Author: Vinca, Posted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 2:56 PM, Post Subject: The Cat's Meow [L:4]
It seemed the man whose essence screamed a want for escape had not only pushed her to lead the investigation upon a simple detail, but had also taken her aside from the others to try and mull over ideas to each other: ways to simplify and narrow down their field without trying to examine everyone as that would most likely cause trust in the store to decrease. Still, trying to act fast was also key as the longer they took and the more signs they were on to the culprit, the bigger their window to escape would be if they had not already done so.
"More than likely, the motive behind this would be wealth. As previously stated, these are rare breeds that are not usually taken care of, so obviously they hold a high value, but if most of the patrons are already wealthy, then that motive would not fit them. An outsider could easily have such motive if it means wealth. That, or an employee, if pay is not as well as we would assume.
"A second option that can be held by patrons would be revenge of treatment, such as aggression." Her eyes darted towards the calico for a brief moment before returning her focus. "However, for as many as five cats to be victimized all at once from this, the chance of that would seem rather low unless it was a group effort and not a single individual.
"Finally, the last motive I can think of would be a lot less selfish and can hold more towards guests, but especially workers: rescue. After all, we patrons do not know about the dealings that happen in the back, so if there is a chance that abuse is going on, then it could very well be a matter of ensuring the cats are in a safer home than here."
Still, there could be a plethora of motives that had yet even mentioned, thought about, or even plausible, but those were the three thoughts that she thought were the most important to put out there.
"As for method, magic is obviously their prime tool with a focus on the school of enchanting. Its a complex art that even those that you people would call Mana-Blood would have trouble with. More than likely, they devised a medium like a gemstone to be able to pull it off. Size and cut are important, so hiding it in a ring would be too small for the complexity and numbers used. Maybe as decoration on a necklace or a cane would suffice. Also knowing the point of origin for casting would tremendously help out, but alas trying to revive old mana lines is tricky enough as is, and I currently don't have my medium even if I wanted to attempt it."
Still, it wasn't exactly enough for her to try and centralize out a point as a target. For all they know, the fact they were high-valued had nothing to do with it because they were sacrifices for some deity or demon… They simply needed more details…
Author: Caranthir, Posted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 1:36 PM, Post Subject: The Cat's Meow [L:4]
'Magical forensics', frequencies, trails? All of these things were flying straight over Auron's head. Verbose explanation aside, what he could gather was that there was magic involved and this fairy woman would be the best candidate to hand this issue off on. The rest of them were just as lost as he was, with Carlysle bearing a thoughtful yet confused look and Ms. Evelyn having recovered from continuously clearing her nasal passages. Clapping his hands together he looked at each of them. "Well it appears we've found us an expert. Lead the way, miss. We'll be counting on you to spearhead this investigation." After all he wasn't going to do it. He had neither the desire or knowledge to do so. The calico was sitting contentedly in Ms. Evelyn's lap as she stroked its back, eyes starting to close in comfort. The petite fairy woman took a sip from a lovely rose and gold edged teacup only to sputter moments after. Her next words made him grimace slightly. "Ma'am, you are aware that catnip has no place in a tea, correct?"
Ms. Evelyn placed a hand on her cheek in surprise, more on the fairy's disapproval of it than a nonverbal agreement. "Oh! I'm terribly sorry Miss, but sometimes the cats like to sample the food so we have a special menu that ensures everything is safe for their consumption. We do serve food for the patrons and they can order snacks for the cats of their choice, but it's a precaution. Ingesting things like onions and garlic can make them terribly ill."
Auron chose to keep his personal feelings on the matter to himself, reminding himself to never order the food at the cafe, ever. Mr. Carlysle was beginning a lengthy tangent on the finer points of feline-friendly cuisine when he took the fairy lady aside to have a personal chat while he was preoccupied.
