Logs:Wake House - Dierdre & the Interdimensional Alien Spies

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Wake House - Dierdre & the Interdimensional Alien Spies


Characters: Eerie, Rafael, Samantha & Seven with Slip as ST
Date: 2020-05-28
Summary: The Black Constables meet with Dierdre Jones to discuss a missing witch. Eerie talks with frogs.
Disclaimers:

Somewhere in New Orleans, in a fairly nice neighborhood, there is a pretty pink Queen Anne house with gingerbread trim where a witch is rumored to live. The historical plaque on the outside of the building has nothing to do with said witch, but rather about the original owner, one Samuel Wake, who used to be important once some long while ago. The supposed witch is actually one Miss Lillian Alexander who, according to rumors substantiated by Rafael and a few others, is missing. Evidently, in the sort of way one doesn't report to the police. Maybe it's just a long, unanticipated vacation? Whatever the case, certain parties can report that something strange is definitely going on there. Not the least of which is how much the local frog population has taken to the place. There is a pond in the back that provides a good breeding ground, though, and they do look entirely normal. This may well just be nature reasserting itself in the absence of somebody with a broom and proprietary fury to shoo them off.

Somebody has been by, though. More accurately, somebody's by right now. The mail has been taken in today, and the porch has been swept. There's a car parked in front of the house. This is as Rafael expected. Last time he was here, somebody told him that this is the day that Miss Dierdre comes by. Chances are, it's Miss Dierdre who's inside now. Hopefully.


On their way over, Rafael'd made a point to stop at... a nursery? Parked out front, he reaches into the back to collect a medium-sized pot of flowers, little purple blossoms enjoying the spring weather, bobbing gently as the floral vessel is carried. "So, Miss Dierdre should be by, so there should be someone to talk to," he explains to the others, "The gate's out back, but-- I suppose we should actually talk to them first, maybe they can explain some of the bullshit going on around here."

"Oh," he adds, "And mind the frogs. I'm not sure if they're people or not."


"You... seem to know the place, or Miss Dierdre, better than I do, so you're callin' the shots unless someone else wants to take point on this. I'll be in the back to keep eyes, ears and nose open for anything weird and another strong arm if shit goes south." Sam offers quietly, pulling out a cigarette to light the moment they are out of the back of the truck. She's not so rude as to smoke in someone else's vehicle, but she's sure as hell going to have one as they approach the house.


"Okay, so maybe you should explain who Miss Dierdre is." The hoodie-wearing Constable bends down in the driveway, crouching to peer at one of the frogs in the grass outside the yard. They're wearing a pair of purple nitrile gloves, because of course they are, it's a magic house with possible magic shit that might do weird stuff to you if you touch it. "I could try to talk to the frog," they announce to the gathered crew, including Simon and Zi, who flank them to either side, behind. "Like with my mind. If they're people. We could find out."


Fellow hoodie wearing Seven is peering out at the house with a rather curious look on her face. Eyes are a bit wide, the bit she's heard about the house has apparently enticed her. The potential of strange and interesting things to be found within are outweighed by whatever risks there might be. A glance is made over to Sam, brows furrowing before she steps over toward her. "Stick in pairs if needed. Being alone in a place like this is unwise," she warns.


There's very little chance that a crowd like this one gathering outside the house doesn't attract some attention. A little of it is from nosy neighbors who look on with some mixture of concern and hope, some decidedly worried about Miss Alexander, but a whole lot of it is from Miss Dierdre. Her curiosity, first, involves peeking out one of the front windows, the motion of one of the curtains potentially giving her away. Only a fraction of a minute later, the front door opens so that she can stare out at the group gathering out front, by the lawn of the pretty pink house over which she claims some small bit of dominion. Though she is not a particularly tall woman, Dierdre is solidly built with strong shoulders and sleek, wiry muscles on display in her layered tanktops and neatly pleated shorts. Dark eyes scan the assorted strangers sternly, expectantly, daring them to speak or piss off, like she's got no time for whatever they might be selling.

