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Currently in Saint Claire, it is partly sunny. The temperature is 59 degrees Fahrenheit (15 degrees Celsius). The wind is currently coming in from the south at 9 mph. The barometric pressure reading is 30.12 and steady, and the relative humidity is 69 percent. The dewpoint is 49 degrees Fahrenheit (9 degrees Celsius.) For more detail, see: http://www.wunderground.com/cgi-bin/findweather/getForecast?query=98501

It is currently 11:21 Pacific Time on Sun May 29 2016.

Currently the moon is in the waning Half (Philodox) Moon phase (46% full).

Caern: The Stone Firepit

A subtle undulation of the land forms an curious, natural spiral in the open ground. One side of the formation rises to create a half-circle or crescent of earth surrounding and encompassing the spiral. The ground is littered with rock and flagstones, both large and small. Someone has carefully gathered up a trove of these and erected a clear fire pit. Flagstones with smooth surfaces have been laid along the upper lip of half circle of earth around the fire pit, turning it into a nice seating area. All debris and flammable material's been removed from within the spiral, and a fire has been laid. Just beyond the spiral's edge, wood has been collected and piled for future use. Surrounding this, the rugged walls of the canyon have been half buried by the Wyld surge, making the upper slope of the valley more gentle than it was before. Stands of Douglas fir and white pines mix with hemlock, lodgepole pines, and western larch trees to fill much of the open space, but the trees here are not nearly as dense as they are in the surrounding forests of the bawn. The sparse woods allows a partial view of the sky, and both sun and moonlight filter down to create enigmatic and beautiful shadow patterns on the forest floor. That floor is blanketed with a thick, soft rug of shed pine needles, lichen and leaf debris. The moss-covered relics of old, dead trees occasionally mark a place where once great sentinels loomed above.

The caern expands in two directions from here. The escarpment wall and raised dais form one point of the new triangle, while the center of the caern and its gigantic, Wyld-influenced tree marks the other. The only obvious way out of the caern is the valley slope that leads to the central bawn.

"What's the news? Any info to share so I can tell the pack while we're being guardians?" Justin asks as he flips a rock up with his foot, then gives it a solid kick forward once it falls.

Brings-the-Pack response with a voice that is decidedly more feline, not the electronic Kylo Ren he's always had previously. "I've been preoccupied with other matters," he claims, not bothering to elaborate on what those other matters might have been.

Nolan lets his foot slip from the stone on which he sits, and when it finds the ground again, he stands. Pacing a few steps around the fire, he looks across to the cougar. "Thinking about how to get inside the wraiths' heads?"

Ghost responds to Justin with a shake of her head. "It's quiet," she reports. "Around uh, around here anyway. I was just telling them I haven't been very close to Edgewood House to see."

Rabbit steps clear of the trees and stops there, quiet and still and watchful.

Justin gives a nod of his head. "I think someone should at least take a peek down there to see if the bad guys are still lingering about. I was wondering if we had more of those infrared goggles laying about to see if we can put eyes on those invisible freaks."

Brings-the-Pack gives a brief glance to Rabbit before responding to Nolan's inquiry. "I need to speak with Dakota about seeing the wraiths' bodies. What's left of them, at least."

From afar, Brings-the-Pack is using a male, feline-sounding voice (Disney?) instead of electro-Kylo Ren voice masking.

"How much of a body do you need," Nolan asks, lips quirking in a wry sort of grin. "I helpd clean the bones of the ones we had. I didn't, uh, expect anyone to want much more."

Ghost blinks a few times at the request. "How uh, how many of those goggles do you guys actually have?" Her attention diverts to Rabbit, and she stands a little straighter, studying her.

Rabbit tilts her head at Brings' new voice and then, after carefully looking at each of the others, moves closer, smiling a little but still careful in her manner.

"I think Felix has one set and that's it. I was hoping for two more. One for me and Trace." Justin says, then gives a wave to Rabbit.

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.

Brings-the-Pack replies to Nolan. "A head would be best. Although I imagine any part of a wraith might be good enough." His voice has lowered a bit, as if fully aware of how groteque this might be.

