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 Time to Investigate

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Zoe

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PostSubject: Time to Investigate   Thu 05 Jun 2014, 20:33

As the members of the Camino Real sept disperse, Zoe inhales deeply, breathing in the familiar scents of her home caern – an invigorating cocktail of copper, road dust, and tree pollen. Though it would be a short visit, Hears-the-Song is happy to be back with friends and her first Garou family for the time being. She holds up a finger to Henrietta and trots over to Red Oath, who was heading back up the deer path toward the road.

“Oh, Red, hey, wait a minute, please.”

The Philodox slows her pace and gestures the young Theurge forward. Zoe pulls up alongside her and matches pace as the two continue up the path.

“After my rite of passage, you made some notes in a brown leather book. What was that book? A ledger or record of Garou deeds? How far back do those records go? Would there be anything in there about my father or would his sept alpha have kept such records him or herself? Do you know who that record keeper would be? I just thought if I could find such a record, even if there was a page missing or a line scratched out it would be proof that the records had been tampered with physically as well as metaphysically.”

Zoe takes a shallow breath and looks to Red expectantly. Before her alpha can respond, Zoe continues.

“Also, do you know where I can find Slick-Blood? I seem to remember him being more familiar with my father than the others. Perhaps he has some evidence of him that has not been altered by whatever is causing us this trouble.”

Zoe opens her mouth again as if to speak, then shuts just as quickly, not wanting to interrupt the elder Philodox once more.
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PostSubject: Re: Time to Investigate   Fri 06 Jun 2014, 23:42

Red-Oath listed patiently as Zoe made her inquiries. The Iron Rider alpha's stony attitude seemed to be reserved for the pack at large, and did not seem to extend to Zoe Kostas.

"Yeah, that book is a fetish we call the Profit Margin- it was crafted by a prosperity spirit for the Iron Riders back in Louisiana. I use it to record the major events of the Caern, and it bestows blessings on those who defend the Camino Real. I will show it to you, but understand that I am not doing so lightly. It is not a book of secrets, but it is holy thing to our tribe, a potent symbol of our good standing among our allies in the umbra." Red-Oath turned and started to head back towards the Caern's heart and the battered stagecoach contained therein.

"This sept has only been around about twenty years, and its only ever had one other alpha before me, an Iron Rider Ahroun, by the name of Biting Pattern. He was among the first of us to revive this Caern and broker a deal with Papa Stagecoach, along with me, Lune-Stalker, Slick-Blood and the rest of the old guard. He was in charge for maybe five years before he got himself scissored in two by a corpse-Wyrm in the swamps north of here...." Red saw Zoe's expression of thinly-veiled shock. "No, don't feel bad... you should have seen the other monster. The old wolf died doing what he loved." The ranking Philodox chuckled dryly.

"As for history, I am don't know how prominently Tycheros will figure in my own notes, and I know Biting Pattern didn't write much down at all. Have you spoken to Poet-Slayer? He'd be the closest thing we have to a historian, now that All-Friend is gone." Red-Oath said this with an air of slight exasperation, but from the way the alpha glanced away back toward the forest's edge, it seemed as if she may have adopted her irritated demeanor to hold her grief at bay. "Anyway, I figure you will find Slick-Blood sleeping at the Old Stone Fort saloon during the day, and at night it is anyone's guess. He might still be at the saloon, here, or out in the streets making trouble, though usually my money is on that last one."
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PostSubject: Re: Time to Investigate   Sat 07 Jun 2014, 08:10

Zoe dropped her head respectfully. "Yes, of course. I will do nothing to jeopardize the contents of the Profit Margin. I, too, wish to maintain the best standing between us and the spirits."

As Red listed the names of Garou present at the creation of the Camino Real caern, Zoe eyed her apprehensively. "Do you recall if my father was among the original members of this caern?"

