2020-03-25 - Regret


Lena meets the one and only Oliver.

Log Info:

Storyteller: {$storyteller}
Date: March 25th, 2020
Location: Queens, NYC

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This late at night in Queens, much of the homes and apartments are shuttered down. Windows are closed, doors locked, and not much stirs along the side streets in the late-March chill but for rats in the trash bins and the wind above in the power-lines. A scraggly alley-cat skirts beneath the yellow fall of one of the streetlights in a quick blur of motion and flash of eyes towards Lena before it vanishes entirely into a thick growth of bushes along a low brick wall.

A brush of wind funnels down the street itself, brisk enough to flutter coat hems and to send a newspaper end over end and out of sight…and on the wind, comes a whisper:

"Miss Lena…" A sigh — a mournful gasp — a wistful wish of her name that echoes upon itself before falling into a breathless silence.

At the far end of the street appears a trio of figures, darkly-clad, and all holding a single lit candle. They pause. And they wait.

"Yeah, I get how you feel." She tells the cat as it runs off on its own. She wonders to herself if the lil creature could talk. As the chill kicks up and her name rests upon it, the girl pauses and stands still. Breathing in, then out, she lowers her hands by her skirt covered thighs.

Pale, icy eyes follow down the path of trash and dim lights to find the figures. Noting the candle, the corner of her dark lips curl up into a smirk. "Extra." She teases and rolls her shoulders. "Who's asking…whoever you are."

Again, the night wind slips down the street, and as it does, each streetlight goes out with muted snaps of sound. Puft — puft — puft — puft — drowning the area in darkness but for the glowing outline of windows with shades drawn. It makes the approaching trio with their candles the only stable source of light.

"…the Abyss…" hisses the breeze as it curls like tongues about her legs before slipping onwards. By now, the trio of stranger is within hailing distance and the shine of the candles better shows their details. Heavy jackets keep the worst of the chill away and hoods are drawn, though the leader pulls his back quickly enough and comes to a stop. Despite the unending shifts of breeze, their candles' flames never flicker.

The man's face is weathered, sunken in places as if he could use more food, but his hazel eyes seem kind enough as does his smile. His hair seems black by the bad lighting, cut and maintained short as a soldier might. "You are Miss Lena, I believe? A pleasure to meet you, my lady." His accent is cut-glass British, crisp and probably very, very familiar to one who knows Ambrose.

"Mmm, the Abyss. Very extra." Lena comments, even going so far at rolling her eyes. There's a shift of her hips, just a switch of which one sticks out more so. Her attire is fitting of her personality more so than the weather. Finally, she sees a face. When he says her name, when he speaks, she cants her head gently. "Mmm." She answers without saying yes or no. Finger up, a painted nail motions in his direction. "Are you…Oliver by chance?" Comes her guess.

The head of the three-person gathering doesn't flinch. He continues wearing that benign, almost fatherly smile. Behind him, one of the hooded people stays still. It's the one to the right who reacts; the minute movement of their face within their hood can be seen by candlelight to glance to the leader.

"Good show, Miss Lena. Sergeant Oliver Wright, at your service." He inclines his head without dropping their shared gaze. "You will have to forgive that I brought company. I thought to speak to you alone, but it seemed improper that I do so without an escort. These are difficult times, what with sudden absences to leave you alone, I am certain." Sympathy paints his expression as his brows quirk.

"You need to roll two deep to talk to me? Cute." She respondes, noting that slight shift in one goon. "Forgiven, I suppose. I'm not much, but I suppose I can be a bit intimidating." Giving a gentle rocking on the soles of her boots, she starts to move. Circling them, idly, she lifts up her hand and toys with a simple silver ring on her pinky.

"What do you want?" She asks bluntly. "You found me. I'm listening, Serg."

Oliver smiles again, close-lipped, patiently in his way. "I enjoy how blunt Americans are. No beating about the bushes. I come to speak with you about joining our cause, Miss Lena. You see, your association with one Lieutenant Ambrose Atherton is very lucky indeed. He is in great danger and does not know of it. That, or the poor chap is blinded by the very thing which endangers him."

How woefully do those dark brows quirk again, the man's expression gone solemn now. "I attempted to speak with him before, but he would not listen. I pity him and that which subverts his human soul."

"Mmm." She listens and nods, her fingers still twirling about the band. "You're talking about that dark lil thing inside his body, hmm? As much as I'd like to help you, and Ambrose, I'm afraid we can't do anything about it. It's part of him, woven up and threaded with his very fiber of being. To…'help' him would be to kill him." Then she pauses as she stands before the trio. "I can't let you do that, Oli. You or your escorts."

Now…now that monk-like facade cracks. Tension shows around those soft hazel eyes and these harden by a noticeable amount. He chuckles behind a bare semblance of another close-lipped smile and it's not amused in the least.

"I see he spoke with you about the curse as well. You do not understand, Miss Lena, what risk it puts him at. You do not understand what shackles he wears or the freedom he is denied." More emphasis and a touch of a hiss has begun to slip in now. Low-lying mist begins creeping from flowerbeds and up from the nearby storm drain. "He is blinded by it from ancient wisdom that would allow him to be as he truly should be: one of us, freed from all fetters."

