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 Salamanca, Mid-May

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STBen



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PostSubject: Salamanca, Mid-May   Thu May 14, 2015 4:27 pm

Late afternoon finds Redleaf finishing his final case of the day and closing up shop at his medical clinic. He glances up at the clock and puts on the teakettle.
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AliFirebreak



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PostSubject: Re: Salamanca, Mid-May   Mon May 18, 2015 9:44 pm

Trudging up the lane is a woman who looks about plum tuckered out. Grey-green eyes, pale but not super fair skin, blonde-brown hair, and looking something like a hobo in that all of her clothes look about three washes past when they should have been chucked. She carries a large russack on her back.

And knocks on the door. She fidgets, considering the clinic. "On one hand, it is a public place of business. On the other hand...not my home.." She purses her lips, and appears to ponder whether to actually open the door or not.
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STBen



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PostSubject: Re: Salamanca, Mid-May   Tue May 19, 2015 5:30 pm

The conundrum is solved as the door opens. James smiles. "Well, hello there. You're just in time for tea. Come in, come in!"
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AliFirebreak



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PostSubject: Re: Salamanca, Mid-May   Tue May 19, 2015 7:51 pm

"Tea?" Ali perks, steps inside, then executes a fourty five degree bow to James. When her face rises, it is smiling. "It's good to see you. May I take care of the tea? Where can I put my bag and wash up? My people have a...ritual formality of tea. It might be fun."
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STBen



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PostSubject: Re: Salamanca, Mid-May   Tue May 19, 2015 9:32 pm

"Rituals are important, yes," Redleaf agrees. "For my people, hospitality is one of the most sacred rituals. Please, enter and be welcome." He shows Ali in and through the clinic, which is...well, a pretty quintessential small-town clinic. In fact, it looks a bit like Dr. Fleischman's clinic from Northern Exposure--minus the unflappable receptionist, but then again, it's after office hours.

Upstairs is James's apartment: simple, but neat and comfortable. He's fond of earth-tones and simple, sturdy furniture, including lots (and lots) of bookshelves, all filled almost to overflowing with books.

"Guest room's down here, and the bathroom's right next door. Towels and linens are in the closet there..." He pauses as the kettle starts to sing. "...and there's the water for the tea, right on schedule."

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AliFirebreak



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PostSubject: Re: Salamanca, Mid-May   Wed May 20, 2015 6:17 am

"Right-o." She plops the bag swiftly into the guest room, then heads for the water kettle and its noisy cheer. ""What do I need to know about or do, to be a good guest to you and your home?" She sets aside the kettle, closes her eyes, takes three precise breaths and opens a few cabinets until she finds cups. By the time cups are withdrawn, placed on the table, as well as some minor accoutrements for the pleasant drinking of tea- a tiny container of milk, some honey if findable- every movement has become fluid, deliberate, yet slow and precise, all in harmony with her breathing.

She turns and bows to James, motioning wordlessly to the table and seeming...well, at peace, finding some sort of serenity in the homely-turned-ritualistic gestures.
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STBen



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PostSubject: Re: Salamanca, Mid-May   Wed May 20, 2015 12:10 pm

Redleaf sits with a smile. "Be prepared to put up with my incessant questions, and you will be a fine guest, indeed."
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AliFirebreak



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PostSubject: Re: Salamanca, Mid-May   Wed May 20, 2015 5:46 pm

Ali pours tea for him, first. "The ceremony of tea is a focus point, for my tribe." She pours exactly three quarters of the cup full, dribbling not a droplet. "Another of your specific tribal family once educated me that it is oft that to know the truth of a person, one should engage in a meal with that individual." She steps slowly around the table to pour her own cup, three quarters full. "It is truth that a body must have food and water to supply it, but in tea there is some small food, but mostly water, and it is given in such a way as one may not just derive sustenance, but nourishment. Nourishment of body, by of course; nourishment of mind, though, and of spirit, for warmth spreads and provides a focus. It allows us to begin to share of ourselves in a common way," and she sits down to her own tea, picking it up in her hands, "such that like a simple stick as a lever may fell a mighty boulder... through such commonalities we may gain insight upon each other." She bows her head a moment to or over her tea, then takes the tiniest of sips lest it scald her mouth.

