2020-04-16 - Long Live Those in the Shadows


Ambrose meets Laynia when the shadows become too alive and interested in those on the boardwalk. Who's the better shot on the shooting range? Time will tell as will a friendly challenge leveled.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Thu Apr 16 17:19:40 2020
Location: RP Room 3

Related Logs


Theme Song



It's still too early in the season for any lounging on Brighton Beach — not that anyone would want to do it with the state of things lately, but the setting sun behind the city's spires has definitely brought on the evening chill. Ambrose has set up camp on a park bench all to himself with the fall of the sun on his back. It's a low warmth but a welcome one as he gazes across the blue expanse of the Lower Bay towards distant New Jersey. In his long-coat and fringed black scarf, this wrapped many times about his neck, merlot-red stocking cap pulled down over his ears and gloved hands shoved in his coat-pockets, he's a solemn, silent figure. The fringes of moonsilver-pale hair wisping from the stocking cap surely aid in this image. Only the youthfulness of features keep him from looking aged, though no one would be blamed to assuming otherwise.

The shadows of the buildings reach long now…and other things reach. In the shadows forms smoky figures, squat and hunched, with reaching twig-like fingers and knobbly knees and flat black eyes that somehow absorb light. For now, they are tucked to the buildings, weighing prey.

It makes the hair on Ambrose's neck rise and he rolls his shoulders, frowning to himself tiredly.

As for Laynia she rather likes the cold, being a Darkforce manipulator /and/ native to Byelorus and Russia - she's rather used to it, this? This is not chill, this is brisk at best. Having just gotten off shift at the Triskelion, she's parked her car and is out just enjoying the walk. Dressed in leather and cloth, short hair worn in a cute pixie cut, the woman is very much eye catching.

A pleasant smile offered the silver haired devil on the bench as she wanders along, hands in pockets. "Evening." Okay, that accent? She is definitely not a native. It is very cultured though, Russian, educated and genteel sounding.

She does pause though, eyes shifting off towards the shadows, a faint frown furrowing as she senses…something.

The Bane would likely see something VERY odd about this woman…she seems to have some sort of 'extension', her soul is…tethered, elsewhere and very VERY strong.

The boards of the broad expanse of walkway resound under her feet no more loudly the next person, but it draws Ambrose's attention up and to Laynia nonetheless. He makes eye contact briefly and after a second to calculate a response — the accent prickles old insecurities from so very long ago — he manages a charming half-smile.

"Good evening," responds the silver fox, very aware of the vision before him. Within the second of Laynia's pause, the Bane does lift its head from within its resting bed of the Jackal's bones. Heavily lidding his eyes against the sudden surging glow in his pupils, he still manages to obliquely consider this young woman.

Skurling about his person, the curse rises and begins to sniff, intrigued if only for the intensity of the life-force before him and its divided state. It pulls its host's attention from the surroundings. One long shadow has finally reached the back of the bench and with every drop of sand in the hourglass, the creature's slink closer to the man. Not but another five seconds and the first thin talon will able to make contact with the back of his boot.

"…do I know you?" asks Ambrose, his voice quiet and crisp and dusty beneath.

Eyes of cinnamon focus on the man again as he speaks, the woman's smile brightening just a hint. And then she sees the tendrils of darkness approaching and it would be very apparently that she's looking at something behind Ambrose, and her stance has shifted to one more suitable for a fight than a chat. "I do not think so, tovarisch…but I would very much recommend that you stand and swiftly."

Her eyes go solid black, dripping darkness that floats upwards like smoke that wisps out of existence moments later and then she raises a black-limned hand as a wall of darkness slams into existence behind him.

The chill of winter's night emanates from the wall. "Apologies…some sort of tendrils, or claws approaching.."

The recommendation isn't one to be ignored, not in his current state, even if the one suggesting is a relative unknown. As if hot coals were suddenly present beneath his seat, Ambrose leaps up with a smooth alacrity absolutely in counter to the moonsilver-pale hair. He lightly dances off to one side, a revolver appeared as if sleight-of-hand on stage, and stares at the sudden presence of the anti-light field.

