Time/Date :It is currently 08:10 Pacific Time on Sun Dec 11 2005.
Place :Harbor Park
The early-morning chill has settled firmly over the park this morning, and the fountain in the middle of Harbor Park no longer plashes water, having been turned off for the winter some weeks ago. A few brave souls are out this early, walking dogs or jogging in sweatshirts and earmuffs, but for the most part this area of the park is very, very quiet. There is one female figure, though, sitting on one of the park benches near the fountain, wearing a dark green winter jacket, earmuffs, and hiking boots with a dark stain on one side. Leslie's attention seems focused on the notebook in her hand, which she's urned to a clean page and is busily writing into in a large, rounded hand.
From the southern entrance, KL comes in something that's half a jog, half a fast walk. Her breath puffs into clouds in front of her face and her feet occasionally slide across the slippy path. Her head turns as she surveys the few other occupants of the park, glaring at those who fail to meet her exacting (and capricious) standards. On seeing Leslie, her feet skitter as she attempts to stop herself. "Woah! Fuck! Hi!" she says.
The familiar voice makes Leslie look up from her work, and shut the notebook at once. "KL, what are you doing all the way out here?" she asks conversationally, smiling broadly as she caps the pen and rests it on top of the notebook.
"Member of a city...organisation, remember." KL says, shooting a glance around to see if there's any chance of being overheard. Having regained her balance and checked for eaves-droppers, she drops onto the bench next to Leslie. "And this is a good place to exercise in the city. Even if it is a bit chilly today." She rubs her (ungloved) hands together, and huddles a little into her jacket. "You had any news about stuff on campus?"
Harbor Park -- Fountain
Situated in the center of a large, open meadow is a clustering of six trees, a flower bed, a few steel-and-wood benches set firmly into concrete, and a flagstone courtyard that is dominated by a large fountain.
The fountain is a wide circular pool of water some fifty feet across and about five feet deep in most places. The sculpture in the center is a mix of old and new, traditional and modern: eight concrete-and-stainless-steel slabs about six feet high are set in a rough Stonehenge-like circle around the center of the fountain. Water flows from their tops, cascading in bright mesmerizing sheets to the pool below. Rising above the steel circle is a large marble statue of the Water Bearer, an androgynous figure draped in robes of flowing water. It bears a large jug carved with various Greek symbols, from which pours a seething torrent of water into the pool at its feet.
Cars on the nearby street have an excellent view of the park as do any residents of the tall buildings which line the waterfront.
The murky waters of the Columbia River flow swiftly along the east side of the park. Bracketing the park to the west is First Street and the city of St. Claire. Recent construction work is creating an earthen berm several feet high all along the borders of the park in all directions.
"Oh, yeah. That." Leslie folds her legs underneath her crosswise, scooting over a little bit to make room for KL on the bench as he does so. "I didn't tell you about the phone call I picked up for Anji a couple of days later, did I?" Her usually cheerful or thoughtful expression twists into a scwl, amd her eyes flash. "Apparently one of her friends got jumped and nearly raped by one of the same group of guys. Same smell, too. I told Dillen about it, because he knows as well as I do what's up with these people, and he's gotten some of his friends together and they're checking it out. We know where they are, we just don't know who's running the show yet. I told Dillen that if he tracks these motherfuckers down, to wait for us."
"Aimee?" KL asks. "I met her. There was also an incident with a basketball player. I've been reading the newspapers." She nods. "Well, the bits with 'university' written on, anyway." The Ahroun gives up on rubbing and shoves her hands inside the opposite sleeve in a monastic pose. "I've got a plan I want to run by you...Alicia suggested it."
Both of Leslie's eyebrows go up in surprise. "Oh, you know her, then? That was her name, yes. Aimee Carmichael. Is she all right?" The latter part of that brings her brows down into a thoughtful frown. "A plan? I'm listening."
KL waggles a hand in a so-so gesture. "She's the girlfriend of one of the walkers, Kevin. She'll be OK, eventually. Bit shaken when I saw her." KL licks her chapped lips, and grimaces. "Well, my thought was that this all sounds like a group of students who've been doing things they shouldn't. Or have been taken over, or something. And I thought it might be a good idea to try and get inside...maybe into the same frat as the basketball player who did the odd things. And Alicia suggested I get myself invited to a frat party."
Leslie listens carefully, and with increasing incredulity as KL goes on, folding her hands in her lap. "Has Alicia lost her mind?" she demands when KL is done, pausing only a moment for breath before continuing. "I see what she is trying to do..." Another deep breath, and a longer pause, this time, and she lowers her voice. "You and I know something about us that Alicia does not understand and would never have suggested that if she did. Women are coerced all the time at frat parties." She lowers her voice still more and looks around. "You know what Pegasus asks of her children as well as I do. You also know what you are as well as I do, and you know the moon in the sky. Can you honestly say that you would not frighten most of the frat guys away at the least, and blow at the worst? Do you think they won't know who you are? Remember our laws about being discovered."