The frog, on the other hand, seems skittish, perhaps scared of Eerie as they dip in close, body turning away from them like it might jump any second now. The surface thoughts they recieve, at first, are cryptic. ~Wrong sun. Wrong sun. Niiiiice.~ With their approach, those thoughts shift to panic, to a worried, ~No stomp! No stomp!~ and a readiness to flee. The deeper Eerie digs, the stranger those thoughts, questions of personhood answered with, ~Eat, bathe, worship, serve. Learn, learn. So much to learn. Watch. Serve. Report.~


"There's at least two dimensional portals over here, so yeah, basically-- and I don't know much," says Rafael as they move to the front yard, moving to the path that leads up towards the stairs and the front door that's just opened. He brings one hand up to ever-so-politely remove his hat, flashing his most charming smile as they draw closer. "Miss Dierdre, I presume? The, ah-- Manfred suggested that you were the woman to speak with about certain matters pertaining to Miss Alexander, if we might have a few moments of your time?"


The commentary by Seven about sticking together gets a small, brief nod of agreement, "Yeah, someone should stick back with them unless they're comin' in. If we get invited in..." Sam mutters to the other Constable, but then the door is opening and the time for planning is over. Sam is still doing her best not to be intimidating, even when wearing a reinforced gray jacket, dark clothing, and she's not quite shaken the cop walk out of her body in all of these years. So, in efforts to not be intimidating, she's hanging back a bit more and keeping her head down, shoulders slightly bent, making herself purposefully smaller and less intimidating. When Rafael finally speaks, though she can see the wariness in the other woman's eyes, she gives the smallest of smiles. Something apologetic to be bothering, but also doing its best to be helpful. "...We're worried about Miss Alexander too. We... might be able to help. If you'd give us just a minute or two..."


"I don't know if that frog was ever -human-," Eerie notes to the rest, "But it is sentient as -fuck-. Crazy, I think. But sentient. Don't step on them, they're really scared someone's gonna step on them. Maybe they're...some kind of cult? Spies, maybe." Eerie lets Sam and Rafael talk to the human, and instead directly sends a thought to the frog, because that's how today is going already: ~We're not going to stomp you. What's wrong with the sun?~


Seven is eyeing the frogs with mild curiosity when Eerie speaks about them. There seems to be a light bulb moment as she reaches into the pouch of her hoodie. A small open but folded up bag of chips is produced. "Peace offering," she suggests to Eerie and tosses the bag their way. Slender hands return to the pouch to rest there for now. Not great at socializing or getting others to cooperate without some threat of violence, she lets the others take care of handling Miss Dierdre. But she leans in to question Sam, "Related to the missing?" she wonders quietly.


Dierdre's eyes narrow faintly when Rafael addresses her by name, chin lifting as she surveys the lot more carefully now. The wry purse of her lips at the mention of Manfred might be telling. And not entirely a bad sign given how she nods on the wake of Samantha's follow-up. "Manfred did say she had some visitors. Visitors who left frog guts splattered cross the foyer for me to clean up, three days rotten." Not unexpected, not unwelcome, but also not entirely on her good side either. Still, she nods to the lot of 'em and opens the door wider, stepping aside to invite them in and, should they accept, pointing to the doorway to the right, to the sitting room over there with plenty of cushioned seating for the Constables. The exchange of chips is watched warily, the context missed from this distance, but she's not sure she likes what she sees. Of course, that seems to be how she feels about this visit as a whole.

The frog doesn't quite relax at the assurance from Eerie, but neither does it go hopping off. It keeps them in its peripheral vision, eyeing, watching, waiting. Studying? ~Not red. Not bad. Nice warm. Short.~


At the mention of the frog guts, Rafael winces slightly; a pained look crossing over his face as he steps into the foyer as invited. "I do apologize for that, that fellow is... not with us," he allows, his tone a bit dry, "The Lost tend to have some unusual triggers, I'm afraid. I didn't approve then, and I don't approve now."

Stepping inside, he looks about before complimenting, "You've been keeping the home well. Rafael Costillo, and these are my compatriots. We're with the Black Constables."


