[Wyrmbreaker] There’s a portion of the Caern set aside for the totems of the packs. Shrines to every totem Maelstrom has ever supported dot the landscape there — statues, totempoles, markers, monuments. Some are meticulously kept by active packs, the carvings and altars humming with energy; others are falling into disrepair, their packs and totems moved on.

Perun’s shrine is a massive, black, anvil-shaped rock — as tall as a man and twice as broad. Slammed deep into the flat top is an axe; around the haft wraps the sapling of a spirit-oak of Perun, far hardier, more gnarled, more bare and stark than the usual oak gaffling. Carved glyphs ring the broad top of the thunder-stone: praises to Perun, to honor, to war, to victory. There are names carved there too — packmates past and present.

For two weeks, this shrine stood silent, ominously still as the sky before a storm. Tonight, it pulses with power again, and deep in the clefts of the carvings an eldritch glow sometimes surfaces, crackles, fades. Wyrmbreaker sits atop the thunder stone, crosslegged, head bowed. Meditating, perhaps.

It’s here and now that he asked Sarita to meet him. A couple hours before dawn, in the heart of the Caern.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] The Strider has had a whirlwind couple of days. Craziness, sister left town, politely fending off Silver Fang kin who are convinced they’d be great together, dealing with Harrier’s Grace over a matter that should have been dealt with a couple of weeks ago. Lot’s gone on for her, but she’s actually feeling very good, all things considered. She’s not skipping through daisies or the like, but she’s all right. Better than she would have predicted she could have been. A talk with Sinclair last night helped. The tequila didn’t hurt.

And thus, she makes her way into the Caern, heading to the place that Lukas told her to go. She’s left her coat behind; she just had a feeling. Boots sound quickly on the ground–the Strider is pretty light on her feet–and she can feel the power as she approaches. A bit of the snark wears away at that. Sarita makes her wisecracks with the best of the Ragabash, but she’s nothing it not mindful that sometimes, sobriety is called for. The lack of the usual snark makes it seem more sincere, perhaps, than it would otherwise be. She comes in view, steps slowing as she stops several feet in front of Lukas, watching quietly for a moment.

“Hey.” It’s all she says for now. She’s not cracking jokes just yet. Just letting him know she’s here.

[Wyrmbreaker] It’s a moment before Lukas replies, though he stirs when Sarita speaks. He moves: hands in his lap coming outward, spreading flat-palmed over the textured surface of the stone. In that one gesture — in the splay of his fingers, the bow of his neck and the hunch of his shoulders, is the purpose of his being here redefined. Not meditating after all. Apologizing, the Alpha standing for the pack.

After a moment, he lifts his head and opens his eyes. So many of the Unbroken have eyes like his: piercing, stark. Blue, for Sinclair and Katherine and himself, but even Asha’s are fierce and flashing. Lightning in the depths. He reaches out, holding his hand out to give Sarita a hand up. The pull is steady; not quite effortless, but with a measured, unfaltering sort of strength.

When she’s up on the flat top of the anvil-rock, Lukas smiles at her. “Hey,” he says. He opens his hands again, presses them palm-down to the stone as though to feel the power, the energy of the totem.

“This is Perun,” he says. Not much preamble. “Our representation for him, anyway, where a part of him resides and will reside so long as the Unbroken exist in this city. Most of him soars free in the sky above. In the storm and the rain, the snow, the wind. In our fists and in our fangs. In our hearts.

“Can you feel it?”

[Honor’s Compass] There’s also a section set aside for the fallen in the Caern.

Burial plots for those who came before; who fought and bled and fell while others were barely Cubs readying for their Rites of Passage. Some still had totems in this Sept, some, like the ones Honor’s Compass sits before; an elegant form in jeans, boots to her knees and a cropped jacket in a soft pink; adorned with military style buttoning; were the pack-mates of the surviving Unbroken.

It was just Lukas and Katherine now, who could trace their pack right to its origin.

Some had left, but most lay beneath the dirt at Katherine’s feet, nothing but bone and decaying flesh. The Silver Fang can feel her brother close by, can sense the reparations he makes toward Perun for her failure in challenge. It draws a sigh from the blonde’s lips, and after another long moment she rises to her full height and turns her eyes toward the row of totems. To where she can see another figure being greeted.

