Greywall is aptly named. Prior to the cataclysm it hadn’t been much of anything, just an unincorporated collection of houses and businesses in Virginia called ‘Leon’. These days it’s a community of about seven hundred people – fairly large for a village – surrounded by a greyish mud brick wall twenty feet high. It is literally in the shadow of the Appalachian Mountains. The people here subsist on a combination of hunting, trapping and skin of their teeth subsistence farming supplemented by a bit of judicious raiding. It’s not a rich community. Like most settlements on Rifts Earth the people live largely in the 18th century. There are a few bits of modern tech but mostly its water and muscle power here. The people live by lamp light, and they don’t tend to live very long.
Recently, rumor has it, they’ve been disappearing. Wraith has been sent there by interested parties in Dogwood but others might have come hearing the rumors. Clearly not all the people are gone though because there’s some movement in the wooden tower jutting up from the town. A lookout, it seems.
Victoria, on the other hand, is quite the opposite. She can go through most barriers but neither around, above, or below many of them, and she approaches with a solid stride that would match the stature and bearing of someone who was markedly less tiny. The traveling girl is sturdily dressed in her olive aviator jacket, black jeans, tie-dyed sneakers, and black beanie, all of which shows some measure of repair. Long blue hair means she might as well be a small beacon. I’m over here! She certainly doesn’t try to hide, clutching her pendant in her left, gloved hand as she approaches the town. “Hello! I’m here to help if I can. Disappearances…?”Wraith is very good at not being spotted. Victoria doesn’t seem to be trying for stealth really. As she approaches a gong begins to ring out from the lookout. Tonk. Tonk. Tonk. Tonk. Tonk.
There are a couple of openings in the wall, both of which are sealed by wood and stone barricades. The one closest to Victoria, and also Wraith, is laboriously hauled aside to allow admittance.
Wraith can see that the people here are mostly human and the ones that aren’t appear to be tribal psi-stalkers. Possibly exiles or remnantes from a defeated tribe from the mountains. There aren’t nearly as many of them as the size of the town suggests. Many of the buildings look empty and there’s an air of concern and fear about the movements of many of the people. As for defenses? Those appear to start and end with the wall. There may possibly be a handful of other relatively modern weapons in the town but the people here almost certainly depend on bolt holes in the event of real trouble.
At the far end of the barricade there’s an older man with a short greying beard holding a laser rifle which may be the most advanced piece of tech in the entire town.
It looks like it’s seen better days.
“Come on in!” He calls out. “But keep your hands where we can see ’em!”
Not really very trusting these people. And with reason.Wraith has to admit Tori’s bravery… but she’s inclined to let the blue-haired woman test the waters for her, waiting to see whether the locals mug her, truss her up, or move to execute her on the spot before the scout risks revealing herself. She does keep one eye on the surroundings of the town, however, to see if anything *else* responds to this opening of a gap in the defences and distraction of at least some of its defenders.
“My hands are right here,” Tori offers mildly. “See? Right where you can see them. I don’t have a laser rifle either, like the one you’ve got there.” She starts forward without showing any fear, adjusting her messenger bag and jacket by rolling her shoulders. “Thanks for letting me in! Came a long way to be sent back. Can you tell me about the problem…?” Test the waters indeed. Tori doesn’t show any fear of consequences, certainly.“Giselle!” The man barks out as Tori comes through. Clearly he means for someone to look her over more closely when she gets to the inside of the opening. He hasn’t offered a name quite yet.
Wraith can see now that there doesn’t seem to be a mugging in the making. More than that, though, she can see that far from anything reacting to the opening there doesn’t seem to be anything to react. There isn’t any wildlife in the area. No birds. No game animals. The whole place is rather eerily silent. Even the dogs in the town itself aren’t barking at the newcomer. They’re slinking around, tails down and ears back.
And they don’t seem to like being in the open.
“Just stay there for a minute miss. Giselle will look you over.”
“Keep yer shirt on, Ethan.” An older woman, in her mid forties maybe?, appears from one of the dwellings. She might be younger, living out here has a way to age people quickly. Greying hair pulled up into a bun, the woman walks over to Tori, holding a weapon herself and raises her chin at the young, blue haired, woman. “Lemme look at ye…”
Even with her sass to Ethan, she’s not talking loudly and it’s clear that she’s avoiding being out in the open too much. She circles Victoria twice before speaking again “Goin’ to see if ye’re carryin’ anythin’.” With one hand, if the young woman doesn’t object, she’ll ‘pat’ her down – looking for weapons and the like.
“Seems clean…” she says to the man.
“Yes, of course.” Tori waits patiently for Giselle to arrive. She’s got her amulet slightly raised and makes a few intricate gestures. They’re done casually enough that one might think them idle movements to keep her hand busy if anything. She smiles beatifically when the middle-aged woman approaches her, tilting her headslightly while she studies her.
