Date : 11/05/03
Place : Bridge Street
All the way from Fifth to Twelfth, tenements crowd together tightly, interspersed with a few shops and little stores. A single, larger grocery store decorates a part of the block from Eighth to Ninth. Bars create a grill over the windows of the littler stores, and smells reminiscent of a garbage dump waft from many of the small alleyways. It is nothing unusual to hear a shot, or many shots, ring out from any of the area, nor to see swaggering teenage boys in leather eyeing those who pass, especially women.
Kathryn-Laura jogs along Bridge Street, keeping a fairly gentle pace. She's looking around with interest, avoiding anything that looks like possible trouble.
KL appears to be around sixteen years old. She has mid-length, mousy-brown hair that she typically wears brushed back behind her ears. She stands a little over 5' tall and is slightly built, with a hint of wiriness about her. She isn't beautiful, but she would be cute were it not for the sullen and aggressive set of her mouth, the hostility of her gaze and her somewhat laissez-faire approach to bathing. She has a habit of slouching and projects an air of disenchantment and irritation. Her skin is surprisingly pale for someone who spends so much time outdoors and she has a two-inch square tattoo of a winged horse on her right shoulder-blade. She is wearing a pair of shorts, training shoes and a plain white tank-top.
The sun only started to rise above the horizon about thirty minutes ago and the city's nightlife is gradually slowing to a crawl, then disappearing all together. Here and there, small knots of teens are patrolling their territory. Renee is seated on the steps in front of one of the tenement buildings, a rum bottle in one hand. The well used and abused container is filled with a clear liquid.
KL looks uncomfortable and out of place here. She sees Renee and slows to a walk, approaching warily, looking around her with a degree of caution . "Hey."
Renee takes a swig from her bottle and looks up, dark bags under her eyes. "Mornin'. What brings ya ta this part of town?"
Kathryn-Laura looks at the bottle with suspicion. "Running. Not got a lot to do at the moment. Trying to get to know the place."
The Bone Gnawer's nose wrinkles up. "Oh, stop lookin' ay me like that." She shoves the bottle in the other woman's direction. "S'just water." She hitches one shoulder up in a shrug. "S'not one of the best areas ta be runnin' in."
Kathryn-Laura grins and folds her arms across her chest. "I ain't worried by the area. Nothing here quick enough to keep up with me." She pauses. "Oh, yeah, thanks for helping me out the other day."
Renee takes the bottle back and downs another swig, before emiting a jaw-popping yawn. "Yer welcome."
"Well, yeah. I met up with my friend Helen, and I've got a place at hers. It's a bit...posh...but it'll do me. I owe you one, anyway."
Renee's eyebrows lift. "Yea? This Helen got a last name?" Standing, the tired looking woman dusts her rear off. "One sec. I'm gonna get myself somethin' ta eat. You hungry?"
Kathryn-Laura smiles. "Pretty much all the time, thanks. Yeah, Helen has a surname, but I can't pronounce it. Begins with a T."
Renee grunts and disappears into the tenement building. While Kathryn is waiting for her, one of the predatory groups of teens in the area take note of her presence. A lone woman, without anyone to back her up. "Well, hello there Chica. Haven't seen you before." The leader of the group drawls. The teen is relatively handsome, over six feet tall and no more then eighteen years old. He is backed up by four others.
Kathryn-Laura looks the leader up and down. "Yeah. I'm new here. Who're you?" She lets her arms drop to her sides and slouches slightly, trying to hide the tension she's feeling.
"Oh, I'm just Richy and these are my friends." The leader grins nastily, while his lackeys fan out around him, making escape difficult. "I'm the one who runs this place," Richy continues, voice taking on a menacing tone and he takes another step closer. Less then two inches from the Fury, KL can feel the heat radiating from his body and his personal scent. Even without the use of a lupine nose. "Anyone new, has to pay tribute."
KL looks at Richy with contempt. "You need all these people to threaten me, an unarmed girl, younger and smaller than you? Big guy. If you want something from me, come and take it. By yourself."
