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.
Outside, the clothes would freeze. And apparently Djehuti doesn't want to use the dryer. So he's set up a clothesline inside, going from one of the machina to the other, with his usual pants and shirt and towel and such on it. He's wearing shorts, a t-shirt, and slippers, as he perches on the ladder and reads a book. (More Tolkien.)
Izzy: How early do you have in mind btw?
DeHooty: Mrm. Mid-morning? Sorry, should've specified.
Izzy: Mid-morning works peachily. :D
The lower door to the garage opens, disgorging one Strider cub, flushed from the cold and from exercise and breathing slightly hard. Izzy comes inside still moving at a quick walk, closes the door, and very nearly collides with an unexpected clothesline. "Gah!" the cub exclaims, stopping short and stepping book, then looking around and spotting Djehuti. "Oh! Hi!"
Djehuti looks up as the door opens and starts to call, "Wa--" before Izzy stops short. "Hi," he says, frowning slightly. "Let me fix that." He goes to fetch his pack, down by the punching bag, and gets his notebook out of it. After writing a note, he tapes it to the door. ("Clothesline. Don't run.") "So, yes, hello. How fare things?"
"They're okay. Sorry I almost ran into your stuff, though. How're things with you? And, um. Is the dryer broken?" Izzy answers-and-asks, peering to see what the current book is, and then at Djehuti's feet. "I like your slippers, by the way. They look comfy."
"Someone used fabric softener in it, awhile back, and the smell pervades things washed in it," Djehuti says, with a shrug. "It's not at rash level, but it's just a minor annoyance I don't need. Also, saves energy and so on, but that's a minor aspect of it, for me." He waves off her apology, going back to his pack. (The book, which he left on the ground by the ladder, is The Two Towers. It was Fellowship, a few days ago.) "My fault. Shouldn't leave hazards without warning." Then he looks down at his feet. Or rather, slippers. (They're fleece!) "They are fleece," he says, clearly pleased with them in a minor kind of way. "Quite the thing for cold. If you like, I can see if the discount store still has some?"
Izzy headtilts at that. "Huh. I never noticed it. Do I smell like fabric softener? We always used the unscented detergents and stuff at home, but I got this shirt and cardigan out of the box here, so I dunno... and yes please! If that'd be okay. I can pay you back."
The man shakes his head. "It seems to fade after a few days. But since air drying solves other issues, I figure, why not?" Djehuti blinks at her. "Think of it as a gift, perhaps? For disarranging your life?"
Izzy hesitates, then nods. "Um. Okay, if you want to. Though, I mean. My life was kinda disarranged already. I was just supposed to be writing essays and learning algebra and getting ready to take the promotion test for Third Gup right now. ...which I think I woulda passed, but I dunno. And it's not like that's what I was still doing when you found me anyhow, so it's not exactly your fault." A slight pause, considering. "Also, it would've happened anyway, right? I mean, as soon as I was born, this was basically what was going to happen anyway, right? The part of the disarrangement you're part of, I mean, not the other bits."
Djehuti sits back down on the ladder. "Well. Yes. It would have happened anyway. So perhaps, a First Change gift?" He hesitates, briefly, then takes a plunge. "I take it you don't want your father notified, if he does turn out to be Kin?"
Izzy stares at the very slight movement of the towel as it sits on the clothesline and is hit by a passing draft, not answering for a couple seconds. "You, um. You can't. Notify him. This guy ran a light and hit his car, where he was sitting. In November. So, yeah. I don't... I mean I know you said we reincarnate and there's a lot of weird stuff we can do, but. I think prolly you still can't contact him." The cub blinks a bit more than usual while explaining that, still watching the clothes and otherwise staying fairly still.
"I--" Djehuti stops. "I'm sorry," he says, gently, and slips off the ladder to go crouch next to her. He's not touching her -- it's entirely respecting her space.
"Thanks." Izzy's tone is soft and just slightly flat, the tone of a kid who's heard a lot of I'm sorries in the last few months, even if the sentiment's probably appreciated. "So'm. So'm I." The control wavers, and the cub's next breath is a bit ragged. "I miss him. Um. Sorry." Hand roughly across the eyes, trying to banish wayward wetness.
Djehuti reaches over to loosely wrap an arm around her leg, without looking at her. (Calf.) "No need to apologize." He's quiet a moment, then adds, softer, "I miss my dad, too. First rush of grief is /hard/."
Izzy takes another deep breath, and fails to entirely squelch a sniffle. "...thank you. Is. Um. And I'm sorry also. About your dad too, I mean." The cub shifts slightly closer into the calf-wrapping. "My dad was... I mean, I love my mom, but Dad's the one who was always there, and made sure everything was okay, and answered my questions and hung out with me when he wasn't working and it isn't. Fair. It isn't fair. I mean I know that doesn't change anything. But it isn't."
