Gardening

Apr. 10th, 2012 07:55 am
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It is currently 07:53 Pacific Time on Tue Apr 10 2012.
Currently the moon is in the waning Gibbous (Galliard) Moon phase (74% 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


A cloudy and cool - some would say cold - morning finds Shelby puttering around the edges of Equinox territory, wielding a pair of pruning shears at the most exuberant of the sudden growth. The Fang's sporting an entirely unfashionable pair of thick leather gloves to protect her hands against brambles and thorns; her discards are tossed into a casual pile somewhere behind her. Headphone cords disappear into her jacket, and she's singing along to something Top-40 and catchy.

At another edge of Equinox territory, not overly far, a howl goes up, announcing the presence of Stands-Between, with a very tentative addition that he is seeking Golden.

"Somebody!" sings the Ragabash just as the metis howls. It takes her a blank second to recognize the unexpected contribution and tug out her earbuds; a few moments more and a return howl comes: Bright Eyes is coming. Wait there. When the white wolf emerges from the underbrush her ears skew and coat bristles in surprise at finding just who (or perhaps more accurately, what) awaits her. Still, after a moment she settles enough to (more or less politely) request an introduction. She did not hear, before.

This wolf stands two and a half feet at the shoulders, sleek of form with balck fur, a lupine jaw and muzzle, and hazel eyes. However, where most wolves have paws, this creature has black cloven hooves alike to those of a deer, and the structure of his legs accommodates for that, alike to deer much more than wolf in some ways. In addition, strange as it is, the creature has a little stump of a tail, covered in a fluff of black fur.

Stands-Between has settled, legs folded beneath him (much like deer lay, really), by the time Bright Eyes arrives, and the metis' ears twitch a little, splaying. He is Stands-Between, first-ranked half moon of the Black Furies. He was told that Golden is sometimes in this territory? The communication, in general, is slightly strange to behold, given the lack of a tail, but the metis makes himself clear enough.

The Silver Fang relaxes once the introduction's given and shifts back to her birthform. Drawing the gloves out of her coat's pockets she gives the Fury a little wave as if to say 'go ahead and shift' or perhaps 'at ease'. "Yes, this is our territory. Tim isn't here, though I can pass along a message, if you like."

Stands-Between huffs, pushing himself upward to move over to politely sniff at Shelby once she's back in homid, and then lays back down, stub of a tail rapidly twitching back and forth for a little, with an indication that he's comfortable in this form, as long as she can understand him. It is alright, the metis will find Golden at another point. It was nothing important. You are packed with Golden, then?

Shelby offers a hand to be investigated before sheathing it in leather. "Yes," she agrees. "Tim, Xander - Night's Shadow - and I. We follow Dragonfly." Her attention turns briefly inward before she adds, "He must be sleeping, or I'd tell him you're here. You're welcome to stay for a little while and see if he appears, though."

Stands-Between lolls his tongue out, and what little tail there is twitches happily, as the metis settles down again. Dragonfly is good, he adds, succinctly, before his attention turns for the moment to examining some of the more vigorous growth, though he doesn't get back up to go investigate it.

"Yes," she agrees again - succinctly, though not brusquely, "he is." A moment passes in which she studies Stands-Between. "I'm trimming back the worst of the overgrowth - can you use a pruning shears? You might as well come help."

There is a splaying of ears and a very thoughtful look that the metis gets, as he considers this. He can try, he supposes, he's not actually sure, and then Sue shifts up to his birthform momentarily, and to homid. "I've never used pruning shears, before," he explains, as he draws out the hiking pole from one pocket, unfolding it and securing the strap around his wrist. "But I'd be happy to help out." And then, in what's almost certainly at least slightly comical, the metis loses his balance and falls backwards, landing sitting. "Though that might happen a few times," he adds sheepishly, glancing at Shelby as he gets back to his feet.

Shelby greets this information with lifted eyebrows. "They're like scissors." She starts to turn away, turning back when Sue tumbles (were she in a form with ears, they'd almost certainly be splayed). "Or perhaps you'd rather wait here?" '--In a more-balanced form' remains unsaid. Loudly.

Sue regains his footing easily enough, and it would seem that his fall bothers Shelby, more than it bothers him. "I'm okay, really," he assures her. Now that he's gotten the hiking pole unfolded and the third point of balance, he seems steady enough. "Just disoriented a moment. Sometimes, I _really_ wish I had a tail." At that, Sue grins, shaking his head slightly.

