Deeper into Pendle Woods

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  • PorfiriosThe Adept

    Using an encounter I’ve wanted to play against for months:

    The Rooster Bar & Grill. Two drafts on tap, the place smells of grease and the bar is covered, for the moment, in stubs of discarded lottery tickets. I’m definitely out of place but this is where I need to be for now.

    “Are you here to see Chuck?” the waitress, too pretty to have to have stayed behind in a town this small and unpromising, asks me patiently from behind the bar.

    “Chuck?” I look up. The barkeep, a man to whom life hasn’t been kind, still ignores me. I’m the only one wearing a suit who isn’t preaching or selling, I suppose, but he’s keen to avoid me either way.

    “The owner. Well, he and Johnny own it, but Chucks’ the only one who does business around here.” Her eyes sparkle as if she’s caught herself in a little joke. The barkeep throws a rag half-interestedly at her.

    “No, I don’t need to see Chuck.” I sense an opening. “I did want to talk to Johnny, though.” The barkeep turns around. “If he has a minute.” He walks up, she stays near, eager to hear something that she hopes is painful to him.

    “Whatcha want. Do I know you?” Suspicion? Of course. Who would talk to such a curmudgeon. I should’ve worn jeans and a t-shirt. “Let’s go somewhere to talk, I think you can help me.” He mumbles something to the effect of “Missy, ain’t got nothin’ else to do, watch the bar” through a mouthful of snuff, and leads me to a table.

    “Alright, i ain’t buyin’ but talk anyway.” He says. I know I have him – I’m the first person all week to talk to him. Still, best to be covered.

    “My name is Yaisu..” I make my hand gently in the shape for Mind “HISA YAISU.” I twist the spell into a command of complete trust. Now, he’ll be honest with me.

    “That’s a funny name, but if you say so. Why’d your momma name you that?” He smiles, a little distant.

    “Family name. Friends call me Paul. I want to ask you about a local legend.” I respond.

    “Well, anything i can help with. You obviously need ot know it.” The spell has taken root easily in him.

    “The woods near hear, is there something strange about them?” I ask as off-handedly as I can.

    He laughs. “Well, you’re definitely not from around here. Lots of kids went missing here over the years. It’s not been as many now, since folks just know to stay out of the woods, and the State made it Little Lost Creek Forest Preserve so they watch how many turkey hunters go in there. Every so often, some teenager goes out there to smoke up and they come back with wierd tales. Blair Witch crap. Right?” He leans in closer.

    “Truth is, Mister Yaee…Yai”

    “Just call me Paul.” Mutes can’t say Sehimu Thinara, not even to pronounce the words. Interesting…

    “Okay, that’s easier Paul. Truth is, about hundred, hundred-fifty years ago, a lot of folks went missin’. They’d go into the woods and try to find a place to homestead, and next time you say them, they were gone. Dead. No life in the eyes, no pulse. Some were still breathing, but none of them lasted the night after they was found.” He looks around.

    “Are you worried, Johnny?”

    “Nah, it’s just … somethin’ makes my skin crawl thinking about it. Everyone round here, it happens same way. The stories … ” he trails off, and I smell a mix of perfume and smoke.

    “Them stories, Johnny, are just stories. Ain’t nothin’ real to them.” The waitress is standing behind me, and, unusual for me, the hair on the back of my neck stands up, too.

    “Missy, why don’t you watch the bar?”

    “Ain’t any customers, Johnny. Mister, are you a reporter or a developer? Why’re you asking about our woods?” She stares at me and I notice that her eyes are each a different color, the left brown, the right blue.

    “I just enjoy folklore and I’d hate for a treasured legend to be lost. My name is Yaisu. Hisa Yaisu.” I wave my hand again. She reaches and grabs it at the end of the wave and shakes it vigorously.

    “Well, I’m Missy Tanner and it’s real nice that you stopped in. Where you going?”

    “To those woods. I want to know what there is to find there.”

    “Hey Missy,” Johnny breaks in, “just leave us talk, now.”

    “Okay, Johnny,” she turns to me “Mister, don’t go into those woods. It’s not worth it.”

    “Missy!” Johnny looks at her sharply and she returns to the bar. “Nevermind her, she’s superstitious. She’s one of them kids that went missing, back oh 20 years ago. She’s the only one that came back too, said she could see by the lights in the sky.”

    “Lights? Johnny, did the Sheriff send helicopters that night?”

    “No, sir. It was a night everyone here remembers – it’s the only time in recent history that the Aurora has made it down this far. Middle of summer, June 15th, 1988. Also the biggest full moon you’d ever seen. Everyone remembers that night. She’d been gone six days already, and by the seventh we’d thought she’d been attacked by a bear or fallen into the creek. Miracle’s what happened, Mister. And everyone just knows that Missy’s a litlte wierd. Little touched, as my momma would say, by it all.”

    I turned to look at the girl, but I knew I’d be meeting her eyes anyway. She’d thrown on a sweatshirt with a school logo, ‘Saint Dominic High’.

    “Is that why she’s still living in town? If her parents could afford a private school, didn’t she go to college?”

    He chuckled. “Mister, you’d have no way of knowing this, but this town has two names. One is Pendleton, after the railman who thought he could make a fortune mining lead in these parts. The other is Saint Dominic. He’s the patron saint of lost children. Why it’s just an accident they don’t call that Little Lost Boy Creek.”

    I thanked Johnny for his time and grabbed my fedora. As I walked to the door I tried to wave to Missy, but quickly she reached around and grabbed my hand.

    “Don’t pull that shit on me again, Mister Yaisu.”

    I doff my hat and open the door, the bell clanging behind me.

    • This topic was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by  Porfirios.
    • This topic was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by  Porfirios.
    PorfiriosThe Adept

    My research has led me to two conclusions:
    (1) There may very well be a Sacred Site near Lake Oyate.
    (2) That site is jealously guarded by a powerful being – if not a Magi, then someone who knows how to use Will and Voice.

    That may explain the disappearances – or perhaps people became disoriented and walked right into the Lake. The State says that Daniel Boone had homesteaded near here, and had encounters with local Tribes. Perhaps he found something beyond his ken, and moved on. The fact that teenagers are allowed to return but children kept, points to perhaps a female revenant, one who has embraced a terrible darkness and turned any maternal instincts into destructive ones. Perhaps a witch?

    It’s early, 5:23 by the hotel’s ancient-looking digital alarm clock, and the sun is just a thought that’s a coffee cup or two away. Following superstition, I stay in Warrenton, to the East of this creature’s home, knowing she cannot even sense with Mind spells in the direction of the sun, lest it blind her. I look at my codex to prepare myself against the possibility of encountering the Pendle Witch.

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by  Porfirios.
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