|Characters:||Saul, Cassadee (Essie as ST)|
|Summary:||Saul's plans to show Cassadee a few local loci doesn't go exactly as planned|
Off on the shores of Lake Pontchartrain, there's plenty of land that has been designated as 'wildlife refuges' and it's not just people that need a break from the hustle and bustle of modern life in the city. Nature spirits usually thrive around such areas, along with the plants and animals the humans intended them to protect. This particular stretch of land is less developed than some of the more well known parks, but that just means there is rarely a crowd along the primitive trails, especially once the sun has set even though the near full moon should provide plenty of light tonight.
Saul has been taking his new pupil around the city for the past few days, visiting a couple of urban loci, even negotiated with a spirit at one time. Tonight, he's decided to introduce her to another out of the urban reaches, a locus hidden in the wilderness that she may as well exploit. Riding in his Boss 429 Mustang, the mentor is briefing his pupil on the importance of a locus to an area's well-being, how its resonant affects the creatures around, and how to properly and respectfully use them as Uratha. 'You only take enough', 'don't drain the locus', 'don't taint it', all the basic stuff. Maybe he shouldn't be talking and speeding this fast.
Cassadee was keen to come along with Saul on those lessons. It was a lot of new to learn after all. She was focused on the explanation about the importance of a locus's well being and how it affects the area and creatures around it. She was thankfully strapped in, she always did when he drove. She was commenting to him that maybe he should slow down just a little. Mostly because she is unfamiliar with the area, now wondering if the Spirits would be able to sense her nervousness. As they pull up into the parking lot she looks curiously about, "Are... you sure there are suppose to be spirits here Saul? Did we take a wrong turn?" Her hands slowly moving to unbuckle her seatbelt, she knows he probably didn't drive them to the wrong location.
The park is technically closed after dark, but normally such mortal rules don't apply to spirits that dwell within. There's plenty of parking available as Saul's mustang pulls up. As Cassadee has pointed out, there's not much visible activity near the parking lot, but then... what parking lot spirits would congregate here when there are so many parking decks and higher traffic areas downtown? But things do seem unusually quiet, not even the night birds up to their normal chatter. A quick glance across the Gauntlet for Saul shows the Rahu that a few of the normally more resilent plants that linger near the edge of the corresponding trail in the Hisil seem a bit withered and not their normal verdant selves.
His attention is diverted to the young Ithaeur when she mentions the lack of spirit activity, his car roaring lowly as they pull up into the parking lot. "Let's go," Saul simply says as he unstraps his belt and clambers out of the Mustang, sending his senses through the Gauntlet to peer across into the Shadow. His eyes roll back, pupils and irises replaced by milky white retina that is sure to spook a normal human just by the casualness of it, head rotating a good 180 degrees as he surveys his surroundings. He blinks once, then his eyes are colored with the same jet black irises again, vision returning to the Flesh side. He assumes that there's something happening here, but doesn't vocalize his opinion yet. "You'll see more spirits the closer we get to the locus." Or that's what he's hoping. And then he's striding away deeper into the park, beckoning her with a wave of his hand.
Cassadee opens the passenger door and easily gets out of the car and closes the door. She begins to move towards Saul as he sends his senses through the Gauntlet, just watching him for the time being. She offers a single nod and begins to follow along with his stride into the park, making sure to not fall behind.
The park is not completely deserted of all things wildlife. Somewhere off in the distance, there's the sound of a bullfrog croak and as they walk, a single squirrel darts across an overhanging limb, chittering loudly at the interlopers. As they walk deeper into the park, eventually they do start to come across a few of the nature spirits, although the normally happily waving reed spirits in the waterway along the path are barely moving and seem rather lethargic and even the almost ever-present duckweed spirits are only clinging in a few rough patches, echoing the wilting that Saul saw earlier across the Gauntlet on the plants near the entrance.
