The realm in which the Custodians would call home is still in a stage of neglect and long disuse. Things caked in dust and books long since read are now lost to time and shells of their former glory. Barely anyone's been in here for some time. Until today. We hear the hushed whispers of a voice...or two...or three walking through the shelves and other spaces of the library. A quick glance will reveal the Necromancer, Aaron Fletcher; along with his twin sister--the ghost that's only physically (in a way) real within the Hedge, and a mangy black cat with a permanent, and grotesque smile across its lips. Aaron carries about him the air of a scholar. Hands tucked behind his back, looking this way and that taking a visual inventory of the state of things, and other such duties befit the Librarian.
It isn't that Gisa is slow, it's that she's very deliberate. She moves of a purpose, carefully and as if considering the consequences of every motion she makes. The weather has turned warm, so she's wearing a t-shirt which reads 'Rock Star' (though the star is a Star of David). Golem Humor (tm). It's totally a thing. She pauses just inside the doorway, tilts her head up and around slowly, considering. With her come the smells of petrichor, of a match striking, of the front edge of snow, all one after another. Not a single Season, but of the moment between Seasons, or between things or between momemts. The Dawn is becoming, by the day, a progressively stronger element (forgive) of Change. "Shalom, Librarian. Are you busy?"
Logan steps into view, leaving the tunnel from the crystal cave.
Out of curiosity, and out of a sense of understanding more his new role as a Custodian, Logan finds himself in the so-called Library. He's dressed today in one of his Prince Charming-esque Hedgespun outfits, all white and gold with a capelet...it always feels more fitting to dress this way in Stoneheart. The Golden Boy's light shines out as he makes his way amongst the crystal, reflecting and refracting off all of the shiny surfaces. Still, his everpresent shadow follows along after him, intertwining with the light, sometimes even taking on a more human-like shape ala Peter Pan.
He hears voices, and pauses in his trek. A familiar voice. So he moves closer to where Gisa and Aaron are surely convening, a slight smile on his handsome, boyish face.
The mantle of Autumn is strong with Aaron. The smell of camphor, cloves, laudanum follows the Sluagh as he hears someone calling his name. Well, his title at least. His eyes move their way from his small coterie to the Golem. He offers a nod to her, "Shalom to you as well, Custodian Cohen. I'm not busy at all. Simply taking stock of a sort of the library." Aaron also regards Logan with a nod in greeting as well.
Only one Hedgespun item in the Golem's wardrobe, dissimilarly to her courtmate: Gisa's worn Hedgespun boots are soft on the floor as she steps aside for Logan to come in. "I will be glad to help you. I am good at inventory of books." Her eyeflames flicker and glitter at this; it's probably as close as she gets to an actual joke. "Shalom, Logan. I am glad to see you." She steps in a little further, her eyeflames scanning back and forth. "I have been doing some research lately for one of the Harvestmen -- Rorschach -- and I am thinking that I would like to compare notes and see if what I have found matches what was reported in our last meeting."
"Greetings, Gisa. Great to see you as well." Logan's Dawn Mantle is buffered by the everchanging light and shadow in his mien; as one grows, the other diminishes, though the light usually overpowers the dark. The scent of lemons in his vicinity also comes and goes, as though carrying on a slight ocean breeze. He turns to look at Aaron, and seems to stare at the Darkling for a long moment. "I don't believe we've had the pleasure," he finally says, blue eyes bright, and extends a golden hand to the Librarian. "I'm Logan Brenner, a new Custodian recruit. If I can be of assistance to you and Gisa in your current endeavors, I'd be glad to help." He speaks in musical, pleasant, boyish tones. Cheerful and upbeat, yet cool and collected.
Aaron is quiet as he listens to both people speak with him. Indeed, he doesn't even move when the others address him. He turns his attention briefly to his twin sister and his feline companion. Both give him something of a sulkish look but seem to understand. "Business, we get it, brother dearest..." comes the sarcastic voice of his twin spectral sibling. "If you need us--" then the cat speaks, "we'll be snacking on rodents running 'round." Natasha fletcher grimaces. "Not me. I'll just be chilling somewhere else." Both take their leave somewhere else in the library. Aaron returns his attention to both, "I'm happy to compare notes--if I had notes to compare. I was away on personal matters, and unable to make the last meeting. But I can still offer assistance to the best of my abilities." To Logan, he takes the offered hand, shaking it. Spindly and skeletal fingers that have a firm grip to the shake of his hand. "Aaron Fletcher, newly appointed Librarian. Pleased to meet you, Custodian Brenner."
