Shen's Tale centers around a mysterious wanderer, and her interactions with the spirits of the McCloud area. This is including her adventures with laying to rest The Wraith, a mysterious and dangerous being taking advantage of a natural vortex. Can Shen help the area, or will she meet the end that numerous others have done?
Several minutes later, Shen pulled herself up onto another rock, farther downstream. A couple small children looked at her curiously as she lay there, coughing out the water, and before long, there was red hair and blue eyes looking into her own.
"Are you ok? Did you slip on a rock or something? Never seen anyone go over the falls... not like that."
Shen coughed a bit more, a bit disconcerted that the face was one that she knew, but not from her own memories.
"Yes." She croaked, doing her best to avoid the young woman's gaze. But this was difficult since those blue eyes had the same sort of penetrating quality as her own.
"Alright..." She didn't sound convinced. "Hey Auntie, did we bring down that extra towel?"
Another voice replied, older and tired, but with enough energy to know she had a long way to go yet before she would give in to whatever her battle was. "Yep. Almost there. Not as able to run on rock as I used to be."
"Toss it here, you'll hurt yourself..."
Turning her head toward the voice, a rather tiny woman had, in that short time, rolled up the towel vaguely like a football and tucked the ends to secure it, and was in the process of lobbing it to the young woman beside her. The toss wasn't very good, but at least it made it. The towel was settled around her.
"My name's Briana." The red haired girl offered a hand to help her up and they began to make their way over the rocks toward where the older woman and a young blond haired woman were. "Hope you don't mind my asking, but how did you get your hair so white?"
"Don't know. It's always been so." Shen looked at Briana again, and then the other two waiting for them, who seemed to be getting some food ready to share with her. On a hunch, she asked "what do you know about the black being that chases the spirits?"
"Yeah, we know it." Briana mumbled while guiding her over to the aunt and other girl. "I'm guessing you had a run in with it?"
"You could say that..." Shen nodded, taking a seat on the rock indicated, after bowing a greeting to the other as yet unnamed women. The dark haired woman, though older, looked even younger closer up, as hard to pinpoint as she herself was. Her blue eyes were also regarding her carefully, and perhaps with a small amount of recognition.
A chill ran up Shen's spine, and the odd sense of having known her somewhere before.
"Shen, this is my sister Bethany, and my aunt Aeraena."
Both returned Shen's bow, as naturally as if it was their own usual greeting. It was then that the colors of the woman's bathing robe struck her, or rather lack of color. As white as her own, it knotted plainly at the waist, and there was the air of something missing about the plainness.
"Pleased to meet you... again. I think." Aeraena murmured, her face smoothing back from the furrows of concentration.
Both girls looked at their aunt oddly, right along with Shen, then shrugged it off.
"You asked about the Wraith?" Bethany queried, while handing Shen a cup of cool sweet tea from a thermos cooled in the river.
"I suppose I am. I was hiking the trail and going to one of the other falls for a spiritual cleansing, since I was in the area, and then I was knocked over the cliff. I suspect that one of the local spirits is currently either taking refuge or stuck within me as a result."
None of the three looked surprised, as most people she had encountered would. Instead, they all looked as if such things were normal occurrences for them.
"It chases things, people and spirits. We get a lot of refugees. Well, Auntie mostly gets the refugees. Certain spirits that live with us don't let too many outsiders in our house, and Auntie's set some pretty strong wards." Briana took a cup of tea herself during the statement.
"And if she can set wards, why hasn't she done anything about it?"
"I have children. My brother and sister-in-law work, my mother is a long drive away, and I'm not able to find a babysitter to watch them while I go out, track it down, and attempt to appease or seal it on my own. So my responsibility has been to keep the spiritually sensitive people as safe as I can, as discreetly as possible until such time." Aeraena replied, tealess and staring into the passing river. "They are currently at their grandmother's for a while though. I came today to cleanse myself and ask the Kami for some help."
Shen thought a moment, sipping her tea.
"I do have some training. Not as much as I'd like, but I can help."
Aereana nodded. "Good. There is a particular spot it haunts most. We can look there first."