"Just between the two of us, I think it would be best if we conduct our own little investigation on the side. Both of us have never set foot within this place until tonight and that would rule us out of the list of possible suspects. You are more than welcome to correct me if I am wrong on any point." He spoke quietly so only she could hear. "From what I've gathered within the short span of my visit, most patrons are within the middle to upper class wealth bracket. The level of attention to the interior furnishings and even a personalized menu for the cats would be aiming at those who have money to spend." He stated in a brief summary. "Despite the perpetrator's attempts in over-complication, is there a way to narrow down the search without relying solely on tracing magical trails? Something like an odd thing out of place, possible motive, or clue hinting at the modus operandi?"
They would get nowhere on guesswork, now was the time to start with what was here. Having spent his time sweet talking strangers to part with their money, Auron knew that those who performed less than lawful acts always acted according to a particular mindset. Naturally someone experienced in their line of work would ensure to clean up their trail, however you needed to know what they would focus on. Even the best criminals made mistakes.
Author: Vinca, Posted: Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:18 PM, Post Subject: The Cat's Meow [L:4]
"I dare not say I am familiar with roguish acts," Vinca made sure to clarify," but we are ones very inclines to the ways of magic beyond what your typical scrolls and tomes would tell those first learning." She felt like, all of a sudden, she was going to be giving a lecture on advanced magical theory, thus proceeded to flutter down and stand on the back of the sofa Ms. Evelyn was resting on, staring at the calico for a moment to ensure she would not be attacked before continuing. "Do you think you can give me a candle? Unlit." She was willing to wait until one was brought, with her pointing to set it on the table.
"Now then, a simple trick everyone learning the art works on:." With a snap of her finger, the wick flickered to light, burning slowly and illuminating the spot. "A spell everyone learns to master before they get into more complicated artes. So simple, in fact, that it can be done without a medium. However, what many do not see is the link between me and the flame. Those who are more in tune can see this as the flame came to life, though if you looked now, it would have all, but dissipated. After all, it is no longer my mana giving it fuel, but the candle itself.
"Enchantments that amplify a body's traits have this link as well, but it lingers more around the target. Should they move around, you can say they leave behind a trail. Tracing these paths and refueling older ones to be seen once more are tricks towards a practice I have heard come to be known as 'magical forensics,' or the art of seeing past magical spells. Its complex on its own, but masters of this can not only see these trails, but also the frequencies of the caster: very definable marks from who casted the spell, just like the spirals on your fingertips.
"If we keep these traits in mind, then not only is our arcanist trickster here familiar with such magical arts to a large degree, but he is also familiar with such forensics, seeing as he placed many around to create more of a mesh than a trail. One possibility comes from being arrested from such studies. Lastly, he has to be familiar with their schedules, so we are talking about either a regular, a worker, or an impersonator."
She bounded from the back of the sofa to the cushion and over to the table before picking up a cup of tea to sip down, working to refresh her throat, though was quick to cough it up. "Ma'am, you are aware that catnip has no place in a tea, correct?"
Author: Caranthir, Posted: Fri Dec 28, 2018 9:00 PM, Post Subject: The Cat's Meow [L:4]
Ms. Evelyn gave a strong blow clearing up her nose. "-We did adopt a few strays recently. The Cat's Meow has made it known that we're willing to shelter cats when their owners are no longer able to care for them and sometimes we pick up those who are on the streets. That's what most of what we make here is used on."
So in essence this business was to supplement an animal shelter which happened to be the same location. "That would explain the prices…" Auron murmured. He wondered why on earth someone would pay to be surrounded by cats, now it made sense. "Oh come now, how else do you expect a facility of this caliber to keep its head above water old bean? There's more to caring for cats than just food and toys. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Ms. Evelyn would know more on that than I would."
Mr. Carlysle added. "Yes, all the cats we take here are first checked for illness and treated for things like ringworm and fleas. They're kept separate from the others until they're healthy, then they're carefully introduced to the rest of the family."
Ms. Evelyn explained. "The cats are fed only at a specific time of the day and we check their weight and physical fitness every week. After all we want them to be as happy as possible."