She turns, the Fostern Half Moon and with her hands tucked into pockets, moves through the graves toward them.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She smiles a little when Lukas offers a hand. There’s something to be said about this…something that Sarita had never thought she had felt the desire for. She had her sister, and that was all she needed. A pack…it would come, or it would not. However, she’s found over the past few weeks since her invitation that the longing, the desire that should come naturally to Garou to belong, to be part of something…it woke up within her. Now, with Amy halfway across the country with Owl knows what happening…well, it was just the kick in the ass Sarita needed. She needs her sister back someday, but it is good for her, in the long run.

She doesn’t accept that truth yet, consciously. But it is true.

She takes the hand that is offering, and is helped up onto the stone. She sits down, crossing her legs Indian-style facing Lukas. Of course she can feel it…the pull, the rumbling. The strength that flows. She smiles a little bit, not having been quite this close but showing some degree of understanding, on an instinctual level as well as an intellectual.

“I do.” She takes a slow breath in, and then out. She’s a wee bit awkward in that she doesn’t know what is quite appropriate. Instinct doesn’t guide her here, so she’s playing it by ear a bit.

[Wyrmbreaker] Ahrouns are by nature the very antithesis of subtle: boastful, menacing creatures, all swagger and violence. Shadow Lords are, in contrast, creatures of subtlety. Creatures who, at their worst, understand and manipulate the deepest flaws of those around them for their own gain — creatures who, at their best, understand that no war is won without sacrifice, and someone always has to pay in the end.

The Ahrouns of Thunder, then, are an odd breed. Not so blunt as your average Ahroun. Not so subtle as your average Shadow Lord. Some strange nomansland in between, then, with almost unequaled capacity for extremes. Extreme violence. Extreme depravity. Extreme monstrosity. Extreme, bitter, hard heroism.

It’s impossible to say where Lukas will fall on that spectrum when all is said and done. When it’s not his living, breathing body at the head of his pack but his name on a memory-stone, his story passed down to cubs as an example — or a warning — or simply left to the dust of time, forgotten. For the moment, though, for the now and for all the time he’s existed as a member of the Garou Nation, Lukas has tried to be a good man; a good wolf. Not always a kind one. Not always a nice one. But good.

Digression. The point is: the Ahrouns of Thunder are a subtler breed. And that uncertainty in Sarita is picked up by her would-be Alpha. He tilts his head, an animal gesture, and then smiles. A human gesture.

“Relax,” he says. “There’s no right or wrong here. This isn’t a test.”

Katherine, not far off: he can feel her again across the totem bond, and his head turns. He raises a hand in greeting, then turns back to Sarita.

“Like any totem of war, Perun teaches us to be strong. Like any totem of war worth a damn, he teaches us to be honorable. But perhaps the most important thing he teaches us is wisdom. Make no mistake — he is a totem of victory, of conquest. He deals harshly with failure. If we accept a challenge, we must win or lose his favor for three days. If we issue a challenge, we must win or lose his favor for a fortnight.

“This makes many Ahrouns of my Tribe believe he teaches us only to crush our enemies. Defeat our foes. Always win at any cost. Never lose for any reason. But that’s not what he’s about, and I wouldn’t follow him if it was. Perun is about picking your battles. Going to war for just cause and consequence. Fighting only when it matters: not only when you can win, but also when you cannot afford to lose. When you believe the risk is worth the gain.

“That’s what we’re about too. Kate, Sinclair, Asha and I — we’re not always nice people. We don’t have much patience for bullshit, and we’ve all been known to bust some heads to get things done. But in the end we’re not here to lord it over our brothers and sisters. We’re not interested in petty squabbles and power plays. We’re not here to pull our Septmates down in order to raise ourselves up.

“We’re here to strengthen our Sept, even if sometimes that means we have to be hardasses and taskmasters. We’re here to fight the War, and we’re fighting to win.”

There’s a pause. Lukas’s hands are still on the stone, as though drawing strength or inspiration from the totem itself. A moment later he continues.

