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!]

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.

Dude, Where’s My Van?

[Jocelyn Burkhart] As always, there’s no resistance when Gabriel urges her into anything. Her hand jams into her pocket, and she leans into the Philodox for a moment before offering her neck to Kora again.

[Imogen] he was all sad when his guts fell out – This earns a brief, sharp glance from Imogen, a shadow of reaction over her mouth. It is faint and fleeting. An acknowledgement of the absurdity of their world.

Her attention returns to her surroundings. She does not shift or fidget. The conversation merely flows around her, as if she were merely a facet of the scenery rather than a participant.

[Kora] “Stand up straight.” The Skald’s dark eyes cut to Gabriel as he intercepts Jocelyn’s half-chewed thumb, bats it away from her mouth. The corner of her mouth rises, minutely. The expression does not quite find its way to her eyes, though, which are steady and direct. She stands with her feet more than shoulder width apart, her shoulders pulled back to counterbalance the weight of her stomach. Glances back to Jocelyn a moment later.

“The rules are, Jocelyn, you don’t leave my territory or the Caern without my permission unless you are sent under leadership of another Garou to deal with a threat to the Caern.
“There aren’t cupcake exceptions. There aren’t sick visit exceptions. There isn’t even an exception for that fucking Rotagar stuck my kitty hat two feet beyond the boundaries and I want it back. Not without my sayso.

“If you want to visit Gabriel, or buy another idiotic hat and it takes you a half inch outside of those boundaries, you have to come find me first. You’ve earned yourself two more weeks of home confinement before I’ll even consider lifting the restrictions.” A brief pause, and here she flicks a look back to Gabriel. ” – but since you’re here you have my permission to stay until midnight, or until your host wants you gone.”

[Jocelyn Burkhart] Which she clearly expects to be now. Her posture straightens though, eyes still carefully avoiding Kora’s

“Yes Rhya.”

[Lukas] It’s a vaguely bizarre experience to catch an afternoon nap at the Loft and wake up to the sound of strangers downstairs. Some instinctive, primitive part of Wyrmbreaker is instantly alert, instantly bristling, the very second he becomes aware of them. The part of him that’s human, or at least raised amongst humans, keeps him from racing to meet the intruders with teeth bared and hackles raised. Snapping and snarling. Driving them out, out, out of his territory before pissing on the nearest tree to re-mark the boundaries.

He still comes downstairs to see what’s what, though. The Ahroun appears in degrees: bare feet first, then blue jeans. Comfortable and old, not at all the sharp designer gear he wears under tailored vests and button-down shirts sometimes. His t-shirt is logoless, dark brown. His hair is mussed. There’s a crease on his cheek where his face pressed to a seam on the couch.

He stares at them, the Fang and the Fenrir and the cub and the kin. Unsmiling and unblinking, a thoroughly feral regard.

[Gabriel Ferreira] [FYI: we’re outside on the sidewalk.]

[Lukas] [what the hell, liz told me you were in the loft! *kicks* okay, well, he’ll just go stare at them on the sidewalk.]

[Kora] (You said are they AT the loft. not IN the loft!)

[Lukas] [i’m still too lazy to change my post. *LOL*]

[Gabriel Ferreira] [We STARTED with Gabriel in the Loft and Joce at the door. YOU GUYS KNOW I CAN’T BE FUCKED CHANGING MY TAGS.]

[Lukas] [BACK IC. *punts everyone*]

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] The Strider hasn’t been seen around the Loft since Wednesday night when she, Kate and Adara fought off some nasties together. She had made sure that Adara was back to the Brotherhood, headed home with Kate and then that night, after waking up screaming an hour after she went to bed, she headed out on her own. She’s been quiet, over the pack link as well. No one at the Loft has seen hide nor hair of them.

Until now.

She’s walking down the street. No van. Who knows where the Bitchmobile is. She looks very, very tired. But she’s not drunk. She’s chain smoking, one of her other sets of clothes that she keeps inside the van on as opposed to the ones that got torn up fighting the things two nights ago. And her steps slow, brow furrowing when she sees a coalition of Garou around the front of the Loft.

“What in Loki’s asscrack is this?” she says, more to herself than anyone else, and she stops about a quarter of a block down to get a gauge on the situation before she comes closer.

[Kora] A brief flicker of the Fenrir’s dark eyes as Lukas appears in the hallway behind Gabriel and Jocelyn. It’s chilly, the threat of rain hanging in the air, a bank of orange clouds overhead. Kora’s left her coat behind in Imogen’s car, and stubbornly refuses to acknowledge the chill. Or the fact that she is standing here, eight months, eight and a half months pregnant, on the stoop of some Silver Fang’s swank residence, disciplining a Modi who was wearing a kitty had until a Silver Fang philodox swiped it off her head.

“I’ll leave that to you,” says Kora, flickering a glance back to Gabriel. “Her charming company for another few hours, or blessed silence in which to enjoy your cupcakes. And heal.”

[Gabriel Ferreira] Wednesday night is about the time that a Fostern Bone Gnawer and one or the other Cliath–Shadow Lord or Child of Gaia, Kate’s tribesman can’t damn well remember; it could have been any of them–carted Resurrection back to the Loft with his head half-caved in and his memory thoroughly obliterated even after healing. Though he himself hasn’t kept a room here, they had been looking for his brother, the Theurge with the bizarre countenance and affinity for the spirit world, with whom he has been staying the last two days.

‘Staying,’ in that he avoids leaving his brother’s room unless absolutely necessary. Were not for the fact that someone at some point alerted Honor’s Compass to the fact that she had company, they might not have even realized he was here. Resurrection doesn’t make a whole hell of a lot of noise.

While he isn’t facing that direction, the press of Rage, the niggling of breeding, from the Adren Lord behind him tugs at his attention. Gabriel doesn’t turn; he’s looking at the Fostern of his student’s tribe as she addresses him.

There aren’t a lot of people out this time of night, and the handkerchief is blowing bloody breath back in his sinuses. Gabriel reaches up to yank it down away from his nose and mouth, revealing the hamburger mess that is the left side of his face, and rubs the back of his neck.

“It looks like we have a makeup lesson to tend to,” he says, without looking at the Cub.

[Jocelyn Burkhart] “Yes, Rhya.”

Because, really, it’s the absolute safest thing that can come out of her mouth, and she’ll limit it to that and shift to heal her tongue from being bitten nearly through later.

[Kora] “Midnight, Jocelyn.” Kora says, fixing the young modi with another look. Her voice brooks no disagreement. “No later.”

Then, at last, she lifts her chin in acknowledgment of Lukas’ presence behind Gabriel and Jocelyn. “Wyrmbreaker-rhya.” Her voice is low, clear and direct. The name is both greeting and leavetaking, so it seems. “Apologies if we interrupted you sleep. Goodnight.”

And with that, the Skald turns around to take her leave, cutting a look to Imogen as she does. “Thanks for the ride, Doc.” That’s even more quiet than her usual low tone. “Do you know if there’s a Dairy Queen around here?”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She flicks her cigarette out into the street, pulling out another one on instinct but hesitating and putting it back. People are dispersing and she approaches, giving nods to Kora, who she knows, and Imogen, who she doesn’t as she makes her way to the door.

Gabriel and Jocelyn get passing nods as well. The Strider doesn’t look very talkative today. She only slightly double-takes at Gabriel’s new look.

[Imogen] Imogen glances briefly toward Lukas, appearing in the hallway beyond, somewhat sleep rumpled. The touch of her eyes serves as a greeting, before she offers a brief ‘Enjoy yer evening’ to both Fang and Cub, glancing at Kora as she turns with the Fenrir.

“I believe you’ve mistaken me fer someone else,” is the response to the question regarding Dairy Queen. In more words than necessary, then, she means: No, I have no idea.

[Jocelyn Burkhart] “Midnight, Rhya. Not a second later. Thank you.”

[Lukas] None of the three Garou gathered near the front of the Loft look at Lukas for more than a split-second. Two of them don’t look at him at all. It’s impossible to ignore his presence there though — dark, towering, rumbling with understated rage.

It always seems overcast and stormy over the Loft these days. Umbraside, falcon gafflings wing overhead, surfing thermals, cutting through the wind. Cockroaches with faintly metallic sheens — possibly to Kate’s great dismay — skitter along the cracks and the crevices. These days, on occasion, owls roost under the roof overhangs.

Kora addresses him eventually. That’s when he steps down from the stoop, crossing the distance out to the small gathering. His footsteps are quiet; leisurely. He returns Kora’s greeting with a nod.

“Aren’t you going to greet your elder?” This is to Gabriel and Jocelyn. His tone is low, uninflected. Hard to tell if it’s meant at all in jest. “What’s going on here?”

Whatever the answer is, he seems only mildly interested. He speaks to Kora instead, “You see the land developments near the Caern?”

[Jocelyn Burkhart] She’s going to keep her goddamned mouth shut as much as possible is what she’s going to do. The tilt of her head changes just a bit, so that her neck is offered to Lukas instead of Kora now. Just in case.

“Good evening Rhya”

[Gabriel Ferreira] Aren’t you going to greet your elder?

When Resurrection turns around to face Cold Victory, no one would blame the Adren for not recognizing him. Those are his shoes, and he’s dressed like he typically does, in well-tailored monochromes, but–yeah I’m done describing the fact that he’s fucked up if it isn’t abundantly clear by now it won’t be with another repetition. He doesn’t look familiar, unless one only focuses on the right side of his face.

“-rhya,” he echoes Jocelyn.

What’s going on here?

Lukas is only mildly interested, and ends up addressing Kora before the Silver Fang can summon the inner fortitude necessary to make his face move to answer. No matter. He turns to Jocelyn, and says, “C’mon, walk me to the Caern. I’ll carry the damn cupcakes.”

He says ‘damn’ with some fondness.

“I’m keeping the hat, though.”

[Jocelyn Burkhart] There are so many things that would usually cause a protest in that. She’s walking a tightrope right now though, so instead she sucks it up.

That’s two kitty hats down, two to go now.

“They’re red velvet.” This as she takes his arm, nodding to Lukas without looking at him, so that she doesn’t irritate anyone else any further.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] After a moment, her nerve gives out for whatever reason and instead of hitting the door, she just continues on down the street.

[Gabriel Ferreira] “Really?”

And they’re off, Gabriel walking more or less of his own volition. Letting the Fenrir teenager hold his arm seems to be more for her benefit than for his, but he doesn’t have as much pride to swallow as her tribe does.

“Have you been talking to Hanna? You’re the best student ever, don’t let anyone ever tell you different.”

[I’m being kicked out of the cafe, I’ll see you assholes when I get to work tomorrow! Thanks for the scene, all!]

[Kora] When Sarita comes around the corner, heading toward the loft, the Skald lifts her chin by way of acknowledgment. The gesture is accompanied by a brief touch of her dark eyes on the Silent Strider’s face. Kora steps out of the way, clearing the path for Sarita to head toward the pair on the stoop.

“I mean – ” to Imogen. “if there was a Dairy Queen close by, you might’ve been there. Probably would’ve been a half-dozen murders there over the years. Ice cream headaches. Fucked up orders. Robberies gone wrong. Blood in the soft serve machine, yeah? Marshmallow creme in the butterfinger Blizzards.”

Here, Kora flickers a look back to the contrite Jocelyn. She is about to say something when Lukas steps around the pair, past them, down the stoop. So the heavily pregnant Skald’s attention swings, lifting upward to match Lukas’ walk toward her. She turns, pivots, hands finding their way back to the front pockets of her low slung jeans. The gray cotton maternity tee pulls over the swell of her stomach, and is long enough to reach her hips. Her elbows are narrow against her body, framing her stomach.

He asks about the land developments. Kora shakes her head, “No. What land developments?”

When she goes to the Caern these days, she walks through the umbra. She cannot fit through the chain link fence. And somehow it seems a helluva lot more suspicious with a pregnant woman ducking into abandoned docks than a teenager in worn cloths and combat boots.

[Lukas] The Shadow Lord’s presence follows her, brushing her mind-to-mind, pacing her a while before offering a quietly curious: Where’re you going?
to cricket, Sarita Ecos de la Risa

[Imogen] “They all blend together after a while,” she answers Kora – and had been, perhaps, about to say more when Lukas addresses the Fenrir Jarl. Kora turns to speak, and Imogen’s gaze moves once more around their surroundings.

An unknown Garou starts toward the door of the loft, but then, for whatever reason, changes her mind, turning and heading back down the street. Imogen watches absently, a hand lifting to push hair back from her face.

This time, her attention is not quite so deliberately averted. Though she keeps her awareness to their surroundings, there is no impression of her ignoring the conversation between Shadow Lord and Fenrir.

[Carter Roth] The Loft, to many garou it was a place of safe harbour. A place that was worth your time to come in, have a seat, have a chat with the those who lived there, if of course you were invited. Carter for his part, had recently if perhaps not entirely of his own volition, become a resident there. And as was so often the case in such places, smoking was strictly forbidden within the loft itself. Or at least Carter like to imagine this was the case so he could take a bit to step outside and stroll the neighbourhood, never wandering to far.

It seemed that it was time for a smoke break, as the door to the loft suddenly swung open and Carter stood framed in the doorway, combat boots, combat pants, his old leather jacket and a cigarette hanging from his mouth, the lighter just lit so that he could light up.

The presence of the garou just beyond the confines of the loft gave Carter pause, a momentary lapse in his step. But he recovers quickly, and perhaps to the surprise of those gathered there. He steps out and closes the door behind him, lighting the smoke as it clicked close. He grins crookedly at the gathered individuals and let a puff of smoke clear through his nose before speaking.

“Huh, its a convention.”

[Lukas] “Go have a look for yourself next time you’re there,” Lukas says. He’s — distant for a moment, his pale eyes drifting past the women to his packmate. Then back. “In short, there’s some land development company breaking ground to put in a ‘waste repurposing site’. Last month one of the kin – Starla – stole a USB drive that turned out to contain some pretty sensitive information. Apparently the mob’s behind new toxic waste dumpsites along the river and the shore. Seems like this might be one of those sites.

“I’ve no doubt the Garou of the Sept are going to want to go in there and break some heads, but I’m not entirely sure that’ll help. I’m going to keep a lid on that, at least barring any emergency we have to respond to immediately. It’s best if we let our people pull strings and play this in the mortal arena for now.

“That angry kin of yours. Izzy Montoya. I had an interesting discussion with her the other day. She’s hardly anyone’s sweetheart, but she seemed hardy and willing to help. It might be useful to put some police pressure on the Scarpescis. Keep them distracted while others look into throwing a wrench into their plans. Could you ask her to look into it, and get in touch with Dani&+269;ka or Matthieu to keep the kin on the same page?”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She’s closed off. She had been told once, before she had joined the pack, that she had a tendency to keep herself at a distance, about her sister for example. Over the last month since she’s been packed, that tendency has slowly evaporated. In the last thirty-six hours though, between her taking off in the wee hours of the morning on Wednesday/Thursday and her guardedness now, it’s back and strong.

I’m just taking a walk. Thought I’d stop by and chill for a bit, but the place seems crowded and I still need some air, I think.
to cricket, Lukas

[Imogen] Imogen glances up briefly toward Lukas, though she’s not been addressed. Her eyebrow arches slightly at the description of Izzy. “Yeh make her sound a bit like a goat,” she says, offhanded, more observation than anything else.

“S’likely better t’get any interested kinfolk t’gether to talk about their plans and get them on th’same page rather than askin’ our liaisons t’play operator in a game o’ chinese whispers. Ha’ a concentrated plan tha’ the liaisons can then pass on t’the Garou.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She disappears around the corner, throwing a quick glance back at the people assembled just before she does.

[Lukas] There’s a sense of thoughtfulness, quiet. Then:

Everything all right?
to Sarita Ecos de la Risa

[Lukas] There’s a sense of thoughtfulness, quiet. Then:

Everything all right?
to cricket, Sarita Ecos de la Risa

[Kora] “You mean the Black Hole Sun people, yeah?” There’s a spark of recognition, then, in the dark-eyed Fenrir woman’s gaze. The light sheens across the surface of her eyes as she cuts a to Imogen, then back to Lukas. “Roman’s been in and out already, monkeywrenching. He took out most of their heavy equipment, made it all look like pretty juvenile vandalism. Still, it’ll delay the work by a few days. Maybe a week or more. Hell,” Kora shrugs, narrowly. ” – maybe longer. Depends on how deep their pockets are.”

The Skald cuts a sideglance at Imogen as the kinswoman speaks, then lifts her chin as she sweeps a look back to Lukas. “I’ll see what Izzy can spark in the Police Department. She’ll need whatever information you have on the Scarpesis. Though she’s in homicide, not organized crime. Won’t have as much control on where things go from the outside, I imagine,” here she looks back to Imogen to confirm or refute her assumptions. Kora’s entire knowledge of the criminal process comes from reruns of Law and Order on Icelandic television.

In Icelandic, natch.

[Kora] In Icelandic***, natch.

*Which she doesn’t actually speak.
**Badly dubbed, no less. Icelandic Iron Chef was her favorite. Translated from Japanese to English and English to some godforsaken –

[Carter Roth] Carter had gone unnoticed so far, but then…he was simply standing at the door, and his words had largely been for himself. He took several steps forward then, feeling the rage pushing against his skin, and for once….it didn’t bother him quite so much.

But that of course doesn’t undo years of problems, and as Carter addressed the gathered individuals it was made clear that that was the case. “Sounds like your planning a full blow puppeteer campaign.” He said in that gruff, rumbling voice of his as he stepped up to the group.

“Sounds like fun.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] A mental shrug. There’s a sense of weariness, some paranoia creeping in to boot. But even that is slight.

Just not sleeping well since the other night. Run-in with a…thing on guard duty. Kate knows, she was there.
to cricket, Lukas

[Lukas] “I’ll put a copy on GW.net’s secured FTP, courtesy of my packmate. We’ll get her a temporary passcode so she can download it. Tell her to watch her back, though. Starla apparently got threatened.”

His kin — by far his most troublesome kin — is coming up the path. The hesitation at seeing Garou is less than one might expect. Lukas notes this; he notes Carter as well, and nods him over.

“Carter, why don’t you listen in. Maybe you can offer some insight.” That’s unusual. For the past couple weeks, Lukas has been keeping Carter away from other Garou and kin whenever possible.

Imogen addresses him directly. If this surprises the Shadow Lord — the Adren, the Ahroun that even other wolves don’t look directly at for long — it’s only in the quickness with which his glacial eyes flick to the kinswoman.

“I work with what I have,” he says. He’s a different breed of Ahroun: there’s a measuredness to his words, a steadiness in his manner. “I’d love if the kin could get themselves organized enough to turn out a single coherent plan, but the last progress I heard of the coalition was at that meeting the other night. As far as I know, there’s no leadership and not much of a coalition to speak of, and I can’t wait for them to get themselves sorted out before putting people on this issue.

“The Grand Elder spoke well of you that night though,” he adds. “There was some expectation that you’d spearhead the coalition after that. To tell you the truth, I’m surprised that you haven’t yet. Did no one tell you?”

[Lukas] [gah! i didn’t see carter’s post. delete the part that addresses him, i’ll rewrite.]

[Lukas] “I’ll put a copy on GW.net’s secured FTP, courtesy of my packmate. We’ll get her a temporary passcode so she can download it. Tell her to watch her back, though. Starla apparently got threatened.”

Imogen addresses him directly. If this surprises the Shadow Lord — the Adren, the Ahroun that even other wolves don’t look directly at for long — it’s only in the quickness with which his glacial eyes flick to the kinswoman.

“I work with what I have,” he says. He’s a different breed of Ahroun: there’s a measuredness to his words, a steadiness in his manner. “I’d love if the kin could get themselves organized enough to turn out a single coherent plan, but the last progress I heard of the coalition was at that meeting the other night. As far as I know, there’s no leadership and not much of a coalition to speak of, and I can’t wait for them to get themselves sorted out before putting people on this issue.

“The Grand Elder spoke well of you that night though,” he adds. “There was some expectation that you’d spearhead the coalition after that. To tell you the truth, I’m surprised that you haven’t yet. Did no one tell you?”

His kin — by far his most troublesome kin — is coming up the path. The hesitation at seeing Garou is less than one might expect. Lukas notes this; he notes Carter as well. He’s lived at the Loft a while now. Seen enough of the pack, and of Lukas, to know that sometimes the Shadow Lord is amicable. Friendly, playful with his pack, almost gentle.

Not when he wakes up to strangers congregating on the lawn, apparently. Not when he wakes to heavy machinery banging on the proverbial walls of the Caern. There isn’t much patience in him tonight as he regards Roth.

“Carter, if you’d like to contribute to solving the problem we’ve got on hand, I’d gladly welcome whatever input you have. But if you’re just going to snark, go bother Lucille.”

[Lukas] Another few seconds of thought. Then, Well. If you need us to stay close, we will. If you want to hang out with us, we’re here. But if you need space, I get that too. I won’t push, all right?

Just … we are here for you. I know you’re still not really used to that, and maybe can’t even trust it 100% yet, but we are.
to cricket, Sarita Ecos de la Risa

[Imogen] Kora glances in her direction and the doctor nods. “She won’t be able t’investigate them fully, but there are undoubtedly several ways we can mire ’em in paperwork. Slow them down, inspect their property, invalidate their permits.”

When Lukas speaks of his surprise, Imogen’s mouth twists into a narrow smirk. “That is likely not the first nor the last time I will ha’ disappointed a Full-blood’s expectations.”

The irony of that – speaking of disappointment that Garou may have in her, in the same moments he speaks of the Grand Elder of the Sept speaking well of her.

“But my comment wasn’t idle advice. Half-bloods ha’ gotten together t’come up wi’ a coherent plan before, wi’out the word ‘coalition’ applied. I imagine we can do it again. I’ll need as much detail as possible, and some assistance in gettin’ the word out, but it’s better than everyone runnin’ off individually.”

[Imogen] The kinswoman glances briefly at Carter when he speaks, when Lukas addresses him, but she does not speak to him yet.

[Kora] Kora shifts, pulls her shoulders back, stretching her back to relieve some of the burden the weight of late pregnancy puts on her spine. Her hands slip from her front pockets, long fingers splay over her hips as she stretches. This is her only concession to the discomfort. After, she crosses her arms beneath her breasts, over the swell of her stomach, watching and listening to Lukas, a subtle frown tugging the corners of her mouth downward.

A flicker of a look toward Imogen when she speaks, is followed by a supple twist of her mouth. “I’m not sure you need all the kinfolk involved, either. Just those who have something to contribute. There’s that proverb about cooks and soup, and chains and weak links.”

[Carter Roth] Carter laughs at Wyrmbreakers words, and to some, it might sound sour and unkind, but then that just might be Carters way. He looks at Wyrmbreaker directly, something he has never been afraid to do, looking the man in the eyes before he speaks once more.

“What snark? I was being honest…it sounds like fun.” He lets a crooked, some might say rakish grin cross his features as he regarded the others. “And a Puppet Campaign has never been a laughing matter. They’re deadly, effective, and only dangerous to those who are doing the immediate string pulling.” Of course…this meant the kin, but amazingly Carter says nothing in regards to that.

“It targets resources, infrastructure, and specialized personnel offensively, while using politics and figureheads to erode the support of the enemy.” He looks up at Lukas like he should know these things.

“I prefer to slash and burn…but thats just me, and I don’t think explosives are readily available in Chicago.” He looks directly at Kora then and shrugs. “Every person has something to contribute, even if its just a body. That being said, it all depends on what exactly you want to do.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] There is a moment of wavering indecision.

I’ll be fine. And I know…thanks. I just gotta sort some shit out.

A pause. …and find my van. I don’t remember where I parked it.
to cricket, Lukas

[Lukas] “Not everyone needs to contribute in the doing,” Lukas replies, “but I want everyone in the know. Otherwise you get redundant or counterproductive efforts.

“Keep the Liaisons in the loop, whatever it is you end up doing.” This is to Imogen. “They’ll do the rest and spread the word amongst everyone else, and I’ll check in with them occasionally. As for the information, Dani&+269;ka has the files if you don’t want to download them off FTP. Simon was spearheading the investigation last month, too, but it may have stalled a bit since.”

It takes some amount of trust for Lukas to even consider letting Carter — he who was not so long ago banned altogether from Kora’s territory, amongst other things — join the little discussion. He watches Carter cautiously when the kinsman starts to speak. When it doesn’t turn out to be another rant against the tyrants, Lukas’s shoulders relax a notch. He seems faintly surprised.

“I think most the Garou would agree with slash and burn, but the problem with that is then they come back in greater numbers. And with guns. Or worse, lawsuits. We’ll fight this one on human turf as much as we can. Which reminds me, Sorrow — Roman’s little sabotaging mission might have been a success, but it’s a temporary measure at best, and will likely just make them increase their security. Tell him to hold off on that until we really need him to cut some wires.”

[Lukas] A moment of something like worry, and then Lukas puts it aside. Sarita’s a grown-ass wolf.

Try the junkyard, he suggests helpfully.
to cricket, Sarita Ecos de la Risa

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] A faint mental smile, maybe a hint of amusement. Slightly forced…but only slightly. That’s something, at least.

Don’t worry, boss-man. I was parked. Only way it’s junked is if I parked in a no parking zone, which I don’t think I did.
to cricket, Lukas

[Kora] “If they aren’t involved in the doing, –rhya,” the Skald returns, a subtle twist to her mouth. “They won’t be creating redundant or counterproductive efforts. Respectfully, this sort of thing should be restricted to those who will or can contribute. Keeping everyone in the loop just erodes the loop. You want a comprehensive plan and a group willing and able to implement it, not a flash mob of half-informed, questionably skilled people with a step by step knowledge of our plan to deal with the enemy.

“One foolish slip of the tongue, one wrong turn, one well-meaning but poorly trained ally,” a supple, half-made shrug. “One kidnapping, and all bets are off. They have not just everyone, but everything, and therefore the means to counter it. You need an open call to those who have the time, energy, and skills to contribute. If they need bodies, they can reach out and pull others in.”

To the last, Kora offers a narrow shrug. “I’ll talk to Roman.”

[Lukas] [sorry bout the silence – waiting on imogen!]

[Imogen] She is quiet briefly, her gaze moving aside, touching the street. She is a delicate woman, slight in height, but strong, supple, the power of her body clear in the flat plane of her stomach, the set of her shoulders, the arch of her back. She does not, nor will she ever, look quite like a warrior, though some of her grace is born from the same root of strength. She is economical. No extra moment of energy is wasted. No movement is unnecessary.

When she looks away, it is a moment to think. Kora speaks, and Imogen hears her, though she does not look.

“I suspect,” she says, “tha’ the group o’ us could talk technique until the sun came up, and th’only benefit we will get from it is th’lack o’ sleep.”

A turn toward Lukas, “I would appreciate th’same password and details yeh intend fer Detective Montoya t’make their way to me as well. I will get th’word out tha’ I am lookin’ fer kinfolk o’ a specific skillset or tha’ are already workin’ in this manner. If yeh ha’ passed directions on t’others, I’d appreciate their names so I can make sure they are included.

“I will make sure the liaisons are invited, as i am familiar wi’ their intended role in the Sept. My view in this case would be tha’ they would pass on th’details o’ the plans to you, and those o’ the Sept who must know, and tha’ if they discover a kinfolk or Garou makin’ efforts toward the same goal – namely the slowing or the haltin’ o’ the work near the caern – they will direct them t’me, so I can keep track o’ who is doin’ what, why and how.

“The goal will be t’coordinate and share ideas and provide a forum fer communication. Make sure everyone knows what everyone else is doin’ so they can work together or keep things separately as necessary. I expect t’be able to do tha’ with a minimum o’ lecturing and interference.”

A pause.

“Is that agreeable?”

[Carter Roth] “Wrong type of Slash and Burn.” Carter says as he folds his arms infront of himself. “Burn refers to the acquisition or termination of enemy resources. Slash refers to the speed at which you do so. Which is fast. Puppet Campaigns take years to set up and execute.” He explains it casually like its something common for others to know.

“The methodology differ’s massively, explosives are fun, but bribery, blackmail and hostage taking aren’t bad ideas either.” He pauses and looks about one more time as he inhales on the cigarette. “My professional opinion? Target the these peoples families, it doesn’t have to get messy…but a few key hostages can pave the way for all kinds of fast, clean solutions. You just have to do it right.” He offers in counter point to Kora’s words as he tossed the cigarette asside.

“Eitherway…your going to do what your going to do….I’ll just be headed back to my cell, I mean my room.” He says with another grin as he turned to walk away headed back to the Loft.

[Lukas] […er.]

[Simon Zahradnik] Simon arrives at the Loft quietly enough. He stands just outside the door, and he knocks three times before waiting to be let in. Things were heating up a little at the moment and Simon’s eyes flared with anger to reveal what the Full Moon was thinking. He had come out here intent on speaking to Lukas in person and so there he was standing just outside waiting… Being patient. However the patience of the Full Moon was wearing thin. The sheep have come knocking at the wolves door… And still they must continue to wear their pretty woolen coats. Somewhere the line must be drawn and this was where the discussion needed to go. He was here to speak to the war leader of the sept because so far as he sees it the Mob has declared war on their sept. These are not your typical men… They play in the Shadows.

In the tribal homeland they were known by names names and in many regions. The Russian mob had crossed them, the KGB had crossed them, all manner of local criminals and rogue military forces had crossed them. These were people who knew… Perhaps not what they were dealing with… But they knew that there were certain people you simply did not cross. The kinds of people who made people disappear. The kinds of people who made the most battle hardened soldier tremble in fear screaming when forced to confront the memory of what it was forced to witness. In their homeland they were known by many names to many people but among themselves they were known simply as Shadow Lords.

The mob has not known them. Perhaps they have not crossed them? Perhaps they simply do not know… Whatever the case a lesson must be taught. There are those people in this world who no one crosses and Bone-Grinder stood ready to remind them, or at least teach them in the first place.

[Lukas] [BTW, we’re out on the porch!]

Before Carter takes off — “Hold on a second, Carter.”

He listens to Kora and Imogen, then. Something about what Kora says sends a frisson of rage through Lukas. He controls it. He always does. Almost. Imogen is attended to as well. Heard, even after Kora — her warder — has spoken. Afterward, there’s a beat of thought.

“You and yours aren’t the only ones who’ll want to do something to defend their homes, Kora,” he says, then. “Imogen – if you manage to get some kin together to work on this, then I’ll make sure the liaisons and whoever else is interested show up at your planning session. I’m more than willing to do that.

“But the bottom line is others will jump to help, Kora. And they won’t all fall neatly in line. Imogen didn’t make it to the sept kin meeting the other night. Who’s to say Simon might not make it out to whatever meeting Imogen plans? That’s not even taking into account differences in personality and approach. If no one knows what everyone else is doing, we’ll have a dozen different approaches and nothing will get accomplished.

“I understand your concerns about security. Unfortunately, they don’t outweigh this Sept’s need for unity against a threat. I’ll take your thoughts into account when deciding how to distribute information, but at the end of the day, I want your kin keeping the Liaisons informed. I’d ask nothing else of anyone else working on the problem.”

— and there’s Simon. Lukas nods him over as well.

“You see the mess outside the Caern?”

[Carter Roth] Carter holds up, and looks back over his shoulder at Lukas with a momentary sense of annoyance as he waits.

[Simon Zahradnik] He takes in a breath and nods his head.”I had hoped we’d be able to stop this before it became a problem, but they’re going to push ahead. So far we’ve found no evidence this is anything more than coincidence… Whatever the case they’re going after the Brotherhood now and soon enough it’ll be the Caern. I can’t allow that to happen.”He says back to Lukas.

“These people aren’t your usual sort. If they can’t get their way one way or another they’ll use something else. Whether that means hiring thugs to beat up our kin… Burning down our territory… Or anything else. They will neither bend or break and will not hesitate to break the law to get their way. Even if they’re using the law at the moment.”He says softly.

“I don’t give a flying fuck what they wanna do… But people need to know not to fuck with the docks in this city. Someone needs to teach them a lesson.”

[Lukas] Moments ago, there was a mental laugh — somewhat distracted.

Then, a burst of uncharacteristic irritation: If the fucking Fenrir don’t want to be a part of this Sept, why don’t they just make their own damn viking longhouse Sept?
to cricket, Sarita Ecos de la Risa

[Kora] “You misunderstood me. I never said that anyone should be excluded. I said that the planning sessions should be self-selecting. Those people who want to do something and have the skills and contacts to be involved should come. But the rest of the Sept, the kin who look out the window at the site and have no idea how to help shouldn’t attend. Clearly, the liaisons should attend the planning meetings as well. I’m sure I have no intention of excluding them, and I’m not sure where you got that idea.”

[Kora] (also with mei, I need to sleep a half-hour ago!)

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] There’s a pause, and the randomness of that rant is enough to bring the Strider out of her shiny new shell for a moment.

Wait, what? I’ve heard of Fenrir separatists before, but that’s a new twist on it…

It’s said as a joke, clearly. The No-Moon’s instincts are kicking in, and she has a need to lift her Alpha’s mood. What are the GrrSnarlSmashers griping about now?
to cricket

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] There’s a pause, and the randomness of that rant is enough to bring the Strider out of her shiny new shell for a moment.

Wait, what? I’ve heard of Fenrir separatists before, but that’s a new twist on it…

It’s said as a joke, clearly. The No-Moon’s instincts are kicking in, and she has a need to lift her Alpha’s mood. What are the GrrSnarlSmashers griping about now?
to cricket, Lukas

[Lukas] “If I misunderstood you, Kora, then that’s my mistake.” A pause; then, “Your tribe’s never been the open sort. I can empathize; the same could be said for mine. And to be sure, there’s a hell lot of resentment and distrust between our people. If I wrongly mistook something you said as some sign of insularity or possessiveness, then accept my apology.

“The bottom line is this. I want anyone who wants to help, who can help, to get in on the action. They’re talking about possibly putting a toxic waste dump next to the Caern. The Caern. I want everyone we have working on this.

“Which includes you, Carter. You’ve been on house arrest for … what, two weeks now? Semi-miraculously, you haven’t blown the place up yet, and you sound like you have ideas, whether or not you have the means. If you want to pitch in, then I’ll clear you to go to this meeting Imogen’s planning.”

[Carter Roth] Carter smirks at the words Lukas offers him and he nods in agreement. “I’ll see if it fits into my oh so busy schedule…but I might be able to make it.

He looks to Imogen and gives her a nod before turns to walk back to the loft, done with socializing for the evening it seems.

[Sorry guys, outta juice I’m out! thanks for letting me play.]

[Lukas] Ugh, just —

— growling. Then, calmer:

I just told Kora about the issue with the Caern and the dumpsite they’re trying to put next to it. Wanted her to bring her kin on board, especially the grumpy cop. First thing she does is think of ways to shut people out, keep information locked down, when we should be worrying about how to make sure everyone knows and gets to work. She’s backing off now and saying that’s not what she meant, but forgive me if it’s hard not to consider her a bit of a recluse given how rarely I even see her.
to cricket, Sarita Ecos de la Risa

[Lukas] [night man! thanks for coming in!]

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] You know…if someone told me three months ago that a Shadow Lord would be arguing inclusiveness, I’d have laughed my ass off. Stop fucking with my perception of the world, dude. That’s MY job. Do you see me going around, leading the charge into battle and being all grumpy and shit? She pauses, before adding, …wait, don’t answer that.

The old Sarita is back, at least for the moment. Some people are gonna be bitches, boss. Ain’t nothing you can do against that. Best way to change her mind is to get her to get her people in, even if she’s all bitchy about it, and show her that it works. You can argue ideals. You can never argue results.
to cricket, Lukas, mantis

[Simon Zahradnik] Simon’s attention turns on Carter as the man walks away.”There are plenty of kin who actually have a use to people. A kin without loyalty and a respect for authority is as dangerous to us as any enemy. I can’t recommend putting Carter on much of anything Rhya. It is, of course, your choice but I have no faith in a man who is incapable of accepting and respecting authority. Especially in the middle of a war.”

[Kora] (gah, Sorry. I was kinda waiting for mei, I think, and she was waiting for me.)

[Imogen] (sorry you guys, I’m like. Dead over here. This was completely my bad.)

[Simon Zahradnik] [This makes me a very sad panda 😦 ]

[Kora] Kora’s dark eyes flicker once toward Simon as he opines on the enemy’s mob connections. The look is spare, passing, reserved. When she looks back to Lukas, her expression is mostly unchanged: still. The faintly curving mouth, the clear dark eyes, the sharp lines of the bones of her face underneath her pale, northern skin.

“I think we were saying nearly the same thing. In different ways. If you’ll excuse me, now – ” here she stretches, stiffly. It’s cold outside, and her coat is still in Imogen’s car. Kora holds her shoulders firm against the chill so as not to shiver, but the tension in her frame leaves her muscles pulled tight, and aching after standing so long outside. “Good night.”

There’s no grace left in her when she turns; it’s hard to see the wolf in the way she walks. Everything thing about her body is thrown off by the weight of her late pregnancy. Still, she glows with it; her hair is longer, gleaming, her skin pale and clear. She has gained weight, a new fullness even to her cheeks and jaw. Halfway back to the car, she stretches again, plants her hands in the small of her back and arches her spine, not luxuriously, but thoroughly so that she draws in a sharp breath near the end.

“If there was a dairy queen,” she says, as they walk back to Imogen’s car. A bit mournfully. ” – I bet they’re closed by now.”

[Lukas] You’re right. And believe me, I know it. One of the first things I learned was to keep my eye on the ball. Ignore the minor B.S. for the bigger problems. And believe me, I’m not snarling in her face, as much as I want to. Just — letting off steam in here so I can deal with her fairly ‘out there’, even if she’s not quite giving me the same benefit of doubt.

Not yet, hopefully.
to cricket, Sarita Ecos de la Risa

[Lukas] [thanks for the RP, sleeping ones!]

[Imogen] The kinswoman is still now – after Lukas’s comment, she had no reply. There is none necessary. She is quiet as Kora and Lukas speak, Simon as well, her attention briefly resting on Carter’s departing back.

Kora turns to go, and Imogen does as well, offering a brief, “Goodnight,” to no one in particular. She does not stop as Kora does, apparently not all that solicitous of her late pregnancy and in fact, quite the opposite. She glances up from finding her keys in her handbag, an eyebrow arching slightly.

“I imagine so,” she says, as if it were not strange that a Fenrir Skald was lamenting the lost chance at a blizzard.

The Aston Martin doors open, and both women step inside, entirely different in the way they move and get into the low-sitting vehicle. The engine roars to life, and a moment later, pulls away from the curb headed – elsewhere.

[Imogen] (thanks for the RP!)

[Simon Zahradnik] He watches Kora turn to leave. He didn’t know the full extent of their discussion so he didn’t bother to interject into whatever it was they had been addressing. Simon had come here for a reason and that is what he would see through. THough he does take the time to watch both women depart before returning his attention to Lukas.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She turns around the corner she came from not so long ago, making her way back toward the loft. She’s got a cigarette between her lips, and she looks a bit less twitchy than she did before. She glances at Kora and Imogen’s car as they leave, then over to Lukas and Simon.

“Man, I love my van, but that is a NICE car.”

[Lukas] The Fenrir contingent departs. Lukas turns to Simon then.

“I agree,” he says. “But I’d like to think Carter’s coming around, and this is his trial by fire. Whether or not he admits it, he came here of his own accord that night. He could have made me drag him kicking and screaming. He didn’t. He allowed himself to be put in solitude to reflect. I think his hostility comes from a sort of fear so intense it mutates into hate. These days, he fears us less. He’s still bitchy, but bitching isn’t quite the same thing as rebellion and disrespect. Maybe I can even get him to respect us a little more.

“To do that, though, I have to show him some amount of trust. And this is a good opportunity. He came up with his own plan. He’ll be there under Dani&+269;ka’s eye, and under Matthieu’s. And Imogen’s, for that matter. Whatever else that woman is, I doubt she tolerates bullshit.

“If he can prove himself a contributing member of the Nation, then that’s better for all of us than a liability we need to keep locked up. And if he can’t, and he proves that all this time alone hasn’t changed the intrinsic way he thinks and behaves, then — maybe it’s time to give up on him.”

A pause.

“Anyway. I heard what you said about the Caern issue earlier. And I know you want to break some heads. But now’s not the time. If you kill one man, someone else will take his place next week. And the human authorities will protect them against the murderers and criminals we’ll become. But if we get their whole operation rooted out, exposed before human courts and shut down by human law, it’ll not just solve this problem — it’ll take away one of the Wyrm’s tools in this region. Permanently.”

[Lukas] A low laugh, then. Lukas is still barefoot, looking like maybe he got up from a nap not too long ago. “The Aston Martin? Yeah. I wouldn’t have expected Imogen Slaughter to drive a James Bond car, but there you have it.

“You find your van?” He starts heading for the warmth of the Loft, nodding his pack- and tribemate after him.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Naah, didn’t make it far enough. I have NO fucking idea where I parked the damn thing.”

She looks after the car as she follows Lukas. “That’s Imogen, eh? Hmm. Thought she’d be taller somehow.”

[Simon Zahradnik] He turns his attention on Sarita.”I ran into your sister the other night. I just wanna extend a little warning. I understand that she’s your tribe and your flesh and blood and all… But she challenged me directly. I’m not telling you how to deal with your own kin, and family or anything. However I would advise making sure it never happens again. I don’t wanna have to be the one to do that for you. I’m not trying to make a threat or anything… I am just saying that it’s best someone who she knows and cares for deals with it. Rather than someone she doesn’t.”He says back to Sarita calmly.

Too many concessions are being made for these kin. Too many garou bending backwards to appease kinfolk and somehow make this war more comfortable for them. Someone had to be the voice of reason. Someone had to stand ready to keep the kin in line. If he had to be the bad guy that is what he would be. Dissent must be addressed at it’s source, after all, and it seemed easier if Simon left Sarita to handle her own kin.

He then turns his attention back to Lukas. Green eyes focused and a nod of his head given.”We stand ready to give our lives for our kinfolk… Most of us would not hesitate to do so. I honestly do not feel a Kin should have to be given the chance to prove whether they have the same loyalty to as as we do to them.”He says with a shrug of his shoulders.”You are kind to give him a chance rhya and I strongly hope that he proves my doubts about him wrong.”He adds.

“You are correct Rhya someone will take his place… Someone who will understand what happens when you play on our turf.”He says.”If we have the local authorities deal with this matter it will address the Scarpesci family… But the power vaccum will be filled in a matter of days. If not from one of the local mob families then from the Russian Mob or one of the other groups. However if a few of the leaders of the most prominent crime family in the city wash up in the lake Rhya. The other families… And the other groups will understand the message. That we do not care how rich or powerful you are. There are some who simply should not be crossed by anyone. If you’re worried about the local authorities I wouldn’t be… They’re as crooked as the criminals who are paying their paychecks. The Scarpescis wash up in the lake someone else will just buy up their “contracts”.”He says back to Lukas.

“A message is something that will ripple from the top all the way to the bottom. No one is gonna cry for a couple crooks who built their lives off exploiting others. If anything those cops who aren’t crooked will thank us for handling the assholes who they couldn’t touch for lack of evidence. We do this the legal way… Someone under them will just step forward and plead guilty to everything.”He says softly.”I am not attempting to challenge your decision Rhya but I would like you to know where I stand on the matter before a final decision is made. I’ve spent my entire life dealing with shit heads like this. Jail is a joke to them… But they all understand strength Rhya. All animals understand force.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She gives a sigh, rolls her eyes a bit. “Simon. Buddy. Bubbie. I’m sure she did so. She’s workin’ on being better about that kind of thing. Even if she did act up, she handled herself pretty well at the meeting, I thought, with everyone piling shit on her. One of two times she snapped out of line, it was to argue the point that everyone thinks she wouldn’t, that kin are not equals to us in the Nation and thus cutting in line was fine.”

“That being said,” she adds, brow raising. “I ain’t makin’ excuses for her. An’ I can talk to her. But you need to deal with her mate, Stefan. She’s your tribe now, Simon, and she’s under his protection.”

[Lukas] “Seven feet tall,” Lukas quips, “lightning bolts out of her eyes and fireballs out of her arse? I’m afraid you’ve been disappointed. We’ll go cruising for your van later, though.”

He listens to Simon then. And he does listen. The argument’s compelling, for what it’s worth, and it appeals to the violent, animal core in Lukas. Still, in the end, he shakes his head.

“Believe me, Simon, if and when we need to send a message, it’ll be you I think of first. But we don’t know how far up this goes, or who really pulls the strings, or how many crooked cops and politicians they carry in their pockets. You’re right. It’s possible they’ll respond to a show of strength by backing down. But it’s also possible they’ll respond by turning more against us than we can handle. By driving us into the lake with warrants, eviction orders, legal action and police raids without bothering to show their faces. You might be able to crush one human, but more will come. You can’t kill every cop they send against you. Sooner or later you turn into a public enemy and the whole city will turn on you — even the innocents.

“We can’t face an entire city’s resources pooled against us; we just don’t have that sort of influence. So in the end it’s not about putting one guy in the grave, or in jail. It’s not about putting one family out of business. As far as power in this city goes, there’s the Wyrm. There’s us. But the vast majority of the power lies in the hands of the sheep, and the Wyrm already has some strings in hand. Now we either get in the game with them, or we get overrun eventually. This is about turning human power against itself so it doesn’t turn against us en masse.”

[Simon Zahradnik] He nods his head slowly.”Then I will defer to your judgement Rhya.”He does not like it. He was a warrior and these people had declared war on the sept. Still he was not about to go out of his way to challenge his elder directly even if he felt strongly on the matter. To be honest the Full Moon often felt himself surrounded by a softness… It wasn’t a bad thing, in fact it was a good thing, but it was something that could be seized upon. Emotional tethers, altruism, tending to the kin’s hurt feelings. These were all technically good things but someone had to stand ready to be the ruthless heartless motherfucker who would burn the enemies houses to the ground. Someone had to be ready to hunt down their enemies and kill them… But not before killing their wives and family, and children, and dogs… Someone had to be the hard ass son of a bitch who would show these motherfuckers the kind of hell that war truly was.

So he accepted his Elder’s decision because he was his elder and he was not about to challenge the decision but he remained the firm and heartless motherfucker who would not hesitate to hunt the mob in this city to extinction.”Say the word and I will hunt them down one by one… I will find them wherever they hide and I will teach them what happens when you make war with the Garou. In the meantime I will continue with the investigation and I will push harder to see to it we redouble our efforts in the matter. Garou, and Kin… We will find what we need to put these people away for a long time.”He says back to Lukas. It was apparent he was still iffy on the idea that this would work. Then again considering where he was born and raised… Sometimes the Garou of Detroit had to be just as harsh as the Agents of the Wyrm. War is a bloody violent son of a bitch and if you’re lucky you die a quick and painless death… War was in his blood and in his eyes. This full moon would spend each and every second granted to it to make certain the enemies of the Garou learn the meaning of that term.

The Wyrm was not the only enemy of the Garou but that didn’t make them any less dangerous. Sometimes the most dangerous were the “Innocent” because you find yourself holding back and restraining yourself. Until it’s too late… But then… It’s too late… Duh!

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] Apparently the matter is settled between Simon and Sarita, since he dropped it without comment. She shrugs, listening as they get inside, and she makes her way to get a drink. She does enjoy listening to the two talk. It’s always fun philosophical time.

[Lukas] A nod returns that statement of deference and support.

“You just missed Imogen, actually. I think she might try to rally the kin. Pool resources, come up with a plan of action. She’ll need whatever information you’ve already come up with, so I told her to come to you. Word has it she’s not the easiest person to deal with, but she’s not honorless or witless. Nor is she a god. Treat her frankly and fairly and demand the same from her, and the two of you should get along fine.”

[Simon Zahradnik] He nods.”Of course Rhya I will speak to her first thing in the morning.”He says with a nod of his head.”Do you have a number I can contact her at?”

[Lukas] “Somewhere,” Lukas says, a faint and crooked smile at last breaking the surface. “It’s probably on my phone or something. I’ll text it to you later.

“Now,” he fetches his keys from the kitchen counter, then backtracks to find a jacket, “Sarita and I are gonna go hunt for her van. You’re welcome to stick around at the Loft or ride along if you want.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Fun times.” She grins widely from the kitchen. As it turns out, she decided against the drink. “It’s like playing ‘Where’s Waldo’ except that Waldo is a big Volkswagon with a fancy mural on the side.”

[Simon Zahradnik] He shakes his head.”No you two go ahead I gotta head back home.”He saysd offering a wave to the both of them before turning to head off into the night.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Well hell. Have a good one, then.”

She looks at Lukas. “We gotta find someone else so we can be like the Wolfpack in The Hangover. I’ll be Phil and you can be Stu. Whoever we pick up can be the guy who gets punched out by Mike Tyson.”

[mantis] [that’s obviously Kate]

[Lukas] “See you, Simon,” Lukas says, shrugging into his jacket.

“Sadly,” he replies, “I haven’t seen that movie. So that pop culture reference is going to have to fly over my head.” He holds the door open behind himself — out they go ahead. Lukas’s Beemer, a six-year-old M3, is chilling on the driveway. “So where’d you last remember seeing your van?”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] You can practically see her mentally adding something to her bucket list. ‘Make Lukas watch a lot of movies.’ She sighs as she slips out behind Lukas, shutting the door and making her way toward the Beamer. “Last thing I remember about the van was being inside the back. I was really damn tired and just needed a place to sleep where I wasn’t…waking people up.” She frowns and shrugs. “I semi-woke up at a hotel near the University of Chicago, so that’ll be a good place to start.”

She gets into the car. “I think I might have called Amy. I don’t really remember, it was all that sort of half-place where you’re not asleep but still semi-dreaming.”

[Lukas] They get in the Beemer, and Lukas is a little more somber when he looks at Sarita. His seatbelt slides over his shoulder, clicks into place. “Waking people up?” he repeats, slowly. “Semi-woke up? Semi-dreaming? Sarita, what the hell is going on?”

The engine turns over. The car’s not new, wasn’t new when he bought it, but it runs smoothly. Lukas wouldn’t buy a lemon; he’s far too careful for that.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She’s quiet for several moments, before she looks out the window. She slumps a bit, the grinning, cinema-referencing Ragabash slipping easily away. That wasn’t going to hold up forever anyway. She looks tired again. Physically and psychically.

“I just…we fought some thing the other night. Kate, Adara and I.” She’s quiet, staring at the pavement outside the car. “In the middle of it…something happened. I saw some sort of…vision, maybe. I dunno. Things that might’ve been if not for fate. Don’t ask what, ’cause I’m not telling.” There’s a finality to that. “I just haven’t been able to sleep since longer than the amount of time it takes me to hit REM before I wake up screaming.”

[Lukas] Things that might have been if not for fate.

“Wha–” Lukas begins, but Sarita’s final. Not telling. Nope. He glances at her a moment, then shrugs. “Fair enough.”

Couldn’t sleep after that, she goes on. He puts his hand on the back of her seat to back out of the driveway, turning the wheel, dropping into gear. As they cruise toward the university — Lukas is familiar with the area because Danicka goes to school here — he’s quiet, thinking.

“Kate mentioned that battle. She mentioned some sort of psychic attack, but it didn’t seem to hit her nearly so hard. Maybe you ought to get Cleansed, just to make sure there isn’t some lingering taint in you causing these visions. Other than that… I don’t know. You say you saw things that might of been if not for fate. Maybe part of exorcising your demons is going to have to be trying to make sure those things never happen because of what you do, not because of blind luck.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She listens, frowning. To her credit, she looks apologetic when Lukas reacts to her refusal to tell him. Some things you just can’t talk about. If only because voicing them aloud might push you right over that edge you’re tap dancing along.

She actually chuckles a little when Lukas says she needs to make sure the things never happen. “Yeah, I’m on that. Been on it for a while now. I just gotta do it better. Or let it go, one of the two.” She sighs and nods. “Getting Cleansed might be good. Carter’s twitchy enough, he doesn’t need his sleep getting interrupted every half-hour or so by the crazy bitch in the next room.”

[Lukas] There’s a sort of fondness in the way he glances at his newest packmate. “I know you have. You’re not the sort to let crap fester and just cry about it without doing anything. I just meant — maybe that’s a way to put this to rest. I know if I’m hung up on something, usually I just need to do everything in my power to make sure things go the way I hope. Then even if it doesn’t, I know I’ve done my best, and I’m at peace with myself.

“Maybe it’ll be something similar with you. Maybe things won’t right themselves immediately, but eventually.

“As for Carter — I think he’s actually getting a little better. He hasn’t burned Kate’s house down yet. He even showed some interest in protecting the Caern today. I’m letting him go to Imogen’s meeting. If he doesn’t completely implode there, maybe he’s not a completely lost cause after all.”

[Lukas] [bbiab, shower!]

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Well, that’s good. Massive smoke inhalation isn’t good for my complexion.” She smirks a little, then sighs.

“If you can fix that one, I’ll be impressed, I’ll tell you.” She shakes her head. “He’s definitely improved. But in all honesty, I’ve found that it takes just a little twitch, something minor, to send them way over the edge. They try to do something good–maybe the wrong way, but they’ve got the right idea. And everybody freaks out over it because it’s not the way it quote-unquote ‘should’ be done. And then when their attempt to reach out and try what we’re guiding them to is rejected, they have a poor reaction, which gives the some of the Trueborn who have been predicting all along that they would fail every little bit of ammo they need to show that indeed, it’s all fucked up and there’s no point in trying. Which just sends the kin further over the edge.”

She looks at Lukas. “What I’m saying is, Carter’s headed in a good direction. But the first step isn’t the hardest by a long shot, no matter what the old adages say. It’s the first step that they lose their footing on. That’s the hardest.”

[Lukas] “True,” Lukas says. “It’s not an easy path he’s on. And I even understand the argument that it’s not all his fault that he’s on the path at all. He turned out this way because he was brutalized. But the problem is that that’s like arguing we should let serial killers walk because they were abused as kids. Plenty of kids get abused without turning into murderers. Plenty of kin get brutalized without turning into rabid racists. It can’t all be nurture; some of that is nature. And I suppose from my perspective, that sort of nature is weak.

“I guess all of that is just me saying: I know every step of his life is going to be an uphill battle. But then so are our lives. And if he’s strong enough he’ll save his hatred for those that really deserve it.”

They’re down around the UoC’s vicinity now. These streets, so bustling and busy by day, are quiet at night. Used bookstores, cafes and quirky-trendy little shops pepper the streets. Flyers for parties, clubs, organizations and demonstrations flutter on lampposts.

“Any of this look familiar to you? Any memory bells ringing?”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “No, I get what you’re saying. I’m not making any excuses for what he’s done…because you’re right, you can’t blame it all on what’s happened to you. Or that he should be coddled for the whole of his existence. What I’m saying is, right now is critical. If he’s starting to make overtures, he’s testing the waters and waiting for someone to prove his old instincts right. Just like Kora and her insularity, he needs to get a bit of reassurance that when he trips and falls, we’re not just there waiting to give him the big ol’ boot party he’s waiting for.”

She looks out the window and frowns. “Vaguely, but I’ve been here before. Amy and I were gonna get a…” She pauses, and blinks.

“Oh hell. Make a right at the next light, go down the street. There’s an apartment complex down there. I think that’s where I parked it.”

[Lukas] “Huh.” There’s a quiet; it’s obvious Lukas is mulling this over. “A second second chance? I can see the benefit there, both from a compassionate and a practical standpoint. But I suppose the way I was taught, you give one warning, and that is the second chance. After that it’s time for discipline. The philosophy there is that they should be expecting a boot party if they falter again. And if you don’t give it to them, then you’ll have nothing but empty threats ever after.”

Sarita says make a right. Lukas gives her a look of some skepticism, but complies. Around the corner they go.

“My mate goes to school here,” he comments. “Funny thing is, I think once upon a time she gave me similar advice. About second-second chances.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Your mate’s a smart woman.” She smiles a little. “And you’re right. Most people, you give one chance to. After that one chance, they fuck up again, there’s an ass-kicking coming. Either figuratively or literally if warranted. But then there’s other people. The people who have every reason not to trust you, who are trying to find their way onto the path again. They have to be handled differently. And I’m not saying that if he tries to shoot one of us that we should take the gun and gently explain ‘No, we don’t do that.’ But when–and I ~do~ think it’s a when, not an if–when he is given a reason right out of the gate by some idiot cliath with a power trip that justifies everything he thinks and he reacts badly, he needs to see there’s a different side.”

A little smile. “Different strokes for different folks.”

As they approach the apartment complex at the end of the street, the one with the big ad for new places, she groans and facepalms. “God, I’m a fucking idiot. Yeah, we’re gonna be here, inside the parking lot. I must have been trying to pull some fucking Elm Street/Inception shit. Change the dream and all, do what I thought I should have.”

[Danicka Musil] And standing outside those apartments, those big ads for new places, is a slim blonde woman in ankle boots, cream-colored tights, a knee-length leather pencil skirt, and a somewhat loose silk blouse in pink. And there’s jewelry and there’s her pulling on a trench coat and a Dunhill held between her lips, releasing a faint curl of smoke upwards. She’s got a bright yellow satchel, some dainty Kate Spade bag, and is talking to a woman about her own age.

That woman is white, barefoot, dreadlocked, hair-kerchiefed, pierced, hand-tattooed, bangled, broomstick-skirted, handwoven alpaca cardigan’d, and incensed. And shivering. She’s doing most of the talking.

[Lukas] “Huh,” Lukas says again.

He doesn’t say anything more than that — not I’ll think about it, and not maybe you’re right. He doesn’t need to say that. Sarita can tell by the sound of his voice, the faint furrow to his brow, that he’s heard her. She hasn’t known him that long, all things considered, but she knows him well enough already to know he will consider what she’s said. Counseled. And the next time Carter trips up, he just might find a little more slack in the figurative rope. Maybe.

He’s turning into that complex then. Sarita’s referencing two more movies. Lukas, amused: “Do you just sit in your van and watch movies or something?” The headlights wash over Danicka. Lukas blinks. “What the.”

That frown isn’t a thoughtful one. The Beemer comes to a stop a little harder than necessary. He barely knocks the gearshift into neutral and pulls up the handbrake before he’s out of the car, barking.

Hey!” Camera pans over: Lukas standing in the V of his opened car door, one hand on the hood, the other on the door. Glowering. “What the hell?”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She laughs. “Hey, I had a good solid sixteen years before I had any freaking idea about this shit. Had a lot of bad habits I built up during that time, and a fascination with pop culture was one of them.”

And then all of the sudden, Lukas is up and yelling at someone. Sarita doesn’t ask questions; she just hops up and takes the same pose on her side of the car. Instant back-up, just add Strider.

[Danicka Musil] The woman in the alpaca sweater and long, swishy skirt startles when Lukas jerks the BMW to a stop and glares, glowers, barks. She blinks, deer in the headlights, then glares right back.

Danicka takes a drag of her expensive little cigarette and exhales smoke to the side a moment later, relaxed as she was before. “Sometimes,” she answers, “I smoke,” as though this is what he’s barking about. Which it might be. She gestures to the woman next to her. “Lukáš, this is Kumari Dawson. She’s working on her PhD in Environmental Science and Public Policy. Dr. Whitby introduced me to her after I heard about the groundbreaking over by the docks.”

She doesn’t raise an eyebrow or inflect her voice pointedly as though to say hint hint, honey. She just introduces the woman calmly, then: “Kumari, this is my partner –” god, she knows her audience, doesn’t she, “Lukáš Kvasni&+269;ka, who only likes it when I smoke earthier fare.” Smiling, she drops the cigarette, crushes it under a bootheel, then picks up the butt with a tissue from her purse and tosses it into a wastebin as though making a peace offering. “With him is our friend Sarita.”

Kumari has stopped glaring. “Dani,” and she doesn’t say Danny as Sam Modine or Ilari Martin would, calls her Dahni, merely leaving off the harder-to-pronounce part of her name, “says the whole thing sounds shady as hell,” says the woman, speaking with the sort of clarity that compensates somewhat for her urgency, her passion, her anger, “and I think she’s right. They’re not even pretending to care anymore.”

[Lukas] Well, at least the anger, so defensive, so ready to defend, is gone. In its place is bafflement. She’s talking about earthier fare. Her — not attacker, it turns out, though it’s vaguely absurd to even worry about someone like Danicka, with glory notches on her belt and a mother who was literally legendary — new friend starts right into something being shady as hell. And she agrees. And ‘they’ don’t even pretend to care anymore.

“Uh,” says Lukas. Great first impression. Now the Ph.D. candidate in Environmental Science and Public Policy thinks Danicka’s partner is a great lumbering lummox. Who’s wearing old jeans and a t-shirt under his jacket, at that.

