Changelings in Paris
"May fetches beware the cat in the shadows."
Name: Morgan Thatcher
Concept: Lonely Avenger
Entitlement: Duchy of Truth and Loss
Defense: 3-1=2 (Flak Jacket = -1)
Initiative Mod: 9
Armor: 2/3 (Flak Jacket in trench coat)
Athletics: 4 (Spec-Sprinting/Climbing)
Stealth: 5 (Spec-Moving in Darkness)
Weaponry: 3 (Spec-Swords)
Animal Ken: 3 (Spec-Felines)
Subterfuge: 4 (Spec-Spotting Lies)
Fast Reflexes (2)
Weapon Finesse: Swords
Fighting Style: Two Weapons (3)
Mantle: Winter (1)
Token: 2 Dot-False Face of Truth
Tokens: 1 Dot-Toy Sword (x2)
New Identity (4)
Name? Morgan Thatcher
Nationality? American, from Pittsburgh, PA
Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity? Chaste heterosexual female.
What is your Mask?
My old face. Only I have the right to it, and I exercise that right. I was fairly athletic-looking, with light brown hair and dark blue eyes. My skin is fair, and I am a bit shorter than average. My hair is cut short and cups my rounded human face, which became more angular thanks to my time in Arcadia. My eyes took on an almond shape as well.
What is your Mein?
My body is covered in fine black fur, and I have the long tail of a panther. My legs are reverse-jointed and end in clawed hind-paws, not clumsy human feet. My fingers became longer when I joined the Duchy, and they end in sharp, thick nails. My face is catlike and angular, and my eyes, though almond-shaped, do not have slits as a cat’s do. They retained their vibrant blue and intensified it, almost to the point of glowing. My ears are pointed and rest slightly higher than those of a human, and my hair falls in the same manner as in my mask, but its mein color is a blue just a few shades shy of pitch black. Naturally, I carry the Duchy’s face token, though I’ve found a bulletproof vest more beneficial than the standard hedgespun raiment of the Duchy. Being a Winter, I am much better at blending into the background than showing signs of my Court, which proves all the better for tailing target fetches.
Who were you as a human?
I put forth average effort in school, earning B’s and sometimes A’s. I never felt the need to push for an A; it wasn’t something my parents were concerned with. Both of them worked more than 40 hours a week for a living, so I was overseen by a babysitter when I wasn’t in school, until I turned 12. I played hide and seek with the babysitter every time she came over. I was good at finding her, but it was truly a challenge for her to find me, since I could move silently from one spot to another in the middle of her searches. I was always talented at sneaking around and passing by people unnoticed. It amused me to see for how long I could walk half a step behind someone before they noticed, then how long it took to give them the slip, should they give chase in anger. Even if they proved difficult to hide from, I could outrun them if truly necessary. I refused to run track when my father suggested it. I couldn’t understand running for no reason. What was the point?
Who were you close to before you were taken? Lovers? Family?
I was living happily and simply with my family. I was not interested in a romantic relationship at 15, mainly because my options were unappealing in various ways. I was more interested in independence and exploration. Dating someone would slow me down and limit my freedoms, and losing any portion of my autonomy was not worth moving up the social ladder a rung or two. My parents had been saving money for my college education; they loved me and wanted me to succeed. If I were a tree, they would be my roots. Losing them was a singularly displacing feeling, one from which I am still trying to recover.
Why did you get taken?
Curiosity didn’t kill me, unfortunately. It enslaved me. Over the years, I had become adept at sneaking up on various animals. Humans were easy. The small critters were the challenge. My count of Squirrels Touched/Caught was at 12 on the day I was taken. The number of failed attempts was quite substantial, obviously, but I was only human. I was practicing in the park when I noticed a completely black squirrel scuffling in the fallen leaves nearby. I was determined to graze its fur with my fingertips, even hold it for a brief moment if I could. I began my silent, unassuming approach. Each time I would get within pouncing distance, the squirrel would decide to move away again, but it never appeared alarmed by my presence. I’m not sure how long I continued the almost-chase. I remember picking my way carefully and quietly through thorns, the squirrel always just out of reach, but always in my sight. When the thorns ended, and I realized the park was could not possibly encompass the length I had surely traveled, the small creature before me changed into a humanoid form that seemed to be a shifting body of shadows and shades of green, brown, and black. The fae’s only defined feature was a pair of shining white eyes with no pupils or irises. He gestured a shifting, clawed hand for me to follow and said: “Come. You will not survive this world without me, my pet.” The thorns were gone from behind me, and this new place felt wrong, so I followed him, the only entity I could perceive in this shadowed world.