“So that’s us. Now about you, and why I want you to join us: because you’re a good Ragabash, and we haven’t had one for a long time. You know when to question; you know how to question. You know being a Ragabash isn’t the same thing as being an honorless, and that questioning the ways doesn’t mean you have to be a dick about it.

“You’re smart. You see a lot. You’ve probably already seen — ” and there’s a quirk of his mouth here, self-deprecating, ” — that I have the potential to be a stubborn, domineering, arrogant ass. And every last one of us have our flaws and our weaknesses. I want you aboard to help watch our backs. To help keep us from getting too serious, too full of ourselves, too big for our britches.

“And, put simply, because I like you.”

[Sinclair] The shrine to Perun isn’t the only one Sinclair pays homage to. She’s no spirit-talker, and she rarely makes talens though she has the ability, and she doesn’t even consider herself particularly mystical. But loyal: in an utter, absolute way, whether giving or taking. Walking away from Dietrich all that time ago had been unwise in the situation, but it had not been a mark of following only the most flighty whims of her mind. He lost her loyalty when he showed he had none to her. Later, another Silver Fang earned it. Laughs in the Face of Death had her loyalty, even after they were not longer packed. Lost it during the Stone of Scorn right when she showed she had no loyalty to Sinclair. Later, another Ragabash came along.

Is sitting atop Perun’s shrine with Lukas right now. Is earning it, even now. Like last night with video games and talking about Shit and drinking tequila and listening without fucking advising or even trying to comfort her. Just listening, and offering what she could, even if she knew instantly, instinctively that there wasn’t a whole lot she could do.

At the moment, that Galliard who is desperately trying to remain unbroken — even though she is bowed — is serving the totem of her tribe. There aren’t a lot of Glass Walkers here. Mostly it’s the guardians and the Mistress and the Keeper — when they have one — who pay attention to Cockroach. Sinclair likes to bring the insect totem candy, put into dark boxes where the spirits can eat their due while hiding from the bitter light. There’s a small gaffling of Metal on a single wheeled appendage rolling a bit back and forth, eeeing quietly and observing Sinclair’s ‘prayers’ with curiosity.

She finishes, and puts out her hand for Tripoli. He’s tiny right now, not the foot or so he can reach when he manifests. In this size she can carry him in a coat pocket, and that’s where he goes. This is why Sinclair carries a handful of soda can tabs, coins, and a polishing cloth in her pocket — it’s like a blanket for her familiar. It explains why her coat always smells faintly of silver polish.

Striding towards the anvil, Sinclair grabs the edge and vaults herself up onto the top beside Lukas and Sarita with an athleticism that is more strength and speed than delicate grace. It’s more crowded up there now, but she doesn’t mind. She comes in and shares the space with them as companionably as she would if they were all in lupus and burrowing down for a long winter’s night. Her hair is in braids pinned across her crown, very Scandanavian — it doesn’t help the jokes that Sinclair is secretly a Fenrir.

Hell. Maybe a few generations ago, her ancestors were. No more, though. No blood, no breeding, no ancestry. Pure merit. Pure strength and cunning. Pure blue eyes, wheat-blonde hair.

She nuzzles Lukas with her forehead against his jaw, a heavy and animalistic rub, then nudges Sarita with her shoulder, bumping against her with a mingling of familiarity, dominance, and welcome. She looks up when she feels Katherine approaching, eyes fixing on the Philodox when she can see her. She smiles, and settles onto the shrine. She doesn’t speak. Tripoli hangs by the ‘waist’ out of her pocket, waving his long, articulated arms that move like slinkies downward.

“Eee,” he whirrs, as though saying hello to Perun.

[Honor’s Compass] Katherine has been paying homage to her fallen pack-mates; she approaches with her hands tucked into the pockets of her jacket; elbows slightly bent and her long hair unbound, growing out now and falling past her shoulders. She moves slowly toward her pack and toward the singing in her veins and thrumming under her skin of their totemic spirit. She stops short when she’s before it and closes her eyes.

Tips her head; and a tiny smile takes over the edge of her full mouth.

They each of them have their own manners of connecting with this, their God of War; their powerful, potent Shadow Lord spirit. For the Silver Fang among them at least, it is an important moment; bridging the rivalry bred in her bones and breeding toward Perun. Offering herself, and her loyalty to him; especially when returning after a failure — no matter how honorable a one it might have been.