“Uh.” The penny drops at last. “Of course they don’t even pretend to care. The Republicans are back in Congress. They don’t have to pretend anymore.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] Sarita can’t help it. She’s very good about hiding her grin at Lukas’ reaction. Even if dark brown eyes sparkle with laughter, forgetting all the trauma of the last forty-eight hours for just a moment, her expression is calm, relaxed nodding. She’s a freaking pot dealer, for Christ’s sake. If she doesn’t know how to deal with environmentalists rebelling against THE MAN, then she’s in the wrong line of fucking work.

“No shit, dude.” She nods a little bit to Lukas, head bobbing just a touch. “We’re deep in the shit now. Fuckers are gonna turn it into another chance to bulldoze our children’s future into some kind of fuckin’ landfill for a few extra bucks. Fuck that shit.”

Yes, she’s playing the less-educated one in this group. Every rant against [b]THE MAN[/i] needs one of those. Meanwhile, inwardly she’s laughing.

[Danicka Musil] Uh, says the Adren Shadow Lord, Alpha of his pack, Alpha of his tribe, Alpha of his auspice. Driving a Beemer and wearing scruffy clothes under his jacket. Christ only knows what that hippy thinks of him now. Except that he has it backwards. Kumari sees someone not worried about labels or the newest car — though really he could have chosen something a bit greener, people are so lazy — but also someone who’s 420friendly and not so macho to mind being an equal partner with his legally defined companion rather than some patriarchal husband insisting on her changing her name.

After another Uh, he grouses about the Republicans, and Sarita starts tossing all kinds of F-bombs and acting like a moron. Danicka, for her part, doesn’t mind wearing leather around her hippy acquaintance. She’s aware that Kumari may try to convert her to unshaved legs and a SmartCar if she works too much with the woman, but she’s confident that once Kumari starts talking to other students and once Danicka starts giving classmates of hers Kumari’s number

there’s going to be one hell of a protest at the construction site for that reporter at the Chicago Sun-Times to cover. After all, the weather’s starting to get tolerable.

Kumari’s eyebrows flick a bit at Sarita, but she nods to the two newcomers, and Danicka’s speaking up again, reaching to shake the woman’s hand. The woman hugs her. Over her shoulder, Danicka rolls her eyes at Lukas — and Sarita, really. But then she smiles, and Sarita, who has never seen how effective a liar Danicka is, may indeed be surprised at how smoothly, how quickly, how convincingly her expression changes, right up to the light in her green eyes as she draws back, hands on Kumari’s shoulders.

“I’ll be in touch,” Danicka says. “I have some friends who live in that area who started looking into all this business and then soon as they did, bam. Suddenly the place they live needs a state inspection.”

She and Kumari both shake their heads, angry and weary together. She squeezes the hippy’s shoulder, says her goodbyes, and tells her to get inside before her feet freeze. Then she’s striding over to the Beemer, raising her eyebrows at the Unbroken.

“I’m going to pass this along to Matthieu, too, but just in case cameras arrive, I think the Kin and Garou should stay away from the protest. We don’t need our people’s names and faces in the media; it just makes them targets.”

[Lukas] Kumari departs. Lukas holds up a hand in farewell. Then Danicka is coming over to the Beemer, and Lukas is stepping around the door to give her a quick hug.

“You got a protest set up in twelve hours?” He looks a little gobsmacked. And impressed. “I talked to Imogen Slaughter and Kora a little earlier. Imogen she’d try to get all the kin together to hear everyone out and get a plan to Deal With This. Obviously, you and Matthieu are invited. I’m letting Carter go too. He had some ideas. Not sure if they’re feasible, but he’s actually trying to protect the Caern, and I think I should probably encourage that. Let me know if he actually contributes or if he tries to start another anti-Garou rally.

“On the way over Sarita and I were talking about unexpected acts of mercy, by the way.” A quirk of a smile, “I told her you talked to me about something like that once.”

[Danicka Musil] “No, I talked to someone who will set up a protest,” Danicka corrects, cautious as ever to Lukas’s sometimes surprising optimism. “The wheels are in motion, though. I have one semi-influential person angry and one semi-accessible reporter interested. It’s going to take time for that to turn into something concrete.”

She is hugged, and she stands on her toes and gives him a kiss on the cheek. She took exactly one drag of that cigarette. She doesn’t exactly smell like Essence of Lung Cancer quite yet.

She nods to the rest, though, about the meeting and Imogen and Carter and so forth. Glances over at Sarita to smile at her, give a little wave, then raises her eyebrows at Lukas. “What?” she asks, clearly clueless as to what he could be referencing.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Yeah, keeping our peeps away from any kind of public action is probably a good thing. No need establishing a pattern of behavior that a paid-off court of law can come in and persecute over.” Some people might assume she used the wrong word and really meant to say ‘prosecute.’ They’d be wrong.

When Lukas mentions the unexpected acts of mercy conversation, she just grins a little and shrugs. “Great minds think alike, I guess. Hola, by the way.”

[Danicka Musil] [put my post after Sarita’s!]

[Lukas] The light in his eyes, the sort of surprised-pleased-happy look he gets when he runs across Danicka unexpectedly, dims a little. There was a reason he never got into the details with Sarita — though it wasn’t secrecy. Something more like shame, a willingness to forget the specifics.

“It was a long time ago,” he says quietly — unflinchingly honest, “when I told you not to lie to me again or else. And you told me sometimes positive reinforcement works better, because negative can only escalate to stay effective.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Hey, that’s the best kind action,” she says with a grin when Danicka speaks of what she has and hasn’t done. “Actions with built in plausible deniablity. That stuff doesn’t happen every day, so take it when you can, y’klnow?”

[Danicka Musil] Not anything recent, then. Not when he talked to her about Ray and Marni, not when they argued about Martin, nothing like that. Back all the way to the Blue Chalk Cafe, a place he doesn’t even like to go anymore because of some memory, some shame. And her brows flick together but not in much of a frown

because Sarita may be Lukas’s packmate but so was Sam, backhanding her in the Brotherhood, stalking her to her apartment and following her around Grant Park. So was Kate, when Kate was the monster appearing out of nowhere in Danicka’s home, chasing her roommate around, snarling at him, tying him down. So was Mrena, who saw the slightest subterfuge and convinced herself it was a plot to destroy the pack from within, not just an attempt to hide the fact that she wanted to do something nice and make Lukas happy. So was Theron, foolishly thinking Danicka could tell him how to stop chasing tail and get the sort of bond she has with Lukas, as though there was some secret to it she could unlock for him.

Sarita doesn’t have Danicka’s trust. She’s the devil Danicka doesn’t know yet.

So that frown is a flick, and then it’s gone. She puts her hand on Lukas’s face for a moment with a gentle smile. What she wants to say, she doesn’t say in front of Sarita. Her hand slides back and she smiles again. “I was going to take the El back to my place, but since you’re here,” she implies, waggling her brows.

[Lukas] Danicka doesn’t know Sarita yet. Lukas hopes she’ll get to, though. Because — let’s be honest — Lukas knows that this pack has its core. Its true, dependable brothers and sisters. And then at any give time it has some assortment of wolves that run more on the fringes, that never quite dovetail with the unspoken ideals and vision and character of the pack. Oftentimes there’s no way to tell just which side of that line a Garou will fall on until they’ve joined.

With Sinclair, they got a winner. With Sarita, they hit the jackpot again. And Lukas wants his mate to get to know this Ragabash — this smart-alecking, playful, ineffably wise Ragabash. Who knows how to love her sister without smothering her. Who knows how not to pretend she’s Danicka’s best friend the second or third time they ever meet.

Sarita doesn’t really comment on what Lukas and Danicka talk about. She keeps her response aimed toward the more public, less raw part of the conversation. That’s wisdom, too, and Lukas is thankful for it.

And then — grinning again, a little crooked, covering his mate’s hand on his cheek for a second.

“I suppose you won’t be taking the El after all,” he says. “Sarita,” he nods to the painted van parked inconspicuously in the corner of the lot, “is that it, or are there two vans that look just like that in the city?”

[that’s my last post! i’ma stick around for a bit to see if Sam is awake enough to post again, but then i’m zonking!]

[Danicka Musil] [zonks are imminent here, too]

[Lukas] [OKAY, time to pile drunkfrend into back seat.]

[Danicka Musil] [*SIGH*

*helps Damon carry Sam to car*]

[Lukas] [*opens door, stuffs in*]

[Danicka Musil] [*tosses keys over to Damon*]

[Danicka Musil] [THANKS FOR THE RP! :] ]

[Lukas] [*slams door, zooms off*!]

[cricket] [ACK *exits*]

[Lukas] [thanks for RP! *LOL*]

A Kinfolk Talk At The Loft

[Adara Mires] She had decided that otnight was the time to visit Carter. It’s been a while since she had seen him, in fact, she hadn’t since he had been exiled to the Silver Fang’s loft. She entered, greeted by Lucille, the latina maid of Katherine. She smiled warmly to her

“Good evening, my name’s Adara, I’m here to see Carter” The woman nodded and asked Adara to follow her. Even though the Fury wasn’t part of the Unbroken or her Mistress’s entourage, she still let her in. Lukas had given the young woman permission to visit and Lucille was aware of it.

Adara looked around, feeling terribly underdressed in flat soled boots, jeans, tank top under hoodie with a light jacket to complete her outfit. Her hair was tied in a ponytail, one lock left free to fall over her left eye. She followed the woman and slowed down at the sight of the pool. Well Carter, you lucky bastard, she thinks. She’d love to live here and have acess to everything inside. She also knew that her friend would not agree with her. Then again, maybe he’s getting seduced by this place. She was,

Lucille led her ot where Carter was and she beamed a smile at the Kin “Hey handsome, what’s up?”

[Carter Roth] It was too the bedroom that Adara was lead, to the room where Carter had been given lodging, his own personal cell in this proverbial prison, certainly he had leave to go work for the Doc, or do other jobs that he claimed to have, but in the end, at the end of the day he was still a prisoner, still forced to return here less Wyrmbreakers wrath become terrible indeed.

The room is dark when Adara enters, lit only by the soft glow from a side table lamp. Carter himself is seated on the floor, his back to the bed and a book in his hand, reading by the soft cast of the lamp. He looks tired, he looks haggard, most of all he looks strung out, if the man had gotten more then five hours sleep since he had come to live in this place, it would be a surprise to any who saw him.

He flinched, ever so slightly as Adara’s presence was felt, but he didn’t recoil, didn’t try to hide or fight, he merely sat there and watched her. “Adara, here to see how captivity is treating me?”

[Adara Mires] She lean against the doorframe and grin “Actually I was wondering if oyu had a bikini hidden here so I can enjoy the pool downstairs”

She smiled warmly “I’m here because I miss you, grumpy” She say in a playful tone

“And yes, I”m worried about you. How have you been? You look exactly liek the other day, when you were lacking sleep and was on edge” She say, softly, more serious. She really was concerned for him. She stepped inside, moving closer ot him and sat on the floor, her emerald eyes on his.

She took off her jacket and he might notice 4 dark points on the back of her hand, going up under the hoodie’s sleeve

[Carter Roth] “How can I sleep in this place huh?” He asks as she comes into the room proper and takes a seat. “All this rage, it doesn’t stop.” He said his voice dry and cracked, he coughs for a moment before shaking his head and reaching up to grab a glass of water from the nightstand, which he swiftly chugs from. A few seconds later the glass is empty and he clears his throat, speaking clearly once more.

“I’ve had to catch a few winks at the Doc’s.” He said as he put his book down after checking which page he had left off at. “Its gonna be interesting making it a whole month. I mean I’ve done sleep dep missions before, going a week, sometimes a week and a few days without much sleep….but a month?” He chuckled dryly and shook his head.

[Katherine Bellamonte] Downstairs, the garage door activates with a gentle buzzing.

They can’t hear such from the rumpus area, but a sleek black vehicle pulls into the spacious Garage and parks; the door winding down behind it. From behind tinted windows a pair of long legs emerge, followed by the remainder of Katherine Bellamonte. She is mid-sentence, it would seem, speaking to the Strider in the passenger seat.

“–such great things about her but to be honest, I find her latest song to be rather absurd.”

The strains of Born This Way cut off as Katherine switched off the ignition, leaning in and collecting together a handful of grocery bags. A bread stick hung out of one, along with various green-ended vegetables and a packet of eggs. Ah, the Unbroken had been shopping. It was such a very human exercise that it almost boggles the mind to contemplate — perhaps especially so for one like Carter Roth, who found most everything about Katherine’s kind rather off putting.

Jostling bags, the Half Moon turns at the access door to her home and says, lowly: “Have you met the new house guest, yet? The one Lukas sent?”

[Adara Mires] She nodded, watching him. “I know, we don’t have an on and off switch.”She say with a soft smile “At least you can go to the Doc’s and pretend to work while you crash in your bed” She tell him iwth a playful grin

“Wish I could help you, but I know that my presence will only add to your troubles even if it’sfamiliar nad you are used..or kinda used to my rage” She shrugh slightly “I’d tell you to take sleeping pills but it’s not really the best idea. Though eventually, you’ll need some.”

She poner something “Maybe there’s a way to convince Lukas that you should get one night sleep at Daoi’s. I’m sure she could convince him. Oh I saw her a few days ago. She helped some with the Brotherhood plan. Cordelia gave me an idea too. Now I’ll meet with Doctor Slaughter, see if hse has any ideas and then rewrite sone things”

She smiel at him “So, beside being awake all the time, what have you been up to?”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Dude, Kate, it’s completely absurd. That’s the beauty of it.” She grins, and grabs a couple of bags herself, hefting them as she moves to carry the bags inside. The Strider is very familiar with the garage…it’s likely that Kate has found her in there, working on the Bitchmobile when she has the chance, or even doing maintenance on the Fang’s vehicles. She finds it a calming exercise.

When Kate asks about the Lord kin, she shakes her head, moving to head inside behind the Philodox. “Not formally. Just in the ‘excuse me’ brushing by as he heads to the bathroom. Luckily, I sleep in so we haven’t had a problem with bathroom sharing.

[Carter Roth] “Exercise.” Is his one word response to her inquiry. “Its about all I can do here, it dulls the feeling for a little bit if I really….really push myself.” He said as he looked about for a moment, his eyes tracking on the bright light that came from the hallway. He could hear no voices there, no feeling of rage, had he really been alone for a time, free from their influence, he could swear nothing had changed….

He shifted slightly as he adjusted his position and then pushed himself slowly off of the bedframe leaning forward as he pushed himself into a squat with a slight groan. He let his body shift, the bones settle before he pushed himself to standing and began to stretch out tired and worn muscles.

“I couldn’t take sleeping pills here even if I wanted to, I don’t want to be that far under in a place like this.” He said as something loud popped in his back and he let out a little sigh. “I also doubt that Wyrmbreaker would let me sleep elsewhere, I am certain this is all part of his grand plan.”

[Adara Mires] She grinned crookedly at him “Well, if you ever take any, I could sleep over, watching over you, in case someone want to abuse you or something” She followed him up on a very fluid movement

“I mean why would someone want to abuse your sorry ass is beyong me, but I could watch over you” Her tone is light. She knows he would hate having someone watch over him like a child. of course, it’s part of why she said it, because she likes to tease him. Even when on edge. Wouldn’t be the first time he snap at her. And she told him because in fact, she would watch over him if he wanted to.

“And don’t jusde Lukas too harshly, I”m pretty sure that he would agree for you to have a night off, for good behavior. He doesn’t want to drive you insane you know. Even if it might look like it” She smiled to him

[Katherine Bellamonte] “Yes,” the Half Moon protests lightly as she opens the door to find Lucille to one side of it already, waiting to accept two of the bags into her arms and begin marching toward the kitchen, leaving Katherine with one, better able to turn and frown at Sarita in continuing mystification.

“But why anyone needs to arrive to an awards ceremony dressed as an egg defies even my comprehension of absurdity.”

Slipping her shoes off, the slender Silver Fang follows Lucille’s wake to the kitchen and deposits the bags on the counter, turning, collecting a fresh apple from a bowl of fruit; she leans her hip against the counter; pale eyes thoughtfully tracing toward the stairwell.

“He avoids me as well, in fact I’m not certain I’ve seen hide or hair of him since he moved in. Lucille,” Katherine inquires over a shoulder, biting into the flesh of the fruit, “has our mysterious Mister Roth shown himself this evening?”

The dark-eyed Kinfolk turned from placing boxes of cereal away; her wrinkled mouth pursing. “Not much, Mistress. He have a visitor though, they upstairs now. Adara Mires, she say her name is.”

Katherine crooked an eyebrow at Sarita. “Well, at least he’s not a complete hermit. Shall we go and say hello?”

[Carter Roth] Carter glowered at the Fury at the mention of standing over him, keeping watch while he slumbered like some incontinent child. He snorted derisively and shook his head, looking away from Adara as he stripped off the shirt he was wearing and tossed it into a pile that was growing in the corner, and plucked up a new one from within his duffle bag.

“Because I need the thought of you watching me sleep in my mind as I try to drift off to sleep.” He looked back over at her at last and spoke sarcastically. “Thanks for that.”

He doesnt seem to particularly agreeable with the whole Lukas situation either, but then it was easy to tell, the man was on edge, he was jumpy, he was ornery, he was all the things a kin shouldn’t be when they were around the trueborns, but here he was none the less. “He’s probably laughing right now….or…or hes waiting for me to break completely.” Yep, don’t forget paranoid to boot.

“Besides, how would you know him so well hmmm?”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “She went in a meat dress the Award show before that. An egg is like a step down.” She grins.

She follows along and sets her bags down. Kate goes for an apple; Sarita goes for a drink. Everyone has their priorities. She looks up when Lucille says Adara is here, and she raises an eyebrow. The gesture is probably remarkably similar to Kate’s. She looks over at her packsister and grins. “Sure, sounds like a plan.”

[Adara Mires] She was amused by his reaction, and didn’t hide it “Awww come on, there are worst faith than having a friend looking for your safety. You have to admit that at least” She picked her jacket from the floor

“As for Lukas, I hear things, I’ve met him a few times. He’s fair. Maybe firm, but he has to be and I respect that. He’s not pointlessly mean liek some can be. In therm of Elder, we could be stuck with much worst. And yeah, I like the guy. He’s been good to me, so sue me.” She grin at him, letting him change, while she takes off her hoodie, it was warm inside. Her new tirbal style tattoo on her left arm was exposed, going from her shoulder ot hte back of her hand.

“So, anything you’d liek to do tonight? Maybe hit the pool? I doubt we can have a training session here. It’s not a shooting range”

[Carter Roth] Carter ignores the inquiry about what he would like to do, he had many thoughts of that sort on his mind, none of them he could act upon. “Hmmm lets see, I’d love to go out, wander around for hours, drink until my liver is black and then fall asleep in some random motel and hope I wake up, that would be really nice about now.” He said as he took in the tattoo and shook his head before pointing at it.

“And what does that signify? And why Tribal?” He asks, for a garou such an answer might be more simplistic then a humans ever could, but he asked none the less, in that oh so gruff, oh so straight to the point way that had gotten Carter in trouble so very very often.

[Katherine Bellamonte] In truth the upstairs of Katherine Bellamonte’s Loft was quite spacious enough for sparring. It had, in fact, been used precisely for such purposes more than once before by Kate’s present and past pack-mates; both realm-side and Umbrally. Presently, the second level was open to the elements without the bedrooms shaped around it like a U. Wood and metal stairs clanked faintly when feet stood upon them and raised the travelers to the floor above which, when looking down was slightly shorter in span than the level beneath.

Exercise equipment was set up in one corner, along with various game systems and a large TV against the near wall when reaching the top of the stairs. Bean-bags littered the floor here, as well as a few easy chairs tugged forward.

It was an airy, light space with high windows and Katherine kept it well; her maid no doubt making sure most everything found its proper place when the time came for cleaning. Tonight, she patters up the stairs in bare feet and jeans, a soft cashmere sweater in soft gray set off her pale eyes and had the sleeves rolled up her forearms; revealing tan skin. She was, in appearance alone, a lovely woman to behold, Honor’s Compass.

Yet her presence also brought that stifling Rage that the Shadow Lord Kinsman found suffocating.

He was fortunate then, it was only one of the Unbroken pack member’s moons. Voices drift from Carter’s room and Katherine, stopping without it, raps the back of her knuckles against it. “It’s Katherine Bellamonte, Monsieur Roth. May I come in?”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] And there’s just a hint more of Rage behind Kate. Sarita is almost as low on the stuff as you can be and still be a Garou. But it’s there, and she takes a casual lean against the wall next to the door as Katherine calls through it. She sips at her drink as she awaits the response.

[Adara Mires] She laughed “Well, we could go out of your room, wander for hours, get drunk until you pass out…then see if you ever wake up” She smiled, after all it would be the same as taking sleeping pills and he said he thought it was a risk to be so out of it here.

“As for the tattoo, I wanted something looking like that. I asked a friend to design it for me and if you unfocus your eyes slgihtly, like when you look at the weird 3d pictures, you’ll see my tribe’s glyph. So I got the ink for the style mostly and wanted to be clever about showing my affiliation.” She shrugh. She liekd it and it was all tha mattered after all

She turn to look at Kate and Sarita, smiling to both of them “Good evening Katherine, Sarita” Shesay in a warm, polite tone “I have to say, you have a gorgeous place”She tell the Aden and she meant it. She was in love with the loft.

[Carter Roth] More rage, it compacted in on him, it drove him crazy that tingle that feel of wolf and pack and ancient blood. His own blood sought to react to it, to send off its own message but no such message would ever be sent, because Carter was a kin, and always would be, perhaps this was part of his anger, part of his almost irrational hate for the trueborn.

Regardless there was a knock at his door, open as it was and Carter green blue eyes hot in the direction of…shit…his hostess. His face tried not to turn into a snarl, tried not to become a sneer, and he managed it for the most part. It took him a long moment before he nodded slowly and spoke. “Yeah…come in if you have a need.”

His gaze turned back to Adara who of course, was friendly as a puppy with everyone who came by and instead of speaking more on her tattoo, he simply commented on the previous note. “Yes…but I would have to come back here to do it.” It was said quietly as he gaze returned to Katherine and he watched…and waited.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Hey, Adara.” She nods to the Fury. She looks in the door and then waggles her fingers at Carter. “Hey-ho neighbor. How’s tricks?”

[Katherine Bellamonte] Katherine, apple in hand, pushes open the door to present the picture of herself, framed by her sister, leaning against the doorframe as it gently slides open. Hair unbound; she steps inside in a wave of Chanel and Rage; her eyes a very familiar shade of pale blue — they were almost a duplicate of her Alpha’s.

Young, the Silver Fang Adren was barely twenty-three years of age, her figure the curvy definition of this, the strength betrayed by her movement was that of agility; learned dexterity from becoming what she was, more so than who. For she was nobility, in the old world sense of things. This Silver Fang would nary have ever lifted a lily white finger if she were not born to the era she was, and to become what she was.

Monster.
Law Keeper.
Alpha.

Different to Lukas, yet Katherine did suggest ownership of this space, and not without a touch of her tribe’s sense of entitlement, those within it. She called them to order with her posture, the fine manner she tilted her face at them; inspected the clothes in the corner, then returned her gaze to first Adara, then Carter.

“I thank you, Song of Life. I have put much energy into this space.”

A beat. “I wanted to ensure you have everything you need, Mister Roth.” A generous mouth curved. “I do little in halves, you see. You are my guest, you must be well kept.”

[Adara Mires] She slightly move out of the way so she wouldn’t hide Carter for Sarita and Katherine’s view. Not that she could really. Carter was taller and wider then her and would probably be able to make her disapear if he ever hugged her while standing.

Yet, she move to lean against a dresser, holding her jack in her right hand and hoodie in her left. She looked at Sarita “How have you been doing?” She ask the Strider then looked at Katherine “Well, again ,congratulation. It’s simply..well maybe not heavenly, but then again, if I die, I want ot end up in a place like this. In the middle of the woods instead of a city maybe”

She grin slightly. She did miss living in cabins near the Wyld. But she couldn’t complain too much about her new city eiother. She fall silent, letting Carter talk with the Silver Fang

[Carter Roth] Carter nodded to Sarita as she waggled fingers at him, his face remaining neutral as he spoke. “Hello.” It was terse certainly, but at least it was pleasant enough. He then turned his head to the woman he knew was his hostess, the woman who had agreed to take him into her home, and he listened to her as she spoke to him.

Perhaps Katherine meant only good things when she spoke of keeping him, of making sure all his needs were met. But to Carter it distilled everything he disliked about his situation into one simple sentence. The upward curve of the woman’s lip became a sneer in his tired, rage addled mind, and her words, quite possibly meant in all hospitality, seemed mocking and derisive.

Let it be said that Carter looked tired, he looked strung out, if he had gotten mcuh sleep since his arrival, it certainly didn’t show as he glowered. “Kept eh? Like some kind of pet is it?” He asks as he reached up and scratched at a scraggly beard. “Oh yeah…got everything I need right here.”

[Katherine Bellamonte] “Yes, precisely.”

Instantaneous; without rancor, but perhaps a curl of amusement; thick like smoke coiling around her voice; housed in her eyes. She nibbles at her fruit, slices away a piece with sharp little teeth and chews silently, before adding as she swallows; and rids the taste from her lips.

“You are my pet as you make yourself one by casting resentment back onto those who would treat you with respect.” She blinks slowly, lazily at him. “Unless you would like us to interact with civility, in which case I will stop considering you a pet to be tamed, and return you to an educated, mannered man, hm?”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “And see, I thought you meant kept. Adjective. Descriptive form of ‘keep,’ to provide lodging.” Hey, the Latina knows her vocabulary. Who know she actually paid attention in school. “But hey, what do I know?”

She gives Kate a wink and then looks back at Adara. “M’all right. How’re you? Ain’t seen you since you went all pew-pew-pew at the graveyard.”

[Adara Mires] She smiled at Sarita “I’ve been well. And yes…I prefered to use a gun that time because of the camera. And of course, there was always the possibily of people wandering in. Shooting seemed..better. Thought I’m pretty sure that if you didn’t get that thing with your fangs I would have been forced to change form as well. All in all, with the camera taken down and the laptop secured, we did good.

Oh, did you know? The car the twins used was found in tenessee. I called the Caern there and those nearby and gave them the twins descrition. So hopefully, a pack will cross their path and end them.”

She look at Katherine “And I have to thank one of your kin, Sasha, who helped with htat, using her CSI unit to get the tire tracks and then give me the info”

She turn her attention toward Carter and frowned slightly, as if saying don’t say anything…god don’t say anything.

[Carter Roth] “I just love how your version of respect involves keeping a man someplace he doesn’t want to be, especially a place where its pretty damn well known he won’t get a lick of sleep!.” It is only the word sleep which rises above his normal octave, hands balled into fists as he stared at the woman, but it wasn’t anger or hate that fuel’d the man, it had a different flavour, a feeling of desperation and a hint of hysteria.

Adara frowned at him, and Sarita made wit of his grasp of the vernacular and that does not help his mood one bit.

“See, if you were really smart? Maybe you’d have seen things like Adara did, even civilized well mannered folk still get pissy and sleep deprived, you don’t demote them to animals right of the bat do you?” He said as he folded arms infront of him.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Yeah, I heard about that.” She shrugs. “To be honest about the gun? Once something inhuman’s busted out, all best are off. And if someone else shifts…that’s sorta carte blanche. I’d-a taken the hit if the Veil’d been lifted, but it all worked out. We did well, yeah.”

She lets Kate handle Carter. She would her own responses and they may not make the situation better. One cook too many in that particular soup.

Why do I get the feeling this is gonna be a long month? She’s staying quiet audibly. Usually that just means that she’s speaking more over the link.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] [[all BETS]]

[Katherine Bellamonte] Katherine flicks a brow at her pack-mate, there’s a certain familiar gleam to her blue eyes that suggests amusement, more than agitation. Capricious as any feline, the Silver Fang’s charm rang with a particular sharply wielded tongue — sharp as a rapier when put to the proper use.

Equal parts monster and human; such was the burden of the Philodox.

“Ah, Sasha, she is a competent young woman, I am pleased to hear she has been your aid.” Then, back to Carter, and his hysterics. Katherine tilts her head at him, rather more curious than displeased, all said. She sets her apple down on the edge of the table, and folds her arms behind her back; crossing toward the Shadow Lord Kinfolk without, apparently, a jot of fear.

“Did I put you here, Carter,” she asks evenly; circling him. “Or did you put yourself here. You know,” she muses, regarding him rather closely. “I have met Kin with your particular,” she rolls her wrist, looking to Sarita for the right word. “… grudges, shall we say, against my kind. But the truth is, you, like them before you, don’t know me from the next wolf, so as quick as you are accuse me of things, you are also grouping me with every other Garou you’ve met.

Which is neither fair, nor really smart of you.”

She crosses back, turns to regard him. “As you have decidedly not met every Garou in the world. I recognize that you struggle with our presence, I do not consider this any evidence of weak character, however while you are in my home, wishing to be or not, you will address me with passing civility, are we understood?

If you have trouble sleeping with such rage, I will happily do what I can to make this less of an issue for you. I cannot demand my other guests leave, but perhaps we can … relocate sleeping quarters so you have distance, if not total disconnection from our presence, at least until you have had some rest.”

[Katherine Bellamonte] [And, BRB! Grabbing dinner downstairs. :)]

[Adara Mires] She nodded to Sarita “You have a point. I’m trying to do things smartly, keep myself out of trouble. Getting caught for lifting the VEil, so not something I want to go through” Again, she things but don’t say. Her time in Seattle had be..though. She was learning from her mistakes and well now she simply eed ot find the middle ground. Not to be afraid to use her gifts but doing it smartly.

She watched and listened to Katherine. She might not agree with the circling but she had to admit, the woman had style. She did makes some sense but she was afraid Carter wouldn’t take kindly ot her words. It wasn’t easy dealing with Carter on his best day and today, was really not his best one.

She doesn’t interupt, not yet. It was Katherine’s home and she didn’t want to find herself between Carter and her…though..if needed, she will.

[Carter Roth] Katherine spoke and approached the man without fear, it was likely due to the fact that he had no weapons here, and could do no real damage to her, but when she tried to circle him he quickly backs away, not giving her his back in any way shape or form, he was too paranoid for that, to high strung. But then she spoke plainly, she spoke logically of how she was not every garou in this world, of how he had not met every garou and could not possibly make assumptions about every single one of them, this seemed to hit him more then off handed insults or casual or angered dismissal, she dug at facts, she did so evenly, with a cool temper and that seemed to bring the kinsman back to a slightly more even keel.

He pulled himself upright and folded his arms across his chest as he reconsidered the woman. “Fine, I’ll do that, but don’t assume my issue is with ever garou in general, plenty of you are monstrous bastards, and I’ve met enough of them. But my problem, and the thing that got me here, was about the system you espouse, not you as a person.” He says it evenly, talking like one person to another when you wished to debate something with another, it was the best anyone had gotten out of him in a long while, barring Adara.

He then shook his head. “It wouldn’t be enough, I’ve always been….particularly sensitive to that wash of rage each of you give off, it runs itself over my skin and into my mind, regardless of how far away you are, I can simply feel it in this house.” He shook his head once more. “No moving to other rooms won’t do it, and I can’t leave.” A gentle shrug signified the futility of the measure, but at least he didn’t throw it back in her face right?….right?

[Katherine Bellamonte] [annnd back!]

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “It’s a fine line,” she agrees, nodding to the Fury. “Shit happens, live and learn. No worries.” She’s been there. Everyone has a learning curve, and the Strider’s had her own over time.

She listens to Carter speak to Katherine, brow raised, and she glances to her packsister to see her response. It’s something like a tennis match for the Ragabash, and she’s very interested to see who gets to game, set, match.

[Katherine Bellamonte] “Oh,” Honor’s Compass laughs, a brilliant sound; as shatteringly elegant and light as wind-chimes on the evening breeze. “Oh, yes, there are a lot of monstrous bastards out there, Carter.” Hearing a curse word from Katherine’s lips was enough to make you wonder a little; especially when she made it sound somehow appropriate, despite its very intention.

Her eyes gleamed onward, she reclaimed her apple.

“Our system is not perfect, no. Trust that I know this perhaps more than most, given I am the one responsible for keeping others to its party line. But look, respect is an earned thing, so is tolerance to our presence. You cannot buy off these things, as much or as simply as it would be preferable we could.

You do the best you know how to, and I in turn will do what I can to make your stay here less exhausting.”

She nods, and takes a larger bite of her apple; noting. “Do try these, by the by, Lucille found them. Organically grown.”

[Adara Mires] She nodded to Sarita, agreeing with her.

She watched Carter and Katherine with a smile. It seem that things might be ok between guest and hostess. Katherine hadnled things very differantly than her but it seem to work. After all, as with many things, there is more than one way to do it right.

She was still leaning against the dresser, emerald eyes now on Carter as the Silver Fang change the subject, moving it to apples. And by the way the Adren was eating hers, they did look delicious. Too bad she would never eat one herself. Her digestive system wouldn’t approve

[Carter Roth] Carter listens still, despite how strung out he felt, how very much he wanted to rub his eyeballs from his sockets just so they would stop tingling within them. He looked behind him, looked to the bed and thought maybe now….maybe? please god maybe?

He looked back to Katherine then and shrugged. “Sure I can do that, if you and yours.” He said briefly looking over at Sarita. “Remember that respect is a two way street, I have to earn yours, remember that you gotta earn ours as well, don’t just assume cause someone else has heard of you and the things you do makes you right to rule or command us, you gotta earn that right too, even if the archaic contraption you call a system says otherwise.”

At that he sat down on the bed and looked to the three women who surrounded him, the three women that were putting out so much rage combined that a couple of months ago he might have vomited at the intensity. “Excuse me, I’m going to try and sleep now, don’t take offense that I won’t even try so long as your in the room and the door isn’t locked from the inside.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Hey big guy, I’m all about the respect.” She shrugs. She certainly has no problem giving kin their due. Hell, almost everyone things she’s far TOO giving with the kin. “You play nice, I’ll plan nice. And it’ll be all good.”

[Katherine Bellamonte] Katherine’s eyes tick to Sarita, back to Carter. She nods, and pushes off from the desk. “Good, good. Then we are all on the same page. Let’s go, ladies, and let him try and sleep.”

With that, Honor’s Compass turns and slips from the room, taking a note unimpressive amount of the Rage with her — Carter can breathe a touch easier, at least.

[Katherine Bellamonte] [ahem, not, not note. I KEN SPEEL.]

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Sounds good. Have a good night, Carter.” She smiles and nods to him, moving back into the main room.

[Adara Mires] She smiled to Carter “All right, have a good night.” She actually puch him lightly on the shoulder “Don’t do anything crazy…or at least crazier than usual” She grin playfully “See you around and call me if you feel liek hanging out”

She waved and exited with the other two Garou. Hmmmm it seem that trying the pool tonight is not rally an option anymore.

[Carter Roth] Carter simply nods to Adara and Sarita, perhaps he was to tired, to threadbare to even bother with a proper response. And while it might seem trivial to the garou who could slip so seemlessly between worlds and ignore doors all together, it obviously meant something to Carter as he closed the door and the lock sounded within. A moment later something…presumably the dresser, is pushed infront of the door, adding that little extra defense, that little extra privacy.

Who cares if security is a myth, the man felt better for it.

[Thanks for the scene guys! Id have kept going but my own eyes are burning as well. Take it easy!]

[Katherine Bellamonte] [Np, thanks for the scene! 🙂 ]

[Katherine Bellamonte] Honor’s Compass does not linger on the second floor, perhaps, as she promised the Kinfolk, she would try and put even a tiny amount of distance between him and their presence — regardless of how helpful it would be. She descends the stairs, her bare feet barely making any sound and when she touches the polished floorboards of her dining area turns, smilingly, on her two guests.

“Now, that task accomplished, who is for some of the Wyborowa Lukas brought me for ascending Rank?”

She quirks a brow, and pads toward the kitchen on a quest for the polish vodka.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She recognizes that Katherine is making a concession to Carter and she has no problem complying. She gestures to Adara and heads on down. When Katherine suggests the Wyborowa, she grins and takes a lean against the counter.

“You know me, chica. I’m always up for a little vodka.”

[Adara Mires] She walked with the two Unbroken, her feet probably almost as silent as the Adren. Even if she didn’t move with the same regal air that Kate did effortlessly, there was an inate grace to the Fury, one many dancers or gymnast would envy.

She smiled at the mention of vodka “If you don’t mind having me around, then I”d be honored to have a drink with you two” She was holding her jacket and hoodie in her right hand now, looking around, still appreciating the loft.

[Katherine Bellamonte] “Ah, très bonne,” the French raised American Silver Fang commends, and reaches up on her toes to free a trio of small shot glasses from her cupboard. She sets each down, and unscrews the top on the vodka bottle; pouring a just so amount into each as the other females situate themselves at the breakfast table; stools had been set up along one side of it, Katherine stood on the preparation end.

She set one before each, and raised it.

“What shall we toast to? Interacting with Kinfolk and not having it result in violence or extended argument, perhaps?”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “That would in fact be something new for me in the last few weeks,” she says to Katherine with a wry touch to her voice. Her lips twist into a grin, both amused and exasperated at that fact.

“Yeah, sure. I’ll drink to that.”

[Adara Mires] She watch both of them and chuckled “What is it with this city and difficult kinfolks?”She asked slightly amused “Isn’t it supposed to be the norm? Having good relations with kinfolk and not having conversations ending with arguments or blood?”

She paused “So I’ll drink to that”

She smiled “I’m lucky enough that most like me. Are yours troublesome?”She ask the two tribe Elders. She can’t really speak for kin from her tribe, she knew of onlyone and Adamidas is the Elder

[Katherine Bellamonte] [Just for giggles, I wanna see how drunk faced she gets on Lukas’ booze.]
Dice Rolled:[ 3 d10 ] 3, 7, 10 (Success x 2 at target 6)

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] [[Ahh, why not]]
Dice Rolled:[ 2 d10 ] 4, 10 (Success x 1 at target 6)

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She grimaces. To be fair, she’s had a little to drink anyway before now, but she smiles when the fire burns down her throat.

“Are my kinfolk difficult? Are you kidding me, Adara? Have you met Amy and Gina?”

[Adara Mires] (and my turn)
Dice Rolled:[ 3 d10 ] 5, 6, 6 (Success x 2 at target 6)

[Katherine Bellamonte] It is perhaps testament to the quality of the vodka her Alpha had gifted her with that while it is potent and she certainly feels it as she downs it; she does not regret it an instant later. She sets her glass down, savoring the warmth in her throat; in her belly. She bites back laughter at Adara’s question, eyes dancing and when Sarita chimes in; Katherine mms agreement to her words.

“I have had so many Kinfolk pass in and out of this city while being Elder of the Silver Fangs, and I can count on one hand, those who have not left their mark.” At this, Katherine actually holds up a finger, and lifts a corner of her sweater in one hand; displaying a small stretch of smooth tanned stomach; there was, however, a small scar; the flesh angry and raised; the width and curved angle of a small blade.

“Silver. The King of my mother’s House had one of his henchman teach me a lesson because his daughter and his Nephew died while under my watch. The Kinswoman, I should add,” Katherine straightens her clothing, reaching to pour a fresh round. “Took her own life. My sister, who came here with myself and Edward, my brother, forced my hand into disowning her from the tribe and then ran off in search of the Bone Gnawer who took up her Guardianship.

To this day, I have no idea where she is.”

[Adara Mires] She grinned at Sarita “Oh you know I’ve met Amunet, hun.” She say shaking her head

“But I absolutly love Gina and Kyle. I’m helping Gina with her english and she’s been teaching me belly dancing. And that’s an amazing art, I love it” She smiled softly “And Kyle is just a great guy. He’s the one who designed my tattoo”She say, raising her ink covered left arm. The tribal style tattoo started on her shoulder and came down to the back of her left hand.

“And he seem to be doing really well lately.”

She drank the alcool, her msile widening at the taste “Wow, LUkas has great taste” She said appreciatively

She listened to Katherine’s story wide eyed “Ok…that is one heck of a story”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Yeah, well you don’t have Gina telling you that you’re the scum of the earth and that you can’t be trusted and that no matter what you do to try and prove it, you don’t really care about her and you’re just trying to find a way to fuck her over because you’re insane.” She frowns. “That’s what I’ve been dealing with with Gina since Day One that I met her. I had to give her my fucking gun in order to get her to meet with me a second time, because of what other people did to her. The reason she likes you is because you’re not Strider.”

“Amy’s…” She falls silent. She’s still fiercely protective of Amunet, that much is clear, and even if she knows what Adara is getting at and understands, there’s still a frown at it being called out. She lets Katherine talk, and she frowns thoughtfully. Others have told her to talk to Katherine about her sister in relation to how the Strider was dealing with her own half-sister. It’s never happened for one reason or another, and while there are differences, she definitely sees the common thread. She says nothing, verbally or over the totemphone. She just stays uncharacteristically quiet.

[Katherine Bellamonte] Three new shots are set up, and Katherine, picking up a new one, frowns in something of a mirrored action at her newest sister. She can feel Sarita’s protectiveness, understands its core and more than likely sympathizes with it more than the other female will or could ever realize.

“It is not so unfamiliar with Carter Roth up there, I have little doubt he hates not Lukas, or myself or any of us but his own situation, the helplessness of it and that he feels caught up, like the unwilling fly in the spider’s web. He sees danger and death encroaching on him, but the more he struggles, the more caught he finds himself.”

A beat, she throws back another shot; her cheeks warmed, eyes on Sarita.

“Sometimes they escape the web, but we catch them later on, when the damage has been delivered by other hands. You can only offer her what she’ll except from you. Patience, I dare say, will win over Gina. As for Amy,” a beat, Sarita had been present at the Kin meeting.

“Sisters are complicated. Already, without our bonus entanglements to the bargain. I …. pushed Gabrielle, too much. Too hard. Amy is willful, like she was … is. But I think she respects you.” A beat, Katherine seems distant a moment. “That is to your favor with her. My sister merely feared and distrusted me.”

[Katherine Bellamonte] [Staaaamina. Glug, glug!]
Dice Rolled:[ 3 d10 ] 4, 6, 7 (Success x 2 at target 6)

[Adara Mires] She look at Sarita “Oh, I didn’t know it was so bad between you and her. I’m sorry. It seem we tend to get Kin who has been badly treated over here like Katherine said” She say with a slight frown “Well if you don’t mind and it can reassure you, I”m keeping an eye on her and try to make sure she’s doing ok”

She say looking at Sarita then smiling softly “As for Amy, don’t worry, all right? What happened between me and her is over, dealt with on my side. I know I’ll never be friend with her, but I don’t have anything against her either.”She shrugh “I try not to hold unnecessary grudges.”

She pick her shot and raise it to both women “I never had sibblings..somehow you make me wish I do and don’t at the same time” She grin slightly before drinking

[Adara Mires] (take 2)
Dice Rolled:[ 3 d10 ] 1, 7, 10 (Success x 1 at target 6)

[Katherine Bellamonte] [er, accept, not except. WRONG ONE.]

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Yeah well, we’ll see with Gina.” She shrugs. It’s certainly not that she doesn’t appreciate the advice, or listen or even accept it. She does. She has the look of someone who’s just a bit tired of it. She’s not morose, not even angry. Frustrated is a good way to put it. But even that frustrated has a bit of that sardonic humor over it. “Maybe when she decides I’m more than a receptacle for past sins.”

“And thanks.” It’s said to both. “Amy’s…I didn’t think the city would change her when people told me it would. I was wrong, but…we’ll get through it.”

A shrug, and she picks up her shut. “Ahh, what the fuck. Bottom’s up.” She grins and slams the shot like a pro.

[[Drunky time now?]]
Dice Rolled:[ 2 d10 ] 1, 8 (Failure at target 6)

[Lukas Wyrmbreaker] The Loft is so big, so expansive, so open that when someone phases across the Gauntlet, the change in air pressure isn’t even quite enough to pressure their ears into popping. So it’s sort of out of the blue when Lukas comes down from upstairs, picking a twig out of his hair as he rounds the turn into the kitchen.

“I thought I smelled booze,” he says, mock-accusingly.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “You did.” She grins at Lukas. The flush has started to creep into already dusky skin, and she takes a lean back on the counter. “And it’s in me, Big Bossman. S’up?”

[Katherine Bellamonte] Katherine smiles, shaking her head. “Trust me, being an only child at times seems utterly inviting.”

There’s a slight change in the air pressure, not enough to truly startle, but those connected by Perun sense it, likely, before the Fury does. Katherine is already fetching a fresh shot glass out as Lukas appears, rebuking without rancor the scent of alcohol on the air in the Loft.

“Yes, we were testing out the vodka you gave me, Lukas.” Katherine pours a new round, nudging one toward her Alpha; hands then braced on the counter in mock challenge; her cheeks already rosy. “Do you accept the challenge? You are two rounds behind, already. We’ve been exchanging Kinfolk tales.”

[Lukas Wyrmbreaker] “Went for a romp in the woods,” he says, then flicks the twig he pulled out of his hair in Kate’s direction before hauling himself up on a stool at the breakfast bar. “Pass a double down this-a-way.”

Katherine finishes up some comment on kin, and suddenly the somewhat morose air — unusual for a drinking competition — makes sense. “Uh oh,” Lukas says, “what happened now?”

[Tripoli] It’s not so much a pop as a blip when Tripoli manifests in the stainless steel sink. A clank of metal against metal, rubber against it, and the only reason they know instantly that it’s him is that he’s nearly a foot tall at the moment, rather than the pocket-sized shape he wears so often. His long, reticulated arms flop over the edge of the sink, reaching for help.

Eee,” he informs the drinking Garou, smacking his ‘hands’ on the edge of the counter like a child adamantly demanding it be picked up. “Eee!

[Adara Mires] She reached and squeezed Sarita’s hand for a brief moment “Hey, it could be worst,. Things will get better, I”m sure” She offer a reassuring smile then looked at Lukas with a warm smile “Good evening Lukas”

And now she felt liek an outsider even though Lukas was the only male. Put them all in a line and point at who doesn’t belong here and she’d be picked. She was amongst packmates after all. The Unbroken, and in a setting you don’t see her often in. A lavish decor and all. Not that she couldn’t fit in a place like that. It’s more like her clothes won’t match with the place.

She offered Kate a grin “Well, it’s always the grass is always greener elsewhere right?” She say when the Adren comment about how inviting being a lonely child seemed to her

She blinks when Tripoli appears, having no idea what it was. She tilted her head, then look at her empty shot glass. Was she that drunk already?

[Adara Mires] (read: well the grass is always greener….)

[Katherine Bellamonte] Katherine straightens, and turns to examine the manifested spirit in her sink.

“Hello, little one.” She offers a hand out to the little metallic spirit to clamber aboard and moves to set him on the counter beside the glasses and bottle of vodka. “Sinclair let you out for the night and you come here? Dear, oh dear. ” Then, to belatedly answer Lukas, Kate picks up her latest shot.

“I met Carter Roth, we actually had a conversation that was not entirely without progress.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Dude, try BEING an only child for twenty-seven years and ~then~ getting a sister. Sometimes it’s tough to figure out whether it’s the best or worst of both worlds. Or like…a Charlie Dickins thing. A Tale of Two Sisters.”

She chuckles at Lukas. “Nothin’ happened. Just got inspired to kinfolk talk by our guest.”

She grins when Tripoli appears. Hey there, little guy. S’up?” picks up her glass from the new round that’s been poured, and downs it.
[[Drunk-ER?]]
Dice Rolled:[ 2 d10 ] 3, 9 (Success x 1 at target 7)

[Lukas Wyrmbreaker] “That’s what you get,” Lukas informs the little metal gaffling drolly, “materializing in a sink.” Kate helps Tripoli out. Lukas unbuckles his watch and slides it down the counter toward Tripoli — mostly metal, ticking, mechanical, toy. “Don’t break it,” he warns.

Kinfolk guest. Lukas looks wary. “Did he rant about Garou oppression again? I swear, that night when he agreed to come here I felt like I’d actually gotten through to him for a moment. But he’s sliding steadily back into down with the wolfman! equality for all! mindset again.”

[Adara Mires] She watch Tripoli for a moment, as she pick her shot and chuckled at Sarita’s words “Yeah, I guess it can turn your life around.” She smiled, looking at her shot. She remember her last drinking contest. She wasn’t sure she felt like repeating the experience. But it seemed to go well tonight

She look at Lukas “I don’t think it was that bad. He was on edge tonight mostly because hte rage prevents him from sleeping. I don’t know why exactly but he physically react badly to rage. It’s ont even related to what happened to him in the past. Or so I understand”

She drank her shot

[Adara Mires] (and round 3)
Dice Rolled:[ 3 d10 ] 2, 4, 8 (Success x 1 at target 6)

[Tripoli] At this size, Tripoli is heavy. He is several pounds of pure metal, though one would be hard-pressed to name what sorts of metals he’s made of. All of them. There are glints of gold in the rims around his blue-glowing eyes. There are hints of cold iron in the axis of his wheel. He is far too big to fit on Katherine’s lovely, soft, much-polishing palm, so he grabs a hold of her wrist as she lifts him up and out of the sink. His weight drags on her elbow as she helps him.

“Eee!” he says defiantly, steel shutters clicking down over his eyes for a half-second, a blink at her assumption that Sinclair let him out. Huff.

His wheel sets down on the counter. The little metal gaffling looks disinterestedly at the shot glasses and the bottles and goes in search of more interesting fare: a corkscrew, perhaps. Maybe a bottlecap. A bit of foil from a neck. He just flaps an arm at Lukas, stupid big-male-wolf-who-never-polishes.

It becomes clear enough to Adara that Tripoli is responding to them as though he understands them, but there is no way in hell they can do more than infer what he might be saying. At least he’s a little more comprehensible than a spirit of Concrete. He’s like a wee robot with a sparkling personality, this one.

Oh look, a watch. Tripoli eyes it, head turned 180 degrees as he rolls along the counter. He thinks quite seriously about ignoring Lukas’s offering, then spins around and rocks back and forth on his wheel a few times before finally zipping over and glomming onto the watch. Picks it up. Hugs it to his cylindrical little chest like a baby.

“Eeee,” coos the gaffling to the wristwatch.

[Katherine Bellamonte] “Alas,” Katherine with a brief turn at smiling, watching the gaffling playing with the Shadow Lord’s watch, “he does not react favorably to us in the slightest. I informed him he was assumptive of much to group me with every other Garou monster he’d met, as he surely had not met every last one of us and he seemed to hear me, at the very least.

We have reached a tentative accordance, while he is under my roof.”

She finally drinks her next shot, blinking back a wash of heat rushing upon her. “What occurred in his past, Adara? If you do not mind the question.”

[Katherine Bellamonte] [Drankin’]
Dice Rolled:[ 3 d10 ] 2, 5, 8 (Success x 1 at target 6)

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She nods at Katherine’s question. “I gotta admit, I’m pretty damn curious about that myself. He’s definitely got a walkin’ wounded feel to ‘im.”

A glance over at Damon. “Compared to the big Hooha, he was civil. Ish. What Katherine said, but at least he wasn’t flippin’ the freakin’ bird at anyone or throwing breakables.”

[Lukas Wyrmbreaker] “And compared to the tribal moot, the Big Hooha was civil. It gives me hope.” There’s only a bit of wryness in his tone. He downs his doubleshot, then, still lagging the others by one.

“I think the details should be left private,” Lukas replies, then. “But you can probably guess the generalities. Brutalized by a Garou who was supposed to protect him. I can understand how something like that leaves scars. At the same time, he’s hardly the only case. Others didn’t grow up hating everyone and everything.

“That said, he’s not totally blind to reason. If you point out how hypocritical his hatred of all Garou is when he’s accusing Garou of hating and misusing all kin, he has the intelligence and sanity to see the conflict in logic. And if you’re straight with him, if you don’t bullshit and tell him little white lies you’re going to break later, he responds to it.

“I think to some degree, he just wants his pain acknowledged. And I think as much as he’s ready to be proven right about the Garou, he actually wants to be proven wrong.”

[glug!]
Dice Rolled:[ 4 d10 ] 3, 8, 9, 10 (Success x 3 at target 6)

[Lukas Wyrmbreaker] [glug!]
Dice Rolled:[ 4 d10 ] 1, 7, 7, 10 (Success x 2 at target 6)

[Adara Mires] She was amused as she watch Tripoli. It reminded her of Wall-E. It was extremely cute. Her emerald eyes moved to look at Katherine

“I actually don’t know for sure, we never talked about it. But Lukas is probably right” She shrughs slightly “Maybe I should ask one day. Knowing his past might help in finding a way to heal him. Then again, he’s fairly decent with me already. Still wonder why sometimes. I mean, I do enjoy annoying the heck out of him”

She grins impishly “But I did work on gaining his trust” She admits

[Katherine Bellamonte] Katherine seems a little somber, despite the couple of rounds of vodka she’s consumed already. “Yes, I noticed he reacted more favorably to logic, than any other thing I threw at him earlier. I hate to see the Kinfolk this way, you know. I have tried myself, after failing so many other ways, to be just with them but they do try to push so hard, sometimes.

I fear the day I lose complete control around one.”

She muses, the Half Moon, worry clear in her pale eyes.

[Tripoli] Tripoli has been cooing to Lukas’s watch, rolling around. There’s an undulation to his eeeing, as though he’s singing the wristwatch a lullabye.

He misses the edge of the counter. Plummets, along with Lukas’s watch. But lo, what is this! As he’s going over the edge, the shocked gaffling tosses the watch up into the air, crying “EEeeeEEE!

which translates roughly, perhaps, to

Save yourself!

Unfortunately the watch, unlike Tripoli, is not sentient. It flies up into the air, hangs for an interminable second —

and begins to fall after the gaffling, who has by now totally hit the ground and melted into it, vanishing entirely.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She nods to Katherine, blinking a couple of times. “See, now I see in Carter, same shit I see in Gina. ‘cept Carter’s thing is blanket, and Gina’s is Tribe-specific. Knowing Gina’s story and seein’ how similar they are in ways…makes me really worried about Carter.”

[Lukas Wyrmbreaker] Lukas is in the middle of a third shot — catching up to the others, as it were — when Tripoli topples off the counter. EEeeeEEEE! quoth the gaffling, plummeting; the wristwatch flies up, Lukas sticks his foot out to try to break Tripoli’s fall, but

blip! and he’s gone again, leaving the Ahroun to pull his watch deftly out of its free-fall trajectory. Smooth as silk and cool as a cucumber, the Shadow Lord.

“That, by the way,” Lukas says, answering Adara’s long-ago question as he fastens his undamaged watch around his wrist again, “is Sinclair’s pet gaffling. She rescued him and his broodmates from corruption, and this one decided to follow her around.

“As for Carter and Gina and everyone else who’s got a chip on their shoulder due to past issues — on one hand, I get it. They feel betrayed and hurt, so they lock down and lash out. So I reason with them, and I try to make them see that I’m not going to treat them with any less respect than they deserve. Or any more. Which is exactly how I treat anyone else, Garou or kin.

“On the other hand, there’s only so much effort I’m going to spend on reasoning with them, and it’s directly proportional to how much they’ve actually accomplished. How much they’re, to put it coldly, worth it. Sooner or later if things don’t work out I just have to say get over yourself, crack down and move on. They’re kidding themselves if they really think our biggest problem is whether or not kin are getting abused. They’re kidding themselves if they think their biggest problem is whether or not they’re being treated right by the Garou. If the Wyrm wins the war — here in Chicago, or just wins, period — they are not going to be any better off. If they think a permanent place at the bottom of the Nation’s hierarchy, they should take a good long look at how the Wyrm treats their kin.”

Glug.
Dice Rolled:[ 4 d10 ] 1, 1, 1, 2 (Botch x 3 at target 6)

[Lukas Wyrmbreaker] — and rather without warning, Lukas’s faceplants on the counter. So much for eastern european alcohol tolerance.

[Adara Mires] She offer a smile to Katherine “Don’t worry so much. I’ve no doubts that you’ll be wise enough to either maintain control or walk away if a kin pushes you too hard. I know that in our world there is no garantee of control with our Rage, but you’re one of those I wouldn’t worry too much about. You’re smart, wise, respected. Not likely to make a mistake like that”

She watched Sarita as she speak of Carter and Gina. She wonder what happened to the young woman but she wouldn’t ask Sarita. She doubted the Strider would tell her and it was perfectly fine. If Gina wanted her to know, she’ll tell her

She watched Tripoli fall with wide eyes but it left. She seemed relieved as Lukas tell her about it. She then listened to Lukas point of view on kin and she can’t help but nod in agreement

“The Wyrm is everyone’s biggest problem period. I do try to be nice to those around me, Garou and kin alike. But in the end, when troubles come, I’ll listen to those above me, will direct those under me and do what’s needed to keep as many as possible safe. That include being harsh, inflexible and sacrifice some or myself for the good of the many”

She shrugh. It wasn’t her first reaction to situations but in the end, she was logical and practical. To win the war, you do what’s needed..and what’s needed isn’t always nice or pretty.

[Lukas Wyrmbreaker] [*dies* okay, i should make a more plausible exit. DLP, but don’t wait on me — i’ll write while you guys are posting]

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Wow, three shots in an’ we’re already talkin’ about sacrificing. Kinda makes me worried what happens when and if we hit five.”

She’s kidding, mostly. Teasing Adara. It’s certainly possible that there’s something deeper underneath. With the Strider, there usually is something deeper when she makes a joke. This one might be lacking a bit in meaning, but…hey, she’s had three shots of this damned firewater, plus another drink besides. Cut the chica a little slack.

I’ll cut your FACE a little slack… Don’t start.

[Lukas Wyrmbreaker] The first two shots went down without a hitch. The last one — they all seem to hit at once, slamming the Ahroun like a mack truck. They can almost see his eyes unfocusing. And while Adara’s answering with conviction and clarity, Katherine with grace and eloquence, and Sarita with her own brand of slightly acidic humor … Lukas can’t seem to keep what they’re saying in focus.

He stands up. And sways.

“Good points, everyone,” he says. He’s obviously trying very hard to be measured and reasonable and firm and Adrenly. It’s also very obvious he hasn’t managed to process a word of the last two minutes or so. “Good discussion. I’m glad we had this talk. I think we … cleared a lot of things up. Yeah. So. I’d love to … love to stay and chat, but I haven’t eaten in hours. And I’m going to make like … a fast food run. To Taco Bell. For tacos.

“Fish tacos.”

For some reason this makes him laugh irrepressibly. Swaying his way out, he hugs every one of them rather forcefully against his side.

“You people are awesome. Have a good night.” Sarita’s the last in line; she gets an extra-tight bear hug. “Night!”

And then he’s stumbling off up the stairs. It’s anyone’s guess if he means to pass out on the couch or leave the way he came in.

He Clears The Air…Kinda

[Leon Davenport] It was friday evening, a night to go out and have fun. Instead, he had called a meeting he dreaded going to. He had been given the loft’s adress when he had contacted Lukas and drove the black Lexus there. He stepped out and made his way inside. The tall, athletic blond man was dressed in a dark suit, with a blue shirt and no tie.

He was greeted by lucille and lead to Lukas’s location. He was nervous, ucomfortable and partly afraid of how things will turn out. He had no real hope it’ll go well ofr him, but sometimes things had to be said and done no matter how hard they were.

He stopped, looking serious, offering a small bow to the Shadow Lord when he was in his presence “Good evening Rhya, thank you for seeing me” He says in a polite tone

[Wyrmbreaker] Might not help that there’s thunder in the sky tonight. A sudden and humid warmth in the air, almost oppressive in its abruptness and in the contrast to month upon month of ice and snow. Even now, driving up to the Loft, rain patters against Leon’s windshield. Leaves the shoulders of his suit faintly damp as he enters Katherine’s home; is shown upstairs by Katherine’s maid.

Lukas is in the rumpus room, feet bare. No restaurant service for him. He has a weapon in hand that no one in this Sept has ever seen him use in combat, and no one outside of his pack has ever seen him use, period. It’s a longsword: the cross and pommel unadorned, the blade long and gleaming-dark, indicative of carbon content in the steel. It looks old, but it’s not an heirloom. Not judging by the way he uses it, slamming it through quick straight cuts, blindingly fast.

Leon comes into sight and Lukas comes to a stop. He’s casually dressed – a plain white t-shirt, grey drawstring pants, swordbelt crossing his wide chest. He sheathes the sword over his shoulder, grabbing up a towel to blot sweat off his brow, the back of his neck. “No problem,” he says, gesturing Leon toward the cluster of couches and beanbag chairs near the entertainment center. “Thanks for coming out to the Loft.

