Elder?”

[Janis Ian] Janis waits patiently, her eyes drawn to the circle that the Grand Elder draws around them, the dust swirling into a little cloud as she moves a fraction to widen her stance; feet braced and balanced evenly with her shoulders. She draws her arms up across her chest, tucking her hands to lay them flat across bare biceps. The tattooed skin of her right arm twitched reflexively under the inked glyphs on her right forearm, the Fenrir glyph that sits on the curve of a deltoids muscle.

She tilts her head down, focused on the Strider as Sarita asks her question. Red eyebrows dance upward, widening her eyes to the question that spills from the Strider’s lips. “Litany itself doesn’t govern who is best chosen, ’tis the actions in ‘ow the No Moon, in question, interprets the Litany and uses it as a tool to best suit their purposes.”

Janis clears her throat, “With that said, I ‘ave neither seen nor ‘eard of yer actions that would say ye’re bad for the job. I cannot judge on face value. The one thing that may go against ye, Strider, is the very nature of yer tribe. Wanderlust. ‘ow can ye dedicate yer time to guiding our auspice if’n ye feel that nip at yer heels to walk with the sun at yer back and the wind in yer face? We’d just be ‘ere again searching for a new auspice elder when that time comes.”

She had one question to ask, “Why, Sarita, do ye want to this position that whatever ye can do for the auspice, it’ll be different from Killswitch-rhya’s time?”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] [[I will try to get a response in within the 24 hour timeframe, but I am working at the moment so it might not be possible. A slight extension would be appreciated if possible.]]

[Balance Without Fault] “An answer,” Balance Without Fault replies as soon as it becomes apparent that Sarita, like Janis before her, means to answer the question posed to her, “was neither necessary nor requested, Cliaths.

“If you are to play the questioner, you must first learn to listen. Carefully.” A wry smile, “It shouldn’t be possible for a Philodox to outfox a Ragabash.

“Part two. Answer this question: Why shouldn’t I dismiss both your challenges at this point?”

[Janis Ian] “Ye should since ye ‘ave proven that neither of us can listen well enough to figure out the first part of the challenge.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] Sarita just grins a little bit when Balance Without Fault points out that he only asked about a question. If there’s admonishment, she doesn’t show it; she merely accepts his point and moves on. Then Janis says that they should, and she cocks her head curiously at the No-Moon before she gives her answer.

“That’s easy, Rhya. You’re absolutely right that a Ragabash needs to be able to listen as well as hear. They also need to be able to listen to what’s not being said and make a judgment call there. As the questioners, we have to look at what might be implied and go from there.”

She pauses a moment. “Now, obviously in this case, both Janis and I made the judgment call and guessed wrong. But my question to you would be this, Rhya…should the Elder of the Auspice be someone who, when faced with a decision to offer more you more or less, simply offer up the bare minimum and hope that’s enough? Or should they take a risk, offer up more at potential cost to themselves to give more information. We have to think on our feet, and if we’re in the field leading a recon mission, we can’t always wait to see what the next order is, step by step.”

“This Sept is beset at the moment. We’re always pretty beset, but not so much at our front door. But when push comes to shove, decisions have to be made and someone needs to be there in order to question…listen, yes, but question as well…the decisions being made. A few too many questions is always a better than then too few. Too many and some time might be wasted in the asking. Too few, and plans aren’t as thought-out as they need to be. If you want someone who’s doing the bare minimum and leaving it at that, then send us packing and hold off. But if you want someone who will think on their own and give more of themselves than expected, well…

She holds her hand up, as if volunteering. “Here you go.”

[Balance Without Fault] When both Cliaths have answered, Balance Without Fault nods to Janis.

“If you don’t feel yourself deserving of the role, then you can only be correct. Your challenge was honorable, Rides-Like-Cowboy, but it is at an end. Stand down.”

He turns back to Sarita.

“Echoes of Laughter, your packmates currently sit two of the five auspice elderships, and they are powerful ones. The Ahroun Elder is our warleader, whose authority in war is superceded only by the Warder’s. The Philodox Elder is the penultimate word of the law in this Sept, whose authority in peace is superceded only by mine. One might argue that between them, your pack already holds significant sway in this Sept.

“Were you to join the Elder Council, that makes three of five. That is a majority, enough to clinch any vote. Furthermore, it might be argued that the Ragabash elder is the check against the power of the other Auspice Elders. That part of the Ragabash Elder’s role would be to ask questions, test the edicts and theories and plans and resolve of the other Elders. To argue against them if need be, and to always present the minority opinion.

“Echoes of Laughter, answer these questions. If you were to become Ragabash Elder, don’t we lose the check your position is meant to represent? Wouldn’t that make your pack — forgive my terminology — a sort of controlling shareholder in this Sept? Isn’t it a good Ragabash’s job to prevent absolute dominance?”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] Janis is given a smile—not triumphant, not any kind of Simpsons-esque “HA HA!” type of look, but just a friendly smile when she is dismissed. There’s respect there from the Strider for the Fenrir to have stepped up at all. She turns back to Balance Without Fault quickly, listening to what he says.

A faint smile hits her lips as he lays it out. This is something she actually considered herself when the decision of whether to challenge or came to her mind. She struggled with it for a short while, so it is easy for her to give the reasons that she countered her own doubts with.

“It’s definitely a thing that I can see people being concerned over, Rhya. Before I joined the Unbroken, I myself called it ‘The Elders Pack.’ Making another member of the pack an Auspice Elder would sure as hell be something I would be raising an eyebrow over…you know. If that member wasn’t me.”

