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Karen Gaunt

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  1. "See you then," Karen answered with a ready smile, viscerally satisfied with a problem she could sink her teeth into productively. Yeah, magic was probably scary when aimed at you, but, hell, she had eaten people. They'd deal. Besides, witches were at least human, and this Darrik wouldn't still have a club if he screwed over his clients. Now what was the name of the place..? Oh, yeah. She dialed the club's number as she walked, waiting three rings before the voice of the warlock could be heard over the background noise of a scene that was evidently hopping already, "Hello? Darrik speaking." "Darrik? It's me. Karen. From last night? We need your expertise on a few problems. Confidential expertise. We'll make it worth your while wherever you want to meet. Today preferably." There was a pause on the other end of the line, the clatter of glasses, "Simon Magus is running full-bore, so come to the club, get drinks, food and the show, and I'll try to open up some time for you." "Great! We have an errand to make first, but we'll be along soon," Karen replied, shifting the phone to her neck as she fished out the keys to her car, dropping the volume of her voice to a relative whisper, "I have a dead man in my life who refuses to stay dead, and that's just my personal problem. The pack is facing something that nearly ruined last night's party. I really hope you're the man for the job. Tell you more when I get there." And then she hung up again, taking in the sights of the Quarter, waiting for Maeve to catch up so that they could check on their kidnapping victim. Poor girl.
  2. THE FRENCH QUARTER A calmed werewolf was a relative thing, especially with the full moon running in its veins, so Karen's answering glare could only warm steel not slice it in half. "To-mor-row," she answered back, softly, firmly, with the faintest edge of a warning growl in her voice, the verbal shadow of raised hackles and exposed teeth, "Let me make something perfectly clear. My father, whatever else he was, was a lying liar who lied and however he tricked our pack 80 years ago and survived, it caught up to him for his sins and got him dead for real just in time to leave a daughter to wonder just who he was. I am *not* following his example and leaving *my* daughter the same questions by underestimating what's coming tonight and spending all day on a wild goose chase. Is. That. Clear?" She leaned into the younger woman's space, eyes dark pits of determination, quite unconscious of her quick adaptation of the word 'our pack'. Maeve stepped back, hands held up disarmingly, "Absolutely. I was just... Okay. How about you call Dan to see what he needs us to do?" Karen offered a silent glance up at the girl, but held her tongue as she pulled up Dan's number and dialed. One ring, two rings, and the Cajun's smooth barotone answered, "It's Dan. What's going on?" "We're done here, Dan," the brunette replied, pausing a second to look at Maeve, "For today anyway. What needs doing? Getting more sandwich makings and checking on Melody is obvious, but what else is there? Is there anyone in the city who we can ask a few questions about our... problems and trust to keep their mouth's shut? Darrik maybe? He didn't strike me as a snitch."
  3. THE FRENCH QUARTER Karen... wasn't sure how to answer that question. If Colby had been a long time pack leader way back in the thirties, and still looked in as good as he did, only God knew how old her Dad actually was. Or if he actually went to a New Orleans High School and didn't just borrow one of those jackets as a way of covering his tracks, inventing a new past, after cheating death. This kind of research was a pain in the butt dealing with her own currently living peers, let alone a father she apparently knew nothing about. And that was the thing that really stuck in her craw. It pissed her off that she knew so damn little about her own father, and on some level that she could have died just as easy last night, left her own daughter with the same legacy of not knowing. And it was going to be a an endless series of rabbit holes until she stumbled over a clue, rabbit holes she didn't have time to dig up between the full moon and the witches and the vampires and settling into a role in the Bayou Pack she couldn't just run from when things went bad. At least not soon. Time time time. Her father, however he might have come back, was pretty definitely dead to her knowledge, and unlikely to get deader. People, living people, were important, and all of this could wait until tomorrow morning. Check on Melody. Get out to the swamp and stop for plenty of sandwich fixings. Make plenty of sandwiches. Be ready to try and think on her feet, er, paws if the goddess-wolf came back. Tackle tomorrow's problems tomorrow. "No clue, Meave. No clue at all. Let's go. As important as this is to me, we're burning daylight, and I have a feeling tonight's going to be a party," she finally answered the Irish werewolf, tone of voice making clear how unfun a party she meant, "Text Dan to see if he has a preference for food. We're stopping by that Krogers I saw on our way in."
  4. Meave gave Karen a 'the hell?!' look as the older woman reined in her outburst with a blush. Between last night's hunt, the haunting or whatever, and the revelation that one in six people who operated a magic-related store in the city might be the real deal, she needed a taste of normal, inane and careless though it was. One in six? She was hoping more like one in a hundred, especially with the damned leeches taking Karen's trade as literally as one could take it atop the mix. The city felt increasingly less safe to her. Maybe staying with Dan wouldn't be so bad..? Let tongues wag, he was a *very* good catch if she was honest with herself, and she could always rent a motel room for business purposes if that came to that... Still, that was tomorrow, she had to check this clue out now. "I'm guessing they go one of the local high schools, Meave?" the dark-eyed Californian asked, already plugging the search for 'New Orleans Letterman Jackets' into her phone just in case, a smile dancing on her lips in amusement at her own enthusiasm, "If so, another link to our mystery before we swing out see how Melody is doing."
