The center of the caern is devoid of the thick vegetation that inhabits the rest of the forest. The ground is flat and well trodden, its rich, dark soil nonetheless still carrying the scent of the woods--moss and peat mixed with pine needles, detritus, and the dampness brought from life-giving rain. The wide, empty clearing is dominated by one living exception to the absence of vegetation: an impossibly gigantic and ancient tree growing out of the ground near the very center. The tree defies logic. Grown in the span of a single year, it nevertheless has the size, apparent age, and character of the greatest and most ancient of forest sentinels. It looms over everything, silent and watchful. The backdrop to this commanding presence is almost as remarkable. Spanning the entire length of the old caern's chasm and completely encompassing the southern half is a colossal remnant of the wasp nest built during the Wyld surge. The towering walls of the nest are as strong as the earth into which they're built, their surface smooth to the touch and colored in shaded swirls of beiges, browns, yellows, and reds in a hypnotizing, pleasing way. Oval shapes bulge from the wall in places, while others sinks inward, giving the whole thing a haphazard air.
The caern's triangle extends out from here in two directions. On one side, the escarpment wall with its natural dais can be seen. The opposite side holds the stone firepit.
Compact is the word for him: wiry, maybe 5'6" in his beat-up black combat boots, with a sense of compressed energy and imminence like a coiled spring -- or a cocked gun. Never quite still for long, balance flowing through the balls of his feet. There's a striking intensity to his narrow blue-green eyes, the colour contrasting with his fair skin and spiky copper hair; just below the left is what at first appears to be a faint mole, but closer inspection reveals as a small, long-healed scar. His features are appealing, with high cheekbones and a good jawline, but it's the confident mien and roguish smile that most often seem to draw people in.
He's in a well-worn biker jacket of the traditional sort, all fairly closely fit black leather and silvery zippers and snaps. Beneath it, he's got old black jeans with a rip in one knee and the cuffs half walked off, with a faded black band t-shirt ('Anarchy Burger - Hold the Government', parodying the In-N-Out sign) under an open dark red hawaiian shirt. There's a couple leather-and-bead bracelets on one wrist and a length of ball-chain disappearing beneath his collar; his nails were apparently painted black some time ago, since they're starting to show chips. Late teens, most likely, and when he speaks it's in a mellifluous, southern-accented baritone voice.
Shaggy brown hair and darker brown eyes frames this man's face. Justin has a slightly tanned complexion with a hint of Puerto Rican from his mother's side, Caucasian from his father's. He has a fairly lanky build, but underneath his clothes is a body fitted with new muscle. He wears loose fitted 'destroyed' blue jeans, simple tank tops, and worn down sneakers that are about five months in need of replacement. During the cold, a thick green military jacket from his Grandpa. After a mishap with a monster, he was aged roughly five years forward and now looks like a young man in his early 20's. Now at 6'2, he has finally hit the rest of his growth spurt.
At first glance, there isn't a great deal about this woman that clambors for attention. Though possessing attractive features - a subtly angular face with high cheek bones, steel blue eyes conservatively accented with dark eyeliner, and darker complexion (possibly denoting some Sicilian heritage) all complimented by black, short-cropped hair that's parted off to one side - they're not particularly striking. True, her six feet of height may earn some stray glances, but she isn't going out of her way to draw much more than a cursory appraisal.
Nothing exemplifies this more than her preferred wardrobe. Clearly something of a tomboy (though 'butch' might be a more age-appropriate description, if somewhat frowned upon if stated out loud), she wears an untucked, button down, olive drab flannel, the sleeves rolled up to her biceps. Under that is a sleeveless white shirt that, though clean, has clearly seen better days, the material just form-fitting enough to give the impression of a decently athletic physique. Continuing the motif is a faded pair of jeans, the cuffs of which are tucked into a pair of black workboots that ride up to the lower slopes of her calves.
But while the clothing - offset by a single platinum hoop in her right ear, and a dash of subtle lipstick - is largely worn and weathered, the occasional smudge of oil that failed to come out in the morning wash a nod to what's most likely a blue collar profession, she clearly puts enough time into grooming and overall cleanliness to make a decent impression, even if it's not a lasting one.
Trace stands six feet in height, with a confidence and certainty to his bearing that makes him seem a little taller, but still the last vestiges of the awkward gangliness of teenagerhood as well. A hint of five o'clock shadow frames a tanned face, hazel-green eyes under perpetually messy hair that reaches just past his ears. The man is dressed neatly, but the clothing is designed to give him ease of movement-- jeans, black leather converse shoes, and a worn leather bomber jacket that's never far from his person over a plain dark blue button-down shirt with a button-down collar worn with enough buttons open to see the white a-shirt underneath and the hint of a tattoo on one shoulder. Today the sleeves are rolled up, nearly to his elbows.
