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)

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