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It is currently 06:30 Pacific Time on Fri Mar 23 2012.
Currently the moon is in the waxing New (Ragabash) Moon phase (4% full).

Harbor Park -- The Meadow
One of the last bastions of green left in the city, mottled and withered grass and weeds covers the earth like a badly stained carpet, with the construction work turning what is left into just bare dirt. The vegetation seems marginally healthier the further it is from the river and much healthier towards the central area of the park around the fountain. Construction work is ongoing here: a raised earthen berm about five feet tall is being built all around the park perimeter, with two breaks each at the Bridge Street entrance and the First Street end. Wooden posts are being erected at regular intervals all along the earthen wall, while tasteful iron gates and fences are being added at the entrances. Overpowering the scent of living vegetation are the exhaust fumes from a busy street to the west and an unpleasant stench from the Columbia River to the east. From the street view or river view, the park is now isolated, as if it existed apart from the city. People in tall buildings have an excellent view of any goings-ons for now, though. In the center of the park, a small glade of six tall trees and a flower bed surrounds the fountain.

The murky waters of the Columbia River flow swiftly along the east side of the park. Bracketing the park to the west is First Street and the city of St. Claire.

Obvious exits:
Bridge Street Fountain First Street River


Nicodemus is perched on the edge of the fountain. His right glove has been removed to allow his fingers to lightly touch the pool's surface. He looks calm and contemplative. This is a man who has found his inner zen. The rest of the park is largely deserted at this hour. It's too cold and unsheltered for the homeless and too early and cold for most recreation-oriented park-goers. There are, however, a 40-something couple running around the jogging train in matching blue and white jogging attire.

An older, white-haired woman comes over the grass from the north at an easy lope, glancing at and then pocketing a cell phone. As she draws closer years drop away and it becomes clear that the approaching jogger is Shelby. She heads straight for the fountain, there to greet Nicodemus with a bright smile. "Hoped I'd find you here this morning. Up for a run?"

Nicodemus idly flicks droplets of water from his fingertips, returning them to the pool. He gets up, moment of zen apparently now over, as he pulls the glove back over his hand to rewarm his fingers and protect from the cold. "Wait a second," he requests as he extracts his wallet from a pants pocket, opens it, and removes two pennies from between the folds. One is offered to you and the other kept for himself. "And no telling what you wish for," he says, glancing towards the fountain and thus indicating the purpose of the penny being given to you.

Shelby obligingly waits as directed, though she bounces in her toes and keeps an interested eye on their surroundings rather than stay still. "Oh?" Sounding amused, she weighs the penny for a few moments, then closes her eyes briefly and flicks it into the water. "It's like a birthday wish. I always wondered - what's the statute of limitations on those? Can you expect results in a few days? A few weeks? How long does the universe have to act on what you've asked for?" Her tone remains light.

With a metallic *twing!* Nick flips his penny into the pool. "I have no idea, but I'm still waiting for the universe to deliver that white Ferarri F-50 I wished for when I was 14. It probably just got lost in transit," he claims, letting the universe off the hook for that one. He does warmup stretches as he talks, preparing to join you in your run. "Where to, McDuff?"

"The universe probably realized you weren't legally able to drive and negated it on a technicality," the Ragabash observes. "Try asking again. And hmm, I'm not sure. I'm woefully out of practice. What about toward the library? It's still early enough that they probably wouldn't notice a couple of people on the roof, right?"

"The library's roof?" Nick states out loud, as if vocalizing it will make it make more sense. (He's probably misunderstood your suggestion.) "That's different. But sure, why not? Let's give it a shot." He finishes stretching out his limbs and hops in place a few times, building up energy and psyching himself up. "It's probably just as well I didn't get the F-50. It leaves the door open for a Lamborghini now that I've got my license."

"Unless you've got somewhere else to be?" Shelby challenges with a smile. "I'm not saying let's pretend we're Spiderman and leap over rooftops, but there have to be enough things up there to keep our attention, right? Don't have to worry about running down random passersby, either." "--See? Universe knows what it's doing. Now you're all ready for the Lambo."

