Thursday, April 30, 2009

Voices Of The Past. Part Two

Eight Years Ago

Steelhead City

Fuzz stood in front of the ruins of what was once the Steelhead Hotel. In his hand was the sheriff's badge that Kattrynn Severine had pinned on him. He studied it closely, unsure on putting back on. Beside him, TotalLunar Eclipse was standing, studying the ruins of the hotel.

"Can you rebuild it?" Fuzz asked, not taking his eyes off the badge.

"I was thinking of starting over," Lunar replied "making it better and more grand. You should wear that badge. Miss Severine picked you to be Steelhead's new sheriff for a reason. You are the best qualified for the job."

Fuzz shrugged, "Still a bit reluctant. One minute a friend is sheriff, the next he's been fired and I'm given the badge."

Lunar gestured at the ruins, "All that strife beforehand caused this. It wasn't entirely his fault, but he still had to pay a price. He's aware of that, and accepted it. Now.....we rebuild Steelhead City, in both this building and it's reputation. It's what Miss Severine wants."

Fuzz chuckled as he placed the badge back on his jacket, "If Katt hears you refer to her as Miss Severine, she's going to kick your kiester up and down this street. Where's our mayor?"

Lunar looked at Fuzz, "As of this morning, Steelhead City has no mayor. He left."

Fuzz shook his head, "I don't want that job. You take it."

"Katt asked me to run." Lunar replied, "Not sure if it's for me."

Fuzz pointed at his badge, "I've been saying that for the past 24 hours. I'm supposed to be searching for my sister. But......" Fuzz looked around the quiet town, "there's something about this town."

"So you've said. Countless times. 'More to this town than what many believe' I think were your words."

"And I mean it. This town can be a place that people will remember for generations. So......" he looked at Lunar, "run for mayor. A Moon Elf mayor, a Lycan sheriff, throw Tensai in for good measure. Lead by example. The citizens will catch on....."

"And together," Lunar finished, smiling, "we can all work together to bring this town to it's full potential, and beyond."

The two smiled and looked at the ruins, again.

"We need a new hotel." Fuzz said

"Top of the list."

"Damn," a female voice said from behind "obviously this town knows how to party."

The two turned around to greet the newcomer. Fuzz gave a slight smile, recognizing the visitor.

"Hello, Valerie." he said

"Hello, Fuzzy." Valerie Greene replied

"I hate being called 'Fuzzy'." Fuzz told Lunar.

"He has that Moldavian arrogance," Valerie explained to Lunar, "Call him 'Fuzzy' every chance you get, keeps him humbled."

"TotalLunar Eclipse," Fuzz interrupted, "may I introduce Miss Valerie Greene. Lady Adventuress, and a royal pain in the neck sometimes."

"And you love it." Valerie told Fuzz as she turned to greet Lunar

"Vedui, Miss Greene" Lunar said, "What brings you to Steelhead?"

Valerie smiled and looked over at Fuzz, "Bit of business, and a bit of pleasure."
"Fuzz" Lunar noted, "You're turning red."

Eight Years Later

Steelhead City Air Docks

Fuzz stepped off the airship and made his way down the flight of steps from the airdock. As he reached the bottom, he was greeted by Sister Mary Katherine and Willard. Willard was squeaking loudly and fast.

"Willard," Fuzz said, "slow down. What about an earthquake?"

"Happened a few hours ago," Sister Mary Katherine explained, "no serious damage in town. The train was derailed, however. A lot of the passengers were injured. With the assitance of the Europan Consulate and other citizens, they were tended to and are all resting comfortably."

"Oh good," Fuzz said, "one less thing for me to worry about. I'll be at my office if I'm needed."

"Of course, Sheriff" Sister Mary Katherine replied

Willard hopped off the crates and followed Fuzz down the path, heading towards town hall.

Sheriff's Office, Town Hall.

Lunar walked into the office and found Fuzz at his desk, sifting through paperwork. Fuzz looked up at Lunar and greeted him with a nod. Lunar replied, also with a nod.

"So, I missed all the fun, huh?" Fuzz asked

"Oh yes," Lunar responded "a few damaged windows here in town. It's going to be a few days in regards to the train, due to a few damaged tracks. The injured are all resting comfortably."

"Good." Fuzz said, as he continued working on the paperwork.

Willard stepped out of the cell and looked at Lunar. Lunar glanced at the rat, then turned his attention back to Fuzz.

"Valerie's here, Fuzz." he said

Fuzz stopped briefly, not looking up, then continued signing the paperwork. Willard looked over at Fuzz, then back at Lunar. Lunar gave Willard a "Mind your own business" look, then continued his conversation with Lunar.

