This old and spacious building was once a fairly large carriage barn, but has been converted first as garage, and then into something else entirely. It once had massive two-story front doors, but they've been permanently closed, and a smaller door built into them. The walls appear to have been reinforced in some way, making them stronger and somewhat soundproof. The size of about two large rooms, the first floor is undivided. It's got wooden plank flooring, and has exercise equipment dotting its expanse, with free weights in one area, a punching bag in a corner, and other equipment scattered about. There's a rough ladder up to the second floor, which is carpeted, but has unfinished walls, a few dangling light bulbs, and is apparently serving as a somewhat informal bunk area. The lighting is, understandably, somewhat inadequate. The floor mostly consists of mattresses, innumerable throw pillows and bed pillows, warm bedding, and the occasional glimpse of carpet. There are a few shoes resting against the wall near the ladder; clearly, people are expected to take their footwear off once they get up here. A wooden door on the upper part of the garage leads into the second floor landing of the house.
A long, hard-packed dirt road winds almost a mile through the forest off Sunrise Road, eventually opening out into a small front yard, and coming to a stop in front of a large house, which may be the very definition of ramshackle. The house is not visible from the road, nor can one hear anything but perhaps a gunshot. Its foundation and general structure are solid, but its once crisp grey-and-white paint needs updating, and some of the trim is having trouble staying attached. A fixer upper, one might say. Off to the left, there's a former garage, long since converted into something of an in-law apartment. A connecting flyover attaches it to the second floor of the house.
There are no fences surrounding either the front or back yards. In the rear of the property, the yard (larger than in the front) eventually comes up against a well built garden, with the very beginnings of sprouts. Shaded and obscured by surrounding trees, there is a small (but deep) natural pond, with a chuckling brook leading out of it, into the woods. There's a rope swing hanging from one of the trees. The yard to the southeast of the property stretches on for a time, and then is eaten by woods, into which there may or may not be a path; it apparently fades away quickly. There's a certain looming feel to these woods.
No more than 13 or 14 years old, maybe five and a half feet tall and all skinny-wiry in that decidedly not-filled-out-yet way. Wavy coffee-coloured hair's been somewhat haphazardly cut, or perhaps allowed to grow out; it's barely above the collar in the back, and in the front a floppy fringe half-hides dark, solid eyebrows and constantly threatens to fall into a pair of wide hazel eyes. The kid's tawny complected, with a smattering of noticable freckles across the cheeks and the strong, straight nose, and seems thus far to be mostly winning the battle against teenage acne. A wide, somewhat full-lipped mouth contains clean but slightly crooked teeth, untamed by braces. One might also notice a certain alert balance to the stance -- not aggressive, but more like a coiled spring of potential energy restrained just beneath a placid surface.
Today's clothing seems to have been dictated mainly by comfort and the weather: old but presentable jeans, aged black high-top converse, and a open white-and-blue plaid flannel over a loose navy t-shirt that proclaims "I'VE GOT THAT ON A T-SHIRT" in Cooper Black. The degree of cold means an ankle-length tan wool coat has been added to the outfit, and the whole thing is topped off with a multi-coloured striped knit scarf of truly remarkable length. An old brown leather satchel hanging off one shoulder completes the ensemble.
She stands at a height of about five feet and six inches. Her hair is kept long. The strands reaching down to the small of her back. The thick tresses are kept clean and stylishly cut with a bit from either side pulled back to merge into a thick braid that hangs down the center and on top of the rest. Light blue eyes are lined with full lashes and accompanied by delicate and carefully kept brows. Her nose looks slightly on the small side, nestled as it is above her full lips. She has a fairly slim and athletic looking body. Wide shoulders that trail out to delicate arms and eventually end with hands that might be called dainty. Her torso tapers down from shoulders to a small waist while supporting an ample bosom. The curve of her hips is gentle and lead down to strong looking legs.
A plaid sleeveless dress made out of a sturdy cotton material adorns her frame. The sleeveless design leaves her arms exposed and sports a modestly cut neckline that dips barely below the hollow of her throat. The material flows down her body with the close fit. A wide, black leather, belt that is about two inches wide wrap abiut her waist to bring emphasis to the area. The dress ends in a skirt that is cut to end just above her knees. Her legs are left bare while a pair of three inch heeled ankle boots adorn her feet and give a little boost to her height.
Djehuti is a man in his late 30s, though given his weatherbeaten face and tired posture, he might well seem older. He's about 6'2" tall, and his face -- all of him, really -- is long and thin. The face is relatively dark-skinned and weathered, carved with lines and yet frequently mobile and engaging. His eyes are brown, and often warm; sometimes, they are cooler, further away. But he is always, always observing what goes on around him. His brown hair, which is not long, curls and waves and kinks around his head; the longest stray strand does not quite reach his shoulders. On closer inspection, his posture may not be lazy; it may instead be coiled, poised, resting before more action. Something in that posture hints at grace, or perhaps even nobility.
His clothes are a hodge-podge. He wears battered jeans, a gray muslin shirt, and, over that, a keffiyehesque scarf, white cotton lined with what is apparently (and somewhat incongruously) polarfleece, serving mostly as a neck-covering, the folds extending over his shoulders, as well. (Though his head is uncovered.) He's currently barefoot. His backpack, dull green army vintage, is generally nearby. The only curious thing is that he wears brown gloves in all weather, fingerless save for the pinkies; these gloves wrap their leather up to about his elbows.
A solid grey wolf with massive jaws, wide shoulders, corded with thickly bunched muscles and sinew, and each paw tipped with sharp claws. A scar runs across his left eye, though the eye itself is intact. Another pattern of scars suspiciously looking like a bite from something very big can be seen circling around his chest, abdomen, and back as well as a patch of scars on his lower abdomen. Scary enough without mentioning that he's about the size of a horse.
Standing at 1.8 meters tall and weighing around 82 kilograms, Sergei is obviously someone used to physical activity. With very little body fat on him, the still rather young man is already starting to take on the look of a grizzled veteran. The superficial scar on his jaw, cropped hair and Eastern European jawline simply add to this. The hazel-blue eyes are piercing and lend to the perception of barely controlled rage.