She smiles a little, though it’s brief. “And you’re right. A Ragabash should prevent situations where a small group just pushes through everything. They should be able to make sure that more than one opinion is heard, and that all sides of an equation are looked at. It’s our nature and our job.”

“That being said…that’s exactly why I’m in the Unbroken. I’m not there to just fight alongside them, share a pack link and chill in Bellamonte Loft. I’m there because I’m not afraid to question them. Say the things that need to be said…shake them up as much as anyone else.”

“You ask if this gives the Unbroken a controlling interest in the Sept. There’s no way to get around the fact that as you put it, three out of the five Auspice Elders would be bonded together. But that doesn’t mean that the Unbroken will control the Sept. If I thought that was a concern, then to be honest I wouldn’t have ever challenged, Rhya. It’s the uniqueness of my Auspice…questioning everyone and making sure no one is just resting easy or falling along party lines…that makes this not a controlling interest situation.”

“There will be times that we’ll agree, obviously.” She shrugs. “They’ll happen. Maybe it’ll happen more than half the time, maybe not. But there is just as much chance that we’ll disagree…and if I were to agree with them just because we’re packmates, than I’m failing both the Council and the very pack I’m agreeing with against my better judgment.”

“I’ve always gone my own way,” she starts her finish with. “Janis mentioned that the Strider tendencies toward wanderlust could be a detriment, but I see it as an advantage. I’m good and settled, first of all. I wouldn’t have joined a pack otherwise. But the fact that I’ve been on my own for as long as I have, that I’ve had to make up my own mind about things and I didn’t have a party line to toe to outside the Litany, means that I am my own person. I don’t fall into voting blocs just ’cause it makes life easier. Besides, easier is less interesting. The road less traveled is more productive and more fun.”

[Balance Without Fault] “Why,” Balance suggests, sounding reasonable, “don’t you just always speak against your packmates, then? Wouldn’t that be a satisfactory solution? There would be no risk of absolute dominance, and it would fulfill your role of the questioner, would it not?”

[ This was BWF's Manip + Subt roll:

Ivan Press
Mon 3:09 am
Roll valid
to Hilary Durante
[for bwf!]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 1, 2, 2, 5, 6, 8 (Success x 1 at target 6)

You can roll against it with percep + subt to simply detect falsehood/deception, or you can try percep + empathy to figure out what the underlying truth is. Or both!

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] The words from Balance Without Fault draw pause from the Strider. She’s got a very good face on at the moment…having something to do gives her a chance to forget that she’s had trouble sleeping since Wednesday, had her own personal things she’s working out in her head. The more she’s goal-focused, the more she’s able to focus on being the Sarita she needs to be.

However, she isn’t perfect, and perhaps it’s the mental blow that she’s been suffering that causes her radar to go off and read the authenticity of his words entirely wrong. She cocks an eyebrow, arms crossing over her chest.

“I could do that. I suppose you’re right, it would prevent absolute dominance. But let’s look at that, play a little Devil’s advocate.” She smiles a little. “Since that’s what I’m supposed to be doing anyway.”

“Throwing a monkeywrench into all their plans would sure as hell make certain that the pack wasn’t controlling the direction of the Sept. But isn’t that just another form of a status quo? That runs pretty much counter to what I’m supposed to be doing. It’ll just get us set into a different but equally stagnant way, and in that case I’m not doing my job. Nor is the Sept benefitting. They shouldn’t be able to count against me any more than they can be sure I’m going to just fall in line. A Ragabash Elder needs to be of their own thoughts, not controlled by anyone, and if I get the spot, no one’s gonna escape the old Strider crosshairs without at least a little consideration…Lukas, Kate, Adamidas, Matthieu or even you.”

The smile twists into something a bit lopsided, and she shrugs.

“With that in mind I gotta say, Rhya…can’t really get on board with it. So if that’s what you’re looking for, I’m probably not your gal.”

[Balance Without Fault] Balance bows his head a moment, considering the dirt at his feet. Then:

“Part three. A professional blogger interested in paranormal affairs has an office on the 3rd floor of the [x building], located at [this address in bronzeville]. One of our enemies has FedEx’d him an SD card loaded with potentially veil-damaging photos. The package is currently locked in his inbox. He’ll check first thing in the morning.

“I’ll give you three hours to retrieve the package. After that, your challenge is dismissed, and Evens the Odds’ Ragabash will handle the matter.

“You may use whatever gifts, fetishes, talens, tools, strategies, and/or resources at your disposal. You may begin – now.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She listens quietly to what he says, commits the information to memory. The location, the details…all of it. As soon as he says “Now,” she’s jogging away, giving him a grin.

She heads back to the loft, grabbing a couple of talens—a Chiropteran Spy and a Nightshade—out of the chest at the Loft. And with that done, she takes off toward the building in question, picking up her phone and dialing up her private detective friend.

“Hey, Richard…s’up, sexy? It’s Sarita. Yeah, you too jackass.” It’s fondly said, and with a grin.

“Listen…I need your help. Remember that thing that I do, that you don’t ask questions about? Yes, the one that the cops don’t need to know that I make money off of. Well, turns out someone has something on me that I need to obtain. Can you do me a favor and do a quick check in your awesome civil databases that you have P.I. access to, see if [address] has any active and registered security systems?”

She grins. “I’ll love you forever…”

Logs of the mission:

[paratracker.com] [abbreviated rules!
- IC post in

[paratracker.com] Continuing from forums then –

Roll Investigation + Clout to get info!

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] [[Clout+Investigation]]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10 (Success x 3 at target 6)

[paratracker.com] [ WTF. okay, rules weren't supposed to be THAT abbreviated.