"I actually do have an appointment later, but I've got free time for now to just enjoy the morning sun." Nick bounces harder up and down, further psyching himself up, but clearly not overly so. "No Spiderman stuff. Not that high up, at least. Be one with the world, but not with the pavement." He starts off towards the library, jogging backwards at first and then a hop to twist mid-air while still moving, landing facing the right direction. "C'mon, pokey," he says with good-natured mocking.

Shelby says, "See? So you should enjoy it from even closer." She bounces as well, less to get into the mood than to burn off already-present energy, and when his challenge comes she's in motion with a burst of speed that settles into a companionable jogging-beside. "So how are things going? Have any cases you're working?"

Nicodemus lets you catch up and doesn't play one-upmanship type games to see who can stay out in front. For now. "Just one case that involved peeping in windows with a camera to catch Mrs. Perfect Housewife having an affair. With another woman. She won't be getting half in the upcoming divorce proceedings." He makes a face, indicating this is not the kind of detective work he cares to do, but that it pays the rent. "And there was this other missing person's case I took on for free. Kid missing her mom? Charity case I took on hoping to keep the kid from ending up on the streets with a ruined life," he explains and then pauses to use a park bench to get big air, then land into a graceful, shock-absorbing crouch. "Turned out she recently joined the pee wee leagues batting for Team Jacob. So, in a way, she did end up with family that'll help her out in the end."

"So proof of adultery - or alleged proof of adultery - means she won't get her alimony?" Shelby sounds dubious about that, and not at all about the lesbianism. The conversation pauses while she follows Nick's leap, less showy but with an equal landing. After catching up she shoots him a sidelong, confused look. "...What's Team Jacob?"

"I just take the pictures or dig up the evidence. Insofar as what the situation is or who has the better lawyer, that's not my problem--and I don't care to know, either. Most of the time, they already know they're being cheated on: they just want someone else to prove it--maybe to themselves. I don't ask personal questions: these tend to be badly broken relationships, often with broken people. If I had enough business elsewhere, I'd turn them down. But money is money," Nicodemus claims with an underlying tone that clearly indicates he wishes this were not the case. He jogs a space longer, then glances sidelong at you to see if you're serious about the Team Jacob question. He guesses you were. "Ever heard of the 'Twilight' series? Books that were made into movies designed for tweenagers?" He actually stops for a second, looks around to make sure the coaast is clear, before talking about the franchise. "It's all about this human girl, Bella, who falls for this vampire, Edward, who has given up feeding on humans and sparkles when he goes out into the sunlight. I am so not making this shit up," the mage claims. "Anyway. Bella, the girl, is in love with Edward and this other guy, Jacob, who's a werewolf. And it's basically a bunch of movies all about Bella choosing between the two of them. The young girls who're fans of the series came up with 'Team Edward' and 'Team Jacob' as a means of saying who they were rooting for Bella to end up with. So.... Oh," he adds. "And vampire baseball. Again, I shit you not."

"Yes," Shelby says mildly, "that's what I mean. You just took the pictures; you're no lawyer or judge to determine what happens to the people after." As for the books, she meets the gaze with a single inquiring eyebrow that's rapidly joined by its fellow. "I wish I thought you were joking. Those sound utterly awful. I remember hearing something about them, but they didn't sound interesting." She continues on a few steps more before turning. "...Really? Vampire baseball? And teams?" She shakes her head, disgusted. "Sounds like twaddle to me. But hey, if it makes the author happy and, one assumes if there's movie deals, very very rich...."

"She's filthy rich. The books and movies are indescribeably terrible. I had to read the series because a friend from back when I was in my goth phase recommended them to me. I kept hoping that it'd suddenly get better in subsequent books, but it never did." The tone in Nick's voice indicates there's an unspoken comment about wanting that lost time of his life back--possibly with interest. "But because the series is so popular, there's the benefit of being able to say 'Team Jacob' in public places without anyone batting an eye. So it makes a great substitute for using the 'g' word or the 'w' word." Nick pauses and then illustrates the point--theory turned to application. "So it turned out that Izzy Sparks, the kid I was trying to help find her mother, was unknowingly a member of Team Jacob."

