Time/Date :19 June 2006
Place :Burial Mounds
This wide clearing in the midst of short, dark pines is rough with wild grass and bare stone. The air is a bit cooler up here in the foothills than below, and the majestic peaks of the nearby mountains rear up over the eastern treetops. There is a vine-covered boulder standing under the edge of the somber evergreens to the east. The air here is prenaturally still and the grass waves not at all for there is no breeze that blows through the pines. It is silent, no call of bird thrown from the treetops to dance gaily in the open spaces. Occasionally chill fingers run up your spine.
A faint path leading downhill to the west is the only exit from the clearing.
While the Rite of Heroes Pyre originated with the Get of Fenris and involved the burning of a boat, some of the other Tribes have modified the Rite to serve their own Tribal quirks. Vera's set up differs from the original version in that there is no boat, but a carefully constructed mound of deadfall and timber. The skins from two large animals, most likely deer, provide a bed atop the mound of wood. Clemency's body has been laid out on this bed, pungent herb burn around her form, obscuring the smell of decay and dead. Vera stands a short distance away, tending a small fire and wearing the Glabro form. She does not look up, or appear to show any real interest as Garou begin to appear to send Clemency on her way.
The arrival of Clemency's packmates comes in stark contrast. The Fury comes with a plastic bag, in which the clanking of bottles can be heard. The alpha of Havoc, however, comes with her arms folded across her chest and a serious and somber mood etched across her features. As she spies the pyre and the body lain on it, there is a shock of tension through Emma, but nothing is said.
From the general direction of the farmhouse, Walks-Middle leads her two cubs through the dark pines into the clearing. They shift from Lupus back into their birth form as they arrive.
Dillen comes in on his own, his spiky hair blowing in the breeze. The Get galliard nods to Emma his tribemate and stands before the pyre, chewing his lower lip sadly as he looks at Clemency's body. He seems to have something small clutched in his hand.
Helen arrives shortly after Stacey and her cubs, expression somber as she gazes upon the pyre and then gets about finding a place to stand, far enough away from Clemency's body so those that really knew her could stand a little closer. When Dillen arrives she waves to her packmate, but doesn't make a move to go over to say anything, staying right where she is.
Cries-No-More lopes in from the edge of the forest, padding towards the group gathering at the pyre. His mood would best be described as subdued, and he makes no notice of anyone in particular, nor says any hello's after shifting up and standing, eyes half-lidded and on the pyre, off to the side.
A few more people filter in, Laura arrives with a package in her arms, Reggie, and Blackriver arrive a short time later.
Once a fair number of people have arrived, Vera stands up with a fair amount of difficulty and with the aid of a walking stick. There appears to be something wrong with at least one leg. "We come here today," Vera grates in a heavy Glabro voice. "To honor one who fell in battle against the Wyrm."
Touch Deer watches on without any change in expression.
KL sets her bag of bottles carefully, with a minimal amount of clanking, and folds her arms across her chest, a wide, perhaps slightly forced, grin on her face. "Who died *gloriously* in battle," she remarks, quietly.
Emma turns her attention on to Vera as the Adren begins to speak, eyes focused there with some effort. At this point, she drops her arms and her hands fall into her pockets, the left one fussing with something buried in the denim hole.
Dillen fidgets a little as Vera begins her speech, but holds silence. His eyes meet Helen's for a few moments.
The two cubs stop a little way back from the pyre, finding a space to stand, and look up at the mound of timber solemn-faced. Beside them, Stacey whispers something quietly, then falls silent as the Rite begins. Kristin and Ruth both nod to their Elder, then turn back again to watch.
Helen is silent, watching Vera, eyes darting from the sept alpha to the pyre.
Vera's glabro face is somewhat pale, as she uses her makeshift cane to aid in her journey toward the pyre. "We come here today, to send Clemency on her way. So that one day she may be reborn and in the meantime, her spirit will continue to fight on in the battlefield. I invite you all to speak up, to say what you will about Clemency, so that she will have your words to carry her into the afterlife."
Touch Deer steps up after a short moment of thought, and says, "I knew Clemency Fire-Burns-Forever, and I was her friend. I was lucky for having known her, and the Sept was lucky to have her at its side. I will miss her." Short and simple, he throws nothing into the fire, and lapses back into silence.
Ethan does not mingle with the others. The stranger remains a stranger, hovering on the outskirts of a gathering. He carries a bottle with him, as well. The flickering light of the pyre illuminates the amber liquid within as well as the black Jack Daniels whiskey label on its side.