“What’s going on?”

[Danicka] Lukas’s iPhone, lying — perhaps — on top of an end table where he left it, chimes. Or buzzes. And a picture of a rather lovely blonde woman, smiling good-naturedly (patiently) at the camera appears on the screen with big friendly letters: Danicka

[Leon Davenport] He watched Lukas handling a weapon. Great, jst great. Well this is the night I die it seem, he thinks sourly to himself. Well there’s no time like the present for it no? He took a deep breath “I have three things I need to talk with you about. Some not really..enjoyable for me.”

He walk and sit on the couch. He was nervous and tried notto show it. He was here to do the honorable thing after all, and also do things properly. Too bad ofr him, the honorable thing will probably put him in more trouble and then the proper thing will be denied. He knew it but will go through the motions anyway.

“The first thing I wanted to talk to you about was your impression of your tribesmate Nathalie. A kin of my tribe is living with her. Nathalie gave me a good impression, if too eager when I met with her. I jsut wanted to know if you think it’s safe for my kin to hang with her”

Ok, first subject on the way. The most innocent one too.

[Wyrmbreaker] Quick, a faint frown sketches it way across Lukas’s brow. “Nathalie generally means well,” he says, “but her rage sometimes exceeds her control, and her better intentions sometimes lead to worse ends. She’s sworn to do better. If nothing else, I believe she’ll try, and Shadow Lords don’t often make futile attempts. But in the end it’s your call, and you’ll have to make it based on your best judgment. As far as I can tell, you’re the one standing for the Walker kin now.”

His phone goes off. Lukas turns his head unhurriedly, then reaches over to pick it up. “I have to get this. Can you give me one minute?” He slides the accept button, raises the phone to his ear. “Ahoj, lásko. I’m at the Loft meeting with Leon right now.”

[Leon Davenport] He considered Lukas words about Nathalie. Well that was interesting. Seem liek Mickey went from the frying pan into the fire. He’ll have to talk to her about that. Then again, he’s not the one the kin wants to bed, so she mgiht ignore his warning and stay with the Shadow Lord anyway.

He nodded to Lukas “Thank you Rhya, I wanted the opinion of someone who knew her some. I’ll decide what I’ll do about it”

HLukas’s phone rang and Leon watched the Adren pick it up. He nodded to him when he asked for a minute and looked around. His pericing blue eyes looked at the room, not sure if he was grateful for the interruption or not. Part of him want this to be over as quickly as possible. The other part, wants to get the hell out and move ot Hawaaii

[Wyrmbreaker] Whatever the response is, it gets a brief smile out of Wyrmbreaker. Brief, but it’s genuine. Warm. And not an expression one sees often on his face; not quite the same way he smiles at a friend, or a packmate.

“Sounds good,” he says. “See you.”

After she hangs up, he does as well, locking the screen on his phone and setting it back face-down on the endtable. He turns his attention back to Leon, his expression expectant.

[Leon Davenport] He exhale slowly when Lukas’s attention came back to him. Here goes nothing “I have something I want to ask you, but first I need to tell you something that happened in february, something that was settled but keep popping out. So before you hear about it from someone else, if you haven’t already and because I well I need your approval and don’t feel I’d be worthy of it if I hide something like that”

He paused, what he has to say doesn’t seem like it will come out easilly “When I arrived in Chicago, late january, I met Amunet, Sarita’s sister. We started seeing each other, with her sister’s silent consent. It didn’t go very smoothly and after quite a few incidents, that i won’t mention unless you really need me to, I frenzied briefly on her and hit her quite hard, in Crinos. She got a commotion and broken wrist from that blow”

it was hard for him to confess, and his shame was apparent in his face. “I talked to Sarita after the incident, to apologize and set things right. Later, she had a talk with my Alpha to set conditions for me. Maybe our inital agreement wasn’t enough or maybe I was wrong and only thought weagreed. Anyway, they came with three conditions that I”ve been following: No contact with Amunet, no pursuing kin from another tribe without that kin’s Elder’s consent and take anger management lessons with a Philodox”

“He tilt his head “I don’t agree particularly with the last one but I’ll do it. I messed up and will take my responsabilities. I was hoping I could talk to Honor’s Compass about it. I think it would please Sarita if somone she trust and respect was supervising those lessons.

I’m not proud of what I did, and still feel the guilt for my actions. I have learned that, despites the saying anything worth having is hard, well sometime you just have to let go.”

He look at Lukas “So there you have it. This is what I needed to confess before getting to the other reason for this meeting”

[Wyrmbreaker] “I’ve heard about it,” Lukas says simply. “I’ve heard about why you lost your temper, and to be frank, I’m surprised you didn’t mention that yourself. It’s a mitigating circumstance, if nothing else.

“I have some questions, though. First: ‘silent consent’ — does that mean you asked her and she didn’t say no? Or that she found out otherwise and didn’t stop you? Second: you frenzied and hit her? Or you bit back a frenzy before it took hold and hit her? When we descend into frenzy, Leon, we use tooth and claw.”

[Leon Davenport] He seem to relax a little. The weight was off his shoulders and Lukas already knew. Now the hardest would be coming, once the hitting Amy subject was over. “I could hav talked about those circumstances but in the end. I made a mistake. I should have walked away sooner instead of waiting till I snap”

He paused before answering Lukas’s questions

“Silent consent is that we didn’t hide from her. She was with us the first night Amy decided to sleep with me. Ishould have asked her directly I guess, but he knew where Amy and I were gonig and didn’t say anything. Then on the next few days, we hanged the three of us. She neversaid no. So considered that she wasn’t against it. We laso had a few talks about what was happening between me and her sister. She gave some advises and all. To me, it meant that she accepted what was happening”

Another pause as he consider Lukas’s question “Did I frenzy? I odn’t know for sure. I mean I know I saw red, my brain shut down for a while, almsot liek a black out. I found myself towering over Amunet sprawling on the floor with parts of a broken bed in hands, ready to stab her. I stopped there, shifted back to homid and left. Maybe I jsut lost it in a purely human way, or had some kind of flash frenzy. I did care for her, maybe that stopped me fron killing her. Though Iheard about other frezying and once it was over, they had killed loved ones.

I wish I could tell you with certainity. I know I went nuts, lost control and got it back at the last moment”

[Wyrmbreaker] Totemphone!

Sarita, Leon says you gave implicit acceptance of his relationship with your sister before he blew it. He also says after he hit Amy, you and he settled it on the condition that he stays away from Amy, asks tribal alphas before pursuing another tribe’s kin, and learns to control himself from a Philodox. He says on those conditions, the two of you put the matter to rest. Is that true?
to Katherine Bellamonte, Danicka, Sarita Ecos de la Risa

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] A pause. Like, a couple of beats of dumbfounded pause.

Oh, you gotta be shitting me. Honestly, no that’s not accurate. The first part is true. I let them see each other. The second part is true with several details changed. The first time we talked over it, he threw two grand at me like that was gonna cover shit. At the time I was more worried about my sister who was acting like an abused house wife and we had a shattered bed that he almost stabbed her with as well as medical bills, so I used it to pay for those. Later, after I talked to Sinclair I realized that I wasn’t looking out for those other kin he might be around, so I talked with Matthieu. He and I came to that arrangement, yes. I don’t think he’s completely met it, since it’s been a month and he’s made no attempt to contact any Philodoxes, but yeah. I’ve still held up my end.”
to Danicka, Wyrmbreaker, Katherine Bellamonte

[Wyrmbreaker] There’s a pause on Lukas’s end too, so long that Leon might wonder if the Lord had somehow gotten ahold of a philodox’s gift for seeing truth through lies. It’s not that, though. It’s something at once simpler and more complex: astuteness, intelligence. Thought.

And connection.

“If you want to put this behind you,” he says finally, “then you need to own up to your faults and rise above them.

“It’s true that you came to me; you told me what had happened. You didn’t necessarily have to. This matter was settled, and even if it wasn’t — I’m not a Philodox. But there’s a defensiveness about the way you’re telling me that makes me think this isn’t just a fit of conscience. You spin the story to make yourself look better. Less guilty. More victimized. You didn’t tell me that Amunet cheated on you and that’s why you lost your temper, true. But nor did you tell me you tried to buy Sarita’s silence first, and only later, at her insistence, went to the mediation of Matthieu. You imply that because Sarita never protested, you didn’t need to seek her permission in the first place. You quibble over whether or not you actually frenzied, when — let’s be honest, Leon — if you had, Amunet would be dead.

“Now, you keep alluding to a third reason you came here tonight. That makes me think the reason you came to me at all, confessed at all, is an attempt to look good so you can ask me for something. And I’ll tell you this. The appearance of honor isn’t going to cut it. If you want me to think you honorable enough to trust, you need to show me genuine remorse. And you need to show genuine reformation in your actions.

“Whether or not Sarita protested, it was your duty to go to her as Amy’s guardian. To tell her of your intentions, and to fulfill whatever condition she asked of you. That burden is on you, the suitor, not her, the warder.

“Whether or not you were angry with Amunet, you didn’t lose it entirely. If you did, she’d be dead. You had the presence of mind not to rip her apart. You chose, on some level, to go to warform and hit a kinswoman.

“Whether or not she deserved punishment for what she did, you should have sought the price from another Garou. The other one in her bed, or the one that warded her. It’s dishonorable to take that price out on a kin.

“Whether or not you agree with this … anger management deal, you made it, and you must abide by it. You must pay that debt.

“And you need to own up to all your other faults. So long as you slink about defending your actions and your wrongdoings, you’ll never leave them behind completely. The only way to restore your honor is to stand up and say, yes. I fucked up. I courted a kin without permission. I took a bloodprice out on her when she was disloyal to me. I tried to buy off her warder. I haven’t paid my dues fully. I know it. I won’t do it again, and I’ll prove it starting today. Starting this moment.

“When you can do all that, you’ll start winning back your honor. Until then, the deeper you bury this, the more it’ll rot and stink.”

Pause.

“Now, what was your request?”

[Danicka] A little while later — she must have already been in her car driving around when she called — Danicka’s Infinity pulls up to the Loft. It’s been a long time since she’s been here. She didn’t come for Katherine’s celebratory party. She’s been here to pick up or drop off Gabriella after spending an evening contributing to the deliquency of a minor. She’s been here to meet with Katherine about maybe doing the exact opposite of contributing to the delinquency of that particular minor.

Truth be told, she has little knowledge whatsoever of what became of Gabriella. And truth be told — it tells you a great deal of what sort of woman she is — Danicka has never cared enough to ask.

The Infiniti parks, and Danicka gets out, wearing a pair of sheer black stockings with a flocked pattern of widely latticed ribbons creating diamonds of sheer within bands of velvet black. Her feet are slipped into patent black heels with electric blue soles, but the color of Shadow Lords ends there. Her dress is a lighter blue than the undersides of those heels, a rather shiny wiggle dress straight out of the 60s that ends just below her knee and is cinched about her waist with a silver belt. There’s a silver bracelet around her left wrist, a white gold ring around her third left finger, and a thin chain around her neck that might be white gold, might be something even more fine, ending in a small pendant that rests atop the shiny blue dress. It’s simple, really, a diamond set within an infinity knot.

She strides to the front door, is allowed in by Lucille, and soon enough her heels can be heard tapping quietly on the floorboards as she makes her way towards Lukas’s voice.

[Wyrmbreaker] [wait! um. reword: “But nor did you tell me you tried to buy Sarita’s silence first, and only later, at her insistence, agreed to the present terms.”]

[Wyrmbreaker] [i am too lazy to transcribe that into totemspeak but you can all assume Lukas gives an abridged version of what-all is going on across the totemlink!]
to Katherine Bellamonte, Danicka, Sarita Ecos de la Risa

[Leon Davenport] He blinked. Ok..not exactly what he was aiming there. He frowned slightly but stayed silent for a long time.”

“I didn’t come here because of the third reason. It just happened to be timed well with the decision to come to you. You may or may not believe it. It’s fine.” He say and shook his head

“I could probably argue all night about what you told me. The gist of it is true. And I”m willing to own up to what I did. But a lot of what you know might be incomplete. And that’s not the point. I didn’t come here to blame Sarita, or Amy or myself. I just wanted you to know what happened.”

His piercing blue eyes looked at lukas “As ofr the third reason, your words told me your answer. I pretended, I ‘haven’t paid my price, so no matter what Isay, until I’ve done so, t’s not even worth wasting your time and ask it”

He had a feeling Sarita gave him her version of events over the totem phone. It didn’t matter. “I’m sorry I took so much of your time Rhya” He said, getting up

[Wyrmbreaker] “Ask me anyway,” Lukas says, “so I know what it is you want.”

[Leon Davenport] He stop in his movement and sat back. He took a few breaths “I wanted to ask your permission about seeing one of your kin, Luana Kirchmann. Not claiming her or anythign like htat. Just the right to spend time with her, talk to her and see where things will lead.

I met her around the time I met Amunet. We spent some time together, and learned only recently that she was kin to your tribe. We had a falling out for some time but things are better. She knows about everything I told you. So I was wondering if I could be allowed to be in her presence. ”

He say, politly. He hand his hands on his knees and tried to look relaxed. But he knew Lukas’s next words will probably hurt. He cared for Luana, more than he did for almost everything else. He knew that being denied the right ot be around her will kill him. He expected both..the refusal and the death.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] They can feel it. That self-control…holding back and trying not to say anything. She clearly wants to but she doesn’t want to sound like the defensive woman who’s sister got hurt and now is just lashing out.

The resolve doesn’t hold, and it bursts out of her mind like water out of a dam that’s been blown up in some James Bond film. “Oh MY GOD he’s so full of shit about just wanting to let you know! He and Matthieu both were both specific about keeping you two out of the loop.” Meaning Lukas and Katherine. “I’ll bet you a gajillion dollars that he’s pissed because I saw Gina playing footsie with his knee at the Kin-Elder meeting, and I told Matthieu that if Matt was going to court Gina that it was his responsibility to keep my kin away from Leon, Gina included. I may be letting the matter rest, but I’m still not cool with any of my kin being in his presence unless there’s someone around to keep them safe. Stupid cockpunching shitribbon cumdrizzling little fuckstain of…” This goes on for a few moments before she drifts off
to Katherine Bellamonte, Danicka, Wyrmbreaker

[Katherine Bellamonte] From Katherine — where was she, anyway, they have the impression of a car, flashing scenery of Chicago at night somewhere nearby — Wait, what? Matthieu said he wished to deliberately keep me from knowing about this matter? Why? I am a Half Moon, if anyone, I should be the very sort he is seeking out.]
to Danicka, Sarita Ecos de la Risa, Wyrmbreaker

[Sinclair] It’s Sinclair’s voice now, for the first time in this conversation. Sarita… hon, I love you. But you’ve gotta calm down a little here. I don’t like Leon either. I was wary of leaving Chicago because he seemed kinda keen on representing the tribe if I wasn’t going to. But take some deep breaths, trust Lukáš — funny, how she pronounces his name correctly in her head, at least, — to handle it, and accept that however this ends up, you probably won’t be perfectly satisfied.

That said… Lukáš, I don’t trust Leon any more than Sarita does, to be honest. Just… be wary. He seems like the always-the-hero-or-victim-never-the-villain type you’re always referencing.
to Katherine Bellamonte, Sarita Ecos de la Risa, Wyrmbreaker

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] Okay, sorry…I’m pissed, that wasn’t spoken well. I’m breathing now. Leon wanted to keep you out of the loop Kate…Matthieu just was specific about Lukas since it was ‘none of his business’ and wanted it resolved privately without being known Sept-wide and hurting the reputation of his pack and their purpose of working with humans and dealing with kinfolk.
to Katherine Bellamonte, Danicka, Wyrmbreaker

[Wyrmbreaker] Not that I’d put it so bluntly, but the Fang is more or less right about me. It wasn’t my business. I’m not his tribal elder, nor hers. I’m not a Philodox. The only reason it is my business now is because he wants one of my kin, and if nothing else he at least had the balls — or at least the cunning — to tell me before he asked.

As for you, Kate, it might feel like he’s gone over your head. But if he and Sarita worked it out to their satisfaction, there’s no reason it had to go to a Philodox, either. If he’s not keeping up his end of the bargain, though, that’s another matter.

As for how I’m handling the situation here, on hand, between Leon and my kin — truth is even if he hadn’t slammed a kin around I’d be hesitant to approve this little courtship. Kin aren’t tagalongs in the Tribe. Their spirits are tied to the totem. You take a kin out of the tribe, it’s as much a theft as taking a cub.
to Katherine Bellamonte, Danicka, Sarita Ecos de la Risa

[Wyrmbreaker] “No.”

Expected or not, that answer – quietly spoken as it is – must sting. And there’s that in Lukas’s eyes, at least: a sort of sympathy.

“And I’ll tell you why. It’s not just your past behavior with Amunet, though that doesn’t help. It’s not that you’ve yet to fulfill your terms with Sarita. Even if none of that were true, I would still deny you.

“Kin are every bit a part of the Tribe as Garou, Leon. I realize ancestry and roots matter less to a Glass Walker, but even your tribe still has a Homeland where the spirits of your Tribe go after death. For my tribe — we may not measure a Garou’s worth by the worth of his ancestors, but we care about our family. Our blood. Some of our lineages go back to the very beginning. My line goes back hundreds, thousands of years; farther. All Shadow Lords. All my forefathers, my friends from other lives, my brothers and sisters from ages past — waiting for me in the Homelands when I die. I can’t tell you what comfort that brings me, knowing that I will die, and sooner rather than later. Knowing that when I do die, I can wait there, in the Homelands, for my own mate to come to me.

“Luana has her heritage too. She may not even know it in this life, but when she dies her spirit will remember. If you mate with her, the spirits will recognize her as a Glass Walker. When she dies, her spirit goes to Cockroach. All her children’s spirits, too. They lose the friends and lovers and family of a thousand lifetimes before. They are alone, separate, cut loose from their history.

“Even were she to somehow remain a Shadow Lord in spirit, the outcome is inevitably heartbreaking. When you die, you go to Cockroach. When she dies, she goes to Thunder. Your spirits remain apart with only the dimmest hope of finding each other on Gaia’s face again in your next lives.

“You’re not committed to this yet, Leon. You’ve spent some time together, that’s all. So I’m saying to you: leave off. This isn’t about ownership or possession of our respective kin. This is about mercy and the price you’ll pay — you and Luana both. Find yourself a mate from amongst your own tribe. Don’t take my kin from her people, and don’t doom yourself to losing her.”

[Danicka] my own mate to come to me

Lukas is saying, as Danicka is standing in the doorway to the room they’re in, her footsteps silenced now, her lean body leaning against the wall. She’s quite the vision, isn’t she? Leon can breathe her scent in. She doesn’t wear perfume. She smells soft. Clean.

But most of all she smells warm. Like… home. Like cubs resting nearby, like a full belly, like the security of hearth and pack all gathered close together. She smells, perhaps most intoxicatingly, like fertility. Verdant earth, crops ready for harvest, one’s female growing swollen with your litter. It’s a little distracting, but only so much as any kinfolk’s breeding is distracting. And it depends on the wolf.

She’s heard him talk about this before. The Homelands. What she once thought was a lie. She breathes quietly as she listens, standing in the periphery.

[Leon Davenport] His face is unreadable, cold, drained of all emotions. He almsot snorted but didn’t. Kin of his tribe. So far in this city, he had met one who seem to enjoy women…Shadow Lord Ahroun female at that, the other one was a high class escort no matter how she wanted to paint it. Yeah, kin form hsi tribe. Not likely. No kin ever it seem.

He got up “Thank you for youre time Rhya. And maybe oyu should have this talk with Nathalie since she is trying to have a relatioship with a female kin of mine. I’ll certainly talk to my kin.”

He nodded to him “Have a good night”

He doesn’t mention Sarita’s conditions. They aren’t worth shit to him anymore. Not seeing Amy, fine, no courtin kin of another tribe…fuck that, happening anymore it seem. He lsot the one person who could soothe his rage. He had no intentetion of wasting his time with someone else. Anger management? Well if she cross his path again, he’ll mamange his anger in the bloodiest way possible.

His blue eyes found Danicka “Good night” He simply tell the kin.

He walked away. Not looking back, heading toward the exit

[Leon Davenport] (*not happening anymore..)

[Wyrmbreaker] Levelly, “It’s Nathalie’s responsibility to go to you if she’s courting your kin. She should know that, but I’ll inform her. It’s your right to accept or deny her. If she doesn’t bide by your decision, let me and/or the Philodox Elder know.”

Leon turns to go. Lukas watches him for a moment, thoughtful. Then he descends the stairs, out of sight, and Lukas shifts his attention to Danicka.

She heard a lot of that. The last part, at least. He doesn’t have to explain why he crosses the room to her — smelling of exercise, war, sweat — and wraps her in his arms, bending his nose to her hair.

“Hi,” he says quietly. He sounds a little sad.

Big-Ass Meeting From Hell

[Balance Without Fault] [folks, clarification — sorry if this shuts anyone out, but of the Garou, only Tribal and Auspice alphas are invited. of the kin, everyone can come.]

[Balance Without Fault] Unsurprisingly, the Brotherhood of Thieves is the venue for tonight’s meeting. The restaurant has been closed, the front door locked and hung with a PRIVATE PARTY sign. The tables and chairs have been rearranged into a large circle.

Balance Without Fault enters alone, unaccompanied by his packmate or the Warder. In true Glass Walker fashion, he’s in suit and tie; he looks crisp and sharp, and it’s just a little jarring to see him like this. So normal, like a trader from the Chicago Stock Exchange coming for an after-work drink.

He takes one of the two wingback chairs. The other is immediately cleared away. That says something about how much this is or isn’t a casual discussion where rank does not factor in. Hint: it isn’t. He confers quietly with Jenny for a moment, then, who leaves the room and soon returns with … a magic eight-ball, of all things.

Those nearby can hear her ask, “Will this do?” They can see Balance Without Fault’s mouth quirk into an amused smile as he accepts it.

“Perfect,” he says.

And then he claps his hands together, three time, calling for attention.

“Welcome, everyone. Thanks for coming. Here are the rules tonight: one speaker at a time. He or she who holds the magic eight ball,” and he holds this aloft, “speaks. No one else.

“Keep a respectful tone, particularly to those of greater rank. For those of equal rank, the Auspice Council holds precedence over the Tribal Alphas. For kin, those with renown hold precedence over those without.

“In case of dispute, we will not go to challenges because of the mixed crowd. A Philodox will be called upon to mediate. If mediation fails, I am the final arbiter.

“Anyone violating these rules once will be given one warning, and one only. After that, you’re out of the meeting, and your viewpoint will be disregarded. The staff has kindly set up refreshments in the kitchen. If you feel yourself getting hot under the collar, go get a drink and come back when you’re calmer.

“Now — settle in, everyone. The meeting will formally begin in,” a glance at his wristwatch, “five minutes.”

[okay folks, go ahead and post in if you want to! otherwise we’ll just assume you’re here. BwF will open the floor shortly!]

[Balance Without Fault] [erp, change that to read: “After that, you’re out of the meeting, your viewpoint will be disregarded, and appropriate judgment will be rendered.”]

[Jackson Montgomery] [[Not posting in]]

[August Grant] August had arrived early. She wanted a good seat. By some reason – she thought that this might end up turning into a good show – and she wanted to be in the front row.

The Coggie kinfolk had dressed up for this evening. She wore a soft pink colored sweater with a V-neck, a pair of skinny jeans and dark brown heeled boots. She no longer attempted to hide her belly which was beginning to swell. There was no point any longer. And, against one shoulder, her little one, Ella, slept peacefully. {Who was gonna watch the kid afterall, all the kinfolk were here!}

She really had no intention of saying anything – she was just here to listen. And maybe eye a certain young man who she kinda had a crush on.

[Leon Davenport] Leon arrived at the meeting, not entirely sure if he should be there but being there nonetheless. He had annonced that he was gonig to take the Glass Walkers kin under his protection and no one challenged him. So, guess it means he was the tribe’s Elder in some way. If not, well Balance Without Fault will kick him out. Better to presume tonight than miss honoring your duties.

He was dressed nicely, in a dark, striped suit with a blue shirt and tie. He walked in, looking around, bowing slightly to BWF and Lukas, nodding to to Gina and Jackson, mostly ignoring the rest. Either he didn’t know them or..didn’t care to acknowledge them.

[Rain McKellar] August had company in the early arrivals. Another Unicorn, this one with dark hair and no babe in arms. The songbird is bereft of her usual company, no dark case at her side, no voice to share with the others. She’s wearing her best, dark jeans and a neatly pressed white button down. Though her warmth could be infectious, could spread to fill a room even this wide and this full of faces, Rain kept that charisma and that smile and that presence quiet tonight. She takes her seat with her Tribe, folds her hands in her lap, and watches the others filter in and settle themselves.

[Joey] [I won’t be posting Quinn in unless she has something to say, but she’s there!]

[Balance Without Fault] As soon as Balance lays eyes on August’s baby, he beckons Jenny over. The Fianna kinswoman bends as the Grand Elder lifts his chin, speaking directly to her ear. After a moment she nods, walks across the floor, and offers August an apologetic smile.

“Miss, the Grand Elder wanted me to take your baby upstairs for a few hours. There’s a lotta Rage in here and we don’t want your little one havin’ nightmares. I’ll leave her with Reuben; she’ll be in good hands.”

[Izzy Montoya] Unsurprisingly, it’s the goddamn Brotherhood Of motherfucking Thieves where they decide to have this little powwow. Izzy can count the number of times she’s willingly set foot in this establishment since her imprisonment here on one hand. Hell, on two fingers if she counts this time, though it’s not exactly willingness that has her here. It might be considered curiosity, but more likely it’s a simple thing:

Kora asked. Izzy came.

It says something, that. She’s a respect for The Jarl, (Not her[i] jarl, [i]the jarl. A minute difference that means something to Izzy alone), for the Last Watch. She’s dressed as she always is – business casual, with her weapon a bulge at the small of her back under her blazer, her hair down, her expression… well. Expressionless, other than a slight jump of the muscle at the hinge of her jaw, where she clenches her teeth together briefly, sets her jaw, lifts her chin and enters.

And gets a drink. No way is she sitting through this stone cold sober. No fucking way.

[Hunter] Hunter Matthews stalks through the door with his pack-mate and a certain bone-gnawer kin while everyone is still milling around. Seats are taken, Hunter remains silent.

[Balance Without Fault] [folks, it was pointed out to me that kieran was the only uktena in town, and ergo the default uktena alpha. if anyone has him in AIM, call him back in!]

[Gina McClaren] *Gina’d come home late, but that hadn’t stopped the pikey from being in the kitchen and underfoot since early morning. The more time she spent at Jenny’s elbow, the more likely it was the saintly blonde would let slip the secrets to her cranberry oat-muffins. As folks file in the Strider pickpocket finally emerges from the kitchen, long hair bound in a messy loop off her neck, floury hand marks on the dull black of her skirt, tank top askew, a smudge of icing sugar across a caramel shoulder. She hops up on a stool near the back, as far removed from those of her tribe as she can get. God knew her voice would carry if she had anything to say in earnest. Those she knows get nods of recognition, and a worn smile.*

[Carter Roth] Carter is present, but he remains close to the exit his hands deep within his pockets and his eyes wary and mistrustful, he didnt know what this was all about and he didnt like it one bit.

But he was here, as a test of himself and a test of the garou, to see what they were up to. He couldn’t very well pass up that now could he.

[Carter is here, but I may not be going to be on and off]

[Rosie] The certain Bone Gnawer kinfolk finds a seat near or by or somewhere in the vicinity of Hunter. She sits: quiet and unobtrusive.

[Amunet Knezevic] Amunet made her way in quietly, several minutes before the meeting was to start. She’s in her own jacket, and the iPad has been left at the condo. She remembers very few times in her life when she has been this nervous. When so much has been riding on a single night.

Moving to the far side of the room, she finds a spot where she can watch the comings and goings, back against the wall to protect herself from surprises. Her eyes flicker around the room as it populates, but the only one they rest on more than a second or two is her sister.

[Holden] A grizzly bearded Fenrir takes a seat out of the way, he doesn’t suppose he will have much to say so the distance does him well.

[August Grant] Oh good! Someone to watch the baby! August likes Jenny – afterall, they spent a lot of time hanging out in the kitchen when August lived here..

The young woman gives Jenny a smile. “Of course.. I didn’t have anyone else to watch her.. Thank you. Tell Reuben she might be hungry..” Ella gets a kiss on the side of her head and the baby is lifted from her arms and offered out to the kin.. a moment later, the diaper bag is also offered out.

[Starla Navarro] There is a painted Unicorn that has joined the others, Starla following on Rain’s heels easily, ducking her head down as she finds a seat next to her tribe mate. Dark head lifting to look around, skirting her eyes across the room at the faces that were familiar and not; the freckles dance across the bridge of her nose and her left cheek. She tucks her hands in her lap, leaning to the side to nudge Rain’s shoulder with her own.

[Kyle] (Not going to post for Kyle unless he has something to say or someone asks him questions other wise he’s just doing his usual watch and listen routine 🙂 )

[Bridget Geroux] The Canadian Fianna kinfolk finds herself at this gathering in her usual state of confusion. She doesn’t look quite like she knows what’s going on. However, she doesn’t appear to be under the influence of anything. She wears a simple black maxi dress, gathered at the waist by a beat-up leather belt, a hunter green jacket covering her bare shoulders, and of course her combat boots.

Bridget finds a place to sit where she can stretch her legs: she knows she’ll probably want to fidget if the Rage gets a bit much. She also wisely follows Izzy’s lead by getting herself a small glass of whiskey. She returns and smiles at the few here she recognizes and is on good terms with: Hunter, Gina, Kyle, Sarita. The Fianna kinswoman does her best to control the feral urges to move around while surrounded by so much Rage.

[Kora] A cool spring evening; spring already, light lingering in the west far longer than she had remembered. The heavily pregnant Fenrir – eight months, perhaps more? – pushes past the private party signs, into the familiar restaurant interior. Her hair is twisted into a loose braid, strands pulled free by the wind. Kora is slower than she was; careful of her body. She walks with her shoulders pulled further back to balance the weight of her stomach. Which is all the more evident when she strips off her winter coat and sets it aside on a coat tree, wrapping a hand-knitted scarf around it in a winding pattern.

She finds her way among her kin, but does not take a seat. Instead, she remains standing at their back, her feet shoulder-width apart, her arms crossed – below her breasts, above the swell of her stomach. There is an expectant tension in her spine and shoulders, and a firm set to her jaw.

[Derek Anderson] Derek came in, dressed in pants and sweater, his kind blue eyes looking around. He bowed respectfully to Balance Without Fault, did the same for Lukas and walked around, greeting those he knew a little with a nod: Hunter, Amunet, Gina, Matthieu and Jackson when the last two arrive.

He nodded and smiled slightly at Sarita when he see her. Izzy received a grin when he pass her by “Hello Detective”

His attention then was on August and Rain, offering htem a warm smile and walking to them “Good evening ladies, I hope you’re doing well”

[Danicka Musil] [I’m totally making Damon post Danicka in with Lukas. I’m in the middle of eating. :p ]

[Wyrmbreaker] Punctual, Lukas arrives moments before Balance lays down the protocol for the meeting. And not in his own car but in Danicka’s, riding shotgun while scarfing down the last of whatever dinner they went out to. Looks like lamb-stuffed cabbage.

Getting out, anyone looking out the windows can see him stepping out of her car, buttoning his overcoat against the wind. He moves ahead to get the door; she laughs, running a few steps after him, which makes him turn around, which gives her the opportunity to lean up and wipe a dab of tomato-based sauce from his cheek. And kiss him.

Public displays of affection out of his system, Wyrmbreaker is somber and dignified, walking in the door. He sees that his wingback chair is taken, the other cleared away. He goes to sit by the bar instead, where Danny hovers with a nervous grin.

“No drinks here tonight, Mr. Wyrmbreaker. Grand Elder says all the food and alcoholic drink is to be served in the kitchen. Nothing but ice water here.”

Lukas huffs a laugh under his breath. “Not a problem, Danny.” He takes a seat on a barstool, shifting one a little closer for Danicka.

[Matthieu] Matthieu arrives on time, even a little early. Ever the peacock the lovely Silver Fang arrives just in time to display the finely crafted suit that he has doubtless poured six months of your average man’s salary into getting each and every thread just right. His entrance was as much a display of his tribes divine right as it was a display of his own natural beauty. Not only was he the representative of his Auspice on the council now but he also stood as Alpha of Harrier’s grace. He was a living representative not only of his tribe but his house as well. Ever regal and dignified. His skin was smooth and pale and his hair looked as if it had been kissed by the golden rays of the sun itself. Falcon’s child carried with him the legacy of a house, and the history and hopes of an entire nation.

He listened to Balances without Fault and nods in agreement with the rules. He was here to listen, and to speak when it was needed. Tradition would be the focus of his reasons for being here. Support of tradition and remembrance of ancient ways. His blood ran hot with the memories of a past tens of thousands of years old. A creature of the modern world and yet still firmly grounded in the wisdom of eras ling since passed.

He keeps his eyes forward most of the time. However, when he is finally seated his eyes do drift somewhere to the back. His eyes drawing in to focus on the Strider kin hiding in the back. Pausing to give his own acknowledgement of her presence. His eyes take the time to wander, perhaps linger, and the act brings a slight smile to his lips a smile which might or might not be shared by the both of them. None the less… His eyes were hard pressed to pull themselves away, and in fact he didn’t see any reason to draw them away until the meeting officially started.

[Joey] Joey enters with Hunter and his kinswoman, but once they’re through the door departs their company to sit closer to the rest of the auspice council. A smile is offered to those she recognizes, dim compared to what it used to be, an upward nod to Balance Without Fault, and Lukas.

Once she’s settled, she seeks out Hunter, meets his gaze, and grins.

[Kieran Mondblume] *He looks a little bit intimidated, all things considered, as he walks into the meeting. He finds a place to sit. His shirt is a lovely shade of light purple; his jeans are black. His flip-flops, a lovely shade of maroon. Lukas’ words make his head swivel, and his eyes widen. Food? No… ice water. He slumps slightly, disappointed, as he waits for everything to begin.*

[Balance Without Fault] [Sorry for the confusion – “no drinks here tonight” was spoken by Danny, bartender kid NPC kin! I’ll try to keep all my NPCing in this name.]

[Delilah Marciano] Back of the room, quiet as a dormouse; the Glass Walker makes an appearance. Dark hair gathered up from her shoulders, she sits alone at one of the tables in the back of the room, whichever was closest to the front. The phone in her hand muted as she set it on the table, dressed in dark charcoal pantsuit with red pinstripe. Silvery gaze focused on those around her.

[Kieran Mondblume] ((Ahh hell. *smacks forehead* My bad.))

[Balance Without Fault] When everyone has settled, Balance Without Fault picks up the magic eightball and speaks again.

“Okay, let’s come to order. Some of you might be wondering why this meeting was called. The reason is simple: over the last month, there have been more rumors and murmurs of kin discontent than in the past five years. Furthermore, there’s been a troubling trend toward Kin thinking of themselves as separate and distinct from the Garou when we are all part of the same Nation. I wanted to dispel the rumors, clear the air, set a basic infrastructure down, and move on from tonight as a re-unified force.

“With that in mind, let’s hear from the kin first. What exactly are your concerns or complaints at the moment?”

He tosses the eightball toward the first kin to call for it.

[Adamidas] Adam slips in and, for the time being, keeps her mouth shut. She doesn’t draw attention to herself, or the fact that she left the bathroom with a pop and keeps herself quietly nestled in.

[Balance Without Fault] [For latecomers who missed it, this was BwF’s protocol post —

“Welcome, everyone. Thanks for coming. Here are the rules tonight: one speaker at a time. He or she who holds the magic eight ball,” and he holds this aloft, “speaks. No one else.

“Keep a respectful tone, particularly to those of greater rank. For those of equal rank, the Auspice Council holds precedence over the Tribal Alphas. For kin, those with renown hold precedence over those without.

“In case of dispute, we will not go to challenges because of the mixed crowd. A Philodox will be called upon to mediate. If mediation fails, I am the final arbiter.

“Anyone violating these rules once will be given one warning, and one only. After that, you’re out of the meeting, and your viewpoint will be disregarded. The staff has kindly set up refreshments in the kitchen. If you feel yourself getting hot under the collar, go get a drink and come back when you’re calmer.”]

[Amunet Knezevic] [Dibs, unless anyone is going to claim it?]

[Balance Without Fault] [whoever types fastest, man.]

[Balance Without Fault] [and on that note, since we’re a scene of twenty-seven right now — let’s try to keep posts short and snappy. i know i’m one of the chief offenders here, but i’m really going to try to keep responses to

[Joey] [yeah that’s pretty short!]

[Amunet Knezevic] “Balance Without Fault Rhya.” Deep breath, Ames. “My name is Amunet Knezevic. I am that one that placed the notice on the board, and the one who has been organizing the willing kinfolk. I believe that this in part may be the cause of the perception of discontent. I would like to clear up any confusion, as our intentions may not be as clear as they should be.”

[Balance Without Fault] [okay, i changed my mind — go ahead and call dibs if you have a longer post to type so you don’t lose your chance. but i’m gonna say you have 10 min from the time you call dibs to get it out, just to keep things moving!]

Balance nods. “Let’s hear it.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] [[She says she’s almost done, it’s a biggie!]]

[Danicka Musil] The Happy Couple — and frankly, they are, however smirkingly saccharine the nomenclature — comes in together, but they leave their more obvious public displays of affection at the door. Danicka is wearing a knee-length gray skirt and knee-high black heels, beneath which are a pair of stockings that extend a little higher than the boots themselves. Her peacoat is doffed when she comes in, hung over the back of a chair no one is using that’s been shoved over by the bar. Underneath is a casual, gauze-thin sweater of seafoam green, laid atop the hint of a camisole. There’s a white applique in some abstract pattern to one side of chest of the sweater, but all of this is just [window] dressing.

Danicka Musil is not the most renowned Kinswoman in Chicago. Not by far. But she is the most renowned Kinfolk here. The Garou, if they ever mention her to each other, if the spirits ever talk about her, don’t talk much about how many fomori she’s killed or that one time she shot a zombie or so forth. She’s known to be brave, to be a Good Kinswoman. Mostly, she’s known to be wise. Granted, when she comes up, it’s hardly even by name. Garou call her Wyrmbreaker-rhya’s mate. And they say that Wyrmbreaker-rhya’s mate is clever, isn’t she? Oh yes, I’ve heard she’s a bit of a bright one.

It’s childish. It’s condescending. But that she is known to be anything at all beyond the mate of an Adren who has not yet given him a child, and that her reputation is solid as a Good Kin is impressive at all. She can’t cast rites, she can’t learn gifts. She can just be… a clever little thing. Good job, Wyrmbreaker. Now stop dicking around and knock her up.

When the magic 8-ball is first offered to the kin, it’s Amunet — rightly so — who reaches for it. Danicka, perhaps there just as a show of support for her comrades, perhaps just because she’s supposed to be there and she’s obedient, turns her eyes towards the Strider she met with last night, her murky green eyes interested. Thoughtful.

[Amunet Knezevic] “My intention is to gather the interested kinfolk in a network that will help the Trueborn, not work against them. Among the first concerns that are being addressed are training and information.”

Her eyes flicker to Sarita, then back to Balance. “It is necessary for us to be able to contact one another easily, not only in emergencies but in everyday circumstances where one of us may need another’s expertise. One of the first projects will be a listing of the kin and their contact information. This will be heavily guarded, not because I don’t want the information to be accessible but because I understand the danger of this type of thing getting into the wrong hands. Cordelia and Jackson have volunteered to begin this process, and to make sure that the information is secure.”

Our second focus is going to be self defense training. We are human, at the end of the day. We can’t count on the Trueborn to be our protectors when they have a war to fight. Carter has extensive self defense training, and he has offered to run a boot camp of sorts for those who are interested. As with everything that we are working toward, it will be voluntary. I don’t want to force any kin to join us, or accept any sort of training except for the third focus.”

She stops for breath. “I would like to see every kin trained in basic first aid. This accomplishes two purposes. Should any of us be injured, there will likely be someone close by to help. Again, we are human. We don’t heal ourselves, and we are out in the world. The dangers that we face come not only from our enemies, but from the people that we are surrounded with every day.

I’ve seen an amazing number of Trueborn that are more than willing to step up and heal a kin that is injured. This is honorable, but wasteful. Again, we are at war. We could be attacked at any time, and should that happen, which of the kin would be responsible for sapping a Trueborn’s gnosis by being healed out of panic or unnecessarily. Prepared kin are kin that are not a drain on the Nation’s resources.”

Her fingers run in her hair nervously, and she licks her bottom lip before continuing. “I’ve been in a Sept that was attacked. I have a clearer understanding of what happens than some of the kin do. I watched kin die, because no one was able to triage them. I watched kin die, because they had all become complacent and lazy and spoiled by well meaning Trueborn. I have friends here. I don’t want to see the same thing happen again. That is why I’ve made this move. That is why these three goals are my first”

[Balance Without Fault] “That’s all well and good,” Balance replies as the eightball comes back to him, “and I’m glad to hear you’re trying to organize the kin. See to it that the Warder has a list of these kin and contacts as well. Areas of specialization, too, if possible. We had something like that for a while, but the parties responsible for its maintenance drifted off.

“Regarding self defense and basic first aid — that sounds like a wise investment. We’ve got a few kin who are accomplished physicians. You might want to get their input. As for self defense, Imogen Slaughter’s known to be a crack shot. Izzy Montoya and Derek Anderson are both with the police; surely they know how to handle a gun as well. You might want to seek their services as well.

“But all that aside — Amunet, you’ve told me everything that’s working. Or that you want to be working, at least. I’m asking why I keep hearing murmurs of discontent.”

[Amunet Knezevic] “Some of the kin that have shown interest are not content, Rhya. Trueborn have become accustomed to dictating to us, and the kin have become accustomed to allowing it. Not only here, but other places where several of the new kin have come from, bringing their biases with them. This has bred discontent. I am in no way suggesting that we should be treated as equals. The fact is that we are not. I would suggest though that we are kept informed, so that when decisions are made and passed down, they do not seem arbitrary and dictatorial. Your kin are willing to work together with the Trueborn, Rhya. We just need a path to follow.”

[Balance Without Fault] Balance Without Fault considers Amunet a moment. Then he sweeps a glance around the room.

“I don’t want to put you under a microscope this early in the night, Amunet.” Maybe that’s a joke. The half-smile says it is. He raises his voice, “Let’s hear from someone other than Amunet. Kinfolk of Maelstrom, this might be one of the few or only times in your life that the Elder Council and the Tribal Alphas of an entire Sept are gathered, silent, with open ears — waiting to hear from you.

“If you’ve got issues, bring them forward.”

[Jackson Montgomery] [[DIBS!]]

[Izzy Montoya] She hadn’t intended to talk. In fact, she hadn’t intended to make a sound at all, but at that, she snorts. Audibly. But that is all, as she starts the ritual search through her pockets for her cigarettes and lighter. she finds both – but doesn’t put them to use other than to keep her hands busy.

After all – smoking inside is against the law.

[Jackson Montgomery] He stands, perhaps unexpectedly, and goes to claim the magic 8-Ball. “I think, if I can speak to this, that a lot of the reported discontent is simple due to the fact that some of the initial ideas being brainstormed are coming out and they aren’t even formalized yet. And some Garou have been volunteering their involvement…which is great. There’s been an impression that this is quickly becoming Garou vs. kinfolk, and that’s not the case.

“The thing is, when a lot of Garou get heavily involved in this, even in the planning stage, it belies the fact that it goes right back to the idea that the kinfolk are relying on the Garou instead of standing on their own. I’ve been talking a lot with Amunet about this, and we’ve come up with some good ideas. And at no point are we trying to push this into two separate factions. But the old saying goes, too many cooks spoil the soup, and there are a lot of kinfolk even as it is with very different viewpoints. We absolutely plan to make this a thing where we’re all involved in the same mission, but we need an actual plan in place for what we’re doing before we start implementing that and integrating it with the Garou side.”

[Balance Without Fault] Balance Without Fault’s eyes swing immediately to Izzy. When he gets the eightball back, he tosses it toward her.

“You sounded like you wanted to be heard, Izzy. Let’s hear it.”

[August Grant] August shifted in her chair. It was slightly uncomfortable for her to sit in the same position for too long these days. A slender hand rubbed at the side of her belly – perhaps where a persistent foot was intent on kicking her. She didn’t say anything.

No matter the extent of her past issues with this Sept.. in her mind, all were resolved as well as they could be at the moment. And, given that her cheating, lying, deadbeat, no good, s-o-b of a former mate had fled, she was a happy camper. Her gaze did shift to her tribesmate as he stood, however.

[Nash] Oh crap when did he get here.

Nash, who most here don’t recognize but for the breeding that pegs him as one of Fenris’s Kin, slips in quietly as Amy is discussing her desire to see Kinfolk trained in first aid. He works his way around the room to stand near Kora and tries to get his happy ass caught up while his player does paperwork.

[Kieran Mondblume] *He watches, back and forth. From Amy, to Jackson, and then to Izzy. Waiting, really, curious about all of this.*

[Izzy Montoya] She arches a brow, ups both her cigarettes and lighter into one hand and still catches the 8ball with a negligent ease. There are some things that become inherrant when one works in a male dominated workplace – like catching random objects being thrown at her.

She waits a moment, then two. She doesn’t look to Kora for permission as some might. She looks to no one – which is not unexpected from anyone that knows her in anyway at all. She is, and always will be, her own person. He wants to hear it. So he does.

“It’s bullshit. You sit there and say you want to hear, you want to fuckin’ listen, and it’s all fuckin’ bullshit. Not a one of you give two shits about what we do or don’t do, unless it directly involves you. Not a one gives two shits about what we might have to do for you in our jobs, what we might have to compromise in order to save your fuckin’ asses in a world you think you’re above – even while declaring you want to fuckin’ save it. Not a one of you.. not even Kora, whom I’ve grown to respect, did shit all when I was beat by one of you, imprisoned here of all fuckin’ places, and sent to work with injuries so severe that half my department wanted to come after whoever had fucked me up with guns blazing. Not a one of you gives two fuckin’ shits – and this is all a fuckin’ sham.”

He hears it. Both barrels.

She points at Amy. “That bitch has been lookin to get her goose cooked since she got here. And the latest scheme? Good god. she’s gonna get us all fuckin’ killed. And likely not by the enemy. Discontent.” she snorts again. “I won’t fuckin talk for anyone else – and don’t you dare speak for me either, I can get my ass beat all by myself – it doesn’t matter what you say here. In the end – you all will do what you want, and I’ll do my fuckin job just as I always have, and do a goddamn good job of it. I’ll cover my ass, your ass, everyone’s ass who I can manage to cover – but don’t expect me to believe that – for one fuckin second – you give a good goddamn what happens in the world we have to travel through every goddamn day. You don’t. You haven’t yet – and one night won’t make it so.”

To her credit though – not once does she raise her voice. If anything.. she sounds… tired.

[Danicka Musil] [Dibs!]

[Balance Without Fault] “Keep your tone respectful,” Balance says evenly. “That’s your only warning.”

That’s all he says for now. He lobs the eightball toward Danicka.

[Gina McClaren] *Restless as Striders were wont to be, Gina hops down from her stool, sashays into the kitchen, and fetches herself a couple of deep-fried wontons filed with hazelnut chocolate and cream cheese.
She pads back into the room midway through the detective’s speech, and settles on her stool once more.

Izzy finishes up, and Gina’s expression darkens a moment.

Then the detective has to use those finely honed reflexes again in short order. As a pikey whistles sharply then overhand tosses a wonton to the weary Fenris kin. Whether in agreement or simply in a bid to get her to cram it – only the guttersnipe herself knows.*

[Nash] Nash claps a few times after Izzy finishes. Not a purposefully sarcastic Slow Clap, but it is a bit on the slow side anyway. He seems to be favoring his right wrist. It lasts a few seconds, and then he stops at the Grand Elder’s warning to keep a respectful tone.

[Hunter] Holden wanders through the room to stand next to Nash and the other Fenrir. He gives a nod to the equally tall man from the north [south] along with a grin of approval.

[Hunter] [OOPS]

[Izzy Montoya] She catches the wonton. Easily.

And manages not to point out that she WAS respectful. For her.

[Danicka Musil] Everyone in the room is free to judge according to their own perspectives what it says about Danicka that when Balance Without Fault lobs the 8-ball at her, she doesn’t even try to catch it. She actually flinches somewhat out of the way, and it’s Lukas who snatches the thing out of the air, handing it to her. Some will call her oblivious that she doesn’t seem chagrined or embarrassed as she takes it from him. She’s a slender sort, not remotely athletic from the look of her.

Sometimes Garou hear of what she’s done to minions of the Wyrm, see her, say, Her?

Holding the ball in cupped palms, she speaks up for the first time, her tone clear and level. She addresses Balance Without Fault. “A lot of what Detective Montoya just said is true. Amunet, as well. We aren’t… like you,” she says, though in a tone that suggests even she realizes how weak that statement is, how far it falls from encompassing the truth. “No matter how much we care about our families, about the world we live in, or about the war — and I think all of us do care, though to wildly different degrees and in different ways — we don’t form ourselves naturally into packs. We are not asked to give everything, a hundred percent, to fighting this war. For Garou, the war is everything. Anything else is marginalized, because it has to be.

“For Kinfolk,” she goes on, “it’s the opposite. We live our lives. I go to school, Detective Montoya goes to the precinct, August feeds and diapers her children, Gina dances, we all… have a life. The war, however important it is to us individually, often comes as an intrusion to the rest of who we are and what we do.”

Danicka quiets for a small pause, clears her throat, but doesn’t give up the 8-ball. “Sometimes when we get hurt, Garou come running. Sometimes they don’t. Sometimes when there’s a fight on our doorstep, we have to fight it because there’s no way to run fast enough. Other times we have to give it up as though that’s the natural, only course of action.” Another beat, this one for effect more than to breathe. “The truth of what Detective Montoya says is this: most, if not all Garou, spend the majority of their time focused on things that have nothing to do with us. We are expected to carry on by ourselves without them, unless they show up. And if they do show up, usually without warning and sometimes even without need, we are expected to drop everything to obey them.

“-Rhya, all of us have our own prejudices and biases and differing levels of committment — as well as angst. All of us care. But the discontent comes when we are kept to the sides all of the time, then told to shut up and submit the moment a garou ten or twenty years our junior shows up and acts like they’re our protector. I think what Amunet and her alliance are trying to do is to increase our involvement so that at least the marginalization is lessened. But the discontent is already there. The frustration. The affront, frankly.”

She stops there. She could go on. But she’s talked a great deal, and she silences for now.

[Bridget Geroux] [Dibs]

[Danicka Musil] [Other times we have to give it up and let the Garou fight for us as though that’s the natural, only course of action. GAH!]

[Kora] Nash comes in; the Skald gives him a side glance. It lingers a long moment longer than it otherwise might; then her attention is back on the center of the room. The thin cotton of her extra-long tunic pulls over her shoulders, muscles bunching with a subtle tension, mostly withheld. Her long braid swings down the dip of her spine. A faint lift of her chin, watching Holden weave through the room to join the tribe; a brief glance in Gina’s direction follows after, before her attention returns to the center of the room, following the movement of the eight-ball to Danicka. Once, she shifts positions. Widens her stance, leans further back, relieving some of the unending pressure on her spine. Uncrosses and recrosses her arms.

[Bridget Geroux] Bridget sighs when it comes around her direction, careful to look at the eight ball when she holds it up. “Balance Without Fault Rhya, thank you for putting it in the light that we are all a part of the Nation. My name is Bridget Geroux. I know that every Sept is different, and I don’t have any expectations, but the Sept I am from is much smaller. We know each other well, and there is structure. Here, I don’t see the unity. I see reluctance, pain, anguish, and I see anger and pride disconnecting us from one another. Kin from kin, kin from tribesmen… and I wouldn’t presume to understand what goes on among Garou, but if that same disconnect exists on that level… it worries me.”

“And despite the recent bonding efforts to organize the kinfolk, I see a disconnect there as well. It’s a great idea, a great application, a wise and honorable action, but even with the application, I notice those same destructive traits. Just last week, I noticed a separation when a well-meaning Garou was not trying to interfere, but possibly trying to bridge gaps between Garou and kinfolk within Amunet’s… organization, fellowship. Whatever it will be called. And the way she jealously guards it and some others have just jumped on without gauging the situation seems too much like a Jonestown situation to me.”

Bridget takes a breath, exercising great efforts not to swear or fidget. “Maybe this is my own experience, but since I’ve moved here I have never felt more disconnected to my tribe despite my attempts to bridge gaps. At what point should I just go about my business, despite everything my father taught me? I’m… going to open myself up here and speak as truly as I possibly can, but it hurts me to have such a tentative relationship with the other Fianna.”

“This is all perhaps touching on the path Amunet spoke of, but I wouldn’t presume to speak for anyone but myself. I’m not good with a gun or first aid, but I know how to survive in the wilderness with nothing… I know how to work crowds, to work a public social setting. I know I’m not useless, but I feel that way when it comes to the Nation when my offers and talents are dismissed so quickly and without regard to its usefulness. I know how to stand well enough on my own, and I’ve done as much as I can to contribute… but I feel as if there is no point when I’m told to stay inside, discouraged from doing what I’m good at, and still held at such a distance. It’s all too condescending.”

Bridget looks to Izzy now, then sighs. “In a lot of ways, I feel exactly like no one gives a damn whether or not we all rot, what we have to go through or put up with and barely even a hint of recognition, if any of that even matters. I feel like many of us are just a bunch of wild things kept in guilded cages. If you keep any living thing from doing what it’s supposed to do, that’s not a life worth living. I don’t know what else to do but be discontent when I’m expected to stay out of the woods, don’t go make music or connections, don’t spend so much time out in the world doing what I do. I can follow orders, do what needs to be done, but I’m not a machine.”

[Balance Without Fault] [dibs!]

[Balance Without Fault] “I want to take a moment to clarify the purpose of this meeting.

“Jackson, I heard you about needing to get the kin coalition in order before plugging it into the grander framework of the Nation. I agree. Bridget, Izzy, I’ve heard from you both that the way things are going in the coalition are not optimal at the moment. But we’re not here to discuss the kinfolk coalition alone. We should address it more thoroughly, and we will — in a moment.

“We’re not here to discuss how Garou interface with the world, either, Izzy. We’re not here to change the way Garou and kin interact, because that — as Danicka points out — has been set for thousands of years. As you yourself have pointed out, it won’t change in a night.

“As much as you may feel downtrodden and unappreciated, realize that every last Garou in this room, on this planet, will die before age thirty. And they give this sacrifice so that you have a human world to interface in, just as you sacrifice your job and career and human life to support these Garou. The sacrifice goes both ways. And while you might not like it, we are in the end Gaia’s army. There is a ranking order, and it is dictated, ultimately, by our renown.

“But I digress. What we can do, what I want to do here tonight — specifically, without speaking in broad terms and vagueries — is to address points of discontent amongst the kin. I have specific incidents in my mind that I want to discuss, but I want to hear from the kin first.

“If nothing else, no matter how she brought it up — Izzy has noted some sources of discontent for herself. For that, I thank you, Detective Montoya.

“She Who Offers Sorrow, your kinfolk has raised an complaint about the way she’s been treated in the past. She says she’s been beaten and unfairly imprisoned. See to her concerns. If you decide her past punishment was just, then so be it. If it was unjust, make amends as you best see fit.

“Before we move on to other topics, are there any other specific grievances the kin wish to bring forth?”

[Rain McKellar] [Dibs, please!]

[Danicka Musil] Her eyes flick to the Grand Elder when he brings her up, gives at least one interpretation of what she said. She doesn’t ask for the 8-ball again though.

[Balance Without Fault] [erp. “will MOST LIKELY die before age thirty.” seeing as how BWF is like… 45.]

[Carter Roth] [Dibs after Rain]

[Jackson Montgomery] [[“You’re all gonna die before 30…except me. For I am Elite.”]]

[August Grant] {Very short dibs after Rain + Carter}

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] Sarita could be accused, often, of not taking things seriously enough. When your deed name is “Echoes of Laughter,” it’s a natural course of people’s thoughts on how you will react. She’s stayed quiet here, sitting near her Alpha and watching…listening. She doesn’t give anyone a particularly strong reaction when they speak. Amy gets a slight smile; Izzy a little frown. The others, she remains even-tempered, thoughtful.

The Strider is doing her best to listen and learn. She’s not even tapping her toe to some sort of tacky dance pop crap.

[Rain McKellar] The girl who rises to claim the magic eight ball next has nothing in her blood that calls out to her Tribe. She has no renown among them. Cloistered as she is with the rest of Unicorn’s kin, this gives some suggestion as to her allegiances.

Catching the eight-ball is only part of the struggle, here. And before she addresses the Grand Elder, her glance slides sideways to the Fenrir Jarl. Her shoulders square, and she calms herself a bit.

“Mr. Grand Elder, sir,” she begins, and her voice rises easily above the gathering. Unexpectedly warm. Captivating, it calls attention to her in ways that might surprise them.

“My name is Rain McKellar, and before I was kin to Unicorn’s chosen, I was Lost.” She says this plainly. “The places I have been treated their kinfolk much differently than here, and I appreciate that you have called us together and allowed us to air our concerns.

“I have no complaints about how I have been treated by my Tribe, nor by the pack that I live with. My Family has been good to me, perhaps better than they should have been by some of what others have said tonight. If I can help in any way, so that kindness and shelter can be extended to others, please let me know.”

Here she swallows and looks down at the eight ball for a moment.

“If I have any complaint it is that, in the intention of being helpful or showing their concern, some True offer up conflicting information. I am concerned about the thing that is hunting Kinfolk. I would like to know, plainly put, what best I should do to protect myself and to help your war efforts. If this has already been communicated to the Tribal and pack Alphas, then I will seek answers with Mr. Roman or Miss Kora.”

She walks across the circle to hand back the eight-ball.

“Thank you for your time, sirs and madams.”

And then Rain retakes her seat.

[Wyrmbreaker] [Quick dibs. And sorry, Lukas is pulling rank to get it for a sec!]

[Wyrmbreaker] Wyrmbreaker, who has thus far sat quietly except to catch the ball for Danicka, raises his hand after Rain speaks. The eightball comes his way.

“I can answer that for you, Rain. The specifics of what kin should be doing is up to each Tribal Alpha. Obey whatever order they give you. As a general rule, I’d strongly suggest getting to a place where you’re protected by the Garou of your tribe. If there’s no such place available to you, come to the Brotherhood.

“As far as I’m concerned, you can chance it on your own if you really don’t want to move. But I don’t suggest it.”

Carter’s hand is up. Lukas tosses the eightball his way.

[Bridget Geroux] Seeing as her concern over being told specifically not to do what it is she does, what she’s good at, was basically glossed over, Bridget goes and gets herself something to eat. She needs to gather her thoughts for a second, fidget as she needs to with all the Rage in the room, before the Fianna kin can take her seat again. There’s a lot to think over.

[Carter Roth] Carter had had quite enough at this point. If no one would take up that magic 8 ball and speak the voice of the malcontent then he would. He strode forward taking the eight ball for himself and turned to face the garou who were gathered all powerful, all alpha’s or elder’s in their right and he held the eight ball in one heavy hand as he spoke.

“I refuse to be ruled by those who will not see me as their equal.” He lets those few treasonous words sink in as he looks across the garou, his eyes falling upon kin in equal measure. “In many places, by many of your kind we are treated like Chattel, little more then servants waiting to be used. I will not argue that here I have seen generous activity that would enrage the masters of these places for that you should be praised. But it is not enough.” He shakes his head slowly.

“Unlike the detective, who will stand and do her duty even as she knows your disregard for the kin who work tirelessly beneath your gaze. I will not, not without equality.” He pauses. “Without it, we are susceptible to every monster of your kind, every garou who believes we ARE nothing but here to serve your whim. Tell me why we should accept our lot as it stands, tell me how it makes sense that such actions continue unabated against those you call your allies, your lovers, your friends. Is an ally told to be silent because you do not like his tone? Do you force a friend to become the mate of another simply because of what lies within their veins?” He lets that settle there, lets it hang, many knew of such instances, quite often they were regular occurances.

He takes another moment to look about. “We are all capable, we are all skilled in our own ways. But we are marginalized, we are shunted aside till we are expected to serve and we will hold our tongues and be greatful for it. I will not.” He looks at Balance Without Fault. “You have said yourself that these things will not change, that they have existed for thousands of years, change it, if you hold to any future that means something for all of us…change it. You wished to hear of discontent, there it lies.”

