1963-11-17 - Between Faith and Hope
Summary: A cold, a confession, and the inevitable fallout.
Related: N/A
Theme Song: Chesnokov - The Eternal Council
marie-ange rogue 

The weather is cold, frightfully so, with frost on the windowpanes and the dying grass crisped white, and New Yorkers shivering if their boilers and heaters do not rattle awake. Leaving the window open a crack is a fine way for a girl to wake up with a raging cold and stuffy sinuses. Scarlett's shower lasts too long, she drinks more herbal concoctions cut by honey than she should, and devours three pieces of lemon in record speed. Then a grim look to her homework leads to a shake of the head, and when Marie bothers appearing for the morning, a pronouncement. "You need a proper winter coat and scarf before the cold really sets it."

Apparently 1 degree Celsius does not constitute 'cold' yet. Abandon all hope, ye who live west of the Gulfstream.

Hands tucked into her pockets, the redhead bundles up in a sweater and her favourite green leather jacket, and skims a look. "We may need to take to the marketplaces of the city. Something vintage, perhaps." Vintage means cheap, but secondhand is not exactly a bad thing in this day and age, unless one tries musty closets and suspicious flea sales. "What say you?"


It's days like this that Marie's extremely happy to have been taken in off the streets. In truth, she's been up for a couple hours now. Mostly sitting in her room, wrapped up in blankets, staring at the window and the world outside. She'd already done her daily reading by the time she emerged — that's always the case, though! — and looked her normal, cheery self. She was a morning person, or at least she was once she'd woken up enough to be sociable.

"Good morning, Scarlett~" she chimes in French, her voice almost musical in the greeting. …then comes the decision, and Marie bobs her head. "I believe this would be wise, yes, and I trust your judgement as always." She's not entirely /opposed/ to staying in when it's cold out… but there's things that she'd like to see, too. Like the tree that was talked about — the one that doesn't grow to other worlds. Not to mention seeing some of the pretty lights up close!

Fortunately, she's already dressed to go out, or at least as much as her current wardrobe will allow. "Did you want to go now, or do we need to do things at home, first?" …after all, she just came out. She doesn't know what the plan is yet.


The bundling necessary for a happy, toasty Scarlett is considerably lower than some. With the apparent invulnerability to most scrapes and bumps comes a certain resistance to being cold, or rather, the cold doesn't bother her enough to whine. Now, having a cold is another matter altogether. She ruefully examines her hands, lacking mittens, and snatches her handkerchief just in time to sneeze. The force rolls her back and jolts her off the ground two inches, though she lands without undue trouble.

No one ever talks about how flying mutants and aliens deal with bronchial irritation, nor their grasp on things causing them to hiccup and shoot off to the stratosphere. This opportunity shall not be overlooked, fair reader, fear not!

"I would like to pick up a few Chinese buns on the way home, something from Chinatown possibly. But that isn't," another pause follows as she sneezes again, a mutinous feline look passing over the bohemian's face, "necessary so much as clothes are for you. It will be a lovely walk, at least, and we can find a few sweaters, no doubt. How was your weekend? Did you step out much?"


Whereas for Marie to be warm and content, the pendulum swings to the other end of the spectrum; not having much padding results in a girl with a love for layers, as much as for fashion as she does for warmth. The sneeze, however, makes both eyebrows shoot up in surprise — especially the results of it on her friend's form. Then she frowns, furrows her brows a bit in thought… and nods to herself.

"You have a cold." she states, matter of factly.

Marie moves swiftly to her friend's side, as if she'll have to grab the woman's ankles if she starts to defy gravity /too/ much. "We can do these things, yes… food and warm clothing are important." she agrees, "/BUT./ Upon our return, I will be taking care of you to speed you along towards recovery. Do we have an agreement?" It's probably the most resolute that she's sounded about anything around Scarlett — and she didn't even check the cards first! (…okay, odds are this plays into something she read /earlier,/ but.)

With that said, Marie shakes her head. "I mostly stayed in. The cold.. it is a most unwelcome visitor, and after our visit to the bakery…" That exploded. Those poor pastries! "…although, I did see Monsieur Howlett again, and we had some time to talk."


The taller redhead shakes her head, her nose tucked into her sleeve rather than allow the smile to show at this unquestionable display of Gallic will. Such once reshaped the fortunes of Europe and the Middle East, and doomed Germany to obscurity for the better part of two centuries. "Far be it from me to cross you, mademoiselle Marie-Ange. I would fear you would take inspiration from the convent and bring out a ruler."

Her bright eyes glitter with merriment, and she complements the mirth by turning to compose herself, the excuse of grabbing the house keys off the counter top. "I daresay you shall have your way in that. Let's be upon our way, then, and have you back as mistress of the sick room in proper time. I would not challenge my privilege to take the fresh air by exhausting your patience!"

