shelbyrou: (homid)
[personal profile] shelbyrou
It is currently 12:43 Pacific Time on Sun Apr 1 2012.
Currently the moon is in the waxing Gibbous (Galliard) Moon phase (66% full).

The Scarred Forest (North of I-90)
The forest is thinner here than it is south of the highway, though it is still difficult to see for very far. Signs of human habitation break the stretch of woods every few miles; roads, paths, farms, and the occasional out-of-the-way home remind you that civilization is encroaching, though in this area, the battle is not yet decided. Hardwoods mix with towering firs and smaller trees, still concealing some of nature's hidden places from the nearby humans. Streams and small pools are scattered throughout the forest, some large enough to swim in, some small enough to freeze solid for most of the winter.

Fresh stumps dot the woods, and almost all of the trees still standing are disease-scarred around the bases of the trunk, some only superficially marked, some deeply wounded; not a few are dead.

Once hauntingly quiet and sparsely populated with wildlife, these woods have fully come alive again. The scents and sounds and glimpses of animals, birds, insects are now as rich here, among the scarred trees, as they are anywhere.

This region stretches almost 50 miles north from I-90 into the Sun Lakes area, where the disease that scarred the trees appears to have been at its worst.

Obvious exits:
Tiny Cabin Great Oak Grove 23 Hawk's End Southeast Interstate 90 Grotto South


Some of the rampant plant growth from the bawn is beginning to spill over to this side of I-90 - the ubiquitous black- and raspberry brambles are already in full and enthusiastic growth, despite the late Spring. Shelby's tending to a patch near where Andrei and Ky had their campsite not so long ago, using Glabro to fend off the irritation of pricks and stings. Some of the shoots she prunes; those get tossed into a loose pile behind her. Others are encouraged to grow this way or that. It looks as though she's trying to ensure the plants receive maximum exposure to sunlight.

There's an inquiring howl, some bit away. Kaz, seeing if there's anyone around, asking to come into the pack's territory.

Well, then. The howl would lift hackles, if Shelby had them. As it is, it takes her a moment to a> recognize the howl and b> shift into Crinos to reciprocate, inviting Ears-rhya to join her. By the time the Bone Gnawer's arrived the Fang has returned to homid, put away her gardening tools, and tidied up the pile of brambly shoots.

Kaz circuits around a raspberry bramble knot as she beelines toward Shelby's howl-area. "Hey," she says, as she emerges out of the underbrush. "Tillin' nature's weeds?"

"Trying to keep things in check," the Ragabash agrees with a wry twist to her lips. "I'm sure some people'd say I'm imposing the Weaver, but really - this is Wyld growth. That's what the Weaver's supposed to do. It's nice, though, at least for now. It's helping erase this campsite. Means Ky won't have as much work to do." A beat and she adds, "How are you, Kaz-rhya?"

"Oh, I'm fine," Kaz says, looking around further. "You can make cobbler, in a few months. Impose more Weaver on some innocent berries." She shakes her head minutely. "I just wanted t'come by an' make sure you hadn't had any Dancers fucking with your life lately. I figure, the answer's no, but I'd also rather check than not."

"No," says Shelby with distinct overtones of 'thank goodness'. "Nothing like that. Just brambles and berries. Ky's stopping by about once a week to help repair the damage he and Andrei caused while they were stuck out here, but other than that, it's been quiet." Once again, she doesn't thank goodness (or anyone else for that matter). "A bunch of us went into the Umbra last night to clear out some banes, though. No one was seriously injured and we took out...," she pauses to think, "five of them. Three small, two big."

"Well, thank goodness f'that," Kaz says, filling in ably. "Cool. I have no idea if Ky'll turn out t'be an OK kid or not, but I like that he offered, in the midst of all that bullshit." Then she blinks. "Oh, yeah? Cheese Doodle's thing? Who all went?"

Shelby settles onto one of the upturned logs that pass as seating and waves the Galliard to another. "I think he's got promise." She nods and tucks a bit of hair behind one ear. "Mmm... let's see. Cheese Doodle, an Athro Ahroun from the Children named Upside-Down, another Ahroun named Peacemaker, that Ahroun Stargazer, and a Galliard from the Get. Skeinweaver, I think. Plus me, of course."

"Yeah. Well. He may have promise as a good Lord, which means I ain't gonna get near him in a few years. Or he may have promise in a general sense, in which case he oughta have a lotta contact with otherfolks, which, is why I'm glad he asked you if he could do stuff." She listens to the names, supplying more information as Shelby speaks. "Topsy. She's kinda fuckin' amazing and I have no idea why the fuck she's here, of all places. The other one's Stacey. Rited here. She's cool. That Galliard may be Javen. I heard vaguely she might be back, but I ain't seen her lately."