"I'm sure you do," Shelby answers politely. Once Sue's safely back on his feet she starts back along her path, moving slowly and with frequent checks over her shoulder until she's assured Sue isn't going to take another tumble.

Sue manages to follow easily enough, although his pace is slow and not because she's setting the pace slow. As they walk, Sue pauses to examine a few of the spots of Wyld growth more closely. "Huh. Never thought I'd have reason to call the Wyld overenthusiastic, but there we are. Pretty in its own way, I mean, but," the Fury muses.

Shelby says, "It's the Wyld. Unchecked growth. It's no better than unchecked Weaver or Wyrm." There's little of the rampant weirdness here that's so prevalent on the Bawn; primarily it shows in growth far too advanced for this time of year. "All I'm doing is trimming it back a bit. I know how you Furies feel about the Wyld," she adds over her shoulder, amused.

Sue smiles. "Exactly," he says. "And, well, I still think that there's supposed to be a balance, and unchecked Wyld means it's getting out of that balance, so. Trimming it back a bit might be futile, depending upon, but it certainly won't hurt." The halfmoon raises his brows and shrugs, careful in his steps and in where he puts down the hiking pole as he walks.

It isn't too terribly long before the pair arrive at Shelby's original work site, a place more marked by the orange-handled pruning shears and the scant scatter of cut branches than anything else. "Here," says Shelby, and demonstrates how to use the tool, trimming back the base of one cane before offering the shears to Sue, hilt first. "Think you can handle this?"

Sue nods, folding the hiking pole back up and hanging it at his side, and even without it, his footing seems pretty steady now as he takes the pruning shears and moves off to a second section of the overgrowth. "Sure," he says, though the pruning shears first get held up, turned over, all the inspection of something new that the metis has never seen before, before he begins to slowly trim back the overenthusiastic brambles.

Shelby keeps the gloves for herself, but they're necessary - she carries the thorny branches away, gathers the already-cut canes into a slightly tidier pile, and bends some overwrought stems into a barrier of sorts. After a while she asks, "How is your hunt for students coming along?"

Sue pauses to move to another patch of brambles as he answers. "I'm going to be teaching Contrition to April-rhya, soon," the metis responds. "And I was pointed to a few other people, who could benefit from learning. Apparently there are some very-new cliaths, around."

"Shadow Lords, I believe. One or two Glass Walkers." The Fang's voice is neutral as she delivers this information. "April's your aunt, isn't she? --Is that actual aunt, or just a term of endearment?"

"Not my actual aunt as in the sister of the woman who gave birth to me, but my aunt nonetheless. It is more of a term of formality within the Furies, to some degree," Sue says, brows furrowing slightly as he figures out the explanation to offer.

Shelby pauses in her gardening to study the Fury again. "More like... a mentor? A teacher, to some extent?"

Sue shakes his head slightly. "Not exactly, no? But just like the rest of my tribe are my sisters, I might refer to those of them who are older than me and outrank me as aunt, depending upon the circumstance. Yes, April-rhya was one of my teachers, throughout my childhood, but that's not the only factor in it." The metis turns, observing Shelby as if gauging her response.

Shelby chews this over before nodding. "Hmn. I think I see. It's a tribal thing. The Bone Gnawers do something similar, I believe, though they use Grandfather/Grandmother. --If I'm remembering correctly, of course."

Sue nods. "Something like that, I'm not sure I remember entirely either," Sue agrees. "But yes, pretty much." Then the metis turns back to the next thicket of brambles, even picking up some of the cut branches and casting them to the side for Shelby to pick up with bare hands, without seeming to care very much.

"Interesting," the Ragabash says, in about the same tone of voice. "Or as my babcia would say, 'Everyone is different, and that's good, or just think of the price of oatmeal'." Apropos of nothing, "Do you have Tim's contact information, by the way? Who suggested you look up this way to find him?"

Another nod from Sue. "Tim did, actually, and I don't have his contact information other than that to come up here," the metis explains. "I had talked with him some last night, but it was getting late, and so."

Shelby ohs, in an it-all-makes-sense-now sort of way. "Not that whoever it was - Tim, in this case - lied to you, of course," she offers over with a smile. "But I was curious. What were you two talking about, if you don't mind me being nosy?"

Sue chuckles, and shakes his head. "I don't mind," he states, as he goes back to trimming yet another thicket of brambles. "The Striders are my father's tribe, and so that was the most of it." There's a small snerk, that follows. "I hadn't ever met very many of Owl's tribe, in Golden Gate. So it's just..." words trail off, and Sue shrugs again.

