2020-02-03 - Pawns on a Chessboard


Lena and Ambrose cross paths again after Loki removes the magic from the young woman.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Mon Feb 3 04:36:53 2020
Location: RP Room 1

Related Logs


Theme Song



Yet another thing to add to Ambrose's plate: the suspicious disappearance of the white fox kit he and Kent were babysitting in the odd interim of her forced shift. Frankly, the Jackal leaves the manor in a great huff and with a ferocious scowl on his face. Not only is New York City dangerous for a young creature weighing in at four pounds wet, but the off-chance of a well-meaning human picking her up to keep her is a very real risk.

That, and every time Ambrose leaves the property these days, he too is at the very real risk of abduction by a friend risen from the long-dead.

Methodically, the master-thief begins ticking off the safe houses he knows of belonging to the young woman. She might have retreated to safety and security if lost and at least cognizant of what borough she were in.

The first, nope, and he leaves with a snarl of Farsi.

The second, also nope, and the Jackal resists the urge to kick something.

The third, however? He lifts the window off the fire escape stairs with silent care and slips in. The Bane is let loose in an unseen mist of life-seeking demi-sentience — and it pings truth. Ambrose straightens in place where he stands and calls out quietly, "Little bird?"

The Bane tells him she's there, letting him know that tickle and prick of a life force its fed from before is near - so very near. Another tell? The heat in the small apartment is actually running. It rattles and clinks, air traveling through old pipes, but the setting is comfortable. So his voice, there's no answer. Not yet.

There's food on the kitchen counter, Chinese, still warm. Some parts are scattered across a small table that's now a makeshift work bench. The TV is on, broadcasting white noise of nothing important in particular. For those curious, Wheel of Fortune is going off and Jeopardy is on the way.

Finally, a figure pads down the hallway in a baggy red-shirt, printed with a white circle and a yellow lightning bolt down its middle. There is little else on her form safe for a pair of goggles and gloves on her hands.

Stalling, staring, Lena freezes in place now that her body was itself again and she was near eye level with the man.

Quickly, he inhales when he hears the footsteps. The Bane is pulled back close to his bones rather than further left to suss about the life-forces in the building around the apartment room. Granted, he wasn't set to assume it was Lena present; it could easily have been her other half, and wouldn't that have been an awkward bear to wake!

When Lena appears, Ambrose's eyebrows nearly disappear into his hairline. A quick about-face is Victorian prudery not yet killed by modern tendencies and the hem of his long-coat flutters even as he clears his throat sharply. Now he stands back towards Lena.

"Miss Lena, you appear to…have regained your true form!" His hand spans his face and eventually fingers smooth up to massage of his temples. "This is very good, yes, an excellent turn of events."

Lena Snart reaches up and pulls her goggles off her head. There's already a faint smear of grease on her pale features. Gun oil, too. His reaction seems to contradict his commentary. "Are…you sure? I mean, gets me out of your hair so…that's good." She nods to the idea of that and then moves forward. She doesn't seem to have that modesty set in by old ways. She was in a shirt, covered up mostly. Perhaps it was all she had here? Even the scar around her throat is on full display.

Pulling up her chair to the table, she reaches for the eye protection and starts working on the bundle of parts. "You don't have to worry about me anymore. I know I put you and Tal out, but I'll make up for it someway, ok?" A pause, she nibbles at her lower lip before continuing. "I'm sorry I started losing myself to that form. I didn't mean to play so much or pounce or chew on things."

"It is all fine, Miss Lena. You need not pay us back. We chose to house you as we did and you were a guest. I am not some malevolent spirit of the crossroads who will haunt you until you pay your dues," Ambrose replies. He dares a glance over his shoulder and finds the table blocking the view of her waist down. Good: no need to be concerned of propriety anymore. The master-thief then turns and with hands in his pockets, he gives the young woman a level look even as he paces over to stand on the opposite side of the table.

"I presume you apologized to Prince Loki?" An eyebrow prompts an answer.

"No." She answers, seeming to leave anything about her being a guest alone. "I didn't. I told him I didn't mean him any disrespect and that was about it. I didn't apologize for my actions because that's how I am." A few pieces together, she starts to build…something. A fair guess is a replacement for her gun lost in the fit thrown by Loki. "He asked if I wanted a miracle. I refused." Eyes covered by her protective gear, she rolls them up toward Ambrose and stares once more. Eyes down, she continues working.