Frizzling within the confines of his aura, the ancient curse hisses at the field and what's beyond it, now stymied and screeching on a pitch just barely within the confines of human hearing. Pigeons take off in a startled furling of wings and a dog down the beach tucks its tail to run back to its owner, no longer interested in the tennis ball thrown.

"No," breathes the Jackal, glaring balefire at the failed attempt to attack him. He clears his throat, but can't remove the raspiness of dryness from it. "No, there is nothing to apologize for. If you've the ability to end them, do it. Surely I was only a target of ease."

Fast, she thinks, and then Laynia's entire body is sheathed in purest chill, deepest light drinking darkness. "You are very spry." She asides. "I am Darkstar." Both an introduction to the silver-haired man, and…a warning. The wall parts, and then she takes a step forward, hands upraised to form dark weapons, massive hammer, equally massive sickle — gee, could she be any more Russian?

The weapons make VERY short work of the shadows. Frankly, it is a little scary. And the Bane would feel her soul almost doubled as she channels power through that tether..which is sure to be of no interest at all to the curse. Nope. Nothing to see here!

"A pleasure, Darkstar." Ambrose still sounds dubious, but how not to after the literally chilling display of this otherworldly energy targeted at the crawling low creatures? He can hear their dispersion as well as feel the Bane jolting in base interest at both their deaths as the voluminous swelling of Laynia's own soul-force.

"And yes, do not let the temporary hair change fool you. It is no vanity on my part," he adds, still watching the manipulation of the Darkforce with cautious interest. "Jackal." His nom-de-guerre is offered in counter to her own. Those bright eyes shift back to Laynia, considering, unwittingly predatory for the Bane's influence.

What would this life-force taste like…?

"Dubious, I am sure." States the woman as she lifts briefly into the air like a negative image of a comet, and makes sure there's no more enemies about. Once assured of that, IF assured of that, she will land, and all that baleful darkling energy will vanish — drained into that link that cannot be seen, but that the Bane can likely sense. It /is/ somewhat magical, though…she doesn't seem to need any gestures or invocations, Darkstar just /wills/ it to do whatever she wishes. Perhaps she's some sort of elemental?

Laynia chuckles, her voice warm and almost 'furry' sounding, and that Russian accent is actually fairly charming. "I too have had a hair change recently. Was not a fun experience. Still, was not much change - went from cornsilk to pure white, Jackal."

"I would hardly call that a change, yes," the master-thief agrees. Away goes the revolver into his coat now and he attempts to regain his poise with a cycling of breathing. Tattered composure returns and grants him the more comfortable, looser-limbed consideration of Laynia now without otherwordly menace to distract.

Gloved hands slip away to their pockets. Mustn't tempt the Bane any further, intrigued as it is by the entire affair of this young woman's soul-force. "If it is any consolation, it detracts nothing from your looks." He notes this with a mild smile, lashes still attempting to blunt the coal-glow of the curse in the back of his pupils. "I ask pardon if that is forward of me, it just required notation."

A brighter smile. "As I said, not much of a change, da." Laynia sort of shakes out her shoulders and then cricks her neck, rather like she's settling ruffled feathers after the flight. Probably not even aware she did it! She doesn't seem at all worried about the gun, though…that might just be training, the woman clearly has had some instruction in arts martial if not necessarily martial arts.

Another chuckle, warm and throaty. "In truth most girls are not unfond of being told they are attractive, at least in my experience, I was not offend." She offers a hand then. "Laynia." Pronounced 'LAHN yuh'.

Given the gun has vanished, its material presence is no longer a concern. More of a concern is the hand now offered out to Ambrose. Up slithers the Bane to whisper at its host's ear of curiosity fulfilled and hunger the same by taking it — shake it — grip and bite.

He eyes her palm and then lets out a slow sigh.

