Thane is there as he always is come time for moot, though this time there's no loitering in a lawn chair. He's in Homid and the poor bastard's hair is still a fabulous shade of sparkling pink. He's not standing as rigid and vaguely impatient like he usually is. In fact he looks relaxed and maybe even a bit chill. Not far from the fire a plank of wood's been laid between a few of the logs and on top there's an assortment of baked goods - muffins, cookies, cupcakes, brownies. And a cooler on ice of assorted sodas. They appear to be sealed, so at least they might not be poisoned.
Salem arrives in wolf form, though shifts back to homid as soon as he's past the trees (and at least he's not /in/ the trees this time). He raises an eyebrow at Thane's appearance, even moreso at the Shadow Lord's posture and assortment of sugary goodness. "Sept bake sale?"
Heading into the compound is Justin, who has his hair slicked back, and he is wearing a button down shirt and a pair of khakis. Instead of worn down sneakers, he has on a pair of shined shoes. "Good evening gentleman." The coyote alpha says as he offers a polite smile to the pair of Adren. "I see you have brought some delicious treats tonight. My, they appear tasty. Are they for the community?"
Three-Mountains is bolting at full speed through the trees and comes crashing through all a'huffing and puffing and wheezing. Is he late?! He looks around frantically only to see folks are just gathering. His posture slumps in a mix of relief and tiredness. He plods over to a likely looking spot and flops himself down to pant and catch his breath. The Uktena is looking even more scruffy than usual and his coat's adorned with a dirt and bits of leaves and twigs. He entirely ignores the buffet of sweets.
Thane looks to Salem with a frighteningly pleasant looking smile. "Well, let's be honest, Salem. It's rare that I'm not at least some degree of an asshole. So consider this a peace offering of sorts." He says with a gesture towards the laid out baked goods. "Besides, we've all had some trying times. The last I'd checked most everyone finds some sense of a truce over desserts unless there's only one cookie left."
Snakepatcher ponderously paces out of the trees and takes his time to select a suitable spot.
Felix strolls along just behind Justin, hand in hand with Lilah, and looking... well, pretty normally Felix-y, all in all. The usual saunter's back, although he does give Thane a quick, assessing look as he gets him in view. And then the food, which gets a raised eyebrow. "Well, that looks tasty," he says, "...you didn't make 'em yourself, did you?" This is a fascinating possibility.
Salem considers the Shadow Lord for a moment or three, then shrugs. "Truce it is." He helps himself to a can of Coke and takes a seat on one of the log 'benches around the fire pit.
"If I'd've known there'd be treats, I'd've brought some taters," Lilah comments thoughtfully, and smiles politely to Thane. Per her usual, she doesn't really meet many people's gazes, though Felix is an exception to the rule. Tonight she's wearing a blue sundress and cowboy boots, rather than what's in my desc. I'm laaaaazy. She doesn't reach for any of the food, but she doesn't eye it warily, either.
Three-Mountains jerks his head up as Snakepatcher arrives and he erupts up onto his paws and all but skips over to him. They're here they're here! He cavorts gleefully around where the Ahroun settles.
Black-Light enters by his lonesome, not with the Gnawers. The Gnawer comes in from the ridge, all black fur and muscle, the Crinos' claws scraping at the earth for traction. It walks like a Hispo until it reaches the bottom of the ravine, then stands erect, an over-sized cigar caught between two pointy choppers. The Garou's lips are ill-suited for smoking, but he manages. Salem gets notice and a nod, the Gnawers get the same, and then Black-Light ambles on over to one of the nose-bleed seats and settles on his haunches.
Salem grins a little at the sight of his packmate and raises his Coke can to the Gnawer in greeting.
"Feel free to help yourselves with my apologies for my less than sensitive leadership." Thane says and glances then towards Felix and Justin. He doesn't look like he's about to kill them either. "No no, baking isn't a skill I ever picked up. I'm being nice. Giving the sept food poisoning wouldn't help that." He waits for the sept to gather before saying, "So just some news for those who are not currently present. As some may have heard, Excelsior has ended their time as a pack. Also, I heard we have a new Fostern as of last night as Samantha of the Wendigo passed her challenge to Briari of the Glass Walkers. Thank you Salem and Felix for assisting. Now, in the nature of this moot, does anyone have any challenges to issue?"
