Things have been going well. For now.I met a new garou, Yael, who is an adren Strider philodox visiting the sept. We've had a few interactions and she has reservations about me, but I'd frankly be puzzled if she did not. Frederick, a Get cliath ahroun who has been a member of the sept for a short while now, also seems to have reservations about me. Again, that's fine and good to know. It's the garou who says nothing and harbors ill-will that I'm more concerned about, as that will likely be the one who decides they should do something quietly and without the sept's knowledge.
Yael referred to my cougar-guise as "ridiculous." I momentarily thought she might have noticed a flaw in my illusionary form, then thought a cougar was a ridiculous animal, then figured out that she found the concept of an ally using a disguise among allies to be ridiculous. I would agree if the ally were a singular entity acting as one, but the garou as a whole do not act as one, nor do the garou at a sept act as one. Even packs fall apart. But it's probably not a good idea to point these things out. Don't insult your prospective allies.
Yael did pose an interesting question: what do the Pumonca think of my using a cougar's form. I don't know. I hope it won't offend them, as offense is certainly not intended and I do not attempt to pass myself off as being a Pumonca. However, it seems to be a moot point as there are no Pumonca around here at the moment. Yael did talk about how things worked with the shifters who live in Africa, having all banded together into large groups, often with no garou presence. That's fascinating because it's so different from what I've seen here. It sounds like a mage would not particularly be welcome, so there is a bit of an underlying theme among the shifters in that department.
I've done a lot of prep work to get my wards relocated from my cabin to the woods, and I finalized the wardings on Feb 9th, the night of the lunar eclipse combined with the passage of a comet. Events like these, I have noticed, seem to make magick easier and sometimes thin the gauntlet between worlds. There are a number of theories as to why these things happen, but I like to think that events like this turn humanity's thoughts away from themselves and towards the universe--and perhaps their place in it. When millions of people stare into the night sky and think about "the beyond," it does seem to disrupt reality to an extent. Bonus? It's much easier to install wards adjacent to a place of power--especially a strong one like the Mountain Bowl, which is stronger than even Nightfall Chantry's node was back when the Knight's Rest Inn was still standing.
I modified he warding a little. There are hikers in the park, so there's a subtle mental push that makes Trail X or Y or Z look more appealing than the trail leading to my territory. Given time and disuse (and perhaps an omission on a future park map), I suspect people will eventually forget this place was ever here. This is the long game, not the short game. So unless someone is simply dead-set on coming to the Mountain Bowl, they should leave it alone. I added to the confusion component of the warding closer in, pairing a Forces-induced fog-like atmospheric effect that masks the bottom of the bowl from prying eyes along with the pre-existing Correspondence/Mind misdirection effect. And that ties in with an alarm effect should someone come into the Mountain Bowl with a hostile intent towards anyone within it.
None of this actually stops anyone from entering my territory, but it does gently dissuade with more appealing alternatives, stall for time, and alert me if there's a threat towards me or anyone who might be visiting. And there are few things more dangerous than a wizard with a little bit of borrowed time and an advance warning of trouble.
I'm doing a lot of rethinking my lifestyle. Minimalism. What do I really need and what are luxuries? Do I really want that travel trailer in the park? It's not very secure and is going to look largely abandoned, which is a recipe for theft and people who get curious. Maybe I just need a cheap studio apartment downtown where no one will bother nor notice my comings or goings? Or I could just rent a storage unit, put my stuff in that, and just get a hotel room for when I need a break from the woods?
I don't know. I think I'll keep my options open for now, stick with the trailer in the WWNP campground, and just see how things work out.
I've got an idea for using some advanced Prime magick as a means of fueling my own pattern, which might reduce or eliminate my need to eat while I'm using the Cougar ring (being an actual cougar instead of casting an illusion out there as a realistic phantasm) and the problem that exists with that predator's dietary requirements combined with my own vegetarian lifestyle. I need to do a little more reading and thinking about that before I try it, though.
Life is a lot easier to live if you don't have a moral code, but life is not always about taking the easy path. That way often leads to the Dark Side.