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 Song of the South

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Zas B'ul

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PostSubject: Song of the South   Sun 20 Jul 2014, 22:26

Zas B'ul was in the front of the prodigals, leading the group to Perdido. The Sun's position in addition to the warm temperature indicated that it was around one in the afternoon and the Silent Strider had been pushing the pack hard to make the best time possible. The Philodox paid little heed to the road or the heat. His mind was still warring with his spirit after the talks he'd had with his packmates the last couple of days, and his extremely hard and fast pace echoed his internal struggles.

His discussion with the pack Ahroun had gone surprisingly well. The talk with the pack Ragabash however, left him wondering if he had somehow managed to ruin a friendship in the process of gaining a blood brother. A quick glance behind him removed any doubts that the philodox had of Kefka not being at peace, as he and Rends the Gar walked side by side in unusual silence.
His gut feeling, which Sylvester had suggested he give more weight to, now however was telling him that perhaps Mocks the Night had reacted so poorly to the new outlook and attitude he had adopted due to the way he had approached him. Based on that, it stood to reason that Leper Friend and Hears the Song would also not accept his new views either if approached in a similar fashion. He needed to find a way to make them understand-to make them see why the change had to happen. He needed to adapt his methods.

He turned to look at his left rear flank to see Zoe struggling to keep up with his pace, seemingly oblivious to his gaze-as most of her mental and physical power was spent seemingly focusing on coaxing out speed and stamina from her body.
He then turned to his right and watched for several moments as the pack galliard swatted and yipped at the dozens of gnats that seem to be intent on making his face into a mobile insect airport, his tongue lolling out the side of his mouth.

The Silent Strider's stare was quickly met by the Bone Gnawer who had managed to push his way through the largest swarm of annoying insects and into a mostly clear area free of pests.

Zas turned back to face the front after making eye contact, and saw a shaded area up ahead that fortuitously also happened to be near a small creek bed complete with a steady stream of shallow water, and made to head there to allow the others a moment of rest and to rehydrate.

Upon arriving at the rest stop, Zas lapped up a few mouthfuls of water himself before reverting to homid form from his lupus form and found a peaceful spot to sit and enjoy a breeze. When he had seen that Eaton had gotten his fill of water, Zas called him over.

"How are you doing-Leper friend?" He asks in a subdued tone of voice. Zas's body was just now beginning to break into a sweat, as he stretched out on the ground in a relaxed position hands folded behind his head. "You break any litany laws today?" He asks in a friendly manner with a hint of a smile and a small chuckle as he closes his eyes. "You've been pretty quiet this trip."
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Eaton

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PostSubject: Re: Song of the South   Mon 21 Jul 2014, 01:27

Noticing Zas beckoning him, Eaton's ears perked up as he made his way over to him. The Bone Gnawer snapped back to his homid form as well and seated himself in front of his packmate, slapping his forward to try and get rid of the last persistent buzzing insect. Staring disappointedly at his empty palm, he turned his attention back to Zas, "Yeah, I guess I have been kinda shut up this whole way. Though in response to that second question, I hope you would be able to tell me that."

He offers the Philodox a small smile, though it quickly degrades into a frown, "Though to tell ya the truth, it's 'cause I haven't exactly been dwelling on pleasantries. I don't think we all need to be reminded of the giant mess we're in. It's harder to be inspiring when all I can think is . . ."

His voice trailed off as he looked around briefly, as if on edge and leaned closer to Zas with a hushed voice, "Well, to be totally honest with ya, I've been bothered by somethin' for a great while now and I don't think it's helping that I haven't talked about it with no-one. As strange as this is gonna sound, I think you're the one who'll understand the most."

Eaton paused, as if uncharacteristically unsure of what to say. He wet his lips with his tongue and said in a heavy voice, "I don't just feel upset about what's happened to the Comanche. All the kinfolk we've lost to that damn bird, the innocents they've killed-or worse, our allies who gave their lives fighting back. And yet, I still hear the Get, the texas rangers, settlers, hell, everyone call for their destruction."

