Date: Setting:


Caern: The Northwest Escarpment and Dais

The steep and imposing rock wall that once formed the northwestern barrier of the old caern is now less than half as deep as it used to be. Buried by vegetation, rock, soil, and other material brought in by the Wyld surge, it nonetheless remains a precipitous wall. Above it, a massive tangle of leftover vegetation completely blocks off the former trail into the caern. Jutting from the base of the chasm wall, near the caern floor, is a naturally occurring stone dais with a fairly flat surface. It sits roughly three and a half feet high at its center, with either end gently sloping down a foot or more. On the cliff face above the dais, dark striations and scratchings mar the stone, creating an image that eerily resembles the glyph garou use to represent the Weaver. The northern end of the escarpment wall slowly sinks into the land that becomes the northern part of the bawn, but the southern side ends abruptly, swallowed by the massive reddish-brown and beige wasps' nest created during the Wyld incursion. Though not completely intact, the structure still fills almost all of the former canyon, its surface alternating between smooth and rough, with beautiful, marbled patterns of various shades of beige, grey, brown, red and white.

The caern continues in two directions from here. On one side, the land slopes down towards the stone firepit, while the gigantic, Wyld-influenced tree marks both the center of the caern and the final point of the triangle. Near where the remnant of the nest meets the escarpment wall, there is a dark corridor leading underground.


The full moon hangs in the sky, but it's fighting with the semi-thick cloud covering. It's Washington in spring, and that means it's raining. At least it's not a downpour, but it does suggest tonight won't be as comfortable as the gathering Garou might have hoped. Still, the cliff wall of the Caern itself, along with the semi shelter of the center tree and the abandoned wasp's nest, keeps most of the wind away, and some of the moisture.

Black-Light has arrived early, for a change. The Gnawer's fur has a faint green glow to it, a sign that he's either been down in the tunnels, or that he's mauled some raver kids. He lurks, crouched, looking suitably broody and ominous and lazy from a perch on one of the cliffside paths overlooking the Caern, a big furry gargoyle.

Memory has found herself a perch in the center tree, finding shelter from the rain where she can.

Consumes-Shadows is a Lord. Of course he's standing out in the rain and seems to have been long enough for some of the wet to have begun creeping under the coarse guard hairs of his pelt. The Crinos'ed Alpha looks particularly tense and standing even more rigidly than usual with his jaws set tightly together. He's looking out over the grounds of the caern with his arms crossed, talons of one hand rapping insistently on his scarred arms.

The newly minted Song-of-Ashes is there too, hunkered under the cover of the tree in Lupus with his head turned upwards to stare with great curiosity at the Corax up in the branches.

Having already been hanging out against a tree, Mouse-Trap is lounging in his crinos form with his arms folded over his broad chest. The newly aged Gnawer has grown a few inches as well and has thicker brown fur. He reaches out and gives his packmate a nudge with his foot.

Frederick shuffles down the path, his usual backpack on his shoulders as he slowly approaches, jacket closed for a change, likely owing it to the rain. He does not seem to be in any hurry to be early to the moot. Being on time should suffice.

From the woods comes the jaunty sound of whistling, presaging Nolan's appearance at the edge of the caern. He runs a hand back through his hair, and grins as he steps down into the open space, looking from familiar to unfamiliar face.

Three From Ashes arrived a short while ago as well, though she's taken a position up near the firepit and seems utterly lost to the arrivals. Her claws are dug loosely into the ash and dirt near the fire, eyes closed, head bowed. It's a position that certainly makes her...very unnatural spine and tail quite noticeable.

Black-Light occasionally glances in the Corax's direction, but he doesn't tend to let his eyes linger too long. Mouse's appearance distracts him more than any other.

The Gaian elder is settled on a log near by, straddling it as she watches the arrivals and listens to any conversation that may trickle past her ears.

Felix is hanging out by his packmates, though he's spending the time while people gather by wandering along various roots of the tree, balancing. He's doing very well at it today, despite the wetness of the wood. Periodically, when he nears a suitable branch, he leaps up to grab it and pull up or swing a little, or both. Staying still doesn't seem to be on the menu just now.

The moot is called to order for all the moon is hidden behind the rainclouds. With crisp timing the formalities are observed, the sky opened and the totems welcomed with howls of joy and respect. Fools are made to look properly foolish and the Litany confirmed as all that is right and proper. When the voices have settled, one of the Philodox present snaps the heavy leg bone of a deer and calls those with business to present to come forward.

Nolan does more watching than participating, particularly during the calling of the litany. A quirk at his lip, he pays more attention to those shouting down the fool than he does to the fool himself.

Song-of-Ashes eventually does stop gawking at Memory and diverts his curiosity to the business at hand. There's no mistaking his voice among the crowd, higher pitched and yappy when howling even in the Hispo, but the Galliard appears all in good spirits as he (literally) bounces back and forth between his packmates to be closer to one and then the other.

Putting Song of Ashes in a big fuzzy headlock, Mouse-Trap gives a wide grin to his packmate as he twists him to the side and takes him down to the ground for a belly rub. ~Silly doofus.~

Chugs-the-Mystery-Brew settles down somewhat -- although like his pack's other Galliard, not entirely -- when things properly begin, channeling a fair amount of that excess energy into the howls and the Litany arguing, both with gleeful enthusiasm.

As the moot goes on, Alicia sends her own voice through the laws of the litany, then quiets as the bones are passed about by the Half Moon. She gives what little news she has to share tonight when it is her turn, then goes back to observing.

Black-Light looks more than a bit pensive at the mention of business, shifting and fidgeting, but not really moving from his roost. He grunts and growls and rumbles to himself.

