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 Introduction: The Art of War

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Zas B'ul

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PostSubject: Introduction: The Art of War   Fri 07 Nov 2014, 22:23

The day following the packs decision to elect an Alpha, Zas B'ul approached the Fenrir around lunch time bringing with him a leg of wild turkey he had caught earlier. He had wanted to find him alone to speak with him about something and now saw his opportunity.

The Silent Strider found the Ahroun leaning against a nearby tree on the edge of the caern's border. The Philodox offers him the turkey leg and begins, "One often wonders what is on the mind of an Alpha. Plans for the future, or perhaps concerns for the present..."

Zas comes to within a few steps of his pack mate and says, "Yet today I find myself asking a very different type of question. I spoke to the pack last night of the responsibilities of an Alpha, but I am curious what you feel defines a strong Alpha. What traits does our Get of Fenris view as being important and needed in order to lead?"
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Rends the Gar

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PostSubject: Re: Introduction: The Art of War   Sat 08 Nov 2014, 13:08

Rends takes the turkey leg with a nod. He considers the question for a moment as he chews.

"The get value strength and honor above most everything else. I reckon it's the alphas job to be a model to the rest of the pack and a sort of face of the pack. He's gotta maintain the highest degree of honor and lead through strength to prove he is the best for the job. And I intend to."
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PostSubject: Re: Introduction: The Art of War   Sat 08 Nov 2014, 14:32

Zas listens intently to each word. When Rends ceases speaking, Zas purses his lips as he says, "What you say is true, but I have seen that we each are more than our tribe. You as a Get of Fenris Ahroun prize strength, yes, and honor as well but what of you as Sylvester Clemons, as Rends-the-Gar? Are there no other qualities that you feel are needed for leadership?"
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PostSubject: Re: Introduction: The Art of War   Sat 08 Nov 2014, 20:42

Rends gives the Philodox an almost stupefied look.

"What more is there to bein a leader? Garou are warriors, and nobody should lead warriors 'cept them who are the most honorable and greatest of the warriors."

He shakes his head, regarding Zas.

"Would you follow someone to war who wasnt?"
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PostSubject: Re: Introduction: The Art of War   Sat 08 Nov 2014, 23:53

Zas looks away from his Alpha as he considers the question. When he chooses his response he turns back to face him and says, "I would follow such a Garou to battle, though I don't know that he would lead to victory in a war. I would look to such a Garou in the midst of a fight, but I would not call him a leader of Garou. We are warriors, but we are not always shedding blood. We are called to protect Gaia-this means in times of peace as well as war. Being a leader of Garou applies in both instances...in and outside of combat."

The philodox takes a breath, "There are several qualities of being a leader that are noteworthy. Strength and Honor are among them but they are not all. Having Strength and Honor are meaningless without focus and direction. Vision.You yourself told me that knowing who to attack is just as vital to success as knowing how to attack, back when we dealt with Akna."

Zas tilts his head as he gazes back to the Ahroun and says, "Cunning. Having cunning would have certainly spared us greatly in Zavala."

As the Silent Strider lets those points settle, he squats down and pokes a hole in the dirt and then begins drawing circles around the center point. When he finishes he stands back up and looks at his work and says, "A leader must know where he stands at all times. Awareness. He is the one others seek guidance from in times of trouble. He must be firm and consistent. Stability. When you throw a rock into a still pond the water ripples outward, not inwards."

Zas's posture relaxes slightly as he gestures to the drawing and says, "A true leader serves and does what is best for those who follow him-no matter the personal costs. Sacrifice. Like the rock whose presence causes the water to stir, so is the position of leadership. The pack does not seek to serve you, you serve it."

Zas then looks into Rends' eyes as he tenses up and he says respectfully but with absolute resolve, "You were eager to be Alpha of this pack-this I didn't understand. Being Alpha is not a role to be taken lightly. Make no mistake however-I supported you, but I must admit that I have reservations...if the only qualities of being a leader you will embody are Strength and Honor. We as Garou, as warriors, are raised in rank based on our actions...our renown is not only Glory and Honor but also Wisdom. Neglecting to embody all three makes not only a poor leader but a poor Garou."

Zas then eyes his pack mate and says, "I tell you these things so that you may grow-not to discourage you. Know this though; the price of failure is high. It is no longer just you who suffers from the bad decisions you may make...this is the weight of leadership."
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PostSubject: Re: Introduction: The Art of War   Sun 09 Nov 2014, 00:31

Rends the Gar listens as the Philodox pontificates. He throws the turkey bone into a bush, scratching the back of his neck as snowy owl finishes.

"I know it might seem funny I was so quick to throw my hat in. But bein indecisive is one of the problems wes try in to fix with this. I figured even if it wasn't me it'd be better to make a decision than to talk about it. And ya, I wanted the job. But not cuz I'm power hungry or nothin'."