Nolan's expression remains cheerful, though there's a bit of a cough and a glance to the side that may indicate that the cheer is less than honest. "I can get you a bone," he says. "I know where they ended up. Anything more would take a hunting mission, as far as I know." He looks from the cougar to Ghost and then to Justin. "Unless there are rotting corpses being stored somewhere?"

Ghost shakes her head and offers a shrug, both to Justin, and then to Nolan. "I don't know. I don't have anything like that."

A woman, in theory, but not one that could pass any close inspection as being a modern human. She's pushing 6 feet, with olive skin and shoulder length dark brown hair that's almost always pulled back into a simple, tight ponytail. Her eyes are dark, arguably black. She has a low brow and a jaw that's somewhat oversized for her skull, as well as visible dark hair on her arms and the backs of her hands, and she tends to walk with a hunched sort of lope, balanced on her toes rather than the flat of her feet. Her ears are distinctly pointed, as are her teeth.

Her clothing isn't ragged, but it does tend to be rather frayed around the edges. She wears faded jeans and old but sturdy sneakers with decent treads, a variety of cheap shirts, a long sleeved button-up shirt when the wind is up, and oftentimes has a light jacket tied about her waist, as if she wanted to be prepared just in case. Her hands are well calloused, both on the palm, fingertips, and knuckles. Oftentimes she wears a very well used pair of fingerless gloves, though often these appear to have been made fingerless after the fact.

Rabbit stops at the very edge of the group. She waves back to Justin and then puts her hands into her pockets, watching.

"How about we go out and get ourselves a fresh one?" Justin asks as he gives a wry grin to Nolan and Ghost. "Let's just pick a fucker off."

Brings-the-Pack replies, softly, with, "A bone would be sufficient, I believe." Clearly he's of the school of saying less about this is for the best.

Nolan blinks at Justin and then looks to the Mage. He opens his mouth as if to speak to the large cat, but then his attention returns abruptly to the Bone Gnawer. "How? How would you find one? How would you lure it away from the rest? How would you be sure you could make a successful kill without bringing the rest of them down on you?"

Ghost doesn't say anything, but she does look keenly interested in the responses from the others, as she looks between them all.

Rabbit's head tips to one side a little, eyes wide behind her overlong bangs.

Smirking at Nolan, the Gnawer gives a few shrugs of his shoulders to loosen them up. "Finding one isn't as hard as it used to be. We got a few Garou that can see them when they're invisible. My own packmate can even hear them breathing when they're invisible. As far as isolation, we use live bait. You got good running legs, Nolan?" He lifts a brow upwards. "Set a trap if things look good. In the city they do not roam about in packs. They are positioned specifically in certain areas. They're pretty fast and strong, but you put two or three of us on one and we make quick work of them when they're exposed."

Brings-the-Pack falls silent, observing the others present to note their reactions to the Gnawer's proposal. It's as if he's already indicated he's not involved nor interfering with the choices the garou opt to make. Or not make.

"Isn't the city also a veil risk?" Nolan asks of Justin. He taps the side of his leg as he retakes his seat by the fire. "I'm not the fastest ragabash on the block," he adds.

"And I knew you'd throw that at me." Justin fires back at Nolan with a grin. "Which is why I picked up this really amazing gift called falling between the cracks. I can locate a part of the city in which humans haven't touched in weeks and that is where we set up our trap. We lead the fucker there, and that is where we take it out."

"I'm fast," Ghost says abruptly. There's a tinge, just a tinge of defiance to her voice.

Rabbit's head tips to the other side. She looks from Justin to Nolan and back again, and then to Ghost when she speaks.

Brings-the-Pack remains, quite intentionally one might suspect, silent.

Nolan gives a glance to Brings-the-Pack at Ghost's apparent volunteerism, but when the cougar doesn't speak, he returns his focus to Justin. "Which leads us right back to - How do you lure one, and just one, to a place of your choosing?"

"Just do what comes naturally, be an asshole." Justin says as he smirks. "Coyote follower, remember? We can definitely get their attention." With a look to Ghost, then back to Nolan, he ponders for a few moments. "You'd really be up for it, Ghost? I mean, I know you're fast, and ridiculously strong, but ... uh ... you're kinda .. important .."

