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Thomas Watches The Moon (IC)

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Thomas' knuckles rapped solidly against the wooden front door of his grandfather's house. The building was less of a house, and more of a shack. The meager home that his grandfather had constructed on the outskirts of the state forest was little more than a bare bones wood and brick structure. One bedroom, one bathroom, and one living space. Thomas supposed that he was lucky his grandfather had running water for when he came to visit.

The door swung open, and the smiling face of his grandfather looked out at him. All at once, Thomas' perceptions changed. As soon as the door opened, he was met with a multitude of scents. Trying to identify each of them was like a game that he played everytime he visited his grandfather. Sometimes he suspected that his grandfather prepared a new set of smells for him each and every time he came to visit.

Thomas smelled the scent of drying glue. The type of organic glue his grandfather used for his traditional crafts. He smelled the subtle scent of corn. Between cornmeal and cornbread, it was his grandfather's favorite food. But most of all, Thomas smelled the acrid scent of herbal smoke. If it was one thing his grandfather loved it was his pipe. The scent was so strong that even a normal man would have wrinkled his nose.

"Thomas!" his grandfather opened his arms, "It is good to see you, grandson."

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Thomas leaned in and hugged his grandfather, causing many of the ornaments that adorned the man's traditional Shawnee garb to jingle. "Mis-sum-tha*, it is good to see you as well. You look like you are doing well." Though well into his old age, the Old Cat, as he was called, was a picture of health.

"I have never felt better, Thomas Watches-The-Moon." Thomas winced at the name. His grandfather refused to use his real last name. In its place, the Native American name stood as a constant reminder that his grandfather knew his secret.


*Grandfather

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"I wish you would not call me that, Mis-sum-tha." Thomas told him as he strolled through the doorway of the small home. "Someday someone is going to catch on. I don't want anyone else figuring out what I am." He had not told his grandfather of his Lycanthropy. The man had simply pieced it together.

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"Hush, Thomas," Catahecassa scolded him. "No one will figure it out. Mine was a lucky guess, if I may remind you." His grandfather sat in a large leather chair. It would have been a La-Z-Boy had it actually been sold in a store and not constructed out of wood, goose down, and deer hide. A small wooden table separated the two. Both pieces of furniture were of Catahecasa's construction as well.

"I remember. It was a dirty trick as well," Thomas said, recalling how his grandfather had verified his 'lucky guess'. Once the old man had been sure his grandson was indeed a werewolf, he'd tested his theory by constructing a medallion from silver. Before he presented it to Thomas, he'd painted it with a pungent organic paint to mask its color and smell. When it had burned Thomas' skin, the old man had only laughed into his pipe.

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Catahecassa leaned forward and lifted a long pipe from the small table between them. He took a deep pull from the pipe and held it for a moment before exhaling a large white cloud into the air. His garb jingling, the old man leaned forward and passed the pipe to Thomas, who took in turn took a pull from the pipe. He held it and released it, just like his grandfather. Few words were exchanged between the two while passing the pipe. The process had become a small tradition for the two of them, and talking was not part of it. There would be plenty of time for that later.

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The two men sat across from each other. They were separated by the small table between them which held the still smoldering pipe. They were separated by an entire generation. They were separated by lifestyle. Thomas would have liked to have lived like his grandfather. There was something about that simple life that appealed to him, to his human self. But Wolf would never allow it. It was just one of the many things that made Thomas regret having been bitten. "Tell me, Mis-sum-tha," Thomas finally broke the silence that had hung between them like a sheet. "Why do you keep my secret?"

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"Thomas," Catahecasa slowly fixed Thomas with his gaze. "Will you never learn not to ask questions when you already know the answers?"

"That does not help, Mis-sum-tha."

"That is where you are wrong, Thomas Watches-The-Moon," his grandfather told him. "Have you been running with your pack so long that you have forgotten what real family is like? What it meas to have a friend? I keep your secret because of the love I have for you. Because we are family."

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Thomas' grandfather always had a way of making him feel better. There was just something about him that meant security. Maybe it was because he was so old. He had always been there, and so he would always be. Thomas asked that same question every time he came. He liked hearing the answer. It even made Wolf feel comfortable and relaxed finally. Finally, after basking for quite some time, Thomas decided to ask the question what he had finally come here to ask:

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"Mis-sum-tha, I met a woman the other day. There was something strange about her that I wanted to ask you about." Thomas declared

"Oh my, Thomas, there is a new woman in your life?" Catahecassa teased.

