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 To Rise in Rank

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Zoe

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PostSubject: To Rise in Rank   Thu 19 Jun 2014, 20:25

After leaving the Cherokee village, the Prodigals returned to Nacogdoches, their movements quiet so as not to attract attention from the slumbering town.  Zoe recalled her first night there, quickly walking these streets as she struggled to keep up with Red Oath on the way to the Camino Real caern to meet the sept packs and embark on her rite of passage.  Today, Zoe intended to take the next logical step - rising in rank from cliath to fostern.

After checking her normal haunts, Zoe found Red on the edge of the caern. Zoe approached confidently and gave her sept alpha a respectful nod.

"Red Oath, I wish to inform you of my deeds and complete a challenge in order to rise to the rank of Fostern."

Red nodded. "Proceed."

Zoe mirrored the Philodox's nod and began.

"Thank you, Red Oath.  I do not want to take up too much of your time, so I will leave the details to the Galliards and stick to the facts."

"Since leaving for Malchizadek's, I and my pack have worked to broker a treaty between the whites and the Comanche. I discerned that Wyrm-tainted food caused our borrowed horses to drop dead on the way to Perdido and learned a gift to cleanse food to prevent such things in the future. In Perdido, I summoned a fire spirit to snare in our trap over 30 skin rippers, which we then destroyed."

"We safely delivered Penelope to the Forked Paths caern and acquired tools and weapons for her from the Get of Fenris to assist her in her quest through Erebus.  I saved two Get of Fenris from a Wyrm-possessed tree during the solstice revel."

"In San Antonio we saved an innocent man from lynching and hung a black spiral kinfolk in his place. While tracking down said kinfolk, we discovered four towers of banes in a caravan heading toward Austin. We destroyed the banes by destroying the creatures themselves and by destroying the items that drew their attention. We also destroyed the spirit that had been tormenting the black spiral kinfolk and allied ourselves with a Griffin spirit who attempted to destroy Mocks the Night when he became tainted by one of the banes."

"Along the way I am often using my gifts to heal others - Garou, human, and kinfolk alike - in order to form and maintain positive relationships that can be beneficial in future dealings.  When I returned here, I summoned a potentially dangerous memory spirit and correctly answered its riddles in order to gain more information concerning the loss of memory of my parents."

"All things considered, I have served Gaia with great wisdom and honor and wish to complete whatever task you have for me in order to be recognized as a fostern among the Garou nation."
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PostSubject: Re: To Rise in Rank   Fri 20 Jun 2014, 19:23

"You got Penelope to the Forked Path sept in one piece and even managed to tear some of Gaia's foes limb from crusty limb." The corner of the sept Alpha's lips twitched upwards. "Not shabby, Kostas. I knew you'd do the Iron Riders proud, if I managed not to kill you out of frustration that first night... and now you're back, feeling like you deserve to be Fostern." Red Oath paced a slow circle around the younger Garou. Red's heavy booted feet fell hard on the packed gravel raceway. It reminded Zoe of nothing so much as the the well-timed hammering she often heard in O'Toole's workshop. She briefly wondered if he was tinkering at this hour. The elder's barked command put a swift end to her wandering thoughts. "Define the Creed of Wisdom. Why is the call of Theurges to seek Wisdom above Honor or Glory?"
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PostSubject: Re: To Rise in Rank   Fri 20 Jun 2014, 20:14

Without hesitation Hears-the-Song recited the words Lune Stalker had taught her many moons ago when she first joined their sept. She recited it with a chant-like rhythm and perfect precision.

"I shall be calm, I shall be prudent, I shall be merciful, I shall think before I act and listen before I think."

True to the creed, Zoe took her time to think carefully over Red-Oath's question before responding. Taking a deep breath, she spoke clearly, confidently, and hopefully to the satisfaction of her sept alpha.

"The Theurge, as the one who intercedes with the spirits on behalf of others, must be calm and prudent, as spirits and Garou alike can be unpredictable and downright foolish at times. It is my job to remain levelheaded and maintain peace to the extent of my ability between the physical and spiritual realms.

"Unlike the Litany-bound Philodox, no offense, I am also called to plead on the side of mercy though the law - ours or man's - may demand harsher actions and no forgiveness. In Penelope's case, for example, some of my pack mates were determined to end her life as soon as we determined she was Black Spiral, but I convinced them to spare her for the sake of mercy and possible redemption.