Consumes-Shadows is the one who steps up, looking over the gathered sept as the bone is taken in hand. ~Some of you may know, others not. The Wyrm-Mage of the Tower is dead. Follows-the-Money has been working with an inside contact who alerted us when the mage departed the Tower and where he was going. Brings-the-Pack provided support from afar and Follows-the-Money with fire support. Myself, Scar, Black-Light, Mouse-Trap, and Chugs-the-Mystery-Brew went to destroy the fallen mage. Ultimately we were successful with Mouse-Trap's new appearance the only lasting 'wound' due to one of three of the invisible fomori. Memory assisted us in the fight after she arrived partway through. After the battle, I went into the old hospital parking garage where the mage had fled and been slain by Scar and Chugs, to warn Scar and Memory that the Queen knew and was coming. During the process, the ooze-influenced garage waylaid me. As the rest went to Lake Arthur or their own safe places, I went to the Vault, my tribe's safehouse, to get transportation. I was ambushed.~

~Four Spirals and one of those fomori, far more intelligent than the others. They sought information on who of us were involved in the attack. Thought they had me pinned and tortured, I did not give them anything, though in the ransacking of the Vault it is presumed safehouses are now compromised. I escaped both the garage and the Vault with an unknown party's help, one I presume may have been the City Father Jebediah. Since then, Follows-the-Money has spoken at greater length with her contact. What we thought were fomori are not. They are their own race as are the Queens, created in some fashion like worker bees to serve. Beware these workers and soldiers. Their hands have mouths that drain the age from you, including your life in short order. Do not let them touch you with their palms. The Queen sought the city of Seattle to claim for her own but Renegade-ikthya's forces are too strong so she chose the closest place. That is why she is here. The shield around the Tower is down and the Queen is furious and planning vengeance.~

Nolan's grin fades as Thane speaks, and a thoughtful scowl takes its place.

~Battle plans will be forthcoming.~ Consumes-Shadows says. ~In the meantime, secure your tribes and your kinfolk. If at all possible, go nowhere alone. Stay with your pack, tribemates, and friends. Trust that none of the tribal safehouses or Edgewood are secure. It's possible the Queen knows where the caern is but we can't confirm it. In light of that, I am having all Garou rotate as temporary Guardians so no one group exhausts themselves and we have more eyes on the bawn - in a pack or otherwise.~

Alicia forces her lips into a thin lined grimace as she listens. Nodding her head here and there, she gives a glance about the rest of the Garou gathered, then hooks her thumbs into her belt loops. "I will join your pack as a guardian for now. You will need a healer out here and one that knows every inch of the bawn and caern."

Black-Light listens in silence, looking as happy as any Garou would be when the word 'Spirals' isn't followed by a variation of 'were killed'.

Song-of-Ashes flops himself down among his pack with his tail wagging, though it stills and he rolls onto his stomach to pay attention to the Alpha as he speaks. Excitement over the successful mission turns to alarm and the coywolf lays back his ears. A thin whine escapes the Galliard as he looks between Mouse-Trap and Chugs. He doesn't say anything but his concern is evident.

Carried on the wind over the sound of light rain drops in the trees, at some distance but not nearly far enough to be comforting, is a single bird call. To those uninitiated, there's nothing terribly distinctive about it; one bird call among many in the middle of the forest. To those that are, however, this one can't be mistaken, however innocent it might sound to other ears: whip-poorwill, it says. Whip-poorwill.

Nolan tenses instantly at the cry of the bird, no mistaking his immediate recognition, and he looks about, attempting to pinpoint the direction.

Three From Ashes's teeth bare sharply, and her ears fold back. The reaction is purely instinctual, but there's no missing that her fur is raised, literally and metaphorically.

Mouse-Trap perks his ears upwards and lets go of his packmate. Slowly, he pushes himself upwards, then drags his claws along a stone to sharpen them with a sparkling glint.

Frederick listens quietly as Consumes-Shadows tells of the events, but jumps up as he hears that so distinctive sound, the young Fenrir's frame blurs as he shifts to Crinos, ears and head turning, swiveling, trying to find out just where the sound comes from.

It takes all of half a second for every hair on Consumes-Shadows to go on edge. With a low growl under his breath he calls on Luna's gift of protection. ~Group up, stay alert.~ He commands the gathered Garou and scans the gathering for anything unusual.

Amongst his packmates, Song-of-Ashes lifts his head to see if his gift of strengthened senses tells him anything. He remains in his Hispo form.

Chugs-the-Mystery-Brew looks somewhat pleased at the relation of the mage-killing, as well he might, but it disappears as Thane continues, through the bad news he knew to the new information he didn't, satisfaction exchanging itself with anger. And then there's that sound, and a glance to first his packmates and then others, as if checking that he didn't imagine or misidentify it, his hackles raising and stance going instantly readier.

Black-Light rises up, not looking alarmed- more tired than anything else. The Crinos closes his eyes, squeezing them shut to the count of three. When they snap open, he looks at Val, and jerks his head to the sky. ~Fly high. Call me if you think you're in danger.~ He taps the side of his head with a single claw. ~Stay away from the tree tops.~

Taking the Crinos form, The Last Song Standing starts to shimmer brightly in a coat of Luna's Armor as she inches closer to the Shadow Lord Elder. Her nostrils give a quick flare as she sniffs the air. ~They will attack with inky gifts that will blind you. If any has senses that will pierce through them, use it now.~

Whip-poorwill, comes the bird call again. It seems closer, from somewhere to the east. And then another sounds, definitely closer than the first, but westward of the Caern. Whip-poorwill, whip-poorwill.

Memory turns her head to look in Black-Light's direction, bobs her head, and takes off with a nigh silent flutter of midnight wings. She disappears up into the night air and camoflagues herself against a black, rainy backdrop.

Nolan's head whips around, focusing on each call from the bird, and then gives a glance back to the Shadow Lord. Any pretense of a smile is gone, he's all business, now, as he moves closer to the fire pit.

Black-Light takes two steps back from the edge of the cliff pathway. It's one of the few that lead down into the Caern proper. ~Get around cover, in case they've got guns,~ he suggests. And then he's gone.

Following Black-Light's words is an eerie sort of silence. No bird calls, not even the ones they've been hearing all evening. No animal noises. Only the patter of rain on the ground and the tree-tops.

