Time/Date : It is currently 11:32 Pacific Time on Sun Nov 27 2005.
Moon Phase: Currently the moon is in the waning Crescent Moon phase (26% full).
Weather: Currently in Saint Claire, it is partly sunny. The temperature is 39 degrees Fahrenheit (3 degrees Celsius). The wind is currently coming in from the east at 6 mph. The barometric pressure reading is 30.37 and rising, and the relative humidity is 81 percent. The dewpoint is 34 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degrees Celsius.)
Place: The Greek House
Greek House: Common Area(#2409RAJh$)
This is the central hub of the house. From here, you can still see the entrance foyer, as well as the stairway that heads to the second story. Towards the back of the common area is a set of glass doors that lead out to a courtyard. To the east, an arched doorway leads to what apparently serves as a library, office, and workroom, and to the west, an arched doorway leads to what appears to be a kitchen and dining area..
There are several chairs here, simple, elegant, yet functional in their design and intent. The room has a comfortable feel to it, but is a bit ascetic in design. The walls are off-white, the molding dark cherry wood and decorated with acanthus-leaf ornamentation at the corners. A pair of antique spears are hung crossed against each other on one wall, and a wall-relief depicting a scene of Grecian warriors hangs on the other. Above the mantle of the fireplace is a small statue of Artemis, on either side of that, dark metal candlesticks with ivory pillar candles. The entire room is a study in the contrast of light and dark.
The woman before you fairly exudes warm, down-to-earth competence. Night-black hair, close-cropped into a spiky boy's cut, is brushed back away from a solidly structured, fair-skinned face with a firm jawline and a mouth more given to smiles than thought or repose. Her nose is out of place in the otherwise strong features, button-like rather than aquiline, but the large-set brown eyes above them are thickly lashed and draw attention away from that incongruity. At 5'7", her solidly built and toned frame suggests an active and even rough life.
An oversized white sweatshirt covers her top, proclaiming "University of Iowa" across its front. The sleeves are pushed back to keep them from interfering with her hands; the hem hangs loosely over a pair of well-loved jeans thatmight once have been black. A short string of feathers and beads is looped casually around one of the front belt loops. A pair of sturdy hiking boots cover her feet, the laces firmly double-knotted together. An old, beaten flannel shirt in an obnoxious red-and-yellow plaid is wrapped around her waist, tied into a loose half-knot by the arms. A single band is wrapped around the second finger of her rigbht hand, a steel affair that depicts tiny relief-carved pegasi chasing each other around and around the band.
Standing a little over five foot tall and slimly built, KL makes a not particularly imposing first impression. In her late teens, she has an air of irritation, and of nervy energy, combined with hostility and restrained aggression.
Her mousy-brown hair is pulled back into a plait that hangs down to the small of her back, and is fastened at the bottom and the top by dark brown leather bands. She would be quite attractive she has a very cute, upturned nose, and expressive hazelnut eyes were it not for the anger in her gaze and the sullen set of her mouth. She stares at people particularly people she doesnt know - with a cold fury, as if waiting for an opportunity to attack them.
KL has pale skin, and on her right shoulder-blade is a two-inch-square tattoo of a winged horse. There isn't much in the way of excess flesh on her, her cheekbones are clearly visible and her bare arms have a tight musculature that speaks of regular and plentiful exercise.
She's rarely still for very long, and while she still remembers to slouch around from time to time, she's less inclined to do it these days, and her natural grace, balance and co-ordination is clearly evident in her movements.
She's currently wearing a pair of blue jeans that are slightly too large for her - it appears only a black leather belt is preventing them from descending southwards at pace. On her top half is a maroon t-shirt which has a picture of a small rabbit with its hands over its ears and the legend "Not Listening" beneath. Over that is a black leather jacket, unfastened and hanging loosely around her torso. On her feet are an old and battered pair of combat boots, that have seen many better days.
This chilly late-fall afternoon finds Leslie sitting in front of the fire in the common are. For the past month or two there's been an iron bowl in front of the fireplace, but that's apparently been discarded in favor of using the hearth itself. Said hearth has been freshly scrubbed out, the candles moved a bit away, and now a fire burns cheerfully all the time in this little hearth, sometimes banked and always carefully shielded, but it hasn't gone cold in some weeks now. Leslie sits in front of this carefully tended fire now as it burns, lively and cheerful, meditatively tossing small twigs into the middle of the carefully built stack of larger logs as they burn.