A measure of curiosity follows, however, on the statement of Mr. Howlett. (Of course, which one tells all.) "Indeed, and what were your thoughts to that angle? I do need to bring you and Jean together, so we can be a proper alliance if it turns out that fashion, and storm everyone who ardently assumes redheads are dangerous."


Victory! The fact that Scarlett agreed to being cared for clearly adds a bit of extra sparkle to Marie's eyes — it's that look she gets any time that she /does something/, ever set in her desire to repay a kindness that part of her wonders if she ever could.. and at the same time, simply to share the goodwill. "Good!" And that is that. There will be chicken soup.

"…and I'm sure I /could/ find a ruler if you misbehaved." teases Marie, with a bit of happy giggling. It's the side of her that she doesn't dare show to others, just because of the comfort level that she has with Scarlett that she doesn't with… well, anyone else, at this point.

As for Akihiro? She purses her lips in thought as they walk, considering just what to say. "The claws were a surprise." she admits; he put on a display. "…and he wishes to have a reading done. He seems like another soul in need of direction, but with a good heart." A nod to this, and then a smile. "Where you lead, I follow, and I would certainly like to meet this Jean you have spoken of, perhaps soon, yes?"


"Yes, the claws can be." Tend to the troubling one rather than the joys of chicken soup for the soul. "He is a competent fighter, to say the least, though sometimes his anger gets the better of him. When he descends into a fray, stay back. Those claws can slice through nearly everything, including things you might not think could be cut." Scarlett tips her fingers under her chin and heads out to the landing, locking the apartment behind them. Then it's a slow walk down the stairs, the latest mural painted in protest of the landlords saying 'no paintings.' This one happens to be a bright yellow chick chasing a dove, and a flower hatching out of a whirlpool of colour inside an egg.

"I swear, they lose themselves to a theme, and that must play itself out before anyone else is free," sighs the bohemian. Scarlett's mouth quirks up. "Expect more doves, birds of peace, and probably a Christmas pheasant before this is quite done."

The cold has a bite to it outside, though the scents are sharp and the flavours of the city strong in every breath. A moment taken to adjust to the bracing cold, and dab her nose with a handkerchief, Scarlett nods to the sidewalk. "Let's try towards East Village a little more. Failing that, we can go into Brooklyn, I think. You have your right to determine when this jaunt has gone on too long, of course."


"I will heed that advice even moreso than I do now." Marie agrees, she's not the type to charge into a fight, far more likely to find a good place to hide and let the cards do the fighting /for/ her, but there's the rare occasion when she'll get close. Just… not when Akihiro's involved, next time. It seems pretty wise, especially with the warning of the claws' effectiveness to keep in mind. "Many people are… not as expected, I am learning." she admits, glancing around for a moment to ensure privacy before adding "Even you continue to surprise me. I was most afraid for you when the bakery… exploded" The word almost doesn't seem right for how mundane she feels like life /should/ be, but it definitely is the right word. "Had I been inside I would have been torn asunder. You? Seemed quite well, and were even able to spirit me to safety." Marie's cheeks /do/ redden, though, as memory recalls how Scarlett /did/ end up after that blast.

The paintings in the stairwell earn her admiration as always, "They have great talent… sometimes I think I would like to learn how to paint as they do, but I am not sure if I have the aptitude for it." Still, she wouldn't mind learning sometime! The door to the outside earns a bit of hesitation before Marie passes it, and a steeling of her expression before she barges out into the cold of the city. "You know the city far better than I, so I put my trust in you as /my/ guide." …instead of Marie guiding the bohemian through the mysteries of the tarot, that is!


Claws have a disturbing talent for causing mayhem. Worse when connected to a volatile teenaged boy. The faint hint of a smile touches the bohemian's lips at Marie-Ange's confessions. "No. A good many people have hidden qualities and virtues we never see, except at privileged times. Society obligates us to wear certain masks, like performers upon a stage, fulfilling the roles assigned to us by birth or constitution or expectation," says Scarlett. Her fingers curl around the edge of her pocket, and she hurriedly steps aside from the Albert Chambers' entrance to make way for her French companion. Nothing like a brisk walk to enable them to enjoy good company and stay warm.

"My own curse has a way of perpetuating itself. Not perfectly, of course, but it makes me peculiarly enduring." Her smile fades away. It never remains, talking about such personal matters. "I can get hurt, it simply takes a great deal more effort. Thus in a dangerous situation, putting myself between a danger and you is engrained. Better me than anyone else, yes?" That's a rather sanguine way to look at matters. "The same goes for hidden talents of a positive sort, painting and gardening as fine examples. Have you sat with a brush? I assure you, the mural painters welcome assistance. That's probably Daniel in 406 and Lena and Carol in 409. Give a knock on the door and they'll be happy to defy the landlords further." A laugh traces a silver path around them, taking wing on its own. "Let's see if we can find the vintage markets and fetch you up a coat. You cannot be comfortable in six sweaters and a turtleneck."


