Seeking Guidance

IC Time: June 29-30
Location: James Island, Washington
Synopsis: Marshall travels to the sacred place of the Quileutes seeking guidance and answers.
Submitted by: Portia

Marshall is growling lightly, tromping up the trail with the a pack over one shoulder. He remembers Feathers
instructions quite well. "Go today. Take pack." He glances over his shoulder at one of the fur pieces poking out of
the zipper. Rope, the pelts, the pots with the different spices. He shakes his head, heading for the cave he was
told about.

It's a good day for hiking, camping or spiritual awakening. James Island, a traditional burial ground for Quileute
chiefs from ages past, is a rocky island off the coast. It is a challenging hike.. or it would be for regular
humans. The granite rocks are covered with moss in some places, heavily overgrown with vegetation in others. Pines
and conifers manage to dig their roots right though the stone. Reaching the summit, there is something of a plateau,
a reasonably level area surrounded by rocks. A protective nest in the woods.

Marshall looks up at the rocks, then nods a little. The pack is shifted so it won't spill, then he starts up the
rocks. He laughs softly at himself, "A year ago I wouldn't be doing this." Aloud only enough so the birds can hear.
He doesn't get that short of breath as he makes his way to the nest.

The area is peaceful, in that deeper, calmer sense of spiritual serenity. The only sound, other than Marshall's
voice or movements, is the occasional birdcall or the whisper of the breeze through the pine needles. Further away, is the sound of surf crashing into rock.

The holy man's instructions were clear in some points, but vague in others. How does one actually know when they've
been spiritually enlightened? The physical parts of the ritual are easier, or rather, more concrete. Which herbs to
use, how to prepare them. The rest… remains to be seen.

Marshall looks around the plateau, then back out towards the mainland calmly. He nods a little, then grins as he
sets the pack down, carefully unpacking the items. First the pelts are spread, lining around the spot that has been
used for a fire in the past, a nice hallow in the rocks. HE then moves off into the trees, picking up the deadwood
to start his fire.

Finding dead wood isn't difficult, but finding /dry/ wood is a challenge. But being experienced at this sort of
thing he knows where to find the dry wood, fibers for tinder and the other ingredients needed. Soon, a fire blooms
in the pit. Just in time, as the sun is beginning to sink and the evening chill is beginning to roll in.

Marshall unpacks the herbs once the fire is merrily going. He sets them out in order, then takes off his shirt and
shoes, putting them back in the bag. The first herb is tossed into the fire, then he resettles himself, his breath
letting out slowly. "Ancestors of my people, I am here." He smiles a bit, sprinkling the second herbs, making the fire change color. "Our path has become clouded, the lessons forgotten. I am here, because it is my place to be here."

For a long time, there is no response except for the wind, the birds, the flames and the sea. Perhaps it is a test
of resolve or perhaps the ancestor spirits of those interred here aren't talkative. The sun continues its descent
and the moon begins to rise.

Marshall nods a little, listening to the wind as he adds another herb, chuckling softly as the fire shifts colors
again. "It has been a long road getting here, not knowing of our past, put undeniably a part of it. Perhaps fate or
the gods needed someone from the outside, to help see the old stories with fresh eyes." He nods a bit, then looks up
at the stars, "But I need help. The trail forward is no longer clear to our eyes."

The night drags on. It's gotten colder… a human would find it uncomfortable… and a fog has begun to rise from
the water. It's gotten difficult to keep the fire going. Judging by the position of the moon, must be past midnight. If it is a test of the supplicant's resolve, it is a good one. Those less dedicated would have fallen asleep by now.
The surf against the rocks is a soothing, gentle sound. The crackling of the fire gives enough warmth to encourage
you to close your eyes.

Marshall watches the fire calmly, the breeze making his hair rise and fall a little. Every hour he adds another
sprinkling of herbs, then sits and keeps his breathing slowly and measured. Occasionally he will look up at the
stars, watching their movements, then back to the fire. "Wolves should always be able to find their way."


The loud, rude noise comes from a large black raven, perched on one of the surrounding boulders. It fixes the supplicant with shining, intelligent eyes and skips closer. Then caws again, imperiously.

Marshall cants his head a little, looking at the raven. He chuckles softly, then moves to his pack, digging through
to see if any rations were added as well. Finding some trail bread, he breaks off a piece and tosses it to the bird.
"Yeah, I am not so sure they are willing to talk to me either."

The raven peers at the breadcrumbs, picking at it. But clearly, this is not what the bird wants. With a flutter of
wings, it hops over to the backpack, pecking at the bright metal zipper tab.

Marshall watches a little, "I am no so sure Feathers would like you tearing that up." He chuckles softly, "But I can
relate. My grandfather was suppose to do this..and he ran away. I grew up..causing trouble for things I thought were
worth while." He reaches over to the pack, fingering the zipper and finally opening it. "Not sure my shoes or shirt
are worth it for ya."

The raven makes little /quorking/ sounds, almost muttering to itself as it pokes its head inside the backpack.
Finding something to its fancy, the bird flutters back to its rock, holding in its beak, the beaded and decorated
hair ornament. It transferrs the painstakingly crafted item to its claw, tapping its beak against the metal. The
feathers fluff out, showing contentment with the prize.