The Ahroun pouts annoyedly. "Yeah, I knew it was a lame plan." she admits, with a shrug. "And I did tell you about it so that you could tell me not to. I just lacked a better idea. And - fuck it - I want to _do_ something about it."
"It's not lame, KL." Leslie replies, tone intense but expression meant to be reassuring. "It'd be a good idea, for any other family. But there are things that we as sisters are sworn to that would jeopardize the entire plan, plus being who and what you are would make a blown cover all the more dangerous for you and everyone present, not to mention the law." She reaches to put am arm over the Ahroun's shoulders, tentatively at first and ready to pull away. "But there are things you can do. Can you sense the presence of the Enemy?"
"No." KL says, miserably. "I can't. All I can do is hitty-hitty-hitty, basically." She doesn't react badly to the arm around her shoulders, but she does bend over more, face screwed up in upset. "And it looks like my pack is going to fall to pieces too." she says quietly. "Great week."
Suddenly concerned, Leslie scoots closer and gives KL a one-armed hug, setting her notebook and pen aside. "Sounds like you need to develop a few other skills, though we definitely are going to need you when push comes to shove. Do you know Dillen at all?"
"I've met him, yeah. He packs with Kevin." KL says, still miserable. "But yeah, I do need some other skills. Some more strings to my bow." This brings a rueful grin. "Actually, must remember that I need some new strings _for_ my bow. But what about Dillen?"
"Dillen seems to be the guy who's organizing all this," Leslie remarks. "He knows the other people he's working with, where I don't know the city people very well. I don't know of any warriors involved with this except you...maybe you should talk to him about leading the strike once we pin these fuckers to the floor. That's what you're good at, and I want a piece of that."
"Cool." KL says. "I'm supposed to be leading the team that deals with the tire fire too. I was trying to organise the scouting too, but Alicia took that away from me." Hint of bitterness at that. "But yeah, it will be a pleasure to be in on dealing with the bastards. Oh, by the way, we have a new kin in town."
Leslie is silent as she considers taht for a long moment, staring straight ahead, her expression closing. "Alicia..." Abruptly, she shakes her head. "I know about Jessica, though I still haven't met her. Touch Deer and Alicia have stuck me and Alicia and a few others with the babysitting job from hell. There's also pack issues there...and speaking of packs, hat is happening to yours?"
"Signe left." KL says. "And no, another one. He's called Iakovos, and he's a lawyer. And he bought me cake, and he didn't get too freaked even when I stared at him." she says in a rush. "But yeah...it's just me and Emma and Gunnar, and he's never here even when he is, and I'm not sure about Em. So either I'll challenge for alpha, or I'll look for another pack." She shrugs. "Would rather it was the former."
"He?" Leslie repeats blankly. "Huh." It's clear the Philodox isn't impressed. "Interesting. I should try to meet up with him sometime. I'm really sorry to hear about your pack. You know, though, I've heard tales of positions simply being claimed ecause none other was suitable or wanted them. Perhaps you can simply claim and let others challenge you." There's a hint of distraction and sadness in Leslie's suggestion, but she doesn't comment on it.
"Yeah, I thought so too, but he's very polite." KL says. "What's wrong? Are you looking for a pack?" she asks, curiously. "I might just do that, and see what the others say." She leans back on the seat and looks around the park. "I joined the pack here, in the umbra." she says, informatively.
Leslie shakes her head slowly, letting her arm drop from around your shoulders. "Resonance had made it plain to me that they want me to join, but..." She draws a deep breath. "I have to settle something else first." Now she sits up straighter, and looks over at you, a wan smile on her lips that doesn't reach her eyes. "I say go for it. A lot of people here just need good leadership. Did you? How long ago was that?"
"Six months." KL says, counting on her fingers. "I think. I'm not very good at keeping track of time." She shrugs. "I don't really know how to be an alpha, but I guess there's only one way to find out that kind of thing." She shrugs. "Do I get Fury points if I'm the alpha of a couple of Get?" An insouciant grin at this suggestion.
At this, Leslie's smile widens a bit, though there's still something in it that doesn't reach her eyes. "I'd say your title should probably be Den Mother," she replies, seriously. "Man, won't that chap Brom's hide. Just get used to making tough decisions and backing them. As long as you can do that, you'll be just fine."
The Ahroun nods. "Yeah. It'll be fun to try, at least." She looks over at Leslie. "Thanks. Is there anything I can help you with? Do for you? And have you given any more thought to that...other thing we were talking about a while ago?"
"I don't know about fun, but it'll definitely be worthwhile." Leslie looks back at KL suddenly, and smiles. "I don't know if you heard about the Dancer kid. Athena's grace, what a mess." She stares morosely down at her lap now, suddenly looking worried. "Did you know that a Dancer-marked kid got dropped off at the halfway house about a week ago, maybe a litle more?" "Yeah. Clemency told me." KL says. She tips her head on one side. "She suggested we should take her. I said I'd mention the suggestion to you." She shrugs, before adding as an afterthought. "And Helen."