"This makes sense," Marie agrees, bobbing her head slightly to confirm the thought. "Our stories are laid out by fate in advance, we're simply here to play them, pulled by the strings of destiny like marionettes. We can only hope that the puppeteer has a happy ending in store, yes?"

When she notices that smile fading — it takes her a moment, because she's looking where she's going, but also looking at her friend. She's got to make sure the taller woman is still there, after all — she moves a hand to try and rest it on the small of Scarlett's back; a silent reminder that, curse or no curse? Marie isn't going anywhere, and she isn't afraid.

"I suppose it is better, since it takes so much to harm you…" Marie half-murmurs, not sounding entirely convinced. "..but I feel badly endangering you for my defense. If something were to happen…" Note to self: Check the cards later on. See if there's anything impending to worry about.

"…but I think I may do that. I have never tried it before, but… there is such beauty in art. To create something like that would be wonderful." She'll confer with the cards on this, too. It's a must when meeting new people. "Warmth is most important, but comfort would not be unwelcome." Marie admits, laughing softly as well. Laughter. It's contagious. "It was not long ago that I had but one outfit to my name. You spoil me so, and I cannot do nearly enough to repay it."


"And yet, and yet, who understands? We men and women are complex things! A hundred tunes Fate's inexorable hands may play on the sensitive soul-strings." The tocsin of rubber tires bouncing on the rippled roads of Greenwich weaves around Scarlett's lilting phrase, and the blistering honk of an irate driver breaks through the chilly miasma. Steam rises from grates in the ground and plenty of the surrounding buildings belch out smoke and clouds of water vapor as their heating systems kick in to manage matters.

Curiosity strikes upon that front, though. "Are you so certain our paths are set utterly? Philosophers have wondered upon the business of free will as long as there have been words for it. Tell me, and think not I will ever criticize you," encourages the bohemian. "Do you believe there is free will, or is that but an illusion? Is every choice I make something already foreordained, despite my best efforts to remain unfettered by circumstance and keep my eyes open to when things seem awry?"

There may be a note of despair behind the effervescent sunshine, but then the ephemeral chains that bind her life may be no different than anyone else walking the village streets, even the slim redheaded seer beside her. "I have heard something of a theory that every decision we make opens up alternate universes where the paths not taken exist in actuality. There are presumably countless incarnations of ourselves walking about those other places, doing the things we did not do, saying the words we did not say. And then the scientific underpinnings seem to unravel and I stare at the professor, wondering whether truly I capture the understanding at all."

Quantum theories are not kind!


The honk of the car is enough to startle Marie a bit — she's not a tough girl to startle. Or fluster. Or… well, just about anything, really. The puffs of steam get curious looks from the shorter redhead as well, such interesting things that the city can bring, clearly!

"I am." she answers without hesitation. "Every thought, every word; this

every conversation has been scripted in advance; our choices to act and not act preordained by forces that most cannot even imagine, let alone understand." she pauses now to consider herself for a moment, and adds, "…but it is not written /far/ in advance. Free will exists, I believe, but it's effects…"

Marie trails off for a moment, letting her arm snake a bit further to offer a bit of a half-hug of comfort. Her beliefs aren't the kind that make heroic people happy, she suspects; but they are her beliefs. "…if I were destined to die next week, by carelessly stepping into traffic and being run down, but you were to keep me on the sidewalks because I told you, I would live, yes?"

Her free hand motions expressively as she connects her thoughts, "No, because the car might come onto the sidewalk, instead. Or that man there washing windows might drop his change as I walked under him. Even if I were saved from all these… fate would continue to come for me; worse, I would not be able to see it, because I would have angered the cards."


Scarlett responds to the squeeze a touch woodenly, taken by surprise and ever concerned by it. Never mind she's wearing a coat, gloves, and a scarf that will inhibit any accidental connection. The sharp burst of adrenaline accompanying that gesture might be the strangest biological reaction, but one that sets off few cascade effects in a system trained to answer other checks and balances. Carefully the redhead leans into the other, just enough to assure no harm done against friendship by the conversation.

The street will eventually feed into a larger one, and the walk continues past a string of shoe-shine places, music and record stores, a furniture place that specializes in end tables and things made out of plastic. The Sixties are a weird time. Pedestrian traffic builds, but it's going to be a bus ride for a dime over to Brooklyn at this rate.

The bohemian window-shops idly, but little attracts her attention for long. Christmas trees and turkeys war for attention when anyone bothers to decorate storefronts. "If something is ordained, thwarting it will not mean anything. It will happen. At least that's my understanding."

That she actively seeks the Norns and some means to study at their feet totally isn't playing into the statement. No Thoree. "There must be a certain peace in knowing, and a strength in that faith. I'm afraid my own lot is so uncertain and vague at the best of times, I rather learn to go along rather than fight."