Sergei dresses functionally. Black BDU pants are worn over the top of a pair of well-worn black leather outdoor boots. A simple well-fitting gray shirt is worn underneath a black leather jacket that was probably expensive at one time, but has seen several trips around the block.
Currently in Saint Claire, it is raining lightly. The temperature is 47 degrees Fahrenheit (8 degrees Celsius). The wind is currently coming in from the southwest at 14 mph, with gusts up to 20 mph. The barometric pressure reading is 29.66 and rising, and the relative humidity is 86 percent. The dewpoint is 43 degrees Fahrenheit (6 degrees Celsius.)
Currently the moon is in the waning Half (Philodox) Moon phase (48% full).
It is both cold and wet out, and therefore is not fit out for man nor beast. Djehuti, both at once, has taken the hint and come inside. He's tossed a few pillows downstairs and is is leaning against some of the exercise equipment, reading a book. (He has a throw-blanket on, as well.)
Izzy slips into the garage from the house, actually leaving the coat and satchel behind for once. The cub's expression is a bit darker than usual, and there's a decided sense of pent-up energy. The punching bag appears to have been the original destination, but Djehuti's presence causes an early halt. "Oh... hello. I didn't know you were here."
Djehuti looks up from his book (seems to be Tolkien of some stripe), and smiles. "Afternoon. I'm not hiding per se, at least, not from anything but the weather." He stops to give her a brief consideration "If you'd like to beat up the bag for a bit, I don't mind."
Izzy hesitates a moment, looking at Djehuti, then the back, then Djehuti again. "...yes, please. I don't want to interrupt your reading. Though, if you wanted to tell me things, I can think and hit at the same time. Usually anyway." The cub doesn't start doing anything with the bag immediately, regardless -- first, there is stretching to be done, and apparently some other exercises as well.
"Well, I'm quite able to read amongst mild chaos," he says, with mild irony, "But as I have been aiming to find you and tell you more of the Litany in any case..." He trails off. "We're often more itchy-ragey during our moons, by the way. Just so you know you've got a reason for the feeling." He puts the book down on the floor -- it's old, so the fact that he keeps his place by turning it face down on the ground isn't a /major/ insult to the book, merely a mild affront -- and rises to his feet. "More Litany work for you? Owen disrupted my thought processes, earlier."
"That's... that's good to know, I guess. About the moon thing. I guess we have to keep really close track of it, huh?" The cub seems to be taking the whole stretching things seriously, no matter how tempting that punching bag might currently be. "I've been trying to make sure I remember everything. I think I've got most of what you told me now. And we were up to number 3, right? Of 13?"
"To be honest, I don't even really keep track consciously, anymore." He bends down to get the pillows, and nods. "Yup. 3 of 13. Oh, and--" He offers her the phone, momentarily, but then rethinks himself and lays it down on one of the nearby pieces of equipment. "So. Yes. The next one has a good deal of context behind it. Garou, as I may have mentioned, work in packs, small groups of werewolves who, together, work more effectively than we do singly. And these packs take territory. And so." A bit slower and with more care, he says, "Respect the Territory of Another." Again talking as he walks, a bit, he says, "And this applies to individual territory as well, obviously."
Izzy's eyes widen slightly at the phone, and there's a movement as if to go take it, but that gets stifled, in favour of remaining in place and asking, "...were there any calls or anything? And thank you." The cub stands again, and eyes the bag. "Respect the Territory of Another. What do you have to do to respect it properly? Is it just like, treat it like you're a guest in someone else's house? Like, knock before entering, don't trash the place, offer to help with the dishes after dinner and stuff? Is there, um... wolfier stuff?"
"Not that I noticed, no." Djehuti considers that, pausing at one of the pieces of equipment to fiddle with its cord. "That depends. The City tribes tend to stick to, basically, don't screw with people in their areas, don't fight Wyrm things there without getting their permission, and if you're confronted with something you can't ignore, tell them about it afterwards. They tend to delineate territory by word of mouth, and tagging and/or glyphs. In the more wild areas, there are packs who will not allow other Garou into their territory at all, without permission. And, these Garou tend to delineate territory by scent marking." He sounds just slightly wry at this last, but it's only trace amounts.
"What're glyphs? And how does scent marking work? Can you smell it if you're a person?" The bag gets a narrow-eyed look, and then a kick that would probably have had a good chance of sweeping its legs out, if only it had any. As it is, it just makes a nice satisfying thunk and sets it swaying a bit. It may not be any good for throws, but the cub seems willing to settle for abusing it with kicks and strikes, for now, watching the thing intensely as though it might suddenly decide to really fight back at any moment. And who knows -- in a world where people turn into wolf-monsters and disappear at will, maybe it might.
In this case, at this particular time, it doesn't. But that may just mean it's biding its time. "Like hieroglyphics, only Garou-oriented," is Djehuti's concise definition. "We have a whole system created. Here, I'll show you for when you're done beating things up." He goes to fetch his bag, which is underneath his coat, which is underneath the ladder. Rummaging in it, he finds a notebook and pen, which he draws the glyphs for 'human' and 'Silent Strider' in (with English annotations underneath). He puts it down near Izzy, for later. "Scent marking is, well, done with the anal glands, and also, with urination. You can't smell it in obvious ways, if you're in homid, but there are also often other markers as well -- Glyphs, or warning signs, or wolf scat."
Izzy nosewrinkles at that explanation, giving the bag another sound kick. "Ew." It's a few more moments -- probably filled with icky mental images of marking things with butts, or something -- before the rest gets addressed. "I think I like the glyphs thing better. Like a secret code, right? Oh, or like hobo signs! I had a book with those in it when I was little. ...though the only one I can remember right now is the one for, um, 'a kind lady lives here'. Which was a cat." A glance is spared for the gyphs Djehuti has made as examples -- not enough to memorize them, yet, but enough to get an idea of the general look of them. "...those look cooler."