His breathing intensified, his fists curling at his sides, "No matter what they've done, they're still my people. I see a nation who needs help, it's infection torn out. But . . . no one else does." Though clearly agitated, Eaton's eyes betrayed his nature as they stared at Zas with a pleading gaze.
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Zas B'ul

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PostSubject: Re: Song of the South   Mon 21 Jul 2014, 12:49

When Zas hears eaton first mention the Comanche and begins listing the death toll they've racked up, a slow cruel looking smile begins to spread across his face, but as the galliard continues speaking the smile rapidly disentigrates.

When his friend finishes talking, Zas opens his eyes and sits up to face his packmate. His face flush, as he says, "You come to me for understanding and sentimentality speaking about the greatest foes the Natahay ever faced. Yes, I agree. That is very strange."

Zas takes a deep breath and his face returns to its normal coloration though his eyes reveal pained discomfort. "Why do you see them as your people? You have told me that your first place to find acceptance was among the Bone Gnawers...that your own mother left the Comanche and abandoned her very tribe to be with your father. Before just recently, had you ever lived among them?Have they ever offered you aid? Clothed you? Fed you? Seen to your wounds? I do not see why you call them your own."

Zas eyes then begin to grow cold as he says, "You say you see a nation that needs help. A once strong mighty warring nation that is infected and growing weak. I do not.

I see an empire that stretches from the deserts I grew up in and now possibly beyond to the white mans borders. A race of mighty warriors that constantly seek out new ways to cause blood to fall. A culture that seems to have adopted this foul bird of the abyss as a totem. "

Zas then shakes his head, as he stops speaking and looks to the ground. He then looks back the galliard and says with a straight face, "I see what is going to happen. I see Roaring Jack's war. I see the bloody rivers that have already begun to flow."

The philodox pauses and rubs his chin. When he speaks again his voice sounds distant and forlorn, "Our task to aid the Uktena...perhaps if we are successful, they will have means to aid the Comanche-provided there are Comanche left to save. Does that comfort you?"
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Eaton

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PostSubject: Re: Song of the South   Mon 21 Jul 2014, 14:53

Once Zas finished speaking, Eaton stared back unblinking for a moment, his breathing oddly nervous. In an almost hushed voice, he began, "I thought it sounded odd that I view them as my own. 'Cause no, they haven't exactly offered me anything."

Eaton stood up and offered out his hand toward Zas, "You remember what I told ya when we first met; that my momma left the Comanche and I ran away from my folks when I couldn't put up with 'em no more. I mighta told you the truth, but that doesn't mean I told you everything. I mighta tried to ignore it, but these past several weeks made me think that I was wrong those years ago."

As he was prone to do, he began pacing as he recounted, "My mother left her tribe, but that wasn't without their permission. Now, I didn't know of the Garou then, 'cause she never said nothing 'bout them, but she was allowed to travel with my dad under one condition: that when I came of age, I would go and live with the Comanche. It was her job to make sure I understand the language and their ways to prepare me for that day."

He pacing was slow, and his steps were leaden and dragged in the dirt as the story continued, "My momma told me she didn't want to raise me with 'em 'cause of what was goin' on with her band. Instead of just huntin' and survivin' on the land, the men died young in wars between the tribes or they became sickened. That wasn't even mentionin' the famines and droughts that was maken' everyone suffer. She didn't want her children growin' up in all that. My dad told her she could live in peace instead if she traveled east with him instead of stayin' with them."

He turned and looked Zas in the eye, "Though I wasn't born yet, I figured out it wasn't exactly the cleanest break. My momma was leaving her family behind and frequently told me about 'em longingly, and when I try and asked my dad about the Comanche his attitude turned sour. I was fascinated by my mothers stories, but I think you can understand that when she mentioned I would join 'em someday, I didn't take it well."

He opened his free hand and glanced at it,

"While she kept remindin' me what was going to happen, my dad showed me what it was like to live off the land, and spoke at great lengths how great it was to free from some other overbearin' way of life. Free to do what ya want, as long as you don't piss off anyone. It was because of him that we traveled around, saw all sorts of things all over Texas. I'd say I take after him alot more than my momma."