Marie's getting used to those wooden responses to touch. It's almost encouragement to do it more, really, just to help the other girl relax — although the feeling of the taller woman leaning against her is one that brings a smile back to her lips. No harm, no foul.

As the pair walks by the shops, Marie can't help but peek inside the windows herself; looking both for curiosity and for signs of familiarity. Besides, she's still picking out her friend's gift! So no secret agenda there at all.

"True; but while those who can see as I do have peace in the certainty… those who /cannot/ see must have hope. It is why what the heroes do is so very important, because it creates that hope that allows people to get through each day in good spirits… how we /feel/ as we walk the paths set before us is not as determined as the destination, you see."

..and now she knows. The perfect gift. She has it. The cards told her about it from the start, and now she knows. A quiet smile plays upon her lips as she revels in it. "Better to fight and feel like you have control, than to have those fights brought to you and feel as if you have none. Either way, you still go along the path set out for you."


Forgive her for being less than perfect, less than human. Those failures do not ease away after an admittedly short lifetime of existence, practicing withholding herself for fear of contact causing real harm. Scarlett's limited experience teaches her the hard way what failure is. No foul, no loss.

The various shops along the strand leading ever eastward contain all the trappings of the holiday season. Paper snowflakes in one window gives way to a more Victorian show in the next, and the gaudy foil extravaganza created from so many pierced and shaped rosettes complete with plastic sprays meant to be lights, or the rainbow-coloured hearts of snowflakes, make that shop rather dazzling in the daytime. At night, it probably causes car accidents when headlights glance off the glass and heavy metal explosion in the making.

"Between your faith and my hope, what is there? Charity of understanding or thinking how one may act?" The musing is met with a faint smile in front of a chocolateria, a little door leading into a long shop full of gourmet goodies steeped in cocoa and butterfat. Keep moving, that one has a powerful grip over the psyche! Scarlett will hasten along because that's awfully dangerous to consider on an empty stomach.

"Interesting. I have never thought of that, the feeling of the journey rather than the destination being two entirely different things. When one despairs, they do not often consider the end. They only think about the discomfort they face here and now, as it were. These people looking to the future with a changed view have failed, sometimes, to take into account that stories of stellar contact hold no power unless they think that's the end of human civilization as we know it?" Grim thought there, Scarlett. Well, it's been a weird month. "You glide right along dealing with one day to the next, one challenge to the next, and it somehow comes out easier."

A look sidelong to Marie hopefully confirms how off-base she is. Or isn't.


There's a moment when Marie almost, almost stops. …it may have been in front of the chocolateria, but the arm around Scarlett served to prevent that as much as anything as she /felt/ the other woman walking away before she could linger and drift inside.

Which is good. Because she's supposed to be taking care of Scarlett later and shopping now. Not just eating chocolates until they're both so full they simply can't move any longer!

Although, that's not an entirely unpleasant thought.

"Precisely." she agrees, "The feeling is important, feelings such as hope, love, friendship… these are the things that make our lives as humans worth living, even while we are simply players in the game. It is why what we do /truly/ matters. It is the gift we are given as living creatures. Another example, I was meant to stop living on the streets; I could have done so by ending up in prison." Marie? Never! "Or in a hospital, from wounds suffered fighting as the heroes do. Instead, I stay with someone who I care dearly for. I am happy, and I am sure that it is /because/ I followed the will of the cards."


The chocolate deserves some affection. It truly does. Just not today, when they need to get Marie a proper coat so a month from now, the French girl can wander by and sniff with contentment instead of chattering teeth, numb fingers, and blue lips.

The bus stop up the way requires a jaunt across an intersection, a jump that barely amounts to much. Then it means huddling near a man in a suit smoking, two musicians carrying guitar cases. Threes, everything in triplicate and trinity, that's the pattern of the morn.

"Believing there is no help for life, that we are moving from point to point, is hardly a satisfying view on life, to be sure," muses the girl of greater skepticism and American tendencies, albeit her wits tend to catch a more English sensibility. Her braids shiver when she tips her head, a bit of a stance found where her hands are held out to her sides. "We need reason to exist, something beyond the bare trappings of food and shelter. Purpose, yes? And the very idea we do something meaningful is fairly motivational. At least for most. I suppose for others it's comfort. What motivates you?"

A glance back towards the street they just left meets with a pert smile limned in piquant amusement. "Chocolate seems to be effective. Nice going, I have thoroughly ruined any prospect for lunch that is not a croissant dipped in chocolate, no?"


Threes are numbers that can often be found repeating in life's more meaningful things; religion, politics — even redheads eventually! That particular meeting is certainly on the agenda of eventuality.

"Non, we do not need reason to exist. Our existence comes about when… when…" Marie goes a deep red, now. "…things… happen…" Cough, cough. "The sisters were… not exactly informative to that end, but it is of little consequence." She's going to take a moment to get her bearings back, now. …she's definitely feeling like she needs it. "…but motivation is a different thing, and is often led by feelings; the pursuit of happiness, for example."

