February: Cracking the Bone
She stood here a year ago, by man's calendar. February's full moon. Avery walks to stand just ahead of where Fallen Star called the spirits to bless the moot. Shadows at her back. Fire in front of her, illuminating her face. She remembers that moot. She remembers the arguments about what to do with Cold Crescent. Who would lead it. She feels the weight of the Great Alpha's eyes at her back, though she knows he couldn't possibly be staring at her. She takes a deep breath, smelling the smoke of the wood the Shadow Lords used to build this fire while preparing for the moot.

A smile touches Avery's face. A radiant-cut diamond glints, as it has for some months now, on her left hand. She carries a rib-bone. It is small. Even in Avery's hands it seems delicate. It is a human's. Or was once a human's. What cased it was not human by the time she killed it. It is bleached white now though, cleaned to perfection. Her servant Colin still... does not mind tidying up these things. Yes, that's how we put it. He does not mind.

There is a snap, a glassy crack, as she snaps the rib. Cracks it just enough to fracture, not enough to cleave.

"The bone is cracked," she says, and this is clear, carrying, steady. "What has been held inside must come out. What has been silenced must be spoken. When we keep ourselves to ourselves, we feel control. We feel power. And we tear ourselves to bits. Just as rage explodes if it is never released, our thoughts grow warped if they are not spoken. Bring your truths and lay it bare." Her eyes scan. "Newcomers, speak your name rather than skulk at the edges of our sept, untrusting and untrusted. Lone wolves, stand forward and seek bonds with your people so you do not lose yourselves in the wasteland of isolation.

"We are many tribes and we are different auspices but we are one people, with a common purpose and a common nature. A common nation. When you speak of grievance with another, you must do so in honor of that nation. When you call another before the sept for rebuke or for recognition, you must do so in honor of this nation. When you speak to your people, under the brightest moon and in a sacred rite, you speak in honor of our nation."

"Our nation!" Avery repeats, louder, forcefully. "Our people!"

She does not seek a rallying cry. This is not the revel or the songs and tales, for goodness' sake. She lets the words hang in silence for only a moment, and then she turns, bowing her head to the Great Alpha. He declines, as do most of the elder ranked. Eventually the bone passes from her hand to that of Vigor and Rigor, now Athro and still the Moonwalker between the Great Alpha and Cold Crescent -- de facto leader, alongside the new Warder of Cold Crescent.

He walks forward, holding the fractured rib, and addresses the assembly. For a new moon, he has grown into the role a bit. He is more serious than most of his auspice. He always has been, but acting as the liaison between caern and city-sept has aged him a trifle. Quieted him.

"Cold Crescent is without a Master of Rites," he informs those gathered. "Reverence of Dawn," he indicates Avery, standing to the side, "will officiate the challenge for those who wish to take up the position. You will need to work closely with the current Keeper of the Land, Still Waters, as well as Shieldwind-yuf and the Guardians to ensure that the warding rites and fetishes are maintained and that guards for the Pit are trained properly for their duties. Speak now. This isn't a role we can keep empty for long."

It's in him to toss the bone back to Avery. But he thinks better of it a moment after, and does not.

The bone continues: Adrens, Fosterns.

Avery herself steps forward, in between two others. She smiles again. That ineffable smile. "As many of you know," she says, speaking as herself and not as Master of Challenges, not as Truthcatcher, "my former packmate, Anubis-Sight-yuf, recently departed, as his nature led him to do."

Those who know that her former packmate was a Silent Strider nod, understanding.

"Though I can be quite solitary at times, I do not wish to live overlong without packmates. I am seeking those who would bind themselves with me to a spirit of respect or..." she seems to realize this as she is saying it, "a totem of war, perhaps." She smiles again, as though bashful, but she isn't. Not really. She shines, in her way, and her moments of modesty are not affectations. She merely seems strangely pleased with herself to have discovered this inclination in her soul. Her eyes flick across those gathered. "I would like to talk to anyone who is interested, after the revel, or perhaps tomorrow morning." A beat, a touch of awkwardness: "We can have brunch."

Avery pauses there. And then she opens the floor to other Fosterns, and then of course the Cliaths.
my whole life is thunder.
Morgan is seated near the front of the gathering of wolves; knees drawn up; arms resting on top of them. There's a smear of dirt on one elbow; her fiery hair woven back from her face tonight in some sort of intricate braid that swoops back the hair on either side of her temple. It's appealing; old-worldly. Gives Firebrand the touch of her ancestors; the proud blood of which thrums in her veins. The strength of which is evident there in her clear eyes; striking blue; they follow Avery when she speaks.

She shivers and shifts, just a little, at the snapping of the bone.

Frowns down with concentration at the ground amidst the talk of packs and lone wolves and challenges; tips her chin up; seeks out the Fostern's eyes and meets them for a second when she offers brunch. The corners of the Ahroun's lips curl back. It's the tiniest of gestures, really, but it speaks for much with the teenager. Speaks of her interest; the capturing of it; the mention of a totem of war.
The wolf, who has spent much of the moot thus far in his most feral form, lounges in repose as the Bone cracks. As the Septs' issues are brought to bear.

Ears flick when the Fostern of his tribe calls for packmates. Yellow eyes scan toward a certain redhaired creature first. Then back. Thoughtful. Stores that thought away; stows it for later.

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