A slight murmur is given back to Seven, trying not to be clearly speaking about the woman in front of her. "House keeper, maybe family, I'm not sure..." But they are being invited in and Sam reaches up, pulling off her fedora as she enters a stranger's house for the sheer fact that it's the respectful thing to do. "Thank you, Miss. We... do appreciate that. And whomever came through about the frogs that... that wasn't us, he's right. Our comrade actually seems quite fond of them and is quite careful, especially of the small, underfoot things." Sam nods back towards Eerie and their strange interaction, conversation??, with the frogs that is happening. She's careful as she walks in, taking in a full scan of the place for anything strange, out of place, compelling, anything that might catch her eye at all. But also to be certain she's not walking on any small things inside either. "I'm Sam... Sam Cole." She offers respectfully, hat still doffed in hand.


Frogs from...other planets with red giant suns? Okay. Eerie snatches the bag of chips out of the air as Seven tosses it and grins at her. "I don't think frogs eat chips." Still, they open the bag and pop one into -their- mouth. When they move to follow Rafael, they keep shooting looks back at that frog in the grass. While Sam and Rafael talk, the trio of Eerie, Simon, and Zi follow them in. Simon has his standard unlit cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth, and Zi is its normal barely-restrained freneticism. None of the three sit, instead the two things-that-aren't-alive linger near the entrance to the sitting room while Eerie takes a slow look around, checking out this and that, looking at whatever's hanging on the walls, checking out decorations while they eat Seven's bag of chips.


Seven doesn't know anything about animals, so Eerie's commentary is responded with a light-hearted shrug. She's equally fine with them enjoying the chips instead of the frogs. Wandering inside with the others, she takes a quick, cursory glance around. Noting Sam's gesture, Seven hesitantly reaches up before tugging her hoodie back a little. She doesn't fully pull it down but inches it up enough to reveal some of her soft features. "Do you mind the frogs?" she wonders of Miss Dierdre, glancing the woman's way briefly. Then she slowly steps away from the group, not straying too far but curiously exploring their surroundings.


Deirdre looks like she might have something to say about the absent frog-squasher or how well she's been seeing to Wake House, but those thoughts get derailed when Rafael identifies the group as Black Constables. The dark-skinned woman straightens and looks the lot over again, through a different lens this time. It's telling, how she's recognized that term. There's a good chance the woman is Accorded or, at least, somewhat informed about the local supernatural community. Once everybody's inside, she closes the door--with maybe just a little scowl out at the nosy neighbors who are still watching to see what all this fuss is about--and then follows into the sitting room. The four who haven't provided their names get eyed curiously, attention settling on Seven who she informs, "I do mind the frogs. They're everywhere. They don't belong."

That said, she looks back to Rafael and Sam who have taken point on conversation. "Dierdre Jones, assistant to Lillian Alexander, the Witch of Wake House. It's my job to keep this place in order in her absence. As best I can. Now..." She scans the group again and asks, "Why are you here? What do you want?"

The place really doesn't look any different than when last Rafael came through. There's no evidence of the frog-guts in the foyer, not even any unpleasant funk. There are, however, still some frogs in the house. It doesn't even take a particularly keen eye to catch sight of them. They're just sitting right there on the foyer table, in a hand-held cage, five of them watching the group go by. What sharper eyes do pick up are details of age and decoration, like the half-faded, incomplete occult markings in the window frames, the wood old and potentially original. Or the potted forget-me-nots in several rooms that seem to be browning at the edges, shedding leaves and petals, either over- or under-fed. Overall, the place is well-kept and well-furnished, speaking to wealth that's not precisely flaunted, focusing on function and comfort, all in creams, greens and browns accented in warmer, brighter tones. Thoughtful, but restrained.


"There's been some..." Rafael looks around for a moment, and then he sets the flower pot down on the table beside the cage of frogs, brushing his hands together before looking back to Dierdre, "...concern regarding Miss Alexander's absence, given the fact that there're a bunch of dimensional portals and spirits around Wake House, shall we say. And I'm given to understand that there's some other problems, but she told us to as you about that."

He flashes a smile, "Mostly we're here to offer our services in assistance."


Sam's quiet now, she's listening and watching, but Rafael clearly has good control of the conversation and she doesn't want to step on toes. So, she keeps protective gray eyes flickering across the room, trying to take in all the little details while giving Miss Dierdre the level of attention and respect she is due.