"She's asked about you," he continued "it's been awhile since you two last spoke."

Fuzz looked up at Lunar, "Six years. Ancient history."

"I think you might want to speak to her, Fuzz." Lunar said, as he walked closer to Fuzz's desk.

"Hmmph." was Fuzz's only reply.

"After all," Lunar continued "the little girl has your eyes."

Fuzz put the paperwork down, and looked at Lunar, who nodded slowly. Fuzz then got up from his desk and began walking out of the office.

"Hotel" Lunar said as Fuzz left the office. The Moon Elf then looked down at the jail rat, "Willard, I think perhaps we should visit Tensai's workshop basement. It's built to withstand any sort of explosions that may occur."

The Steelhead Hotel Lobby

Annechen Lowey and Tensai Hilra sat with Valerie Greene as her daughter drew on the artpad that Annechen brought for her.

"Your daughter's very cute." Tensai said, smiling, "This town needs more cute. I'm not always around to carry the load."

Valerie smiled, "Thank you. Not to sound arrogant, but I think she got the cuteness from me."

Annechen looked at the girl, then towards Valerie, "Miss Greene, has she shown any Lycan tendencies?"

"From what I've understood, that won't happen until she turns 13. However, every now and then she does seem to......"

Valerie stopped talking as she watched her daughter sniff the air and then quickly look towards the entrance of the hotel. The three ladies turned to see Fuzz walking through the door. Annechen turned towards Tensai.

"Perhaps we should leave." Annechen whispered

"Why?" Tensai asked, "If we left, we'd miss everything."

"Fuzz," Valerie said, smiling, "it's good to see you."

Fuzz simply stared at Valerie. He then looked at the little girl. Valerie motioned for her daughter, who got up and walked over to her mother. Valerie turned back to Fuzz.

"This is Anastasia. I call her Anya." Valerie looked down at her daughter, pointing at Fuzz, "This is Sheriff Ortega."

"Hello, Sheriff Ortega." Anya replied, extending her hand and smiling.

It was then that Fuzz smiled.

"Hello, Anya" he said, shaking her hand "Welcome to Steelhead."

"I don't like trains." she whispered

"Airships are more fun." Fuzz whispered back. He then looked at Valerie, "I have business to attend to."

Fuzz left the hotel. Valerie motioned for Anya to return to her drawings, then followed Fuzz. Annechen turned towards Tensai.

"He handled that very civil." she noted

"Yea," Tensai replied "he's getting soft. Shame, really."

Outside the Hotel

Fuzz turned to see Valerie walking up to him. He turned to continue walking, then stopped and turned his attention to her.

"I figured since you were from that part of Europe, I'd give her a name that was fitting." Valerie said, "Anastasia is a very pretty name, isn't it?"

Fuzz simply glared at her.

"And she's very smart." Valerie continued, smiling "A very quick learner. Wouldn't be surprised if she went to one of those big universities back East......"

Fuzz simply glared at her.

"OK" she yelled, causing a few passersby to stop and look, "I up and left you in the middle of the night. Nine months later, I'm holding your daughter in my arms. I'm sorry. Never told you, and you had every right to know. I was scared, Fuzz. I'm really sorry."

Fuzz turned and started to walk away.

"Is it ok," she asked "if I let her know who her father is?"

Fuzz stopped and turned back around.

"Lunar said that she had my eyes." Fuzz said

Valerie smiled and nodded

"She also has my mother's smile." Fuzz said as he turned and walked away.

He turned around the corner and found Old boB Ballyhoo stumbling towards him.

"boB," Fuzz said, "you know that bottle that you keep hidden from Lunar?"

boB simply stared at Fuzz, unsure on how to answer.

"I need a drink" Fuzz continued

boB smiled and put his arm around Fuzz, "I keep it hidden in the mayor's office."

"You keep it hidden from Lunar in his office?!?!" Fuzz asked

boB shrugged, "Last place he'll look."

New York Office Of Pinkerton Detective Agency

Angelica Trescothick studied the reports of the stolen merchandise that she and her associates had been investigating. She looked up to see a small wirey man walk in, pushing a cart with a pot of tea on it. She smiled at the man.

"Thank you, Henderson." she said

"A pleasure, Agent Tresothick." Henderson replied as he poured the tea for her. "How goes the latest investigation?"

Angelica shook her head, "I don't think the Golden Tock Lobster is still in New York. Who ever stole it, has skipped town."

"Oh dear," Henderson said as he handed her the cup, "where do you think they'll be heading."