Realizing that what he had said so far hadn't answered Zas' first question, he put down his hand and continued,

"She said her-my - family would come and take me when the time was right, whatever the hell that meant. My dad said they wouldn't get me without a fight, but given what momma had told me about the Comanche warriors, that didn't exactly do much to comfort me. But I got to thinkin', what if I just up and left? I mean, maybe the Comanche did have some magic that could find me, but if my momma had a part of it, then gettin' away from her would be a good place to start. 'Cause we were stayin' on a plantation around this time, I made a plan with a friend to escape in the night. Two years passed since then, I thought I was in the clear this whole time; that I was free."

His staff struck the earth with a harsh thump with every other step as he continued, "And it was only these past few weeks that's gotten me to regret and rethink that decision. If I'm Comanche, that might mean that my mother was Uktena kin. In my ignorance, did I turn my back on a tribe that was in desperate need of my help?"

He stopped walking and stared at Zas, his eyes starting to glisten, "I found a family with the Bone Gnawers because they stood up for those who were oppressed and suffering, yet I feel as though I have damned my own people . . ."

The Galliard trailed off, the pain in his words audible.
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Zas B'ul

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PostSubject: Re: Song of the South   Mon 21 Jul 2014, 16:27

Zas accepted Eaton's offered hand and stood up. He watched curiously as the Bone Gnawer began his pacing as he expressed his thoughts. When he had concluded, Zas stepped in front of his walking path, and let loose a deep throated growl.

"Being born of a tribe does not mean you belong to the tribe. Your rite of passage-that is what determines this. Gaia led you to where she knew you needed to be.  Had you stayed, had you gone to the Uktena as your mother potentially intended-what then? What aid or help would you have been to them?"

Zas then began to walk around the stationary galliard, counter to the direction he had been pacing. "You say you are more like your father. He was a white man, not Comanche. You say your mother's stories interested you-but even as a child you rejected her intentions and plans.
You are a warrior of Gaia, not a Comanche brave. If you had done as your mother planned and been raised a Comanche warrior, you might have been slain or corrupted."

Zas stops pacing, and comes up right behind the Galliard and leans forward and whispers into his ear, "Instead of infection and sickness, you bring a swarm of Garou. Instead of weakness and hopelessness you bring strength, cunning, and ferocity."

The silent strider then continues his strides taking a long slow walk in silence to come standing directly where he'd started. His voice when he speaks again is as hard as iron "I told you long ago that I did not see any difference between your tribe-the Bone Gnawers, and any others. Your tribe is as worthy as any called to serve Gaia. If you feel sorry for your mother's people and the Uktena kinfolk-act on it! After we snuff the light of the dark bird, our destination is the Uktena lands. Rally your tribe to your banner. Summon the forces and strength of the Remaining Uktena. You are a Galliard! Show and prove to the rest of the pure and Garou nation alike what it means to be a mighty follower of Rat. Demonstrate your worthiness to be called a soldier of Gaia! Let them all see you as I do!

You do not damn anyone. Gaia has allowed you to be a savior of the Uktena-and their kinfolk. The duty of Damnation is mine and mine alone. A duty which I will--when the time comes, be prepared to unleash fully upon the guilty!"
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PostSubject: Re: Song of the South   Mon 21 Jul 2014, 18:59

Eaton's gaze followed the Philodox as he gave his advice, the unsure look in his eyes waning ever so slightly. Taking a deep breath he replies, " . . .Thank you, Zas. I was getting too caught up with what coulda been instead of what's right in front of me. 'Specially with all the other stuff goin' on."

He looks back in the direction where they came and said, "I know for a fact that I wouldn't be with ya'll. And I definitely wouldn't wanna give that up now. I wouldn't have helped out at Olvidado, never met Jana . . ." He gets a look of horror before he shakes his head, knocking the russet hair out of his eyes as he continues, "Ya know thinkin' about it, I might be impoverished but my life is pretty darn great. Thanks for remindin' me of that, Zas."

