|Full Name:||Gertrude Moon Dance Riddle|
|Deed Name:||Bird-Breaks-Through-The-Cage-And-Climbs-To-Freedom, aka "Freebird"|
|Weight:||Enough. (140 lbs.)|
|Theme Song:||"Fly" - Sugar Ray|
|Quote:||You know what it's like being a spy? Like sitting in your dentist's reception area 24 hours a day. You read magazines, sip coffee, and every so often someone tries to kill you.|
For the greater part of her life, Trudy's almost always been a loner. She's almost always worked solo. Almost always. Yup. Okay that's not all true. She’s had her families, her Mafioso connections, her coworkers, and her buddies. There are the times (and numerous photos) of her working with others, chatting, laughing, leaning... so she's not always been a loner, but she has always had the propensity to set out on her own in search of a grand adventure.
Ask someone she’s been nice to and they’ll describe her as always being there when you need her, and especially when you don't. They'd like to claim she was warm, caring and hospitable, and somehow always seems to have some form of crackers around. Those crackers, they’re almost as common as business cards at a corporate meeting. Ask someone she’s offended and they’d describe her with a nasty look and a gun pointed at you to get the hell out of their establishment. Maybe they’d even pull a shotgun, or even, set the rest of the clientele on you.
The truth is that the majority of the time, she just enjoys being able to point out the obvious with an undercurrent of noting the unobvious - the level of discretion just happens to be tempered by how generous and secretive she feels at the time. It's why a lot of people like her, really, or so she'd like to say. To her, there really is nothing more satisfying than sitting down and having a nice long chat with a stranger to make them not a stranger. To her, there's nothing quite like the exhilarating feeling of staring down at ant-like taxi cabs running along their predestined trails while being tied up in blue bungee cord and hung over the side of the rooftop of a Russian mob underboss' branch HQ. And now they’re demanding to know if she's CIA. Yep… nothing like it in the world.
- Physical: Strength 2, Dexterity 3, Stamina 2
- Social: Charisma 3, Manipulation 2, Appearance 3
- Mental: Perception 3, Intelligence 4, Wits 3
- Talents: Dodge 2, Empathy 2, Insight 2, Integrity 1, Persuasion 1, Scrounging 2, Sensitivity 1, Streetwise 2, Subterfuge 3, Vigilance 3
- Skills: Drive 1, Larceny 4, Marksmanship 2, Martial Arts 3, Research 2, Stealth 1, Technology 1
- Knowledges: Culture 2, Enigmas 1, Investigation 4, Linguistics 4, Lore 2, Medicine 1, Occult 2, Rituals 1
Advantages & Backgrounds Edit
- Rage: 2, Gnosis: 4, Willpower: 5
- Backgrounds: Allies 1, Contacts 3, Equipment 1, Fetish 3, Resources 1, Rites 2
Gifts & Rites Edit
- Rank 1: Lick Wounds, Sweet Hunter's Smile, Breakfast of Stones
- Rank 2: No Hidden Thing, Eavesdropper's Ear, Touch the Mind
- Rank 3: Drop of Sea
- Rank 0: Breath of Gaia, Confederacy
- Rank 1: Rite Of Cleansing, Rite of Talisman Dedication, Rite of Warding, Washing the Spirit
Merits & Flaws Edit
- Eidetic Memory (2 pt)
- This merit comes from being able to remember details of environmental cues, conversations, and rebuilding the scenario in her head. Coupled with her high Intelligence, Perception, and Alertness, even if she might have missed something before, certainly puzzling over it later will bring her the answers she fishes for.
- Gall (2 pt)
- Maybe it's simply in her blood. Her gall, her pluck, could be demonstrative of two things. Either she's seen as rather un-feline in her tendency to go out of her way and get involved in things, a characteristic not common to the Qualmi. Or she could be seen as quite feline as this is often lead by a selfish want for something to go her way, and she'll stop at almost nothing to get it. Either way, this is a peculiarity to Trudy that has gotten her both ill and good in her past.
- Natural Linguist (2 pt)
- A world traveler and experiencer on the surface, con artist and no shy spy deeper within, the need to delve into many cultures of the world human and supernatural led to a discovery of her inner linguist. Able to pick up on cues, intonations, mannerisms, and more in the common dialects around the globe, her search for secrets all around the globe has uncovered more and more by way of languages.
- Compulsion: Cleanliness (1 pt)
- Cleanliness is not just a hobby. It's a must. Routine washing and order are paramount to satisfying the feline side of her, and she feels most uncomfortable in less than ideal environments. Give her the fresh, crisp-aired mountains or even the clean room of a corporate HQ's computer server storage. Deserts are dust traps, and a messy house? She just might volunteer to do your dishes for you.