Consumes-Shadows steps down from the dias to move closer to the Garou near the center of the caern. His hands are flexing at his sides and his teeth are bared. The Lord's lone eye never stops moving, taking in every inch of his surroundings. ~Stay together.~ He says lowly as he joins the group properly. ~Anyone see or smell anything?~

Delivers-The-Verdict looks from the dais to Consumes-Shadows, then up at the cliff, ears still swiveling as he grits his teeth, snarling a faint, barely audible ~C'mon, what are you waiting for? Attack! Being late for your funeral is bad form.~ He pauses, ears busy twisting and turning. ~Nothing. We should hear them move, but nothing!~

Nolan again looks around, and Slug's mention of guns gets a moment's focus. He crouches down by the raised stone spiral, and as his hands run along the ground, perhaps searching for a projectile, his form shifts to crinos.

~Shut up, Fred. That's how you get them to shoot you first.~ Mouse Trap huffs out to the Get as he crouches down low, motioning his packmates to do the same as he inches behind a larger tree, only peeking out now and then.

<OOC> To the caern, Sheogorath says "Clarification: There's only one tree in the Caern (the big one) and only one path down (which is why there's only one way to enter, it's...near the firepit?)"
<OOC> To the caern, Mouse-Trap is hiding behind that tree!

There's a sudden explosion of sound from all sides of the forest surrounding the Caern. It sounds like dozens of different voices all making the calls, all at once, still not quite at the Caern itself but close. Whip-poorwill! Whip-poorwill! Whip-poorwill!

Continuing to breathe in deep of the air, The Last Song Standing shifts herself closer to Thane, then rumbles out to him in a low tone of her voice. ~I can sense the Wyrm near by, the enemy is growing closer.~

Chugs-the-Mystery-Brew regards their surroundings through narrowed eyes, ears cocked for any hint of further sounds. Mouse-Trap's remark to Fred gets a very soft snort, and the Galliard does as his Alpha motions, using the massive tree for cover. His attention flickers to various portions of the area, despite the lack of paths in from those directions, especially once the calls burst out.

Song-of-Ashes twitches his ears but utters a quiet huff. ~I'm not hearing or smelling anything different.~ He drops his head to rub his nose against his leg as if scratching an itch. ~...maybe the gift is--~ He yelps at the sudden burst of sound, ears flattening back as he falls back towards the central tree.

Delivers-The-Verdict looks down at the Mouse-Trap hidden behind a root of the tree. ~No need to hide. If they have guns, we are dead. Whether you die down there or ...~, his condescending remark cut short by the deafening bird call, the Fenrir's ears flattening against his head in reflex, head whipping around to find out whether there is anything to see instead.

Consumes-Shadows utters an utterly displeased growl at the words of Last-Song-Standing. ~We're likely already surrounded. ...Gyhldeptis, Wixalxali, Aahn, I hope you're listening.~ He murmurs quietly and narrows his eyes. ~Delivers-The-Verdict, hearing anything from the others in the pack?~ He asks of the Philodox. ~If the other Guardians were ambushed I've heard nothing.~

There is a loud snort from Mouse Trap as he pushes himself upwards, ears flattening back at the loud noises that start to circle them. ~Coyotes, stick together. We fight as one. We'll prank the assholes to death.~

With that sudden burst of sound, the Fianna's eyes go wide and anyone looking would see that moment in which he struggles for control. His whole body appears to shake, the rage visible through every inch of his crinos form. In the end, he holds himself together, but only by the skin of his teeth.

Delivers-The-Verdict quickly shakes his head at the questions about the other guardians. ~Impossible that they didn't hear it. Whole town must be hearing it. Maybe they're fighting their way in.~ He pauses, baring his teeth ~Why don't they attack?~

The cacophony dies down, and there's silence again.

Chugs-the-Mystery-Brew gives Delivers-The-Verdict a sideways look at the condescending remark, one furry brow raised, then dismisses it. He goes back to scanning the area, fur bristling, and nods to Mouse-Trap, with a fleeting, somewhat malicious grin. ~Sounds like a plan to me.~ And then the silence falls, and he shifts his balance slightly, head tilting to listen harder.

Recovered from the near loss of control, Squirrel Talks to No One looks to the alpha, his eyes narrowed expectantly. ~Stay and wait for their attack, or take the fight to them?~

Consumes-Shadows takes a few steps in the direction of the fire with his eyes squinting past the flames towards the pathway leading into the caern and spies the Fianna. ~Keep it together, Squirrel.~ He says firmly, though not unkindly. ~If they're circled up running into it blind wouln't get us far. Tactics like that aim to make us spook and react.~

There's a soft crunch of leaves and new wood, right at the apex of the cliffside far above the Caern, followed by a mostly green sapling, possibly three fit in length and snapped in half, falling--no, tossed--from above. The face that looks over after it is crinos in theory, a black furred monster with long, furless ears and at least a foot of height over the norm even for werewolves, but his mouth is...misplaced. It's all on one side of his muzzle and face, clenched teeth and persistent drool with unhealthy, peeling lips. The crinos spreads his arms to either side, an easy, open target if he weren't so far above them.

Consumes-Shadows takes several quick steps back to avoid the slung tree as he snarls up at the Spiral. ~Well what the fuck do you want? Besides ruin the landscape.~

Song-of-Ashes remains close to his pack, senses keeping a close watch on their surroundings.

Squirrel rolls his shoulders back at the answer from the alpha, muzzle wrinkling in discontent, but the movement above attracts his attention and he looks up to find the source. He looks as though he might well make the thirty foot leap to reach that opening, but for the moment, he keeps still, waiting instruction.

Delivers-The-Verdict leaps backwards, startled, as the branch comes tumbling towards him, the Fenrir quickly stepping forward as he recovers from the surprise and gives it a kick as he yells upwards to the figure on top of the cliff ~Come down! Come! I promise I put you out of your misery!~

The Child of Gaia narrows her eyes as she watches the tree get flung over the size, then lets out a loud howl to the enemy. ~Either face us or run away like the cowards you are! You should know by now that you stand no chance! You stand before the might of the Triquetral Accord and history has proven time and time again that you forfeit your life! So either come die like men or run like mice! Either way, will take your last breath!~

~Or come die like mice!~ Chugs-the-Mystery-Brew adds after the elder Galliard's howl, ~We ain't that picky, an' we built us a better Mouse-Trap!~ He doesn't keep his focus on the interloper, however, still checking out the other edges of the area.

