Empath Hunting

February 04, 2017:

Several students and staff have mentioned spotting an animal circling in the woods around the Xavier Mansion. Meggan decides to go looking for the animal, and finds her.

Xavier's Institute - New York City

Xavier's Institute grounds are located on 1407 Graymalkin Lane in Westchester County between Graymalkin Lane itself and Breakstone Lake (30 miles outside of NYC itself). A large portion of this is acres upon acres of woodland forest. To the farthest eastern portion of the Institute's grounds there is a stretch of low foothils.

Upon entering the Institute grounds immediately past the heavy gated entrance one finds themselves on a carefully paved road that splices in two directions, west and east.

The west leads to the School for Higher Learning where gifted youngsters are educated and taught to use their unique talents. Here almost year around children and teachers are housed.

To the east miles away lies Xavier's Mansion where Professor Xavier himself and some faculty members of the school live. These "special" individuals are those aware of Xavier's more clandestine operations, the adminstration and training of the X-Men.

Beyond the neatly walled mansion's yard in those foothills is an obscure landing strip that leads to a hangar complex and a subtly hidden facility. A facility that houses underground sublevels, a danger room, Cerebro and the training halls of one of the most advanced mutant fighting teams in the world.

An underground monorail connects the School for Higher Learning with the Charles Xavier's Mansion and the X-Men's Hidden Complex. Security is tight in this region, by means of limited magical warding, advanced future tech security systems and telepathic sweeps. Tread carefully.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Psylocke

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

The rumors have been circulating for a day or two, now, about a strange grey-coated animal - some think it's a wolf, but most have implied it to be some kind of cougar or lynx - stalking about in the forests that border and cross the borders of the Xavier Mansion grounds. The animal has not made a nuisance of herself, but she has been around, and while she hasn't come out to confront anyone, she has not been as invisible as surely a creature like her could be if she chose.


Meggan is of course curious about these rumors when she hears of them. And worries it may be some animal that is lost and need of help. Either way the barefoot British girl is off into the wilderness without a worry for herself to look for the one in question. Her senses sharp an trying to let the land and animals give her clues to where this wolf or cat is, flying low and slow to the ground. Maybe they just need a friend, everyone does from time to time.


The animals around know where the interloper is. Most are avoiding her, since she is both strange, and a sizable predator. But by following back against their hints, cues, and clues it shouldn't take more than a half hour or so of searching before Meggan can finally find the creature herself.

Said creature is currently curled up atop a large rock in the midst of a small clearning, sunning herself despite the cold winter weather. She is a clouded leopard, a spotted creature of soft greys with hints of brown, and large darker spots. If Meggan is familiar with such things she might realize the creature is a good bit larger than the norm for her species.

The leopard watches the woman floating into trees near the clearing, and her fluffy tail flips the tip as amber eyes stare at Meggan intently.


Meggan keeps slowly moving toward this predator. She is not worried. Animals like her and if it's just an animal she can handle it or more. She doesn't mind the weather, despite how little she seems to wear. As she finds the creature she smiles, "You are quiet the beauty and very very far from home." She looks over the fline there as she gets closer, doing her best to be calming and friendly to the animal and not really trip the typical animal 'outsider' reaction.


The feline watches Meggan, its little ears flicking to focus in on her voice as she speaks. Those wide amber eyes are intent, and have a curious degree of intelligence to them, almost as if the cat could understand Meggan. It does not seem to get perturbed by her approach, and even leans out to put its head closer to her when she draws hear, wuffling as it takes in her scent, tail tip flipping calmly. Meggan's empathy would assure her the cat is quite calm, and also curious and friendly.


Meggan holds out a hand toward the creature to let it smell. But it's the 'depth' of the emotions she picks up that makes her wonder. But that smile never goes away and those big blue eyes study the clouded leopard. "I get the feeling you are more then you seem."


