2020-08-07 - Questions and Answers


Spider-Man tracks down Hod for a friendly little chat.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Fri Aug 7 02:19:18 2020
Location: The Disaster Zone

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Theme Song



The DZ isn't the sort of place one would likely expect to find live entertainment, least of all a concert. And yet. And yet the soft metalic twang of a guitar lilts down the alleys and streets of one of the DZ's less desireable corners, one far from the borders where cops may be more likely to patrol or heroes pass by. The sun has set and the night brings a blessed drop in temperature, slight though it is. Sitting in the burned out skeleton of a car Hod sits, seat reclined slightly, guitar in his lap, feet propped up on the dashboard and thrust out through the hole that once held a windsheild, picking away at the instrument.

The tune is lonesome and quick at the same time and seems built for stomping to, the sort of mix of meloncholy and movement that only comes from good blues or folk music. Hod's voice has a sort of older hollow growl to it that comes from milage more then talent. He'll never top a chart or anything, but there's an authenticity to it that draws one in, a raw sincerety that works for the music he seems drawn to.

"Well the sun went up
Sun went down
I couldn't see
You around
I left the city
Breeze of the mountain
But the night had no pity
Shattered my dreams-"

It's not so much the music that draws Spider-Man's attention as the fact that he was actively looking for the old blind Norse busker/cook/assistant bartender/busker/sort-of-god, but when he pauses on the side of a relatively intact building and hears the semi-familiar voice, he knows he's on the right track.

An alley and a half later, Spider-Man comes to rest once again against a different wall - but rather than calling out to Hod, he just listens from his vertical perch. No point in interrupting Hod mid-song, right?

Hod says, "I cleaned up my act

For judgment day
Brother have mercy
Pray for me pray
May my sins be forgiven
So I can pass the test
To see you again in-"

He stops singing part way through a ling and tilts his head to the side like a dog trying to pick up on something as the last note of the song echoes through out the walls of his little concrete amphitheater. Then his fingers begin anew, but his voice doesn't continue the song, "Might as well come on down, no reason to perch like a creeper. I wouldn't know of course, but I've heard it's rude to stare.""

"On the flip side, it's bad manners to interrupt a man in the middle of a song," Spider-Man points out. And he does, in fact, literally flip - jumping off the wall with a casual somersault, landing in a three-point crouch about ten feet in front of Hod. "Sorry I interrupted anyway … should I make a little noise next time so it doesn't seem like I'm hiding?" he asks, good-naturedly as usual. Possibly as always, at least by Hod's experience.

"If you're between songs now, I was hoping to chat a little - I'm still wondering about a couple of things from last time our paths crossed. If, that is, you're willing to talk … ?" Spider-Man lets the question trail off; if Hod *doesn't* want to talk, there's not a lot of point in pushing the issue.

Hod shrugs, "You did." he says before making a very good impersonation of the 'thwipping' sound made by webshooters with his mouth, "Different for each of you, but you all make it." he says with a small nod. "To be fair, I didn't catch it this time. Caught it when I met my first spider." something almost like a smile tugs at the corners of his mouth.

"I can talk and play at the same time, very talented like that." and he does, continue to play, but he no longer sings to join it. "Ask." he says playing a sort of rhythm heavy scale across minor notes.

Spidey chuckles, a little sheepishly. "So you can, so you can." He glances around, then takes a seat somewhere fairly convenient.

"Still kind of wondering about a couple of things you said," the wall-crawler begins. "Like you 'knew' you needed to be in that tunnel … for that matter, how you *got* to that tunnel, and then helped get us back out more quickly than the way we'd come in. You're more than just a blind old busker with a knack for bartending and a wizard's hand in the kitchen, aren't you?"

Hod shrugs while playing, it doesn't seem to effect the song, "I'm also, if you don't mind a little self agrandizement, an exceptional potter, skilled tailor, abstract sculptor, and amature historian." he handwaffles while a sing note lingers in the air, "Among a few other things. Pretty good at an anvil too, so long as I'm allowed to set up the shop and no one touches my tools." he notes. "What sort of pedantic half assed and annoying answer would be cliched here?" he ponders, "Aren't we all more then we let on?" he asks, affecting the tone and demeanor of someone far more serious then he appears at the moment, even going so far as to slightly puff up his chest, "Don't we all hide parts of ourselves from the world?" then he deflates and turns reflective sunglass lenses on Spider-Man so that he can see his own masked reflection in them. "That sound like the sort of thing I'm supposed to say? Felt about right."

Spider-Man can't help chuckling at Hod's lengthy, convoluted, and less-than-openly-helpful answer. "You got me there," he admits. "Yeah, a lot of us do keep our identities under wraps, or at least we try to - although there are some who don't worry about keeping a secret identity. Can you at least tell me how you met Anansi?"

Hod seems to ponder this as the song he plays takes a turn for the more somber, "He needed my help with a thing, I needed him to forget I was still drawing breath. We came to an accord on the matter." he sighs and leans over the guitar for a moment before sitting up, "I can tell you more, but knowing puts you in the line of fire." he holds up a hand, "And I already know what you're goign to say. All you people running about in your pajamas feel like you are immortal, or worse, are true believers in the ultimate victory of good over evil. Every time I have this conversation I give someone the chance to back out of it and everytime they've dived forward with the idiot certainty of youth and invivcible armor of ignorance."

