proposition [attn: jack!]
Their initial introduction sounded like the first sentence of a potentially terrible joke: So a packless wolf-born lawgiver and a moondancer following Fog walk into the Caern...

If the joke were to end with ... and end up killing one Wretched and capturing another, thus discovering the fate of a Fostern Ragabash's boyfriend's cousin's missing uncle, and went their separate ways again it wouldn't be the worst joke ever told, but it also doesn't sound like a joke when you tell it that way.

Hector isn't a Ragabash. He doesn't know a damned thing about telling jokes. But he does know how to track down people what need tracking down, even if he has to wade through questionable substances and bribe a few Ratlings to do it.

However he ends up doing it the Uktena interrupts Rabid Jack to be like "Sup," and then:

"Hey, listen, I like stories. Tell me this one: how is it you're such a badass and you don't have a pack yet?"
Jack spends as much time sharpening himself in the Cold Crescent as contemplating the Forgotten Questions, and it's in the former skyscraper Hector finds the malodorous lupus he'd been paired the other night.

Less room. More bodies crammed together. It makes sense that's where Hector can finally track down the lump of muscle and sharp edges.

Jack shifts from where he'd curled up on his bed roll in his lupine form to sit on his ass in the manskin once he's taken its shape, legs spread wide and knees bent so that he can lean back into the wall of the barracks' corner. He looks like he's the one who wants to hear a story, even though it's the Galliard asking for one.

He gives it.

"Gave my last alpha a broken nose and a bad case of whiplash. Ask me? Here, seems like everyone wants to make friends, but we wait until we're all playing guitars and cracking cans of Bud fireside, we're just going to end up with a lot of dead friends when Green Dragon's clutch comes knockin'," rolling his boulder-sized shoulders in a shrug, though he looks like he's longing to hear Hector speaks again.

No, Jack is not so good at hiding his excitement at what Hector asks, once the realization dawns, because his feet are tapping and he's fidgeting with the fingers that come together in front of him, elbows resting on his crooked knees.

"Why don' you tell me a story? 'Bout how I got a pack with a pretty boy Uktena I seen throat a Wyrm-bitch with them pretty teeth. Now that's a story I'd like to hear," eyes wide and expectant to see if he'd come to the right conclusion now that he's put himself out there, on the line, to possibly become a punch line.
Ducked down on the floor with his arms locked over his knees, Hector looks prepared to stay there for as long as takes the lupus to heed his request. Maybe longer. Couldn't have been more content to just crouch and listen than he would have been in front of a fire out in the middle of nowhere, drinking after a successful hunt.

Doesn't get flowing prose and textured allegory out of the rough-faced Half Moon, but beggars can't be choosers. He smiles closed-lipped and

"Oh, that's not a long story at all, though," he says. "Before the Uktena followed Fog, he was in a pack bound under Coyote, and they lost their alpha.

"The pack learned it's better to go unseen than it is to be quick, that glory and honor don't always go to the ones who run into battle with their teeth bared, knowing nothing but their own strength. And Coyote understood. Coyote doesn't limit his children. So they went together under Fog from then on. They decided to stay in the White North helping a sept there, and for a while it was good.

"Then Banes cleaved the pack in two three moons back. The Uktena lost a packbrother, a questioner of Stag called First Light, and his tribeswoman Hornet's Nest. The Uktena fought with their alpha, Gears of War, who had frenzied during the fight that killed First Light and Hornet's Nest. The Uktena was proud, and angry, and so was their alpha, and the two fought, and after that their alpha wasn't their alpha anymore. He isn't their anything anymore.

"The Uktena and his packsister Cinder Song decided to stay with Fog. They figured it's better to fight on together than to drift along by themselves. So they came back to the Sept of Forgotten Questions, because the Uktena made a promise to his tribeswoman Hornet's Nest.

"And then the Uktena met this ugly-ass Bone Gnawer called Rabid Jack who didn't act like a total moron when they went to find a missing kinsman and he was like Shit I'd better see if he wants to sneak around finding stuff out about the Wyrm before snapping their necks on the regular. And the Bone Gnawer was like Hell yeah I do so they went off to find Cinder Song and she was like Yeah okay. And they all went off to say What's up to Fog. And Fog was like Hey what's up you're pretty cool you can totally kick it with us. So he did.

"And that's the story of how Rabid Jack joined Celduin."
"Well fuckin' A. That's a sad story. But it got better at the end. Now we can crack open some Buds and not feel so bad about it, can't we?"

When Hector names the lost packbrother and packsister, he'd grown sullen. Solemn. His eyes get a little wide, and his face relaxes into a sadder state than it is already in. That anxiousness wanes, and he shifts, uncomfortable. He may have perked up a bit at the end, but that doesn't keep him from speaking his next words with some respect.

"Have a drink or two, in memory of the packbrother and packsister I will never know. Hornet's Nest. First Light." He'd memorized them as soon as he had heard them. They are names a lupus can easily wrap even a human tongue around. When he'd first changed, it had been the way he talked, in metaphor, before idioms were memorized and he constantly began to sound like he was parroting something Ma or Pops had said.

Jack gets to his feet. Holds out a hand to pull Hector onto his own. "And I can meet Cinder Song, my new sister."
So he takes Jack's hand and unfolds his form and grins despite the fleeting sadness of the story in the air around them. Claps the shorter stockier wolf on the shoulder and shakes him a bit.

"Awright!" he says, and drops his hand to lead Jack out of the room. "Only you're gonna want to call her Cinder Song, Furious Lament if she's in earshot. It's her full name, she's real particular about that sort of thing. Also - how's your Elvish?"


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