"Other times, it's led by goals; things achievable or not, we strive for them still." As for what motivates /her?/ It's that moment that Marie freezes, as if she's just been asked a question that can't be answered. "I suppose the cards do, in simple fashion. They tell me what I must do, and I do, trusting the result to be if not /positive,/ at least better than outcomes found by avoiding it." See: Her earlier example.

As for the chocolate? There's another blush, but a different kind this time. It has her laughing, too. "If it can be eaten, I will eat. If it serves a purpose of making /you/ feel better, I would prefer that." Because that was the deal.


Three, three, three. The sacred number of the universe, if certain religions and thinkers are to be believed.

"Exist beyond the bare level. It is enough I breathe and I walk and eat, but that is a poor life lived if that is all I do," Scarlett amends herself, and the blush is not contagious. She wouldn't know what to make of embarrassment on that front. "I separate existence and purpose, at the very least. Then again, I would never be content to settle back on my laurels." Notably because she has none. What, the handmaiden of a princess briefly courted in Asgard? Servant of the Lord Protector of Midgard? Unnamed apprentice of the good Doctor Strange?

Full stop, by the way. She is.

The motivation question can take an hour or a day to answer, or be blurted out. They're in no rush. The bohemian consults the posted schedule for the bus' arrival, and she waves her hand around through the coils of blue-white smoke escaping the cigarette of the businessman. He makes a face at her, and she beams back a smile that's fundamentally feckless at some level.

"Mm. Better than Cassandra's aims, I suppose." A waggle of her finger teases. "You have a heavy burden. Remember to ask for help when necessary. We can elevate our burdens together, even should setting them aside be next to impossible at times." Satisfaction comes, sometimes, in doing the helpful thing even if it should be difficult to ascertain the gesture's aims. "I resign myself to your tender cares. Chocolate or not. You can expect the bus to take about twenty minutes to shuttle us into Brooklyn, by the way, but the view of the Bridge is quite lovely when we're not stuck in traffic on it."

1963 wasn't immune to rush hour either.


"I exist because I was born. My purpose…" she pauses to consider it for a moment, closing her eyes. "…I suppose, given my… talents, my purpose is likely to serve as a guide for those who wish to see. Like Monsieur Tony, yourself, and Monsieur Akihiro." And there's others, she's sure of it. The cards have told her that much. She just hasn't met them yet.

"What about you, Scarlett? What drives you forward, with what do you find your motivation?" It seems like a subject the other has pondered, so Marie's curious as to the answer.

"Cassandra? Who is this Cassandra, another friend to be met?" comes another curious question, as one flies right over the girl from Lyons. "…and I suppose. Asking for help… it does not come naturally for me. I do not like to intrude upon others, to be a burden… I prefer to give than to take, but I should learn for the times when it is appropriate, at least." That much she'll certainly admit.

"I could see if traffic awaits us." she admits casually, giving up a little giggle. "…but knowing /everything/ is far less necessary than knowing those things that matter, and sometimes a surprise, even a small one, can be nice."


"Cassandra. The prophetess from Troy, she was a seer to the sun god Apollo. Her curse assured anyone who heard her would never believe her prophecies and insights, much to their eternal woe and her own. You have heard anything of Troy? The Iliad?" Scarlett is rife with information like this, for whom the ancient world is nearly as accessible as her own. In some ways it is, considering all things even. Thor is not exactly a creature out of yesterday's newspaper. Nor are his kindred.

She bites her lip at the question, scanning the road. The bus is trundling up the road. "Motivation is a hard one. I want to learn, make a positive change in the world." A pause follows, and then her smile turns on edge, her eyes glimmering with witchfire green and hot, like the plasma entangled in the upper echelons of the heavens. "Love. Loyalty. They may be completely misplaced, possibly a sign of imminent madness, but I chase them like the Fool upon your card, leaping over the edge even if nothing but my own hope tethers me to this world. But it has to be worth something. Love can and does change the world. Do they say anything about those who chase the impossible?"

Then rolls up that great chrome and glass belcher of smoke and stink, vaguely scented of rotten eggs. She gestures and allows Marie to go first, probably because she has the two dimes ready to plink into the machine at the front. The bus driver gets a faint smile even as a few people on the right row might recognize her, or least have reason to perceive an air of familiarity.

"I think it's seven or eight stops before the bridge, then two after will put us where we want to go." Instructions are helpful!


Marie shakes her head, "I do not know them." The girl /was/ practically raised under a rock. If it seemed heretical in any way? It was banned. History itself was cleaned up to the point where superpowered individuals were wiped from the pages. "…but I am certainly willing to learn." she admits, smiling.

"Learning is a noble pursuit, and I will help any way I can… changing the world for the better? That you do already. I have seen — and benefitted — from it firsthand." Just because she wasn't destined to die in that bakery? Doesn't mean she's not thankful to the one who saved her.