Djehuti advises, dry, "Don't overthink it." And then, back to even-but-friendly, "Yes -- We actually, the tribe I mean, often use hobo signs as well as glyphs. It can be less obvious." To whom, is not stated. "I don't know if anyone around here has a codex of glyphs; I'll have to ask. If no one does, I'll set down a little dictionary for you. Though then some of them will induce more conversation about things." He grins, quicksilver and brief. "I'll have to start drinking tea with honey."
That last gets a tiny giggle. "I'll try not to totally wear out your voice. I mean if nothing else I we can get a whole lot of pens and paper. And I'll try to learn hobo signs too, then. Though I guess the other things are prolly the priority..." The bag gets three more strikes in quick succession, and then the cub takes a swift step away from it. A pause, for the catching of breath. "I'm not being annoying with so many questions, am I? Just, I want to get all this stuff right."
The man stops in his tracks. "Too many questions?" He sounds mildly shocked. "Good Gaia. No such thing. This is /great/. Let me tell you, I'd far rather have someone who /is/ asking the questions, and teasing apart the nuances, than someone who's just accepting the flat basic statement and moving on. So as long as /you're/ not getting tired of me, I'm not getting tired of the questions. And I can sketch out some hobo signs when I do the glyphs, too." He flips the pen up in the air, catches it, then tosses it back toward his bag. (It lands on his coat, instead. "No points," he mutters.) "So -- Next one?"
Izzy looks relieved at that answer. "I've made people frustrated before. And I'm not getting tired of you at all, so that's all good." The question gets a moment of consideration, and then a nod. "Garou shall not mate with Garou, Combat the Wyrm wherever it dwells and whenever it breeds, Respect the territory of another. Okay." The bag gets a glance, but round two is apparently lower priority than some more stretching and some practice of similar movements without involving the actual impact. For now. It'll get what's coming to it soon enough.
It sways, soundless, so one really can't say if it expects it or not. But given its history, it might. "Nope. A good philodox is not a doctrinaire person, but keeps asking questions and turning things over in their heads. Though I'll freely admit I've sometimes gotten other half moons irritated at me, so there are times when that should be done in one's head." He sighs, then stops to think. "OK. The context with the next one is that we determine who's in charge -- of tribes, packs, Septs -- by ritual challenge. These challenges can range from a staredown --" He breaks off for a moment to stare penetratingly at Izzy, very still all of a sudden. After about four seconds, he breaks this to go on talking with voice and hands -- "To a riddle contest, to one on one combat. The challenged chooses the terms of the challenge. So." In that same careful-but-resonant voice, he says, "Accept an Honorable Surrender." His voice becomes more fluid again. "As for what's honorable -- That often depends on personal definition, though the Garou do have an accepted creed of it. But there are those who, for example, say that those of the Wyrm cannot honorably surrender."
The staring is entirely unexpected, and for the "don't blink" kind of contest, Izzy would have lost almost immediately, and repeatedly as well. The "don't look away" kind would have been more forgiving, but even so the cub looks down after a couple seconds, as though the fact of being stared at had only just sunk in. "'Don't turn your back, don't look away, and don't blink'," the kid mutters, peeking back and looking properly once it's clear the staring has subsided. "Um. Okay. Accept an honourable surrender. But if a Wyrm thing surrenders and you accept, wouldn't that conflict with-- oh wait, number two is =combat= the Wyrm. Not kill or even defeat. Just combat. So I guess technically it could be worked out as long as it... uh... promised not to dwell or breed. I guess." This is high in the dubiousness stakes. "If the person being challenged gets to pick the contest, don't they almost always win?"
"I figured a visual demonstration would be more meaningful than just saying it," Djehuti says, sounding just a touch apologetic. "But that also explains one thing I was going to mention later -- many elders take instinctive offense to being looked at directly in the eyes, so be aware of that with the more feral among us. I don't mind -- it makes for more open communication. But simply be aware of why people may consider you problematic if you make a habit of it." Then he stops, thinking, and nods. "Yes, you get to the heart of the matter there. Quite often, yes. But however. Keep in mind that challenges are in theory supposed to be fair, so if one considers the challenge laid forth to be unfair, what is often done is to speak to a philodox, who may or may not agree that the given challenge is unfair. But it is, at least, an avenue."
"I'll, um. Try not to look people in the eyes so much, then. At least not people I know are werewolves." Izzy looks at the bag again, but decides it can continue to wait; instead, the cub looks around to find something suitable to climb and sit on while listening. "So we're like the appeals court, kinda?"
"It's not a major thing. Just pay attention to people's non-verbal cues, to see if they're getting irritated by it. The non-verbals are, after all, a good deal of lupine language." He himself goes to sit on the ladder to the second floor. "Yep. In addition to the judges and sentencers. It's a complex life we lead." Djehuti shrugs, not even sounding philosophical about it -- He seems to enjoy the fact, really. "So -- Next one?"
Izzy hesitates, but eventually nods. "Yeah. I might have some questions about surrendering and how you do it and how you know if it's honourable, later, but prolly I don't need to know that right =now=, right? So, yeah. I can do the next one."
From afar, to (Djehuti, Izzy): Runetree | Arriving in the area on a cool but clear evening, Sergei winds his Harley motorcycle down the dirt road. The Rite has lead him to this area. He knows he's close, so he knows he's also in or near someone's territory. As a young Shadow Lord, he was taught the importance of respecting the territory of another.
From afar, to (Djehuti, Izzy): Runetree | Pulling his motorcycle off the side of the dirt road, he dismounts and lays his duffle bag across the seat. He strips down naked perfunctorily and begins his shift down into wolf form, first making sure there are no unwanted watching eyes. After completing his transformation into the lean black wolf, he lets out his Howl of Introduction, then repeating it twice. Having completed that he shifts back to his homid form, dresses and waits.
Djehuti says, "I'd expect nothing less," dryly. He starts to say more, and then stops at the howl. "Hm," he says. "OK, introductions to those you know are Garou. Name, deed-name (which you don't have yet), auspice, tribe, other details like pack name or whatever, in whatever order you'd like. Come, let us see who this is." He grabs his coat and makes for the door.
