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It is currently 18:27 Pacific Time on Wed Nov 2 2016.

Currently in Saint Claire, it is a cloudy day. The temperature is 54 degrees Fahrenheit (12 degrees Celsius). The wind is currently coming in from the northeast at 5 mph. The barometric pressure reading is 29.97 and rising, and the relative humidity is 97 percent. The dewpoint is 53 degrees Fahrenheit (11 degrees Celsius.) For more detail, see: http://www.wunderground.com/cgi-bin/findweather/getForecast?query=98501

Currently the moon is in the waxing New (Ragabash) Moon phase (19% 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.

Brings-the-Pack cants both his ears back. It would seem the mage understands some feline body language. "Far too long." Seemingly aware of his own ears, they're made to move back to a more neutral position. "I would not be surprised if Peter was tortured or tricked into revealing the true names and addresses and descriptions of every kin, garou, or ally attached to this sept. No offense intended, but I suspect that is precisely what the Gaian garou would do if they were to capture one of the Spiral's kin."

"Some." Nolan says pointedly. "That's what /some/ of them would do." He lets a deep breath remove some of the intensity from his posture and rolls his neck. "You asked what I found irresponsible. I find it irresponsible that each time over the past several months that I've asked, the answer has been that nothing will be done, that the kin is not important. I find it irresponsible that the position, last night, was that we would *negotiate* for his return, when we have nothing to offer, and nothing to threaten. I find it irresponsible that we are being told to celebrate when our kinfolk is suffering, and the caern, perhaps the world, is in danger from the absence."

Salem drops out of a tree near the edge of the caern. His hair clings to his forehead, sweat-damp, and he's just in t-shirt and jeans despite the evening's chill.

Brings-the-Pack is at the fire pit, in a discussion with the Fianna. He looks away as Salem drops out of a tree by the edge of the caern, inclines his head in a greeting, and returns to speaking with Nolan. "I do not envy the difficult position Thane was put in, attempting to balance the needs of the sept with the needs of a kinfolk who was captured by Spirals, held as a bargaining chip, and potentially coerced or tricked into revealing a great deal about the sept and its members." He asks, "What would your solution have been, had you been in charge instead of him?"

Nolan also looks over when Salem drops down. He shakes his head as he returns to the cougar. "Had it been my leadership? The *moment* he was taken by the Queen's forces, we would have looked for a way to rescue him. We would not have waited for the Dancers to take him from them. Once they did? I would not have *asked* for his return. We would have conducted a surgical strike to recover him. We would not have waited. And waited. And waited. Do you think he's still in this city? If I were the Dancers, he'd have been removed to Seattle weeks ago, at the very least." He rakes a hand back through his hair, lips twisting in distaste. "Most importantly? I would not have spent the last several months talking about whther it was *worth* trying to rescue him, because he's *only* a kin, and he's already been tortured."

Ghost arrives quietly, although there may as well be a dark cloud hovering over her from the tenseness of both her expression and her muscles. As seems to be habit, she stops just beyond the treeline to study the Caern before moving forward.

"I've kicked more than a few asses on our own side who think torture is an acceptable way to get information," says Salem, grimacing. "And I'd happily kick a few more." He pulls up the tail of his t-shirt to wipe at his face.

Brings-the-Pack listens to the Fianna, nods in agreement, but then asks, "But what if he was right in that the sept needed the Spirals to help divided and soften up the Queen's defenses? And what if you, if you had rescued the kin from the Spirals, later caused the sept to lose to the Queen and then have the caern fall?"

"I think avoiding the situation in the first place would have been preferable," Nolan answers. He pauses when he spots Ghost, offering her a smile and a nod before he returns to the mage. "I think there were more options than simply bowing to the will of the Dancers who were here. The Queens were, as I understand it, as problematic to Seattle as they were to us, and we could have, if such an alliance were necessary, made a... less costly bargain."

Ghost regards Salem a little more carefully than the others for a moment. She then stiffly returns Nolan's nod, stuffs her hands into her pockets, and crosses into the Caern itself at a brisk walk.

Salem drops into a seat near the fire, looking broody. "And people wonder why, after all these years, I /still/ do not like and do not trust any Shadow Lord."

Brings-the-Pack casts a nod towards Ghost as she arrives, too. He then notes to Nolan, "Avoiding the situation at all would have frankly probably required saying 'no' to a kinsman who volunteered to infiltrate the tower to gain information and--inadvertently--make unintended contacts." The large cat gives a deep sigh. "I have yet to see a plan formed and then executed flawlessly. It is certainly easier to look backwards in time to see where mistakes were made and different choices could have resulted in different outcomes. And by no means am I saying I would not have done things differently had it been me making decisions instead of Thane. I would have. And I cannot help but wonder if the decisions I would have made would have ultimately been worse and led to even more deaths."

Nolan casts a glance toward Salem, a slight smirk answering his comment. He then returns to Brings the Pack with a sigh. "I think there were a lot more opportunities to intervene, and I think Thane chose to ignore the kin because he considered him unimportant. There was no perfect solution, but I object to calling this situation resolved while we have not even discussed a plan to recover someone who put himself in harms way for our benefit."

Ghost lowers herself into a crouch. She scowls at the mention of Thane, but as with last night, doesn't actually say anything.

Salem stretches his legs toward the fire. "How long have you been Garou, Nolan?" The youth's expression is far too cynical for his apparent years. "Granted, I know the Fianna do put great value on their kinfolk, but perhaps you haven't noticed... most tribes do not. I'm not the least bit surprised Thane considers the matter resolved, Peter be damned. But griping about Thane isn't going to get Peter back."