The leopard nuzzles Meggan's hand, even opens its mouth to lick her rough, almost barbed tongue along Meggan's fingertips. When the blonde woman speaks, the cat actually bobs her head up and down … almost like a person nodding. The tail flicks again.


The nuzzle makes Meggan'as face light up, and warmth pours from her a she reaches out to rub along that broad feline head. Delicate fingers get behind the ears and along the jaw line before the lick goes over sweet tasting skin. "Well that explains a fair bit. Do you want company or to be alone, and you aren't eatting the little ones around here to much are you?"


Not being able to make two-leg mouth sounds like this, the leopard has to settle for expressions and doing the best she can, but it would be easier of Meggan slowed down. Still, scritching is welcomed and accepted, and a low rumble emanates from the cat as she leans into the attention. She nods, then shakes her head, then shakes her head again, as Meggan - surely unintentionally - rapidfires a few questions. Those wide amber eyes focus on Meggan, and then the cat leans down with one paw, slowly, patiently tracing a pattern in the winter-stunted grass. It looks like … a 'B'? And then another 'B'?


Meggan can feel the emotions that the animal is trying to share. She may be talking too fast but she seems to understand the leopard just fine. "BB?" That part seem sto stump her but she floats closer to the cat and reaches out to begin rubbing more around the head and body. Waiting to see if there is another way to understand it. "I am Meggan," says the British woman.


The cat considers for a while, calmly, while leaning into the petting and stroking. Emotional content seems to imply that the cat came here for a reason, and it's puzzling out how to communicate that reason. Then it reaches down and very, very slowly traces out a series of symbols. It has to think about this, apparently, but the fact that the leopard can spell out in English letters is amazing enough, isn't it? 'B' and then 'E', and then 'T', and then 'S', and then 'Y'. A long pause, here, and then the cat goes on again. 'B', 'R', 'A', 'D', 'D', 'O', 'C', 'K'. Then those warm amber eyes focus intently on Meggan again, as if waiting to see if that was clear.


As Meggan reads over the letters she beams and realizes what is being written. "Oh Betsy! I know her well. Though most know her by her work name, Psylocke." She keeps the contact going and she says amused, "Well then you are in the right area if you are looking for her. Can I do anything for you?"


The leopard's answer is to lean closer, actually butting her head against Meggan's tummy, then lift up her tail and drape it over the hand brushing her side. It's a friendly, playful kind of emotional content, lightly possessive.


Meggan smiles and enjoys the contact as she settles nice and close. The emotions make her move close and ask, "You been out here a while. Betsy know you are here?" She pets for a bit, "that you wish to meet her?" She shifts her finger tips to be wider and the nails thicker to feel better as they comb and groom that feline's fur.


The leopard nuzzles gently, but after a bit she slowly shakes her head against Meggan's tummy. Apparently, Betsy doesn't know she's here, or that she's looking for her. But there's a sense of 'complication' in her emotions, a tangle. Betsy did invite her, knew she was coming, but somehow, for some reason, has no way of knowing that she is now here. Whyever that would be.


"Well I can tell Betsy that there's a special leopard here in the woods looking for her." Meggan keeps up the gentle affection and grooming on the feline as they sit and talk. "I think of her as a sister if you will." She flips out her long hair t drape on the leopard some. "So are you a mutant then?"


The leopard bobs her head a bit at the suggestion of contacting Betsy, and soaks up the affection. When Meggan asks about her being a mutant, things are a tad different. The cat tilts and turns her head, looking up at Meggan curiously, confusedly. Amber eyes narrow a bit, and then resume their normal shape as she shakes her head. No, she's not a mutant, or at least she doesn't think so.


Meggan reassures, "That's okay. We don't only have mutants here of course. If you know abou this place from Betsy you belong here for one reason or another." She slowly shrinks a bit in size to make it easier to share the perch the leopard is on. "So you been without company for a while huh? That can always be a hard time.


