Secrets.

Mar. 21st, 2017 05:50 pm
[personal profile] kiananlogs
Tuesday, 21 March 2017
The moon is in the waning Half (Philodox) Moon phase (40% full).

Yael is not precisely predictable with her location throughout the day, but she does spend a fair amount of time in one of a few places, and one of those places is the half moon pool in the bawn, if she's not to be found at the Caern, the Fury house, or Edgewood. Evening finds her sitting on the outcropping of rock, scarf simply around her shoulders, jacket unzipped with the rare bit of warmth although sunset's arrival threatens to bring a chill.

At the moment, the adren appears to be praying, or chanting. Her eyes are half-closed and she faces east, and her lips move although only the very perceptive would be able to hear the whispers.

Perhaps Yael hears someone sit down next to her. Perhaps she doesn't.

One way or another, the Shadow Lord is surprisingly silent in her approach, only really 'announcing' herself with the sound of stray rocks beneath her shoes. She seats herself, letting the long coat splay out behind her, arms draped over upturned knees. Stays quiet until the Strider looks towards her, seemingly content with the overall silence prior to any note of acknowledgement.

Once that happens, there's no 'hello, how are you?' There is simply: "What would you expect from members of your pack?" as if the conversation from yesterday hadn't been interrupted with a timely 'excuse me, I have to check on the dog'.

The nod of acknowledgement comes without even as much as a change in what she's doing, and it's perhaps two or three minutes of near-silence punctuated by the Strider's meditative chanting (it's Hebrew and sounds like the same liturgical prayer over and over again) before Yael takes a visible breath in, and lets it out after the question. "Gayatri," she notes. "Close enough to sunset to make it count, at least." There's a brief glance at Sandra, and then Yael looks back out over the water. "In any other circumstance I'd ask if that's a loaded question," she says, with a slight tiny grin. "But well. I expect honesty. The ability to both take and give honest criticism is kind of a… pre-requisite," the long word still takes a moment of concentration, "for the sort of cooperation that I want to have and being able to work together. Loyalty— not to me, but to each other, and to our duty to Gaia overall."

Sandra doesn't even attempt to refute the 'loaded question' remark; there's no point. She merely listens to what's said, her own gaze cast out over the water; turns it over in her head for a time before she speaks again.

"There are some who see the pack as functioning in the same manner it does among natural wolves: as a family unit," she says. "Sharing all secrets, knowing one another as they'd know siblings, beloved or not." She looks over to Yael, then, studying the younger woman for a moment. "Would you be among them?"

"It's a family unit, that much is sure— but we're not natural wolves," Yael says. "We all have secrets," she continues, "and we all have skeletons in the closet, and we all have ghosts." It's a statement of understanding, at least as much as it can be without going too far into any of those. "I expect that if it's important, if it's something that could impact the pack, if it's something that we should know. But I'm not going to insist on something. It should be out of trust within the pack structure, rather than out of some sense of obligation."

Sandra's brow quirks a little at the mention of ghosts, though she doesn't say much of anything on the topic. Instead, she goes quiet again, long after the answer's been given.

After a while, she says, "You would think," seemingly apropos of nothing, "that in the time I've spent learning Rituals, I'd have picked up one or two about keeping one's word." A pause. "This is one such case where, no matter the trust I'd place in someone— no matter who they are— I'd need more than a casual promise of silence."

She again turns to look at Yael, gaze pointed, but not overbearing. "As it stands, you should know that, in theory, I'm not against your proposal. And I know, in the end, that it may not work out no matter what's said or done here tonight." A pause. "Nonetheless: there is something you would arguably have to know before this moves forward. Should anyone else come to know it, however—" Beat. "Well. As much as this may sound like a threat, it's better to view it as a certainty: you know better than anyone what I have at my disposal. That retaliation is on the table at all, in respects to someone of higher rank and greater stature, should say enough on its own."

Yael turns and meets that pointed gaze point for point yet somehow without too much pushback, or any indication that she takes it as a challenge, and at the end arches one eyebrow then lifts her hand to push her hair out of her face. After she does, she drapes her arm across her knees, and nods. "I've been around the block a few times," she finally says, quietly now. "And I regularly deal in messages too sensitive to even say out loud." There's a brief half-grin. "I'm… really very glad you're considering my proposal. It's been on my mind a while." All of this sincere, honest, and that same quiet, and for a moment sitting there Yael looks both younger than her years and much, much older than them.