Felix makes up for Lilah's lack of treat-taking by snagging two cookies, a brownie, and a cupcake, along with one of the sodas -- that first, tucked into a pocket, and the others balanced carefully in his free hand. He colonizes the closest log to where Three-Mountains originally flopped down, and gets comfortable, giving most of the assembled quick grins and chin-lifts of greeting. Thane gets a small mock-bow in acknowledgement of the thanks, and then the Galliard settles back comfortably to munch a brownie and check for any challengers leaping up.
"Was a pleasure," says Salem mildly in response to the thanks. He cracks open the Coke and takes a swig.
Snakepatcher has barely begun to debate the virtues of this spot over that spot, and gets in only one turn around and a couple of sniffs before he's accosted by an enthusiastic Galliard. What--? He looks around with sudden alarm, checking for invaders. He looks to the left. He looks to the right. He looks up. Failing to find Dancers dropping from the trees, but instead an assortment of the Sept's Garou gathering, he acknowledges Three-Mountain's observation. They are here. We are here.
Lilah takes her seat beside Felix, grinning as she sees just how much food he's taking. She can't seem to help but look amused. She leans over as though to kiss his cheek, and instead mutters, "Hope you're sharin' that brownie at least." Though for whatever reason, she seems mildly embarrassed at the same time. She gives a faint smile, and settles in to look and see if there are any challenges.
Black-Light perks up at the mention of the news by Thane. The monster's cigar flares when he hears the appeal for challenges, but after a moment where it looks like he may speak, the Ragabash lapses into silence. A thin haze of smoke gathers around his head, lingering like a dark cloud.
No Dancers falling from the trees...but a rather distinct lupine shape stalks into the compound from the bushes, one with ears a little too long, and telltale patagia, and what looks like...metal claws and teeth. Ghost-in-the-Machine's mood is easily read even for lupus, and it's sour and agitated at best.
Three-Mountains is wagging his tail with enough force to set the rest of him wriggling as he tells Snakepatcher there's no danger. Pups! Pups are here and he needs to come see them. The Galliard's about to go on but the words of the Alpha bring his head and ears swiveling around with a blink. Realizing that was a cue, he tells the elder Uktena he'll be back and then jogs over towards the center of the gathering. He holds his head and tail high as he searches the crowd. He settles his gaze on Black-Light then and says with a surprising certainty from the normally submissive Uktena, ~I have fought, I have learned, I have honored our laws. I am not a pup anymore. Black-Light-rhya, I challenge you for the rank of Fostern.~
"Coyotes moving up in the world," Salem murmurs to nobody in particular. He spots Ghost and gets up, fetching a couple of muffins and another Coke and taking them over to the odd-looking wolf.
Felix looks to Lilah, arching a brow and trying to look less amused than he actually manages before he breaks the brownie in more-or-less half and hands her the as-yet-unbitten piece. He looks rather pleased at catching his packmate's remarks to Snakepatcher, and even more so at the challenge, which gets a whistle of approval.
Lilah clears her throat, still looking a bit embarrassed, and stuffs a bite of the brownie in her mouth, chewing quietly. Of course, this is slightly interrupted as she sees Three-Mountains come up. She may not know what he's said, but since it's challenge time, she probably gets the gist. She shouts, mouth still half-full of brownie, "Woooooo, go Three-Mountains!" Immediately after, she lowers her gaze and goes back to quietly chewing her brownie. Weirdo.
Thane looks over as Ghost makes her arrival but the Shadow Lord (still sparkly pink of hair) only offers a smile that actually seems pleasant. There's not a sneer or scowl or even regretful restraint. Nope. Just a smile, a nod of his head, and then he's looking back towards the challenge that's been issued.
Black-Light sits unphased by the challenge, unflinching, so stoic and still it might appear that his cigar might have more than tobacco in it- or that he didn't hear Watcher. After a few beats, the Gnawer scratches himself somewhere only moderately indecent, exhales a great smokey sigh, and nods. ~Accepted,~ he rumbles, his eyelids sagging, as if suddenly too heavy to hold open.
Ghost-in-the-Machine eyes the pink-haired Shadow Lord very, very carefully as he looks toward her, then turns her attention more toward Salem's approach. Her slightly too-long ears ease back a little, then splay to either side as a bit of her sourness evaporates. After a moment, she makes a seemingly reluctant shift to homid, where...the lupus form's black eyes remain, no whites or distinct irises to be seen. "Hey," she mutters toward the Walker.