- Curiosity (2 pt)
- Many would say that a healthy curiosity is the best solution to an idle mind. Then there's overdosing on curiosity, which is not the best solution for one's health at all when it becomes a primary directive of all things in life itself. Still, the belief that the only bad question is an unanswered one leans rather hard on Trudy's explorative nature. She's gotten involved in far too much trouble because of her tendencies to investigate to the fullest. If anyone asks how curiosity killed the cat... well, hopefully that winds up to be the one bad question.
- Enemy (3 pt)
- Leon Beornred, Breaks-the-Stone-Table, Ilani (rank 4) Simba, Pryio: Night. Trudy was still a Tekhmet (rank 2) when she had infuriated Leon at a Taghairm in Switzerland to the point that the two entered a ritual Hanshii. Thought to be a powerful, cunning, fearsome Simba who even went so far as to have his pride follow King-Of-Beasts before they were defeated by a great, Unmaker-corrupted Earth Elemental, it came as a huge surprise to all when the much more diminutive Trudy caught Leon cheating at the last leg of their contest. The defeat earned her the recognition as Tilau (rank 3). Shamed greatly, Leon stormed out of the taghairm with vows to see Trudy hang from his Den-Realm fortress battlements. She's been a little paranoid about this vow ever since.
- Mild Phobia: Heights (1 pt)
- Heights. Climbing ladders, flying, elevators, looking down from the top of a set of stairs, hanging from a high bar... why even sitting on a tall man's shoulders could be a scary experience. Of all things to risk one's life for, a good view and better weather might not be worth that much risk. Right? Just don't ask her to explain why she always insists on a higher floor room in a hotel, though.
- Permanent / Temporary
- Ferocity: 4 / 1
- Facing down a frenzied Garou and sticking it out - the Garou even praised her after!
- Honor: 5 / 0
- Cleverness: 6 / 0
|What||Type||Who||Approved by||Finished||Slot Status||Explanation|
|What||Type||Who||Approved by||Finished||Slot Status||Explanation|
|What||Type||Who||Approved by||Finished||Slot Status||Explanation|
|What||Type||Who||Approved by||Finished||Slot Status||Explanation|
|What||Type||Who||Approved by||Finished||Slot Status||Explanation|
- Empathy 1 to 2: 12/2/09. From Jocelyn/Self. Slot 1. Approval by Luna.
- Tru's been hamming it with Sebastian, with Marian, with Jocelyn and the Garou types, and even an occasional run-in with a Certain Mokole. At this rate, she's bound to pick up a little extra feeling for the "foreign" folks beyond her normal sphere. She might even be running in to some situations where she's chosen to care, like stepping in to help a frenzied Garou cub. That's a big step for a cat. Huge. Though not likely to ask for a teacher in this case out of cat pride, she'll likely be hanging around folks who have higher scores than she. As Jocelyn is Tru's main model for being able to connect better with people, she is the teacher.
- Scrounging 1 to 2: 4/1/10. From Self. Slot 1. Approval by Luna.
- Being in a new city and all, Tru's been taking a more active role in getting in with the locals. With active investigations going on for Hamilton and David's past, she's going to need a bit more oomph to be able to gather info in the area. And maybe score some cool stuff for her apartment. Tru will be using her other skills to help her improve in this, including but not limited to her Empathy (thanks to Jo), Investigation, Research, Persuasion, Subterfuge, Larceny, and even Cultures. She wants to get a little more into the populace's pulse.
Chargen Freebies Rundown (70)
- Attribute: Strength 1 to 2 = -5
- Gnosis 2 to 4 = -4
- Talents: Dodge 1 to 2 = -2, Insight 1 to 2 = -2, Integrity 0 to 1 = -2, Scrounging 0 to 1 = -2, Sensitivity 0 to 1 = -2, Streetwise 1 to 2 = -2, Subterfuge 2 to 3 = -2, Vigilance 2 to 3 = -2 -- TOTAL: -16
- Skills: Larceny 2 to 4 = -4, Marksmanship 0 to 2 = -4, Martial Arts 1 to 3 = -4, Research 0 to 2 = -4, Stealth 0 to 1 = -2 -- TOTAL: -18
- Knowledges: Enigmas 0 to 1 = -2, Investigation 3 to 4 = -2, Linguistics 3 to 4 = -2, Occult 1 to 2 = -2 -- TOTAL: -8
- Backgrounds: Contacts 2 to 3 = -1, Fetish 0 to 3 = -3, Rites 0 to 2 = -2 -- TOTAL: -6
- Gifts: Eavesdropper's Mind = -7, Touch the Mind = -7 -- TOTAL: -14
- Merits & Flaws: Eidetic Memory = -2, Gall = -2, Natural Linguist = -2, Compulsion = +1, Curiosity = +2, Enemy = +3, Mild Phobia = +1 -- TOTAL: +1
Attribute: Intelligence Edit
- Discerning: Usually quick to pick up on certain variables of a situation, afterwards it involves being able to puzzle out and put together these changing factors to formulate something sensible.