"Getting to know him, and by extension, them," Shelby finishes. "There are a few Striders around here. They come and go, as you'd expect. Tim's probably stuck around the longest, and even he disappears for a few weeks. He was gone for oh, half a year or more last year."

Sue nods. "Pretty much, yeah," Sue says. "I'd like to, anyway. It's not ... discouraged, for metis to get to know the tribe of their father, anyway, I just never had the chance in the past." Finally, the Fury puts the shears down, using them as a point of balance.

Shelby continues to watch him sporadically, her eyebrows lifting now and again. "That's very open-minded of them," she says finally, and swerves straight into a new topic: "Do you expect to spend more time in the city, or here in the woods, once you've become a member? I ask because I expect the pavement might be easier for you to walk on?"

Sue hmms, at this. "I suspect I might be splitting my time, overall, although I still haven't had a chance to get into the city and explore too much," he says. "I generally prefer to spend heavier moons not in the city, or at least, more quietly, in any case."

Shelby says, "I'll give you the contact information for the Glass Walkers, if you remind me later. They'll know the provisions for large moons in the city better than anyone." She pauses to amuse herself by loosely braiding a trio of canes. "I try to spend the larger moons out here, though I'm not in quite as much danger of snapping and killing everyone within a twenty-yard radius."

The metis laughs. "It takes a lot to get me to snap, but, it's definitely there, and I still prefer not to push it," Sue says, with a grin that borders on feral gracing his expression.

The look Shelby sends back is narrow-eyed, perhaps in response to his beast-bitten grin. Her, "I should hope not," is cool, and on a path leading to remote.

Sue tenses, a little, though whether at the tone or the expression from the Fang is hard to tell. Nonetheless, there's an immediate response from the metis, head tilted to bare his neck, and a very lowly murmured, "Sorry, Shelby-rhya," follow. If he was in a different form, his ears would definitely be splayed.

She eases almost immediately, turning back to the plants and gently teasing the braided brambles apart. It takes long minutes until she's satisfied. "I don't know when we'll Moot, next," she continues as if the detour never happened. "I suppose it may be a while, considering."

Sue is still very quiet, and reserved, when he nods. "Right. Maybe they'll find a different location to at least gather when they would otherwise hold moot?" That's offered with the implication that it's only a thought, nothing more, and the Fury is still being very careful of his bounds.

"Perhaps." Shelby drifts over to collect some of the fallen brambles, gathering them into her arms. "Given who the Warder and Alpha are... well. I don't know what they'll do, honestly."

Sue nods, and grimaces slightly. "Yeah, something like that's what I thought," he agrees. "Not that..." the words are very, very careful, "but I met Silvertip-rhya, and well."

"He's very Pure One, isn't he," the Fang says, the capitals nearly audible.

There's agreement, as Sue moves to trim a few brambles that are creeping towards one of the trees, "Yes, he definitely is." And that doesn't sound like it's a compliment, coming from the metis, either.

Shelby deposits the current load of branches in the steadily-growing pile and waits there, rather than risk getting a falling thorny branch in her hair. "He's not lupus, if you were wondering. Zosia-rhya told me that once, though I don't think I've ever seen him out of either lupus or crinos. Possibly hispo, once."

Sue raises his brows, surprised a little. "Not to say something against Silvertip-rhya, Shelby-rhya," Sue states, carefully, "but he could have fooled me, when I met him. And not that I mind my lupus form much, really, but it wasn't how I'd have chosen to hold that conversation, or introduction."

"It's why I told you," she says wryly. "I wouldn't believe it either, except that Zosia doesn't have much of a sense of humor, and I'll eat that tree if she was joking."

Sue nods once more. "Right," he agrees. "Still. Very much Pure One." A pause, and he unfolds his hiking pole. "I should be getting back towards Edgewood, I think," he says, leaning the shears back on the ground. "I'll catch Tim-rhya later, and see you around, Shelby-rhya?" There's a smile for the Silver Fang, and a pause, that the metis is waiting for permission to leave, apparently.

"All right," agrees Shelby, easily, as she crosses over to retrieve the shears. "I'll let Tim know you were looking for him. Walk safely, Sue."

The metis shifts down to lupus, and chuffs towards Shelby. Gaia watch, he adds in response, and then Sue trots off. Despite his deformity, and the fact that his steps are careful, at least in lupus the metis seems remarkably comfortable in the woods.
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