"Hey," Salem says back to Ghost, holding out the second Coke to her. He glances briefly over toward Black-Light and grins a little.
Three-Mountains squares his posture and stiffens his stance in preparation as his challenge is accepted. Then he waits, eyes watching Black-Light even as it seems like the Gnawer is more interested in sleeping. There's the faintest, uncertain backwards tip of his ears but the Uktena holds his ground.
Snakepatcher's ears snap up sharply. Pups! Good tidings! He sticks out his chest proudly as he watches the Galliard's challenge.
Ghost accepts the Coke with a nod that's almost more of a duck, and a muttered thanks.
Felix gives a small, approving nod at the acceptance of the challenge, and silently offers Lilah the soda from his pocket. There seems be one he brought hanging out in his other jacket pocket anyhow.
Lilah takes a sip of the soda, and this time when she takes another bite of brownie, it's a more manageable one. She's got her eyes on Three-Mountains and Black-Light, watching their body language to try and figure out what's going on.
Black-Light has some time to think, or maybe he just spaces out again. It's hard to tell with those Chimera types, and their propensity to sometimes play at being Theurges. Black fur and black air around him, the embers of his cigar flaring and fading look almost like an airplane warning light on a skyscraper in the night sky. ~Galliard,~ he begins. ~Galliards wear many masks. Leaders. Warriors. Singer of songs, tellers of tales, messengers,~ Black-Light puffs. ~They remind us of the old ways, our history, our triumphs, our failures, and most importantly- of hope. You,~ Black-Light waves a finger at Three-Mountains, doing a decent impersonation of an impertinent grandmother. ~You, wolf-born and Pure One, have seen two of your people wither and die- but still you fight on, knowing that even if we may win the battle, things may already be far too late for your Tribe or your wolf-kin to survive.~ He takes his cigar from his muzzle, regards the end, and dribbles the ash on a patch of barren earth, regarding it. ~Tell us, Galliard, where you find the hope, the inspiration, the /will/ to continue in the face of such desolation. Make us feel that same fire in us that fuels you.~
Salem takes a seat next to Ghost, handing her a muffin to go with her Coke as he listens to challenger and challenged. That little crooked grin never quite leaves his face.
Ghost accepts the muffin as well, and settles in. Black-Light, and then Three-Mountains, are regarded with a clear amount of interest, despite whatever's fouling her mood.
Three-Mountains stands there in his Hispo form, listening closely to the words the Gnawer elder speaks. When the terms are laid out the Uktena slowly sits down. He doesn't take long as all to speak. ~I adapt. I live in the world I was born in. I am not just wolf but coyote, one who's kin are not dying. I learned to survive in the scab because my mother knew how, and her kin. I do not live much like others of my tribe. I live in the places I need to be, not to hunt deer but leeches. The old ways are good but even a wolf must learn to hunt new prey to survive. My tribe may die. My breed may die. I am here Now. We are here Now. Human-borns look to much to the future. We will all die. Our bodies die. Our spirits are reborn but maybe not in the life we had before. Our tribes now are not what they were once. The Garou are not what we were once. We die but it is because we change. We become something new. I trust in Gaia to put me where I need to be even if I don't understand why. Right now I am here. Don't fear what isn't. Don't fear what may be. Don't cling to what was. Now is the time to fight. Now is the time to live. Be who Gaia has made you. If my tribe, my breed dies then it is for a reason but not because I gave up. In memory, in action, in living we are remembered and Gaia will never forget us. Even if we die, what we leave behind continues. That is enough for me.~
Black-Light listens with a still, somewhat distant air about him, though his ears remain upright and pointed in Three-Mountains' direction, and the Hispo is kept in his line of sight, even when he looks away now and again. When the Galliard is finished, the Gnawer Elder doesn't react. Instead, he merely sits, silent, his senses tuned to the sentiment of the crowd.
Salem listens to the young Uktena's speech while plucking pieces off his muffin to eat. When Watcher's finished, he nods a little.
Justin lets out a loud whoop from the sidelines, then takes a sip off his own coke. "That's my dude!"
"I've never known a Lupus that waxed poetic." Thane says with a quiet chuckle, "Sobering and moderately scolding to bring the apes down to earth. As expected." The pink-haired Lord points out in observation as he shifts his stance and grimaces faintly. "Not to be rude, of course. Apologies if that sounded harsh."