April has been sitting on the front steps of the house at the end of the drive, looking over the pair of hound ears held close together by a leather strip. "Shadow to reveal what is disguised. Definitely, I think." she murmurs to herself before tilting her head as the howl is heard. She sits like that for a moment until the howl repeats itself a couple more times. "interesting, more company." she remarks, slipping the thong about her neck so the ears hang about her chest. Then she gets up to start down the drive a little, not replying just yet to the howls.
Patience is a virtue. Unfortunately it's not one often wasted on either the young or garou, and Sergei falls into both categories. After a few minutes of not hearing an answer to his howls, he begins pacing. In order to resist the urge to shift again and repeat the howl, he busies himself with going through the duffle to check on his belongings.
April walks down the drive just a bit so thast she can peer down it to where the motorcyle is parked and the man is pacing. Hands go to her hips as she looks towards him from afar. Really, she doesn't want to walk all that way just to have to walk back so instead she raises one arm to try and wave him on for the moment.
Long distance to Djehuti: Izzy notes, Izzy had to dart briefly into the house and grab the coat and scarf, but moves fast. Should be following you out within a minute at the very most.
Djehuti (but not quite Izzy yet) emerges from the garage, looking down the road as he puts his coat on. Once it's on, he trots down the driveway, and stops about where April is. "Hullo," he murmurs to her, looking down toward the motorcycle.
Izzy spills out of the garage somewhere between half and a full minute after Djehuti, pulling on a long, warm coat and a ridiculously long striped scarf along the way. It's pretty darn cold out here, after all. The cub stops beside Djehuti, breathing slightly hard from the scurrying, and looks at April with interest, then down the driveway toward the (presumably) newcomer -- and then Djehuti again, waiting for cues.
Sergei looks up from busying himself to notice April, and then Djehuti on the road. He reseals the bag and then starts down the road towards them, leaving the bag behind on the motorcycle. He pauses momentarily when Izzy emerges, and then continues. He moves down the road towards the trio at a purposeful gait, and stops close enough where no one should have to raise their voice to be heard but probably wouldn't be considered too close.
He looks over the trio carefully, making sure to take in as much detail as possible. His gaze is analytical, perhaps sizing the pair up. He spends a few moments in this activity before speaking in a clear but heavily eastern European accented English, "Good evening."
April glances towards Djehuti and then towards Izzy when she notices the cub before looking back towards the new person coming down the drive. "Evening." she replies towards the man. The ears bounce a little on the leather strip that holds them about her neck as she starts to walk about the man slowly. "Looking for someone? You're a bit out from the city."
The Strider seems alert but not wary. Raising his hand in a wave to Sergei, he says, "Good evening. You the gent who called out, just now?"
Djehuti pages: More elaborately, he's clearly paying attention to Sergei in ways he doesn't usually to others. (Which is a way of saying he has Truth of Gaia on.)
Izzy can't help getting slightly distracted by the bouncing... wait, are those dog ears? around April's neck, but that will have to wait. Watching this introduction thing takes precedence. The cub makes no move to leap into things.
Sergei takes note of the cub joining, now making this a trio instead of a pair. He repeats the same analysis of Izzy before responding to either of the others. Djehuti gets the short answer of a nod in response to his question before a more lengthy explanation.
His response is preceded by a slight grin that doesn't really carry much humor to it. "Yes, that is because the city is not what I am looking for. And yes, I am the one who announced my presence just now. You all came in response to that announcement. So perhaps we should not be coy with each other and proceed to the question and answer phase of this meeting?"
"Very well then." April states as she comes to stand a bit behind the new comer. "How about we start with the question of, Who are you? Seems like a good place to me." She looks from the man to the other two for a moment before looking back.
Djehuti smiles, just a touch. "Well, indeed," he says. "But this dance of coyness is a long-established one, and to be expected. I myself am Djehuti Mesu-Ma'at, also known as Derek Ramsey, in case the pronunciation of my other name is difficult. I am of Owl's children, and I am half moon. And, since you bring it up--" The man pauses, moving half a pace sideways toward April. "What /are/ you looking for, then?"
Sergei seems to roll the name over his tongue once or twice, getting the feel of it before he nods to himself. "I am Sergei Balic, Dark Claw of Reckoning, Revenant's Requiem, Cleanes the Mountain. I come recently from the Sept of the Night Sky. I am a child of Grandfather Thunder born under the full moon, and I am seeking a kinsman of mine who is a survivor the the Sept of the Broken Prairie."
April waits for the stranger to introduce himself before offering her own introduction. "April Rains, Shifting Briar, Fostern Theurge of the Black Furies and child of Grandmother Tree of the pack Heartwood." introductions are so wordy in her mind. She falls quiet though as she looks towards Djehuti as if to give him the lead in this meeting.
Djehuti narrows his eyes just slightly, and his jaw tenses. "April, do you know how to sense the enemy? No offense," he adds to Sergei, "But there has been considerable to-ing and fro-ing considering that Sept. Former Sept. Former Sept from which Gerik-ikthya has assaulted us."
Owen has arrived.
Wildfire: I'm here to EET FAIS!
Djehuti likes his face! No eating!
Izzy: ogods no not in the faise!
Izzy listens closely to the introductions (April's name gets a startled blink) and has just taken a breath to attempt one as well when Djehuti replies to the newcomer again. The cub's mouth closes again; some of what's being said might as well be Greek, but that doesn't mean the rest of it or the nonverbal hints are going uninterpreted.
Sergei nods curtly at the mention of ikthya. His lip curls in obvious disgust. "Yes, I would imagine so. News of the sept has not yet reached the ears of the rest of the tribe, to my knowledge. I came there recently from the Sept of the Night Sky to find it overrun by the Wyrm. My search for survivors has lead me here. I do not blame you if you are suspicious. I would be."
"Unfortuntely I had to return my means of doing so yesterday." April answers Djehuti with a frown. "I wasn't expecting to need the use of it again so soon." She looks back towards the new comer. "So you come from one sept that has been over run straight to our place. Are you trying to lead the wyrm straight to us?"