Shelby says, "Lucky woman," sounding mildly wistful. "--Oh yes, I see what you mean. So long as everyone knows the reference, it's a great way to keep secrets. I think I've heard something about her, but really, I've been so busy running between work and school that it pretty well passed me by. She isn't one of my cousins, so I have the luxury of not paying attention to her. Not everyone's that lucky." A beat and she adds, "But you're still looking for her biological family? Or not?"

"Her dad's dead: T-boned by a truck. I kind of know where her mom ended up via credit card transactions, but the trail went cold about 5 or 6 months ago. Sera, one of you folks," Nick clarifies, "helped by doing something to find out what direction she was in--and said that getting a direction meant she was still alive." He waves a hand vaguely, "I was kind of hoping that Mouse would be able to pass the buck on to someone else to help, but she was overwhelemed, recently had to leave town, and this was before anyone knew she was playing for Team Jacob. I didn't really think anyone would bother or care about one random orphan girl's missing mother. Then Val told me that it was a moot point because Izzy had changed and was no longer in the city. I'd look more, but I'm out of options beyond asking members of Team Jacob for help--and Izzy can do that herself now."

Shelby listens with appropriate attentiveness and sympathy, nodding or making other faint noises where appropriate. "True, but her mind's likely to be elsewhere for the next few months. You're probably still her best chance, at least for a while." She pauses to dash at a mailbox, only veering off at the last second but slapping her hands hollowly against the metal. "Plus, you're family. Nothing wrong with asking family for help. We can do some triangulation along the line that's already been plotted."

Nicodemus nods to everything you're saying. "Right now, it looks like it'd involve a road trip east down I-90, dead-on until somewhere in the middle of Montana--according to the trail left by credit card purchases. That's a hell of a trip. Plus, if she's still alive--according to Sera--why would a mother who touched based weekly with her family suddenly stop, disappear, and never be heard from again? I'm... a little concerned about what may be on the other end."

"All sorts of reasons," Shelby says, with a shrug. "Sure, the reasons that first leap to mind aren't good ones, but still. They aren't the only options. If I see this kid, what should I tell her? That you're still looking but you're on a hiatus? Perhaps once she's graduated she'll be able to help you herself."

Nicodemus sprints towards a lamp post, hops, and does a parkour-style singing-in-the-rain twirl on it before stepping off into a light skip. "Val offered to take me out to her to tell her in person. Then all hell broke loose around here and it went to a back burner. I hear the gang is getting together today to go boot the ugly cousins out of town." He punctuates this with "Good riddence." He then continues, asking a question. "You think it'd be okay to go talk to her? She's probably coping with a whole lot of stuff at once. I don't want to be a distraction or cause her unnecessary grief or worry."

"Someone's got to stay home to guard the princess," Shelby agrees after 'good riddance' - though her tone's turned decidedly wry. "And mmm, no. I could go. Val, possibly. Without knowing her situation I can't be any more specific than that. Some people are very strict with their children, and I don't know who's picked her up. I can carry a message, though. Verbal's probably better than written."

Nicodemus seems perfectly fine with not going out to wherever it is that Izzy's curently being kept at, and perhaps a little relieved at your disapproval of Val's suggestion. "Tell Izzy I haven't forgotten about her, and I'll put together an information package for her and send it by air mail."

Shelby shoots him another dubious look but nods. "As a warning... air mail isn't always welcome. Old habits die hard, and memories are long. I'll try to find out where she is, and I'll let you know if it's safe to send something. Once she's graduated, like I said, she won't be nearly so much under anyone's thumb." She halts to jog in place as they approach a corner, and the way forward is temporarily blocked by a semi. "But I'll definitely let her know she hasn't been forgotten, and that you have some information. I'll deliver it, if nothing else works."

Nicodemus shuffles side to side instead of hopping, just to be different. "I did not know that about Val and her relationship with others. You know what? Do tell Izzy that I've got some information to put together for her. Do tell her that I apologize for not getting back with her sooner due to all the craziness going on recently. Do tell her I'll have a assembled a complete information package of everything I found once she's allowed to go out on her own. And do tell her that there's no fee at all because she's family." He then explains, "That'll help give her hope and maybe motivate her to excel. I... just hope nothing horrific has happened to her mom in the meantime." He takes it to the dark place again.