Perhaps Gisa is sympathetic to the ghost and the cat; her gaze seems to follow them for a moment. She's quiet for a long moment, letting the introductions be made, and then Gisa nods her head the once. "I took notes once the meeting was over. My memory is not yet perfected, and so I did take some notes, so that we could compare them. I will leave them here, for reference." She looks for someplace to lean her hip against, and digs in the back pocket of her jeans for folded up paper.
Logan's blue eyes shine a little as he watches Aaron's retinue, and a slight grin comes to his face as he watches them scatter to the winds. His own warm, athletic hand has a confident grip as he gives Aaron's spindly hand a hearty shake. "Custodian Brenner. I like the sound of that. Say...Aaron Fletcher." His eyes narrow for a moment as he gradually lets go of Aaron's hand. "You're not the Aaron Fletcher who wrote Legacy of Blood, are you?" His attention then moves back to Gisa and he watches her, his hands resting lightly on his hips. "What is the nature of this research, Gisa? Can I pitch in?"
Aaron gestures to place to all sit together. "The one and the same," he says with a light smile. He's modest about his own work. The sort of individual looking for praise or anything else selfish like that. "I hope you enjoyed the story." He looks at Gisa once more. "So where specifically would you want assistance?"
"It's to do with the Soundless, perhaps, but it is definitely to do with the murders in 1963." Gisa is a little monofocused when she gets her mind set on something, it seems. She takes out that paper, a handful of pages of yellow legal paper, folded over each other, and reads from them, her gaze swooping back and forth. "Yes, the more of us who are working on this, the better, I think." Pause. "Rorschach encountered a woman who -- I do not know what else exactly happened -- but the sky turned very red, during the evening hours. This was not a weather phenomenon. It was localized near them. This also occurred at the same time as a series of murders in the 1960s. I believe those to also be the murders that Custodian-Elect Whelan was looking into, and Logan, you were there when she spoke on them. I'll read my notes here in a moment for you, Librarian, just a moment..." More shuffling through papers as the Fireheart quickly reads.
Logan's face lights up even more when Aaron confirms his suspicions. "How /cool/. Man, what a great book. I would love to pick your brain about your work later." He explains briefly to Gisa, "Aaron's a famous horror writer, if you didn't know. He's /really/ good. And I've read a lot of horror."
As the business grows more serious, though, Logan composes himself, taking a seat at the table with the others. Folding his hands on the table, he nods, gaze bright and focused as he listens to Gisa. It's too soon to interrupt with any questions, but no doubt he will have some.
Aaron nods. "Just around them, you say..." he says softly with a tone of interested curiosity in his voice. "Curiouser and curiouser. An ominous pattern as well it would seem. Was there anything else out of the ordinary during the incident Rorschach encountered? Strange sounds? Smells? Anything else out of the ordinary--other than the red sky." To Logan, he gives another smile. "I'm happy to have my brain picked--provided that it's not picked clean," he joked.
"The evening sky was blood red at the time of the mass murder, which is listed as happening during 'mysterious circumstances,' as if mass murders take place under normal circumstances," mutters Gisa, continuing on with her notes. "The custodian-elect... " She shuffles to another page of notes, written in a small, neat, non-English script. Clearly now she's reading directly from the paper, as close to a quote as she can get it, if not an exact quote:
On a variety of local historical archive sites, I found references to a mysterious mass murder and disappearance back in 1963. People had been disappearing or being killed for five years before the final explosion of violence, which played a huge part in a local economic depression, and in the shaping of modern Fort Brunsett, frankly, due to their need to promote safe tourism and assure visitors that the area was safe."
"Between the years of 1958 and 1963, twelve people between the ages 10 - 35 were killed, or disappeared under circumstances no one could discern." she tells them with a frown.
"On Monday, June 3 1963, the bodies of 38 local people were found with an array of bizarre injuries, carefully aligned in the meadows on the east side of the Tam to form the face of an analog clock as seen from above, arms spread out to either side, facing the sky. Some of the injuries were consistent with knife wounds, others more consistent with longer blades or hacking blades such as axes, very few with guns, others with fire burns or electrical burns, and some even seemed to have drowned, or frozen to death. In addition, 24 locals were missing. There was no sign of passage, no sign of battle. The bodies were brought in from elsewhere, to be arranged. The murderers were never found, though there have been some few of the Missing located over the years. The majority of the Missing are now deceased."
