Peter Granger (SteveR) - Artist (Painter)
Aislinn Drohan (Tammy) - Auction House Providencer
March 26th, 2014 (Wednesday)
The next morning dawns bright and cold, with some snow falling (and expected to fall for the rest of the day). Aislinn Drohan arrives at Walkers Fine Art & Estate Suctions for work a bit tired after her night out with Connie Johnson at O'Reilly's Pub. She goes through the computer files of the photos taken from the Fowlkes estate, sorting and categorising them by level of interest and auction potential, and realises that she wants to put the photos of the stolen item and the missing spider vest aside, but discovers they are both missing from the file folder. She asks Connie if she's got copies of them on her machine, but her assistant says they're missing as well. Connie checks the memory cards from the cameras, but they've been completely wiped. Connie thinks she mistakenly wiped the cards for later use, but Aislinn doesn't believe so. She has Connie check on the printed copies of the photos, but Connie discovers that the filing cabinet where the files are stored is unlocked, and that the entire folder of photos from the Fowlkes estate is missing. Aislinn goes into the reception area, and double checks, but sees that nothing else is missing from the file folder. She sends Connie off on an [fake] errand, and when the assistant has left, Aislinn uses her Postcognition Art on the lock [turns a Light Token Dark, and gets a High Success, so loses -5 WPR]. She sees the lock being picked from the lock's point of view, hears a voice say, "Got you" in an accent she doesn't recognise. Connie returns and Aislinn tells her that she thinks the file cabinet lock was picked by an expert. She tells Connie that she'll have to go and talk to David Walker. "Better you than me," says Connie.
Peter Granger wakes up, and after his morning ablutions, searches the internet for information about Robert A. Kinawa. He finds some 260 people listed with that name, and eventually finds the reference he wanted on the son of painter James Kinawa and his death. He makes the connection that the Robert Kinawa who owns the Sunderland Gallery is actually the brother of James Kinawa the painter. He checks his art reference books, but there is no listing at all for the "Firehawk at the Falls" painting, nor even a reference to it. He determines that Kinawa's works from before and after the period when he believes the painting was created are minimalist modern, but he believes the painting he saw at the Fowlkes estate doesn't match that style. He goes to the Ottawa Public Library, and looks for references on Native American Indian art, and material about James Kinawa's body of work. He determines that there was no painting created by the artist between 1994 and 1997, but can't fathom why. He decides to return to the Sunderland Gallery again.
At Walker's, Aislinn goes in and talks with David Walker. She explains the situation, and he tells her that a break-in occurred during the night, which she would have known about if she'd checked with his secretary that morning. He thought that nothing appeared to have been stolen, until just now when she told him what was missing. She tells him that Connie will handle any questions the police might have. David asks her how the Fowlkes estate business is going, and she gives him an update on the matter. Aislinn asks him why Peter Granger was hired to do the art appraisal, given that Walker has several art appraisers, but David says he doesn't know, but assumes that Granger is qualified. When she leaves David's office, two officers cursorily question her about the robbery, since it doesn't seem that important (other than to the Walkers' staff). Returning to the office, she tells Connie what's happened, and then says that she's heading out to see a man about a furry spider. "Okaaaay..." Connie says.
Peter arrives back at the Sunderland Gallery. While he waits to see Robert Kinawa, he looks around and finding a section with paintings by James Kinawa, checks it out. They are all in the artist's minimalist modern style, and this reinforces his belief that the painting at the Fowlkes estate is definitely a different style. He spots two paintings, <"Braves Hunting Foxes" dated August, 1995, and "Rain Dance", dated January, 1996. He sees that most of the Kinawa paintings are priced between $200 and $500, but two of the larger pieces are around $4K.