~I bring message from Queen Rancordiant,~ the Dancer on the cliff gurgles from his misplaced, drooling mouth. ~You took what is Hers, now she takes--~ But what she takes isn't said, because at that exact moment a large, feathery shape drops from the sky and...empties itself all over the Dancer's face, head, and bared chest. The Dancer shrieks with fury, a sound utterly mangled by his unnatural mouth, and lashes at the crinos'd corax with both claws--he misses, but the sudden gunshot from behind him doesn't. It's not the only one to sound off--suddenly several white skinned vaguely man-shaped /things/ appear on the ridge to either side of him, armed with rifles, that fire down into the gathered Garou crowd. One shot strikes Alicia in the throat, a second drives itself through Fred's shoulder and out the back, and a third just barely clips Felix's left ear. No more hiding--the entire forest seems to open up with screams, howls, and laughter, and two hispo dash in toward the firepit.

As the bullet cuts through the air and hits her in the throat, The Last Song Standing is now hitting the ground with a gurgle. She lets out a panicked wheeze, clawing at her throat desperately with one paw in an attempt to remove the bullet.

~I aim to take it all.~ Consumes-Shadows says as he jerks his head to face the oncoming Hispo. Rage flares hot in the Shadow Lord as he stretches out his claws, calling on molten silver to manifest and encase each talon before he charging right for the Dancers with frightening speed. The closest one is lunged at to shred whatever flesh he can find.

Memory regains some height, where she shrinks back into her corvid form and all but disappears against the black cloudy sky.

Delivers-The-Verdict loses his balance for a moment as the bullets rip through his body, a large paw grasping the wounded shoulder, the Fenrir looking at it for a moment before the movement of the hispos catches his eye. Perfect. His eyes seem to gleam for a moment as he grits his teeth and starts to dash towards the attacking beasts, gaining momentum as he catches up with his Alpha and chooses whoever is left for him. Choice of target is, after all, the privilege of the elder.

Squirrel Talks to No One whirls around, the fury in his gaze presented to the pair of approaching hispo. He doesn't lunge for them, but readies himself for their attack, claws on his toes digging into the soil.

Black-Light stirs after the first round of gunshots, moving in dead silence. The Garou takes one swift step toward the edge of the narrow cliff pathway, his eyes locked on something below. Half a ton of fur, fang, and muscle takes flight like a bat, not so much leaping as falling talons-first like a bird of prey.

Chugs-the-Mystery-Brew yelps at the sudden nick to his ear, as much from startlement as pain, although there's certainly some of the latter, since he announces to the others, ~Those fuckin' bullets burn!~ as he aims for a bit more cover from the tree and looks to his packmates, then nods what looks like some kind of agreement.

As the Hummingbird pack moves for one hispo, the Coyote pack launches themselves at the other with murderous glee in their eyes. The Uktena hispo races forward first to meet the enemy, feints one with, then dives in to try and latch his large hispo jaws upon one of it's legs in a take down maneuver. Mouse-Trap follows in next, barreling forward, then swoops down to send his glittering razor claws forward to tear across the head of the beast. Chugs-the-Mystery-Brew waits for his moment, then looks to send his claws into the backside of the beast. The trio move in unison, creating a triangle offense of jaws and claws.

Another gunshot rings out, this time from in the Caern itself, as Mouse has shrunk to glabro and has her own, very familiar, handgun in play. She misses, as the bullet pings off the cliffside right next to one of the not-fomor shooters, and only the thick center tree saves her from a return shot. The other shooter takes aim and fires at a different target, this time Thane; the bullet takes him just under one shoulderblade, but it's not fast enough to stop the Shadow Lord.

Both charging hispo, before any of the Garou reach them, suddenly stumble, screaming in agony. Their screams aren't long lived, as the Garou descend, tearing them to pieces within mere seconds as they're seemingly helpless to prevent it. Up on the clifftop, the speaker swipes furiously at white Corax droppings in order to clear his eyes. Slug plunges from the cliffside, seemingly for no reason, up until he lands with a sickening crunch on something previously unseen, yet another not-fomor in the Caern itself. The noise it makes is a dry sort of gasp and little else as the Gnawer's claws find purchase under makeshift armor and slice open its hide.

The twitching frame of the Gaian Elder comes to a stop as she wills herself through the pain. Now that she can concentrate, she holds her breath as her claws become like a game of operation, trying to pluck the bullet out as tears spill down her fuzzy cheeks.

Consumes-Shadows tears his claws free of the Hispo he's torn to ribbons, arching up with an enraged and pained howl. He thrashes in place as he twists around, trying to reach the bullet that punched through the silver aura around him and try to remove it.

Black-Light crumples onto the figure beneath him, his legs and arms folding up, his body heaving with the recoil or the fall. The Gnawer's face is agony, his mouth clenched shut, eyes bugging out of his head, but he does not scream. He stays right where he is, glancing up at the shooters on the cliff.

Squirrel watches as the pack rushes past, until their claws first draw blood. As they take down their kills, he turns around again, perhaps seeking another target to attack, either visible or not.

Delivers-The-Verdict aims for his target's throat and clings to it, even as the creature starts to howl in pain, taking his pained screams as a reaction to his attack until he goes limp far easier than should be expected. He stops as he hears his Alpha's howl, grasping him and hauling him behind the body of their foe, trying to use it as a makeshift shield for the time being, at least until the creature reverts to its original form this should buy them a little time.

As the Coyote pack trio spreads out from their kill, they give very little time to celebrate. Chugs-the-Mystery-Brew starts rushing forward and to the left, barking hysterically in a high pitched wail of a howl, yipping and dancing about on his paws. Hey, Asshole! Look at me! Look at me! Song-of-Ashes and Mouse Trap zig zag through the darkness as the Ahroun blurs down into the hispo form for additional speed, moving for the other side of the caern.

