South Dakota Page Two

Sam (Jennifer)“You need to go back into your inner world, and find that thing that defines you as who you are. That’s your homework.” With that Grey Fox patted her on the shoulder and went out to his truck, leaving Jennifer with a lot to think about. First off was the weirdness of the fact that the guy had been dressed for once, in actual cloths, not something that he threw on when he ‘went human’. It was just weird.

Jennifer sighed and settled into her perch on her stool that she had drug into her sanctum. Grey Fox had been drilling her for hours and she simply couldn’t stand for that long. Closing her eyes, she started to sink into her memory, bringing up images of where she had met Grimoire Weiss for the first time.

Crumbling, abandoned buildings . . . .

Wildly growing vines, flourishing everywhere . . . .

The distant sounds of the wild forest . . .

The blaring sound of an Aflac commercial out in the living room as someone flipped on the TV.

Jennifer suppressed the urge to growl in frustration. She thought that she had it for a moment, but now it was gone. This wouldn’t work. She needed somewhere more private. Grabbing her cane, she went back to her bedroom, closing the door firmly and sitting down on the bed. This should work, it was quieter and further away from all the noise. Taking a deep breath, she started to focus again, falling into a meditative frame of mind . . . feeling her breathing slow . . . then jumping violently when something crashed in the basement, echoing through the ductwork of the entire house.

This wasn’t going to work.

Making a decision, Jennifer went to her closet, pulling out a battered old leather and fleece jacket and stomping into her favorite pair of old boots. No snow on the ground yet, but it was heading towards evening and getting cold.
“I’m going out back for a bit. Don’t burn the house down while I’m gone.” She slipped out the back door, holding it open so that the little red fox could follow her. The path at the back door led out through the garden, through the rougher areas and back into the untamed forest.

Jennifer walked down a game path until she found a place that seemed right, a small clearing away from all the sights and sounds of mankind, with a fallen tree that would provide the perfect place to perch. Jennifer choose a smooth part of the log, the fox jumping up and curling up next to her. She reached down and gently scratched between it’s ears, giggling as it licked her fingertips. Then she took a deep breath, closing her eyes and once again sinking deep into herself, rebuilding the inner world that apparently represented herself at it’s most basic level.

It took a couple of minutes, but she finally stood again in the center of a destroyed city, in the process of being reclaimed by the forest.
From behind her came a sigh. “Ah. You’re back again. What is it this time?” Jennifer turned to find Grimoire Weiss floating in the air near her, the face of the book looking at her impatiently.
Jennifer cleared her throat, rubbing one side of her nose a bit uneasily. “Um, actually my um, other teacher sent me. The um, neanderthal. He told me that I needed to find the center of what makes me, um, me. So, I don’t mean to bother you, but . . . I’m going to be looking around for a while.”
Weiss fluttered his pages in a sigh. “You want to look for something that makes you unique, in this mess?” He spun around, drawing attention to the post apocalyptic look of their surroundings. Jennifer winced a bit as a nearby building took that moment to start falling to pieces.
“Gimme a break, I’ve had a lot happen in the past year or so.”
“Fascinating. Quite.”
Jennifer sighed as she started picking through the rubble. How the hell can I hear a raised eyebrow from voice coming from a representation of a book that’s living in my head?

She looked around, trying to find a starting point in all the mess surrounding her. From not too far away she could hear the sound of a babbling brook, for lack of anything better, she went towards it. About two blocks over, she found a defiantly cheerful stream making it’s way down the boulevard, cutting through the asphalt to reveal the earth beneath. Kneeling down, Jennifer cocked her head to the side. It almost sounded as if she could hear a voice woven over and under the sound of the water. Curiously, she leaned down further, until she could hear a woman’s tones, softly reciting details of someone’s life. Of her life, in fact.