Shelby jogs backwards a few feet in an attempt to avoid the truck's exhaust, making a face at the smell. "Sure. All that's more than reasonable." Once the way is cleared she sets out again after checking both ways (someone was well-indoctrinated with road safety). "It's nothing personal, but her kind can't keep secrets, so things you thought were safe end up splattered all over the front page. Sometimes literally. Sometimes emphasis on the 'splattered'." Another glance sidelong and the Ragabash rolls her eyes. "Yeah, I won't mention that part, Pollyanna."

"It's good to see that stereotyping is alive and kicking in the animal kingdom," Nick states after your comment about the Corax. He takes extra care to heavily garnish the comment with a not-too-serious tone and an exaggeratedly wry grin--lessening any potential sting--but there is that hint of a sting deep down there still. Then, perhaps realizing he might have gone too far with that statement, he offers, "Sorry. That came out wrong."

Enough of a sting that Shelby's face has gone utterly flat - 'unamused' might cover it, in the Queen Victoria sense. "Yes," she agrees, tone also flat. "It did. Very wrong. Would you like to try to fill in that hole, or would you rather ignore it and pretend it never happened?"

"That's a hole I dug: let me fill it back up." Here he stops moving and starts standing in place. "First, let me reiterate that that came out wrong, and I'm sorry for that." He's also managed to adopt a more formal tone. "I'm sure what you'd intended was to advise me that, in general, her kind are renowned for having a tendency towards leaking secrets--but there may be individual exceptions to the rule, as there almost always tend to be. And I misinterpreted what you'd said, and then promptly crammed my foot deep in my mouth. Which, again, I apologize for."

Shelby stops a few paces further on and turns to face him. As he speaks her expression loosens, chin coming up slightly - in guilt? defensively? - though she doesn't try to answer until he's finished. "I'm sorry too. You're right, I was using a mighty broad brush. There are exceptions to every stereotype. It's just that some people shoot first and ask questions later, and rather than invite rash actions in...." She shrugs, and glances up and down the block before looking back to Nick. "Pax?"

Nicodemus seems to understand the term. "Pax. And now that we've filled in the hole, we don't have to pretend it's not there--because it no longer exists. So. New topic?"

Thomas comes trundling down the sidewalk, wearing that battered old hat and carrying a styrofoam coffee cup. To look at him, he appears lost in his own thoughts, though one or two people that he passes give the man a somewhat wider berth than one might expect.

A man that looks to be in his early to mid forties, Thomas stands at just a hair under six feet. His features are predominantly Asian (Korean, to those who can tell the difference), with almond shaped eyes dark enough to appear almost black, low eyebrows, and a slightly crooked nose. His skin color speaks mostly toward his mixed heritage; it's darkly bronzed and weather beaten, with laugh lines crinkling near the corners of the eyes. His hair is a silky black, worn long and pulled back into a neat ponytail. He also sports a goatee, kept only long enough to be somewhat bristly to the touch, the black liberally laced with a smattering of grey hairs. The man's build is lean and compact, and he carries himself with a certain athletic grace that's unmistakable.

He appears to favor simple collared shirts of various types (usually black or white), and loose fitting, well worn jeans and hiking boots, but above all, he seems quite attached to a long brown oiled canvas duster. Even in warm weather, he's rarely seen without it. Occasionally, he pairs this with a brown fedora so battered and used that it might actually appear older than the man wearing it. He's wearing what looks like small, hematite beads around his neck, but most of the necklace is tucked under his shirt and out of sight.


"New topic," she agrees, arching a momentary brow at the man with the hat. It's only a moment, though, before she jerks her head invitingly at Nick and heads down the street, moving toward Thomas. "I realize it's sort of anathema to the whole definition of 'urban running', but have you tried doing this in the woods? That's where I'm getting most of my practice these days."

"I would not feel comfortable going out there alone--especially right now. Plus it's quite a bit further away than---well, everywhere in the city." Despite those two negatives against it, Nick offers a "Maybe sometime?" to Shelby. Thomas, and more specifically his hat, gets a passing glance as the pair's path draws very near to his.

Thomas's hat is clean, on his head, and in one piece, but that's about all it has going for it. As the other two draw near, he seems roused out of his own thoughts just enough to give them each a curious glancing over. Two fingers on the hand not holding his coffee lift to push his hat up, in what's probably the world's most casual salute.