There's the sound of a key in the lock, and then the quiet tableaux is shattered by the door flying open, and the arrival of KL accompanied by a blast of cold air. The Ahroun kicks the door closed behind her, and advances into the heart of the room. "Oh, hi Leslie." she says, once she's close enough to recognise the other inhabitant of the room. With a thump, she throws herself into a seat and looks around. "How are you?"
Leslie looks up sharply, half-ready to jump up, thn smiles warmly as she sees who it is. "KL! It's been forever. I'm just fine. She turns more fully away from the fire to face you, though remains seated in front of it, a relaxed and at-ease posture. "Just chewing over a knotty problem or two, nothing unusual."
"Well, if it's anything that's susceptible to being hit with claws, I'm more than happy to help." KL says, reaching a foot out to a nearby chair, dragging it closer, then plonking both her boots on to the seat. "I couldn't be a Philodox, I know. Can't make that kind of decision." She stretches her hands towards the fire, waving them vaguely in a "be warmed" sort of motion. "It's a bit chilly out. Can I ask you a question?" A trademark mid-sentence subject switch, and she looks over at Leslie with an enquiringly raised eyebrow.
If Leslie was inclined to talk further about her own problems, there's no hint of it as she scoots over to make room for the Ahroun. After a moment, she gets up and drags another chair over to where she'd moved to, then sits down in it and crosses her legs in a most un-Furyish ladylike fashion, expression intent. "Always. What's on your mind?"
"Given that you're now the eldest Black Fury Philodox, um..." KL looks embarrassed for a moment, then shakes her head, causing her plait to fly around and hit herself on the face. She sighs, and shoves it back behind her. "Still not used to that. Anyway...um... how do you interpret rule number one?"
The smile fades from Leslie's face, becoming thoughtful, though she remains relaxed, resting one elbow on the arm of the chair. "Do you mean the Litany's First Law? Why do you ask?
This gets a very discomfited look from the Ahroun, who clasps her hands together. "I haven't done anything wrong. Definitely not. Not done anything at all. But...you know...interpretation varies. And...well... it's difficult to get a feel for how rules are going to be applied here. I'm not aware of too many peope being judged at all, and so... like to know where the lines are." KL shrugs. "And that's the first one, and the one that seems to get breached a lot, and I thought it would give me a feel for how the rest of the Laws are going to be interpreted." There's a certain wide-eyed innocence about the look that accompanies this last sentence, and then KL looks away and down at the floor.
Leslie's expression clears, and she nods. "You know that some of the Litany Laws don't sit easily with many of us -- after all, men end up in charge more often than is probably good for anyone." Her dismissive tone suggests an accident of fate. "Before I answer your question, I must tell you that failure to adhere to and understand the laws of Gaia and of this Sept have left this Sept in a very dangerous and untenable position. It is a position that I and my fellow half-moons are working to reverse, but that reversal means that both interpretations and punishments are likely to be severe, no matter who is doing the judging." Calm, even, focused, but not angry or suspicious. "As for the First Law, mine is more strict than many of my sisters' views. It is Gaia's wish that Garou shall not mate with Garou. The law does not refer to the sex of either participant, so it applies equally to same-sex partnerships, in my view."
KL's nose twitches, and then she sighs, and a tension runs out of her body. She smiles, somewhat ruefully. "That wasn't the answer I was after, but..." she pauses and waves an arm in a vague gesture. "...it's the answer I needed." A moment of consideration, then: "Right. Stupidity over with." Arms stretch above her, then fold behind her head and she leans back. "Thanks."
One of Leslie's eyebrows goes up at this, but she doesn't comment, saying only, "I'm very glad you asked. I'm sure there'll be quite a furor over it the first time someone gets the book thrown at them, but..." She trails off, staring into the fire and drawing a deep breath. "Do you have any idea how weird it is to show up in a new place and be put in charge?"
"Nope. Though, it's odd to be somewhere and not have someone _be_ in charge." KL replies, swapping which foot is on top of which. "But if you are in charge..." A pause, then a tentative continuation. "Have you given any thought to being more in charge?" For KL, that's positively cryptic.
