The skies are growing dark but remain clear, and while the temperature is mild there's a goodly wind pushing through the trees. It's enough to make the fire burning in the compound dance and hiss. Thane is present already in his human form, looking much as he always does and patiently awaiting the arrival of others.
Dakota is among those arriving. The Rite Mistress appears to be alone and is carrying a small bundle of red fabric cupped in one hand. She says nothing as she moves to find herself a place to sit and settles in with her legs crossed.
Trace has been here a while. Most of the day, in fact. He's sitting on the ground near the fire pit, cigarette lit and resting loosely between his lips.
Ghost arrives with hunched shoulders and her usual quiet step. She has a scoped rifle with her, but it's slung around her neck and one shoulder rather than readied for use. She heads immediately for an unoccupied spot near the rear of the gathering.
As Ghost passes a tree, there's a sharp pop! in one of the trees above those already gathered.
Felix has not been here nearly as long as Trace, but he's sprawled out on the ground by the Ahroun, an arm under his own head for a pillow, smoking as well while he chats with the Walker. "He thinks he don't have any, but I reckon we could find some somewhere. Float on Lake Arthur, maybe, next time it gets real hot--" He breaks off at the sudden pop, sitting up slightly and glancing that direction.
From not far away comes the sound of whistling, the typical, cheerful tune that presages Nolan's arrival.
Slug comes walking through the sticks, all wrapped-up in a loose bit of tattered brown cloth that could be called a poncho. Because that's not odd enough, the Gnawer's also got on a pair of moth-bitten Mickey Mouse ears. Patches of faintly glowing green moss cling to his shoulders, back, and ears, lending him the appearance of a man who's just won a fight with a glowstick.
<OOC> Spark says "The 'pop' is definitely NOT gunfire."
<OOC> Slug assumes it was One Direction.
Ghost snaps her head sharply toward the tree, and looks up.
Snakepatcher comes from the depths of the forest, pacing his way through the trees, cautiously circling and sniffing from afar the scents from the sept compound before he comes into the area.
There's another pop! as Slug enters the clearing, and a series of them that get louder as Snakepatcher does so. The very last one, however, is accompanied by a rain of... confetti? Yes, that is glittery paper confetti, down from the tree and onto the Uktena.
Trace looks up at the first pop. The second, and then the series of them, seem to startle the Glass Walker from his attention on his conversation with his packmate. "Sounds like a plan," he says.
Thane squints towards the popping noise with a furrow of his brows. Given the tension in his position, it'd be likely to assume he'd be hackled if he had fur on. The appearance of the confetti only has his shoulders dropping a marginal degree and his eye turns, rather inevitably, upon the representatives of the coyote pack.
Nolan makes his appearance soon after the last of the pops, and his attention is still oriented on the direction from which they came when he steps into view.
Slug does look around, but he doesn't seem particularly interested or all that worried about the noises. He lights a cigarette as he walks toward the group of Garou, hand cupped around the flame to hide it's light in his palm. He looks in Dakota's direction, then at Snakepatcher, and to the sky.
Ghost's narrowed eyes narrow further, but she continues on to her chosen loner spot, looking irritable, but less alarmed.
Snakepatcher comes to a dead halt, sniffs at the confetti dripping off him onto the ground, and slowly scans around the area until he finds the Coyote pack members. The Uktena gives a pointed look at the Coyote pack member, stalks over to Felix and Trace, and shakes his coat vigorously until he gets as much confetti on the Coyotes as is on him.
All around the mulberry bush, the monkey chased the weasel... The tinny melody that drifts out from somewhere on the ground is recognizable, and followed by another series of small pops! in the trees, and more confetti.
Felix's brow furrows at the further popping, and he sits up further -- and then there's confetti, and he gives a startled laugh. He takes an appraising look around at those arriving, and then, suddenly, confetti's been shaken onto HIM. He yelps, laughing a bit and trying to 'protect' himself with his arms. "Hey!" he protests, and then stops, turning his head to try to locate the music.
Coming through the treeline is Justin, looking as if he is hurrying quickly and picking leaves out of his hair. He is wearing a pair of saggy jeans and a tank top. As he heads through, a pop gives him a startled stumble, then looks upwards as he is showered with glitter. Amused, he heads for his packmates and flops down next to them. "I feel like I got Tinkerbelled."
Ghost settles into her spot, standing rather than sitting, and crosses her arms.
Trace doesn't make an effort to shield himself from the confetti being shaken onto him, but he can't help but start laughing at the glitter getting his packmate, and he looks over at Justin and shrugs.
Nolan brushes stray bits of confetti from his hair and shoulder. He looks around, and, after a moment moves to stand a bit nearer to Ghost.
A black furred fox with silver guard hairs flits out of the underbrush, seemingly unbothered by the near legion of Garou present. It pauses to shake a bit of confetti from its fur, then lopes near the fire and sits down as if it belonged.
"You LOOK like you got Tinkerbelled!" Felix greets Justin, laughing, "Prolly ain't the next new style." He leans over to ash his cigarette, then attempts to brush some of Snakepatcher's donated confetti from his hair. With the other hand, luckily. It's still not all that effective.