So, she stands with her eyes closed; face lifted to the night sky for several moments before she murmurs.

“Alright, now.”

Opens them; and sights her pack; reaches her hands out to be helped up onto the stone.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She listens to Lukas talk, oddly quiet and attentive for her. The Latina Strider is generally a fairly attentive person as it is, but she always manages it without seeming so. Here, there is no need for such pretense. She’s always on her guard a little bit against other people…but with them, she’s at least able to lower it. It might not be totally gone, but it’s definitely at the point where she doesn’t rely on her snark as a defense mechanism quite so much. She smiles a little when Lukas tells her to relax, but of course it doesn’t quite help her relax. Funny, how being told to relax doesn’t usually help. But she’s trying.

She listens to the Shadow Lord talk about Perun, about what he is perceived as and what he actually is. A little nod acknowledges that. She knows the wide disparity between perception and truth as well as anyone, and she believes what he says from her expression–calm, listening, learning. She hears him talk about how none of them are perfect–she is not one to talk. She has her issues, to be sure. And then he talks about her, and why they want her. She isn’t one who takes compliments well. That self-defense mechanism always comes up, throwing out some witty reply to deflect, and she struggles to avoid it here.

She doesn’t completely avoid it. When he’s done, she grins a tiny bit. “Well, thanks. S’okay, I don’t mind arrogant and stubborn. I’m bitchy, occasionally co-dependent and I drink too much. We’ll make a great team.”

The grin does recede into something more geniune though. “Seriously…thanks. I…” She takes a breath. “Yeah. I don’t really know what I can add to that. You guys are great, and I feel pretty damn lucky to have gotten the chance. I’ll try not to be too much of a pain…or at least, only a pain in the right ways.”

She looks over when Sinclair shows up, and she smiles. “Hey, you.” Tripoli gets a little sideways tilt of her head and a warm smile. “That’s Tripoli, I imagine? You mentioned him at the bar that night.

And when Kate shows up, she reaches to help her up without so much as thinking about it. “And hey to you too.”

[Warcry] As it was, so it remains: Sinclair has no fallen packmates. Those that Katherine pays respects to were never Sinclair’s brothers or sisters. No member of the Red Bulls has died that she knows of; the Storm Chasers were never more than two. What she’s lost is neither blood nor spirit but heart, and that’s a very different kind of grief. She watches Katherine approach from the Graves and offers a hand to help her up, with Sarita and most likely along with Lukas, then settles back again, making room for the Philodox.

She can sense that Sarita, like her, can lower her guard a bit around them. The reason why various packmates have felt like they ‘fit’ is different for everyone — Asha and Christian, for example, weren’t instantly recognized as good prospects because they seemed like they could relax like this. But it does come, really, for just about everyone. When they are together, and alone, they are a kind of family.

A wry tilt of her mouth, when Sarita claims to be co-dependent and nigh unto alcoholic. It fades a little when she mentions being a pain.

Then: Tripoli, who hears his name and swivels his head around roughly 130 degrees to peer up at Sarita. He lifts one wiggling metallic arm and waves at her with tiny cylindrical fingers. “Eee-ee.

“Yeah,” is all Sinclair says, rubbing one fingertip atop Tripoli’s head like one might scritch a dog. A very, very tiny dog. “Eeeee,” Tripoli murmurs happily, his little blue-glowing eyes dimming faintly with pleasure.

[Wyrmbreaker] Thoughtlessly, hands reach down to grip the ones Katherine reaches up — one pair, two pairs, three pairs reaching out to help the Silver Fang atop the stone. Now there are four of them here, bumping and nudging and greeting each other in subtle, animal ways.

Sarita says she feels lucky to have the chance. Lukas’s grin is quick and wry. “Don’t sell yourself too short now,” he says. “We’re lucky to have met each other, is all.”

He holds his hand out to Tripoli then, letting the little gaffling grip his fingers with its tiny slinkied arms. Lifting him out of Sinclair’s pocket, he sets the metal elemental atop Perun’s shrine, letting him wheel free amongst the four wolves gathered, every one of them so much larger than him.

