Cut to the Chase (attn: Vaughn)
Xeph had received a rather vague email the previous evening. It was slightly surprising but he couldn't really say he hadn't expected it at some point or another. The Vyusher and the Kadzait had been co-existing in and around Nachton for several years now without any kind of formal arrangements. This sort of thing had to happen.
If that's what the point of the meeting was, anyway. It hadn't been clearly stated in Vaughn's communication.
Xeph was interested in meeting with the Alpha of the other Pack. He'd seen Vaughn before, but Xeph had been much younger then and not the leader of the Kadzait. He hadn't paid too much notice to the other man at that point simply because he hadn't known who was who in their world yet.
At any rate Xeph was unworried. As far as he knew the Vyusher had no cause to antagonize his Pack, and vice versa. He didn't see Vaughn asking for a meeting in order to cause trouble. So he sat on one of the benches in Vesper, looking ridiculously large on it, trying not to trip any passers-by although there were very few of those; it was still quite cold out.
At 6'2 he felt small and slight as he sat down next to the Kadzait Alpha.
He should get to the point of why he was here but Vaughn wondered how much he should say. He didn't know Xephier and frankly the packs have had bad blood in the fairly recent past.
"I figure, since we both find ourselves in Nachton that we're here for much the same reason. The freedom of our people?"
He turned and regarded the man with pale blue eyes and an uncertain expression that continued to ask the question that he had voiced. Were they here for the same thing? Surely they must be.
"Evening, Alpha Emiliano."
Xeph was respectful; he had no reason to antagonize the Vyusher at all. Since becoming the Alpha of his own Pack he had done his best to bring tolerance to the old-fashioned prejudiced masses. While that didn't necessarily extend to vampires and might never extend that far, Xeph had enforced it with humans and other werewolves. There would be no repeat offenses on his watch.
He lifted his broad shoulders and continued to sit casually back against the bench, nodding at the other man. "Is there any better cause?"
He waited for Emiliano to continue. Surely that particular question could have been texted. Emailed. Written on a cake. There had to be more to this conversation.
He sighed and continued onward. "Some of our people have gone missing. I suppose it might be hostility between our packs but I suspect the vampires. One of our members encountered two of them."
He wondered if a similar event had happened to the Kadzait. It wouldn't hurt to speak of it; it revealed almost nothing because they knew almost nothing.
"They were both shape changers." Vaughn refused to call the vampires shifters, even those of them that could take on animal form. It was wrong to call them something they used when speaking of themselves. "A jackal and a stoat."
Perhaps Xephier had encountered the two as well. They might be Evenhet. Alfarinn had said that the Kadzait had spoken with some of their people. If that were the case then maybe it explained why those two did not attack Therese while they had a chance.
If not, if any of his Kadzait had been involved in something of that nature, Xeph's judgment would be swift and very certain.
The jackal. Xeph was going to kill him someday. Yes, he wanted to scream at Vaughn. Yes, if you see that one, kill him immediately and don't ask any questions! Rip him apart, drive stakes into him until nothing remains but ash and then burn that too.
Instead he furrowed his brow and sat calmly on the park bench. "A jackal... and a stoat? No. We haven't had any dealings with them... that we know of. Was your Pack member injured? Were they hostile?"
Crush him. Kill him. Slaughter him.
Xeph shrugged helplessly at Vaughn. "I'll give you any information I come by, if I get any."
"My people have not encountered yours here. Not violently at any rate."
Vaughn confirmed what Xephier had said. He was interested to hear that hostility against his pack was now forbidden, if he were to believe the Kadzait.
He shook his head in answer. The confrontation that Therese had her first night in Nachton still confused him greatly; he didn't know what to make of it.
"No, She said that the stoat stopped the jackal and told him to leave her alone. They let her go."
Vaughn shrugged and added. "I don't know that there were humanitarian reasons in all of that."
There was no help for it. He needed to speak of the other vampires eventually.
"I spoke with the Elder of Evenhet. I hear that your own pack has had some dealing with these vampires."
He allowed a look of confusion to pass over his features when Vaughn described the behavior of the jackal and the stoat. It was not feigned, but it was probably for a different reason than the other Alpha suspected. Xeph hadn't known that the jackal was answerable to a higher authority, which the stoat must be. He'd never seen the jackal back down before anyone, really. Xeph had always assumed he was someone in charge. Apparently he was not on the top of the chain though.
He shook his head helplessly at Vaughn again, unable to speculate on the reason why the jackal had been told to back off. It confused him too.
Finally though they broached a topic that Xeph could speak more freely about though. "Yes. I met one of them early upon my arrival here in Nachton. I don't know where he falls in the hierarchy to be honest but I got the impression he was looking out for a bigger part of a whole."
That was all he could say regarding Kem's position. He didn't know if that meant he was a leader of some sort or just very devoted to his people. "You'd know him if you saw him," Xeph said. "Tall man, maybe about your height, white hair. His name is Kem. He works at Meridian, I know that much. He's actually helped one of my scientists in some research. From all I know, he's been completely honest with us in everything. Pretty remarkable from one of them."
His tone made it perfectly clear that he didn't attribute that trait to the rest of Kem's kind. It was something he'd discovered in that particular vampire. Xeph would deal with Kem again in the future. His behavior had been more honorable than Xeph's own.
"No, I met with Arin Bjorn." He held up a hand. "I was surprised to find that the playboy of Nachton is not a teenager."
He shrugged and continued. "He was very patient. They appear to be sincere about their work with humans. I don't think they appreciated the R'asa's less that welcoming approach to the larger population. We just haven't seen a great need to associate with people we don't know."