"The artifacts that have been stolen," Angelica said as she sipped her tea, "The Molet Chalice, The Dagger Of Anubis, The Crown of Cornelius, and now the Golden Tock's all happened before. Agent Lockhart has gone to England to see that the Belt of Lady Chasity remains safe at the British Museum. That only leaves the Cross of Caledon."

"Will you be heading to Caledon, then?" Henderson asked

"No," Angelica replied, "not yet. My first stop is Steelhead City. My brother was part of the group of adventurers that recovered those items in the first place. Maybe he'll have some answers that'll help us get to the bottom of this case."

"I'll send word to have an airship standing by."

Steelhead City Hotel, Later That Night

In the apartment suite of the hotel, Valerie checked on Anya, who was sleeping. She then closed the door of the bedroom, and walked into the sitting area. She was startled as she saw a man with black hair slicked back and a busy mustache sitting in a chair.

"Cyrus," she said, "You've got to be careful in this town."

"Relax," Cyrus Slurge said, "with all the excitement from the earthquake, nobody's noticed. Did you get it?"

Valerie motioned to a trunk by the wall. Cyrus walked over to the trunk and opened it. Moving some blankets to the side, he pulled out the Golden Tock Lobster. He smiled as he looked at the statue.

"Val, you're amazing." he said

Valerie smiled, "It was a piece of cake. Did you get the other items?"

"Just got word that Sid got the Belt Of Lady Chasity." Cyrus replied, "He'll meet us in Caledon. We'll need your help in getting the Cross."

"Not a problem." Valerie replied

"And we'll need to get to Caledon without attracting attention."

Valerie smiled, "There's an airship captain, Angus GlitterRoch. We can hire him, he's pretty cheap. And if by chance he does recognize you.....we'll just take his ship."

Cyrus smiled as he pulled Valerie closer to him. "You and I are going to rule this world."

"One more thing." Valerie said, as she reached into the trunk and pulled out a box of silver bullets, "If the sheriff of this town starts to get too nosey, you take care of it. But ONLY if he starts snooping."

"Consider it done."

To Be Continued
(Another flashback. More Fuzz. More Anya. More Steelhead......Oh yea, and Angelica gets, really)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Voices Of The Past. Part One

Twelve Years Ago

Eastern State Penitentiary. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Fuzzball Ortega stood in front of the desk as his possessions were returned to him. The guard then handed a clipboard with a paper attached. Fuzz signed the paper and handed it back to the guard.

"Congratulations," the guard said, "you're a free man"

A short time later, Fuzz found himself outside the prison walls. He looked to see a man in a black suit, complete with black bowler, carrying a satchel, walking towards him.

"Mr. Ortegavich," the man said, "or do you prefer the name you adopted when you came to this country?"

"Doesn't matter." Fuzz replied, "Who are you?"

The man smiled, "Doesn't matter. What does matter is that you are free." he opened the satchel and pulled out a piece of paper, "You're claim was that it was self defense."

Without any emotion, Fuzz replied, "It was self defense."

"Yes. You came to the aid of a woman being threatened by a man, he attacked, you defended, but at a cost." the man said, still smiling

"Nephew of the judge." Fuzz snorted as he started to walk away. The man followed

"Yes," the man said, "and you'd be happy to know that all record of this has been erased."

Fuzz stopped and stared at the man, "How? You manipulated time?"

The man chuckled, "No. Let's just say, with the're criminal record has been eliminated. You're safe to walk the streets and not be branded a criminal."

Fuzz looked the man over, listening to his pulse, trying to catch a scent of foul play, "Where were you three years ago when I was put in? And what do I have to do in return for all this?"

"All you have to do, is live your life. You owe us nothing." the man put the paper back in his satchel and tipped his hat to Fuzz, "Good day, sir."

The man walked away. Fuzz began to follow, then noticed a woman looking at him. She was tall, slender, with black hair and green eyes, and extremely beautiful.

"You must be someone very special." she said, "I mean, to have Pinkerton's to release you from prison."

"Pinkerton's?" Fuzz asked

"Detective agency." she explained, "Although there is rumor of a special branch that deals with some special, top secret missions. Someone there must really like you."

"Hmmph" was the only reply Fuzz gave.

She glanced at the points of Fuzz's ears, "Must've been hard being in there. I've heard werewolves aren't great at being in enclosed spaces."

Fuzz looked at the beautiful stranger, "Meditation. Who are you?"

The woman extended her hand, "Valerie Greene."

Fuzz looked at the hand, then back at the woman, "Fuzz."

"Oh, you're going to be a tough cookie." she said, smiling, "I like a challenge."