Richy smirks and lifts up one hand, before lightly drawing two finger across the Fury's cheek in the semblance of a caress. "Oh, you hear that boys?" Richy's question sparks a series of sniggering and nervous laughter in his companions. "We managed to find one with some spunk." The punk's grin turns extremely nasty, as he returns his attention to Kathryn. "I make the rules here bitch, remember that." Renee finally makes it back out of the tenement building, carrying two sandwiches. It doesn't take her long to realize what is happening, but she doesn't get involved. Not right away. Instead, the Gnawer just stands there and scowls. Kathryn-Laura loses it entirely. She screams into his face, "You called me what? Fuck you, shithead. Fuck you and your pathetic little gang."
The outburst causes a ripple of fear to flow through the group, almost visibly. Richy pales as well, unable to understand why this woman scares him so much. Unwilling to look like a coward in front of his 'friends', the young man snarls and makes a grab for Kathryn's hair, fully intending to pull her off her feet and onto the ground. Setting her sandwiches down, Renee clears her throat. Or more accurately, she growls. "All of you. Clear the fuck out. Now. Unless you wanna end up like Angelo." That causes an instant reaction in the group, as they all pale and two break out in a cold sweat. With two high Rage Garou pissed off at them, you have to give the humans credit for not pissing their pants in fear. The name 'Little-Demon,' is passed between two of the gang members, eyes wide with fear.
KL grabs Richy's throat as he makes the grab for her and pulls his face down towards her. "Yeah. Run the fuck away. And don't ever come near me again." She tugs downwards and steps back, sending him sprawling to the floor. That does it, the four lackeys scatter and make a run for it. Finding himself abandoned, Richy scrambles onto his feet and follows after. All dignity lost. Renee snickers lowly, picking her sandwiches back up and handing one to the Fury. "Not bad." KL takes a sandwich, still seething.
"Yeah. Perhaps I should have torn him a new one." She breathes deeply, calming down, and takes a bite of the sandwich. "Thanks."
Renee shrugs. "That was just Ritchy. Goin' through the whole 'gotta prove myself' stage. Fer the most part, he is harmless. Angelo was more of a problem."
Kathryn-Laura nods. "You mentioned him. Who is he?"
Renee sits back down on the steps. "He was the head of that group, till a month ago. Real ass. Lost patience with him, after he nearly beat a homeless man ta death. A friend of mine. So, I put a knife in his eye an' Angelo ain't a problem any more."
Kathryn-Laura hisses slightly. "Good job." She looks around. "If you ever need any help...clearing up trash like that...just ask."
Renee snickers softly. "Considerin' yer family with Helen Tisandros, I figured ya would approve. Unlike those that bitch at me fer takin' human life to lightly."
"Sometimes you have to deal with things permanently." KL says, slumping down onto a step.
Renee shrugs. "So, am I right? That the Helen T., you were talkin' 'bout?"
"Yeah, that's Helen. I'm staying out at the...Greek house. She's family."
Renee nods and jabs a hand in the Fury's direction. "Well, pleased ta meet you. I'm the leader of the dumpster divers round here an' a storyteller."
Kathryn-Laura takes the hand and shakes it. "Pleased to meet you too. I'm with the...sorry, I don't have a colorful phrase like 'dumpster divers'. I'm a member of the frontline troops."
Renee snerks. "Don't worry 'bout it. I'd invite you in, but that ain't the best idea at the moment."
Kathryn-Laura looks curious for a second before shrugging. "Ok. Whatever."
Renee shrugs. "But I can show ya some good places ta hang out an' meet with some family. You'll jus' have ta tell'em that I gave ya the okay."
"Sure. That would be cool."
Place : The Forgotten Church
The old church is dark, dimly lit by outside light coming in through scum-encrusted windows during the day, and tomblike during the night. There is a coatroom in the back of the nave, with separate doors leading off to men's and women's restrooms, and two staircases, one going up to the balcony and bell-tower, and the other leading down to the basement. The double doors leading out to the street are at the back of the coatroom.