Ghost rolls her eyes skyward, and flops onto the ground. "Yeah, yeah. I know." She glances toward Brings-the-Pack for a long moment, and then sighs, and seemingly deflates. "I guess not."

Rabbit turns her head to study Ghost very carefully.

Nolan laughs and shakes his head. He grins at Ghost when she bows out, but then looks back to Justin. "Get the attention of an invisible enemy, check. What's to keep the wraith from bringing the rest of their friends down on whomever it is that's doing the running? Just because there's only one in a particular spot, doesn't mean there aren't others nearby, right? And what about their telepathic link? Do you think they wouldn't bring their friends, even if they didn't guess it was a trap to begin with?"

"Well, Nolan. If you don't take chances, you won't ever get results. Either you man up and take a risk or you just sit around freaking out all the time. Even if the one we single out does call out to their friends, they still gotta physically make their way over. By then, the job will be done and we'd be splitsville." Justin says as he shrugs his shoulders upwards. "Maybe cougar here can monitor from afar? Or even Val?" To Ghost, he says, "You're in, by the way. But you gotta pop claws and say snikt at a least once like Wolverine does."

Brings-the-Pack makes no commitment one way or the other. He just observes silently, even when his name is mentioned as a potential participant.

Ghost's jaw tightens a little as she looks back up and stares at Justin.

"Do you know how fast they can move?" Nolan asks Justin. "Do you know where they're stationed, or how many there are that could make it to your location?" He shakes his head, though the grin is still present; he's apparently enjoying the repartee. "Risks are great, when balanced with an appropriate reward, but it's important to know the what the risks are, isn't it? Otherwise, why don't you just march into the tower, today? That would certainly be a risk, wouldn't it?"

Rabbit's attention turns from Ghost to Justin and Nolan; their interaction seems /very/ interesting to the skinny girl.

"Yup, I know how fast they can move. I tangled with one and tore it's throat out after it sucked five years off my life." Justin says with a firm nod of his head. "I know how strong they can be. I know they got suckers on the ends of their hand that are like little osprey eels." Justin reaches into his saggy pants pocket and pulls out some gum, popping it into his mouth. "The answers to the other questions will be figured out after some recon and I can find a place that I feel comfortable we can use as the trap. Though, marching into the tower with the brunt of the Queen's army sitting about the Edgewood actually is not a bad idea. But /that/ one is not my call to make." With a glance to Ghost, he says. "What? It's freaking cool. So, you're in, right?"

Ghost is on her feet almost before the question is fully asked, swinging a closed fist in the same motion toward the side of Justin's head. The sudden, inexplicable violence seems to happen in less time than an eyeblink.

Nolan may have been intending to reply to Justin, but whatever he would have said is lost in that explosive movement, and he steps backward, up onto the stone bench, a little further out of reach.

Rabbit moves with the immediate startlement of a wild animal, snapping down into fox-shape and making for the treeline at top speed.

It seems that the Gnawer knows how to take a punch like a champ and he eats the fist with a stumble backwards. He sees stars for a moment, then clamps down on the monster that threatens to leap it's way out of his throat. He takes a second to compose himself, then snaps his eyes back up to hers furiously. "You're not /that/ valuable to us." He warns her with a growl. "Don't give me a reason."

Ghost meets his eyes with a darkly narrowed gaze of her own. "/Snickt/," she fairly spits, before she turns sharply on her heel and stalks toward the treeline.

"So you're in or what?" Justin calls back to her as she retreats.

Brings-the-Pack steps back from the scuffle, but clearly looks as if he might intervene if.... And then Ghost walks off, indicating a likely de-escalation. Perhaps.

The Rabbit-fox remains nowhere to be seen.

Nolan shows no sign of intending to intervene, though who can say what might happen if things continued to escalate. Instead, when Ghost departs, he turns his focus to Justin. "I'm guessing that's a no," he says. "So, value. Seems to be a sore spot for her. Care to elucidate?"

Ghost doesn't answer or look back, and within moments she's in the trees and out of sight. No sound of bushes thrashing or leaves; it seems she's quiet even when she's angry.