Djehuti leans into Izzy a little, then just rises to his feet to give the cub a hug. "My father died of a heart attack. Just as sudden. It's /never/ fair. I know it doesn't help, but--" He breaks off, and is simply silent for a time.
"'m sorry," Izzy says again; about which exactly may not be clear, but the sincerity is. The cub goes quite still again when hugged, just for a moment, and then quite suddenly hugs back quite hard, bursting into tears as if a dam had just given way.
Djehuti just holds the younger Philodox, chin on top of head. Occasionally, he makes a small, sympathetic noise, but he does not murmur useless inanities of the "shh" or "it's all right" variety.
Izzy is not a pretty or delicate crier; there's a lot of sobbing and gasping for breath, and a regrettable amount of snuffling involved as well. It would also be better for everyone if the cub carried a handkerchief or some kleenex or something, but at least the cardigan has long sleeves and is presumably washable. It's a little difficult to make out words even when the crying subsides enough for them to be attempted, but chances are very good the main gist of it is 'sorry'.
"You keep apologizing," Djehuti says into Izzy's hair, "And I'll start apologizing to /you/."
Izzy can't help giggling at that, even if it does still have what one might call a bit of a hysterical edge to it. The voice doesn't, at least, though it's still somewhat muffled. "'m s-- I mean. Shouldn't be falling 'part on people an' all. But. Um. Thank you." Another sniffle, resulting in some more cardigan-abuse, and then quieter, but a little more clearly. "You kinda. Remind me of my dad some. Sometimes."
"Grief is strange, and knows no season," Djehuti says. "And you've been under pressure." He nudges the younger Philodox's head with his chin, fondly, and goes to sit on the ladder again. "Well. Thank you. I hope it's not a painful reminder?"
A shake of the head, and Izzy trails generally ladderward, sitting down on the floor nearby. "No, it's, it's good. It's nice." The cub takes deep, slow, very controlled breaths, calming everything down. "...no one really knew what to do with me. With Mom being away and all. I ended up having to stay at my friend's house, but I heard her parents talking about how since my mom still wasn't back it was prolly time to start doing things properly with foster care and stuff. So. That's why I ended up here, 'cause no one else was looking for her and I didn't want to have to go live with people I don't even know." A pause, brow furrowing. "Although I guess technically that ended up happening anyhow. But prolly in a better way."
"No, yes. The foster care system is... to be avoided." This seems to be understatement, on Djehuti's part. "I only wish we -- as a tribe -- had been able to find you sooner, but I think your mother expected--" He breaks off, then takes a breath. "Well. In any case. You don't know us and we're fairly violent, but not abusively so. Or so I like to think."
"Well. I mean, I know some of you. Now. But I guess I would've known whoever I got put with once I got put there, too. So. Yeah. But then what would've happened when I changed? I mean, you wouldn't've been there to hit me in the back of the head." Izzy gives the elder Strider a very small grin with that, serious as the actual consequences could possibly have been. It fades swiftly. "...and yeah. I think she meant to be back and be around when it was getting near. And. I don't feel abused or anything."
"Good," Djehuti says, quietly. This seems to be important to him. "And indeed--" He smiles, brief and mostly in his eyes. "I would have been sad to miss bonking you on the back of the head. Or more to the point--" The smile fades. "I would have been sad to miss out on your mind, your competence, and your thirst for answers."
Izzy looks both pleased and embarrassed by that, stray hair promptly requiring finger-combing back and away from the face. "...thank you. You think I'm pretty competent? I mean, so far?" This is apparently the part that stands out most to the cub. "I feel like there's still a million things I don't know that I should."
"You don't know a million things," agrees Djehuti, with a faint smile that again mostly shows only in his eyes. "But after all, you can't know them until someone tells you. And the important thing is, you synthesize. I watch you taking new information and putting it together with the old information, and getting new answers from that. I don't know how you'll do with the fighting and the more physical aspects of things, but honestly, that's less relevant." He adds, scrupulously, "In my opinion."
"At LEAST a million," Izzy says, with a small sigh, but the rest gets a small smile. "I try to figure out how stuff goes together... but I still have to ask you about most of it, 'cause what if I get the wrong end of the stick and then I come up with other wrong stuff 'cause I started with that? So, yeah. And I hope I'll be okay when we do the fighting stuff. I'm not very strong but I'm pretty good at throws and stuff. I just... dunno for sure how that's gonna work when I have claws and stuff."
"OK, you come up with new /questions/," Djehuti amends, with a half-laugh. "That other aspect... The thing is, so many people rely on their claws and not on their wits... and claws are important, but so is thinking. And my logic is that one can /become/ stronger, but it is hard to become more prone to asking questions and thinking sideways."