Zoe nodded at Red's suggestion to talk to Poet-Slayer. "I have spoken to him in the past and he gave me some information on my mother, Agatha, a Black Fury kinfolk from New Orleans. I need to check in and see if he was able to discover if she's still alive or not. I wish to talk to Slick-Blood, also, because he seemed to be on more familiar terms with my father. Additionally, and this is just speculation, perhaps the entity erasing my parents' past has had to be selective in who it targets - the sept alpha, the caern totem, the tribe's galliard, for example. I'm thinking that if by chance it wasn't an overarching removal of memories, they may not have bothered with the group's Ragabash. I mean, no one believes half of what they say anyway, right?"

Zoe's smirked playfully, completely trusting the words of both Slick-Blood and Mocks-the-Night, though their words were often confusing and sometimes downright rude.
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PostSubject: Re: Time to Investigate   Sun 08 Jun 2014, 20:18

"I can't say I recall much about Tycheros other than what I have already told you, but apparently I have selective memory on the subject. Now, I don't want you to get your hopes up too much. I write down a lot of things, but this is primarily for monetary records." Red-Oath reached the Caern heart and after making an obsequious movement, opened the well-maintained stagecoach door. The alpha withdrew the same book that Zoe had seen following her rite of passage. The older Iron Rider handed the item to the younger Theurge with an air of gravity. The book was a well-made ledger: the cover bore the two-tiered emblem of the Iron Riders embossed in polished metal. A clasp of glimmering steel without a keyhole bound the covers shut. As Zoe took it in her hand, she could feel the mind of the spirit contained within turn towards her, appraising her with distant curiosity and cold logic. With unhurried precision, the being identified her innate connection to the Mother, and the book opened in her hands.

The small, compact pages were crafted of rich silken cloth, and covered with carefully maintained numbers detailing the business operations of Zoe’s tribe over the years. Though the handwriting changed two or three times, the records went back more than a half century. On the inside cover, there was a handwritten note:

I do not know what you will find in the new world. However, I do know that defeat is certain for those who have neglected to take the necessary precautions. By the same token, victory awaits those who have everything in order. The uninitiated call this orderliness ‘luck,’ and I wish all of it to you on your journey into the wild frontier.

Go forth, Tetrasomnian.
Your progress is Gaia’s triumph.



~Edward Schulde, Dreams-of-Machines
 
The Theurge skimmed through the well-preserved pages eagerly. Many of the entries were not relevant: sponsorship deals dating back to the American Revolutionary War, concise lists of assets and costs from corporate undertakings in Philadelphia, shipping expenses for tons of dry goods to various Louisiana ports. However, some were events, almost in the form of a diary.  

May 11th, 1798: Left Philly with I.C. et al. Good riddance, city of brotherly love. Yesterday I was a thorn in their side; at my sendoff I’m an ‘intrepid young Garou.’ Patrick is just glad to have me gone and not bloodying up the place.

October 8th, 1813: New Orleans is what we were looking for. Good prospects, strong economy. Politicians who don’t look too close when cash is on the line. Even found an abandoned Caern real close to the city. Some deranged Cajun cults seem to be the only threat and they stay out in their swamps. Once we secure our resource lines we will begin to fight to reclaim what belongs to us.

February 26th, 1815: Gaia is watching over us. Cajuns are heavily tainted, almost certainly Black Spiral kin. Heavy resistance. Brokered a deal with the N.O. restless dead to help us against mutual threat.
^This is your idea of progress, eh?!

March 14, 1815: Reinforcements came, human and Garou. Coming ashore with Laffite’s pirates, the Exiled pack has joined us. Our battles were close fought before. Time for the traitors to pay in blood.

What Zoe found odd was penned into the margins of the unusual fetish- handwritten notes of an often cryptic persuasion. ‘Stay away from whale oil’ was jotted down next to profits from a fishing haul. ‘Ran out of rat poison. If Travers comes back again, I’ll kill him,’ accompanied a report of a land grant seized from some Cajun backwater.    

Then Zoe discovered an entry detailing smuggling operations between Natchitoches and Nacogdoches. It was followed by a hastily scrawled note:

1818: Found a seal’d cairn. Pure all dead and gone, illness likely. Going to gather some packs and open it as soon as possible.