"I'm sorry if I worried you. I couldn't be in that form anymore. I began forgetting things. I couldn't remember Lisa's name…"

Ambrose's other eyebrow joins its mate high upon his brow. Not apologize? Then, how…? Lena goes on to explain. As she does, the master-thief shifts in place silently and tilts his head, his lids lowering to a musing squint. At her own apology, he smirks to himself.

Take that, Trickster God: the Jackal is worthy of an apology.

His voice slips into that quiet, calm cadence Lena's heard before. "I understand. I once spent a year in my guise before it became too much. I hazard that, as a growing creature, the development of the animal mind begins to grow overtop the human mind far more quickly and perniciously than in a case such as mine. I have not aged in a century and more," the brunet reminds her. "It was a spate of precious peace, running about as a jackal, but not to last. I missed humanity. I was born unto my self…how to deny it?" His broad shoulders shrug.

Silent, she listens, fingers poised on her work. At length she sets down the pieces and sits up straight. Head up, she tugs at her gloves and removes the pair, tossing them onto the table. Goggles up, she rests them atop her head. She was so plain currently, no touch of makeup stains her face. Even her nails are lacking their normal dark luster. "My senses just fell off when I changed back. There was a woman there, too. Melinda I believe? She commented something about us having our true forms back. I didn't have time to ask. The world just seemed dead around me and I wasn't sure what to think. She's with SHIELD." Beat. "I stay away from them, or make it a point to. Anyway, Loki gave me a gown and fox pelt. I gave the fur back and once I got home, the gown disappeared. I don't have much here."

With a sigh, she glances around toward nothing. "Mick isn't around, either. I can't reach him. May I…may I ask a favor of you?"

"…it will depend on the favor," Ambrose ends up hedging, after he's shed the initial surprise at hearing of May's presence. Still unknowing of her name, Lena's description of the woman is more than enough to bring him to understand that this was the one trapped in the guise of a tortoise-shell cat. "Kent is elsewhere currently, mayhaps not even within this plane of dimension, and it leaves myself sole protector of our property and family."

There's a wariness in his eyes not directed at Lena. She won't miss it. Something has the normally-confident Jackal set to slinking about.

"Your family? You and your daughter in trouble?" She caught it, sure, and that odd expression coming from Ambrose was enough to make the girl stand. "You shouldn't be here worrying about me. I should be around you to help you two out." Moving around the table, she comes to stand before him. It's then she realizes and remembers she was going to say something - ask that favor.

"I-ah…I need some clothes. Or if you can go to the other safe houses and grab my stash? I don't have one here and Mick's clothes left behind are too baggy for me." Her toes wiggle as she looks down at them. "I don't have shoes, either. I like the cold but…can you see me walking around looking like this?"

"Noooooooo, I cannot see this." Lena gets looked at dead in the face and the Jackal, gentleman-thief as he is, continues to ignore the lack of pants. "That is not a favor, that is as easy as breathing. Consider it done. I shall be but an hour at most. You," and Ambrose lifts a finger nearly up and into her face, " — need to stay here. Do not wander. I do not know if I was spied upon in my travels."

By his grimace, teeth and all, he hates to admit this. Still, the man then turns and quickly strides back towards the window. "I shall explain once I return. You will need to be aware of what may come your way, Miss Lena. For now, innocence in the matter will save you should something show."

In a slip of coat and faint ringing of boots on the fire escape, he disappears. It is less than an hour, as he guessed, and then he's stepping back into the apartment with two bundlings beneath one arm.

"This is what I could find." Back to the work table Ambrose strides to place down both bundles. "There. Now your toes need not be cold."

All of it was odd, but before she could ask or show any concern, Ambrose was gone. She continues working on her task and by the time he returns, he can see that it is indeed a replacement for a gun he's seen her use a time or two before. It was taking shape but no where near ready yet. Eyes up as he returns, she moves away from the table and gathers up the bags. "Bless you. And you don't have to look away from me as if I'm shaming you with a show of my legs. Your brain must explode during summer…"

Bags up, she disappears down the hall. Returning, dressed in black, she exhales and moves her fingers up to slip a choker around her throat. She was even wearing makeup. "Thank you. Now, are you going to explain some things to me or…Don't worry, my feminine wiles are all covered now."

"You've no idea of my trials and tribulations during the summer months," the Jackal murmurs drily from where he stands in the kitchen now. He's shameless rifling about for any form of liquor while Lena departs to get dressed in her own clothing.