Looking upriver, Jennifer could see that the landscape changed, buildings giving way to something that she couldn’t quite see. If she went with the theory that the river seemed to be some sort of record or guide for her life, then upriver would be closer to what and who she was when she first started out. Theoretically anyways. Pushing up, Jennifer started walking, hands shoved deep into her pockets, humming softly under her breath. The first clue that she had that Weiss had followed her was when he spoke up, pages softly fluttering. “What is it you hope to find searching in this manner?”
“Well,” Jennifer scratched her nose. “People, are a lot like onions. Or parfaits. Lots of layers. You have to dig through them in order to find what’s at the bottom of it all.”
Weiss was silent for a moment. “Are you seriously starting out on a quest for the core of your identity using a line from a children’s movie?”
Jennifer hunched her shoulder’s defensively. “Hey, children’s movies have a lot of wisdom in them. Look both ways before crossing the street, the bad guy is never who you expect, always root for the underdog, never judge a book . . .” she trailed off, bitting her lip and looking sideways at the book/spirit/teacher/thing floating next to her. “Don’t talk to strangers. . .”
“An endeavor which you seem to have failed at utterly.” said the talking book floating beside her.
“Don’t I know it,” Jennifer muttered.

She had been walking for a bit when the landscape suddenly and violently changed, depositing them in the middle of a mall, one of the stores reduced to rubble, with an enraged bear and a pack of wolves duking it out in the middle of the food court. Off to the side, Jennifer could see herself, looking vacant for a moment before suddenly seeming to wake up, eyes blazing with sudden power.
“The moment I Awakened.” Jennifer muttered. Then she looked down. “Why is the stream still here?” Shaking her head she moved on. This wasn’t the core of herself, just a moment when Life added a layer to who she was.
Next up she was forced to relive the moment when a bullet had shattered her dreams of saving lives as an Army medic. The desert sun beat down with remembered cruelty, as she watched herself fall screaming to the sand. Turning away, she gulped down a choked sob, following the stream that still wound through the landscape.

Next came the exhausting never ending hours of training, learning to save lives with nothing but a penknife and a rock if that’s what was needed. The fight with her parents when she decided to follow her brother’s footsteps and join the service. The times running around the mountain and the forest with her Grandfather. Learning about the spirits and ancestors, embracing both sides of her heritage no matter what other people said.

“Much as this trip down memory lane is entertaining, I’m trying to get the point here.” Jennifer sighed as she kept walking along the stream, Weiss still floating beside her and commenting on moments like a critic at the movies.
“Perhaps you need to dig to the center of the ‘onion’?” Weiss suggested. Before her on the ground an onion suddenly appeared, lying on the ground. Jennifer picked it up, looking at it carefully before tossing it over her shoulder.
“I don’t think so. Besides, onion fumes make me cry.” Closing her eyes, Jennifer concentrated, trying to find that quiet moment in her mind again. I control this place, she reasoned, therefore if I decided to be somewhere, that’s where I am. So, I’m at the beginning of this river. Around her the air suddenly cooled, sounds echoing as if she stood in a cave. Which wasn’t quiet true, she realized when she looked around. She was actually . . . standing in a giant clam shell. With a huge pearl before her lying in the middle of a small lake, with what looked like a hole dug into the side.
“Oh for crying out loud!” Jennifer leaned back and shouted at the ceiling. “Enough with the symbols already!”
“Young woman, you do realize that this is a representation of your mind?”
Jennifer glared over her shoulder. “You do realize that you are just a representation of a spirit bound into a book?”
“Yes, and you are the one arguing with me.” Weiss fluttered his pages condescendingly. “What is the one thing that has been constant throughout all of this?”
Jennifer looked down. “The water. It’s always there, flowing through everything. So . . . this is what I should be looking at.” She looked over at Weiss. “Coming along?” She slipped off her shoes and most of her cloths, wiggling her toes at the edge of the water.
“In there? I’m a book.” Weiss actually managed to look horrified at the idea. “I’ll go back and watch the grass grow some more, thank you very much. This really has been fascinating.” With that he fluttered off, disappearing around a corner that wasn’t there.
Jennifer shrugged and dove in, arching deep under the water to look around. Before her a light glowed dimly, beckoning her forwards. She swam towards it, but it was further away than it seemed and she was rapidly running out of air. Black spots flaring in front of her eyes, she fought to drag herself forwards.
Thrysis, idiot! Change!
With an effort of will, Jennifer moulded her flesh into something Other, grafting gills onto her sides and fins onto her limbs. Suddenly cutting through the water with ease, she arrowed forwards.

Arriving at the light, she suddenly fell into a bubble of air, finding herself face to face with . . . herself. But a self that had been boiled down to the essentials, nothing extra. She could have been young and ancient, both at the same time. Other Jennifer looked at her and cocked one eyebrow.
“Took you long enough.”
Jennifer didn’t really know what to say to that. Other Jennifer snorted a laugh.
“Never mind. Don’t just stand there gaping like a landed fish. You went through all of this, don’t you want the answer?”
Jennifer nodded. Other leaned over and looked her dead in the eyes, her own eyes suddenly burning with an eerie light. “It’s simple, really. That’s the point.” She reached out and placed one finger on her forehead, slamming her head back with a sudden self-knowledge.