The third, however, gives her pause. "Love…" she echoes softly, moving onto the bus first as directed, and offering a quiet smile to all the people she sees. She'll try to spread a little sunshine! Once they're both seated, Marie continues. "Love is… complicated. Tell me, Scarlett, if you know… without the cards to guide you, how do /you/ find it?" Even with the cards it seems complicated, so guidance there would be welcome.

"I will keep count, then!" she decides; she'll let Scarlett handle pulling the chain, though; because nine /or/ ten stops is a close approximation… but the other redhead likely knows better about the surrounding visuals to narrow two down to one.


Greek myth is the foundation of society! French names are practically derived from the greats of Greco-Roman history. Egads, the girl wasn't under a rock, she was in Hollow Earth. Scarlett makes a note. The necessary bookmark in her thoughts requires a good reading and maybe a few plays. A few visits to the Met will help. Statues to scandalize! Pots to marvel at! Marbles, marbles everywhere…

But then dearest cherie goes about asking the great question of life and she wrinkles her nose, again, the only response she can possibly render a reasoned statement after a long, quiet pause. "You do not ask the simple questions, do you?" A fondness lingers, her voice softening.

"It stopped me from being shot. It stopped time." A tiny flick of her lashes slants lower, and she wets her lips with her tongue briefly. "When you would go on your knees before a god and take whatever wrath come upon them, without a second thought, you will know you've found it. When you feel an ache hollowed out inside you in their absence, you'll understand it. Love is a transmogrification of the soul. Love is alchemy upon the self, and when denied the nourishment of it, taken far away from the source, you begin to die. You stop living by pieces. Small fragments. Oh, it's all very poetical, but there is a real truth underlying it all: the world changes in a way. He or she becomes a star in your sky, perhaps elevated to the sun. I feel not myself, separated from it. It hurts otherwise."

The hollowness forces her to swallow, and stare out the window. "And I am fairly certain there may be no satisfaction to this. I don't know how to bring that about, for I cannot force anything. I cannot wrest the threads of fate and reshape them. It would not be right, for one. I know not what your cards say to that, but I know my soul-deep convictions give me no release from purgatory. I don't think they ever will, Marie-Ange. And that foretells a lonely life, doesn't it?"


If she were more a believer in changeable destinies, she would wonder if she ever could have gotten out from that sheltered existence without her cards. She believes in destiny, though, and knows she would have found a way, by action or inaction.

There's a shake of Marie's head, as well. "Change begins with one, Scarlett. There is an expression that I have heard… what may be insignificant to one, may mean the world to another. You offer, and give help, and in doing so you change people's lives; who knows what some of the souls you have touched will go on to do because of the role you played? Perhaps a life you saved will belong to the man or woman who will bring about world peace? You would be directly responsible." …and yes, it would have happened /anyways,/ but. There's that thin line between free will and fate. The actors can always be recast, too, in order to make the story's ending remain.

There's a bit of an apologetic look at the concept of asking a difficult question; there's times Marie speaks without thinking about it, but she's quiet for the explanation. Those often timid green eyes watching thoughtfully as Scarlett speaks; she speaks poetically indeed. "I… I see." she replies, redness returning to her cheeks. This time, she's going to the cards, and it's for a different reason than the norm. Not the general kind of reading she usually does.

The Ace of Swords comes up, and she's quiet as she tucks it away. Letting her fingers brush over the pouch containing her cards as if it were a living, breathing creature. "You speak as if you have found it, but also as though it eludes you in some fashion." she finally speaks, before quickly adding, "If this is difficult to speak of, we need not…"


However clearly that comes, the Ace given a position, the young woman gives a faint smile. "Your other reading has yet to pass, and its truths are tantamount to direction. Besides." She raises her hands and a shrug eloquently draws itself. "There is no easy answer in the realm of human emotion. I must live and act through this. Again, and again, I am called to choose at the crossroads and I realize the fundamental truths at the approach. There is no other choice for me." Scarlett's not the sort to fidget, and her gaze holds the faintest traces of radiance skimmed in the mesmerizing shades of the polar lights.

"I'm not naïve. I cannot set my feelings aside, either." Her shoulders return to their normal line, and her contemplative mood isn't quite resignation so much as a clarity earned without any roses or rose-coloured glasses, at the very least. "Not that I am doing much sitting here moping, no? Perhaps it will drive me to some fantastic height or the utterly most morose and worldly poetry. I will take you down to a concert for one of the folk singers in Greenwich soon. If you feel your English supports the night, you can hear the troubadours of the modern age plunk out their tunes and speak to the human condition."

A laugh follows, merry and warm, while the bus rumbles along through lesser and finer parts of New York. Stuvy-Town isn't the nicest, to be sure, and some of the ladies on the bus shift their purses from their laps to their sides, almost guarded. She has no such concerns, not really, but then this is a girl who attacks constructs that threw her off the Empire State Building's top viewing platform and did not live to tell the tale.