The Ragabash snorts dryly. "Exactly. Hopefully it's the latter. --And yes, Topsy was doing things... well, let's just say if I had any thoughts about sparring with an Athro Ahroun and possibly winning, they're gone now. I think you're right about who the Get is - she said she was Rited here, anyway, and is back. I think we could have used one more small moon, but really, we handled everything under Topsy's leadership. Cheese Doodle had some healing talens, so the only people who came out of it with more than scratches is pretty much because they wanted to."

The metis finally plunks down on the stump-seat. "Me too. But I've learned there's only so much I can do in these situations. Other than keep being a bad influence." Kaz grins, a little ruefully. "I beat Silvertip back when he was Fostern and I was Adren, but only barely. By which I mean to say, Ahrouns are there to fight, and fight well. If they're actually paying attention. And cool. I'll have t'go find her sometime soon."

"That's very self-sacrificing of you," Shelby assures her, grinning back. "Speaking of being around to influence him... I've talked with the others, and we're agreed. We'd like to invite you to join our pack, if you're interested."

"Well, he wanted to be Alpha, and--" But then she stops, at the invitation. "Huh," she says, and starts rummaging in her coat pocket. "Why me? I mean. I don't mean it in a mock-humble kind've way, but just -- y'all are a woods pack dedicated in part to protecting the Wyld from the depredations of human environmental problems. Does this sound like I'd fit?"

Shelby watches the rummaging with interest, as if Kaz has promised to produce a basket of Snickers or something. "Because we all trust you. Because you're trustworthy, period. Because while our heart is here," a gesture encompasses their surroundings, "we go where we're needed, which includes the city. Anax doesn't insist we stay here and hold his hand. --Leg. ...Wing." Her smile flashes here and gone. "Why not you? Are you harboring a secret love of pesticides, or something?"

It's only a Coke. Kaz taps the can but doesn't open it yet. "Well. First of all, thank you, which I should have said to begin with. I trust you and Tim, too, and the grove we worked to protect and defend." She's clearly thinking. "F'me, Xander's just a dude, but he was bristling a the right people, a week or so ago. But." Kaz rises to her feet, popping the Coke open. She takes a pull on it. "Most of the packs I've been in have been brawlin', fightin', whupass things. I still want that, but what I think I have kind of a ... calling ... to build, since I got back, is a pack that still fights, but also reclaims and creates. It feels more Gaian, in my head, than Gnawer, which is weird, but I've learned to trust these kinds of feelings. I could join up with you guys temporarily, while I worked to find people f'this other pack, but I don't think that'd be fair t'you. Or me, f'that matter. Y'know?"

Shelby draws her knees up and laces her hands about them but otherwise stays still and just watches the Gnawer think. "We aren't much for fighting," she admits with a shrug. "Not two Ragabash and a Theurge. We scout. We look for problems, and figure out who best can deal with whatever we find. I suppose we aren't much for building, despite what we're doing here." Her chagrin is all caught-out teenager. "No, I understand. I wish we were your pack, but you're right. We aren't your first choice, and there's no point in anyone settling for second best. If you change your mind, though, the offer's still open."

"Yeah, and I've done scouting -- with Vendetta -- but it ain't my comfort zone." Kaz's grin rises again. "'Course, neither's bein' a Gaian Bone Gnawer, but I figure I can ease into that part gradually." She salutes Shelby with her Coke, at the last. "Yes'm. Will do. And in the meantime --" She actually looks a little uncertain, worried -- "Maybe I can visit sometimes?"

"Of course," the Fang agrees graciously, and Kaz should come for tea, too! "Now that we aren't playing host to the entire tribe of Shadow Lords and whoever else decided to drop by and stare at them...." She almost, nearly winks as she regains her feet. "There's absolutely no feeling in the world like invaded territory, and three months ago I wouldn't have known what you were talking about if you'd tried to explain it to me. --Speaking of packs, I suppose you know Salem-rhya's considering a Chimera pack? I don't know of any others forming, but of course I'm no Galliard."

Kaz laughs, brief but heartfelt. "Yeah, I gotta say, y'all've had a full couple months..." She trails off. "Well. Camille was talkin' about a pack fulla judges -- Just what I always wanted," Kaz says with a wry edge, "Roving Philodoxen. But then she had t'skip town, or help her relative, and I still ain't sure which. But anyway. That one. Plus Salem's Chimera pack, which he also invited me into, but good lord, me with the Lady of Mirrors? It is to laugh. I also think Nik and Emma are brewin' somethin' in the background, which oughta be fascinatin' when it gets off the ground. I dunno who else they have for it, though."

"She might not actually choose you," Shelby points out. "Of course, she might, and then you'd be up a creek. But I don't know that I could see you in a pack of Philodox, either." The news of Nik and Emma causes her to pause, just for a moment. "What do you know about Nik that I don't, that you'd pack with him? From what little I know of him and Emma, I don't see those two in a building pack. Maybe a 'irritate and then kill it' pack."