Cassadee is slowly looking around as she hears all the wildlife and makes sure to not be too far behind Saul as he leads her closer to the locus. A look of worry begins to form on her features as she notices the state of the spirits. A soft hmmming emits for a brief moment before she asks Saul, "That isn't normal right? How tired the spirits look? Does that mean there is something wrong with the locus?"
If Saul is worried, then he doesn't show it. He keeps a cool demeanor as they walk, the still active wildlife giving him a slight relief from any suspicions that he might've had. Sending his vision back through the Gauntlet to check on the local fauna of the spirits, he does emit a quiet croon of curiosity. His vision returns, side-eyeing the smaller wolf. "We'll just have to see," he simply replies. Being the older one among them, and as her mentor even, it would be almost embarrassing of him to show any signs of doubt or hesitation. He comes to approach the locus once they do arrive, however, though refraining from touching it yet. A bit of investigation around shall do.
The locus is clear enough. An ancient cypress tree marks where the essence usually pools. One the flesh side of things, it looks quiet enough, moss still clinging to the branches and the water still however in the Hisil, things are not quite as pleasant. The corresponding vegetation and their spirits seems nearly choked with a murky film spreading into the brackish water.
A glint flashes briefly in his eyes, reflecting what moonlight shines into them as he contemplates the colossal tree. It's evident by how he perceives the locus that there's a deep respect in the way he bows his head to it, a hint of affection too, maybe? Loci and all things related to the Hisil have always fascinated him. But the third time he pierces the Gauntlet? His lips quickly curl into a frown, milky white eyes narrowing and turning intense, a low growl emanating from his throat. He's upset, body slightly shuddering. Not from fear, no, but disgust. "Pollution," he growls the word out, a snarl. "Someone has been fucking up the resonance here with chemicals. Toxic waste, sewage," still peering into the Shadow, his senses are completely in there now. The look of anger turns into sadness. "The spirits, they suffer from it. Definitely not happy," he remarks, blinking his eyes again and returning to the Flesh. He stares at the Ithaeur. "We have to do something."
Cassadee offers a soft nod at his words, it was enough to somewhat calm her. Not rally but he was keeping it cool so /surely/ nothing is wrong. But she is carefully watching him and their surroundings nonetheless. She then frowns as he stats pollution, her nose wrinkling briefly in disgust before she easily responds with compassion, "What can we do to help? I... know on the mortal side what I can try and do but it would take forever to get something done and... we don't have time for that. So, what can /we/ do Saul?"
"Let's see what they have to say about this." He's not really making it clear to who he meant by 'they', but it'll soon become apparent the moment he approaches the locus and touches it with his bare hand. The spirits, of course! Who else? Saul turns his head to Cassadee, expecting her to follow along and do the same, and beckoning her over with a gesture of his head if it's not obvious by now. A moment of focus and tranquility, his form slowly dissipating from the Flesh, and then he's suddenly crossed into the Shadow. "Follow my lead for now," he tells her once she's crossed over with him, stepping back to discern the tree spirit properly. *Greeting, Watcher-Above-the-Waters*, he remembers its name. The locus is a popular one around here, and the spirits that flock to it aren't defiant enough to deny him its name when he first arrived here. Saul waits for the spirit's response, glancing aside to Cassadee for a second.
Cassadee nods in agreeance as his suggestion, easily just follow after instead of asking questions. She can just wait until later if they are still there after all. Now is the time for action! She slips into the shadow after him and moves quickly to catch up, she remembers, do not get lost in the hisil. She nods easy as she responds, "What else would I do?" A mild bit of snark but more like it was obvious for her to do that than rude. She offers a respectful bow of her head to the spirit as she greets, *Greetings Watcher-Above-the-Waters*.
One of the perils of being a plant spirit is that usually one is not too mobile and the deep rooted tree that is Watcher-Above-The-Waters is no exception. It's a slow process for the cypress spirit to turn from where it had been looking to the west, but with a groaning of timber and rustling of its limbs, the spirit does turn to face the two Uratha. *Wolfling, you bring a friend this time? You both come to help?* As alien as the tree-spirits features might be, it doesn't take an expert in emotions to detect the hint of hope in its voice at the question.