Skill: Larceny Edit
- Escape Artist - Sometimes it simply pays to know the ropes. And know them well enough to get out of them before something really bad happens. Everyone could stand to learn a few good knots. Other times, it's cuffs, and those are tougher. And while any good spy will tell you it's best not to get caught, sometimes Things Happen. And that's when it's good to know how to get out of trouble.
Knowledge: Investigation Edit
- Intelligence: Covert Ops is what they call it, but really it's a matter of careful planning and even more careful watching/listening. Tapping into communications or finding out what she needs through spywork is her specialty. And occasionally, getting in deep.
Knowledge: Linguistics Edit
- Street Talk: Russian, Arabic, French, German, Swahili, Mandarin, Japanese, and... Garou. The key to figuring out what everyone's hiding is by listening closely and, of course, getting down to their level of language. With a high tendency to pick up on languages already, her years of traveling throughout the world has produced most of her language knowledge today from self-study and full on immersion.
- Expertise & Other Notables
- Streetwise: Territories - First thing to do whenever you go somewhere new, is to learn the lay of the land and the nature of its people. This is true for gangs and the mob as much as it is for tourists.
- Subterfuge: Intrigue - Her inherent nature is to explain things away, double-talk, say things without really Saying Things, and she's just not been able to break off from it. Not that she wants to.
- Drive: Cars - The usual driver, nothing too fancy.
- Firearms: Pistols - Pistols might not have the range, but they have the ability to be concealed. They're also common. That makes them harder to track. When you pull out a pistol on someone, usually, they'll know you mean business.
- Martial Arts: Hard Styles - Her style is a mixed martial arts consisting of techniques often taught to military trainees. Sambo (combat) and Karate (self-defense). Combining hard strikes with redirection. Self-defense through solid offense. Though not highly focused on weapons, she could possibly substitute for Melee (at higher difficulty).
- Technology: Communications - Cellphones, bugs, radios, and other comm devices, are all tools of her "trade". She fiddles when she can. In the interests of "science".
- Culture: Ethnography / Garou Culture - As a world traveler, Trudy has had her fair share of studying human ways and methodologies. She's also had run-ins with Garou and learned some more about the shifter ways and philosophies of their race (enhanced by Lore score).
- Lore: Garou Lore - She spent much time with the Garou of a sept called Quiet Sun, gleaning what most Cliaths should know just after their Rite of Passage. The glaring hole is mainly of the spirit world, the Umbra. Having not stepped sideways long enough to do full on exploration, she's only been able to glimpse the surface of the Garou lore she's heard of the spirits.
- Charlie "Popeye" Burks, a fisherman in Maine. A former Vietnam War veteran, Charlie once was a sniper for the U.S. Army until the end of the war. He now owns a fishing boat up in New England, selling his catch to local restaurants and at the fish market. The circumstances of his meeting Trudy are particularly peculiar, but involve her, his boat, and a distinct lack of clothing. Make of that as you will, but their relationship is purely platonic. No really, it is. Popeye, or Pops, is usually good for "a place to hide" when the goings are rough. He's also pretty good for a good seafood joint around various cities all over the East Coast. Don't you crack a joke about his name and 'Nam. Trudy found out the hard way.
- Her Contacts network is far and wide throughout the globe of almost all sorts savory and unsavory, but the majority of them remain in the vicinity of the United States. They're at stoppage points for the roving bands of modern day gypsies and other low-lifes. Bartenders at dives, a disgruntled waitress at a much too popular truck-stop diner, and other various possible names that would go in a rolodex, if she had one and if they had business cards. But for those who'd actually help her out on a possible million dollar question lifeline...
- Tony, a producer of fake identifications of all sorts. He could get you a whole new life like Witness Protection, for a price.
- Miami, so named after her favorite city and yet, she lives in Los Angeles up in the hills, clued to upper class/A-List gossip and all the drug dealers to the stars - West Coast and East Coast. She brings new meaning to the phrase "going to visit Miami".