"Finally, I am called upon to listen and think before acting, whereas the glory-bound Garou tend to act first and think later, if they think at all. I strive to present the voice of logic and reason in all discussions with my pack and with others.

"The Theurge may be looked down upon by other Garou for her lesser glory and honor, but her call to wisdom is not only for the good of herself, her pack, and her sept but for the benefit of the Garou nation as a whole for without wisdom the nation will become a chaotic mess of foolish glory-seekers and merciless law-enforcers."
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PostSubject: Re: To Rise in Rank   Sat 21 Jun 2014, 21:44

The boots continued to pummel their circular path behind and around Zoe. "Sounds like you have a handle on what it means to be a Theurge, alright." The elder strode back into view and clasped her hands behind her back, looking at Zoe, her eyes fierce as ever. Zoe was not sure if Red was considering how to proceed or just trying to make her nervous. "So then what does it mean to be an Iron Rider, Kostas? What is our place within the Nation?" Before the would-be Fostern could respond, Red Oath held up a rough hand, and continued: "I don't want some cliché about how we work with the Weaver a lot or integrate well with humans. Any half-wit outsider could gather that. What does being a child of Cockroach mean?"
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PostSubject: Re: To Rise in Rank   Sat 21 Jun 2014, 22:18

Zoe did her best to match Red's intensity, though she was certain her gentler nature made that nearly impossible.

"Other tribes in the nation do their best to distance themselves from technology, clinging to the past and its antiquated methods of operating for fear of anything new or different. Iron Riders do not fear change, we embrace it and make it our slave for the purpose of serving Gaia. What others see as Weaver-aligned foolishness, we know to be Garou-harnessed power. How better to protect the Veil than to use long-distance weapons like a rifle to take out our enemies without ever being seen?

"Yes, the humans are more prone to Wyrm taint than we are, but instead of hiding from them, we use them to our advantage. You yourself have made quite a name and fortune for yourself here in Nacogdoches through cunning interactions with humans and Garou alike, all while maintaining the Veil and upholding the Litany.

"Let the other tribes call us 'urrah' if they must. One day soon they will be coming, no, crawling to us for help. The Wyrm is growing and changing with the humans. We must either grow and change faster than it does or fall at the hand of its chaos."

Zoe's confidence in her answer and in her tribe grew as she spoke. Her heart was reminded that her allegiance with the Iron Riders remained strong, despite her distance from them for some time now.

"A child of Cockroach may not be as physically strong as a Get of Fenris or as stealthy as a Shadow Lord, but we are cunning and informed and use everything - old and new - to our advantage and to the glory of Gaia."
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PostSubject: Re: To Rise in Rank   Sun 22 Jun 2014, 17:48

Red Oath's face remained set, almost grim, but in her eye there was a glimmer of pride.
"I reckon that 'path of wisdom' thing might just work out for you, Hears-the-Song. You are right... shepherding the human herd is easiest done when the herd is close at hand." The sept Alpha drew in a slow breath, thinking quietly for a few scant moments before she continued. "One day, the other tribes of the Garou Nation will recognize us as the visionaries we are, rather than the borderline heretics they imagine us to be. In the meantime, I aim to bolster our hold on this city and the surrounding territory, expand a little. I have something approaching a plan for our little neck of the woods."

In answer to Zoe's questioning gaze, the elder swept her hand in a wide arc toward the south. "Best I can figure, the Silver Fangs have a monopoly on high-borne blood and the Get of Fenris got their physical might. What do we have? Resourcefulness? Adaptability? ...Connections?" Red Oath rolled her eyes and shook her head. "Sure, those are all good things, but I want to use them to attain tangible benefits. Specifically, money and assets."

"And I want to make this clear- this venture isn't about me being greedy like that witch Sterne." Red Oath shot Zoe a sharp look. "We Iron Riders cooperate and get enough dough, we could rival the Silver Fangs in terms of influence. Our money could finance expeditions, fund inventors, charter ships. We could bribe officials to protect or harm the things we want to defend or destroy. With wisely applied wealth, the Iron Riders could buy land and defend it both physically and legally from those who want to claim it for evil ends."