Carter lets the 8 ball go then and he takes his place against the wall once more. His gaze even and suspicious as it was when he first stepped forward.

[Matthieu] [If I can I’d like to call Dibs after umm August!]

[Kieran Mondblume] *He is waiting, listening to all of the opinions, and he is starting to look a little concerned.*

[Nash] [Dibs are for the weak! (I’m sorry!)]

Nash doesn’t bother with the eightball. When he speaks, after Lukas and Carter have gone, he has a heavy Southern drawl. His voice isn’t terribly loud, and like Izzy, he sounds tired.

“Kinda telling, ain’t it?” he asks. “You got two Kin waiting to talk but a Trueborn can just butt on in?”

[Balance Without Fault] [BWF takes the eightball!]

[Izzy Montoya] She says nothing more – but she does step to the side and light up that cigarette after all. Someone can call the cops if they’ve got a problem with it.

[Amunet Knezevic] “Because we are NOT equal!” She snaps it, then falls instantly silent again.

[August Grant] August swallows. Did she really.. really want to go after that? Geezus christ – she was rather surprised when there wasn’t fur flying.

Once the magic-8 ball was gently -passed- in her direction, the young woman stood. She cleared her throat just a little, trying to work up the courage to speak in a room full of this many important people. She never quite looked the Elder in the eyes, but.. was looking somewhat towards him, maybe at his feet. {oooh.. where’d you get those shoes?}

“Rhya.. s.. since you wanted to know about the discontent from us.. I figured I should mention mine. My mate, up and left me for another, knowing full well I was already carrying a second child for this nation. His child. He left with me with no one to protect me and my cub. The mere fact that no one at the time thought this a grevious act was insulting. It bred resentment.. and.. until I found allies within my tribe.. ” she motioned to those seated near by, “I wasn’t at all content. Things have resolved at this point and I am fine with my lot in life. But things like that – ignoring these big giant world tearing apart events – is going to drive a wedge between us.”

A brief pause. “That is all.. thank you for your time..” A hand smoothed her sweater over her belly and she again took her seat, passing on the ball.

[Starla Navarro] Starla’s head snaps up, she turns and twists in her seat to stare right at Amunet, her eyes narrowing on the kin that snaps out her words. The corners of her mouth flatten into a thin line as she glares at her.

[Balance Without Fault] [this comes before August — sorry, but BWF would immediately react!]

Balance Without Fault snaps his fingers for the eightball. He confers briefly with Kora, gets a name, speaks.

“Stick to protocol, Nash. You too, Amunet. Next time you two step out of line, you’re out.

“In case you missed it the first time around: don’t speak without the eightball. Rank and renown takes precedence. In the event that rank is equal, the Auspice Council takes precedence over Tribal Alphas, who take precedence over the Garou, who take precedence over the kin.

“And I’m sorry, Carter, but there is no equality in the Nation. We are not a democracy.”

It passes on to August.

[August Grant] {Damn, my bad – my screen didn’t refresh. Augusts posts AFTER BWFs}

[Gina McClaren] *Gina makes a noise in her throat thats something along the lines of a pissed off gurgle. Fingers scraping through her hair and across her temples as her head falls backwards in utter frustration. Talon hands coming away from her scalp and settling on the bar with some force. *

[Danicka Musil] [Dibs, when… okay I’m not sure what the list is for dibs, but! Put me on it!]

[Delilah Marciano] Delilah eases out of the chair she sat in, her hand drops to the phone sitting on the table, picking it up and stares down at the screen for a brief second, and then tucks it away inside the inner breast pocket of her suit jacket. She is tall, only because of the advantage point her heels provide her, she stands with shoulders squared back and chin tilted up.

The woman doesn’t exactly command authority, but there is a coolness in her demeanor. A calm, collected disposition that expresses patience, clearly her gesture to stand, instead of sit idly and listen meant she had something to say. She is an unknown face, a stranger to the kin that have served this sept in the past and now in the present.

[Calling DIBS!]

[Rain McKellar] Rain’s arms are crossed low over her middle. Her expression is somewhat anxious, but when she looks up to August as the other Gaian speaks it is with as much support as she can muster in this tense environment.

[Carter Roth] Carter frowns deeply at Balance Without Faults words and he shakes his head, an angry look flitting behind his eyes.

[Balance Without Fault] — and the eightball comes back to Balance.

“I’m sorry to hear you’ve been so ill-used by your former mate, August. Tell us the name of this Garou so that we all know his dishonor.”

The eightball goes back to August.

[Dibs list is currently: August, Matthieu, Danicka, Delilah.]

[August Grant] “Paul Kellogg. He seems to have .. left..” She’d rather use the word fled.. “the city.” And once again, the eight ball is passed on.

[Bridget Geroux] Bridget stands at the doorway, listening to the conversation while munching on part of a sandwich. The tightness to her muscles and the smirk on her face expresses her discontent with the line of conversation. She takes a glass of ice water over to Carter and leans against his side. She offers the frigid beverage to the other kin, the corners of her mouth turning in a slight smile, an expression that simply says: here.

[Kora] Kora listens as Rain says her piece; her arms tighten when Balance Without Fault directs her to see to Izzy’s complaint. The look she gives the Grand Elder is direct, her expression ironic, but not wry. When Carter speaks, the heavily pregnant Fenrir audibly rolls her eyes (seriously, Nash can [i]hear/i] it). She flashes him a look when he speaks up. Except for the obvious tension, the expression is quiet, animal, unreadable.

[Starla Navarro] Starla clucks her tongue against the roof of her mouth, shaking her head. She looks over her should at Kora, catching the eye-rolling expression of the Jarl. She turns back in her seat, shifting closer to Rain and draws a comforting arm around the kin’s shoulders, hugging her.

[Jackson Montgomery] [[Add Jackson in after Delilah]]

[Derek Anderson] Derek listened, standing near Rain, August and Jackson. He owuld have loved to stand with people from his tribe but Sasha and Katherine weren’t there, Gabriel wasn’t invited and he didn’t rally knewMatthieu except glimpsing at him at the loft the other night.

He looked relax, hands in his pockets. He had nothing to say about all this really. He has been well treated by his Tribe, other Garou and kinfolks he has met. Well Remy was a jerk but even then, it went pretty ok when he met him. He knew some people had problems with Garou, that some had bad experiences in the past. He wasn’t one of them. Maybe it’ll come, maybe he’ll be like Izzy or maybe not. But for now, his life was good.Maybe he didn’t need much, or maybe it was his upbringing, butr he was..ok with the way things were.

[Joey] When the meeting first came to order, Joey sat looking slightly away from the circle, her head moving nearly imperceptibly to the beat of some rhythm in her head. As soon as the eight ball started going around, though, her attention was on the people in the room, her dark eyes moving from speaker to speaker. For the most part, she just watches, listening attentively. She’s silent, even when Izzy speaks up about her punishment, though there’s a tension to her brow, a slight downward turn to the corners of her mouth. The frown doesn’t leave her face, in fact worsens, especially when August speaks up, the kinswoman so obviously pregnant. Joey knew her mate, knew him for the filthy son of a bitch he could be, and not for the wisdom he supposedly held in the Nation. The fact that he would abandon his mate was hardly surprising to her, but infuriating. Wasn’t August the girl he’d once mistaken Joey for? What a prick.

[Carter Roth] Carter takes that glass with a nod to Bridget as great a thanks as he could give at the moment, and sips it, still looking displeased but for now…silent.

[Matthieu] When the 8ball comes his way he stands in his usual regal posture before kin as well as his peers. He takes the time to acknowledge all who choose to look at him with a smile before speaking up and addressing the others present.

“I hear kin speaking about unity, and about working together and about organization. So allow me to speak up and please do hear what I have to say.”

“Harrier’s Grace was founded under the idea that the Mortal world is an important one which we garou have little direct grasp upon. In the heart of a city as large as Chicago we stand in an awkward position where mundane threats could see us utterly destroyed without the means to address them.”

He takes the time to look over faces one by one.

“You wish to take part in the nation. You wish to take an active role in the pursuits of your own people then now is your chance. Harrier’s Grace was founded specifically with the Kin in mind and with time and your assistance we should like to see that all are both cared for, as well as allowed to take an active role in this nation’s happenings. We need eyes and ears, additionally we need faces and talented minds.”

“The Mundane World is your world and if “We” the Garou are to control it we need our kin to stand with it. So any who stand ready to take an active role in a pack who will share in it’s endeavours with all Garou and Kin who take part please step forth after this meeting.”He smiles a little to everyone present.

“I do not wish this to be a recruiting event for a pack but what I am hearing is that Kin would like a chance to take a more active role in their society. This is what Harrier’s Grace was formed with the intention of seeing through. So it remains relevant to the situation.”

He then looks around at the others involved.

“We are one nation, we cannot exist without the whole of that nation working in unison. Our kin are our support network, our homes, and our families. Whatever one feels of their unique and individual position within this nation know now that we are not oblivious to the plight of our kin. We live and die with the hope that our people will remember us and more than anything our people are our kin.”

“Perhaps we do not always show the proper deference or respect but we have a very difficult job.”He then turns his attention to Izzy.”When our kin stand and denounce us as if we have somehow broken some sacred vow it comes as a potent and dangerous blow. There are warriors in their graves at this very moment who have died defending the kin of this sept. I also promise you right now that if you were in danger there are at least one or two garou in this room alone who would stupidly rush off to their own deaths in order to rescue you. Remember this when you find yourself doubing the importance our kin hold to us.”

“In the end we ask of our kin nothing more or less than we ask of ourselves.”He says with a hint of a smile back at the kin.”In the end we must all stand ready to give everything for this nation if that is what we must. That cannot be negociated it simply must be.”

[Balance Without Fault] [Current dibs list: Danicka, Delilah, Jackson]

[Kora] (dibs!)

[Balance Without Fault] [and for the record – applying a -2 honor hit to Paul’s sheet for getting publicly denounced before auspice and tribal councils, plus half the city’s kin, reduced him to subcliath status. normally i wouldn’t announce minor renown tweaks, but in this case it’s a fairly substantial change in how other chars would perceive him.]

[Balance Without Fault] […if, y’know, the char ever gets reactivated *LOL*]

[Balance Without Fault] [last OOC note! if your character holds precedence and wants to use it, make a note in your dibs-calling so i don’t have to ask individually!]

[Danicka Musil] [I’m almost there! Sorry for the wait!]

[Danicka Musil] It’s as though she had mental notes. Danicka gets the 8-ball after the Galliard Elder and speaks up. Directly, in fact, to Carter Roth.

“I know what you can do,” she says plainly, and simply. Maybe even gently, though her voice is levelled directly at him in public. “I also know, and I am the only person currently in this room who knows as well as you do, what it means to be raised as a Kin of Thunder.

“The Garou will never see you as their equal. You may be able to heal with a touch, but you will never be able to fight as well as they can. You will never know what it is like to enter a new body and hunt on all fours. You cannot cross between worlds at will. You will never share a full measure of their power, and so you will never be seen as their equal.” She pauses a moment. “You say you will not work for the Nation without equality. You will never get it. And in this way — knowing what the stakes are, knowing what we all stand to lose — you are more selfish and dishonorable than any Kinfolk in this room.

“Even in human government, if you ally insults you and will not yield, will not compromise, those alliances end, often bloodily. So too will your connection to the Garou you want to treat you as an equal. Work with them or work alone, but do not get in their way or you will be cut down. We aren’t fools, Mr. Roth, not raised in our tribe. Amunet is trying to find a way to decrease our marginalization. And if you want to be involved, at some point you will have to submit to another’s leadership — and it might be Kin, but ultimately it will be to the Garou. Suck it up or get out of the way.”

A pause. She looks at Amunet. “You do guard the alliance jealously, Amunet. Bridget is right about that. You seemed secretive even to me, when I tried to show you nothing but support and interest. You need to work on that attitude, or all your efforts are going to be in vain. When you come to this meeting and then break the rules, you don’t show yourself as a very good leader for Kinfolk, much less someone the Garou might listen to. I want this to work. By god, believe me, I want this to work. But the Kinfolk have to grow up. We all have suffered, but not a thing is going to get done til we all get over it for the sake of the greater good. And those of you who can’t do that, whose angst and baggage is too much to let go of, I don’t even know why you bothered to show up.”

She takes a deep breath and exhales it slowly. “The last attempt at a coalition of kinfolk failed because the Kin involved wanted it to be some kind of perfectly equal democracy, and that will. Not. Work. Even Garou have to follow orders they don’t agree with sometimes. We do too, if we want to be of any real use at all.”

[Balance Without Fault] [delilah, jackson, kora, and then BWF is retaking the ball!]

[Kora] (drop Kora from the list, pls!)

[Carter Roth] Carter meets Danika’s gaze and he shakes his head at the woman. Before flipping her the bird, he might not have the 8 ball, so he won’t speak, but the message is clear enough.

[Delilah Marciano] When the 8 ball finds its way into the Glass Walker’s hands, she holds it up, gives it a good hard shake. She stares at the rubber triangle for a second; the curve of her generous mouth etches into a thinly veiled frown.

“Will this end well?” Delilah asks the ball, “Maybe.”

She turns her eyes up to meet the Grand Elder’s gaze for second, tilting her head to watch the rest of the room. “This, esteemed rhya, is the breeding ground for the discontent. You ask us for our opinions, you tell us to lay our grievances out into the open, so that we may be heard, so we may have a voice…”

A beat, her body shifts, rolls the plastic ball between her hands, “What is this all for? To what purpose will listening to our bitching serve you, in your judgment of us? They are unhappy, they expressed this, and yet, it will not change. We all know this – you said it yourself, it’s not a democracy.”

She shakes her head slowly, “Amunet is trying to organize an alliance, it has been said by Ms. Musil, it will not work. There is no organization, this is like trying to herd cats, they won’t cooperate without first laying a foundation. Training kinfolk in self-defense and first-aid will do very little against a monster breathing down their necks. If the Wyrm wants to kill us, it will do so.”

“The best efforts of the kin, if they wish to come together and organize, is to take a step away from the front lines, and work behind the scenes as we are meant to do. With our mortal influences, our skills, and our connections. We are the first line of defense in covering up the messes that the Garou like to make in the mundane world.”

With that, she shrugs her shoulders and hands the ball off to the next person that so desires it.

[Kora] (change my mind still keeping dibs!)

[Danicka Musil] Carter flips Danicka off. She shrugs at him and gestures to Danny that she’d like an ice water.

[Balance Without Fault] [bwf takes the ball!]

[Izzy Montoya] She looks around and finally grabs a glass of ice water, and taps her ashes into it. It’ll do for now. It also serves to keep her expression hidden for a moment.

It’s likely a good thing.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] [[Did he cut or did I lose my turn? 🙂 ]]

[Holden] [cutteR!]

[Balance Without Fault] [he totally cut.]

“First and last strike for you, Mr. Roth.”

Then, to Delilah:

“I was actually about to address that. I’ve got a few things on my agenda tonight, and we’re still on number one. I’d like to hear specific concerns from kin first and settle them as I can — so frankly, Garou and kin of Maelstrom, we’re starting to get a little off topic with all the philosophy.

“After that, I’ve got two incidents I want to go over. After that, I want to discuss and settle certain issues with the coalition itself.

“Let’s get back to the kin. Specific concerns, bring them forth.”

— and on to Jackson.

[Gina McClaren] *Gina’s heard enough, and she who had a voice designed – accent and all – for other’s pleasure in her speaking – had nothing nice to say. So like her sweet pikey mother had told her with a rap of knuckles across teeth –

“Effen ye’ve naethen nice tae say, fer christs sakes jes shut yer fookin crumbhole.”

She moves towards the kitchens, bumping past the folk in the door with a low sung “Oot the road please” – before moving to fuss with the food there, warming what had grown cold, cooling what had grown warm . Taking a hefty slug from a dented flask drawn deep from the V of dark cleavage. Liquor finally offered to Bridget and Carter in turn.*

[Carter Roth] Carter grimaces at Balance without Fault and shakes his head at the man, he does not however flip the man the bird. He simply looks to Bridget who was standing by his side looked back to Balance, and dropped his water letting it clatter to the floor loudly, maybe even shatter. He looked around at his fellow kinsman, all who had come here with the understanding that they would be free to speak…obviously that was not the case.

Before he turned and walked out a brief nod given to Gina and her alcohol.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] He takes the 8-Ball with a respectful nod. Yes, he is a good kin. Mostly.

“I had one more concern to bring up, Rhyas. It seems like…and I don’t think this is an endemic issue, but I’ve seen it a couple times now…some Garou try to instruct kin who…well, really shouldn’t be. And I know people may wonder what right I have to say that. But I grew up in a family that was blessed. Both of my siblings were Garou. My father was an Ahroun. I like to think I know a fair amount, though not everything, about certain matters. I won’t give a ton of examples…but one I specifically recall is that a kin, new to our city and rather wet behind the ears, was witness to a Thrall frenzy that took place here. I was present and got the kin to safety…after I left, said kin was told by a Garou that in case of a frenzy, playing dead was a good idea. As if a Garou who was in frenzy, especially Thrall frenzy, would just leave them alone if they were lying prone and pretending to be dead.”

He pauses, trying to figure out how to word this without seeming disrespectful. “To be honest, I was dumbstruck when the kin told me this. It’s…really bad advice, to say the least. I’ve passed it on to Roman, who has passed it further on…but it seems like some Garou could use some kind of instruction themselves before they’re taking kinfolk under their responsibility.”

He hands it back to Balances-Without-Fault.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] [[Oh fuck. You know who that was supposed to be. 😛 ]]

[Danicka Musil] [*points and laughs at samael*]

[Nash] [I for one am proud of Sarita and wish him all the best.]

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] [[I’m working and shit and it was bound to happen eventually AND LEMME ALONE! *mock cries and runs away* Okay nah, it’s funny, ngl]]

[Balance Without Fault] Over behind the bar, Danny suddenly blurts out a cough that sounds suspiciously like a laugh. He claps his hand over his mouth and holds up the other. “I know, Mr. Balance. First and last warning. Sorry.” And he mimes the zipping of his mouth.

Balance, for his part, takes the ball and answers Jackson directly. “Do you or does anyone know the name of this Garou?”

The ball goes back to Jackson.

[Quinn] So far, Quinn hasn’t had anything to bring up, no concerns or grievances to air. For the most part, she keeps out of the way, helping where she can but generally staying under the radar. But when someone says the advice given in times of Thrall was to “play dead,” her blue eyes widen, then her fine dark brows constrict.

When she rises, it’s not to intercept that passage of the eight ball. It’s to raise a brow at Carter Roth, the look simply How rude, trail briefly in his wake, and bend to retrieve the fallen glass of water. She gestures to Danny to bring a towel or something to clean up the water.

[Bridget Geroux] Bridget writes something on a napkin and tucks it into Carter’s hand before he decides to shatter his glass all over the floor and make his way out. She stifles a tiny laugh– it’s not at all audible and she turns her face in Danny’s direction so she doesn’t disturb the conversation– but it’s there.

Gina thankfully offers up some booze, which the Stag kin thankfully takes so she can stifle her grin and shut the fuck up.

[Jackson Montgomery] He takes the ball and seems hesitant to name names at the moment. The information was passed along, but he was given a request. “Kristen. She’s a Fianna Theurge who stays here at the Brotherhood…I don’t know her last name or her deed name.” Handed back.

[Kieran Mondblume] *His eyes widen at that, and he looks back and forth. He frowns, clearly pondering.*

[Balance Without Fault] “Jenny,” Balance speaks directly to the woman watching quietly from over by the kitchen door, “can you get a message to Kristen? Let her know a Thralled Homid would sooner munch a dead body than ignore it, and that maybe she shouldn’t run around teaching the kin for a while.

“Unfortunately,” this is to all, “Garou rarely have time these days to be fully trained before stepping out into the world as Cliaths. The war’s too desperate, and we need soldiers. The downside is occasionally we get a good soldier whose education has been a little lacking in certain non-essential regards.

“There’s really no way prevent these things from happening. I can’t publish a manual of Everything You Should and Shouldn’t Say To Kin. All we can do is troubleshoot one incident at a time, so I appreciate your bringing this up.”

And the ball goes to Kora.

[Danicka Musil] There’s a glance from Shadow Lord Kinswoman to Shadow Lord Elder when Carter leaves. It’s hard to read, for those that don’t know her — for those that are, at the moment, invested in other conversations. He might understand. He might not, even as well as he knows her.

Danicka sips her ice water, and waits for the next blowup.

[Gina McClaren] *Gina’s expression at the breaking of glass is one of frank annoyance. She stands in the kitchen in her barefeet, and hisses irritation. Singing lowly to bridget – yes.. without the 8-ball.*

Trade ye tha sip o’ firewater fer yer gi’en tha broom, Bridget darlin. Dinnae fancy me bloody feet on account o’ foolishness, aye?

[Balance Without Fault] [wait, is Kristen there? i see her logged in. i know patrick’s the fianna alpha, but jacqui ain’t here tonight. well, if Kristen’s here, BWF would speak directly to her.]

[Balance Without Fault] Danny, meanwhile, is hurrying over with dustpan and broom. He shakes his head mutely at Gina and Bridget, forefinger to lips, waving them off. The message is clear: I got it!

[Kristen Burke] ((I was told that Kristen was not allowed to be here As such she has not tried to speak or rebut what was said about her.))

[Bridget Geroux] Bridget moves to action, sets her glass down on the bar, and helps pick up Carter’s mess despite her amusement. It’s alright, the movement gives her something to do. She shakes her head at Danny and helps him anyway.

[Balance Without Fault] [OK, I just saw Jacqui sign on, so I guess Kristen wouldn’t be there after all. Assume Jenny sends her a polite note repeating what BWF said, only a lot nicer and reflexively-apologetic!]

[Gina McClaren] *Gina remains in place. You know. So as not to step in glass with the bare feet. But Danny gives her the shush and she raises an eyebrow in a clear expression of “Oh Enough.” An incredulous shake of her head mirroring the Fianna’s.*

[Quinn] Quinn’s gotten most of the bigger chunks gathered carefully into one hand. When Danny arrives with dustpan and broom, she smiles warmly and rises to carry her burden to the nearest trash bin, which happens to be in the kitchen. When she comes back out again, she weaves around the outside of the circle to return to her seat.

[Kora] There’s something – implicitly feral about the heavily pregnant Garou tonight. She’s standing, not sitting. She should sit. Some of the people tonight are long winded – not telling stories, not remembering deeds, not discussing the dead – just talking.

Those closest to her can feel her restlessness like ozone in the air around her. It does not take much to bring it forward these nights, careful as she has to be now, pregnant as she is. Alone here tonight, her brother – her Godi – gone, her beta in another Sept, seeking his own tribe for challenge.

By the time the eight-ball comes her way, Carter is gone. Her dark eyes follow his path through the room; she catches the scribbing Bridget does on a napkin, watches until the kinsman has left the restaurant.

The creature’s generous mouth flattens then. Whatever she meant to say is distilled down to this: “I have kept my territory open to all tribes, Garou certainly, kin more so. It’s unreasonable to expect you to live in a city and somehow keep track of our changing, Balkanized territory. But, Wyrmbreaker-rhya, that man is barred from mine. I trust you will pass it on to him.”

[Kieran Mondblume] [Dibs?]

[Balance Without Fault] [back to BWF, then Kieran!]

[Honor’s Compass] Katherine and Patrick both here, somewhere, and their player is very apologetic for being tardy! She suggests Katherine is looking very pretty in white standing somewhere near pack-mates and as well as Balance Without Fault and Patrick is over yonder possibly looking confused — also in a very pretty way, albiet more masculine — or simply bored.

Carry on!

[Adamidas] She opens her mouth, then closes it. Her attention seems to be intent on what is going on, and before she can really say anything, the Fury turns her head in the direction of… something. Slightly to the left. She gives the Grand Elder a look and taps her chest with two index fingers, then gestures behind her with her thumb.

Whatever that look says, it must be important. If given the okay, she slips out as quickly as she enters. Just as understated, and punctuated with a pop.

[Balance Without Fault] Though Carter’s departure didn’t provoke an immediate response from the Garou named for his balance, it’s remarked on when the ball comes back into his possession.

“Wyrmbreaker, your kinsman disrespected this gathering again with his dramatic departure. See to it. And let him know that his antics only resulted in the very kin he professes to champion scrambling to clean up his mess.”

He nods to Adamidas, then, before continuing.

“At this point I’m going to make a last call for kin to bring forward their concerns. If there’s nothing else, we’re moving on.”

[on to Kieran! and if there are any more kin concerns, call dibs now cuz BWF is about to move things along]

[Quinn] [dibs because I gotta get something out in case I have to bail before the end!]

[Wyrmbreaker] Wyrmbreaker nods mutely to Kora and and Balance, the second nod deeper than the first. Then he gets up, leaning over to murmur briefly to Danicka before excusing himself from the gathering.

[Kieran Mondblume] *He pushes up, and then he takes the eight ball, shaking it idly.* Clearly, if he’s getting pissed off enough to drop a glass onto the ground and leave, something screwed up happened to him in the past. I think that’s part of the problem. We can’t fix these problems without years and years of therapy that we don’t have time for.

*He tosses the eight ball to his other hand.* But I will say, I’ve noticed every kin has their skills and talents. I don’t think I’m alone in saying, I’d like to hear about those instead.

[Quinn] The tall Fiann has retaken her seat now. It should be noted that she’s wearing clothes, and they’re probably pretty nice, and probably includes a shirt with the sleeves rolled up to reveal the tattoo on her right arm. Nothing fancy, just some cool looking birds.

Anyway!

She sits up a little straighter when there seems to be a lull, lifts her chin, and indicates she’d like the magic eight ball next. When it comes to her, Quinn doesn’t shake it to read her fortune, though she does smile a little down at it before standing to address the assembled.

“Hello,” she says, her voice warm, and still carries a touch of a Baltimore accent. “I’m Quinn, I own The Winchester tavern up in Lake View. Some of you might’ve heard of it. Like The Brotherhood, we’ve only got kin on staff, so it’s a safe place. If any of you are in the area and find yourself in need of a place to rest or otherwise recuperate for a while, the doors are open. To Kin and Garou alike.” After that, she rolls the ball from one hand to the other, says, “That’s it,” and passes it down the line rather than tossing it to the grand elder.

[Nash] The Jarl is understandably restless. On this side of the bar, the Fenrir are all standing; Nash looks like he probably ought to sit down, but for the moment, he’s still on his feet, his right arm held up against his midsection while bruised eyes watch the proceedings–silently, now that that first [and last] outburst is over with.

There is a lot going on, between Strider and Lord Kinfolk slamming out and slamming glasses. Nash, unlike many others, doesn’t have to stifle laughter. He glances around, then finds a place to rest his eyes when Kora starts to speak. He looks back at her when the Uktena speaks, as if looking for something, but he doesn’t lean over to whisper or anything else that might be considered disruptive.

[Delilah Marciano] Delilah sighs; she steps away from the table glancing around at the assembly one final time. She has heard enough, and the Grand Elder has yet to get beyond the first line of questioning. She turns away, slipping off in silence towards the back entrance of the Brotherhood’ hand retrieves her phone, texting her driver to come around to the back side to pick her up as she left the meeting.

[Kora] There’s something about the way Kora handled the eight-ball. Held it as if it were a cracked bone, as if there were marrow in it – rather than likely toxic water locked behind a window with catchy sayings on a plastic weighted die by children chained to extruding machines in some unlikely backwater of Guangdong province, China.

That sense of animal lingers around her. Her hair is pale, fine-stranded, her skin equally pale, winter-thing, dark eyes set above sharp cheeks made softer by the extra weight of advanced pregnancy. No matter: the wolf is still visible underneath. As now. Nash glances at her, and she lifts her chin, canting her head, dark eyes finding his with an unerring sort of grace. She holds the look for a quiet moment, then glances away.

[Balance Without Fault] The eightball comes back to Balance eventually, passed hand to hand until someone loses patience and tosses it. Catching it neatly, the Grand Elder takes a drink of water before going on.

“Let’s discuss that in a minute, Kieran, when we talk about the coalition some more. I have two incidents I want to go over. Unfortunately, Amunet, they both involve you.

“First up: the Brotherhood defense plans were posted up a couple of weeks ago, and you seemed to have something to say about it. Jenny mentioned you removed the original posting as something of an act of protest.” Over by the kitchen, Jenny looks mildly mortified. “What was that about, and has that been settled?”

[Amunet Knezevic] “It was less an act of protest than an act of frustration, Rhya. Again, the perception of being dictated to, rather than being acknowledged as being willing to work together. I apologize for my rash decision, and hope that my actions will not reflect poorly on those who can be held responsible for me.”

Her fingers run in her hair, eyes flickering away before meeting BWF’s once more. “It has been offered that there be a meeting with myself and those charged with the safety of the Brotherhood. I believe it is just a matter of finding a convenient time for everyone, and then the matter should be settled.”

[Danicka Musil] [Dibs!]

[Gina McClaren] *Her flask of corn liquor is reclaimed and settled back in her assets as she steps aside for the exiting Glasswalker kin. Strider kin maneuvering her way out of the kitchen with an eye to the floor, wary for any invisible shards lying in wait for small burnished feet. The kin moves to stand between Leon and Matt, dwarfed by a good foot or more by each. Curvy kin’s body language filling in the gaps where verbal communication was not allowed. She leans on Mirror’s whisper, floury skirt no doubt soiling his perfectly pressed suit. A painted toe prods Hostile Takeover’s knee, accompanied by a wry smile and a roll of eyes. Familiarity and Affection for both, mingled with no small exasperation at the proceedings. Her attention shifts to those speaking.*

[Honor’s Compass] [Kate has something to add! How do I — *hits the buzzer*]

[Danicka Musil] [Danicka yields to the ranked Garou present *gavel*]

[Wyrmbreaker] [dibs order is Kate, Danicka, then probably BWF.]

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] Sarita doesn’t fail to notice Gina’s brief interaction, such as it is, with Leon. Her eyes narrow a little bit, watching them, and anyone paying attention to her would notice a bit of bristling. She doesn’t speak out, merely watches for a long moment before looking back.

Yeah. She’ll be dealing with that later.

[Matthieu] Matthieu made certain to follow the kin across the floor. Whether Gina knew it or not those eyes followed her quietly. She drew closer and closer and even took the chance to squeeze herself between he and his beta. A slight smile grew and he peeked up at the woman with a hint of a smile. She had likely been drinking and was feeling pleasant. Which was surprisingly okay with the Garou who looked up at her with familiar eyes.

He didn’t speak however, simply welcomed her to join if she pleased.

[Leon Davenport] Finally something interesting happening to this meeting And no it’s not an angry kin storming out or incidents involving one with the Broho’splan or anything else. No, it’s the presence of a beautiful caramel skinned Strider kin, moving between him and his Alpha.

Shelean into Matt and that makes him smile, a genuine rare one from the Ahroun these days. Then she prds hm and the smile grew wider. He kept hi hands in his pants pockets, his smile turning into a grin. Then his piercing blue eyes were back on the meeting

There has been no GW kin here that he knew of. After all he knew Delilah only by her GWnet handle. He didn’t want any of his tribe’s kin getting into troubel tonight. He seem ot have had his wish granted.

[Kieran Mondblume] *His eyes, however, remain on Amy, and the Grand Elder. He looks, very briefly, worried, though it passes rather quickly. Nothing else in the meeting seems to catch his dark eyes.*

[Bridget Geroux] Bridget finally retakes her seat, glass in hand. Her brown eyes shift around the room as if for a second, she forgot where she was. The kinswoman shakes it off and sips the remaining whiskey, her eyes floating somewhere between Patrick and Kieran for whatever reason.

[Honor’s Compass] Honor’s Compass, who has, up until this moment been relatively silent, merely a formidable presence in so far as a regal Silver Fang of her ranking should be, standing to one side with her arms neatly folded over her chest; her coat open to reveal silk blouse beneath, the designer jeans and knee-high boots.

Immaculate as ever, she somehow managed to avoid it becoming ridiculous; her carefully arranged hair; her glossed lips. It was the animal grace in her that controlled it; the thrill of danger posed by those pale eyes of hers as they sweep the assembly, as manicured nails close over the eight ball.

Her eyes find Sarita’s sister.

“If I may, Rhya,” she says in her voice, rippling with its hint of french gentility, “I have some knowledge of these goings on. I was approached here at the Brotherhood by Adara, Song of Life, a Black Fury Galliard I believe my Alpha put in charge of the Brotherhood plans, along with Adamidas. She told me of the issues with the Kinswoman.”

A beat. “She asked my council, and two sides to this issue were brought before me, one from Garou and the other spoken on the behalf of the Kinfolk by one of Cockroaches Kin.” The Fang’s lip curves a little, inexplicably. “My sense was that they were working at cross-purposes, here. The Kinfolk, rightly enough, want their say in their own safety, but the Garou have their own notions on how Kinfolk need to be so protected.

My advice was to meet together, and discuss it. I believe this is the meeting Amunet is referring to.”

[Nash] With his left hand, Nash reaches up to scrub at his scruffy face when the tiny Indian woman moves across the room and proceeds to cause the blood pressure of at least four Trueborn to spike. He doesn’t sigh or stare, but when his hand comes away from his face and returns to his jacket pocket the kinsman glances over at Kora again.

That glance lasts only so long as the silence between active speakers; a few seconds after the regal blonde begins to speak, his eyes slowly drift away to acknowledge her.

[Rain McKellar] ((Rain will stay with the other Gaian kin until the meeting lets out, but her player must go to sleep soon. Thanks, all, for the scene.))

[Balance Without Fault] [night!]

[Danicka Musil] This time, the ball comes to Danicka more easily, since her mate has excused himself from the proceedings for the moment and it seems that Danicka doesn’t trust herself to catch the bizarre little toy if lobbed her way. She hears about the defense plan — something she’s only heard rumors of, not the story she just got. She looks at Amunet briefly when she takes the 8-ball, but in the end, doesn’t address the Strider kin as she did earlier.

“-Rhya,” she says, to Balance Without Fault, “the Kinfolk have tried before to establish leadership amongst themselves before, but in that case and in this one, there’s a serious problem with Garou being kept out of the loop.” She thinks a moment. “If the Kinfolk want to be heard by the Garou — to have a voice, for example, in deciding the defense plan for the Brotherhood of Thieves, to have at least some kind of vote in matters that affect them personally, then is there any reason why the Garou in charge of defense for this place should not have a Kinfolk — preferably a resident — whose counsel is sought in decisions about it?”

A beat. She blinks those round, green eyes of hers, turning to look at Amunet. “And maybe, if only to limit the amount of suspicion and paranoia and rumors of discontent, maybe an alliance of Kinfolk would have a better chance of success if there is a Garou involved in the proceedings and decisions being made — not to dictate, not to rule, but to communicate the needs the Garou have to the Kin, and vice versa?”

[Balance Without Fault] Balance listens to Katherine with clear attentiveness; then Danicka.

“It’s become increasingly clear to me tonight that some level of constant communication needs to be set up between the Garou of this Sept and the Kin. That’s part of what I wanted to discuss when we talk about the coalition a little more. I realize I’ve delayed the discussion of the coalition again and again, but I’m going to have to ask for your patience a little longer.”

He turns back to Amunet.

“There will always be some level of dictation, Amunet. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The Nation is not a democracy. There is one Grand Elder. One Warder. One warleader. One Garou in charge of the defense of the Brotherhood, and one Garou assisting her.

“It’s not your place to rebel against that order. If you feel unheard, then speak. You may bring your suggestions up, just as anyone else can — and it seems that with Honor’s Compass’s counsel, you intend to do exactly that.

“You may not, however, display blatant insubordination to those who rank over you. And you must understand that the final say still belongs to those charged with the keeping of the Brotherhood. This isn’t a kin/Garou issue. It’s a simple issue of hierarchy. I would say the same to your sister Sarita, or even to the Philodox Elder.”

Balance turns the magic eightball over in his hands, then continues.

“The second point I wanted to address specifically is this. I’ve heard reports that you were seeking a Garou to … beat you? And that you would tape this as some sort of instructional video?

“What’s the story there, Amunet? I hardly know where to begin.”

[Amunet Knezevic] She looks very tired, very suddenly, tongue bitten to keep herself quiet as she waits her turn.

[Kieran Mondblume] *He flinches visibly.*

[August Grant] A brow rose.

That sounded like the single most stupid idea she’s heard in awhile.

Was that girl daft?

[Izzy Montoya] She’s wanting…. what?! Izzy’s head whips about so quickly her hair flies in a semi circle, smacking her in the face while she stares at Amunet with dropped jaw…. only to have it snap shut on the comment not quite bitten back..

“Motherfu…” snap.

She turns, and stalks to the kitchen. She needs a serious drink. Now.

[Quinn] Quinn actually does a double-take, and frowns at Amunet.Her thoughts are similar August’s. What would that even teach?

[Kieran Mondblume] *He raises one hand, however, before forgetting himself, and he holds his hand out for the ball.*

[Jackson Montgomery] He blinks as the idea for the original plan comes out in a horribly mangled, telephone version of what was actually discussed. He looks at Balances With Fault, then at Amunet and back, before he takes a [[DIBS]] after Amunet.

[Bridget Geroux] Bridget tenses in her little corner of the world, and the nearly empty glass falls into her lap before she catches it. A slight amount of whiskey and ice bleed into the fabric.

“Shit,” she says under her breath. Looking directly to BWF with an expression of apology, she zips it quickly, gathers her skirts, and moves towards the kitchen following Izzy.

[Kieran Mondblume] ((Though I am willing to wait for dibs till after Amy and Jackson have had their say))

[Leon Davenport] Leon blinked a few times, eyes on Amy. Ok…now that was..well..totally crazy even for her. He actually had to look at Sarita with a brow raised as if asking her..what the hell? But he doesn’t say anything, doesn’t smile or anything. He was mostly, perplexed by all of this.

He had an idea why she’d ask that, but to him it dodn’t seem like the right way to do things.

[Danicka Musil] Danicka, in the face of people restraining the urge to curse, of staring, of double-takes… blinks at Amunet. There’s no anger, no sudden omgwtfbbq. But surprise. And definite, strong interest in hearing something other than the rumor that Balance Without Fault wants to be explained and clarified.

[Gina McClaren] *Wait – woah.. What? Gina arcs her back away from Matt, squinting at the better bred strider kin across the room. Expression caugt between disgust and disbeleif. She looks up to Matt meaningfully, as if to say “Didn’t I tell you? Crazy. Every fucking one of them.” That flask gets retrieved and sampled from once more.*

[Amunet Knezevic] “Okay. So” She takes a deep breath. Remember what Stefan said, Ames…

“First of all, it was an idea that was being batted around. Just that. I’m unsure why everyone seems content to run around asking everyone else why I’m doing what I’m doing, but that seems to be the trend. It was considered, it was discussed, and nothing has been done. There’s no reason for anyone to assume that it’s moving forward.

As for being secretive and not wanting Garou involvement in the alliance, that is simply not true. The Shadow Lord Nathalie has offered her assistance, and I have taken her up on that. I’m not hiding anything. I’m not trying to exclude anyone that would benefit the alliance.”

She gestures toward the departing Bridget. “She wants to talk, but she wasn’t there for the conversation. She’s referring to Adara, the Fury. She asked to be included in the alliance, and when reminded it was a kinfolk alliance, she compared it to the KKK. Jackson was there for the conversation. I’m sure he can back me up. My issue with allowing her to be part of this isn’t that she’s Garou, it’s that she’s a shitty excuse for a Garou.”

[Quinn] [dibs!]

[Wyrmbreaker] [Dibs is Jackson, Kieran, Quinn right now — though BWF might cut in line at some point!]

[Quinn] [WHOOPS! That was supposed to be Joey!]

[Amunet Knezevic] [I’m assuming she’ll be asked to explain that….]

[Wyrmbreaker] [joey –> jackson –> kieran]

[Kieran Mondblume] ((And Ki gives up his dibs.)) *He lowers his hand again, and then he goes back to listening.*

[Honor’s Compass] [Damn it, now Kate has to speak up. SORRY.]

[Wyrmbreaker] [kate –> joey –> jackson –> kieran]

[Matthieu] His eyes meet Gina’s own and he looks back at the kin though he doesn’t nod. His eyes say enough and he reassures her with a slight pat to the small of her back. Though the Galliard doesn’t wish to appear as if he isn’t listening and taking in every word. Indeed he was listening to everything that was said. Formulating an opinion on each and every personality that shows itself here tonight.

[Izzy Montoya] She’s not long. Long enough to have a shot and pour a second that she brings with her, in time to hear that it was just an idea being bat around, without nay explanation whatsoever. Her jaw tenses, and she finds a space of wall to lean against, setting the glass on the table and lighting another cigarette.

[Jackson Montgomery] [[Officially voicing a request to try to keep a bit closer to the 10 minute posting limit that was established for Dibbers.]]

[Honor’s Compass] Katherine’s eyes cut toward Amy.

“That is the second occasion I have heard, and the first directly from your lips of insult to Song of Life, Amunet. I do not care who you believe you are, who your mate is or how valid your cause — you will pay the respect due to a Garou or you will be sending your mate to every door in the Sept to make amends for your mouth.

I said it before, I say it again.

Respectful disagreement.”

[Bridget Geroux] Bridget returns soon after, patting at her skirt with a towel. She passes Izzy and takes her seat again, then offers her hand up to speak for the second time.

[Bridget Geroux] [Dibs when it gets her direction]

[Kora] Kora does not glance at Amunet. Her dark eyes track Izzy, though, as she weaves through the room. Then, the creature glances back at Nash. Fine blond brows arch eloquently over her shadowed eyes. Restlessness runs patterned beneath her skin. Even standing still she looks ready to prowl.

[Wyrmbreaker] [joey –> jackson –> kieran –> bridget]

[August Grant] Even though she really, really wanted to be here for this lovely conversation – the pregnant girl’s bladder could only hold out so long. So, carefully enough, she made her way to the ladies room .. and then to the kitchen, where she’d find a snack and linger in the door for a moment eating before returning to her chair.

[Joey] The magic eight ball starts to head toward another kin, but the Fostern Rotagar indicates the need for an interception. It goes to Kate first, and when it gets to Joey, she palms it, and inclines her head toward Amy.

“Just t’clarify, this idea,” she reaches up her free hand to pantomime air quotes, “was brought to the elders ’cause you’d already gone at least to Burnout lookin’ for a volunteer. And when I talked to you about it, everything you said told me you were set on goin’ through with it, despite warnings and consequences.

“So you’re not bein’ called out on it just ’cause someone’s followin’ some sort’ve trend.”

The eight ball is passed on.

[Kieran Mondblume] ((Ki actually gave up his dibs.))

[Amunet Knezevic] [dibs after bridget, please]

[Wyrmbreaker] [jackson –> bridget –> amunet!]

[Jackson Montgomery] He takes the 8=Ball and steps forward. “Just to provide my own perspective on this idea. Which, at least when we discussed it, was just an idea. It was brainstorming possibilities, nothing more. Amunet asked me, since I was a film student, if there was a way for us to be able to film…not a Garou beating the tar out of a kinfolk, Amy or otherwise. But potential sparring sessions. The reason for this would be that, if we were in a situation where combat was inevitable, we’d be more capable. This wasn’t ‘Beat the shit out of me and film it and you’ll know what it’s like to be in a fight. Hell, a Garou could spar with someone in homid and we could film that. These specifics weren’t even gone over because it was one three minute portion of one much longer discussion.

“The key was, and what we were discussing, was that if it was done, it would have to be done securely. No internet access to the video. Not multiple copies floating around. Again, this was a big if, and I felt it was conceivably possible, if not a sure thing. No one was setting up sets or anything like that, I wasn’t figuring out lighting and camera angles or what lens to use. As near as I knew, Amunet was checking with Garou to see if there would even be volunteers, because if not the rest didn’t even matter.

He frowns. “If there was some kind of telephone situation where it wasn’t properly communicated, then there you have it. But the idea was far saner and far more brainstorming than that I just heard. Obviously the Veil was our first concern and what we were discussing before any considerations came into play.”

[Hunter] [hunter taking dibs after bridget, before amunet]

[Gina McClaren] *Gina’s taking a fourth shot. Amazing how much alcohol can disappear into the little Indian woman in so short a period of time. The flask’s cap clinks metallic and resolute as its popped on tightly. Flask itself handed to Leon, a flat palm held up, then making an abrupt cutting motion. The fuzziness in her stomach and the hazy tingle behind brown eyes told her anymore would loosen her tongue, and no one wanted that tonight. So the woman who was rapidly becoming a lush entrusts her fire water to the Glasswalker , before settling back against the Silverfang’s comforting hand. Her eyes slip firmly shut.*

[Balance Without Fault] [bridget –> hunter –> amunet]

[Bridget Geroux] “That reminds me when Carter took your injuries last time. We all asked you about the bruises and you wouldn’t answer. I let it go because you seemed uncomfortable, but if I thought for a second you might want someone to beat you up… What the hell, Amy? How do you expect to display leadership among us with… whatever is going on?”

She stops and shakes her head. “I’m sorry, Amy. That got a bit too personal. But when I saw you talking to Song of Life, I just couldn’t hear it anymore. By the way, she has shown nothing but the utmost respect for my crazy ass ways and was one of the very few Garou who has encouraged me to keep doing my work rather than some Garou who have discouraged me from it. Maybe they’ve done it because they cared, but she is one of the few Garou I’d be more than willing to invite to my own house just to shoot the shit. I respect and admire the hell out of the Garou who treat kinfolk– even those not of their tribe– like the family we are. Family might be my whole grievance in the first place.”

“My other issue with the alliance is, like Danicka repeated earlier, that it is too jealously guarded, even from other kinfolk. My father, Meuric ‘Bear’ Geroux for those of you who care about the formality, used to tell me all the time how Septs grow weaker when not even the kinfolk can rely on one another as family.”

[Leon Davenport] He looked at Gina with a grin and took the flask out of her hand, making it disapear in his suit’s jacket. He nodded to her, letting her know it will be returned to her eventually. Not that it wasn’t a big deal if she had something of hers. She had something of him.

So it was with familiarity that he gently nudge her before looking back at those talking.

[Bridget Geroux] [First part got cut off:]
Bridget looks towards Amy with raised eyebrows as she takes the 8 ball, an expression of genuine concern.

[Balance Without Fault] [hunter’s up, then amunet, then BWF is taking the ball]

[Hunter] [oh shit browser didn’t refresh gimme a minute]

[Danicka Musil] At the bar, Danicka glances at the door, wondering about her mate, and frankly about Carter. She sips her water and returns her attention to the discussion. There’s no lightly thoughtful look on her face now. She’s quite serious. Bordering, in fact, on visibly tense.

[Hunter] The eight ball gets grasped in one meaty palm and he doesn’t stand to speak.

“Amy came to me first I believe, out of any Garou, sayin’ she wanted me to do it. I explained this to her at the time but I’ll repeat it because it seems ya’ don’t quite get it Jackson.”

A beat.

“For starters, Amy squarin’ off vs me in any form is just gonna be a beatin’ plain n’ simple. That’s just all there is to it. Secondly from what I was told the purposes for doin’ this was so that kinfolk could get some expertise on how to fight against a fuckin’ spiral — scuse ma language — n’that she’d want me to fight her not just in human form.

Now I don’t know what ya’ know bout’ spirals but fightin’ ya’ is about the last thing they’re gonna do. It won’t be in human form, so sparrin’ vs me in homid ain’t gonna teach ya’ shit. It won’t be to kill ya’ n’I don’t think I need to — nor should I try to, or am adequately able to — express just what they’d be tryin’ to do.

The flaws of this video been pointed out by my Beta quite clearly to Amy, but from where I stand there’s some seriously misguided ideas based on the fact that ya’ thought that me puttin’ a kin near death would actually help anyone learn anythin’ of value against that group’a devils.”

There’s a beat and then:

“The fact that ya’ thought me doin’ that could help is, quite frankly, god damn insultin’.”

[Kora] (going to bed folks. Kora’s still around looking restless and pregnant. Jamie has my permission to NPC her and directions for certain circumstances, cheers!)

[Balance Without Fault] [amunet–>BWF!]

[Amunet Knezevic] “I didn’t want to shame the Trueborn that gave me the bruises, Bridget. No one knew that he was going to heal them, and I certainly didn’t seek him out to do it.

And again, Bridget, you don’t know the whole story. Good for you that you get along with her. I don’t, and I have solid reasons why that is the case.

HOW am I being secretive? What kinfolk have I turned away? I don’t understand how not ramming an alliance down the kin’s throat turns into me being secretive. Explain.”

She flinches when Hunter speaks, eyes searching out anywhere to rest on but him. Her fingers run in her hair again, then move to scratch between her shoulder blades. “Fucking funny how you tell her fucking everything except the shit you’re ashamed of”

[Bridget Geroux] [Dibs if offered]

[Izzy Montoya] She felt Kora’s eyes on her, but she doesn’t meet her gaze. Not yet. Not right away. In fact, it’s not until Hunter’s clarifying that her gaze snaps up again, and there’s something.. something there. Something in dark eyes that’s clearly…

…well. Of all here, only Kora knows and only with passing details. Izzy tightens her hand around the drink, and pushes from the wall. She takes a step forward, and then shakes her head. Then, when she finally looks up and meets Kora’s gaze, her teeth audibly grind, and she turns, sets the drink down and heads to the door.

and if there’s a muttered curse or ten, well. No one who knows her is surprised.

[Balance Without Fault] [bwf is taking the ball!]

[Hunter] There’s a moment where Hunter simply stares at Amy with his jaw firmly set and then? He looks away, relaxes in his seat as much as the — sometimes high strung — Ahroun could ever relax under such conditions.

[Prayers to Broken Stone] Prayers to Broken Stone has been lounging against a wall in his hoodie; arms folded over his chest; sniffing every now and then as if he had a cold. There’s been a beer bottle in one of his hands fairly steadily and at some point; he’d excused himself to raid the kitchen; he returns now, to discussion of beatings and video tapes and something about Hunter being ashamed.

He bites a hunk out of his sandwich, and shuffle-excuses his way back to his little spot like that annoying late-comer at the movies who blocks out the screen as the heroine and her man get it on finally.

[Balance Without Fault] “Enough.” Balance takes the ball back. “I don’t want to dwell on this longer than we have to. This is not a public lynching. I’ll say this, and then we move on.

“Amunet, videotaping a Garou is a very bad idea. Videotaping a Garou in non-Homid form is a worse idea. Asking a non-homid Garou to attack you so you can videotape is insanity. I realize this was a brainstorm. But that sort of idea should never even come to your mind. Not simply because of the threat to the Veil, but because it tells me that you genuinely believe with enough training a kin would have options against a Dancer in warform beyond running.

“Izzy Montoya mentioned earlier that you were going to get people killed. I’m starting to see her point.

“Let me be very clear on this: you can train if you want to. You can learn first aid, you can learn self defense. If the Warleader judges you capable, we are even willing to entertain the idea of an elite kin squad assaulting light targets to support their Garou brethren. But you are not equipped to fight a Garou in warform. If you’re so unlucky as to be caught by one, you should run. And you should teach your friends to run — not lull them into some misguided idea that they might be able to fight and win.”

Balance’s fingers tap restlessly on the eightball for a moment. Then he goes on:

“I want to move on to discussion the coalition, its leadership, and the idea of establishing a Garou-kin liaison to maintain an open line of communication between the kin and Garou of this Sept. Before we get there, I just have two more questions:

“Bridget, you mentioned something about a Garou forbidding you from something you want to do. Be more specific. What do you speak of?

“And Amunet, you accuse Hunter of not speaking of something he’s ashamed of. What are you speaking of?”

[Bridget –> then Amunet, unless she rejects it!]

[Kieran Mondblume] *He looks back to Hunter at that, and he sighs deeply. Looking back to Amy. And then back to BWF. Again watching. He wants to speak, but the words are not coming easily, it seems, so he keeps his mouth shut.*

[Matthieu] Matthieu watches in preparation for Amunet’s response. The Galliard was standing ready and keeping his attention on every word that would come out of the Kin’s mouth.

[Gina McClaren] *Curiouser and Curiouser. Gina’s eyes slowly open, and her gaze rests on Hunter, expression inquiring, her head tilted to the side. Not unlike a german shepard trying to puzzle out an algebra equation.

That is to say – hopelessly lost.

She looks from Leon and Matt back to Hunter, as though she might figure out whats shaking through some sort of elaborate half drunk social triangulation.*

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] The Strider is watching with the most intense look of concentration anyone’s ever seen on her face. It is focused on her sister and the Grand Elder. It could be because she’s curious–tense?–to see what might be said, or it could be because she’s not wanting to look at certain individuals who might raise her ire. Her expression is pained. It’s clear to anyone who might look at her that although her protectorate obligations are over with, it certainly doesn’t mean that she doesn’t care. She knows how her sister must feel right now, what this is like for her, because she knows Amy so well.

She would rather it be her in that place instead of Amy, being questioned and having doubt heaped on by others.

[Bridget Geroux] Bridget fidgets with the ball when it comes her way, taking a deep breath. “I’m sorry, Amy, if that got a bit too personal. Catch me later if you want.”

She continues quickly. “I have on a few occasions been told by several Garou. Forgive me, but one didn’t tell me his name. The other was Simon, who I think expressed concern over my well being. I should explain. The Sept I am from is in the Rockies, in the middle of nowhere. I’m not boasting, but I know I’m a skilled survivalist. It feels unnatural going for so long in the city without getting some fresh air. But on several occasions, without explanation, I’ve been discouraged from going outside of the city to… do my thing.”

The Fianna kin continues, “I don’t understand what the difference is if I’m alone in the city or in the woods. I can handle myself just fine out there, and I’ve gone out there on several occasions on my own before Simon and some others told me I shouldn’t.”

[Balance Without Fault] “And that’s all you’re doing? Just going into the woods to … hike?”

He tosses the ball back.

[Leon Davenport] His shift position slightly, watching Amunet, glancing at Sarita and then Hunter. What will Amy say? He hoped that Amy will decide not to tlk. For herself, for Hunter and maybe for him. He wasn’t sure what Amy meant, what Hunter did or didn’t do., but somethings were sad that didn’t make him entirely comfortable

Thongs has been dealt with and he had no intention to have them brought back to the forefront.

[Bridget Geroux] Bridget catches it, “No. I hunt. I check the trails, get familiar with the landscape. Sometimes, I stay out there for quite a while with little or no supplies. It’s… no different from what I did back home.”

[Derek Anderson] (*things has been dealt..)

[August Grant] {Alright, gotta get to bed – August will stay through the meeting with the other Coggies. Night all.)

[Danicka Musil] [Night! Thanks for playing!]

[Prayers to Broken Stone] [Patrick will take a break from eating to pipe in at some point RE: Bridget.]

[Bridget Geroux] [Add: check the landscape, figure out the flora and fauna.]

[Balance Without Fault] “I see no harm in that. Patrick, you represent the Fianna. What do you think?”

Lob.

[Bridget Geroux] Bridget seems quite pleased with BWF’s comment, but waits on Patrick’s response.

[Hunter] [if anyone wants a description post of hunter’s appearance etc right now let me know otherwise I’m just chillin’ LOL]

[Nash] [I don’t think I’ll survive without one.]

[Rosie] Rosalie has been very quiet. Nothing more than another small body among a wealth of very well bred kin and Garou. While the conversation continues between the primary parties, the kin slips her fingers inside the front pocket of her jeans and removes her cell phone. She is quiet and unobtrusive while her fingers move quickly over the Qwerty keyboard.

[Balance Without Fault] [angelina, since your post is pretty separate from this business with Bridget, you might wanna start pre-writing!]

[Hunter] [AHAHAHA, gina just got a trillion empathy suxx ;((( ]

[Prayers to Broken Stone] Prayers to Broken Stone sets his beer down and catches the eightball the way a baseball player might; both hands. He’s finishing chewing his sandwich as he goes and holds up a finger briefly to swallow, then thump himself over his chest to help work it down.

Brushing crumbs from his mouth, the intensely-blue eyed Galliard of Last Watch speaks simply, without intention for pretty wording.

“Thanks, man — Rhya, man. Uh, look I know Bridget fairly well. I think I can say with an attempt at authority she’s not insane, girl can hold her own when fist comes at face. I have no problem with her hiking in the woods. I think of some of the Kinfolk here, no respect really, but I think of them, she’d do pretty well.

So, yeah.”

He nods at the Fiann, and lobs off the eightball.

[Kieran Mondblume] ((And I am passing out. The coughing has not ceased, so whatever he might say in response I can wait on for now, I think.))

[Prayers to Broken Stone] [no.. DISrespect. Hooboy.]

[Jackson Montgomery] [[Jackson: *Pitches a fit and storms out weeping*]]

[Nash] When his phone buzzes in his pocket, he does not whip it out to see who it is while still in the midst of the meeting. He hears it, and quietly steps out from between Holden and Kora to find some sort of an exit. Being as he’s never been in here before, it takes a moment before he realizes the kitchen is through the swinging doors and manages to make it that way, moving at an unhurried pace, keeping his right arm held to his ribs.

Whatever he sees when he ends up in the kitchen makes him laugh, and then the door swings shut behind him.

[Amunet Knezevic] She catches the ball, eyes on BWF and nowhere else. “I understand that it’s a bad idea, Rhya. I put more stock into Laughs in the Face of Death Rhya’s words than was evident at the time. I assure you, the idea had been abandoned long before this meeting.”

Her teeth catch the corner of her bottom lip for a moment, before her head shakes. “I apologize for the comment. To both you and Burnout Rhya as well. It wasn’t about anything pertinent to the discussion or the Nation, just something that my brother and I should discuss at a later time”

[Rosie] Blue eyes sweep over Amunet’s face but what – if anything – she’s thinking at that moment are not completely obvious. Her fingers ghost over her phone before she slides it closed and stands from her chair where she’d been sitting. There’s a quiet apology given to those seated nearest her before she edges away and manoeuvres a path through the proper area and into the kitchen.

[Balance Without Fault] [crap — this goes in before Amunet — ]

“I’d add only two admonishments to that. First: I’d keep that sort of solitude to a minimum until the kinhunter business has passed. You’ll be easy pickings on your own, miles from anyone else. Second: I hope to Gaia you’re hunting rabbits and deer, not Wyrm creatures.”

[Amunet Knezevic] [*scootches back to make room*]

[Prayers to Broken Stone] Patrick watches as one by one, Kinfolk slip into the kitchen. He cranes his neck.

“What is there some secret door I don’t know of back there?” He calls at random, then grimaces in a ‘my bad’ way if looked at sharply for speaking out of turn. He does gesture at the kitchen to others though, in a what gives manner.

[Bridget Geroux] Bridget shakes her head at that. “Oh, god no. I’m not that much of a moonbrain.”

[Derek Anderson] He lean against the wall, listening, not talking. He has been one of the few Kin who didn’t speak up and was still there. And he wasn’t going to leave until the meeting was over. He was Silver Fang and he would do things properly. Beside, it was somewhat interesting. He learned a few things, watching everyone, listening.

He offered Rain and August a smile as both kin were obiosuly tired, August understandably so, being prengant and all. He will offer her andEla a ride home after the meeting and Rain too, unless she leaves with one of Kora’s people

[Gina McClaren] *Dark eyes slide from Hunter to his Fenrir Packmate. Flick to Gina’s kinfolk tribesmate. Tipsy kin contemplative as she rests against Mirror’s Whisper, considering the garou of Defiance a moment longer. Leon’s tenseness is sensed in a peripheral, instinctive manner, and dealt with just as naturally. Gina tugs his shirt-sleeve in a gesture of comradery, before settling back in to listen. She’d leave to go to “work” once the meeting was over.*

[ok! I have got to sleep or I’m just going to start typing “Ale-Alejandro Ale Alejandrooo” over and over again. Or something equally inane. Good Night folks! Have fun!]

[Joey] [Do I want to know what’s going on in the kitchen? curiositah!]
Dice Rolled:[ 6 d10 ] 1, 1, 2, 7, 7, 9 (Success x 1 at target 6)

[Balance Without Fault] [night!]

[Joey] It’s the laughter that has Joey looking back toward the kitchen, as the Fenrir kinsman disappears behind the swinging door. And it’s Patrick calling attention to it that has her curiosity piqued.

But this meeting is srs bznz. Joey manages to contain that desire to know. At least for now.

[Balance Without Fault] [typing, folks! sorry it’s taking a while!]

[Balance Without Fault] Balance considers Amunet a moment, then nods. “Fair enough. Let’s move on.”