"Sort of. I'm spending a lot of time herding Philodoxes, though it's more geting them to stop fighting and work together than actually giving orders." The self-conscious levity in Leslie's tone fades out at the second part of KL's statement, and she stiffens. "....what do you mean?"
"Um..." KL says, folding her arms across her chest. "I was wondering if you'd considered challenging Helen. I did. Consider it, I mean. But I know I'd do a worse job, because I'd be negatively good, if that makes sense." She shrugs. "I like Helen, but she's only reluctantly the Elder. By the way, what do you think of my new jacket?" She points at the black leather jacket that she hasn't got around to taking off yet. "Anji and I went shopping as I had no wearable clothes left."
Leslie is silent for a very, very long time, staring into the fire, as if searching for something within it. "I...I have." The words are tentative, heavy, and come slowly, almost as if she's afraid to pronounce them. "More than once. But I keep thinking...is it right to challenge within two moons of getting here? Can I handle that much responsibility?" She shakes her head abruptly, hard, as if to shake something off of it. "Forgive me, that was unworthy of me. There are so few of us here that we need someone who wants the job, is willing to take the responsibility on, and can handle it. This Sept is in one hell of a mess, KL." Unbridled frankness is hers now, no dissembling or doubt. "And we are in one hell of a pickle. I do not know how we're going to save this house, or if we're going to. My heart says we may not be able to, not ourselves, and I mislike the idea of going outside the tribe for help." She glances admiringly at the jacket. "Awesome. I should do that soon, but...other things first."
The Ahroun nods slowly. "I know what you mean. When I first got here, I thought it was really cool. I thought you could do what you wanted... room to be an individual. But i've come to realise that the only real freedom here is to get yourself killed." She shakes her head fiercely. "I don't know whether I should look for someone to take charge...more generally than just the tribe, I mean... and then support them, or try to be pushy myself. I'm still...really inexperienced. I've not got anyone killed yet, and I don't know how I would face that." She looks down at the floor. "I'm just a point-and-click Ahroun, really. Perhaps it's time to be something more."
Leslie glances over in surprise at the smaller girl next to her, and a slow smile breaks across her face. "I think that holds true for both of us, KL. You know that I've been Cliath for ten years, and in all that time never really done anything noteworthy? I spent so much time in trouble that my elders never wanted to entrust me with anythng." She looks back into the fireplace, and some of the tension lifts from her frame. "So, for all I'm the age of most Fosterns here, I've not done half the things they've done. And you're right, it is time to change all this." She waves a vague hand in the general directionof the Bawn. "You know that there's a Blight outside the city, a tire fire that's been allowed to burn for months on end and seep chemicals into the earth? And that a cub was killed recently because she was sent alone to scout the thing?" An angry edge penetrates her voice. "I am assured that it's being watched, but why isn't it fuck well being Cleansed and cleaned up? Why is it being left alone?"
"You _what_?" KL kicks over the chair her feet are resting on in her haste to sit upright. "Which cub and where and who...?" Her eyes come alight, a mixture of curiosity and anger filling them. "And yes. It is time to change...everything." She lifts a hand and rubs her cheek.
"Maggie. Get of Fenris cub." Leslie stands up out of the chair and quickly pulls the fallen chair away from the hearth before the fire can get to the varnish. "I've asked for more information, simply because as a Garou it's part of my duty to confront the Wyrm wherever it dwells and wherever it breeds, and because nobody else will, but...that's not the gift Gaia gave me. Touch Deer seems to know more about it than he lets on." She lugs the chair over to its former position, setting it down with a thunk as she adds, "But I bet that's something you'd do way better than I ever could."
KL bites her bottom lip and looks at the fire for a bit. "I was going to teach her some archery." she says, after a few moments. She sniffs, then looks back up. "Burning for months? Wonder if there's something causing that. I think I'd want to take a couple of ragabash, couple of theurges, couple of Ahroun, at least, and have a look at it, first. Then work out a way to get rid of it." She studies her hand for a moment. "That sound like a reasonable plan? I've not made too many before." She shakes her head. "Can I ask you another weirdo question?"