Concern is relative.


"My English… is not /perfect,/ but I manage. I would be most pleased to go to this concert; the culture found in this city is truly magnificent, I have found." Marie replies, brightening up a touch. Letting herself be distracted from her thoughts, for just a moment.

"Readings do not always come in order, Scarlett, they simply provide answers to questions. If one is careful of the question asked, a more immediate answer can sometimes be found; it is why I read for myself in the moment, and try not to ask for an answer that lies more than a day away unless it seems very important." she admits, a little of the method to her own madness, right there. "For others, I try to read further, because they may not see me in the now when their now matters most, even if reading in the now would be simpler, more effective."

It's now that she turns her eyes towards the window. The Ace demands bravery. It demands truth. One thing that's difficult, another that seems more difficult now. "Scarlett, I have asked once if you would wish to know what comes ahead, or live in ignorance of the future might hold for you. Today I ask if you wish to know what it holds for me, or if you would prefer not to know where my path leads."

The bohemian may not be the type to fidget, but that's part and parcel for the French girl. Fingers kept busy by stroking the pouch, which remains in her lap — she doesn't know better in order to guard it from potentially unsavory characters.


Scarlett nods in agreement, her shoulders gently tipping back to allow stress to flood away from them. "The music scene is remarkable. You can find almost anything here from opera to classical to people playing plastic jugs in the most wonderful manners," she cannot help but smile at this. "And a good amount of it actually sounds good. Edith Piaf-style jazz, that might be worth pursuing too. Your French will make them descend into a swoon."

Not far from the truth. Authenticity goes a long way in this day and age.

She reaches over and puts her hand briefly on Marie's knee. "It's your choice. Always. I will heed what you tell me and accept your conclusions upon it. Should you want to divulge that information, I will treat it as the honour it is, and act with similar discretion. I swear that by the All-Father and the Three Sisters." Nothing much more exists in her world, and just one more invocation coming from that middle realm might well briefly turn a spark of divine attention from on high, make the conversation point for a heartbeat more interesting over the banquet tables.

"Nothing by half measures, then." The redhead reaches over and tugs on the chain, giving the warning their stop is coming up. Mostly. It'll be on the other side of the bridge, a bit early, but they can walk.


"Truly, even plastic jugs used as instruments? The wonders of the new world never truly cease, do they?" Marie replies, turning her head back with widened eyes. That wasn't expected; nor was the compliment at the end. "I would love to experience all these things, America is full of surprises, and I wish to know them all."

That's all she says for the moment, though there is a small smile offered at the comforting touch. No, this time she waits until they're walking once more to speak, this was a conversation best had without interruption. So once the bus has stopped and the pair have made their way back onto the sidewalk, that's when she starts speaking again.

"I fear you may not consider it an honor when I tell you." Marie laughs; it's a bit of a dark laugh, though. Her hands dig around as if looking for pockets to retreat into — that's something she'll have to look for in a coat; pockets. Pockets are extremely useful, not to mention good for keeping hands warm. "When I meet someone, I always do a reading. To know how these people will affect my future, and if I am to interact with them. You may have noticed me doing this." She tries not to be noticed, but the taller girl's been around enough to see it, she's sure.

Eyes facing front, she continues. "When I met you, I drew the High Priestess; but it is not the only card I have drawn regarding you. The Star has come up twice." Courage, Marie. "Today, the Ace of Swords." In some ways, she expects that statement to say everything; but it is her role to serve as a guide to the meaning of the cards, and she forces herself to play it again. "You spoke of living a lonely life, Scarlett, and being brought to decision time and again. If you wish a life that is not so lonely, I humbly offer myself, if the thought does not offend. It is a choice the cards seem to suggest is entirely yours."

For Marie, the thought has plagued her. Thoughts of romance have always been foreign, but this seems utterly alien given her upbringing. Her form lacks its usual grace with each step, replaced by tense motions; not unlike a dog expecting to be hit for a misdeed done.


Even plastic jugs! What a god awful predicament for the state of music. Just wait until they use trash cans and stomp around, it will be an end to western civilization as these two know of it. This causes Scarlett to stifle a chuckle, the rattle of warm notes caught in the cream length of her throat.

America, how strange ye are. It's plain here too, where the banners floating from a few lampposts try to bring colour to an area ruled by immigrants, the working class, and factories. The staggered chrome skyline of the city, especially the Financial District, rises behind them in soaring vengeance upon the clouds. Those massed low swallow up the tops of the skyscrapers, leave them awash in cotton.

She is a quiet soul, when she wants to be. For all Scarlett's poetry, for all her musings, there are times when she knows how to listen and in fact does it terribly well. (See also: Jean.) Silence is a gift, a communion of minds, and she gives the leave to speak until all speech is done and a fraught response teeters on the brink.

Care, whispers Skuld.
'Ware, murmurs Verdandi.
Ha! no doubt that crone Urd would think.

