Sensing History (Open)
((OOC: This thread is open to any and all Kadzait members by blanket invitation.))
Xeph sat quietly in the middle of the Hall of Echoes, the packed floor not at all hard or unwelcoming beneath him. His eyes were closed but he had opened every other sense, a light meditation that brought peace of mind and tranquility to an otherwise rocky night.
The moon was not full, but Xeph was changed anyway. His senses were keener, deeper, more ancient, in a way. It was as if by sitting here quietly on four legs instead of two, he could step into the feelings and awarenesses that were the inheritance of his father and those who had come before.
Thousands of moons had risen over the rocks that built the foundation of this building; countless revolutions of the earth around the sun before men had even realized it was happening. The Hall of Echoes was steeped in timelessness and Xeph found it fascinating and comforting at once. The contribution from his Pack had been incredible; the stones in this massive room had been delivered from all corners of the world. This was unification at its best and strongest.
Xeph had left the huge double doors wide open, lighting only a few of the sconces and sitting back on his haunches to enjoy the very small sounds of flickering flames. After a while he regained his human form, stretched languorously, and donned his clothing, but returned to his seat in the center of the room amongst the dim, flickering shadows.
Her flight had been slightly late, and even though she didn’t have an appointment, it made her feel rushed. She had, however, stopped to change. Nikhila chose to treat this as a formal meeting and had worn her sari for the occasion, bright peacock blue silk the embellishment was all gold embroidery and there was a great deal of it. It had been her mother’s and was the only thing of her Nikhila had left. The intricate draping of the sari emphasized her willowy build and made her look taller than she was. Her hair was braided into an intricate arrangement ending up in a neat coil at the base of her neck.
The cab had dropped her off at the gatehouse and hadn’t bothered to wait and see her admitted. As she walked to the security guard, she again creased the letter. In very few words, he’d given her a great deal to think about. It was a great honor and responsibility he had offered and she would not disappoint. On a more practical level, the letter also allowed her entrance to the grounds.
Xeph had chosen well, the grounds were beautiful and vast, it also made finding him rather difficult. Fortunately, there were those who had ideas where to find him and Nikhila soon found herself in the Hall of Echoes. Entering she immediately closed her eyes, it seemed the walls the beams, the very place spoke to her and it was a good feeling. It would have been a simple matter to lose herself in that feeling but she did have something to accomplish.
Although she was hesitant to interrupt him. She hadn’t seen her Alpha and mentor in quite some time and while he had said it would be good to see her again, perhaps now wasn’t the best time. Reasoning that it was too late to turn back now she, both reverently and hesitantly, walked further into the hall stopping a respectful distance from him.
"Nikhila. I wasn't sure if you were actually coming."
Xeph did open his mismatched eyes now, observed the pretty woman before him with frank gladness. "I finally made you an offer you couldn't refuse, hey?"
The effect of Nikhila's beautifully embellished sari beneath the few dancing flames on the walls was almost surreal, but she somehow managed to look quite at home here. Xeph was thrilled to see her, the only person alive to whom he'd ever been aipa, although he did his best not to let it show entirely.
Settling back against one of the pillars, he stretched his long legs out in front of him. "You know you've got your work cut out for you, right?"
Nikhila bowed her head with an air of irony. Xeph of all people knew her propensity to wander, but she’d also sent a letter saying she would come. So, it was banter.
The accent and smile, both very familiar, were warm, as always, and she couldn’t help but return the smile. She also found they put her almost entirely at ease, it was evidence she hadn’t interrupted anything. Even if she had, it was good to see him again, she should have made more of an effort to see him from time to time.
“There is very little I could refuse the Pack.”
That was also something he was well aware of, but she found herself now feeling oddly awkward under the mismatched gaze of her Gifter. It was rather unfair that he would appear so relaxed.
“I would be disappointed if that wasn’t the case, but I am looking forward to it.”