Snakepatcher listens intently to the challenge and response. He tips his muzzle up in a fortifying howl.
Felix nods agreement several times through his packmate's answer, grinning when the Uktena finishes and whistling again, this time louder with the aid of fingers. It works reasonably well with Justin's whoop.
Ghost scratches her jaw, narrow eyed.
Lilah leans forward in her seat, watching Three-Mountains and Black-Light in rapt silence. Every motion they make is followed by her gaze, and when Black-Light sits, she shifts her attention to Felix. "Did--" she starts to ask, but then Justin's whooping, and there's howling, so she lifts a fist and calls out, "Woooooo!" She listens to Thane, and then gets a broad grin. She whoops as well, and attempts that 'wolf' whistle like Felix, but it comes out as a loud breath only. Clearly she needs to learn this trick.
Black-Light waits for things to quiet down a bit, then he raises his paw, pad out, fingers splayed. When there's something approaching silence, the Gnawer says, in a low, somber voice, ~The Wheel will turn.~ Then he plants one foot on the ground, braces a paw on his knee, and stands, taking his cigar out of his mouth. Slowly, and with a far more laborous gait than he should have for someone so young, he siddles up to Three-Mountains and spits on the tip of his cigar. It sizzles and dampens, whereupon he sticks the tip of one claw into the ashes. With a few deft strokes of his claw, he writes the symbol for Fostern in ash upon the Galliard's forehead, and clears his throat. ~Galliard,~ he says. ~Wolf. Uktena.~ He pauses, regards the Garou around him. ~And now, Fostern. I name you Song-of-Ashes.~
Snakepatcher howls again, this time jubilantly.
Three-Mountains stands there stoic and still as a statue as Black-Light brands him Fostern. Only once his new name is given does the Lupus throw back his head and let out a loud, raucous howl of celebration.
Thane doesn't shift his forms but does heartily clap his hands together. "Well done, Song-of-Ashes. Two Fostern in two days! It's nice to see the young Garou of the sept moving up in the world. Does anyone have any other business or concerns they wish to bring forward?"
Justin looks pretty stoked at the news, offering up a proud smile to his best friend. "Congratulations! I knew you could do it old chap."
Black-Light simply looks tired, though there is a smudge of a smile somewhere on his muzzle. The Gnawer Elder looks up at Thane, back at the wolf in front of him, then trudges back to his spot and sits.
Felix whoops at the official pronouncement, beaming at the new Fostern, and lifts his drink in a toast to him.
~Thank you, Black-Light!~ Song-of-Ashes howls after the Gnawer elder before he turns to finally join his pack, though it's with enough enthusiasm and bouncing and jostling to risk knocking them over until he gets to Lilah to greet her. And there he just sits down nice as you please and rests his forehead against her shoulder with a greeting thump of his tail.
"That's a real nice name, Song-of-Ashes," Lilah tells the 'rou in question, and is also positively beaming. She whoops a couple more times, and then kisses Felix's cheek excitedly. When Song-of-Ashes comes over, he gets a good scritch, and Lilah leans back a bit to whisper something to him once he's good and settled.
"Like I said, Coyotes moving up in the world," Salem says mildly. He lifts his Coke toward the new Fostern in a congratulatory way.
Black-Light simply waves off the thanks, and regards the remains of his cigar, getting that Theurge-a-like look that takes him from time to time.
"Going...going..." Thane says as his eyes pass over the gathered Garou. "Nothing? Last call? Then feel free to finish off the snacks and go enjoy the rest of your evening. Thank you all for coming."
Salem snags a couple of cookies and a second can of Coke before slipping back off into the woods.
Felix gives the erstwhile Three-Mountains a hug and a sound ruffling in retaliation for nearly getting knocked backward off the log, and glances over when Lilah whispers to Song-of-Ashes, half-smiling at whatever it is he catches. Once it seems clear everything's complete, he rises, stretching, and finishes off the last cookie from his original haul. Handily, this frees him to aid in the suggestion of finishing off what still remains there, too.
Lilah is looking pleased with life at the moment, and she even 'steals' a cupcake once there are few people left. Or maybe she's helping Felix loot. It's hard to tell, with her, at least until she takes a small bite of her spoils. She breaks off a large piece, offering it over to Song-of-Ashes, and if he doesn't seem interested, she'll eat that, too.