OOC: This had much a true ritualistic bent to it. It's like Stargazers have an actual tea ceremony rite! -oh wait....
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STBen



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PostSubject: Re: Salamanca, Mid-May   Wed May 20, 2015 6:00 pm

Redleaf waits respectfully until the ritual is complete. He murmurs something soft in a language that is neither English nor Garou nor Kheuar. (OOC: Kainen'keha, to be specific) before taking a sip of his own tea.

"We live," he says, "In interesting times."
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PostSubject: Re: Salamanca, Mid-May   Wed May 20, 2015 6:13 pm

Ali grimaces. "It'd be nice to have a pleasant, boring two weeks in a mildly warm location with a hammock, running water, and birdsong." She wrinkles her nose, body language agreeing with his statement.
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PostSubject: Re: Salamanca, Mid-May   Wed May 20, 2015 7:26 pm

"Wouldn't it just?" He takes a sip of the tea, then offers a tray of seed cakes. "There have been some odd things going on just lately. Do you know much about "drones?""
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PostSubject: Re: Salamanca, Mid-May   Wed May 20, 2015 7:31 pm

Ali blinks. "Didn't I hear those are the things that Amazon was jokingly saying in an April Fool's joke would drop deliver packages?" She takes a seed cake, and nibbles it with a thoughtful air. "I think I remember my former packmate mentioning them too, but I don't remember the context. I just remember him being displeased about the topic at hand. Why, what do you know? Maybe if I have some more crumbs I can dredge something up."
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STBen



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PostSubject: Re: Salamanca, Mid-May   Wed May 20, 2015 8:35 pm

"I don't know much. That's just the problem. I heard some things. I suspect some things. But..." He sighs. "More questions than answers. Let me begin at the beginning:

A few days back, I was at the Whirlpool...you really should see it while you're here, by the way. There was a troubling scent in the air, a scent of the Unmaker. I decided to investigate. So, apparently, did the Garou of Falling Waters; they turned up in some force a few minutes later, and we were able between us to determine that a dakat...a fomor...was using the area as a hunting grounds. We were going to ambush the creature, but that's where it gets...odd."

"The dakat turned up--and a minute or so later, so did a large number of police. The police called on her to surrender, and she and her bodyguard attacked. They badly damaged a number of the police, and she managed to beguile one of them."

"The police...reset. That's the best way I can put it. They suddenly reset to exactly the condition they'd been in at the start of the fight. And they kept resetting, so that even though the dakat were individually more powerful, they simply couldn't make any headway."
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PostSubject: Re: Salamanca, Mid-May   Wed May 20, 2015 8:43 pm

"Hrmm. To me...that sounds like Weaver-taint." She narrows her eyes. "If...If it's not trespass on Falling Waters' territory, and it's important enough to get me near it, I can tell you if it's influenced to one of the Triat. My tribe, we're sensitive to the balance inherent.

"But overall, I'm not one who's the best to talk to about it if it does turn out to be Weaver taint. I'm a bit of a disgruntled soul where that's concerned." Ali shrugs a little and nibbles more seed cake. "Still, if that will help a piece of the puzzle to fall into place, I'm happy to offer it as a good will gesture to you. I've already reached out to the Alpha at Falling Waters to let him know I might be regional enough that his folks might catch my scent somewhere while they're on their large-scope patrols, since I didn't know where we'd be going and what we'd be doing- and didn't want them to think a strange Garou meant possible enemy intruder.