Djehuti says, "Ah," wryly and with some irritation, directed at the world at large. "Must learn that," he mutters. He sighs, and pinches the bridge of his nose. Then he looks back up. "More specifically, please answer yes or no. Are you of the Wyrm? This," he adds, trying to be clear, "Does not mean that I believe that you /are/, merely that I have the truth telling Gift, which is not a substitute for the Gift of sensing the Wyrm; but it will do in a pinch."
Something large can be heard forcing it way through the growth just outside of the meadows by those paying attention. After a moment or two, Wildfire breaks through into the area and gives the place a once over, looking for trouble which seems so frequent as of late, but seems a little disappointed to find nothing but what it was that actually was howled: A new Garou introducing himself. He looks flatly at the newcomer for a moment before stepping up further.
Izzy's eyes widen at the arrival of surely The World's Largest Wolf, and the cub has to exert some control not to take a step back, away from it -- even if its attention is clearly on the new arrival, just like everyone else's.
Sergei sniffs, "Yes, I am /absolutely/ trying to take an action that would cause a caern to be violated." He seems about to add more when Wildfire causes his disturbance in the brush before breaking into view. Sergei takes note of the newcomer in much the same way as the others, sizing him up. He nods his appreciation of an obvious warrior before continuing, although he does seem ready to break if the wolf becomes hostile.
"No, I am not of the wyrm. Nor did I bring others to this place. The Spirals there were not alerted to my presence, probably because I was aware enough to realize what was wrong before I fully entered the place. I also did not come directly to this place. This is, however, where my search has lead me."
April frowns at the mans first words in response until her attention is yanked over towards the one thundering through the undergrowth. She bites her tongue to keep from saying what comes to mind about the visage the man produces and crosses her arms instead, the hound ears dangling just above her arms, as she gives a small sigh.
Djehuti tells Izzy distractedly, not quite looking away from Sergei, "That is Owen," but the vast majority of his attention is on the Shadow Lord. He snorts darkly wry laughter at the sarcasm, and listens carefully to his other answers. "That first bit, for those who might be concerned, was not truth. Which is to say, he was being sarcastic. The rest of it is truth." He inclines his head to the Shadow Lord, carefully polite. "My thanks. I presume, then, that you are searching for either Ty or Eli?"
Wildfire paces right on up to the newcomer even as others are asking him questions, his own nose twitching in a manner. He eyes the Shadow Lord citically but without a word, eventually turning his head only slightly askance towards Djehuti as he continues to gaze at the newcomer.
Izzy does not look =particularly= reassured by the news of the wolf's other identity, but doesn't run screaming from the yard, either, so all in all a success. Or something.
Sergei seems to relax a bit at Djehuti's explanation of the massive wolf. He stands his ground as Wildfire sniffs him, but avoids looking the wolf in the eye for now. April is given a brief look to see if she has another question for him. He continues when it seems she has none for the moment.
"I am looking for Mikael Elliot, Strikes With Thunder's Might."
April slowly takes a small step back away from the new strider and slowly starts to step around to stand closer to the others once more. Her eyes watching Wildfire as much as Sergei.
Now that Djehuti's relaxed a bit, more of his attention is spared for the others, and his smile tics up at Wildfire's askance look. But all he says is, "It seemed likely." He nods to Sergei. "He is being held, pending Philodox decision, on a pack's territory. Equinox. If you wish to speak with him, it would be wise to request the pack's permission to enter their lands."
Wildfire's hackles rise at the mention of Elliot. ~That name is dead now! Who are you to be looking for him?~ This is said even as Strider speaks.
Runes: Weeeeell /technically/ it's not. Since Break with the Past failed.
Runes: But given the circumstances, new names anyway. So.
Runes butts out again.
Djehuti: That's an IC discussion! Which Dje may or may not bring up.
Wildfire: Shush you, Mr Person that's not here! :)
Izzy hasn't the foggiest idea what Wildfire might be saying, but raised hackles aren't a good sign on dogs and they probably aren't on massive werewolves, either. The cub edges very slightly back, and possibly an inch or so closer to Djehuti.
Djehuti casually translates Owen, under his breath, to Izzy.
Whatever trepidation Sergei was having at the presence of the hispo wolf vanishes at the irritation of having to repeat himself, even if Wildfire was not present when he said this the first time. "I am Sergei Balic, Dark Claw of Reckoning, Revenant's Requiem, Cleanses the Mountain, child of Grandfather Thunder born under the full moon and he is my kinsman. If there is something I should know, then I would appreciate the information."
He pauses a moment before continuing. "I am looking for more than what happened to the sept. Broken Prairie was to be my home. I am currently at a loss of what to do and cannot soon return to the Sept of the Night Sky."
"You come from more than one Caern that has fallen and seek someone that is dead." April states as she speaks up from her spot by Djehuti and Izzy. "Can you not see why we would be resistant to giving any information that we may or may not have to you who have gone so close to the wyrm on more than one occasion?"
"I quite sympathise, having been to places unexpectedly destroyed by the Wyrm. My sympathies on your loss." He takes a breath. "I would imagine," Djehuti says, answering things selectively, "That the warleaders here might well welcome help against the Gerik-ikthya. Or other battles we are engaged in at the moment. April could probably tell you how to get in touch with the Warder, for example."
Any responses that might have been made to Sergei after April's fall on deaf ears as he rounds on her from looking at Wildfire. He quickly takes a few long strides towards her, invading her personal space.
His response is accompanied with a snarl, "The Sept of the Night Sky is not fallen! It is currently under the control of a living legend and is the strongest sept in Europe today. You speak of which you know nothing!"
Izzy nods at Djehuti's translation, but it only makes the cub's brow furrow deeper. And then the newcomer is advancing -- on April, granted, but she's standing right by the Striders -- and the kid takes another small step back, this one as much an adjustment to a better-balanced stance as it is just moving further away from the scary man.