At the center, Trace grins a bit, genuinely now, and nods. "Yeah, though I have to admit that the forest has kind of grown on me." He snorts and shakes his head to reiterate, "Only kind of, though."
Mona returns the smile, carefully pinching the end of her cigarette to let the cherry drop to the dry soil, the small bit of it snubbed out with her heel while the butt gets placed in her back pocket. "I think 'kind of' is the best I can hope for, but I suppose I can try to be a *little* more optimistic about it."
Trace nods. "Well, there's some damn nice sights in the forest," Trace admits. "This tree and the caern not-with-standing." He tilts his gaze towards the north, and takes a breath. "There's a boulder that way where you climb on top and you can see out for miles, and it's /quiet/ a way that it never is in the city. Quiet enough to hear yourself breathe, hear yourself think, makes it hard to sleep sometimes but it's not nearly as bad as I thought it would be."
Mona makes a soft -mn- sound under her breath. "I never liked hearing myself think," she says. "It's like listening to morning radio. One guy's doing a bad job of staying on point, the second won't shut up about bagels for some reason, and the third is wondering if they left their stove on." She smirks, though, and adds, "But I take your point. I'll have to check it out sometime. See if there's a way to turn down the volume."
Trace snickers a little bit even as he digs the pack out of his pocket to put the cigarette butt into, and then fidgets with the top of it a little. "I find running usually helps," he notes to that. "Or hitting shit, or alcohol." There's a brief grin. "Or all three."
Mona's eyebrows arch, and her smile broadens. "And here I was worried that I might not like it here."
Speaking of morning radio -- or maybe not, since it's actually music -- the sound of singing becomes gradually audible as Felix saunters into the caern, today with guitar, although in its case it's only accompanying him in the companionship sense. "--wanna take you through a wasteland I like to call my home," are the somewhat inappropriate lyrics one can make out before he breaks off, spotting the others by the tree and calling out, "Evenin'!"
Trace looks up at Mona, and might be about to say something, but his packmate arrives and the ahroun offers a cheerful wave. "Hola," he calls back, and then glances at Mona and continues, "City's really pretty nice too. But yeah. I know what you mean about wanting to turn down the volume, I think."
That said, though, the ahroun shifts his seated position from cross-legged through half-lotus and to full lotus, what looks like it should be impossible while wearing shoes of any sort, but he manages. "Yoga helps too," he adds.
Turning her head at the idle singing, she spots another familiar face, and offers a wave of her own. "I just work on cars," she says. "Or anything I can get my hands on, really." To Felix, she says, "And I was hoping I'd see you around. I've got something for you."
"Ain't my birthday again already, is it?" Felix asks, giving the Fury a grin, and he settles himself down on one of the tree's massive roots, where it meets the trunk and lets him use that as a backrest. "How's it goin'? Settlin' in okay?"
Returning the grin with a smirk of her own, Mona says, "More or less," stooping to get at the nearby backpack and sifting through the contents. "Got a couple apartments I'll be looking at in the next week or so. Otherwise, it's mostly just getting a feel for the town." Then, under what looks like a spare set of clothes, she withdraws a small glass bottle with a red label. "And figuring out where the liquor stores are located," she adds, passing the pint bottle over to Felix, per her earlier insistence. To Trace, she adds, "Should've stuck around after the hunt. May not have been much to talk about, but there was enough swill to go around to make a night of it."
Trace grins a little bit, watching the exchange between his packmate and the Fury. "Yeah, I just... needed some space," he says with a shrug of his shoulders. "Remind me to show you later, where the Sept compound is located, south of here. It's where most of the Guardians live, and it's also where the Sept gathers on the new and the half moons." He grins. "Kind of a moot thing, more or less, except without the whole pomp and circumstance part of it, and not here."
Felix brightens at the gift, not that he seemed exactly morose before. "Heyyy. Thanks," he says, glancing it over before setting it gently down beside him. "If you need more showin' around, let me know. Most of us are mostly 'round here at the moment, with the shit goin' on, but I'm still out there pretty often. Partly 'cause someone's gotta keep an eye on it an' pick shit up for folks here, an' partly 'cause otherwise I'd go nuts." He looks to Trace, adding, "Got s'more various shit, by the way, T. It's at the compound in my bag."
Pack> Trace says "I'm surprised I /haven't/ gone nuts."
