As the Moon rose high in the sky a lone wolf bounded out of the forest. She paused at the edge of the trail that lead to the mountains. Panting, she perked her ears and looked back the way she came. After she was sure she had lost her pursuer, she laid down to catch her breath. The wrenching in her gut seized her again, and she struggled not to howl in pain. After a few minutes she stood back up and began to concentrate. Her hair and maw shortened, her body contorted and grew. Quickly, the wolf assumed a human form.
The woman stood and took stock of her surroundings. A small ring of stones, with wood lying nearby, was set up to have a fire lit. Next to the fire pit a folded blanket lay at the ready. She checked the woods again before sitting. To be safe, she waited as long as she could before lighting the fire. Praying as she waited, the wrenching became more and more frequent, and each time she stifled a yelp of pain. She looked down at her swollen belly. Placing her hand on it she said softly, "In quite a hurry to get out, aren't we now?"
She set about lighting the pine needles and twigs, slowly building a large fire. The contractions came closer and stronger. For one of the very few times in her life, the woman grew afraid. She did not know if the child was homid or lupus. She had not had any ultrasounds to find out, in case the child was lupus. In fact, there were no medical records of the pregnancy, and now there would not be any of the birth. She did not know whether to deliver the child in homid or lupus form. Feeling the moment draw near, the woman made a possible risky decision. She concentrated as best she was able. Her body shook from the effort and pain of the labor as she shifted into a half homid half lupus form.
The time was now. She looked up at the Moon. A big, beautiful Crescent Moon. Shining brightly, it bathed the scene in a soft glow. Fear swept through her, alone and unsure. A final contraction seized her, and allowing the release of pain, she howled. Long and loud, it was one last prayer. Suddenly a sense of calm fell over her. Answering her prayers, a spirit had come. She felt its presence. Happy and now feeling secure, she began to push the child out.
A few minutes later, she was again in homid form. The woman gathered the baby girl in the blanket and held her tight. Next to the fire both mother and child rested. Over the next few hours as the baby slept the Spirit kept watch over her, while the woman gathered food and more wood. She returned with her gatherings exhausted from the night's events. Just before the woman fell off to sleep she whispered a thank you prayer to the Spirit.
More than half a dozen Moons later, almost all the leaves had fallen from the trees. The woman ran from doorway to doorway. Huddled in her arms, the baby girl lay confused but quiet. The woman looked around, trying to determine where she currently was. She shrieked back into an ally at the sound of her pursuers and held the baby close. Placing an arm against a wall to steady herself, she glanced at blood running down her arm from the wound on the side of her head. She realized she would never make it to her destination like this. She took a deep breath and began moving again in a new direction. As quickly as she could, she made her way through the back streets of the small city.
The doorbell's ring was followed by insistent knocking. At midnight, a woman rose from her bed wondering who would be calling at this hour. She opened the door to reveal the other woman, bleeding from the side of her head, breathing heavily, and clutching tightly to a bundle.
"Come in, come in!" the second woman said to the first. As the first entered, the second checked outside her door, left and right, before closing it. She directed the first to a chair, but it was refused.
"No... time...," the first woman said in between breaths. "Being... hunted..." The second woman looked alarmed as the first continued, "I won't... make it... to the Caren... like this."
"I will help you against them," the second said to the first. The first shook her head.
"Not with... my baby... I can't fight."
"Quickly," the first replied, as she grabbed her shoes and a gun. "There are Kinfolk nearby. She will be safe with them."
The first woman grabbed the second's arm as she headed for the door. The first pushed the baby into the second's arms and began to concentrate. Shifting into half homid half lupus form, the first woman shook herself and growled in anger. The wound on her head closed. The woman then shifted back to homid form. She took the baby back from the second woman, who nodded with approval. "Let's go."
Working at a computer next to an open window, the teenager saw them coming. She went to the door and opened it before the two women could even knock. The teenager cocked her head with a questioning look, "Mom and Dad are asleep." Then she saw the drying blood on one of the woman's shirts, "but I'll wake them up," she added quickly and began to turn from the door. All three heard the noises from far enough down the street that the creators of the sound could not be seen.
