2020-06-25 - Lost Heirlooms


A search for lost goods starts a treasure hunt

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Thu Jun 25 06:29:39 2020
Location: New York

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Koa is more than just a spirit eater and a predator. It is easy to forget that. It is even easy for Koa to forget that, actually, but he has other gifts and other… oddities about him. One of those is his ability to command water. He has told Keiko, and others, that family legend has it that they are descended from a Polynesian sea goddess though he does not know how true that is or if it is true at all.

It comes in handy sometimes, though occasionally in ways that annoy him. Investigations into the mysterious collection of a 20's era New York socialite indicated that something related to it may well have been lost in the Hudson. Koa hates the Hudson. It's filthy. But needs must. So he has been down in the river for about three hours. It's just after lunch and he has finally surfaced, tugging what looks like a rather rusted metal lock box with him. He's in a wetsuit - since he was able to prepare for this - but he looks somewhat unhappy.

Stupid filthy city water.

Keiko is waiting at the waters edge with a bag of food and cans of drink. Her arms are bare, the skin a riot of colour with her tattooes on display. She's getting her fair share of looks too - most that she returns with a lizard stare and bare fangs.

"Is this WAND work or something else?" she asks when he pulls himself from the water. No explanation as to why she's waiting.

"Well we want to find out who is taking artifacts and prevent them from taking more. So WAND work. See if you can get that open while I get out of this wetsuit." There's a place back here he can change with some decency and he has a towel and fresh clothes along.

It isn't hard to open the lockbox. It's corroded badly and the lock just breaks to any pressure. The inside is lined with rubber and sealed with paraffin which is… an interesting form of waterproofing. Inside that, in a wax coated envelope is a single paper.

"If you are reading this then you know of my collection and know that it is more than a simple assembly of trinkets. No doubt you hope to possess it, and as promised by my executor, that shall be possible. However, things of great value are not simply given away. You must work for this treasure and all the possibilities it can provide. On the back of this letter is a clue about where to start. I would say good fortune, but if you were fortunate you would not be looking for this collection at all. Signed, HW."

The only other item in the box is a single piece of smoked glass that is jagged enough that it may have come from a bottle of some kind.

Koa comes back around, towling off his head and behind his ears, dressed a bit more normally.

"Food…" Keiko says as she shakes one of the bags, setting both on the bench behind her. "You can change here …" It's hard to tell if she's teasing - possibly not, Keiko hasn't had a sense of humour for a while.

She doesn't try to open the box immediately, turning it over in her hands and inspecting it first. When her tattooes don't tingle, then she tries the lock, brows rising when it crumbles so easily.

By the time Koa gets back, she's still sounding out the letter and turning it over to look at the back. "She wanted this found …" beat "… I think."

"She? Bast? Or the person who wrote that?" Koa sits down and takes the food that had been previously offered. No he does not change where everyone can see him. He doesn't want to get arrested and that would be just his luck.

After he's had a look at the letter he nods. "Seems like it was meant to be found though it mentions an executor and I think we can safely say his will was never executed or at least this part of it wasn't. So. Let's see what you've got. What does that glass show?" There's nothing immediately visible on the back.

And when the glass is applied there is something but it's a bit muddled and confused. Someone has put something there that only comes out when a smoky visual filter is applied but she's seeing it in double. She does however note a marking near one corner of the glass that says N. Sort of like on a map's compass rose. There is further something that looks rather like an N on the back of the paper, and a small circle etched into the glass. Maybe it's supposed to be looked at a certain way.

Koa waits to see if Keiko will get it. She is supposed to be learning after all.

"Not Miss Taft." Keiko gives Koa a look "Whoever HW is. You didn't tell me the name of the woman who's collection this is meant to be part of. What's an executor? I thought that was someone who killed people." She even says it that way.

The glass just looks like glass to Keiko but she notices the effect when she holds it up to the light. It takes her time, mostly because she's thorough in her examination. "It's like that TV show where they had fold paper to get the clue…." She means White Collar but Koa might not get that.

Carefully, Keiko lays the paper on the bench and lines the 'N' on the glass up with the 'N' on the page.

"That's executioner. And yes that's someone who kills people. An executor is a person who takes care of someone's will. Diposes of their things as they wanted after they've died. The box was clearly supposed to be fished out of the river but it's been down here for a while."

She means national treasure and yes it is a bit like that… not that he says that. He doesn't say anything yet. She's doing fine.

"HW is probably Hubert Wilkens. Name of the person who owned the collection." The N lines up perfectly and the little circle is over a spanish phrase. It says 'Piraguero Cinco.'

Cinco is 5. Piraguero is a word for someone that sells Piragua, which is a shaved ice treat from Puerto Rico. Keiko is familiar with it, she would have had it on her journey northward. It's usually sold from mobile carts though, and given that this guy lived back in the 20's, finding whatever cart or vendor he is referring to might be a trick, unless it's famous.