She was very much looking forward to it and hoped it would provide enough focus to keep her in one place for a while.
"Have you explored the Den yet? Found some place to stow all your belongings?"
He matched Nikhila's understated humor with the same; Xeph knew Nikhila had very little to bring with her. Wanderers like she was rarely did. He was very much hoping she'd stick around this time. She was good for the Pack and the Pack was good for her.
The little bit of his mind that was always tuned in to the way to set things right was telling him in no uncertain terms what to do for Nikhila, but he didn't need to consult it; he knew her well enough. Nikhila was like him, restless, something of a workaholic. She would want things to do immediately, but it was up to Xeph to see that at least those things were slightly enjoyable and relaxing.
"I think it might be best if you were to choose your living space," he said to her. "The options are fairly good and I can think of a few apartments that would suit." He gave her a grin, slight pride at the design of the Den showing through.
"After that, perhaps you could explore the grounds." The deer trails that wound through the Long Run were twisted and long. "I would like your opinion on the property, perhaps an idea of any improvements you might think would benefit our family."
The grounds were beautiful, he knew it already, but Nikhila didn't and a run in he open air would soothe her, make her feel welcome and at home.
"I might even join you."
((ooc: Permission to be nosy))
One bag was all Nikhila had with her, it contained everything she’d need very several days, weeks if necessary, and she’d left it there on her arrival. The few other things she needed were being shipped. Although she hadn’t wanted to impose herself on the Pack she also knew there would be room for her and so hadn’t bothered with a hotel.
“I haven’t seen much of the grounds yet.”
She thought it was more important to check in and see if there was anything that needed immediate attention. From his manner thought, it seemed there wasn’t. However, as much as she wanted to get right to work Nikhila was aware that she would need a place to work from and to live. Even more so, she was aware she hadn’t quite shaken the effects of the plane ride and a run would be most welcome, it was something she would have sought out on her own.
Nikhila smothered a smile at the invitation. Always the Alpha, always looking out for his Pack, even in small ways.
“Afraid I’ll wander off again so soon or combining business and pleasure? Of course I would welcome the company.”
Scent of two people, one female. Nearby. And his sharp hearing could pick out the muffled sounds of conversation. Ezekiel strode onwards, allowing his senses to act as his guide. Practise, Shannon always said, practise and more practise.
Ezekiel came across a large pair of thick cedar doors. Well oiled by the smell of it. And the sounds of conversation were definitely on the other side of those doors.
It was easy enough to push the doors open, they weren't locked and it wasn't much of an obstacle.
Ezekiel blinked in surprise. A room built of different sorts of rocks. Now that was different. Maybe he'd get the story behind that later, but right now he'd introduce himself to the room's occupants. Rudeness was akin to being plain uncivilized.
"Sir. Ma'am. The name's Ezekiel Caine. I come looking for my kinfolk and I reckon this is the right place."
"I reckon you have, Mr. Caine," Xeph said. His grin was friendly, his attitude laid back as he extended his large hand to this pack brother and greeted him in his own Australian drawl. "Welcome to Nachton. This is Nikhila Gounder," Xeph indicated the tall dark-skinned woman with a brief nod, "and I'm Aidan Xephier. Xeph will do."
As always, with a new male, the Alpha came to the fore and Xeph found himself standing straighter, adjusting his shoulders, trying to fill the room with presence. There was no force to it though; it was simple instinct. He gave a shrug, relaxing his shoulders.
"Pleased to meet you Xeph. And you too Miss Nikhila."
Ezekiel gave a polite nod in her direction. He was a large man alright, and Ezekiel felt glad that Xeph was taller than him. It was refreshing to have to look up to someone rather than down at them.
"Yeah I come down from New York early this morning. Got waylaid by an emergency dispatch pickup and hauled a container down here to some fancy manor. Still them rich folks sure like to eat good and I got a genuine Picnic Basket out of it."