That feeling. The need, to help, to change, to make the world a better place.

That was the reason behind everything that she did, all the changes that she had made. Jennifer opened her eyes and looked at her Other self, smiling in thanks. She only had the chance to see an answering smile before the world around them started to smear and fade, dissolving like an oil painting in water.

Jennifer opened her eyes, back in the real world again. The fox in her lap shifted and sniffed her face, panting happily now that she was awake again. The forest around them was alive with sounds and Jennifer reached out with her Life senses, throwing her head back and laughing at the sudden feeling of being plugged into the vast web of growing things that surrounded her.

When last we left our intrepid adventurers, they were dragging themselves home after partying hard and discovering just how much a werewolf can drink. The action shall take place immediately following them finally getting home and pulling up to the drive. (this update has been GM approved)

Jennifer limped into the house, snorting at the fox that was dancing around her feet.
“Your a wild animal. You should be able to hunt for yourself, you realize that.” The fox ignored her words and continued to make what she had learned was his ‘hungry’ noise.
“All right already. I’m going, I’m going.”

Walking into the kitchen, she pulled a tupperware out of the fridge, dishing out a large helping and dumping it into a pot to heat. She had started making up a variation of homemade dog food for the fox when it refused to eat the kibble.

“You see, the problem is, too many of the spells that cause transformation of some kind or other cause the universe to snap back.” She spoke out loud, continuing a thought she’d been working on during the car ride; gesturing absently with the spatula as she watched the food warm up. At her feet, the fox nodded.
“But, I heard somewhere that you can use, Prime, I think it was; to get the Paradox of a spell to be minimized. So, there’d be no problem then, right?” The fox shook it’s head back and forth.
“So, what I need to do, is maybe start looking through Weiss and seeing if he can help me out with that. I mean, that’s what he’s good at, right?” The fox nodded again.
Jennifer finally noticed that it was her red fox and not Grey Fox that she was talking to, and it really shouldn’t be responding to what she was saying. Raising one eyebrow, she waved the tongs from side to side, watching the way that the fox followed them as if its head was directly connected to the tongs. She sighed and dished out the food, putting the bowl down on the floor where the fox could get at it.
“Right. Eat up then. I’m gonna go talk to my hidebound friend.”

Crossing over into her sanctum, as she was finally coming to think of her workspace; she opened the drug cabinet and pulled out Weiss, and sitting down at the table. “Now,” she muttered to herself. “I suppose it’s too much to hope for an index, so let’s see what we can find, shall we?” Carefully, she opened up the book and started reading.

Jennifer sighed as she climbed wearily into Henry’s truck, Weiss tucked under one arm and feeling about as heavy as if it were made out of lead. Henry raised one eyebrow in the dim light of the dashboard before pulling open a smashed pizza box and offering her the last slice.
“Looks like you had fun tonight.” His nostrils flared as he took a deep breath, frowning in sudden anger. “I smell blood.” He leveled an accusing look at her and Jenn raised one hand in defense.
“Things got a bit . . . complicated.” She pulled up her sleeve, revealing spiraling burn marks curling up her arm; evidence of the amount of magic that she’d had to throw at Weiss in order to get him to back down.
Henry gently grasped her wrist, turning it side to side in order to take a good look before shaking his head and starting the truck.
“Do I need to go in there and teach those assholes a lesson? Why the hell are you hanging with those jackoffs anyways?”
Jennifer laughed and shook her head. “Nah. The lesson has been learned for tonight.” Quickly she explained what had happened between her and Maddox, ending with the woman collapsing and Xypher’s warning.
“So, let me get this straight. This bitch trash talked you, your book and us. Then your book tried to rip her brains out through her nose . . . and you stopped it? Why?”
Jennifer laughed around the last bite of pizza, wiping her mouth on her sleeve.
“Wasn’t the right time or reason. If I’m going to scare the crap of people like that, I want it to be because I set out to do it. As it is they already think that I’m a loose cannon. Xypher told me that if any of the Orders find out about me and Weiss; they’d kind of kill me and take him.”
Henry actually growled, his features thickening towards his Bear form before he calmed down. “They can try.”
Jennifer shook her head and looked away towards the night passing them by. “That’s what I’m afraid of. Of all the things that we don’t need, a fight between the Forsaken and the Awakened is at the top of my list. Plus I’d be dead.”
Henry snorted in amusement a second," Oh yee of little faith." He chuckled for a second," If that book of yours is as powerful as you say than it would take more than a few of them to stop you. And there wouldn’t be that many got past me, let alone the rest of this “pack”." He pulled the truck out of it’s parking spot and headed back toward the house. He was definitely going to be taking a long route home, trying to see if anyone was following them or anything. He didn’t trust these people as far as he could throw them, even if that was a good couple hundred feet on a good day," ‘Sides, with that little shopping center that Val has access to, I’m sure you could get something that would make anyone from some ‘order’ quake in their boots. Might cost someone a soul or two, but hey," He smiled to her playfully for a second, “It’s a fair trade.”