Leslie looks up in surprise. "That may not be a bad idea, though we're going to have to get her to trust us first. She'll barely talk to us right now. She hasn't even changed yet. I'm thinking I'd like to take her way up into the woods and see if I can get that to happen, but by James' decree she is not to come anywhere near you-know-where, so that limits our options. Gaia knows a kid to teach might give us some more focus, and it'd be good to talk to my sisters more." She lets out a fast sigh. "It seems like I'm spending all my time dealing with teritory tangles and law breaches and politics. It's a nice break teaching kids."
The two are sitting on a park bench near he fountain, talking very, very quietly;l the park itself is quiet, as it's a little too chilly out for all but the most dedicated joggers to come here, and the ones that do don't linger long. Leslie has her feet tucked up underneath her Indian-style on the bench, huddled into her winter jacket, though her expression is unusually open and distinctly worried.
Two more figures turn into the park gates. One is female, the other male; the latter of the two is toting along a large hold-all. They seem to be arguing, or at the very least, disputing something hotly. "Tough shit being him?" the female exclaims. "He's still /alive/, isn't he?"
"No thanks to you," Abraxas returns; as usual, his voice is low, full of hissing, and faintly slurred words. His lips barely move. "It was stupid to come into the city at this time of month anyway. We both should have known better."
KL is sitting on the bench next to Leslie. The only concession to the weather that she's made is to fasten her jacket. And shove her hands in her pockets. "Yeah. Though I'd be worried about the possibility of her...making everything go bad." The Fury Ahroun says. "And sorry about the mess that you seem to have inherited."
"Well, we /didn't/," Clemency says ruefully. "And now we got this bag of junk to worry about. Shall we just jettison it into the river, or do you think we can use any of it?" She makes a path towards the wall where the park abuts onto the river bank, which takes her up toward the fountain and into position to see the two figures on the bench by it.
Leslie doesn't appear to notice the two talking yet, over by the fountain as she is. "I'm not so concerned about her," the Philodox answers contemplatively, "as what might be following her. She's clean, according to the folks who'd know. Well, you'll fnd out exactly what the mess is on Friday at the party. I'm going to blow the whole thing open there. I had to put them off till then, I can't find everyone involved and someone's lying about what really happened. I can't believe I'm already playing referee for the entire horde here."
Abraxas hasn't noticed the other two--he's too into the current heated debate. "I told you, I didn't come out here to murder humans." The bag is given a faint jerk. "Give it to the Gnawers. We can't take it back, can we?"
KL looks up at Leslie. "I can't think of anyone I'd rather have sorting this crap out." she says. "You're the best thing to have happened to St. Claire...and us in like..ever."
Clemency holds up a warning hand to Peter. "Look who's here," she murmurs. "Leslie will know what the honorable thing to do with the bag is." She clears her thoat, not softly, and pasting a rather shaky expression of 'nothing wrong here' on her face she saunters openly up to the bench.
Abraxas does indeed look--his expression is already sour, and the sight of Leslie and KL only serves to put a wary edge to it. He follows, but in those steps taken toward the two Fury's the Lord has fallen back again, once more trailing behind Clemency rather than alongside her.
"I hope I've been helpful so far," Leslie replies to KL, but any further reply is cut off as the two approach, and she immediately straightens, dropping both feet to the ground and then crossing one leg over the other. "Clemency...and Abraxas." Her expression closes at once as she looks etween the two of them. "Is there something I can help you with?" Her smile as she greets the pair is formal and gracious. "Ah..." KL says, looking over at the new arrivals. "Good morning, Clemency." she says, pleasantly. "A surprise to see you in town today." She straightens up in her seat, and tugs her jacket down and straight. Clemency greets the two Furies with a not particularly convincing smile. "Yes, well, as Peter here just pointed out, perhaps we should have left our Christmas shopping for another time," she says, with a glance at the metis which no amount of fudging could make seem friendly.
Abraxas isn't helping matters, given that he's clearly only confused by Clemency's words toward him. He turns his attention on the others, mostly Leslie. "We ran into a thief," he states, flatly. "Now we have this bag of stuff and we don't know what to do with it."
"I see." Leslie is sitting on a park bnch, KL next to her, looking up at Clemency and Abraxas with a serious and thouhtful expression. "You didn't terrorize anyone, did you? Who saw the whole thing?" There's a hint of sternness in the otherwise composed tone. "And what is it?"
KL doesn't say anything, but places one boot on her knee and leans back, putting her hands behind her head and studying Abraxas carefully.
Touch Deer approaches from a distance, wrapped in a ratty denim jacket and some thrift-store city clothes. The entire group receives a nod, and he says nothing once arriving, letting the current conversation conclude on its own.
Clemency abandons any pretence of being in a good mood. "We took them from a weaselly little runt of a thief who we should have offed then and there," she snaps, "only Peter thought it was a bad idea so we let him run. No other witnesses. No shifting, no crap."