"This may or may not be tied to the Soundless. But the red skies are now recurring."
"Well, I'll do my best," Logan jokes back to Aaron with a grin, but then his focus is fully on Gisa. He nods solemnly at a few places, eyes widening at a few other places. By and large, though, he maintains his cool. "Sounds like a ritual," Logan says in an off-handed sort of tone. A summoning. Why else would the bodies be arranged to face the sky, and for the sky to respond by turning red? But if the woman Rorschach met is connected to the red skies as well..." He taps his manicured fingers on the table, just letting the thoughts percolate. "Just curious, is there any evidence that these incidents are tied to Changelings? Don't mind me," and he suddenly grins. "I'm just thinking out loud here."
Aaron's eyes note a man that is caught in complete fascination with the information. Murders? Yes, please. Ritual deaths? Over a cup of tea. Patterns in strange murders are like heroin--which is conveyed in how closely he listens. Even his sister pops out to listen. Mister Manx, holding some small hedge creature in his mouth also seems rapt with interest. He looks like he's about to ask some questions, but Logan plucks them from his mouth. All Aaron does is a gesture to the man. "What Custodian Brenner said. These all sound like something would see in rituals for something or another. A particular trope amongst stories is the idea that something comes out every set number of years to feed, kill, cause chaos, then receded back into the sewers, shadows, another dimension--returning only to re-start the cycle again in 'x' number of years."
"Mmm," agrees Gisa, setting down her papers on one of the piles of books, stirring up a little whorl of dust into the air; she waves it away with one of her pale grey ceramic hands. "I don't know what evidence there is one way or the other. Certainly I am interested in preventing a spate of ritual murders from recurring. I think it is possible that the Soundless, who recur every so often and are recurring now, may be linked with the murders, which recur every so often and are recurring now. I think that is a link worth researching. What is the ... link... between that Freehold's recursion and the recursion of the murders, et cetera. Even if we find nothing, we may be able to catch the murderer. Again." There's a sort of weariness at the corners of her eyes there for a moment. "November, Haruki, Rorschach and... I think also Zillah... witnessed the red skies."
Logan nods at what Aaron has to say, and then bites his bottom lip, glancing down at the table for a moment. When he looks up at the others again, his blue eyes seem very bright. "June Third. That's imminent. I bet you anything that someone is planning to enact this ritual again." He glances at Aaron with another nod. "The return of the cycle. Oh, boy." A laugh escapes him, but it isn't a happy one -- merely the release of some energy. "We better get cracking. That's just about two weeks away!" Listening to Gisa for a moment with another nod of agreement, Logan asks, "I don't know much about the Soundless. We should trace all the times they've been active and see if the pattern fits, for sure. Good call."
Aaron nods. "I think if it's not been done already--to get accounts from all witnesses. See if each saw something slightly different. Perhaps look for patterns in what all eyes saw, if not just the obvious of the red sky." He's quiet a moment. He looks down, as though going through a series of files in his own mind. He then looks back to Gisa. "Has anyone spoken to the victims? To find out what they might know--or at least what they can recall?" He then adds, "also--what happens after the murders are done? Have there been any documented changes amongst the town or towns after the ritual murders are at an end?"
"If there is anything left of the victims, it is not me who will be able to speak to murder victims," answers Gisa, her firey gaze flickering between the two other Custodians. "But yes, it would be good to talk to the other witnesses, see what they remember. Robbie is a lot of things, but he is not -- always -- the most reliable narrator. Paranoid schizophrenics tend not to be. I do not doubt the truth of what he says in this instance, but the details might be different coming from his fiancee." She takes in a long, slow breath, like a blacksmith's bellows working. "June third, yes. I have no desire to go to more funerals or prepare more bodies. I can only be family for so many."
"If we can find that woman again, I'd be glad to talk to her. Does anyone know if there is any other documented cult activity in the area, or has been? We should be researching that as well. Unless this is the work of isolated individuals." Logan's blue eyes continue to glow with a certain fervency, the light and dark of his mien growing and fading as his mind works. "And if it hasn't already been explored, we should deep-dive into any folklore of Fort Brunsett and Tamarack Falls. That should probably include Lost whose Keepers are local to the area. I just don't think we can afford to miss anything."