Roots

It's the summer of 2017 in small town Virginia. The tranquility the residents take for granted is shaken by disturbing news: Karen Parker is missing. To some she may be a friend or neighbor. To others, a daughter. But regardless of the relation, the investigators set out to bring her home. But ancient evils lurk everywhere, and as the investigators are about to discover, some are very close to home...

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Re: Roots

Postby Mr. Handy » Wed Dec 06, 2017 5:49 am

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"I could look through the online archives of The Paradise Falls Gazette to see what else I can find out about Geverlon and its history," says Catherine, "but that would take time. Still, we might not want to go directly back there after being driven out of town, especially when there's so much we don't know."
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Re: Roots

Postby HelplessBystander » Wed Dec 06, 2017 7:35 am

"Agreed. But what do you propose to be our next course action then?" Tobias asked.
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Re: Roots

Postby Mr. Handy » Thu Dec 07, 2017 4:56 am

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"Well, that depends on what we learn," says Catherine, "but sooner or later we'll have to return to Geverlon and be more subtle about it."
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Re: Roots

Postby Cotton » Fri Dec 08, 2017 6:08 am

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Daniel says, "I don't mind pitching in with going through those papers. I'm not really sure what else we could do besides that and just starting to comb the forest. And I'm not sure I really want to be out in the woods if those people from that town are also out in them."
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Re: Roots

Postby Silver Priest » Fri Dec 08, 2017 8:37 am

So it is that the investigators return home, still determined to discover Karen's whereabouts. The Parker's are more than happy to let them use their home, and very soon reliable internet access is found.

It's tedious work, going through 300 years of history, but given how close to town it is, Geverlon is mentioned surprisingly little. The town founding and early history seems to match up, but there are one or two reports of "UnChristian" activity taking place in the town starting in the later 18th century. In 1795 a militia entered the town and expelled the "demonic elements", whatever that means. The next few mentions of the town are not until nearly a decade later, and it's only mentioned as an afterthought in the article. No further mentions of demonic taint or even dark rumors are found.

There's really not much here for awhile after that. Geverlon is mentioned now and then, largely during historical events. It sends its sons off to war and was a backer of the Temperance and Suffragist movements. But nothing all that useful. A few mentions are made of the odd gender discrepancy that must have occurred even back then, but this is explained by the war taking an awful toll on the men folk. Strangely, this same excuse is used after almost every war.

Coming into the 20th century, one thing does stick out. People seem to go missing around Geverlon and the woods that surround it. These reports are centered around the area where the gas station now sits and move further north even past town, centering on the lone road that leads to the northern highway. It's never very many, but a few people seem to without fail go missing around that town every decade. None of them are from Geverlon originally, and in fact many of them were not even heading to the town, but traveling along the roads at night. Geverlon never seems to be suspected, and indeed generally positive reports are made that the townsfolk mounted a search for the missing. But they are almost never found.

These reports continue up to the present millennium.

One story from 1999 seems especially interesting, in that it's different from what the investigators have come to expect. A married couple named Rachel and Jeff Durham reported their college aged daughter Beth missing. Beth was a Feminist Literature student at Paradise Falls University and was visiting Geverlon to trace its maternal history and strong tradition of female activism. After a week without hearing from her, The Durhams claimed they drove down to Geverlon themselves to look for their daughter, only to be stonewalled and given the run around. They then went to the Gazette and told her story, pleading with folks to help bring Beth home. When contacted by the paper, Geverlon officials expressed sympathy but reported that no sign of Beth had been found within their town, but a search was underway.

There is a phone number and address for the Durhams. They lived only a few blocks away, though given how many years have passed it's tough to say if they're even still alive.
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Re: Roots

Postby Mr. Handy » Sat Dec 09, 2017 5:48 am

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"I think we should call the Durhams' number," says Catherine. "If they're still around, we need to talk to them."
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Re: Roots

Postby Silver Priest » Sat Dec 09, 2017 7:28 am

The number still works, and after a few rings a woman answers the phone.

"Hello?" Her tone is pleasant enough.

If the investigators explain they're looking for more information about Geverlon and her daughter however, this changes.