The hard wooden pews in the sanctuary are, for the most part, still intact. There are even Bibles and hymnals left in the shelves along the back of each row, although many of them look rather chewed on. The altar on a dais at the front of the church is empty, and the lectern that once stood next to it has been knocked over. Rotting red cloth hangs at the very front of the church; there might once have been a design on it, but it has long since faded or been eaten away.
After leading the Fury through some back alleys a streets, the pair reach the Forgotten Church. As she pushes through the front door, Renee is set on by a pack of mutts amide deafening barks and wagging tails. Kathryn-Laura steps back and watches Renee and the dogs with interest. She looks even more out of place here in her running kit than she did on Bridge Street. Renee continues to ruffle ears, even as she straightens back up. "This here is the church. Home fer mosta the Gnawers. Ya ever need on of us, this is a good place ta look."
Kathryn-Laura nods and approaches the dogs cautiously. "Hello." She says, aiming the comment at the dogs.
Renee snickers. "Aww, they can't understadnd ya while yer on two legs, jus' kin."
Kathryn-Laura looks at Renee. "I wasn't expecting a reply."
Renee shrugs in reply and flops down onto one of the pews. "So, what brings ya ta our fair city?"
Kathryn-Laura sits down on one of the pews. "My Dad. He got too close in Denver. He's got some detective chasing me. St. Claire seemed...sufficiently obscure."
Renee grunts softly. "Obscure. That's nice an' complementary." The girl's nose wrinkles up. "You know any of the history 'bout this place?"
Kathryn-Laura shrugs. "Not a lot."
Renee says "Well fer starters, we had a fuckin' buttload of Spirals move in last year an' take over the Caern. Did a good job of fuckin' the place over, before we kicked 'em out."
Kathryn-Laura winces slightly. "Nasty. Were you involved in kicking them out?"
Renee shakes her head. "Nope. Was still a cub at the Time. Wasn't Rite until they were gone. Was there when they moved in an' when they destroyed the Glass Walker Safe House. Fuckers gone in through the toilets, of all fuckin' things."
Kathryn-Laura looks shocked. "The toilets? I didn't know they could do that."
Renee nods. "Yep they did. Felt sorry fer the chica takin' a crap at the time. Scared the livin' fuck outta her."
Kathryn-Laura smiles slightly. "Now that's a story to scare cubs with."
Renee snerks. "Yea. Suppose so." She hikes a finger toward the basement. "Gotta cub down there right now. Don't think he is ready fer something that disturbin' quite yet."
Kathryn-Laura nods. "Can I ask you something about the Sept? I know that the alpha is a Child of Gaia called Andrea. But i don't know too much else."
Renee says "Sure. Go right ahead."
"Well, who do I not want to get on the wrong side of?"
Renee ehhs. "Yer gonna haveta be more specific then that."
Kathryn-Laura shrugs. "I dunno. I have a habit of running my mouth a bit. Tends to piss people off. Just want to know who's likely to jump down my throat and rip my guts out."
Renee hmms. "Well, only one I can think off would have ta be Jack Salem. Cold bastard an' Elder of the Walkers. Used ta be a Shadow Lord."
Kathryn-Laura snickers. "Shadowlords to the Glasswalkers. Good upgrade. Right. I'll watch out for him." She sighs. "I just want to be useful. Do something. I've run further in the last week than I think I've ever done before."
Renee scratches at the back of her neck. "Well, that's a good place ta start. Lotsa folk 'round here spend mosta their time on their asses. Doin' very little. Me, personally, I've been trying ta form a pack fer months. Ain't havin' much luck."
Kathryn-Laura raises an eyebrow. "No?"
Renee shakes her head. "Not enough people in the city that are interested. Was kinda countin' on one person, but she went and joined the Glass Walker pack. A Gnawer, followin' Cockroach fer Gaia's sake." The Galliard shakes her head. "Pathetic, I tell ya."
Kathryn-Laura shrugs and shakes her head. "Some people..."