- IC post in 10 min or less if we're not rolling (if you IC post at all -- I'm just gonna OOC it cuz I'm tiredlazy!)
- Roll in 2 min or less.
- There is no set way to win, nor to lose. However, failure is possible, and can be dangerous!
- That said, it's also possible to recover from a misstep.
- All in all, feel free to be creative; I'll adapt to what Sarita does! ]

Now then! Roll Investigation + Clout to get info from the contact *LOL*

[paratracker.com] Sarita finds out that the building in question has 3 entrances (front back and side). Security cameras monitoring each entrance and some interior halls. A fairly simple, suburb-residential-quality security system monitors the doors and windows.

I’ll sketch a quick map!

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] Okie. :) *Ponders in the meantime*

[paratracker.com] (http://i24.servimg.com/u/f24/13/34/10/41/breaki10.jpg)

[paratracker.com] Red X marks the spot
Black X’s are elevators
Blue arrows show field of vision for security cams
All doors/windows are alarmed, but it’s a pretty crappo alarm system.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She’ll thank Richard for the information, promise to call him soon, and head on over. This is an office building…are there lights on in the place this late, or just dark with the cameras?

[paratracker.com] There’s a light on. 3rd floor, the office across from the paratracker.com office. Everything else is fairly dark, though emergency lighting is on.

Area looks pretty shady. Trash strewn streets, junky cars, peeling paint and rust on buildings, sirens all night long, etc. Gauntlet is stiff, but not insurmountable (I’ll give you an exact number if you try to cross)

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She is gonna peek. If Sept enemies provided this information, they may have something in this area safeguarding it. And she may get lucky and have this building be old enough to exist on the other side.

[paratracker.com] [peek from realm to umbra is +3 diff, so roll gnosis vs diff 10. -1 if you have a mirror.]

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] [[Yay rearview on the Bitchmobile! GN]]
Dice Rolled:[ 3 d10 ] 1, 6, 10 (Success x 1 at target 9) [WP]

[paratracker.com] Nice!

Umbra looks about what you’d expect in Bville. A lot of decay, a lot of despair and impotent anger. Banes, but mostly lowlevel ones, barely sentient. There’s one larger one prowling the premises, but it’s uncertain whether it’s been left there as a guard or not.

Roll percep + alert for more!

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] [[Percepty-cepty!]]
Dice Rolled:[ 5 d10 ] 2, 5, 6, 8, 8 (Success x 3 at target 6)

[paratracker.com] It seems to linger on the third story, near the office with the lighted window.

Oh, and — the building has some umbral presence. Not a lot, but some, more on the third floor than lower down. It might even be solid enough to walk through there.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] All right, so something up in that office is keeping an eye on things. That’ll make things fun.

She was hoping to save this, but she needs some more intel on what’s inside that office. She’s using the Chiropteran Spy to check out the building, report back what’s inside in terms of people or other.

[[GN to Activate]]
Dice Rolled:[ 3 d10 ] 2, 4, 8 (Success x 1 at target 6)

[paratracker.com] Spy is active!

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She’s sending it in to look at primarily the third floor. Any people or other life forms up there, particularly in the target office or the office opposite.

Also, while that’s going on…clarification on the map. To access the fire escape, it is necessary to come in view of the camera in front of the first floor door, short of some dextrous maneuvering, yes?

[paratracker.com] Roll me Wits or Intel + Occult or Enigmas, whatever combo is highest.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] [[Intel+Enigmas]]
Dice Rolled:[ 5 d10 ] 5, 5, 6, 8, 10 (Success x 3 at target 6)

[paratracker.com] The lowest landing of the fire escape is on the second floor. If she doesn’t pull the ladder down and tries to jump straight up onto it, she might be able to stay out of sight of the camera. Other than that, yes, she’d be in the camera’s FOV.

Spy flappities up to third floor. Unable to find an open window (yay air conditioning = sealed windows!), it simply looks in from outside. Soon enough it returns and reports that all offices are empty except for the lit one. Through a lot of spirit gibberish and confusion — what do bat-spirits know of modern tech? — Sarita manages to figure out there’s a dude in the office across from paratracker.com, working on his computer. He’s typing very, very, very fast. The talen-spirit is disturbed by this dude and doesn’t want to have to go near him again.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She thanks the little guy and has him keep a look out on the outside, find her and warn her if anything similarly disturbing shows up. And she’s going to go look for the outside circuit box, if there is one. It’s her first good chance of bypassing the alarm system.

[paratracker.com] Crappp it wasn’t refreshing. Little guy takes a post on the streetlamp.

Percep + Investigation to find a circuit breaker box outside!

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa]
Dice Rolled:[ 4 d10 ] 3, 7, 8, 8 (Success x 3 at target 6)

[paratracker.com] No breaker box, but the wires run aboveground here. She could snip the one that looks like it goes to this building if she wanted…

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] Hmm, but just snipping the wire could shut off all the power, which could trigger the alarms anyway.

She’s gonna go to one of the windows on the bottom floor, check and see if she can tell how the alarms are triggered when a window is open (sensors being lined up, wires, etc.) that will give her a better idea.

[paratracker.com] Percep/Intel + Streetwise/Science, whichever is highest!

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] Per+SW
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 1, 4, 7, 7, 9, 10 (Success x 3 at target 6)

[paratracker.com] Looks very simple – just optical sensors that get blocked when the window is opened past a certain point. Other than that, the locks are just catches. The windows open by flapping out and up. Due to the fulcrum being pretty far at the end, she could probably open it 2-3 inches without triggering the alarm if she’s careful (Dex + Streetwise or at a higher diff, Survival)

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] Man, what she wouldn’t give for Jam Tech. Okay. She’s gonna be alike an octopus, trying to feel out the weaknesses of the damned bottle so she can get in and eat the fish. If you’ve ever seen Deep Rising, that sentence may make sense. But there’s one other spot that she hasn’t considered, and that’s roof entry. So she’s looking for a strong-looking drainage pipe before she goes all-or-nothing and tries to jump onto the fire escape.