- Professor Arnold Roe, whose namesake's humor is not entirely lost upon him as an ichthyologist studying the salmon runs of the Pacific Northwest, working with the natives there. For an insider's look into the biological sciences of the day, or some obscure connection to another university professor of a different field, or just a recommendation of where's the best place for sushi in a town... when all else fails, ask an ichthyologist.
- Her traveling bag has a number of survival implements like a small knife, and more importantly a field medic's first aid kit.
- Air Foot Anklets (Level 3, Gnosis 6)
- Trudy got this when she finagled it out of the host of a taghairm in Switzerland, who in turn had confiscated it from Leon Beornred the Simba, who in turn had taken it from the body of a dead Garou. This had been Leon's secret to being an absolute master of stalking his prey. Now in Trudy's hands, it may come as a displeasing surprise to Leon to learn that she not only embarrassed him heavily at that taghairm and beat him at Hanshii, but that she's stolen his fetish.
- This particular fetish is bound with an Owl-spirit, and prefers to be used in dim/dark conditions. The bronze materials it is made out of are etched with thick, ancient markings denoting Owl's presence within.
- Traveling lightly takes on a whole new meaning with these anklets. Bound with the spirit of an insect, bird, or the air, these bronze anklets make every footstep hit the ground with almost no impact whatsoever. This very simple trick has a multitude of effects that all come into play when the fetish is activated.
- The first effect is that the wearer ceases to leave even half the trail they normally would – no footprints, no disturbing of dust. Any attempts to track the wearer via any means other than scent while these are activated are made at +2 difficulty. Similarly, the wearer’s feet make almost no sound when they hit the ground – Stealth rolls to sneak around are made at -2 difficulty.
- Furthermore, they aid Stamina while running. Wear and tear on the feet and lower legs while wearing these is nearly nil, and even in Homid form Garou can run miles without feeling pain. All Stamina rolls involving long distance running become easier by -2 to difficulty.
- Some things are not aided, however. The magic is not quite powerful enough to make the user float, and while it may help with landing some small jumps (Storyteller’s discretion) if you jump off a skyscraper, these won’t help you in the slightest.
- (Source: Hammer & Klaive, pg.65)
- Though she can earn a fair amount of liquidity at once, most of the time she's surviving on the basics while the rest go into expenses. If she does have any savings, it's pretty much used up when she needs a favor from a Contact or two.
Trudy was done. D.O.N.E., DONE! Her little black dress was ruined with all the blood, her heels were killing her under all of this big lug's weight, and to top it all off she just knew deep down that a part of her wanted to kiss him. Damn it. Damn you, Sebastian! How did she ever get into this mess? It was an all too common question, not just for the times she met him – that Japanese Khan had said their bodies were strung together, and boy did she finally get that one tonight, shifting the red bungee cord around her waist to get more comfortable – but for all the times she was ever on her own and in trouble, she had to ask herself that question. And another deep down part of her had to admit: she'd been through so much worse.
It wasn't always like this. No, it had been worse, but it also had been better. Worse would have been when she faced the scowling faces of the nuns at St. Augustine's Catholic Academy. Sister Maria was nothing like her part in The Sound of Music; this Maria solved all her problems with the rod, and Trudy could tell anyone, not sparing it only spoiled the child further. But it was the only life that Trudy had known thus far in all her eight years of life up until that point. No bliss-faced cherub was she, and she and the other orphaned children spent their days in gruelingly mundane routine and learning at the end of a ruler. The monotony was inescapable, as was Sister Maria's seemingly omnipresent eye for troublemakers. Worse for Trudy, she always had the inner spit and fire to give the nun a smile at the end of the beatings... and would remember to put a few more ants in the Sister’s tea later.
Trudy finally found her escape when a young, charming and generous couple came to the orphanage to see if they could perform their rightful duty of charity. They gave to the church with a ready smile and in exchange the church gave them Trudy. She was an incredibly bright child and so exploratory, said the nuns hiding their rods in their sleeves, and there was no doubt – no doubt at all – that young Trudy would flourish in the outside world. And flourish she did! Like a flower finally seeing the sun, her face lit up and she blossomed in the environments that the young couple brought her to. There was just one, small, insignificant quirk about them that they managed to hide from the adoption papers.
They were con artists.