Abraxas's expression edges faintly into hostility, and then back to the general sourness again. He says nothing himself, which may or may not have anything to do with Touch Deer's arrival. Rather, the Lord fixes his gaze on the ground and offers the holdall wordlessly toward Leslie.
With both hands, Leslie takes the holdall, frowning. "I see," she says as she works the fastenings open. "Though I'm sure it would be extremely satisfying to wipe that sort of scum off the map, I'm very glad you held back." She gives a deep and respectful nod to Touch Deer as she spots hm. "Ah, you're here. I seem to make you wait a lot, and for that I apologize." The bag finaly open, she peers inside cautiously. "Did you see where this stuff was stolen from?"
KL peers into the holdall, leaning to look over Leslie's arm. "Wow. Big leaguer." she says, sarcastically, before looking up at the arrival of Touch Deer and nodding in greeting.
Inside the bag are a couple of personal CD players, some gold chains, a few rings, a DVD of "The Lost Boys" and a digital camera. None of the stuff is new, or drastically valuable.
Touch Deer shrugs casually towards Leslie, "It's not a problem, yours is a busy office. You can talk to me at your convenience, I see you're already somewhat busy." He casts a very brief glance towards the contents of the bag, shows no reaction, and crosses his arms, waiting patiently.
Clemency's brow furrows at KL's comment. "Well? How were we to know what was in it without taking it off him? Could have been thousands of bucks. Or a kidney transplant. Or something else that was worth actually stealing instead of slummy tin pot pawnshop stuff. Which is where it's from," she answers Leslie. "Pawnshop on Regan East."
Again, Abraxas allows Clemency to answer for him. He's completely clammed up, which is quite honestly rather amazing in and of itself.
Wrong Way approaches from the other end of the park. As she hop-hobbles her way along, she sniffs at the various trash bins, occasionally pulling herself up to the rim to snatch a discarded bit of food.
Leslie says "I suppose one would have to be really desperate to steal from a pawn shop," Leslie remarks thoughtfully, peering into the bag and drawing a breath, then leting it out again. "Is there a reason why you cannot take it back to the pawn shop from which it was stolen?" She is sitting on a park bench amid several people standing around her and KL sitting next to her. The voice is a deep contralto with a rasp to it, the New England lilt audible inthe quietly spoken words."
"I'll take it, if you like." KL offers. "If you don't want to go back there for whatever reason." She looks up at Clemency, and then over at Abraxas. "If you were worried about being seen, I mean."
Touch Deer continues to wait, patiently, then spots the hobbling lupus. A look of mild surprise crosses his features and he goes to her. "You. I had thought you'd left town." Tone even, neutral.
Clemency looks thoughtful. "Might be cops around," she explains. "Would be dreadfully ironic to get arrested for trying to take the proceeds of a robbery which you took from the real thief back to their owner. I can't see the courts buying that story, somehow." She glances at Touch Deer and the woman he's speaking to, though doesn't otherwise respond to her approach.
Abraxas grunts, but that's his only contribution. He offers the holdall wordlessly to KL now, with the sort of motion that suggests he'd just like to be rid of it, one way or another.
Wrong Way pulls a disused carton of McDonald's French Fries from the trash bin she's been investigating and looks toward Touch Deer's voice. Carton still hanging from between her teeth she explains. Left. Came back.
Leslie's silece extends into the minutes mark as she considers the options. "I would prefer to return it to its rightful owner. Perhaps simply say that you found it?" She tilts her head up at Clemency now, then looks over at KL. "Do you think that you could do it?"
"Yeah, sure, no problems." The Fury Ahroun replies, taking the holdall with a nod. She looks at it with a nose wrinkle of distaste, then stands up. "It'll take me a few minutes."
Clemency looks at KL with a new-found respect. "Damn. Good luck. If there's cops," she counsels, "say you found it in an alley or something."
Touch Deer kneels down near Wrong Way, close enough that anyone in the arear wouldn't be able to tell he's speaking so conversationally to a three-legged dog. "I'm glad, and hope you stay even longer this time. Also, there's a dream someone had, you might want to hear of it."
Abraxas jams his gloved hands into the pockets of his jacket as soon as they're freed of the stolen goods. His lips twist downward.
Wrong Way shakes from nose to shoulder, side stepping to keep her balance. She loses a couple of the fries in the shake, and with an unhappy expression drops the container. I come back. Runner says stay, I needed here. Her head cants away from Touch Deer and she looks at him through the corner of her eye. You want me stay?
Leslie, too, nods to KL, seeming relieved. "Thank you, KL. This makes things much easier." She sits up straighter on the bench, pulling the notebook that had been sitting next to her on her lap. "I'm glad you stopped it, though, but you're right, maybe you two should hold off on your Christmas shopping for a while. I'm only here because I have to be."
Clemency goes a little flushed and looks down at Leslie's words. "I just wanted to make a difference..." She finds herself looking at the bag at KL's feet. "KL? I'll come back with you, if I may," she suddenly blurts out. "It's not right that I should dump this responsibility on you. I caused it, after all."
