1963-09-06 - His Infinite Wisdom
Summary: The first day of school is done, and Hercules gives a mortal another form of education.
Related: N/A
Theme Song: None
hercules rogue 

The Labour Day celebrations winding up around the city have left a barren void among the student set in New York. Columbia and New York University's bells toll to the lost souls: return! Barnard College chimes, 'Back, daughters!' Everywhere and from every height, the various postsecondary institutes pull back a fresh-faced generation to study and toil, if they're not already disposed towards working and warring, labouring and babymaking the way the hip young cats of today do.

Most of them, anyways. Frat houses already have a habit of toga parties, though the corresponding sororities are not nearly so libertine. By the hour of twilight, they've gathered onto the streets of Greenwich Village to listen to folk musicians and rock 'n roll. The themes are universal: freedom, independence, sticking it to the man. They're all volatile songs about the old guard not giving young people a chance. They're all songs of a different kind of war, a social war, a civil rights battle.

A redhead walks through the grumbling masses, her arms wrapped around herself. She might not stand out, except for a few people shout and hiss louder than usual.

One man, 22 and in a sliced up t-shirt, howls, "Down with the lying crooks! Ruining our futures, they are!"


Hercules, occasionally confused by this modern world, occasionally frustrated by new mores so contrary to his own, so down and dour in regards to his zest for life, has hit upon a solution: go Greek! He is currently standing on the lawn of IE(Pie) with his legs planted broad shoulder's length apart, his arms out to each side at exactly 90 degrees to his spine. The entire football cheerleader squad is perched atop his arms in a dizzying geometric pattern, much like the cards in a house of cards, with feet leaning on shoulders and alternating pep-lasses upside-down and rightside-up. The structure which widens three layers up then narrows again until it reaches one lone cheerleader with pom-poms doing her best routine. Meanwhile frat boys are feeding him beer after beer into a funnel sticking out of his mouth. Littered around him like the victims of a mortar attack are the unconscious and semi-conscious "students" who have lost this drinking bout.


A cheerleading squad on display like that should be enough to earn attention, and several photographers definitely want to earn their chops for the student paper or more tawdry rags. Snap! go the flashbulbs and the more sentimental girls giggle.

No one would ever, in their right mind, accuse Scarlett of being especially sentimental. A photographer, yes, given she carries a camera from time to time. She captures the grim mood of the crowd, the excitement in some quarters and the rage in others. Swaying students listen to the music while the microphones catch popping songs and the heady plucked guitar chords.

You that never done nothin'
But build to destroy,
You play with my world
Like it's your little toy.

The cheering roar builds up to a growl over the singer striving to make himself heard, but there's not much to be done for it. The speakers only project so far. She turns away from them, the frozen eye sweeping away. Eventually a path cuts back towards the row of cheap housing own by the frats, to the ruinous bodies laid out in detail. Another shot could be lined up, but she doesn't try.

"Is that well and truly fair?" A light question, really.


The god doesn't hear her speak, but something goes through him and with an accompanying chorus of "Awwws" he snaps his arms up and with a "hey-ho!" begins plucking the young women out of the air as they fall back down from their sudden radical ascent. As he places the last one gently on the ground he pulls the funnel out of his mouth and flings it to one side, accepting a kiss on the cheek before patting her on her backside. "Away with you, now. Revelry is finished, and it is time for you to return to studies." He chuckles. Women enrolled in gymnasium. What will this world think of next? He steps over a couple of bodies and as he passes the main loudspeaker he reaches out absently and crushes it with his hand until the noise drops to a tiny, bent whine. His feet, steady despite the evening of drinking, lead him into Rogue's path. He squints. "You again. Are you following me? Because it's okay if you are. It happens. A lot."


Pretty little things shimmy on their way. Excited little things have a story about the big, strong man who could hold up the sky, like that statue some famous French guy chiseled. Natural that French men make the modest bizarre statues.

"Women allowed to walk about in public? Perchance owning a business? How very revolutionary we are in this day and age," teases the redheaded bohemian, though her voice is melodic, poisoned by a measure of contemplativeness that might last have been encountered by his crash landing to Earth so many — so few! — weeks ago.

Sunglasses after dark is a trope, but she wears them still, covering those unearthly green eyes.

"This," a gesture indicates the area in general with a loose sweep, "is my home. Our paths cross here more often than some due to our mutual company, perhaps. Unless you think the Moirai accept my petitions and permit me a little influence on the distaff and threads they weave."


Hercules responds,"Women are capable of just about everything, I've discovered. As for the distaff sex, I'm surprised anything related to them surprises me anymore." And yet it does. Again and again and again and again. He frowns a bit and says, "Mention not the name of the daughters of Necessity so casually, lest you draw their attention." His speech is noticeably different. He's been dropping the 'thees' and 'thous', it seems. Modernizing. "Dig?" Well, modernizing to a degree. The thought of Hercules all in black with a beret and a goatee snapping his fingers in a smoke-filled jazz club is an enticing one. "Not even my father Zeus may escape the web they weave. As for poor mortals… well," Herc does not look hopeful. "Be careful. Words have power, and power is not always… groovy." /There/ we go. "I must beg your pardon and ask your name again. For some reason it seems to slip my mind as soon as we part, and I do not think it is disinterest."