The existence of modern day gypsies was never something really on anyone's mind in those times, and that made their presence all that much easier to deflect into fake identities. Whole lives could be lived and believed on paper. The only tricks were to be who you needed to be and when you couldn't be that way any longer, pull out. What the couple didn't really realize was that once they decided to take on young Trudy as a front of a well-adjusted family, that they would come to appreciate to some degree the act of raising a child. As an apprentice con artist, that was how young Trudy learned to reason away her actions behind a well-woven web of niceties and careful planning. Sure, most of the people they conned had been unsuspecting and maybe a little undeserving, but for the most part there was hardly a reason to complain. There wasn't any bloodshed or bodily harm done to these people that Trudy knew of anyway.
She'd have to give them much of the credit later, that young couple, for setting her on the path to becoming what she was today. It was many of the little things, like learning how to tie knots securely and when they weren't secured, or self-defense that started at the most basic levels of simple awareness and cues of the environment around her. She learned about the way people would walk, and they way they would talk, and how these things would give off signals. It was simple, natural, like the way a cat would watch birds through a window and dream one day of being amongst them, but never with them. These things resonated more deeply within the young girl than she would realize at the time, so by the time she'd come to meet a Cheshire cat-faced man on the way to her third prom of the month in the most ridiculously shiny dress she could find because she would have no doubt that someone else would have one even more ridiculous, she just knew there was something different about him. And, deep down, she knew there was something different about her.
Her "parents" wouldn't miss her much after they found the note from her kuasha. Written on the back of their hotel stationary along with a strange amalgamation of spirals, circles and dots like the man had spent a good portion of the evening scribbling before he thought of what to write, the note simply said that Trudy was going home for awhile. And it was signed, "Riddle".
The year that Trudy spent with Riddle went like water, and she drank it all in. Though not entirely unlike her life previously with her fosters, where she spent most of her time learning the pros and cons of a life around and among people, she and her mentor traveled as two cats did. He was never truly cross at her, but boy did she ever sometimes be cross at him. He would never give a straight answer, and she knew that the answers she looked for were there staring at her in the face. But somehow, she could never bring herself to ask. Too many questions were there surrounding the mystery of Riddle. Too many questions that she somehow couldn't unwrap her mind around to inquire of the man, even as often as they simply sat there in the cheap motel rooms watching free HBO, the bright television screen glimmering off their faces in the night. Come to think of it now, the staff at those motels must have thought she was some kind of prostitute with a thing for the old man. Augh, damn that Pretty Woman movie.
The man was always so discerning and invasively accurate. It was like he'd been watching her for her whole life, and yet not once could she remember – and was she damn good at remembering – seeing him around. He could even enter her dreams, and through some of these he taught her even more about the ways of the cats. With dreams, he said, they could shape the world. Then that one particular dream he had bent down to whisper some soft secrets into her ear. She could feel her heart jump with the weight of importance that these particular secrets, the Yava, had. Trudy was going to ask him about what they meant the next morning, but when she woke up all that was left was the note written on the back of a piece of hotel stationary, telling her how proud of her he was and that now was her time to fly. She would later take the name, Riddle, in honor of this man who came in to her life for one year, but left her feeling like he'd been with her for her whole life.
It was like a real father would have done, if she had any inkling of what that was supposed to be like.
After that, the world opened up like the Grand Opening of a brand new Souplantation, and Trudy was determined to get her money's worth. She had one life to live, and there was already so much time spent learning that she couldn't help but continue. It wasn't always the high life of course. As you learn when you're starting off on a con, you have to work up from the bottom and rely on whoever gives you the time of day. Like truckers. They weren't quite bottom, but the way some of them leered or the way some of them offered to teach her how to drive the truck on their thong wearing laps just wasn't exactly the type of four-star lifestyle Trudy was thinking of. But for getting around, they were a start. And it was always so easy swipe a few bucks off of them.
Once Trudy had enough cash saved up, it was time to find herself a little niche. She tried just playing the hitchhiker trying to get home, but she ran into a few more unexpectedly unsavory characters than she wanted on the small town back roads. She tried out the hot single lady out on the town and found that while she could compete with the other girls in the clubs, the sheer boredom of nonintellectual chitchat around free drinks wasn’t going to be her style. But, it was out of this particular type of interaction that she learned she could explore a rather unconventional side of humanity.
When you're a self-made spy with no one to look out for you behind your back, you either have to be real good, or dead. There really isn't any in-between. And then you learn to not be so surprised when the phone in your room rings with an unknown number, and you feel compelled to answer it just because you want to be screamed at with death threats in a most colorful dialect of Russian. Or Chinese. Or... what is that language?