Jennifer laughed. “I’d rather not attract the attention in the first place. Think we can manage that?” Henry shot her a disbelieving look. “Yeah, didn’t think so either.” She ran one hand idly down Weiss’s binding, still deep in thought. Biting her lip, she looked at the Grimoire lying there semi-innocently, before tapping it gently as if she was trying to get it’s attention.
“So Weiss; what the hell was it that you were trying to do? Actually, what you did do, because I saw that you left something behind in her pattern.” The passing cars briefly illuminated the etchings on the binding, lending a sense of movement to the masks graven onto the cover.
Weiss seemed more agitated than normal his voice holding both ire and pride " I was teaching that insignificant excuse for a mage a lesson. How dare she assume that she can address you in such an familiar tone, not to mention the indignant self absorbed verbal excrement that was flowing from her." Weiss paused " I was not killing her if that is what you believe… Merely teaching a (disobedient) child a lesson.
“Uh huh” Jennifer raised one eyebrow and grinned. “That was one hell of a lesson, I’m sure. It was; ancient from what I could tell. And I don’t think that it could have reversed without damaging her Pattern, even by a circle of Masters in the Prime Arcanum. So, what was that spell you were weaving?”

Havoc (GM) Weiss seemed to stifle himself momentarily “The creature who is being overly protective of you, he is a shape shifter yes?” “though he is not a wolf…” Weiss seemed to be lost in thought as he went through the extensive library that was his ‘mind’. “Ahh!, he is a Bear, quite aggressive creatures and highly capable of destruction…” he trailed off to a mumble as if the rest was of no consequence. “The Rite is Ancient yes and yes a circle of what passes for a Master these days would be hard pressed to rectify what I have done.” The last very matter of fact.

Havoc (GM – On the road) The next few minutes would seem more like a dream than reality. The drive out to the house was long and quite other than Jennifer talking to herself, or better yet her Book. It was an odd sort of ride and then it happened. The truck hit an odd divot in the road in an instant swerved into oncoming traffic with a quick correction or two Henry managed to save the truck and pull it back into their lane narrowly missing the three rather angry looking black trucks heading towards town.

Weiss flew onto the front dash of the truck with a bounce and a loud ancient swear… “Cruentus Abyssus!” “Jennifer Blackbird Morgan!… Control yourself, regain your senses and extend your Powers outward!” Weiss’ demands were loud, straightforward and verging on rushed. (Much like a Master instructing a student during live fire exercise.) Gather yourself, call on your powers and mark one of those trucks. [GM Note: the Arcanum and how you do this is completely your call Weiss simply wants you to be able to find the trucks again]With that, time seemed to slow the next seconds like minutes then as quickly as it began it ended… leaving Jennifer tired and winded and Henry with more than one strange, unexplained and uncomfortable feeling running through his mind and body.

[GM – Until otherwise noted Henry is suffering from a mild to moderate mental tick – Henry can roll his “Save” at the table on Monday till then and until the night of this truck ride is up – anytime magic or supernatural abilities are used within his vicinity he feels a very real chill run up his spine and in the case of init he goes on a 10—-basically he has mystical backlash ][If i missed something or something is uncleaar just let me know its 2 when im writing this XD]

Sam (Bones) Jennifer had been disoriented when the truck swerved, causing her to slam her head into the window. But Weiss yelling in her head and sounding like a combination of her old drill sergeant and her mother all rolled into one helped focus her scattered thoughts. With a grunt of effort she focused, calling on her seldom used Space Arcanum to mark the rearmost truck. It was beyond what she should have been able to do; but she managed, barely. For an instant the night was perceptibly more dangerous, with something watching them both from the shadows. Jennifer panted, feeling stretched far too thin with all that she had done that night. “What . . . the Hell was that?”