He turns to look back at the Philodox and says, "Hearin' the Get talk about how their gonna solve the Uktena problem has me steamed. They think they're weak and can't manage their own protectorate. I guess my mind wandered to . . . maybe I coulda helped prevent all this."

Determination appeared in Eaton's gaze as he continued, "But that doesn't matter now. I'm still fightin' for 'em, and that means dyin' along side them so be it."

Eaton's demeanor softened as he leaned into his staff, "So that's why I've been kinda quiet this trip. Where you wantin' to talk to me about somethin' else?"
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Zas B'ul

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PostSubject: Re: Song of the South   Mon 21 Jul 2014, 20:28

Zas listened with eyes alight with some inner flame as his packmate came to reach a decision, all the while a grin beginning spread across his face.

By the end of Leper friends response, Zas is beaming. The philodox nods in response and says in an aggressive and passionate deep voice, "You are welcome friend. I crave any and all of the opportunities that I have to straighten, sharpen, or refocus my fellow packmates. Often more times than not-this usually leads to bloodshed. How fortunate that this time did not end in such a way."

Zas demeanor then slightly changes. His face grows more stern, his gaze grows sharp and piercing as he says, "I did indeed have more to say. I wished to inform you of a change. One you may have already begun to observe. On the battlefield in San Antonio, I had what you may call an awakening of sorts. I too was reminded of many things: things that I have lost, things I have gained, and things I still stand to lose or more hopefully keep and strengthen. In this realization, it occurred to me that I needed to change my priorities. I needed to be more involved in our pack. More invested in each of your paths."

Zas steps closer and places a hand on Eaton's arm and grips it firmly, "I wished to let you each know that I fully intend to do whatever I can, whatever I must to keep you all alive. That will likely mean that many times, from here on, that my actions and decision will seem to be hurtful, painful, and brash. This is not the end purpose. My final goal is the safety and protection of the pack from all the Wyrm may throw at our feet.
My bites or nips at your heels are designed to be warnings, not wounds."

Zas then releases Eaton and says slightly more calm, "That is all that I have truly ever wanted to do for this pack. Yet it was San Antonio that revealed to me how much more Vigilant I needed to become."
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PostSubject: Re: Song of the South   Mon 21 Jul 2014, 21:31

Eaton smiles at Zas as he takes his hand. However, as the Philodox continues explaining that to expect from his newfound behavior, Eaton raises an eyebrow as an unsure look appears on his face, "Uh, what? What exactly happened that forced this change? I mighta frenzied once or twice, but I remember we won back there. Did our entire pack not destroy the phoenix? Didn't we tear through a hoard of those Skin rippers? What's all this 'bout 'bein' more involved in the pack?' I thought you shot down that beast?"

He takes a more rigid stance, his staff positioned an arms length away from his body, "You bein' brash and hurtful? Pardon me if I'm haven' trouble picturin' that. What's this really about?"
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PostSubject: Re: Song of the South   Mon 21 Jul 2014, 22:37

Zas lets a quick half hearted smile briefly pass his lips as he raises up his hands in a defensive gesture, "This has nothing to do with any of the actions you all have done. You are right-we, the prodigals won the day and proved triumphant over our foes. It was my arrow that did eventually bring down the Phoenix to be shredded by the packs claws."

He lowers his arms and says firmly but morosely, "You speak of the Comanche with a sad heart. I cannot do this. My own heart boils over with rage. You recall the message I spoke of when we first met? The final leg to my journey in completing my rite of passage was a call for aid. The chief of my tribe sent for help. He sought to make war on the Whiteman and the Comanche who had gathered great numbers to destroy my people.

In San Antonio, for the first time-I saw what type of odds my people were up against. My chieftain claimed that he did not stand a chance without aid. I believe that to be true, and further more...I don't think aid ever came. In San Antonio I was forced to accept that my entire tribe-everything and everyone I knew is likely dead. Slain by the Comanche hordes that Roaring Jack's band now hunts.