The song's end lingers in the echos of the area, but the silence seems all the more deafening for it's suddeness, "So. New tactic." He sets the guitar aside and turns in the car to more fully face Peter, "You helped me twice, once on purpose and once without knowing it, and you helped my people in the tunnels." he holds up three fingers, "You get three questions, questions I will answer honestly. But, at the risk of being the exact cliched dickcheese I just glibly pretended to be, know that answers aren't always what they're cracked up to be."

Rather than starting in with a question right away, Spider-Man is … actually *quiet*, for a moment. Partly he's trying to sort out what questions he'd do well to ask, but he's also weighing what Hod prefaced that offer - or rather, that deal - with.

"I'm young as these things go, yes," Spidey admits. "Not sure what the usual age range is of superheroes in this city, but … yeah, I'm not one of the older ones. As for immortal …." He trails off, shaking his head. "I'd like to think I already know better than that. Sometimes it's planning, sometimes it's luck, sometimes it's just having allies or friends who are in the right place at the right time."

Enemies like Morlun and the forces of the Wild Hunt have been proof enough that if he doesn't stay careful, and fast, and cunning, then New York *will* be down a Spider-Man. He's just as happy not to dwell on those particular fights.

"Anyway … I'm guessing those three questions are 'ask now or lose them.' - That's not one of my questions," he adds quickly. "Although I'm not sure I can come up with three good ones." He falls silent, considering … and thinking about the other warning Hod gave, that knowing more about Hod could put him in danger just for knowing.

"The time I met you, when those armors were trying to kill you. Were those from your home?" Might as well start with an answer that's already tried to kill him, just for getting in the way.

Hod almost smirks as Spider-Man walks back his question and Hod leans back in his seat again, snapping his fingers in an 'almost gotcha' kinda motion before wiggling to get comfortable. He's patient and lets Peter take his time working out what to ask, "No." he says simply, "The technology was impressive but primative, it relied a great deal on a style of componant my people don't use anymore. Hydraulics, nano-fibre musculature, sheilded circuit processors, the lot of it. I'm not certain where they are from, but I suppose I could find out if I really wanted to poke a wasps nest. Generally I prefer not to, deep down I like /not/ getting into boxing matches with robots. For that matter, right there on the surface it's what I prefer as well. And in that between space, in the middle of deep down and on the surface."

Answers might not always be what they're cracked up to be … and sometimes, if the question is the right one, you get a little more than what's actually on the surface of either question or answer. Like the fact that the robots, impressive as they were, were technological - and that as advanced as they seemed, they were *primitive* to Hod's people. Whoever they are, and wherever they (and he) are from.

Very, very interesting.

And then another thought strikes him, with force close enough to physical that Spidey sits bolt upright. "Hod. Being blind, depending on your ears and other senses - you can pretty much tell who I am whether I'm in costume or not. Are you worried - and yes, I am *asking* this - are you worried about any of *my* enemies trying to wring my identity out of you, if any of them ever figure out that there's a blind old busker who can identify Spider-Man?"

Hod actually does grin at this point and there might be a reason why he doesn't do this often. "That is a good question." he says with a nod. The smile isn't a 'nice' one. "I am not. I'm tougher then I look and I'm hard to catch if I don't want to be. Your enemies, whoever they are, do not frighten me… though I do admit, from what I hear on the radio they're not exactly a group of girl scouts with wooden spoons."

"Glad to hear that, I think," Spider-Man replies wryly. There's also a tone of relief in his voice; he'd figured Hod was tougher than his original estimate of the blind man - or blind whatever-he-is, if not exactly a 'man' in the Earthling sense - but it's good to have a measure of confirmation.

"So that Mongolian recipe you showed off … did you learn that from the actual Mongolian hordes? Like, when Genghis Khan was conquering his way across what we call Eurasia nowadays?" It's kind of a throwaway question, but Spidey's curious enough to ask - and again, it might shed some extra light on Hod. Or, depending on how Hod answers, it might not.

Hod grows still for a moment and his smile is gone. He leans back a bit and the shadows of the night convienently pour over his face, hiding his expression completely from sight, save for the glint of the reflective lenses. "I learned it from a camp cook who worked for Subotai." he says, his tone flat and even, "I needed a place in his household that was free of suspicion. No one suspects the guy that washes dishes and cuts the veggies, especially if he's blind." this is all stated in a cold dispassionate tone that does more to point out how hard he's hiding an emotional reaction then if he'd done almost anything else.

There's no missing that change in Hod's mood, and Spider-Man winces a little. "I'm sorry," he says quietly. "I didn't think it'd be a memory which was that painful … or is it just that I made you say something you would rather have kept to yourself?" That's technically a fourth question, and if Hod declines to answer that one, Spidey can't hold it against him; he's already getting to his feet.

"Thank you for letting me ask you those questions, in any case … you know, I *will* help you if you need it. Like I did with those robots, or at least I thought you needed the help back then."

Hod is quiet for a long moment, "Mixed bag." he says after a long moment, "My time among the horde was wonderful and horrible in equal measure. I do not hold anything against them as a whole, but…" he offers a small hand gesture, "my time there was predicated by a single man. And /him/-" the hand gesture turns into a slicing motion in the air, "him I do not like to remember." he's quiet for a moment before asking a question of his own, "Why didn't you simply ask me who I was again?" he queries. "You played at hints and clues, but I told you I would answer honestly, and you danced around it. Why?"

Spider-Man shrugs, "The answers I got this way were more interesting. Besides, if you didn't want to tell me when you *weren't* bound by a promise, asking you again outright when you 'had to' tell me honestly felt like it was going a little too far. You've got things you don't want to tell people, whether it's protecting them or protecting yourself … and I can relate to that."

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