"No time," the second woman said. The first woman placed her bundle into the teenager's arms.
"Her name is Lucile Christodolopolis," the first woman said. "Tell your mother to take her to the Caren as soon as she safely can. Don't leave the house tonight unless you all have to." The teenager nodded. The two women took off down the street.
The teenager closed the door as the baby girl began to cry. She was startled to discover a baby in her arms. She quickly went to her parents' room.
"Mom! Mom!" she said, waking both her parents.
"What is it?" came the sleepy question.
"Garou! They were here! And guess what?!" the teenager said excitedly.
"What?" both parents were instantly awake, and sat up. "What did you say?"
"Garou, I'm sure of it. Two of them. And they left a baby for you Mom!" The father looked to the mother, as she motioned the teenager to hand over the bundle. The baby girl cried harder.
"What did they say?" the father asked. The mother began rocking the baby and trying to calm her as the teenager spoke.
"One was covered in blood. She said the baby's name is Lucile Christodolopolis, and that you should take her to the Caren as soon as you can. But they we should stay inside the house tonight, unless we cant." The teenager began to look concerned as her enthusiasm subsided. "Mom?" she asked slowly. "Why are they in trouble?"
"I don't know yet," the mother replied. "But I intend to find out tomorrow."
About a week later the teenager yelled across the house, "Mom! Come here! It's another one!" The mother carried the sleeping baby Lucile into the room where the teenager was watching TV. A news reporter was talking about the gang war that had broken out five nights ago and was still going on despite the efforts of local and state police. The reporter noted that all local officials and law enforcement officers were stunned by the battling in and near the city since there had been no known gangs operating within the city beforehand.
The father came in the house just as the reported warned the viewing public to stay indoors and in well populated places, and to not venture out at night under any circumstances. The mother turned to him with a questioning look. He shook his head.
"The Caren is sealed tight. No one can get in or out." As an afterthought he adds, "At least not in this world."
He placed his coat and hat in their places and sat next to the teenager in front of the TV before continuing. "From what I could see, the hunters have the Bawn sealed as tight as the Garou have the Caren sealed. Well... almost as tight," he says with a sly smile. "but at least the Garou are safe... for now."
"What do you mean?" asked the teenager. The father sighed.
"They are at a standstill. All fighting has stopped because no one can get close enough to the other side without it meaning certain death. But this can't continue forever. I could practically touch the tension that is building up." He looks to his wife. "I'd say soon. Something is going to happen very soon. I over heard a couple of them talking. We have a few days at most. Then all Hell is going to break loose... and if we are still around we are going to end up in the middle of it all as well.
Two days later the family left. That night their house burnt to the ground.
Lucile laughed as the teenage girl through her in the air and caught her again. The mother and father looked on. Even out of hearing range of their conversation the teenager knew a decision was being made, and she wasn't at all anxious to know its outcome. It had been one and a half years since Lucile had been given to the family, but they had been unable to return to their home city to deliver her to the Caren.
"We can't keep her," the father said.
"Why not?!" the mother demanded.
"She's not ours. Do we even know if she's Garou or Kinfolk?"
"What's your point?"
"She should be in a Caren, being raised by those who know how to do so. If she is Garou we won't be able to handle that. We won't know how to help her through it all."
"You just don't want to be any more involved than you already are. You can tolerate being married to a Kinfolk, but you almost went on a killing spree when you thought your own daughter might be Garou." The mother was angry. Not only at her husband for being so unaccepting of Garou, but because he was right. They had no way of knowing if Lucile was Garou or not, not without someone to perform the ritual to find out. Since their hasty departure they had not come across another Caren to settle near. If Lucile was Garou, she should be raised by them.
The father simply waited through his wife's anger. He had come to understand it was part of her, all the women in her family had such a temper, even his daughter was showing signs of one. He knew his wife was able to keep it under control. She would calm down after fuming a bit. After she did, it was the mother would spoke first.