Marshall sighs a little, "I will want that back you know. Took a while to put it together. Supposedly the disk on it
was my grandfather's." He gives a shake of his head, "So what brings you to pilfering my things on this late hour

"And that is why I will accept it. And hear your supplication."

The voice doesn't come from the raven, but from the air around you, the ground below you and within your own mind.
The voice is that of a young man, full of laughter. "You've lost your way. Very careless of you."

The physical bird continues to peck at the metal disc, making little tapping sounds.

Marshall blinks a few times, looking at the bird, then looking around. "I have lost my way. As a child, being in the
gangs, then my mother dragging me around to keep me out of trouble. Finally to be moved up here and to find another
world. There is good, there is I can see this family is not following what we are meant to, why we can run as the wolf or as the man. But I do not know how to get back on the path."

"What is the path? Are you so sure that what you /think/ is the proper path, /is/ that path?"
Now the voice is a young child, a cooing sound, but still filled with laughter. "What is the path you wish to be

Marshall runs his fingers over the pelt he is sitting on. "I think the pack has not changed with the times. Stealth
and secrecy are some of our greatest weapons, but we are only Guardians of our own lands. Even then we let those
that do not live walk our streets. I think the others that are like us should be brought in as allies, so that life can be protected." He sighs a little, "I know this is what is right, so that the magic we carry can remain in our
tribe. I know that we all have our own paths to walk, but there is a core that must be maintained."

The Raven ruffles its feathers, now pecking at the beadwork on the hairpiece.

"You want to move ahead, yet you come back here for guidance? Which is it, Supplicant? Do you want to change with
the times, or return to your roots. Walking forward /and/ backwards is tricky. Often, you end up going nowhere." The voice is thin, reedy, an old woman.

Marshall nods, "We have to know how this started. The old stories have been retold, but the reason we are as we are
has been lost." He reaches up, brushing his dark hair from his eyes. "Without our past, we are nothing but wisps of wind, having no teeth to bite or no paws on which to run. I come back here for guidance so that what we were is what
we will always be. I come offering myself to make sure we fullfil the old promises long into the future, to keep the
tribe and the pack strong."

"You're asking for 'why' then. Perhaps there is no 'why'. Perhaps you are, and that is enough. The passage of time
can be the illusion. The reasons are the same now, as they were a thousand thousand years ago." The raven cocks its head to the side, now looking directly at Marshall.

Marshall nods his head a little, "Everything has a why. We might not like the why, or even understand it, but
everything has a why." He looks back at the Raven, "If I am asking the wrong question, then my feet have truly lost
their way. I will always have questions, and I know many will never be answered. It will be enough to safeguard the
pack, even if I never have the answer to why, merely be able to do so."

"You come here seeking knowledge, Supplicant. Instead, I will give you wisdom." The Raven leaves its prize on the
rock, fluttering over to land on Marshall's shoulder. Its wings remain outstretched, for balance, as it begins pecking at the supplicant's head. While not precisely painful, it is an odd sensation. "And the wisdom is this:
Nothing in the universe is stagnant. Nothing in the universe exists in isolation of itself. A thing affects the
things around it. The action taken… or inaction… alters the course. The pack and the People do not exist outside
of the World, but within it. A pebble rolling down the mountain can trigger the avalanche. The People may not have
pushed the pebble, but it is already rolling. Actions and inactions have already affected its course. Find the
pebble. Or prepare for the avalanche." The pecking is growing more painful, almost a burning, blinding pain. The
voice, which started out as the reedy whisper of an old woman, builds in intensity, until it seems as though the
very foundations of the earth are screaming inside your head….

Marshall winces as he is pecked on, his hands clenching into fists. "Something has happened…" he growls softly, "I
see. What is the pebble doing now?" He pants a little, his eyes squeezing shut as the voice and the pain grow. He breaks out into a sweat, hanging onto the words, and hopefully consciousness.

"Why, it's rolling down the mountain, of course. Gathering in strength, gathering in intensity, gathering in numbers. That which the pack has done and that what the pack has /not/ done, have already had an effect. The
avalanche is coming, Supplicant." Just at the point where the pain is truly unbearable, beyond even the level of tolerance for one of the wolves… it is gone.

The sun is rising in the east, sending its light over the ashes and embers of the fire, which had gone out sometime
during the night. It's cold and the early morning fog still clings to the ground. Below, the surf crashes against
the rocks and above, the birds have begun to sing.

There are a few things out of place, however. The backpack is still open, on the ground. The hair ornament is
sitting on one of the rocks surrounding the area, but on close inspection, the metal disc is marked with several
deep gouges… as if made by an incredibly strong bird's beak. And though Marshall may not notice it immediately,
his dark hair now bears a streak of pure white, exactly where he dreamed the Raven had been pecking at his head.

Marshall picks himself up, rubbing his head where the pecking was. He doesn't notice the streak, looking around a little as he frowns. "Crap. I fell asleep." He mutters, gathering the things up. He stops, picking up the hair ornament, "Feathers is not going to like this..And I don't know where the pebble is to find it.." He looks up at the
dawn, "I hope we have time enough before this avalanche."

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