Leslie shrugs eloquently. "It sounds reasonable to me, but you'll have to talk to Touch Deer on this one. He knows more about it than I do, and combat tactics aren't my cup of tea. Look him up as soon as you can." The second question elicits a warm, smile. "Always, sister. I don't guarantee a good answer, but you can always ask."
"I'll seek Touch Deer out and ask him." KL says, then takes a very deep breath. "How do you cope with the stereotype of our tribe?" It comes out in a bit of a rush, and she blushes at the end of it, and stares at the fire rather than look at Leslie at all.
"What stereotype? Oh, you mean the dyke thing?" Hmmmm." Leslie stares thoughtfully into the fire for a long moment, considering. Finally, she says a little tentatively, "I've always been of the opinion that who I share my bed with is between me and that person. As long as I adhere to Gaia's law in my choice of bedmates, that choice does not impinge on my honor, my wisdom, or my skill, and therefore has no bearing on how I am treated as a Garou. The fact that we don't sleep with each other keeps our already complex relationships from becoming even more tangled, to the point where we can't function." She shrugs visibly, then looks over at you. "Do the Garou of this Sept treat you differently because of your choice of bedpartners?"
KL laughs bitterly. "I don't have a choice of bedpartners." The laugh subsides quickly, and she goes back to staring at the fire. "Sex and stuff...has always been something I ignored. I didn't...don't...understand it very much. And it's difficult to get people to stay close enough to me to find anything out. The only person who's ever expressed a desire to kiss me was doing it on a _bet_." A long pause. "I've been looking at my life, trying to decide what I want to do. To be. And there was this big hole where other people have a 'personal' life." She makes the little quote signal with her hands. "So, _some_ of the Garou of this Sept call me 'dyke', yes. But I think Brom would look down on me regardless of what my actual...you know...was."
Leslie snorts, a dismissive sound that has definite hints of laughter in it. "Brom has sex on the brain, all the time, for everyone. It's one of his hangups. The rest of us have better things to worry about." She leaas back in the chair. "He's a good and honorable Philodox, but he's also an oversexed, boorish brute. You know he calls the Silver Fangs cousin fuckers?"
"He beat me in a fight." KL admits. "In homid. No, I didn't know he did that." She shifts in her seat. "So, your judgement is that I should stop caring so much, relax about the whole thing, and concentrate on beating the shit out of the Wyrm at the first available opportunity?" A much more genuine smile accompanies this, and she bounces more upright on her chair.
Leslie returns the smile, warm and honest and relaxed. "Mostly. Ignore what Brom thinks. Just because he kicked your ass doesn't give him the right to pick your bedmate or the person you want to share your life with." She shakes her head, then adds, more slowly, "Just one very important thing...be yourself. A very wise person once told me that love will come looking for you when you stop looking for it. And it will pick the worst of all possible times to bounce into your life on a pogo stick and wreck it even worse than it already is. And you'll love every minute of it." She sits upright in her chair, setting both feet flat on the floor. "Gaia looks after all of us, KL. I firmly believe that nothing happens by accident. If something happens, it is because it is meant to be."
The Ahroun snorts loudly. "OK. So that's my lack of sex life sorted, and I'll go and talk to Touch Deer about the tire fire soon." She stands up and takes a couple of steps towards the kitchen. "You want a drink of anything? And is there anything else I should be doing?"
"Tea would be great, if there's any left." Leslie returns her gaze to the fire, which is starting to burn low, and she drops from the chair to a sitting position on the floor, grabbing a poker. "And you're doing everything just fine. It's nice to have one of my sisters to talk to for once here. Although....I do have a question for you, when you get back." She starts using the poker to break up logs and coax the fire back into cheery life.
Some minutes pass, and there's at least one ejaculated "Fuck!" as KL combats the kitchen, but eventually she returns with a cup of tea and a glass of milk. She hands the tea to Leslie, then slumps back into the seat, taking a sip of the milk. "Question?" she asks, looking interested.
By this time, Leslie is still sitting on the floor, gazing thoughrtfully into the fire again, which has a fresh log in it and is again blazing. "Well, a few," she replies, turing around. "It's my turn to ask questions now." There's a smile in the voice as she stands up, takes the tea, and retreats into the chair with it. "As an Ahroun, hat do you think of this situation?" She leans back, wiggling the teabag in the cup by its string. "We have an Ahroun in the Sept who is apparently attacking those who will not follow his orders, including nearly killing a cub of another tribe. While I understand that dominance and submission is the way of the Garou, is it so common here to enforce that by physical combat alone?"