"Sure." KL says. "And you can disappear if it looks dicey." With a nod to all present, she heads off to the west entrance, Clemency alongside, holdall clasped firmly in her right hand.
Abraxas shifts, looking, for one reason or another, suddenly intensely uncomfortable. He glances toward Leslie, notes that Touch Deer has stepped off a pace, and rolls his shoulders forward. "I have a question to ask you."
Touch Deer remains crouched, answering firmly, "I do."
"You did," Leslie replies, adding a warm smile as the girls leave and then looking over at Touch Deer to see where he is. Seeing him in conversation with someone else, she looks then up at Abraxas. "Of course. I'll try to answer." Her tone returns to that formal sound.
Wrong Way's ears twitch backward then splay. What for Chiminage? To stay? She settles awkwardly back onto her haunches as she peers up at the new Alpha.
Abraxas keeps his gaze resolutely downward, pauses, and then clears his throat. "I would like to know if you know the Rite of Contrition. And if so, if you would be willing to teach it." The request is quiet, flat as always.
Touch Deer looks about, standing. "Lets have this conversation in private, or have it later." He seems to have reached the point where talking to a dog is 'weird' to him.
"The Rite of Contrition?" A hint of surprise colors Leslie's expression, which then lights up in a faintly rueful smile. "Yes, I know it." She draws a deep breath, considering. "I would, though I'd ask to straighten out a few things before jumping into teaching. Perhaps at the first of the new year?"
Wrong Way scootches backward, looking around for a hidden spot. She juts her nose toward the foliage around the fountain. There?
Abraxas tilts his head slightly, and then gives a faint nod. In the same flat tone, he asks, "What would you require in return?"
Touch Deer joins Wrong Way in the foliage, finding a place where they're quite well-concealed. Smiling faintly, he mutters, "Reminds me a little of my Rite. Now, what Rites do you know?"
Wrong Way knows many Rites, she explains. I know much of spirit ways.
Of all things, Leslie looks baffled for a moment before frowning again in concentration. "Do you know the gift that allows one to sense the presence of the Enemy?" she asks, lowering her voice a good deal.
Abraxas 's lips twist again. "No. That is something I've always been interested in learning, but..." And he doesn't add to that further. "I do not think the gifts I know would be very useful to you. I know a very few rites."
Touch Deer and his companion communicate, now, in almost inaudible tones, and gestuures. In a short moment, the Theurge has listed her Rites and Gifts to him and he lapses into silent thought. "I would like you to teach Sight from Beyond to our new Warder, Jamethon of the Get."
Wrong Way's ears turn backward as she considers. He is Crescent Moon? He understands the spirits?
Touch Deer nods readily. "More than anyone else currently at the Sept, he does. He served as Gatekeeper for a good time before assuming Warder, and is Fostern.
Wrong Way licks her nose decisively. I will do.
"Then perhaps simply combat training," Leslie replies with a tilt of her head at the Shadow Lord, her expression now carefully neutral. "I've had my share, but trying to stop people from killing each other instead of you-know-what is costing me my edge."
Touch Deer is glad, smiles, and stands. Before parting, he says, "Speak with the woman over there, she had a dream, it may be something you'll find meaning in. All good medicine, welcome back." He parts, exiting the hiding spot after checking no one is around to see, and heads back towards Leslie, and Brax.
It's Abraxas' turn to look surprised, but he takes it in stride. "Very well. I have only one other question then. Do you know if this rite would work on a dead spirit?"
Wrong Way looks in Leslie's direction and then, after Touch Deer has headed toward her, she also hop-hobbles over.
Leslie blinks a few times, and is silent for several moments. When Touch Deer and Wrong Way arrive at where she and Abraxas are talking, her brows are furrowed and she is deep in thought. "A dead spirit? No, I don't know if it would or no. I have only ever used it among my own people. Perhaps a Wise One might know."
"If it won't," Abraxas says, "I would still like to learn it."
Touch Deer stands by Leslie, nodding to Abraxas, and then asks the Leslie, "Do you have a moment?"
Wrong Way comes up shortly after Touch Deer, inspecting Abraxas by eye and a bit by scent, though she does not approach too closely, yet. She also gives Leslie the once over, though hangs back further as the Alpha approaches the Philodox.
"And I shall try to teach it to you after the first of the year, as I have promised," Leslie replies unruffledly before turning to Touch Deer as he approach. "Of course, r -- Touch Deer," she corrects herself quickly. "What can I do for you?" A hint of tension appears in the lines of her body, in her posture as she straightens, but her face is composed and expectant.
Abraxas clams up once again, even before Leslie's attention shifts away from him. Wrong Way barely receives a glance of acknowledgment.
Touch Deer spares no time with idle talk, asking, "What did you have to tell me?"
Wrong Way's ears turn backward in annoyance at the easy dismissal from the metis, and she approaches more invasively. She Does Things The Wrong Way. Bone Gnawer Crescent Moon. Fostern.