"I know of a man, from the old Caren. He moved up to Detroit a number of years ago and joined the Caren there. I don't know where that one is, but we can find him through information."
"There must be someplace closer we can take her."
"Not that I know of. My ties were to the old Caren, I know of no others except one in New York City and one in the mountains of New Hampshire."
"Which are even further," the father added.
He sighed and turned his attention back to the two playing girls. The mother's gaze shifted as well.
"Then I guess it's settled."
The man sat back and stroked his beard as he heard the end of the story. Lucile sat on the mother's lap and watched him intently.
"Can you help us, her?" the mother concluded.
"We feel she should be raised in a Caren, or at least taken to one until it's determined if she is Garou or Kinfolk." the father added. The older man nodded slowly.
"Yes, yes," he said.
"Thank you," the father replied.
"Here," the mother said, taking out a pen and paper. She wrote down an address on it and offered it to the man. "This is our current address and phone number. If she turns out to be Kinfolk, and there is no one to take care of her, we would like to volunteer." The man looked from one parent to the other with a questioning glance. Both nodded. He took the paper, and then Lucile. After a round of farewells, the man and Lucile were left alone in his home.
Lucile had grown quite tall for her age. It was a result of her having been very happy and well cared for. The man was old enough, about eighty, to pull off acting like he had a screw loose due to old age, and he played it up. He enjoyed the reactions it brought from others, and that it brought only the pleasantest people close to him in his life. But Lucile knew he wasn't truly like that, she knew he was quite sane and intelligent. What she didn't ever know was that he was Garou, or that she might be as well. He never told her.
She called him Papa, though she knew his name was George and he was not her father. But he did say that he was a member of her family, a not so distant relative, which was good enough for her. He had not taken her to his Caren, not even once to find out anything about her, possibly because he was able to find those things out on his own. He spent most of their time teaching Lucile. From the day he got her, he had begun to read to her and teach her while doing so. For two years he taught her to read, to reason, and basic math. She took to them all, for she seemed to want to know anything he had to say and to want to do anything he asked of her. She also seemed to love to draw, especially what she saw around her, and Papa encouraged her to do so. Many times he spoke of Lucile being special, that she would grow up to do important things, especially for her family. She did not know what he meant, but she believed it would happen simply because he told her so. She loved him dearly, and he her in return.
One day the two were drawing pictures of what they were reading when there was a knock at the door. Child services was at the door and they had come for Lucile. They said a new neighbor down the street had seen the two together and felt he was too... "old" to be raising a child, so she called Child Services to see about the situation. They asked George if he was Lucile's father or grandfather. He said no, but that he was a relative. They asked if she had any immediate family, and he said none living that he knew of. After a short inspection of his home and hearing about his current life and Lucile's history, the veiled version, Child Services took Lucile away.
George fought, through the courts, to try and keep Lucile. It was a very short fight. In the end he was only awarded visiting rights, due to the easily recognizable bond between the two of them.
Lucile was placed in the system. Since no one knew her age, or if George did he wasn't saying, Lucile was given a test by the school system and was sent to doctors for medical testing. It was quickly discovered that she had never been to any medical facility of any kind before, she had no medical records, not even a birth certificate. The school exam placed her at second grade reading level, with the math and mental skills to more than match, which would make her at least seven years old. The doctors placed her as being around five years old. Lucile was given the age of six years old in 1986. She was placed in an orphanage to begin with, and sent to school to first grade.
It had been six years, and five foster homes, since Lucile was taken from her life with George. She resented authority for it. The only reason she excelled in school was because she enjoyed learning and had nothing better to do. Moving from home to home meant she had moved from school to school as well. She was friendly enough to be able to make friends easily. But good friends took work and time, and after a while Lucile simply stopped trying since it seemed the effort always ended up being wasted when she was forced to move again.