Upon her return, she'll find Ambrose perched on the back of the couch with a glass of clear liquid. Whether or not it's actual liquor rather than water remains to be seen. Her comment makes the Brit scoff. "Oh, very good, I feel my sanity returning to me," he quips before slugging back half of his drink. "I shall be succinct," he says after swallowing. "A gentleman from my past has returned and is attempting to aid me in a twisted gesture of friendship. He means to remove my curse and that will not stand." Now, in the back of his pupils, the Bane turns up like a candleflame's muffled glow. "He hunts for connections to me even as we speak. I fear he may go beyond the material and to the personal. Should anyone ask after me, do not trust them. Run, Miss Lena. Turn and run," he stresses in a voice ironed flat.

"I can't do that." She admits without hesitation. The glass would have nothing but water in it given that there wasn't even booze in the room. This must have been either a last ditch effort safehouse or just not stocked after so long. At least it was clean. Hopefully.

"If someone is coming for you I'm not going to run away from that. I don't run from a God, I'm not going to run away from your…enemy? A threat?" She watches his eyes, that curse rippling behind their clear hue. "And what about that thing inside you? Would it rather I fight instead of run?"

Ambrose's eyes lid all the more heavily. Now he appears both annoyed and predatory. "My curse would rather you decided to give all of your life-force to it, all the better to leave you a husk. It cares for nothing but slaking its hunger. It has no interest in human society or politics or the cares of the world. It is eternal and so am I as long as I remain its host." Beneath his words echoes a dusty rasp better left to forgotten tombs and shadowy recesses.

"And I am asking you again, Miss Lena, for this favor: turn…and run," the man repeats with the cut-glass precision that only a Brit can employ. "Do not become a piece upon this chessboard. I did not wish to become a pawn of the Gods. You are forewarned. You have a chance to remain free of harm."

"Funny. Loki asked me today if I wanted immortality. As that kit, I was immortal and I didn't want it. I never wanted it…" Swallowing, she blinks gently. "You do? You want to keep living like you are? Cursed? With that thing inside you wanting to drink the world dry? Turn those that care for you into dust?"

Her lips thin and that expression returns. Stoic. Apathetic. Something she couldn't and didn't do as a tiny animal. She was so loving in that form, she even kept Tal company and sometimes slept on his lap. She was sweet, like a kitten. Maybe that was a part of her no one got to see ever. Some innocence in primal, natural manner.

"I don't have a chance. I give a damn and you cannot expect me to do nothing for you. Not now."

Ambrose is silent at first. He continues giving Lena that contemplative, lidded, Bane-lit stare. If she's paying any attention, she'll find the cadence of her heart echoed in the faint carmine glow sequestered like banked fire in the Jackal's pupils.

Finally, he speaks again, and it's low and flatter than a metal file: "I have no choice, Miss Lena, in my Fate. I said I would not allow its removal. Neither will Kent. To remove it would be my death. It keeps me alive. I would be dust without it."

He rises now, setting his drink aside. "And you have the nerve — the gall — to even THINK/ that I //WANT to drink this world dry?!" Now he's splutter-hissing. "I know what I am!" His volume takes a sharp upturn. "I KNOW WHAT I AM, YOU CHIT! And I am — "

Checking himself hard, Ambrose lifts up shaking fists before throwing them out to his sides. "You would not be doing nothing." His voice is forced back down to a normal conversational volume as he straightens in place with a hard inhale. "You would be saving me the grief of having to bury you when the Gods are finished. I may not survive their game myself."

"I didn't say YOU, YOU PRICK, I said IT!" She yells back in return, red-faced and eyes wet. Yelling wasn't the most terrible or alarming thing heard in this building complex for sure. If anything, it was minor, especially with the terms being tossed around. Chit was a new one, though, at least for others. Lena had heard it a few times now.

"Saving you grief while I suffer knowing that you're in danger? Those around you that could hurt you are in danger? You expect me to just leave that alone and do nothing in that regard? How fucking selfish. You're not saving me by pushing me out, you're banishing whatever help you may have against this. You have Tal, sure, ok. Is that all you need or want? I know I don't have powers like you do, but I'm not worthless against things bigger and stronger than me!"

"You and Tal were something I never had in my life and I'm not going to fuck that over and leave it die out, ok?"

If it's possible for Ambrose to pull himself up taller, he just might have just managed it. Now he's all contained emotion, his fists still clenched trembling at his sides.