A moment’s pause, reflective. Then Balance takes another drink of water, sets the eightball down beside him, and speaks.

“I think we got somewhere tonight. I think we addressed a lot of concerns, some minor and some major, that needed to be talked about. That said, I think there’s still a lot up in the air, and it’s pretty evident that we need a more permanent mode of communication between the kin and the Garou of this Sept.

“I’m taking a page from my tribesmen in southern California. I’m hereby creating two new offices in this Sept: a Sept liaison amongst the kin, and a Kin liaison amongst the Garou. Their task is simple. They represent the kin and the Garou, respectively, and they interface with each other to make sure there’s an open line of communication at all times.

“If a kin has an issue that requires the attention of the Garou, bring it to the Sept Liaison. He or she is the voice of the kin in this Sept. Whatever the issue, the Sept Liaison is in charge of speaking to the appropriate Tribal Alpha to find a resolution, or — if it’s a matter that affects all the Garou — the Kin Liaison. The Sept Liaison is also tasked with passing critical information from the kin to the Garou. I will consider allowing the Sept Liaison to stand witness at the Crackings of the Bone, though I want to hear the Philodox Elder’s opinion on protocol and precedent first.

“In complement, the Kin Liaison will attend coalition meetings — primarily as a listener, but also as a voice for the Garou when necessary. The Kin Liaison will have a direct line to me and the other Sept and Tribal Elders as necessary. It’s also my hope that the Kin Liaison will have the basic leadership skills necessary to independently handle minor issues.

“Now, as to who will fulfill these roles — Mirror’s Whisper, you spoke earlier of your pack’s role. It seems to me that you’re ideally suited to our Kin Liaison. If you’re willing, the job is yours.”

[Wyrmbreaker] It’s in the middle of Balance’s speech that the door opens and Wyrmbreaker slips back in. He takes his seat by Danicka again. He looks a little worn out, but — rather glad, surprisingly.

There’s no blood on him anywhere. He takes his mate’s hand as he sits, squeezes it once, and then turns to pay attention to the Grand Elder.

[Amunet Knezevic] Her breath catches and holds. There is absolutely no doubt how much she desires to be named to the newly formed position.

[Bridget Geroux] Bridget pays a glance to Amy, her face grows concerned. Her eyes flick back to Balance Without Fault as she backs away towards the bar, making herself less obtrusive. Bridget won’t touch that with a ten foot pole unless someone beat her with it and tied it to her arms.

[Wyrmbreaker] [sorry to wreck your transcript, unbrokenites, but!

Lukas caught up to Carter outside and offered him the choice between getting exiled and going voluntarily into house arrest for a month. Carter agreed to house arrest, so he’ll be shacking up at the Loft. Sorry, Kate!

Lukas also stipulated that he’ll have a stormcrow following him around, and that he’s only allowed to be at the Loft and immediately surrounding areas or at work. If he wants a guest over, he has to get Kate’s permission.

Carter wanted to continue training kin, so Lukas said he’d ask Kate if it was okay for Carter to use the rumpus room. If not, Lukas will find him a dojo or something.

/end transmission!]
to Danicka Musil, Honor’s Compass, Sarita Ecos de la Risa

[Honor’s Compass] [I’m typing!]

[Danicka Musil] [Sinclair sez: HAHAHA HOPE YOU GUYS ARE HAVING FUN OUT THERE WITH THE KINFOLK DRAMUHZ. I’M GOING TO TIJUANA TOMORROW TO GET FIREWORKS FOR MY BIRTHDAY. WERD.]
to Honor’s Compass, Sarita Ecos de la Risa, Wyrmbreaker

[Matthieu] He nods his head back at Balance without Fault and his smile shows.”Thank you, I should like that my pack serve as a representative not only of the Garou but as a display of what the Garou and Kin can accomplish together. I would proudly accept the role as I would never wish our kin in this sept to go without a voice. They are the heart of our society and I should like that we can repair any rifts between us soon enough.”He smiles and looks to the other Kin present.

[Honor’s Compass] Honor’s Compass has been frowning in consideration for some time as discussion and debate wore on; when Balance Without Fault calls for her opinion on the matter of a Kinfolk standing in attendance at the Moots, she stirs and tosses a wave of silky gold hair over a shoulder; taking hold once more of the ball.

“I see no true issue with the appointed Kinfolk Liaison attending Moots within reason. I do not believe that unless they have matters to bring forward, they need be present and when they are, it would be my advice, Rhya, that they speak only when other matters have been addressed — unless there is reason why they should speak before the collected Garou.

I would further suggest that bearing in mind whoever gains this position, that their tribal Alpha be held responsible for their safety and conduct during appearances at our Moots.”

[Honor’s Compass] [Kate has no issue with the naughty Kinfolk being chained to her house. She has a free room available for him, chains optional.

She’ll provide him with a spare key and inform him he is welcome to make use of the rumpus space as long as he’s respectful to Kate’s other guests and knows if he steps out of line she’ll put him down.]
to Danicka Musil, Sarita Ecos de la Risa, Wyrmbreaker

[Balance Without Fault] [dibs list: kate –> BWF!]

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] [Sarita says: “Long as I don’t have to dodge gunfire for using all the hot water in the shower, sounds like a plan.” Though she’s super-distracted at the moment, too.]]
to Danicka Musil, Honor’s Compass, Wyrmbreaker

[Danicka Musil] [Sinclair sez: WEEE-OOO. TEQUILAAA.]
to Honor’s Compass, Sarita Ecos de la Risa, Wyrmbreaker

[Balance Without Fault] [i’m an idiot, it wasn’t refreshing.]

[Balance Without Fault] Balance Without Fault listens to Katherine; it’s readily apparent that her word is carefully attended to and weighed. Nodding, he takes the eightball back.

“Fair enough. The Sept Liaison may attend the Cracking of the Bone as a witness. He or she may speak if and only if they have a valid concern to bring forth on behalf of all the kin. The tribal Alpha of this kin is held responsible for the Sept Liaison’s safety and conduct.

“With that said, I’ll consider nominations for the Sept Liaison now.”

[Hunter] [dibs]

[Hunter] Hunter takes the eight ball for the second time tonight and by the way he keeps glancing over his shoulder at the kitchen it’s probably going to be the last time.

“Let me just say Amy’s eager if nuthin’ else. She wants to help n’despite all that’s been said tonight, I think her hearts in the right place which is more than can be said for some kinfolk.

In saying that, I spoke with Imogen Slaughter, she’s agreed to step in and help out the cause that Amy’s started n’I think we’d all be fools not to consider her for nomination. She couldn’t be here tonight cause she’s cleanin’ up the mess one’a our kind left behind, but I think she’d do this if it were offered to her.”

The way he looks at Amy is apologetic if anything, but having said his piece, he hands the eight ball on.

[Bridget Geroux] Bridget makes her way quietly over to Patrick, then leans over and whispers something quietly to her Tribal Elder. It is the briefest of moments before she touches his shoulder and retreats into the kitchen.

[Nash] [Oh shit I’m supposed to be proxying for Liz/Kora!

Yes. Dibbage –> seconding of Hunter’s nomination of Imogen for Kora.]

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] [[DIBS]]

[Amunet Knezevic] Just remember, some people there will be skeptical. Some may even try to show that you is not ready by trying to entice your anger. Do not let them bait you.

She brushes her hair back, putting on her very best poker face. It got them out of San Antonio unscathed, it can sure as fuck get her out of this meeting with at least a shred of dignity.

[Balance Without Fault] [go ahead, sarita – jamie was just OOCing it!]

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] Sarita takes the 8-Ball. And believe it or not, she actually considers the thing for a moment before she speaks.

“I really like this idea of Kin and a Sept Liasons. It’s thinking outside the box, which is something our people don’t do often enough. And it’s my job…the job of all of my Auspice…to encourage thinking outside of the box, finding new ways to make the war work. This is exactly one of those things, so I’m a fan.”

“As to who…I’ve heard great things about Imogen. I have absolutely no doubt that they’re true. But I don’t know her. I’ve never met her, or seen her around the Brotherhood during my admittedly short time here. That’s not saying she’s negligent, and certainly I’m not here all the time. But we have a lot of kin that come in and out of here. Even the amount of time I’ve been here, I’ve seen a lot come and go. We need someone who’s regularly in contact with the kin and has their ear to the ground, and has ideas. Maybe not always the best of ideas, but that’s part of why they’ll be working with others, Garou AND Kin. Getting the right ideas pushed forward, and the well-meaning but not well thought-out ones squashed. Which, to be honest, seems to be what’s been happening.”

She twirls the magic 8-Ball like a basketball for a moment, staring at it, then looks up. “Amunet’s done the legwork. She’s got her ear to the ground, and she’s got the drive. She’s got the right ideas, even if some of the wrong are there too sometimes, and she’s willing to listen and hear other people’s opinions, take them into account, and learn from what hasn’t worked to make the right things work better. I think she’s the right person for the job.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] [[spins on her finger. Y’know, Harlem Globetrotter style. Since “twirls” don’t make no sense. :P]]

[Joey] [Dibs!]

[Danicka Musil] [Dibs, as well.]

[Balance Without Fault] [joey –> danicka]

[Joey] Joey holds out her hands for the magic eight ball, catches it easily if it gets tossed her way. Before she speaks, she grins at her auspicemate, would tip her hat if she were wearing one.

“My associate raises some good points. As for stickin’ around, Imogen’s a rock. She’s been here since long before I got here, an’ I’m pretty sure she’ll still be standing’ when the world’s finally fallin’ to pieces. That said,” she tosses the eight ball from one hand to the other, “Sarita’s right. She’d be a good candidate an’ all, but she’s not here. She’s out there, helpin’ clean up after our messes, but still.

“So how ’bout someone who is?” Holding the magic eight ball with one hand, once again she uses it to point, this time to the Shadow Lord kinswoman by Lukas’ side. “I suggest Danicka. She’s been around a long while, an’ though I don’t know ‘er much beyond her reputation, she’s always been nice an’ respectful.” When it seems the woman in question would like the ball next, Joey doesn’t toss it directly to her. Remembering the earlier incident, she instead lobs it underhand to Lukas.

[Joey] [oh god random apostrophe should make that “standin'” please don’t mistake her for Hunter!]

[Wyrmbreaker] Lukas catches the eightball and, since he has it anyway, speaks up.

“I second that,” he says, “and not because she’s my mate. Because she’s spoken sense every time she opened her mouth. Because she’s respected by the spirits, and pays them respects in return. And because a year ago she did the legwork and set up a coalition before handing it over to the leadership of another kin — who promptly disappeared.

“She’s proved herself. If she wants the job,” and he looks at Danicka for a moment here, considering, “I’d listen to her.”

He passes it over to her.

[Matthieu] [I need to AFK a little bit hopefully Matt isn’t needed for the next half hour!]

[Balance Without Fault] [see you in a bit dude!]

[Joey] [it’s so weird seeing “dude” next to BWF’s name]

[Jackson Montgomery] [[‘Homey’ would have been even better.]]

[Honor’s Compass] [CAN KATE SPEAK. …oops, capsrage.]

[Balance Without Fault] [danicka’s got it, unless kate wants to snatch it out of her hands!]

[Honor’s Compass] [*steeples fingers* …okay, not really. But Kate does want to add something.]

[Nash] [Rage, rage against the locking of the caps.]

[Balance Without Fault] [Fencing Fox just IMed me to check on the proceedings. She wants to say Daoi would have been present, but she has to go to work, and wanted to second either Imogen or Danicka. Also, she is vehemently against Amunet, Neda, Carter and Mickey. So. Consider her NPCed!]

[Joey] [Do not go gentle into that good caps?]

[Danicka Musil] When she initially held up her hand to signal that she’d like the 8-ball to be passed to her when it was her turn, Joey had not spoken yet. And Danicka had opinions on both Amunet and Imogen. The truth is, what she has to say about one was touched on — but not expounded on — by Hunter. What she had to say about Imogen has been said twice now.

And then Lukas joins in, because Joey the athlete decided not to hurl a hard plastic ball at Danicka’s head, and Danicka turns her head to look at the Ahroun Elder. Those who can see past the curtain of her hair over her cheek can see quite plainly that it is, in fact, a Look.

By the time the Magic 8-Ball that is representing the right to speak uninterrupted in this gathering comes into her hands, Danicka’s had to completely reform what she wants to say. Nice and respectful, the Rotagar calls her. The Rotagar who wasn’t here when she lied, smiling, to the face of the woman who is now the Philodox Elder and an Adren. The Rotagar wasn’t here when Danicka whipped around and reamed out a Modi in public

then promptly left town, lest he come after her. Eeek.

Danicka takes a breath. “I think Dr. Slaughter, if she’s willing to do a job she doesn’t yet know exists, would be a more than adequate choice. She’s abrasive at best, but she’s also proven herself more than any other Kin in the city. She would be capable, if not sentimental. One of the first times I met her, she turned and fired on Spirals so that the rest of us could run. As cold as she can be, it would be wrong to suggest that she hasn’t proven herself willing to fight and die for all of us. As dismissive as she can be, and absence tonight notwithstanding, she holds more respect in the eyes of Garou than anyone else.”

A pause. She does not address Amunet as a candidate — either what she wants to say has already been said, or does not need to be said. “As for my own nomination, I’m flattered.” A beat. She knew easily what she had to say about Imogen. It is not, however, easy for Danicka to talk about herself. Not with this many people, and so many of them Garou, listening. Not with her own reputation — and, frankly, Lukas’s — affected by what comes out of her mouth. She takes another deep breath. “I suppose I accept. I would be honored to do my best, if chosen.”

Chosen, she says. Not elected. Her eyes are on Balance Without Fault, but only meeting his for a moment before — ever so respectfully — dropping to his cheekbone instead. She offers the ball out to someone who can hand it to Katherine, who has lifted her hand. Danicka does not lob anything, thank you.

[Honor’s Compass] Perhaps in times gone past, Lukas might tense to see his pack-mate; her pale eyes firmly fixed on his mate request permission from the Grand Elder to address their peers and other Kinfolk alike. Perhaps he’d clench his teeth in desperate hopes she was not about to open her mouth and opine about — well, who ever knew — but while the Silver Fang Elder studies the Shadow Lord Kinfolk nominated alongside a Fianna Kinswoman absent tonight — she does not do so with apparent glorying malice.

Rather, there’s a certain amount of quiet reflection to be had, in all honesty.

“While I respect Doctor Slaughter’s capacities a great deal, I find that I do not believe, knowing her only, I admit, as passingly as I do, that she would willingly take up this position. Imogen Slaughter does not particularly revel in long periods of association around our kind.

My feeling is she endures such, as often as she may foster relationships with some.” Here Katherine’s eyes tick to Kora.

“So it would be my vote to elect Danicka Musil, and add that while she has suffered — setbacks, tonight — and needs to be more controlled in expressing her opinion, Amunet should not be ignored for this, either. She has put in considerable time and effort, and the last thing this Sept needs or wants are Kinfolk who, feeling excluded or resentful, get themselves into trouble.

Work together, please. I have seen too many Kinfolk of my tribe and without who wind up lost, gone or simply dead.

I do not wish to witness it again.”

[Balance Without Fault] [any more dibbers? i’m gonna start typing.]

[Balance Without Fault] The magic eightball makes it way around the room, sometimes passed, sometimes tossed. Eventually it comes back to Balance Without Fault, who catches it with a sort of ease that suggests once upon a time he might’ve played ball for his highschool.

Once he has it, he turns it over in his hands for a moment. Then he looks at the kin who have, by and large, stood so silent thus far.

“This is your representative I’m choosing. Any thoughts?”

[Balance Without Fault] [i’ma give people a couple min to call dibs, and then we’re rollin’ on.]

[Derek Anderson] Derek watched and listened, silent. He didn’t say anything or reacted to any of the nominated canditates. Whoever they chose was fine by him. After all, he doesn’t need much and if something come up, well he could always reach Katherine. He was sad for those whom the old ways weren’t working but it was for him.

So why change something that isn’t broken? No reason. He was just there as a witness, because all kin were asked to come. And he stayed in the main area for it was disrecpectful to go awya in the kitchen while business that touched everyone was discussed.

He hasn’said anything but he had been there and won’t be able to complain later if things turn out badly.

[Jackson Montgomery] Jackson looks up. “Since this is my chance to speak up…I would choose Amy. I only vaguely know Danicka, no offenser. I’ve been working with Amy, and so have others who weren’t able to make it here. And I believe that someone who is involved with the current make-up should be doing it.”

Not very wordy, but it gets his point across.

[Nash] [Thanks for the scene, all! I’m told I have to go partake in a threeway or something, idk.]

[Quinn] [I’m sorry, guys, I can’t stay up any longer, I have to be up for work in a ridiculously small amount of time. Both of my PCs would stick it out until the end, and then disappear into the night. Good night!]

[Balance Without Fault] Balance lets that silence hang, his eyes moving from kin to kin, all around the room. It stretches on. It gets a little uncomfortable. It gets a lot uncomfortable. Then the Grand Elder puts the eightball down on the arm of his chair again. Stands.

“I have,” he says, “the utmost respect for Imogen Slaughter. She very nearly has the renown of a Cliath Ahroun — and it’s no secret that the spirits do not pay attention to our kin as they do our Garou. To gather such a reputation under such odds is no small accomplishment, wolves and kin of the Maelstrom, and she is to be respected.

“However,” he turns directly to Hunter and Kora, “it must also be said that Dr. Imogen Slaughter, while faultlessly dedicated and loyal to our cause, has never been one to involve herself too deeply in the Sept’s politics. Or, as far as I could tell, one who wanted to do so. She’s not here tonight because she’s out there doing what she does best — working for the cause in her own way, on her own time, without our interference. And that’s fine. The work she does justifies that. Her renown stands alone.

“Bear in mind that I’m not dictating the leader of the coalition tonight. That’s up to the kin, and that’s yet to be decided. If you want my opinion, Imogen Slaughter would be a very fine choice. However, this role we discuss tonight, the role she’s been nominated for, is one of mediation, of elbow-rubbing, of talking, of listening, of liaising. And I agree with Sarita, and with the Philodox and Ragabash Elders. She may not be suited to this. She may not even want it. She’s not here to decide for herself, and I won’t pin this title on her in her absence.

“On the other hand, Danicka Musil’s name carries weight in this Sept. She is known for her wisdom, and for glory. She’s tried before to organize the kin, and she’s proven her ability tonight to speak calmly, and with sense, even in the face of controversy and dissent. I agree with the Auspice Elders who have spoken. She deserves this role, and I trust her with it.

“If you accept this duty, Danicka, it’s yours.”

A pause. Then he turns to the final contender.

“And that leaves Amunet Knezevic. Amunet, I agree with your sister, Sarita, and your friend, Jackson, when they say your heart is in the right place. You want this position, I can see it. You want to do well.

“I can’t ignore that you’ve caused no small amount of controversy tonight; that some of your ideas were flawed, and others were borderline insane. I can’t trust you to speak alone for the kin. Not when one kin has spoken vehemently against you; not when, at times tonight, you had trouble explaining your own actions. I’m sorry.

“But the Philodox Elder speaks with wisdom: we should reward those who try hardest. We are not,” a wry nod to the Shadow Lord contingent, “a Shadow Lord Sept, that counts everything by results alone. We do not disregard heartfelt attempts, no matter how futile. After all, it might be argued our entire war is one heroic, futile attempt.

“So here’s what I’ll do. While Danicka Musil is the Sept Liaison — if she’s willing, and if you’re willing — you may serve as her assistant. You may appear where she does, attend what meetings she attends. You can listen, and learn. In time, if your elders feel it appropriate, you may be given duties and responsibilities of your own interfacing between Garou and Kin.

“Will you accept this duty?”

[Amunet Knezevic] She waits. There isn’t anything to be said, after all, until Danicka has her say.

[Danicka Musil] A deep breath is taken before Danicka answers, and she is not surprised Amunet does not want to speak til she has. There’s no need to wait for the Magic 8-Ball this time; it’s done being passed around. She’s sitting up straight on the barstool she chose at the start of all this, and nods. “I would be honored,” she says, which is only what she said before. But this does confirm it: she’s willing.

“I would be glad to work with either Dr. Slaughter or Amunet, whoever leads the coalition Amunet’s reforming, as a colleague who will help me know what issues the Kinfolk need communicated to the Sept. I would also be more than happy to have Amunet as an… assistant, if she is amenable to it.” There’s a pause, and then she turns her head slightly, looking at Amunet. “But before you answer, I do want you to understand one thing very clearly. If you decided you wanted to assist me, I would need you to not only help me, but trust me.” A beat. She stops mincing words. “And frankly, obey me. Not as an automaton, not without a voice, not without respectful discussion, but ultimately, as a subordinate. If you don’t believe you are willing to place yourself in that position, then …be my colleague only as a member of, or leader of, the coalition.”

[Amunet Knezevic] He would be so disappointed in you right now…

She nods once then smiles, directing her reply to BWF and sounding a little too much like her Shadow Lord mate in her perfectly enunciated reply. “I will of course serve the Nation in any fashion that you see fit, Rhya. Thank you for the opportunity.”

[Starla] Starla’s still there…. despite someone going to bed, this is still happening. It ain’t a dream. She blinks, looks at the proceedings that have somehow woken her up in the chair and sits and stares at all of them. The corners of her mouth twisting and flattening suddenly.

[Balance Without Fault] Balance shakes his head quietly. “It’s not an order, Amunet. It’s a duty that you can take up or lay down as you wish. If you want it — if you can live with what Danicka just said, and with the boundaries I’ve delineated — then it’s yours.

“Otherwise, you may reject it without dishonor.”

[Amunet Knezevic] Her eyes flicker to Danicka, then back. “I feel as if I should at the very least make sure that Miss Musil is up to speed on what’s being worked currently. Perhaps we should revisit the question of my continuing role once the preliminary details have been addressed.”

[Danicka Musil] Her brows draw together, her forehead wrinkled in a vague look of confusion, but Danicka doesn’t interrupt.

[Balance Without Fault] “As you wish. If you want the role, let Danicka know. Otherwise, I hope you do continue the work you’ve begun — albeit in a more moderated manner.

“Now then. Let’s wrap up.

“Matthieu Mirror’s Whisper, you are our Kin Liaison. I suggest you make use of your Galliard talent to announce this far and wide. Danicka Musil, you are our Sept Liaison. I’d suggest getting in touch with your fellow kin to spread the word.

“Together, the two of you are responsible for maintaining an open line of communication between Garou and kin, for keeping one another up to speed on the developments on both sides, and for being the first point of mediation in conflicts between Garou and kin. You should interact with individual Tribal Alphas, with the Philodox Alpha, with individual kin, and with each other. In dire circumstances, you may come before me, but it’s my hope that you’ll be able to settle most issues independently, or with the assistance of your Septmates.

“Furthermore, Matthieu, you’re responsible for attending kin coalition meetings as a listener and as a voice for the Garou. Danicka, you will be present at the Cracking of the Bone as a witness and, if necessary, as a voice for the kin. Your mate will stake his honor on your conduct and safety.

“I suggest the two of you meet with each other soon after this meeting and better delineate your working relationship. Here’s hoping it’ll be a long one.”

Addressing the gathered, then:

“If there’s nothing else, wolves and kin of the Maelstrom, thank you for coming. I think we’ve taken significant steps forward tonight, and I’m looking forward to seeing how this kin coalition pans out. There’s still food in the kitchen, if you want to take some home — otherwise, I’ll bid you a good night.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] Sarita stands and looks at the Galliard Elder. “Before you go, Matthieu…we need to talk.” The look she fixes on him is a direct one. It’s not angry, but there is something a bit…intense in it. “Just give me a moment.”

She makes her way over to Amy, reaching out to touch the other’s shoulder. “Hey…”

[Amunet Knezevic] “Hey” She smiles brightly, leaning to give Sarita a quick hug. “Thank you. That was very nice of you.”

[Balance Without Fault] [hey guys, i’m bowing BWF out. thanks to everyone who stayed for the whole, 9-hour shebang! @_@ that was a lot of fun and pretty intense at times, but overall reminded me why i don’t do the moots live *LOL*]

[Jackson Montgomery] Jackson waits until it looks like they’re getting ready to go, and he looks up. He nods to the Trueborn around and moves to head out with his fellow Gaian kin.

[[Thanks Damon!]]

[Kyle] He’s been quiet the entire time. Not that he’d have been heard clearly but he really didn’t have much to say. Casually he stands and while he walks stretches out a kink from his back. Stops near Amunet and gives that casual smile but the concern in his eyes is obvious.
“You doing ok?”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Oh, shut the fuck up.” She grins a bit, leaning into the hug. “It wasn’t nice, it was the truth.” She leans in, murmuring in Spanish.

[Matthieu] Matthieu listens quietly and nods his head.”I should like to speak to both Danicka and Amunet as soon as that much can be arranged. I look forward to seeing the direction this will head.”

[Leon Davenport] Leon looked at Sarita when he spoke top his Alha and he grinned. He had a good idea what the Strider want to talk to him about. Well, he didn’t care. There was nothing there and if hse pressed the issue, he hope Matthieu would tell her to be reasonable.

He doubted she would. “Have a good night Matthieu” he say to the Galliard and start to move away, unless his Alpha wnat him around for his talk with the Strider

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] ~sp~ “You made me very proud tonight. Don’t you dare let yourself think anything differently. I love you.”
to Amunet Knezevic

[Hunter] [Hunter bailed for the kitchen awhile ago! I’m bailing now too, cya later all thanks for the scene.. or saga.. I don’t think scene does it justice.]

[Amunet Knezevic] “I’m fine, Kyle. Thank you. It’s good to see you again.” The smile doesn’t so much as flicker, turned from Kyle back to Sarita as she nods in response to whatever was said to her.

[Derek Anderson] The meeting was over, he needed to get home. He texted Kristen, asking her if she felt like joining him at his place. He bid farewell to Lukas and Katherine, as well as Danicka since she was beside the Shadow Lord Adren “Congatulation”he tell her

Sarita and Amy gets both a nod and he heads out

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She sighs a bit, looking concerned. She gives Amy a hug once more. “I need to talk to Matthieu. Let’s do something in the next day or two, okay?”

[Prayers to Broken Stone] [Thanks all! If nobody needs my PCs, I’ma say they both wander out. :)]

[Amunet Knezevic] “Of course. Come by the condo.” She hugs her sister, then lets her go and moves toward Stefan as he emerges from upstairs.

[Danicka Musil] Danicka nods, rather simply, to Balance Without Fault, a gesture of respect and perhaps gratitude, though not for the position so much as the trust it implies. When he closes the meeting, she slides off of her barstool and walks over to Matthieu before people can stir up and depart too quickly.

She takes a small pad of paper out of her bag and writes down her number, handing it over to him. “You can call me whenever you need to. Weekends and evenings are best, due to classes, but I’ll make myself available to your schedule.”

To Amunet, when she makes her way over there, she gives a small smile. “If you change your mind, let me know. But you have my contact information. It’s now literally my job to make sure you and the rest of the coalition are involved, informed, and heard. So don’t hesitate.”

Making sure the Tribal Alphas and other Kin know how to get in touch with her and even know who she is will wait another day, though, it seems. Danicka moves back towards Lukas and, catching Katherine’s eye briefly as she does so, gives the other woman a small smile, perhaps coming with a little more difficulty than the one she gave to Amunet. A small nod. The meaning there is even harder to read than the Look she gave Lukas earlier.

Katherine will understand, though. They haven’t always had the best and brightest relationship, these two.

She leans over to Lukas then and exhales as she gathers up her coat, saying something quietly to him.

[Matthieu] He stands slowly and nods his head back to Sarita. His attention on her before he looks to the others.”Let’s go speak away from prying ears then shall we?”He asks her as he begins to lead her in the direction of the Kitchen.

[Kyle] “You’re busy. I’ll catch you around the tracks I guess.”
Looks to both Sarita and Amunet as he casually makes his way for the kitchen to grab a snack and head up stairs.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She nods to Matthieu once Amy is gone, looking to him. “Sounds good.” He moves to follow along behind him.

[Matthieu] He walks with her into the other room and offers u a little smile.”What seems to be the problem here?”
to Sarita Ecos de la Risa

[Wyrmbreaker] The gathering is breaking up; Lukas catches Sarita’s eye as she moves off with Matthieu. The look is — complex. Some touch of compassion; some hint of apology; mostly, though, just a sort of recognition and acknowledgment. Of their relationships, perhaps. To each other. To their kin.

Then he’s turning, bending to hear what Danicka is saying while he reaches for his own coat.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “The problem is simple.” She’s angry now. She’s letting herself show it. Not raging…she does not not even have the capacity to frenzy, except in odd situations. Not even furious. But she’s angry. “Why is one of my tribe’s kin playing footsie with Leon’s knee?”
to Matthieu

[Wyrmbreaker] Whatever it is she says, Lukas laughs quietly; murmurs something back, then takes her coat from her and holds it while she slides into it.

Then he’s lifting his own, sliding it over his shoulders. The gathering has dissipated; he nods to the few that remain as he departs with his mate.

[Danicka Musil] [Thank you guys — those of you still in the room! For the RP. :] I honestly had a blast.]

[Matthieu] “Miss McCalister and I are old friends… She and I are close. I cannot say why she and Leon might have been playing footsies though I do know they have had a short dialogue once or twice. He confessed this to me himself… In fact he’s been quite responsible even going so far is to get my permission simply to associate with other kin.”He smiles a little.”I don’t see the harm, I would not let my beta harm a single hair on your Kin’s head. He’s been careful not to cross any distinct boundaries. She and Leon, as I understand, are little more than passing friends.”He looks up at her.”If anything I suspect it was me Gina was visiting Leon happening to be by my side was simply a matter of fate. He is my Beta, as a result I would not let him do anything to break our agreement.”He says back to her.

“However I understood that it was only your Sister whom Leon was allowed not contact at all and required to keep a distance from. Leon has been doing quite well to tell me who he has talked to and his reasons for doing so and I assure you he is not up to no good with your kin.”He says with a reassuring little smile.
to Sarita Ecos de la Risa

[Wyrmbreaker] [i’m out too! thanks again, folks! i had fun too :] ]

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “I know you’re close, Matthieu. Gina’s alluded to a Silver Fang who wanted to take her on as a mate. I can do the math, it’s either you, Kate or Ivan and she’s not Kate’s type. So I’m guessing I’m on the right side of the 50/50 odds here. And I don’t have a problem with that. Gina, Amy, Kyle…they can hang out with whoever they want, they can–and I’m not implying here–date and sleep with whoever they want. I’m okay with that. But sometimes, I have to step in. Because I wouldn’t be doing my job as tribal elder if not.”

She frowns. “I want to be clear here. I bet he’s doing a wonderful job of not assaulting kinfolk. Faboo. But until someone challenges me to claim her, she’s my responsibility, and let me be perfectly clear…she is not to be anywhere near Leon. Period point-blank. And if you won’t stop it, I will tell her so myself, which will force me to tell her why.”
to Matthieu

[Matthieu] He smiles just a Hint though he says nothing in regard to whether or not she might be correct in his guess.”Gina is my friend… We’ve been friends since before I met either of you, and I would imagine we always will. It seems like a near impossibility for me to keep Leon and Gina from, themselves, coming into contact. I can ask Leon to obey this but Gina is a social creature and likely to seek him out. It seems like I would be attempting to do the impossible here by only informing one side that the other is not allowed to see them. Still if you are going to be insistent on the matter I can attempt to speak to him and hopefully the matter can be resolved until such point as you change your mind.”He then continues.

“I should also mention a matter of some concern for me. It would appear that the Alpha of Defiance has caught wind of this little matter and he has set out upon a smear campaign against my Beta in relation to other kin.”He says before peeking up at her.”I would like that if this matter is to be buried it be buried… Having the Alphas of other packs walking around carrying judges does not put this matter behind us. It goes, both, against the spirit of our agreement and shows a lack of Honor on the part of another Garou. This matter ended with our arrangement and other Garou have no place involving themselves to any degree.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “I agree with that. And I will try to talk to Hunter. As I told you in our initial talk, he knew before that point. I can’t make people un-know something. He hates Leon. Frankly, I kind of do, too, but not the point. I will talk to him and see what I can do. You talk to Leon and see what you can do. Hopefully we’ll both be successful.”

She frowns. “She doesn’t think so, but I like Gina. I care about her, and I worry about her. If she would let me in, she’d see that. But I get it. Just…” She shakes her head, frowning and looking away. “Take care of her, please. I know you will, but I have to say it.”

[Matthieu] “I am going to give you my honest opinion here and I know you are not going to like it but I must give it anyway. I feel that you are not willing to leave this matter behind… I hear in your voice a bitter deep seeded hatred for my pack mate for which you will never forgive him.”He shrugs his shoulders.

“I was not there to pass judgement on what he did to your sister but when we challenge or another suffers punishment in response to his or her crimes we leave the matter alone. When the challenge is settled the challengers leave the ring and their grudges behind them.”

“Neither you nor Burnout appears willing to do this. I have asked my Packmate on my honor to accept a deal which I felt was in the best interest of all involved. He has trusted me and done well to show by example that he is following through with his punishment. He is taking the high road and walking away with his punishment with his head held high. Where as you continue to brood and hold him in neglect for a matter which should no longer be a concern.”

He stops walking and turns to face her.”What you are doing here is not in Gina’s best interest. What you are doing here is attempting to use what power you have to hurt my Packmate to do just that. I do not like it, and I do not care for it one bit… But you are the eldest of your tribe and so long as you continue to be I will respect your wishes. This matter cannot be resolved until everyone involved lets go and stops holding a grudge. This is not honor it is vengeance and it’s only going to hurt everyone who is involved if it continues along this path.”

“If you want my advice, and you might not, what you need to do is let this matter go. This kind of thing happens in our society on a regular basis. Continuing to holda lapse in judgment against my Beta harms everyone it affects. It will breed his mistrust and dislike for you and it will continue to breed your own dislike and mistrust for him. In the meantime Gina is caught in the middle and Burnout simply has no place in the matter in the first place. Still it is not my place to decide. I will tell my Beta that he is to have no contact with Gina whatsoever and I will work to keep them from maintaining any degree of contact.”

“If that is all? I will be on my way.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “No, I’m not Matthieu. I’m doing it because even if you trust him, I don’t. Did you know that a kinfolk of his sat for like, two days before she got cleansed after being attacked by a Wyrm thing?”

She frowns and shakes her head. “Think I’m doing it for whatever reason you like. You can dislike me for it, Leon and Gina can hate me. It’s no skin off my fine ass. Leon made it clear that after our agreement? Yours and mine? His hatred of me was sealed in stone. He refuses to get over it. I don’t care about him as long as he’s not in direct danger of my kinfolk. If I wanted to harm him, I have ways, and you know I do.”

A pause. “Also, just to make sure…you said you would be asking Kate about giving him training under a Philodox. How’s that going?”

[Matthieu] “That is a failing of the society in which we live and not necessarily a matter that speaks ill of his character.”He then nodded his head.”My Beta feels betrayed… He feels the matter had been resolved and that it was not until much later that the matter was brought back up. Indeed if you and Leon had an arrangement, and I believe you might have, then it was a somewhat dishonorable manner to approach his Alpha later on in an attempt to see him punished again twice for the same crime. Now… he is being punished a third time by asking that he have no contact with a friend of his.”He says back to her.”That would make three times you have punished him for the same crime. I am not a Half Moon but I do not need to be a half moon to see the unbalance in this matter.”

“I belong to a house who has long prided itself on fairness and honor. I do not feel that my Beta is being given a fair shake in this matter. We are, however, and honorable pack and Leon will do as you command. You are Gina’s tribal elder and you have every right to ban them from contacting one another.”He then nods his head and smiles.”I will address that matter just as soon as I can catch her while she is free. In the meantime we are sizing up a few qualified candidates.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “We had no agreement. He threw two grand in my metaphorical face and said he’d leave her alone. I never told him we were all good after that. I’ll make that clear. And I don’t consider Gina being kept from him to be a punishment for him. I consider it looking out for my kinfolk’s welfare. When I’m satisfied that he’s been through his anger management training, then it’s all good. Until then, I’m sorry but I still don’t trust him because he hasn’t had the opportunity to improve himself.”

A little nod. “Let me know when you have. I’ll pass along the message that you’d like to talk to her if you like. I won’t say why; I’ll let you handle that. Other than that…yes, we’re done.”

[Matthieu] He nods his head.”Alright then if you could convey the message it would be helpful. She’s a very busy woman these days.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Will do. Have a good one, Matthieu.” A nod, and she makes her way out.

Talking Litany With Adara

[Wyrmbreaker] Lukas’s fingers tap on the scrolled arm of his chair for a moment as he stares at Nathalie — long and hard, assessing. Then he nods a bit.

“There’s this, at least. It’s not as bad as I thought. When I first heard about the incident from Kora, the Fenrir Alpha, I thought you were making the exact same mistake you had with the kinswoman. Throwing your weight around; laying hands on that which was not yours. I’m glad to see that wasn’t the case.

“Kora, the Fenrir Alpha, will be dealing with the cub from her end. Put that out of your mind. The cub is her tribe’s responsibility now, as she should have been from the start. Kora will have to deal with both the cub’s spiritual welfare after losing her mind to the Wyrm, with whatever contrition may be necessary, and with the proper control and discipline of her tribe’s cubs.

“You’re my responsibility. And here are the issues as I see them. First, the simple issue: I think Kora has the wrong impression of the situation right now. She seems to think you had bullied a cub into succumbing to a Wyrm Frenzy, and then continued to toy with and bully her instead of putting her down as you should have. I’ll let her know what you’ve told me and what your intentions were, but you should go before her yourself and explain. And don’t grovel. Don’t be arrogant, but don’t prostrate yourself before her either. Your penance will be paid here, with me. You will not carry that with you.

“Second, the deeper issue: you’re right. You failed when the cub started to lose control, and you failed to nip the situation in the bud. You tried to stare her down — an action you knew could lead to her losing her wits. You gambled. You lost. When she did, in fact, lose her wits, you tried to show mercy and gambled again, this time with the lives of everyone around you. You lost again. If this other Garou had not stepped in, if Kristen had not healed you, you might be dead now.

“I don’t need to tell you this. I can see by your shame that you already know. You already know you should have put the cub down at the first sign of rebellion, insubordination or loss of control. It was your right. A cub has no rank; even as a Cliath, you didn’t need to answer a challenge from her. When you did, you only drew things out and endangered everyone.

“You tried to show mercy; you showed weakness instead.”

A pause.

“Here’s the thing, though. I don’t think the lesson you should take away from all this is ‘never show mercy again’. I think what you need to learn is when and how to show mercy — and when not to. And that’s not something anyone can teach you in a few words.

“I can tell you this, though. My packmate, Honor’s Compass, recently attained Adrenship. One of her questions was the difference between mercy and weakness, leadership and tyranny. She had her own, excellent answers, but the view of a Silver Fang Philodox is different from that of a Shadow Lord Ahroun. To me, the lines are as simple and complex as this: a leader acts for the greater good of the whole. A tyrant takes the whole and bends it to his own benefit. A leader knows mercy has its place. A tyrant fears mercy and cannot see the difference between it and weakness.

“Maybe there was a time when such paranoia and selfishness had its place, but these days that kind of behavior is akin to hoarding treasure in a burning house. We must be leaders, not tyrants, because tyrants will not win this war. And I think more than any other tribe or auspice, we are called upon to balance on that very fine point between leadership and tyranny, mercy and weakness. A leader must be strong. A leader must know when mercy is justified, and when it is only weakness.

“In this particular case, it’s my opinion that utterly crushing an unranked cub out of anger and pride is dishonorable. Killing her for challenging you is dishonorable. Accepting her challenge and letting it blow out of proportion is equally dishonorable. Quelling an unruly cub for her own good, and for the good of everyone you protect, is honorable. Is, in fact, its own form of mercy.

“So in the most pragmatic sense, it comes down to this: you need to learn how to quickly and reliably end a fight without endangering anyone, your opponent included.”

[Nathalie Bystrov] She shrugs slightly, eyes still on the floor. “I am a killer, Lukas-rhya. I always have been. It’s how I was trained. It is difficult to fight the instinct to kill. Clearly, there is a middle ground, and I have yet to find it.”

[Wyrmbreaker] “Well.” A hard, humorless sort of half-smile. “Start looking for it. Because Ahrouns that are nothing but killers end up dead sooner rather than later.”

[a little slow — MTing and getting STed for!]

[Adara Mires] She hasn’t been noticed by either Shadw Lords, the conversation seem to be pretty intense. She stop at the bar, gettin herself a beer and then leaned against it, waching around as she slowly drink from her bottle. Her merald eyes scan the place, it was pretty empty now.

She start cahtting with the bartender about nothing and everything. She knew the staff pretty well now and she is known to spend time downstairs and chatting with them. Not overly, because it would hinder their work, but late night, when there’s not many customers around, it tends to happen.

[Nathalie Bystrov] “I will.” She nods slightly. “It won’t happen again.”

[Wyrmbreaker] Lukas is — merciful enough, perhaps, not to point out that that’s what she said last time. Nonetheless, it’s there in his eyes, and maybe Nathalie can see it. It’s not quite doubt. It’s closer to a sort of cynicism. Or perhaps just knowledge:

that it’s hard, so very hard, to do as well as you want to do.

The two wingback chairs face each other, and they face the fireplace. Nonetheless, Lukas can see Adara now — over by the bar. He glances at the other for a moment before returning his attention to Nathalie. “Is there anything else you want to talk to me about?” he offers.

[Nathalie Bystrov] “Nothing in public, no. Though I have something to run by you in private at some point.”

[Adara Mires] She felt more than saw Lukas’s eyes on her. When an Adren look at you, you better be aware. She offer him a polite smile and small bow before he turns back to talk with Nathalie. So she return to her small chat with the bartender. She continue to drink form her bottle, smiling at something the kin said and replying back, making him laugh.

Sheseemed pretty relaxed, jsut enjoying a drink, probably before going to bed as the time was passing by and the night wasn’t getting younger.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] The door kicks open, and in walks the Strider. Well, it’s not quite fair to say it “kicks” open. It’s not like she kicked the door down as if she was in some Sylvester Stallone or Jason Statham film. And that’s not to say that she’s never done so…rather, she’s a big fan of kicking down doors when the situation warrants it. Remember that hotel room in Detroit? Ahh, good times. Poor little tweak dealer didn’t know what hit him. We’re getting distracted again. Right. The point is, she’s already had to pay for a bed. Paying for the door…not so wise.

So she walks in the front door sans a kick, looking around. She hasn’t been here since the incident in Room 9, which was more of an argument than an incident. She’s in an…okay mood, at best. Seems like she joins up with a pack and then everyone’s leaving or dying or shit. If Kate even goes on a day trip to a petting zoo in Kenosha, she’s gonna develop a complex. But no such problem for now, just the Strider being the Strider. A grin masks all the problems in the world.

Lukas gets noticed first…it’s only natural, considering she’s his Alpha and all. She gives him a grin and a nod, and looks over Nathalie a moment before leaving them alone for now. Looks like they’re talking business. Adara is noticed as well, and she starts in that direction.

“Heya, chica. What’s shaking?”

[Adara Mires] She offer awarm smile to Sarita when the Strider walks closer “I’m doing good. Spoke to Stefan on monday, sat down with your sister tonight. Things went, ok, I guess. We both left the sitdown alive and well” She smiled softly “Seriously, we have divergent opinions, but in the end it’s not up to us to decide, so.”

She shrugh “I was asked to do something, I did. Amunet has a different view, and it’s ont my place to say who’s right or wrong. We talked about it, her proposition will be submitted to lUkas eventually and he’ll decide if he want something city wide with no specifics, something specific here or a mix of both. No matter hte decision, I’ll help any way I can because my duty is to the Sept”

She grin “How about you? What’s up?”

[Wyrmbreaker] Wyrmbreaker gets up, his head turning as his packmate enters; she gets a ghost of a smile, a wry little two-finger salute off the corner of his temple. Then he looks back at Nathalie.

“Now’s as good a time as any,” he says. “Would you prefer to talk up in my room?”

[Nathalie Bystrov] She nods again. “That would be fine, Lukas-rhya. It won’t take very long.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She cocks an eyebrow and grins. “Wow. And most people just give me a ‘Ehh, same old same old.’ I can’t wait ’till you have a real story to tell.”

She grins. Galliards. “I’m okay.” The grin quirks. “Ehh, same old, same old.”

She looks at Lukas, and the gesture–the Strider’s own–directed back at her gives her a chuckle.

Uh-oh. I’m rubbing off on you., she says through their pack link.

[Adara Mires] She grin at her reply “If I ever have one, I will ask you to sit down and will pay for the drinks”

She chuckled at her answer “That bad heh?”She say in a teasing tone “Seriously you look you’re doing ok, better than last time we saw each other” Ok, she won’t mention that part of it was her mentioning Asha..the other part included a possessed man getting run over and Amunet being stabbed.

She drank from her bottle before asking “So what brings you here at this lovely hour? Just visiting, or something serious.”She smiles “And as always, none of your business isalways an accepted answer. I’m just curious by nature”

And she had to, after all, a Gallaird is on a perpetual quest ofr knowledge, storiesand songs. When one become complaisant, they become useless. Asking questions was always the best way to learn. Some people have stories to tell and they don’t even know they do

[Wyrmbreaker] [gah! sorry this took so long. i’m also trying to organize the pigsty that is my bedroom *LOL*]

A curious glance at Nathalie, then. “I don’t mind if it takes a long time, Nathalie,” he says. “You’re my tribe. You might become my packmate. I have time for you.”

Up the stairs, then — a chuckle sent back at Sarita across the pack link. I won’t worry until I start living in a van, he ribs back. For all of Lukas’s size, he’s surprisingly quiet on the stairs, each step taken with a sort of firm deliberation. The commons room is empty, but he bypasses it anyway, unlocking his room door and holding it open for Nathalie behind him.

The room is the way she remembers it: very neat, not very lived-in. There was a time he slept here every night. These days — far less frequently.

When the door shuts behind her, he gets two bottles of water out of his closet, tossing her one. Then he sits on his bed, leaving his desk chair for his guest, as it were. “What’s on your mind?”

[Nathalie Bystrov] She follows him up to his room. Once there, she remains standing, eyes downcast. “I…Have been working on a project. I wanted to tell you before I continued and perhaps ask for any assistance you can provide. You have heard that Amunet is trying to organize the Kin, yes?”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “I am better. No one’s about to die–that I know of–and I’m pretty chill.” She takes a seat next to the Fury and orders a Carona.

“As for why I’m here…” She shrugs. “Just came for a drink and not having to deal with the crowd, y’know? I love a good bar, but every now and then I just wanna go…well, you know.”

She pauses there, and you can almost feel coming. If you’ve ever watched 1980s sitcoms, you just KNOW it’s coming. But you can’t stop it. It’s like watching a train carrying a load of blind orphans on a collision course with a fireworks factory. You don’t know what’s gonna happen, but it’s going to be explosive and bad, for sure.

“Sometimes you wanna go…where EVERYBOOODY KNOWS YOUR NA-A-AAAME…”

[Wyrmbreaker] I have been working on a project —

“Look at me, Nathalie,” Lukas interrupts, waiting until Nathalie has raised her head before nodding for her to go on. He listens, then, nodding at the question. “I think my mate was going to try to make the meeting, but got delayed. What’s your project?”

[Adara Mires] She chuckled at her answer “Sure, your name is Sandra right?” She say teasing with a big grin.

“I od know what you mean. Sometimes a quiet drink with random people you know is a good way to spend the night. And it’s good to see you agan Sarita, without any crisis”

Well for now at least. No pack Alpha crmubling down on them for killing a posssesed packmate, no possessed people stabbing kin, nothing except two women, warriors of Gaia, having a drink. She gently clinked her bottle to Sarita’s

“To quiet nights? May we enjoy them when they come for they never last long” She smile and drank.

Maybe the raganash won’t agree with that statement, but she kinda liked it.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She smiles a bit, considering. “How about…to pleasant nights. Whatever that may be.”

[Nathalie Bystrov] She looks up when he says so, eyes locking on a place somewhere around his throat, definitely not meeting his eyes. When she starts to speak, the words start to come out slowly, at first, then faster, tumbling out in a torrent. “I viewed it as…An opportunity, for the tribe. A powerful one. For information and…” She pauses. “Not to control, but to guide them to our advantage. Mutual advantage, of course I contacted the Kin and offered my services. As…an advisor, someone to help with decisions or discussions that only a Garou can help with. She agreed. I think she thinks she can manipulate me, but I’m not sure.” Another pause. “I have been cultivating relationships with the Kin. Adjusting their perceptions of me, so that they see me as…On their side, one could say? Some of them trust me, and if I was able to assist Amunet in her project, I could keep up to date with their project and ensure that any problems are smoothed over before they become an issue, and to help ensure that we don’t end up with more Kin like Carter.”

[Adara Mires] She nodded to the Strider “Sounds pretty good to me” She finish her beer and order another.

“”So, beside the same old. Anything exciting planned? Anything new of the Kin hunter? I haven’t heard anything in a while, nor about the threats to the Caern rom companies buying lands around the Caern. I was wondering if someone else had and I was just out of the loop”

She start her new bottle “I mean I hear things but not everything.” She shrugh

[Wyrmbreaker] “Like a liaison to the kin?” Lukas is frowning faintly as he twists his bottle of water open. “I think it’s a good idea to keep lines of communication open. I’m glad the kin are organizing, and I’m glad you’ve been proactive about staying in contact with them. We need our kin as much as the other way around. But it troubles me that there’s so much us and them lately. The Garou ‘side’, the kin ‘side’. The implication that we each have our own agenda and they don’t mesh at all, when really there’s one shared agenda for the entire Garou Nation. It wasn’t like this before Carter showed up.”

[Nathalie Bystrov] “Something like that. A..Shepherd, one might say.” Something about that amuses her, and she smiles, an odd smile without any hint off warmth to it. “They feel…Unheard. At least some of them do. Disrespected.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “I haven’t, no.” She frowns and shakes her head, taking a swallow of her beer. “I’ve been fairly out of the loop myself, unfortunately. Keep trying to meet up with peeps but it ain’t happening for various reasons.”

[Adara Mires] She smiled “Give me their names, I’m gonig to lassoed them and tied em down for you. Might actually be fun to do”She wiggle her brows

“”Seriously, I hate it happens. But I”m sure you’ll get to gather them soon. Just howl very angrily at them, they’ll get hteir butt in gear and show up” She say smiling

“Or like I said, tie em up.” She drank with a grin

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She chuckles. She seems genuinely amused by the Fury’s joke…but then, she always seems amused when there isn’t a crisis facing them that’s a matter of life-or-death (or life-or-Amy). “It’s less their fault then mine. Too much shit percolating around this old brain and around this old ass. If you wanna tell Kristen at some point that I wanna chat with her, that’d be cool.”

[Wyrmbreaker] There’s a sort of answering smile that flickers humorlessly across Wyrmbreaker’s face. “It’s this goddamn democracy thing, you know,” he says. “This idealistic notion that you’re born with a right to be heard and listened to and respected so that anyone who’s accomplished so much as surviving to age eighteen can have their voice matter. That’s not even how this country runs anymore, but that’s still what they teach in schools. That’s still what our kin, and half our cubs, believe.

“It’s not the same in the Garou Nation. It never was and never will be, not so long as there’s a war to fight. Here we earn our respect. It’s a privilege, not a birthright, and the kin have to understand that they’re bound to this law as much as we are. Kin will get respect as they earn it. Just like the Garou do.

“Who’s complaining, anyway?”

[Nathalie Bystrov] “I agree. They need to earn their respect. But some are losing hope of ever being able to.” She shrugs. “I would hesitate to name anyone in specific. But…Carter’s viewpoint is one with a lot for Kin to like. It’s a philosophy that must be nipped in the bud. And what better way of showing Kin that their opinion matters than by having a Garou to listen to and act upon their concerns?”

[Adara Mires] She nodded “I’ll tell her. Anyone else you need to contact? I see so many of us coming and going here that if I can help spread the word, I’ll be happy to help you” She say with a smile, drinking some more

“And I hope things will slow down for you a little, so you can have other things moving forward.” She wasstill leaning against the bar, watching Sarita, smiling softly

[Wyrmbreaker] There’s a flicker of tension along Wyrmbreaker’s jaw. Then he takes a drink from his water bottle, leans back on his bed until his shoulderblades touch the wall.

“What concerns?” he asks.

[Nathalie Bystrov] “Any that require the assistance of the Garou.” She shrugs. “I don’t know that there are any right now that require immediate action. But Amunet knows she can voice these concerns to me, and that I will try to help with them. And if she’s one of the leading voices of the Kin…” She shrugs.

[Kristen Burke] Speak of the devil and she appears. Well okay, she’s not a devil but she does come into the downstairs area. She’s wearing her lovely white woolen coat and her furry cap and practically glowing. Oddly, though she hasn’t just come from Derek’s. It was snowing and she was out in it. Some day, she’ll likely hate the snow along with millions of residents of the midwest but for now it is still novel and a thing to be celebrated and so she had to go out and play in it. Not that there was really any accumulation just the falling snow made her smile.

[Wyrmbreaker] Wyrmbreaker thinks for a moment, brow tense but not quite frowning, fingers tapping restlessly on the side of his water bottle.

“You spend a lot of your time, Nathalie, attending to the concerns of kin who have yet to prove themselves of worth to the tribe or the Nation. You’re warding Neda because she won’t go into the protection of the tribe. Now you want to also be the comments and suggestions box for a coalition of kin that have yet to accomplish anything.

“I won’t stop you if you feel this is where your talents are best used. But do you really have time to waste on this?”

[Nathalie Bystrov] “I’m not warding Neda. Not anymore. I’ve extended this beyond my time. “I don’t think it’s a waste of time. I believe that a bit of work now can avoid problems in the future. If it consumes too much of my time, then I will move on, but I believe it could be an invaluable source of information we can’t get in other ways.”

[Wyrmbreaker] A quirk of an eyebrow — a tangent, “Where’s Neda, then? Just by herself?”

[Nathalie Bystrov] “No. I’m still protecting her. But rather than just telling her that I would be protecting her and demanding information from her, I’ve made her feel that she’s the one in control.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Thanks, I appreciate it.” She’s looking up behind the bar while she drinks, and she doesn’t see Kristin come in. She sighs and cracks her neck to either side.

“So what else is new with you, Adara? Anything good?”

[Adara Mires] She shrugh “Like Isaid earlier, ntohing terribly bad nor good. I do my thing, help where I can, foughts 3 BSDs with Simoon and Janis. Had a hmmm divergence of opinion with her about collateral damage and it made me wonder if I was too soft on humans or if she stopped caring. Also..where the line is.

If you kill monters who leaves someone in pain, shock and with probably psychological sequels. Do you kill that person saying she’s weak? Or that maybe, the one barely conscious might have seen peopel shift? Or do you let them live and hope they will find strenght to survive and move on?”

Her eyes move to Kristen and she beam the young woman a smile “Hey hun, we were talknig about you a few minutes ago” She leave her bottle on the bar and give her friend a hug

“How have you been? Hanging with your guy?”

[Kristen Burke] She grins. “Good things, I hope? I’ve been good. Some yes, though not tonight. Tonight I had a date with snow! Isn’t it lovely? So pure and drifting so gently as it falls from the sky. How are you ladies?” She hugs Adara and nods at Sarita.

[Wyrmbreaker] Lukas is quiet a while, his pale eyes glittering as he thinks. After a moment he sits up, capping his bottle again.

“If I understand you correctly, Nathalie,” he says quietly, “you’re trying the subtle approach. Trying to make the other party feel like they command the situation while you in reality hold the cards.

“Am I reading you right? Is that what you’re trying to do — with Neda, and with this kin coalition? Maintain control over them by letting them feel that they’re in control of the situation, and that you’re their ally?”

[Nathalie Bystrov] “Yes. Precisely.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “That’s a good, solid philosophical question.” She nods to Adara. The usually flippant Strider is thoughtful, frowning a little as she considers it. “I kind of see where she’s coming from? On the potential Veil breach, I mean. That’s the only part of her standpoint as you’re puttin’ it here that I agree with, though. We don’t cull humans. Last time we did that shit, none of your ancestors you can probably name where even twinkles in the twinkles of twinkles in their great-granpappy’s eyes.”

“And if she’s gonna try to use the Litany as an excuse…well.” She shrugs. “I ain’t no Philodox, but the Litany tells US not to suffer our people to tend our sickness. That’s personal adminition, and it has nothing to do with deciding that someone else is weak and just killing them for it. That’s some flat-out cold-hearted bullshit there. Besides, the Litany are our laws, not human laws. If we tried to apply the Litany to humans, it just wouldn’t work. Not to say we can’t hold humans to high standards, but…well, you should ask Janis if she respects the territory of the humans, and if she would accept an honorable surrender from one instead of killing them because they saw something that broke the Veil.”

“You got the right idea. The Litany isn’t an excuse for ‘Oh, a human saw us, Veil might be broken, gotta kill ’em.’ That’s the easy way out, and if you ask me–Veil got broken, then someone fucked their shit up. And they shouldn’t necessarily get to take the easy way out. I’m in agreement with you.”

Then she sees Kristen and smiles. “Hola, chica. How’s it going?”

[Kristen Burke] She looks between them with a tilt of her head as they discuss the breaking of the Veil. She’s curious but she doesn’t interrupt. Her brows furrow a bit, as she listens. She pulls her hat off and sets it on the bar and works on removing her coat, laying them on the bar after she’s done. She doesn’t have the true context and only half heard the initial question so she doesn’t really want to step in and offer an opinion that might be way out in left field.

[Adara Mires] She listen to Sarita “Thank you for taking the time to answer that seriously. I’ll have a talk with Janis about how she sees things. Time has passed, we both cooled down. So we might be able to sit and talk about it. And I agree with you about the Veil. We were in a situation where they shifted on us, we struck back. I wish we could have taken the time to be sure the woman hadn’t seen anything or remembered anything before she killed her.

What’s done is done. Sadly both might have died from their injuries before the medical care could arrive. rendering the point moot. I will check with her, in case something similar happen but the humans could be saved. I did learn a few lessons that night, about rushing in to help humans without asessing the situation better. I hope I can teach her a different lesson so we both grow wiser from that”

She smiled to both woman “Hey, you two needed to talk, so, this is me stepping out of the spotlight and aloowing you to discuss what you need” She smiled and picked up her bottle again, drinking from it

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She nods to Adara, though the frown is evident in her features when Adara mentions that the human in question was actually killed. That hadn’t been entirely obvious from the previous statements by the Galliard.

She looks at Kristen, who didn’t hear or just didn’t respond to the Strider’s direct greeting. So she tries again. “Hey. How you doing?”

[Wyrmbreaker] “That’s a dangerous game to play,” Wyrmbreaker observes, “built entirely on a rather fragile base of what is, stripped bare and unvarnished, a form of deceit. Your would-be pawns could turn on you viciously if they discover the truth. They’ll feel manipulated, betrayed, even if you haven’t abused your power. Or worse, they could walk all over you if you’re not careful about where you draw the lines.

“In all truth, what you’re proposing works for plenty of Shadow Lords. And in the end, I’m a pragmatist. As long as you’re not actively working against me or the war effort, as long as you’re ultimately still using what information or influence you gain in the name of sept and its unity in the face of the Wyrm, I won’t stop you from doing what you want.

“And it’s not my style, nor the style of my pack.

“I like you, Nathalie. I think you have real promise, real honor. I’m genuinely a little perplexed that someone so upfront and honest as you’ve been with me would suggest something like this. It’s not how I’d handle it; it’s not how I thought you’d handle it at all. But if you do go through with it, then we might not be the best fit for each other in terms of packing up.

“That’s not a veiled threat or a manipulation tactic. It’s just the truth, as I see it.”

[Wyrmbreaker] [whoops, change that “and it’s not my style” to a “but it’s not my style.”]

[Nathalie Bystrov] “It’s not about pawns and power, Lukas-rhya. Sometimes people can’t see what’s best for them. Look at Carter. The silly Kin repeatedly insists on threatening to draw a gun on me, when all I want is to ensure his safety.”

[Kristen Burke] “Still doing good.” She chuckles as she’s asked again. “And you?”

[Adara Mires] She pass a hand in her hair when Sarita frown and nod “Yeah, exactly” As if the woman had spoken “Simon was there, not sure if he approved or was taken by surprise.”She look up as if looknig at somethingg on hte second floor “I wonder if I should speak to LUkas, Kora or simply Janisand make sure it doesn’t hapepn again. It’ll never happen on my watch, with anyone. I got caught by surprise once. Not again”

And she shut up, for Sarita and Kristen to talk., slowly drinking her beer

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She shrugs. “M’all right, I suppose. Can’t complain.” In truth, she probably could. But now’s not the time. “Haven’t had a chance to catch up with you on that whole kin-hunting thing.”