"Then give me your word," Sandra replies simply. "This goes no further than us. That you understand that I would rather you call me a coward and a cheat should I find myself forced to part ways with the pack, than speak the truth of the matter. That you'll find a means to make peace with that lie, and speak it soundly, one way or another."

There is another moment of quiet listening, and a nod and then Yael offers her right hand over towards the other philodox. "You have it."

It's clear that Sandra is very close to asking that the words be repeated back to her verbatim, with a promise tacked on. Maybe several others to follow. In the end, however, she accepts the Adren's hand in her own, and though she doesn't look entirely comfortable with moving forward, she seems to accept the answer she's offered for what it is.

Then, after a time, once her hand has retracted, her gaze shifted back to the water, she says, "Have you heard all that much about the Bringers of Light?"

"Rumours, vague and scattered ones at that. There aren't exactly many of your tribe in Africa," Yael says. "Not much to go on other than that there's a few people, doing a thing here and there." She shakes her head, and then quiets, to listen.

"We're not a rumour," Sandra says simply, turning her attention back to Yael, "though there's plenty out there, members of other tribes, who would breathe easier if we all disappeared. It'd make aiming their knives at our backs a lot simpler for the lot of them." A pause. "Our mandate is simple: walk where the Wyrm walks, know what it knows, and return to your people with a better understanding of how to subvert its power. Comes with all the risks it suggests— but were it not for us, a great number of successful raids on enemy strongholds would easily have failed."

It's no simple boast— and doesn't seem much like boasting, all told, all of it delivered in the same straightforward fashion it usually is. From her, anyway. "It goes without saying that my strongest loyalties lie with them," she says. "That if they call me to serve in any capacity I'm asked, whether or not it went against the pack's agenda, they're who I'd listen to." Beat. "It may also require that I part ways with you intermittently, though I don't suspect it'd be for long. If this is amenable— if it's understood that there's a great deal I can't talk about, if only because much of the work is difficult for even the most— traditionally relaxed among us to wrap their heads around - then I see no reason to refuse your offer."

Yael lets out a soft 'huh' as she listens, and there's no attempt to mask that there's a thought process happening, information being filed away in various places. "Matches up with what the rumours said," she says, with a brief grin. "I can't say I don't find it distasteful, but I can understand the reasoning behind it. I can understand the usefulness. And well. I'm probably amongst the more traditionally relaxed, even by my own tribe's standards." She takes a breath in. "Even with a pack, I won't be here every day, every week. If we're going to do this here and now, it's my turn." That said, she pauses and waits, still watching the reaction to her reaction so to speak.

The prevailing discomfort that hit initially isn't quite as prominent now as it was when this began. It may not be completely eradicated, but it's dialed down somewhat. Clearly, this is not a matter she speaks of often, if at all. "Seems best to clear the air when, and where able, yes," she says to the last. There's more to say, of course, but that would arguably be on the 'mundane' side of things; the secret, it seems, is out.

"So, how much do you know about my tribe's history? Where our current name came from, and such?" Yael takes a deep breath. "Most of the rest of the Nation has us laid out as travelers, and vagabonds, and wanderers, and for the most part we're happy to leave it that way, but there's a bit more to it."

"I see dead people."

Yael manages to deliver that with all deadpan seriousness for a moment, and then continues, "But really, actually, I kinda do. When I talk about ghosts, it's not a metaphor. They're there, in a lot of places, and sometimes people touched by the shadowlands can see them. And most of my tribe are touched similarly."

The deadpan comment earns a bit of a brow raise from Sandra, the reference apparently lost on her. To the rest, she listens, not seeming particularly surprised, but not seeming to shrug the information off as old hat, either. Nonetheless, she says, "As secrets go," in her own dry tone, "I have to say: mine is still in the lead," the note of humor at least giving credence to the notion that she's settling into the idea of having said it aloud at all. "In all seriousness: there are rumors floating around, amongst members of the camp, that the ability is one your tribe possesses— for reasons that should be self-evident. No one's ever confirmed it, of course— not until now— but I've never been in a position where the information was vital."

"…Or even particularly useful," she amends, as an afterthought.

"It's a two-edged sword though," Yael continues. "And there's a second part about it. It's not even particularly useful as skills go, more often it just… forces us to move on. It's thought that we see ghosts, are bothered by the restless dead, because of our own…" she trails off for a long moment. "We have no tribal homeland," she finally says, quietly. "We have no connection to our ancestors. And we're exiled even from our physical ancestral home. Khem— Egypt— is the land of leeches and worse things and no child of Owl can sleep within its boundaries, and it has been that way for thousands of years if not longer."