[paratracker.com] There are drainage pipes aplenty. Dex + Ath vs diff 7 to climb; an add’l Dex + Stealth vs diff 8 to do it relatively quietly!

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] And now it’s time for some Gift Rolling before this whole Mission Impossible stung First Silence! Dex+Stealth
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 1, 2, 3, 6, 9, 10, 10 (Success x 3 at target 6)

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] Next Up, Blur of Milky Eye!
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 4, 6, 7, 7, 8, 10 (Success x 2 at target 8 )

[paratracker.com] [Silence negates need for the dex+stealth vs diff 8 roll!]

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] And now Dex+Ath vs. 7…
Dice Rolled:[ 5 d10 ] 5, 6, 7, 7, 8 (Success x 3 at target 7)

[paratracker.com] Up she goes. Easy climb. We’ll say she’s going up the right side of the building on the map. She can stop and look in the windows if she wants, but it’ll confirm what the spy told her – all offices empty. A lot of small struggling businesses here, Great Ideas that never really took spark. paratracker.com’s office is tiny and dingy and crammed with files, books, photocopies, and burger wrappers. There’s a picture tacked onto a corkboard of a man, a woman, two kids, all of them smiling and chubby. Looks like they’re at Disneyland.

Roof is empty. There’s an attic door, a ventilation shaft, and the fire escape just over the edge.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] Looking at the attic door, see if it’s alarmed as well. [[Per+SW, smack me if I should be rolling something else]]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 2, 4, 7, 7, 9, 10 (Success x 4 at target 6)

[paratracker.com] Oops. Looks like Advantage forgot an entrance! (No alarm)

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] Hee. Silly security people. Nobody expects the Strider Inquisition! She gives a quick look around, and then a little Open Seal to get her in.
[[Gnosis]]
Dice Rolled:[ 3 d10 ] 1, 5, 9 (Success x 1 at target 7) [WP]

[paratracker.com] Pop! Lock’s open. Dex + Stealth to ease that creaky bastard open without making noise (sorry, Silence doesn’t cover incidentals!)

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] Deximus + Stealthimus
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 2, 3, 3, 4, 4, 6, 8, 10, 10 (Success x 4 at target 6) Re-rolls: 2

[paratracker.com] Open without a sound! Dropping down doesn’t make a sound either. Attic is dusty as hell. Hope you don’t have allergies. It appears to run through most of the third story, though ventilation pipes are obviously closed off. There are ceiling panels though. How good’s your mental map?

(Intel + Streetwise/Investigation, whichever is higher)

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] [[Int+SW; This is 3rd WP. Noted so I can keep track!]]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 3, 4, 4, 4, 7, 8 (Success x 2 at target 6)

[paratracker.com] 3 suxx, not 2!

How nice do we wanna be? Odds – nice. Evens – not nice.
Dice Rolled:[ 1 d10 ] 9 (Success x 1 at target 6)

[paratracker.com] Lucky you!

There’s a trapdoor right over the red X. Another one in the corner office (front left corner) and another in the lit office.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] Carefully…CAREFULLY open that sumbitch up and slide on in. [[At least one Dex+Stealth, I'm assuming?]]
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 2, 2, 2, 3, 3, 3, 7, 10 (Success x 2 at target 6) Re-rolls: 1

[paratracker.com] [that wasn't as good. do the neighbors hear? -- sound, not vision, no blur bonus.]
Dice Rolled:[ 4 d10 ] 1, 2, 6, 9 (Success x 1 at target 6)

[paratracker.com] Typing next door — which is frenetically fast, so fast the keystrokes blur together, what the hell could he be writing? — stops for a tick. Then continues again. Ceiling panel as been removed. Sarita can drop down soundlessly, but don’t land on a rustly pile of loose papers or burger wrappers!

[Wits + Stealth to land right!]

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] [[Wits+Stealth!]]
Dice Rolled:[ 5 d10 ] 2, 3, 9, 9, 10 (Success x 3 at target 6)

[paratracker.com] Nice landing. Office is all crowded. Smells like unwashed geek. Ratty old books everywhere, stuff like VAMPIRE COMPENDIUM and ELVES: FACT OR FICTION? and THINGS THAT GO BUMP. Also lots and lots of papers from very questionable journals. Oh, and those ubiquitous burger wrappers. Computer is old, 2004 at best, small form factor and sitting on the desk, which is also totally crowded with supernatural “research”. Keyboard looks sticky, and so does the phone. Message indicator is blinking 2 new messages. Lots of typing going on across the hall, noisy enough to vibrate through the walls.

[paratracker.com] Intel + Investigation or Science to figure out how to program the VCR. Or, y’know. Listen through receiver.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] Ugh. Idiot X-Files freaks. She looks around, then leans down to look at the answering machine and figure this stupid thing out.

[[Int+Inv]]
Dice Rolled:[ 4 d10 ] 1, 2, 7, 8 (Success x 1 at target 6)

[paratracker.com] She comes perilously close to letting that thing squawk into the room. It actually starts hissing dead-air when Sarita hits the STOP button, then pushes a few more, then finally gets it right.

First message is boring, wife asking when he’s coming home. Second one is a distorted voice, probably run through some anonymizer. Wants to know if he’s gotten the package, and to contact “them” at (this number) if he wants more where it came from.