She had like her last home. The people there truly wanted her, unlike some of the previous ones. These people had worked very hard to earn the right to be a foster home, and as soon as they were they chose Lucile specifically. She liked that she had been wanted, she knew how hard they had worked, and she knew they had done so with the intention to ask for her. She had also felt something when she first met the family. They were a mismatched lot, but there was a sense of familiarity about them. She recognized something in each of them that she recognized George had as well. What she didn't know was that she was noting the way being Garou had an affect on these people, as with all Garou, that marked them as not quite normal to any one familiar enough with the subtle differences to actually notice. The Caren in Detroit had learned of Lucile through George. They had tried everything they legally could to try and get Lucile out of the system and back to her "family."
Now she was being introduced to her sixth foster family. Her resentment of authority and the system had grown when she was taken from the Garou family, the second home she had wanted to stay in but was removed from because "they" said so. Her resentment grew to anger when she met the new family. She didn't like them at all. She didn't want to stay but she was given no choice.
It took less than two months. Lucile had finally had enough. She had tried to go back to her last family. She had gone to the corner store and bought a map with money she had saved up from her meager allowance. She used it to find her way to the house of the Garou family. But when she got there a strange couple was living there. Lucile was mad. She hated the system. She was angry. She despised home and school hopping. She felt rage building. She had had enough of secrets she knew existed in her life but no one would tell her about. And she had finally had enough of anger, her anger. Lucile went back to her new home, had dinner, and went to bed. In the middle of the night she was ready. Lucile ran away.
A few days later, in a back ally of Detroit, Lucile was trying to scrounge up anything that might be useful. She was paying too much attention to the trash she going through to notice the approach of another. She jumped when he spoke.
"You Lucile?" he asked. Surprised first that he was there, and then that he knew her name, Lucile hadn't quite gotten to the thought that she should run.
"How do you know my name?" she asked.
"Wrong answer," a teenage boy said, crossing his arms. "You should never tell who you are to someone who doesn’t know ya when you'r on the run."
"How do you know that?" she asked. The boy shook his head.
"You really are new at his aren't ya?" It was a rhetorical question. "Girl, you gotta lot to learn." He turned and headed down the ally towards the main streets. After a few strides, he looked back over his shoulder. Lucile was standing in silent confusion. She was tired and dirty, and very much unaccustomed to life on the streets. She looked pathetic, the boy said as much before he turned the corner and left.
Even rationing the food she had brought, Lucile had run out of things to eat the day before. Now she was scrounging for food as well as places to sleep and stay warm and dry. Trial by fire. She was learning about the streets, and how most people treated those on them, as she went along, and usually too late to save her aggravation or fighting, which she was not at all good at. She was trudging down a street when she heard a commotion from up ahead. Looking, she saw someone being chased by two police officers. The person was about her size, and so she reasoned also about her age. Seeing the police officers chasing this person caused something in Lucile to snap. She was sick and tired of how people where treating her, first in the system, and now on the streets. Especially authority, which claimed to know what was best, but really just didn't care what she wanted and had never done anything to help her. She was mad, and without thinking she acted on her anger. She began running towards the chase. She passed the person being chased, both of them running full force. When she got close enough that the officers were about to move around her, she launched herself towards the ground in front of them, intentionally wiping out so as to catch their legs. It worked. The officers were tripped up, and one fell face first to the sidewalk. Since she had fallen first, and they over and past her, Lucile was the first of the three to her feet. She looked down the street, and saw the other person get out of sight. The police officers were scrambling to their feet and Lucile knew it was her turn to also get out of sight. She ran into a super market down the street and hid by moving through the isles until she found the door to the shipment receiving rooms, and left the store through the loading bays.
It turned out that the person Lucile helped escape the police was part of a teenage gang, one that was headed up by the boy who had approached her a few days before. And now he did so again.
"That was mighty stupid," the boy said, again surprising Lucile from behind.
"What was?" she asked after a brief moment of being startled.
"What you did with the police yesterday."
"If you say so," she replied. "But that kid got away," she said with defiance.
"Yeah, and now they out looking for you."
"They've always been looking for me," she retorted. The boy regarded her for a moment before responding.
