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Starved Rock State Park Illinois

Deep canyons and sandstone cliffs fall and rise throughout the Starved Rock State Park and Nature Preserve, affording a wilder range of flora and fauna than would normally be found in such an area. Tall pines, yews, and white cedars rise up from the highlands, while oaks fill the lowlands, the streams and rivulets that run down along the many waterfalls providing a backdrop to the deer and rabbits, songbirds and raccoons that hide among the berry bushes and poison ivy. A few ponds are scattered here and there, home to ducks, beavers, and woodchucks. Over a dozen miles of hiking trails wind in and out of the canyons throughout the 600 acre (1 sq mile, 2.5 sq km) nature preserve and the greater 2,600 acre (4 sq miles, 10.5 sq km) park that lies on the outskirts of Utica, a two hours drive away from the Greater Metro Chicago Area.

The world is dark and foggy. Everything is half hidden, nothing clearly seen. It’s chilly and the air feels damp. No wind blows. steps forward to take the hand offered to her. Her dark eyes are solemn, blue shadows beneath them showing a lack of sleep. Her hand is warm, warmer than a human’s, against his chillier grip. “You are new to the city?” she asks. “We have other vampires allied with us. I am not sure how they’ll take to another in this place,” she adds, not a threat but a warning, as now she feels an alliance somehow to the strange vampire.

With a dashing smile, you’re guided toward his side. His other hand lifts to stroke through your hair, and occasionally slide along your shoulder in a caressing, gentle manner. “It is the way of things,” he says simply, “Perhaps you can help me works things out.” A pleasant smile forms on his lips as, with a canted head and a bend of his frame, he turns to look up into your eyes. “What is your name, my dear?”

shakes her head. “I don’t know them, not well, and I’m not strong in the pard. No one cares what I’d have to say about it,” she says softly. “They call me ,” she says, pushing a strand of hair back behind her ears. “Where are you from, what’s brought you to this area? It’s not a safe place to be.” She shivers at the thought of all the violence of the past weeks.

It’s only once you give your name that he clasps the hand, drawing it up to plant a simple, introductory kiss of greeting on the back of your warm hand. He follows the motion with a bow and a flourish of his other hand, before allowing that initial touch to fall toward his side. “It is a pleasure to meet you, . I arrived recently from Quebec, although I hail initially from Provence,” he explains. “I came to try and put an end to the problems, at the request of the Council.”

“The council? I thought the Traveler pretty much ended all the ‘problems.’ There were a lot of deaths. What are you going to do to make things better?” she asks curiously. Politics is not her forte, she doesn’t know vampire rules and bylaws. “All I know is that there is likely to be a power struggle with all of the masters soon, since the city is without a master now.” She shrugs, clearly not too worried about the vampires’ problems.

A thin smile frames his features, and his hand returns to your shoulder, that same caring, easy stroke. “Among us all, we will find a new ruler. Someone that will make things better in the city. Someone to put an end to the threat of war between the factions,” he explains, “There is a chance that that person will be me. But either way, I would much like to be friends with your kind.”

She nods, slowly. “I’m newly back myself, from out of the country, so I don’t know all of the problems with the factions I know we have some trouble with the Rat king, but I think the other groups respect us enough to leave us alone We are not weak, and we have an alliance with the vampires at least, we did with Koray,” she explains. “You will not control us, but work with us, I hope?” Never mind she’s being controlled at the moment she doesn’t know this of course.

He offers a slow nod of his head as he walks slowly around you, his gaze as much of an appraisal as in admiration of your form. “You are Russian, then?” he guesses, taking the opportunity to demonstrate his own fluency with the tongue, and he offers these words from behind you, a soft question without much volume. “I did not come to make you all bow at my feet, dear . I desire friends and companions, not minions; we will share our interests.”

nods, speaking in slightly stilted Russian, though the accent is good. “Yes. I’m originally from Moscow. We defected when I was a small child.” She tilts her head as she listens to him speak. Not being a minion sounds good to her. “I understand,” she says, back to English. “I hope that’s true. But I feel I should warn you, others will probably feel threatened by your presence. I suggest you make friends with at least Koray and Tobias, as they are our friends.” Her voice holds a little doubt about the friend part this one is skeptical of vampires, clearly, despite her warm feelings at the moment to .