The gallery owner interrupts his musings. [Peter fails to notice that Robert Kinawa is a little annoyed at him.] Peter tells Robert that he's been commissioned by parties unknown to appraise his brother's painting, "Firehawk at the Falls". Peter tries to ask Robert why his brother painted a work that was so different and outside his usual style. Robert denies the painting's existence, saying that only a sketch was made of the painting, but asks if he's actually seen the painting. Peter says he has, and tells him it was at the Fowlkes home. Robert is upset about the whole business, and snaps at Peter, who is taken aback. He asks if Peter is sure that he saw the painting, and he confirms that he did. Robert tells him that James was shunned by the Native American tribe not because of that painting sketch, though it was the straw that broke the camel's back, but because the Elders felt he betrayed them by giving away too many secrets in his works of tribal cultural, social, and lifestyle aspects. He advises Peter to abandon the search that he's on. Robert tells him that everyone who has seen the sketch of that painting has died. So let it go. Changing the subject, he asks Peter if he knows a Derek Stoneheart. Peter tells him he knows of him as an art critic, but doesn't know him personally. With their business finished, Peter turns to leave, and catches sight of the Slavic fellow moving off into another part of the gallery [he turns a Token Dark, to get a +10 to the TN for a Low Success]. He goes around to the other gallery section and sees the Slav looking at the exhibit, and when he inquries what Peter wants, Peter tells him he mistook him for someone he thought he knew. Leaving the gallery, Peter decides to head for the Woodward Studio.
Aislinn arrives at the office of Dr. Toby Ragnarsson in the H.H.J. Nesbitt Biology Building at Carleton University around 1:35 pm. She's brought cups of Tim Horton's coffee for herself and the Professor [she gains +10 to her TN for information for this kindness!]. The two engage in some pleasantries before she gets down to business. She tells him what she's learned about the two varieties of snakes, the tesellae and the rachnidae, and then asks Dr. Ragnarsson what he can tell her of when whey lived and went extinct. He tells her that rachnidae lived in central North America from about 1200 to 1560 AD and were wiped out as vermin and pests. The tesselae lived from sometime in the 1600s into the 1800s, but are now extinct due to over-hunting and their parts' use for many purposes. The tesellae family of arachnids produced a venom that was used for poisoning weapons and other nefarious purposes by various Algonquin tribes. The tesellae fed their prey to their young, and their venom was a paralytic (that could kill a man if enough of it was administered) so they could use the victims as food. She shows Dr. Ragnarsson the spider image on a wheel of life that she sketched off the image that she had of the stolen clay goblet, and he looks concerned.
He asks her if she's ever heard of the Cult of the Spider. When she tells him she hasn't, he says that he knows a little bit about them as a side hobby into his love of all things arachnid. He tells her the Cult arose among renegade Native American Indians in the Algonquin Park area some time in the mid-1600s. They worshipped the Spider God, Iktome or Inktomi, but were slaughtered to the last man, woman, and child by the massed Algonquin nation, helped by the Iroquois. He tells her that they dealt in blood sacrifice, and that they used the venom of the tesellae to acquire their victims, and drank the blood of the victims out of clay goblets that had the type of symbols/sigils on it that she's just shown him. She learns that the red, yellow, and white colouration was only found on the tesellae spiders, as they were the animal associated with Iktome/Inktomi. He refers her to Richard Whitefeather, a professor in the Religious Studies Department at [Carleton's] Paterson Hall, who is an expert on Native American Indian history and lore. Before she leaves, Aislinn asks him if there are any very large spiders in existence, but he tells her there aren't, at least not in this part of North America.
Sunday afternoon's game session of the Chill 3rd Edition RPG campaign was a pretty good one for the most part, with useful information emerging, and the player characters finding out things that have connections (even if they haven't realised it yet). While there was no interaction between the two player characters, both seemed to enjoy themselves, although once more spross struggled with the investigative elements and had to be steered a little bit in his endeavours. (Mostly by Tammy, talking to him out of character about stuff.) The case is proceeding pretty well, I think, though a bit slowly, but there is definitely progress being made.
Overall, a good session of the Chill 3rd Edition game, though I struggled a bit to talk due to my cracked tooth, but things went well. I'm looking forward to the next game session.