He looks zas in the eye, iron will shining in Lunas light.

"I am Fenrir. My people are the greatest warriors in all of creation. And I failed. As the ahroun it was my responsibility to make sure the pack was safe before taking rest myself. But because we wasn't fightin in a direct battle, I let that bitch draw me in and nearly cost us everything."

His fists tremble in rage.

"I. Will. Not. Fail again. I didn't realize we were at war jest because they wasnt anything tryin to claw at me and nearly lost you all. As your Alpha I will always be the first to rise and the last to sleep. Strength and honor are not all I have to give. I've already bled for all of you and I will again gladly. I ain't yet half the garou I could be, but I'll grow into somethin worthy of bein remembered in song. But it won't be jest me the Galliards will sing about. Ill only be an afterthought. It will be about how the Prodigals made the hard calls to save the new world."

His chest swells in pride and he hitches his thumbs on his belt.

"I am Garou. I am Fenrir. I am Ahroun. I am a warrior three times done. But I know what happens when ambition gets the best of you. I know we need to be careful and not always kill. That's why wes a pack. I need yall."

He shrinks down, almost looking sheepish suddenly.

"A helluva lot more'n yall need me."
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PostSubject: Re: Introduction: The Art of War   Sun 09 Nov 2014, 03:50

Snowy Owl frowns slightly at his pack mates response-lightening slightly near the end, not out of disappointment but rather out of bewilderment. After he concludes stating his future intentions, Zas responds.
"I am trying to figure out then why you wanted the position to begin with. You do not seem to want to be Alpha out of a desire for bloodthirst. You deny wanting it for power. You hardly seem the type to want the position out of greed...why do you seek to take on this burden? Is it some form of redemption for past errors in your mind?"

The Philodox rubs his chin as he says, "Your role as Ahroun is just as needed as everyone else's-Gaia herself made us that way. Your role as my friend means you have both value and merit-a rare find. I count the number of white men I trust on less than one full hand, the number of white men I'd follow on the warpath smaller still. Earning the trust of an Apache is not easy."

Zas draws a pained breath, "A brave who is unable to draw his own bow is no longer a brave. Losing the hand that pulls back the string of your bow by your enemies...this is one of the most pitiful states an Apache man could ever suffer for It brings shame to the family name for the next generation. You not being in my pack would be like that."
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Rends the Gar

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PostSubject: Re: Introduction: The Art of War   Sun 09 Nov 2014, 11:17

1 Rends blows out a sigh, shaking his head.

"Guess I ain't explaining myself good. It's like this: I let my guard down cuz I didn't think they was any danger and it almost got us kilt. I wasn't on my game cuz I didn't think we was on a battlefield and we was. The alphas job is to ALWAYS put the pack first and be on his toes. I wanted this because it needs a mindset of constant awareness and bein ready for whatever. I can't make the excuse to myself that it's Eaton's day to set up watch or anything. I need to prove to yall that I'm good fer more'n jest killin shit. I need to prove to myself that I CAN be a leader."
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PostSubject: Re: Introduction: The Art of War   Sun 09 Nov 2014, 17:10

Zas angles his head for a moment listening in. When Rends stops talking the philodox nods once and says with a grave voice, "I see. This is to be a personal test of worthiness then."

Zas crosses his arms and grimaces. "Which means that failure at any point is not just bad for the pack but also a mark against your pride."

The Silent Strider bows his head as he mulls over his words for a moment before looking back to Rends eyes and holding them for a moment as he says, "My friend...I am truly hoping you succeed for both the pack's and your sake. Should however, in the days ahead Gaia determine you are not yet ready to lead-that you be challenged by one of the rest of the Pack for the role you now hold...and fail; try to remember that your pack mate is not out to hurt your pride but is doing what they must for the safety of the pack as a whole."
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PostSubject: Re: Introduction: The Art of War   Sun 09 Nov 2014, 22:31

Rends nods his head once.

"I don't anticipate giving any reason fer a challenge but I'll welcome any that come."
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PostSubject: Re: Introduction: The Art of War   Mon 10 Nov 2014, 19:05

The Silent Strider nods in acknowledgement of Rends response as he says, "That's what I was afraid you might say."

Without waiting for the Ahroun to respond, Zas's voice becomes very hard and cold as he says, "You are not seeking to prove yourself as a leader of this pack Rends-the-Gar...you are trying to prove to yourself that you can be perfect, that you can be above making mistakes. In this you Will fail."

He gives him a sharp look as he continues, "Bold words and good intentions do not make you strong. Being strong and honorable does not make you a leader. Being a strong Alpha and a good leader does not make you perfect. Any thoughts to the contrary are dangerous lies of the Wyrm."