"I'm sorry, but I don't wish to talk about it, goodbye." She seems about to hang up. If the investigators want to keep her on the line, they'll need to convince her quickly.
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Re: Roots

Postby HelplessBystander » Sat Dec 09, 2017 12:00 pm

OOC:   Can I assume that the phone is on speaker?  
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Re: Roots

Postby Silver Priest » Sat Dec 09, 2017 8:52 pm

OOC:   Sure. Just keep in mind only one of you will likely have a chance to make an argument, so make it a good one. You can roll persuade, but good roleplay here will give you a benefit on it.  
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Re: Roots

Postby Mr. Handy » Sun Dec 10, 2017 1:14 am

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"Wait, another girl has just gone missing!" says Catherine. "The trail is still fresh, and if you can help us find out what happened to her, it may provide leads about what happened to your daughter."

Spoiler:
Persuade roll (65% skill) to convince the Durhams to help:
Mr. Handy rolled 1d100:
81
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Re: Roots

Postby HelplessBystander » Sun Dec 10, 2017 1:28 am

"Miss, the trail's still fresh. Whatever difficulties you've encountered, it won't be the same this time around. I was a private investigator once, and I swear on my name that I will bring you closure. We know what we are up against, and we promise to give the whole truth, and nothing less. Give us the opportunity to help you, my granddaughter has gone missing, I think you understand how this feels, doesn't it?" Tobias said passionately, his voice barely hiding his sadness.

Spoiler:
HelplessBystander rolled 1d100:
1
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Re: Roots

Postby Silver Priest » Sun Dec 10, 2017 6:20 am

"I told you, leave me be!" The woman responds, angered by Catherine's plea. But something in Tobias's voice seems to get through to her. She is silent for a long moment before she responds.

"Fine. Come to my home as soon as you can. I can meet with you, briefly." She gives the address and then hangs up.

***

The Durham's home is located a few blocks away. It's seen better days; the yard is overgrown somewhat and the paint faded in places. The whole place looks rather sad. But should the investigators knock on the door, it opens, revealing a tired looking woman. she appears to be in her 60's, and looks word worn down by life. She does not even offer a smile.

"Come in, then."

Entering the home, the interior looks little better than the exterior. It's outdated and adds to the general sense of someone having given up. There are pictures in the home; They show a smiling couple, the female of which is an attractive version of the woman that now stands before them. She seemed joyful then, full of a zest for life this one lacks. Strangely, there are no pictures of Beth Durham.

"Jeff died around ten years back," the woman explains. "Lung cancer. He had always been a smoker. After we lost Beth, it got worse." She takes a seat and gestures for the others to do so as well.

"I swore I'd never speak of this again. But even after all this time I apparently cannot let go of the past. Very well, then.

"Beth was a smart girl, very passionate. She had always been interested in Feminist causes, and we thought nothing of it when she decided to do her thesis on the women of Geverlon. I've live din this area my entire life. So did Jeff. Neither of us had really heard of Geverlon, but it did not strike us as too unusual back then. Beth told us about the thesis over her school break. Then she hugged her father and I and went off, promising to keep in touch. We waited. A few weeks went by, and there came no letters or phone calls from her. But it wasin't until the school called that I realized something was terribly wrong. Beth... she never went back.

"We drove down to Geverlon to see her. There was something off about that town, don't ask me what, but I could feel it. The smiles were a little too broad, the people a little too sympathetic without offering anything in the way of actual help. We spoke to the police there, and they claimed no trace of Beth. After a day we returned home, and Jeff contacted the police here. They got in touch with Geverlon themselves, but seemed satisfied that the town had nothing to do with our daughter's disappearance
." Rachel pauses, taking a shaky breath before continuing. "According to Geverlon, they conducted a search of the surrounding area and found nothing. And for whatever reason our police department took them at their word. Oh sure, flyers were printed, milk cartons, that sort of thing. But nothing important. Nothing that could actually find her.

"Then four months later we received a knock at our door. It was Beth.

"She didn't deny being in Geverlon. She apologized, said she could not see us earlier, she was busy with her studies. She said even now she was very busy, and she did not know when we would see each other again, but that she was doing important work. She brushed off her father and my questions, gave us a brief hug, and then left. And we never saw her again.