The leopard drapes herself over Meggan's lap as she settles on the stone, and she nuzzles the woman's tummy contentedly. Mmmm. She has been out here alone for several days, at least, but she doesn't seem to be lonely at all. Indeed, she seems very content, easy-going and serene. But also very happy to be spending time with Meggan.


"You are very friendly," not that Meggan is unused to such reactions from animals. She's practically a Disney Princess really. She leans back to relax and looks around the forest. "This is a good land, mostly untouched. I can feel it past her skin and to her bones. Not like some of those other newer areas. She's got age and happiness still." Hands sweep from broad head down to mid back on the feline as she talks. Looking donw at the cat, "I always had a good strong connection to the planet."


The leopard's ears flick and a strong sense of amused pleasure wells up from her, which Meggan can pick up. Oh yes. She is very friendly, and she is glad to be so. And she does seem to like Meggan's Disney Princess sort of aura. She nods agreeably at the description of the almost pristine natural lands. It is a good place. And she too has always had a good and strong connection to the planet. She always has.


Meggan idly plays with an ear as she talks to thecat. "When younger I lived just in a msall city and never felt safe. but there were times I could get out into the wood and while I couldn't stay there, it was always a nice visit." She relaxes as her own eyes slowly bleed from blue to amber feline to see the wood more in the way the leopard does.


The leopard listens, rumbling with her purr as she snuggles with Meggan. She doesn't interrupt. She just shares her own similar emotions as the story flows. She is clearly no telepath, and so the telling of her tale will have to wait. Somehow.


Meggan is fine with feelings then words. More honest then words. Words are how people lie, nobody lies with their heart. Rubbing the neck ruff gently, "So can you take a form other then this one. Be nice to know someone else who changes their shape too."


The leopard considers Meggan's thoughts and musings, nuzzling softly and purring still. Her feelings make it clear: yes, she can take some other form. She has never met another who can change their form the way that she can, and she seems very curious about the fact that Meggan says she can change her form.


"Curiosity and cats," laughs Meggan as she looks down at the leopard. Meggan's eyes now copy the leopard's own perfectly. "I'm adaptable shall we say?" She does a sloow stretch and leans a bit onto the cat now and says. "Or was that you saking for a larger demonstration?"


There's a merry twinkle in the leopard's eyes as she meets Meggan's gaze. She nuzzle's the blonde's tummy and flicks her tail amusedly. But she is curious. She likes to learn new things, to know things. But she won't pry. She would never pry. She does rather seem to appreciate that Meggan is not actually asking her how it is she changes shape.


Meggan smiles and says, "I can do more then eyes. I try not to strain my limits too much. Least not without a good reason. I am happy to just be me." She looks out into the area around them. "Do you want someone to stay out here tonight with you?"


The leopard considers Meggan's question a bit, rolling around inside her apparently quite capable skull. She flicks her ears and nuzzles Meggan. But then she uncoils herself from the woman's lap, and hops down from the stone, then she pads a few feet away and stops, flicking and flirting her tail at Meggan, looking back over her spotted shoulder at the woman. She waits. Then takes a few more steps, flirts her tail again, and keeps looking at her a bit more.


"Well that's a 'follow me' if ever I saw one." Meggan hops down but doesn't land she just hovers before softly landing to walk along by the cat. "So where we going?"


As soon as Meggan joins her, the leopard flirts her tail, and then starts padding along lazily. After a bit, she picks up speed and starts an easy, ground-eating paced lope, and it won't be hard for Meggan to realize that their destination must be the Mansion grounds. Apparently, rather than having someone to stay out here in the woods with her, she has decided she will come onto the grounds and stay near the mansion with everyone else. She's no housecat, but perhaps she is a very large cat who can indeed find her way in a house?


Keeping pace won't be hard, but Meggan is happy to go along on the ground. When she figures their heading, "Ahh brave cat. Not afraid to ruffle your spots or whatever the saying is. It will make it easier on Betsy to find or talk to you if you are closer. And if you like I'm sure I can find some food for yo to get that's a bit better then eatting a squirrel. Some of those are friendly too."

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