“He’s getting stronger,” Lukas observes. Then his attention turns briefly to Kate, bumping her with his shoulder. “How’re you?”

[Honor’s Compass] Hands reach out, and clasp about the Silver Fang’s wrists, her hands and bring her up onto the stone’s surface proper. Katherine greets her brother and sisters; old and new with a sweep of genteel hands over shoulders; brushing against shoulders. She sits herself elegantly; poised with her weight propped on one palm and her booted feet tucked up beside her.

Fair hair sweeps her shoulder; catches over the buttons on her pink jacket as Lukas bumps her gently; asks after her and gets a blond eyebrow rising on its lonesome; the curve of her mouth in that challenging; inviting smile; the gleam of her pale eyes as she regards him with much of her former regal glory restored.

It is easy, it is easy to see why those who do not know her, think her nothing more than an arrogant Silver Fang with those looks, and that habit she has of smiling with her eyes as if she dared to mock even an Adren of another tribe; her own Alpha.

Très bien, Lukas. Of course.” A shoulder lifts easily; absently. “I do not easily stay defeated, you of all people know this, hm.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She gives a little shrug when Lukas say they’re lucky to have met each other. Feelings of inadequacy? Maybe a little bit. Maybe she just realizes that it’s not every day a just-arrived-in-town Cliath gets a shot with a pack consisting of two major office-holders in the sept. Either way, she isn’t exactly rolling over or anything. Just that casual shrug.

She grins at Tripoli, head tilting to the right. A little wave of her index finger is given, and then she leans back, falling silent for a moment as Kate and Lukas speak. She feels more relaxed in the presence of others. More relaxed in general, today.

[Warcry] Tripoli does, in fact, grab on to Lukas’s finger when his hand is extended. He stretches his arms out as that large male hand lifts, eee ing, but he does not lift out of Sinclair’s pocket. Sinclair glances down, lifting an eyebrow as Tripoli’s arms stretch and retract a couple of times before he swings up out of her coat and dangles, wheeled lower appendage waving a bit over Perun’s stone. Lowered down to the totem’s shrine, he rocks back and forth a couple of times on top of it, then zips back to Sinclair.

It’s just a shrine. But Perun is a totem, a sort of god. And Tripoli, stronger though he may be, is just a small gaffling. Sinclair helps him back onto her lap, and he settles there. She takes a ball of tinfoil out of her other pocket hands it to him. Tripoli, pleased, unwraps it — noisily — and wraps it around himself like a blanket. Or a cape.

Sinclair, quiet tonight — quiet a lot of nights, lately — glances over at Sarita. “You know,” she says thoughtfully, her voice low since they’re all so close together, “for a long while now, even when we had Iona in the pack, especially when we had Edward in the pack, I’ve felt like the role of questioner has fallen to me. In a way it’s been in my purview, to an extent — Galliards are teachers. We remember the past so that we can all learn from past mistakes and victories.” She muses, and quiets, then speaks again: “And when Lukas invited me to the Unbroken, part of the reason was because what I could offer, they lacked. So sure of themselves and their carefully thought out plans, these Fangs and Lords,” she teases gently, casting a glance at the two others before returning her gaze to Sarita.

“We’ve all changed, yeah, but there are still times when there’s been no one else to say ‘hey Lukas, stop futzing around because you’re not sure you’re ready to challenge’ or ‘hey Kate, do you think this person would make a good addition to the pack because they fit or because they hold a sept office and you’ve got a power fetish’ or whatever else might need to be said.” She tips her head. “To tell the truth, those are the sort of things a No Moon should be saying to her packmates. Shaking them up. Pushing them to look more closely at themselves. And I’ve done it because every Ragabash I’ve seen in this pack has been worthless at that part of the job.”