Thane gives a noisy snort as the glitter continues and growls, "That had best be biodegradable by morning or someone will be picking up every bit of that with tweezers." The music has him looking even more cross, "So is this all your work or do we have your totem to blame again?" The Alpha says to the trio of yote-pledged Garou.
Dakota gives Slug's questioning look a thumb's up with her free hand before she turns back to watch the goings on. As n o one is getting flayed, the Gaian isn't rushing to her feet, but the music does have her head on a swivel.
The music fades after one repetition. On the other hand, the arrival of the fox seems to trigger another series of pops in the trees that shade the clearing. This time, all of them rain confetti down upon those gathered.
Justin looks upwards at Thane with a wry grin on his face. "Hey boss, for a change, I have no clue what is going on. I'm not taking credit for this one, though I'm digging the tunes." He says as he snaps his fingers in time with the beat.
Ghost scowls a little and brushes confetti out of her hair and off her shoulders. Nolan gets a quick, slightly surprised looking glance, but the glabro'd Walker is clearly not enjoying herself at the moment.
Trace looks up from some contemplation at the series of pops. "Of course it's biodegradable," Trace says, somewhat indignant. Or at least, trying to be, though he's laughing too hard to keep a straight face by this point.
Nolan offers Ghost a grin and then turns his focus to Trace. "What was the lesson?"
Trace looks over at Nolan. "Why don't /you/ tell /me/," Trace suggests, the words taking on a hard edge, "whenever you've finally figured it out."
Alicia heads through the woods to take a stand next to Thane, leaning in to give him a gentle bump of the shoulder.
Something in Ghost's scowling expression cracks at this, and she makes a noise that's half snort, half actual, genuine laugh.
Felix does look like he's quite enjoying himself, glancing around as the confetti rains down. "I don't even know how you'd make somethin' do that," he says toward Thane. He does, however, also look as though he'd quite like to. Trace's declaration of biodegradability gets a broad grin at his newest packmate, and the response to Nolan's question doesn't dim it.
There goes the tinny attempt at music again, triggered by someone's movement apparently. This time, though, it's not the same melody. Nor does it come from the same place. The teensy weensy spider crawled up the water spout...
Slug stands right where he is, still, his posture much straighter than usual ( yet still somewhat slack ). He's staring off into the woods, or through them, his eyes practically glassed over.
Nolan chuckles, shaking his head, letting a few more bits of confetti fall from his hair. "Honestly, haven't a clue." He holds both hands up in a hapless shrug. "What am I supposed to learn?"
A blink of light takes the appearance of Briari as she drops her blurred gift once she crosses past the woods. She glances over her shoulder now and then, then takes a seat on one of the logs with a sigh.
The series of popping sounds as Briari sits down is much louder, or at least, much closer. In fact, it seems to be emanating from under the log, which 'gives' slightly. And then a moment passes and the realisation should set in for most of those gathered. Bubble wrap.
The fox seems unruffled by the noises and tinny music. He gives his fur a thorough shaking out, and then slides smoothly up into a far more human, far more recognizable shape, from which he adjusts his old battered hat and then takes up a cross-legged sit on the ground itself.
Brings-the-Pack arrives as if from shadows, some 20' off the ground, on a branch, in his usual spot.
Thane crosses his arms in front of his chest as he looks towards Nolan. "I get the feeling the lessons are less about hard facts and more about 'lightening up'." A lesson to which the Sept Alpha seems to be heartily flipping a figurative bird to. He brushes off a few tinkles of glitter that are getting caught up in the wind.
"Well, I'm lightened," Thomas drawls. "Shall we get this here party started?"
Nolan brings a fist to his mouth, theatrically coughing, "boring."
The cougar mage's appearance prompts one last round of pops! up in the trees. More glitter and confetti drifts down, though some of it seems to have been placed specifically to get Brings-the-Pack, who ends up just as covered in glitter as everyone else.
Ghost makes an exasperated sound as she's forced to brush more confetti, and now glitter, from her hair and clothes. The attempt works for the confetti, but not for the glitter.
Trace doesn't seem like he's going to deign the Fianna ragabash with any more attention aside from a brief but wholly hostile glance, and he lifts his shoulders after Thomas speaks. Something does seem to be amusing the Walker ahroun, though, and it's not necessarily the prank itself.
Dakota remains where she's sitting with her knees brought up to her chest, giving a quiet chuckle from her spot and grinning a little wider as more glitter finds its way towards the mage. She politely stills her laughter though as Thane clears his throat.
"Let's." Remarks Thane on the tail end of the Kitsune's prompt. "As for the usual reason for this gathering, firstly, does anyone have any news they wish to share?"
Briari lets out a clear of her throat and raises her hand upwards to gain the Alpha's attention.
Nolan laughs at something, still grinning as he shifts his attention between Briari and Thane.
Thane gives a wave of his hand towards Briari. "There's no bones here, just stand up and speak."
Slug simply shakes his head and ashes his cigarette, looking far too grave ( or tired ) for someone with a set of mouse ears.
Felix grins up at the glittery cougar, and shifts position, getting comfortable again as things get started. He hasn't yet finished his cigarette, and seems inclined to continue with it for the moment.
Brings-the-Pack starts at the pops, lowering to an attack/defense position, and then seems to realize he's been pranked. He shakes himself off, sharing glitter with anyone who happens to be below him.