"Otherwise... if you know any of the Silicon Sentinels, they'd be your folks to confirm or deny your suspicions. They're the pros on detecting Weaver-taint exterior to themselves." There's a hint of some sardonic tone in the last statement, although she doesn't extrapolate further. "If you don't know any I can put you in touch with my former packmate. He's dealt with another of your Folk in reasonable enough fashion that I think he'd be open to a casual conversation."
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STBen



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PostSubject: Re: Salamanca, Mid-May   Wed May 20, 2015 9:01 pm

"Oh, it was most assuredly Weaver taint. The magic smelled of webs and of sunlight on attic dust." He hesitates. "Yes, the, ah, Silicon Sentinels. I...may have overheard something about that." He pauses. "Something feels...off. I suppose I should be happy that two more dakat are out of circulation, but somehow I just feel uneasy." He sighs. "We took out an entire building full of dakat in Love Canal this weekend--probably a hundred of them, if not more. Garou and Bastet working together, straight-up victory without a drop of Gaian blood being spilled. I should be delighted, not disquieted."
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PostSubject: Re: Salamanca, Mid-May   Wed May 20, 2015 9:33 pm

Ali cants her head. "Can you pinpoint what about it makes you uneasy?" Though Ahroun, she waits, patient, giving him her full attention as she stands ready to help tease ideas out of the fog.
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PostSubject: Re: Salamanca, Mid-May   Thu May 21, 2015 9:53 am

"It was easy.  Too easy.  The forces of the Unmaker should have come howling after us, lusting for our blood.  Instead...instead they sent a single corrupted Corax.  They used a talen to speak with his spirit after he was slain, and he asked us why were still bothering with them.  He said we'd won the war against them five years ago, that we were ignoring the real enemy."

Redleaf shakes his head. "I don't know. Was he right? Are we ignoring the worse threat, at this point?"
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PostSubject: Re: Salamanca, Mid-May   Fri May 22, 2015 12:24 am

The Stargazer turned her head down, staring into the depths of her remaining tea. "A teaching we have, my tribe... I say that a lot, I'm sorry if that makes me sound like I have a superiority thing, it's just meant as a manner of identification of source- ...is that the Wyrm isn't the true threat. It's the Weaver. I am...not strongly spiritual, a lot of spirits freak me out. Wendigo, despite showing me his favor in so deliberate a fashion, makes me pee myself a little when I think I've got his attention. Chimera is easier to handle, but only in that I... get... Chimera. But the greater forces of the universe and reality, of whether Wyld or Weaver or Wyrm is at fault or still the main factor of necessity or whatnot? I think there's probably something to the saying that the Weaver is the root and the Wyrm is a symptom. I just can't tell you how to vette that notion.

"In myself, I've mostly decided that I need to do as my heart guides me to go. I can't control the universe's paradigm, but I can control my own, so by controlling my own and making my own choices in each situation I encounter as where the fault lays or does not lay... that's my way of figuring out how to handle my life in the greater scope. And I try to stay open to the shamans who have more intuition to such things, keep my ear open for what they're saying so I can decide if I need to change my mind on things.

"So if you feel like it was too easy, and you have doubt?" She looks up and at him, shrugging once, deliberately and slowly. "Then trust it and act on that hunch, and keep your eyes open for more supporting evidence- and for any evidence that contradicts it, just in case. But you have to act on something as a point to have movement from, so that's a decision as good as any other decision in the situation. As long as you don't blinder yourself.. something in your mind, or your heart, is telling you to be uneasy, so trust yourself even if you don't understand yourself just yet."
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PostSubject: Re: Salamanca, Mid-May   Fri May 22, 2015 1:50 pm

Ali's mention of Chimera triggers a flicker of a grin. "I get Chimera just enough to realize that I don't get Chimera," Redleaf murmurs, before becoming serious again. He nods to her words. "Balance. That's the real problem, isn't it? We have three siblings, three primal forces, who should be balanced...and they're not. They haven't been for ever and ever so long. Taking weight away from one simply causes things to tilt more towards another."