Trudy's life became literally a game of cat and mouse. There was routine established, but all too often the adaptability of that routine would be tested. Whether it was the door being kicked down and setting off a booby trap moments after she'd just barely climbed down from the window or, even better, when she hadn't finished setting the booby trap up yet and was forced into some rather uncomfortable bonds, the life she led was nevertheless full of things she discovered about herself and others. For one, she discovered that no matter what she tried to break herself of the fear, she still had little qualms of being stuck up high somewhere. After countless times of meeting with a client or a target, she decided: Humans love their heights. It makes them feel secure. But it certainly didn't help when it came to getting down from them in a hurry. She lost count of how many times she'd sprained an ankle jumping off the third floor of a parking structure to a rooftop a couple stories down.
Eventually though, Trudy found more than just her niche in human society. Along the way in her solo adventuring, she ran into other supernatural beings of sometimes friendly, sometimes not so friendly natures. But more often than not, they were paranoid. Extremely paranoid. Lucky for her, her first run in with other Bastet since her mentor was a case of mistaken leads but delightful outcomes. A taghairm was then no longer a tale of smoke and mirrors, and it gave her some purpose to all her covert ops. She could spin some pretty flashy tales to the others and the best part was – it was all true. Well, most of it. Impressive, was the general feeling around the cats when they were faced with Trudy's claim for the second rank. Few of them bothered to even make a protest, and overall there was some brief mutual agreement that she'd done enough to earn it.
But as far as paranoia, she hadn't found a more intense breed that harbored it than the Garou. She'd always known from Riddle’s stories that werewolves were a tight-knit sort of group, but Trudy hadn’t known just how tightly wound they were until she had been unexpectedly caught in the crossfire of a war between the two classics: vampires versus werewolves. Her own leads had been bringing her ever closer to the Unmaker-corrupted prince's jewel encrusted right hand when she'd gotten caught – though she could've sworn her plan was foolproof. Turns out it had been, but for an unexpected outside factor of a pack of Garou attacking the fort the same time she'd been exploring it. What was really comforting there was the way the Garou, when they burst into the room, didn't even follow the cues of hostage negotiation procedures Trudy had hoped for with that silver knife touching the skin of her neck. Dogs. Well it couldn't be helped. And at least later, they apologized unnecessarily for everything, including the War of Rage.
The setup suited Trudy just fine when she managed to finagle an agreement between her and the Garou of Quiet Sun. She told them of her "spy-for-hire" status, along with convenient and affordable payment options. That being, they didn't drive her off and she'd help out around the house, cleaning it, and the like. The arrangement worked out pretty well too, except that little niggling detail of her constant attempts to infiltrate the caern. Here and there, she watched and observed, learning the ways of the wolf-changers without them even much realizing. And when she did finally get to the caern they tried so very hard to guard, Trudy wasn't much for understanding why they were so uppity about it. It wasn't like she didn't know it was a place to respect! She hadn't meant to do any harm! But, as Garou tended to be, they decided her welcome had been thoroughly worn out and her cruise ticket was revoked. Trudy jumped off that ship in a hurry. A shame too, because she thought she'd been really close to figuring out how they disappeared into the spirit world and came back. Trudy really had no idea how close she was to becoming the Warder's wall decoration, and perhaps it was for the best that she didn't.
Her travelling continued, all around the globe. The money came from the jobs she got "helping" others with their troubles. Sometimes, these were supernatural and sometimes, she wished they were. Her work took her all over the globe until she'd visited every continent but Antarctica, and she was fairly sure that one day she'd have to go there just to see if she could get a job. And the people she met along the way were always so interesting, that she couldn't help but sometimes stick her nose into their business. Like Sebastian.
There wasn't always a guy who could strike through the heart the way Sebastian did. More than irritatingly, the Simba was an incorrigible lout. He was so laidback, he was downright lazy for a cat. And, he was handsome. Annoyingly so. Too pretty for his own good. Too pretty for the world, even. It had to be illegal, how pretty he was. And how absolutely idiotic he could be sometimes. The guy was getting himself beat to hell and six ways to Sunday, and always they went for his face. Trudy would always have a dilemma of which annoyed her more, the fact that they always went for his face first, or the fact that they went for the face at all. She couldn’t stand that he couldn't take a few moments to think about a plan of attack, and quite often had to improvise. Granted, Trudy was inwardly infinitely grateful that he didn't wait to think of a plan of attack when she'd been hanging by a thread from the roof of that Russian mob boss' headquarters. That first meeting wasn’t planned – or so each would claim.
