enter the gladiators.
It's not just one truck or one van that rolls up into the Sept of Forgotten Questions one late night after the gates have closed. It's a whole caravan of them: three pickups, an extended passenger van, a re-purposed school bus painted red with flourishing white stripes flying all over it, a well-worn VW Golf hatchback, and one very out-of-place silver Infiniti. All of them have filthy undercarriages from driving out here, and driving a long way. A few words at the ranger's station by the gate, and then the gates are being unlocked by the illumination of the moon and several sets of headlights, and the caravan is rolling towards the parking lots.

Guardians begin to emerge from the shadows and brambles and the penumbra near the visitor's center as the cars (and trucks and bus and van and so on) pull to their stops and turn off their engines, as lights go dim, as doors open.

Garou and Kinfolk alike tumble out of the automobiles, some bursting from doors and others yawning, waking up in the back seats, coming more slowly. A curvy woman with red-gold hair and creamy skin gets out of the Infiniti, wearing colorful clothes and carrying a mint-green bag. There are a few children with them, and they look as most children do after long travels: their faces a little dirty, their hair a bit matted, their cheeks pink from sleep and their eyes wide to absorb a new place. A few of them are already starting to run, eager to stretch their legs, even if they're just bolting for the bathrooms in the visitor's center in the waning moonlight. They are fearless, young and old, and they are noisy.

Noisiest of all are the Garou who come climbing out of the brightly painted no-longer-a-school bus. Tall and broad of shoulder, long of limb, and each one with their own shade of ginger hair or auburn fur, they are the ones who walk and lope and stride to meet the Guardians.

There is sniffing.

There are a few protracted looks of wariness.

Then, after some talking, there is arm clasping, there is greeting. The Fianna and their caravan meet and meld with the Garou of Forgotten Questions, already getting down to practical business: where they're staying, where they'll park, patrol shifts they'll take.

It takes a few days, after the June moot has closed with its revel, but soon word has spread through both Forgotten Questions and Cold Crescent: they have guests, a whole troupe of guests, who can't wait to test the mettle of their hosts.

["SL" intro post! And for those of you who don't get the subject line: http://youtu.be/_B0CyOAO8y0 ]
my whole life is thunder.

Now, it's not like the Caern of Forgotten Questions is so well-hidden that it never gets visitors. Quite the opposite. It gets visitors all the time. But so many, all at once, and so interesting: that's a rarer occurrence.

There are a lot of people watching the newcomers. Most are curious, or otherwise unoccupied. Some are gregarious and hoping to make a friend. Somewhat fewer are suspicious, or at least wary. And at least one --

one Erich, to be precise

-- is atop a friendly rock formation in wolf-shape, sitting on his haunches, big and shaggy and tongue-lolling and bright-eyed and very, very, very curious. His tail moves a little now and then, cautious little wags. He scents the air. He scents the air a lot. And eventually, totally shameless about gossiping very loudly about their new guests, he puts tilts his muzzle up and folds his ears back and howls:

Sophia has spent the past several months living in relative seclusion and getting a closer understanding of her lupine nature. So when guests arrived she was already wearing her wolfen skin. The arrival of guests wasn't something she saw, but rather heard, as the caravan made it's way towards the sept's territory.

She watched with interest as the lights drove past the hill she had been resting upon. The possibility of guests, newcomers, caused her tail to lift and begin wagging excitedly. The Silver Fang wasted no time in springing to life and bounding down her hill. In seconds she was moving as fast as her feet could carry her in the direction the cars were traveling.

She wouldn't have been able to keep up with them. By the time she came upon she scene they had already started the process of unloading and getting themselves ready to go... Wherever it was they were headed.

From her distant position Sophia sniffed at the air to gather up all of the new scents hovering about in the air. She put them to memory surprisingly quickly, and decided they looked friendly enough to investigate closer.

When she DID approach them she no longer wore her wolfen form, instead an oversized t-shirt and blue jean cut-offs. She didn't bother with shoes as she stepped closer, and closer, shyly at first. It was clear that she was timid, not afraid, but rather wary of these strangers who have come into her sept's territory.