Zas takes a step closer to Rends face as he says firmly, "Your current path will only lead you to one of three places-the packs total destruction, you falling into Harano, or worst of all; both. If you truly wish to be the best alpha, to do things worthy of tales being sung long after we've died in service to Gaia, accept that you will make mistakes and you will fail. You must accept that you have weakness inside you-it is the only way. This is my challenge to you."
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PostSubject: Re: Introduction: The Art of War   Mon 10 Nov 2014, 23:10

Rends the Gar is initially surprised by the Philodox's outburst, but surprise quickly gives way to barely controlled anger. He grits his teeth and hisses his reply.

"Have you heard one Damn word I've said?! Haven't I been talking this whole time about how I'm not strong enough and I need yall more than you need me?! Have you heard me say one goddamn time that i aim to be perfect?!"

He takes a couple of deep breaths as his fists tremble in rage.

"How dare you? I aint been alpha an hour and already yous ready to jump down my throat for imagined alterior motives?! I told you is doing this to serve the pack better and you throw that in my face!"

Blood actually starts to drip from his clenched fists where his nails had cut his flesh. His eyes are glazed over in barely controlled fury.

"I never once claimed perfection. I am a proud man, but you know full well that I know what happens when a garou ambition over reaches his sense. I am not my father. I will never be my father. And I will not tolerate you putting words in my mouth or slandering my honor. Apologize. Now."
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PostSubject: Re: Introduction: The Art of War   Tue 11 Nov 2014, 01:35

Zas nods once and says nothing for several moments. He turns to walk away, but then stops himself. He looks up back at Rends as he gives an extremely low bow and says loudly and clearly, "I apologize to you, Sylvester Clemons, Rends the Gar, mighty Get of Fenris Ahroun and Alpha of the Prodigals for fulfilling my duty as pack philodox and informing you of the road that lays before you. I apologize to you my friend, for speaking my interpretation of the truth based on your own words. I apologize for bringing this important matter to you at a time you find inappropriate. I apologize for any of your feelings being trampled or any vain attempt at slaying your honor."

Zas then straightens up and says, "However, I will continue to fulfill my duty as philodox of this pack-whether you find that comfortable or not is of no concern. I serve Gaia. The wyrm will not wait for us to be ready or strike at convenient times. You claim to desire the role of Alpha for the betterment of the pack, but yet you fail to see and hear my words of wisdom aiding you in your goal by preparing you for the coming days. You want the title of rule but are deaf to those who would help you. You claim that you need us but the first attempt made by one of us reaching out to you-you reject me and demand that I apologize."

Zas then spits in the dirt to the side and says, "Let it be known from this day forward that you have rejected my aid, my challenge, and me in addition to going back on your word by not welcoming any challenge brought before you. You seek to rule by strength and strength alone, so be it. Your way leads to ruin, and you have been warned-it is now up to the rest pack if they will suffer you. I do not recognize your command and will not until you answer my challenge or change your path-whichever you seem more convenient."

The Silent Strider then takes his hand and slices his chest with a deft downward stroke with all five clawed fingers leaving behind the bloody Garou glyph for no compromises.
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PostSubject: Re: Introduction: The Art of War   Tue 11 Nov 2014, 10:45

Rends shakes his head.

"I'm th one not listening? I'm not the one who asked questions then ignored the answers given and made false accusations. I ain't the one with false ideas in my head about the others motives. Maybe before you can sit in judgment of me you need to take a look at yourself and ask yourself why the words of a so called friend went in one ear and out the other. You say my pride will kill us, but I think it's your pride and presumptions that are the real danger."

Rends spits too.

"I said I'd welcome any challenge I'd given a reason fer, but I won't stroke yer ego. You need to realize that unlike you I'm more than a sack of unfounded pride. I can listen to others, even you, and see when I'm wrong. But you're so Damn proud you don't even hear half the words I'm saying. So fine. Sit in your tower and judge the rest of us only listening with half an ear. I still intend to bring you in on decisions whether you like it or not cuz I've had to learn the value of listening. If you withhold information or advice because of some imagined insult and it leads to disaster, you'd better pray it's you who dies fer it."
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PostSubject: Re: Introduction: The Art of War   Tue 11 Nov 2014, 12:49

Zas's face and demeanor suddenly grow cold. An icy stare lingers on the Ahroun while silence reigns around the pair of Garou for an uncomfortable amount of time. When he next speaks his words ring out,     "Make no mistake, I come to you out of an obligation of my calling-not ego. I knew that I was not worthy for the position of Alpha, thus I did not seek it. I do not seek to make you below me or desire to be alpha now. I believe in you and feel you can best lead this pack save that you be aware of how the Wyrm would entrap you. You have been accused of nothing other than the truth of your own words. I have rendered unto you no judgement-save that which you called down upon yourself."

