February: Cracking the Bone
Keisha presses her lips into a firm line when David's hackles go up. It isn't anger, but rather a bit of frustration. She lets him finish and then moves to retake the bone.

"I apologize if you thought I was trying to say you don't know the Litany. You're a Philodox, you wouldn't have made it past cub if you didn't, and I respect your knowledge of it. All of us know the Litany, regardless of auspice, and you more than many of us. Believe me, when I say 'with all due respect,' I mean that I respect who you are, what you know and what you're saying."

There's no sarcasm or dryness in her tone. Keisha is completely sincere in her demeanor when she acknowledges Final Word's knowledge of their laws.

"But Challenged is not just about being replaced. It is about not challenging the Alpha's word. Not challenging their commands. And..." She looks at the Great Alpha then. "...with respect for you, Rhya, and for everyone here, we've already established that we're not in that kind of war right now where that sort of challenge is not allowed. The situation against Beloved Horror, the airport and the Pit was the same two moons ago, when so many of us stood up and challenged the Elder's decree that Cold Crescent be closed."

It may be considered a Theurge's imperfect definition of the Litany. Or the hippiest of hippy Children of Gaia providing loose definitions of challenge and war in her thinking. Whatever the case, she has expressed her point.

"We're not here to cripple each other's arguments. Like Avery said, this isn't a mob. I completely respect your opinions, Final Law, even in those occasions where I might not agree with them. I'm not saying your point is wrong, I'm just saying that my view is somewhat different. And that's what we're doing; providing different viewpoints to be considered before the final decision is made."
"The anger of a good man is not a problem. Good men have too many rules."
"Good men don't need rules. And today's not the day to find out why I have so many."
"Yeah about the whole challenging in wartime thing," Erich seems reminded, "I think the only time that should ever be valid is if we're literally in the middle of a fight and there's blood on the floor. Otherwise it's just an easy way to grab a position and then go HA, YOU CAN'T CHALLENGE ME.

"But no, hang on, that wasn't why I took the Bone. I just wanna say: can we maybe just like... list out the arguments for each side? 'Cause everyone keeps talking and half of what people are saying is just no you're wrong and I'm losing track of the actual reasons for either. So here's what I'm hearing.

"For having one Great Alpha: immediate, unified leadership during a tough time. Two arms, one head; total coordination. Cut out any possible politics and the handwavey-bullshit so if shit happens both Septs respond. Kind of already how we're running things. Possibility of future separation and independence.

"For having two: Cold Crescent is its own thing again, right here right now. The Great Alpha doesn't have to split his attention between two Septs. One Sept, one Alpha is just how things are. Possibility of future friendship and cooperation between the two Septs.

"Anything else for either side? -- OH WAIT. I forgot. Thomas also said: two separate Septs can better tackle two separate problems.

"Though, agh. Okay, I'm gonna have to do that thing where I go no you're wrong! I mean, that's true, two separate Septs can tackle two separate problems? But ... we don't have two separate problems. We have problems that affect all of us. The Pit, the airport and Beloved Horror aren't gonna be like, oh, Forgotten Questions is a different Sept, we'll just bother Cold Crescent. If anything they'll take advantage of it if we're too separate. Divide and conquer, right? So yeah. That's why I think two totally separate Septs is a bad idea right now. Or well. Not bad? Just. One leader for both is better."

[edit: sorry, forgot about thomas's post!]
A new shape rises up from the gathered wolves watching this debate shift from voice to voice to voice to voice. Ingrid Kim rises up to four feet and, just at the edge of the ring of Garou, she melts from four legs upward to two. They have their preferences, yes, but some forms are better for discussions and some are better suited for combat and the Revel.

She approaches the small knot of Fosterns and Cliaths and she waits patiently until the bone appears to be passing hands once more. Gracefully and graciously, she accepts the bone with a bow to Avery before taking a step back and offering a slight bow to the Grand Elder as well.

Then she looks to the Garou knot.

"Ingrid," she announces, "Dances With the Hurricane. Cliath of the Shadow Lords. Now is not the moment when I will play my part as tonight's Fool." A reassurance, perhaps. Her true interruption of events will happen later.