"I was distracted and did not hear Thane's exact words we he made the announcement. I can understand wanting to celebrate two major battlefield victories with no warriors falling in either, even if everything was not fully resolved. But if he had said the matter was resolved, then... I would like to think he misspoke, as the matter is not yet entirely resolved." The cat pushes to all fours and stretches, inadvertently demonstrating it's much larger than a wolf prior to settling down once more. "What Salem said."

Nolan looks from Salem to the cougar and raises his hands in a gesture of surrender. "You asked what I'd found irresponsible. It wasn't my intention to gripe." He returns to Salem with a shake of his head. "Long enough to know better, not so long as to give up on the ideal. They're our family, our responsibility."

Ghost makes a noise in the back of her throat and narrows her eyes. "Why should anyone stick their necks out for him? Or any of them? The only time I ever saw him concerned was when he wanted the Glass Walkers to spy on Peter, and then it wasn't concern /for/ him."

Salem looks sharply at Ghost. "That's right," he says in the tone of one suddenly remembering something. "He wanted us to track Peter and prevent him from leaving town. /Not/ that he told us /why/ he wanted us to do that, none of the goddamn context at all. Which is why I said 'fuck no' because, frankly, fuck /no/." He pauses a beat, then adds, "It was only later that I found out that Peter'd infiltrated the Tower and gotten corrupted... and that he never tried to leave town at all."

Brings-the-Pack pushes to all fours again, excusing himself. "This sounds more like an internal matter that I should stay out of. Plus, I could definitely use the rest." He begins padding off. "Rest and peace to all of you as well."

Nolan nods to the cat as he starts to depart, but much more of his attention is already focused on the exchange between Ghost and Salem. "He what?"

Ghost looks at Brings-the-Pack as he goes, but moments later returns to glaring at the ground. She wraps her arms around her knees. "He sent me with a message and a thumb drive to ask the Glass Walkers to stop Peter from leaving town. It was right after, um, after Peter left Edgewood. I just saw him go, but he looked spooked."

Salem nods at Ghost's words, then looked at Nolan. "As I said, I had no context, and since I've had a /lot/ of experience with Garou being pointlessly controlling assholes to their kin, I refused."

Anger once again flares in the Fianna, and he gives a shake of his head as he forces it down. "As I said," he notes quietly, looking off in the direction the cougar went, "There were certainly opportunities that were ignored." When he looks back to the others there's a broad grin on his face. "But! That's in the past!"

Ghost's teeth briefly flash. She says nothing.

Salem's smile is tight and rather humorless. "As you say."

Nolan nods, letting the fake grin slip away. He stretches out one arm, twisting it one way and then the other while rubbing at the shoulder with the opposite hand. "So, our conversation started with my admission that I've been contemplating my position, here. What with an elder's moot coming up, and no other Fianna within sight."

"You want to go to an elder's moot?" Ghost asks, as she cants a sidelong look toward Nolan. "He's still not going to listen to you."

"He can still go and weigh in," Salem points out to Ghost. He eyeballs Nolan then, head slightly cocked as if favoring one eye. "If I were you, though, I would seek out some other elders who'll be there and have your back."

Nolan nods, looking thoughtful. "It's time for me to decide, one way or another, whether this is where I stay or if my time here is done. I've done what I set out to, what drew me here. The question is whether I make a commitment to this place, or wash my hands. You've both been here for a while, do you have opinions?"

Ghost clearly does, judging by the expression that crosses her face, even if she does reign it back a little before verbally responding. "There are some good people here, but it's run by a bunch of selfish, stupid assholes that care more about their ego than their own family, or the Litany. They don't like you and they probably won't like you any better if you stay. So I guess you should figure out if that works for you."

"I wasn't born here," Salem says, "but I plan to die here. Assholes or no assholes. They'll have to drive me out or kill me to get me to leave for good." He smiles crookedly. "In my experience, the assholes give up, wander off, or die. The city endures. The Sept endures. The /caern/ fucking endures. I don't regret a single drop of blood I've shed for this place."

Again, Nolan nods, grinning briefly in response to Salem's smile. He scratches at the back of his head, expression twisting. "All good points. I don't think I'm likely to be any less annoying to those at the top as time goes on. Do you think Thane would object to a claim of Sept membership and tribal elder at this point?"

Ghost glances sidelong at Salem this time, but she once again falls silent. Instead of answering Nolan, she swipes her mouth with her sleeve and grips her knees a little more tightly.

Salem gets up and brushes himself off. "He has no grounds to do so. You've been here long enough and bled for the Sept. There are no other Fianna except /maybe/ for one metis who may or may not be lurking in the area and who by all reports is completely unworthy of any position of responsibility at all. And as I told Monica, you wouldn't be the first cliath holding an elder position that this Sept has seen."

Nolan stands up when Salem does, shoving his hands in the pocket of his hoodie. "Well, it would certainly be interesting. Any thoughts on who might have my back, without holding a knife?"

"Mouse," Salem says at once. "Slug. Emma, though she's not always able to be in town."

Ghost remains sitting, although it's clear she's listening with interest, even if her mood is still noticeably foul.

"Thanks," Nolan answers Salem with a nod. He takes a couple steps and then turns back to Ghost. "I'm going to find an actual bed for the night, but I was hoping to talk to you sometime, if you're of a mind."

Salem returns Nolan's nod, then glances at Ghost. He seems a little... unsettled by her, for a moment. Just for a moment. Then he shakes it off, makes his good nights, and heads out.

"Yeah," Ghost says, a little more quietly than her usual. "Alright." She returns Salem's goodnight, but it seems as though she intends to stay put for the time being.
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