Paranet Papers Sneak Peek: The (N)everglades

Here’s your “deal” for this Black Friday… and it’s all free. That’s right, it’s time for another preview from The Paranet Papers, our in-development “catch up” project on a few of the more recent books plus tour of the world for the Dresden Files RPG. As said before, we don’t have a publication date yet! This one’s going to take as long as it takes.

Today, thanks to hitting a magnificent 1500 “likes” mark over on facebook, we’re taking a trip down south to the Neverglades. Our next (and possibly last for a while) preview will be at 1800. Enjoy!

Magic Swims These Waters Every Night

My name is Alec Bones and I’m a weregator. I’m from a small town in Florida called Okeeokalee Bay; you may or may not have heard of us. It’s a tiny town with a lot of surrounding swamp territory. We’re out of the way and hard to get to, but we still get our share of visitors.

Okeeokalee is a mix of Hichiti and Choctaw; it vaguely means “water-home” and that’s a lot more accurate and to the point than you know. Mr. Borden, I’m writing because we need a little bit of help. We keep to ourselves for the most part—despite our part of the tourist trade coming through—and we handle our own problems, but we just ain’t equipped to deal with what’s been dealt us. I’d be grateful if you’d give this document a read and maybe send some aid our way.

BUTTERS: If this place has a tourist trade then why is it so hard to find on Google Maps?

BILLY: It’s possible that all the ambient magic in the area makes it impossible for satellites and such to pinpoint it. Keep reading, you’ll see what I mean.

What’s What in Okeeokalee Bay

The Bay has always been a quiet place for the most part. We’re small and tight-knit and, when it ain’t tourist season, we keep mainly to ourselves. That’s on purpose; keeping to ourselves stops too many tourists from visiting, and keeps us off the map so to speak. There’s a lot of weirdness in the area, and most of it ain’t friendly to those who don’t know how to avoid, evade, or fight it. We’ve got everything from water-faeries and wish-granting fish to a pack of panthers too smart for their own good (or ours, maybe). Hell, we used to have a genuine vampire making our lives difficult, before he went and got blowed up. Still feeling the aftershock of that one, though.

BUTTERS: Blowed up? I guess that means it was Red Court.

BILLY: I think that’s a safe bet, but I don’t think these people know anything about the Courts, vampire or otherwise. A lot of what follows seems like supposition and folklore with very little in the way of known supernatural fact to back it up.

MURPHY: “Known supernatural fact”?

BILLY: I know, right?

It really ain’t as bad as it sounds. Most days are just normal days (well, normal-ish). We really only have to deal with the uncanny stuff once a season or so, or when someone ventures too far into the swamp. We usually have things cleared up by summer—summer’s tourist season, you see—and we haven’t had a tourist go missing or get eaten in something like ten years. Well, until recently.

You might be asking how we can take so much weirdness in stride, talk about it like it ain’t nothing, simple folk as we are. The truth is, we’re used to it. This is what life is like when you live near the Fount.

The Fount

Piqued your interest, didn’t I? “What’s the Fount?” you ask. You may be reaching back into your brain, wondering why that sounds so familiar, and why you maybe recognized the name of our humble town.

Okeeokalee Bay is the home of the Fountain of Youth. That’s what local legend says, and the tourist trade seems to think the same thing. We’re not a big enough deal to draw a big crowd, but people—maybe a couple hundred a year—come here for swamp tours or to see if they can get their cancer cured or their years washed away. The thing that keeps them coming back is that sometimes it works. Sometimes.

That’s ’cause the Fountain of Youth is more than just a legend; it’s a power source. It lives in our area, but it ain’t tied to any one particular spot, certainly not that great gaudy stone fountain we built a few hundred years back to entertain the out-of-towners. It’s migratory, hopping from place to place in the Bay but always staying within a half day’s walk (or fanboat ride) out from town. Every once in a while the Fount is near enough to that thing the locals visit that someone’s cancer actually does get cured, or somebody really does wake up a few years younger and feeling it. That keeps the myth going, keeps the tourist trade going, and keeps letting us hide it right out in the open. Who’s gonna believe that the actual Fountain of Youth lives in a town that sells Fountain of Youth-branded beer mugs?

The Fount itself is…well, we’re not quite sure what it is. The prevailing theory (read: what Miss Lizzy says) is that it’s some sort of conduit to a world full of vital energy, whatever that means.

BILLY: Based on stuff that comes later, my best guess is that he’s talking about Summer here.

That’s what gives the Fount’s water its healing properties. Trouble is, that’s what gives it its other properties, too.