The symbols seem to appear around most, if not all, of the visible windows, though the number on each differs. It's not difficult to guess at why. At some point, someone had painted over the original wooden window frames, obscuring the marks. The paint has since been stripped, the wood sanded in an attempt to restore it, thus revealing the carved marks. Some have been partially destroyed in the process. Others might be entirely missing. It's hard to know how many are meant to be around any given window. There's been some attempt at restoring them. The symbols pull from American folk magic and a mash of European traditions, a mildly eclectic mix. The occultists in the room might notice a pattern, that many, possibly all, reference sight or knowledge.


"No kidding. I'm relatively certain they're from another planet. Or plane of existence." -Finally- Eerie speaks up to Deirdre. And adds, in reply to Rafael: "This doesn't feel like a -spirit- thing though, Rafael. Way more of an angel thing. Spirits are weird, but -predictable- weird. Their goals are almost always very simply to pursue the essence that sustains them in the most direct means possible and this..." Eerie lingers near the window frame, reaching out to run nitrile-gloved fingers along the faded occult symbols. "Is not a direct sort of place. Whoever said God works in mysterious ways wasn't kidding. Spirits are dicks, but angels are -assholes-." When Eerie proclaims that spirits are dicks, Zi - the tall broad Pakistani football player type in the lumpy suit - shoots a wild, angry look in their direction. "I think the windows have -scrying- symbols worked into them. Huh." Eerie gets out their phone, and is ready to snap a picture before they turn to Deirdre and think to ask: "Do you mind?"


The angel and God talk earns Eerie an odd look from Seven. The young woman is used to strange things but even she's not used to dealing with such oddities. Noticing them taking a picture of the symbols Seven says, "Research again?" Then she looks back to Miss Deidre with a curious expression. "Last time you saw Miss Alexander?" she wonders with a tilt of her head.


Dierdre eyes the flowers that Rafael sets down, her expression softening some. It seems the right sort of gift, even if she doesn't outright acknowledge it. "Wake House is not the problem," she asserts to Rafael, not at all surprised at the mention of portals or spirits. Her attention strays to Eerie as they chime in, and she's quick to correct, "We do house spirits. One, at least." With a look back to the returning visitor, she supposes, "I take it you've met Petalblack? It's harmless. Good for the garden. Perpetuates a proper cycle of bloom and decay when everything is well-tended, but the garden is very much Miss Alexander's affair. I don't have her talent for botany." Beat. Another look to Eerie. "And I do mind. Unless you're looking to volunteer your time and expertise in their restoration?" An offer for an unpaid job. Yay. That she issues no correction about what they've read into the markings might be telling.

Her voice softens some as she answers Seven. "January tenth. A Friday. Said maybe it would only be a weekend. Back by Monday." The hmph doesn't earn audible expression, but it can be read in her features all the same. It's been months since she's seen her employer. Drawing a deep breath, she lets it out with a sigh and explains, "The incursion started in December, frogs showing up from nowhere. She said she was going to go figure out why. She did not tell me how. I haven't been able to reach her. I can't report this to the authorities. I don't know where she went. All I can do is count the frogs and wait." Another pause, fingers flexing at her sides. "If you would like to make an attempt at finding her, I will help however I can. And I can pay."


"Yes, it seemed friendly enough, although it did try and get me to kill some of the flowers for it." Rafael's lips twitch slightly, "I wasn't about to molest another's garden, however. I actually brought some of these for it." A motion of his hand to the pot. Kill a few, leave a few. Gifts for everyone! Then he smiles fully, inclining his head, "And we'll be happy to take on the job, of course..."

He glances back to the others, as if to check for any protest, then looks back, "How many other residents are there, aside from yourself, Manfred, and Petalblack? Not counting the transdimensional frogs, of course."


"Missing persons happens to be a specialty of mine, Miss Dierdre, and that is the only reason we came. Was to help." Sam echoes Rafael's words, nodding a bit as he falls into the start of questions, though she has about a dozen more. Now that they've gotten into the questions section, Sam pulls out a little note book and flips it open, beginning to take detailed, neat handed notes about anything and everything said in the room. "I'd also love any information you have about where or how she disappeared, the state she was in when you last saw her, anything that changed about her rooms... if she was making peparations for any magic you could tell..." Sam then falls quiet, forcing herself to stop flooding the questions despite old habits.