[Wyrmbreaker] “I believe that. But I also believe in being honest. Brutally so, sometimes. I know it’s not always the best tactic; it’s not a moral judgment I’m passing on you.

“But if the kinfolk came to me with concerns and quibbles — and sooner or later, I’ll probably go to one of their meetings and say this there — then I’m going to assess how much they’ve contributed before I assess how I’m going to deal with it. The same thing goes for anyone.

“If they don’t pull their own weight, they don’t get to be coddled. And I won’t go through the trouble of pretending, either, no more than I’d go through the trouble of pretending for a cub, a cliath, a fostern, or anyone else.

“Which brings me back to my point. You do things how you want. But I’m telling you how things are — and will be — done in my pack. And if you can live with that, then by all means, run with us, see how we fit. If you can’t, I’ll honorably release you to find a pack that fits you better.”

A brief pause. “As for Carter — if he ever goes so far as to pull a gun on you, disable him and bring him to me. Whether or not a kin and his peashooter can actually damage you, an open threat on your life is unacceptable. Is corrupt. If he pulls a gun on you, that means given the chance, he’d probably pull silver on you as well.”

[Nathalie Bystrov] She nods slightly, inclining her head to the side. “Fair enough. I will take that into consideration. Thank you, Lukas-rhya. As for Carter…I will do my best to disable him should he pull a gun on me.”

[Kristen Burke] “Mm.” She nods. “Well, Dr. Gladecu helped me confirm that it’s most likely Black Spiral Dancers that we’re dealing with, using dark gifts to make them invisible. Wind also mentioned Lune teaching a gift that plays tricks with light. After talking to Stefan, I suspect it may have been a reference to a Silver Fang gift that allows for the garou to shine with a silvery light that would brighten dark corners. I have the knife with the blood of one of the creatures on it and can use Rite of the Questing Stone to track at least a general area of the location. Joey and some others were going to do some tracking as well so I believe we’re going to launch a two pronged search to help narrow the area a bit more.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She listens, nodding a little bit, and then grins when Kristen mentions Joey and tracking. “Oh, cool. Well, then, I’m in the loop, I guess. ’cause I was planning on doing some tracking with Joey on something, and I gotta assume that’s it.”

[Adara Mires] She listened to everything her roomate was saying. She knew part of it but not about Joey’s expedition. Maybe she should talk to the Rotagar about joigning. After all her last scout mission didn’t go too badly. Well, she’ll try to reach the young woman soon. If not, well there will be other opportunities. She wasn’t worried about that. A lot of things seems to happen in this city after all.

She drank from her bottle, watching them

[Kyle] got to bail again. mother in law just arrived so time to be sociable 🙂 catch you all later I hope
to Adara Mires, Kristen Burke, Nathalie Bystrov, Sarita Ecos de la Risa, Wyrmbreaker

[Kristen Burke] She nods and smiles. “Well, perfect then. Are there any Silver Fangs among the group that is tracking do you know?”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Dunno, to be honest. So far, I just know of me and Joey. She’s organizing the whole thing. Did you tell her one would be useful?”

[Kristen Burke] “Not yet.” She shook her head. “Will you be talking to her soon? If so the gift is called Lambent Flame.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She nods. “Cool. I’ll ring her up, I’ve got ‘er number.”

A little smile. “We’ll get it sorted out.”

[Adara Mires] She finish her bottle and put ut down, still listening. She ordered herself another beer and some hot cider for Kristen, handing the Theurge her drink with a smile. She drank from her bottle “Well if you need another person, I could join the party” She say to Sarita

[Wyrmbreaker] For the second time tonight, Lukas is silent a while. He looks at the Cliath; looks long and hard. A different sort of stare, this time. Less critical. More curious. Deeper, perhaps.

In the end, he takes a sip from his bottle, twists the cap on and lowers it to the ground as he stands to see her out.

“We’re not often taught truth is the best,” he says quietly. “But then, our teachings come down from thousands, tens of thousands of years ago. And if the Tribe has one strength above all else, it’s our adaptability. We obey evolution. We follow what works; abandon what doesn’t.

“Think about it, Nathalie. Let me know what you decide.”

[Kristen Burke] She nods. “Thank you. And I’m certain we will. I’m hoping this one is down to a track and root out the taint situation. Hopefully it will be pretty cut and dry.” Her face lights up as Adara brings her the cider. “Thank you!”

[Nathalie Bystrov] She nods, slightly. “I will. Thank you for your time, Lukas-rhya.” She inclines her head agian,then makes her way out. ((just saw the time and wow, it’s bed time for me. g’night all))

[Wyrmbreaker] [i’d love to stay and play more, but my other scene’s getting intense! later guys — i’ll be in chilltank]

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Well, I’m not really the party planner on this one, Adara.” She smiles a bit. “And things can get a bit wacky if you got too many people organizing. Everyone brings the same party favors, you get into knockdown, drag-out fights about whether the music should be the latest French House tracks or mashups of Katy Perry and Ice-T.” She pauses. “For the record…ALWAYS go with interexchangable, manufactured pop star pop wrapped up in with the uncensored, extended track of ‘Cop Killer.’ These are serious words to live by.”

She could be deadly serious, but for the grin in her eyes. “So yeah, I’m not gonna be grinding up on Joey’s Kool-Aid. In a metaphorical ~or~ phyiscal sense. But I’ll give you her number.”

[Adara Mires] She nodded to Sarita “Thank you. AndI should’ve been clearer. I sohuld asked you to tell Joey if she need someone else. And I know what you mean. I had this kind of situation when we went out with Hunter, Simon, Joey and and others. Joey was mission leader then there was discussion if we should follow her, her Alpha or the Wymrfoe. We wasted quite some time on this.

Though to be honest, in retrospect, it wasn’t too bad. Kept me from hauling body parts like crazy for some time.”

She drank from her bottle “And to be honest, I like my stuff old school. No maship up, plain old Ice-T”She say with a smile

[Adara Mires] (*no mashups..)

[Kristen Burke] “Mash-up…um, is Iced Tea a band?” And the Theurge displays her less than world saavy music knowledge.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She nods to Adara and writes down Joey’s number on a cocktail napkin, passing it over. “Give her a call.”

Then Kristen professes to have no idea who Ice-T is, and she blinks. “Oh, Dios mío. You’re kidding.”

[Kristen Burke] She blushes a bit and shakes her head. “I’m afraid I’m not very familiar with a lot of the more popular music. ”

[Adara Mires] She smiled to Sarita “Thanks”

She laughed at Kristen’s question “Ice-T isan old school rapper turned tv and movie star now hun. And mashups are went you take a song, use only the music and put the lyrics of another performer on it. Sometimes it makes no sense, other times..it’s bearable. I mean, eminem with ramstein works. Britney Spears and Insane Clown Possee..not so much”

She smiled and drank, putting Joey’s number in her jeans pocket

[Kristen Burke] The examples go quite over her head but she seems to understand the concept. “Oh, I think I understand. Some types of music just do not mesh well together.” She stretches a bit. “Mmm, but I think I should get some sleep. I will chat with you two later.” She finishes off the cider that Adara had brought her before standing. Wasting good alcohol would be a sin.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Yeah, me too. I got a bed calling my name, and I was hoping to catch up some more with Amy tomorrow.” She nods to them both. “Have a good one, you too.”

[Kristen Burke] “Good nigth Sarita. It was good seeing you.” She smiles and waves. ((And I have a bed calling my name…night guys! 🙂 ))

[Adara Mires] waved at Sarita “Have a good night”

She took her beer and went up with Kristen “Wait for me hun. I”m coming woth you. And Ki is still sleeping on the floor, again” She say with a shake of her head, moving upstairs with her roomie

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] A little smile to both of them and makes her way out.

Loft Party!

[Katherine Bellamonte] She had spent most of the previous night at the Caern, well into the morning hours.

The day rising with knowledge of Katherine Bellamonte’s new standing among her peers did it, for a large part of the day, without her. She slept, deeply, and only arose as dusk sank the day into brilliant reds and pinks across the horizon. Opening her closet, the Half Moon studied a collection of white, of black, of sparkling silver and a vast embassy of footwear.

She selected a pair of black kitten pumps, and came to a decision.

I am throwing a party, the declaration rang over the totemic link to her pack-mates. Tonight, at the Loft. Bring whoever you like, bring swimwear, bring wine and champagne. We’re going to celebrate.

The same general message is broadcast to her tribe-mates; to those she knows of, those she can reach. Word of mouth spreads, Honor’s Compass slips into a slinky silver cocktail dress, that sculpted itself to her frame and left very little to the imagination of any observing her. She pinned her fair hair from her neck, and left tendrils to frame an aristocratic chin, high cheekbones and a long, thin nose. Her mouth was painted bright, blinding red.

She was quite well pleased.

When the doors open for the guests, it is not simply Lucille who is there, but Asha’s former Herald, Thomas, also. Not in his usual role; the Kinsman looked pale, and aged by the death of his Mistress yet details not sorted, Katherine had, being the ever-diligent hostess and Alpha of his tribe, invited him to stay with her as long as was needed for him to decide what was next to occur.

For tonight, however, he is beside the elder Kinswoman to greet arrivals; and assist with coats. Honor’s Compass had not demanded his aid; but it was given without rancor. Perhaps being useful helped the Herald, and Katherine was not one to interfere in another method of grieving.

Still, they enter to the sound of quiet harmony; classical music pumping through speakers; discreetly planted around the Loft’s interior. The pool has been cleaned; and fresh towels lay upon deckchairs for daring visitors. There are trays of food, carried around by waiting staff; champagne chilling in a bucket of ice upon a stand. The black sofas pushed well out of the way so the floor was opened up; all white and minimalistic and utterly elegant.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] Sarita’s been more or less staying regularly at the Loft since Amy left at the end of February. Even when he sister return, Sarita remained. Things were different between them, and even more so now. So for her, it’s not difficult to be ready. She just needs to come downstairs.

She isn’t dressed up at the moment. In fact, she isn’t dressed in any kind of regular attire…she’s gotten into her one-piece swimsuit early and is chilling in the pool. It is relaxing, being able to just float in the water or do laps. It allows her mind to stay in the moment and not drift. Drifting is bad…there’s a lot on her mind.

[Sinclair] Perhaps to some it might seem wrong, disrespectful to hold a celebration such as this so soon after Asha’s passing. Those some are not Garou, nor are they Unbroken. Savage, wild wolves lurking in such civilized skins, using money and the cut of a sweater and laughter and technology to smooth over the fact that not a single one of them is even close to mortal, even close to Normal.

Sinclair shows up (comes downstairs) in dark bootcut jeans and bare feet, her toenails painted metallic purple. She’s got a v-necked sweater on, form-fitting and pink. The piercing in her upper arm nudges against the fabric, the sleeves pushed up show the tattoos on her inner forearms, her hair being up in a messy bun — this passes for an updo, with Sinclair — reveals the mark of Earth on the back of her neck.

Passing a server she grabs a slice of cucumber with some mushed-up creamy liver substance artfully swirled onto it, and pops it in her mouth. Goes up to Katherine, glomps her arms around the newest sept Adren from behind, and chews as loudly as she can possibly manage right next to her ear.

[Derek Anderson] He enters the loft and present himself ot Thomas. He never had met Asha’s former herald and introdiced himself. He was allowed in. Tonight, the tall, musucula young man with blond hair was dressed in a dark suit, shoes, a blue shirt matching his eyes and tie. Over the suit was a long dark trench coat.

It was a night for celebration it seem, so he dressed the part. Still he had a bag in his right hand with his swimming trunks in. No wayt he wouldn’t come to the loft and not use the pool. He offered Katherine a warm smile when he saw her “Good evening Katherine. How have you been?” He say in his deep warm voice. “I might appear totally clueless if I ask it, but I will anyway. What’s the special occasion?”

He noticed Sarita in the pool and offer her a nod if she look his way, if not, no big deal. He offered a smile ot Sinclair when she came by Katherine “Hello SInclair, how are you?”He say, looking at her directly for once.

[Adamidas] If you are having a party, you have to expect gate crashers, you see. Because spirits are chatty, chatty things. Adam, however, is not a gate crasher. She’s actually fairly easy to get ahold of, and-

she found herself thinking of what it was that you bring to an Adren. You can’t bring Kate anything pretty of bauble-ie. She had all of that. She had prestige and a title and a nice house and things. She had a pack. She had a family. She had all sorts of things. We digress.

Adam shows up at the front door. Her hair is windblown, but it looks like she’d put some effort into doing it before she hit the road. She’s finally wearing that cocktail dress Harmony gave her… with the same boots she always wears because, let’s face it, she doesn’t own any other shoes aside from her platforms. She’s not sure what she’s going to do when she gets there, but she’s there.

With a messenger bag.

[Adamidas] (or bauble-ie, oi!)

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She does note Derek and gives him a little wave in the midst of a backstroke. The grin is faint, but there.

[Lukas Wyrmbreaker] A little over twelve hours ago, there was a impromptu mini-celebration in the Caern itself, moments after Kate passed her challenge. Since then Lukas has gone home, gone to bed, zonked all day, woken up only the message comes across the totemphone.

Kate passed her challenge, he told Danicka, buttoning his shirt as he ducks his head into her study where she was cramming for her continuous-time linear systems final. She’s having a hoedown. You’re invited, but do you want me to tell her you’re trying to unlock the mysteries of the universe?

And also:

Have you seen the bottle of Wyborowa my dad sent last month?

And not too long after that, he’s parking the Beemer and coming up the walk, giving the door a perfunctory knock before simply using his key. He’s wearing a black shirt, charcoal slacks. He’s also wearing swim trunks under his clothes. He’s carrying a bottle of fine Polish wódka, with which he bumps Adamidas’s back as he follows her in.

“Hey,” he says. “Nice dress. Almost didn’t recognize you.”

[Alejandro] Alejandro doesn’t have many fancy clothes. It’s not that he couldn’t have got them growing up, it’s just that looking good hasn’t been a focus of his. Ever the student; ever the Garou; ever the boy and never the man.

Which is at odds with how he is dressed because his suit just does not fit. It’s old, that could be gathered from the fact that it isn’t last seasons style or even the seasons before that. It isn’t so old that it’s back in fashion, but it isn’t so flamboyant that it could ever been completely out of fashion, either.

This suit is grey, not quite silver but not quite bland, either. There is a little matching waistcoat beneath the jacket and a black tie upon a white dress shirt. The problem is that the sleeves only reach halfway down his wrists. The garment bunches at his elbows, pulls at his shoulders, rides too high at his ankles and reveals thin black dress socks above worn — but clean — leather shoes.

Under one arm there is a cardboard cylinder, tucked up into his armpit and he shuffles towards the front door with steps that announce his pleasure to be here. The cylinder is large — even more so because of his diminutive figure — and when he reaches the front entrance he slips in beside Adam and Lukas.

A little spastic wave is given to both of them, a grin for Adam too. He falls in step beside them. “Hello!”

[Lukas Wyrmbreaker] [FINE, change it to:

Kate passed her challenge, he told Danicka, buttoning his shirt as he drops in on her watching The Fifth Element on BluRay. She’s having a hoedown. You’re invited, but do you want me to tell her you’re burnt out from unlocking the mysteries of continuous-time linear systems? ]

[Katherine Bellamonte] It is understandable that Derek might have received a formal invitation — not a demand, not these days — to join Kate at her home, but the circumstances may well baffle the young Detective. Katherine Bellamonte did not strike many as a woman of easy whim, not when it came to parties.

Sinclair throws her arms around Katherine, and chews noisily in her ear and her sister is bracing an arm over the other woman’s hand, chiding politely: “That is very expensive dip, Sinclair,” as if she expects this to make some sort of difference in the long run. “I am pleased you came, Derek. We are celebrating my achievement of new rank,” a moment, one can feel the gleam of pleasure in Katherine as she says, with quiet pride.

“I am now an Adren in the Nation’s eyes. Please, help yourself to food and drink.”

Thomas, straying from the door, nods to those who acknowledge him, and retreats to seat himself with a cup of tea, he will not drink, and there is a certain somberness surrounding the Herald’s black attire; though he had pleasure enough to greet the Silver Fang with when she first returned home, triumphant. Lucille, ever watchful, however, fusses with coat collars, and hangs each with care. She argues with the hired waiters, and demands they be more careful with the silver and crystal glass ware.

Still, with each newcomer; the sense of celebration grows.

There is something cathartic in it, for the wolves of Unbroken. They have lost someone; there must be balance to their grief.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] Hey Kate. Hey, Kate. She’s been doing this every now and then throughout the day over the pack link. You’re an Aaaaaadreeeeeen…

It helps put the grin on her face, and there’s one on there now as she treads water, watching all the arrivals.

[Sinclair] “Everything you have is very expensive,” Sinclair counters, giving her a squeeze around the middle before letting her go. “Except for that bag of Sam’s Best brand Mini Peanut Butter Cups you keep in the freezer. Yeah. I found those,” she adds warningly, getting out of arm’s reach.

[Derek Anderson] He blinked at Kate’s words then strated to say something, couldn’t then smiled sheepishly. He felt very dense right now. That was something incredibly important and he had no clue about it. He took a few seconds to recover and smiled warmly “Congratulation Katherine.” Was all he saud and all he could say. He could tell her it’s amazing, but she knew that already. Beside what used she would have for praise coming from him? She had peers who understood better her pride and joy.

“Thank you for the invitation” He said “Enjoy your evening” Sinclair ignored him, no great surprise here. So he ignored her back and moved away to let Adamidas, Lukas and I guy he didn’t know meet with Katherine

“Good evening Adamidas” He say, remembering the young woman from a short encounter a while ago “Good evening Lukas” He say smiling to both and nodded to Alejandro “Good evening to you as well.” He drifted away for now. Moving toward the pool but not quite. He looked in Sarita’s direction ofr a few seconds as he took off his coat then kept his attention on the Garou surrounding Katherine.

[Adamidas] There’s vodka- wódka- poking her and she turns around. Finds herself looking at a very familiar chest. She grins.

“Harmony’s got awesome taste, he got it for me for Christmas,” of course, she missed Christmas, but that was beside the point. She is walking, and is fine to pass on until she notices Alejandro. The female perks up immediately- you’d think they were childhood friends the way she perks up.

“Hey!”

And Derek gets a wave, “hey Derek. Look at you cleaning up nice… I think this is a little classier party than I’m used to.”

[Amunet Knezevic] One should, in polite society, at least tell your sister in person before vacating town for any amount of time.

She failed to do this last time, which is what brings her to the loft tonight to seek her out

[Katherine Bellamonte] It’s such a strange thing, she has replied with, more than once to Sarita’s reminders, on the hour like clockwork; a quiet chiming of Adren, Adren, Adren. I do not feel any different, but the spirits must see the change, if nothing else.

When Lukas, Adamidas and Alejandro arrive almost sequentially behind each other; Katherine, a shimmering vision in silver and black heels moves forward to greet them, casting a decidedly pointed look over her shoulder at her sister as she reminds her she found the Silver Fang’s top secret, low budget snack storage area. “Those are for guests,” she protests lightly, with entirely too much defensiveness creeping through her voice.

“Not me.”

Then, champagne flute in one hand; she moves forward. “Adamidas, I am so pleased you are here!” A press of red lips to the air beside a cheek, Lukas gets a radiant smile, a brush of a hand to his sleeve and Alejandro a neat little dip of her head to one side.

“Welcome, Seeks the Horizon. Is your brother with you, tonight? I fear he is building mystique in avoiding our meeting.” Her lips quirk. Then: Amunet appears; moving toward the door to the brightly lit complex and Katherine’s fair brows rise in clear surprise.

Sarita, your sister is here.

[Amunet Knezevic] She is dressed for a red eye flight to Sin City, which means she is NOT dressed for this type of party. Looking horribly uncomfortable, she makes her way into the loft and tries to stay out of the way as she sends a text.

Where ARE you? I’m downstairs.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She frowns when she hears that. Yes, when Amy comes around, Sarita tends to think something’s wrong. Do you blame her? No, something usually IS wrong. FInally, you’re on my side. Yep.

Oh wow, the Strider sends through the link, getting out of the pool. Thanks.

She climbs out of the pool, grabbing a towel and drying off quickly as she comes out to the main area, looking for her.

[Amunet Knezevic] She would be the one off to the side, looking uncomfortable and entirely out of place…

[Sinclair] There’s laughter in the room that only Katherine and Lukas and Sarita can hear, because outwardly, Sinclair doesn’t let it loose. It’s in response to some mention over their link, something Katherine said that made her… well. Happy. She wanders around mostly, bumping purposefully into Lukas as though they’re in lupus before she continues on, giving an upward nod to Adamidas and a curious glance at this new kid that stinks of Fang just as much as the rest of the Loft does. She does happen to ignore the kinsman. She doesn’t even give him the little wave of hello that Sarita offers. And it might be that she hates him, for reasons he can’t fathom.

That is something he is free to believe if it accords with his nature. Sinclair, ignoring him, can’t help him interpret her behavior. She glances over at Amunet, tipping her head to the side. So that’s Sarita’s sister.

[Alejandro] Derek gets a cheery smile from the Theurge and a greeting in passing that goes something like: Hi! I’m Alejandro! But then it’s on to meet Kate and the look on his face is nothing if not ecstatic. He seems proud of her, happy for her, pleased to hear of her success.

“Honor’s Compass Rhya! My brother should be arriving, he is not so mysterious as he seems. I once had to wait seven hours for him to cross to the other side once. But he’ll be here!” He beams, using her Fostern name because the spirits know not of any other. “I know that you said you didn’t require any gifts, so please don’t feel I have ignored your wishes but..”

He looks positively giddy.

“I made this!” And he holds out the cylindrical device to her. “It’s that picture — map — of the Umbra! It has all that which is there and not there and sort of almost there marked in different colours because I find it so much easier to read maps when there are colours. Don’t you?”

[Derek Anderson] He smiled back at Adamidas “Thank you. And you look lovely tonight” He reply to her “And don’t worry about it. Later everyone will be in swimsuits probably and make it a lot less classy or formal”

He move slightly away from the young Fury to let her speak with whoever she desire. He noticed Amy, recognizing her from the only encounter and nodded to her. Well at least he wouldn’t be the only kin in a Garou party. Not that he was uncomfortable being the only one surrounded by true borns, especially the Unbroken. For some reason it seem to happen that way.

He folded his trench coat over his arm and then Thomas appeared to help him with it. Once his fellow kinsman was away, he took a champagne glass from one of the waiters.

[Lukas Wyrmbreaker] “Because obviously,” Lukas says drily, “you’d serve economy peanut butter cups to your guests.”

Then he breaks into a grin, side-hugging Kate briefly before pressing the Wyborowa into her hands. “Congrats, Kate. This is my last bottle until I nag my dad into sending more, so make the most of it and get smashed.”

[Adamidas] She’s seen this in movies. She knows, in theory, how this air kiss thing works. She doesn’t necessarily understand the entirety of it, but in her mind she chalks it up to Katherine being classy and somewhat French. Sinclair gets another nod in return which, while somewhat urban in its nature,doesn’t look quite as cool when she does it.

“I haven’t seen the place on this side of the umbra, it’s… huge, and you have a pool,” given her inflection it’s quite clear that the Fostern approves.

[Sinclair] “We have a big pool,” Sinclair says, though Adam is really talking to Katherine. She says ‘we’. This is, in a way, pack territory after it is Katherine’s. “It used to be smaller. We begged her and made puppy eyes til she had it expanded. That pool is a triumph of teamwork.”

[Gabriel Ferreira] He doesn’t look nearly as uncomfortable or out of his element as his brother does. When the Cliath of Honor’s Compass’s auspice arrives, it’s with some sort of gift for Lucille that the lower-class writer of this post can’t be fucked Googling but it’s expensive and classy; the grieving herald is given condolences, and once he actually makes his way into the domicile, far more expansive and luxurious than it appears on the outside, he makes a quick sweep of the room to map everyone out.

Once he’s located his brother and found that nothing has been set on fire, his shoulders relax.

The first person he approaches isn’t the triumphant hostess, or his perpetually cheerful brother, but the kinswoman standing off to the side, isolated and irritable. Without any in hand, no champagne glass or hors d’oeuvres, without having met before, the immediate question that comes to mind as he walks up to Amy is What does he want?

His hands are in the pockets of his dress pants as he casually comes to stand by the wall beyond arm’s length from Amy.

“It’s a party,” he says, lightly, in a voice that lacks an accent, “not a tribunal.” A beat. “Unless I read the invitation wrong. That would be embarrassing.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She smiles a little and makes her way to her sister, coming up next to her. “Hey you.” She smiles to her, and then looks to Gabriel to give him a nod. “Hola.”

[Adamidas] She looks at Sinclair, and her eyes widened. The Glass Walker might as well have said Katherine got the pack their own individual ponies. It’s sheer amazement, “those had to be some pretty intense puppy eyes. I tried to convince Alec once that we needed a pool, and it didn’t happen. I can’t really talk the Coltranes into getting a pool, because it wouldn’t really be practical.”

And the lake is right there. But a lake isn’t a pool, you see.

[Amunet Knezevic] She laughs in spite of her complete unease, fingers running in her hair. “Well. You got an invitation, which puts you a rung above me here.

Oh hey. There’s Sarita. Fresh out of the pool. This is handy, should anyone need the super secret access point to fucking Bizarro land, she’ll just direct them to the loft.

[Katherine Bellamonte] Gabriel hands her a map of the Umbra, and Katherine seems genuinely fascinated as he points things out on it. “Look, Lukas, Adam, Gabriel has drawn an Umbral map for me.” As if he were her toddler, presenting his first finger painting to his mother, her beaming and proud.

The Cliath Fang’s brother makes an appearance, then, and Katherine, carefully passing off Lukas’ gift to Lucille to tend after, finds his figure with her pale eyes and watches him, intently. She glances side long at Alejandro and her eyes ask the question without ever parting her lips to speak it.

Waiters bring around fresh offerings in the shape of colorful seafood snacks; trout and salmon with caviar, more of the same cucumber and avocado relish Sinclair had plucked from a tray earlier; other fanciful combination with names that involved things such as a side of or a sprig of to complete them.

Despite the press of combined Rage in the air around them; the atmosphere of the Loft is airy; pleasant. There is no demands being placed on either of the Kinfolk there; Amy is offered a flute of champagne by a waitress dressed in black slacks and a white collared shirt. There is also sparkling cider and wine on tap.

The Theurge Elder is impressed by the sheer mass of the pool; Honor’s Compass smiles. “I am quite convinced I have the happiest water spirits in it second perhaps only to the lake itself.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “You’re here. That’s awesome.” She looks from Gabriel to Amy. “Um…Alejandro’s brother, this is my sister Amy. Amy, this is…Alejandro’s brother.”

Isn’t she good at introductions? “Kate made Adren,” she explains to Amy. “Thus, the party.”

[Katherine Bellamonte] [oops, I meant Alejandro. Shut up, there’s a lot of you.]

[Derek Anderson] He walked around, watching everyone but no one in particular. He knew everyone except two right now. At least by sight. He drinks from his champagne glass, not mingling right now. Everyone was congratulating Kate as they should, people were getting acquinted with others.

He put his bag on one of the benches, for later, when it’ll be time for swimming. Right now, Sarita was the only one dressed ofr swimming and after their last discussion, he won’t go in the pool alone with her if she gets back to it. She mgiht get the impression that he didn’t understood what she said that night. And he did and respected it.

So for now, leaving them alone was ok with him.

[Gabriel Ferreira] “Look on the bright side–”

Whatever that bright side is, he isn’t afforded the opportunity to impart it to his unwilling audience.

Hola, Sarita says, and he leans slightly past the kinswoman to regard the Ragabash. Given his height compared to hers, he could have looked clear over the shorter woman’s head to address her–guardian, sister, cousin, he can’t tell–tribeswoman. As he’s glancing over, that universal sense of being watched creeps up his spine, and his eyes wander across the room to find the source of it.

Spotted!

Olá,” he replies, the accentuation different, the accent on a different syllable. That said, he steps away from the wall to form a lopsided sort of triangle between himself and the two females, extending his hand to shake should either of them feel inclined to do so. “Nice to meet you. My name’s ‘Gabriel’ but I’ll answer to ‘Alejandro’s brother,’ too.”

He steps back.

“If you’ll excuse me.”

[Amunet Knezevic] “Amunet. It’s nice to meet you, Alejandro’s brother.” Not that she has the slightest idea who Alejandro is, but….

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “New Fangs,” she says as Gabriel walks off, and she takes a lean next to Amy. She’s content to be at the side of the party with her sister, though she’s keeping her packmates in view.

“I’m glad to see you here. How’d that meeting go?”

[Amunet Knezevic] “Good. Really good.”

She has the same irrational panicked thought now that she did after she lost her virginity to Ox. Can they tell? Does something seem somehow different? Is she marked in some invisible way? Nobody seemed to be paying any attention to her, which she took as a good sign.

[Alejandro] There are things to point out on the map, things that Alejandro make sure they see because they’re fascinating. His index finger darts across the surface of it once it is unfurled and they read labels that are formal and artsy like: Where Water Spirits Whisper, The Windy Peak. There are other labels though, less formal and more personal – notes and edits too.

Fun times with Fire spirits! Caution: Take sunscreen!

Warning: Hole in the basement, unsure where it leads. I totally understand how Locke felt though! I want to open the hatch!

Once he has taken up enough — too much — of her time, he wanders off. It’s in Sinclair’s direction that he seems to meander, a thin youth with a too small suit. He doesn’t say anything yet, though he’ll flash her a sheepish smile if she looks at him. He just sort of.. loiters.

[Adamidas] She peeks along with, but there’s quiet recognition and genuine pleasure on her features.

“Oh wow,” she looks from the map to Alejandro, “how far down does it go? That’s seriously handy.”

She then addreses the rest of the Unbroken, or whoever else could muse about the pool. She grins, “more than likely? It’s a well loved, well-tended place. And nothing is going to mess with them in here. It’s a good, safe place to be. ”

[Sinclair] Sinclair is by the food. She’s not as face-stuffing as a Bone Gnawer’s best stereotype, but she’s making pretty good progress on some finger foods with more of that avocado stuff on them and looks to be considering bringing in a bag of tortilla chips and some bean dip to round out Katherine’s impromptu spread, which would take most people two weeks to set up.

Alejandro wanders over. She’s chewing, and slows down a bit as he loiters. Stares at him. “What?”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She gives Amy a weird look. “Well, awesome.” It’s said in the teasing tone that they used to use with each other. Amy and Sarita can bicker and snipe at each other like there’s no tomorrow, and they can have some of the biggest knock-down, drag-out sister fights this side of a Cops episode. But there hasn’t been much of that lately. Just quiet words, no less frustrated, and hugs and the occasional tear.

“Y’okay? You seem a bit…off.”

[Adamidas] “Oh! Kate! When you have time!” she half lifts up her bag, “I have stuff for you. But I didn’t wrap it.”
And, apparently, it’s personal enough that she doesn’t want to take it out yet.

[Amunet Knezevic] “Um. I wanted to let you know I was taking off for the weekend. You know. Not by text this time.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Oh.” She nods a little bit, reaching up to brush her hand over Amy’s hair. “Well, that’s cool. Just the weekend?”

[Katherine Bellamonte] Honor’s Compass does seem very pleased with her gift, she holds it carefully against her side; one arm folded over her middle, the other holding a flute of no doubt very expensive champagne. She’s sipping from it idly, every few moments and smiling around at her gathering of guests.

She has to stand, one should note, rather carefully in her gown; while lovely and light-catching; it was rather on the short side, and dipped into a daring V that bared a great deal of flesh without becoming cheap about it. Still; Katherine wore it elegantly, as was to be expected of her and as Alejandro’s brother crosses toward her she quiets, and sips from her flute, watching him through pale eyes; her lids painted a smokey gray.

“You must be Gabriel,” she greets him, voice quite amicable. “I wondered when you would surface into the light.”

Adamidas has things — but she didn’t wrap them. Katherine’s eyebrows rise. “What have you brought me, Adamidas.” There’s a lightness to that, she’s teasing.

[Amunet Knezevic] “Yeah.”

Wow, this is uncomfortable.

“We’re going to Vegas for a couple days”

[Alejandro] She stares at him and he stares back. The question has his smile shift from sheepish to comfortably cheery. “I’m Alejandro. Do you live here?”

A small hand reaches out and takes up a carrot stick or celery stick if they are on offer, stabbing it into some nearby dip before he chomps on the end of it.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Good.” She smiles and nods. She is picking up on Amy’s discomfort, and that is affecting her, but mostly because she doesn’t see why it’s so weird, and she’s concerned. That worry for her sister will always be there, whether she has a mate or not. And in addition, there is joy for her sister. She may not be convinced this is her best course of action, but she’s keeping it down.

“That’ll be awesome. You guys can have a blast, get away from all this. It’ll be good for you. I’m happy.”

[Derek Anderson] He stop somewehre between the pool and the lobby. His kind bluee eyes moved from Garou to Garou, his glass f champagne almost empty. He’s not mingling right now. If it was only the Unbroken, it would be easier, but right now, he kept his distance.

He would probably stay there only for some time nd leave finally. Politly representing the Fang Kins and then let the Garou to their celebration. He move to the food, grab a snadwich and move away again.

[Gabriel Ferreira] Alejandro’s brother isn’t wearing anything quite as eye-catching as Miss Bellamonte, which both ought to go without saying and fill everyone in the room with gratitude. Considering that this isn’t exactly a formal tribal affair, he is not wearing a tuxedo. He wears a three-piece suit, because it’s cold as the devil outside, but it fits better than whatever it is that Alejandro is wearing, and he doesn’t look as though he’d rather be outside rolling around in a mud heap.

There is quite a bit to look at, but she’s his elder, and his eyes behave themselves.

She wondered when he would surface.

“Wonder no more, -rhya,” he says, taking his hands out of his pockets for etiquette’s sake.

Then the Adren is addressing the Fostern, so he waits his turn.

[Amunet Knezevic] The pod people were here. Awesome. Her eyes flicker around the room quickly as if expecting an uncomfortable surprise.

“So…. I guess I should say congratulations and get out of here, hey?”

[Sinclair] What makes Sinclair intimidating — and she is, in fact, very intimidating — is not her rage. That’s eclipsed quite neatly by other Garou in the room. Gabriel and Katherine and Lukas all have more of that internal fire to draw on, to carry with them, to endure. With Sinclair, it’s something else entirely. She looks at Alejandro, another wolf, as though she is gauging whether he is higher or lower on the food chain — literally — than she is. The fact that it takes her little more than a moment to determine just how far below her he is, how quickly she could eat him, how many bites it would take,

unnerves every mortal she meets. Makes Kinfolk uncomfortable. Makes her a little less than popular even among other wolves. She’s not a woman, purple toenails and piercings and human trappings notwithstanding. She’s savage thing made only more dangerous, not more civil, by opposable thumbs and technological intelligence.

She blinks at him, slow and lazy, once. “I’m Sinclair. And yes.”

Over there, people are giving Kate presents, like it’s her birthday or something. Somehow, something completely bizarre seems utterly natural just because it’s Kate. “I’m Kate’s packmate,” she adds.

[Lukas Wyrmbreaker] Soon after showing up, Lukas disappeared into the kitchen to…

…mix drinks, as it turns out. While Katherine sips on champagne, Lukas reemerges with some eight or ten collins glasses of distinctively blue liquor. It’s not often that he plays chef or bartender, but one supposes tonight’s ample justification for an exception.

So he passes that tray around – to Kate, to his packmates, to the guests. When everyone who wants a shot has one, Lukas raises his voice enough to cut momentarily through the conversation.

“I’d like to make a toast,” he says. “Here’s to Katherine, who proved today what everyone already knew: that she’s a badass Adren Philodox. Here’s to my pack, my brothers and sisters past and present and future.

“Here’s to booze and pool parties. Here’s to friends. Here’s to celebrating us, and the savage joy of our lives.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Well, you can hang out if you want. It might be fun.”

She gives a little shrug. She wants Amy to be comfortable, but there are a lot of people here she doesn’t know. And it’s not exactly the best time for introductions.

Lukas comes out, and he has shots. Sarita takes one and gives one to Amy.

[Amunet Knezevic] Ohthankholygod alcohol. She gratefully takes the shot, eyeing Lukas and trying to stay invisible.

[Sinclair] Sinclair takes two shots. When the toast is given, she clinks them together. “Hear, hear!”

First goes the left, then goes the right.

[Katherine Bellamonte] Katherine doesn’t offer her hand to Gabriel, or do much of anything but look at him for a good few moments. It’s not challenging, per say, that stare, but rather more curious; considering. She does add, after a long pause of silence, broken by the soft classical music, tinkering from the background. The lapping of water in the pool, as the cleaner is activated and hums along the bottom; greedily eating anything daring to pollute it.

Were Sinclair’s spirit with her; he’d no doubt be EEEing over the machinery.

“It’s nice to put a face to the name, Resurrection. I am obviously Katherine, Honor’s Compass. I am your tribal Alpha, and your auspice Elder in the city. I look forward to seeing you show yourself to be a worthwhile addition here, along with your brother.” A beat, Lukas brings out that dreaded blue mixture of his; Katherine clings to her champagne.

A corner of her mouth flicking with the toast, she raises her glass, eyes gleaming.

In the corner; Thomas and Lucille, sharing conversation among themselves, also toast.

[Alejandro] The only response to Sinclair’s undeniable predatory nature is the fact that Alejandro waited for her to initiate conversation before speaking. After that he is smiles, he seems comfortable. It might be ignorance or innocence or the fact that his spirit soars so high compared to his human nature, but he doesn’t shy away from her despite the fact that yes: She could eat him all up, one bite perhaps two if he were lucky.

Just like her intimidating otherness, there is something strange about the boy – and he is most definitely a boy, not a man. It isn’t strong enough to pin-point, but it isn’t weak enough to be only revealed in the Umbra either. She might get a sense of the elements, perhaps a familiar one because it strikes each individual differently. It’s masked beneath his breeding, but it’s still there.

Her name is Sinclair, she lives here and his smile broadens. Before he can respond, however, there is a toast. He has no drink, no glass, so he takes one of the shots. He’s not entirely sure that he should be allowed to have one but he raises it anyway along with what’s left of his celery stick and joins in the cheer with everybody else.

Once it’s all over and the cheering has subsided along with the speeches he looks again at Sinclair. “I’m going to be living her too,” he says, like that is wonderful news. “I heard you have a friend,” his tone has shifted, something more secretive, something that excites. “I would love to meet him.”

EEEing indeed!

[Lukas Wyrmbreaker] “Okay,” Lukas explains the rules with great patience, “you can’t get Sinclair to take your shot by proxy, Kate.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She smiles and raises her glass. In another time, another day, she would have given some kind of ululation, an over-the-top cheer or the like. She’s certainly that pleased for her packmate, and the warmth shows in her expression. The response however is more restrained. She just raises her glass and winks at Kate, giving her a nod that is both congratulatory and grateful.

And then the shot is knocked back.

[Derek Anderson] He took the shot from Lukas “Thank” He say to the man. He raise his shot like everyone else and down it after the toast. He let the strong mix of liquors burn down his throat. It was really good and wondered if he shold get more. Then again being drunk here mgiht not be the best thing. He had to look respectable in front of Katherine after all.

He handed the shot to a passing waited and took another glass of champagne.

[Amunet Knezevic] “I should go.”

Sarita belongs here, not her. Her fingers brush in her hair again, then she reaches to squeeze her sister’s arm.

“I’ll see you Monday, hey?”

[Gabriel Ferreira] A tray of glowing-nuclear liquid is passed around by a larger, heavier wolf, and it would be terribly rude to not partake in a drink prepared by his elder. The Cliath flicks a glance to Katherine, standing cool and poised with her flute in one hand and the Umbral map in the other, and he suppresses a smile as he reaches out a hand to take one of the Collins glasses.

There’s a ring on his left hand, visible only because that’s the hand he uses to pick up the glass.

“Thank you, -rhya,” he tells the Lord.

A toast, and then Katherine is being teased. Gabriel thinks about tossing his back, but holds onto it while his tribal and auspice elder is reminded of the rules of engagement. There is no verbal teasing, but there is an air of expectation about the taller Philodox.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She frowns. “You sure? I know it’s a lot of people here, but…”

She sighs, and then nods. “Okay. Listen, when you get back Monday we’ll hang, okay? Just you and me?”

[Sinclair] Sinclair’s eyebrows flick up a bit. “A… friend?” is all she can give Alejandro, since the cheerful little poppet doesn’t get more specific than that.

[Amunet Knezevic] “We’ve got a flight to catch.” The words tumble over themselves in a rush to make it out. “I mean, it seems like a great party and all, but we’ve got a flight. Yeah, Monday. It’ll be fun, right? ” She smiles, taking a couple of shuffly steps toward the door.

[Alejandro] The poppet nods his head and takes another bite of his celery stick. The shot remains untouched but he eyes it now and then, like he wants to drink it all the same.

“Yes,” he confirms once he has swallowed the vegetable. “Names are.. not meaningless, but I find trouble in translating them. A spirit, or so I’m told. Is he truly your friend?” He asks the last part in a hushed tone, like he doesn’t want to have the hope that such a thing could be possible. The spirits love him — at least the nice ones — most assuredly. But he doesn’t have that; he has never had that.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She sighs. She knows when Amy’s coming up with bullshit excuses to get away. She rubs at her eyes. “Yeah, totally. C’mon, lemme walk you out.”

[Katherine Bellamonte] “I already have a drink, Lukas,” she primly shoots back at him with an expression of great forbearance. Then, as eyes watch, and wait she heaves a sigh and gestures for the tray. “Very well, but I drink under protest. This is peer pressure, hm?”

She holds one up, studies it, and then swallows it out with her eyes closed.

[Sinclair] At that, Sinclair blinks. “Oh. Tripoli,” she says, like she might actually be talking about a two-legged, five-fingered sort of friend. It isn’t that Sinclair doesn’t understand or respect what it means to have a familiar like the one she does, that she’s received something special in the little metal gaffling’s affection and devotion. But it’s Tripoli.

And Alejandro talks in hushed, awed tones and Sinclair just looks at him like he’s grown a third head. Yes, a third. Two wouldn’t quite cover the weirdness she’s attributing to him. “Uh, yeah.” A beat. “Dude, don’t take this the wrong way, but you’re really giving off this desperate freshman vibe. Have a shot and chill out.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] And move to walk Amy out she does. She stays outside the Loft once Amy heads off, going into her van and changing out of her swimsuit. Yes, she keeps clothes in her van. You would too if you lived out of it cross-country for ten years. Once she’s dressed she lights up a cigarette, hanging outside and smoking for a bit.

[Adamidas] No one can be quite sure where she went, possibly off to the bathroom (which meant that Adam got lost on the way there) or possibly to the umbra to check out and see how the water spirits actually felt about Kate’s pool (pretty damned good. They like the pool, yay pool!) but what matters is this.

The Black Fury comes back and she’s adjusted herself. she’s got chalk dust in her hair again. Just a little bit of it. Enough to be telling. She snags a drink on the way.

[Alejandro] “Oh..” Colour flushes his cheeks then drains just as quickly. He turns his head down for a moment. It isn’t the first time such an opinion has been expressed and it won’t be the last time.

“I should.. I’m sorry, I just..” Resignation at first, then something else: Nervous courage. He looks at the shot glass again then throws it down the hatch with the awkwardness of someone who is probably doing this for the first time.

[rolling stam for his first drink! +1 dif newbieness]
Dice Rolled:[ 4 d10 ] 1, 7, 8, 9 (Success x 2 at target 7)

[Lukas Wyrmbreaker] “I applaud your courage,” says the Ahroun who, some time ago, gave a cub a semi-serious lecture about the booze of the tribes. The corner of his mouth tilts, “Now have another one.”

Lukas picks up another one himself then. A moment or two after Sarita escorts her sister out — long enough to let them say their goodbyes — he follows the Strider. Finds her smoking outside, which is one minor sin he’s never really picked up.

“Those will kill you,” he says wryly, taking a seat beside her on the van’s floor, legs hanging out the side sliding door. “But if you’ve got a toke, I’ll share that with you.”

[Sinclair] The Galliard smirks as Alejandro downs the AMF. She glances up as Lukas and Sarita head outside; there’s a flicker of something in her eyes. Maybe longing. She doesn’t go to join them, though. She stays inside the party. There have been times when Lukas has gone to her when she’s down, too. Times when, really, it helps to just have some one on one conversation with their brother.

She goes to find the tray and gets another shot. “Hey, Brass Petals-yuf,” she calls out. “Have a shot! We’re toasting Kate’s awesomesaucesomness.”

[Katherine Bellamonte] The Hostess goes and perches herself on a black leather sofa; crossing her long legs at the knee and balancing at once a flute of champagne and another of the bright blue death drinks her Alpha seems to be intent on her consuming until she falls on her head and has the Grand Elder appearing to strip her of Adren on account of being a drunken dolt.

She tries a second one, however and finds it not quite as eye-watering as the first.

A discreet cough goes unheard beneath a palm and she watches; quite amused as the Theurge re-appears, looking a little dusty. Katherine waves Adamidas over. “What did you want to give me, Brass Petals?”

[Gabriel Ferreira] There’s no triumphant whooping or raucous encouragement as Katherine breaks down and gives into the double-fronted peer pressure from the males. The corner of the Philodox’s mouth quirks into what almost becomes a smile, and then he tosses back his own shot without much effort. The fruitiness of it surprises him, and he blinks.

“I wouldn’t call it ‘peer pressure,'” he says, once he’s recovered.

Her Alpha applauds her courage, bids her take another one, and Gabriel fixes her with another look. She can’t pussy out in front of the Cliath, now, can she?

Then he spares a brief glance around, as if trying to see what his brother is up to. He’s downing shots. Fantastic. A second shot is taken, and Gabriel wipes his mouth before ambling over to collect Alejandro.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She looks over at Lukas and smiles, exahaling a lungful of smoke. “Lots of things that’ll kill you, mi capitan. Whole mess of ’em.” She stubs out the smoke on the fender, and then leans back into the van to pull up a piece of carpet next to the wheel well. It fit seamlessly enough that you wouldn’t even know it was separate from the rest of the laydown carpet in the place if you didn’t see it get removed. There’s a little compartment there and she flicks a combination, then opens it and pulls out a baggie with a several joints. It wasn’t the only baggie in the compartment.

“The key…as I’ve learned…” She pops the joint into her mouth and lights it up. She takes a drag, holds it in and then slowly exhales before she passes it over. “…is to do the things that you enjoy, whether it kills you or not. Odds are, it’s not the thing that’s gonna.”

A pause. “‘sides, if you live denying every joy you’ve got? You ain’t really living.”

[Adamidas] “Weeoo!”

Don’t have to tell her twice. The female trots over and grabs a shot, only to hear Kate calling her name. She stops about mid step and turns, “the hostess doth beckon. Prost!”

The shot goes back, and it’s sheer force of will and a fair bit of practice that keeps Adam from gagging and looking dazed. She lives at the brotherhood. She drinks. She pays tribute to grain (or maybe it’s potato… she didn’t look at what she drank and the female isn’t experienced enough of a drinker to notice the burn in her throat is distinct depending on what she’s drinking.)

She sidles up and sits herself beside Kate. Or, rather, near Kate. She’s got a grin on her face, and her voice drops to the tone of conversational. But not entirely openly so. Shotglass in one hand, she finds something in her bag with the other. It’s offered to Kate.

[Matthieu] Matthieu was not the kind of man to make a casual appearance. Every thrum of his heart was another beat of a living legacy in the making. Pulsing through his veins wasn’t just the blood of the Heroes of the Garou but the blood of the greatest heroes the world had ever seen. The Silver Fang wasn’t simply born into luxury despite the filth the Shadow Lords would attempt to spread about them. Each and every one of Matthieu’s ancestors was a Hero in their own right. Whether they were eradicating the Black Spiral menace from much of France or helping to draw the Wendigo into the Garou nation in a glorious reunion of cousins removed by countless millenia Matthieu’s ancestors were anything but lazy. Each life was a story all it’s own. Each one leaving behind a story to be shared before all. Some would end in tragedy and some would end in triumph but one thing that could never be said about this ancient family was the fact that they had not earned the greatness that pumped through their veins.

Matthieu was not great… Matthieu was not amazing or incredible. He was smart, he was cunning, and he was charming but he was young and inexperienced. Yet he knew that the weight of his own families greatness rested firmly on his shoulders. It wasn’t just that they wished him to be great, no no no these were Silver Fangs. House and Tribe depend on that greatness in both character and strength. A Silver Fang must be faster he must be stronger and he must be smarter because the fate of the nation, and through the nation the world, rested firmly upon their shoulders.

Others would complain, they would boil with discontent, and they would throw themselves against his people again and again. It has happened time and time again and it would happen again several times in his lifetime. The Silver Fang’s life was a double edged sword. They carried the weight of an entire nation on their shoulders and in turn they carried the contempt and hatred of the enemies of that nation as well as their enemies within. Yet there would be no complaint, and there would be no tears.

The wyrm comes and it tears its way through their world it falls upon the weak and the strong alike but against the walls of the Silver Fang’s ancient fortresses is where it is halted like a bull charging against a brick wall.

The Silver Fangs don’t know they are strong because they were born to rick parents. The Silver Fangs know they are strong because their enemies have thrown anything and everything you can imagine their way and still they stand tall and fast. By the Shadow Lords, their ancient rivals, own reasoning it is the strongest who rule. Well so far the Silver Fangs have ruled for how many Hundred Millenia? Longer than any kingdom of man… Longer than science, and agriculture, longer than man has had fire the Silver Fangs have ruled and still to this day they continue to rule.

This is the legacy Matthieu carries to the door of the Loft. It was an ancient legacy and one which swelled his heart with pride. He might not be great yet but he belonged to a tribe who was judged solely on the merit of their greatness. He would be great in action and deed because he, like every other Silver Fang, will accept nothing less than that.

Patient, and quiet until the time came to speak, the Galliard, and now Elder, stood outside the door biding his time. So much to be done in this city and with this city. So much was going on, and so much needed to be fixed. Ten thousand things might cross his mind on any given day but he was a Silver Fang he would address each one individually, if he has to, and confront them all.

[Alejandro] Alejandro takes down whatever was in that glass, he’s not entirely sure. Then Sinclair’s gone with no promise to introduce him to her spirit friend. “Nice going Alejandro,” he mutters to himself then stuffs the rest of the celery stick and a second one into his mouth, much more uncouth now that he’s alone. He mutters again while he chews. “Desperate freshman vibe.. I’ve never even been to college!” Like the statement makes no sense to him at all.

His brother wanders over and Alejandro hastily hides the empty shot glass amongst a pile of bread sticks.

“Hello Gabi.”

[Lukas Wyrmbreaker] “I’ll drink to that,” Lukas says quietly, and then does just that: downs his second adios like nothing.

It’s not nothing, though. It’s one of the more potent mixes on the face of the earth, and when Lukas sets his collins glass down on the pavement between his feet he can feel his head lightening. Sitting up again, he grins — a little lazy, a little crooked — as Sarita pulls a joint out like magic.

“I knew you had a stash.” He sounds satisfied. “Anyone who lives part-time in a van has a stash.”

Lukas takes the joint over, then, taking a long slow hit. They don’t see their Alpha indulge in illegal substances much, and the truth is: he doesn’t. He popped a tab of ecstasy with Danicka the night they got — well. Married. Married in front of a city clerk, in a tiny tender ceremony witnessed by exactly three people, all parental units. Married, and then off to a reception that consisted of a club, groundshaking bass, and a harajuku girl that sold them MDMA; then off to a honeymoon of sorts that consisted of holing up in one of the more exclusive suites in the city for a week.

Before that, the last time he touched anything on the DEA schedule was… well. The week before Mrena died. The week he was too busy tailspinning for his own personal reasons to tend to his pack.

He smokes like he knows what he’s doing, though, passes the joint back and lays himself back, stretched out on the floor of the van with his feet still on the ground outside. His eyes close for a while. Then they open and he looks over at his newest sister.

“So how come you’re so quiet tonight?”

[Gabriel Ferreira] The kid is muttering to himself as his brother crosses the room to join him by the table. Gabriel frowns, curious, and casts a glance back over his shoulder at the barefoot blonde who had been speaking with him a few moments ago. Lips form words, and while he is hardly adept at parsing words out of noiseless movement of the mouth, what he can see on the boy’s face tells him that it didn’t go as well as he’d hoped.

That shot glass isn’t tucked away as quickly as he might think it is.

“Jano.”

He comes to stand beside the Theurge, keeping his eyes facing the rest of the room, hands in his pants pockets again now that he’s devoid of a glass to keep them occupied.

“What happened?” he asks, and it’s hard to tell if he’s asking because it’s in the Decent Concerned Brother script or because he actually wants to know.

[Alejandro] “Nothing.” He grumbles, swallows down the vegetables in his mouth. It’s a moment of brief silence and then: “I just wanted to be friends with her and her stupid spirit buddy.” He says, childishly and low to Gabriel. The way he says it makes it clear that he thinks her spirit friend is anything but stupid. A beat later and he’s proving this when he says:

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean that. No spirits are stupid. Not even concrete is stupid, Adam really likes concrete. It can be quite clever.”

[Derek Anderson] His second glass of champagne is empty, he pick another shot of AMF151. He start walknig again, picking up a carrot as he pass near the food table. He downed the shot, feeling a nice buzz by now and keeping it at that. He leave the empty shot glass on the tray and munch on the carrot.

Lukas has left for the moment, possibly to check on Sarita and Amy. Katherine is talking to Adam with Sinclair nearby and the two unknown Garou were talking together. And now another unkown has stepped inside. He looked at his watch and wondered if he should head out. Maybe text Kristen and see if she was still awake and wanted to go out for a late snack or something. Probably not though. The Fianna was probably asleep right now.

He drifted closer to the entrance. He’ll stay a little while longer than get home.

[Katherine Bellamonte] Mirror’s Whisper enters into a glittery — and strangely eclectic in terms of those present — party in full swing. The Galliard Elder has his coat taken by Katherine’s dutiful maid, Lucille at the door, she nods to him and points him inward hanging it up carefully on a hanger.

Down the corridor; the space opens up into Katherine Bellamonte’s white washed dining area. Large black sofas have been pushed outward to make room for guests and three or four waiters are doing tours with trays of food and drink. Asha’s herald, the Kinsman known as Thomas is here, too. A respectable fellow sitting quietly near the hostess, herself. Honor’s Compass, newly minted Adren, is listening to something the Theurge Elder is telling her, her eyes on a bag that seems to contain something of importance.

Katherine notes Matthieu, he gets a bright smile, and a gesture to enter, and make himself at home as Rain of Brass Petals offers Katherine over a beautiful, if broken necklace. Honor’s Compass frowns at the delicate thing in her hands, setting her glass down so she might better cradle it. Her pale eyes quite focused on what the Theurge is attempting to convey.

“Thank you, Adamidas. It is … beautiful. I am very moved you should give this to me, but are you quite sure you wish to part with something so dear to your heart? It was your friend’s, your words are enough.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She grins. “Of course I have a stash. Shit, Lukas, how do you think I keep myself in gas, smokes, fast food and cell phone service?” A little chuckle comes forth, fairly dry as he takes the joint. She’s never been blatant about how she and Amy scrape by, but she never really hid it either. Patrick knows; Hunter and the rest of Defiance know. It’s a psuedo-living, nothing more.

She watches him take the hit, surprised when he handles it like a pro. “Well, ain’t you just hardcore? I’m impressed, boss-man.” She takes it back and takes another hit, eyes wandering up to the sky. She always finds herself looking at the sky for some reason when she doesn’t have anywhere else to go. She’s never gotten why, and she rarely even thinks about it. She’d attribute it to Luna if she did. It’s not why.

And then he asks why she’s so quiet. Her eyes drop from their upward cast and look over at him. She lets the smoke out in a sigh and brings a foot up to rest against the fender, knee against her chest. “Lot on my mind, I guess. Lotta changes, and I know change can be good. Some changes…obviously…very good. I’m ecstatic over. Others…” She looks down the road where Amy’s cab took her. “The two don’t correlate and the reasons behind Amy have little to nothing to do with the rest, but it feels like I traded a sister for four (three) siblings.”

[Sinclair] It’s easy to interact with Sinclair — or even try to say hi to her — and end up feeling like she just isn’t interested. That her pack is enough for her, thanks, she doesn’t quite want or need to get to know anyone else. She ignores kinfolk to the point of it seeming as though she despises them — and she wouldn’t be the first Garou to get to the point of just not wanting to deal with them anymore. Alejandro comes over because he’s heard she has a spirit familiar and he’s really, really interested in being introduced, and Sinclair tells him to chill out and goes to get another drink.

This apparently meant, to Alejandro, that she wasn’t coming back. That she was blowing him off. Hardly. She gets her shot, yells at Adamidas to get one, and then she’s coming back to the food, blinking as she overhears some of what Alejandro tells his brother. She looks amused, downing her third — fourth? — shot and laughing as she comes up, slinging an arm around the wee Theurge.

“See? Desperate freshman vibe. You like the shot?”

[Adamidas] “Wouldn’t do it unless I meant it. And I wouldn’t give it to you unless I’d thought about it, besides I don’t think Hera’s gonna be pissed about the regifting,” she says. Can’t be too serious but… well, the first statement is serious enough to carry her weight, “and if she is she’ll just kick my ass in the homelands and we’ll call it good.”

Because even though Adam’s outlived her friend by a fair bit, Hera will still be able to kick her ass in the homelands.

[Gabriel Ferreira] The look on the older Garou’s face becomes one of enlightenment, as though the word Nothing contains everything that he needs to know. Nothing. Just talking to an older, higher ranked, more experienced Garou and she wasn’t impressed by what she saw. No big deal.

Without waiting to be pressed, without Gabriel even looking over and down at him, Alejandro explains. There’s a snort when he calls her familiar ‘stupid,’ and that’s when Gabriel looks over at him.

“Which one’s Adam?” he asks, looking back to the room.

The tall blue-eyed kinsman is slowly sneaking towards the exit, and Gabriel watches him a moment before yet another tall creature joins the fray. Matthieu, too, is watched a moment, and by process of elimination, he comes to the tiny teenage girl speaking with their elder.

Before he can start teasing the younger Cliath about his choice in female companions, the Glass Walker returns, slinging an arm around him. Gabriel watches, and though he’s being introduced as the boy’s brother, there is not even a whiff of hypermasculine overprotectiveness in him.

Must be the age difference meant he never had to slam another kid into a locker for fucking with his brother growing up.

[Alejandro] “That one,” he points her out just as Sinclair is wandering back over to them. Her laughter is noticed before anything else and he’s half prepared for something that just isn’t there. She’s amused and it isn’t mean-spirited, not that he thought she was being mean just dismissive. There’s none of that though, just an arm around his shoulders and he tilts his head to look first at his brother with a surprised twisting of his lips into that boyish smile of his and then at Sinclair.

See? Desperate freshman vibe. You like the shot?

I found it.. interesting.” A beat and then: “I may require another before I can truly give a fair judgement.”

[Lukas Wyrmbreaker] “That’s me. Hardcore.” Lukas laughs quietly. “Truth is before we came out here we used to run under Kate’s brother Ed. Total prodigal son, a charming wastrel. My best friend for a long, long time … it’s a long story. But he had the hookups. Silver Fangs, nothing but the finest green.”

And then that quiet, and then he’s asking her why so serious, and she’s … telling him. He turns to look at her as she does; follows her eyes down the road, lifting his head to see. Then, laying back again:

“I don’t blame you for feeling like that, but I don’t think it’s quite that. It’s true that with you getting packed up, she might feel a little like what used to be you and her has become you-and-your-pack, and then her on the side. I think it’s always going to be a sort of tension in our lives. We’re not like real wolves, whose families are their packs. We’ve got pack-family. We’ve got blood-family. I think it takes a lot of work and balance and understanding to make it work, and the sad thing is I think a lot of us … don’t really make it work, ever.

“But I don’t think that’s the only reason she seems to be drifting farther away. You told me from the start that your sister’s a wildcard, and even though you love her you don’t really think you’re capable of protecting her and warding her the way you’re ‘supposed to’.” He doesn’t have to make air quotes for Sarita to hear them. “She’s like a kite. As much slack as you feed out, if there’s too much strain the line’s going to snap. And a whole lot of shit went down for her, fast. It wasn’t your fault and there wasn’t anything you could do better than you did.