"What you have to understand is that girl was not our daughter. I don't mean to say she was an imposter, or a fake. But there was something wrong with her. Beth had a close relationship with us. Even during high school, she never kept secrets or pulled away like most of her peers. Yet when she came here, she looked at us like we were strangers. And she gave us that same distant, polite smile the people of Geverlon did. Jeff and I, we had known that our hopes of finding Beth again were slim. But it was that day we released she was really gone.

"Of course, what could we do? Jeff tried, but the police dismissed our concerns. I don't know what happened to her in Geverlon, but I'm convinced something changed her there. My daughter, you understand, is dead. I don't know if your loved one is as well. I pray you can find her before she vanishes. But understand that it may already be too late."
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Re: Roots

Postby HelplessBystander » Sun Dec 10, 2017 6:33 am

Tobias paused for a few seconds, before he attempted to arrive at some sort of conclusion. "Ma'am, I've seen something like this before. It has to do with indoctrination, and brainwashing, and that sort of thing. Back when the FBI wasn't even called the FBI, I saw something similar. Though I've never quite seen towns like that before. Geverlon reeked of oddness and passive hostility. In all my years of being a Private Investigator, I've never quite seen something like...this."

He shook his head. "My grandchildren has always been my joy in life. Miss, I'll bring you closure and stop whatever's going on in that town. I think...we are getting close to the truth. Thank you for your help, it is invaluable to us."
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Re: Roots

Postby Mr. Handy » Sun Dec 10, 2017 6:44 pm

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"Yes, thank you," says Catherine. "You've been a great help. We'll do our best to get to the bottom of that place and find out what happened. It sounds like brainwashing to me too, but brainwashing takes time to work. I think there's still hope for Karen."
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Re: Roots

Postby HelplessBystander » Sun Dec 10, 2017 10:41 pm

"She did say it happened after a few weeks. I'm assuming we have about three weeks, maybe less, to get Karen back, then." Tobias said to Carherine.

"I think our next logical course of action is to head over to Paradise Falls University. There may be a few clues or snippets of information there as well. Beth could not have been the only person in the entire university to have chosen to pick up on studying Geverlon. What about her university professors and course counsellors, her career advisors, or the school administration? Surely at least one of them knew something as well."
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Re: Roots

Postby Silver Priest » Mon Dec 11, 2017 4:13 am

Rachel responds to Tobias. "I think Beth mentioned she found a mention of Geverlon in a book on the history of the suffragist movement in Virginia. She seemed surprised by how little had been written about Geverlon in particular, since it was mentioned the town played a significant point in it. so she was going to go down there and interview the locals and learn all she could. Whatever the case, I hope you find your girl."

By now it has gotten dark out. Their research had taken up much of the day. Would the team retire for the night, or attempt something else? It was probably too late to head back to Geverln, but if they wished to risk the journey they could try.
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Re: Roots

Postby HelplessBystander » Mon Dec 11, 2017 4:34 am

"Thank you again, Ms Rachel, we'll be heading back to Paradise Falls and drop a line to visit the university tomorrow. Know thy enemy, after all." Tobias said solemnly. "All the clues points to Geverlon, yet all the evidence we've collected thus far only indirectly implicates them. Hmm, it's difficult. Because after a few more days, legally speaking, we won't be able interfere further and the case will be picked up by the police department instead. This is...troubling. We still need to move fast. Either we make a compelling case that could instigate a federal investigation or we stick it out on our own. Either option will require a more...thorough knowledge of Geverlon.
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Re: Roots

Postby Cotton » Tue Dec 12, 2017 2:52 am

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Daniel waits until the group has left Rachel's house and says, "I can't think of anyway we would be able to bring in a federal investigation. Maybe we could hire some kind of outside party's help, but to be honest I think the less people we involve in this matter the better. I have the feeling that Karen is being hidden somewhere in that town. Maybe going to the college could tell us a place to start looking."
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Re: Roots

Postby HelplessBystander » Tue Dec 12, 2017 3:00 am

“Agreed. That will be our next destination. Tomorrow, then.” Tobias said
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Re: Roots

Postby Mr. Handy » Tue Dec 12, 2017 4:17 am

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"Yes," says Catherine. "We'll go to the University in the morning."
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