Wildfire snarls at this. ~Know your place!~ he barks at the Shadow Lord. ~You are the trespasser here and she is Guardian. You wish to stay here, then watch your mouth before I stomp you into a puddle of your own piss!~ He fixes the other Ahroun a stronger gaze than before as he orders, ~Name your rank.~
Djehuti meanwhile doesn't move a step at either Sergei or Owen, merely raises his eyebrows. But he does drift backwards when he notices Izzy backing up, and murmurs something to her.
April stands her ground as the newcomer rounds on her, only one brow raising as she listens though she stays quiet for the moment as Wildfire speaks once more. Her arms stay crossed as she observes Sergei and waits for his words.
From afar, Djehuti murmurs, "If you wanted to go hang out inside, I would not take it amiss. It seems the time of posturing is at hand." (He also translates Owen again.)
Sergei makes a visible effort to calm himself as he takes a couple of steps backwards, eyes still on April for a few moments. "I am known as Cliath to the Garou Nation. I do not wish to disrespect anyone's rank or territory. However even as Cliath I have already bled for Gaia on many occasions. The only times I have come /close to the Wyrm/ are when I put the wyrmspawn under my claws, and I do not like the insinuation."
Wildfire cracks knuckles. One sec...
April thinks she made a new friend!
Izzy hasn't moved very far back (at least, not yet) but Djehuti's murmur is listened to attentively, and replied to at the same low level. So apparently the kid CAN talk! Well, presumably.
Long distance to Djehuti: Izzy murmurs back, "Thank you. But I'd like to stay if you think it's safe and all. It's really interesting."
From afar, Djehuti says, eyeing Sergei with weary interest, "This may become more fight than talking, soon, but even then, I think it will not be dangerous, merely violent. So I think it's all right."
Djehuti murmurs something back to her, eyeing Sergei with weary interest. "Ah, ahrouns," he murmurs, a bit louder, and makes sure he's not in Owen's way.
Wildfire leans a little back as he sets a forepaw on a knee as he begins to stand even as heshifts upwards into the warform. ~Owen Hollsinger. Wildfire, Gifted of Fenris. Adren, Modi, and Jarl of the Fenrir here. Formerly a child Fenris, Weasel, Black Unicorn, Wyvern, Hrafn, and twice of Wolverine. Rited in the Sept of the Sentinel but once and again full member of the Sept of the Hidden Walk, once the Wheel Renewed, where I stand as guard outside of the Guardian Pack. Grandson of Ule Gathering-Storm Hollsinger, Skald and warrior of the blitzkreig then later hero of the retaking of Dresden, himself a great grandchild of Otto Dragon-Thane Von-Heisling, Modi during the rise of Prussia. I am Destroyer of the Rust-Belt slasher, Bester of the Nightmare in the River, Slayer of the Grey-Sky Dragon, Cleanser of Cabled-Lightning, Hunter in the Far Reaches, Feaster at the Table of the Great Wolf, Felt the Final Pain of Death, Slayer of the Justly Called Fallen, Alpha's Saviour, Singer of His Own Dirge, Stands Firm Against the Fallen, Gatherer of Trophies of the Thunder Lizards, Follower of the Four-Year Hunt, and Freer of the Lakes of York.~ The last part full of deeds has a cadence of sorts going along with it that quickly drops away as he speaks again. ~You are still a visitor here and you will bide your tongue.~ He then turns a sharp eye on the Fury. ~He was already tested as speaking the Truth.~ He leaves that there without any more inflection except to regard the ranking half-moon in the area.
Djehuti says, "Indeed he was," in agreement.
"Tested he was, but also near fallen caerns in the past as well. One does not need be tainted to lead the tainted to what they would consider a prize." April looks back to Sergei. "My apologies for the misunderstanding of my words." she offers. "I have only the safety of the sept in mind when I bring up the possibilities."
Sergei listens to Owen carefully and then nods in response to him, "As you say, Wildfire-rhya." He looks back to April, "You have my apologies for my anger. Shadow Lords at the Sept of the Night Sky are taught to have better manners."
There might be a double meaning in that statement.
"I am unclear as to what you mean by close to septs. The only fallen sept that I have been close to that I know of is Broken Prairie. As I said, I did not come directly here. Ahrouns at the Sept of the Night Sky are also trained better than to lead the enemy back to our front door. I went to other places to gather information and then the Rite of the Questing Stone lead me here."
Perhaps it's relief that people seem a bit less likely to come to blows imminently, but something about that exchange elicits a very brief, not entirely successfully hidden half-smile from the cub, who continues to watch the entire proceedings closely.
Wildfire seems a litle appeased by this turn of events. For the moment he keeps his silence.
Djehuti's lips twitch at something the Shadow Lord said. But all he himself says is, "And since he would not be allowed onto the Bawn until he is sensed for the Wyrm's taint, despite my proof of his words, then there is no issue. In the meantime -- Should we tell Jacinta-rhya you wish to speak with her, as Warder, or no, Sergei?"
April continues to address Sergei, still standing calm in her spot though she does uncross her arms. "You are a skilled Hunter, I am sure." she tells him, "But so two are the wyrm. My last pack spent two years tracking a pack of spirals before wiping them out. There are spirals that will track us for thousands of miles and years in return before striking if they believe it will gain them a better catch. That is all of my concern." she looks towards Djehuti. "I'm more than willing to bring him to her attention."
"It seems perhaps we have stories to trade over the depths to which agents of the Wyrm will sink to accomplish their goals. We must all be equally ready" Sergei nods to April and then to Djehuti. "I would appreciate whatever assistance would expedite this process, as I would also still appreciate information about my kinsman. I have nothing to go on other than a name and the fact that the rite has lead me to this sept."
Wildfire grunts after all that. ~Be prepared to pay chiminage. To the Sept and to the elder of your tribe here. Though I'm certain you knew that.~
"I'm sorry," Djehuti says, actually apologetic, "I had been going to say what was going on with him, and then was diverted by April and Owen. Eli -- now known as Andrei because while the Break With The Past that he underwent failed, he still wishes to start a new life -- is living on the territory of one of our packs, awaiting Philodox trial, since unlike you he was somewhat less forthcoming with some details of his life, and displeased the Warder. If you wish to speak with him, you should, obviously, ask permission of Equinox -- the pack -- to enter their territory."