After letting out a low hiss much like a cornered cobra, he spits, "Fine. Fine, Miss Lena. I gave you your warning. You wish to be a pawn upon the board? Pit yourself against whatever horror might seek you out? Then stand and face whatever might appear." He turns and snatches at his glass in order to stomp past Lena to the kitchen.

"And when you find yourself in over your head, if you're in luck, you will survive it. Ruddy FUCKING selfish," he then growls as he sets the glass down in the sink. "I AM RUDDY FUCKING SELFISH!" The sudden roar abates as quickly as it came into silence. Ambrose anchors his hands on the sink's edging with stiff arms and drops his head down. It's to focus the Bane's roiling defensive presence beneath his skin back to his bones.

"Pawns have the ability to become the most powerful piece on the board." She murmurs, that rage within the iceprincess seeming to settle and calm. She watches after him, listening, even blinking at that last rawr. It was alike a bad relationship, then again in most contexts, it was. They didn't seem to speak well to one another (except for when they did). Swallowing, frowning, she looks down at her booted feet and clothed form. She was warm, he did as she asked him to do and so much more. All when he didn't have to. Ever.

Her lips part, attempting to give voice to a possible apology. A chew at her inner cheek, she moves smoothly in his direction. Hands out, twitching, she makes to wrap her arms around him from behind. The urge there to press her cheek against his back, cling around him as she'd wanted to when he arrived now thanks to having her limbs back as they should be. "Ambrose…"

Lena's approach has the nearly-soothed curse rising up from its restful state like a crocodile in rushing water. Ambrose lifts his head and stares wide-eyed at the fading wallpaper beyond the sink. It's probably laughable, the amount of weasely, wily finesse he uses to slide-duck away from the hug, but as he dances away towards the work table, it becomes clear that he's not a clod in the least.

"Miss Lena, no — thank you, but no, not now," he insists with palms out towards her. A hard swallow. "I know you mean well, but did you forget about the curse in such a short period of time?" The Jackal shakes his head. "No. It is fine, I am not bereft of touch as I used to be. I know you meant well." A hand patpats towards her and he seems to deflate entirely of his earlier ire now.

"But do you understand what I warn you of? That a being as old and long-lived as myself, wise to the ways of the world, and potentially offering succor laced with poison might come to you?"

"No, I didn't forget. You're covered, so I wouldn't be touching your flesh. I…thought those were the rules. Or those changed. I don't know, I forgot a few things when I wasn't myself." Her arms fall slack to her sides as she stands still. Face soft, eyes down, she listens and offers a nod in return.

"Yeah, I do."

"Good. I am glad that you do. You are forewarned," repeats the brunet almost to himself by the distant undertones. He stands there and watches Lena for a few seconds more before closing his eyes. Another sigh and they open, devoid of the influence of the Bane. It brings his humanity to the forefront in an offering of a slap of reminder to the duality of his soul.

"And you would have been bitten by the curse. It responds to emotions defensively. I am its host; it would not allow me harm. It does not differentiate between friend and foe. I do not hurt those I claim as friends." Shoving his hands in his pockets, Ambrose then asks, "Do you have word I should bring to Talbot?"

"Ok." Reaching up to rub her eyes, she turns to her work station and starts gathering up parts, packing them away. She wasn't staying here for the evening, that seems certain. "I guess tell him I'm sorry and thank you. One? Both? Whatever he'd like more."

Bags up and ready, she pulls her hood up and looks his way. "I'm getting out of here. You have my number or…I have yours. I have to get a new phone, mine would have been burned already." Beat. "Thanks for coming to find me and getting my stuff. I'm fine."

Ambrose nods. "I will take you at your word then, Miss Lena. Talbot will prefer the gratitude rather than the apologies. I daresay he appreciated your presence while you stayed," the master-thief reveals with a faint smile that melts away easily enough. He then walks to the window, his point of entrance and egress both. A silhouette before it, he glances back over his shoulder.

There's a hesitation and concern that flickers through his eyes. "If you have my number, you know to reach out if you've trouble. I may be selfish, but I am not unopposed to aiding you. If you get word of malevolent deeds planned, do call me as well. I am also spiteful and appreciate watching the fall of those who think to move against me and those I claim." There's his smile again, dimples ghosting up, but it's a sharp one. "In the meanwhile, be well, Miss Lena. Know you've fellow pawns in the end."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License