He pauses, meditatively. "And perhaps our own lives reflect that imbalance more profoundly than we like to think. Perhaps that's why Gaia's children, who were meant to work together as the eyes work with the hands, as the legs work with the heart, have been at odds for so long. As above, so below."

Another pause.

"Which doesn't absolve us of accountability, of course. The fault may very well lie in our stars AND in ourselves."
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PostSubject: Re: Salamanca, Mid-May   Fri May 22, 2015 2:05 pm

Ali offers a smile to James. "Well, hey. I'm here. You've invited me here. We can't look at the fault outside of outside of ourselves and exterior to our respective races, without starting- but we can do what we are, right here and now doing. Offering friendship and accepting it, offering understanding and accepting it, offering knowledge and accepting it, between individuals. Eventually with luck and with work, the Wheel will turn such that enough individuals become the race. Then in that new age, perhaps we will finally be in a position to have enough hands tilting the balance that others can help correct the other sides as well, eh?"
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PostSubject: Re: Salamanca, Mid-May   Fri May 22, 2015 8:04 pm

"Very true. Oh, very true, indeed." Redleaf returns the smile. "And we can start with the medical knowledge you wanted to study. Suppose we begin by figuring out where we stand...that is, what you already know, and what you'd like to learn."
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PostSubject: Re: Salamanca, Mid-May   Fri May 22, 2015 11:04 pm

Ali pauses, and frowns a little. "I think...in order to give you understanding of what I'm looking for, I have to give you some background." The Stargazer finishes her tea, and pours another cup; she also fills his. There is a faint furrow in her brow as she does, and the motions are automatic, unthinking.

"I am an Ahroun full-moon, by birth. I'm also my parent's only daughter. So when I was born, my mother was...well, preoccupied with labor, and my father who is the Garou was trying to not freak out and frenzy and to be there for Mom in this excruciating pain. So after the fact they said I was Galliard-born because that's what Dad thought he remembered when Mom's labor started.

"Fast forward until after I had Changed, I had been trained in some basic ways of Garou life and as a Galliard would be expected. With history of the Nation, and I already loved tales and stories and books and that sort of thing. Nobody questioned me being a Galliard- until one of the Theurges gathered me and a couple other cubs for some mystic rite...and my entire training was put to a halt. Some research was done, and it was cumulatively realized that in Dad freaking out about being a first-time father, he'd not realized that part of his freaking out was actually full moon emotions, and it was a full moon when I was born, and I was really supposed to be an Ahroun. It just meant that I had been started on a path to be a scholar, not a death-dealer. And then I had to have a whole new regime put into me to realign to being Gaia's death-dealer. It was...disturbing but necessary and I didn't question it, because things are as they are meant to be.

"Now, fast forward more, and as a cliath freshly moved to Atlanta, I was in a pack, Shadow's Honor. We had this other cliath in the pack with us, a Theurge Silver Fang named Jonathan Chandeskar." About this point in time, her voice had started to grow remote-sounding and unemotional, and by the time the individual's name was stated she was speaking in a monotone. It was as if she was discussing particularly boring aspects of roofing nails, or something equally dull. "He was about as reluctant Garou as it came, was a total EMT, wanted to save lives, not end them. He was an odd duck, said he was a lost cub, his parents adopted him. Anyhow, point is, we...became...friends..." The words were hesitant for only the barest breaths, as if she had to force herself to say them. "He taught me medical knowledge and healing, because it bothered me sometimes that I was an Ahroun, and therefore Gaia's death-dealer and murder-facer. I was only ever engaged to go sow destruction, rain blood, cause death, as a cliath- I wasn't seasoned enough to lead, or to give battle ideas, or anything like that.