She shrugs. “Sarita, I fell under the sway of the Wyrm twice. I have two failed packs behind me, one that failed because I would neither submit nor lead and just walked away. There’s a worthy Garou in the Graves because my will wasn’t enough to resist possession. I bore the Stone of Scorn. You being kinda bitchy, co-dependent, new to town and a Cliath should not stop you from acting like you’ve been in this pack all your life once you’ve been accepted into it — which you have been. Believe me, you’re not ‘lucky’ to have a chance, and we’re not ‘lucky’ to have met you — sorry, Lukas. You wouldn’t be sitting on our fucking totem’s shrine if luck had fuckall to do with this decision. If you’re intimidated by us, if you confuse insecurity for respect and admiration, if you’re unsure of yourself and hold back because of it, if you apologize for being a ‘pain’, then we will lose our respect for you and you won’t be able to do your job for us.”

She says all this plainly, without assumption that this is already the case, without sounding as though she thinks this is Sarita’s mindset. She leans against the Strider for a moment, then relents. “Just remember that. You chose us as much as we’ve chosen you, and that means that we earned you as much as the other way around. And we all see the reasons why, and feel the rightness of it.” She opens her mouth and bites, as she might if she were in lupus, onto Sarita’s coat-covered shoulder, a clench before she lets go. “If I sense weakness in you, I will eat you. Om nom nom.”

[Wyrmbreaker] Lukas gives another faint huff of a laugh as Sinclair just flat-out contradicts him. There aren’t many wolves in the Sept that’ll do that. The fact that Sinclair will, and does — that’s why she’s in the pack.

Which is, in a sense, what she’s telling Sarita, too. So Lukas listens, quiet, rubbing the pad of his thumb thoughtlessly over the totem’s shrine.

[Honor’s Compass] Katherine closes her eyes a little at power fetish; something like a cat deciding whether its been needled into swiping or not. She has no tail to swish; but her mane of hair does get flung over a shoulder with a little huff of air. The Silver Fang, who enjoys depositing gifts on the little gaffling currently resplendent in tinfoil on Sinclair’s lap takes one of her hair-clips from her sleeve; where she’d pinned it earlier so as not to misplace it and hands it to the spirit to wield like a sword.

“Unbroken is as much a name as any other pack’s is,” the Half Moon says quietly; thoughtful. “But it’s also within us; that sentiment; that strength. We all balance the best and worst of ourselves, become one another’s axis, when needs be.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She looks ready to back off her statement when Sinclair gently takes her to task for selling herself short, but instead she just stops herself and listens. A little smile hits her face, and she nods. The smile has that Sarita-sense to it, but it is clear that she’s listening and hearing Sinclair. That’s an important distinction…the two don’t always go hand in hand.

Then the Glass Walker follows it up with nomming, and she chuckles. She lets out a sigh and nods. “I was…trying to be funny, mostly. Believe me, it’s not being intimidated. And the last thing I ever would ever find myself doing is hold back.”

She pauses, as if she has to think about it. “It’s more…being on the outside looking in for years. Travelling around, sept to sept. It’s just kind of the way. So it feels like I got to the theater late for The Dark Knights and managed to cut in line to the front.” A little grin. Yes, that ‘s” on the end of the Batman title was intentional. “Don’t mean I’m not setting my ass in the stadium seating with the bad-ass drink holders and the perfect view of the screen without a bit of regret.

She listens to Kate then talk about the Unbroken as a quality as well as a name, and she nods. She doesn’t have a lot to say specifically about that, and she really doesn’t need to. Her expression has more than enough understanding and acceptance of it.

[Warcry] There’s a point there. Longwinded though she can be — Galliard and all, natch — that one comment alone may have driven it home. Lukas says they were all just lucky. The fact that Sinclair even apologizes to him for saying he’s outright wrong is unusual. Normally she’d just contradict him without drawing attention to the fact that what she’s saying is different. It’s almost a fond in-joke, to say that sorry, Lukas.

Because the truth is, if Sarita apologizes every time she tells Lukas or Kate or Sinclair or Asha that they’re wrong, or being a dumbass, or when she comes along to kick them in the ass, then Sinclair’s joke about losing all respect and deciding to eat Sarita won’t be so funny anymore. She’s never hesitated in the past to rip her packmates to literal shreds for weakness, for perceived weakness, for not learning their damn lesson.

In the end, though, that’s not her job, either. She isn’t supposed to be disciplinarian. She isn’t supposed to be their judge or their questioner or their protector or their voice of wisdom. She’s a Galliard.