Pack> Felix says "Yeah, me too. Prolly down to my stunnin' company."
"Understandable," Mona says to Trace, with what seems like a hint of empathy, but let's not jump to conclusions, here. "And I'll keep that in mind. I've been trying to stay at the hostels so I can get a chance to get a feel for the city, but I think I could use to take a breather from those." Even two days in. Then again, there is that whole-- 'moon' thing to think about. To Felix, she says, "If by 'out there' you mean 'anywhere but here,' that's mostly where I'm trying to set up shop. I could use to hear more from someone who's got boots on the ground, so to speak."
There's another grin from Trace, aimed at Felix at the announcement. "You're awesome," he informs his packmate, "Thank you." And then nods, falling silent for a long moment.
"I know," Felix replies to his packmate with a wide grin and an amazingly convincing tone of airy arrogance, "I'm the best." The only real evidence suggesting it might be an act is how swiftly the tone goes right back to normal afterward. "By 'out there' I mean the city," he tells Mona, "St. Claire. Although I reckon I could prolly show you Kent Crossin', too, wouldn't exactly take real long." He starts opening the guitar case, which turns out, rather unsurprisingly, to contain a guitar. "You said somethin' about a halfway house, before?"
Mona nods an affirmative at the mention of St. Claire. And while she has plenty to ask about the industrialized areas around them, the question puts that to a halt, for now. "Used to help with counselling and education for one back home, yeah," she says. "Women only," she clarifies, "but that's probably not that surprising. Why do you ask?"
Trace tilts his head to one side. "There's a women's shelter in Kent Crossing, isn't there?" the Walker asks, though he doesn't sound entirely certain of it. "And a youth shelter in the city, as well." He drums on his knee and shrugs his shoulders.
Felix glances up from checking and adjusting the guitar's tuning; he holds it left-handed, although at a close look it seems to be a standard right-handed version strung in reverse. "Bone Gnawer," he replies to Mona's question, the grin a bit crooked, and then shrugs. "We got a handful of various shelters, round an' about. Women's shelter in KC an' Regan Hope are prolly the main ones," he agrees.
"As odd as this is gonna sound," Mona says, acknowledging the stock answer with a grin of her own, "I have an easier time working with felons. Or delinquents. No real objection to working at a shelter that has neither, but it wouldn't be my first choice."
Trace looks from Mona over to his packmate, and there's a moment when the Glass Walker sputters and tries to keep a straight face. The trying fails, though, and he simply bursts out laughing, eventually managing, "And you were worried you might not like it here," in Mona's direction.
Pack> Trace is laughing just as hard over the packlink.
Felix looks to Trace at pretty much the same time; he does better at keeping a straight face at first, but in the face of his packmate's laughter, the half-stifled smirk turns back into a proper grin, with a small snort of a laugh from him as well. "I reckon fine upstandin' pillars of the community such as ourselves would hafta agree that's some mighty odd taste you got there," he says as solemnly as he can arrange. It's better than the expression.
Pack> Felix is laughing rather more in the link than aloud.
Pack> Trace says "'Fine' and 'upstanding'? I mean, sure, I'm a Guardian but I didn't know that made me suddenly miss manners."
Pack> Felix says "I got it on good authority I'm fine, an' I'm usually upstandin' when I ain't downsittin' or downlyin'."
Pack> Trace says "Just as long as you don't start claiming respectable."
Loosening a world-weary sigh for effect, Mona merely rolls her eyes, and says, "Present company excepted." She does afford the both of them a self-effacing smile, however, and adds, "I meant among the human populace. With us, it's practically a given."
Pack> Felix says "What, you don't respect me? Tch."
Pack> Trace says "Pffft. Most of the time, sure."
Pack> Felix still sounds like he's grinning as he asks "Fuck's this 'most', huh?"
Trace offers Mona a bit of a grin, looking at Felix for a long moment and then just laughing again, "Oh, I own my delinquency, ¿sí?" he tells her, still not quite back to neutral, "No worries there." His packmate gets a grin. "I /especially/ respect you when you bring shit back from the city so I don't have to go through a full moon sober," he informs the other, aloud now.
Felix arches a fairly eloquent eyebrow at his packmate, and then grins again, settling comfortably back against the tree. "I know who I am," he says easily; it seems to be a kind of agreement with Trace's remark. Looking to the Walker, he says, "An' well you should, lest I visit sufferin' an' woe upon thee. Like, only bringin' you alcopops. An' not even enough of 'em. I got a mean streak, y'know." He plays a few background chords to enhance the ominousness of his mock-threats.