"Miss Laynia, I can regretfully not return your handshake and again, I ask your pardon for it. It is for your safety." Hey, at least this time, he was smooth about it. Past incidents have ended in bumbling stutters. "Lieutenant Atherton," he offers back in consolation and with a deep, courtly nod. "Though, if I might ask, what was that display? I have seen many things throughout my years and yet nothing like it."

Subtly, his voice has shifted into a more musical cadence in an attempt to use the compliment to beguile more information from the young woman.

No, but even when the gun was out—it didn't phase the girl. That's noteworthy behavior. Then again he DID just see her fly, and conjure multiple different energy(sort of) constructs. Odds are a gun is not really much of a threat, or at least one she knows how to deal with.

"For my safety? Perhaps related to red eyes, da?" Laynia withdraws her hand, and still doesn't seem offended. "Ah, I am manipulator of the Darkforce, is another dimension. By will and training I can summon constructs, even open gateways, though my range is limited. Blast things." A shrug, lips curled into a wry smile. "You know, the usual."

"The Darkforce." Ambrose echoes this with interest still held in check by the displays of power he'd seen not a minute ago. Even the Bane resentfully agrees that this is no easy prey and someone to be respected in their current combined state of less-than-satisfactory. "I cannot say I have heard of such a thing, though to see it was showing in itself."

He shifts in place and glances over as someone riding a bicycle home from work zips past, completely unaware of the popped bubble of brief eerie presence in their world.

"But yes, the red eyes are part and parcel of the issue of safety. I appreciate your understanding in matters."

"Da, is place of cold and madness, infinite variations of the Dark, but…is home away from home." Laynia certainly doesn't track as mad nor particularly cold, but she could just be a highly skilled sociopath, one could suppose. A smile. "Is not a safe place for people, in fact there are no people that live there." A shrug, and she's being fairly forthcoming, perhaps the Bane's touch is effective, that charm working to loosen her tongue a bit. "I am perhaps strongest wielder of Darkforce in the world, though, I cannot be sure. My connection to it is quite strong." Which fact is irrefutable from what little they've seen.

Eyes once more cinnamon study Ambrose. "Lieutenant Atherton, a pleasure." She nods about the eyes. "Sometimes things do not work as we might wish, yes? Are you quite well?"

Taken a little aback by her question, the Jackal has a moment of silently considering just how to reply. In his long-lived experience in the city, rarely do strangers in this city inquire into anyone's well-being.

"I am…as well as circumstances might merit." Yes, it's an obvious hedge, but he tempers it with one of those classical dimpled grins, boyish in counter to the pale hue of his hair. "Merely indisposed for the time being. I hazard if next we meet, you might not recognize me, Miss Laynia, she who wields the Darkforce. That is a trick," he admits. "It might make a man jealous of the power at hand."

Of course his seditious little undermind braided to the Bane wonders at whether or not the force could be absorbed and utilized by the curse.

"I am not New Yorker, Lieutenant…I was born in Minsk." Laynia says with a warm laugh lurking under her words. Her lips smile, even white teeth shown in about as non-threatening a display as anyone might imagine. "Ah, so long as you are doing wellish." Her gaze does lose a hint of the ease when jealousy is mentioned. "Well, is birthright, I am a mutant." Man, that is SO not obvious, but that is also not uncommon. Many mutants, most even, look just the same as anyone.

"So…do you often get attacked by shadowy manifestations after the sun goes down?" Yes, she's smirking a bit.

"I see," murmurs the man as to this birthright. It makes the Bane perk all the more; the Darkforce power is indelibly tied to the woman and as such, of access without anything more than a swift bite. Ambrose mentally tamps it down rather rudely with a twitch of one eye.

Her quirky question is enough to make him laugh once, the sound almost half a huff of irritation at the factual truth of the circumstances. "Admittedly, no, not as often as of late." Blunt nails rise to scratch at his chin, his eyes off-cast to one side. "The situation as of late has brought attention to my person. I have learned that now and then, I am Fated to struggle, but, then again…" He gestures gracefully towards the city's rise and includes Laynia within its span. His glowing gaze returns to her. "We all struggle. It is existence sometimes. I suppose you would know well enough." There's a small smile slanted sympathetic for her mutant status. "If it is consolation, you hide well and I doubt anyone would dare threaten you."