(GM) Weiss was silent and still for a long moment (If Henry says anything it will go here). Jennifer could hear the sounds of pages rustling and books being unshelved and shelved in rapid succession . . . She could smell tomes older than the world and all but see Weiss standing in effigy in the immense library that he now was. . . He was facing away from her and his attire was that of a much older time . . . as he turned and his face all but came into view Jennifer heard what are you doing. “Wake up . . . Wake Up Jennifer Blackbird Morgan” with that Jennifer woke up in the truck; blood running from her head.

Sam (Bones) Jennifer sighed and fingered the lump on her forehead and the bridge of her nose before running a pulse of Life magic to the injuries. Digging a napkin out she started wiping at the streaks running down the side of her face; muttering under her breath. “Love the driving Henry . . . great job. Who the hell was that? And Weiss? What was all that about?”

Majesta (Vala) Vala rushes to Bones’ jeep and hops in " let’s get the hell out of here" Driving off down the road she turns to Bones “What fresh Hell did we just begin?”

Samantha (Bones) Bone’s snorted and held onto the door frame as Vala drove not quite like a bat out of hell. “Well, we sorta broke into a secure facility, to find out that the facility you work for is trying to find a virus that will ‘neuter’ a werewolf in some way or shape, we made a new friend, emphasis on the made bit, and then we sorta snuck out, if sneaking can refer to having somebody take an unexpected nap at the security desk.” She thought for another moment. “Yeah, I think that covers the what we just did bit. What did we begin? Um, I have no idea.” She twisted her head over her shoulder to look back at Cryo. “You go any idea what a bunch of people who want to change Werewolf DNA?”

Majesta (Vala) “Looks like you two will have to finish this conversation inside” Vala said as they pulled up to the house. “So Bones how much flack do you think were taking for this?” Vala steps out of the jeep and looks over her shoulder at Bones chuckling to herself " Do I look like myself again or do you still have that voodoo that you do so well in place. I’m hoping Dave is home we need to talk and I would prefer to look like myself "

Samantha (Bones) “Yourself the dragon or yourself the babe? Cause I’m not even sure who I was able to make the . . . the . . . mask or whatever the hell it was look different. Ain’t magic wonderful? Anyways, you look fine. As for the flack . . . Eh. Not like we don’t have plenty of shit to deal with as it is. We’ll manage.” A sudden yawn caught her, nearly cracking her jaw as she stretched. “Why the hell do we always end up doing this shit at midnight? I need my beauty rest! I know ya’ll are all freaks of nature, but I’m just a little girl here.” Bones couldn’t hold back a laugh at the look Valla shot at her over her shoulder as the other woman went in the front door. “Whatever. Just try and keep your ‘talk’ with Dave down, I’ve got something to work on in my Sanctum.”
Waving a bit to Marcus and Henry as they sat streatched out in front of the TV, she walked into the garage and settled into the comfortable chair set up in front of the table. She had invested in it as soon as she realized that she was going to be spending a lot of time in the garage doing mostly mental work. As she waited for Cryo to settle down, she took a good look around, deciding what needed to be changed. This wasn’t going to be just her garage anymore, and it needed to reflect that. Some plants maybe. More comfortable furniture and better lighting, more tools, definitely. Cryo finally settled down and with a deep relaxing breath Bones closed her eyes and fell inwards through her mind, toward where she knew that Weiss held a portion of her psyche. As always, she surrounded with the feeling of coming home that suffused her once she was there, looking around at the ruined city, with the broken and crumbling buildings that were transformed into post-apocalyptic trellises reaching up into the sky.

Walking past a traffic signal that was covered with small bright red and yellow blossoms, Bones had to laugh softly at the whimsey. Destruction yes, but creation growing from it. How appropriate for a Thrysis. She walked a seemingly random path, yet it only took a few turns before she found the place where Weiss waited.
“Grimoire Weiss. Hello again. I was wondering, what can you tell me about the spell you cast on that unpleasant bitch?”