[Intel + Streetwise for a chance at more info!]

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] [[Int+SW]]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 2, 4, 6, 6, 9, 10 (Success x 4 at target 6)

[paratracker.com] She hasn’t been in the area long, but that sharp mind of hers has osmosed area codes and prefixes. That number comes from a swanky part of town — north shore, home of intimidatingly huge houses and country clubs and rich rich people. It’s a landline, not a cell phone. Also probably not the number attached to typomaniac next door — that guy’s a whole different can of worms.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She looks around, grabs a piece of paper and writes down the number, just in case committing it into memory isn’t good enough. And then she starts looking for the damned package.

[paratracker.com] Open seal to unlock desk, then Dex+Stealth vs diff 8 to dig around without anything rattling, crunching, plinking or thudding.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] [[Open Seal]]
Dice Rolled:[ 3 d10 ] 1, 5, 7 (Failure at target 7)

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] [[Trying again at higher diff! WP +4]]
Dice Rolled:[ 3 d10 ] 1, 6, 7 (Failure at target 8 ) [WP]

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] [[Oh fuck's sake]]

[paratracker.com] [Wits + Streetwise to do this the old fashioned way! Diff 7.]

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] [[Wits+SW]]
Dice Rolled:[ 5 d10 ] 2, 6, 7, 8, 8 (Success x 3 at target 7)

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] Dex+Stealth
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 (Success x 1 at target 8 )

[paratracker.com] Nice lockpickin’. Close call on the searching though. All sorts of random shit in there. Pens. Pencils. Pencil sharpener. Ruler. Stapler. Magnifying glass. Stickie notes. Slinky toy. CD holder. Envelopes. Rubik’s cube. An old Playboy. A can of air duster. A stuffed koala bear that SQUEAKS — or almost squeaked –

and an overnight envelope from FedEx. Return address is the same as mailing address, and both are this building, this room.

[paratracker.com] [+1 WP for successfully getting the package!]

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] All right, time to try and exit the way we came, since out the door still leaves us with potentially tricky alarms and Sarita is not a bomb squad person! First off, Dex+Ath!
Dice Rolled:[ 5 d10 ] 1, 7, 8, 8, 9 (Success x 2 at target 8 )

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] And pulling up! Str+Ath!
Dice Rolled:[ 3 d10 ] 2, 6, 7 (Success x 2 at target 7) [WP]

[paratracker.com] Safe in the attic again!

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] And back to the roof we’re headed. Nasty fucker may warrant more attention later, but he’s still an unknown quantity and dealing with him may screw the retrieval mission. So she’s headed back to the roof, and down the pipe.

[paratracker.com] One str+ath (diff 7) to get out of the attic the same way, and then a dex+ath (diff 4) to shimmy down the drainpipe!

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] Str+Ath
Dice Rolled:[ 3 d10 ] 1, 4, 8 (Failure at target 7)

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] [[Higher diff, dammit!]]
Dice Rolled:[ 3 d10 ] 2, 6, 8 (Success x 2 at target 8 ) [WP]

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] And Dex+Ath
Dice Rolled:[ 5 d10 ] 5, 6, 8, 8, 9 (Success x 5 at target 4)

[paratracker.com] WPless, but package in hand and home free! Back to the boards with thee. I’ll post up this transcript for those interested.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] Woot!

[paratracker.com] [Exeunt!]

[Balance Without Fault] Not an easy task. Lots of close calls. When Sarita returns to the Caern, she’s utterly drained; probably wants nothing more than to fall into bed and sleep for a few days.

Balance is still waiting for her, though. The challenge circle remains unbroken. And he doesn’t give her a moment’s rest.

“Welcome back,” he greets her. “Report.”

[For the record: Truth of Gaia is active.]

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] Sarita looks exhausted, a little wobbly on her feet. She rubs the side of her face as she approaches Balance Without Fault, holding SD card. When the Grand Elder greets her and asks for her report, she straightens a little bit, shaking off the weariness for a moment.

“Whoo boy…okay. So, on the way to the location you gave me, I called up a contact of mine, got the security layout for the place. Stopped by Katherine’s loft and picked up a couple of talens for pack use that might do me well…a Chiropteran Spy and Nightshade. As it turned out, the Spy was useful, the Nightshade not needed.

“Once I got to the location, it was evident that the information I’d gotten from my source panned out. Security cameras, nothing particularly fancy but pretty extensive to prevent people getting in. The lights were more or less out, with the exception of one office across from Mr. “I Want To Believe.” Peeking across the Gauntlet showed a few Banes, only one that was anything to speak of. It was creeping around the place, bein’ a creeper.”

She pauses, there, looking down at the SD card with a bit of a frown before she looks back.

“That office across from the blogger’s got someone…less than normal inside of it. It needs to be checked out…I would have done it myself, but I was fairly spent and I figured retrieving the card was more time-critical. Judgment call. I’d be happy to go out with whoever might be sent.

“Anyway, I used the Spy to check the place out; it confirmed that there was something off about the guy. Had it do some guard duty while I checked out the security a bit closer…windows, circuit box, anything like that. Dropped into Silence and Blur of the Milky Eye, then decided to go pipe-climbing to the roof, found an in there that took me into the building. The crawlspace had a dropdown directly into the blogger’s office.

“Once I was inside, I did a little bit of checking. There wasn’t a hell of a lot I could do with the potentially Wyrm-ridden guy typing away right next door, but I checked phone messages…our boy got a call from the people who sent it, promising that there was more if they wanted it.”

She pulls out the scrap of paper with the phone number on it. “This is the number that they left. Sounds like one of those ritzy posh areas. I got into the desk, grabbed the envelope, then came back the way I went.”