Renee shrugs. "S'was her choice. I don't like it, but she is still a good person an' family. She got on real good with the old Glass Walker Elder, so I figure that has somethin' ta do with it."
Raul pushes in from outside, humming quietly. He eyes the church, then his attention falls to KL. "Well hel-lo," he greets, brows furrowing a touch. "You look....familiar."
Kathryn-Laura stands up and looks at Raul. "Hello." She studies more closely. "Yeah, I think I've seen you before as well."
Raul cocks his head to the side slightly. "Where y'from?" he prompts, arms folding over his chest, his unnusual coat swaying a little.
Kathryn-Laura matches his gesture, folding her arms over her chest. "Denver."
Raul ahs. "Tha makes more sense," he agrees, sticking a hand out in her direction. "Raul. Also from Denva."
Kathryn-Laura nods and shakes his hand. "I'm KL."
Renee sits back and watches the introductions, remaining silent.
Raul uh-huhs. "Coo'," he agrees thoughtfully. "Wicked. More people escapin' that shithole." Yes, he's got fond memories of Denver, apparently.
"I liked Denver. Just not some of the inhabitants."
Raul snorts bemusedly. "Mmhmm," is his noncomittal reply, the Gnawer plunking down on one of the pews.
Kathryn-Laura slumps back down on the pew. "How long you been here?"
"Couple'a weeks," Raul murmurs. "Left Denva couple'a years ago, though. How 'bout you?"
"Just got here. Didn't quite come straight from Denver, but near enough."
Renee yawns, gaze drifting toward the exit. "Was only plannin' ta sit outside fer a bit, when I ran inta the Fury here. I should head back ta my place. Gonna keep her company, Raul?"
"Could do," Raul agrees, eyeing the Fury speculatively. "Have a good evenin', Elder."
Kathryn-Laura shrugs. "Cheers, Renee. Thanks for the sandwich."
With another yawn, Renee waves farewell and heads out the double doors.
"Adios," Raul murmurs, eyes still on KL. "So. Denva, eh? Know many'a tha Garou there?"
Kathryn-Laura shakes her head. "Just my old pack, mostly. Four Black Furies and a Child of Gaia." She thinks. "Can't escape the feeling that I should know something about you."
Raul snorts bemusedly, though dosen't offer any clue as to what it might be, instead changing the subject by inquiring, "Who was y'Totem?" Kathryn-Laura turns her back to Raul and shows the tattoo on her back.
Raul hehs faintly. "Fair 'nuff," he murmurs. "Never could get ink done 'a my last Totem. Kinda hard ta sketch a trash heap 'cuz it keeps changin'."
Kathryn-Laura grins slightly. "I guess that would be kinda tricky."
Raul uh-huhs, draping his arms along the back of the pew he's sat on. "So why'd'ja leave Denva, then?"
Kathryn-Laura sighs. "My Dad. He's got this detective chasing after me. Caught up with me when I was staying in a town near Boulder. Had to move on."
Cocking his head slightly to the side, the Gnawer hazards, "Dad don't know yer Garou, I take it?"
Kathryn-Laura laughs out loud. "Not even the slightest concept. I've no idea what he thinks happened...but he doesn't seem to want to give me up. That would be too...embarassing" She almost spits the last word.
"Embarassin'?" Raul prompts, curious now about the Fury's story.
You say "Yeah. He has this image of how it's supposed to be. Nice house. Nice job. Nice wife. Nice, sweet, pink-wearing, pliant daughter. He's got the first three." She laughs. "I didn't match much when I was there, I sure as hell don't now. I don't think 'runaway daughter' is acceptable to him."
"Ah. Yer mom Garou, or...?" He finds it amusing, to tell the truth, as evidenced by the slight smirk on his lips.
Kathryn-Laura looks at Raul. "Nah. I think they're both Kinfolk. Not that they'd know that. Or if they do, they sure as hell don't mention it."