Dillen speaks up in a clear voice. "Clemency and me didn't exactly get on when she first came here," he recalls. "She was so touchy... she always was, I suppose. But after a bit we managed to find each others' wavelengths and after that we did okay. Fought alongside each other plenty... and could that Fang fight. She loved it, you can tell. Existed for it. But the thing I'll always remember most is the challenge we got into last summer. I don't even recall what it was about, but I do recall the terms I set her. Whichever of us could stand on one leg the longest, would win. The sight of her standing there like a stork glaring at me... And then she started throwing stones at me. That's how much she always wanted to win everything, even a stupid challenge with crazy terms and no prize for the winner. So, Clemency... I brought you some more rocks," he says, opening his hand to reveal a palm full of pebbles which, stepping up to the dead ahroun, he tucks into her pocket. "When you come back next time, throw some of these at me, and I'll know who it is." With a sad smile he steps back from the body again.
Laura steps forward, looking at her packmates, then at the small bundle she carries in her hands. She centers herself, planting her feet and staring at the pyre. "Blessed is the match consumed in kindling flame. Blessed is the flame that burns in the secret fastness of the heart. Blessed is the heart with strength to stop its beating for honor's sake. Blessed is the match consumed in kindling flame," she recites, clear-voiced and loud enough for the whole gathering to hear. She watches the pyre a few moments more, then tucks the bundle she carries in amongst the wood. Then she closes her eyes and steps away.
Blackriver swells up into hispo and slowly pads forward, raising her head to say her bit. ~Fire-Burns-yuf was a good Garou and a good Silver Fang. She always put the good of the sept and the tribe in front of her own good. Sometimes she was too angry, but she knew she was too angry and always worked hard not to be angry. But she was never afraid or reluctant to do what needed to be done.~ That said, Blackriver pads back to her previous spot and lays down.
KL takes a deep breath and unfolds her arms. "Clemency... When she first came here, she swept in like a gust of air. She'd got into a stack of fights before she'd even finished saying hello." She purses her lips, looking thoughtful. "She thought that she was broken. And I'll admit, she was a mad as a flock of salmon. But she didn't take any shit from anyone. We celebrated the defeat of the smog bane together and..." Her voice gets more confidant. "She was a nightmare to our enemies. Viscous in a fight. Great fun afterwards. She got me drunk...first time ever. I am proud to have had her as a packmate, however briefly. Proud to have been in the same Sept as her. Proud of her dying with the blood of our foes on her claws. Proud and exultant and triumphant. I hope that when it's my turn...when I fall...I fall with half the honour and half the glory." She pulls out a bottle of Coors from her bag, and tosses it towards the pyre. "Fight on, awesome claw of Gaia." With that, she steps back, and looks around as if daring anyone to say anything.
Ruth sniffs, and surreptitiously blows her nose on a tissue. Kristin reaches over with a hand, and the two cubs link fingers. Stacey murmurs something very quietly in the young half-moon's ear, and Ruth shakes her head then murmurs something to Kristin, who also indicates no. The Gaian elder nods and looks back towards the pyre, staying silent and respectful, when Ruth seems to change her mind. Stacey nudges her forwards a bit.
"Um..." Ruth nervously rubs her palms together. "I, uh, didn't know Clemency-rhya very well. I thought she was scary. But I liked her too. She... gave me some good advice. It wasn't very /important/ advice. I mean, not big saving Gaia and fighting the Wyrm advice. But it was..." she twists her hands together, searching for the right words... "something small that had to be learned before trying anything bigger. And I'll miss her. Even if she was scary." She stops, looking down at her sneakers, then glances at her Elder to see if she did okay, giving a tiny smile in response to Stacey's approving look.
Reggie offers the words to the corpse atop a pile of woods, "While her body will turn into ashes and charred bones on this pyre, Clemency Fire-Burns-Forever's spirit will burn forever." He raises his gravelly voice, "She died in glory, with the Wyrm in her claws!" The wolfskin-clad Uktena raises his hands to the skies, "Howl for her bravery, howl for her battle, howl in memory of her sacrifice!"
Voice's howl joins the others. The clear, haunting and sorrowful tone of it may give the garou of the Hidden Walk some clue as to how the ragabash earned his deedname.
Cries-No-More lets loose with a straightforward, dissonant howl into the sky, clear and etched with sorrow for the passing of such a great warrior.
Dillen shifts up to crinos and the song-moon begins a howl that's tuneful and loud, though not a little sad.
KL shifts up into Crinos in a flash, letting out a loud howl of triumph and of sheer happiness. She spreads her arms wide to the sky, head tipped back and jaws wide open. Beside her, Stone-Spirit is slower to shift and her howl is muted, a note of regret clearly audible in her voice.
Helen shifts up into the warform, howling along with everyone else for Clemency.