Izzy considers that a moment, and nods. "I could start lifting weights, which, I dunno, maybe I should?" the cub says, glancing at the free weights, "But I don't think I could stop thinking questions. I can stop asking them out loud when people get annoyed, but I still think them. So I guess starting to if you don't would probably be hard too."
Djehuti looks alarmed. "Please don't. I would be sad if you did that. I really enjoy them."
"I wasn't planning to," Izzy assures, "Just, sometimes people've asked me to before, so I did. Mostly. I am really glad you like them, though, 'cause this would be... really frustrating if I had to try to learn it all without asking them."
"Speaking of which," Djehuti says, looking at her thoughtfully, "Has anyone explained nomenclature patterns and cub names to you?"
Izzy thinks about it a moment, then head-shakes. "No, not really. I've heard some people's names, I mean the ones that aren't like 'April Rains'... although that one's kind of unusual... and they kind of remind me of how movie-Indians get named, but no one's really said that much about them. Except that cubs get cubnames eventually from their elders, and a lot of them aren't very complimentary. Like Jacey-rhya said hers was Head-in-the-Clouds, and Aaron-rhya said his was Slower-than-a-Speeding-Bullet, although actually that could still be really fast, considering. And someone Jacey-rhya was a cub with got 'No Name is as Great as His', which I still think sounds more like one of those really religious people who won't say 'God' talking about God."
"There is no God but God, and Allah is his name," recites Djehuti with a smile. "Yes. Generally, for adult Garou, their deed names -- what they call themselves in the lupine forms -- are based on either deeds, or philosophies tied to important figures. You'll find that the Striders, the Get, the Fianna, and the Furies often focus their names around Gods or translations of Gods' names. Others work more generally with deeds, or, in the case of Bone Gnawers, food. And I swear I am going to go over the tribes next." He stops. "Mine, Takes The Long Path of Wisdom, is more a philosophy, obviously, though it's also a translation of a God's name. In any case. Cubs get dubbed via useful identifiers, for the most part, and yes, some of them are mildly abusive. I tend to find that pointlessly middle schoolish and puerile to boot, so I steer away from that." He takes a breath. "So, you see, the original reason I diverted onto this increasingly lengthy side-question was that it seemed to me that a handy identifier for you when you are in non-homid forms, to wait until further deeds occur, might well be Asks The Next Question. Would that be workable, or would it niggle at you in less than useful ways?"
"Exactly!" Izzy exclaims to the recitation, and goes quiet again to listen to the rest, with a couple nods here and there. There's a mouth-opening with an expression that usually portends another question, but the cub pauses and apparently files it for slightly later, instead echoing the proposed name as though checking how it tastes. "Asks the Next Question... I could do that. I like that. 'cause it feels like to me the next question's important -- like, not just stopping at the first layer, kinda. And I don't want to just leave things at the surface level 'cause then I prolly don't really understand them. So. Um. Yes, I guess would've been shorter."
Djehuti says, repressing a grin, "Perhaps shorter, but not at all in character, and also, far less interesting. Good. Thank you. I'd been wanting to bring that up for days now and it kept slipping away." He goes to fetch his pack, and adds, over his shoulder, "And you were going to ask...?"
Izzy grins, head ducking slightly. "Oh, it was, which god's name is it a translation of? And how'd you get it? Do people pick them themselves, once they're not cubs?" A slight pause, brow furrowing. "And are =gods= real? I mean, aside from Gaia, if she counts as a goddess that way. If they are, do they care one way or the other about people borrowing their names?"
"That, is a complex and interesting theological question. Also historical, for many of our tribes." Djehuti retrieves his bag and returns with it. "However. To your first question, do you know the concept of Ma'at, or balance, in Egyptian mythology?"
Izzy nods. "I saw a show about it -- Egyptian mythology, I mean. And Ma'at was the goddess of balance and truth and justice and things like that, I think. And when people died their heart got weighed against her feather, and if the heart was heavier I think it got eaten by a lion and they had to stay in the underworld, and if it was lighter they got to go to heaven, only it was called something else I forgot the name of." The cub hesitates, adding, "It was a couple years ago so I might've got some of that mixed up."