"Do you now?" Laynia answers murmur with murmur. "But how much?"

A grin forms when her sally gets a laugh. "I too have had weeks that were more 'interesting' than I was truly interested in." Oh, the heartfelt sincerity there, yes, this woman has seen some shite in her day. "I take it you are one who prefers to avoid limelight." She nods understanding of this, and then again at the mention of struggle. "Well, Nietsche said many things, but I think the most apt was 'That which does not destroy me makes me stronger'. If you think about it it..is literal truth. Exercise involves tearing of muscle, da? Then it heals, and grows stronger."

A hand wave. "There are many who have attacked me, daring does not lack, yet…I am still here, mm?"

"It is true. You have perservered beyond that which threatened you and this is no small thing in certain times and places." Ambrose wears a knowledge of this well enough in the chary distancing he still keeps both physically and socially. "I would daresay we are both winners in life's attempts to snuff us out as a candle." His chuckling, curling up behind his teeth, is dry amusement at the entire affair, still raspy for the Bane's influence.

"But yes, you are correct. The limelight is not mine to take…mmm, save for the rare necessity of it. I prefer to remain unnoticed. The vast majority of the world would attempt a witch-hunt upon me were I better known."

A hand presses unconsciously to a spot just over her heart as Ambrose speaks of striving and survival. "Ah is more truth than you know you speak, Lieutenant Atherton. More truth than you know, is interesting how strong the urge to survive though, how powerful the love of living."

Laynia smiles at the limelight. "I have on occasion been very high profile, though not for decades." Okay, she does NOT Look old enough for that, maybe a biscuit over thirty. She studies the man. "Well, you are fast, and carry large caliber revolver. Your attire is such that many more weapons might conceal. And you have a dangerous gleam to eyes at times and dare not touch me for whatever reason…are you comfortable to explain the witch hunt?"

Ambrose smiles again, faintly, more a sneer though not at Laynia — at the topic of conversation. "How else to explain a witch-hunt but for humanity's attempt to remove that which they cannot explain and its frightening unknown? Depending on who wishes to remove me from their equation, my weaponry means naught. I may have teeth, but I am not the largest fish in this pond."

A sigh. "This, and I am indisposed," he reminds ruefully. "Were I not as such…" His eyes roll off to one side and he then returns his attention to Laynia.

"Your assistance would not have been necessary. I ask, please do not take this as an insult or a sleight upon your earlier aid. It is simply the state of things." Even now, the Jackal never sheds his cloak of hubris.

"Ah, man's constant fear of the unknown, the answer always seeming to be 'fetch pitchforks and torches'." Laynia observes. "Hey, weapons are often useful. I carry several myself, always. Is only prudent - even if you can manipulate otherworldly substance with will."

Another laugh, this one a bit louder. "Oh, Lieutenant, based on how you moved I have no doubt that those things would have more than met their match in you. I take no insult at statement of fact." Her smile is friendly. "Still, is glad tidings I was able to assist, yes?" A snicker. "And I don't much care for fishing, it far too…static."

"Ah, well…thank you kindly." Never one to turn down a compliment, Ambrose appears to lift his chin a touch as another mild smile anchors itself on his face. It doesn't yet engage dimples. "I indulge myself in thinking I am no one to be trifled with on my better days, traditional weaponry notwithstanding. Though…"

Laynia gets a musing half-lidding look now. "Do correct me if I am wrong, but your bearing has a touch of the military. You were not taught the art of the sniper rifle? This does require remaining static, last I observed."

Sometimes a kind word can go a long way, and really, Ambrose DID move very swiftly and surely seemed to know what he was doing with that pistol he drew. It costs her nothing to be generous in the face of proven ability. "Of course, tovarisch."

She grins at his observation. "Da, I was trained in many weapons, but I was never sniper. I am expert marksman with handgun however." And then her smile turns a bit more 'toothy'. "And of course, I am Darkstar."