"Nah, she'll come. She's just touchy I guess. I don't know." Justin says as he rubs at his jaw a few times as he gives it a few clicks. "But, either way, the plan has potential and it can work. Ghost is a heavy hitter and I'd like her to be there. She's really strong and fast. I can handle myself, so can Felix and Trace. We'd be fine if we execute right."

Brings-the-Pack finally offers to chip in with a comment. This directed at Justin. "I was not going to say anything, but perhaps it might help you to better understand your foe and evaluate the risk you're placing upon both yourself and others. The wraith that sucked the life from you? It would have sucked much more than just five years had I not assisted Slug's efforts to dislodge it from you as quickly as possible."

For once, Nolan seems to have nothing to say, nothing to ask. Or, perhaps he's biding his time, holding back the questions as ones he hasn't spoken are answered. He steps down from the bench and takes up his seat, once again pulling one knee close to his chest as he watches the interaction between ahroun and cougar.

Justin blinks his eyes a few times at Beep's declaration, then frowns. ".. Oh. Well ... thanks bro, for saving my life. That was cool of you."

Brings-the-Pack advises gently, "I realize it goes against the nature of the garou, and especially an ahroun who follows coyote, but too much bravado will ultimately result in you or others being crippled or killed. You might seek to find a better balance within," he offers as a suggestion. His face turns towards the direction Ghost departed, then back. "And if she holds the key to defeating The Nothing, her life is more valuable than your life, my life, or the life of the entire sept and caern. You might want to re-assess how easily you offer to put her on the battlefield."

"Or in the ground," Nolan adds with a cough. He draws in a breath and finds his grin again. "So," he says to the mage. "I'll grab one of the cleaned bones when I head back that way. Will phelanges do?"

Justin shrugs his shoulders upwards. "If I wanted to seek balance, I'd join the Stargazers and think about my belly button. I don't have a problem with taking risks. Our problem here is that when shit hits the fan, we all fold up like playing cards and act like we need to be in our safe spaces. Ghost doesn't have to go, but if you want to probe about one of their heads and figure out their deal so we can stop them, then one of us needs to man up and take initiative. Like I said, I'll build a plan and we'll execute it if the Alpha signs off." He says as he flips a hand in the air, then starts to head out. "If you decide to help us out again, that'd also be super cool. I enjoy breathing!" He says in finality. "Later, Nolan."

Brings-the-Pack replies to Nolan, "A phelange ought to be helpful, and with luck, may prove to be sufficient. It's also significantly less grotesque than a severed head." As Justin departs, he offers, "Take care, and my thanks for your help in guarding this holy place."

Nolan lifts the hand wrapped around his leg to wave at the departing ahroun. "Later," he replies, and then turns back to the mage. "Should I bring it here? Or is there a better place?"

Rabbit remains hidden.

Brings-the-Pack says "A few hundred yards north of the caern." He explains, "I doubt it would affect the caern's energies, as the wraiths have already been within it; but it is better to be safe than sorry. Especially when one is a guest in another's house."

"Sounds like a plan," Nolan says, and then, with a glance after the departed Bone Gnawer, he gives a shake of his head. "I've rarely seen a skull so dent resistant."

Brings-the-Pack cocks an eyebrow upwards at Nolan's comment, looking mildly bemused. "You must not have met many of your own kind."

"Maybe I'm just good at blocking out the memories of the rest," Nolan says with a sigh, though the grin remains.

Brings-the-Pack suggests with a degree of mirth to his tone, "Perhaps your forgetfulness is a survival mechanism?" Growing more serious, he states, "I am concerned about Justin. I tend to expect a certain amount of bravado from a garou so young and an ahroun as well. And a leader of a pack, too. But the result of wanton bravado is ultimately death--his or others. And thank you for pointing out the flaws in his idea. I noticed them myself, but I did not want to say anything as I do not feel it is my place to do so."

Nolan shakes his head. "Pointing out the flaws doesn't do much good when he dismisses each of them without addressing it." He waves a hand in the air, and then runs the same fingers through his hair. "He will get someone killed if he isn't stopped. The best we can hope for is that someone else who sees the flaws has enough power over him to force a change."

(At this point, Rabbit sneaks off. Later...)