"The reason I am telling you all this is because I want to keep you informed. I haven't really been able to discuss matters of tribe with you since you have been away." The elder cracked a smile and poked Zoe in the chest. "Your tenacity in hunting down your past is commendable too. I think you are worthy of attaining Fostern rank. I just want to know we can count on you in the coming months to support our new... tribal strategy."
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PostSubject: Re: To Rise in Rank   Sun 22 Jun 2014, 20:20

Zoe listened attentively as Red Oath provided a general overview of her plan for the Iron Riders' rise to power. She nodded excitedly at the mention of funding inventors and expeditions.

"Red, I think that all sounds excellent! I personally know of a superb inventor back in Galveston who may be worthy of our tribe's investment. He's the one who crafted my rifle and my pocket watch. I, too, when given the time and supplies, am a fairly competent and creative metalworker myself."

Zoe's words rushed out in a torrent of overlapping thoughts. Her hands gestured wildly in her excitement as she paced back and forth in front of her alpha.

"So, what are we thinking as far as amassing wealth and assets are concerned? We've already got money coming through Harriet's place, right? What about the local hotel? We have our claws on that yet or is that something we could work on?

"What kind of resources are we trading with other towns or tribes to bring in income? Could we expand our offered goods and services to reach more consumers? I know your ledger showed we used to trade with Natchitoches; do we do that anymore?

"With Papa's road more or less under our control, trade can spread farther and faster than ever before. What if we made his road completely under our control? Could we charge people for using our road?"

Zoe's eyes burned brightly as the wheels of commerce and capitalism whirled round and round.

"Instead of waiting to see what the human inventors come up with, why don't we lead the way in innovations and cultivate creativity within our own kind. Then any technology formed will belong completely to us."

"What kinds of services can or do we offer to the people of the surrounding areas? Would it be unethical to accept payment for protecting specific people or establishments?"

Zoe finally paused long enough to take a breath and allow Red Oath to get a word in.
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PostSubject: Re: To Rise in Rank   Mon 23 Jun 2014, 23:35

Red Oath grunted. "We have lots of schemes, maybe too many. Lately, we have been doing our best to transition away from smuggling rings and moonshine and get behind some more substantial business. Specifically, we are considering shipping and selling of dry goods, since that is close to what we are doing now. I am also considering investing in livestock, maybe picking up a few head of cattle." Red Oath wore a thoughtful scowl. "The protection idea might have merit, but it wouldn't be easy. People have to believe that we are actually protecting them, otherwise they'd see us as a racket."

"Harriet's saloon presents a particular problem. It is a means of making money, but it has the unusual distinction of being a secondary home for a bunch of Garou. This can make it difficult to earn money since it is as much a refuge and social club for our Iron Riders. I don't want it to focus solely on profit, either, it is too valuable having a foothold in the center of town."

"Our patron spirit is very potent, and exploiting the advantage that he represents will have to be done carefully. We might be able to know what is happening out on the road, but unless we have a physical presence beyond this caern, it won't do us much good. We don't have any claim to the physical Camino Real. If we started trying to squeeze people to use the road, they'd probably treat us like highway robbers with a particularly flimsy excuse."

Red Oath hesitated, then said "I noticed the craftsmanship in your watch and scope. The quality of those items was apparent0 when you first came to Nacogdoches. They are impressive workmanship... the fact that they have spirits inside them is even more interesting. I am very interested to find out what this mentor of yours is capable of."

"There are some even more hare-brained schemes in the works, involving newfangled devices and prototype technology, but nothing is set in stone. I will say this- I really like where your head is at, Kostas. I'll keep you informed, and when the natives settle down hopefully we can really start focusing on building up our powerbase here." Red Oath gave the younger Garou a tight but warm smile.
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PostSubject: Re: To Rise in Rank   Tue 24 Jun 2014, 13:53

Zoe's excitement waned slightly as Red Oath discounted her ideas concerning the saloon, paid protecting, and charging a toll on Papa's road. Her eyes brightened, however, at the mention of her adopted father.

"Would you like me to send a message to him and ask him to come visit me here? I'm not sure he will come, since he now knows what I am, but until then all we had was one another. Perhaps a chance to see me alive and well would be motive enough for him to come."

Zoe nodded enthusiastically. "I am devoted to seeing our tribe grown in strength and influence for the betterment of the Garou nation. You can count on me, Red."
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