Having calmed down to where she was no longer sniffling, the woman continued stating that training and housebreaking the cats was part of the process. Some of the strays still were skittish and had a tendency to run about, so she had to be extra careful that they didn't escape. However so far they had never lost a cat, so why would this happen now? Even stranger still was the fact that the ones who were now missing weren't the newly-acquired ones or strays. "I still don't understand. What do these new cats have anything to do with the cats who are missing?Are you saying that someone manipulated the cats into letting the others out? Seems like an awfully convoluted method." But the more he thought on it, the more it was starting to come together. Of course it would be much easier to break in and grab a cat while the caretaker wasn't looking. Also using cats in such a way would imply a high level of expertise in psionic magics. There was the possibility of direct possession of the animal, as shapeshifting would seem too much of a risk.
Whoever came up with this plan wanted to stay out of sight as much as possible, Auron assumed. Even if this plan fell through the first time most would brush it off as the cat being mischievous. Sooner or later they would find a perfect opportunity and then snatch their targets away once they were outside the protection of the cafe. The theory still had many holes to fill. There was the question of whether the kidnapper performed their acts outside or inside the premises, and who said culprit was. He still needed to narrow his search to more manageable means. Turning to the fairy woman, he asked her directly. "You've raised some very good points so far. Now if you were to analyze this situation, what kind of person do you think the perpetrator would be? I'm completely lost here, and you seem to know the most out of all of us."
Author: Vinca, Posted: Fri Dec 7, 2018 10:27 PM, Post Subject: The Cat's Meow [L:4]
Why would someone enchant a cat, indeed? After all, aside from being possible prey that she was, what benefit was there to take from it? The thoughts mulled over in Vinca's mind, causing her to scratch her head in confusion. I mean, it did let the small predator be more agile. Maybe her last visitor did so to let her play more?
Without being able to speak Cat, though, it would be heard to actually get an idea on the why.
What echoed from the door was Rosie, sitting patiently in the doorway for the other men in the room, seeing as they were the ones who called for her services, and with Vinca's magical eyes locking on her, the shock and confusion she displayed was nothing to hide. What covered Rosie was a golden hue this time: a magical shell meant to protect the target. Agility at least had some purpose to it, so why the Protection magic?! Unless…
Light fairy dust danced in the air around Vinca's wings as she air-sprinted into the hallway, strengthening the magic her eyes granted her, unable to believe what she detected: Waves of mana signatures dancing all throughout the hallways! If someone tried to do magical forensics here, they would easily… get… lost!
It finally struck her as her words a mere moment ago echoed in her mind. Fluttering back to the room with the crying Evelyn, the fae had a simple question.
"Excuse me, but by any chance you picked any new cats recently? Or ones that had no issue going outside during the day?"
Author: Caranthir, Posted: Sun Nov 25, 2018 10:55 PM, Post Subject: The Cat's Meow [L:4]
Ms. Evelyn hugged the calico like a doll, sniffling while stroking the tricolored cat. She was in no shape to help being more emotionally shaken than the rest of them. Auron heard the fairy's complaint and found it strange. "Enchanting cats? What do you mean by 'enchanting cats'? Why on earth would anybody want to place a magic enchantment on these furb–er, feline friends?" Now was not the time to add his personal opinions of a singular animal species. Not when a potential crime was in the making. It was his old curiosity as a former smooth-talking swindler at work. When it came to money, he of all people would know a plan to make a quick handful of silvers when he saw it. The illegal trade and sale of exotic animals was not unknown to him, though it was not within his personal expertise. That was a bit too far out of his modus operandi in earning quick coin. It was also much more risky.
Still the fact someone was willing to go through the trouble of abducting animals gave some insight into who might do such a thing. Not very much, but a start. And if Mr. Carlysle's assumptions and Ms. Evelyn's information were both accurate, then it had to be a person who was familiar with the daily routine of the Cat's Meow. The suspect could be an infrequent customer, spacing out their visits to lower chances of being noticed. However they would have at least more than one time at the establishment to scout out their targets. "Ms. Evelyn, do you remember any strange things happening in the establishment? It can be anything, like a door being open when you were sure you had it locked or something moved when you weren't looking. Have the cats ever gotten out of their rooms before?" The lady shook her head, blowing her nose again and the cat in her lap left to groom itself.