Mona seats herself near the backpack she brought with her, and pulls it between her upturned legs to start fishing through it. "There's that, at least," she says to Trace. "Everything else, you can blame on being around the 'sisters' for too long." And, without fanfare, or even a hint of guilt, withdraws another pint bottle of Johnnie Walker Red from the bag. Now, the knot of clothing is beginning to make sense.
Trace grins a bit, and sticks his tongue out at Felix not quite briefly, before pulling the pack of cigarettes from his pocket again and taking out another one. It's offered to Felix afterwards, first. "That would be a fate worse than death," he notes, in response to the threat. "Nature versus nurture," he adds on, not quite an afterthought.
"Mean fucker," Felix confirms, with a nod, and lets the grin out again as he stops playing so he can accept Trace's cigarette offer. "Thanks," he says, handing back the pack, and looks approving at Mona's production of another bottle, although he also offers, "We could just open mine." He glances between the pair of them for a second, then, before asking, "What exactly are we blamin' on shit now?"
Withdrawing a small faux-silver cigarette case from the side compartment of the backpack and flipping it open, Mona pulls a hand-rolled cigarette from it, and fishes for the lighter in her pocket. "No one you need to worry about," she says, lighting her cigarette, the case slapping closed and getting placed back where it belongs. Taking a couple puffs, she adds, "And I plan on going on a run later, so I want this--" --she tilts the still-closed pint-- "--to last."
Trace takes a drag off of the now-lit cigarette and grins. "Fair enough," he says, and there's a long, quiet sigh as the ahroun readjusts his seating position back to full lotus once again, and then shoots a glance at Felix. "Alcopop stuff was the shit I was drinking in middle school," he says, and shakes his head. "And it was in fact, pretty shit."
Mona snorts. "If it's anything like Mad Dog 20/20, you'd bet your ass it is."
Felix lights his cigarette, and looks somewhat confused. "Nah, hold on, I got lost somewhere," he says, "There's what, an' what can we blame on bein' around the 'sisters' too long? Where's nature an' nurture comin' into it? I feel like I missed half the conversation somewhere, an' I ain't even drunk..." Trace's remark, and then Mona's, get a soft snort. "They're =worse'n= Mad Dog," he says, "'cause they got at BEST half as much actual alcohol in 'em, an' usually more like, I dunno, a quarter? That's where the real torture comes in in my cunnin' plan, see."
"Furies," Mona says, to ease what *could* become a stream of constant questions. "Don't get me wrong, the ones back home aren't naive-- but they have their priorities. Not a lot of them from my side of the fence, either." She takes a drag off the cigarette. Then, "Dealt more with your tribes than mine, when it comes right down to it," is said through a plume of smoke, as she twists open the cap of her bottle. "We're not bad with the information trade, but in places like Wisconsin?" She scoffs. "We needed the help."
Trace snorts, and grins. "Yeah. At least with Wild Irish Rose or Mad Dog, you can get actually drunk if you drink enough of it. Though really, not my first choice by any measure," he notes, rolling his shoulders in almost a stretch. "Not so sure anyone would like the results of that cunning plan, which is why I aim to make sure you don't do it. I mean, unless you like drinking soap," he notes to his packmate, not quite a dare.
Trace nods at Mona. "This place is pretty diverse in what I've come across so far." There's a pause, and he says, "Defies most stereotypes, too. At least... mostly."
Pack> Trace seems entirely serious. "I will prank the shit out of you if you bring alcopop."
Pack> Justin looks curious. "What'd I wake up to?"
Pack> Trace says "Nostalgia about middle school alcoholic beverage choices."
"Which side's that?" Felix asks; the three of them are all seated near the tree, the Gnawer on a root with his back against the trunk and his guitar in his lap. He's not currently playing, however. He IS currently smoking, and there's an unopened bottle of what looks like the same whiskey Mona's currently opening beside him. Trace, he quirks a brow at. "Continue not aimin' to make me do it an' I ain't likely to," he says, "It ain't THAT big a streak."
Heading through the woods is Justin as it appears he has zeroed in on his packmates. The young Gnawer has an amused look upon his face as he is scrubbing a hand through his shaggy mess of brown hair. "Hola amigos." He drawls out, then gives a wave to Mona as well. "Ey'. Nice to see you as well."
"Sisterhood," Mona says simply, and takes down what *has* to be a mouthful. Rather than cough or sputter, she punctuates the shot with a drag of her cigarette, and leans back on her free hand, keeping both bottle and cigarette in the other. Smirking a little at the 'squabble,' she's nonetheless distracted by Justin's approach, her brows raising as she looks over to him. "Hey," she says. "How's--" she can't help what looks like the cross between a grin and a grimace-- "things?"