"Aaru," agrees Djehuti. "We Striders actually have a Rite similar to that, which I will likely use on the Black Spiral Dancers we go to hunt this evening; it determines if their souls are completely given to the Wyrm or not." He settles on the ladder. "The thing with Ma'at is that She is both Goddess, and, yes, philosophy and principle, for the Egyptians. It is the balance of how the universe should be; it is a guide for how to engender and nurture a diverse community; it is a guide for proper application of law, which is to say, living by the spirit of justice rather than the individual niggling letter of the law. And it is many other things. And so, although I felt... less than no connection to Egypt, when I first changed and was Rited, I took that name as a resolution to try and live under this balance, in both Garou and human worlds." As an aside, he adds, "I had thought I was Gaian and not of the people of Khem, and so I was not prepared." Fingers laced into a backpack strap, he goes on, "The other name I often give, Son of the Ibis, is the name given to me after my Rite of Passage. Thoth is the name of the God of among other things knowledge and writing, and he is often depicted as a man with the head of an ibis. So. The Son of the Ibis. But also, Djehuti is another name for Him."
"...you mentioned the Gaian thing before," Izzy notes, "How'd that happen? I mean, how'd it get gotten wrong, and how'd you find out otherwise? And if Djehuti is a name for Thoth, who's being called the Ibis, and you're both Djehuti," the cub has managed to learn the pronunciation half-decently now, "and also the Son of the Ibis, is that like... the thing where people says Jesus is God and also the Son of God? Or is it more like being, um, Ibis junior?" Another small pause, shifting position slightly. "Am I supposed to have a connection to Egypt? I mean, it was interesting to learn about, but. I haven't... been there or anything."
"Yes -- I wanted to tell Tim because it matters, at times." Djehuti hesitates, then says, "There is more I will tell you on Egypt, once I have told you of the other tribes and some more context. But in brief, the answer is that Egypt is the wellspring of our people, and it is our lodestone. Blessing and curse. So you don't actually /have/ to care or have a connection, but it is relevant to our magics, our history, and our current state of being." He opens the pack again, rummaging in it briefly to find his knife. "I do not consider myself to be /part/ of the God, no. I name myself that in respect for him, and as an indication of the kind of wisdom and precedent I wish to follow. So more like Ibis Junior, yes. As for my origins--" Djehuti stops to think. Apparently going for succinctness, he says, "My birth father impregnated my mother, and then left. Quite soon after, my mother married my adopted father. Events ensued."
Izzy thinks about this for a few moments. "...does that mean your birth father was a Strider and your adoptive father was a Gaian, then? Um. Sorry if I'm being too nosy. And, okay. I can wait on Egypt until after the tribes and stuff. Right now I think I've heard of about..." A pause for counting. "Seven tribes? I think? But you said there were thirteen, like there are Litany laws. So I think I'm missing about half. Ish."
"Yes. Wait. No." Djehuti laughs, just a little, as he fiddles with his knife. "I have an unruly history. My birth father--" His tone here is a little wry, a little grim, a little bitter. But not very. "--Who I met later, was Strider." His tone evens out, becomes fonder. "My mother is Gaian. My adoptive father was Glass Walker. My sisters are Gaian, my brothers are Glass Walkers. It is an agreement my mother and father -- my adoptive father, Walter -- came to before they married. I do not mind talking about it, though parts of it are-- Occasionally uncomfortable. But I do not care to hide it." He considers Izzy, now. "How about I go alphabetically? I know I've been chary with details on most of them, so I can be somewhat more extensive?"
"Oh, you have siblings! That's cool. Are they garou too? Or... or kin? And alphabetically works, especially with details. I keep getting the feeling I'm missing... things. Like people say things and everyone else knows a lot more from it than I get." Izzy adjusts position again, settling in to listen.
"My sister's Garou. She's Gaian, but I mostly only see her at family gatherings, because she lives with her pack in Greece. My other sister, Casey, she's Kin -- she's married to a Fury Kin, Catriona. Almost legally now, even," adds Djehuti with his quicksilver grin. "My brothers are Kirk and Rory -- they're both Kin. My mom's actually moving here in May, and a couple of my brothers are talking about coming with." This seems to please him inordinately. He stops to think. "Rory has a Garou son. He lives off in New York." He considers this, and concludes, "I have a large family," with a slight shake of the head, and then goes on, "OK. Black Furies. They are originally from Greece, and are, save for their metis, all female. Gaia gave birth to them to defend her wild places, and the women. They seek fetishes held in the hands of the enemy, at times, in order to defend that wilderness. They take inspiration from Artemis, as the fierce and pure huntress -- if you think of them as Her Daughters, it would not be far from the truth. They are thought of as feminists and lesbians, but both of those are modern concepts. What they truly are, are manifestations of nature in her female aspect. Nurturing, and yet also red in tooth and claw."
Izzy apologises, I got an unexpected phone call. I'm back, but I think you gave the 30 minute warning 30 minutes ago. :}
DeHooty did, actually, and was just pondering that fact. It is annoying. But reality dictates this sleep thing. So. You good with fade? Dje goes off to fight things, rar?
Izzy can do that, yeah. Thank you. :D