If she didn't know, then they would have to figure things out the long way. Poring over all the past visits would be tedious and time-consuming, unless someone else had a bright idea on cutting to the chase. As much as he wanted to leave, it was too late now. He was now involved with no thanks to Mr. Carlysle.
Author: Vinca, Posted: Tue Nov 20, 2018 11:06 PM, Post Subject: The Cat's Meow [L:4]
As Vinca tried to catch her breath as the weight of the cat on the handle swung the door open, it seemed more guests had made their way in, completely unaccounted for or even a simple pardons of intrusion! … Still, seeing the missus of the shop being in a crying mess, she let it slide and simply took their acknowledgement of her existence as such. Still, there was no push to get her out of the room, meaning she could not be blamed for eavesdropping on such devastating news… and a pun. Still, she guessed it was important enough to keep note of the breeds just in case.
And as if to act as nothing had happened and was there for comfort, the calico not only let go of the door handle to drop back to the floor, she hopped back onto the sofa, her internal motor purring into overdrive as she cuddled herself into Evelyn's lap. "Oh, don't think you can get away with that sob story, you feline," Vinca muttered, though probably a bit loudly because of her grudge from the assault. "First you attack me with a predatory gleam in your eyes, and now you are Miss Cuddles? Nu-uh. And who even thought enchanting cats like this was a smart idea! I swear, if this is a transformed human acting as a cat to ruin my beautiful wings, its a cruel joke, indeed!"
Still, her eyes shined as she looked at the calico before her, watching the agility enchantment fading away into the air like flower pedals in the wind. Still, no other magical aura was around her, so at the very least she was no cruel prankster human…
Author: Caranthir, Posted: Tue Nov 13, 2018 11:25 PM, Post Subject: The Cat's Meow [L:4]
The calico cat's next jump sent it sailing through the air like a long-jump champion. Being airborne gave maneuverability advantages to the fae, as a deft dodge made the pounce miss–causing the tenacious feline to land on the room's door. Its paws caught the handle, the bolt turned, and the door swung open nearly hitting a frustrated 'Mr. Byron' on his way out of the establishment. "Please, allow me to explain! Mr. Byron I had no intention of misleading you whatsoever! Where are you going old chap?"
A confounded and mildly worried Mr. Carlysle was hot on Auron's heels attempting to dissuade his companion from leaving. "Thank you for your hospitality Mr. Carlysle, but I regret to inform you that I for one am not particularly fond of cats." He was a bird person, not a cat person. Cats were the natural predator of his little lovelies, therefore they were no friends of his. And unlike birds, cats got fur all over everything.
At the sight of the dangling feline on the opened door, he gave a glare before moving aside to continue his quickened pace. The creak of a door alerted him this time, and Auron deftly sidestepped nearly being knocked to the ground by a very distraught Ms. Evelyn. "No…no! Where–she's gone!"
Tears were welling up in her eyes and she was frantic, putting a hand to her mouth. Some of the other patrons, all old codgers, poked their heads out of the rooms to see what was the commotion. Mr. Carlysle took the brunette aside to the room which the female calico had unintentionally opened, giving a nod of courtesy to the fae girl inside. "Pardon our intrusion miss, please allow us to borrow the privacy of this room for a moment."
Sitting Ms. Evelyn down, Auron was pulled along in the moment. "Now, speak slowly Ms. Evelyn. Pray tell, what is the matter?"
The woman sniffled, stifling her hiccups the best she could. "The cats, some of them are missing…and I can't find them anywhere!"