The philodox growls out, "I have heard you clearly. I came to you today explicitly to discern why you wanted to become Alpha. Your response was that you sought to be leader to prove to the pack that you could be. When asked what defined a leader you claimed that strength and honor were all that was needed, and even after I gave you a list of other traits you did not change your ways. You further went on to say that you will not fail again and then added that you see no reason for any future challenge but were willing to accept any that came about. Yet when presented with one you demanded an apology. Oh, I have heard you friend."

Zas then says, "It is you who refuses to listen. You just said that my words have gone through your mind without being considered.  Have I not heard you correctly? Did I misinterpret something you've said? I think not. You even now seek to blame me for failures that you know will come-this is not how being an Alpha is to be. "

The philodox then steps back and lifts his hands in the air, "Gaia as my witness, I want you to be alpha-but be an alpha who rules from a position of respect-not pride or power, or anything else. You and I first talked about what it took to earn a Get of Fenris respect long ago...now I ask you to do what is necessary to earn a Silent Striders. Simply admit that you have weakness and commit to change as the journey continues."
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PostSubject: Re: Introduction: The Art of War   Tue 11 Nov 2014, 23:06

Still angry Rends takes a deep breath and seems to get his rage more under control.

"Wasn't me I was talking about not listening..."

He mumbles as he looks around.

"Alright. Obviously I need to explain more. Let's sit before I strangle a tree."

Rends finds a nearby stump and lights up his pipe, taking a couple of calming puffs before looking to zas again.

"When I said I wouldn't fail again I weren't makin out like I wanted to be above makin mistakes. I was acknowledging that I had made mistakes and making a promise that I would learn from it. That's all."

He takes another long drag, closing his eyes.

"I will lead through strength and honor because that is what I have most of to offer. I weren't lying when I said I need yall. I learn from yall every day. Zoe teaches me compassion and wisdom. Mocks teaches me to be clever and tend to my mind and not jest my body. Eaton teaches me to value the strength of even the lowest of gaia's children. And you? Zas our relationship has been nothing if not an exercise in patience. Strength and honor are what I know now, but as we grow together I will have more to offer and I intend to learn as much as I can as quickly as I can."

He opens his eyes, looking up at the Philodox.

"To me the alpha is the servant to the pack. He is a tool which guides the pack, but ain't above them. That's where honor comes in."

He shakes his head in frustration, puffing steadily on the pipe.

"Does that clear some things up? I denied your challenge cuz I didn't see what the hell you were talking about. Now that I've explained everything, does your challenge stand? I'll accept if so. I don't mind beating sense into you. I still don't understand where yous coming from, but if you have doubts about my leadership it is your duty to challenge me. Jest remember to let me know why in plain white man English next time."
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PostSubject: Re: Introduction: The Art of War   Wed 12 Nov 2014, 01:55

Zas makes to follow Rends and sits across from him on the dirt, positioning himself in such a way that he was eye level. As the Ahroun speaks a long sigh of relief escapes the philodox slips almost as soon as he begins.

At his pack mates question, Zas nods and says, "You speak clearly and with a heart of a noble leader. You have answered my challenge and bedded many of my other concerns in the process. I have no need to take my challenge back-you proved yourself victorious...removing my words now would cheapen this moment and take away your victory."

After a pause he says, "You were right about something else too. I did not hear you fully. I heard your words-true, but I did not hear your spirit."

Zas offers a small smile as he says, "I feel that we understand each other fully now...at least as it concerns the role you will play as pack alpha-we are in total and full agreement."

Zas then raises himself up to a kneeling position and says with a straight face, "I recognize you as both the prodigals alpha and my leader and commander. You have upheld your word. Now I must uphold mine. I will abide by your rule so long as it is remains true to the litany. You are found in my eyes to be the right and worthy leader of this pack. I will follow you to whatever end. You have earned my trust and respect. Though you may not require it, you also have my blessing. Gaia be praised."

Zas then stands up and says with his hand extended to shake, "I vow to try and make any future challenges to your leadership as simple and clear as possible...though white man speech is not easy. Maybe next time I should find an interpreter."
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PostSubject: Re: Introduction: The Art of War   Sat 15 Nov 2014, 20:48

Rends let's out a sigh too, glad the air is cleared. He chuckles at zas last comment.

"Well if you find one what can figure out what's goin on in that head of yours lemme know."

He gets up as he continues smoking.

"Well now that that's settled and nobody's had they head smashed in, let's go take a look around. Harriet is nice and all, but I'm thinking of building a house out here and need to find a good spot near the caern."

He troops off down the trail, not really waiting for zas to reply.
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