“I don’t think there’s anything you can do better than you’re doing, either. Try to keep her close. Try to protect her, but … ”

Maybe it’s the booze. Maybe it’s the pot starting to unfurl. Either way, Lukas’s thoughts are loose and languid, drifting easily from one subject to the next.

“I heard from my tribesman that he’s claiming her as a mate. Is she happy with that?”

[Katherine Bellamonte] The Silver Fang laughs; a light, tinkling sound rather like windchimes and honey, it is all sweetness, that noise. You would never believe that the creature making it could rip your heart from your chest while it was still beating with her claws in another form; she is entirely too much of a lady; too demure and composed.

“Well, let’s just say I’m only looking after it for the time being, before one day, it is passed along again.” A moment’s quiet, Katherine looks steadily at Adamidas. She had done a rite of reawakening with the Theurge, once, not so long ago. They’d brought back the new season; seen much.

“In the spirit of honesty, Brass Petals, accept my words to you. You’ve grown a lot since I’ve seen you last, I know there is much that we do not know of one another, but what I have glimpsed makes me quite proud to know of you, to introduce you as the leader of our Theurges in the city. It is not an easy thing, being the one looked to, to make the choices.”

[Sinclair] “Yeah, you totally need more,” Sinclair says, hearing that. She pulls back, clapping him on the shoulder. “Get some more, get trashed. It’s a party and if you’re gonna live here then it’s not like you have to worry about getting home safe.”

Nothing more is said about Tripoli, her stupid spirit friend. She actually heads off on her own again. Adamidas is giving the defiantly sober Katherine a gift, something shiny. Sinclair doesn’t seem terribly invested in getting to know the latest and greatest Silver Fangs in town, and in general she gives Matthieu a wide berth in case he either thinks being a Galliard means she wants to hear him regale her with tales of his ancestors or that being a Glass Walker means he can snit at her. So far he has never done either, so she’s perfectly happy to keep it that way.

And, with a brief moment of eye contact with Kate to let her know she’s slipping out for a bit, Sinclair heads outside in the direction of her only brother and her newest sister.

There is a knock on the van’s door. “OPEN UP!” she hollers. “I KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DOING IN THERE.”

[Adamidas] “You get old, you grow up,” she says. The situation she’s in right now isn’t that different from the one that she was in a year ago. All things considered, though, it’s a world away and a different place in time. She’s not as… well… she’s different now. She’s learned from failure.

“And someone has to make calls, it’s not easy but… ya know… gotta do it,” she says, but she smiles anyway. It’s something sincere and she bites back that little bit of failing to accept a compliment graciously. She mulls it over and reaches up to push some of her own ahir back, “that means a lot to hear, thanks.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She listens to Lukas as she looks down the road. Her eyes don’t leave the path that the cab left down, but she is clearly listening to him, He’s telling her things she already knew, but they haven’t come from anyone else yet. They’ve been in her own mind–rationalizations and blind optimism that she did everything they could, or platitudes from Amy, who is far from reliable lately at being open with how she really feels. So the words from the Shadow Lord are comfort. They reinforce her.

However, it’s not all true. Not to Sarita, and she shakes her head. “I shouldn’t have lied to her about what happened with Hunter and John. I mean, I know that it was for the best. I know that if I’d told her right then and there, I’d have had to keep her on a damn suicide watch for…hell, days, weeks. But she would have trusted me, at least. Now…that’s broken, because I sat there and smiled while she talked about how he was going to be back soon when I knew he was fuckin’ charcoal.”

She shrugs. “I know what you’re saying. Things…they’ll normalize. I just don’t like the way it is right now, and I don’t like how she’s uncomfortable when she comes here. Which isn’t anyone’s fault, really. I’m worried about her and I hate that I can’t help her.”

The van door gets knocked on, and Sarita hears Sinclair yell. She smirks and shouts through the open back door. “Come around, dork. I an’t crawlin’ through the damn thing to open the door when we got a perfectly good open one here.”

She looks back to Lukas now and nods. “Yeah, it’s true. She’s…yes, she’s happy. I personally don’t know that she’s ready to move on after what happened? And I’m still worried for her. But when I talked to her last night…yes, she cares about him, and he cares about her from what she says. That makes her happy, so…” He shrugs.

“I’m gonna make you kick his ass if he hurts her, though. Just FYI.” A faint joke.

[Sinclair] “WHAT?” Sinclair yells back, as though she didn’t hear. But then she’s laughing, and it’s clear that about four AMFs have got her more than a little buzzed. “Fuck me,” she says, and tromps around to the side door, crawling in like her legs stopped working right as she got to the carpeted edge. She sniffs. “You guys are smoking weed.”

Nevermind that they have the joint out still. She is only using her keen powers of nasal perception. Yup.

[Gabriel Ferreira] “Try not to get too drunk, huh?” Gabriel asks the Theurge, after the Fostern has left to find the rest of her pack. It’s a rhetorical question. “As cute a story as it would be for the grandchildren, if I have to clean blue vomit off of anything I will not be happy.”

The entire time they’ve been in each others’ presence, Resurrection hasn’t shown himself to have much of a sense of humor. Granted, when they first met after however long their previous absence had been, the Philodox had been half-starved and definitely crazed after spending Gaia knows how long hunting the Umbra for a creature of whom he only had scent memory to guide him. He wasn’t cracking a whole hell of a lot of jokes after that.

Tonight it’s a full moon. That certainly isn’t helping.

He claps his ring-bearing hand on the shorter boy’s shoulder, then picks up a pair of champagne flutes from wherever the booze station is. Apparently he’d learned that the best way to approach wallflower Kinfolk is with alcohol in hand; he approaches Derek slowly, careful not to make eye contact least his Rage give the kinsman the impression that he’s undergoing trepanation.

“Here,” he says, handing one of the flutes to Derek before he can sneak out. “This will make the entire affair less painful.”

[Alejandro] He totally needs more, so he totally goes to get more. It’s with a grin to his brother and a nod of his head. “I’ll try not to! But I also may try to get a little drunk, I’m awful curious.”

And he scampers off to collect a pair of shots. These ones he eyes like they’ve got promise rather than any unknown threat. He takes them both over to Adam and Kate, offers one of them to the Theurge.

“Hi Adam!” He beams. “You can have one of these if you would like.”

[Lukas Wyrmbreaker] “No, you shouldn’t have lied to her.” There’s this, at least: his blunt honesty has a sort of gentleness to it. “That’s what I think, anyway. But at least you lied because you loved her, not because it made your life easier.”

Sarita talks about Stefan, though, about Amy being happy, about Stefan caring about her. A flicker goes through the Ahroun’s eyes. He’s on the verge of answering when Sinclair bangs on the door and then crawls in the back, making him laugh quietly, reach out, grab her in a bearhug and tumble her down.

“You bet your ass we’re smoking pot in here. Here, let me have another hit.”

And taking it, exhaling it, he goes back to the subject — not bothering to backtrack for Sinclair, figuring she’s bright enough to pick up on the gist even if she’s packed down godknowshowmany AMFs.

“The thing is,” he says, “I am a little worried that Stefan might hurt Amy. Maybe not on purpose. Everything I’ve seen and heard about him says he’s an upstanding Garou, does things right. Does things by the book. But that’s sort of the problem. My mate — who reads people like I read books — thinks maybe nothing’s really there under the surface. Like he’s just … cold and barren inside, just going through all the motions the way he was taught without feeling any of it. Without feeling for any of it, maybe.

“And then there’s this whole business about him apparently doing something so shocking and hush-hush that Defiance might not want to pack with him anymore.” Lukas shrugs the best he can, flat on his back as he is. “I don’t know. I don’t want to smear a Garou’s good name on nothing but conjecture and rumors, and I haven’t had the time to followup on anything yet. But she’s your sister, and you’re my sister. I just think … maybe for a while at least, keep a bit of an eye on her. Even if she’s not technically your concern anymore.”

[Derek Anderson] He had been about to move toward Kate, thank her ofr the party and get out when one of the three unknown Garou stopped near and offered him a flute of champagne. Now, he could be impolite and refuse, bid good night and run home or he could be the proper Silver Fang kin, smile politly with a nod of the head and say

“Thank you, and yeah, I guess it helps” He took the flute

“How are you doing Sir?”He say very polite. He didn’t knew the man, so he didn’t dare being too friendly “My name’s Derek by the way” He say offering his hand to him. He didn’t need to tell him of his tribe. He knew the man could msell him and beside that, he was the only kin, obviously not one of ladies mate, so technically he must be of Kate’s tribe.

“Are oyu new to the city or we just haven’t crossed path?”

[Adamidas] “Oh kick ass,” there is a shot brought to her and she perks up. Half flesh, and she’s content to live in it. Pay homage to it, attempt to beat her liver into submission with whatever Alejandro has in his hand because it goes straight to her lips and down the hatch. Pride keeps her head from swimming but pride also tells her to drink more, which is usually how you end up playing chicken fight in swimming pools and waking up bound to a completely foreign totem.

“Thanks. You having fun?”

A moment.

“We should play, like, Apples to Apples or something. Best game ever.”

[Sinclair] Sinclair has no idea what they’re talking about in here right now. She has only the barest knowledge of Sarita’s troubles with her sister, she never met Drawn in Blood that she can recall, she has only dim awareness of what happened to him and as a rule she avoids thinking about, talking about, or dealing with the pack that is now Defiance, was once the Vanguard. She crawls into the van on her hands and knees, is grabbed,

“Ack,” she says blandly, “ack. Ack.” And flops down.

Lukas leaves her there, gets another hit. Sinclair rolls onto her back and stares at the roof of Sarita’s van thoughtfully, her knees bent and her feet akimbo and her hands on her belly. She listens. “You should talk to Kate about Gabriella,” she says, after Lukas has finished talking for a minute.

Her arm lifts. She snaps her fingers. “GIVE A GIRL A JOINT. Joint. Jointjointjoint.”

[Katherine Bellamonte] The Theurge brings over more shots, and Katherine accepts one with a little smile from the Cliath. She clinks the glass against the Theurge elder and downs it; grimacing briefly.

“Oh,” Katherine says with pink-cheeked enthusiasm. “We have a great mass of games somewhere. On those machines upstairs that Sinclair yells at frequently when she uses them. I also purchased — ” A little hiccup. Katherine covers her mouth, apology never looked so sincere. Continues. “Some gear for the pool so they can play water tennis or something in there. The net just needs affixing.”

[Alejandro] “I am!” He says and tips his own shot back, albeit slightly more delicately so than his Auspice Elder. There’s a brief moment of silence where there’s confusion and indecision on his face before he blurts out:

“What’s Apples to Apples?! Let’s play. It doesn’t matter what it is.” A pause and he fidgets with his ill-fitted suit, plucks at it like it’s constricting him — which it is — followed by: “We must.”

And then there’s more games. Upstairs apparently. “Let’s go explore, Adam.”

[Matthieu] Matthieu enters the house with a pleasant smile. He was a naturally charming individual, he did not necessarily radiate the intense heat of rage that so many others did. Make no mistake those eyes burned with passion and fury alike but that smile showed control. Matthieu was not some savage wild beast he was a beast in complete control of his faculties. This was part of what made one a Silver Fang the ability to exert complete control at all times. To never let your temper flare past a certain point, to never lose your cool unless it was warranted. Matthieu might as well have had a red carpet rolled out before him by the way he strode across the floor and greeted his host with the warmest of smiles. In his hands a small box was held firmly and close to himself. The box itself was hard wood and polished, it was quite decorative but likely not what the Galliard had intended as a gift for the eldest of his tribe within the city.

He came upon his hostess and took the time to greet all in the room with a polite and friendly smile though his intention was in greeting the hostess first. She was his direct elder and was this not a celebration of her achievements? Silver Fang achievements were special affairs. Not to belittle or speak down to the other tribes but when a Silver Fang reached a milestone in their life it was simply grander than that of the average garou. Certainly the other tribes would argue otherwise but if there is one thing that a Silver Fang is used to it is resistance from the other tribes. It doesn’t mean the other tribes aren’t impressive in their own right it is just that Silver Fangs hold themselves to a higher standard than the other tribes. Matthieu has tried to lecture the others in these matters but rarely do they seem to hear him. No only a Silver Fang can truly understand.

He waits until she turns to face him or greet him or otherwise acknowledge his presence. He does not with to impose or intrude in the middle of his elder’s party! When she does turn her attention back towards him he finally speaks in a proud and carefully practiced voice.”Katherine Bellamonte, Truth’s Meridian, Honor’s Compass there are few in the region who have not heard of your ascent. Allow me to honor you Rhya with a gift sent by my own father to celebrate this momentous occasion.”He says this while presenting the box, which was roughly five by five inches on a side and roughly four inches high. The hard wood was held together by hand crafted metalwork and the box itself looked as if it could be older than Chicago itself. A tiny latch held the box closed, and the top of the box held two markings denoting the Silver fang tribe as well as the glyph of the Half Moon.

“We all work hard in our lives Rhya but the rise to Adren is a symbol that few achieve. No longer are you a young woman working to make her way in the world your voice will carry itself within our tribe and nation. For when an Adren speaks even the most stubborn of elders will stop to listen and those cliaths foolish enough not to hear the wisdom spoken from her lips will soon learn to regret their decision.”He adds in the warmest of tones to his elder. His smile shows through and he allows her to take the box before stepping backwards and folding his hands neatly before him.

Matthieu was dressed surprisingly well. It was hard to pick out the designer, however, unless one was familiar with local designers. Everything he wore was custom tailored and each and every thread was carefully placed to fit his figure perfectly. Simply looking at him revealed that he must have spent two hours getting ready for this affair. Appearance was important it showed honor and respect for ones peers. To appear disheveled and worn in the company of others showed a lack of respect for oneself as well as their peers. Matthieu was old money, tradition, well bred and trained. The last thing he would ever wish to do is appear as anything less than who he was.

[Gabriel Ferreira] The flute changes hands, and the strange, Rage-heavy Garou lifts the one remaining in a silent toast before taking a sip. Sir, he calls him, and this doesn’t strike him nearly as strange as it likely ought to. It’s analogous to a civilian referring to a Private First Class as ‘sir,’ but Gabriel doesn’t correct him, or mock him.

He folds his lips to get the moisture off of them and answers, “No complaints, yet.”

His name’s Derek, by the way.

They shake, the Garou’s hand dry yet powerfully warm.

“Gabriel,” he says, yet it is not pronounced as though he was born in America, to American parents; it’s a rounder ‘a,’ stress on the last syllable rather than the first, though he himself does not seem to have much of an accent. “Pleasure, Derek.”

In the scant amount of time that Derek spends asking his question, the slightly shorter male takes another belt off of his flute. He doesn’t have the typical Full Moon’s social awkwardness or the typical Gibbous Moon’s propensity for long-winded speech, yet his Rage would suggest he could easily be either of those auspices.

“Both, it seems. My brother–” He turns towards the rest of the room, briefly, to point out the floppy-haired blond who’s about to disappear with the Theurge Elder. “–and I just arrived this week.” He turns away from the room again to ask, “So which one’s yours?”

[Adamidas] “No no no, that’s water volley ball. If it was tennis then you’d have raquets and the ball would have to bounce and I don’t think I wanna play water volley ball with Lukas because he looks like he has a seriously good vertical leap and spiking the ball could cause a concussion and I don’t want to, like, drown while playing volleyball. It’s not that important.”

She grinned, and her expression is surprisingly mellow. She’s not a very heavy person, she didn’t eat much today and despite her bravado, Adam doesn’t do this often. It seems that her ability to drink, much like a lot of things about her, happen to be directly tied to her strength of will and her strength of purpose. Her purpose tonight, it seemed, wasn’t to look like a badass while drinking. It was to celebrate Kate and get shitfaced.

“And it’s a word game! There are cards and you have a hand of them, right? And someone throws down a word- an adjective specifically, and you have to throw down nouns that match that adjective. It’s really, really fun and I promise it’s not half as lame as it sounds.”

He wants to explode. Can they explore?

“It’s Kate’s house!”
Ergo, Kate’s call.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She’s already had another hit by time Lukas calls for it, and she passes it over. Sinclair gets a grin when she makes her keen observation. “Good call.”

She looks at the Ahroun when he says she shouldn’t have lied. She doesn’t take it as reproach, just as agreement. She gives a frown though, when Lukas talks about Stefan. Well, he is a pretty crazy sunovabitch. Yeah, but Sarita doesn’t know that. Dude, it’s right on his freaking sheet! You mean that thing that Sarita doesn’t have access to? Oh…yeah, right. Exactly.

The Strider listens, and she shakes her head. “Thaaaat’s encouraging.” She considers. “She seems to think he’s good for her. I can’t say I trust her judgment right now, but she seemed to trust him before this whole shitstorm of doom fell on her like a freaking Rube Goldberg-esque Jigsaw trap of melancholy and Fall-Out Boy songs. Thanks…I’ll keep an eye on her.”

She pauses. “But then, I was gonna keep an eye on her anyway. Assuming we both make it that far, I’m pretty sure I’ll be keeping an eye out on her from the nursing home. Metaphorically speaking.”

[Derek Anderson] He shook the hand firmly and briefly “It’s a pleasure as well”He drank some more from the flute, listening to Gabriel talking. “So ALejandro is your brother?”

His eyes look in the same direction as Gabriel, watching them too. “He kind of told me his name in passing earlier”he say with a lgiht shrugh. The young Garou seemed energitic. His attention return on the older brother

“Which one’s is mine what? Family? None, I come from Pittsburgh, mate? None either” After all one was taken, one was either possibly gay or jsut kin hateful and another was crazy…maybe two of them were. Adam seemed to be in her own world sometimes. “Katheirne is my guardian as she is tribe elder”

He simply say, drinking some more champagne.

[Lukas Wyrmbreaker] “And that’s why you’re a good sister,” Lukas concludes, laughing, “even if you feel like a shitty one right now.”

Serious again, “I mean that. I got lucky with my sister. A lot of Garou with siblings end up a lot worse off. Kate, for one. Rebellion, self-endangerment, heartbreak, you name it. Most of them handle it by either severing all ties or locking their loved ones up. It’s nice to see that you have the courage to just let her make her own mistakes. You’re just there for her if she wants you. If not, you don’t push it, and you make it clear that her mistakes are her own responsibility.”

Lukas doesn’t know where, exactly, that train of thought is going. He lets it go, tucking one hand behind his head. Quiet now.

After a while, “Is Kate still entertaining in there?”

[Katherine Bellamonte] Honor’s Compass takes the box from her Cousin with a due amount of tenderness. The Galliard’s father had sent it, and Katherine admires it from every angle, sweeping a hand over the carved Glyphs atop it before raising her head to listen, head slightly tilted to everything the newly anointed Galliard Elder says to her.

Pink cheeks, flushed with drink and accomplishment, further color and she offers a hand up to her Cousin in thanks.

“Your father does me great honor, Mirror’s Whisper in sending such a token, please do pass on my most sincere thanks to him for this gift, and thank you for coming tonight. I am glad to see my tribe doing so well in Chicago. It brings me a great amount of happiness. I hope you will stay, and meet some of our new Cousins.”

Katherine inclines her head at Alejandro. “This is Alejandro Seeks the Horizon, his brother is over by our Kinsman there, his name is Gabriel, another Half Moon as myself.” They want to explore, Katherine smiles. “You are welcome to adventure where you do, but be careful on the stairs.”

[Gabriel Ferreira] So Alejandro is your brother?

The noise Gabriel makes is quarantined to his throat, an affirmation that doesn’t seem to believe it needs to validate the situation with an actual verbal response. Perhaps he’s just loathe to admit it, yet there is nothing outwardly wrong with the Theurge that would garner such a reaction. His renown, endowed with it as he is, is impressive for someone so young. One would think the teenager’s family would be pleased with him.

The rest of the family isn’t present, though, so all Derek has is his older brother. He looks, more than anything else, weary, as though Alejandro is seven instead of seventeen.

No family present. No mate. Katherine is his guardian, as she’s tribe elder.

“So I hear.”

He’s putting a mighty rapid dent in his champagne.

“How’s a guy like you get away with no mate?” he asks.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Thanks. Kinda just the way it had been. I could only get away with zip-tying her in her sleep once.” She’s grinning. But she’s serious, too. It’s a long story.

She scrubs at her face, then looks at the house. “I haven’t seen anyone come out, so either she’s entertaining, everyone passed out or everyone drowned in the pool. Those are about the options I see.”

[Sinclair] “I don’t have any brudders or sisters,” Sinclair informs them, slurring a bit. “I have cousins, but they’re not as bad.” She might be talking to the van’s ceiling. Nobody has given her a joint so her hand has flopped back down on her stomach.

“I think the pack-family is more important for that,” she muses, but she wasn’t here earlier, she doesn’t know that Lukas talked about pack families and families before. “For that… siblingish thing. S’like brothers and sisters, they’re s’posed to know you, nobody else in the world has really had a life like you’ve had or somefing, an they know you or somefing and so they get it. You know? They just… get stuff.

“But we aren’t really gonna have that same kinda close thing with Kin, even if they’re like, our twin. You wanna know a sad story I’ll tell you ’bout some twins an one of ’em changed and one of ’em didn’t and it’s just… ”

There are tears in her eyes. She closes them for a moment. Opens them again. “I dunnow,” she says, quieter. “There’s definitely stuff you can’t get from pack, though. Can’t get from anyone but Kin, anI’m not just talking bout sex or something, I’m not, it’s… y’know there’s reasons.”

A beat. “There’s reasons we have em and need em it sure isn’t to clean up our messes or be all badass with us in battle or be our stupid heralds and servants or babydaddies or something, it’s just something else and so I’m really meaning it when I say you should talk to Kate because if you don’t wanna lose your sister, if you don’t –”

Sinclair is crying now, the tears rolling out of her eyes and down the sides of her face, off her temples, hitting the van’s carpeting. “If you don’t wanna lose her. Cuz it’s so easy to lose them.”

She squeezes her eyes shut, and opens them after she’s pushed out the rest of the tears that came so quickly and so unbidden. She takes a breath, and exhales, and seems to be done.

“Alcohol makes people sad,” she concludes.

[Katherine Bellamonte] Amendment:

Katherine then does open the box.

[Alejandro] “Hello!” Matt gets from Alejandro, just as cheery as usual. He’s a short boy, hair that isn’t so much floppy as it is unruly. But it flops in places, so there is that. He would say more; maybe he would give Matt a proper introduction, he really would like to but Kate told them they can explore [explode].

“I like the sound of this game Adam, this apples to apples. Let us see if we can find it in this wonderful home.”

He scoops up another shot and drinks it rather clumsily before literally running off into the house. He’s a menace, he’s going to break something, he is definitely not going to be careful on the stairs.

[Derek Anderson] He tilted his heaad at Gabriel’s comment “Ha, well either I”m too fragile or just ont the type for some people.” He grinned “It’s ok really. I’m not comlaining at the moment. Seem like I just haven’t found the right person or more probably haven’t been found by said person.”After all usually kin don’t choose, they are chosen.

He drank some more “Also, maybe my work keep peopel at bay. I”m a detective. Many memebers of the Nation are doing dubious things related to mortal laws. Maybe some think I”ll actually try to arest them or I”ll be offended or something” He shrugh “Whatever it is, I guess eventually i’ll change and I”ll be mated. Or I’ll die doing my duties first. Whatever happens, happens right?”

[Gabriel Ferreira] Whatever, his hair is floppy.

[Adamidas] “He’s going to break his faaaace and it’s not my faaauuult-” she says as she’s standing up and heading off to follow Alejandro. She’s decidedly less graceful at this moment, but she’s also loud and-

Oh, wait, being loud isn’t a good thing.

[Gabriel Ferreira] “Don’t run in the house.

He doesn’t yell, but the Philodox’s voice carries quite a bit further than one would suspect it to be capable of doing. It’s the clapping of Alejandro’s shoes that has him briefly turning his head to issue that matronly warning, and then Derek is answering him.

What he says has Gabriel watching him a bit longer than might be comfortable for the kinsman, or for anyone who happens to be looking over at them at the time. He’s silent, mulling this over, blue eyes drifting from blue only when champagne flutes are lifted, and Derek continues on.

“Right,” he confirms. His flute is becoming dangerously empty, and that AMF is starting to creep into his veins like a pernicious reminder that he isn’t impervious to a few things: balefire, silver, and drinks mixed by Shadow Lords. At least he’s not crying, yet. “You said you’re a detective?” A pause for confirmation. “I can see that intimidating certain females.”

[Matthieu] “My Great great great great great great great grandfather was Joseph Louis II known to the nation as Judgement’s Hand a Half-Moon like yourself though he died an elder, something which I look forward to seeing you achieve. He was a staunch believer in the Garou nation and it’s merits but he could also see it’s flaws.”He says back to her before turning his attention to the other two and greeting each with a polite bow.”Well then I shall have to take a moment after we are through here and properly introduce myself to them all!”

“Judgement’s Hand was not a warrior like his father he was a thinker, and a planner. He knew that we could not rule this nation by might of arms alone. He would be the first to tell you that our laws must be held sacred as the unifying force of our society and as a result there should be no one individual above those laws. Whether he be your king or your own mate justice must be blind to personal opinion.”He continues.

“In this he helped to forge the strength of my own house and sought to open himself up as a judge, not just to Silver Fangs but to all tribes.”He says with a nod of his head.”As Europe head forcefully into the reformation he too helped to reform our own peoples ways and to make certain justice was blind to position and tribe. All garou must have faith in our laws or our society cannot function.”He speaks of his ancestor with such pride, and why shouldn’t he be? Each one has his own stories and tales to tell. So much to share.”You may not be his descendant but he would be proud to know you share his moon, and I am sure one day when you too pass from this world he will be glad to welcome you as a friend.”He says with the warmest little smile.

Inside the box she would find tiny white carvings, each individual piece was rather smooth, and shaped with enough imperfections to imply it was indeed crafted by an artisan who did not have the machinery of today on his side. Half the pieces were red, and the other pieces were white. Anyone familiar with the game of Chess would recognize these pieces as exactly that! Only very very very old pieces.

“He loved the game of Chess, it’s current incarnation came into being within his lifetime and he liked to believe that while it was the Full Moon’s place to rule the battlefield it was the Half Moon whose careful mind saw what the, often brash, full moon could not. In that sense he regularly challenged his peers in order to challenge their minds… In this way garou might become greater for stopping to utilize all their strengths.”He adds in a softer tone.”So in that sense I feel this would be best gifted to you. Might you continue to improve strength of mind, body, and spirit to honor your own ancestors as well as my own.”He finally concludes.

“You will need to find your own board. The original board was destroyed almost three hundred years ago.”He adds with a little laugh.”His granddaughter was not so even tempered as he.”

[Lukas Wyrmbreaker] [fuck, i misread sarita’s post. i thought she passed the joint to sinclair, not lukas. lukas woulda passed it to sinclair! ohwell. *rolls with it* apparently he’s just TOO DRUNK AND STONED.]

[Lukas Wyrmbreaker] “Hey.” Lukas pushes himself up on his elbows, alarmed. “Hey, hey.”

It’s somewhere between awkward and natural, the way he pulls Sinclair against him. He doesn’t tell her not to cry. That seems at once pointless and insulting. He just — hugs her. Sidehugs her, and lets her to cry it out. The joint is still smouldering in his hand. He’s forgotten about it. It’s possible he thinks he passed it to Sinclair already.

“No it doesn’t,” he disagrees when Sinclair concludes that alcohol makes people sad. And this sounds very wise to him right now: “It just makes you stop hiding the sad.

“You should, though.” He’s talking to Sarita now. “Talk to Kate, I mean. She has a sister, Gabriella, who was one of those nightmare kin siblings I talked about. It was … hellish on all of us, but especially on her, to go through that. I think you’re doing better with your sister, but you should still talk to her. She probably has insight I don’t.”

[Derek Anderson] He blinked when the man yelled at his younger brother then the man stared at him. And osmehow, Derek seemed almsot entirely comfortable during that time. After all, he’s the one who enjoys the companie of a crazy Strider Ragabash and actually is fascinated by Sinclair and the predator feel about her. If he could, and it would never happen, he would sit and talk with the Glass Walker for hour despire the feeling, or play vdeo games or what not.

Maybe he wascrazy himself but he didn’t mind danger or feeling fear or discomfort. Maybe that’s why he was a cop or maybe being a cop helped him dealing with those feelings, then again, maybe he was starting to feel drunk and had those crazy thoughts and rationalization.

Either way, he didn’t squirm or look away. He wasn’t bold enough to look the man in the eyes, but if allowed, he probably would “Yes, I”m a detective”He confirm to the man before chuckling at his next comment

“Seriously, my job can’t be intimidating ot a woman who can turn into a 10 feet killing machine and withstand bullets, blades and jsut about everthing else”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] Her face falls when she hears Sinclair’s voice start to go in that direction. It’s not just the voice…sometimes, there’s a feeling like something in the air. Like ozone before lightning strikes, the hair on the back of your neck. And most of the time, you’re as powerless to stop it as you would be to stop a thunder storm.

And then the tears come. And much like Lukas, Sarita hugs Sinclair from the other side. She doesn’t say anything. She just nods in agreement to Lukas and Sinclair’s advice.

[Katherine Bellamonte] Gabriel’s voice carries a warning and Katherine’s eyes flick his way instantly as it issues such; there is caution enough in that. Her eyes on him; the pale blue conveying the silent reminder. My house, my rules. Yet she does not openly reprimand him, for it does not demand such, yet. He is a brother, cautioning another — she cannot openly fault him for it.

She returns her interest to Matthieu, and carefully extracts a chess piece to admire its craftsmanship before setting it back inside with sincere regard. “Thank you, Matthieu, they are — ” a moment, she cannot find a suitable way to word it, settles, rather than finds.

“Quite lovely. I shall treasure them.”

[Alejandro] Don’t run in the house.

He doesn’t look over his shoulder, but he does suddenly turn his frantic bounding into a very fast paced and awkward walk. He tries on the mask of innocence, like he had never been running in the first place. Adam catches up and then he’s off again, up the stairs and he trips but that’s okay, and he hurts his knee but that’s also okay.

Up and onwards. It would be easy to think that if he scraped himself on the concrete he’d laugh, but if he fell over on the grass he would definitely cry.

What he emerges to is.. well it’s: “This is awesome!” He says to Adam, “Look at all this stuff.” There’s couches and bean bags and gym equipment he’s not really sure what to do with.

“Where do you think Apples to Apples would be?”

[Matthieu] He nods his head back to her.”I did not feel it appropriate not to measure this milestone in your life without something worthy of that moment. I am sure Judgement’s Hand will be honored to know they are safe in your care.”He adds with a little nod of his head.”But enough of that, I suppose I should run and mingle. Seems we’ve had quite an influx of newcomers and I should like to have to chance to meet each and every one.”He continues in a soft and controlled voice. He was practiced so far as speech came. Though he could be wordy each word was spoken in a manner intended to invoke emotions or lead a conversation in one way or another.

He so loved to invoke the names of heroes, or dreams, or beauty and passion. He was a Galliard and his voice was intended to inspire the hopes and dreams of a tribe lay with him and the hopes and dreams of a nation lay with his tribe.

[Gabriel Ferreira] Katherine attempts to shoot a look of warning to the male nagging his younger brother, but for the brief amount of time that the Cliath’s head is turned, he only spares her a few seconds of eye contact.

There is no challenge in it, but neither is there apology. Blood precludes property.

If Derek gets the impression that the Philodox isn’t used to the amount of Rage he has to carry with him, or that he just doesn’t care what sort of effect it has on the Kinfolk with whom he speaks, he wouldn’t be that far off. It seems unwieldy but nothing he can’t handle, like an extra weight slung across his shoulders. He isn’t a broad man, yet Gabriel looks as though his strength is belied by his build. It’s in the way he carries himself versus the muscle strapped to his bones.

“Not your job,” he says. “What it takes to do your job. Garou don’t know what to do with smart Kinfolk, man. They exist, but they’re so uncommon they’ve almost been classified as myths by now.”

He drains his glass.

“Plus, you don’t seem like you take a lot of shit.”

[Sinclair] The truth is, to some extent it makes her feel weak. Like when the moon wanes — as it will again, soon — and Lukas and Kate tend to flank her, subtly and thoughtlessly, as though they don’t even realize they’re doing it. But this is worse, because she’s not actually weak, she’s just drunk and she wants to tell Lukas he’s wrong, that she doesn’t give a fuck if she can’t be around Kinfolk — her own parents, even — for more than a few minutes, she’s over that, it’s fine, she left that behind after the solstice because she just gave up

but the truth is also this: she’s trying so hard not to give up, and now Asha’s dead too and she’s just getting so goddamned tired of being miserable.

It doesn’t mean that when Lukas and Sarita both end up hauling her up off the floor of the van and hugging her, one to either side, that she doesn’t just bawl that much more, suddenly renewed when a minute ago it looked like she was going to stop at the conclusion that alcohol can be blamed for just about anything.

Except her sadness, which is very real, and isn’t going away, and will not be reburied. And it’s not like she didn’t warn Sarita. It’s not like Lukas hasn’t been there, unaware for the longest time of what she was dealing with or how profoundly it had affected her.

In any case. The long and short of it is that in a van that smells like weed, she cries her stupid heart out until she starts wiping at her face and at least tonight she wasn’t wearing a ton of eye makeup so there’s that, but she reaches over and takes the joint from Lukas and says,

“I don’t even remember how to do this,” she says.

[Derek Anderson] He finished his champagne and smiled “I odn’t know how smart I am really. Doesn’t seem like it some times” He shook his head “And maybe I don’t take shit much either. I learned to stand ofr others and it made me able to stand for myself as well. I mean, I know my place and will be respectful, but I will talk back some if a true born lack respect toward me for no reasons

I has happened last week, will probably happen again. I”m not pretenting I”m on an even keel that you or any others. But I refuse to be treated like I’m totally inferior either. I jsut know what I can and can’t do and think tht despite the fact I’m not a true warrior of Gaia, but I”m still a person and deserve to be treated as such

Might sound pretentious, but I know my own worth”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] Sinclair did warn Sarita. And that’s probably why she saw it coming. She doesn’t complain, doesn’t do anything except comfort her. That’s what Sinclair needs. Well, what she needs more specifically is to come back from the brink. But for now, Sarita is just here to comfort. So she does exactly that, silently and supportively.

She only pulls away when Sinclair is done, and even then only just.

[Lukas Wyrmbreaker] And Lukas laughs at that, gently. And gently, he takes that joint from Sinclair, holds it between thumb and forefinger, raising his eyebrows demonstratively.

“Like this,” he says. There’s an irony to this: the Shadow Lord in his fine threads, teaching the tattooed and pierced Glass Walker how to take a hit. But he does it anyway: fits the joint to his mouth, brow furrowing as he inhales

and passes it to her. A little choked, holding the smoke in, “See? Easy.”

[Adamidas] “Hey,” she says, once she gets a look at a window. They’re at a party, sure, but Adam’s a little tipsy. And the moon is so big… and bright… and pretty. And she just looks at it for the time being. She takes a few steps over and taps Alejandro with one of her arms. There’s a smile on her face, and it’s wonder whaen she looks at the moon.

Genuine wonder. Like she’s seeing it for the first time. It’s never been there before, so close. Like she could touch it if she tried.

“It’s a clear enough night,” she tells him, “the path will be bright enough, I think we can make it.”

She looks back at Luna. He’ll know what she means. She has faith.

[Gabriel Ferreira] Will wonders never cease: a Kinfolk speaks, at length, and the Garou doesn’t cut him off, doesn’t make faces or roll his eyes or seem as though he’d rather be balancing his checkbook or reading over his stock portfolio or whatever it is upper middle-class people do with their free time. Whether Derek is able to meet his gaze or not, Gabriel keeps watching him, right hand pocketed, left arm extended with the flute lazily dangling from his fingers.

“Yeah, well,” he says, glancing at his flute to reveal that yes, indeed, it is still empty, “piece of advice: stop giving a fuck if people find you pretentious. You spin it right, you’re confident. Confidence makes up for a lot, you know? You can be the dumbest mother fucker in the room but if you know what you’re doing and act like it, people respect that.”

He’s cut off; no more goddamn champagne.

“Here,” he says, and reaches for Derek’s likewise empty glass. “You leaving?”

[Sinclair] She’s no stranger to weed. But they’re more like distant acquaintances, struggling to remember one another’s name at a party. Oh right, you! Shit, man, how have you been? What you been up to?

Y’know, a little of this, a little of that.

She takes the hit, with a little bit of help to remember how to do this after a very, very long time. And she manages to get a nice long drag off of it, holds it longer than a virgin, finally exhales

and has a coughing fit. “Puddin’ and pie,” she responds, gravelly.

[Alejandro] He wanders over to the window beside Adam and he looks up at the moon that is just so close tonight. It’s right there, they’re both right here. He told her once that he has seen the moon from the other side, but there are so many sides he hasn’t seen it from. He hasn’t touched it and right now he just wants to crawl up inside it and just be.

She taps him on the arm, says those words.

“We can.” He agrees, without doubt. “We shall.” His hand takes hers, and —

woosh

They disappear.

[Derek Anderson] He nodded to the man and did meet his eyes. Nothing about Gabriel indicated that the Garou would take offense.

“I’ll consider your words Gabriel. It’s just that there’s a thin line betwen confidence and insolence sometime. I seen Kin coss it and seen true born having difficulties to make the distinction in kin behavior. Still you’re right. I’ll act how I see fit, the way I wasraised and if someone take slight of it, they can tell me about it or go over my head and seek Katherine.

Or they can be nasty and I”ll deal with it as it should be” He shrugh “Either way, I’ll know I wasn’t wrong. Hopefully”

Her grin slightly and let Gabriel take the empty glas “I think it’s time I should go. Seem like almsot everyone is gone anyway”He say looking around. Only Kahterine and the other guy were left beside Gabriel and him

“It was really nice meeting you Gabriel”

[Katherine Bellamonte] The Theurges vanish — nobody is surprised.

The Unbroken members are found together outside, huddled within a van — this is no shock.

Honor’s Compass does not, as her deed-name would suggest, deviate from her duties as hostess until every last one of her guests and hired waiting staff are long since departed, and in the latter’s sense, paid their due. She takes those precious gifts given to her inside her own bedroom and into her closet, pressing aside wall space to find her safe. They are put thus within, as important to the Half Moon as those things already within it.

Those those linger are welcome, food continues, as does drink until all are content.

Thomas aids Lucille and Katherine, in cleaning away dishes and glasses, the Adren gossiping with her maid as if she were still a child, and the elder woman her nearest notion of safety.

[Gabriel Ferreira] [Thanks for the scene, you maniacs!]

[Alejandro] [Thanks for the scene peeps!]

[Derek Anderson] (thank you all)

[Katherine Bellamonte] [thanks guys! :] ]

[Lukas Wyrmbreaker] [i’m out too! lukas is just gonna … like … pass out or something.]=

Ale, Alejandro

[Lukas] Air pressure suddenly bulges on their eardrums — the equilibrium of the building rapidly offset by someone phasing into reality somewhere. There are footsteps up above. Then Lukas descends from the third story, face taut, eyes glittering. It’s the first time anyone’s seen him since Asha’s Gathering. For some, it’s simply the first time they’ve seen him, period.

He looks at them a moment, nods voicelessly to the newcomers, and then turns out of the common area. A moment later Room 2’s door unlocks, opens, closes.

[Gabriel Ferreira] It’s a sign of self-preservation that the Cub watches the largest creature in the room as he moves. A few feet diverted and he would be going for her neck, perhaps, more likely her throat. As tends to occur, there is always, without fail, something larger and meaner and deadlier lurking beyond the limits of one’s sight; for right now, the taller of the males happens to be the largest, meanest, deadliest thing in the room.

Seeing that wince come across his brother’s face doesn’t make him let up immediately, but after a time, the larger male loosens his grip and rocks off of his haunches to stand at his full height. That’s about the time that someone steps across the Gauntlet, thumping down the stairwell with grief writ onto his face, splashed in his eyes. The Rage-heavy Philodox returns the nod, eyes downcast yet head aloft, and waits until he has left the room before he plants his hands on his hips and looks to Adara.

“Was she–” A jerked chin towards Jocelyn. “–in the Umbra with my brother for long?”

[Adara Mires] She frowned at Gabriel “Who Jocelyn? No, she hasn’t been there to best of my knowledge. She arrived a while before your brother did and she arrived through the entrance, the usual way” She look at him “She hasn’t seen your brother until he popped in”

She look at Joce “I asked you if you were ok girl. You’ve been terribly quiet.” She frowned and got up when she saw Lukas walking by without a word. She got up “Well people, you have jsut met Cold Victory Rhya, Shadow Lord Adren and Elder of the city. Now if you excuse me” She said to th Fangs and the cub “I might be back later”

She heaed into her room and changed into jeans and t-shirt. Meeting the Adren with sweats on and braless in a tank top wasn’t really her idea of being taken seriously. She stepped out of her room in jeans, t-shirt with a bra underneat and her feet were covered with socks.

She heaed to room 2 and gently knocked on the door “Lukas?”She say softly but loud enough to be heard “I don’t want to bother you, but I was wondering if I could have a few minutes of your time”

[Jocelyn Burkhard] She looks vaguely irritated. As irritated as she can, standing there all cute and vapid and wearing a kitty hat.

“I’m right here, you know. You shouldn’t talk about me like I’m not in the room.”

[Alejandro] “What?! I didn’t–” He’s cut off because Adara explains it far better than the boy sitting on the couch ever could. His eyes had followed the movements of the Shadow Lord through the common room, and he doesn’t exactly seem surprised when Adara tells them what his name is, what his rank is and position in the city.

“She’s right you know..” Alejandro muses, gaze drifting away from the door of room two where Adara seeks audience with the War Leader. “We shouldn’t ignore her just because she’s a cub Gabriel.”

[Gabriel Ferreira] He doesn’t whip toward her like a venomous snake, fangs bared and throat rattling: Gabriel turns his attention to her slowly, taking in her attire and her demeanor and her attitude and clenching his teeth, briefly, as he suggests what he sees. His brother is spared a brief glance to ensure that he’s going to stay put, or know where he is in the event that he does not stay put, and then the boy speaks up.

They shouldn’t ignore her because she’s a Cub.

“I ignored her,” he tells Gabriel, “because I thought she was suffering some sort of spirit world-induced madness. The noises she was making hardly qualified as speech.” Although he turns to regard Jocelyn now, he still speaks as though he’s solely addressing the other Cliath. “Now that it appears as though her tongue still works, maybe we can talk.”

He tugs at the end of his nose before planting his hands on his hips.

“You feel I disrespected you, asking another Garou if you were mentally present rather than asking you yourself… what did she call you? Jocelyn?”

[Lukas] Lukas is barely in his room a moment before there’s a knock on the door. He opens it — the tongue catching on the jamb, shuddering the wall. The Shadow Lord is half-dressed, his jeans on, his shirt and sweater off, a fresh wound bloody and red on his shoulder.

He quirks an eyebrow at her. Then he opens the door a little wider, nodding Adara in. “What’s on your mind?”

[Jocelyn Burkhard] He. Is mean.

She nods, the ears on the hat bobbing. Really, it’s probably most of the reason why she wears it.

“Uh huh. Joce. Full Moon Daughter of Fenris.”

Something about how she says it suggests that she may not be as dumb as she seems.

[Katherine Bellamonte] Almost, though not quite, an hour after the Adren Shadow Lord emerges from the third story there’s another pop; nudging of the two walls of reality apart so a pristine white wolf can dart through. She’s on the roof top of the Brotherhood in a moment; still licking her chops, shaking out her fur coat.

There’s a dim glow about it that is yet to fully fade; blood splatter on the tips of fur across her chest. The blue-eyed creature lifts a paw, snuffs at its nose and with a whine shifts forms until it is a crouching woman; lovely; blond; with a dab of blood on the tip of her nose. Katherine Bellamonte flexed, rolling muscles as if she’d been forced into an awkward box for several hours. The corner of her mouth had blood on it and with a fluid movement; the Silver Fang elder straightened and shook a handkerchief from a pocket.

It was dedicated.

She wiped her nose, mouth and shook back her hair. Then she pulled open the doors leading to the ceiling and began to descend them.

[Adara Mires] She watches him for a moment “Are you ok Rhya?”She ask eyes on the wound

“And when I said I needed your time, it doesn’t have to be right away. I know it’s pretty late so we can do that another time. I just wanted to set said time. I’ve spoken with Rain of Brass Petals and most of the defence strategy is set. I wanted your opinion before making it official.

Also since you’re here, I want to express my condoleances for your and your packmates’s loss. I never met Asha but the loss of any one of us is always a tragedy. Also the task you asked of me this weekend, has been compelted MOnday. I met with Hunter and Joey and told them a story that seemed to have helped them”

She was looking at him, not directly in the eyes mind you. Her tone polite, respectful, yet confident. He was imposing, he was powerful but she wasn’t quivering. She gave him simply the respect he deserved.

[Gabriel Ferreira] [Did AIM die? If so, Nomey, are you posting again? I’m waiting on you.]

[Alejandro] “Gabriel they’re really nice here.” He says to his brother with that tone of his that suggests he means a lot more than he’s saying. They’re of equal rank these two brothers, but it’s obvious that the Theurge is not an Alpha, doesn’t have the experience of hardships in his life to make him as such. His brain hasn’t even finished fully developing.

Eyes swivel to Jocelyn and he smiles at her again.

“We are both pleased to meet you.”

[Lukas] Almost as soon as Adara is in the room Lukas has turned away, sliding the top drawer of his dresser open. Effortlessly hard, that tug on the handle — the drawer bangs to the end of its track. He pulls out a box of squarecut gauze, some medical tape. As Adara asks if he’s all right, Lukas glances at her, a flick of pale blue. Laughs under his breath.

“Of course I am,” he says, almost dismissive. “This isn’t even worth a talen. It’ll be gone by this time tomorrow.”

There’s a stillness when Adara mentions his packmate: the Shadow Lord’s capable hands stilling on the box, the bandage, the scissors, the tape. Then he resumes smoothly, cutting out a piece of gauze large enough to fit the wound.

“Thank you,” he says quietly. “It’s appreciated. Tell me the strategy you and Brass Petals came up with.”

[Jocelyn Burkhard] “He seems pleased.”

Her nose wrinkles a little, but she gives Alejandro another semi crooked grin.

[Gabriel Ferreira] Age doesn’t mean a great deal in comparison to rank. It’s a number, like anything else, but rank comes with it stories, tales, actions and histories that make up the entirety of a Garou’s experience here in the war. What makes Gabriel and Alejandro equal is not their age, but that they have attained the same rank. In some respects, it matters that Alejandro reached it faster, that he is closer to the next rank than his elder brother, yet in many, it does not. What matters in this instance is that Jocelyn has no rank.

Some Garou treat ‘Cub’ as a pejorative.

His equal, this stranger who shares his blood, tells him the people are really nice here, and he needn’t say any more. Gabriel takes a heavy breath, then reaches into the pocket of his dress shirt to extract a smart phone that his player knows too little about to describe in any detail. It tells time. He reads the time, then rolls his shoulders with a crackle and looks back to Jocelyn.

“I meant no disrespect,” he tells her, as though there is a gun to his head. “Forgive me.”

To his brother, he says, “I’m going to go find us a play to stay.” There is no point telling him to stay put, or text him when he leaves, so he doesn’t. Gabriel casts a glance toward the hallway, then tells the two of them, “Good night,” and starts towards the stairs.

[Gabriel Ferreira] [Thanks for the play, y’all!]

[Jocelyn Burkhard] “There’s another bed in my room”

What are you DOING?

[Adara Mires] She smiled softly to him “Well sometimes the wounds that look the most harmless ends up being the most painful or deepest” She say as she watches him cover his wound

“As for the strategy, Rain of Brass Petals with the help of one or two other Theurge will contact spirit and have a contract with them so they’ll watch the area and warn the occupants and also, the pack’s Alphas if something happens here. Why more than a Theurge, it’s simply if something happen to one of them, the contract will be valid with the remaining Theurges. So no spirits turning their back on us.

In this plane, things are trickier since enemies can pop in form everywhere. We could ward the place against unbral travelling but my sister was against it. So, the best thing we could do, is train the kin here in the use of firearms, Mister Roth has offered his help and it seem Miss Trujillo is organizing the citie’s kin, so maybe they will get more training from that organization. I will talk to her soon about that.

So, if something happens downstairs, everyone should come up, while those who can will delay the enemy. Fighting in stairs is hard so a good volley of bullets concetrated on the first ones in the stairs mgiht slwo them down enough for us to be ready and take them on as they emerge the stairs

Depending on how many of us there are. One or two should take hte kin away and out of a window, and stay with them to protect them. An open container with garbage bags filled with something soft, like foam should do the trick and not betray our exit point as stairs would. Once the kin are out, either we win, or strategically retreat if no reinforcements can come. If I”m present I’ll be the last one leaving,making sure no one is left behind

Why a retreat, because, even if I lvoe this place, better to regroup and take it back then die with no hope of winning. It’s an important place but I think it could be easilyl claimed back with some help form the packs.

If the attack happens upstairs, reverse strategy with people leaving in the back”

She pause and wait for his comments

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] And not very long at all after Katherine shows up, there’s a third… Oh god, don’t say pop. Say something else. You’re only using “pop” because that’s what the others used and you’re copying them. Am not. Plagiarist bastard. Fuck off. Blow me. Mom liked me better. …I hate you.

Anway, she comes out with a Seventy-Six Trombone Chorus! A POP, following making her way down the stairs. You’d think there was some kind of skylift to the roof that makes a Snake’s rattle! …a popping sound when it drops people off. She’s looking somewhat the worse for wear. She’s got a nasty scrape on her head and her clothes are vaguely torn, but the duster–oh, that ever-present duster, is popping? …no, it’s in fine shape. She gives a little look as she appears in the common room, taking stock of the three new faces as she comes in behind Katherine.

[Alejandro] “I will find you.” He offers to his brother cryptically with that smile of his and waves a hand. “Bye Gabriel!” After that he’s left alone in the common room with this cub, an adren loitering nearby in his room and a fury engaged in conversation with him.

“So..” He says awkwardly, places his hands in his lap and looks down at them for a brief moment– Wait, what? He blinks at Jocelyn, scratches at the back of his head and mumbles something of a nervous laugh.

“Oh no.. I think Gabriel shall find us suitable accommodation. Thank you for the offer though.”

[Jocelyn Burkhard] She looks instantly relieved. Really must get that filter checked.

Yet someone else magically appears in a fluff of smoke and pixie dust, and she watches the woman make her way through the room.

“They don’t seem very big on doors here.”

[Katherine Bellamonte] There are strange wolves in the common room.

This, on its own would be nothing to give Honor’s Compass pause on a normal occasion — there were always strange wolves in the Brotherhood, it was part of the charm in a very common way — except that two of them carried her blood and breeding. She pauses, almost long enough to allow Sarita, coming in behind her, smelling too like fresh battle and the remnants of whatever the Unbroken had been fighting, to collide into the Half Moon before with a fluid motion she steps out of the way and into the common room, proper.

Sarita and I made it back in one piece.

This for her Alpha; closeted away in his room, the whisper of totemic connection accompanied with what would, physically, be the nuzzling of one pack-mate in wolf form against another. Then, pale eyes are focusing in on Alejandro. He to her and she upon him, at least as far as vision and intention stray. “Bonne soirée,” a pretty, genteel voice greets, hands tucking a stained piece of cloth back into a pocket.

Flashes of blood against fine white cotton.

“You,” a slow, measuring sweep, a tilt of the head. “Are very new, for I do not know your face, yet we share kinship.” The Cub, for a moment, is ignored not out of spite or some Werewolf politic, but degree of immediate concern.

[Lukas] “Mr. Roth,” Lukas comments, the scissors in his hand making a crisp schhik! as he snips off a length of bandage, “has an unhealthy distrust of the Trueborn that he tends to spread to the kin around him. If you’re going to trust him to train the other kin, at least keep an eye on him to make sure he isn’t secretly trying to convince them to stage some sort of uprising.”

Lukas covers the wound, then, and rips strips of medical tape to hold the temporary bandage in place. Gone by tomorrow, he’d said. It doesn’t need to be anything more than temporary.

“As for evacuating if we’re overwhelmed — that was always the plan, and it’s a good one. There’s nothing here that can’t be replaced or regained. We should have a plan to dump sensitive material, though. That bulletin board is full of contact info for our Garou and kin. At the very least, it needs to be torched if we need to bail. Every resident should be alerted to either take their sensitive information with them or pool them somewhere to be incinerated if we have to fall back.”

Welcome back, comes the totemic response. Couple of Fang-looking types out in the commons for you.

[Adara Mires] ‘She nod “I know very well about Mister Roth’s opinions and attitude. I mgiht be the only one of us he trust and that is barely. Ialso noticed some change in the peopel around him and I wonder if he has really strong influence or if weak willed kin are attracted to his presence. Either way, it’s not healthy for us and I’ll keep an eye on him. At least he has agree to share some of his training with me.

That said, if you hear or I do hear of anyother combat efficient kin who could train the others. I have no problems with that person working with Mister Roth or replacing him. The interests of the Nation before the individuals after all.

As ofr sensitive material, you’re right, I’ll include notes about that when I write up the plan.” She look at him “Is there anything more you’d liek ot add on the defenses or should I proceed with what we discussed?”

[Alejandro] He’s up out of his chair when Katherine enters the room, though his diminutive height and thin frame doesn’t exactly make him strike a very impressive figure. But that’s purely physical, there is something else about this Crescent moon. It’s in the shadow of his breeding, bringing to mind elemental spirits of varying types, as if they cling around him even in this realm. The fire is in his eyes and the wind is in his hair, his smile is cheery and excited.

“Honor’s Compass-Rhya” he knows her name, deed name even. The fact that he gives this instead of her socialite name might suggest he didn’t hear through other Garou. “I’m ever so pleased to meet you. My name is Alejandro Ferreira, Seeks the Horizon, Cliath Crescent Moon of Moon Lodge, House of Gleaming Eye. My brother and I just recently arrived. Oh dear, I hoped to have talens and gifts for you. I was going to draw you a picture.”

He smiles sheepishly then corrects himself.

“A map, I mean a map. Of the other side.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She pauses, just long enough to keep from colliding with the Philodox. She comes into the common right after Katherine. Alejandro, she doesn’t know. Jocelyn, she also doesn’t know. And there’s no one else in here. She takes a lean against the wall at the door for a second, and lets Katherine do the talking. Since she’s focusing on Alejandro, Sarita gives Jocelyn a little smile in greeting.

Holy Christ in a Handbasket to Hell. Why do I suddenly feel like an grizzled old crone and a veteran of the city?

[Jocelyn Burkhard] Because you’re old, bitch.

She nods/bobs to Sarita, otherwise staying quiet and observant.

[Lukas] “If I hear of any kin with good martial skills, I’ll send them along.” The firstaid paraphernalia gets put back into the top drawer of his dresser — not shoveled in wholesale as one might expect of an Ahroun but neatly placed. Then he shuts the drawer, opens the one beneath it, pulls out a t-shirt and tugs it on. Turning away from his dresser at last, Lukas tugs the shirt out from under his armpits as he continues, “Truth be told though, I think most of the combat-capable kin tend to get embittered. Maybe it’s because sooner or later it becomes clear that all the training they ever put in won’t ever put them on a Garou’s level. Or maybe it’s the embitterment that sets them to violent pursuits. I don’t know; it’s just speculation.

“Regardless, go ahead with your plans. They’re solid.” A pause. “You’ve done a good job, Adara. You and Adamidas. Pass my compliments on to her.”

[Katherine Bellamonte] Because, the Silver Fang responds without physically turning her attention from Alejandro. We are the grizzled old crones by comparison. Well, older, anyway. I moisturize too much to be grizzled. There also comes with Katherine’s words, the sweep of her amusement at the greeting the Cliath gives her.

Sarita and Lukas both knew their sister enjoyed the play acting of her tribe. There was something mildly hollow to her tonight, though. Her voice was a touch crisper, her eyes did not dance without a little determination to and her smiles, while sincere enough were tinged with a sadness at the corners.

Asha barely gone and here I am again

It’s barely a thought, but it brushes the Unbroken’s minds; the suggestion of their fallen sister’s face, some likeness pressed into their brains like flowers flattened in the pages of a book. There and gone, preserved but lifeless. “Your brother must be the back I saw slipping away down the stairs,” Katherine notes aloud, moving closer to inspect the Theurge. She, not the tallest creature at 5’9 but impressive regardless, lifts a finger and raises Alejandro’s chin lightly; turning his face one way and another as if regarding him for a fit.

“Hm,” she comments, and sits herself on the sectional, waving him to be comfortable. “It’s been some time since I met a Moon Lodge member, not since my last visit to the Court of King Calvin de Provence in Belgium.” A moment, Katherine’s fine teeth nip her lower lip thoughtfully. “Still, I am pleased to greet both you and your brother.” She allows a smile to take the edge of her mouth at mention of gifts.

“Do not worry about gifts, Seeks the Horizon. You do not need to ply me with tokens of good faith, I will judge on your actions and your manner of conduct, you and your brother, while you are here.”

[Adara Mires] She was watching Lukas “Maybe you’re right. I’ll do keep my eyes open around Mister Roth and make sure our kin stay respectful of us and don’t get the wrong ideas. I think that most wil lrealize things aren’t so bad if we do respect them back. After all we’re told to respect those of lesser status.”

She smile softly. She tohught kin were worthy of respect quite a bit, but the playon owrds usually worked on other Garou. Kin were of lesser status socially. They couldn’t hold ranks. So the law kinda forced true bors to respect them, evne if the reason wasn’t the best one. At least they had one

“And thank you Lukas, I”m just doing the duties I volunteered for. I will pass your words to Rain of Brass Petals”

She paused “And thank you for your time. I will leave you alone now”She offer him a bow and a smile as she turn to head toward the common room, waiting slightly if he has more to say.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] I’m New Mexican, she responds. Trust me, the more you moisturize there, the more you just look like someone tried to use shoe polish on an eighty-year-old armadillo.

The hoking, as toned down as Katherine’s play-acting, cuts off a moment when Katherine mentions Asha. It would have been easy to miss it since they were fairly close anyway, but there is a brief light touch to the Silver Fang’s arm. And then Katherine’s moved away and Sarita focuses her attention back on Jocelyn.

“Hola, chica.” A little grin. “S’up? I’m Sarita.”

[Alejandro] His chin gets lifted and there is no resistance, though his hands fidget where he holds them behind his back. Eyes look straight ahead, just like a good boy. It’s not until she waves him to be comfortable that he looks at her, a quick flicker of his eyes and then he relaxes. It’s carefully that he positions himself down on the sectional, hands once more being placed in his lap.

She doesn’t want his gifts and he makes a little oh face with his mouth before it clamps shut. She will judge them on their good deeds, he likes that. There’s even a little smile.

“I’m sure my brother will want to introduce himself properly, so I won’t do it for him. He has gone to find us somewhere to stay for the night.” There’s a short pause and his lips purse together, he seems to be fighting the urge to say something. It comes out anyway. “I’m sorry for your loss.” He looks down at his hands. “She was the first I heard about when I asked them.”

[Lukas] “With Roth,” Lukas remarks, “I’d settle for non-interference.”

He walks Adara to the door — all of two steps away. “Goodnight,” he bids her. When the door shuts behind her, it’s quiet. Lukas strips out of his jeans, changes into lounge pants, and drops down on his bed.

Over the totemphone there’s a quick blurt of amusement. Such things have been rare the last couple days. Ahrouns die — that’s their place, their duty — but the loss of a packmate, the first in years, still stings. You two are going to have to forgive me for not coming out and socializing, he sends to his sisters. I’m just going to hide in my room and read a book. And stalk the totemphone. How are the newbies, anyway, Kate?

[Jocelyn Burkhard] “Hi. I’m Joce.” She nods to Sarita, keeping half an eye on Alejandro.

[Adara Mires] “Goodnight” She reply to the Adren. She make her way back to the common room, noticing that Gabriel had left and was replaced by two lvoely ladies she had met on the same night: Sarita and Katherine. She stop nearby, offering them a warm, friendly smile “Good evening Sarita, Honor’s compass rhya”

Her tone had been polite ot both. She was of the same rank as Sarita and they actually have spoken to each other once or twice the night they cleansed Hunter. Kahterine, she jsut had been in her presence, so she got the respectful tilte coming with her rank.

She offered asmile to Joce and Alejandro as well, but didn’t say more, as it seem the Fangs were talking to each other.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] Hermitize away, mi capitán.

“Nice to meet you, Joce.” She follows the Cub’s gaze to Alejandro, then back. “Been here long?” Hey, leave the Strider alone, she’s allowed to have been a bit unobservant. She’s been a busy gal.