This wasn't anything earth-shattering to Auron, but judging by Mr. Carlysle's expression it was supposedly a big deal. Feigning concern to not seem out of place, he nodded sympathetically. Ms. Evelyn started babbling like a dam of emotions had burst. "There's Maisie, Minxie, Sasha, Maxwell, and Corduroy! It's time to give them their daily brushing and they didn't come when I called–"
As the woman sobbed into her handkerchief, Mr. Carlysle shook his head with a grave face. "This is absolutely absurd! A travesty! Dear woman, you mustn't blame yourself. All the regulars here know you look after the cats like they were your own children. There, there. My good sir–oh and madam."
Carlysle gave a polite bow to Vinca whom he assumed was a patron just like himself.
Clearing his throat he began to explain the situation. "Allow me to explain. The Cat's Meow is renowned not just for their cats, but their extensive variety in breeds and temperaments. There are cats here which you likely won't see anywhere else, and for good reason. I may be a casual visitor, but I believe the five felines Ms. Evelyn has mentioned are all of rare and unusual pedigree. Maisie is an Endapano forest cat with tortoiseshell coloring, Minxie is a Koschei blue, Sasha is a silky white Abedi longhair, Maxwell a Mamlak spotted jungle cat, and Corduroy is a stout Adelunian shorthair. Are you sure Ms. Evelyn, that the front door wasn't left open?"
The woman nodded, blowing her nose. Auron's mind was turning, and he began to catch on to what Carlysle was implying. "So are you saying that they've been abducted?" The mustachioed man agreed with indignation. "Yes, cat-napped!
Author: Vinca, Posted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 8:42 PM, Post Subject: The Cat's Meow [L:4]
"No. no. no!" the fae declared, hovering herself high into the air as the predator pounced forward, claws out and eyes filled with intent. The beast was hungry, and what was before her was easily a grand meal to enjoy. Even if the fae matched the beast's size, instincts took over to take down the flying entity. Or was it being controlled like some kind of puppet? Honestly, it did not really matter as the fae clung close to the ceiling…
~~~Earlier that evening~~~
It had certainly been an interest visit to the cityscape for Vinca. Most certainly it felt very foreign as all the brick blocked out most of the natural feeling of the land. Sure, there were parks and decorative bushes and trees, but even they seemed to have felt foreign. Not artificial, but easily not arrived naturally. Still, from where she had to go, she simply had to make her way over here not only to catch a ship over to Canelux, but to resupply herself with magic goods. She felt really naked without the crossbow in hand, despite how dangerous it was to actually wield, apparently, so what better place to stop than the city of magic to get a substitute? It would be a mere replacement to what she had, but any focus was better than none.
As she rested at a shop for a meal, she could feel a building resonate with a strange vibe. It wasn't completely magical, but certainly lively, just not exactly human lives. Curiosity got the best of her and asked about, mostly getting details about it simply being a fancy restaurant, though some of the men certainly hinted at something else… It was odd how they only mentioned how they were in the afternoon, at the very least. Evening would best be the hour to drop by, then.
"Hello, and good ev– Oh," was her initial greeting as the fae floated into the shop after the sun had set. "We don't get much of your kind around here, though that not be a problem?"
" 'My kind'? Are you saying its wrong for faes to be within a shop like this?" Vinca spat back, easily taking the comment in ill-taste.
"No, no. Its more that we get customers of the male
variety. Still, a guest is a guest and you shall still be treated as thus. I can take it you are new to this establishment?"
"Yes, you can say I am."
"Well then, I shall be sure to explain as I get you seated with someone so full of energy…"
~~~And back to now~~
Sitting before Vinca was a calico, eyes gleaming in the shop's light as she stared down the fae, tail swaying back and forth eagerly, small adjustments being made before pouncing forward once more. "I said 'No!' " Vinca declared as she floated to the side once more, dodging the cat's onslaughts. "Who thought it was wise to amplify you with agility-enhancing magicks in the first place?!" Though Vinca's eyes, she could see the green glow blanket over the cat, wrapped around the legs as she adjusted herself once more…
Author: Caranthir, Posted: Sun Sep 9, 2018 6:58 PM, Post Subject: The Cat's Meow [L:4]
"Thank you ever so much for the invitation, Mr. Carlysle. Did your wife find the brooch and pins satisfactory?" Auron asked. His appearance was disguised with a glamour spell, as usual. Instead of his favorite elven persona, he chose the face of a young middle-class clerk with grey eyes and combed dark brown hair. The middle-aged man beside him chuckled as he tapped the end of his silver-headed cane against the paved road as they walked. "Oh yes, absolutely. Martha was positively overjoyed when she opened the box! She hasn't smiled like that since that surprise trip last week to her favorite opera."