"You've got attitude, girl," he said and then his face broke into a smile, "I like that." He walked past her as he said, "Come on, I'll introduce ya to 'that kid' ya helped. He's one of mine."
"We've been watching you ever since you showed up in our territory," the boy informed her as they walked. "There's people after ya, you know that?" Lucile nodded. "You ain't the first to run from the system, them child service people ain't what they claim to be. You ain't a baby, so no one wants ya, and no amount of service people able to change that."
"Yeah, I know," she replied.
"Yeah, but what you don't know is that them service people don't like the bad rap they get when kids like you get away from them. They been workin harder to keep it from happenin recently. They got cops undercover now lookin for runaways." Lucile listened carefully, taking everything in.
"Really?" she asked. She had done well enough avoiding police and places where her picture had started to appear as a missing child. She hadn't thought they'd go that far.
"Yup, runaways are bad for business for them, if they ain't competent the state won't give them as much money."
"Here, let me show ya," he said as he turned a corner to take her in a new direction. Lucile followed. He led her across the street from a coffee shop and pointed to it.
"See in there? They got a couple that's staked out in there. You been sighted a couple times round this part, so they expect you'll be back soon. They been showin your picture around, hoping someone'll help em out." Lucile looked and saw two people watching out the window. She turned her attention back to the boy when he said, "See! They done saw ya now, here with me. Time to go, they coming!" Lucile turned back to see one of the couple moving quickly to the door, and opening it. The boy had already begun to take off, but stopped when he saw Lucile wasn't coming. She was watching the couple, one of them looked familiar to her, but she wasn't sure. The other had gotten a phone in hand and was dialing. The boy grabbed her arm then and began to pull her along. "Come on! The police are on their way!" "But…" she began to protest. "Those two are police, and ya can bet they be calling their buddies!" he said. As that sensible realization set in, Lucile turned and ran after the boy. They were quickly out of sight and began moving down the allies of Detroit. The street gang got to Lucile and took her in before both the Garou and the police did.
Over the next four years the gang hid and protected Lucile from the police and the "undercovers" who were looking for her. She didn't once visit George, as the gang told her it would be the first place the authorities would expect her to go and so they would always be watching for her there. The police gave up actively searching for her rather quickly, the undercovers did not. The gang figured it was because undercovers weren't as obvious as officers. Not because the undercovers were actually Garou, since none of them knew the shifters existed.
Lucile spent her time with the gang learning as well as helping them in exchange for their protection. They taught her how to survive the streets, and how to scrounge up whatever she might need and thus learned the art of improvisation. In exchange, she kept them safe during their exploits. Lucile became the gang's lookout and diversion, when necessary. She was the best of any of them at it, as she had the quickest mind of all of them except for the leader, the teenage boy that had first approached her. Her preferred method of raising alarm when trouble was approaching and it was time for the gang to get out was to whistle. This quickly earned her the joking name of Piper. It stuck and became her nickname within the gang.
When she needed cover as lookout or diversion while waiting for the gang or the right time to act, Lucile took to rummaging through garbage. It was the most readily available cover tactic as there were plenty of bums in Detroit that rummaged through trash and were seldom given any notice for it. To keep herself amused, Lucile would attempt to piece together facts about a person's life from their trash. What they did for a job, how they lived, what their family was like, and other things. One day she came across a library book that had been thrown out, probably accidentally, with a bunch of magazines and newspapers. After reading it, she decided to return it to the Detroit Public Library where it came from.
As a thank you for finding and returning the book, the library gave her a free membership. Intrigued, Lucile entered the library and discovered a wonderful world. The place was full of books, ten times more than she had ever seen in one place before. From that day on Lucile spent her spare time in the DPL. She would walk into a random isle, pull a book off the shelf, read it, and then repeat. The staff came to know her, they were happy to see a youngster with so much interest in reading and learning. Soon some of them began recommending books for her to read, and she happily took their suggestions.