Pack> Justin says "Should I ask her to take a peek and find out for herself? Think she'd hit me for it?"
Trace waves at Justin, offering a more subdued, "Hola," in response, and then grins at Felix. "For which I'm very grateful," he says, and then his attention is back on his newly-arrived packmate, and there's just a slow shake of his head before he takes another drag from his cigarette.
Pack> Trace says "You most definitely should not ask her, and if she hit you for it she'd be justified in doing so."
Pack> Justin says "Pfff. Where is the sense of adventure? Hell, she may roll with it!"
Pack> Trace mentally sounds a little more amused, even as he responds, "/Se fue al alguna parte que la luna no es muy grande./"
Pack> Felix just gives the general impression of shaking his head, though there's some amusement at either or both of them.
"Yo, J," Felix greets the newest arrival, with a slight lift of his chin. Trace gets an acknowledging nod, which moves to a sidelong look at Justin, a smirk, and what might be the ghost of a headshake as well. "All rested?" he asks his tribemate, before taking another drag as well.
Once he strides up to them, Justin gives a stretch of his body, then gives her a wide grin. "Things are fine. Cheapest way to get a Brazilian in my opinion. All the plumbing works still." Once he makes his way to Felix, he throws an arm around his best friend, still smirking.
Mona quirks her brows upwards and gives a subdued smirk. "Lucky break," she says, and throws back another shot, eyes scanning their surroundings absently.
Trace grins a bit at Justin's response. "Still kinda feels... weird to me, that all that and it's a freaking fire elemental, when there's all these bigger threats that we're facing." He shrugs. "But interpreting that stuff is most definitely not my thing. I just kill shit."
Felix ruffles Justin's hair, luckily not with the cigarette in that hand. "Can't say as I ever went pricin' 'em," he says, "but hey, at least we got 'em suitably avenged." He glances at Mona's drinking, and reaches into his jacket's inner pocket, coming out with the flask. "I figure, prolly it went for the biggest immediate threat. The other shit, it's bigger in general, but that one kinda needed stoppin' =right now=, no takin' time to plan an' do it real slick tomorrow."
"Yeah, it was kinda weird. I'm gonna grab Watcher up and go do a quick run about to stretch the legs. Maybe see if we can find something else we overlooked the other night." Justin gives Felix a another half hug, then lets him go as he saunters back through the woods. "See ya later, Mona!"
Swallowing a smaller shot than the first two, Mona opts for a thumbs up at the departing Gnawer, and, despite the intake, seems no worse for wear. "Pretty decent stride for a guy who nearly burnt his cock off," she says mildly, swilling the contents of the bottle.
Trace snickers out loud a little, lifting a hand in a wave to his retreating packmate. "Not an experience I'm looking to have any time soon," he says, nodding. "And yeah, that's true. Even with the patrols we've got going, a fire could do some real damage to the bawn before we could get it out otherwise." He tilts his head to one side. "And that's assuming we could get it out and keep mundane authorities from becoming involved."
"Later," Felix says brightly to Justin, and Mona's remark gets a snicker from him as well. "We heal quick," he says, and seems pretty free of crispiness himself, at this point. The flask gets opened, and he has a decent drink himself, before offering it toward Trace. "...all the same, reckon I'd prolly rather take what I did'n that. But yeah. That fire gettin' much bigger woulda got awkward."
"'Awkward's what got the elders all tied up in knots, from what I saw," Mona comments, taking one last swig before capping the bottle, and winding it in the shirt she extracted it from in the first place. "Still," she amends, in what may be her only true nod to the shots taken, "been a while since I ran with anyone, so there's that." Raising to her feet, she places the cigarette between her lips, and shoulders the backpack. "Speaking of having a good run," she says, retrieving the cigarette to put it out on the sole of her boot, that one similarly pocketed, "I'm about due for one." Exhaling the last plume of smoke, she gives a vague two-finger salute to both men, and says, "I'll see you guys later."
Trace takes the flask from Felix with a nod, and lifts it slightly in Mona's direction as she gets up. "Nos vemos," he says, cheerfully enough. "Be careful out there," he cautions the woman, but there's an overall nod before he takes a long sip from the flask and then tilting it slightly back towards his packmate, with a grin.
Felix returns Mona's vague salute likewise -- with the cigarette between the fingers in question, but apparently he has either enough luck or enough coordination not to end up setting his hair alight in the process. "Catch you later," he says, "an' thanks again." He leans back against the tree again, and accepts the return of the flask, taking another decent sip. "So, I miss much today while I was out?" he asks Trace.