How long were you in Arcadia? Human time/Fairy time
I was taken in 1996. I made it back to the mortal world in 2006. 10 years in human time, but years are not of consequence to a Beast in Arcadia. All is now, so vibrant and unending. I know I went on 20 hunts as a simple house cat, then 300 human and 49 fae hunts as the panther. Not truly perceiving the time is a blessing I shall always treasure. I appear to be 30, if I had to approximate.
What happened in Arcadia?
First, I was transformed into a common house cat. My mind became concerned with every detail of the world around me. My favorite activity was presenting my master with the mice I captured, and purring as he showed he was pleased with my skill. Everything on his estate seemed designed for hunting. Even the hallways had bushes and shadows that I would use to conceal myself from my small prey. The woods that touched the walls of the castle were ever shrouded in shadow, the better for concealing oneself until just before pouncing. After a score of successful hunts, I was rewarded with my human form (but not my human mind) and the deepest physical level of intimacy between myself and my Keeper, who then told me his name: Maradros. After this reward of intense pleasure, I was placed in the form of a panther, and my human mind returned to occupy my consciousness simultaneously with the animal’s. I was to be my Keeper’s newest hunting pet, thanks to my skill at hunting. I was going to hunt humans.
The first hunt, I had to be whipped out of my pen. The young man had already been released into the unforgiving woods. My human mind had been allowed to surface to give me an edge when hunting other humans, and the panther was there to provide the raw instinct for killing. I had control of my body, but the whips lashed my skin relentlessly. Finally, I took off in a dead sprint in the direction I could smell the captive. I knew my Keeper was watching me, so I did my best to put on a show of tracking the man. I began to follow his trail, then pretended to catch his scent in another direction. Maradros figured out my game after a few minutes though, and he dragged me back to the estate to be whipped until I lost consciousness. When I came to, Maradros held my head up and made me watch as the man I was meant to murder was slowly tortured to death instead.
For days, I was starved. I thought it was merely as punishment, but I always had access to water. I realized as I lost my grip on my rational thought, and the hunger of the animal consumed me, why I was not being fed. The gates opened to the woods, and I dashed into the shadows, casting wildly about with all my senses for my prey. The scent was easy to catch. The panther was in control; the hunger was too painful for me to stop myself. I sprinted toward my sluggish prey on silent padded paws, closing the distance in minutes. It was a young woman this time. Her eyes swept the darkness in panic, looking for a way out, looking for me. I was among the shadows of my master’s woods, and she would never see me coming. I closed on her with the panther’s stealth and my intelligence, and leaped a scant three feet when the ideal moment arose. All I could do was make it quick, tearing out her throat as quickly and cleanly as I could before I began to devour her. As a reward, I was again given human form with animal thoughts and shared the night with Maradros.
The starvation and instinctive hunts continued along with intimate rewards for particularly successful hunts. Having access to human memory during the times I hunted, I know I killed 300 people. I learned how to shut out my emotions and morality, focusing only on the strategy of the hunt as a cold, calculating predator. I lost more and more of my human self as I buried it deeper with each successive murder, until I was nothing more than an abnormally intelligent great cat. On the day following my 300th kill, Maradros informed me that I was so exceptional that from now on I would have better prey. Small fragments of my humanity came back to myself as I hunted the inhuman fae, weakened by Maradros through trickery or outright combat. They required more intellectual effort on my part to kill, and the fact that they symbolized my torment stirred the long-buried emotions of my human self. I eventually began to revel in my hunts, tearing through the flesh of those foul creatures and taking it into myself.
How did you get your contracts?
The animal who shared my body forged the Fang and Talon contract as I used it’s consciousness to shelter my own, weathering the storm of Faerie with pure, amoral sensation.
What broke you?
As I said before, I gradually let my humanity be eclipsed by the animal to avoid the maddening bloodlust that would otherwise consume me. The sexual experiences I can only remember as pleasurable, based on the fragments my animal mind retained. The evening rewards caused far less damage to my psyche than the cannibalism (essential cannibalism, anyway).
How did you escape?