Majesta (Vala) As she walks through the door rolling her eyes at Bones’ not so subtle request she sees Marcus and Henry on the couch. " Hey have you guys seen Dave?"

Havoc (GM) This will take place during and after the events of the Goblin Market trip…

Havoc(GM) & Samantha(Bones)
Bones worked for a few minutes in her sanctum, sweeping up debris and shooting worried glances at where Weiss hung at the focus of her new Hallow. He said that he could fix himself with enough magic, and she was reluctent to go to the Book Keeper and bargain for fixing him. Who knew what that might cost or how he might end up afterwards. But she had no idea how long he would be vulnerable while he ‘healed’. There had to be a way for her to get more strength to loan to him. The Hallow was in use, the one at the Animal Shelter was too far away and teh wolves had pulled everything from their Locus earlier. She wouldn’t be able to get anything from those either. Nervously, she drummed her fingers on the nearby table, thinking hard.

Well, when in doubt . . . Ask an expert.

With a brief focuse of will, she cast Spirit Eyes and Tougne on herself, before going and searching out the Spirit of the Unrelenting Mountain. She found him out in the backyard, growling in a landslide rumble as he stared at the overturned SUVs.
“Mountain, I need your help. My teacher is injured and in order to heal him, I need to find another source of power. The Loci are in use, as is my Hallow and I can not yet draw upon the rivers of currant that flow across the land. Do you know of another place I can draw Mana from? I ask, so that I may continue to grow in strength and learning, the better to continue fighting.”

 Slowly the Spirit of the Unrelenting Mountain turned toward Bones, a low barely audible rumble escaping before the mountain spirit’s low powerful voice rolled forth, “Is energy all you need little one?”
The mountain spirit still seemed distracted by the damage and violence that had occurred over the past day. 
The great spirit moved slowly feeling out the SUV’s, like a giant rocky silver-back, curiously pushing at them with his fingertips. As the mountain spirit continued to feel out the trucks  Bone’s spirit eyes caught the sight of the lingering rage spirits that the wolves had attacked as they slowly started to gather nearer. It was then that the great spirit’s emotional resonance suddenly switched  and with a sound like granite breaking  the spirit of the Unrelenting Mountain materialized before Bone’s eyes.  In one swift motion the great spirit cried out and  tor the SUV it had just touched in two. Gas and oil spilling on the gravel drive like blood from a great beast. The spirits cry was loud and long, the other worldly sound erupted from him filling Bones with the knowledge of his lament. The whole world seemed to go silent for a moment then slowly the sounds of the world returned, leaving Bones surrounded by destruction and face to face with the materialized Spirit of the Unrelenting Mountain.
The Morning sun lit the powerful spirit showing the massive moss covered back and mineral-like veins that ran the length of his body, his massive fists soaked in the vehicle’s life’ blood. As  Bones looked upon his pained face she could see small rivulets escaping from the corners of his giant eyes.

Bones smiled gently and reached up, wiping away the moisture running down the spirit’s face.
“The way of the Thyrsis is that of healing and growth. We guard the spirits and lives entrusted into our care; we heal them and nurture them. But sometimes we must bar our teeth and fight to protect that which is ours. This is that time for me. Others are gathering to judge my strength of will and soul and I must be able to deal with them from a position of strength. If I cannot show them that I am strong and wise enough that they dare not disturb me and mine, then they will continue to attempt to bring ruin to this place. And that I will not allow.” She turned away and looked towards the mountain, slumbering gently under it’s covering of snow and ice. “Once this storm is passed, we shall see this place bloom once again.”

With that the Spirit of the Unrelenting Mountain turned his gaze towards the mountains and the coming storm. “Then I shall grant my strength to you and my other children and see you all grow strong deep roots” The spirit turned his gaze back to Bones come with me little one I will teach you the words to draw upon my power." The Mountain turned to leave then stopped, “To do this you must take on an aspect on me so that my power may shine through it in you.” “This you will do?”

Bones tipped her head in a slight bow, an slight smile spreading across her face. “So long as it will not break those bonds that I already hold. What shall taking on this aspect mean?” She took a deep breath and faced the Spirit fully.