Scrawled nearby were the words: late 1818: Opened the cairn. Got the Irregulars and the Exiled to help. Old cairn spirit slumbering too deeply. Summoned the Spirit of the Highway as new patron. Few Wyrm animals and evil spirits attacked. Those that did were no match.

1826: City in rebellion. Ordered the others to protect their assets and move the loot over the border until this blows over. Human deathtoll higher than expected. Discovered a metis in the woods. Said he was a Bone Gnawer.


Details of Zoe's rite were the penultimate entry, with the last concerning Penelope and her judgement. There could easily have been more material. The Profit Margin probably had hundreds of pages.
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PostSubject: Re: Time to Investigate   Sun 08 Jun 2014, 20:52

Zoe reads through the Profit Margin fascinated by the journal-style entries but a bit overwhelmed by all the business notes held within. She gently closes the book, thanks it for its help, and hands it back to Red.

"Thanks, Red. That gives me some more to ponder. If nothing else it's interesting bits of our tribe's past.  I'm gonna go see what kind of help the spirits can offer me and Henrietta."  

Zoe steps around the stagecoach and meets Henrietta on the edge of reality, just shy of slipping sideways into the Umbra.

“Before we start summoning spirits and asking for help, I would like to lay out for you what all I know so that you and I will be on the same page.  Also, you may be able to help me draw insight from this information as I think through it all at one time.”

Henrietta nods and smiles but says nothing, allowing the younger Theurge to proceed.

“Okay, thanks, so here’s what I know, or at least believe, to be fact.  First, my name is Zoe Kostas, daughter of Tycheros and Agatha Kostas.  The only reason I know that's my name is because of a necklace I've had for as long as I can remember and because the letter I got from our now pack totem was addressed to me as Zoe Kostas. Slick-Blood Sanchez confirmed upon first meeting me that I favored Tycheros.  Also, my mother, who is from New Orleans, is Black Fury kinfolk, who I believe are mostly Greek in heritage thus my dark, unruly hair.  Where were you from again, Henrietta?  Are there any in our sept now who are from New Orleans?  Perhaps they know or knew her.”

Zoe shakes her head and begins pacing.  “But I digress.  Back to the matters of fact.  Tycheros was an Iron Rider like us, which leads me to believe he would have left more of an imprint on the human world than most Garou do, seeing as how we are more prone to and comfortable with interacting with them.  Perhaps Poet-Slayer would have some information for me.  He said he was going to investigate the whereabouts of my mother.  Remind me to speak to him when we’re done here.”

As Zoe turns back toward Henrietta she pauses, a look of consternation mixed with confusion upon her face.  “Now, as you heard me tell Red Oath concerning Papa Stagecoach and as you saw in her response, something or someone has managed to erase or conceal any detailed memories of my parents in both Garou and spirits alike.  The most I have been able to get from anyone as of late is that my father was a 'good man who died an honorable death.'  I myself do not have any memories of them, but I always assumed it was because I was abandoned at a young age.  I honestly do not know at what age I was separated from them or if I had any memories of them that have been lost due to my age at the time or due to whatever nefarious force or being is trying to destroy all evidence of my parents.”

Her pacing continues, but her steps are more purposeful than before.  “Now, the elder Malchizadek at the Forked Paths caern says that he has been investigating my parents’ past and has turned up nothing – at least nothing he shared with me at the time.  He claims that there are no records of my father’s deeds or rank. I thought I could find something in a book belonging to Red Oath, but it turns out it's primarily just business details and a few disjunct entries concerning the starting of this caern. He also says that as far as he could find my mother might never have even existed.  Now I know her name and where she was from and to what tribe she was kin, so I know that she existed.  Now the question is whether or not she still lives and if so, where?”