It was my 49th fae hunt. We often went out in groups for these, and this excursion required flight. I rode in human form among my Keeper’s flying pack of wolves as we approached the shattered air-islands of the bird faerie. He found her annoying and wanted to see me shred her. The other faeries were mainly there to tail her through the air and bring her down so I could give chase for my master’s amusement. The floating islands were all within leaping distance of at least one other. As we passed by one, I leaped for it, landing in my panther form and smelling the air for unfamiliar fae. I quickly caught the scent and led the wolf riders to the target. They shot her out of the air, but a monkey-like man picked her up and began to carry her away. I gave chase, but not whole-heartedly. This extra entity piqued my human curiosity. A former human was protecting a faerie?
Eventually, the monkey man grew tired, and had to set the unconscious bird faerie down. I made the leap from my current island to theirs. The monkey man snatched a stick from the ground that became thick and heavy, and he hit me roughly over the head with it. Somehow the blow brought enough of my humanity to the front of my mind that I realized I had strayed far from Maradros’ reach. I barely had time for this comprehension when the island began to tip over rapidly, forcing me to leap to the next one. My jump had brought me further from the hunting party and closer to the mountain range. My path seemed laid out before me, a series of floating islands leading to the mountainside. I dared to look back only once to find my master and his fellows nearly a mile away, being harried by a black mass of birds. Seeing this, I sprinted and jumped with all my speed and strength for the mountains and never looked back again. I made my way around to the shadowed side as quickly as my paws would allow. I scaled my way downward into a valley with trees to enlist the aid of their shadows in concealing my dark fur. As I crept my way further and further from Maradros and his wolves, I caught a strange scent in the air. I followed it a few hundred yards to its source: a cave with a slight breeze coming from its inside. I peered into the shadows with my keen cat’s eyes and spied the thorns.
Without a second thought, I plunged into the Hedge headlong, viciously clawing my way through the thorns. The more progress I made, the less like paws and more like hands my limbs became, my muzzle retreated, and my posture became more erect. My legs remained jointed backward and ended in clawed cat’s feet, my ears and eyes (except for the pupils) were still catlike, my tail did not recede, and fine black fur still completely covered my body. I finally burst from the Hedge into a shaded alleyway. I appeared to have come from a boarded up doorway; I didn’t bother trying to touch it to see if the entrance was still there.
How have you dealt with the horror?
I have channeled my desire to hunt and my enhanced abilities in order to aid the Duchy of Truth and Loss in eliminating fetches. They don’t smell human, so killing them doesn’t trigger the cannibalistic memories. On the days I wake from a particularly graphic dream I drink…heavily.
What have you done since you got back?
After the routine panic at my Mein and realizing the existence of my Mask, I met other Changelings who helped me find my way in the world. I had popped out of the Hedge in Salem, Massachusetts—yes, yes, very funny, I know. I actually ran into a member of the Duchy of Truth and Loss, who informed me of the horrible lie of my fetch, my forever altered identity, and most importantly, how to deal with my soulless doppelganger, peacefully and violently. Though this particular Duke preferred the latter, he explained other ways of dealing with my fetch. I asked only how I could find the means to destroy it myself, and he gifted me with my first sword, a delicate and deadly rapier. I still keep it on the mantle in my apartment. He trained me how to use the sword for several months, until I felt ready to eliminate my fetch. He drove me to where it lived at the time: South Carolina, working as a dental hygienist in a small dentist’s office.
I followed it using the shadows, keeping a safe distance in case it sensed my presence. To my mixed horror and relief, it entered the park, just as I would have been tempted to do. I provided no warning as I sprinted silently toward my prey, calling up my emotionless memories to prevent myself from flinching as my own former face turned halfway towards me in surprise…The blade struck true, burying itself deep into the thing’s chest as it whirled around too late to respond. I covered its mouth to muffle the scream and fell on top of it as it collapsed. It struggled only briefly before going limp. I swiftly dragged the body out of sight, then I stared at the dead face in the darkness as it faded away to dust.
What do humans think you do?
What they think is what is true. I am a private investigator as my surface job. Mostly, I get hired to find out if someone’s significant other is cheating on them. I often comb the streets for missing pet posters, both to gain the rewards and to return the poor domestic creatures to their homes. Anyone willing to put up posters all over the place to find their pet is probably a much better owner than a Fae.
What is your relationship with your court?
I agree that we have no business challenging the True Fae, but fetches are to be destroyed. I will run from a faerie if at all possible, but I wouldn’t abandon a fellow to one either. The Winter Court appeals to me for its subtlety and stealth, which I rely on heavily as a hunter. I have a weak connection to them at the moment, but I respect them enough to want to advance their trust.
Where do you live?
I live in the northern 18th district of Paris, close to the Square Léon Serpollet, a small park within the city proper. My apartment is decent, and my landlord is as well. It’s neither large nor fancy, but it’s clean and not crumbling like my first place.