As Mouse continues to trade pot shots with the not-fomori shooters on the cliff side, the Dancer with the misplaced mouth digs the claws of one foot into the ground and suddenly launches himself off the cliff, howling and laughing madly. His arms go wide and skin flaps appear, but the drop is so sudden that Chugs's wits are all that save him from a fate rather similar to the not-fomor Slug just squashed. The Dancer lands heavily just to one side, so close the Gnawer can feel his hot breath. A third shooter appears on the ridge right near where the Dancer vacated, and takes aim at those below.

Alicia manages to pluck a bright, blood covered piece of metal from her throat, and abruptly she can breathe again, albeit not easily. One rifle shot clips very very close to Watcher's left hind paw just as it leaves the dirt in his run, but suddenly the not-fomor that shot at him screams and grabs at his head, thrashing back and forth on the edge of the cliff.

Gasping for air, the Gaian has vengeance in her eyes as she rises up to her full height. With a growl, she shouts upwards, ~Knock it off!~ Throwing a hand forward, she calls upon the gift of man to break the guns the white creatures hold, while clutching her throat with her other paw.

Consumes-Shadows grunts to his packmate what might be a thanks. ~Squirrel!~ He heaves. ~There!~ Bloody talons point the Fianna towards the Dancer going for Chugs. It's the best order he can bark out as he keeps trying to reach the bullet. With breathing not making the situation any more comfortable, he instead jerks his eye to his packmate as his vision swims with Rage.

When the large spiral dancer hits the ground, Chugs-the-Mystery-Brew's eyes bug open and he lets out a loud ~God DAMN you're an ugly fucker!~ It is about that time that Mouse-Trap barrels down upon the dancer, driving himself forward into the back of it's legs as he calls upon the gift of falling touch. Slashing forward with his claws towards the creature's face in an attempt to blind it, Chugs snarls mockingly at the creature. Once he hits the ridge, Song of Ashes starts to climb up the wall swiftly with his lizard's gift, jaws snapping out to try and grab the fomori who is shaking his head by the leg and yank him downwards.

Black-Light looks up when he hears the thump of another heavyweight hitting the ground. Black-Light stands crouched, thinking, staring at the Spiral. One second. Two seconds. On the third, he acts. The Garou grabs the back of the nearly dead Fomori at his feet, snatching it up with both great paws, then he whirls on his heel and /throws/ it face-first at the Black Spiral Dancer.

Delivers-The-Verdict grits his teeth as he grasps Consumes-Shadows' body, dropping that of the Hispo in the process as he starts to dig around in his packmate's left shoulder, careful not to cause more damage but determined to find that blasted bullet lodged in there somewhere. The, well, let's call it operation, is not exactly that of a doctor trying not to hurt his patient, it's more guided by efficiency and the goal to get that bullet out as soon as he can to stop its cursed effects. In other words, yes, this could maybe sting a little now...

The Fianna certainly heard the alpha, judging by the twitch of his ear, and he probably caught the plunging attack of the Dancer at least out of the corner of his eye, but despite all that, he stays where he is, watching those at the top of the cliff, growling from somewhere deep in his throat.

The gunshots stop, including the ones from Mouse. She mutters something irritable under her breath as she holsters her gun, but no time is wasted in returning to her birth form--she's crinos again in less than an eyeblink, resting one clawed hand against the center tree's slightly bullet pitted trunk. ~Nothing in the Umbra,~ she reports, over the sound of battle. ~The Three are holding firm with theirs just in case.~

Two Coyote pack members and a mostly dead not-fomor hit the Dancer in the Caern. Both Gnawer Galliard and Ahroun find purchase for their claws in the Dancer's hide, but he returns the violence almost tit for tat, tearing into both of them with complete, frenzy-provoked abandon, foaming around his unnatural mouth. Another not-fomor screams and doubles over for seemingly no apparent reason even as Watcher drags the first down, down the cliff with him. The single not-fomor still standing hefts his now-useless gun and seizes the one still on the cliff top with him around the torso, dragging him back from the edge.

<OOC> To the caern, Sheogorath says "Sanity report: One Dancer on the ground, the Coyote pack is on top of him, he's in full frenzy. One not-fomor on the ground as well, Watcher's on him. Two not-fomor up top, one screaming, one pulling him back. No more enemies standing and visible."

Black-Light takes off at a dead sprint, which is pretty damn fast for something so big. The Gnawer's muzzle drops open, heaving and huffing and puffing like a locomotive getting up to speed. When he's finally within striking distance, he jumps and aims for the Dancer's back, doing his best to ride him down to the ground before either he or the Coyotes get killed.

When the two creatures at the top of the cliff begin pulling back, Nolan turns, running full out up the slope, though even there it's clear his path will take him around and toward the enemy.

Howling in pain, Mouse-Trap's hispo jaws snap forward and looks to sink into the creature's hamstring, followed by a hard yank backwards to tear away at the meat. With Slug looking to saddle him up, Chugs-the-Mystery-Brew flinches as the wounds rip across his body, causing him to stumble before leaping in once more while the spiral is on the ground from his packmate's gift. He attempts to drive his claws into the throat of the creature, plant one foot on the shoulder and yank backwards.

Consumes-Shadows utters several sharp snarls over the course of the Fenrir's work but the bullet finally comes free. He gives himself a shake before his lips pull back in a savage grin. ~Let's finish this.~ He growls to his packmate before he turns and begins to follow on the heels of Nolan towards the remaining shooters.

Song-of-Ashes came up the wall with the speed and sureness of a hunting monitor lizard and clamps onto the leg of the white creature at the top of the cliff. Down he drags him until they're at a safe enough distance where the Uktena drops the monster mercilessly to the ground. Then he's lunging down after it to clamp its head in his Hispo jaws and shake and crunch thoroughly.