It's nearing the end of the day. A pleasantly almost-warm day, at least for Washington. There's a lot of life and activity around the caern, but at this particular mooment, it happens to be occupied solely by a cougar who's intently staring into the firepit's flames.

Rabbit emerges from the surrounding forest in fox-shape. Alert and wary, she stops there near the safety of the undergrowth and surveys the caern, ears alert and pointy nose tilted upwards, sniffing.

Brings-the-Pack speaks, voice a feline purr instead of the earlier electronic masking. "It is safe, little fox. For now. It was wise of you to run earlier."

Rabbit licks her nose and shifts up and into human form. "Angry wolves," she notes, with some concern. "Always very angry."

There are footsteps coming from the forest before Trace emerges into view. The ahroun looks... cheerful, actually, a stark change from his usual grim mood, although even cheerful there's a level of coiled tension in his posture. There's a wave, given, and a kind of a nod. "Hi," he offers. "I think I almost met you, before, but I had to leave." He looks at Rabbit, for a moment, and offers a small hint of a smile. "I'm Trace Garza. Also called Six-Shooter. Ahroun and Fostern of the Glass Walkers, and now packed under Coyote. And Guardian." He did apparently, hear the last bit of conversation, because there is a small nod. "Yeah. Always angry, but most of us do our best to control it."

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.

Brings-the-Pack nods to Trace as he appears and offers an observation, or perhaps knowledge gained from experience, to Rabbit. "Even the ones who do not seem angry at the time often are angry underneath." He inquires of the kit, "Do you also feel the anger of Gaia?"

Rabbit thinks about that; her nose scrunches and the tip her tongue pokes out between her teeth. "Gaia makes Foxes different from Wolves," she says at last, slowly. "Anger, yes, but small. Quiet." She looks at Trace. "Wolves are large, fierce, kill large animals, together in many. Foxes small, one or two, quiet, kill small animals, are killed by larger animals."

Trace walks a little bit further down and into the caern until he finds somewhere, and then sits down, lotus-pose. He considers for a long moment, and nods again. "Sounds about right," he says. "We get killed by larger animals too, though." He pauses, and looks at Rabbit. "I didn't catch your name, last time." It's a polite request though, without much weight behind it.

"There's always someone or something bigger out there," the mage-cat concurs with the Walker. To Rabbit he adds, "It's safe to give your name to the garou here, but be aware that names have power. Be careful when giving out to those you do not know. Especially now that there are Spirals in the area. Many can track you down with nothing but your name."

Rabbit looks at Trace for a long moment after his reply, her expression bemused. She glances at Brings-the-Pack, nods to him, then turns back to introduce herself to the Garou. "I am Rabbit Digs Deep. Fox-kit. Turtle is my father." Polite but a little reserved.

Trace offers another polite smile, and ducks a nod of greeting before adjusting his seated position again, and folding his hands in his lap. "Nice to meet you," he says. Towards the mage cat, Trace asks, "All's been uneventful here, I hope? Didn't run into anything while I was on patrol."

"I've been here most of the day," the cougar returns to Trace. "I have heard no reports of any activity on the bawn. Most of the excitement has been from needless drama generated from within the caern." For Trace's benefit, he offers a little expansion to Rabbit's words. "Turtle is a local Kitsune of some renown who is also an ally of the sept, though typically not a common presence at the caern." His tone indicates Turtle is someone who merits respect.

Rabbit steps closer and hunkers down, squatting on her heels. She's positioned noticeably closer to Brings than Trace, though able to keep an eye on both. To the mage-cougar, she asks, "You tell a story about my father?"

There's a bit of a nod, and Trace huffs a bit. "Well, that would be about usual, no?" he says. There's a slight accent on the last word, making it more Spanish than English although the word is the same in both languages. "And better than the alternative." Another nod. "Yeah, I've heard variously. Glad the Sept has diverse allies, and that we can see past differences and towards common goals and such."

Brings-the-Pack is seated by the fire pit nearer to Rabbit than Trace is, who seems to be giving the non-garou their space. "Let me think a moment on which story to tell," he says to Rabbit, as if, perhaps, he might have many.

Rabbit smiles brightly and sits back, butt hitting the ground. "Thank you!"