Abraxas shifts in place and gives Wrong Way a more narrowed look. "Peter Abraxas," he responds, quietly, but in that strange manner he's been using, with the slur and hissing undertone. "Shadow Lord, Cliath, Ahroun."
"I am sorry to drag you all the way to the city to talk to me, Touch Deer. I was under the impression that you wished to speak to me." Leslie spreads her hands apologetically, still neutral. "However, I should tell you that Thomas Grey wishes to speak to you. He has asked that I not spoil his message, and I will honor that request. However, I did have a more important question for you. Rebecca -- there are things that she must be taught that cannot be taught here and need a safe place with a lot of open space that abides by James' restrictions. I know that James cannot leave where he is, so I would hope that you might know where to turn to that would meet such requirements."
Abraxas looks sharply toward Leslie as she speaks, and while he doesn't interrupt it's obvious that words are itching at him.
Touch Deer folds his hands behind his back, formal but relaxed as usual, and voice low. "I did have things to tell, and ask you, yes, I just wanted to get this out of the way first. I will speak with Thomas. I think a good place to take her might be inside the Odeon, of the Gnawers would have it. It is large, and mostly secure, I think. Or, take her for a ride at night towards a field, somewhere outside the city."
Wrong Way's eyes narrow at Abraxas and she hobbles backward, a small growl in her throat. She turns her attention to the Philodox, but still does not approach.
The park is quiet on this chilly Washington afternoon, but that doesn't stop a small cluster of people from congregating by a bench near the fountain. Four are here -- Leslie is sitting on the bench, looking up at Touch Deer standing in front of her, their voices low but formality between them, and Abraxas is talking to Wrong Way nearby. "I may have to set her off to teach her, Touch Deer, and I'd rather a place where she can't destroy anything. Who would I speak to about using the Odeon?"
Making her way towards the park is Alicia, dressed in a pair of baggy jeans and a simply tee, covered by her trench coat. She is like a shark on the sidewalk as she aims towards the group of Garou.
Touch Deer nods suggestively at the three-legged dog, in answer. Then, "Or, try Olga, Kaz, Yi, or any of their Tribe. I hope all goes well with that, and also, I've asked Reggie to Sense Magic on her, just to see if any magic tricks are being hidden from us. Now, about Jeremy. I don't think we can take him to Moot after all, the Curse would overwhelm him."
Leslie's lips press together. "True, I had not considered that." She falls silent, one foot tapping agitatedly as she thinks. "I have aready spoken to Jeremy and to Dakota. Their stories mesh, so I would permit Dakota to speak for him as well." She glances over at the three-legged dog, frowning. "That one isn't known to me."
Being addressed, the Bone Gnawer approaches to introduce herself to Leslie. She Does Things The Wrong Way. Bone Gnawer, Crescent Moon. Fostern. She comes a bit closer to sniff at Leslie's knee.
Touch Deer's voice is very, very hush, barely loud enough for Leslie to hear, and he nods towards Alicia while replying. "She is Wrong Way of their Tribe, Fostern. Speak with her. Now, I'm afraid I must go, I promised to meet James by nightfall back at home." He gives everyone a good-bye wave, and leaves promptly, asking Alicia quietly to forgive his quick exit, he has things to do.
Offering a quick smile to Touch Deer as she passes him, Alicia nods and then makes her way to Leslie and Wrong Way. She looks full of energy, untapped excitement traveling through her veins.
Now he's not just itching, he's visibly fidgeting. Abraxas curls his fingers, and then looks up sharply as Alicia arrives. His expression turns very ugly.
As Touch Deer departs through one park gate, KL and Clemency return through the other. Clemency is looking a good deal less liable to explode into thousands of jagged fragments. The duo join the clump of garou by the fountain once more. "Sorted," Clemency says, curtly.
"The old guy was pleased to get the stuff back, though I got the impression that that wasn't the first time he'd been robbed." KL explains. "Wasn't overly enthusiastic to see us, just thank you now please leave."
Leslie doesn't seem to mind the sniffing, in fact simply watches, her tone remaining respectful and composed as she offers a hand. "Leslie Menetzke-Watson, or Treeclimber. Cliath half-moon of the Furies." She drops her voice to an almost inaudible level, barely murmuring now, though as Alicia, Clemency, and KL approach again, she looks up at the three of them. "Good, thank you, and I'm glad it wasn't worse. I'm not late, am I?" she asks of Alicia, looking up at her.
"Too late for what? My birthday?" Alicia says with a wry grin upon her face as she shifts her shoulders some. "Today I am now twenty-one, and after I finish up with some stuff here with Wrong Way, I think I may get shit faced with some friends and my man. Kaz is hanging out with the kid at the moment, watching TV or something. She and Jacinta were up all night with her teaching. From what Kaz says, she is opening up and is curious. I think progress is being made."