Wheeling herself around now that the guns are no longer going off, Alicia watches one pack head off after the runners, while the others dive bomb the frenzying spiral. With a chanting prayer to Gaia, she sings out a line of calming lyrics to the frenzying Garou. ~Hush now, quiet now it's time to lay your sleepy head!~

Delivers-The-Verdict finishes picking at the wound and rolls a blood stained silver bullet out of the Alpha's flesh, tossing it to the ground and releasing the elder from the grasp that kept him, or at least should have kept him, still enough to find that dreadful piece of metal. He starts to sprint towards the slope leading up to where that last non-fomor was before.

The frenzying Dancer doesn't go down easily, more like a particularly hideous blender, and it's difficult to tell in the confusion whose blood and fur are where. He stops fighting when Slug's heavy clawed foot finally connects with his head, but his life blood continues to gush even as he loses consciousness. Not dead, not yet.

The pursuers, Get, Shadow Lord and Fianna, can hear their prey running quite some ways in front of them, even the screams of the one, though shortly these screams stop.

The downed not-fomor grabs and claws at Watcher's head, but he's still in the grip of whatever caused him to start thrashing in the first place, along with what are likely many many broken bones, and while his hide is tough Watcher finds that teeth work just as well. He tears out the not-fomor's throat in spectacular bloody fashion.

~Stop!~ Black-Light speaks when he sees the Spiral underfoot go limp, likely louder anyone in the Caern has ever heard him.

When the screams ahead stop, Nolan pushes for a burst of speed, muzzle wrinkling in distaste at the scents he manages to catch.

As it seems that the Gnawer Ahroun was about to finish the spiral off, he pulls himself back with barely restrained willpower as his eyes bug out. ~Stop? Why the fuck for?~

Chugs-the-Mystery-Brew does much the same, only just managing to pull back at Black-Light's yell and giving the Ragabash a seriously confused look.

Consumes-Shadows continues the pursuit of the fleeing gunmen, clearly quite intent on not leaving any of them alive. Even with the the burn of the silver wound in his shoulder the Lord's teeth are bared for more blood. ~Keep close to one another!~ He commands, ~May be more.~

Song-of-Ashes doesn't let up on his maiming until the gunman stop moving and blood stops flowing. Only then does he abandon the body, kicking two quick hindpaw's worth of dirt derisively in its direction, and trots over to join his pack with teeth bared at the downed Spiral.

Black-Light looks down at the Gnawers at his feet, standing on a Spiral soapbox. ~He isn't full of ooze,~ Black-Light says, tapping the body beneath him with a paw. ~And he might know things.~ Black-Light draws in a deep breath through his nose, chest heaving. ~And every soul in a Spiral was once a Garou soul. Capturing them alive is rare. We can try to send him to Erebus. Purify a soul that was once Gaian.~

Heading over to the wounded, Alicia reaches out and lays a hand upon the Galliard Gnawer, seeing that he is the most injured and sends a wave of healing through his body. Her breath comes out in raspy wheezes from behind her other paw which she still holds to her throat, blood squirting out the fingers.

~We're not sending this mother fucker to Erebus! If you want to try and squeeze him for information, that's fine, but we're yanking his fucking throat out right afterwards.~ The Ahroun snaps at Slug with venom in his voice, then sends a hard kick straight into the rib cage of the creature. ~Punk ass bitch.~

Delivers-The-Verdict follows his alpha quite closely, the young Fenrir's teeth gritted as he wants that gunman certainly at least as much, snarling ~That would only mean more of the bastards croak~. Adrenaline, along with Resist Pain, keeps his mind off his own shoulder wound, at least for the time being.

Three-From-Ashes gives Black-Light a long, considering look, but says nothing herself.

The downed Dancer coughs, blood spurting from between his deformed teeth in his even more deformed mouth. He's not awake yet, but he's coming around rather quickly.

The pursuit ends abruptly, at least for the moment, as Nolan nearly trips over the newly desiccated corpse in his path. It's withered to nothing but skin and bone, as if it had been dead for months or longer in a dry heat, but it's wearing the clothing and armor the screaming not-fomor that got dragged off with his companion had on. As for his companion, there's no sign of the other. No crashing footsteps.

Nolan snarls in frustration, but there's no hint of surprise in his posture. The crinos drops into a crouch, hands holding part of his weight as he works to catch his breath, but his gaze searches the area for signs of the remaining target's direction.

Black-Light senses the stirring of the body beneath, and it's to that he attends before anything else. The Gnawer, still standing on the Spiral, one foot on his lower back, the other near his shoulders, checks his wounds. Then he draws his arms back behind him, wrists together. ~How many Metis do the Spirals make?~ He asks, nodding at the ugly beast beneath him. ~If you kill him, his soul goes back to the bull-pen and comes out in another year or two or three, whenever the next born Spiral needs spirit to go with it's skin. Don't cut the weed. Yank it out, and plant something new.~

Chugs-the-Mystery-Brew tilts his head at Slug's rationale, considering it, and sucks in a breath as Alicia's healing moves through his body, mending the worst of the wounds. ~Thanks,~ he says, and eyes her neck, ~Sorry I can't do the same...~ The stirring of the Spiral at his feet gets what looks like a reflexive reaction, foot drawing back to boot him in the head for daring to try to come 'round; he manages to catch himself and mostly-pull it at the very last moment, so the impact is glancing at worst, this time. He gives Slug a faintly sheepish look afterward while the other two discuss.

The Alpha roars his frustrations at the missing nonfomor but the pursuit looks to be over. ~So they turn on their own it seems.~ Huffing out noisily, Consumes-Shadows banishes the gift of his silvery claws and leaves the lingering scent of his own burned hide. ~We've gone far enough, let's not leave the others vulnerable. I'll set the other Guardians on the trail.~ He does reach down to collect what he can of the corpse so it's not left on the bawn.

Song-of-Ashes lays his ears flat as he looks between the Spiral and Black-Light. He says nothing though the Lupus looks decidedly ill at ease with the talking and keeps shooting nervous looks to the not-dead-partly-awake Spiral.