"English is so confusing…" Keiko mutters. Koa even says 'executor' differently. "I'd say they 'disposed' of this, wouldn't you? Do you really think it was meant to be thrown in the river or did it just end up there by accident? It doesn't really make sense that it was put there."

Lining the glass up on the page, Keiko frowns. All this reading is giving her a headache. "Piraguero Cinco?" She's thinking on that "The fifth vendor, where? That doesn't make sense. Is there anything like that in the New York databases, Koa? Like a shop or something?"

She's thinking about something though, he can. "Piraguero number 5…." that's not what it says though is it?

"Well…" Koa thinks. "There's a painting by that name, but it's been in San Juan for forever and I am not sure it existed at the time this would have been written. I think we can safely assume that whatever it is, it's in the city or near enough that potential treasure seekers in the will wouldn't have had to go too far to find it."

It would have been more about cleverness. He can see that he is thinking so he pauses for a few minutes to eat and finally says around a mouthful.

"What are you thinking?"

"Hmmm? Oh That it's not Mamba Number 5." That song is going to be stuck in Keiko's head for the rest of the day now. Sigh.

"I know about the painting, I slept out the back of a gallery in one of the cities I stopped in. The employees were talking about it. It could be that but … Piraguero also means canoe in Taino and some think it's because they were sold at Ports. What about Port 5?"

She's guessing. Totally.

"Hrm. That's a possibility. Terminal five is in Hell's Kitchen which at the time was a working class neighborhood. It's was poor. not the way it is now. There's a venue there now. It's used for live music shows and such. If something were there and it didn't get found during the renovation then it's probably either in the water or in the foundations."

But they can look there. It's a good idea and one they should follow up. It beats searching the city for a random Piragua cart that was around a hundred years ago.

"Do you know what to do to arrange a visit there?"

"Terminal 5? That could be it. Should search the … archives? Newspaper archives, I mean for anything that might relate to a Piragua cart of the time, anyway." Keiko answers, grimacing at the thought of a venue that does live music. None of those have been pleasant and they've been loud, very loud.

"What to do? Don't you just drive us down there and we go in?"

"Not when I can help it. Especially when you want to get access to the rooms in the back. It's helpful to call ahead of time. People don't like to be surprised and flashing my badge doesn't always work. Sometimes they insist on paperwork. They're more cooperative when they feel like they're part of the process."

Fortunately concerts don't run in the place every night so they can probably get there when the Terminal is mostly empty. Or entirely empty. That would be ideal given that they don't know if they're going to find another clue or a trove of possibly dangerous magical artifacts.

"Go back about a hundred years yeah. New York city library will have microfilm of newspapers from that time. We can look and see if there were any notable Piragua carts." He smiles a bit. Possibly sharply. "You can do that."

"We can do that." Keiko corrects, giving Koa's sharp smile a flat look. She's well aware of her reading level and she's seen microfiche - it will give her headache before an hour is out.

"So you want me to call them. Are you sure on that?" As much as Koa has tried to get her to be … less direct… Keiko just isn't. The phone call isn't likely to be all sunshine and puppy dogs.

A young man walks past as they're talking and looks Keiko over. When she sees it, she bares her teeth at him and hisses.

"Keiko you're not a cat." He's not really one to talk. Koa has growled before just not usually at people in the street. He nods a to her question though.

"I can sit in on the call if you like but I should give you the chance to do it. It's something that as you advance through the ranks you will need to know how to do." And more generally it is a chance to practice interacting with people. You know. Normal people. She's going to need that to help rehumanize her and he knows that.

"Then we'll go down, soon, and have a look at the venue. I'm hoping what we need will be there but I suspect that Mister Wilkens was fond of riddles and puzzles."

"I don't like the way they look at me." Keiko answers. She's not a cat, she's part demon and she knows it. In many ways she's just … given up … fighting it. Was she really much different when was fully human, anyway?

"You can make the call."Now she opens the bag of food that she bought for herself and starts to eat. He knows she'll make the call, but she's not going to admit it.

It should be interesting to see how many times Koa headdesks.

"Is there anything else we need here?"

"No, I think we've got everything. Do you need to pick up the kid later?" Presumably she does but he's noticed that Keiko has been trying to spend more time with her and this is something that he frankly encourages. If not for her daughter Keiko might be someone Koa has to keep in a cell and not just someone he has to tell not to hiss at passersby.

"Either way I'm eager to shower." There's showers back at WAND.

"Elena. Her name is Elena." Not 'the kid'. For some reason, it's important to Keiko that people remember that. "And no, someone will get her from school and help her with homework." She pauses "And prep dinner." Because Limbo knows that Mac and Cheese 7 nights a week wears thin.

"Let's go."

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