Zoe stops her pacing, turns back to the elder Theurge, and sighs.  “That’s all I ‘know,’ but I have plenty of speculations on what this information might mean and a few ideas on where to find more intel. Would you like to share any thoughts or suggestions before I continue?”
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PostSubject: Re: Time to Investigate   Tue 10 Jun 2014, 00:42

As far as personalities went, Henrietta Strauss was nearly the complete opposite of the erratic and distracted Lune-Stalker. The woman maintained a constant air of decided sophistication, and although her thin features were a bit too bony to be considered pretty, the Theurge's eyes were bright and scrutinizing. On this occasion, she was wearing a blue cotton dress with a matching close bonnet, accompanied by a smart dun jacket. In her forties or fifties, the Adren moved with with clipped precision; she carefully maintained her poise, even within the tumultuous umbra. "Quite a puzzle indeed, Hears-the-Song. I cannot say I have any acquaintances from New Orleans. I am from Pennsylvania, myself. However, I would be more than happy to assist you in any way that I can."

"I find one or two details to be rather peculiar. Stealing a woman away from the Black Furies is like taking a fish from a grizzly bear. Perhaps your father was just being bold and brash, but the reprisals both your parents would have faced would have been severe in the extreme. Perhaps that in some way plays into the matter at hand?" Henrietta frowned slightly and glanced at Zoe. "On the other hand, perhaps not. It might simply be a red herring, if your parents were able to placate or avoid the Furies in some other manner."

"As for the widespread failure of others recall definitive facts about your father, I wonder if there is a reason why it seems to effect him to a lesser degree than your mother. Perhaps it is because he had more of a reputation, so his past was more difficult to erase in its entirety..." Henriatta's eyes flittered away from Zoe, off into the woods, as one of her pale hands toyed with an errant curl of grey-blond hair. "Now, keep in mind this is all speculation. There could be other factors at work. Maybe it has to do with proximity; if Tycheros was here in the past, maybe that allowed remnants of his memory to live on. Perhaps it has to do with the strength of his past relationships- if your father and Red Oath or Slick-Blood were in a pack together, that might account for their having at least dim recollections of him."

The older Garou shook her head, muttering in exasperation. "I can see why Malchizedek was stymied." Henrietta reached out and patted Zoe's arm, her expression a friendly, bemused smile. "This situation is quite remarkable... and very, very queer."

"I am curious to see how are you plan on approaching the spirits in this matter. Shall we step over?"
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PostSubject: Re: Time to Investigate   Tue 10 Jun 2014, 04:44

Zoe nods to Henrietta and the two step sideways into the familiar yet always bizarre umbral landscape of the Camino Real caern. The young theurge loved it here and was always reminded of her rite of passage when traversing the penumbra in or around Nacogdoches.

"The Black Furies may have been unhappy with my father's choice of bride, but our tribes are not supposed to go after one another with hostility. Should the Furies not be honored that a Garou from another tribe desired to mate with their kin? I would think cross-tribe marriages would help to solidify connections between tribes not tear them apart. Then again, I do not know much about the Black Furies."

As Zoe gazes out across the caern heart, she watches Papa Stagecoach tinker with his larger-than-life vehicle. "Your speculations concerning the effects of reputation and proximity are interesting. Also, it may be as simple as it being easier to forget a kinfolk than it is to forget a Garou. Either way, foul play is definitely at work and I am determined to find out more."

Zoe turns to Henrietta, her determination evident in her posture and facial expression. "You and Walks-With-Spiders mentioned that time spirits or memory spirits might be able to help me figure out what happened here. I would like to summon one of each and see if they have ever heard of such a thing or if they have any way of reversing the damage done to the memories of Red Oath or Papa Stagecoach."

Zoe's determination shifts to a request for help. "What spirits in particular do you think we should summon? I admit I am still young and still learning all the different types that are out there."
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PostSubject: Re: Time to Investigate   Tue 10 Jun 2014, 23:51

A whirling breeze danced through the penumbral, Henrietta's dress flowing in the wind. The swirling lightless clouds that often permeated the spirit world during the day were absent in the Caern's heart, and the area was suffused with a cool sourceless light. Occasionally the odd cockroach gaffling would scurry about, but many spirits seemed to be dormant, other than the gregarious patron of the Camino Real. When the duo had appeared, he winked at them before continuing to putter around his magnificent stagecoach, paying particular attention to the six horse spirits harnessed to the mighty frame.