Wrong Way looks at the others as they approach, then turns to hobble back to her french fries. She scarfs up the ones that have spilled, then picks up the container and makes her way into the bushes. Her posture is furtive as she goes.
Clemency looks at the limping animal again, keenly, but says no more about her or to her now than she did earlier when Touch Deer was interacting with it. "Alicia," she greets her pack alpha, with a barely-unspoken '-rhya' at the end. "Everything okay?"
"Good, I'm glad." Leslie's look of concern turns to a relieved smile. "I don't think they're out of the hole yet, though. There are some things you just can't do at that apartment. I thought I was supposed to watch her this evening, though. It's your birthday, you should go enjoy it. And happy birthday."
Abraxas bares his teeth for a moment and then turns sharply away, and starts walking toward the edge of the park without so much as a 'by your leave'.
"Thank you, Leslie. Though, my birthday is just another day, nothing I can't get to later on in the day. I have business to attend to as usual." Alicia says with a grin upon her face as she looks over to Clemency, giving her and the Black Fury a nod. "Hey you two. Glad to see you both, actually. I'd like to talk to ya'll." She slides a glance out of the corner of her eye towards Abraxas, then says. "You as well, Brax."
"Alicia." KL says, perhaps less deferentially than Clemency and certainly with more ambivalence. "Happy birthday." She sits down on any spare piece of bench, folding one leg on top of the other. As Abraxas leaves, she watches him go with a raised eyebrow.
Abraxas stops just as soon as he started, and one can just see the hackles raising. "/Oh/?"
Clemency looks at Alicia, concern showing. "Can it wait at all?" she asks pleadingly. "I, uhh, /really/ need to get out of the city before I flip my wig."
"About what?" Leslie's expression is carefully neutral, tension written inher frame. She looks after Wrong WAyas the Bone Gnawer leaves, and shakes her head. "Damn, she left too fast." With a sigh, he turns her attention back to Alicia, and to Clemency. "We're not that far over alf, Clemency. Is it that bad?" She folds her hands in her lap composedly
"Hey, like I said. I wanted to carry out extreme prejudice on some spotty little runt who stole some cheap crap from a pawnshop." Clemency frowns. "Another time Peter might not be able to talk me out of it."
KL looks sympathetically at Clemency, then over at Leslie. "It's getting close to worrying stage." she says. "I can feel it too. It's always like...a pressure in your temples? Does it affect you like that as well?"
There is a bit of a pause from Alicia as she listens to Clemency, slowly letting out a soft breath as she tucks her hair back behind her ear. "Alright, you three." She says to the Full Moons. "I know KL is signed up for it, but I'm hoping that you two are going to the Tire yards as well to help out after the scouting party." She says with a low voice, eyes furrowed. "I will spread the word about the upcoming battle as fast as I can through the Galliards, but I also need you guys to talk to the rest of the Ahrouns and help them get excited over the prospect of this fight. This is going to be big." She says, her voice etched in steel as she speaks, letting the words settle. "This is something we have to stop 'now' before it gets any worse, much like how the hospital did. I need the warriors of this Sept to know that this is life or death and not a walk in the park type mission. When we go in, we tend to finish it, that night."
Leslie's lips press together, though the rest of her expression remains neutral. Her body tenses, but she does not interrupt Alicia, remaining silent for now.
KL's eyes narrow, and she can't prevent a hiss of irritation from escaping from between her lips. "I understand what the situation is." she says, her tone flat and dead. Her hands clasp the bench beneath her firmly.
Abraxas fairly growls, "Oh. So now I'm actually worthy."
"I know you do, KL, which is why I'm glad you're in charge of handling the strike force." Alicia says with a slow nod of her head as she hooks her thumbs into the belt loops of her jeans. "I know you're going to kick all sorts of ass and I'll be singing your praise for many, many months afterwards." She edges her voice to come off subtelly inspirational, if not encouraging. There is a quick look to Abraxas, before she simply dismisses his statement. "KL, I'd like to know if you'd join me in the debriefing of the scouts before they go."
Abraxas snarls, and then turns again, apparently to once more make his retreat.
Leslie continues to watch Alicia, silent, tense, measuring, though she doesn't meet the Galliard's eyes. She uncrosses her legs and crosses her ankles instead, tucking both legs under the bench on which she sits and resting her hands atop the notebook and pen in her lap. Her controlled and focusedly neutral gaze goes briefly to KL, then back to Alicia.
"I'd be delighted." KL says. "Thank you for allowing me to do that." There's a studied grace to her voice, and her pose - she uncrosses her legs and clasps her hands between her legs demurely.
The Child of Gaia stiffens up a bit, then says. "It has nothing to do with being allowed to come or not." Her arms slowly fold across her step, irritation creeping into her posture. She opens her mouth, then closes it with a click of the teeth. Her features harden, and with that, she turns on heel and starts off through the park. "Thank you, regardless. I will be in touch when I have more news. May Gaia guide your claws to victory."
"And yours," Leslie calls formally to Alicia, speaking up finally. "I will come by this evening." For what, she doesn't say.