KL considers this for a while. "I think that many Ahrouns -" she points at herself "- tend to view things in very simple terms. Stronger than me. Weaker than me. And the first choice for enforcing dominance is physical action." A little pause. "But, for me, the question is, is the violence the right amount? And...are they accepting surrender? Or are they just smashing someone into the ground and taking motionlessness as submission? And are there not territory issues in attacking a cub of another tribe?" "Very much so." Leslie nods agreement. "The situation is made more complex by the fact that the attacked cub was Touch Deer's son. Touch Deer is very displeased and is asked the half-moons to look into the matter more deeply." She stares into the fire. "He hasn't laid an accusation yet, though. I htink he's looking for one. And I do not think that there is a Litany breach involved, only the matter of touching a cub of another tribe. Still, don't the Garou here ever use staredowns? It's a much faster and less bloody way to setle dominance disputes. Just brawling without Challenges? We are not so strong and so numerous that we can expend our strength and health on such minor issues and still have strength left to fight the Wyrm with. I'm only grateful that none to my knowledge have yet been killed."
KL ponders this carefully, resting her chin on her hands. "I've not seen many staredowns. But also, I've not challenged anyone in that way. When Brom and I fought, it was mostly sparring, with the dominance thing as a bonus." She shrugs. "I don't know. I tend to pick fights with people so that I can stay under control." A squint. "Does that make any sense? I get angry and shout a lot too, and that's the same reason. If I get angry under control, I don't lose control."
Leslie considers this for a long, long moment. "It makes sense...but...why are we expending all that Rage picking fights with one another when the Wyrm grows strong every day? Some is fine. Challenges, yes. But...when it saps our numbers and our strength to fight among ourselves...then it becomes dangerous. I know it's been way too long for me since I've kicked some ass." She seems about to say more, but stops herself with an obvious effort of will.
The Ahroun nods slowly in response. "If it's preventing us from doing what we're supposed to, rather than helping keep us strong and in shape, then it's too much. There's a difference between sparring in homid, throwing a few punches, and getting the claws out and trying to take someone down." She pauses, the looks over at Leslie. "Are we as a Sept breaching the litany? Are we not combatting the wyrm wherever it dwells and breeds?" She screws her face up in an expression reminiscent of someone biting into a lemon. "And if so, who's fault is..." She breaks off. "Wrong question, I think. Whose responsibility is it to change it?"
"Yes, we are." Leslie's answer is immediate and unequivocal. "The fact that that tire fire still burns is testament to that, and do not think that it did not take everything I had not to kick someone's ass then and there when I heard of it." The raspy overtone in her contralto becomes a growl, and her New England accent thickens a good deal. "This Sept has become too complacent, KL. It lacks solid and decisive leadership, and thereore it sits around and does nothing, letting its rage fester until we all kill each other." She sits up, jawline set and determined, posture proud as she faces you. "The Wyrm would be proud. Apathy is our enemy, KL, and it is the responsibility of each and every one of us to do what we can to remember why we fight."
For a few moments, KL studies the floor, bites her bottom lip and rubs a finger and thumb together absently. Then she grunts, lifts her head up and meets Leslie's gaze, determination in her eyes. "This is a fucked-up, wrong-way-round Sept, but it's all we've got. And if it is required that Cliaths should be leaders, then this particular cliath will take the fucking best swing she can at it." KL says. "Starting with the tire fire."
Leslie chuckles, a self-deprecating sound. "You sound exactly like me. If you had told me six months ago that I was going to move clear to Washington State and become Truthcatcher for a Sept, I'd've told you to go soak your head. But here I am dealing with the Sept Alpha on a near-daily basis." For a moment, Leslie looks very careworn and stressed. "Me? Sometimes it still seems a nightmare, and one day I'll wake up." She grows quiet suddenly, staring into the fire.
KL drags her seat closer to Leslie, and puts a somewhat tentative hand on Leslie's shoulder. It's obviously not a natural gesture for her. "I know...it must feel like you've dived into a pool of shit." KL says, softly. "But I, for one, appreciate what you're doing. And I'll support you to the best of my ability. However fucking well limited that may prove to be."