Raul uh-huhs. "Rough," he replies languidly. "Ma parents were all kin. Makes life easier. Think this guy's gonna follow ya here?"
Kathryn-Laura shrugs. "Maybe. It took him a couple of years to find me last time. Think I'm safe for the mean time. Further away, as well. And...I took a bit of a circuitous route here. Should take him a good long while."
Nodding, Raul muses, "So, stickin' around until 'e gets 'ere, then? Gonna hang in tha city or tha woods, d'ya thnk?"
You say "I'm staying with Helen out near the woods, at the moment. It's a nice run between the two. I dunno. I've been living in the woods for a while. I miss the city, a bit."
Raul uh-huhs again. "Dunno Helen," he muses. "She a Fury, I'm guessin'?"
Kathryn-Laura nods. "Yeah. She's OK."
"Coo'. Welcome ta stay 'ere if ta need ta crash in tha city. S'communial Gnawer space, but any fuzzbutt's welcome," Raul muses.
You say "Thanks. It's not quite what I'm used to. That's good."
A laugh from the Gnawer. "Ain't neva what people're used ta," Raul observes. "Nobody sleeps in an abandoned church outta choice unless it's betta tha what ya already got. Kinda rules out most people 'cept us."
Kathryn-Laura grins. "Least it's kinda dry."
Raul yups. "An' less smelly than tha inside offa dumpster," he agrees cheerfully.
Kathryn-Laura looks surprised. "You sleep in dumpsters?"
"Sometimes, yea," Raul replies with a wry smirk. "If it's pissin' down, or snowin' or shit. Besides, sleepin' in a dumpster means breakfast in bed. Or is that bed in breakfast?"
Kathryn-Laura laughs. "Right. Now I understand 'dustbin diver'"
Raul uh-huhs. "Ya better believe it. There's some good pickin's in a dumpster, if ya know where ta look."
Kathryn-Laura looks faintly nauseous. "Whatever."
Raul snickers quietly. "It ain't that bad," he assures dryly, though dosen't elaborate. "Still, it's a life."
Kathryn-Laura nods slowly. "I guess." She shrugs and sighs slightly. "Gah. I feel so useless at the moment."
"Yea? Why's that? Got nothin' ta do fer tha sept?" Raul inquires, kicking his feet up on the back of the pew in front of his own.
You say "I haven't even _met_ most of the sept. But yeah, all I've got to do is run about and practice kicking things.""
Raul snorts bemusedly. What 'bout chiminage?" he inquires. "Can't get on with doin' tha?"
"Helen hasn't got around to mentioning anything yet. I'll ask her if I see her. Or I guess, the Sept Alpha, but I haven't met her yet."
Raul nods thoughtfully. "Wanna help me with mine?" he offers with a cheeky grin. "Can't do it alone, see."
You say "Sure. What you got to do?"
"I gotta teach three dif'rent people somethin' new," Raul murmurs, stretching his arms above his head.
You say "Ah. OK. How you doing so far?""
"So far? I've promised ta teach Renee some Rites, but 'part from that, nothin," Raul murmurs. "Anythin' ya particularly eva wanted ta learn?"
Kathryn-Laura looks at Raul thoughtfully. "I don't know. Give me a moment to think about it." She stands up and walks around the church slowly.
Raul watches the Fury, hands tucking behind his head as he does so. She returns after a short while and sits down.
"This is...probably a dim thing to ask. But...many of my tribe fight against people who oppress and abuse women. And, I don't really know what that's like. So, I guess...teach me what that's like, so that I know what I'm fighting for. And against."
Raul's brows furrow thoughtfully. "You want me ta....oppress ya?" he inquires, not quite sure of the request.
Kathryn-Laura bites her lip. "I dunno. Not really. I'm not sure... I told you it was a dim thing to ask."
"I can try?" Raul offers, expression scrunching up briefly. "Ya gotta rememba it's just pretend though, ok? I ain't really tryin' ta keep ya down."
Kathryn-Laura thinks. "OK. Just pretend. I get that."