Auron smiled, feigning mild embarrassment. "You flatter me Mr. Carlysle. It was nothing, really. I was quite lucky to find a jeweler who knew how to cater to her tastes." Said 'jeweler' happened to be himself, having personally designed the set of three after doing a little background checking on the missus' pet hobbies. He wasn't even that concerned with what the man's wife thought–he was just glad to finish his quota before the month ended. Despite absolving his debt, that blasted deity of luck was still a slave-driver.
They walked down the streets of Iria as the sun was starting to set. It was almost nostalgic, rubbing elbows with members of the lower rungs of high society again. Back when he had no strings attached and could do whatever he pleased, mingling with the rich and foolish while ever so politely separating them from their money. But he couldn't do that anymore, not with the possibility of you-know-who lurking around the corner. Maybe he was becoming paranoid. They made a turn into one of the less busy avenues, Mr. Carlysle leading the way. "Come now old bean–we mustn't tarry! I would be very put out if we were to arrive late and miss a wonderful opportunity."
Nodding and smiling, Auron inquired: "Yes, of course. Oh by the way Mr. Carlysle, where exactly are we going tonight?" The man led them to a small, out-of-the-way establishment with a quaint exterior. The door was much better quality than most of the other houses around, with large front windows and blooming gardenias potted by the entry. The sign hanging above was writ in gold painted letters: 'The Cat's Meow'."After you, Mr. Byron."
Mr. Carlysle opened the door and motioned inside with a grin. "With pleasure." The scent of perfumed spice drifted out from the brightly lit interior, and he entered. The interior was opulent but tasteful: luxurious carpets, satin-papered walls, elegant white carved trims on the molding. Statues of marble nymphs adorned the small foyer and a hardwood desk with an attendant was present. The brunette looked up with a smile and gave a curtsy as they closed the door. "Good evening gentlemen, how may I be of service?"
Mr. Carlysle marched up to the counter and spoke with her directly. "Good evening to you Ms. Evelyn, do you have any open rooms tonight? Pardon my manners, this is a good acquaintance of mine–Mr. Byron. This is his first visit."
The lady was both surprised and pleased at this. "Oh, a newcomer! I do hope you enjoy your stay at the Cat's Meow. We have a salon ready just for you. Right this way."
Before Mr. Carlysle went forward, he grabbed at his arm and whispered in his ear. "I don't mean to be impolite, but I'm afraid you'll have to go without me this evening." The man raised his eyebrows, puzzled. "Oh come now Mr. Byron, there's nothing to fear."
Doing his best to keep a smile, Auron continued. "I thought you said that this was an exclusive gentleman's club?" "It is an exclusive gentleman's club!"
The man replied. Evelyn came back with what looked like a menu and handed it to him. "Thank you Ms. Evelyn. Is Rosie here?"
The attendant nodded. "Yes, she is. She's one of the most requested cats among our customers. We'll call her in."
Misgivings aside, they entered a cozy salon bordered with velvet couches and exotic plants. However there was one thing that completely threw off the mood of the setting–a long-haired gray cat lounging on top of the center table.
"Wait what…" Auron was confused. Mr. Carlysle looked at him like there was nothing wrong. "Is something the matter?"
"Why is there a cat in here?" He pointed at the feline staring back at them. "Why shouldn't a cat be in here?"
Carlysle innocently replied. "But that makes no sense! This is supposed to be a cat house!" "But this is a cat house."
The man said, and then the realization finally hit. "Oh gods…so Rosie-" The gray cat answered with a meow. Auron buried his face in his hands as he made sounds of frustration.