Trace shakes his head idly, "Not really." His free hand (the one without the cigarette in it) drums on one knee, but the ahroun is otherwise just about as still as he often is when he's seated. "I spent most of the day in those tunnels, doing a bit of familiarising myself with them, until I was nearer the top and heard activity up here again, and more properly met Mona. She was staring at the tree and I think taking notes on it, but it really is a helluva tree so I can't exactly blame her."
Felix takes another drink, absently, before remembering to offer it over again. "Find anythin' interestin' in the tunnels?" he asks, and glances upward, toward the branches, "...an' yeah. It's a hell of a tree."
Trace nods. "I mean, I'd been down there a few times before, since there's some sort of 'rooms' in there and such, when I didn't want to go back to the compound to catch some sleep." There's a pause in which Trace takes a sip from the flask. "And one of the tunnels dumps you out significantly out into the Bawn, though the opening's nearly impossible to find from the other side. But it worries me a bit regardless."
"Maybe we oughta do somethin' about that, then," Felix says, "I ain't explored them properly yet, an' I reckon I should. Seems interestin', anyhow." He grins, fleetingly this time. "You oughta show me around."
Trace grins. "I get turned around just about every time I'm down there," Trace says. "I need to pay more attention to my compass." There's a grin as he waves the hand with the watch (with the compass) a little. "I forget I even /have/ it if I'm preoccupied." He purses his lips. "The Fury seems nice, for a Fury. She's not at all what I expected, or that much like the few Furies I've met in the past."
Felix leans slightly to see the watch's compass, and hehs. "Yeah, I ain't even got a compass, so..." He gets comfy again, and absently plays the guitar a little, quietly, holding the cigarette in his lips. "I like her, so far. Seems a'right, yeah. 'course I'm inclined to feel positive toward folks bringin' me decent booze, so could be I'm biased. But I thought she was pretty okay the other night, too."
There's a bit of a chuckle. "Yeah, I think she's pretty much on the same page as we tend to be as far as alcohol goes," he says. "She seems like she's got a pretty good grip, even if it's going to take her a bit for the entirety of the situation here to sink in. And she's fairly easy to talk to, which isn't so bad as long as you're on her good side, I'm thinking." There's a grin. "I told her most of what I know about what's gone on here recently, if she's going to be wandering through the city she ought to be at least forewarned."
"Well, it's a good page," Felix says, "Works for me, anyhow. Did she know anythin' 'bout what's goin' on yet, or did you hafta start from nothin'?" He leaves the flask with the Walker for the moment, still playing.
Trace takes another sip from the flask and then a long drag from the cigarette. "Most of what she'd heard was in passing, aside from a little about the Queens, and that Edgewood's occupied," he says. "Told her about the wraiths--" there's a moment of silence and then a laugh as Trace makes the 'oh duh' expression "--but forgot to tell her about the fact they suck the life out of people. Did mention their telepathic shit though, and all the Spirals working for the Queen. Left out the part about the other Spirals and Renegade and that crap, did end up talking about Los Angeles a little bit." Even with the alcohol and cigarettes taking the edge off, the Walker's voice tightens a little at the end of the sentence. There's a shrug that follows, another sip from the flask before it's tilted back towards his packmate.
Felix plays a little more before stopping and accepting the flask, which he takes a good swallow from. It gets a shake, judging how much remains in there, and he closes it up, but sets it by his foot where they can both reach it rather than putting it away. "Yeah, I kinda thought it mighta come up," he says quietly, and has a drag on the cigarette, taking his time now that his hands aren't busy. "S'pose I oughta try an' bring her up to speed on shit too. Galliard an' all. See if I can catch her later, maybe."
Trace nods a little bit. "I think it drove home the reality of everything that's happening," Trace says. "From what it sounded like, things were a bit quieter where she comes from. But she seems pretty steady, and I'm hoping she'll stick around. We need more ragabash, anyway."
"We do," Felix agrees, ashing his cigarette, and he studies Trace briefly, then suddenly grins. "An' I'm okay with it bein' ones who don't mind bein' around felons an' delinquents. You think she's likely a decent one? Raggie, I mean. Didn't get to see that much of her doin' shit, yet."
Trace snickers. "She's got to be better at it than Samantha," he points out, though there's an fleeting more difficult to identify expression in there. "That was pretty fucking funny, really. Funnier yet when she back-- backpedaled and such." Trace takes out a new cigarette from the pack, and lights it from the end of his previous one before pinching the butt out and putting it back into the pack.