"Before this spirals further, I have questions for the two of you in particular," she inclines her head toward Erich and slants her gaze toward David, "to answer now or to think over later." She turns to David first, tilting her head to look upward at him. "Final Word-yuf, what is your purpose in, as you say, crippling Storm's Teeth-rhya's argument? Are we not here because we are joined together in a singular purpose?" She does not give him the bone, but continues to hold it in her hands as she turns to Erich. "Storm's Teeth-rhya, nearly all of us standing here, now, were new to this city once. You challanged for the moot's Wyrmfoe the very same day you arrived. Our opinions as newcomers to the city and its troubles have always been considered valid in the eyes of the elders of Forgotten Questions. What makes you believe Final Word-yuf's opinions should be considered any less valid because he wasn't by the pit with us, he didn't lay Raspberry Sky to rest with us, he did not plug in a refigerator and clean up the mess of the 43rd floor with us?" Again, she retains her hold on the bone.

"And finally, why do you insist that two means separate?" Here Ingrid lifts the jaw bone aloft and makes a short half-circle before the gathered Garou. For a moment she looks a lot like one of those ring-girls for boxing matches, except she's wearing a lot more clothing and appears a lot more predatory. "Are we not all Gaia's teeth? If you put too much pressure on one tooth will it not crack and crumble and eventually break?"

Lowering her arms, she turns and returns to the knot of debate. "Spread the work between the jaw and we'll make quicker work of the enemies who seek to bring us to the ground, will we not?"

Passing the bone on, she takes a step back away from them and as she does she dips her body forward, arms stretched out behind her in a quick bow to include all of them. In the same, fluidly graceful motion she turns away, but she does not resume her lupus shape, not yet.
"Ugh, Ingrid, I'm not saying his opinions are less valid," Erich says. "I'm saying why the hell is this dude I've never seen before all up in my face trying to rouse the rabble, accusing me of spitting on the traditions, and 'crippling' my arguments? And also, that was like, twenty minutes ago. Can we stop focusing on David's weird rage-hard-on for me now?

"As for the rest of it, I get the argument that having a two-pronged attack is good, or something. I get it, guys. And I get that two Septs doesn't necessarily mean two totally separate and non-communicating Septs.

"But the thing is, that's exactly what happened last time. The problem we ran into before was that the two Septs stopped coordinating, stopped talking, just did their own things and then all hell broke loose. I'm not being paranoid here, I'm just looking at our very recent history. So far we have really unpleasant evidence that two septs led to two septs that didn't talk and a lot of death and pain and stuff. We have nothing but a 'hey, maybe we'll do better this time!' for the opposite. There's no guarantee, at all, that what didn't work before will work out now.

"Yeah -- maybe we'll learn from our mistakes and do better. Maybe. I wanna believe we'll do better. I do. But I don't wanna risk the safety of a Sept we just barely got running again on ... a wish and a prayer. Right now, just for the next six or twelve months or something, is not the time for experimenting and leaps of faith.

"I think we need to stay united and stay focused. When the immediate threat is put down, then we can work on having two allied, communicating Septs that won't repeat their old mistakes."
As always, Charlotte is very quiet throughout the cracking, a slim, white-furred wolf who is remarkably, always silent in her packmate's shadow. Erich takes the bone and she is alert then, tail high, and after that a cascading discussion and for all her purity, no one is watching her then to see her reactions, no matter how compelling her purity.

Somewhere in there though: a rippling movement, like liquid, and in the end as with Tamsin, a girl-form crouches where the wolf had been. Charlotte looks really quite tense and her eyes are set and her brows are set and her mind is really rather closed to the minds of her packmates as she takes the bone, heart in her throat, beating. Beating,

as she takes the bone.

"Forgotten Questions has a Wyrmfoe." The girl, a skinny thing in jeans and a Denver Broncos t-shirt begins. "New one every moon. Every moot. A Caller-of-the-Wyld-Things and a Talesinger and a Fool. Cold Crescent does not need any of them. Forgotten Questions has a Caern to be opened and fed and sustained, a hunt to be called and a revel to be led and Cold Crescent has none.

"We don't need a Wyrmfoe and a Caller-of-the-Wyld and a Fool. We come here every moon; we join the Septs and we join moot and we run beneath the moon together we do it together, led by one Wyrmfoe and one Caller of the Wyld, and questioned by one Fool.

"So we can share the things we need to share.

"Can't share a Warder." A brief, avian, nearly alien blink as Charlotte's eyes go towards but shy away from the place where the Grand Alpha sits. " - that'd be <i>stupid</i>. The Warder here has to protect the bawn and defend the Caern from everything that wants to devour it and defile it and drain it. The Warder there - "

A small, one-shouldered shrug.