"Now's better than a couple of weeks from now," Shelby agrees as they draw closer to the hatted man. "My schedule opens back up in about a month, though. --Morning," she adds with a nod to Thomas, in response to his casual salute. Then back to Nicodemus, "I didn't mean alone. I'd go with you, or you could ask some of your cousins. It'd be safer."

Nicodemus nods to Thomas, acknowledging the other's existence as their paths finally intersect. "I've got a thing today. And I should probably talk to Salem about what he thinks about me doing something like that. We'll see. Maybe in a day or two?" He sounds uncertain as to how good an ideda it may or may not be. "I appreciate the offer, though. You've got my number, right?"

"Morning," Thomas returns, in a voice that contains an unmistakable rough country twang. His footsteps, however, falter a little at something in the conversation, and then come to a stop. "Trouble?" he asks, as if he weren't speaking to complete strangers on the street.

"If I don't, I can always look you up on QwestDex," Shelby teases as they pass Thomas. The question brings her around, though, with a 'just a moment' finger for Nicodemus. "No, no trouble," she claims pleasantly, giving the stranger another once-over. "Why do you ask?"

Nicodemus halts and follows the garou's instructions to the letter. No questions asked. He does, however, take the opportunity to give the stranger a more thorough looking over.

Thomas waves his un-coffee'd hand. "Oh, just that name. Made me think of someone else. And seems to be the local theme, is all." He looks them over as well, expression mildly thoughtful. "Some kid the other night was raving about ghost wolves, of all things."

"Oh, Salem's a friend of a friend of a friend." Shelby waves an airy hand, far too busy to keep track of these things. 'Ghost wolves' bring a faintly dismissive smile. "Ghost wolves? With white fur? --No, better. Silver fur, and the size of ponies! Am I right?" She flicks another glance toward Nick, but most of her attention remains on Thomas.

Nicodemus is still essentially where is was when Shelby last looked. He continues being silent and waiting, as the Silver Fang seemed to have ordered. He contributes to the conversation only by lifting his right shoulder in a shrug, accompanying that with a wave of his right hand in the air as he quietly extends his senses to get a better look at this person he's just recently met.

Thomas smiles thinly, lines of amusement crinkling around his eyes. "Silver fur and pony size, of course. And they wear crowns and worship a great bird too, maybe. Poor kid was pretty obviously high as a kite."

"Obviously," the white-haired woman agrees with an eye-roll. "High as a falcon, anyway. I think they fly higher. --Shelby," she adds after a moment, and offers a hand. "Are you visiting anyone in particular here in town? Family?"

Nicodemus continues eyeballing Thomas silently, letting Shelby do the talking. He raises his right hand again, this time to scratch at the back of his neck. Perhaps out of boredom, impatience, or a habit of being fidgety, he taps the tips of his left hand's fingers alternatingly to his left hand's thumb. His weight shifts onto his right leg, giving his left a brief break.

"They do," the man confirms, before reaching out to take the offered hand. His own are rough and calloused, and his handshake is quite firm. "Thomas. Thomas Lee. And, not any family in particular, I admit, though I've heard there might be a few around. They don't much like the big city."

Shelby claims that, "It's nice to meet you, Mr. Lee," without attempting dominance games with the handshake. "No, they don't. Only a couple of outliers. If you're willing to let me play go-between, though, I could pass the word. Assuming you're looking for someone in particular, of course."

Nicodemus finally says something and offers his gloved right hand to Thomas. "Nick Dalton," he states. A cautiously warm smile is offered along with the name. "Nice to meet you."

Thomas shakes Nicodemus's hand as well, nodding. "And nice to meet you both." He seems to give the offer a few moments of thought. "Nah, I didn't move here on family business. Personal stuff. Though I have heard the area's...a bit troubled. And I wouldn't mind knowing who's who on the family side of things. Might be able to offer a little bit of help here and there, dunno."

Memory's actually on her way to work. By going in on the wing, she rather neatly avoids traffic and gets to keep an eye on things in the process. Spotting a familiar figure, she circles back and lands on a street lamp near the trio.

