Original 12.10.2005

Revised 26.11.2021

"...and for thee, Marcus the Ronin, Moon Runner Six of Six, Hunter of the Mountains; for thy superior intuitive perception and uncommon valor on the field of battle; for thy fearlessness in the face of grave danger; for thy unhesitant willingness to place the common good above risk to self; for thy demonstration of the highest qualities of the Garou, pleasing to Gaea Earthmother and Sister Luna; and having been recognized by all to be thus deserving; for thee, in the Name and for the Glory of Gaea -- thou art Renowned amongst Garou!"

Peytor Silver Fang, Leader of the Sept, having finished his oration, throws his head back and lets loose a powerful howl. And the rest of the assembled Garou, 63 strong, do likewise. And for the duration of that howl, the very hills shake and it is said later that the Wyrm itself knew fear.

When the howls subside, Peytor approaches Marcus. The Elder dips a finger into a ceremonial bowl which a younger Garou beside him holds. He withdraws his finger, touches it to Marcus' left cheek and paints a curved symbol thereon. He paints the same design on Marcus' right cheek.

The Elder's voice rises again. "No longer art thou Hunter of the Mountains. Be it known, from this moment forth, in view of all witnesses here -- thou art Seeker of the Crescent Moon!"

Peytor lays his hands on Marcus' shoulders, smiles and, in a quiet voice says, "Well done, Pup!" Then he turns the Elf so that he faces the rest of the Sept. On each cheek is a white arc -- symbol of the Crescent Moon. The applause and cheers are loud and long -- but nowhere louder nor longer than from the five Garou standing together in the front and center of the assembly ... Nagha his Leader, Rikard his Keeper (leaning on a crutch), Shanti his Shamaness and his two Sisters, Natalia and Jemi. Marcus' eyes mist and he wills them to be still -- tears will not do, not now of all times!

And if any moment of his life has ever been happier than this one, he's incapable of recalling it.

"The Moot is adjourned!" declares Peytor and he strikes the stone pedestal with his rock.

Marcus now realizes he was holding his breath and he lets it out in a sudden rush. He runs to his packmates and tries to embrace all five of them at once. Smiles, hugs, backslaps and good wishes all around as other Garou come forward to congratulate him. Then the crowd gradually disperses and moves toward the site of the Revel.

Natalia, his older pack sister, 4th of six, remains with Marcus after the others move on. She slips an arm around his shoulders and ruffles his hair. "Well, just look at YOU, Marc!" she beams. "Growing up so fast!"

He smiles back and wraps his arms around her slender waist. Her small frame belies the feral strength held within; he reminds himself how easy it would be for her to break him in half -- and how glad he is to be on her good side. And then he chuckles, because that's an understatement -- none in the pack are closer than he and Natalia. He looks up at her. At 162 centimeters, he's unusually tall for an elf, but she still has him on height.

"Ready for your big trip tomorrow?" she asks, still smiling.

He nods. "Yes, all packed. Especially your gift," he adds, referring to the naginata she had brought him from-- He frowns. "How did you ever come by such a thing, Nat? Where do you always get such stuff?!"

She chuckles and smiles enigmatically. "Oh, I get around, Marc. And speaking of 'getting around', how are you getting to Kerei anyway?"

"Oh," he replies. "Well, I'll head for the city docks tomorrow morning and get passage on the 'Fairweather' to Souvrael. From there I'm told there's another boat to Kerei. May take me a bit, but--"

She laughs. "Oh yes! A 'bit' alright! No, no, Little Brother -- you're coming with me tomorrow! I'm taking you to Kerei."

Marcus' mouth falls open. Sail with Natalia on her ship? "You -- you really mean it?" he stammers, then frowns. "But you just got back three weeks ago and I thought you can't leave again so soon?"

She waves a hand dismissively. "Leader took care of it. I may go. The Sept will run without me a while longer. And I'm sorry, but I am not going to miss a chance to introduce my favorite pup to the big, wide world beyond Darkwind!" She ruffles his hair again.

Marcus gapes in happy disbelief. "But -- just for me?"

She chuckles. "OK, not just for you. Since I'm going, there's some Sept business I'll handle. Jeffar was supposed to do it but, this works out better, I think."

Marcus smiles happily and hugs her. "Thanks, Nat! You're the absolute best!"

Natalia hugs him back and answers quietly, "You're welcome, Little Brother." Then she pulls away and playfully whacks him on the head. "Now get moving! You have a Revel to attend!"

He frowns. "Aren't you coming?"

She sighs and shakes her head. "Not this time, Marc. I've got Warder Duty tonight."

His face falls. "Oh."

She chuckles. "Well, somebody has to protect the Caern while you wolves are out revelling, right?"

Marcus sighs. "Can't the Wyrm take just one night off?"

"Oh, Marc," she smiles. "We'll have weeks at sea together, so don't worry over one night." She gives a little laugh. "You'll probably get sick of me!"

Marcus shakes his head. "No. I'll never get sick of you, Big Sister."

She smiles gently. "Nor I of you, Little Brother."

They hold each others' gaze for a moment. And then she whacks his head again. "Now get going, Pup! It's Revel time for you!"

"OK, ok! I'm going!" he laughs. "Have a quiet night, Nat."

"And you have anything but a 'quiet' night, Marc!"

He grins at her and hurries toward the site of the Revel.