Felix laughs, shaking his head. "Dunno what the fuck she was thinkin'," he says. One hand idly forms chords, as if he were playing, but the guitar stays silent as he finishes off the cigarette. "...although, shit, people said that 'bout me often enough, an' mostly I was thinkin' let's do this shit. If anythin'." Another couple shifts of his fingers, and he adds, "'course, I at least got better 'bout it 'fore I hit Fostern."
Trace grins a little bit. "Yeah, true. But we learned from shit, or at least learned when what was appropriate. From everything that I've heard it just sounds like Samantha tends to skip out on the 'learning' part of the experiences?" He shrugs his shoulders and takes another drag from the new cigarette. "Well, and she's not obsessed with pointless and endless questions, either."
"So far, so good," Felix agrees, tilting his head back against the tree and exhaling the last drag off his cigarette. He pinches the butt out, and tucks it into a pocket, as usual. His fingertips rub against each other for a few moments before he moves them back to the strings, and starts playing properly, if quietly. "Wonder what her thing is?"
Trace nods, and for a long moment there's silence from Trace, and a faint, quiet smile-- only a corner of his mouth but for once it reaches his eyes-- as he listens to the other play. "I didn't exactly ask," Trace says. "Maybe when the moon is smaller, or maybe she'll say eventually, but I didn't want to push. Did learn she's about as fond of the woods and the back country as I am, more or less. And she's from Wisconsin, a little ways outside Madison."
Performance: >>> You rolled 7 dice at 6 diff (6 9 5 9 5 8 7): 5 successes. <<<
The tune is something unidentifiable, but pretty, and makes its way toward beautiful as he continues; the style of playing is one tailored toward the acoustic, a complicated sort of picking that uses both hands, allowing for more than one musical line to interweave and accompany each other. There's feeling in the music, varying degrees of what seem most like joy and longing. "'least she's more forthcoming'n some," he says, after a moment or so himself. "Reckon she prolly ain't too likely to jump at joinin' the official guardian team, then. Though we're pretty much all unofficially, seems to me."
Trace grins a little, and there's a huff. "Pretty much," Trace agrees, falling quiet to listen for another moment before he continues. There's clear appreciation for the music, and the smile doesn't fade from his eyes. "And without that much it would be nearly impossible, it's tiring for six people to make sure they cover the entire Bawn every day as it is. I have to wonder if in the past, there were more Guardians usually?" He purses his lips. "She said something about me becoming a Guardian here pretty fast, which is a fair point too."
Felix closes his eyes for a couple seconds, and as he plays, some of the excess energy that's usually all too obvious during larger moons fades away; a certain tension that wasn't obvious until it relaxes starts to lessen. "'s a good question," he says, "Maybe there did useta be more. Maybe when it ain't actively wartime, they figured some of the outer areas only needed checkin' every other day, every third? Might be there used to be more of us livin' out in the area just normal-like, so it'd be more likely it'd all get covered even if it ain't all by actual guardians... someday, I should try an' find folks to tell me the whole history of this place, really. Who's a question, though." He glances to Trace, considering him before saying, "Well, s'pose it was pretty quick. Was she thinkin' quick on your end or the Sept's or both?"
Trace tilts his head to one side. "Mouse-rhya might be able to tell you a lot," Trace muses, "or Salem-rhya too, though I haven't actually met him personally yet." There's another pause, and then a shrug before Trace takes a drag of the cigarette and also reaches for the flask, unscrewing the top. "I'm not sure. In general, and yeah it kind of was. I mean, and being a Guardian is entrusted to people who have the respect of the Sept and the trust of the Warder? I dunno, it's-- it was kind of different in LA, because the Sept itself was the top of the tower, and the Bawn as such and all. Guardians had jobs with the various companies or what that allowed them to reasonably be in the building all the time."
Felix looks up again, at Trace, with a blink. "You ain't met Salem yet? Huh. Hafta try an' arrange that. An' yeah, I reckon he knows a shitloada the history, but he ain't often got a lotta time for that kind thing, seems to me. Only ever seen Mouse once. Jamethon, he's been around a while, he prolly knows shit, but it might come out Theurgey. Alicia's at least a Galliard, but I think she was gone several years..." He shrugs. "Maybe I can get it put together from all of 'em, eventually. An', well, I s'pose the current situation just ain't usual." He's still playing that song, which has twists and turns and yet manages to continue feeling like a coherent whole. "You glad you did?"