Kaz shakes her head, in mock-alarm. "Nooo, I was just talking about ones forming, generically. Emma's OK, but Nik's a goober. Dude cackles while he's scouting, I ain't gettin' near him with a ten foot pole. Salem's thing's tempting, if only because, well. Salem. But..." She trails off. "I can't see it."

Shelby ahs, relaxing into another smile. "Got it. Maybe you and Keir would fit well? He's the Stargazer," she adds, in case memories need jogging. "Frankly, you, Topsy, and Keir would make a terrifying- combination. I don't know doing what, precisely, but it would be the good sort of terrifying. --We'd actually considered asking Salem to join Equinox too, but that was the Moot he announced he wanted a city-based Chimera pack, so that went right out the window."

"Oh, maaaan. I'd sit around fanboyin' both of them. Topsy just because, holy shit is she good, and Keir... He does all that while not being able to see. The dude just ain't right." (This is said admiringly.) She takes a pull on her Coke, and nods. "Yeah. He's a good 'un. I dunno if he'd want to deal with Xander, is the thing, aside from the whole Chimera tribute band aspect. Although... it ain't like Xander's hangin' out with the other Lords much, looks like. But. Still."

"It isn't very polite to drool on your packmates," Shelby agrees with a laugh. "You should have seen him yesterday - he was going all Matrix at this snot/gas/oil bane. He looked like a Jackie Chan movie." At mention of Xander she sobers, though not entirely to 'merely polite'. "Xander is... I wouldn't pack with Xander if he was a Lord like the others. And I point out that he's in a Dragonfly pack. Anax wouldn't have chosen him if he weren't trustworthy." She pauses again before admitting almost shyly, "I wanted to ask you after I'd Rited, but there never seemed to be a good time. Plus I wasn't sure how I felt about following Rat."

Kaz blinks, several times. Evidently, this surprised her. "Well. Huh," she says, sounding mildly shy herself. "Was that b'fore or after Chandini hooked up with us?"

Shelby says, "I don't know. After I rited, so... August? September? Mid-late 2010, anyway. But really, adding Chandini only made it more attractive, not less. If she were to drop out of the Umbra right here and now, the second thing I'd do is ask if she wanted to Pack."

"First thing being to hug her?" Kaz guesses with a grin. "But yeah, I was asking b'cause b'fore she joined up it was me and Salem and Morgan, and I mean. I love 'em, and stuff, but you would... you would..." She stops. And then she just gives up. "You're way too high class f'that joint, is what I'm tryin' t'say. But Chandi changed th' dynamic. So I... well, if you'd figured out how you felt about Rat, it woulda been interestin'."

"Sense Wyrm," Shelby corrects with a laugh. "But I think you're right, hugging would come second. Packing third. I don't know, though. I was so uncertain as a brand-new cliath. I could have used that stability you three - four - had... or maybe it was just the certainty of being in a pack that I envied. It wasn't until late last year that I finally started feeling like I knew what I was doing and people weren't waiting for me to screw up."

Kaz says, "But of course," with a half-bow. "Tim's rubbin' off on you," she adds, approvingly. "But yeah," she goes on, sympathetically. "It's hard, t'get your feet under you in a Sept where you ain't got a lot of friends, just acquaintances. And expectations. I wish I'd been...Well, more there f'you. I'm sorry 'bout that part."

"Good Gaia, I hope not!" the Fang exclaims in mock-alarm. "But you're right. I'm not saying I had a worse cubhood than anyone else - I won't wish it on my worst enemy - but it was a shock going from kin, soon-to-be-lawyer, to Garou, soon-to-be-dead. Not that I think that now, but... you know." She offers a hand and a smile to the older woman. "Nothing to apologize for. Having Chandini teach me helped a lot. I try and treat cubs like she treated me. Us. I just wish I could tell her. That I had told her. Still, you never know. The way this Sept is, she might come back at any moment."

Kaz snorts. "Yeah, f'real. This Sept is... Well, magic." She takes that hand, clasping it firmly, and then gives up and draws her into a brief hug. (Because, among her other talents, Kaz is a hugger.) After letting go, she says, "Kinfolk got their own talents and needs, but I'm glad you're Garou. Lets me get t'know you in a diff'rent way. Keep getting t'know you."

Shelby clearly wasn't expecting the hug, but after the briefest of surprised hesitations suffers it gladly. "You're welcome, and thank you. If you ever need anything, Pack or no, just ask." There's more in that vein, and more bramble-taming, and after a while Shelby takes Kaz around the territory like a proud parent (even visiting the Grove. There are no other scents there save Equinox').

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shelbyrou

May 2012

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