The world has always been a weird and wonderful place. Humanity's history is peppered with ghosts, vampires, magic, witches, and devils. But, of course, modern humanity knows that this was all the result of primitive superstition reinforced by cognitive bias from the faulty neural wiring humanity evolved in achieving sentience. Modern humanity is dead wrong on that count. Magic still exists in this world. Faeries and monsters and little-g gods still roam the streets, sometimes peacefully coexisting with humanity and sometimes clashing. Not everything in lore is true. Much like history books or newspapers, ancient tomes of arcane lore are as likely to be filled with rumors and guesses as they are proven facts. This might raise the question, why are so many people ignorant of the magic in our world? Simply speaking, it goes back to faulty neural wiring. The average brain simply refuses to admit to magic and so a rampaging troll gets written off as a madman hopped up on PCP. Cases of faith healers get written off as statistically anomalous remissions aided by positive thought causing sick people to ignore their symptoms. The faerie walking down Main St is seen as just an incredibly tacky bit of performance art. Humanity runs in parallel to a world that it refuses to see. The rare exceptions either learn to find ways to work with the system, in particular how to deal with the creatures who are now aware that they are seen, or are condemned as madmen and prescribed anti-psychotic drugs which will make their wiring work the "right" way.
That, of course, raises a second question. If most of humanity is so ignorant of the monsters among us, how have we survived? Well, sadly, part of it is a simple matter of fecundity and blind luck. Humans breed explosively compared to most fantastical beings, and the few who die due to encounters with the supernatural are lost in the noise of thousands dying by being struck by cars (or, more accurately, the unforgiving pavement they land on after being launched into the air by said cars), slipping in the bathtub, or eating a bad batch of salmonella-infested salad. The other part is where you come in. There are forces in the world that call upon select members of humanity, and of supernatural races, to police the balance. Generally, powerful figures are drawn in and bound to be enforcers, executioners. You, on the other hand, were called to be investigators.
For you, it all began earlier this year, February 17th, 2013, at the 38th Pittsburgh Antiques Show & Sale. You'd arrived for different reasons. Jeremiah was attempting to track down an heirloom signet ring stolen from a client the month before. His sources on the street told him that a similar ring had been bouncing around the local fences and might make an appearance at one of the numerous stands. R'eva was following her own lead for a grimoire that was reputed to contain the true name of a notoriously homicidal demon prone to murdering entire towns, albeit filed under the heading of a demon of minor bowel-related disorders. Alastair was similarly looking for a particular artifact pocketed from an open museum display by a larcenous teen, but for him, it was a carved bison-bone broach of no true arcane value, but of great historical significance, being one of the only surviving examples of a particular minimalist art style among the Monongahela tribes. What exactly transpired at the antique show remains hazy in your minds, but you remember fleeting moments of teeth and claws extruding from a lavender mist, grabbing people, and ejecting only their bones. As often happens in a supernatural crisis, people shed their mundane personae and fought shoulder to shoulder and, at the end, something — it's on the tip of the tongue of your mind, but you can't recall exactly what — banished the mist and the creatures and you awoke the next day in your domicile with a new tattoo on your inner right forearm in blue ink, and a message in your brain.
The message was simple, to arrive at a particular address on Grant St in Pittsburgh. There, you found a non-descript brownstone building that seemed to grow into place in between the steel and glass office buildings. Upon entering, you were greeted by a brown-haired buxom Hispanic secretary who identified herself as Ramona and told you you to take a seat. Possibly against your nature, you did so. Once all three of you had arrived, Ramona brought you into the central office, a bland oaken room split into a quadrant at each corner equipped with a desk, computer, and filing cabinets, and a table at the center. Ramona related that she was a minor goddess of knowledge, particularly of secrets, and she too had been called to serve, showing you her corresponding tattoo. She provided the material that had been given to her, namely a charter for the investigation of paranormal activities in the world which detailed that a charter had been established for Cryptos Investigation Services, with PI licenses issued to each of your names. As Ramona states, supplies will be provided at the location, and the doors will recognize you on any day at any hour. You are free to pursue your regular jobs, but you will occasionally be called in to investigate particular matter. As long as you choose to be part of the organization, you are not free to avoid said investigations and a geas will be invoked as necessary to bring you in. You are free to quit at any time, but may not rejoin thereafter unless specifically invited again. The rest of the charter reads as boilerplate, but you are left with the impression that participation is wholly voluntary, but that you will be provided for so long as you remain with them.
Over the following months, you've been left to your own devices. The office on Grant St has continued to be supplied with mundane office supplies and the bills for phone and internet continue to be paid off. Ramona proves to be extremely competent in simple office jobs, albeit prone to rejecting more technical requests, saying that they're not in her labor contract. Today, Tuesday, October 1st at 5 PM, you have been called by your forearm tattoos to the office. Once you arrive, Ramona hands out a set of photocopied sheets that include five obituaries of people who have died in the last week of sudden organ failure and a note saying that you need to investigate these deaths. If asked about the source of the sheets, or where they come from, Ramona shrugs and states that they were provided for the team and that's all that she can say.
OOC: Trying to avoid too much of a wall of text with the first post. Please indicate what your first steps are. You've met the other two in the investigation. While you are not privy to personal details (and may have arrived under aliases), you are familiar with names and publicly admitted-to jobs (i.e. Repko has admitted to being a PI by trade. Alistair has stated that he's with the museum. R'eva claims to be a dealer in antiques). From here, you can just talk with each other or you can start making checks to begin the investigation. Let me know what skill you want to roll against as well as how you plan to pursue it.