Trace nods a bit. "I don't think that Salem-rhya spends much time out here," Trace says. "You could ask Emma-rhya, too. It sounded like she started out here, though she's left a few times too, but between all of them you can start to get a bigger picture and fill in the gaps?" He grins a bit. "It would be neat to have the history of the Sept, even just the major accomplishments, recited at a moot sometime, use it to remind everyone that victory is possible. Mona was more right than I think she knew when she said it seems like a lot of the elders are all tied in knots with everything going on." There's another sip from the flask before it's screwed back shut and placed back down. "Yeah, usually at least."
"Never seem to run into her," Felix says, "but yeah, I'll put her on my list." A slight pause. "S'pose I could ask Brom some shit if I was real desperate. From what he said, he was here for at least one of the times major shit went down. Said--" He breaks off, glancing up toward the sky; even while still playing, there's a sudden and fierce rising wave of his Rage, almost tangible where they sit and flaring briefly through the link. He looks back down to the guitar, teeth clenched, and continues playing, silent a handful of seconds. The anger spills into the melody, but the weaving of the other lines draws it in until it's one of the undertones, no longer the main theme. It seems to have done similar within the Galliard. "Tell you in a couple weeks," he says, quietly, and looks to the Ahroun again. "She was talkin' to elders, huh? Which ones? How were they gettin' knotty?"
Trace is quiet, though there's a moment where the ahroun sits just a bit straighter, and takes several even, study breaths as he lets his packmate work through it, and at the end, there's a nod, along with unspoken reassurance over the packlink. "I don't know, she didn't say," he lifts a shoulder, "and I remember that when I arrived it was kind of meeting a whole bunch of people all at once and took me some time to keep track and such. But I know that having the Queen on our doorstep and the whole business with Renegade and the business with the Nothing on top of that is making everyone on edge, and I'd imagine that everyone who has more responsibilities is feeling it more." He tilts his head. "But she also kind of gave the impression how she said it that she considers most people her 'elder'. Dunno, I might have been reading into it but I don't think so."
Felix nods, glancing toward the flask, but apparently music wins out. "I don't know, she wouldn't say," he sings quietly, the song melding into Yesterday for the line, and then back out; it's in the same style, so either he's remarkably good at thinking of how a song should work that way, or it's one he already knows. "Yeah, true, bein' new involves meetin' a shitload of folks at once, can't be helped. S'pose that ain't easy for everyone. An' I reckon you're right. One of the many reasons not to get more responsibilities." The grin, if only for a flash. "She didn't happen to mention what rank she is, the other day. She'd be kinda old for most folk to be her elders..." Not that that rules it out.
The Glass Walker lifts his shoulders, a slow shrug, and then pulls at one foot that had started to slip. "I'm not sure, she didn't say today either," Trace says, "but between that and a few other things, sounded like she's a cliath. I mean, steady is steady though." There's a moment of thought, and Trace says, "I'm not sure how old she is, either, but she seemed like she might be about my mom's age?"
The first remarks get a nod, in the pause, the Gnawer's expression thoughtful. There's another spike of anger after the last remark, for some reason, but not quite so large as the other and much more swiftly gone, as if it hadn't ever been. "S'pose more or less 'round my mother's, too," he agrees. "Long time to be a Cliath, 'less she changed REAL late. Whatcha reckon, if so? Fucked up somehow, or avoidin' it on purpose?"
Trace raises one eyebrow ever so slightly, but even that slight bit of a question isn't pressing, and just as quickly dropped. "I mean, haven't heard the whole story or anything near it, but I'm going with more of the latter. She did say something earlier about sides of the fences and the other Furies back where she comes from, so maybe she just had different priorities than rank?"
Felix doesn't seem inclined to provide any answers at the moment, though he gives his packmate's theory another thoughtful nod. "Could be," he agrees, "Wasn't really in a big hurry, myself. There's shit to recommend bein' Cliath. Reckon if I was a raggie, especially, might be sometimes it was useful..."
Trace grins again, getting to his feet and looking up at the sky, what little can be seen through the branches of the caern tree. "Yeah. People'er less likely to blame things on you, a little more leeway sometimes perhaps?" he shrugs. "C'mon, let's head back over to the compound. I'm hungry."
Felix nods to Trace, and the music winds down, the various lines tying themselves up over the space of a minute or so until they ease into a few final chords, and he gives the notes a moment or two to float on the air before starting to pack back up. Guitar in the case, flask in his pocket, and he stretches as he stands, top to toe. "A'right," he says, "Dinner sounds good. An' it's just vaguely possible 'round dessert time we might be able to hunt down some pie."