He slightly nods his head to her in approval of her show of respect. A good start. His focus shifts to the tree spirit once more as it slowly turns to regard them, his predatory eyes glinting again in the dark, cat-like. *We're here to help, yes. But first, you need to tell us everything you know of what happened. Who did this, where they are right now, how to prevent the resonance from being polluted even further?" It sounded more like a demand than a request at first, but then again, nobody ever said that Rahus are eloquent people. Straight-forward, bold, but not disrespectful; he gets the job done.
Cassadee looks up once more at the tree spirit when Saul before to ask the spirit the questions. She then asks with compassion, "And is there a way that we could try and alleviate the spreading of it further currently." Her gazes then looking briefly to Saul and mouthing, 'Sorry' before she looks back to the spirit.
There a small groan again of the moving wood as Watcher-Above-the-Waters turns ever so slightly to the west again. *The bad waters come from upstream. Far enough, I cannot see. But you, Luna's children... the moon is up and you have swift feet and keen noses. You can track it to the source? Whatever is happening there... if it can be stopped, this can be fixed.* The spirit's words are slow, almost weary, but he seems to take no offense in what either of the wolves say. Any help at the moment, the spirit can be grateful for.
That's all he needs to hear. *Thank you, great spirit,* Saul bows his head in respect to it, even though he definitely knows that he's the one doing this thing a favor right now. Fuck, he might want to gain something out of this, but he's unsure what his pupil here's gonna think of it. Gotta do things the right way, right? "Follow me," he turns to Cassadee, finally speaking in English again after they've been communicating back and forth with the spirit in the First Tongue. Saul's form shrinks and shudders as he takes on the Urhan form, wolven eyes looking up expectantly, waiting for her to do the same. When she does, he turns and makes a run for it, going upstream and sniffing for any signs of what could be their target.
Cassadee quickly shifts down to her wolf form when Saul does, offering a nod to signal she is ready to go. And her little wolf paws and quick to follow behind Saul, sniffing as well to try and find signs of the pollution.
Here in the Hisil, the signs of the 'bad water' are clear enough, if they had only been mere hints in the Flesh world. The oily scum clings to the water and plants around the shore. The locus did seem to draw in a good amount of the pollutants but the further they run, the trail gets thicker and thicker until they eventually come to an area that looks like it might have once been a grove much like the locus they had originally started out in, however the trees seem to have been cleared and... is that the frame of a bulldozer just beginning to form?
He's fast, pouncing through the grass and the trees, his form elusive and agile as Saul takes off to confront the source of this pollution. He snarls at the sight of the taint, growling, and even howling out to express his distaste. He's not an eco-terrorist in any way, oh no; he'd just rather the resonant of a place to stay positive and not stained with the negatives of the world. The Hisil is like a garden, and throwing garbage into it -will- make the inhabitants angry, and Saul is one of said inhabitants. He stops, the snarl finally widening to reveal rows of sharp canine teeth. *Humans!* A coarse growl, his red-blood eyes staring intently at the bulldozer spirit. This is bad. It doesn't belong here. There's a great chance of the thing consuming other nature spirits and turning into a magath.
Cassadee moves fast after Saul's pouncing through the grass and trees, making sure to keep up with him. As she sees the pollution, she snarls with upset. The bulldozer spirit forming makes her look to Saul before back at the spirit, waiting to follow his lead.
The bulldozer spirit slumbered. It had a long day of working through the construction, the thing that it excels at. This time when the humans have left and everything is still... there's nothing in it for the spirit of the machine, but the sound and fury of the approaching Rahu has slowly rousing up, the disel engine revving as the treads begin to turn. *WOLVES!* While Watcher-Above-The-Waters seemed welcoming, the same word from the dozer, not so much.