"The Black Furies have difficulty getting along with many tribes in the Nation. They see themselves as protectors of women, and as such, only allow female Garou to join their tribe. If you take the Furies at their word, women have an inherent, intuitive connection to Gaia's will. I won't argue that point with them," Henrietta said with a smile. "However, I doubt they would look kindly on their kinfolk leaving to consort with any man outside of those sanctioned to be among their kin. For the Furies, matters of gender often transcend tribe, and they are more than willing to use violence against Garou who they perceive as violators."

Henrietta paused briefly, thinking about the task set before them. "As for matters of spirit, well, we have a few choices set before us. There are Gaian spirits associated with such concepts as memory or marking the passage of time. These would be spirit reflections of animals or plants that have grown to represent of the ideas Garou and humans associate with them. One of these would be a somewhat indirect source, but they are familiar and quite friendly, generally speaking. I even have an old spirit confederate who has an excellent memory; however, there are many alternatives we could explore, given the time... summoning spirits of the abstract concepts of time or memory is possible, just risky."

A lanky, angular shape emerged striding from the treeline, a man wearing a grey woolen overcoat and denim pants. Old green tattoos of the Garou runes for 'truth' and 'hate' were printed on his knuckles. A tangled salt and pepper beard merged indistinguishably from a long unkempt hair. An impressively crooked nose jutted out of the mane like a twisted dagger. Zoe recognized him as Cold Stare, Theurge of Ear-Killer's pack. His name was accurate. His light brown eyes were distant, almost empty. Without preamble, the newcomer stalked up to them and grunted "Howdy ladies, couldn't help but overhear. If you are summoning enigmatics I think I'm gonna watch." His eyes glinted like frozen honey and he may have been grinning underneath all the hair.

"I don't believe we need any assistance, Mr. Roth. However, if we need any fashionable and winsome tattoos, I will let you know posthaste," Henrietta sniffed. Somehow she managed to keep her placid smile intact.  

The other Garou fell into a spider-like crouch. "Yeah, well, I wasn't offering to help, but now that you mention it-" The grey werewolf turned and looked up at Zoe. "Lily-Hands here suggested Gaian-aligned spirits first 'cause Enigmatics aren't cute and soft. They don't follow our rules, most don't care a damn about Garou society. They are powerful, dangerous, alien. Time is potent, fundamental, Kostas. Getting the attention of a time spirit, even a small one, is like trying to lasso a cyclone. Even if you succeed, you aren't really in control of what happens afterward."  

Abruptly, Cold Stare fell silent. Henietta looked apologetically at her ad-hoc pupil. "I hate to say it, but our brother is right. Many conceptual spirits are hard to approach and perilous to bargain with, but we can still attempt it, if you so choose."
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PostSubject: Re: Time to Investigate   Wed 11 Jun 2014, 06:55

"I could see why the Furies might be a matter of concern if it weren't for the fact that they also erased any recollection of their own. If they wanted to bring Agatha back into the fold, they would do away with Tycheros and any memory of him so as to force others to forget he had run away with my mother. Either way, if I run into any Furies from New Orleans, I will be sure to question them intently."

Hears-the-Song listens carefully to the concerns of the two theurges. "The Gaian-aligned spirits sound easier to deal with but potentially less helpful. If my parents are still alive, then time is of the essence and I am willing to do a little cyclone wrestling if it will give me some answers. Besides, I doubt any memory spirit would be too fond of someone in our realm messing with its domain."

Zoe takes a deep breath and turns confidently toward Henrietta. "I would like for us to summon a memory spirit."
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PostSubject: Re: Time to Investigate   Sat 14 Jun 2014, 02:05

Henrietta's head bobbed once in a curt nod. "Alright Zoe, that seems like a sound compromise. Let's get to work. As I understand it, your pack is not planning on being in Nacogdoches for too long."

Cold Stare looked across the clearing at the pines and oaks, and grunted. "Have to admit, I'm intrigued. I'll throw my hat into the ring too. How big a cyclone are you willing to take on to get your answers, Kostas?"

"Let's not get carried away. I think a Jaggling will be plenty."  