~Yeah, you try and tell Thane that. Our job is to kill these assholes. That is the mercy we give them. You can send the assholes down the silver river if they show signs of redemption. Don't waste a rite on some asshole because it's a neat fucking trick. We're killing this guy, end of story.~ Mouse Trap says with a rumbling growl in his throat, then storms off away from them. ~That fucker wakes up and kills someone, that's on your head, Slug. He escapes, that's on your head too. You keep him alive and his friends track him to where you're hiding him, that's also on your head. Stop trying to make everything into a fucking gimmick and kill the asshole.~

Delivers-The-Verdict catches up with Nolan and Consumes-Shadows, looking down he spots the corpse and gives a low snarl under his panting. He shakes his head slightly as he tries to understand. ~Good. As long as they die~, he simply states as he collects what's left of the corpse.

Squirrel takes a few slower steps beyond where the dead not-fomor fell and then turns an rage-fueled look back toward the alpha. It's quickly banished, and by the time he rises to fully face the Shadow Lord, he's once again wearing the smaller, homid, form to which he was born. He quirks a grin at Thane. "Gotta eat to live, right?"

Mouse's teeth show briefly at something in the argument. She straightens up, or at least as much as she ever does with that spine of hers, and moves slowly over toward the others, watching the Dancer carefully.

Said Dancer's eyes--well, eye, the other one is a bloody sort of paste and liquid--flutters open. He doesn't look to be in any shape to kill further; his insides are practically outside.

Chugs-the-Mystery-Brew stays by the downed Spiral, looking frankly pretty damn ready to go ahead and help out on the 'kill the asshole' front if that's what'd decided, but the actual argument, he stays out of at the moment.

~We all pay the price for the choices we make,~ Black-Light replies to Mouse-Trap, his voice fading back to a low rumble. He watches the Gnawer Ahroun depart, then turns back to the Dancer underfoot. ~So,~ he looks up at Mouse, then down again. ~Hi. I'm the reason you're not dead. I don't know how much you heard'a the little talk we just had, but I don't care.~ Black-Light kneels, then sits on the Dancer's back, his paws still around his wrists. Most of his weight stays on his knees, ready to crush down on the Dancer as quick as necessary. ~Wanna introduce yourself?~

It isn't too long before Nolan appears at the edge of the clearing, again, and makes his way back toward the fire. His breathing is a bit labored, and he stops at the first curve of the spiral to half-sit, half-lean on one of the taller rocks as he watches the others.

That mouth along the side of the Dancer's muzzle coughs again, sputtering bloody and foam, but he does get out a word that sounds like, ~No.~

~That's OK. You've had a bad night.~ Black-Light says, sounding more like a parent talking to a hung-over teenager than a Garou talking with a mortal adversary. ~Mouse,~ he looks at her. ~You're good at spirits. Can you make sure he doesn't have a link to his pack, and doesn't make any new ones?~

~Not easily,~ Mouse says, though most of her attention appears to be on the Dancer. ~And not here.~

Nolan lifts his chin as he watches those around the Dancer, and after a moment more, he pushes up from the rock and heads over to join them.

Chugs-the-Mystery-Brew crosses his arms across his chest, looking down at their captive, and at the refusal, moves as if considering poking at one of the many bits of the Spiral that looks as though they'd really quite regret a thorough prodding just now. Black-Light's reply gets a quirked brow, but the Galliard remains firmly in the role of silent back-up for now.

~Fair enough,~ Black-Light says. He looks up at the Garou around him, sniffing at the air. ~Hi,~ he says, licking his lips. ~I'm not real familiar with all of ya'll." That last word ( or approximation ) comes out awful funny sounding from a Crinos' mouth. ~And I'm not saying my name when someone might be listening, you'd better not either. But this," he noses the Dancer, sniffs, and announces, ~Guy, is a prisoner. If you don't wanna help me haul him around, that's fine, but the woods are dark and full of things that might be in contact with him. I'll carry him. She,~ he thumbs Mouse. ~Will lead. Anyone who wants to, guard us.~ And with that, Black-Light goes about the careful business of hauling the Spiral onto his shoulders without being bitten.

<OOC> To the caern, Black-Light says "Carrying him with one paw on his arms, one on a leg, mass across the shoulders. Since the Spiral seems at like... -6 HL or so."

The Dancer snaps and snarls as he's picked up, as much humiliated as pained--that doesn't feel good--and annoyed, but his mouth is such that biting anyone might not actually be possible. ~Fucking kill me already!~

Three-From-Ashes looks all the more dubious. ~How long, exactly, are you planning on keeping him? Because I'm giving it...tonight.~

Nolan moves in closer, but doesn't actually attempt to help with the carrying. He watches, attention on Slug and Mouse, particularly.

~Well, if we can't do that thing,~ Black-Light says to Three-From-Ashes, with the sack of Dancer slung across his shoulders. ~Then not long. Long enough to talk. Long enough to offer a last meal.~ Black-Light shrugs, the gesture muted by his burden. He glances at Nolan, appraising. ~One way or another, it won't be long until it's over.~

~Tonight,~ Three-From-Ashes repeats.

"And then?" Nolan asks, glancing to the already half-dead Dancer, and then across to Mouse.

Chugs-the-Mystery-Brew looks pretty dubious himself, and there's something that might be the ghost of a nod at Mouse's remarks, but he stays where he is. One might presume it to be an agreement to help with the guarding, at least.

~That depends,~ Black-Light says to Nolan, exchanging another look with Three-From-Ashes. ~I'm just surprised everyone's listening to a Gnawer.~

Chugs-the-Mystery-Brew smirks slightly, odd on the Crinos muzzle, and shrugs. ~I listen to us all the time.~

Mouse's teeth are practically clenched at this point. One might imagine, where she in homid, that her lips would be thin and pressed. ~Then nothing. We get him away from the Caern, Slug asks questions, then nothing, and that happens tonight. I'm not leaving him for the others to talk to.~ She doesn't seem to care about the Dancer overhearing.

"Questions," Nolan repeats, as though the word might have multiple meanings. He glances again at Slug, but despite the comment about listening to Gnawers, it's to the Glass Walker that he seems to pay the most attention.