  5. THE MARSH Karen pulled a knit hat out of the pocket of her outer jacket as soon as she zipped it up, breath misting in the early morning air. Ouuuf. Cold. The Californian native did not relish it and waking up in her birthday suit was not endearing the Louisiana weather to her. Hugging herself against the chill, she closed the gap to where she had stashed the cooler, popping it open and fishing out a sandwich. Salivating at the smell of human food after the half-remembered taste of raw deer and sensation of warm blood lapping down her tongue, Karen paused as her eyes took in the sorry sight of some of the pack, particularly those who had used the Juice. The sheer misery and huddling against the sunlight of those werewolves made her glad she had passed on the noxious cocktail. Then an unfortunately timed thought made her lower the sandwich. Damn it. The game called. She was looking forward to one of having one of those, too. The sandwich went back in it's baggie, and the baggie back in the cooler. She fetched out a couple water bottles and started making the rounds of the gathering, offering water to the afflicted and pointing them in the direction of her stash if they seemed mobile.
  6. Rage and power and bloodlust and strength and determination. All that and more had poured off the white female like an ocean, acting like a moon to her own tide of anger. The beast-that-was-Karen had been a lone wolf during her first five moons worth of transformations, and something in that hazy memory and instinct inspired fear of the deep, abiding madness it took for a wolf who could join any pack it wished remaining a lone wolf. But her alpha had stood. And the beast-that-was-Karen stood with him, acting half understood certainty that to do otherwise would be to court death. Then the moon mad goddess was gone, leaving her caught between wanting more of that insanity and being relieved it was gone. Glad she hadn't tested her determination and disappointed she wasn't considered worthy of a test. The ache faded slightly as the immediacy of the eternal now worked it's primal magic over the reduced consciousness of the native Californian. Her alpha was now everyone's alpha, as he clearly always should have been, and it was time for certain young pups to recognize that they didn't have, never had, would never have, a shot at him. The beast-that-was-Karen returned his gaze with her own, making no move to shift from her comfortable sprawl in the mud and grass, clearly welcoming the attention but by no means throwing herself at him.
  7. THE MARSH Karen Gaunt was a stunning woman in human form and an equally striking beast in wolf form. In between though? Not so much. There was nothing beautiful about the transition of a being between the Families Hominidae and Canidae, a consumptive cancer of sprouting fur and cracking bones that resulted in her losing a third of her mass and a few inches of length to her new form. There were a few park rangers in upstate New York that were very confused as to how a Red Wolf had apparently wandered so far from it's acutely limited range when none of the animals had been reported missing from the nearest zoos. The mental transition was as rough as the physical shift, bestial flame leaping from thought to thought, a flashfire that left room for a much older, much more... direct mental forest to spring up. Karen tried to fight the urge to resist, knowing from experience that it would no good and cause much pain if she did so. Still, she did so, at least until the curse burned enough of her inhibitions to let her darkly rejoice at the loss, exalt at the anger. But the anger wasn't alone this time, the lust for blood tempered by the scent-sight-sound of other werewolves in shift promising something more, something the beast-that-was-Karen had tasted the night before with Dan, a thin broth of companionship compared to the impact of the full pack. Everything that followed was easy, the small wolf falling into place behind Dan's ebon form. He was dominant. She would follow. As long as his leadership fed her well, at least.
  8. Blech. Like being the one of the designated drivers at a tailgate with the 'perk' of having everyone else's hangover, too. "...I'll pass, thank you," the pretty brunette answered just a bit more sharply than she intended, a fullbody shiver making it way down her body, "I can only imagine going into a... change was the word you used, right... while in that state tomorrow can't be fun." She left unspoken the fact she liked the loss of control, not being able to give a shit even if she wanted to give a shit, no past no future, just one long now until moonset. Wasn't like she hadn't hurt people before and wouldn't hurt them again in her trade... Just... less suddenly 99% of the time. Anyway... "So. Mingling. Friends. Family. The whole jazz. And then we strip naked just before moonrise and run off into the swamp? No rituals or anything?"
  9. While not what she was expecting from a werewolf gathering, Karen had navigated enough social gatherings on her own form of 'hunting' to adapt, extending one hand to the Alpha. Never shit where you intend to sleep for long, and make nice with the locals. The simmering rage invoked by the, for now, absent moon had no aim at these people to her very much surprise despite what Dan had shown and told her, despite last night, and that felt good, good enough to put the social gamesmanship that was second hand to her on the back burner. "A pleasure to meet you, Mr. Lowery," she greeted back, smiling warmly, "Karen Gaunt of California. Thanks for having me. I brought some sandwiches, not that I made enough with everyone here... The Bayou pack is bigger than Dan here described." Her melodic laugh flowed out softly, voice going serious in a heartbeat, "...Not to ruin the mood, but with all these people here, did you have enough people to spare to keep an eye on Melody? In case they try again while we're dealing with our aler… Heh. Curse. I mean, curse. So weird to not have to lie about that to someone."