Trace looks up at Brings-the-Pack, offering the cat a bright thumbs-up gesture and a slight grin.
Giving a nod of her head, Briari rises upwards from the bubble wrapped log, then gives a look out towards the rest of the Sept. "I feel that tonight is the time that I bring forth information that I have been holding on to for a few weeks now. I have been directed to gain as much intelligence as I can from the Spiral dancer known as Blue. By 'befriending' him, we were able to take out the mage with the information that he delivered to me. He also warned us of the upcoming attacks both in the city and here at Edgewood." She gives a moment to pause as she stubs her foot against the ground a few more times. "During one of our meet ups, I uncovered that he is actually the hive leader of Seattle known as Renegade and he has been using an illusion upon himself to conceal his identity. He is currently hiding from the Queen because the two are at odds. Both want the other dead and he has allies on the inside working against her under his command."
Ghost seemingly abandons her futile attempts to get the glitter off, and turns her attention toward Briari. Her expression settles into a sort of pursed, guarded look.
Slug smiles wryly, but he offers no input other than that. He sighs, looks at the stump that was his cigarette, and drops the remainder into a bottle produced from beneath his poncho.
Thane doesn't take this news with the least bit of surprise or added tension. Given the tension popping glitter bombs caused, it gives a pretty clear suggestion he's likely familiar with this bit of information.
Dakota listens to the shared news and gets a little pale, her lips pulling into a tight line. She doesn't say a thing but keeps a close watch on the other faces present and their reactions.
Nolan smirks, and then looks down at the ground not far from his feet, shoulders trembling slightly. After a moment, he looks back to Briari with a more neutral, if still lighthearted, expression.
Ghost's attention slides away from Briari for a moment as she looks toward Nolan. A frown--well, a deeper frown--pulls at the corners of her mouth.
As Briari speaks, a teenager with bright yellow hair appears on a branch above the Mage-Cougar.
Thomas rubs his chin. His eyebrows have arched noticeably, and he seems to be as interested in the other Garou's reaction to this news as the news itelf.
"Renegade also came by the other day to speak with me. He confirmed what we already suspected, that Peter, one of our kinfolk of the Shadow Lords, who was working on the inside to infiltrate the tower's security has been compromised. Peter was the one who gave away our safehouse information, as well as Edgewood. It is not his fault though, the Queen used her mind controlling powers on him to make him her slave. So now I guess he is in love with her." Briari says as she continues to kick the ground a few more times. "And, after our talk, Renegade had his allies break Peter out of the tower and is now holding on to him while he ... ah ... detoxes .. from the spell he is under." She shifts her jaw a bit. "I tried to bargain his release but Renegade is playing hard ball with me. If I push him too hard he will see me as a threat. So .. that is where we stand with Peter. He is no longer in the tower. Renegade has assured me they are not going to harm Peter and he will be released back to us soon." She shrugs her shoulders upwards. "So, take that however you want to. I know he has been playing me as much as I have been playing him and we have been dancing in circles on the chess board for awhile now. I don't know what to do. I can track him anywhere and everywhere. I can lead us to his hiding spot. We can attack him. But .. right now it's two against one in regards to the Queen."
Trace pulls out another cigarette and lights it from the base of his old one as this news all gets relayed. It does seem to have sobered his mood though, and he casts a silent glance towards the sky.
Ghost's jaw tightens as she turns her attention back to Briari.
Felix does look slightly startled -- not at Briari talking to Blue, but the Renegade part, that gets his eyebrows up a bit. So does the part about Peter. He glances toward the tree he last saw the raven in, just in time to see her famous bird-into-girl trick; it gets a quick grin in her direction.
<OOC> Val did actually pop into existence via gift. sorry. one hand tablet typing. feeding the baby.
Briari gives a lick of her teeth, then says, "During the assassination of the mayor, three spirals appeared to be after Renegade, and he found me in the crowd. I caught sight of them and recognized at least one, which was the pig nosed spiral from the club that he was DJing at. So, after I found out their location, I dropped that bit of info to him to see how he would react. I was trying to gauge his emotional response to see if they were his packmates or actually spirals under the Queen's influence. I told him that a hit squad was enroute to take them out. The next day, he told me that he took care of them by simply 'telling' them to leave." She rolls her shoulders back. "So that means either he lied to me and they /were/ his packmates, or he actually has a stronger influence on the spirals under the Queen's service and that his name alone is enough to send them cowering off. As far as I know, they are no longer in St. Claire and they have left the area."
Trace drums his fingers on his knees and continues to simply listen.
When Briari's words turn to Peter's situation, Nolan's expression becomes sour. That is, until the flash appears above, and he turns his focus on the girl, there. He seems to tense for a moment, but as the others don't seem alarmed, he lets his attention split between girl and Glass Walker.
Thomas audibly sighs. "Well, that' a ball've trouble and no mistake."
After a few moments, Briari gives a nod of her head, then says, ".. and that's all." She inches back to her log and settles down, sliding her head down into her hands.
Brings-the-Pack looks up at the yellow-haired Val on a branch above him, moves slightly so he's less directly underneath the corax, and then settles back down on the lower branch he's on. A few more specks of glitter fall to the ground below.