In some ways, Trudy would never admit that meeting Sebastian was a turning point. But she had to admit, begrudgingly, that seeing him reminded her of a few other important things besides secret gathering, and that was to drop in unexpectedly to a world cat gathering of a taghairm in Switzerland. And that was where she met Leon.
Leon Beornred, known as Breaks-the-Stone-Table, was like the antithesis of Sebastian. A Simba, but as ugly on the inside as Sebastian was handsome on the outside, he had gotten his fame and fortune through no-holds-barred ferocity and fear. When he breezed into the taghairm bearing the story of his defeat of Cracked-Face the mighty corrupted Earth Elemental, the cats could only applaud. Trudy, however, rolled her eyes. And Leon noticed. When he regaled the others with the tale of how his pride under King-of-Beasts had cornered the spirit atop a mountain and drove it off the highest cliff to shatter upon its own brethren below, Trudy was glancing at her watch as discreetly as she could. And again, Leon noticed.
The straw that broke the lion’s back was when Trudy was the first to dare a yawn just as Leon's story came towards its climax, the deaths of his pride when they went down to discover that Cracked-Face still had lived and he was the one to survive the death throes of the spirit. In the height of his rage, Leon launched himself at Trudy only to be restrained by the host and a number of other Bastet present. Unwilling to let the offense to his pride slide, Leon forced the host to oversee a ritual Hanshii between him and Trudy. The host, who had been the jealous type and coveted Leon's trinkets (as well as the lion's glorious, if infamous, reputation) sought to seize upon the opportunity presented by Trudy's disrespect. The three cats went to the mountains, where with the host overseeing, Trudy and Leon faced each other in three contests – one for each one of her apparent offenses.
The first of these was a contest of intellect, whereupon each cat faced a riddle or a scenario brought by enigmatic spirits called to bear witness and judge the contest. Though she had had no truly telling experiences with spirits in her past, in the end Trudy impressed the grumpy-natured Sphinx with an answer about a pack of Garou who had taken to the spirit's favor in their pack. She did not know that the Sphinx had looked into her memories and drawn upon the pack she'd met in her travels. It was posed to Leon, though, to reveal what knowledge Trudy had about the Garou. He could not, and the Sphinx rumbled her displeasure and disappointment in the lion. Then it was Trudy's turn, to reveal a secret of Leon's rather powerful treasure – and the secret to the man's inexplicably great ability to stalk stealthily. Leon was furious, having had contact of his own with the Garou in the past, but unwilling to reveal the origins of his fetish, which was in fact of ill-gotten origins. Through quite a bit of poking, prodding, riddling and verbal pushing, Trudy nevertheless got the true story from the Sphinx, who had seen into the mind of the prideful Leon and discovered his secret. He hadn't fought a Garou for the fetish, but in fact waited until the original bearer had died in battle and came in to steal the goods. Typical lion behavior, really, but definitely not the way he had spun it to other fellow cats. The first round, resoundingly, was determined to be Trudy's victory.
The next round, however, was not much contest as Leon's insistence on proving himself mighty turned to a thorough beating of weaker were-lynx in a physical contest of sparring combat. Though Trudy put up a valiant (desperate) effort, she was obviously not an even match for Leon's battle prowess. Even though she had trained herself and honed her skills in the martial arts for years now, strength for strength she hadn’t had much chance when her ability to move was canceled out. Soundly beaten in the second round, the tie breaker round was to come, and the whole of the taghairm would come to watch.
They had tested on Cleverness, and then on Ferocity. The final test would be Honor, and finally the ritemaster and overseer of the Hanshii devised a method for getting Leon’s fetish away from him. Leon's weakness and his strength was his pride, and both Trudy and the host had seen this after the two rounds. The host however, drew Trudy to a side to attempt a wager. If she could ensure that Leon used his fetish in the process of the third contest, the host would see to it that she was fully recognized for her efforts with a "Special Prize". Curse her curiosity for the circumstances, because as much as she hated it, Trudy was hooked and in trouble. The contest was set, an overnight long game of hide and seek to be played within the Swiss Alps. Who was the ultimate hunter, was the question, and in that was the condition that neither cat was to use any of their spirit-earned Gifts. Black as the night was in the mountains, the coat of the host was hard to see as the pair of cats raced off into the night to later turn and hunt the other. The second goal was for either cat to reach an end point by sunrise, making a secondary objective and turning the contest into a time trial race.