  10. The cold wind of the gathering dusk faintly the bits of Karen's exposed flesh despite the layers she was bundled up in, one dark eye on the moonrise timer ap on her phone and the other alert for the return of her host. A boat, their transport for the coming evening to the gathering, bobbed faintly up and down, bird song transitioning from the day chorus to the evening chorus. after the nonsense of today, the leeches who filled her with righteous ire despite herself and the witches she didn't know right from left about, she was... looking forward to this. Honestly. And as soon as Dan got back, she'd help lever the cooler full of supplies down into the boat, and be on her way with him and whoever else he brought. At least the girl was apparently safe now. That had brought a genuine smile to her face. If her family didn't post a few guards with whatever you needed to kill witches and vampires tonight and tomorrow... She couldn't even...
  11. "...I guess you're the expert," Karen replied after a moment of hesitation, lips quirked in honest confusion. She usually attempted to at least get a grounding in whatever obscure trade she was tapping on a given job, but between being caught completely flatfooted on this whole incident, her Father's ghost showing up, and an expectation of some kind of lightshow associated with wizards... Whatever. The full moon was coming. She'd wait and hope on this one. "Appreciated, Darrik. I'll look forward to visiting again when the moon isn't calling. You run a good bar by the looks of it," she complimented with a nod and turned on one heel, offering Dan a 'Let's get going.' look over one shoulder.
  12. "No. Not party time," came the instant comment from the pretty brunette werewolf, "Your family would kill you, and then us, if we brought you home drunk. Our host probably wouldn't appreciate the risk to his business, too." And that would threaten Karen's fledgling place in the pack. The kill us was possibly literal with the girl's werewolf kin. She hadn't quite figured out all the rules in one night with Dan, unlikely, yeah, but still possible. Her dark-eyed gaze asked for back up on her forbiddance. The role of voice of responsibility wasn't one she played often. "So what do you need to make sure she's okay? That's two groups of people she might have been... affected by... since she got taken, Darrik," she volunteered with a smile to the witch, stopping herself from quoting Harry Potter in calling the potential magical trap an 'Imperio'. Might have offended him.
  13. Karren followed the vampire in, having left the bar to a) get some air and b) give the ghost/illusion/whatever it was of her Father a chance to deliver his/its message in solitude ala Shakespeare. The thing had gazed at her sadly as she walked through the doors, silent as ever as she glared at it, mouthing 'Well?' at it over her shoulder. The cold of the outside was settling fully around her when Jack's image faded and broke up and faded away. No clue. No revelations. Just dull blade to her heart when she had needed her wits about her the most and ruining her one first impression. God, the second she could secure what she needed to protect her daughter, she was leaving this city behind her faster than anytime she'd had to skip out of anywhere in her entire career, if this was her *second day*, the place was pure bad juju and could go rot. The arrival of the two younger girls outside the bar jolted her from her melancholy, and the first words she uttered, after seeing that they were more bubbly than visibly hurt or upset, were to the vampire, dry as the Sahara, "Thanks for returning them in one piece. We'll take it from here."
  14. Karen permitted herself to break eye contact with the ghost or whatever the hell it was, plastering her 5th best smile in place. Being thrown off her game was exactly what she needed. Figures she wouldn't even get a useful haunting that explained exactly what it was after. Sure, Othello or whatever ended poorly, but at least he had a clue. "Thank you for your concern, but so far it's nothing that some fresh air or an exorcism couldn't cure," she breezily replied, freezing as she realized exactly what she just said, "Damn it. Just a new brand of crazy that can wait until we get Melody back home curse free. Thank you for checking that, by the way. Greatly appreciated." She tried to preemptively wave away any potential concern, "It's fine. Really. If it does anything other than pissing me off standing there, I now know the place to go to track down a witch who might lend a hand."
  15. The 'ghost' remained where it had first appeared, following Karen with it's eyes, otherwise unresponsive to her defensive gestures. She let herself be lead to the seat while she thought, eyes only darkening from their temporary golden hue as Dan left and addressed the Regent with hopes of a solution to see if Melody had been magically boobytrapped. Seriously? That was a thing? Great. Wonderful. Perfect. She couldn't wait to get back to the swamp and wash the metaphorical stink of 'vampire' from her skin, put this successful rescue behind them until the full moon passed and she had time to learn the local hearts and minds. Karen continued to sit, gaze not deviating from Jack's just in case he *did* decide to do something, threatening or otherwise, fingers drumming on the table top. Soon as a few more minutes passed, she'd head outside to make sure the two women saw a friendly face first. But that would be in a few minutes. Just in case the ghost no one else could apparently see was waiting to do more than screw with her emotionally. If this was a trick, she'd personally kick the ass of the person responsible. If it wasn't..? She didn't know.
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