"I'll drop your name and see if anyone recognizes it," Shelby says easily, and with a smile. "What's the best way to get hold of you? Are you staying at one of the hotels in town? There's a cute little bed and breakfast in Kent Crossing, if you've got a car." She makes note of the bird's arrival in a glance but again, the bulk of her attention is on Thomas. "Nick, any recommendations for Mr. Lee?"

"Uhm." Nicodemus says, "My personal preference is more towards the city than the sticks, but I think I know the bed and breakfast you're talking about. The name slips me, though. There's a good Irish tavern out that way in Kent Crossing. Haven't been there in forever, so maybe it went out of busineess. The White Stag is what it was called, I think."

Thomas glances briefly toward the raven, but there are no staring games today, if he really takes note of her at all. He shakes his head and reaches into his coat, producing a small notepad and a pencil. "I've got a place to stay. This's my number." He scribbles down a phone number with a local area code, then tears the page out and offers it to Shelby. "You won't find anyone recognizing it, I'm pretty sure. Ain't the kind who gets songs written about him, and I don't have any close family any more."

Memory stares down at the trio, carefully shifting from one clawed foot to another.

With a, "Thank you," and a quick look at the number Shelby folds the paper neatly and slips it into a zippered pocket. "I'll pass the word along. I'm sorry to hear that, about your family. They're important." With a sidelong glance and equally sidelong, teasing smile she adds, "You know, if they're just missing, Nick's a private detective."

Nicodemus nods to the Fang's words. "I'm a private dick and finding missing people is my specialty. That and being a dick," he says, making a joke at his own expense. "But I'm not full-blooded family."

Thomas's mouth twists into an expression that's not quite smile, and not quite humorous. "Not just missing, I'm afraid. Long time ago." He regards Nick thoughtfully. "Same, not full-blooded. My extended family enjoys being rather secretive and has lived in this country longer than most of the others though. As for finding missing people," and now, his eyebrows quirk upward, and something about his expression eases, "Me too, now and then. 'Cept in my case, the missing people are intentionally missing, and it isn't usually their family that wants me to go find them."

"I'm sorry," says Shelby again of Thomas' family, and hushes to listen for a moment. "If you'll excuse me a moment?" With a bright smile that expects her request to be granted she takes a couple of steps to put her back against a storefront, pulls out Thomas' paper and a phone, and starts entering.

Nicodemus waves a hand southwards. "Oddly enough, I had something of a similar experience about a month ago." He takes a deep breath. "Small world, huh?"

Thomas watches Shelby for a moment before he looks back to Nicodemus, and tucks the small notepad and pencil away. "Similar experience?"

Shelby doesn't take that long to enter the number, though she glances up now and again to drop a flash of a smile.

Nicodemus digs his Licensed Private Investigator card from his coat, then offers Thomas the simple yet stylish white text on glossy black batckground slip of card stock grade paper. "I was hired by some worried grandparents to find their grandson. I found him, but the people who took him in didn't want him found. So.... Lowered my case success rate. Turned out to be a pretty decent kid, too."

Thomas examines the card, lips pursing in thought. "Yeah, I've run across that trouble at times before. Not as often. Most family don't stick around long enough to become bail jumpers."

"There," says Shelby as she rejoins the pair. "It's in my phone in case I forget it in the laundry." She brandishes said phone as proof before slipping it into yet another zippered pocket - hopefully she'll remember to take it out before washing, too. "I should get going - Nick, you want to stick around and trade detective stories for a while?"

"I wouldn't mind that, but I've got an appointment to keep and I'm already pushing my luck. Some other time, Mr. Lee?" Nicodemus inquires.

Memory runs her beak along the metal of the lamp post she is perched on, gives herself a sake, then takes to the air. Off she goes.

Thomas bows his head. "'Course. I'll see you around, Mr. Dalton. Be safe, the both of you." He tips his hat.

"And yourself," Shelby returns with a nod that's almost a bow. "I'll do what I can to spread the word about you." Formalities concluded, she turns to shoot Nick another quick grin. "I'll race you to the top of the library another day?" She heads off at a pace somewhere between a jog and a dash, heading for the still-silent library.

Nicodemus departs in a similar rush, but in a different direction.

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May 2012

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