"A safe bet to assume a large portion of what he says are lies." Thane says as Briari finishes. "He wouldn't be here unless he didn't trust others to act on his behalf but neither is he going to do anything, especially involving us, that doesn't leave him at some benefit. Briari is aware that I've spoken to him. Tempting as it would be to remove him, we need to keep sight on the bigger issue. He has agreed that, if his people get out and we don't come after him, he'll aid us in the attack on the Tower. Not directly, but assist in sabotage, misdirection, and all of that we'd expect from Garou who fight from the shadows. The matter of us /needing/ their help is another topic. If we try and make a move on him likely he'll leave, but I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't leave a mess for us to contend with. Of course, help or no, there's no saying he'll be happy staying in Seattle and out of our business like he's said or if he wouln't come for us. Me? Right now I say he's the lesser of the evils we face."
Val balances on her perch with the aid of her hands, as her legs swing loosely back and forth. "The Spirals that chased Blue did skip town. Can't confirm that they're all currently out of town right now. I watched them for awhile. The didn't talk much and struck me as kinda quiet. Most Spirals I've eyeballed are louder and more violent, even when it's just three of them holed up in a motel. Struck me as a bit odd, is all."
Tearing his attention away from the girl above to focus on Thane, Nolan rolls his shoulders in discontent. "So, uh. What did we give up?" he asks, looking from Thane to Briari and back.
"Nothing. I gave nothing up. I'm a good chess player." Briari can be heard mumbling to herself as she runs her fingers back through her hair. "I nudged him enough to get information out of him that would be useful in taking out the mage. It was a win-win for us. We do his dirty work, he hand delivers the package to us. We actually worked pretty well together all things said."
"But he knows where you live, right?" Nolan asks. "Or lived, I know you said you were moving. Does he know the name the lease was under?"
Ghost shifts in place, looking back and forth between the speakers.
Slug sits down on the ground, one knee up, the other leg straight out. "He's learned your name. My name. Thane's name. He's learned other little things, things that might or might not be important, depending on what his goals are. Anything that might seem useless to us might be important to him. Every piece of info can be used to paint a picture."
Briari gives a shake of her head. "No, my lease was under the name of Jessica Jones. That was my 'alias'. I am sure he can track me wherever I go if he has the same skill-set as I do. But, I am not important. I completed what I sought out to. If he comes for me, then I will make sure that he has a bad day in return. But I'm no longer living at my flag."
Trace is listening for a long time, but then there's a moment, and he glances over towards Briari, and pushes to his feet to address his tribemate. "When you can stomach the idea and put it in a way, where you consider that 'working with', you have taken steps down the wrong road already." He lets out a breath. "Watch yourself." That said, he sits back down, lotus-pose like he was before.
Thomas raises an eyebrow at Trace. No commentary from him though, it seems. He's still rubbing thoughtfully at his scruffy beard.
Val's legs stop swinging. "I'd say he got his hands on a Gaian Kinfolk. Although, I'd be worried about the poor guy's mental health at this stage."
Thane turns his eye up to Val and adds, "Followers of the Beast of War are. These follow the Eater of Souls. They don't want your blood, they want your mind." He turns his eyes back towards Nolan. "We gave nothing that isn't already known - or compromised." He adds on Val's statement. "He has people inside the Tower. Suffice to say, what the Queen knows of us he probably knows. He's a powerful Ragabash by all accounts. No doubt he can find quite a lot out if he wants. He stated he was content to have us be brains and brawn and he helps remove the Queen, a working truce so to speak. Perhaps more correctly a cease fire. The Queen is as much a risk to the hive as she is to our caern. He goes home at the end, we're left with the Queen gone, and that's that. Given word is now out who he is though, I can't guarantee he wouln't just leave to avoid the risk of anyone getting an itchy trigger finger. What Briari did was with my knowledge and consent. She's kept me informed of things through this process."
Trace settles back down, although his own tension has risen significantly.
"Names have power," Nolan says, half under his breath, and he glances from Briari to Slug and then refocuses on Thane. "What about the kin?"
Ghost seems rather antsy. She's shifting her weight repeatedly from one foot to the other, but she's also not speaking.
"Peter's future is being discussed." Thane says to Nolan. "His life may still be forfeit. Even if he never intended to betray us, what the Queen's forces can do to the mind can have... permanent impacts. There's no saying he has any sanity left. As we haven't gotten confirmation from Renegade that Peter is actually alive, whole, and in his possession is questionable. He could just be a false bargaining chip."
Ghost suddenly turns sharply on her heel and heads off into the brush.
Thomas finally speaks up. "Well...'scuse the interruption, but there're ways to verify." He glances up toward Val and Brings-the-Pack, before looking back toward Thane.
For just a moment, something harder edged comes to Nolan's posture and expression, but then Ghost makes her departure, and he turns to watch her leave. When he turns back, the humor is back in the form of a smirk. "All right," he says.
Tilting her head over to Thomas, Alicia says, "Yeah?" She sounds genuinely curious. "How can you tell?"
Ghost's departure sets off another round of sharp pops! above the garou, more confetti raining down on them, and apparently the tinny 'pop goes the weasel' music once again.