Slug moves off with the still sputtering Dancer in order to make sure he's secure, and Three-From-Ashes finally, though with some apparent reluctance, shrinks down to homid. She looks somehow both tired and focused, and now that the Dancer is out of her immediate vision, she glances back toward the Caern. Her lips are indeed pressed tightly together, a thin, worrisome line.

Out of earshot of the Dancer, Nolan gives his full attention to the now-homid Glass Walker. "Nolan," he says simply, as though stating his name is enough. "I suppose it's good I came back when I did. You people are having quite the time of it."

Chugs-the-Mystery-Brew glances after Slug, and remains in the war form for the time being. The partially-healed slashes from the Dancer's claws are mostly-clotted, though still considerably large and angry. He listens silently for the moment, partly to Mouse and Nolan and partly for any indications of trouble in Slugland.

"Mouse," she replies, although she seems more distracted than anything. "Up until the strike on that mage, we really haven't." She finally looks to Nolan, and Chugs in turn. "I counted six. Three Dancers, three of those others. Were there more I didn't see?"

"That's all that were visible," Nolan says. "And I didn't scent any that weren't. Though the wraiths are hard to scent, and one was able to evade us." He draws in a breath, letting it out on a note of frustration.

The Galliard tilts his head, eyes briefly narrowing. ~I think I saw seven. Three Dancers,~ he says quietly, ~Four of the others. The one in the caern Slug got the drop on, the gunner Watcher dragged down, an' two other gunners I saw, pretty sure... but admittedly I was kinda distracted just then.~

"Seven," Mouse repeats. "They came in the Realm, they gave us warning, that asshole over there even strutted right out into the open." She inhales sharply, and then lets the air come out in a long, slow breath. "This wasn't an attack."

"Seven," Nolan says, squinting as he goes over the events in his head. "No. Not an attack. Not an attack they expected to hurt us with, at least. He was saying it was retribution." He frowns. "But they didn't hurt us, which means either we don't know something else that they did, and this was a distraction, or this was intelligence gathering, and the fact that one made it out is far worse."

Chugs-the-Mystery-Brew pauses, and then nods slowly, listening to them. ~Well, ain't like they needed a distraction if they already knew we'd be there then, not lookin' at whatever else they were distractin' from. Could just do whatever while we were AT the moot, with no warnin'. So intel makes more sense, maybe.~ A slight pause. ~Or they underestimated us some, an' it was meant to do more harm'n it did. Or both.~

Mouse gives a very slight shake of her head. "When they attacked the Green, it was...dozens. More, maybe. Actual fomori, those monsters, Dancers, banes. Like trying to stop a wave by standing in its way."

"Overwhelming numbers," Nolan says, his voice quiet, his tone cool, and a pause follows. "And they have those numbers, here, from what I've heard." There's the slightest hint of a question at the end.

~Asshole over there,~ Chugs says, tipping his head briefly toward the way Slug took the captive, ~Said he was bringin' a message from Queen Rancordiant. We took her mage, now she's takin'... what? Since he got so rudely interrupted.~ He can't help a quick grin at the memory, serious as the questions may be. ~If this was takin', what'd they aim to take? An' did they?~

Mouse's expression briefly pales, but she seems to reign it in quickly, and she doesn't voice whatever might have caused it. "We need to keep an accurate head count. If this was a probe then they saw something of what we can do. We need to make sure 'taking', whatever it ends up being, isn't so easy."

"Distraction," Nolan says, nodding toward the Gnawer. "We don't know what they were after, but it was not a serious attempt to hurt us. We know what that looks like, and this wasn't it." He shifts his focus to Mouse with a slight furrow of the brow. "Head count? Do we know how many they are?"

Chugs-the-Mystery-Brew taps a massive Crinos foot, glancing around. ~Still think if they knew we'd be here tonight to fuck with, what would they need us =more= distracted from? If it ain't here, why not just do it with the distraction that don't cost them nothin'? ...Unless they didn't need more, just wanted to make sure the message was delivered to make the credit clear once we find out.~ He doesn't look the least bit pleased with that thought.

Mouse shakes her head. "A head count of ours," she clarifies. "Getting their numbers is next to impossible. They're based up in Queen's Tower and as far as our scouts have been able to tell so far, most of them don't leave it. But there could be...there's no way to know if they aren't spread out in the city as well. Plenty of places to lie low."

"I've used some of them," Nolan agrees with a nod. He looks over in the direction of Slug and the Dancer. "Whatever else you ask him, you should have him finish the message that was interrupted. Maybe we won't be able to glean anything from it, but."

~He might even be down to answer that one,~ Chugs agrees, nodding, ~After all, seems like that was his job. Likely ain't as much =fun= to deliver this way, but.~

Mouse nods in agreement. "That much at least, we should be able to get. We'll see what he's willing to say."

Nolan nods, still looking off into the woods. He turns back to the others and the grin is back in place. "I suppose I should thank you all for an interesting night. At least I'll have something to write in my journal." He gives a half-salute, and takes a step back as though getting ready to depart.

~Ain't sure we're the ones you should thank for that,~ Chugs says, and makes a face as he shifts position a bit; maybe it makes the blood-matted fur near his slashes is pull on the wounds. ~Not staying to guard?~

"Be careful out there," Mouse warns. "The Bawn's a big place, and it'll take the Guardians a long time to sweep it. We might still have other visitors we don't know about." She glances sidelong at Felix. "There won't be much guarding to do." On that rather ominous note, it looks like she intends to follow after Slug.

Nolan's grin quirks upward at the question from Chugs. "Not my monkeys. Not my circus." He does, however, nod to Mouse, letting a moment of seriousness cloud his expression before he turns to go.

Chugs-the-Mystery-Brew nods to Nolan, and seems inclined to follow after Slug right along with Mouse. There's a twitch of his muzzle at her ominous comment, and in reply a simple, ~Good.~

Mouse heads off without further remark, and clearly now from her course, she's going to go talk with the prisoner.
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