[Jocelyn Burkhard] “A few days. I’ve been meeting people.” Because she’ll ask, right? EVERYBODY seems to want to ask.

[Katherine Bellamonte] The No Moon brushes the Silver Fang’s arm before she moves off, and Katherine turns back, briefly, sliding her fingers down the other female’s arm until she can briefly link their fingers; a touch and then gone. That is all it seems, outwardly. Katherine takes up her seat on the sofa, crossing her legs.

The picture of dignified ease.

One arm even slides across the back of the cushions, tangles into her mass of — tonight, at least — straight hair, a honey-gold shade, sun-kissed — she is looking across at Alejandro who, truth be told, strikes her as very young, in spirit perhaps not so much as in appearance. Small, and rather on the delicate side, as many Theurges tended toward, as if in exchange for wisdom they gave up the rights to physical mass.

You are not on Twitter, Wyrmbreaker. One wonders how Katherine Bellamonte knows of something as hip as Twitter, perhaps Sinclair showed her. You do not get to interact entirely via totem in 140 characters or less, if you wish to know, come and be miserable in public, like myself and Sarita.

Resolutely, the Fang turns back to the present. Adara, emerging from the very room she’s speaking with silently, is greeted with a slight turn of her head. Back to the Theurge, who gives her expressions of sympathy on her sister. There’s a flicker of real emotion in Katherine’s eyes, she frowns downward.

They all feel the strength of her pain; the way her flesh and blood sister is always in the background of it; the unknown, the panic she had shared with Martin. What if she’s dead, also? I would never know as I do Asha, Martin, I should never know! “Yes, it has been … very hard, for us. Doubly so, to lose a sister and a tribe member at once.” Her smile is brave, it fights back for its placement across her mouth.

“I look forward to meeting your brother.” A beat, she gestures for Sarita. “I am sorry, this is one of my sisters, Sarita Ecos de la Risa, Echoes of Laughter, Cliath No Moon of my pack, Unbroken. You may have seen my Alpha. Tall, dark, brooding shadow of a man.” That is fond humor, no doubt. “Shadow Lord, Adren. Also our War Leader.” Then, finally, Katherine’s eyes absorb Jocelyn.

“Welcome to you, too, Cub of Fenrir.”

[Jocelyn Burkhard] “It’s nice to meet you, Rhya.” Because Katherine looks like the Rhya type, really.

Nod. Ear bob.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Good to know,” she says with a bit of a smile, faint amusement, when Jocelyn said she’s been meeting people. “Lots of them around here. Where ya from?”

Is that what it is? I keep calling it Twatter. No wonder people keep looking at me funny.

She looks over at Alejandro when she gets introduced by Katherine. “S’up? Nice to meet you.” An amicable nod goes his way. “Welcome to Chi-Town.”

[Jocelyn Burkhard] “Lots of places.” Because, see, specifics get her kidnapped to churches. She’s learning!

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Oh. nice.” She gives Jocelyn a nod. “Girl after my own heart. Ever been down to New Mexico?”

[Jocelyn Burkhard] “Um. No?” She thinks, then shakes her head. “No”

[Alejandro] “It is a great burden, to be left behind. The spirits speak fondly of her” And it’s true, he does sound wiser than he looks. To get a real picture of the Theurge though one has to see him on the other side, dealing with spirits. Until then he’s just a kid, despite that something-other about him, despite his wisdom. “Your Alpha?” He raises an eyebrow and smiles. “Yes I saw him. He gave me a nod.” He seems quite pleased about that.

“Chi-town?” He speaks up after his lapse into Silence, eyes settling on Kate’s pack-mate. “Ohh, Chicago.” He grins, “very clever.” It seems genuine, he thinks that is clever.

[Jocelyn Burkhard] She giggles. She can’t help it. He’s just so damned cute.

[Lukas] Another burst of amusement across the totemlink. And maybe that’s deliberate on Sarita’s part — play the class clown, keep spirits up. It sure as hell isn’t the Ragabash being impervious to the pain: Lukas read it on her face the night it happened. He mulls on that a moment — they can feel his thoughts stirring in that direction, thoughtful, a dark warmth on the horizon. Then he comes back to them.

I think I heard you call it Twat once too. I have to admit, I deliberately kept my mouth shut because it was so much funnier to hear you talk about Twatting and reading Twats.

And no. I refuse. You can suffer in public. I have a book. I’ll just have to remain in the dark about the nature of your latest tribesmen.

[Katherine Bellamonte] The Philodox’s eyes flick over to the Cub, return to her tribesmate with a brief suggestion of mirth; her voice though, is quite serious. “I would like to hear about your plans in the city, Alejandro. You and your brother. Are you packed? Did you leave both leave one behind?

Also, I should lay out now that if you find the Brotherhood beneath your standards,” a beat, she smooths a palm over the worn cushion beside her with a slightly aristocratic turn of her countenance against it. “It is a fine establishment in general, but if you want comfort, or merely a place to take rest, my home, the Loft in Lakeview is always open to those of my tribe.

My maid, Lucille, is informed to admit any who come calling of our Kin. The house itself is also marked umbrally with our tribal glyphs for identification.” She rattles off an address, then, momentarily, seems distracted by some inward battle; her brows knit.

What are you reading, then, that is so terribly important that you ignore your own pack? Katherine, ever the dramatist, even in jest. Is it twenty-five ways to brood and be terribly mysterious? You have my tribesmate already mooning over you nodding at him. Nodding!. Honestly. You should come out here and dispel it at once, or else I’ll be forced to show him those pictures of you on my phone.

She nods at Sarita, then, her eyes twinkling with a little regained mirth.

Without warning, Katherine is then looking over the Cub: “Tell me, Jocelyn, was it, hm? Who is your Mentor?”

[Katherine Bellamonte] [*reverses ‘leave’ and ‘both’ around in that first paragraph*]

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Too bad. You should go there some time. Fuckin’ beautiful country. S’where I grew up.”

Well gee, thanks. I see how it is, keep me hanging out there. Half the town’s gonna think I play for the other team at this point, and it’s not like I need the help keeping the guys away.

The tone, of course, is mock-offended but the humor is evident. It’s entirely possible–even probable–that the Strider is doing her damnedest to keep the amusement going. This is a time when it’s most needed and even when the Sarita’s had so much happen to her over the last couple of weeks–some of which she doesn’t even realize yet–she is determined to keep them going if she has to resort to taking God damned pies in the face.

It’s true. Kid was absolutely ecstatic. It was a little crazy. And it looks like she’s pulling out the phone now…uh-oh.

“Where did you grow up,” she asks Jocelyn, continuing the conversation.

[Jocelyn Burkhard] She sighs. Here it comes. “Georgia.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Oh yeah?” She nods. “That’s one place I’ve never been. Well, I passed through once, but didn’t stop on my way to Miami.”

[Adara Mires] She stayed there for a moment, barely acknowledged by the Silver Fang and not even by Sarita. She lsitened to them for a while, leaning against a wall. She watched Alejandro introducing himself ot his tribe’s elder and doing a pretty good job at it. Joce wasn’t doing as well but it wasn’t too bad.

She pass a hand through her hair. She had a few things to do tomorrow including writing down her plan for the BroHo’s defense, hopefully also finding some time to talk with Amy about her kin coalition and how it could help here. Well tomorrow she shall know. Or the day after, there was no hurry. She yawned slightly. Well she wasn’t needed or terribly wanted here. Better turn in for the night and hopfully the scent of a certain rotogar was still on her pillow.

“Well night all”She say, not expecting replies. She pause for a few seconds then head toward her room.

[Lukas] They’re just intimidated by your badassery and the fact that you’re — how do I put this without Kate getting Philodox on my ass — slightly attractive. Just sit around crowing about your conquests someday and it’ll set them right.

There’s a thump from behind the door of Room 2. Then that door opens, and Lukas reemerges, book in hand. It’s not, in fact, 25 ways to brood. The title is in Czech, though. Without much ado or commentary, the Shadow Lord nods to Adara as she bails, then drops down on the couch beside his packmates.

There. I’m out in the open. And aloud, “Hi. Disregard anything Kate might show you on her cell phone.”

[Jocelyn Burkhard] “It’s pretty nice….” She nods, the ears bob. While generally doing a good job of hiding her accent, now that the bag is catless there are faint traces that she can’t overcome.

[Alejandro] “No Pack..” He replies to her and his eyes drop away for a moment. “Gabriel had a pack but.. well it is no longer the case.” He scratches at the back of his head briefly. “I never had a pack.” Who on earth wants to be packed with the second coming of Jesus-The-Theurge?

Oh there’s the Shadow Lord again. Alejandro gives him a smile and a little spastic wave of his hand.

“Katherine just said I could stay at her loft.” He says to Lukas rather proudly. “I’m going to draw her a map of the umbra around it.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Night, Adara.” She nods to the Fury, smiling a bit, and then grins when Lukas comes out. “There he is….”

She nods to Jocelyn amicably. “Well, cool. Nice to have a Georgian here.” Okay, it’s not her wittiest. She’s off her game.

[Jocelyn Burkhard] She blinks at Sarita, the confused expression settling in again.

[Katherine Bellamonte] Katherine, phoneless, beams as her Alpha emerges and somehow manages to appear at once angelically innocent and devious all at once as she cries out: “Oh, Lukas! You’re here. I had no idea. This is Alejandro, known as Seeks the Horizon, Cliath Theurge, he and his brother are newly arrived. He was just telling me — ” Here the Theurge makes his own intent, and Honor’s Compass lets him as Adara retires.

“Good night, Song of Life.”

Then, Jocelyn again. “No Mentor, then, yet? I am surprised.”

[Jocelyn Burkhard] “No, Rhya. Not yet.”

[Lukas] The Shadow Lord smiles a little at Alejandro’s proud declaration. The hour’s late, even for him: he looks a little tired. He looks relaxed in the presence of his packmates, even if he’s restraining the urge to noogie Kate in retaliation for her oh-so-innocent look.

“That could certainly come in handy,” he says to the young Fang, meaning it. “I’m Lukáš,” he adds. “Called Wyrmbreaker, and Cold Victory. Ahroun Alpha, Shadow Lord Alpha, Unbroken Alpha. I didn’t catch your name earlier.”

[Adara Mires] She nodded to Lukas as he pass her by, smiling at the man. No need for goodnights, they were said earlier

She wiggled her fingers with a smile to Sarita and nodded politly to Katherine. She’ll have the chance ot get to know the two Unbroken later, she’s sure.

She entered her room and closed the door. Undressing, she made her way to her bed nad slid under the sheets, smelling her pillow. Smiling softly as it had retned the scent of her last night’s guest, she bury her face in it and shortly after, was sound asleep

[Adara Mires] (thanks for the scene all..have a good night/day)

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She gives Jocelyn an apologetic look. “I’m normally much funnier. I promise. Ask them.”

She nods her head in the direction of her packmates. “Unless they say I’m not. Then they don’t know what they’re talking about.” She grins. She’s good at grinning, it’s her natural state. She just has to let auto-pilot take over in that respect.

[Jocelyn Burkhard] She nods slowly, eyes big and flickering to the others.

[Katherine Bellamonte] Katherine gestures at one of the only free sofas left for the Cub; she seems kind enough by intention, though her smile is at once becoming and unsettling. They are wolves, with some, rather than others, that point is harder to forget. “Tell me have any made offers, yet? Or are you still settling into things? I know the elder of your tribe in this city somewhat, she is a competent, knowledgeable Garou.

I am certain she will guide you well.”

[Jocelyn Burkhard] She is, pretty clearly, terrified of Kora. With good reason, maybe. Her eyes flicker to the sofa, then to Alejandro, then back to Katherine.

Sorry kid. You’re on your own.

“I’m settling in well, thank you. I should settle in for the night, though.” She gestures to the hall “Room four. Goodnight Rhyas. It was nice to meet you.” She nods in the general direction of each of them, slinking toward the hall slowly.

[Alejandro] “Oh..” Now he straightens up in his seat — if that were possible, he was already straight as an arrow — and raises his chin a little. “Alejandro Ferreira, Seeks the Horizon, Cliath Silver Fang Crescent Moon, Moon Lodge and House of the Gleaming Eye. Previously the student of Whispers in War, Adren Crescent Moon, Rites Mistress of the Sept of Mornings Vengeance. It is a pleasure to meet you Rhya.

He sucks in a breath then lets it out, eyes on the Shadow Lord.

[Lukas] “Room two,” Lukas offers to Jocelyn as the girl — the cub, apparently — takes her leave. “Goodnight.”

Attention goes back to Alejandro, then. He listens to the introduction, which is long, but not nearly so long as —

the name is a hole in his heart. Lukas wonders in a brief, searing flash what became of Thomas. What he would do now, now that he was no longer the herald to the princess of a failing line. One less in that family tree. One more leaf fallen.

Lukas’s hand comes briefly to his face, mops once as though he were fatigued, bleary-eyed. Then he summons up a smile for Alejandro. “Pleasure’s mine,” he says. “I’ve never met Whispers in War, but I’ve heard of her even as far as Stark Falls and Maelstrom.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Nice meeting you, Joce. See ya around.” She puts two fingers to her brow and flicks them outward as if in salute. Then she joins her packmates in looking at looks over at Alejandro as he introduces himself. Much like Lukas, there’s a flash of pain from the Ragabash. Her first (and only live) experience with Asha was her introduction via Thomas, and that is her strongest impression.

And thus, the grin fades for a moment. Just a moment, though. Dancing with tears in my eyes…isn’t that how the song goes?

[Jocelyn Burkhard] She’s there exactly as long as it takes to not be rude, then she flees to her room and locks the door.

[Alejandro] He relaxes somewhat when Lukas gives him that smile, like he just did what he was supposed to do and he did it proper just like his mother taught him. “She is a great Garou, I’m sure she would be honored to hear that her name has reached your ears.” His smile wanes, fades, he knows of Asha, already gave his condolences to the Lord’s pack-mate. Why then doesn’t he give his condolences again? Maybe it’s the fact that the Adren looks like he’s had enough of everything.

The Crescent Moon goes quiet and looks down at his hands in his lap.

“I heard talk of you from the spirits before I even reached Chicago. They told me I would fall here too, but that I would make a difference in doing so.”

A pause and he only looks at the others with brief glances, otherwise remaining eye-locked on his own hands.

“I do not know what to make of death, for none of us truly die. All will be seen again, like the full moon after an eclipse.”

[Katherine Bellamonte] Katherine’s hand settles over her Alpha’s without hesitation, or motivation aside from what she gleans from his presence beside her and what it costs him to come out of his room. He is hurting, they all are. Death has finally, once again, collected from the Unbroken, and they are weakened by it.

She sets her hand over her Alpha’s, and links their fingers. It is as natural as breathing.

“Well said,” she accounts for, to Alejandro, with a brief smile. “We all wonder at it, when it calls and all we can do to combat it is be good, do good, and die looking exceedingly handsome.” A beat; she gleams at the room as only Honor’s Compass truly could.

[Lukas] Lukas — if he doesn’t look like he’s had enough of it all tonight, then at least he looks tired. Worn, if relaxed in the presence of his packmates. He’s leaning back into the sectional couch, slouched down in his usual place — feet apart, hands lax in his lap. His brow knits faintly as the young, too-young Theurge speaks of his own foretold death.

“You knew you would die here,” he says, thoughtful, “but you came here anyway? Why?”

[Alejandro] He’s already smiling at what Katherine had to say, eyes shining at his Tribal elder with humour and pride, but the smile becomes something else when Lukas speaks. The look he gives him makes the Theurge seem far older than he has any right to. It’s probably half the reason he has been without a pack, as he told Katherine earlier.

“Oh.. It seemed like an adventure.” A beat and then. “The Umbra called to me before I came here, it sought to swallow me whole and for a time I wished it to be so. But here..” A look between the Fostern and the Adren. “I believe their prophecy, in its entirety. Here I can make a difference.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] That little bit doesn’t seem to read well in Sarita’s head either. She furrows her brow, trying to comprehend it. Where Lukas is thoughtful, Sarita is bewildered. It’s like someone who is trying to grasp a language long-forgotten, and the words somehow register with her but she doesn’t grasp the meaning. It seemed like an adventure, he says. And she frowns.

Am I the only fuckin’ person for whom the idea of dying was never God damned romantic? Her tone across the pack link is incredulous. God, I ~am~ too old.

[Adamidas] Pop!

If there was anyone in the upstairs bathroom, they would be greeted by the sound of a theurge mid song. What she was doing is anyone’s guess. Or, rather, what she was going to do later was anyone’s guess. Really, the point is that Adam was in the umbra and the rest of what she was doing there is probably a you don’t want to know situation.

“-y started out in San-Fran-Cis-Co feelin’ mighty low and kind of mean-” she steps out into the hallway once she hits that word and begins to amble on in to the common room.

“Suddenly a voice said Go forth daddy, spread the… picture…”

there are people there.

She blinks. There’s chalk dust in her hair and her clothing smells faintly of smoke and burning metal.

[Lukas] There’s a wry nudge of humor over the link. When you no longer find it romantic, Lukas puts in, you’re ready for Fosternhood. Mentally, anyway. The spirits will probably disagree.

“Whether or not there’s a prophecy of doom hanging over your head,” Lukas replies aloud then, gently, “don’t chase your death too eagerly. You can make more of a difference alive than dead.”

On that note, the Shadow Lord gets up. He puts his hand on Sarita’s shoulder in passing; takes and squeezes Kate’s hand. “I’m off to bed,” he says. “Adamidas — I talked to Adara before you got here. You guys’ plan for the BroHo sounds good. I gave her the go-ahead.

“Night, everyone.”

[Alejandro] “I won’t!” He calls out to Lukas, probably a bit too eagerly, but such is the way of someone who is still effectively a child. “I mean I will! Alive, make more a difference. Yes. Good night Rhya–”

His eyes settle on the person that had just walked in, the young female who Lukas had just been talking to on his departure.

Rhya.” He says again, there are far too many Rhyas in this town. “You have chalk in your hair.” He says and it isn’t an insult, more like he’s pleased about this for some reason.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] The sound that comes across the pack link is sort of a snort, but it’s not foul-tempered. This time, it’s the Ahroun lifting the Ragabash’s spirits. Yeah, yeah. The mind is willing but the soul ain’t ready. Story of my life. Have a good night, Cap’n.

She smiles a bit when Lukas gets up and she nods to him and lets him go. Her attention turns to Adamidas and she gives her a wave. “Hola. How’s it shakin’?”

[Lukas] [thanks for the RP, all!!!]

[Adamidas] Adara talked to Lukas; the plan sounds good.
“Cool, keep an ear to the ground? We’ll keep you posted. Night!”

Of course they will. He lives here. He is going to hear about it.

There’s a lot of people in here, a lot of things and people to pay attention to. She looks from the large, somewhat statuesque Shadow Lord (because she’s starting to associate people with scupture. Men and women with things like stone with just as much personality. It’s a good thing).

There’s chalk in her hair, and the female blinks. She reaches up. She’s probably the second youngest person in the room and… this is rare. She looks at the male, stares, and grins a little. It’s fond, “yeah, I was.. yeah.”

She doesn’t explain. Back to sarita.

“And I am fabulous, what about you?”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Been worse,” she says with a shrug. That vague answer is probably the shortest she’s given to that question, but she’s still smiling, so it can’t be that bad, right? Right. So she decrees it and as the trailer for that terrible remake of a Harryhausen classic goes, “DAMN. THE. GODS.” Along with a heavy thumping soundtrack and “Release the Kraken!”

There was a point there. It got lost somewhere. Oh, right…so she decrees it, so shall it be. She grins at the Theurge Elder. “So what’s got you so fabulous then?”

[Adamidas] [this is a willpower roll!]
Dice Rolled:[ 7 d10 ] 1, 2, 3, 4, 10, 10, 10 (Success x 2 at target 9)

[Adamidas] DAMN. THE. GODS. Release the Kraken!
The sound Adam makes sounds very much like she’s choking on her snot, or coming very close to spitting something up. Of course, she’s not a spitting kind of girl, and she hasn’t eaten anything worth spitting up. Whatever her thought process was, it was reset by trying not to laugh and snort and other things to that effect.

[Alejandro] There is chalk in her hair, she’s reaching for it and grinning at him and he grins right back like he totally gets it. But she’s talking to Sarita.. he thinks that was her name.. he’s not sure now. Yes, Sarita, that was it. She’s packed with Kate. Who is packed with Lukas. Who talked to this girl.. who has chalk in her hair.

It all makes sense. He sits there and he doesn’t bristle with Rage, but he does seem different, primordial, like the core elements of nature are somehow part of him.

An outburst from the two of them startles the poor boy, but he’s grinning, all the way from his eyes. It’s that sort of humour someone has when they’re not really sure what is happening but it’s funny anyway.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She grins. “Seriously. Don’t EVER watch that movie. Not even the hotness of Sam Worthington makes it worth it.”

She chuckles and sits back. When all else fails, through out random pop culture references. People laugh, everyone smiles, you can join in.

“Seriously though, what’s gotcha in a good mood?”

[Adamidas] “Making progress with the tribute to Coatl. I think I’m getting the hang of this whole goldsmithing thing… which, by the way, do you know how hard it is to get gold? It’s a pain. It’s a pain, and.. ugh. I get that it’s dear to ‘im, but damn Sarita!”

A beat. And a bigger grin.

“And if you want hotness? Burn Notice.”

She heaves a sigh, and it’s overly dramatic and completely pleased. She looks at the sky like it was a gift from Gaia that Bruce Campbell exists. [because, let’s face it, it’s Bruce Campbell she’s squeeing over and not the guy who plays Michael Weston… sure… uh.. that’s it.]

[Alejandro] “Oh my god I hate metal work!” He blurts out and then suddenly goes red in the face. “I’m sorry. I am eavesdropping, why are you making a tribute to Coatl?”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Okay, I’ll give you Burn Notice. Definitely.” She grins, leaning back. She’s about to ask about the tribute, but Alejandro does instead. Ooh, a couple of Theurges talking…this should be interesting.

[Adamidas] “Inorite?”

Alex blurts out and she replies. her eyebrows raise up and she half gestures out to the air. She still smells like burning metal and heat.

“I’m actually pretty excited, because first I was really frustrated with the terms of the challenge and the terms of our agreement-” she doesn’t elaborate yet, but her tone seems to hint that there is a a giant story that she is more than likely going to bombard them with eventually “-but working in gold is like mental preparation for being able to work in silver. So!”

She shrugs. She may as well have said that she was working with uranium so that, some day, she can work in plutonium.

“But I was taking part in a challenge once for a sept position, and th defender of the challenge set the challenge that we had to go approach a spirit of the challenger’s tribe’s brood. So! I had to deal with one of Uktena’s spirits and he had to go deal with one of Pegasus’. The only thing was, though, was that we weren’t allowed to actually negotiate with the spirit or ask anything of them or really do anything except tell the spirit “I’ll do what you want to gain your favor.” Which.. uh… ugh.”

She grunts.

“Long story short, I have to build a golden statue to a feathered serpent and give it virgin blood and BSD blood or else it’s going to bleed me dry. Coatl’s an angry, hungry thing.”

[Alejandro] [compulsion/curiosity!]
Dice Rolled:[ 4 d10 ] 6, 8, 9, 10 (Success x 4 at target 6)

[Alejandro] He seems really excited. He sits forward on the edge of his seat and he stares at Adam. Really stares at her. His mouth is open in parts and more than once he looks at Sarita and grins with a You hear that? Can you believe that? Oh wow!

“That is fascinating,” he states, and it is genuine.

“I would love to watch you.” He blinks, colour rises in his cheeks. “I mean, I would love to see you work on this statue. I assume you must build it in its entirety by yourself?”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] [[Okie folks, I just got hit with a wave of tired with a side order of falling alseep at my desk. 😛 Sarita will sneak away while the Theurge are talking shrines. Thanks for the scene!]]
to Adamidas, Alejandro

[Adamidas] [[thanks for the scene, lovely! Get some rest!]]
to Alejandro, Sarita Ecos de la Risa

Hunter’s Bad Day

[Lukas Wyrmbreaker] When he entered, Lukas had been a wolf on a mission, focused and intense. Considerably more at ease now, he raises a hand in a quiet, courteous greeting to Adara and Kristen before turning back to Simon.

[Kristen Burke] She nods at Adara, and listens for Simon’s reply.

[Simon Zahradnik] He catches sight of Lukas and he nods in greeting to his elder and then a smile and a nod to the one accompanying him. His attention quickly shifts back to Lukas.”Nothin’ amazing yet. I’ve got Kristen and Kieran going out again soon, and I’ve contacted Last Watch to see about investigating Kristen’s mention of Radiation Sickness in town. If we can find someone who has either died from it or contracted it we might actually have a lead as to where these pricks are operating… Or getting their waste from anyway.”He says with a nod of his head.

“It’s a bit slow but we’ll get somewhere soon… We’re just a little blind at the moment.”

[Lukas Wyrmbreaker] “Radiation sickness? That can’t possibly be sanctioned. Imogen Slaughter – I’m sure you’ve heard of her – is a forensic pathologist and an M.D. She might be able to get information from local hospitals, or check the morgues. When you find your trail, turn it over to our kinfolk in the police department. Let them run a bust and shut it down.

“What about the kin hunter situation? Any developments?”

[Adara Mires] She listened in silent to the Shadow Lords talking, about things she knew now. She had read the files from the flash drive, as heard about the kin hinter and was actually around for the vines attack. She had nothing to add for the moment, so she simply drank what was left of her beer. Her emerald eyes moving from Ahroun to Ahroun.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She makes her way up the stairs of the Brotherhood, into the common room. She seems more relaxed and at ease than she has been the last week or so. Sister’s back in town–not seen yet, but back and that’s something–and she’s feeling less alone than she has her entire life. There’s something soothing about that, and with relaxation comes the grin. Oh yes, the grin. She’s got that back in spades.

She looks around as she hits the common room, giving Lukas a smile. Simon gets a little grin and the rest get a general upward tilt of her chin. “S’up, homie G’s?”

[Kristen Burke] She looks over at Sarita. “Hello, I’m Kristen.”

[Adara Mires] She offer a warm smile to Sarita. She has seen the woman around but never were properly introduced. “Hey, how are you, I”m Adara” Of couse Sarita knew her name from the moot, but it felt more polite to actually introduce herself to the Strider.

She leaned forward to put her bottle on the table then look at Lukas “Rhya, I”m trying to find some time to talk with Rain of Brass Petals to set up some defense, but even if we can’t meet, I’d liek to run over soem ideas with you over the weekend or early next week if it’s convenient”

[Lukas Wyrmbreaker] ” ‘ Homie G’s’? What is that, protest against no longer being the baby?” Lukas grins. He’s leaning into the back of the sectional’s long arm, hands braced against the sofa, talking to Simon.

Out loud, anyway. Across the totemlink, a second conversation begins — Christ, that reminds me. Your sister called me earlier to let me know she’s back in town. She wanted to know if she could ‘help’ in the kin hunter investigation by being ‘bait’. I shot it down. It sounded like self-destructive behavior to me. Thought you should know.

[Simon Zahradnik] He nods his head.”It was Imogen I asked… But I don’t know her too well so I asked Kora to see if she can check things out.”He says back to Lukas.”I’d like to investigate the operations in case of any leads before we hand them over Rhya.”

“As for the missing kin situation I believe we are waiting on some tests to get back. I also brought back a sample with me from our trip that Ivan managed to procure… We’re hoping it will actually lead us somewhere.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Kristen, Adara, yo. I’m Sarita. Nice to meet you.” A little thumbs up, and she gives Lukas a smirk. “Naah, that’s a ‘I’m not in a shitty mood anymore.’ But it CAN be a rebellious teenager thing. Haven’t had the chance to do that in FOREVER.”

A mental sigh comes across the totemphone. Jesus, she’s not in town long enough to see me and she’s trying to get herself killed. Thanks for the heads up. I’ll track her down.

[Lukas Wyrmbreaker] “Contact Dr. Slaughter personally too,” Lukas advises. “Kin or not, the spirits nearly recognize the woman as an Ahroun in her own right. She deserves the courtesy of direct address.”

A nod, then. “Good. Glad you’re making progress, Simon.” A hand falls on his tribemate’s shoulder, and Lukas straightens to look at Adara.

“I’m available now if you want to shoot some ideas past me,” he offers.

[Lukas Wyrmbreaker] “Seeing as how you’re a creaky old lady now,” Lukas retorts to Sarita.

The mental conversation is more serious, No problem. I’ll try to keep an eye on her too. Why’s she back? Why’d she leave in the first place, if you don’t mind me asking?

[Kristen Burke] “Sarita! I have been trying to catch you. I’m working on the kin hunter thing. I have a bloody knife that Cassie dropped that I’m going to use to ask some spirits what they know of what’s going on. Dr. Daoi Gladecu is testing the blood for what she can find and going to get back to me as soon as she can. I don’t know if he’s caught you yet but Derek Anderson was there as well when we ran into Cassie and the invisible hunter. He’s working on finding out information in his own way as well.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She does a quick aside to Lukas, with a look of mock indignance. “If I wasn’t missing my stroller, I swear I’d wheel over there…”

It’s…a pretty long story. Short of it is, she got involved with what was more or less the totally wrong guy. Some shit went down that I’m still not totally clear on, she had to run off. I haven’t had more than a text conversation since she arrived, she wanted to clear her head a bit. I’m gonna talk to her to find out more, and when I know, you’ll know.

She then looks over at Kristen. “Derek texted me, yeah. I spread that information…he wasn’t too clear on the details though. Texts can be like that. To many smiley faces and tweets or twites or whatever. Just that the Cassie chick was a missing heiress. The hunter was invisible now? Do tell…”

[Hunter] The figure that emerges into the common room only minutes after Sarita, is barely recognisable as one Hunter Matthews. He isn’t disfigured, his gifts helped him survive the explosion of the ford escort, but beyond the fact that his features are all in the correct places, he is a different man. There are heavy shadows under his eyes, almost bruise like, a thick, scraggly mesh of facial hair that should have been shaved off a week ago — was burnt off a day ago — but still remains.

First it was Hedon’s Garden, the loss of his Willpower, then it was the every day struggle of living with Rage that far surpassed his will to control it, now this. This takes the cake, this pushes him over the edge. He isn’t blubbering or bawling his eyes out; there aren’t fresh tear marks on his cheeks. It’s worse than that.

He’s quiet, and he doesn’t look angry. Usually whenever Hunter Matthews is quiet it’s because he’s pissed off about something. Right now he’s quiet because it takes all the effort he can muster just to get himself in the door and up the stairs. He hopes Sarita is here, that is his sole purpose for coming here, to let her know so she can let her sister know. He still isn’t even completely sure she’s back in town, he hasn’t seen her or really heard from her at all. Even if he knew he wouldn’t want to tell her — couldn’t tell her — he just doesn’t have it in him.

His beloved dark mahogany jacket is nowhere to be seen, his Rage is almost negligible. He still smells like burnt gasoline and rubber, like molten steel and disintegrated Garou flesh. He walks with eyes on the ground that flick up at every sound that reaches him, eyes dilated. What has been seen cannot be unseen.

“Sarita?” He mumbles out, looking without looking. “¿Está usted aquí?” He very well might collapse.

[Kristen Burke] “Cassie Young.” She nods. “We could feel the presence, it felt like Rage, and heard it calling her name. However, we could not see anything. She had come to warn a man by the name of Cipher that it was after Kin. Derek’s been talking to him. She had blood on her neck that looked and smelled tainted like the blood on the blade. It sounded like multiple creatures. It may be feeding on fear but it terrified the girl and she dropped the blade and ran before she could be stopped. She did mention it couldn’t hunt her by smell. But it left with her.”

[Adara Mires] She nodded to him “Well, there are two things I wanted to ask you about. First the chain of command if there’s an attack. I was thinking that you of course would have command, then if you’re absent Rain of Brass Petals would be in charge. After that I was wondering if I would be or if you prefer that it’s always the highest ranking member of the nation present.

Also..should I post the plan once it’s solid on the board or talk one on one with all residents? Also I was tihnking that the kin residing here would be better off with some fighting skills. I have your kin Carter Roth agreeing to teach them how to shoot. He’s already helping me and is ok with sharing his knowledge with other kin”

She say watching Lukas. When HUnter arrive, looknig liek shit, she blinked but said nothing. She was talking to Lukas and shifting her attention to the Defiance Alpha would be, disresprectful

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] And then her head snaps around at the sound of her name. Her eyes widen, and she is moving to Hunter. “Holy shit.”

She grabs him, everything forgotten for a moment. If Hunter is looking for her, it has to involve her sister. She grabs Hunter, supporting him. “Estoy aquí. ¿Qué es?

[Kristen Burke] She tried to wait for the other woman. She tried to keep listening to what was going on but suddenly she finds herself very tired and as she begins to nod off she shakes her head. She’ll have to talk more with Sarita another time. She heads off to Room 3. “Night everyone.” It’s loud enough to be heard but not to interrupt important conversations.

[Lukas Wyrmbreaker] “You.” No hesitation there. “Me, Rain of Petals, then you. Then the highest ranking Garou, preferably Ahroun, and so on. Post — ”

He trails off for a moment. He looks at Hunter, hollowed out, empty-eyed. There’s a short silence, and then he turns back to Adara.

“Post it on the boards. Let them come to you with questions. As for teaching the kin to fight — I’m pleased to hear Carter’s offered. Everything I’ve heard of him thus far has been less than positive, so it’s good to know there’s a flip side.”

[Hunter] “Have ya’ seen–” He croaks, alarmed, fearful. He’s cut off though when he catches his reflection on the surface of the coffee table. He blinks, his mouth opens to speak in a hurry. “IT’S JOHN! I KILL–”

Pop.

He disappears.

[Adara Mires] She nodded to him “Allright Rhya, it will be so”

She pause “And Carter can be difficult, is difficult most of the time. But I actually manage to get along with him. Right now, I’m the only true born he has agree to teach how to shoot.” She shrugh “He’s a good man. Something happened to him to make him hate us. But he will help any kin. He did help Amunet then Neda. I think he’s also going to help Dr Gladecu. There’s hope in him. It all depends on how much time you want to spend on him”

She say those things matter of factly. Stating her opinion, nothing more. He was Lukas’s kjin and not her responsability, nor would hse pretend to tell the Adren how to act with those under his protection. She liekd the man, but she had her own things to do and her place in the Nation. She might be a friendly and caring person, but she wasn’t the mother of sister of everyone. The way the Nation worked, it made it impossible. There will always be someone higher up or teibe business to think about.

She wasshocked to see hUnter pop out liek that. The man was clearly in shock and not in control of himself. She look at Sarita, wondering if she’ll follow him. He seemed to want to speak to her after all.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] Her eyes widen a bit and she looks around, then moves to cross. She may not be able to find him straight-away, but she’s gonna keep looking.

Lukas, if I heard that right, this could be very bad. I need to find him and find out what happened.

And with that, she moves to cross the Gauntlet after him, using the reflection of the TV to ease her transition.

[Lukas Wyrmbreaker] [crap! it wasn’t refreshing again!]

[Lukas Wyrmbreaker] “I want him to come back to the Nation,” Lukas replies to Adara. “I want him to take up his rightful place in the war again. I won’t crush him unless he forces my hand. But we’re Shadow Lords, and I won’t coddle him either. He’ll have to put in the work — at least some of it.

“For what it’s worth, I’m asking Nathalie to — ”

and that’s when he’s interrupted. A shout from Hunter; a pop, as though the Umbra simply ate him. Lukas’s head whips around, suddenly alert, suddenly sharp as a razor. He looks at the spot where Hunter was. He looks at Sarita.

I’m coming with you. If he’s half as unhinged as he looked and sounded just now, I don’t want you to go after him without backup.

” — to help him. Adara, I’m sorry, but I have to go. We’ll talk again, all right?”

[Adara Mires] She was up in a flash. SHe didn’t seem to approve his choice of person ot get to Carter but if she mention it ot him it will be another time. “Do you mind me coming? I know Hunter too. I’m worried about him” She say looking at him

She wasn’t going to force her presence upon them, but she was concerned about the Bone Gnawer.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] Come on along. I just really need to…fucking hell.

As soon as she’s on the other side she’s looking around for the Ahroun. A sign of where he went from here, if he’s not there still. The way it looked, he could have easily just sat down and started headbutting the ground while speaking in tongues.

[Lukas Wyrmbreaker] “Of course not — ”

— and then Lukas is across as well, not so much slipping across silent and swift as a Theurge as tearing his way through with raw rage, raw spiritual power. For a moment he stands there. Then he gives his head a single hard shake and looks around for Hunter.

[Adara Mires] She slipped through using a reflective surface. She wasn’t as good as others at slipping across the gauntlet but she could do it. And there she was, not too far from Sarita and Lukas, looking for the disturbed Ahroun, walking barefooted to reach the two Unbroken

[Hunter] Luckily he didn’t travel far when he crossed into the Umbra thanks to that horrible flaw of his. He has been doing it every hour or so since the incident and he’s beginning to get a little tired of it to say the least. Sometimes he would pop out miles away, other times he would just be stranded in the same area for an undetermined amount of time.

The latter seems to be the case this time. Sarita probably saw him first, though it would have just been a flicker of a boot disappearing the image of the stairwell.

On the roof, that is most likely where he is.

[Hunter] [disappearing up!]

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She’s off like a shot up the stairs. There isn’t a moment’s hesitation…as soon as she sees the boot, she’s tearing off after him to the roof.

“HUNTER!”

[Lukas Wyrmbreaker] And Lukas is on her tail – wolfshaped now, claws sinking into the quasireal substance of the stairwell.

The Brotherhood is not entirely a manifested shape here. The walls are faintly translucent, though growing more solid by the day. Overhead, and passing through the rooms, they can see spirits of rage and war, honor, blood; gafflings of various tribal totems lingering near their own.

[Adara Mires] She start running after Lukas and Sarita, moving at a pretty good pace even on two legs. She could shift but not all of her very limited wardrobe would shift with her and well finding herself naked possibly on the roof, wasn’t high on her priority list.

So she ran, not losing sight of them.

[Hunter] Hunter doesn’t stop, not to the sound of Sarita’s voice, almost like he doesn’t hear it whispering through the ghostly landscape of the half-imagined brotherhood. The spirits are ignored too, though more than a few spirits of rage casts their eyes on the Gnawer as he passes, others too. A water gaffling glomps and swirls, greeting those that follow the Ahroun. It wooshes past them, through them, then back around and hovers near Hunter where he stands motionless upon the image of the rooftop.

He doesn’t turn, and the smells of his escapades would be all too evident to Wyrmbreaker in his wolf form. The scent of death, burning: fire, one of their natural weaknesses. Mixed in with it all is the smell of dead and charred flesh, fur and skin.

“I..” His voice is almost lost in the Umbral winds on the rooftop. “I killed him.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She skids to a stop, just out of arm’s reach. Obviously, it could be even further out of arm’s reach if he shifted, but she looks fairly unconcerned for herself at the moment. It’s not stupidity, but it’s not like she can’t Rage shift if need be.

“What happened, Hunter?” She looks upset–not as much as the Ahroun, obviously, but there is pain there. Both for the loss of a Garou, and what this is going to do to her sister if she can’t handle this situation just right. “Just talk. I’m here to listen.”

[Lukas Wyrmbreaker] Wyrmbreaker’s hackles go up at the stink, the confession. The question is there, just behind his teeth, a single snarl of an accusatory word: why!

He bites it back. Head low, eyes wary, the black wolf lingers a stone’s throw away, waiting and listening.

[Adara Mires] She skip to an halt not because she was getting too close but because of his words. I killed him. She didn’t know Hunter a lot, but with what he said before disapearing, the name he uttered: John. Well she made the connection.

She was silent, looking at him wide eyed. She felt sorry for the Ahroun, noticing the pain in his voice, at the confession. She had met John briefly twice. One afternoon with Dr Slaughter and Roman, and the night he dsiapeared with Amy after the thunderwyrm event. She knew Hunter was the Fenrir’s alpha, they had talked about, Hunter and her later the same night she had seen John for the second time. So could only fathom how hard it would be to kill a packmate.

Somehow the words I’m sorry, coming for an acquintance wouldn’t really do much good. She heard the rage and accusation in Lukas’s single word question. On some level she understand it. Garou shouldn’t kill Garou unless they have a damn good reason. And Lukas being Elder, couldn’t afford compassion, certainly not yet, not before hearing the story.

So she stood there, silent, shocked, beside the Shadow Lord Adren, waiting to hear Hunter’s story

[Adara Mires] (she skid to an halt…)

[Hunter] He turns towards them and despite the fact that his Rage is unusually low for the Gnawer, there is still a snarl in his Homid lips. It fades almost as quickly as it distorted his face, leaving him looking hollowed. Eyes flicker briefly between Adara and Wyrmbreaker then snap back to Sarita.

“Where’s Amy? Have ya’ seen her? I think she’s dead too..”

The way he says it is almost completely void of empathy or sorrow. Just words. Just thoughts.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “Amy’s not dead.” She better not be, anyway. Sarita puts her hands up and slightly out, a calming motion. Lukas behind her is angry, and probably rightly so. Adara is shocked–also, rightly so. Sarita…is trying to hold it together against the panic that is starting to encroach. “She’s okay. Just tell us what happened.”

That panic is starting to creep into detectability via the totemphone. You said that she talked to you just earlier, right? As in…today? Not long ago?

[Lukas Wyrmbreaker] [btw, just to be clear! lukas didn’t actually ask ‘why’. he’s letting sarita speak.]

Soft as velvet, a low growl rumbles past the Shadow Lord’s closed teeth. He begins to move, pacing heavy-pawed in a broad semicircle, tail held low and swept behind him.

Today, he confirms — whatever comfort this may be. A lot of hours between then and now. Before dinner.

[Adara Mires] She didn’t know what the btwo pack members said to each other so she didn’t know they had more recent news than her “She was alive last night when I saw her” She say softly. She was aware that a lot could happen in 24 hours, but it was the best she could offer them right now.

She crossed her arms under her breasts and watched Hunter and Sarita, silent again, listening.

[Hunter] “She’s not?” This seems to confuse him more than relieve him at first, then it slowly sinks in and his shoulders sag. “She’s not.” He repeats and his eyes follow the movements of Wyrmbreaker, lip curling instinctively then closing an instant later when he addresses Adara. “Last night.. I think..”

He shakes his head.

“No, it was this morning. I’m sure of it.” He doesn’t sound sure of anything. “John he crashed his car.. I found him and..” Brows furrow like none of it makes any sense at all, because it doesn’t. “He attacked me and I took him down.. I didn’t mean to..” Wide eyes on seemingly nothing. “I killed him..”

That doesn’t add up and it shows in the Ahourn’s face. “I mean I should have, but he didn’t die.. his hand..” He face distorts into a snarl and he spits as if he can still taste the dead flesh in his mouth. “I bit his head clean off I swear to fuckin’ god I did, I’m sure of it. He kept on goin’..”

[Lukas Wyrmbreaker] “He turned?” There’s skepticism in that low snarl when Wyrmbreaker finally speaks. Skepticism, and wariness, and his eyes burning into Hunter. Dead men tell no tales, after all. Easy enough to pin the blame on the Fenrir. “He was Wyrm. So you kill?

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She winces at Adara’s words. Dude, has everyone seen or audibly spoken to Amy but her? But she doesn’t have time to focus on that, and her attention snaps to John as he starts speaking. She listens, frowning…that doesn’t make sense at first. John attacked Hunter? She’s thinking a frenzy from the car wreck, and she starts to look down…

And then he kept going. She looks back up to him, blinking. “He was still fighting…after?”

Lukas, does that make any sense to you?

[Adara Mires] She jsut listened now. The tale was getting pretty strange. She could tell Hunter that Amy was with Stefan this morning but, maybe they parted ways later after she saw them. She wasn’t sure so she shut her mouth.

Now there were talk of John being Wyrm? That was bad, really bad. Yet it wasn’t her place to talk right onw. There was the Elder here and one of Hunter’s friend. She was jsut a witness for now.

[Hunter] “I..” He looks at Lukas and the doubt in Hunter’s face is completely transparent. He isn’t sure of anything he says and he doesn’t expect them to believe it either. It is completely unfathomable what the Gnawer has seen.

“I don’t know. I had’ta’ fuckin’ blow him up.” His had reaches into the pocket of his jeans and he pulls out a Zippo, previously silver, now completely black.

“He chased me to his car, I didn’t know what else ta’do. I just blew us both up.”

[Lukas Wyrmbreaker] If John was turned, god knows what he turned into. If. There are stories of deathless creatures of the Wyrm that only fire can destroy. Could also be the ravings of a madman descending into taint himself. Until a Philodox hears his words, I don’t dare trust him. Goddammit, we need a Theurge.

The black wolf’s hackles have yet to lower. He moves a circle closer though, a yard or two away now.

Cannot trust you.” There’s this to be said: even now, Lukas is honest to a fault. This isn’t even Garou tongue, high speech — it’s fragmentary and choppy, a feral language of wolves. “You come back, stink of death, smell of taint. Brother dead. Story make no sense. You wait here, packmate come, listen for truth. If you not lie, we help. We Cleanse. We keep safe, make sure you not turn too. We help.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She sighs, chewing on her lip a little. She looks at Lukas a moment, worry evident, and then looks back. She’s doing her best not to let her mind wander to what this is going to do to Amy. She’s got something else to think about at the moment, and an emotionally-empty Garou to try and keep talked down, at least until Katherine gets here.

“We’ll do everything we can, Hunter. Soon as we get the story sorted out…we’ll do what we can to help.”

Jesus Christ. This is just about a fucking nightmare.

[Katherine Bellamonte] It’s disturbingly quick.

One moment, there’s a black wolf snap-snarling in their thick tongue about his Philodox and stink of death and listening for truth and the next; right there on the rooftop there’s a shhhrrip as the fabric of two realities are torn apart and a slender female steps from mid-air. First one foot, and then another.

Despite her dedicated clothing being casual to the eye — jeans, T Shirt beneath a soft pink and white hoodie with piping, sneakers — there is such breeding coming from the Silver Fang as to cause all present to pivot and regard her. Her with her aristocratic features and that mane of shimmering gold hair. Were it not for that cloud of Rage and otherworldly dread she brought with her — some might have thought her lovely.

There was a necessary dread though, to be purchased with such a creature as Honor’s Compass.

She straightens; smooths her clothing.

[Adara Mires] She stayed silent. What else coudl she do really? Lukas didn’t believe the man right now and asked for them to wait. Sarita was trying to comfort him. She was jsut there to…what really? Help restrain Hunter? She was confident Lukas could do it on his own. But she was here and she would help in any she could

When Katherine appeared suddenly, she nodded to the Silver Fang. Proper presentations will have to wait.

[Lukas Wyrmbreaker] Why does he ask about Amy? The longer Wyrmbreaker is in this form, the more primitive, the more straightforward his thoughts become. Across the totemlink, his presence is a crackling dark heat now, narrowing down to pinpoint foci. What is his concern with your sister?

— and then there were five; Katherine appearing on the roof, as different from her Ahroun brother as day from night. The black wolf does not look at her; his acknowledgment in only in the faintest lessening of his tension.

Sister here,” he says. “You tell story again.

[Katherine Bellamonte] [Truth of Gaia: Intelligence + Empathy vs Hunter’s Manipulation + Subterfuge]
Dice Rolled:[ 5 d10 ] 1, 3, 3, 6, 8 (Success x 3 at target 3)

[Hunter] Cannot trust you.

Any other day and that would get a completely different reaction out of him. Now he doesn’t even blink, he just looks away. “Don’t trust myself,” he utters and it isn’t sad or pity-searching. It’s stated like a fact.

Lukas tells him to wait and it really doesn’t look like the Gnawer is going anywhere. He just sits down and loops his elbows around his knees. It’s quite fortunate that he spent so much Rage in the encounter. This would be a whole lot more difficult if he felt more like his own moon and less like a Crescent.

It could be minutes, or hours. Hunter wouldn’t notice. But sometime after the three of them have finished speaking, Kate arrives. He repeats his story without any embellishments. He makes it sound plain and boring and every day if not for the content. There is nothing left in him to give, especially not for a recount of these horrors.

She hears about the crash, how John attacked him when questioned. She hears how he seemed mindless but that they didn’t have a totem bond at the time so he couldn’t communicate with him anyway. Then there is the fact that he removed a limb, maybe two or three, the details are fuzzy. A head moved by itself beside a claw and both tried to kill him, teamed up with the Crinos formed Modi.

He says how he ate a frenzy and just stood there and took hit after hit, that he was scared after his will began to wane, so he ran away. This part seems to disturb the Gnawer. He ran away, the first time in as long as he can remember. He ran from a fight. Then the explosion, how he thought it would kill him too.

After all that his chin slumps down to his chest and he goes quiet.

[Katherine Bellamonte] Katherine sets a hand to her Alpha’s fur as she steps nearer to the seated, slouching Ahroun. She has a nod for Sarita; the mental brush of mind to mind before she is before Burnout and lowering herself to her haunches so she is at eye level with the Full Moon. It would appear, that she has little fear of him — or assumes much of her own skills in defense.

Still; she sits, her own arms braced over elbows and tilts her head to one side; watchful; holding his gaze.

She listens; but she hears and sees with the aid of otherwordly assistance. When the story is done, and Hunter grows quiet again there is the curious — or perhaps not, for those who knew her better — sentiment of empathy from the Elder of Half Moons. She sets a palm over the Gnawer’s hand; briefly. A touch, nothing more and then rises.

Turning to address the waiting wolf and humans.

“There is no lie to be found in his words; what took place is what he believes, and what I gleam to be the truth of it. Whatever stole this warrior’s life — ” for she won’t call him Metis, not now, not here if she even knows him as such. “It was not this man.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] She steps back as Katherin steps forward, letting her be the focus so she can do her job. She moves back next to Lukas, chewing idly on a fingernail as she listens. There is concern–obviously, uncertainty too, in case he has really lost it–but definitely pain for Hunter’s situation. She likes him. She likes John, too…and of course there’s worry about what may come next. When Katherine announces that Hunter is telling the truth she relaxes, but only by degrees.

Amy’s been working closely with Defiance…working on an information network for them. It’s been good for her…she’d chilled out some and wasn’t rushing headlong into battle anymore. She’s become friends with Hunter, too. She said he reminds her of one of her friends back at her home sept. And… A pause there, and then she sighs. She’d become very close to John. The guy who was totally wrong for her? She leaves it at that.

A little look goes to her new Alpha. Yell at me as much as you think I deserve, for not putting a forcible stop to it, or do worse. I’m okay with that. But…Amy’s in a delicate state right now. Very much so. I don’t have all the information, like I said. We only talked once or twice. What I do know is that her home sept–everyone she knew and loved from there–is destroyed. She can’t know about this; it will kill her.

[Hunter]
Dice Rolled:[ 3 d10 ] 6, 9, 10 (Success x 3 at target 6)

[Adara Mires] She stayed in the background. The Philodoxhad passed judgement. Hunter was telling the thruth, as he saw it. Something else seemed ot have killed John. That was sad, but good in a way. It would absolve Hunter.

She didn’t take offense when Kahterine only acknowledge her packmtes, she had something important to do. Nor does she say anything as the Unbroken wereclearly talking to each other via their link. She was observing, hell she was a watcher right now. Call her Uatu.

She took everything in, might be needed for a song one day.

[Lukas Wyrmbreaker] Katherine might not think much of putting herself face to face with a confessed killer, but Wyrmbreaker clearly likes it little. Beneath the Philodox’s hand, the Ahroun’s hackles bristle all the more — the coarse outer layer of his fur entirely on end now, spiking up from his neck and shoulders. A low growl rumbles in his chest

and dies as Katherine pronounces him honest, and guiltless. The black wolf’s sides heave outward in a deep chuff.

We Cleanse,” he says. “Keep taint from take root. Adara, you go down. Bring water, stick.

He turns on his haunches. Pauses only for a moment — a single piercing stare at Sarita. Then he’s planting all four paws, shaking his fur out, shaking his fur away, reemerging as his homid shape as he straightens.

I’ve got no reason to yell at you. She’s your sister, your kin, your responsibility. I’m … surprised that you allowed her to be with a Metis, knowing nothing good could ultimately come of it. But you must’ve done what you did for her happiness.

There’s a pause; a sense of ache. You do so much of what you do for her happiness. I … will not lie to her if she asks me directly. But if she does not, I will not speak to her of John.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] It was…yeah. Thank you. That’s all she says for now. She’ll talk more about it with him later. She owes him that much…she thinks, anyway. She leans back on her heels, presses the heels of her hands to her eyes.

“Fuck.” Yeah, that about sums the god damned day up, doesn’t it?

[Hunter] She tells him that it’s truth, that what he speaks actually happened as far as she can tell and Hunter crumples at her verdict. He half hoped she would say it is lies, that he is just going crazy, that he should be put down here on this roof to stop him causing any more harm to the Sept. There are no tears though, no heaving sobs. He’s in front of the leader of his Auspice and his pack-mates. A Fostern questions him, a rank he wishes to attain someday.

Maybe he should cry, and he probably will, but it isn’t here on this rooftop in front of friends and fellow warriors. Because they are just that and nothing more. Do not suffer thy people to tend thy sickness. “So he’s dead then.” He says, and it is tormented despite the fact that he remains otherwise calm.

The hand is felt on his and he doesn’t grip it, but he doesn’t shrug it off him like a young Fang he once knew would have, either. Words are said to him, or snarled or wagged, cleansing, water. He has no response.

[Adara Mires] She nodded to Lukas and was away in a heartbeat. She made her way down, to find water and stick. The kitchen weren’t really hard to find since she knew the BroHo well, better than most now having looked at te plans of the place. If she was to be responsible for it’s defense, she had to know every corners of the place.

1She came back with a bucket of water and a stick. She stop beside the Adren, letting him determine who would do the rite. She couldn’t not yet. But she’ll have to learn it. It’s twice in the same week that it would have been useful to know.

[Katherine Bellamonte] [Sorry guys, I need to crash and catch some ZZZs. Damon or Sam can NPC Kate if they need to!]

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] Sarita also doesn’t have the necessary rite. But she can howl like a muddafugga. She moves next to Adara, ready to shift when need be to howl her Stridery ass off. Which is different from a spidery ass. No Anasasi here. That you KNOW of! MUAHAHAHAHAHAH! Shut up, you. She’s not a Werespider. She could be! Could not, now shut up. The adults are talking and Rites are about to happen. Hey, you can’t do that to me! You can’t oppress me; I got rites as much as anyone! Bad pun for the loss.

So yes, she stands there and watches.

[Lukas Wyrmbreaker] The truth is, only one of them here knows how to do the rite, and it’s the one who asked for water. For a stick.

There’s a reason he didn’t go himself. It’s not that he’s too high and mighty now, Adren that he is. It has more to do with wariness. Precaution. Uncertainty of how long Hunter may have wallowed in this taint; how deep it’s sunk.

Lukas doesn’t waste a moment. He doesn’t answer Hunter either. It wasn’t really a question. It was a statement — Hunter already knows the truth. A moment later, water begins to fall gently on him, searing through blood and ichor where it falls, burning through to the skin. Cleansing.

“You didn’t kill him.” Lukas does say this much. “You heard Katherine, who is the highest judge in this Sept short of the Grand Elder himself. Whatever happened to your brother, he was already long gone by the time you found him. It must have just been some sort of … animated shell. You had no choice. You bear no guilt.”

Beyond what guilt Hunter might feel for letting John fall to that state, anyway. But that much, Lukas has the mercy not to say.

When the rite is complete, the Shadow Lord sets the bucket down, snaps the stick in half and tosses it over the side of the roof. “Why don’t you stay in the Brotherhood a while,” he suggests. “We’ll all help keep an eye on you, make sure what happened to John doesn’t happen to you. I’ll get word out to your packmate and ask her to see if she can find out how it happened.”

[Lukas Wyrmbreaker] [um. insert howl in there when appropriate! *forgot the damn rite*]

[Adara Mires] She nodded to Sarita when she came to stand beside her. When the time was right she swiftly took off her tank top and sweats wearing onthing else under and shifted to Lupus. Better to strip and shift than rip clothesand contnuing nakedness. She howled with the others, to clean Hunter, to make sure the man was free of taint, would be able to return to who he was once the grief has passed.

She shifted back and put on her clothes again. She decidly need to have wore than 3 outfits that shift with her. It’ll come ot that..eventually. “He can sleep in room 4, it’s free, no one is there. I could keep an eye on him tonight if you need me. And if he doesn’t mind.” She offer to Lukas and Hunter.

[Hunter] Lukas tells him what he already knows and when Hunter tips his chin to look up at him there is understanding there of the unspoken. Whether he killed John or not, he was his Alpha and he let him get into that state. Guilt is abundant in the Gnawer despite the clearing of any wrong doing in the wee hours of the morning.

Cleansing. It’s strange, not something he’s used to. Death should find him before the taint, but such a thing is far too romantic to ever actually occur in the life of one like Hunter Matthews. It makes his nose wrinkle and his lips curl, his shoulders hunch up against the unusual assault. But it’s a soothing strangeness over time. Something that has him breathing out a sigh, which abruptly turns to refusal.

“No.” He says to both Adara and Lukas, quite seriously. He pushes himself to his feet. “No.. I..” His eyes narrow and his jaw clenches. “You’ve done more’n’enough. Thank you but I don’t..”

He shakes his head, makes to move towards the stairs.

“I can’t stay here. I just came ta’ tell Sarita.. bout’ Amy..” His eyes find the Strider with a swivel of his body. “Tell her I’m sorry.”

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] The howl complete, Sarita shifts down too. She keeps her duster dedicated to her, so she’s still dressed. She looks at Hunter, watching him.

“Hunter…please, I know you’re hurting. And I wish I could take that away. But I need you to understand something. Amy…she found out her entire sept was destroyed while she was gone. She’s insanely fragile. She can’t know he died. It’ll kill her. It will drive her beyond the edges of what she can handle. Please.”

[Lukas Wyrmbreaker] After a long moment, Lukas nods in acquiescence. As Sarita beseeches Hunter, he turns instead to Adara.

“You’re a Galliard, aren’t you? Search your histories and your tales. Try to find out what it is that might have happened to Drawn in Blood. If his surviving packmates want to hear it, tell them. An explanation might not bring any comfort, perhaps it will help them to at least understand.”

[Adara Mires] She listened to Sarita’s wordsand blinked a few times. Wow, Amy was one unlucky kin. She had a look of concern for the young woman but also for the Bone Gnawer. When Hunter said no to the offer to stay at the BroHo or her watching over him, she nodded to the man “All right Hunter. JUst..don’t be alone for a while ok? Stay near Joey or any of your firends, it will help you”

She look at lukas when he spoke to her and nodded “I will Rhya. Hunter knows how to contact me. When he and Joey feel ready, I’ll have something for them. As soon as tomorrow afternoon I”m sure”

[Hunter] If the news that Amy’s sept is now gone has any effect on the Gnawer then it doesn’t show, not beyond a silent parting of his lips, perhaps the dilating of his eyes.

“Couldn’t, even if I wanted to.” Is he agreeing to not tell her? Or the other way around? It’s hard to say because it’s hard for Hunter to even think about it right now. It’s taking all his effort to not break down in front of them all, what would staying here do? They might hear his screams in the night; they might hear him cry in a bed that isn’t his. Weakness.

Whatever is going on between Lukas and Adara, he misses it because he’s lumbering down the half formed image of the stairs. Where’s he going? He doesn’t know. Somewhere that people aren’t looking at him like they all did though, like he couldn’t be trusted.

He can’t be, not right now.

[Sarita Ecos de la Risa] “I’ll give you a ride home, if you want.” She’s good, but she’s not a mind-reader. And she doesn’t even think about offering; it’s natural.

I’ll be back at the Loft in a bit. Even if he says no, I’m gonna follow him home, make sure he gets there okay.

[Hunter] [wrap!]

[Adara Mires] She watch Hunter go with concern more than distrust. She nodded at Sarita’s words. OnceLukas was done talking to her she headed back down, slipping back into the real BroHo and headed to her room where her best friend was sleeping and with a Utkena ragabash was spawled, snoring on the floor.

[Lukas Wyrmbreaker] Lukas watches Hunter go. Good. Even if you hadn’t offered I would’ve put another stormcrow on him. I don’t think he should be alone right now.

I’ll get in touch with Joey, make sure she knows where to find him.

He follows Adara down the stairs. A nod as they part in the hall, and then the door of room 2 shuts quietly.

[Lukas Wyrmbreaker] [thanks for the RP, folks! *jetting*!]

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