With a little gaffling elemental of Metal who is now brandishing a hairclip like a blade, zooming off of Sinclair’s lap and challenging Lukas to a duel atop the shrine of a totem who is — some might say — a very sore loser.

Sinclair, however, is letting him play while she listens to Sarita. She nods. “You know, I went about six months before I managed to see the Dark Knight. By that time everyone had flipped out over ‘the pencil scene’ so much that when I finally saw it I was like ‘that’s it?” She shakes her head. “That sucked.”

[Wyrmbreaker] Lukas peers at the little elemental with some perplexion. Then he reaches down and gently takes the hairclip-sword from him — doubtlessly to many eees of dismay and protest — and straightens it carefully before handing it back.

Then he picks a twig off the top of Perun’s shrine and, half-absently, one ear on his packmates, engages in a miniduel with Tripoli.

“I didn’t hear about the ‘pencil scene’ at all,” he says. “So when I saw it, I was appropriately awed — ow!” Lukas snatches back his hand, jabbed soundly by the gaffling. “What I get for not paying attention.

“Anyway,” saluting Tripoli with his twig before setting it aside to level his gaze on the Ragabash, “I’ve said all I wanted to. Kate? Sinclair? Sarita? Any final thoughts before we make this formal?”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She grins at that. “Oh, the pencil scene was good, but that was nothing compared to Joker and Two-Face in the hospital. That was THE speech. And then the shot of him outside as it’s blowing up…” Yeah, she isn’t a pop culture junkie just ’cause it’s funny. “Sucks that you had it hyped so much that it was a let-down, though. That always sucks.”

She lets the thought fade away, looking around at the others before looking at Lukas. She almost feels like she should say something, but she doesn’t have anything to add at this moment. “No. I said my bit.”

[Honor’s Compass] Katherine laughs when Tripoli stabs the Adren Shadow Lord with his little hairclip sword; and tickles the gaffling with the tip of a finger; frowning in silent consideration of his question. She turns, and looks Sarita over carefully; then her eyes flick to Sinclair and finally return to Lukas.

“I think that Christian Bale would make an excellent Silver Fang.” A beat; she gleams with mischief. “But on the topic of this, no. I welcome my new sister with sincere joy.”

[Warcry] Tripoli does not speak English. Nor do any of the Unbroken speak spirit. They interpret his Eeeing however they will — Sinclair has quite an instinct for it, but then… she would. Perhaps Lukas, however, can look at him and hear Eeee eeee! as the battle begins, and know that Tripoli is basically hollering HAVE AT THEE, SCOUNDREL! They clash.

The hairpin stabs Lukas when he’s talking about Batman movies and Tripoli spins around, attacking with more fervor now that he has found his opponent’s weakness.

Unfortunately for him, Lukas sets his twig down with a salute, and Tripoli is too honorable to attack an unarmed foe. Slumping over a bit in disappointment, he goes over to the twig. Peers at it. Nudges it with the hairpin. Flicks it off the shrine as though it simply does not belong there. He is rewarded with tickles from a Fang. Tripoli eees softly, and swats gently at Katherine, batting her hand with his tiny metal four-fingered one.

Meanwhile, Sinclair is shrugging. “I think it’s always been obvious that Bruce Wayne is a Silver Fang, Batman is a Shadow Lord, and Christian Bale is just crazy Jesus-hair man.”

She glances up from watching her gaffling. “Though dude, I’m just waiting for you guys to ask Perun to strike Sarita with lightning or something, let’s get this shit done already. She’s already been pack for ages now.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Aw man…I knew I should have gone with rubber soles and not the steel-toed.” She grins at that. Doesn’t stop her from throwing a quick glance at the sky to see if light is about to flash.

“Seriously though, should I take my boots off? That I don’t need my socks melting to my feet.”

[Wyrmbreaker] “Bale would make an excellent Fang,” Lukas agrees drolly. “He’s certainly insane enough and egotistical enough.” Then he smirks.

And then the smirk fades, and Lukas laughs a little at Sinclair, a little at Sarita. “No,” he says, amused. “You don’t need to take your shoes off.”

He’s serious, then, when he rolls his shoulders, straightens his back, and looks back at Sarita.