Twelve Years Later

Regency Hospital, Caledon

The matron led Fuzz down the hallway of the hospital. She could tell he hadn't slept, having hurriedly arrived in Caledon from Steelhead almost overnight.

"He was brought in a few days ago." she explained "He insisted on speaking to you. I hope there was no important business that you had to leave behind."

"No," Fuzz replied "I've just returned from overseas with Lady Eva and Doctor Mason. Afraid I haven't had the chance to start any other business."

The matron smiled, "We've heard all about the Fusang adventure." She motioned at the room at the end of the hall, "He's in there."

Fuzz walked in to find a large wolf laying on the bed, asleep. On each side of the bed, a normal sized wolf sat. Fuzz walked to the center of the room, and knelt on one knee in front of the large wolf. At one time, the large wolf was King Lycaon. Myths and legends differ on the events, but it was said Lycaon angered the being once worshipped as the god Zeus and was transformed into a wolf, and was responsible for the Lycan race.

As he bowed his head, Fuzz whispered to the matron, "What's wrong with him."

"He's dying." she replied.

Fuzz looked up, "What? How?"

The reply was from the large wolf, who was only able to speak slowly, taking breaths as it was becoming difficult for him to speak "I'm afraid........that time has finally......caught up with me."

Fuzz got up and walked closer to the old wolf, "Oh now, you defied odds this long, surely you can keep going to the next century."

"The longevity....." Lycaon said, "is also........part of......the curse........It's almost......time to........join my wife..........You..........are early........Fenris'......Bane."

"I got a message you needed to see me," Fuzz explained, "if my cousin wasn't recouperating from his change, I would've been here sooner, but I took the fastest airship......"

"Forgive been.......too birth the have are these.......lands,.....we must"

The large wolf closed his eyes and returned to his slumber. Fuzz bowed to the wolf then walked out of the room and whispered to the matron, "He's not the only one who needs sleep."

The matron smiled, "The doctor feels he doesn't have much longer before he passes away. Perhaps you should stay in Caledon."

"No," Fuzz replied, scratching his chin "he seems to know when the time is close. I'll do as he says and return to Caledon later. A return trip would be nice, been awhile since I've been here."

Fuzz said farewell to the matron and walked out of the hospital, too tired to have noticed the elderly gentleman in the steam powered wheelchair making his way to the matron. Without smiling, the matron greeted the gentleman and motioned for him to follow her, and the two went down another hallway of the hospital.

Steelhead City, Two Days Later

The earthquake had been quick. Fortunately, there had been no damages, aside from a few broken panes in some windows. The citizens started to thank their lucky stars, when it was discovered that the earthquake had caused the train to derail a few miles outside of town. There were many injuries, but no deaths. The ballroom was quickly converted to a temporary hospital as the injured were being taken care of.

"Where is Doctor Mason?" Mother Superior asked Lunar as he walked by.

Lunar turned and shrugged, "I have enough trouble keepin up with your boss." He quickly pointed up, "Not THE Boss. The one who wears a badge and grows fur."

Mother Superior smiled, "Sheriff Ortega should be returning from Caledon soon. He gave me his word."

"He gave me his word that he was going to rest in San Francisco. Instead, he wound up going to the Celestial Kingdom to rescue Hotspur."

"Next time," Mother Superior suggested, "try wearing a habit when he's giving his word."

Mother Superior walked off to help Sister Florence with an injured man. Katt walked up and handed Lunar a pile of bandages.

"Come along, Mayor Worrywart" she said, "Let's help these people out."
The two walked over to Angus GlitterRoch, who was conversing with Doktor Sweetwater and pointing at a little girl.

"Ye call this a serious injury?" He asked

"Eet vas vurse." Sweetwater said, "Much vurse."

"Angus," Lunar asked, "what's wrong?"

"Ach, the lass here said the little lassie was seriously injured." the green haired Scotsman explained, "But, as ye can see, she just has a few cuts here and there. Nothing serious."

"Any child that is hurt is a serious issue." Lunar said.

He looked at the little girl. She appeared to be approximately six years old with black hair. Her eyes, he thought, looked very familiar. As Katt pulled the child's hair back to see if there were more injuries on her, Lunar noticed the slight point of her ears.

"She's a quick healer," a female voice said, "just like her father."

Lunar turned around to see a beautiful woman with black hair and green eyes standing behind him.

"You." he said

"Hello, Lunar." Valerie Greene said, "How's Fuzz?"

To Be Continued
(Where we learn more of Fuzz's past with Valerie Green. A bit of why she's back in his life. Fuzz's true connection with the little girl. Oh yes, and Angelica returns)