Brings-the-Pack thinks a moment before he starts spinning the tale. "This was several years ago. There were Spirals in the city and causing problems, as Spirals tend to do. Turtle had captured one of their kin, which he hope to question and learn information from. He had taken the Spiral kin to a warehouse. I cautioned him that he could not take long, as Spirals would likely come looking for their kin sooner rather than later, and the magick I used seem to confirm that suspicion." He asides to Rabbit, reinforcing a piece of advice he gave her earlier, "The Spirals knew their kin's name, after all, which made him easy to track when they noticed he was missing. And so Turtle found himself facing down three Spirals. One with a machine gun that glowed green from the Wyrm's touch. One wearing a mask made of flesh. And a giant one with horns coming from his head." He pauses here. "One kitsune versus not one, not two, but three of the fallen wolves."

Trace settles in to pay attention to the story, leaning slightly forward on his arms.

Rabbit rocks back up onto her heels and hugs her legs to her chest, paying rapt attention to the story.

Brings-the-Pack continues the tale. "The battle that ensued was quick, brutal, and vicious. First, they shot at him, threw a net at him to try an capture him, and started doing a ritual to hurt him. One of the bullets wounded him, but the net missed completely. Turtle worked magic to confuse them. But the big one with the horns? He saw through the illusion--or perhaps just got lucky--and charged blindly. But, as the saying goes, every so often even a blind squirrel finds a nut. This much bigger Spiral hit Turtle hard, knocking him down. But the bull-Spiral let his anger get the better of him and did not stop charging. He ran straight into the wall. WHAM!" The cougar-mage adds in a sound effect. "And one of his horns broke off and he was stunned."

Trace folds his hands, and the ahroun seems just as taken with the story and a rapt audience. There's a moment at the end at the sound effect where it seems like the Walker might ask 'and then what', but he shuts his mouth soon after opening it, rather than interrupting.

Rabbit grins widely, her mouth opening a little. "Ohhh."

Brings-the-Pack continues telling a slightly modified version of what transpired. "Though wounded, Turtle was still full of wiles. He summoned flames," he said, gesturing towards the fire pit, "which lit cans of gasoline." For Rabbit's benefit he adds, "Gasoline is like water that burns." And then continues. "The flames began to spread rapidly across the ground, getting closer to the captured Spiral kinsman who was tied to a chair for questioning. And then Turtle summoned lightning, which disrupted the Spiral working on some Wyrm-inspired ritual. The Spiral with the gun? He tripped on the net, but still managed to shoot Turtle a second time. Turtle fell to the ground, crawling, and looking as if the fight might soon be over. The bull-Spiral got back up, full of rage, blinded by rage, and looking to kill."

Trace takes a breath, looking back towards the mage cat directly for a brief moment, and this time, he does say something. "Then what happened?"

Rabbit sucks in a breath and holds it.

"Things did not look like they were going well for Turtle. After all, one fox versus a pack of three fallen wolves?" Brings-the-Pack lowers his voice and slows his pace down. "But one should never underestimate a fox." His voice returns to normal. "Whoosh. More magic to confuse the spiral with the glowing green gun, making her eyes wide in terror from visions too horrible for even a Spiral to see. The bull-Spiral charged, but banging his head so hard against the wall must have knocked what little sense he had out of it. He missed Turtle, ran right past him, and cracked his skull into a big metal beam. WHAM!" Again, it would seem. "The Spiral's kin tied to the chair? The flames on the ground reached him, burned him, and he screamed for death. And the fallen wolf who had been trying to work magic against Turtle? She rushed over to her kinfolk and ripped his head right off. And when she looked up to kill the injured fox who could only crawl?" A pause. "Perhaps the fox had been faking his injuries and his inability to do anything more than crawl away. For when they looked to kill him, he was /gone/. Three Spirals versus one Kitsune, and the fallen wolves had been out-foxed--and humiliated."

As Nick finishes the tale, a black furred fox with silver guard hairs slips soundlessly out of the trees, trotting with full confidence toward the small gathering near the fire. It makes some strange noises--fox noises? It doesn't sound entirely right--and is clearly more angled toward Rabbit than anyone else. And the lesson of that story is you should never let yourself get into that situation. I used too much magic. Tell them I said that, it's good practice.