“Let it be done,” he says. There’s formality in this, a sentence that’s not so much statement as declarative, as invocation. And there’s no lightning, no thunderbolt literally melting the shoes off Sarita’s feet. Just Wyrmbreaker’s large, warm hand stretching forward, cupping around her neck. Establishing a bond in the simplest, most literal sense. “From this moment onward, from this place here on Perun’s stone, under Perun’s sky, until you die or choose to dissolve the bond — you’re our sister. You belong to Perun. You belong with us.”

The truth is, every member of this pack has joined differently. Kate and Lukas, from the beginning, chasing down the storm-god, petitioning him with sacrifices of blood and glory and honor. Sinclair, after a battle, after a tough and challenging conversation full of hard questions. Asha, much the same way, forswearing the company and alphaship of her own tribesmate to choose them. Christian, here and now gone, joined roughly and spontaneously in immediate, rage-singed aftermath of battle.

And now Sarita: calmly, almost casually, here in the heart of the caern, atop the totem shrine. Surrounded by the latent, implacable power of the totem.

“You’ll feel the bond soon enough,” Lukas continues, quieter, “when Perun forges it. It comes on all of us differently. I think,” a wry glance at Kate, “Katherine and I actually got struck by lightning. Iona told me once it came on overnight; she didn’t have it when she slept, and when she woke it felt she’d always been connected to us. I can’t say for certain how it’ll come to you, but when it does — you’ll know.”

[Warcry] Sinclair smiles faintly. Remembers the night she joined. Katherine dealing with Gabriella, Sinclair telling her in no uncertain terms what she thought of the girl. Sinclair asking for advice about Thomas. All of them wishing that Sheridan hadn’t died. It was a long time ago. Nearly a year and a half now that she’s been a part of this pack.

“I told you guys about a storm I remembered from growing up in Kansas,” she says. Her eyes move to Lukas. “He came while you taught me how to make Storm Feathers.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She takes a slow breath in, lets it out slowly. She is quiet a moment, then gives a little nod and smile. “Well, you’ll know as soon as I do. Obviously.”

She leans back a little bit, running a hand through her hair. And she falls quiet to look over and listen to Sinclair.

[Honor’s Compass] Katherine straightens when Lukas reaches over to touch Sarita’s neck.

She reaches out, idly, deliberately really, to touch Sinclair’s shoulder, then leans a little and sets her other palm on her Alpha’s. She remains that way; silent; all silvery and white and golden beneath the gentle play of moonlight with her pack, embracing another sister. When it’s done; when he tells her she’ll feel it.

Katherine smiles; and says with a little gurgle of laughter, her own brand of delight. “Oh yes, my hair was smoking and a total ruin for days. But in the moment,” she breathes in, out, with relish. “It was pure exhilaration. My body filling with great power, and the sense of purpose, renewed.

That is Perun for me.” She brushes fingers over the flat stone, fondly. Reverently.

[Wyrmbreaker] As a pack, the Unbroken is — if one is honest — a rather civilized group of wolves. At the very least, they can maintain that front. Kate and her high society life. Lukas and his investment accounts, his attention to dress and detail, his car, his cafes, his dinners and hotels. Even Sinclair, easily the most feral of them all, is so seamlessly plugged into her digital world that one can scarcely imagine her without it.

Yet at the same time, there’s a side to them, rarely glimpsed from the outside, that’s deeply and profoundly intuitive. Animal. They touch each other frequently, unlasciviously but fondly, unashamedly. As Lukas’s hand drops from Sarita’s neck, he leans into Sinclair, rubbing his temple against her cheek in a single, lupine push. Then he laughs, plants his hand on the edge of the stone — twists and leaps down, landing softly on the hard-packed ground below. “Okay,” he calls up, “enough talking. Let’s run. Race you guys to the Loft for sandwiches? Last one there has to load the dishwasher!”

Scarcely are the words out of his mouth before Lukas is hitting the ground, blackfurred and four-legged, off like a shot.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] A wide, Cheshire-style grin, and Sarita is suddenly a jackal, chasing after.

[Wyrmbreaker] [thanks for the RP, guys!]

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] [[Thank you too!]]