Why did you join your Entitlement?
After meeting that first Duke and dispatching my own fetch, I knew my skills could be used against the Fae, at least in a way I could actually do some good. I wanted to make up for all the lives I ended by keeping the Soulless from perpetrating the lie of their very existence. While sorrow comes from realizing a loved one is lost, the real person is gone, and that is the truth. I cannot deny the vengeful satisfaction that killing a fetch provides either.
Explain any flaws you have.
I often seek solace in copious amounts of alcohol or food, depending on what’s available. There were times when I first left the Hedge that I gorged myself with sexual interaction as well, but I have since mastered those desires. Modern technology also tends to soak up more of my time than it should.
Explain your merits?
I’ve always been ambidextrous, and I developed fast reflexes quite early in life. I know how to regain the advantage on my opponents in a pinch (Fresh Start). I am adept at using two swords (Style: Two Weapons) and placing my blows accurately, not brutishly (Sword Finesse). My PI job earns me a living wage (Resources 2), and I wear the slight mantle of my Court humbly (Mantle 1).
What do you know about your fetch?
First and foremost, that it is dead by my sword. It had been an excellent mimic, save for one thing: it lacked my perception.
I find the leap in computers and communication fascinating. It took me some time to figure out all these new devices, but they are an amazing asset and source of entertainment. I tend to play video games a bit too much. A less modern hobby of mine is whittling small carvings from oak. I’ve been working on using it as an alternative coping mechanism for stress.
1 wish- what would it be?
I would wish all the Fae out of every facet of existence if I could. I would erase everything they were, are, or will be, even if I had to be wiped away in the process.
What changelings are you close to?
Fellow Dukes: Jefferson Wolfstrial (Hunter Lord), Bloody Thomas, Elisabeth Sureshot, Carlos the Swordsman, Tara Smallwatch
Others: Sophie Comeau, a Sacred Courier who knows a variety of potential sources for my investigations.
What humans do you contact?
Henri Balay, a freelance computer repairman, and my personal hacker, when necessary. I pay him a discreet fee, and he gets me the info I need. He’s one of those “information to all” types. I don’t store sensitive information of any kind on my computer, thanks to his advice.
What are you most proud of?
My recovery from the hundreds of murders I committed in the name of survival. I could easily have returned to the real world and given in to my taste for human flesh, but I did not. Now, I hunt those walking lies with the skills I acquired from Arcadia. Though I give the humans sorrow, I also give them truth and caution.
What is your worst memory pre-Arcadia?
Nothing I can think of compares to the land of the Fae. My dog died when I was thirteen; I’ll always miss that giant. He was a lazy-day-every-day Great Dane who was too scared to sleep in a room by himself. I would always leave my door open for him when I went to bed. The next morning, he’d be taking up most of my floor, drooling and snoring adorably. He was a great dog. Once I got a steady income, about two years ago, I rescued a cat from one of the Paris shelters and named her Shadow, though her coat is completely white.
What 3 languages do you speak?
English (primary), French, & American Sign Language
What would your spirit animal be and why?
Obviously some sort of cat, but I wouldn’t mind Great Dane either.
Who has influenced you most in your life?
Maradros. Though he destroyed my life, he gave me the tools to destroy the false lives of fetches, and I can live with myself for that.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was younger, I entertained the thought of being a spy, but I quickly grew out of that. I hadn’t really figured it out at age 15. I was debating being an investigative reporter or a detective, to use my stealth and curiosity in my work.
If you had a D&D alignment what would it be?
Probably lawful good. I might be good at killing things, but fetches are soulless abominations whose very existence is a lie. I believe eliminating them counts as a good deed.
How do you deal with problems?
Alcohol helps, but I also talk with my closer Changeling friends Sophia and Tara now and then, especially if something supernatural is bothering me. I also vent to Shadow quite often.
I love futuristic movies. My favorite is the Fifth Element. I tend to stay away from anything involving the supernatural in its plot, but science is always welcome. Love and the soul are the main concepts I am willing to stomach in movies or books that are not physical, natural, or technological. My favorite book is War of the Worlds. Forget folktales; too much faerie influence there.
What famous historical or literary figure is your role model?
Sanger Rainsford, the protagonist from The Most Dangerous Game
Describe yourself in a phrase.
A lost soul equipped for vengeance.
Do you go to the changeling Festivals? Is there one kind that you skip, or one that you always go to?
I never miss a festival involving hunting or stealth.