"Well, yes, and I am the Jackal." Now he's comfortable enough in her presence to bring forth his gloved hands and spread his arms as if to display his person. His grin is equally toothy.

"But I do recommend taking the time to learn the art of the rifle, if not to teach patience, then to become a jack of all trades in the field of firearms. Perhaps if Fate has it, we shall have the means to test your claim as to expert marksmanship. I level it as a friendly challenge, of course, nothing but skill on the line," he assures her with a patting motion of the air.

A trill of laughter at the Jackal. "I was perhaps a bit pretentious, yes? Forgive me. I was quite famous in the past, and I not without some measure of power, and clearly too much pride." It is true, back during the Cold War this woman was a very public figure, part of a UN taskforce to deal with threats, Russia's official envoy to a group that later became part of SHIELD. As old as Ambrose is he might well have been aware of her, though perhaps not. She had much longer hair back then as well.

"I am a fair shot, I qualified, but I am no sniper." Laynia smiles the wager. "Oh, see, that sounds fun. Perhaps a point shooting competition?" Those are fun, with pop up targets and such. Good times. "A friendly wager? Oh, I suppose…though it is always more fun if there's stakes to make it interesting."

Ambrose glances away as another pedestrian jogs by, heedless of what both the Jackal and the Darkstar have dealt with so recently. He watches her go contemplatively before returning his attention to Laynia.

"You will have to forgive me for not knowing of you, though I also hazard it may be better that you are lesser known? I also wager nothing but pride for the moment in this shooting competition, given you have quantities of it to spare," he notes with a faint grin and friendly dig at her earlier statement.

"Oh, my fame days are past, da. Was decades ago, very few will remember me. Is good." Laynia looks very much amused at the charming Jackal's dig. "Very well. Pride is to be wagered? Shall the loser have to do something embarrassing specified by the winner?" Oh, that IS rather saucy. "And of course no use of powers, I would assume, yes? Skill and skill alone to determine outcome."

"Of course; no powers, skill and skill alone. As to the wager… I shall muse on it. Should I come up with something sufficiently damning, I shall inform you at the time of the competition. Does this sound as a plan?" asks the Jackal, his hands now inserted back into the pockets of his coat.

The shadows now of the city are long and silent. Whatever haunted them earlier has either been summarily destroyed or frightened away not to attempt anything further.

Laynia takes out a small notepad, and writes down her name and number, tearing a page out of it and offering it to Ambrose. "Well then, I agree to your terms and look forward. I do so like a contest of skills." Yup, VERY competitive is the Laynia. Pen, a fountain pen by the by, and pad put away, she sighs and stretches…not entirely an unpleasant thing to view. "Forgive me, Lieutenant Atherton, but the hour is late and I have PT at six AM." She smiles. "Do please call, mm?"

And then she takes a moment, making sure there's nobody observing, an impish delight gleaming in cinnamon eyes before they go black - iris and sclera, the whole eye. "I bid you good night, tovarisch." As she says this a /hole/ opens behind her, a window into another reality, one of cold and swirling darkness. Holding the Master Thief's gaze she smirks a bit as she steps backwards into the hole…and it vanishes, her along with it.

Gloved fingers take the offered paper. Ambrose's gleaming eyes drop to the written information and return to the Darkstar's face just as quickly.

"Of course, you are forgiven. My life once necessitated early rising and I understand its difficulty well enough." Once necessitated, not anymore. "And I shall call, yes, when time allows."

He watches her scan the area with a rising suspicion and when her eyes ink over? His lifts his brows again and seems to subtly stiffen in surprise. "Yes…good night, Miss Laynia," he manages even as he watches the young woman simply back-step and disappear from existence, just like that. His mouth parts and he then closes it, squinting. Then, a few cautionary steps forward means he reaches out to touch at the air where the portal once stood.

"Huh. That is a trick." On this murmur, the Jackal then turns to make his way back to his own abode. The name and number is folded away within his coat pocket, to be accessed at an appropriate time. Wouldn't do to lose to a young whippersnapper, tsk.

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