Dinosaurs seemed to be her greatest interest for a while. A couple times she expressed interest as to how people had figured out so much about dinosaurs from so little information. The library staff gave her more books on dinosaurs to try and help her curiosity. Then one of the staff recommended an anthropology book to help Lucile understand how things had been done. She was hooked. From then on Lucile read all the anthropology, archeology, and other related books she could find in the DPL.
During this time the gang had grown in profit due in part to Lucile's watchfulness and dedication to them. Which led to a growth in number, and with it a growth in the gang's and Lucile's allies on the streets of Detroit. One of the newer members was a hotheaded young boy who preferred brawn to brains. But to his advantage, he was an excellent fighter. He obviously had had training, and he claimed his family was the source. He seemed to want nothing to do with "Piper," but on more than one occasion she caught him observing her. He never told her that he was from the Sept in Detroit, sent by the elders to keep an eye on her in case she shifted and possibly bring her to the Caren before she did. But for this reason, he resented her. He didn't want to be part of the gang, he didn't want to be Piper's "babysitter," he wanted to be off fighting the Wyrm and its minions. So he decided not to take her to the Caren. If he couldn't fight, then neither would she. Not that he thought she even could. He thought she was too weak and too human to be of any good to Gaia's cause. Another reason he never took her to the Caren.
In one of the books Lucile read at the DPL there was an account of a study of an old Native (South) American tribe that had long since died out. Copies of the tribe's language were printed in the book, but without translations. Curious as to what they said, Lucile began reading and studying books in the DPL on ancient languages, specifically Native American, from all the Americas. The librarians helped out by having books from U of M and other college libraries brought in for Lucile to use, as the DPL's selection of books on ancient languages was slim compared to those.
After about a year of working on it in the time she was allowed away from the gang, Lucile finally puzzled together enough of the language to begin to understand what was printed with no translation in the first book. Excited, she told her librarian friends.
One of those friends had had an idea for a while, and with this show of excitement an interest, she decided to follow up on it. She called the University of Michigan, which held monthly lectures of all sorts for the local academic population and general public to come see, and asked if they would consider bringing an anthropologist to lecture. She explained about Lucile's interest and that she had even deciphered some Native American language by herself that the library did not contain any translation texts for. She said that as a reward for Lucile's interest and accomplishment she was hoping she could take Lucile to a lecture on her favorite subject. The librarian was lucky in that the lecture organizer thought it was a fine idea, she liked encouraging youth in academic pursuits. She was able to get a lecturer scheduled for two months later, and informed the librarian once the plans were set.
Lucile was happy and very excited the day of the lecture. The librarian drove her to U of M for it. They both enjoyed the lecture, the librarian mostly because Lucile thoroughly enjoyed it. During the Q&A part after the lecture was over, Lucile and a few others asked many questions. Finally, Lucile asked why some anthropologists and authors left translations out of their publications, citing the book she had as an example, and added "especially when it takes interested readers so long to translate on their own." The lecturer recognized the book Lucile cited, and knew no one had been translated the language yet, not that anyone was actively trying to do so. Still, the lecturer's was quite interested and asked Lucile about it. She pulled out the DPL's copy of the book and her notebook with the over a year's work of research and translations, which she had brought with her. She let the lecturer look over her work, as well as a few anthropology professors that came down from the audience. All were overly impressed, and a bit shocked when they were told Lucile had no formal or educational training, that she had done it all on her own.
Word of Lucile's accomplishment spread quickly throughout the anthropological community. Soon gears were set in motion, and her age and background were checked into. Her medical and state records verified her as sixteen years old, and thus legally able to not be in school and to go to work. Lucile was offered an internship/apprenticeship with an anthropological team. After speaking with her friends and partners in the gang, who turn out to be happy that one of them is going to be escaping the streets, she accepted. The Garou from the Sept in Detroit did not follow her, as they were beginning to think she was only kinfolk and not a shifter. After all, she was supposedly sixteen and had not shifted yet. Perhaps George was wrong, or perhaps she would never shift, they didn't know, and it seemed now they wouldn't find out.