"Jonathan... he opened a door to me. Taught me how I could save lives, not end them. Keep them from ending. Patch people back together even if I didn't have the supernatural gifts to do it. He taught me well up to being a first-responder on a scene, or a physician's assistant. I loved it. I mean, you remember, I suspect- that was how I sort of latched on to you, because I loved that you were one of Gaia's shifting children with Rage, but you still had made this happen, right? That you could be a doctor. I envied you." She looks at him, and for that one last sentence, there's the faintest sense of emotion from the entire dialogue- envy. Then it's locked down again, and everything is emotionless, sociopathic in its cut-and-dry analytical precision.

"Jonathan fell off our packlink a while ago after having gone off to do his own work within his tribe. He said to not come after him, and then he fell off packlink. I wanted to go after him, but the rest of the pack... was not as close to him, had less attachment to him, and it was just me wanting to go find out what had happened, so it didn't happen. Then..about a month ago, in Atlanta, there was a regional gathering when the southeast came together to fight against a great Wyrm spirit, Terminus. And... Jonas Albercht came to the gathering. And he said he'd given all of our caern's information, all the caerns of the Nation or nearly so, to the Wyrm, in some maddened vision. He said he'd walked the Nation under many names- and started listing them. The first one he named he had posed under? Jonathan Chandeskar. Excuse me a moment."

Ali gets up, and heads for the bathroom. Despite her unemotional tone, she had started looking green around the gills. There are faint sounds of nausea, although diminished as if she was trying to be as polite as possible about puking. She returns after a few minutes, face freshly washed and looking drained. Ali sits down in her chair, just a wee touch unsteady.

"I apologize. That's the problem. Every time I think about the fact that the Jonathan I cared about as a brother, and tried to heal and bring into the Nation... or if I use the medical knowledge I have... I get sick. And I can't do that. I can't be puking on the battlefield trying to save somebody's life, it could get me and them dead. But... I just... it's tainted. The whole idea of him, and what he taught me...it's tainted." She looks down, one hand gripping the table hard as if fighting the queasiness. "I know it's all psychosomatic. It's a reaction to finding out my former brother is probably the greatest Betrayer of my generation, of many generations. I've come to learn more, so I can make some new memories and get over this... be fully in control of my ability to save and not take life again. I need to remake that portion of myself and take the relation away."

Ali sits there at the table, looking tired, looking miserable, looking just a little defeated, and very much like she's lost everything in her stomach from the nice afternoon tea. She doesn't even pick up her tea cup again, doesn't even look at it or the remainder of her seed cake.
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STBen



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PostSubject: Re: Salamanca, Mid-May   Sat May 23, 2015 8:15 am

Redleaf absorbs all of this. His face is sympathetic, but not pitying. "Not all wounds are physical," he says, gently. "And while Gaia has seen fit to bless us with the ability to heal most physical harm quickly and easily, wounds to the soul are another matter. You seek to make new memories when it comes to healing...in much the same way that someone might seek to make new memories, happier memories, in a home where a loved one has passed away. I understand." A pause. "And I think we can do that, and I think it will be effective...but it's a first step only. We'll be treating a symptom. Healing the wound...that will take longer."

"I can't pretend to know what you're doing through, Ali. I won't insult you by claiming that I do." He offers his hand. "But if you're willing to let me, I will try to help you work your way through this and...not let go of it, not forget about it, for those things will never happen. But I will try to help you find balance and make your peace with what happened...and with yourself again."
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PostSubject: Re: Salamanca, Mid-May   Sat May 23, 2015 8:19 am

Ali nods, once. There is no hesitation when she reaches out and takes his hand, and she even offers a crumb of a strained smile. "Thank you. I know... I know it'll take time. But it's a start. And I have too much to do to waste time on this."
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PostSubject: Re: Salamanca, Mid-May   Sat May 23, 2015 8:34 am

Redleaf clasps Ali's hand firmly. His eyes are warm, but his expression is grave. "Ali, I think taking the time for this will be the farthest possible thing from a waste. Before we can help bring balance to the world, we need balance in ourselves, yes?"
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