Ezekiel laughed softly. He'd devoured the contents of the Basket in one sitting.
"Been looking forward to meeting some of the kinfolk, was told Nachton was as good as place as any to get reacquainted. That guard out by the gate let me through not less than fifteen minutes ago and here I am."
She half bowed when introduced but naturally, let Xeph set the pace of the meeting. It was his Pack after all.
“Welcome to Nachton Mr. Caine. I am just arrived myself so your timing is impeccable.”
Nikhila’s accent was very muddled, it was simple enough to hear the presence of her native India but beyond that were inflections and echoes of numerous places far and wide. Her smile, however, was honest and natural as straight forward as her accent was mixed.
“I hope the emergency did not cause you any distress.”
Had he been with out family for a while, was that why he was seeking them out now? Of course, it was perfectly right of him to do so. Apparently, the advantage of having a permanent home base for the Pack was already becoming beneficial.
"Trouble, no. I was headed this way anyway. Was told a sanctuary was being constructed for us. I been on the road so long it feels good to feel the ground beneath my feet, so to speak."
It felt strange to be once more in the company of others like himself, strange and exhilirating. Like a visit to Vegas only everyone there wore a genuine smile and actually gave a damn about you.
"I've always believed in being on time, whether you planned it or not. Hopefully I got it right this time."
Remembering the expression on Ezekiel's face as he entered the room, Xeph asked, "Have you ever lived with a Pack?"
He gestured to the room around him. "These stones are from other dens, in different parts of the world. Some of them are incredibly old."
The handprints and pawprints on the stones, some of them so old and worn they looked to be part of the rocks themselves, indicated the truth of Xeph's words. What he'd said had been part pun, part honesty. "We've brought time with us here," he gave a wolfish grin. "So I'm sure you've got it right."
Tucking his hands easily into the pockets of his jeans Xeph peered around one last time.
"I was just about to show Nikhila here to the Den," he said. "There are apartments ready and waiting, a few of them furnished, most of them not. You're welcome to come along, Ezekiel. If you plan on rooting yourself for a while I imagine you're going to want someplace to hang your hat."
"Can't rightly say that I have Xeph. My Gifter and I kind of met by accident. She called it destiny. Go figure. She was kind of a mystic, not like those kooks on the Psychic Network. Stayed with me for a couple of years and then took back to the wilds. Part of the reason I'm here is to get back to nature, so to speak."
Ezekiel watched Xeph as he made his way around the Hall of Echoes and then offered him a home. Been a while since Ezekiel had one of those that wasn't on ten wheels.
"I'd appreciate a pad to crash in Xeph."
Somehow, she had understood the presence of the hall without being told. It was a superb statement to bring hearth and home as well as past and present here for them. She made herself a promise to come back and study the stones, it was a written and yet living breathing history and it resonated with her.
Good he was staying. One more person who had found a home and that pleased her. Although she said nothing, for now she was also a guest and had no grounds on which to offer hospitality. Perhaps once she was settled and contributing that would change.
Xeph shot a grin at the very quiet Nikhila at that, knowing his Gifted couldn't be tied down for love or money. God knew Nikhila had been offered both at various points in the past, but always, the road had called to her. Perhaps Ezekiel was the same. regardless, both were here now and both desired to live amongst their Pack.
"I hope you'll enjoy it here, with your brothers and sisters," Xeph said. "It's time we made a place for ourselves, free from opression, free of social fences and boundaries." He cut himself off before he began to sound like a fanatic. Time and place, Xeph...
"Why don't we head over to the Den, then, and see if we can't find you both someplace suitable?" Xeph addressed the next to Ezekiel alone, "When you're settled in, you're welcome to come back here if you like. Perhaps I can help fill in some of the blanks thatt might have been left to you."
With that offer, Xeph led the way from the Hall and headed up the stairs in the direction of the Den.
((ooc: All out with presumed permission, can edit if not...))