Raul steps out of the church briefly, though there's no sound of footsteps leading away from the doors. Presently he comes back in, looking a touch different. His sleeves are scrunched up to his elbows, his step has something of a swagger to it, expression set grimly. "What? What the fuck are ya starin' at, woman?" he demands harshly, upon spotting the Fury. "Get in tha' fuckin' kitchen an' make me some fuckin' dinner. Jeez."
Kathryn-Laura stands up, eyes flashing. "I don't fucking well cook, and I certainly don't fucking well cook for Bone-Gnawers. And anyway, this is a fucking church and it doesn't fucking have a kitchen and where do you get off telling me what to do?"
"What a stupid bint," Raul insults with a distinctly mocking tone. "There's a fuckin' kitchen downstairs, ya lazy whore. Don't tell me ya too stupid ta go down an' look for ya fuckin' self? By Gaia...ya should'a been culled at Change."
"I should have been culled at Change? The misbegotten whore who dropped you should have strangled you with the umbilical cord!" She steps clear of the pews and stands with her hands on her hips. "There is absolutely no fucking way I'm going into that smelly basement to use whatever grease covered shit you believe passes for a kitchen.""
"So nice of ya ta insult ya own Tribe," Raul replies disgustedly. "Still, it figures that all fuckin' Furies are whores. Now get fuckin' downstairs NOW before I fuckin' beat ten hells outta ya, y'hear me?" His entire posture is one of arrogant dominance, as if he deserved to be the alpha of the pair.
Kathryn-Laura strides closer to Raul, almost spitting with rage. "You and whose army, shit bag?"
A hand reaches out to grasp the Fury's shoulder, shaking it firmly. "Aaaaand, stop," Raul replies, demeanour changing. "Gettin' tha idea now, KL? Gettin' ta feel what ya fightin' against?"
Kathryn-Laura looks confused and a bit lost for a moment. She looks into Raul's eyes as if wondering where the bastard who was there has gone. "Pretend? That was all...pretend." She looks around. "Do you have any furniture you don't need?"
Raul hehs quietly. "Yeah. Smash up one 'a tha pews if ya need to, chica. But jus' consider one thing fer a second. Imagine ya coulden't defend yaself. If ya was too weak, or if ya loved tha prick who was doin' tha to ya. If ya coulden't bear ta leave 'im, or ta hurt 'im. How would ya feel?"
Kathryn-Laura looks down, turns, and beats seven shades of shit out of one of the more decrepit pews.
Raul uh-huhs, watching in relative silence as the pew splinters and goes to pieces under the Ahroun's onslaught. Once she's done, he comments, "Feel betta?"
Kathryn-Laura stands up and turns to face Raul. "Not really, but it deals with excess energy." She walks over. "Interesting. Sorry."
"Na worries. D'ya understand a bit now, though? What ya tribemates are fightin' 'gainst'? Oh, an' sorry fa tha comment 'bout 'em. Didn't mean nothin' by it."
"Yeah. Just a glimpse but... I was inches away from launching at you." She stops. "Your mother was a Black Fury?""
Raul nuh-uhs. "My moms were all Gnawer Kin," he replies steadfastly. "Mebbe the woman who give birth ta me was a Fury, but she weren't my mom."
Kathryn-Laura looks away. "Yeah. OK."
Raul shrugs loosely. "Tha's the way it goes," he murmurs. "Don't mean ta insult ya or anythin'."
Kathryn-Laura shakes her head. "Yeah, I know." She thinks. "I guess...thanks. Though it's going to take me a while to think it all through."
Raul nods a bit. "Yea. Like I said afore, woulden't never treat a woman like tha normally. Jus' seen it happen so often tha I got a feel for it, yannow?"
"Yeah." KL looks at Raul. "I guess I owe you one. If you need anything, just holler."
"Naw, ya don't owe me. That's tha first part 'a my chiminage done," Raul replies with a cheeky grin. "So ta."
Kathryn-Laura grins. "OK. Hey...I should get home. My running kit is starting to stick to me. Thanks."