The Theurges worked together to call into the depths of the umbra and summon forth a creature of pure memory. It did not take long. The the murky sub-light of day had begun to give way to the pre-lunar dawn as the moon began to creep up toward the edge of the horizon. The three Garou stood in a triangle, their eyes hooded, concentrating their wills while entertaining old memories- places, homes, friends and family long gone.

A distantly familiar scent floated through the air, that of burned fish and crushed watercress. Zoe could not quite place it, but it made her palms itch. Her eyes snapped open to see the slowly whirling Jaggling undulate through the air above their heads. The thing was like a hazy, indistinct humanoid outline, appearing like a supine person shrouded in fog or steam. The only feature that could clearly be seen was a pair of blazing white eyes, bright but empty. In those burning orbs Zoe sensed intelligence, and yearning. Two blurry hands stretched down toward the werewolf mystics, and she gazed up at the cloud-wrapped spirit, Zoe suddenly remembered that she was smelling the first meal she shared with the twins, Shorty and Talls...
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PostSubject: Re: Time to Investigate   Sat 14 Jun 2014, 12:56

Hears-the-Song closes her eyes as the decade-and-a-half-old memory floods her mind. She can clearly see the faces of the two redheaded boys who were the earliest family she could remember. She remembers feeling afraid and sad yet grateful for food and people who might be nice to her. As quickly as the memory appeared it fades from her sight and she is left standing face to face with the bright-eyed spirit. She bows her head in reverence, but speak loudly and with great confidence.

"Oh great spirit of memory. We thank you for your quick response to our request of your presence. It has been made known to me that someone or something has been erasing the people's memories of Tycheros and Agatha Kostas. We seek your wisdom in determining who might have done this, how it has been done, and if there is a way to recover those stolen memories. I am also curious if you have any memory of those two individuals or if the effects are farther reaching than we realize."
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PostSubject: Re: Time to Investigate   Sun 15 Jun 2014, 15:34

The opaque being withdrew its hazy hands and writhed in space, as if caught in a violent storm only it could perceive. A new scent, one of algae-choked water and steam-burned meat, caught in Zoe's nostrils. A whispering tone spoke in her ear, and the Iron Rider was slightly shocked to find that the voice was not unlike Ryan O'Toole's...

"Despite your courtesy, what you ask is quite impossible, Zoe dear. I cannot tell you what has been forgotten."

The voice changed, to that of Rosco. He laughed harshly, and Zoe could see his snarling smile flash in her mind. "And believe me, kiddo, I would if I could. But maybe- just maybe, we could come up with an, uh, creative solution. I ain't gonna fink, Raven, but maybe we might could play a game..."

There was a pause, and then the measured, authoritative words belonged to Malchizedek. "It may be best to resolve the tension between my obligations and your curiosity through a contest. Riddles are valuable way to stimulate the mind. Answer my quandaries successfully and you will approach the truth."

The voice slurred the last word, as the voice cracked and took on a tough, feminine tone. Now it was as if Red-Oath was right up in Zoe's face and talking close, like she did that first night at Harriet's house. "Alright Kostas, tell me this: what battle of ten on one gives birth to still red eyes and snatches away death's rattle?"

Henrietta and Cold Stare said nothing. Their eyes were on Zoe, waiting for her response.
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PostSubject: Re: Time to Investigate   Sun 15 Jun 2014, 18:44

Zoe sighed sadly when the spirit pronounced its inability to restore forgotten memories.  Comfort washed over her at the voice of her adopted father coming from this strange spirit, but as soon as Rosco's voice took control she shuddered at the last memory she had of him approaching her right before her first change.  Finally, Red's voice offered the confidence Zoe needed to press on and rise to the spirit's challenge.

She breathed deeply and closed her eyes in an attempt to decipher the cryptic words.

10 on 1...10 against 1...what comes in sets of 10?  10 people? 10 spirits? 10 creatures? Maybe a pack of something...hmm...10 fingers? 10 toes? Red eyes and death's rattle...perhaps the 10 is also related to a body or part of some kind

Zoe nodded to herself as she considered the remained of the riddle.