Brings-the-Pack pushes to all fours, balancing effortlessly upon the branch he's perched upon. He addresses the sept. "I had a lengthy talk last night with the Hanford mage, who has primarily been studying The Nothing, but who has also spent a short while looking into the Queen's forces. As most of you likely know already, The Nothing has been corrupting the Queen's allies and is an immediate threat. We discussed the feasability of tapping into the wraiths' telepathic communication network, to either listen in or disrupt it, and we both came to the conclusion that this action would almost certainly open up the listener or broadcaster to the Queen's influence--if not the entire collective influence and will of those connected. If the garou--or other allies gathered here tonight--have similar gifts or rites or magicks, be warned that attempting something along these lines might lead to your own corruption." He then adds, "The wraiths are able to suck life away, and the ones who suck more life from others become much stronger than others of their kind. Beware that the wraiths are not equal to one another. Just because one was easy to best does not mean the next one will be. Also, the wraiths can give life back; however, this give-and-take quickly bends the will of the recipient, making them slaves to the wraiths and servants to the Queen. This may be what was done earlier to Peter, and this may be how they manage to recruit Spirals, mages, and others--forcing them to do the Queen's bidding whether they wish to or not." He further adds, "If this was done to the Spirals from Seattle, then not only has the Queen taken many of them to serve as her soldiers, but those soldiers have also likely shared the location of their hive, safehouses, access to bank accounts and other resources, the names of their septmates and kin, and other valuable knowledge. Renegade most certainly has reasons enough to want to see the Queen destroyed and to work with the sept. Something to consider while discussing Peter."
Thomas explains, in his usual casual way, "Tracking Gifts won't work if'n he's dead. Same with rites. And there're ways to go take a look that I don't think they'd notice." He quiets, however, as Brings-the-Pack starts to speak.
Felix glances off after Ghost, head slightly tilted and a furrow to his brow, though they dissolve to small snirk as another of the poppers goes off. The lift to his mood is brief, though, and he goes back to looking quietly thoughtful as the cougar speaks.
Justin gives a firm nod. "Yeah, and it fucking hurts when they do that to you. It's why I got aged up a few years. When they snag you, it paralyzes you and all you can feel is your guts on fire."
Nolan peers up at the cougar, brow creasing. "Sounds a bit like torture," he says, turning back to the others. "Would you want to give up on someone who risks himself for your cause and is tortured for his trouble?" He glances in the direction Ghost went. "Might make your current allies a little cautious about risking their lives."
"No one is going to give up on Peter." Alicia confirms with a firm tone to her voice. "We owe it to him to get him back. We just have to make sure we can pull it off without compromising the security of our Sept, or getting a bunch of us killed in the process. Obviously we can track him, perhaps we can get eyes on the situation and see what we're up against first. /Then/, we can make a decision." She says as her head tilts up towards Val and Nick.
"I know what that give and take feels like." Thane says to Brings-the-Pack. "Once didn't prove enough to do any serious damage but it would be fairly easy to break the will even of Garou given enough time. Kinfolk... it's be simple. If I can recover Peter I will but I also can't risk everything for him. He knew the risks going into this and accepted them. I don't enjoy working alongside the Spirals but in *this* endeavor I don't see why Renegade would turn on us. Later? Maybe he'll have to tend with him, certainly the day will eventually come, but why damage his forces fighting us and them? If we succeed against the Queen, we've proven ourselves all the stronger foes for him to challenge. We lose? Well, there likely wouldn't be any of us left to fight back against anyone. I'm keeping an eye out for the knife though. At the moment, that's what we have. If you have issues with it, I can call another meeting to discuss this when more of us are present or you can speak to me directly."
Brings-the-Pack suggests, "With Renegade's sept divided, and with his Seattle hive, safehouses, kin, and remaining sept members endangered, the garou of this sept may be in a position to simply demand Peter's return."
"I tried that. I got an 'or what' response back on the phone with him." Briari says as her shoulders lift. "But, I'm sure he doesn't take me seriously either as a threat to him, at least not physically."
Trace's gaze follows the conversation, from one speaker to the next. He tips the cigarettes, still open and previously on his lap, in his packmates' direction, during this, but is otherwise silent.
Felix accepts Trace's offer, with a slight tilt of the head in thanks. He lights the new cigarette from the small remainder of the last, then pinches that one out. He's quiet as well, and also clearly paying attention to the speakers.
"How weak is his hive?" Nolan asks. "We don't really know, do we? Do we know how strong they were before all of this?" He takes a step forward, now that Ghost is gone, and looks around at the others. "Are we in a position to make demands of anyone? There are Dancers crawling all over the house by the road. They're digging trenches, building fortifications against us. They haven't dug too far into the forest, but they will. And what are we going to do about it?"
"Why don't you scout it out for us and let us know what you find." Justin pipes up as he fishes out some gum from his pocket, then pops a piece into his mouth.
"Can confirm that," Thomas offers. "Messing up your meadow something awful." At the scent of cigarette smoke, he himself seems to give in, as he pats around inside his duster (apparently his duster has inside pockets), and produces a flat tin that, when opened, is clearly full of hand rolled cigarettes.
"I just told you what I found," Nolan says to Justin, half laughing through the words.
"It's a major city, with at least one pack of Renegade's strength, and it's been there a long time." Slug sucks in a lungful of ash and sighs. "Just assume that Seattle's strength is on par with our's, little more, or a little less."