"Volunteering is against our code. But working for -pay- very much is not." Eerie tucks away their phone. See, should have brought Slip. Just have her look over things and draw them later. "Did you try asking them where they came from? Or why they're here? I could pop back out into the yard and see if they want to say." Eerie glances to Seven, eyebrows raised. "If we're gonna split the party, wanna be my frog interrogation buddy?"


Seven is still getting used to being paid to do things, but she seems to agree with Eerie. No service without pay, one way or another. With the more sociable handling the questioning of Miss Deidre, Seven listens but turns her attentinon elsewhere. Eerie grabs her attention and she gives that a consideration. Rafael and Sam are eyed and she seems content with the pair, so, she gives a nod to Eerie, taking a few steps their way.


Dierdre cracks a smile as Rafael further explains the intention behind the gift. It's not a big smile, and it might be missed by anyone not looking when it forms, but it's definitely there. Briefly. Very briefly. "Thoughtful," seems a little softer for it, less the grudging concession implied by her tone. Pay can be negotiated, the terms on the appreciative side of reasonable for a potentially complicated job like this, with a person of some sort of supernatural capability missing for so long. When Eerie asks if she's asked the frogs where they're from, she just spreads her hands and shrugs, wordlessly asking how, expressing her lack of proficiency in that particular trick. "You're welcome to do so. Try the ones over there." In the cage, she means.

She addresses Sam's questions first, noting, "It is my understanding that Miss Alexander traveled somewhere by magical means. I do not know where or how. I haven't been able to track her myself. I am an apprentice, and the best I can do is maintain her estate in some partial capacity while she is gone. She was of sound mind and body when she left." In a quieter grumble, she adds, "If taking ill-advised trips to who knows where counts as sound." When she frowns, fleeting as it is, some genuine hurt and worry surfaces, quickly pushed back under her more comfortably worn sternness. "Nobody lives in the house proper right now," she informs Rafael, "but there are several others in the broader estate, through the... doors you mentioned. You won't need to interact with most of them. Some are guests, others are staff, and none of them have information about Miss Alexander's whereabouts. They've been asking me..." And it's clear she has no answers.


"Is there any possibility that one of them might have been somehow involved in either her disappearance or the appearance of the frogs?" Rafael crooks a brow slightly, "We may need to interview them regardless-- potentially any of them might be a suspect. No offense, of course." He shrugs a bit, "We don't want to be a disruption, but we'll need to be thorough."


The older woman nods in affirmation to Rafael's words, though her gray eyes are a bit curious as to how things are going to go with the Frogs, so she's a little bit distracted from taking too-detailed notes. But she does keep writing the notes down. "If you have a file of who is in the house, that would help, and Rafael is right. It'd be worth speaking to them. And, if you can let me into where she worked her magic, we can possibly trace what sort of spell or portal she was trying to open when she went... Where ever she did. Also if she left any books out, had any sort of diary or notes..."


Oh, okay. That doesn't require Eerie to like, go outside and split the party. It -does- mean that Eerie needs to build rapport with a new frog. The youngest Constable moves over to the five frogs in the cage and leans down, looking at each of the frogs in turn. They try to pick a frog that looks...sketchy. A frog with something to hide. A frog with secrets to delve out. And then they reach out with their mind, searching, -delving- into its transdimensional amphibious brain.


"I doubt it," isn't the same as 'no,' and Dierdre knows it. Her gaze flits between Rafael and Samantha before she concedes, "I can provide a list. Though I expect your discretion. Miss Alexander's guests expect privacy, and her staff..." She scowls slightly at the complication of trying to explain this, glancing off to the side to watch Eerie checking out the frogs. "Not all of them are as human as Manfred or as easily classified as Petalblack." When she looks back to the others, she adds, "I would prefer a day or two to prepare a safe space where you can meet with them, if you intend to question everyone." Then, to Sam more directly, "I don't know where she worked this particular magic, but I will show you to the grounds which are a testament to her capabilities. Her personal diary--" Which Gast already took, which might have been passed on to Jeanie. "--is in her room. Her work journals are in the archives. I can... try to arrange access."