At the end of what the cougar is saying, there's a bright, toothy smile from Trace, that lasts a moment too long for comfort before it fades into a more reserved expression. Then the Walker's expression flits to the arriving fox, with a bit of a wave with one lifted hand.

Rabbit, grinning, turns around to look at the black-silver fox that just arrived. "He says the story has a lesson," she tells the other two. "Do not be in that place like that. Use too much magic."

Brings-the-Pack offers another potential moral to the story. "Or do not let strength or numbers lead to overconfidence."

The black and silver fox makes a few more odd sounding chitters (The lightning man also helped, but don't say that. He likes it when the things he does are secret.), before he slides smoothly up into human form, complete with the old coat and battered hat. "I did end up laying around pathetic-like at Emma's place for days," he points out. "But any fight you can technically walk away from. Happened to your great-grandmother," he tells Rabbit. "Cornered by Wyrm Wolves, that is."

The now-familiar whistling with the aimless melody can be heard from some distance through the trees. At first almost too soft to be heard, it gains volume as time passes, signaling the whistler's approach.

Rabbit tilts her head at Turtle, then looks at Brings-the-Pack with renewed interest. "Thank you," she tells him, presumably for telling such a good story.

Trace listens again, and tilts his head to one side. A moment, and his seated posture relaxes somewhat, to merely crosslegged rather than lotus-pose. "All of which are good lessons," the ahroun says thoughtfully.

"Just don't ask for another story tonight. I am no galliard," the cougar-mage replies to the fox kit.

"From what I heard, you're better'n me," Thomas remarks, as he sits himself down without ceremony and with little grace, then adjusts the brim of his hat. "There was a fun time afore I came up this way the first time, and by that I mean I nearly got myself skinned by a few very, very angry vampires." He looks thoughtful as he palms his pockets, then grunts. "It ended in a lot've fire."

Rabbit scoots over to sit closer to the older Kitsune. "Fire in story that Brings-the-Pack told," she says. "Fire and father are /big/ friends."

The volume on the whistling fades not long after, as the ragabash apparently heads right on by.

Trace looks over at the mage cat, and grins. "Don't sell yourself short," Trace affirms, and claps briefly. "I might have to start asking you for stories more often." Towards Thomas, there's a nod. "Afraid I missed getting to introduce myself to you the other day. Trace Garza, also called Six-Shooter. Ahroun and Fostern of the Glass Walkers, packed under Coyote, and Guardian." There's a glance up towards the sound of the whistling then fading, and a slight shrug.

Brings-the-Pack glances in the direction of the whistling, tracking it through the trees, and then making a glance northward as it disappears. "Excellent," he says softly before looking back to those gathered.

Thomas tips his hat. "Thomas Lee hereabouts, sometimes Turtle, Uktena kinfolk and, well, other things, as you already know." He glances down toward Rabbit with a small grin. "I've got a fondness, it's true. But it's important to remember fire's gotta burn. If'n it ain't wood or leaves or vampires or bad humans, it can be you if you're not careful. Gotta respect it, always. --Which does lead me to something." He looks up. "Was thinking about teaching Rabbit the Paths tonight, if'n you folk won't find that too boring."

Rabbit shifts to a kneeling position, sitting back on her heels. As with the mage-cougar-storyteller, she's all attentiveness.

Brings-the-Pack flicks his long tail about his other side, wrapping it in closely, before responding, "I do not mind. It would be educational for more than her, I suspect."

Trace grins a bit and looks at Thomas, then back over to the fire. "I certainly won't find it boring, if it's not secret fox stuff and such that you don't mind an audience." There's a nod to what Brings-the-Pack says. "I haven't had much chance to get to know more about the other shifters, in the past. And being able to remedy that is pretty cool."