She shrugs. “Outside of this and whatever our enemies are trying to pass over, there’s not a hell of a lot that he has that seems legit. Alternative press bullshit, the usual. He’s an idiot who’s read too damned much Dylan Dog or some other bullshit comic book. If we take care of the source and strike out the guy in the other office, we should be fine.”

She holds up the SD card. “There ya go. I’m sure that can be analyzed or some sort of thing to get some info on who sent it.”

[Balance Without Fault] Anyone can see Sarita is exhausted. And there are watchers now – curious parties drifting by to see what was going on. She can see the Ragabash Guardian in the audience. He raises a hand in a friendly wave as she looks his way.

Then it’s Balance Without Fault, it’s her report, it’s the events of the night laid out and laid bare for inspection.

The Grand Elder listens carefully to every word. He weighs every word for truth, not because he distrusts this particular Ragabash but because that is his job. He listens to her explain her setup, her entry, the office next door, the extraction, the exit. Even more keenly, he listens to her rationale. Her reasons. Why she did what she did. Why she didn’t do what she didn’t do.

When she’s done, Balance holds his hand out for the SD card, turns the small thing over in his hand a few times, then tosses it to the Ragabash Guardian.

“If you were the Ragabash Elder, leader of our scouts,” he says, “what would your next move be?”

[Sinclair] There’s an unexpected party that’s come drifting over to watch the rest of the challenge. Around Sinclair there’s a faint smell of ozone, her eyes a bit brighter than usual, like she’s high on something, the edges of her body jazzed somehow — that all may be illusion. No one in Chicago has seen her since she skipped town early one morning to drive to San Diego, but here she is.

Poor Lucille, dropping the phone in the Loft when visible electricity and soundwaves leapt out of the handset and conformed themselves in midair to the shape of the Galliard.

Someone — maybe Lukas — asked her why she didn’t just call a phone at the Caern. Reason the first: she’s not sure anyone would pick up. Reason the second: That just seems wrong, y’know, like… apparating inside Hogwarts or something.

She’s not here to stay for more than a matter of hours, she told them through Perun, but she zapped her and drove to the Caern and walked up to this particular challenge circle tonight to stand and watch, observe, remember. Her long hair is down, arms crossed over her shoulders. There’s a bright blue streak in that hair now, and a braid to the left side of her face that’s got a couple of beads and a feather hanging at the end. Sinclair catches Sarita’s eye sometime during her report.

Winks.

[Milo Sweeney] Among the onlookers come to watch this challenge, there’s a relative newcomer in the crowd. He doesn’t exactly blend in today, because Maelstrom is a relatively small sept. Even so, Milo keeps out of the way, nondescript in boring dark colors, hands resting in the pockets of his zipped up hoodie.

He didn’t come here specifically to watch. Still without a pack, the quiet Gaian pulls his weight anyway, helping out the Theurges that tend the land, and he scouts the area surrounding the Caern, including that notorious construction site.

On his way back through, the commotion at the challenge circle caught his attention. Curiosity tugging him relentlessly, he goes to watch how challenges are handled here. He recognizes Sarita, vaguely, from when he stayed at The Brotherhood before. He remembers she always had a friendly word when they passed each other in the hall.

Shifting around the small collection of onlookers, Milo makes his way a little closer, for a better look. He doesn’t wink, should she happen to look his way, but if she does he tips his chin up, mouth quirked in a slight smile.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She doesn’t notice Milo show up; she’s too damn tired, both mentally and physically, to do so. If she did, he’d get a quick smile and a wink, but alas. She does however feel the pricking of a pack member drawing close, and is surprised, momentarily pausing, when she realizes that it’s neither Lukas nor Katherine. In that moment of surprise there are no words over the pack link, just gratitude.

That momentary pause also has her considering her answer. She runs a hand through her hair, fingers clenching to gather it together right at the back of her skull as she purses her lips.

“I’d have that SD card analyzed, see if there’s any infosend a pack out to do a fuller assessment and based on that, if they thought they could handle it, as quiet of a removal of the bane if possible. One that’s balanced, has a Theurge in it at least for the extra spirit dealing-with mojo. If there’re no packs immediately available, a grouping of whoever’s available. Give Derek or Izzy a call, have them run the phone number of the guy who called our boy the Frog Broth…err, the ghosthunter. That would give us an address we could stake out, and give us an idea of where we could go from there.”

She pauses and points at the SD card in the Guardian’s hand. “I’d also have the data on that SD card checked out, see if there’s any information on there that helps us identify the source. Might not help, but you never know.

“The one at the office would have to be done really quietly. The guy in the office across from Blogger Boy didn’t seem to necessarily be the same kind of nasty as we had shining a light on our dubious affairs, but that doesn’t mean the two aren’t related. If we already have someone in place staking out the address, then any reaction from the elimination of Typity-Type could betray some sort of information in the Master Plan, so to speak.”

She nods. “So yeah. Two-pronged situation, to deal with one—maybe two—possible threats. That’s the way I’d go.”

[Balance Without Fault] There’s no pause. No deep breath before the plunge. No drumroll before the envelope is opened. As soon as Sarita finishes, Balance speaks the verdict.

“Sarita Echoes-of-Laughter, you have proven yourself a worthy successor to Laughs in the Face of Death.”

That’s not where it ends. There’s no room for celebration yet; no deep breath of relief. No time for that. He continues immediately — levelly, pitilessly, dissecting each moment of her performance tonight. Point by point. Action by action.

“In the single question you asked of Janis Ian,” he says, “you did not attack her, though you could have. You aimed at yourself instead, and that takes courage. It’s also a necessity. No Ragabash can hope to question others if they do not question themselves first.