He added. "He brought someone else with him the last time. I don't know what Aishe was specifically but she also appeared to be both reasonable and dedicated to coexisting peacefully with humans."
Vaughn had heard that the Kadzait favored that view themselves, certainly more than the R'asa. He wondered why they chose such a path.
"She asked whether we had problems with the Kadzait. I suppose I am here in part to find out if we do. I would much rather ally myself with a group that understands our nature and our past than the people that helped drive us from the cities. Though Arin stated that Evenhet had not been a clan then. It doesn't mean they wouldn't have sided with the others but I suppose we might consider the possibility that they would have chosen a more just course."
"I have met her," Xeph said slowly. "I've seen her frequently with Kem. I would agree with your assessment of her, but I regret I have no more insight as to her race. I've been wondering that. Curious though, that she's been associated with both Arin and Kem."
Was Aishe really a human? Could she be a representative of the humans who worked with Evenhet; the equivalent of the Kadzait Illamar? He would have to look into her identity further. In the meantime he turned his attention to Vaughn's words.
"Alpha, I will not deny that our Packs have their differences," Xeph said softly, making a dismissive gesture with his hand, "but we're all very much the same in the long run."
He shook his head. "My Kadzait were very different several decades ago," he said. "I know there have been tensions between us in the past but believe me when I say there are very strict rules in place now to prevent such things."
He smiled at Vaughn. "We don't want trouble with your Pack," he clarified. "We have enough from other quarters."
"Perhaps there are not so many of them as we fear?" Vaughn suggested. "Though I suppose that is too much to hope for."
He listened to the Kadzait Alpha as he again explained that their laws and customs had changed. He could only assume that was Xephier's doing. "Vaughn, please." He smiled and held out his hand.
"Both our people have enough demons hunting us here in this city. Perhaps we should share information when we find it and even aid when we can."
He looked out over the landscape in front of them and then back to the Kadzait Alpha. "I don't want to see any wolves killed, yours or mine. If we stand together then they will have a harder time picking us off one by one."
Xeph nodded once. "That would be ideal," he said honestly. He wasn't sure what had taken them so long to get to this point but he wasn't going to complain; what Xeph wanted most of all was a good relationship with their sister Pack. Tentative truces with vampires were all well and good but the Kadzait and the Vyusher were two sides of the same coin. He would trust another were long before he could truly trust a vampire. Even the few he knew, he still questioned.
"I agree," he said. "We may see the world slightly differently but that doesn't mean we can't work together for our race as a whole. It's been far too long since that happened."
"It has been too long." He nodded. Having the packs work together would make their goals that much more likely to succeed.
"We should run together some time. A few of us together and see how it works."
Perhaps a small group of each to start, the more open minded. Nachton might not be prepared for the full combination of the packs running through its wilderness. The idea made him smile. The city may just have recover and the vampires... He could hope they catch them equally unaware.
His mind was already plotting what the two packs could manage together. The R'asa brought speed and agility and the Kadzait were strong and tough. How would their abilities combine? Would his own ability to communicate and lead work on a mixed group of wolves if needed in a battle? What about their trackers?
Yes, this was what he had been working for. Equality. Sharing. Co-existence. Xeph was tentatively pleased with this meeting thus far.
"I think we'd find that enjoyable, to run with our cousins," he said, smile not diminishing in the least. "Outside of the full moon to start, of course."
Xeph generally kept his head while under the Change regardless of the time of month; he could certainly assemble a small group of like-minded Kadzait. Nikhila, he was sure, would very much enjoy a run now that she was able to shift again.
"Is there a night that best suits you? I know you're busy," Xeph conceded. They both were; but Doctor Xephier had much more say in his schedule than Mayor Emiliano did.
He pulled out his phone and pressed his schedule. Tilting it so Xephier could also see it. "Hmm, there is this night before the full moon and this one. Either of those would work and still give people decent notice. Shall we meet in the Reserve?"
"So, after dark then? Eleven? Or would later suit you better?"
Xeph suspected any time would work just fine for him; the reasons were, in his opinion, ridiculous. Normally he'd have blamed his annoying sleep schedule on his newborn pup but the truth of the matter was Noah slept like a rock. It was as if he was making up for his parents. Nikhila's sleep was often troubled and Xeph never even bothered to try for more than a few hours at a time. It simply didn't work. It was nice to know they had one person in the house who could sleep the night through.
He waited for Vaughn to confirm the time or suggest a better one, big grin still on his features. It had been a long time since their Packs had run together; so long that Xeph didn't think it had happened in his lifetime, or for years before it either.
It was long overdue.
He stood up and shook the Kadzait's hand again. 'I look forward to it. Until then, it was good to see you again. Alpha Xephier."
He tucked the phone back in his jacket and headed to the car, a small smile on his face. Things were looking better. Vaughn thought he would wait until after they ran with the other pack to speak again with the Evenhet. It was not that he didn't want to have ties with them, especially if they were as they claimed. He would simply prefer strengthening the chances of friendship with the other pack first.
((OOC: Out pending response ))
"Same here," he said with a smile. "We'll see you very soon."
He watched the other werewolf walk away before turning and heading out the opposite side of Vesper himself. This was a pleasant although unexpected occurrence. Xeph thought the two Packs had enough in common to make an alliance work. They had different views, of course, but they shared a common and all-consuming goal that could potentially cement them together at least for the short term, if not longer.
Time would tell if they could forge a lasting relationship. Xeph wasn't intimidated by it; he'd reforged the structure of his own Pack over the course of his stint as Alpha. Whether it stuck around after he had passed remained to be seen, but he knew, at least that when push came to shove he could stay on the chase.
((ooc: Xeph out))