Lucile was the happiest she's been in her life since living with George. She finally was able to get away from all the people that surrounded her every day and the anger they fueled in her. She was out and discovered nature for the first time, real large open areas of wilderness. It seemed to stir something in her she had never felt before. She loved the feeling being in the wild brought her. Most of all she enjoyed discovering new things long lost to the world, and working to decipher the past from what was left of it to be studied.
Four years went by. During that time Lucile studied hard and learned quickly. She gained respect in the field for being able to work faster than most and still being thorough and effective at the same time. She took many jobs and had even more offers. She deciphered and translated many dead languages, and even learned four well enough to sight read without the aid of notes or references. She deciphered dead cultures as well, some on her own and helping other with some. Lucile grew to call it "piecing together the past." However, her work was not without its toll. All the writing and typing she was consistently doing gave her carpel tunnel syndrome in her right wrist. But she refused to give up her work or take it easier on her wrist. Instead she got herself a brace for when the problem flared up. Over the years her wrist only became worse and the damage permanent. Lucile grew dependant on the brace, wearing it constantly, but she never let it hold her back or keep her from her work. She even learned to shoot a gun with her left hand during the job on which it was required all people knew how to defend themselves in case of wild animal attack, which was known to happen at the site she was to work at.
In the beginning of her anthropological career, Lucile worked under specific individuals, or occasionally assisted teams. After a year and a half she was working together with teams. Soon after she was given her first project for which she was fully responsible, and a team to work under her.
It took seven months to complete, with a rocky first month as Lucile and her team discovered and learned about each other and how to effectively interact. But they were done ahead of schedule and under budget due to Lucile's street learned talents in improvising, scrounging, and wastelessness and her natural desire to work out the life style and decipher the language. During that time the team learned a lot about Lucile, which they felt they could jokingly make fun of her with because she was friendly enough that when they were not working she seemed to encourage a relaxed and close environment. Lucile learned many things about herself from her team, which proved useful in preparing and breaking in future teams she worked with. They told her that even though she may be up, moving about, and possibly even talking, she was not actually awake until BOTH her shoes were tied. Before then it was pointless for anyone to try to interact with her on any level beyond "breakfast is over there," or "it's a pretty day" type things. They said she had a very one track mind, and that she could even be involved enough in what she was doing at times to being oblivious of her surroundings and unable to hear someone standing next to her. They also said she was very protective of her work, and along with that she was very serious about her work. When she was working, everyone else had better be as well, that or out of her sight. This was what caused the biggest problems at first, but once they discovered that she was actually a friendly person when she wasn't working, and that they had to adjust to her seriousness and temper with others who were not as serious when she was working, things went much smoother. Finally, they all agreed that she worked better alone. This Lucile had figured out earlier during jobs she had done, but until this project she had not had the option very often. In some future jobs she was able to work alone, in others she wasn't. But she now had a set of guidelines to help her and the teams work smoothly.
Lucile never set down roots or established a home of her own. Moving about so often as a child had left her with a lack of desire for a stable home, replaced with the feeling that she had to keep moving once she was done, that she had somewhere else she needed to go, somewhere else she was needed to help, somewhere else there was something she could puzzle over, piece together, and solve. In between jobs Lucile worked for herself, studying and learning more. She studied Wicca for a while, which sent her on a researching religion kick for a few months. She learned a few rituals and practices, but never adopted one for her own use. She never found one she felt was right for her. Some Wiccan and some Native American beliefs, especially dealing with spirits and Earth as The Great Mother, resonated with something inside of her. These things she would learn and use as her own beliefs, as if piecing together her own religion from a past she had forgotten or had never been taught.
In June of 2000 an anthropologist friend of Lucile's told her about the possibility of some interesting sites in the state parks of Montana, but that people had had problems finding anything, especially with the local wildlife which was under state protection. Lucile was intrigued, of course. However, she was running very low on money and needed to find a job, she could not go off on her own again, she simply didn't have the resources at that time. So she made some calls, and successfully pitched the idea to a sponsor for a one person endeavor into the wilderness of Montana's foothill forests.