“Too often young Ragabashes forget that their role is not an excuse to be disrespectful, rebellious, or arrogant. A Ragabash does not question because she are always right, and everyone else is always wrong. She questions because that is her duty, and because by doing so, she strengthens the pack, the Sept, and the Nation.

“You did not forget that tonight, Sarita. Well done.

“What you did forget was to listen carefully; to pay attention. And what I said then is still true. A good Ragabash must listen carefully before she speaks. If your job is to find the weakness in any argument, any plan, then you must know the argument and the plan as well as its proposer. Poorly done.

“That said, that test was not wholly fair. But it was never meant to be. I wanted to test your wits and your ears. But even more, I wanted to test how you would respond to a setback. I wanted to see if you would grow sullen or combatative. If you would argue, or sulk.

“You did not. You responded with courage and good humor. With intelligence, and with tenacity. Well done.

“The concern that your sitting the Auspice Council may unbalance things in your pack’s favor is a valid one. It is also one that will continue to dog you, I suspect, long after this challenge. You have defended yourself well tonight, but words are words. You will need to defend yourself again and again against this charge. You will have to prove with your actions that you are capable of thinking for yourself. That when you speak with the Ahroun and Philodox elders, you are not blindly following. That when you speak against them, you are not blindly rebelling.

“You have taken one step toward that proof tonight. You rejected my flatly ludicrous demand that you always speak against your pack. I don’t think you ever realized my true intentions, and a Ragabash Alpha will have to be sharper than that — but perhaps that made your trial by fire all the more telling. Even when you thought I, the Grand Elder of the Sept, demanded this of you; even when you must have thought I might fail you for refusing, you refused.

“Politely. Respectfully. But with the same courage and good humor you have shown throughout this challenge. Well done.

“Those were all tests of your social abilities as Ragabash Alpha. But we are a Sept of war, and at war. Your abilities as the scoutmaster will be just as important, if not more so. You will need to rally and direct the Ragabashes — a task often harder than herding cats. You cannot hope to do that if you do not first prove yourself an adept scout yourself.

“That was the purpose of the final part of this challenge. You were tasked to retrieve a sensitive item. It was an urgent matter, and I was glad to see you wasted no time, and that you were clever and resourceful in your solution to the problem.

“Still, when offered any resource you could gather, you forgot the single most important resource of all: your allies. You could have asked the help of your packmates. Other Ragabashes. Even Broken Glass, the Ragabash who first unearthed this situation. You are a Strider, and perhaps accustomed to working alone — but you have chosen to join this Sept, and you are challenging to lead its Ragabashes. A good leader doesn’t merely dominate; she guides, and shapes, and weaves her followers into a coherent whole.

“Perhaps that, too, is an unfair expectation. After all, you were in the middle of a challenge, and perhaps you thought that you would fail if you did not go alone. Still; this is something you will have to keep in mind from here on out.

“As for the mission itself: you proved yourself a more than capable scout tonight. You accomplished the task I laid before you, as I suspected you might. You retrieved the flashdrive. You even unearthed its source. Well done.

“But as you may have already guessed, that was not the true test. We knew, long before I sent you in, of the man across the office and the bane that follows him about. I withheld this information to see what you, alone in the field with a time-sensitive mission, would do in response. And more importantly, why.

“Had you attacked blindly without concern for your mission, you would have failed. We have no use for a stupid Ragabash Alpha. Had you ignored the situation simply because you were not instructed to take care of it, you would have failed. We have no use for a Ragabash Alpha who cannot think for herself.

“Had you decided the threat was too great not to investigate, and investigate now, you may well have succeeded all the same. But in the end, you decided it was more important to return to the Sept with the stolen data before the workday begins. You decided that your given mission was more time-sensitive, but you did not forget about the snag. You gave your reasons clearly, without attempting to spin it in your favor. You have a clear plan of action for dealing with the additional confounding factor.

“That is completely valid, and shows sound judgment and wisdom on your part. Well done.

“One final detail, then. When you spoke of your next plans, you laid forth intelligent and sound ideas. However, don’t forget that your role as the scoutmaster of this Sept requires you to disseminate information to the other Elders; to hear their input; to formulate a cohesive response.

“I trust your judgment and your expertise. I know in an emergency, you will act quickly and with cunning. That is why you have proven worthy of the position you seek. But there is no room for uncertain plans and weak alliances in this Sept. As the old human adage goes, we must stand together or die alone.”

At last, a pause. Balance Without Fault rotates his head on his shoulders, cracking his vertebrae. Then, with a ring of formality in his voice:

“Echoes of Laughter, knowing now the full burden of your duties and responsibilities, do you still seek the position of Ragabash Elder of Maelstrom?”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] There may not be time for a breath of relief before Balance Without Fault starts assessing, but one is taken just the same. She couldn’t have avoided it even if she’d tried. The tension in her shoulders, running down her spine doesn’t vanish, but does alleviate somewhat as the pressure of at least a couple details, like “Whoops, lost us the totem, guys” vanishes into the ether.

That moment is purposefully kept short-lived, though. The Grand Elder goes into his assessment, and she listens. She hears the points she did well, and the places where she slipped up. There is a hint of a grin, tired as it is, when the Glass Walker mentions that the datacard was not the true test. Not a ‘I’m so cool for realizing,’ but an appreciation of the ruse. It’s exactly the sort of thing that a No-Moon should appreciate, after all.