Oliver takes a hand from where it clasps one half of the candle's holder and offers it out to Lena. "Help me save my lieutenant, Miss Lena. Aid me in my quest to offer my dearest friend what he needs most in his life. Let me show you the truth behind the veils that keep humankind from claiming their birthright."

"No, I understand what's bound to him. Perhaps not on some level that you apparently do." The fog starting to curl about was not missed by Cold. "I also knowing that 'saving' him will kill him. As I said, I can't help you do that." Smirking, she scoffs. "I also don't think he's yours. I know a rather handsome gent that would have a few things to say about a comment like that."

A look to his hand, she steps away from it. Her eyes shift from escort to escort. Canting her head for a moment, she considers herself and the space around them. Pacing, she moves about to one side and leans forward. Lips pouting, she attempts to blow out one of the candles.

The outstretched hand, callused and strong of grip, curls upon itself at the denial twice given now. Oliver's face scrunches into a moue of frustration, his nose twisted and brows deeply furrowed.

"Atherton would not move to romance another man. The curse is afflicting him deeply." A sigh regathers patience. "No, you do not understand the importance of my quest, Miss Lena. The very Fate of the world tapestry hangs upon it! I must speak to him and you — "

She moves to blow out the candle held before his chest and the flame flutters, but doesn't die out entirely. A blast of cold wind rushes at her back, all the better to blow off the hoods of the remaining two people. Their eyes stare back at her, glossy and black as obsidian stone. They both reach around the sergeant with hands professionally gloved, absolutely intent on grabbing Lena.

Oliver is absolutely affronted, mouth agape for a second. "You would DARE — NO!!!"

His sudden yelp comes of the black cat earlier seen suddenly darting through the mist before their feet. He stumbles backwards and into his comrades, throwing off their reaching swipes of hands, and all three are entangled for a handful of seconds.

"Shows what you know. I was wondering if that Nazi-like talk when just egomania, but now I know it is a bit more Fuhrer after all." Ah, so it does something. Something good. "Mmm, I dare." She agrees and levels not one, but two guns. Her hands swift as they claim the weapons from under the slack of her punkish-puffy skirt. Thigh-holsters were a wonderous thing. One gun's triangular barrel glows with neon-blue lights as th other gun, silver with a some liquid substance swirling around and at the ready. Both hum as Cold smile devilishly.

"I love finding tells." She says before pulling the triggers.

Black cats are bad luck and all to the superstitious, and not only is Oliver from a long-past time and era, he's from an era where one avoids black cats at all cost. Even as the leader of the trio recovers his balance, he sees the guns coming up and aimed towards himself.

"STOP HER!" comes the shout, and the two hollow-eyed acolytes slip around Oliver like a pair of attack dogs. Even as they do, the flames of their candles flicker violently. On the wind again comes a string of words in a language unheard, their tone sweet, their taste vile, and the cold sweeping up the mist now is of the emptiness between the stars.

It was a pity. In truth, Cold had been put in a box for some time now. Be it by fates, Gods, the loss of those around her - it no longer mattered. She was here now, Oliver was here now, and so was her promise to Ambrose. He didn't want her going up against one such as Oliver, but damn it all if she'd lie to herself and slink away now. The cold sweeps, a brilliant stream of light that spreads and causes the dogs to slow in their movements. The air chills more than what nature itself could muster. Air goes pale, catching and claiming any from lungs and skin alike.

Even as they slow, she quickens in her step. What follows from the stillness is the sharp, sudden shock freeze from her other gun. Snow and frost spread, soft white and crystrals crawling into being. Solid mass where zealots use to be, they're quickly met by heavy feet and the crash of pistol whips. Tickling, like bells and glass, the pair shatter, leaving their legs stuck to the ground as the rest is nothing but ruins.

Shivering, remembering herself, the thief looks toward Oliver, guns up and at the ready.

Reaching hands curl slowly into frozen claws — face grimace permanently into discomfort as subzero temperatures bring the pair of acolytes rushing at her fully to a halt. As they fall to the ground in shards of pinkish-white ice, Oliver stumbles back further into the growing mist. The pair of candles held by his fellow cultists have gone out, their silvery-blue smoke rising to join the swirling fog that thickens. The holders and tapers alike melt to the ground in charring sizzles of uselessness.

"Zounds?!" Pale as parchment, but with eyes glittering of madness, Oliver stares at the two guns leveled at him. "Witch. You will regret this." Lena's guns might be full of chill, but the Sergeant's words are coated with arctic rime. She's given a long, intensely-focused look before he reaches to pinch out the flame of his own candle.

The mist hurricanes up about his person and then, on the next blink and as the streetlights come on cheerily golden again…

…he's gone. All traces of the three are gone. Nearby, a dog barks. Someone slams a back door shut. The sounds of the city slips back into being.

And the night wind whispers, "Regret…"

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