"A lack of surprises would fill life with a great deal of tedium, surely?" A query to hang upon her petaled lips curls around on itself like a cat's tail. Scarlett's long braids are spotted by soft pumpkin and bright red silk, the petals of poppies woven among her hair. Her fingertips bracket one another, steepled and twisted off axis. "I fear not their eye, for already they have severed so securely the threads they wove for me. I give my respects to the sisters three, having paid their toll upon the hour of my birth." Even mighty Zeus Pater might be troubled by those beyond the care of any but Nyx.

Yet what does a mortal concern herself with? They will doom her to die. She is young indeed to be calm upon that certain end. Unless there is no end in sight.

"Scarlett," she replies. "It is understandable. The golden-haired beauty you keep company with has a way of dispelling memories of any care but her smile."


He nods. "Amora. Yes. Strange that when I am away from her my mind seems somehow clearer." There is no hint of sarcasm to his tone. Surprised again. "A mystery." He stands aside, turning and sweeping an arm outward to rekindle her walk. "Please, I did not mean to cut short your walk. Continue and I shall accompany you. If you are so free from the strands of the Three, then perhaps I fear for you more, for you are adrift with no certainty at all as to the direction. So please accept my escort."


"Strange? Is it not so in the company of Venus or Aphrodite, how she may prefer to be called?" These queries might be idle for anyone else, but the redhead bohemian places a greater care. Pulling one of her thin, flower-dappled braids around her shoulder, Scarlett dusts her lips with the papery petals. "You have not cut me short. Have you never set forth without apparent destination in mind, and allowed the journey to be the destination? I have done that tonight." The reasons for why she might choose to do such are apparent, the first day of classes for the semester. The reasons why are far from clear, for a girl of young years and even shorter history.

"They have not forgotten me, my lord. Save their weaving is a strangeness around me, whereas others follow what courses only they know. We are blessed or cursed sometimes to know our standing, aren't we?" She accepts his escort as it will, venturing on a loose, leggy stride that eats up the distance even when slow.


"In all truth, lady, I do not spend much thought about whether the journey is the destination, the destination the destination or the destination the journey. It is not my long life that has taught me to live this moment rather than analyze it. It has been with me from birth, I think. Some call me impetuous or even thoughtless. My brother. My uncle. My step-mother. Even my father." A deeper frown. "But I take it as the finest wisdom that to focus on the finger is to miss the moon to which it is pointing." He takes her arm formally and naturally as they begin their walk. "I cannot pretend to know for certain my standing, though I seem to live a great story that appears to have a form. Yet I have come to believe we each of us live a great story. Each of us lives the greatest story ever told. And to each of us that story appears to have a form. But I am not sure that it is any more real than the finger is the moon." He falls silent for just a moment before continuing. "Sometimes I think I would be free of mine." He shrugs mildly and grins suddenly, dispelling the weight gathering upon his shoulders, "Then I remember what a waste of time such a thought is. It is a lovely evening, is it not?"


"Who could complain for that? Live for what you have, and be glad of the joyous abundance all this wisdom brings you." Her lips turn upwards at the reference to the moon, and she tips her head upwards. Scarlett's hat covers the frosted streaks in her hair, giving little indication of her strangeness, only the ebullient gilded charm that is hers to bestow. "I account it one of those remarkable things about your culture. So often focused upon planning and legacy, especially long-term, yet you represent something precious to be venerated and live it out in the very finest of stories. Our performances are great as they must be, and we play to no one but ourselves. Are we not the very best of audiences, even if we are perhaps harsh? Wisdom much needed."

He might have to wear touching her, but the long sleeves and gloves make for no threat. And even if they didn't, imagine if /she/ piggybacked him around, laughing and joyously frolicking through the streets of Hell's Kitchen?


Hercules mulls this over. "Truth. Yet sometimes I fear that all the difference lies in realizing the fact of our nature, of performing for ourselves. Without it we are nothing but animals. No, worse." He considers. "That which you experience of my culture is a culture refracted through many subsequent cultures. I have been reading some of your scholarship. Today, here at the University. It is… interesting?" He sounds a bit miffed. "You have taken the stories told by Greeks a thousand years and more after my own, stories of /my/ culture, and you act as if these stories are the truth of it. I witnessed the Mycenaeans who did pay me homage. I visited the glory that was Athens, the fierceness of Lakadaemon. I witnessed the Sacred Band of Thebes and the power of their love. I did not know Alexander, but I have heard from those who did, and I hear and read again and again what was said of us by great Homer. But even he, so insightful of eye, did not really see us. Akhilleas and Patroklos were not lovers, woman. I know. I was there." Not at Troy, but their paths had crossed. "They are now a story told by Athenians who lived a certain way, and then retold by Romans and Egyptians who lived other ways. Stories live and grow and die without notice, replaced as they are by wise ones and fools. Now they are told by your didaskaloi in the light of your lives."

More steps, and their path lengthens into the dimly lit paths of the campus. "For the Athenians my own story became one of brutishness and shame." There is an old but tender tone of hurt in his voice. "A world that never would have been born without my suffering, my agonies, my transgressions and my payment in the blood of those monsters that held the light of civilization, and I was fit for their laughter and shame. Now… now I am still a tale for children, which has ever pleased me. Beyond that, we will have to see. It is what excites me most to be down here again and makes me wonder if my expulsion at my father's foot was truly punishment or simply his way of caring."

Their conversation fades in volume with the distance. The end of Summer is reflected in the rustling of the campus trees and the new hint of coolness in the night air. And then as the University security finally shows up to help roll drunken brothers back into their homes, the two strange figures pass from site around a bend, all further of their night's wisdom lost for good from this particular story.

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