"Whose Spirals are at Edgewood? Renegade's? Or the Queen's?" The cougar-mage makes a guess. "I suspect they are the Queen's, which should give an idea of how depleted Renegade's forces are." He qualifies this statement with, "This is just an assumption on my part and not some mystickal insight I've garnered."
Trace glances between Nolan and his packmate. This time, though, when he speaks he doesn't stand, remaining sitting. And fairly still. "I've been tossing the idea around," Trace says, "picking off their outliers and whittling down their numbers by Edgewood. At this point we have to assume the ones who took the house are directly under the Queen's thrall," he says, with a nod to Brings-the-Pack. He takes a breath. "I ain't gonna ask anyone to go with me that isn't volunteering. But it would sure as hell be nice to do."
"If you'd like to go visit Seattle and find out, be my guest." Thane says with a growl in his voice to Nolan. "We don't even know much about Renegade let alone the hive but given we've all existed at a relative stalemate I'd presume Slug's assessment is a good point to start. Our reputation helps for things winding up dead that come against us, and that was Renegade who said that. As for Edgewood, that's not high on the priority list. If we can get around it to take out the Queen, then good. They'll be easier to remove without her influence. We can't waste lives and supplies on Edgewood that we need at the Tower."
Thomas lights up, then tucks his tin away again. He's quiet now that the Garou are talking back and forth more.
Trace looks over at Thane, head tilting to one side for a moment. "Wasn't suggesting a direct confrontation. More along the lines of sniper rifle and some silver. Pare down their numbers some."
"Just outta curiosity," Felix asks, "What happened to the silver bullets those wraiths were shootin' when they crashed the moot? They didn't manage to shoot 'em all before we got 'em, right? An' do we know where in the tower the Queen is? 'cause I kinda thought she was on the top floor, but," a glance up toward Val, "I think maybe that ain't right."
Giving a stretch of her body upwards, Alicia says, "Which brings the conversation full circle. What should we do about the tower? We got two floors that are blacked out that we are sure she is hiding on. We know they can slip into the umbra as well. The tower is surrounded by banes the size of semi trucks. With the mage out, we can at least get inside, but we need to figure out who is going in and we need an exit strategy."
<OOC> Thomas says "As a minor correction, three floors I believe."
Ghost returns with as little fanfare as she left (perhaps less, if the confetti has finally run out). She looks incredibly tense, but whatever sent her off seems to have been buried.
Nolan blinks at Thane. Then blinks again. "They're sitting on the doorstep of the caern, and you don't think that's a priority? They're becoming entrenched. They're building a staging area from which to attack. What happens when you ignore their army, and go after the tower? What happens to your caern, then?"
"Speaking of the Queen," Val says, piping up again. "I took a little look around the top floor of Queen's Tower right before Edgewood was attacked. Floor was empty, aside from a single massive ritual space. "There were some dried up husks that used to be human and one poor sot that had this huge pimple like thing growing out of his back. Took video, so anyone who wants to tale a lookie-loo can."
"Nolan, if you're so fucking concerned, go do something about it. All you do is run your fucking mouth but I don't see you getting your claws wet. Either we throw bodies at the Edgewood and risk getting killed and losing a lot of bodies, or we take out the Queen first which will fuck up her influence on them, /then/ we deal with them after if they are still sticking around. If you got a better idea, fucking say it instead of throwing out a bunch of fucking Captain Obvious questions at us. I know that is your /thing/ but I'm five seconds from breaking your fucking jaw so we can get some peace from your annoying as fuck voice." Justin fires back at the Ragabash as the beast rises up in his throat, rumbling out as a growl.
"Heyo, hold on a pinch," Thomas says around the cigarette. "Ain't that his whole job?"
Trace puts a hand on Justin's shoulder very briefly, standing up as his packmate speaks. And walking over towards the Fianna ragabash, with a glance back briefly. "You're five seconds. I'm past that," he murmurs, though Thomas's words get half a moment pause. When he /gets/ to Nolan, though, there's no words. Instead, he moves far too fast in closing the distance and there is rage fueled, forceful punch straight to the Ragabash's jaw as the ahroun calls on his gift of Falling Touch. "Congratu-fucking-lations," Trace says, looking down as he walks off. "You learned the fucking lesson." He takes a breath. "All by yourself."
Trace is practically radiating rage at this point, and he takes a slow steadying breath. A few people get nods, and then the ahroun is exiting stage left, which prompts one last round of confetti-glitter-explosions in the trees in his wake.
Briari glances back and forth between the Coyotes and the Fianna, then looks up to Val. "I would love to see that video.."
Ghost startles, being so close to the sudden violence. Her tension seems to snap as well, and roughly the instant after Trace's hit connects, she surges up that single step more into crinos. A crinos with patagia, slightly too-long, too-lightly furred ears, black eyes, and metal teeth and claws. It's not exactly a sight to lower tensions. She snarls, spitting froth.