Thomas leans over and selects a stick from the firepit that's been away from the flames for quite some time, with almost the whole of its length ash darkened and burnt. He begins by drawing an 'X' on the ground in front of himself, within easy sight of everyone. "Nah, ain't secret if I'm teaching it out here. Now, the Wolves, they got what're called Auspices." He draws a circle around the 'X', just large enough to encompass it, and then begins carefully sketching glyphs in each of the four sections this creates within the circle. "Auspices are more'n jobs, Mastincala, they're basically life devotions. These get decided by what the moon looked like when they were born. Every now'n then there's a Wolf that doesn't feel right with his Auspice, and he'll switch, but this is rare and the Wolves usually don't like it when it happens." The glyphs he's drawing quickly become recognizable as Garou, the basic element: Earth, Air, Fire, Water. "Other folk, Cats, Dragons, Spiders, Rats...they do things differently. Foxes though, we've got Paths, and we're the ones who pick them for ourselves. There's no changing it once we do. Our Paths are what we're best for, inside. No need to worry about choosing wrong; you won't."

Rabbit watches and listens carefully, no more smiles.

Brings-the-Pack cranes his nexk to get a better view and cants his ears to better catch Turtle's words. He, too, seems intrigued by this lesson.

Trace leans forward to watch this, though he's quiet while he listens. One finger, though, moves to the dirt to retrace the glyphs in the dirt next to him.

"These are Wolf marks," Turtle continues, and uses the stick to point to each glyph in turn. "They represent words and ideas. This is /peta/, fire. /Mni/, water. This one is /oniya/," he lifts his other hand to his mouth and puffs. "Breath, or /thate/, the wind. And this last one is /makha/, the earth, the dirt, all the land. Many humans and all of the Bete and the Wolves know these four as the elements, though there are sometimes five, and sometimes they change the names to look at it differently. There are many spirits of these four things that you will come to know."

Rabbit's lips move as she repeats the various terms under her breath.

Trace watches and listens, fingers tracing out a few more glyphs idly in the dirt next to him. But the Walker is definitely interested in the different outlook this is providing.

"Between these four thing are the Paths," Thomas says, indicating the lines of the 'X' he initially drew. "/Wakhangli/, lightning, fire of the air. /Inyanslo/, lava, the fire in the earth. /P'o/, fog, water in the air, and finally /makhasan/, clay, water in the earth. Our Paths align with these, so that we are of two of the elements, not just one. Doshi are /Wakhangli/, our sorcerers. Eji are /inyanslo/, our warriors. Gukutsushi are /p'o'/, our illusionists and healers, and the Kataribe are /makhasan/, our bards and builders. Those are all big words that won't make much sense yet, but before you choose, I will tell you all about each."

Rabbit echoes these new words, too, both the Lakota ones and the stranger English ones. She stares down at the diagram and nods slowly.

"Duality as such, a bit?" Trace's question, such as it is, is barely audible and more along the lines of filing it away for later, as the Walker ahroun is clearly trying not to interrupt.

"Harmony," Turtle replies, seemingly unbothered by the question; quite the contrary. "It's a different perspective, and it's got other benefits besides. Eji," he says, perhaps to both of them, "is my Path. Warriors, but not Ahroun." He gestures toward Trace. "The Wolf Warriors. We're very different, so we do things differently, but we're also similar in other ways."

"Wolf different from Fox," Rabbit says, and then yawns hugely.

Trace tilts his head towards Thomas a little bit, curiosity evident in his expression still. "How did you know what Path to choose, when you chose?" Trace asks Thomas.

Thomas reaches over to fondly ruffle Rabbit's hair. "I saw a bowl and reached," he says. "Seemed like the only one I could've reached for. And then," the corners of his eyes crinkle, "I burned my fingers badly enough I couldn't feel anything for a week. Now," he looks down at Rabbit, "Should we be getting back to the boat, /cikala/? The time is good for it."

Rabbit yawns again and nods. "Two-foot or four-foot?"

"Gaia watch," the Ahroun offers, seemingly directed at both Thomas and Rabbit. There's a slight yawn from Trace, too, and he adds, "Thank you for letting me listen in." And that said, he shifts into his lupus form, before proceeding to sprawl out in place with a slight wag of his tail, eyes shutting halfway.

"Four-foot," Turtle replies. "Our enemies aren't looking for foxes, but they will eat us if they can. We'll go quietly, and you can show me how quiet you can be." He returns to the silver and black fox todd, and leads the way out of the Caern.

Rabbit shifts down as well -- a more common orange color fox -- and follows after.

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