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I've been settling in at the Mountain Bowl now that the warding is up and in place. My god, magick is so much easier to work at this node, and absolutely none of the precautions I'd need to observe at the Harbor Park glade or Osprey Circle's fountain. It's like suddenly having room to stretch out and breathe. This. Is. Glorious.

Still a little nervous about the garou spying on me, so I'm "wearing the cougar" constantly. This has gotten easier, I suppose, since I opted to change the direction I was headed in earlier. I'd planned on setting up my cave with some folding chairs, computer tablets, solar panel chargers, and assorted other things I'd normally view as "necessities." But staying in cougar form, do I need any of that? No. And, hell, I'm a Master of Forces. If I want to make a cellphone call, I'll just make one on my own. So my cave has nothing in it save a rerouted dribble of water that fills a stone basin in the floor, and next to that is a tiny cooking fire kindled from the flames I'd taken from the caern's firepit, kept burning in my fireplace at the cabin, and have now transferred to here. It is my ritual link to the caern and a symbolic connection to Aahn, the caern's phoenix bird totem,  should I need to support the caern's defense from here. And some pine needle bedding I brought in, because even though the cougar can sleep on the stone floor, there's no need to make things less comfortable than need be. Warmth. Shelter. Water.

Food is a bit tricky. I tried to infuse myself with raw Prime as a means of sustenance, and I ended up singing myself. It worked, because I felt refreshed and no longer hungry, but there are clearly some subtleties I've yet to master. Once I do, I can probably maintain this form indefinitely while working around the whole vegetarian-in-a-carnivore's-body conundrum.

I've been working on adding another bit of protection to the Mountain Bowl: a misty fog that makes it hard to see the bottom and puts someone at the bottom in a situation where they have limited visibility. This won't bother me one bit, but it will help to shield what happens at the node and my cave from prying eyes that might be stationed above on the edges of the cliffs. I facilitated the fog by finding an underground stream, tweaking it so it's a hot spring, and coaxing it out of one of the cliff walls into a shallow pool. Warm water + cool air = fog. And a little magic helps to perpetuate and accentuate the effect. (Plus, now I can take a warm bath instead of, y'know, having to lick myself clean. Nasty.)

Obviously, I worked in advance to let the spirits know about this coming change, using Kargamis as a mediator in locating and petitioning a Fog spirit to come before, during, and after this was done. That is, currently, one very pleased Fog spirit. And I understand that Fog used to be a totem spirit for the caern some time ago, so there's some resonance there, I think.

Getting in and out of the umbra has gotten much easier thanks to the umbra-thinning, phantom quartz crystal talisman I traded Pavel for. It's small, though. It could be palmed and easily stolen. So that created a challenge for me: how do I place it at the heart of the node without making it something that could blatantly be stolen? The solution turned out to be fairly clever, I think. I levitated one of the boulders that'd fallen from the cliff over to the node's center. It's roughly 4'x4'x4', which is a decent size for a really rough table of sorts, and which also weighs about 10,000 lbs. No errant hiker is going to make off with that. No crinos garou is going to make off with it, either. I used some Correspondence and Matter magick to create a small hole in the middle and then teleported the talisman inside. Perfect. Secure. And I can still easily keep it charged and active, lowering the area's gauntlet significantly. This, also, seems to have made the spirits pretty happy. Every so often, I'll use my own magick to thin the gauntlet enough that one can pass through and interact with the realm. Then help them back over once they're done. The Fog spirit got first dibs. I /might/ have a new friend there, I suspect, if I work at it. But right now it's just sharing the wealth.


I never really saw myself being a capable mage with the Spirit sphere, and yet here I am being named an angalkuq (shaman) by a Wendigo and interacting with a broad range of Wyld spirits. I think all that time spent with Dana, the garou, and to a lesser extent Pavel, and that Cat's Eye marble talisman I used to have before I traded it (to Pavel to help get Salem and Slug healed from major injuries) have slowly rubbed off on me over the years. Decades, rather.
I offered at the last new moon moot to have the garou meet next at the Mountain Bowl. To give them some assurances and to show that even though it is my territory, I can still share it with them. A new garou, a Shadow Lord fostern philodox named Sandra, asked if she could come see the area. We met up a few days later and I gave her the tour. She didn't seem offended by anything, though I alerted her of the ward's "this way looks more interesting" deflection effect prior to her experiencing it. She experimented with it, sampling it for a bit, and found it a little disconcerting. I wonder if she'd have even noticed if I hadn't told her about it? Probably not. Otherwise, it was a decent discussion. She mentioned that word would eventually spread among the shifters. I rather expected it might, which is why there are precautions in place, and I'll know that anyone entering the Mountain Bowl is doing so with the intent to be there as opposed to taking one of the more appealing trails. Eventually, her questions turned more towards probing for information about mages in general, which I took pains to deflect and sidestep until it was fairly obvious I was simply not sharing information that would be of tactical value against harming other mages. Ultimately, I think we parted on reasonably good terms. But, frankly, one never knows with Shadow Lords, from what I've heard.

A few days ago, Yael came to the edge of my territory, called for my attention, and I went off with her to examine a tainted dog that the garou had found not too far from Edgewood and were trying to learn more about. I examined it, provided a little more information than they had already, but that was about it. Dakota cleansed it, and I found the ritual to be fascinating. She seems quite proficient. I'll keep her in mind if I need something un-tainted or if I suspect I might have been exposed to something myself. Assuming Mouse is unavailable, that is. I hope I don't keep getting bothered for everything the garou can handle themselves. This jaunt ended up consuming a good quarter of the day that I could have spent on other things, like appeasing spirits or refining aspects of the wards. 

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Nick "Nicodemus" Dalton

July 2017

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