The frogs all have slight variations in their coloring, and all look like they're running a bit dry and could use a visit to a pond. Most of the quintent seem fairly resigned to their current predicament, but one is restless, frequently stepping on its friends to try to get a leg up. When Eerie establishes connection, it's thinking, ~One plus six. One plus six. Two smell wrong.~ As they delve deeper, pulling for secrets, the idea of spying rises to the fore. Learn and report, back to a King beneath the right moon, cool and full and home. If only it could figure out how to get home...


"That seems fair enough." Rafael spreads his hands a bit, "And our discretion is assured. We don't break contract, Miss Dierdre." He offers her a reassuring smile, glancing over to Eerie, "And the journals would probably help - possibly she took some notes about what's going on that might be useful. Let us know when you've made the preparations and we'll get our work started."


"Rafael has the right of it. If you want us to sign something to assure privacy, we're happy to do so. This is all about making certain your teacher is returned safe and sound from... well, where ever she got off to. If it's more likely magic took her away than someone sneaking in here, well... All the more important we see her work and whatever journals we can find." She gives an almost apologetic smile at the questions, knowing they are invasive, but Sam isn't wavering on them either. She gives Eerie one long look then, both her brows rising silently as she sees the younger person's interaction with the frogs deepening.


One plus six. Seven? Do these frogs know Seven's -name-? Eerie leans down closer to the cage, making eye contact with the frog they've made telepathic contact with. ~The two won't hurt you. They're with me. Under control. But if you tell me about your King, about the place with the right moon and the right sun? I'll make sure you get some water to soak in. I like to learn, too.~


Dierdre's expression softens more persistently at Sam's offer, a curt nod offered to the woman. "I'll send over some paperwork. Along with the list of guests and residents." It takes her a few seconds to work around to saying, "I appreciate this. I've been... reluctant to get anyone else involved. Seeing as you've already involved yourselves..." Annoyed as she sounds, she's plainly appreciative. It frees her from the guilt of taking that initiative. "If you provide an address, I'll have it over to you by courier in the next day or two."

The frog, meanwhile, blinks up at Eerie, seeming more settled now that they're communicating. Asked after its King, after the place with the right moon and the right sun, it thinks only, ~Home~, but the word has an immense connotation, conveying images of swamplands beneath a silver-blue moon under the rule of a benevolent king, of the waters running dry under the cruel red sun, under the rule of an adversary. Its sorrow suggests both distance and defeat.


Rafael pats down his pockets, eventually coming up with a business card and handing it over - it's the one he uses for his eBay business, but clearly that's not his only job. "Excellent." He flashes a smile, "We'll get to the bottom of this."


The stumbling for the card gets a little furrow of Sam's brow. She half smirks at Rafael when she sees the address, "On second thought, let's use mine. Cole Investigations, here..." Sam mutters, reaching into her back pocket and pulling out her little card. She might not be the most popular PI, but she's professional enough to have a printed card with her business (even if she also lives above where she works which isn't always the smartest idea.) It's a simple black card with white, art-deco like font on it. It's clearly just for her PI business and mentions she's licensed in the state of Louisiana. "We can use my office as a home base for this, Raf. That way if Dierdre wants to come by and look in, she knows the place to go as well." Sam does have a good 'bedside manner', so to speak, for an old investigator.


~So if that's home, why are you here?~ As they talk to the frog silently, Eerie picks up the cage and looks over to Dierdre. "I promised them some water. You got a bowl I could fill? Somebody said there's a pond? Tap water won't be any good for them, I'll fill a bowl out back and put it in so they don't dry out." Eerie has fully checked out of the human part of this equation. Sam and Rafael are competent as fuck and have this shit under wraps, so Eerie's talking to the amphibians.


The more information she has by which to measure these potential investigators the better, by Dierdre's measure. She takes each offered card in turn, giving them both a glance before nodding to Sam. "I might," almost sounds like there's a 'thank you' attached, but she doesn't get around to saying it. Once was enough. The question from Eerie earns an even assurance of, "I'll see to the frogs. They're on their way out." It's her way of shooing them along now that they've come to agreements. No need for anyone to stay longer than necessary.

The frog answers Eerie's question, though, with thoughts of, ~Learn. Help. Rebellion. Restoration.~ and a swell of pride and purpose.