Clemency, after a period of thoughtful silence, nods. "I'll be there, all right." The Fury Ahroun relaxes in her seat, and unclasps her hands. "Ooops." she says succinctly. She looks embarrassed, cheeks colouring. "Sorry." she says to Leslie.
Leslie shakes her head, relaxing considerably as Alicia moves off and allowing herself a scowl. "I think it's her you should apologize to if you feel the need. I know how you feel, though you are better suited to the strike force, and besides, they'll get more glory than the scouting party will." She tries on a smile for both women. "I do have a question for the leader of the strike force, though." The contralto is carefully controlled now.
"Well, assuming it's me, and that I don't get bumped by an elder Ahroun, ask away." KL says, still somewhat bitterly. "And no, I need to apologise to you for the position I was putting you in. Not to her for my perfect submission."
"If it makes any difference," Clemency says in a studied tone of voice, "I'm quite happy to follow KL into battle on this or any other occasion where she's deputed to take charge."
Abraxas hasn't gone too far--he hasn't, for instance, actually left the park. There he is, near at the other end, arms crossed and looking positively stormy.
"So am I," Leslie nods up to Clemency, and in fact scoots over to make room for the Silver Fang on the bench, taking her notebook and pen with her, attaching the pen to the spiral of the notebook for safekeeping. She then directs a reassuring smile at KL, her earlier tension fading fast. "Sister, Gaia put me in the middle of the fracas and charged me with containing it. You're hardly the first to do so. But...my question is this: is it your intent, as Alicia implied, to include only Ahrouns in the strike force? I'm not the warrior that either of you and never will be, but I don't think I'd be completely useless."
KL nods slowly. "To be honest, I don't know what's required, and won't until the scouts do their thing." She rubs her chin. "But I think it fairly likely that we might need everyone we can muster, depending on what's there. Regardless of auspice." "Either in the vanguard, or at the very least, in reserve ready to jump in," Clemency agrees. "And for heavens' sake don't let's forget the medical squad this time. Not long before I got to town some attack of Brom's went badly wrong and one of us died because there were no theurges there to heal."
"Sometimes, someone is dead before the Theurges can get to them. There is always that risk." Leslie stands, passing a hand over her temples. "But yes, especially if you are to fight in the Umbra rather than the Realm, Theurges will be invaluable." She straightens and turns to the both of you with a small, formal smile. "I should go now. Please let me know if I can help you at all. Gaia light your path, both of you."
"Erika Judges-The-Lost-Souls. Get of Fenris Philodox." KL says, reverentially. "I fought alongside her that day. I don't know that a theurge along would have helped, but there should have been some, you're right." She looks up at Leslie. "And yours, Leslie. Thank you." She doesn't specify for what, but instead looks over at Clemency. "You heading out farmhouse way?"
"I don't know, I wasn't there," Clemency demurs. "I only heard the recriminations after... and held the ceremony that sent her back to the mother. Gaia keep and guard you, Leslie. If I don't see you before, I'll see you at Moot and Revel. And perhaps we can find time to make a firm appointment for that help you're to give me next new moon."
"I'll make the time," Leslie promises, and with a smile and a wave for both women, she turns to follow Alicia out of the park, taking her notebook and pen with her.
"Farmhouse?" KL asks again, shooting a glance over at Peter Abraxas. "And...what about him?" She stands up from the bench and stretches her arms above her head.
Clemency nods decisively. "Anywhere that's not this stinking fucking city. So I guess that means the farm, yeah. With or without Peter." She sighs. "I still can't work out if I'm glad he stopped me throating that little rat-guy or not." From afar, Brom grins. "Ali is kinda all bummed out now."
"Probably best." KL says. "I mean, you'll recognise the guy if you see him again, and if he's actually a problem, you can deal with him then. And if he is just a punk kid, then you're probably fine."
Clemency gives a broad, and somehow very unpleasant, smile. "Oh, I'll know him again. By sight and scent, I'll know his pissy little ass." She looks dreamy. "I could practically /taste/ his blood in my mouth..." she goes on in a near-whisper, and her expression is nothing short of ecstatic for a few moments before she jerks herself back to the present. "...So yeah, it's a good job Peter intervened," she concludes.
"Shall we see if he wants to come back to the farm, then?" KL asks, taking a couple of steps towards where Abraxas lurks at the end of the park. "Or leave him to stew?"
Clemency takes a deep breath. "Come on, let's see if he'll go with us," she decides, taking a few steps of her own in the metis's direction.
Abraxas seems to be in his own little temper filled world, because he doesn't look up until both women have taken a few steps toward him.
"We're heading back out farmwards." KL says, when they are within earshot. "Do you want to come along?"
Abraxas's lips twist away from his teeth. "Yes," he answers, flatly, as always.
Clemency summons up a smile for the Shadow Lord. "Okay, then. Let's scoot before we get into any more mischief," she suggests. "I'm still in a mood to bite the first fucker who looks the wrong way at me."