There's no knee-jerk sympathy that the confession calls to life. No headpatting or 'oh my god,' or even feigned shock. It's hard to tell what the look Sandra adopts is, but that's nothing new— save to say that there's a twitch of something in there, beyond the recognition she affords the confession. "Well," she says, then, "I think I can safely say that you've officially taken the lead, as potentially damaging secrets go," and while the delivery is a bit dry, there's little reason to doubt that she doesn't see the gravity of it— or what it likely meant to offer it up in the first place.

"However," she continues, "and I don't mean this to sound dismissive of it: while it's truly unfortunate that this is a burden your tribe shares, the only thing that matters to me, personally, is whether or not you feel it'd interfere with your position as a Alpha." This being entirely on the level.

"Not as such," Yael says. "But there's complications. Ghosts happen. There are… forces at work within Khem, and every so often no matter how far away we are they show up where we are. And if we stay in one place, too long, we get… it gets bad." She takes a breath in. "Every so often I'm going to go off for a few days. No one else is obligated to follow me off into wherever, and I won't leave and not come back, at least not while I have a pack to come back to."

"Then that's all that matters," Sandra says simply, taking that as an open and shut case. Nonetheless— given the purview of her camp, it should come as no surprise that she says: "I'm curious what 'bad' entails, though, admittedly."

Yael lets out a breath. "I try not to let it happen very often," the Strider says, with a brief grin. "Think restless and the dial turned all the way up. It doesn't happen every time, or to everyone, and occasionally we can settle. And occasionally we can't." She sighs. "There are banes that come out of Egypt, we call them alrruh akalaa llihum albashar," the name is given in Arabic rather than English. "They find us, not any other Garou. But they can't find us if we don't stay put."

Sandra listens— turns the information over in her head for a time, then says, "I'd like to speak to you more about that, at some point." For reasons she assumes should be obvious. "Now is hardly the time, but— at some point."

"Yeah," the Strider agrees, looking out over the pond. "Anyway… for the most part, many of my tribemates are… very proud, about keeping our problems our own. And who knows, I'm thousands of thousands of miles from Khem anyway," and Yael snorts, "and I'm not even Egyptian. Most of us aren't, actually, at least no more than people expect us to be, because the Strider who rejects Egyptian styling at all doesn't get work." There's a quiet, almost bitter laugh, and slowly but surely Yael's guard has gone back up, from where for a little bit while they were talking she was almost vulnerable, almost exposed. "Kind of ridiculous when you think about it too hard."

Seems they both were, for a time. Fair's fair; and it's nothing if not appreciated, which is signaled through little more than a slight incline of Sandra's head, and not much more. "No more ridiculous than the stylings of the Get— or even the Shadow Lords, to some extent," she says. "We all have our cross to bear."

She pauses, considering. Then, "In respects to the topic at hand," she says, "there is at least one other thing you should know." Beat. "I earned my rank with my teeth at the throat of my pack Alpha. Needless to say— where it comes to honesty, you won't be lacking for it." It's as much a 'for your information' as it could be 'fair warning,' though she goes on to say, "I don't expect that you'll make the same mistakes he did, but it has solidified something of a reputation. One I'm not the least bit ashamed of."

Yael grins a little bit and nods, shrugging her jacket a little closer about her shoulders, and her headscarf raised— although it might be to ward off the chill and mist that the evening has brought with it. "Like I said. I listen to those who are in my pack. It's not just leadership, it's responsibility. Another one of those two-edged swords." She continues, "I didn't get as far as I have without knowing when I'm outmatched and when to take other avenues towards my goal. Because quite honestly, if it came to an actual, physical fight?" She looks at the larger, taller philodox, and simply finishes with, "I'd lose."

"I suppose now is not the best time to mention that a debate preceded his call for a physical confrontation," Sandra remarks, a bit dryly. "No— as I said, I doubt you'll be making similar mistakes." Beat. "For what it's worth, though, were it not for some— anger-driven decisions on his part, I wager I'd be rehabilitating more than just my reflexes."

Even with the usual mask back up, the grin that Yael offers is genuine, a slight sparkle in her eyes. "Thank you for finding me this evening," she finally says. "You should find Karin when you get a chance, talk to her, hopefully that the two of you get along. Either around the Bawn, or go by the Fury house. I had the chance to speak with her this morning, at breakfast." She pauses, and looks out over the water. "There's so much water around, in so many places. It's so green, and such a different aspect of the Wyld than what you see in the desert." A pause. "Not bad, though. Just different."
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Kianan Rowan Abrams

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