The spirit returned the bow, then reached down picked up Bones and headed up the mountain.
The trip was surprisingly fast and when the mountain stopped in the cave where they first met. The Sunlight was coming through the opening in the roof of the cave. The small waterfall had refilled the pond. The whole place now resonated with a calm inner strength. The Mountain spirit traveled into the waters and placed Bones on the now island like rock in the pond, then slowly took its place in the waterfall. When the spirit assumed its rightful place in the cave a shimmer of energy rose around Bones and the Mountain. " Repeat my words little one and know the truths I speak."

“Strength in serenity, unyielding I wait, through darkness and light. Days turn to nights as the seasons turn I remain. As the heavens roll and the earth shakes; I am the Mountain, I am unyeilding, though I may be diminished and the slumber of ages may take me, I will endure. "

The great spirit paused for a moment after speaking its eternal vow and waited.

Bones reached out and trailed her fingers through the water, savoring the resonance of the cave. It felt . . . like the heart of a mountain. Like she could wrap herself in it and wait out the passing of the years, unchanging and unchanged.

A sudden memory of one of her favorite movies popped into her head. “No matter how the wind howls, the mountain cannot bow to it.”

When she started getting wisdom from Disney, what did that say about her state of mind? Of course, she was also living with a couple of people who in their spare time turned into wolves, a bear and some sort of dragon. Disney wisdom didn’t look all that bad, really. She looked across the small lake at the Spirit with the water pouring over it and smiled. It’s vow spoke of never giving up, never surrendering to the trails of fate. Which was something she believed in anyways, really. So, no biggie. Taking a breath, she spoke.

“Strength in serenity, unyielding I wait, through darkness and light. Days turn to nights as the seasons turn I remain. As the heavens roll and the earth shakes; I am the Mountain, I am unyielding, though I may be diminished and the slumber of ages may take me, I will endure.”

The words felt . . . right.

As Bones spoke the words the mountain spirit’s eyes began to glow. Soft at first, like the first star of the night, but then brighter and as she finished the great spirits eyes where ablaze with it’s power. Then for a brief instant she saw and understood.

Bones saw the mountain erupt from the earth and take it’s place in the sky. Watched as trees and animals came to call it home. Watched as the growing spirit tended to it’s realm. Then watched as man came and slowly the spirit of the mountain declined, going into a deathless sleep to save the very Mountain itself. Then only darkness, long and cold, until at last Bones opened her eyes and as she did the vision of herself looking at the great spirit faded.

The great spirit slowly reached out it’s mighty hand and brushed aside the tear that had managed it’s way out. The mountain’s fingers where surprisingly smooth and the tops slightly covered in moss. The spirit the gestured, tapping it’s chest like a giant mossy silverback.

“What I done cannot be undone.” " Until you are no longer my child, I will be in you."

The great spirit then shuddered for a moment and its risen energy shimmered taking on a swirl of Bones own auras color.

" Your Sar Umfisah ‘teacher’ knows now what you have done for it, as do those Urfidum of my choir."

As the Mountain Spirit spoke Bones could see small moss flowers bloom. Delicate frosted flowers, tiny and fragile but refusing to yield to winter’s cold grasp.

“Repeat these words to call my power unto you.”

Urfidum umma, Uralath Urfidum
narhdar dulesh’na
ulala umma
Zur Uralath"

Bones considered for a moment. Her magical powers were at the lowest ebb they had been at for a long while and she couldn’t remember the last time she had felt so drained. Two to the death fights, followed by three hours of chanting and stretching to heal Henry’s wounds. One night’s sleep couldn’t fix that. Taking a deep breath and carefully fixing the words in her mind, she spoke them as well, intending to draw only gently on the Spirit’s power. This was more in the way of a test run, rather than a desperate need.

Urfidum umma, Uralath Urfidum
narhdar dulesh’na
ulala umma
Zur Uralath

Now she had allies other than her ‘pack’ that wouldn’t piss themselves when she did something they weren’t expecting.

As Bones spoke the words a strange new feeling came over her, as her ties to the Supernal and to the Spirit both grew within her. She spoke the words and reach and the mountains power flowed into her with a slow enduring steadiness, weaving its way into her pattern finding room between it’s strands . The energy passed to her carrying the qualities of the great Mountain spirit and the more energy she held the stronger the feelings grew until finally when she stopped she could feel its full effects reinforcing her. Her leg didn’t seem to hurt as much and bent easier, her eyes where now keener to pick out the subtleties in spiritual reflections around her. She felt more center and connected with the spiritual world around her and yet after a moment she felt slightly more disconnected from her supernal reflection.

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