Currently, stands with among the rocks and rough of French Canyon a fitting place for the old Frenchman as he stands, speaking quietly to , who arrived only a few moments prior. “I will speak to them all,” he tells her with an easy confidence, and a heavy French accent, “I am not here to take away their his head lifts to search for the correct word a moment, “friends,” he eventually settles upon. “We will make an understanding. Believe me.” His hand is at her shoulder, caressing her there along with his own cool power.

nods, and moves to sit on one of the rocks after all, she’s been running along these trails in Ugg boots not the most comfortable hiking gear. “I hope so. I really don’t want to see any more conflict. We have quite enough these days,” she says, a light cynical laugh punctuating her words. “But I would be careful, if I were you.” Again, this is not a threat but a friendly warning.

Another cool smile from the man at ‘s words, and he offers a fluid, “Ah, worry not my dear friend,” he says, “I do not make a habit of issuing the call. I am here to make introductions, and nothing more; in the future his eyes regard the woman’s features as his head inclines in a bow, “I will be certain to call first.”

The rumble of the Jeep is heard a few moments before appears. The woman? She doesn’t look happy. No, anything but happy. Her power rolls off of her, the leopard stalking along with every footstep she takes. Ugg boots might not be comfortable hiking gear, but slippers are worse. Yes. She’s in her pajamas. There’s a cup of coffee in her hands, though it looks more like she’s considering using it as a weapon than actually drinking. “Yeah, next time use a fucking phone,” she rumbles out, her voice holding a strong Scottish accent.

turns and looks at the sound of the crunch of ‘s footsteps. While comfortable enough, enthralled as she is, in ‘ presence, she grows happier at the sight of her beloved friend and Nimir Ra. “,” she purrs out, and scrambles off the rock to go hug the other woman. “I don’t think he has your phone number,” she whispers, but smirks to let the others know she is kidding. Sort of.

The sounds shift his attention away from , to fall over the approach of the newcomer, who he nevertheless seems quite pleased to see, based off the empathic bond he shares with the younger cat. “Welcome,” his voice raises in greeting, as his frame tilts to bow. “Please, I do apologize for the breech of etiquette; I am not here to start feuds. Only his hand gestures toward the clearing in which he resides, “Have a short introduction on neutral ground.”

wraps one of her arms around , kissing the other woman’s cheek. “No, but he could’ve asked anyone for it,” she grumbles. The Nimir Ra, short woman that she is, is standing there in pjs, and her power is out, completely unleashed. She’s not looking very happy at all.

glances nervously from the Nimir Ra to the vampire, almost as if she were a child caught in the middle of two feuding parents. “He says he’s here to end the feuding in the city,” she murmurs, brushing her lips across ‘s cheek, her soft, soothing purr thrumming against the other woman’s skin.

Tickletickle? Itch Itch? Whatever it is that catches/steals ‘s attention away from whatever he was doing had to be major, which is the only reason he’s here and not meditating or doing Tai Chi somewhere. He however, is dressed, black and grey and he has his messenger bag resting against a hip as he moves silently into the area, hazel eyes darting this way and that way uncertainly before he sees and his eyebrow arches curiously. That’s when his nostrils flare and his eyes fall on . Ah, that explains it. Maybe says simply, as his steps carry him a few feet closer to , “I most humbly request your pardon; it is only my third night in this city. I had no idea if there were any here at all, let alone who or how many.” His hand extends toward the woman, a simple request to shake. “There are distrusting times, it is true, but that does not mean everyone is deserving of distrust.” And yes, is quite obviously the source of this call his cool energy radiates forth like leopard catnip, beckoning the arrival of all who would hear it. “My name is , and these lands are my home now as they once were.”

Other leopards have arrived as well, of course, a strange cross section of Chicago. But when can be scented on the air, holds her hand out, obviously expecting the hippiecat to come to her side. “You’ll have to excuse my bitchiness,” she rumbles, “Things here have made distrust the best option, until someone proves they’re worth more than that.” She smiles, then, though it doesn’t radiate friendly warmth. “I’m , the Nimir Ra of this Pard.”
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