The obvious size disadvantage came in different ways to both cats. There was a question of whether Trudy would even be quick enough to reach the endpoint, or deal with Leon if she were found first. On the other hand, there was Leon's bit of size disadvantage, as no lion was ever equipped to deal with the snow-capped Alps as a hunting ground. With the carrot of the prize ahead, Trudy took it upon herself to draw Leon out. The cat faked as the mouse, and the mouse stood up to the lion. When the lion roared in answer, however, Trudy gave him no satisfaction in actually coming within reach of his paws. Tauntingly she left signs of her passing and her closeness along with little messages that picked apart Leon's hunting technique. In truth, she simply drew upon what she'd seen that irked Sebastian before to draw the rage filled lion out of him. Yet in the end, Leon wasn't goaded into a frenzy, but into another unthinking act of deciding he would end this contest with real blood. So bent up was he about getting rid of Trudy's existence that he abandoned the precepts of the challenge and called upon all his resources, including his fetish, to stalk the werelynx right out of her hiding spot.
And when he found her, the light of his dishonor shone clear on him like the full moon. There was blood that night as well, but in the form of the beating and running out of Leon Beornred from the taghairm. Stripped of his fetish, his pride, and his ego, the lion turned his wrath upon Trudy and roared out his vow to see her hang from the battlements of his Den Realm until even her bones were unfit to feed the spirit vultures. Yeah, that perhaps would come back to bite her in the ass later. In fact, make that definitely. Thinking it would be wise to beat feet out of Switzerland, that was the first thing that came to mind once Trudy was back to thinking again. But before that... she had a prize to collect. The host was most gracious and proud to perform the Rite of Recognition upon Trudy for the rank of Tilau. That had been his intent there, but as the taghairm ran down, Trudy decided even this wasn't enough. Not for all the trouble she had been put through. She had seen the fetish, and learned (with Sphinx's help) the truth behind the trinket. And there was just no way she could let that item go in the hands of that conniving host. So she did what she did best to obtain the fetish.
She blackmailed the host of the taghairm.
Terrifying him with the thoughts of Leon’s wrath bearing down upon him, the host was "encouraged" to cut all possible ties to Leon. This included the fetish, which was, as Trudy "advised", the strongest spiritual link to Leon that the host would have. Or worse, what if Leon had cursed the item? Better that Leon's plotting would no doubt fall upon the bearer of the fetish – Trudy – than upon the host. After using a little bit of cat magic of her own to demonstrate just how Leon might express his wrath (and in the process unnerving herself about the issue, but who was to know), Trudy convinced the host to cough up the fetish. A wise move, she ensured the host even as she tucked the trinket away, and one that would guarantee Leon wouldn’t go looking for him later. After that, she left the country and subsequent continent of Europe rather quickly – a wise move on her part, as Leon had already been waiting for her at the Swiss border. But he was only one surly man for the moment, and she had use of the fetish that was formerly his. A true blessing it was, that she had rank and fetish to help her escape the maw of the lion.
Unlike the common phrase, Trudy did look back. She looked back often, just to make sure Leon wasn't following her. She did everything just shy of changing her identity entirely to lose him – and lucky for her she'd learned not to use her name too often in the midst of her fellow cats. Trudy made a short vow to herself not to attend any more taghairms for quite a while longer, but that sort of self-made temporary vow was hardly ever one to last with her. And the truth was, she found the meetings fascinating most of the time. Like Sebastian. Meetings with Sebastian could not have been more exciting in both good and bad senses of the word. The pair of them encountered each other again on the road, and on their way to a taghairm taking place in the land of the Rising Sun. It wasn't long before they arrived there and to the behest of the Japanese Khan host. It would seem that the tiger had lost his daughter to some yakuza that were just a bit more than yakuza, and the touch of the Unmaker was more like a fist wrapped tightly around the denizens of the land. Sure Sebastian did most of the work, and she would miss having to make him call her Bon Bhat. On the other hand, she could still make him say it. Maybe if she shoved him enough.
The return to the States was one hell of a breather. Or so Trudy wished. Boy did she wish, but like the Khan had said, they were strung together. It was Saturday night after all, and even a girl like Trudy would sometimes want to go out with a hot date (okay, maybe a little too hot) and not have that date disappear into a backroom only to be shot up, gutted, and overall ruin her pretty LBD before she had the chance to really enjoy it. But then sometimes, that's just how it goes. Once she got Sebastian back to the hotel, she'd tell him. Tell him that for once, she'd pick the good spot; a nice, quiet spot with no trouble at all.
Crystal Springs, Colorado.
A perfect place to get... energized.
- Fly - Sugar Ray
- Selline - Tim Blane
- You Didn't Know Me When - Harry Connick, Jr.