So 10 fingers or toes against 1 finger or toe?  No, the 10 fingers make sense, but the 1 must be something different. 1 head, 1 torso, 1 neck...

Zoe's mouth rounded into the shape of an 'Oh' as the pieces fell into place. She exhaled a short breath and hoped for the sake of her parents that she was right.

"10 fingers against 1 neck or throat would give birth to red eyes to the victim, and snatch away death's rattle as the person is strangled to death."

Her pride in decoding the enigmatic message almost immediately gave way to the dismal realization of the relevance of the answer. "Are you saying one of my parents was strangled?  Certainly not a Garou like my father. My mother then?  By whom? How long after I was born?"
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PostSubject: Re: Time to Investigate   Sun 15 Jun 2014, 21:31

Henrietta reached out and squeezed Zoe's hand briefly, her glance filled with worry. The enigmatic drifted closer, down, the vague suggestion of a face shining with eerily light. "For once, Urrah, stop asking questions and be content with answering them. Do not try my patience." The words were little more than a cold growl that sounded as if they emanated from deep within Frost-Blood's throat.  

Then the sensation was gone, replaced by a young, girlish voice with only a slight edge to it: "Look- sorry. I'm trying to help as best I can, Zoe. My hands are kind of tied here. I'm doing my best." Penelope's voice sounded slightly exasperated and distant as it echoed in the Theurge's mind.

The memory spirit leapt up in the air, flexing and whirling and casting off many strange scents- gunpowder and broth, fresh money and earthworms. "Twins, gloves, and shoes are not all that come in pairs. Cities sometimes have twins, too. Name the evil sister of this Caern's town." All-Friend grinned easily at her from under his neat beard, the same kind expression he wore that first fateful night of her rite of passage. Cold Stare coughed, a quick but racking reverberation that banished the vision from Zoe's mind and snapped her back to the present.
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PostSubject: Re: Time to Investigate   Sun 15 Jun 2014, 22:18

A growl escaped Zoe's throat before she could stop it as the voice of the deceased Get of Fenris spoke to her. Her voice then caught in her throat at the pained voice of her young friend Penelope. She smiled a bittersweet smile as All Friend finished speaking, missing her old friend but grateful for a question with a clear answer.

"The city you speak of is Natchitoches in Louisiana."

Zoe spoke with confidence and kept the questions that swirled in her mind in check for now, not wanting to upset the spirit and lose her chance to gain any additional information. She recalled seeing records in Red's book earlier that evening of Garou trading between the two towns.
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PostSubject: Re: Time to Investigate   Mon 16 Jun 2014, 23:10

Light, hearfelt laughter spilled from the spirit, accompanied by Lune-Stalker's earthy scent. Henrietta nodded to Zoe encouragingly, but Cold Stare mouthed the words 'too easy,' and gazed up at the spirit as if he were sizing up a huckster's discount horse.

Then the slow, methodical voice of Chief Bowl issued out of the enigmatic; the tone was flat, and did not sound happy or sad, merely numb. "This is a creature that lives in the water, but the learned know it to be ugly, small, an heir to insects. The unlearned tell stories of the same, but they know her as beauty, strength, the daughter of gods. Name this being."
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PostSubject: Re: Time to Investigate   Tue 17 Jun 2014, 10:02

Zoe narrowed her eyes as she considered the third question of the spirit. Though she only attended school for a few years as an older child and younger teen, she did quite well and was able to remember quite a lot from those days as her appetite for learning grew.

Small, ugly heir of an insect? An heir is a child or offspring. The heir of an insect would be an egg or a larva or a nymph, perhaps.

She then recalled a literature class that discussed certain Greek mythical entities, among which included beautiful, strong, water-dwelling...

"Nymphs? The answer is nymphs? Are you saying one of my parents strangled a nymph in Natchitoches? Or that they were strangled by one of these mythical creatures?"

Zoe's face contorted as she tried to piece together the riddles' answers in relation to her parents. She looked to the other two Theurges for input and awaited the spirit's response.
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PostSubject: Re: Time to Investigate   Tue 17 Jun 2014, 11:46

The ephemeral creature cleared its throat, and Juryk Hunts-Twice seemed to quietly answer her. "These are all parts of a greater puzzle, Hears-the-Song. Strangle, Natchitoches, a Nymph. These things are all connected to what you are looking for, but in very different ways."