Her praises get little nods, maybe a smile here or there when something she wasn’t totally sure about—the assertion regarding going against her packmates, or her decision to return instead of learning more about the bane—is detailed. The critiques, the things she could have done better…she listens, and she nods. The idea of going to others in the Sept for aid gets a look on her face—the kind that you would expect someone to get when they knew they had the right answer on Jeopardy! but went for something else instead. But in all she listens, she files away as lessons learned.

Then he straightens. And he asks her if she still seeks the position. And she understands why…after all of this, some people might actually say no, thinking it’s too much.

She doesn’t say no. She just nods, and speaks four words.

“That I do, Rhya.”

…hey, a simple “Yes” would have been too straight-forward. This is Sarita, after all.

[Balance Without Fault] “Then it is yours.”

Balance Without Fault takes a step backward, his heel deliberately breaking through the challenge circle. He turns to the onlookers – raising his voice loud and clear.

“Wolves of the Maelstrom: your Ragabash Elder, Echoes of Laughter.”

[excellent challenge, all! thanks for participating! i'll leave this post in this forum for a while longer, then move it into moot forums since this sort of thing usually happens at moots.]

[Katherine Bellamonte] Katherine has approached, toward the end of things. She brushes against her sister who also watches; a hand briefly twitching one of Sinclair’s fingertips in a wordless hello before she turns her eyes on the Challenge Circle.

Watchful.
Waiting.

When Balance Without Fault officially names her sister the Ragabash Elder; the Silver Fang’s smile is genteel in its pleasure. Ever dignified, that was Katherine. “Well done, Ragabash Elder for Maelstrom.” She greets her with the new title, her warmth tinged with a pack-mate’s tease.

[Lukas Wyrmbringer] Lukas did, indeed, want to know why Sinclair hadn’t just call someone at the Caern. Sinclair explained it in Harry Potter terms; this led to a conversation in his car, en route from Loft to Caern, about how lame or awesome each of the HP movies were.

“I can’t wait for the next one,” he confesses, pulling the chainlink fence open to slip through into the bawn,

and out of mortal sight.

Later, much later:

Of all the packmates, Wyrmbreaker is the only one tonight who’s chosen to take his animal form. It’s cold, after all, and he walked out in his pajamas. When that first thrill of mingled excitement and relief comes across the totemlink, the black wolf’s ears prick. When the final question is asked, he shifts where he sits, front paws stamping back and forth once or twice.

Then Sarita accepts. And he rises to his feet, ready. When Balance Without Fault breaks the line, the black wolf bounds forward, rears up on his hind legs to plant big muddy paws on Sarita’s shoulders. Whuf! he says, closes his teeth lightly and affectionately on his packmate’s — well. Her face. It’s a gentle gesture, though, and brief. A moment later he drops down. He circles around his packmates a few times as though to keep them, protect them, ward them, then sits, lolling his tongue out.

In this form, even his thoughts are feral and fragmentary:

Good words. Clever scout! Proud!

[Milo Sweeney] Milo listens to the Grand Elder’s words as he details where Sarita went right and where she went wrong, his eyes on the Strider. Her humor in the face of it all, weary as it is, is a relief to see. That she doesn’t sulk or flail about or make excuses for a misstep or a thing overlooked. And also that she doesn’t preen when she receives praise.

His mouth quirks when she says those four words. Congratulations will wait for another time, though, maybe when Sarita’s had some sleep. Now, her packmates go to her, and the quiet Child of Gaia slips away.

[Sinclair] Perhaps due to the nature of her auspice, Sinclair is silent and steady for the remainder of the challenge after that wink given to Sarita. She flicks Kate’s fingertips back, a subtle hello, but otherwise she’s watching Balance Without Fault and Echoes of Laughter. She stands by Lukas’s lupus form, but she understands the words the Grand Elder and Ragabash use better when she’s like this without the urges and instincts of a wolf’s body tugging at her.

She’d remember it just as well if she were in lupus. She’d remember it differently, though.

Of all the Unbroken, her reaction is the quietest. The two Adrens move forward to congratulate Sarita, one tidily and one muddily, one with a tease, one with a nomf to the face. Sinclair hangs back a bit, then walks forward. She’s taking a breath, letting go the role, hanging onto the challenge for later to write it all down, but as she comes over to her pack she grins. Her hand drops and scritches Lukas’s neck and behind his ear affectionately as he circles them — happily, proudly, protectively.

She gives the Strider a tight, quick hug. “You kicked ass,” she tells her while she squeezes her, offhand, as though implying that it’s so obvious it goes without saying. Letting her go, she swings around and claps her hands on Kate and Sarita’s backs, slings her arms around their shoulders. “Lukas, putcher manface back on. I got til eight a.m. central before I have a phone call to catch back to San Diego, so we’re gonna go get wasted. Champagne for Kate, vodka for you, Hpnotiq for me, and…Idaknow, we gotta figure out what the Strider tribal booze is.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] When the announcement is made, she finally relaxes, slumping a bit. Katherine greets her by title and a smile; Lukas puts lupine paws on her shoulder and bites her face. They’re a varied pack, you see. Sarita almost stumbles at the sudden gesture, laughing a bit. She finally notices Milo, giving him a little nod as he departs just before Sinclair comes up. She’s pulled out her cheapo ancient cellphone and sending a text—poorly—when Sinclair comings up and hugs her.

“Thanks, guys.” She rubs at her eyes, and smirks at the question of Strider tribal booze.

“I don’t know what it is worldwide, I ain’t society enough to know what Egyptian booze there is. But here in Chicago, I decree it’s freakin’ Jimmy Cuervo.” She chuckles, the blinks and shakes her head.

“Let’s do it.” And after a nod of respect to the Grand Elder, she turns to leave with her pack, texting badly along the way.

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