I realized that this pack is now all that I claim as family. I seek to be more involved with each of you because I no longer have anyone else. I have no place to call home or a people to return to when these days are over."

Zas then sighs and continues, "Up until now I have only shared pieces of myself. I let you see what I thought you needed to see rather than being genuine. I thought that by being the Garou you all could make into whatever you needed that I could best serve this pack. I hid who I truly am. I hid the aspects of myself I am ashamed of, the aspects I'm scared of. I feel now though, that was wrong-maybe it has even done more harm than good.

You all deserve the truth. My words of preparation for what you will undoubtedly see in days ahead come from knowing that sometimes the truth can hurt. I'm not going to shelter the truth from you any longer though. As the pack's philodox I'm called to speak the truth, to see the truth and to bring it to light. I realized that I was not being a philodox if I wasn't living truthfully as well. That's what this is about."
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PostSubject: Re: Song of the South   Mon 21 Jul 2014, 23:37

Once Zas had completed explaining what Eaton would be expecting from now on, the Bone Gnawer looked at him with a shrug, "I never thought that you were hidin' anything. Whenever you thought somethin' that was against our laws or just plain a bad idea, you never held back. Don't tell my you forgot our discussion over my frenzyin' problem. I dunno why you're think'in you don't do a good job keepin' us in line. And hey, you're a pretty nice guy to hang out with."

He put a hand on Zas' shoulder, though he acted as though he was reaching out to a wild beast, "Though what's going on with the Comanche grieves me and stirs your rage, it seems to me that you're just doin' what needs to be done. And don't tell me you haven't done that before."
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PostSubject: Re: Song of the South   Tue 22 Jul 2014, 00:18

The Silent Strider smiled and said, "I remember our discussion, and I am glad you feel that I do what Gaia calls me to do. I just know that I could do much better-I could be more, especially if I'm not distracted by having to watch what aspects of me are slipping free. There is much I have held back-but no longer."

When Eaton touches Zas on his arm, he makes no sudden moves, though the act does draw his attention however briefly. At his words Zas looks to the Galliard and says, "I have done what I needed to do before-to some extent. What I am saying now is that I will be me at all times- for better or worse; that I will act as I must, not necessarily as I would like. I am by nature a man of peace...I seek to live in harmony with all who follow Gaian law."

Zas's face begins to redden as his hands turn to fists, his eyes shine like a burning unquenchable flame and his voice begins to steadily lower and deepen til it is little more than a deep primordial growl, "The time has come however, that I must go to war- that I must remind those who ignore the law the penalty for their crimes; that I must bring about their judgement and death."
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PostSubject: Re: Song of the South   Tue 22 Jul 2014, 00:38

Eaton stared at his companion. He wasn't going to deny the ferocity that he now saw; the primal savagery was in his voice, his eyes, his movements. Although, Eaton thought, this wasn't entirely new. He was still going to cast down judgments after all- though he imagined that instead of merely reaching conclusions and voicing them he was going to act and them, even if that meant carrying out the sentence himself, the full wraith of Gaia's justice channeled through him.

And Eaton knew full well what decision the Philodox had reached for the Comanche.

Entertaining the thought, Eaton said, "Very well, then. If that's what yer feeling Gaia's callin' is, who am I to argue with that? I'll just be sure to double check myself so I don't go breakin' no laws."

He let out a light chuckle, though Zas could see that there was still a hint of uncertainty in his eyes, though it wasn't clear enough to make out what it could mean.

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PostSubject: Re: Song of the South   Tue 22 Jul 2014, 00:52

At Eaton's laugh Zas seemed to shake his head clear of the red tint he was beginning to see and refocus on the moment.
"I have no doubt that you and the rest of the pack seek to honor Gaia. Your actions suggest nothing else but pure devotion. I will gladly accept however you being more mindful of your own future deeds. Any help is good. This job is not easy, or forgiving."

Zas then let out a soft chuckle himself as he adds, "Don't worry though, I'm only out to kill those who refuse to obey the law. The rest I will let off with maybe a light maiming or some deep scarring. The pack should be safe."
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