Vincente Cordova's syrup-sweet accented cant issued out of the undulating spirit: "None have as close an association as you presume, chica; but you are a smart one. A little digging, and I am sure you will put together the pieces." The memory of a disjointed bane-haunted body stumbling and thrashing in the night flashed in Zoe's mind as the spirit continued, its voice a low murmur. "I just hope you are prepared for what you uncover."

Then the enigmatic vanished, leaving nothing but the faint scent of sea salt and gunpowder.
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PostSubject: Re: Time to Investigate   Tue 17 Jun 2014, 16:14

Zoe shook her head to remove the memory of Cordova from her consciousness. She stared into the recently vacated umbral space where the spirit had moments before resided. She looked slowly at one Theurge then the other before laughing softly.

"Well, that's a start, right? I don't know what all it means, but there was something in Red's book about trading between Natchitoches and Nacogdoches, so hopefully one of our tribesmen might be able to start making some connections for us."

She furrowed her brow quizzically before inquiring of her fellow Iron Riders. "Have either of you ever encountered a nymph or known someone who has? Are they dangerous? Protected? Could tangling with one lead to the problems we're having here today?"

Cocking her head to the side, she gently placed an open hand around her throat. "The strangling is interesting as well. I imagine it's nearly impossible for a mere mortal to strangle one of our kind. And our kind would likely resort to teeth and claws than suffocation of our enemy. Unless my mother was the one strangled..."

Zoe shook her head violently to clear the imagined image of a Garou with his hands around the throat of a dark-haired, olive-skinned woman. "I...I just don't know what to make of all this. Any insights from ones more experienced than myself?"
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PostSubject: Re: Time to Investigate   Wed 18 Jun 2014, 15:48

Cold Stare grunted in the affirmative. "Hell, you bet I can tell you something about the situation east. Louisiana's bayous are my home territory; we do have some 'Rider kinfolk that got a small smuggling ring in Natchitoches. No Caern or anything impressive like that, but sometimes one of our packs would pass through and make sure everything was running safe and quiet. After the Texans declared their rebellion, the embargo was over and legal trade ended up being more profitable than crime, so the kin turned around and started some legitimate shipping businesses. The Camino Real," Cold Stare nodded over towards Papa Stagecoach, "extends all the way through that sleepy town to the riverfront, and this Caern owes much of its wealth to its eastern supply line."

Henrietta grinned enthusiastically when Zoe mentioned the aquatic spirit. "I have spoken to Nymphs- they are a kind of water elemental. They are usually playful and capricious, but not outright mad like a Lune spirit. Some are tied to rivers and lagoons, but they can inhabit coves, open seas, and stretches of shoreline just as easily, but apparently they are more common in the Old World. I actually bargained with one to speed my voyage down through the gulf." Henrietta smoothed out some imagined wrinkles from her dress and smiled kindheartedly. "I would not worry too much about the strangling business, my dear. We don't know enough yet."

The older male Theurge took a long, drawn out breath before he continued. "That enigmatic was being evasive. Too evasive. I'm glad the thing didn't try to squeeze you for favors, young one." Cold Stare muttered, half into his beard. "It might have bans in place preventing it from telling you too much, but it is entirely possible it doesn't know half as much as it lets on."

Henrietta scowled across at the grey headed werewolf, who was rubbing his knobby, tattooed knuckles as if they pained him. "Surely, you don't think the memory spirit was simply stringing her along, Mr. Roth? It seemed quite sincere, from what I could tell..." but Cold Stare was already shaking his head in the negative.

"No, no, I didn't say that. It might know some things, a sight more than you or I or Zoe here, but it might still be affected by this memory lapse curse." Cold  Stare cracked the joints in his long fingers with an air of finality as he turned to address Hears-the-Song. "I think our mutual smelly friend was truthful, but it only gave you a confusing jumble of unrelated names and facts because that's all its got."
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