The three Gaians are late, Walks-Middle having to do a lot of prompting before joining the howl. Fears-Pain's howl rings clear and confident with that of the young Elder. Trips-Over-Paws' voice is rusty and hesitant.
Others join in the howl: Blackriver remains in her current form, while Laura and Vera shift into Crinos, their voices joining the chorus. Once the howling fades and dies down, Culls' begins to speak. ~It is no secret that Grandfathers' children and those under the guidance of Falcon are not always on the best of terms. Both our Tribes have very firm opinions on why this hostility exists, but such /traditions/ of mistrust should not stop us from accomplishing what needs to be done, or admitting to the worth, skill, Honor, and Glory of another Garou. I know for a fact that I was never one of Clemency's favorite people and when she first met me, she saw my Tribe and only later, the the Garou I was beyond that.~ Cull's black-furred face cracks a sharp-toothed grin. ~She called me Thunderbitch behind my back and was absolutely furious when I found out. Aside from my teasing 'that I was certain she could come up with better insults if she tried', which infuriated her further, we slowly came to an understanding. I like to think, that given enough time, we could have overcome the hostility that exists between our two Tribes and become friends. Unfortunately, before that could happen, she died in battle. Tearing out the throats of our most hated enemies in the process. Her Rage was great and so was her warriors spirit. Both of these things drove her forward like a flame, brighter then the sun. But, the flame that burns brightest burns shortest. Now that Clemency's flame has gone out, I ask you all to always remember how brightly it burned.~ Still leaning heavily on her makeshift walking stick, Cills-The-Herd retrieves a burning log from the small fire she had been tended and shoves it into the kindling under the pyre. ~And so we send her on her way, in a fire that burns pale in comparison to the one that Clemency carried within herself.~
The fire starts slowly at first, but soon flames are burning brightly and lick at the furs that Clemency's body is resting on. Then, the fire begins to burn more fiercely and all is consumed.
Ethan looks around at the others gathered before he steps up to the pyre, a little reluctantly perhaps, and begins to speak. Unlike some of the others, he speaks directly to the dead, not about her. "I knew you about as well as I know the Queen of England, so I'm not gonna sit here and pretend otherwise. What I did know was...like the rest of your tribe, you're as nutty as a Planters mix-bag. But you had the heart of a Get. Three on one, and you made them pay threefold for every drop of blood they took from you. Saved my life." Here, the ragabash grows quiet, lifts the bottle of whiskey in a salute, and gets ready to take a drink. "And I owe you for that. I hate owing dead people. Anyway, this is for you, Clemency Fire-Burns. Runs-Through-Doors. Cheers." He drinks then throws the bottle on the fire. Knowing that JAck Daniels and fire can be very colorful, the ragabash is quick to back up.
Cries-No-More can be heard to let out an audible, slow sigh as the flames burn away at Clemency.
Bloods-Bane's howls die slowly away as the fire does, until he is standing silent with head bowed.
Cycle-Breaker watches as the body of Clemency is reduced to ashes, eyes sad. ~Go with Gaia,~ she says, mostly to herself.
As the sounds of Garou mourning fade with the flames, Walks-Middle places a hand on the shoulder of each of the two cubs and turns them away. She takes them back through the pines, leaving space and time for those who knew the Silver Fang better to mourn her alone. Their three lupus forms can be seen for a moment before they vanish among the trees.
Culls-The-Herd returns to the small fire she was tending earlier and sits down with a small amount of difficulty, clearly glad to get off her injured legs.
There's no trace of regret or sorrow in Escapes' stance, as she gazes at the flames licking at her former packmate. Her head is held in a proud lift, her arms folded across her chest.
Cries-No-More looks to Vera, and walks in her direction. ~Alpha, may I speak with you?~
Culls-The-Herd looks up from her seat on the ground, ears laying back for a moment. ~What do you wish to speak with me about?~
Cries-No-More gets right to the point. ~I have to leave the Sept, I'm going to travel to the Pine Hills and visit my old mentor there, Joseph Blackrabbit. I need his guidance. And, I have spoken with my son Circles, and he wishes to join me.~
~He is your son,~ Culls' rumbles. ~You are free to do what you will, but Circles is a Cub and thus under the control of Jacinta. However, I doubt there is much that she could complain of, as he is your son.~
Cries-No-More dips his muzzel respectfully, ~I just wanted you to know I would be leaving, officially. I know I have not been present for some time, around the Sept.~
Culls-The-Herd bobs her crinos head in a simple nod. ~And you have my blessings. Good luck to you on your journey."
Cries-No-More deepens his muzzel-dip into a bow. ~Thankyou.~ And he leaves, without any more words to anyone.