April goes quiet as the others speak, though her eyes stay upon Sergei, watching him as he gets the words from Owen and Djehuti.
Sergei nods to Owen, "I was not expecting a free ride, Wildfire-rhya." His face falls flat as he listens to Djehuti's explanation. His voice is gravelly in response, "What did he do?"
Wildfire allows the others to do the explanation, instead simply presiding over this little chat like the hulking monster 'moderator' he is. However, for probably the first time this evening, he does regard the cub for a moment.
April steps back from the midst of the group as the conversation turns to things she's not knowledgable of. one hand moves to the hound ears hanging from her neck and she looks towards the cub with wide grin. She saw the look from the cub earlier.
Djehuti says, carefully, "Basically, he did not mention when he first arrived here, until rather later, that he was being chased by banes from the former Broken Prairie. Salem-rhya, who has taken the case on, is waiting until we hunt down Gerik-ikthya to render full judgement, but seems to think that he did not break the 13th law, but merely did not respect our territory."
"Third law," Izzy mutters sotto voce, and, noticing April's grin, blinks in surprise and offers a somewhat tentative smile back. A glance at the ears-on-a-strap, but the cub seems uncertain whether it's acceptable to actually ask about them, either in general or just because other things are still going on.
Sergei looks at the ground and shakes his head. "Running to another sept when you are in trouble and are being chased by the Wyrm is forgivable. Not informing that sept you are being chased is not. Information is a valuable commodity, but that is not something you hold onto for the sake of using later."
Sergei pauses, clearly not happy to hear this. "What has the rest of the tribe had to say about this?"
"If you all will excuse me, I'll go see about finding the Warder, though it may be a day or so before she has the time to spare." April offers towards the group. That said, she backs away a little more as if waiting to see if any stop her.
Wildfire takes in a bit of a breath, letting it out in a long, weary sigh. ~Your tribe here is small and young. I think that is a question best left for you to ask them.~
Djehuti inclines his head to April. "Walk well with Gaia," he says. Then he smiles slightly at Sergei. "The cub with him was considerably displeased. I have not had council with your Elder in these parts, who is the Ragabash Nikolai Hendershot, Thunder's Hunter of the Heart, on the subject, but since he is the one who dragged the information out of Andrei, and then refused him chiminage until proper redress is done, I do not think he was best pleased, either."
From afar, Djehuti of the endless sentence. But not the ring of doom.
Long distance to Djehuti: Izzy laughs! The ring of truth, if anything. ;)
"Nice to meet you, ma'am," Izzy says actually aloud, if not exactly loudly, and gives April another small smile. The strange ear-things get another terribly curious look, but the cub still manages not to burst out with the questions. For now.
April nods towards those who respond before eyeing the newcomer once more. Then she's reaching up to lightly wave the ears at the cub before turning to make her way back towards and then past Edgewood House. Her destination the trees on the far side.
Sergei nods to April, "Take care until we meet again. I will make sure that people know how to find me so the Warder can see me at her leisure."
Looking back to Djehuti and Wildfire he seems unsure how to proceed. "I can understand skirting the Litany in order to combat the Wyrm and have a positive outcome. What you have described to me does not sound like that though. It sounds like he was simply scared to be forthcoming and is now just attempting to cover his ass by throwing sand on the issue. You should not expect that from me. I was taught that if I was not skilled enough to get away with it then I'd better take my beating like a man. Andrei is it now? It seems like he has some growing up to do still."
"Andrei Breaks The Circle, now, yes. He was... unhappy, panicked, and fairly stupid, at that point. I believe he is growing up, more, now." Djehuti shrugs. "But time will tell, on that front. And I am inclined to view his attempts at change favorably."
Wildfire grunts. ~You should then meet him. I am sure you will have a smashing time together.~ He then falls down into the wolf-form as he steps away. As he nears the cub, he grunts once more, thinking that cubs should learn to talk.
Djehuti translates both Mother Tongue and wolf tongue for said cub.
Sergei pulls a small notepad out of one of his cargo pockets and a pen out of another pocket. He jots down a few things onto the paper before ripping a piece off and holding it out to Djehuti. "This is how I can be contacted. I suppose I should simply stay in the city until the warder has time to come examine me. I would appreciate passing that on to my tribal elder as well."
The cub in question looks fairly embarrassed at the translation of the wolf-speech in question. "Um. Do you mean I should have said stuff now or I should learn to speak werewolf speech? 'cause I didn't want to interrupt and also, I only changed a few days ago. But yes sir, I'm doing my best to learn these things. Either way."
Wildfire simply responds with a short, Good, before turning away from the rest and heading back out into the woods.
The Strider -- the adult one -- takes the paper, writes his email address on a corner of it, tears it off, and offers it back to Sergei. "Will do. I do not know if the Warder will be able to leave her duties to come find you, but perhaps it can be arranged for you to to meet at the edge of the Bawn. And I will certainly give this to Nikolai." (Then he translates Owen again.)
Sergei nods, and then nods again as he takes the paper and stuffs it into his pocket. "Again, it is very much appreciated. I will not forget that you have been helpful. Be well until we meet again."
Izzy nods to Wildfire's reply -- well, the translation of it -- and then politely says to the Shadow Lord, "Good night. I hope things go okay with your kinsman."
"Good night," Djehuti says to Sergei, inclining his head to him with politeness and a touch of respect. "Walk well with Gaia." And he calls to Owen, "And you, as well!"
After the others have left, Izzy pulls the coat tighter, suddenly aware how chilly it is out here, and then pauses. "Oh, man! I didn't manage to actually introduce myself to anyone. I'm sorry. And. Thank you, also. For translating stuff for me like that."
Djehuti gestures with one arm toward the garage again, clearly /also/ aware of the cold. "The wolf tongue is more instinctual," he says as he walks, "And will become rather clearer once you are able to practice in the form. Which, incidentally, you should do as much as possible -- All of them. Practicing in the garage is a good thought, or the woods that are not choked with brambles. The Mother Tongue, the one which is spoken somewhat out loud, that, you just learn." He pauses, as if trying to remember if he said something, and adds, a little awkwardly, "And you're welcome."