" - well, Cold Crescent was established to Ward, wasn't it. Cold Crescent's like a watchtower. It is a watchtower, a fortress, and we aren't there to keep the world from tearing apart our most sacred of places. We're there to keep those Things and the Things-that-Love-Them from tearing apart the world.

"I think the Warder is the leader of Cold Crescent," Charlotte starts, looks a bit guilty for making a statement like that. Swallows. " - or should be. There's no reason to separate Warder and alpha when there is no Caern to guard, no bawn to protect. So I think the Warder should lead us, and answer to the Grand Alpha. I don't think we need a separate Grand Alpha - not because we don't need leadership; but because we need leadership of a different sort for a different sept made for different reasons with a different purpose."

It all comes out in a tumble, really and at the end the girl is holding the bone and closing her mouth quite neatly and looking around the circle of wolves with rather wide eyes and a pounding heart and feeling brighter and more alert and also somehow noisier in a way that makes her begin to stiffen up and she might well just stand there bone-in-hand for an uncomfortably long period of time but she is lucky enough to have packmates one of whom nudges her mindfully and Charlotte startles, see, alert and awake and almost-but-not-quite fumbles the lion's jawbone from her hand in her haste and eagerness to hand it back to the Truthcatcher and slip out from the center of the circle, away from the scrutiny of the crowd. Cheeks flaming. Of course they are.
But my heart is wild and my bones are steel
And I could kill you with my bare hands if I was free.

- Phosphorescent, Song for Zula
Erich looks stunned. Just:


Then he takes the bone. "I agree with Charlotte. Because yeah. What she said."
Javed rises then, takes the bone.

"It is a novel idea that Black Sheep suggests. And not one without some level of merit. However, I must point out that the Cold Crescent is not simply a watchtower. As has been argued, a Sept is more than simply a bulwark; it is a home. And a Warder must be concentrated on one aspect of running that home; the defense of it and its territory. Those are all-encompassing duties, and a Sept Leader must look at all aspects of a Sept's involvement. I would suggest that a Warder should not, except in the most desperate of of situations, serve in both capacities. And I think we can all acknowledge that we are not at that place."
"The anger of a good man is not a problem. Good men have too many rules."
"Good men don't need rules. And today's not the day to find out why I have so many."
The Great Alpha is silent as the Cracking goes on. He has seen many of these wolves impassioned before, speaking up for Cold Crescent. He remains in the center, next to the Truthcatcher, for a very long time. And as the last voices begin to quiet, and as it becomes clear that they are only going to go in circles, and even when someone steps up and says that Cold Crescent can do with just a Warder, the Great Alpha pushes up on his feet and grunts at Avery.

Someone else is, just then, comingn forward to take the jawbone, but steps back. Reverence of Dawn turns to the Great Alpha and gives him the lion's bone, stepping out of his way. He holds it under one paw, as he often does.

"Old Cold Crescent fell," he says, his voice a heavy rumble in the air. "With leader. With independence." And here, there is no mistaking the disdain in that word, regardless of the half-shifted form of his throat, the voice that is neither merely an animal's or a man's. "New Cold Crescent failed. With no leader. No core. Home or tower," and again a noise, a chuff of disdain for what he sees as nitpicking, as the mistakes and misconceptions of the young.

The Great Alpha growls at the back of his throat, quietly. "I am your Alpha." He says this to all of them: every wolf, every pack, every one of them gathered here, regardless of where they dwell. The words have a sound like thunder. "This is your caern," he says, just as heavy, just as harsh, sweeping golden eyes across those who have spoken. His lips pull back from his teeth. "I give you leader who speaks in my name, you obey. Or you find new caern. New home. Not in city," he snaps, punctuating the warning: "Far from here."

The warning hangs in the air for a few moments: Cold Crescent will have a liaison, one who speaks for the Great Alpha. Not just a Warder, and not a leader separated entirely from the authority of the Great Alpha. And those who cannot live under that arrangement, who refuse to obey the Great Alpha's Moonwalker, will find themselves ostracized from both Forgotten Questions and Cold Crescent.

He swings his head to look at Vigor, standing not too far from Shieldwind. "Moonwalker," he snarls at the Adren Ragabash. "Warder," he says, snapping his jaws at the Athro Shadow Lord. His paw slams down on the lion's jawbone, with far more force, far more rage, than would be necessary to break it. It splinters beneath his strength. "We are done."
my whole life is thunder.

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