Leslie looks up at you, and manages a wan smile. "Just listening to me prattle is worth gold to me, KL. I don't like to talk to Helen...she's got her own share of problems and then some, and I'm left with the impression when I try that she really doesn't want to hear it. I just miss having my sisters to talk to. I'll hold up my end, never you fear. I face the shit because this Caern will be lost without someone to shovel it all out. It's going to take a lot of somebodies. I suspect I'll need a leader of each auspice. Just...keep me sane while this is allstill sortingitself out?" The entreaty in her eyes is genuine.
KL smiles. "I'll try to." she says. "I'm not sure how sane I am myself, but I'll be here." Her brow creases into a small frown. "I wonder if it would be better if I wasn't in...but Emma,,,and Vex,,,and Signe and Gunnar." She's not making a lot of sense, and the realisation of this causes her to shake her head. "Never mind. I'll save that thought for a bit. But yeah, I'll do whatever I can for you."
"Huh?" Leslie looks baffled, but smiles anyway. "Thank you. That means a hell of a lot. You know, of course, that if you ever need help, I'm here, right? Don't hesitate bceause you think I'm busy or some such. There aren't many of us here. We need each oher's support."
The Ahroun grins. "Right. That's that sorted then. Are you hungry? I could make my famous 'pasta surprise', if you are." She presses her lips together, and wiggles in her chair, suppressing laughter.
Leslie returns the smile, adding a low chuckle. "Am I the only one of us who can't cook? If I was to try that, you'd probably have to Rage on the result. My old packmate Tabitha in New York used to ban me from the kitchen because I'd set the water on fire." Another low chucke, and a shadow across her eyes later, she adds, "Yeah, I'm starving. Wish we were allowed to hunt the bawn."
KL grins widely. "I didn't tell you that the "surprise" bit is "it's surprising if it comes out edible."" She laughs at her own joke, then stands, turning towards the kitchen. "Yeah, it's a bit annoying that. Though you can always head south or east, if you fancy something more...fresh." With that, she heads for the kitchen, and soon the air is filled with the sound of pans, water, heat and added swearing. KL is not very good at cooking either.
Leslie chuckles at that, standing. "I'm horribly out of shape. I've been keeping myself in shape with running and stuff, but I haven't been in a fight since Halloween night." She trails KL into the kitchen, mutering, "Motherfuckers."
KL considers, pausing with a pan full of water in mid-air. "Do inanimate objects count?" she asks. "Because it's been a while for me. Kevin - he's a glasswalker I've known since he was a cub - has joined Requiem, and they're packed under Fenris, and I couldn't resist poking a bit. It was all well-mannered, though." The pan reaches the stove, and KL starts looking in cupboards for foodstuffs. "Tcha. Need to go shopping, as always. Who are motherfuckers?"
"You didn't hear about that?" Leslie leans against the counter, well out of the way. "Halloween night..I'd just gotten here maybe a week or two prior...I got lost trying to find a place to have a couple of beers and ended up down in the city's warehouse district. Came across one of the Get who I know and his friend who turned out to be a Silver Fang, though I've no idea what they were doing down there." She folds her arms across her chest as she talks, relaxed and cheerful. "We were about to bail when the biggest raven I've ever seen comes out of nowhere and perches on Dillen's arm, and obviously wanted us to check out the other alleyway. So we did -- it turned out to be a group of fomori in the midle of eating a woman's corpse whole."
Pasta hits hot water, and then KL gets out a knife from the draw and starts cutting vegetables into shreds. There's rather more visceral stabbing than most cookbooks usually recommend. "Fucking tomatoes." KL comments. "Fucking awful things to slice. That's pretty disgusting. I take it you...dealt with them?" She slashes at the air in front of her, to demonstrate what she means.
"Naturally. I wouldn't call myself a child of the Pegasus if I'd left any alive." Leslie straightens up and walks towards where the vegetables are being sliced. "We took just enough time to make sure we weren't breaching the Veil before kicking their asses. I left Helen a horrible mess in the shower after that. Would you like me to take a turn with that?"
And with that, the useful conversation ended to be replaced by cooking, then a leisurely, semi-pleasant (KL really isn't much of a cook) meal.