"Everyone calm the fuck down!" Alicia commands as she steps forward, shifting upwards into the warform as well. ~We are not going to start killing each other out here. We need to take a deep breath, process all of this information, then make a plan. Seriously, we are so close to victory. We have made deeper strides than any other Sept. We need to hold it together and do what we do best, which is stop the enemy.~
Brings-the-Pack watches the garou below berate one another, start hitting, and things escalating in general. He takes a few steps backwards, reversing upon his branch, as if preparing to depart--potentially in haste.
Val eyes the Garou warily, then turns her attention to the Cougar. "Hey there Whiskers, have a question for you. If the Queen is using this give and take of life for to addict people in a way and make them serve her, could you poke at the Spirals around Edgewood and see if they are addicted? Briari said something about Peter needing to detox. Can't imagine that is any fun and if the same thing were to happen to the Spirals if we took out the Queen... Well, it might give us an advantage. Oh fuck!" Val swears, as all hell starts to break loose.
Thane squares his shoulders and stands up straighter as he fixes a look on Nolan that's tight with reining in his growing agitation. When the punch is thrown though the Shadow Lord is in Crinos with a flare of Rage and his roar fills the air. ~ENOUGH!~ One claw is pointed towards Trace. ~Go cool off.~ Then to Ghost, ~You, calm down.~ And finally to Nolan, his lone eye wrathful. ~And you. Job though it may be, Ragabash, I now ask you: With what army? You can see how many of us there are. We cannot fight two wars at once. We go for the Queen. Without her, the Spirals have no leadership. We can sweep Edgewood with them fighting to recover.~
Thomas continues to sit and smoke, although the sharp eyed would note he's watching the others very carefully, and while his limbs show no sign of tension, that's no guarantee he's not prepared to move.
Slug makes a 'tsk' sound and spits, his cigarette hanging limply from his fingers. He looks around at all the collected Garou, tilts his mouse ears back, and claps his off hand to his sweaty brow. "You don't have to attack them. You don't even have to clear them out of Edgewood. All you really have to do is convince them to leave, if that."
Nolan watches Trace's advance, and though he makes no move to block the punch, nor to defend himself, he does roll with it, laughing even as he hits the ground. "It's a ragabash's job to question," he says as Trace walks away, one elbow underneath him, one hand rubbing at his jaw.
Felix similarly sits and smokes, watching the interactions with less than his usual expressiveness; he's actually fairly hard to read at the moment, aside from the clear attention to what's going on. The first really clear reaction is to Slug, who gets a rather interested look. "Whatcha got in mind?" he asks his tribemate; from the tone, he must think it likely there's an answer.
Ghost-in-the-Machine's ears slick back and, with effort, she drops from a full stand into a three point crouch. She doesn't manage a shift downward though, and her tongue lolls as she pants heavily.
Brings-the-Pack stops his slow, backward retreat as things seem to calm down. He looks upwards to Val and says, "I might be able to. Might not. But it could be something worth attempting."
Val nods, legs starting to swing back and forth again. "Alright."
"The easiest, simplest thing would be to attack somewhere else. Don't need to stay. Don't need to do a lot. Just attack here, attack there, stretch their forces and make them react. You could even use this to convince them that these attacks were nothing, just little... pokes. Then the main attack might catch them off guard." Slug pauses for a puff, looking up at the sky. "If they're the Queen's men, them being at Edgewood is an advantage, in a way. It means less people at the tower. You could attack hard, fast, and win, with most of them too far away to react. Or," Slug gestures in a rolling manner. "Just harass them from a distance. Use infra-red, Cyber Senses, stuff. Pick out the wraiths in the group. Scout. Shoot at them. Harass them with RC cars that have bombs strapped to them. Call for rain from the spirits so they're cold and miserable, ambush them when they go to the city for food. Stuff like that. There are other ways of doing it, but those are the most obvious options."
Brings-the-Pack looks about to see what the other garou seem to think of Slug's various suggestions.
Thane slowly resumes his breed form and takes a few moments to straighten out his shirt while the others speak. "If you can formulate a way to risk minimal Garou keeping Edgewood busy while the rest move on the Tower, it might help to divide the Queen's attentions. My concerns remain the same though. We need our best on the Tower. Enough will have to stay behind during the attack to watch over the caern as it is. The next full moon is Midsummer, the time of The Great Hunt. If Gaia does not call on us to strike, then by the next full moon we need to prepare. We can't wait forever and if she comes for us then our chances of victory are slim."
Nolan remains prone for a bit longer, rubbing at his jaw. When Slug starts offering other options, though, he grins, and pushes to his feet and dusts off the leaf debris.
Ghost-in-the-Machine seems to shrink in on herself, and with further effort, she slowly, slowly returns to glabro, where the scoped rifle slung around her shoulder and neck reappears. She remains crouched for the moment, and there's a darker look in her eyes than usual.
"I like RC cars with bombs on 'em," Felix says, grinning at Slug, "...or RC planes maybe too. I know shootin' at 'em from afar's somethin' Trace'd plenty like to do. If we had them silver bullets they were aimin' to use on us, be fun givin' 'em back. Still think if any of 'em go off alone they oughta be gettin' got..." He drums his fingers briefly on the log behind him. "It'd be nice to be doin' shit. Aside from patrollin', I mean."
"Larger rifle," Ghost mutters. She rubs her hairy face harshly before looking up. "Bigger caliber, I mean. It's too expensive for me though."