“Weapons? No. I’m not hear to hurt anyone…” Once Tori has been proclaimed “clean” she takes a deep breath and nods emphatically, taking a few steps toward one of the nearby canines. “Can you tell me about what is going on here…?” A fair amouunt of her attentio nis on thedog- but she must be asking the people of the town. Right? “About, um. What happens late at night?” When you can feel the cold coming.”Hrmmmm. Sounds like Tori might know a little more than Wraith did, if her questions are accurate. The scout continues to eavesdrop and observe… while wishing that she were a rather more accomplished tracker of things she couldn’t already smell. Being able to check in detail what might have been leaving trails around the town could have been worthwhile.
Ethan nods to Giselle and lowers his weapon a bit more though it stays in a ‘ready’ position. Ready to come up the instant there’s trouble. “Alright, nothing to see here.” He calls out to the people watching. They start to disperse. Many of them go back into their homes, some go to work on the small gardens near the south wall or to other places. A tannery. A mill.
The questions get a sharp look from Ethan. And some of that tension that had started to leave creeps back into his frame. “What do you know about that Miss? You’ve come at a bad time you have. Not that we ever have much to share with strangers but we’ve got trouble here and we don’t need no one adding to it. Where did you hear about the cold in the night?”
Yes, they heard Tori offer to help but these are suspicious people by nature and, well, how //did// she hear about that?
Either way it’s easily enough for Wraith to here. In the night, mmm?
Giselle eyes the pendant in Victorias hand for a long a moment and then looks to the dogs as Tori seems to be speaking to them. “They can’ tell ye nothin’.” she mutters as the canines slink off. The greying haired woman makes her over to Ethan. “Now, now Ethan, she said she was here to help.”
That doesn’t make her any less wary of this stranger but she stands in a deceptively casual pose, weapon held in the crook of her arm. “It’s a good question though child. Why don’ ye tell us what ye this far?”Wraith certainly hadn’t expected this approach to be an option… but skulking and eavesdropping seems to remain her best choice at the moment. Even if she’s now paying a bit more attention than before to the *temperature* of her surroundings.
“Can’t they? Animals watch everything. IF they could speak…” Tori shakes her head slowly and then turns toward Giselle to offer another one of those incandescent grins. “You are right, of course,” the blue-haired teen announces, nodding as she does. “I was really just musing. But it’s because- people ahve been talking about disappearances and I’ve been looking around,and that’s been noticed. at least- I heard it. Earlier.” She seems to bhe sitatign a moment, tilting her head slightly as she does. “Anyway, I came otu this far because I thought I might be able to help. No special reason otherwise. More people who can deal with things like this closer to town. Why don’t you… Explain what is going on to me so that I can start before something else really terrible happens.”Ethan gives Giselle a look. “Tell her.” She knows better about the disappearances at night. All he could tell Tori is just that. Folks have gone missing. Lots of them.
Ethan goes to the well and starts to pull up some water. As he does Catriona can feel the air temp drop. It’s subtle, hard to notice because it’s already pretty cold here, being winter.
But it’s there. Something just got colder. Somehow the silence gets deeper. The noises of the town are minimal as it is but… it’s like the world is holding it’s breath. And if Catriona looks – Tori doesn’t have a good vantage poitn – she’ll see a figure on one of the woodland ridges about half a mile outside town swathed in robes and looking down on it. The figure is only there for a moment, but it was definitely no trick of the light.
Giselle sighs and takes a deep breath, watching Ethan as he goes for a drink. She doesn’t seem to notice the temperature drop, but she does shiver. “It’s hard to say, really. But they come in the night. Who ‘they’ are, we don’t know. What we do know, is that it gets damn cold as they arise and people just seem to walk out of the camp.”
She pauses and holds a hand up. “That’s what it seems like, anyway. None us have seen them walk, but in the morning, there’ll be another three or five missing… and we never see ’em again.”Hrmmmm. That’s perturbing, even by the standards of one of the inhuman predators observing Greywall. Wraith turns much more of her attention to the strange figure… focusing largely upon her mental faculties as she feels the presence of a new ‘powerful mind’… and continues to track it even once it disappears from view. She gathers her feet under her, ready to flow into motion should the cold get worse or the thing seem to move in on the town.
The sense of cold does not move toward the town but there is this sensation… watchfulness. Something is watching this town, and it isn’t friendly.
It’s not surprising. They said night didn’t they. A larger or better provided for town might use magic to at least find out what was going on. Clearly they don’t have any though. Perhaps Tori can help.
In the mean time, Wraith has a sense of the magic that’s out there… and she knows when the trouble usually happens. Perhaps she won’t have to risk the suspicion and hostility of the townsfolk. She can simply watch. And wait.
And hope Maddy or Clancy catch up before nightfall.
Investigating the issue with people going missing in Greywall, Tori and Wraith encounter some locals (emits by Hunter and Ardul)
February 16, 2410