Izzy takes that suggestion, hurrying alongside Djehuti toward the garage. "I'll try to practice more. There's just a little, uh... well. I'm kinda worried 'cause I don't have THAT many more clothes left." There's a very faint blush that suggests just stripping down as a usual plan is not what the cub would consider an ideal plan either. "How long does it usually take to learn Mother Tongue? Is it easier once you have a handle on the wolf one too?"
Djehuti pauses, but doesn't actually smack himself in the forehead til they're back inside. "Remind me, tomorrow," he says, sounding just a bit tightly controlled for a moment, the words lengthening out again as he regains his sense of humor about himself, "And I will perform a very handy Rite that I apologize for not performing before. It enables your clothing to shift as you do, and disappear, only to come back once you change again." He nods, at the question, as he sluffs his coat off. "I found it so. Because it has both verbal and non-verbal components, and unsurprisingly, the non-verbal components are heavily inspired by lupine modes of being."
"Is a rite like the thing Tim did where he disappeared?" Izzy asks, sounding rather excited and intrigued about this, "...and also is that the same kind of thing that you were doing to tell if Mr. Balic was telling the truth, and the one you mentioned for sensing Wyrmy things?" A slight pause, not quite long enough to let Djehuti start answering before further somewhat related questions occur: "Will it make all my clothing always disappear instead of ripping, whatever I'm wearing?"
Djehuti laughs, that small exhalation of air. "First of all, no. A Gift is a thing of Gaia that we learn from spirits, though we learn how to use them from our fellow Garou; they are always available to us, and inherent within us. Rites, rituals of our people, we learn from others of our people, and it is done with ceremony and magic; the power lies outside of us. Which is, to some, a distinction without a difference, but the point is, they truly are different. Tim's was a Gift. This will be a ritual." He puts his coat down by his bag again, then adds, "And my truth telling gift, which is one that you will be able to learn, is also a Gift, as is the one to sense the Wyrm." Then, sitting back down on the ladder, he nods. "Yes, disappear. But it is done on the clothing, not on you, and it takes too much spiritual energy to do it on too many clothes, so basically, it can only be done for one set of them."
Izzy nods at the distinction between rites and gifts, thinking this over. "Okay. I think I get that... Rites are like magic spells and Gifts are like superpowers. Kinda. I'd like to learn the truth Gift, when I can." The issue of clothing requires more consideration, however. "Doesn't.... don't the clothes get, um, really dirty? Don't people notice you always wear the same thing and think it's weird? And what's in a set? Like, would everything I'm wearing now be a set, and could my satchel be part of it too? And if it is what happens in summer when I'm not wearing the coat?"
"You know, I think I'll use that, in future. In addition to the verbiage, of course. Can't give up my extensive verbiage. That'd be a crime." He rolls his eyes at himself, and then nods. "If it is not one given to you by the spirits initially, I will definitely teach it to you." At the clothes questions, he holds up his hands. "Whoa!" he says, clearly both pleased and amused. "You're a Veil treasure, you are. OK. First of all, they do often get dirty. There's an invention called a washing machine..." He trails off, grinning, but adds, "I tend to Dedicate a set of clothes, and then switch them out every month or so. And on days when I want something bloody /else/ to wear, I just shift in the bushes. So to speak. People -- human people -- don't tend to notice, but I don't have a job among humans. It may differ for those who do." He thinks, and adds, "Generally, clothing's one set, satchel'd be another measure of effort. If it's largeish or, like a gun, has a lot of Weaver-influence, it's harder to Dedicate."
Izzy can't help giggling at the 'shift in the bushes' part, although it may more accurately be at the 'so to speak' -- timing makes it hard to be certain. "Okay... that makes sense. Basically just... wear things I'm okay with losing if I have to if there's times I can't wear the usual thing. And maybe always wear the dedicated underwear. When it isn't being washed. ...what happens to stuff in my pockets? Does it just fall out, or does it disappear too? Or is that kind of dependent on the Weaver thing too? Like, a gun'd fall out, but a... a hamster would disappear until I changed back?"
Grinning at her giggle, Djehuti murmurs, "Score." Then he considers the question. "Yes, exactly. As for things in your pockets -- They disappear," Djehuti says. "The question of what happens to things in your pockets if you go into the Umbra and are still in homid, however, is different -- they still exist, you just can't get /at/ them, since they would not have been Dedicated. So notebooks and so on, not very handy there."
"...and the Umbra's the other dimension you mentioned, where there's spirits, but not ghosts. Okay. But when I came back out, they'd still be in my pockets then? I guess my satchel'd work the same way, then. That makes sense. I mean, in a weird kinda magic way. It's..." Izzy pauses a moment, trying to remember a phrase. "Internally consistent! Okay. ...and also your verbiage is good."
Djehuti nods, "Yep, satchel-contents would work the same way. So it's useful to Dedicate simply so you can have it back again once you get where you're going." He breaks into a grin, at that. "Why thank you. I go... on and on, but it does at least have a lot of content to it."
Izzy nods. "Good content. Which, um. I kind of have a lot of questions about everything out there, now, too. I mean, okay, not =everything=. But kind of a lot of things. Can I ask about them, or should I write them down for later?"
Djehuti starts to say something, and then frowns slightly. "Unfortunately, it's option b," he concludes, rising off the stairs to fetch his coat and bag. "I forgot I made an appointment to talk to Tim. I'm sorry, but I'll be by later, OK?"
Izzy looks slightly disappointed, but nods. "Yeah, okay. I mean... I'll be here!" That's actually reasonably cheery, even. "Oh, um. Do I get to keep my phone for now? Or should I give it back to you until we finish the whole Litany?"
Djehuti snerks. Given as we're on the fifth freakin' tenet...
Izzy coughs and looks sheepish.
Djehuti hesitates, but then nods. "I should keep it. But check 'em before I go. I have to go get something in the kitchen -- I'll circle back to get it once I'm done." And then he disappears into the house.