Nolan casts a glance toward Ghost, and then does a double-take, watching her for a little longer. "Hmm," he says, without much obvious meaning behind the sound.
Brings-the-Pack seems to notice the Uktena who's present. "Reggie," the cat says towards him. "I am hoping to observe and study someone who knows how to use the gift that creates darkness, like I have been told the Uktena know, and which the Spirals seem to commonly use. Do you know it? And perhaps some other time you could use the gift while I examine how it works? I ask because I am looking at ways to render it useless when the Spirals use it against the sept next."
"Where's it at? Might be we could just lift it," Felix suggests, looking to Ghost; the cougar's request of Reggie draws some of his attention as well.
"I could," Ghost says, although her frown deepens. "It wouldn't be uh, hard. It's just it's really expensive. So's the ammunition. And it would probably make the local news." She licks her lips. "I could, uh, we wouldn't need that much ammunition, I guess. But it would set the store owner back pretty hard if his insurance isn't good."
Sparkles glitter in Snakepatcher's fur, making this Uktena disco-ready, as he slowly cranes his head upwards, seeking that who would use his name from so high above. Have you not spoken of this causing corruption? The Uktena then snorts, sending a small sparkling hurricane. I forgot. Wait. And he transforms into his homid-form, the transformation sending showers of glitter worthy of any transformation from Sailor Moon. "Did you say just tonight that it would cause corruption?" He taps his chest, "My corruption?"
"Why don't we just steal it from the polce, instead?" Slug suggests in a tone that might just be half-serious.
Brings-the-Pack looks down at the uktena ahroun, quirking an ear back quizzically for a moment, and then pivoting in forward. "No. That was the wraiths. If they drain you and feed you and drain you and feed you repeatedly. I merely wish to study this gift that the Uktena and the Spirals seem to have in common. If you know it, that is. I've not seen Silvertip recently or I would have asked her."
Nolan turns a quizical glance to the Uktena, staring for a moment, before turning back to Ghost and Slug. "Then what?"
"Depends. Before making any plans, you study your enemy. You look at what they're doing. You think about them. The best possible victory is won without fighting," Slug says, shrugging. "Though that's not likely."
Ghost admits, "I don't know if they have one. Maybe. Harder to get." She explains to Nolan, ".50 cal. It would, um, punch a pretty thorough hole in anything. Probably won't kill the Dancers. Not uh, not without a head shot. And its loud, really loud. Silver ammunition would be impractical, probably impossible. But getting shot with it would stop or severely slow anyone." There's a nervous sort of fidget with her fingers. "I'd have to get used to the recoil again, but I'm a lot stronger these days."
"Ah. Good for that clarification", Reggie's nod turns into a shake as he clears an ear of glitter. "I know the gift of creating darkness."
Felix sprawls out a bit more, leaning on one of the logs -- it makes a few bubble-wrap pops, and he looks startled for a fraction of a second before he laughs and continues getting comfortable. "We got cops an' ex-cops around," he says, "Kin. Might be they'd know if the cops got one, an' where it'd be. If you did wanna look there." The idea seems to be amusing.
Nolan nods to Slug. "I can help with that. I've got a good vantage to keep an eye on things over at the house."
"Excellent," the cougar-mage purrs at Reggie. He then asks, "Perhaps you could demonstrate it for me a few times in the near future? It might help save lives when the Spirals next attack. Or undermine their battle strategy."
"Good." Slug stands up then, hands in his pockets. "Now, no one do anything risky that'll force everyone else to react. We'll set everything up, pick something, and go from there- and try to remember to chill out. This was all during a New Moon." He jerks his head at nothing in particular. "Things could have gotten bloody if this had been a regular moot."
"I'm tempted to use it right now", Reggie holds up his hand, squints, and shakes off errant specks of confetti, "to stop feeling like an extra on Twilight." He grimaces at Slug's line. "Countin' by sevens. I'm up somewhere in the high hundreds."
"If now is better for you, I have no objection," the cat-mage replies to the Uktena. "Although... perhaps not where it might affect the others present?"
"I'm so chill I'm in danger of freezer-burn," Felix says, gesturing vaguely with his cigarette before he takes another drag off it. It is at least =closer= to true than when the moon is larger, or at least it appears to be. "If y'all are gonna plot shit, though, let me in on it."
Nolan laughs aloud at something Slug says, and gives a small shake of his head. He looks over to Ghost and says, his voice softer than before. "I found someone to take the trip with me. We'll head off as soon as there's a bit more moon to see by."
Ghost adjusts the strap around her chest, then looks at Nolan. She gives a small nod in response.
Reggie holds up a hand as he shakes his head. "After I stop having to count." He eyes his shiny hand, "Going to take more than a count", shifts down to lupus, and charges off into the forest.
"Killer." Slug hooks his thumb off into the woods. "I'm going to go... not be around Garou for a while, and chew on some aspirin." And with that, he turns and leaves.
Nolan rubs again at the side of his jaw and gives a nod to Slug. "Seems like a plan," he says, but rather than leave, he starts digging around under the logs and around the edge of the clearing.
As if to punctuate things, as Slug is leaving, there's a pop from in another of the trees, and another brief shower of glitter and confetti, where no one currently stands. Felix glances over, and watches with continued amusement as it falls.