*SPIRIT!* Saul barks back at it, more like a howling challenge than an actual bark really, as his form ripples and he grows into a seven foot tall grizzly beastman, the Near-Man form. Fur thick and inky blak, his hair growing into a row of spikes towards the back of his head, and his nails protruding into razor-sharp claws, Saul moves for the kill. "Cass, turn to Urshul!" He yells at her, one last command before he's leaping at the spirit-thing, raking and ripping pieces of its machinery into useless scraps as he goes on a rampage. It's as if the Kuruth has taken its toll on his Dalu form judging from just the pure ferocity of his fighting.
Cassadee begins to focus her attention on the water and begins to cause it to surge up and attack the bullbozer spirit. Manipulating the water to bash waves upon the evil human device.
Maybe it was the merciless raking from the Rahu's claws or the surge of water from the Ithaeur that causes the bulldozer's circuitry to begin sparking a bit, but either way, the spirit tries to doze it's way towards Saul, but it just can't seem to get it's lever working.
Saul almost tips over as the surge of water hitting the bulldozer rocks the machinery, the Rahu turning his head back for a moment with a look of acknowledgment to the Ithaeur's ability. Nice, he didn't know she could do that! Then he's back to ripping more pieces of metal from the spirit, tearing and ripping like what a proper Rahu would do. There's no time to bind and negotiate when this thing is extremely hostile and seeking to defile the place even more.
Cassadee continues the assault with the waves and mentions to Saul in First Tongue *The pollution in the water is different than the bulldozer Saul. We should find its source too. Please.* She doesn't seem to stop manipulating the water until she knows the bulldozer is out of commission.
And with another surge of the brackish water, the bulldozer shorts out for good this time. The body's spirit crumbles into pieces that even Bob the Builder couldn't fix before it slowly fades away.
The fur on his body flutters and sinks as he reverts back to Hishu, losing the bestial features and the added foot of height. A look at the crumbled bulldozer, moments before it poofs away to be resurrected somewhere else. At least it's not gonna be roaming amongst nature spirits the next time it returns. Or that's what he's hoping. Saul turns and walks to the Ithaeur, giving her a broad smile and a pat on her brunette mane. "Great fucking job. I didn't know you could turn into a water-bender. That power's gonna be useful to you, young Ithaeur," he appraises her, and then departs to investigate around the site, piercing his senses through the Gauntlet again. Oil. He's suspecting a pipe leak, but not a major one since the stream in the Flesh isn't as polluted. "We need to travel back to the Flesh," he turns to Cassadee.
Cassadee also shifts back to Hishu when Saul does and beams happily at the praise. "Thanks Saul. Definently good to know." Though it is a brief bright smile, there is still more pollution to handle after all. She is quickly following after Saul once more and begins to follow her own path and she mentions, "I found the culprit Saul." She briefly looks over her shoulder to him before gesturing as she mentions, "This pipe is busted and leaking into the groundwater and being carried downstream." Her attention looking back to the pipe with upset as she asks, "Maybe we should follow where the pipr goes and see if there is a shut off switch?"
Saul glares down at her, the petite wolf being a foot and some inches under him, his lips parting into an approving smirk. "Yeah, that's what I'd suspected, too." So she found it. He might've suspected it, but she's the one who found the leak, no doubt piercing the Gauntlet like him as well. "Great job again. You're making this a lot easier with your help." A hand goes up to pat her on the back, brushing up and down. "Growing up to be a proper Iron Master, huh?" He teases, checking her with a shoulder-bump. So young, yet so talented. "Nothing much else we can do though, girl. We've spent enough time out in the park already. Best hope is to call up the dig line, 811, and let them take care of it." And with that they return to the Flesh again, crossing over from the same locus that they've visited, greeting the spirit and promising that the job is done. The pollution -will- stop. They'll just have to use their biggest weapon in this digital era; a damn phone.
Cassadee giggles a bit and bumps her shoulder back against his as she repsonds, "Thank you Saul. It really does mean a lot." She sighs a bit and looks saddened as she responds, "Alright. Then... let use head out and get home." She follows him back out into the flesh at that locus as well and mentions, "Want to grab a bite on the way home? I /so/ hungry."