Guests were not terribly common out here, let alone such a large gathering, and Sophia wasn't precisely blind to the possibility they could be a threat. Unfortunately for her, Sophia has never really been the sort to let something like fear stand in the way of meeting new people! So she soon stepped into view in order to properly introduce herself to the newcomers, as well as begin investigating to see if anyone was injured or in need of immediate care.
The first couple of weeks after the visitors arrive are busy ones. There are pack houses opened up to guests, there are hotels overrun by these red-haired wolves and their families, and then there appears to be some kind of problem with Roxborough. A report is filed by some of the rangers, and due to some concerns about water contamination, the park is closed to the public indefinitely so they can conduct Extensive Testing. This is a bummer and a loss of revenue, of course, because especially in the summer months this means no visitors, no entry fees, nothing. Plus: half the rangers have to stay home or work at other parks because there's nothing to do at Roxborough but let the science run its course.

Granted, not all of the rangers stay home. Plenty of them stay on, helping get the makeshift fairground out in the middle of nowhere ready. There are rules that must be followed so that the park can be returned to its normal state when all this is over, and the rangers and their furry cousins -- not to mention Forgotten Warder and her Guardians -- will make sure those rules are followed. But if they can have bonfires on summer solstices out here while howling at the moon, they can certainly have the games.

'The Games'. That's what everyone has just started calling this. The Fianna talk about it like everyone should know, and the Fianna of Forgotten Questions seem particularly keen. Packs are starting to chatter about the different contests, individuals are sizing each other up, wondering if they'll compete.

The prizes are, of course, renown and bragging rights to start, and a few other choice gifts for the more serious contests. Ground is being cleared for jumps, and for footraces, and multiple dueling styles. Not one but two stages are being constructed, which are basically wooden platforms raised a couple of inches off the ground. Tents are going up, eating areas created, and the visitors seem to be directing the whole show -- in cooperation with the leaders here, of course.

Sign-up lists start being posted.

[see this thread!]
my whole life is thunder.
Word of the newcomers trickles to Phoebe through her familial ties before she starts hearing about them from other Garou. She is intrigued, but it's a small while before she's able to get down to the Caern herself. Her duties at Cold Crescent keep her busy, busier than she would have thought. There are new packs to bind together, wounds to be blessed, and spirits to be dealt with, appeased, banished. And on top of that, her mother and aunt have been training her. Most months she feels lucky when she can make it to the moot (although truthfully it would take an awful lot to keep her from those gatherings).

So. It's a while before she's able to get away from the city and her various duties, but when she goes she makes sure that she's not alone. She gathers to her a small contingent of city Garou - mostly Theurges, but a few others respond to Siren's call - to help. With whatever set-up remains, with whatever guidelines and rules need to be watched and enforced, and with the spirits, of course. Not that the Garou of Forgotten Questions aren't perfectly capable of taking care of all of this themselves. Siren of Persephone goes mostly (almost entirely) out of a genuine desire to offer assistance.

But not for a moment does it escape her that she holds a position of leadership in a sept that was reopened reluctantly, and mostly because of the failings of the leaders who ran the city sept before. Phoebe does what she can in her own way to make good on her promise that new leaders would do better than their predecessors.

She offers up her guest bedroom should someone still need space to lay their head. She works with the Theurges of Forgotten Questions, but she spares as much time for the visitors as she can, sharing stories and drinks and weed.

When the sign-up sheets start going up, she adds her name to a number of them.

niko @ 10:00AM
[Because I like seeing how well Phoebe leaderizes the NPCs: charisma+leadership+PB]
Roll: 7 d10 TN6 (1, 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 9) ( success x 3 )

jamie @ 10:00AM
Sign-up sheets, eh? A new name shows up on a few of them.

Feats of strength? Freefall
Athletic things? Ffffuuuuuuck yasssssszzz Freefall
Combat or something? Sure why not Freefall

He even signs up for some things that he probably shouldn't, because Dick's mama said he could do anything he put his mind to and all it did was fuel his already established self-confidence. So why not?

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