"Please, Mis-sum-tha, it is nothing like that."

"Very well," Catahecassa sighed, "Tell me about this woman..."

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"Well," Thomas continued, "It was about the way she smelled."

"Oh?" Catahecassa asked, "Is this about some new perfume?"

"Grandfather!"

"Yes, yes. I'm familiar with your acute sense of smell. What did she smell like?"

"That's just it. I couldn't really tell. Granted, it could have been a scent I have never encountered before, but even those are very rare."

"Hmmmmm."

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Thomas explained the way Sarah had smelled. He explained the sense of unease the scent had given him. Given Wolf. He told his grandfather how she smelled of the wilderness, but of no plant or animal specifically.

The whole time he was listening, Catahecassa listened in silence. When Thomas was done speaking, the Old Cat leaned forward, lifted the pipe from the table, and took another puff from it.

Thomas knew this sign. His grandfather often did this when he was deep in thought. The pipe, he said, helped him gather his thoughts, like smoke unable to escape from a closed flu.

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Finally, the Old Cat spoke, "It sounds like magic to me."

"If you don't know what it is, you could just say so, Mis-sum-tha." Thomas replied, wryly.

"Oh, I am quite sure of what it is, Thomas Watchs-The-Moon." Catahecassa set down the pipe and rose from his chair. Most men his age wouldn't even be able to sit in a chair that deep. It was a point of pride for the old man that he was able to get out of it without any help. "It is magic."

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"It is a certain kind of magic, in fact." The old man explained as he crossed the room. Stopping in front of a wall of hanging trinkets, he selected a large round ball covered in some kind of hide from one of the shelves. Setting it on the table in front of Thomas, he returned to the wall. "Tell me, Thomas, what do you know of druids?"

"Not much," Thomas replied, "They were a sort of spellweaver in the old world, were they not?"

"That is correct." The Old Cat selected a few small flat red stones along with a mortar and pistil from the shelf. Returning to his seat he set the objects down on the table. he gestured to Thomas, "Please, continue."

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"If I am not mistaken, Druids were known to be very in tune with the natural world, and the spirits in it."

"Correct once again, Thomas Watches-The-Moon." Catahecassa was busying himself crushing the red stones with the mortar and pistil.

"In many ways, Druids were not unlike our own Shawnee Shamans, I suppose." Thomas finished his explanation just before he was overcome by curiosity. "Mis-sum-tha, what are those?"

Catahecassa smiled and stopped grinding the rocks. "Why, Thomas, this is a globe," he pulled the leather skin from the ball, revealing a very old wooden globe, "And this is chalk." He gestured to the rocks he had been grinding which were now reduced to a fine red powder.

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"You are correct about Druids, Thomas. They were very similar to Shamans, to myself." Old Cat dipped two fingers into the bowl of chalk. They came out bright red. "You are familiar with the Gulf Stream in North America, yes?" Thomas nodded, and Catahecassa drew a corresponding red line on the globe to represent it. "The Druids used to have a different name for it. They called it a 'Leyline'."

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Catahecassa drew a few more lines on the globe. "Leylines were central to the Druids beliefs. They believed them to be sources of great power. Channels for transferring magic or power through the earth itself from one point to another."

As Thomas watched, more and more red lines were drawn. He also noticed that they intersected many important cities and land marks. Las Vegas, New York City, Rio de Janeiro, Stone Henge, and many more. It fascinated him, and stirred the part of him that was connected to the world, the wolf part.

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"Druids were concentrated in Europe and the Americas. None were allowed to practice in the far east, but as you can see..." the Old Cat expanded some of the established lines. They began to intersect more important locations like Hong Kong. One even ran along the length for Japan from North to South. "Many locations in that part of the world were built along these sources of power."

"Did they know that they were building these cities on?" Thomas asked, fascinated.

"No, Thomas Watches-The-Moon, they did not. But they were drawn there all the same. The intersections of these Leylines is where Druids used to practice. They referred to their rituals as magic. Wild Magic."

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"What does it all mean?" Thomas begged of his grandfather.

"This girl you met. The way you described it. It is very similar to the way one might describe Wild Magic. Like something natural, yet indescribable and powerful. Thomas?" Catahecassa asked.

"Yes, Mis-sum-tha?"

the Old Cat set the globe and chalk down and lifted his pipe once more. He leaned back in his chair and struck a match, using it to light the herbs at the end of the pipe. "Why don't you tell me more about this girl?"

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