"An honour. Let me tell you of honour. I know a man with much, and a woman with none. I know a spectrum of people in between," muses the bohemian, "and I know, fully, that the meaning of honour changes by the person. So it is a currency with sliding values. My measure of a person's qualities does not rest upon what society says it ought, else I'd be in a kitchen married away rather than a student. Rather than trying to save aliens, apparently. Rather than ensconced in a court and a courtship that is unearthly — and possibly not one at all. Or perchance once foreseen. I hold faith to it, anyways."

The French for it? The masculine.

Language spins around her tongue, and the flowering of possibilities all seethe through the reflective soul, the mind turned inwards, listening to the murmured lilt and the pandemonium screams in her crystalline thoughts. Broken walls and crystal oubliettes await the imprisoned; hers is not a psyche where they ever truly escape from, those prisoners of touch and soul.

The soul thief does not smile, reflexive in establishing a wary regard of the street at large. "Marie, I would not intentionally hurt you. Show me no such fear." Remonstration comes ever so gently, painted in a murmur. "You near enough live in my guest room, it should be your room properly. If that is your wish, I'll offer you hospitality and a home as long as you like. You have given me reason for gladness, and you have a role to play in the future too important to allow you to fall to the wayside. That you might be on the streets, snatched up, abused for your abilities, or left to roam a wild borough is unthinkable. Besides, cherie, I like you. Our redheaded triumvirate, no?"


She's again silent for a couple moments when she gets the response. A rejection? Well, not entirely, and also not unseen by the cards; they spoke clearly that it would not be Marie's decision to make, but that she had to open the door nonetheless. She played her part, as she always does.

"I am happy to not have offended you." Marie replies first. That was her primary concern with the way that she was raised; such concepts were considered unnatural; but then again, her cards were lumped in there, to. It's a subject that's going to take a lot more thought should the cards draw in a similar fashion in the future.

…as for the offer? She listens thoughtfully. She doesn't have to draw a card for this one; it too was answered long ago. So Marie's response is a bright smile. "I would love to stay with you properly; and I know you would not wish me harm, but…" It's a serious topic. Doubly so in this day and age. "…but I will need to be able to repay you for your kindness somehow to accept the offer. If there is some part of your burden that I can lift, simply say the word and I will do it gladly, yes?"


It's not rejection. On the other hand, is the clarity there on a wavelength that Scarlett gets? Ask her directly or in a week. The bohemian's thoughts lie scattered across the jetstream of reality, and they beg for a magnet to pull them back. "I don't know what path I walk as yet, cherie. Those I trust sometimes turn their backs, and a few days are needed before—"

There's the sneeze, a crumbling tour de force that knocks her plain onto her heels again, high pitched as they come. She excuses herself three times over before pulling out a handkerchief, sighing in utmost misery. How the hell did she get a cold? Boo, common virus!

"You are enough, Marie. You always will be. Do not think for an instant you are less than the greatest prize to a person, because of your goodness and your kindness."


Marie-Ange draws 6 Lovers.


She thought she had heard it clearly, but the words didn't seem to match up to her thoughts. They were too complimentary. Too…

She consults the cards again, and the result turns Marie the deepest of crimson. The Lovers. It was a card that made all the sense in the world to Marie, and had a very clear definition considering the surroundings. It made her heart flutter in a way she didn't expect. The pouch is tucked away, and feet speed up to take her in front of Scarlett. To purposefully block the path.

"Scarlett… perhaps you did not understand my words. It… is not an easy thing for me." She forces herself to look into her friend's eyes, a fire burning behind her own. "I offer you not simply my companionship, I offer my heart as /your/ prize. That you need not walk alone. I… am far from perfect, but what I am is yours, if you wish it." The cards demanded it, after all.


ROLL: Rogue +rolls 1d100 for a result of: 97


The spill of Brooklyn fans out before them, beyond the strokes of the bridge. The stony byway leads into a riotous collection of roads. No concern for the hoity-toity airs of the Upper West Side rules here, nor is there a fascination for wealth and social climbing as other boroughs. Workaday cares rule the whole of this plucky, broad-shouldered, unrepentant corner of the city.

People here are the microcosm of European immigration, more than Liberty and Ellis Island, a nation-state that somehow embraces so many creeds, colours, and ideas. Their ideas, their notions, melt into the pastiche of building fronts and faces floating by, their voices on the air. All of them give an assault on a WASPish ideal that, in many ways, Scarlett herself exemplifies right down to the cultivated accent speaking to the sophisticated heights of Kent or Savannah, separated by the ocean but so alike in spirit.

For a moment, drinking in the spirit of the city, there is peace and silence, a slant of her flashing emerald eyes towards the shorter redhead. They hold an azure cast of the aurora borealis, a building plasma gleam putting them into a surreal spectrum. Crimson braids twist around her shoulders as she halts on her way, hovering upon her toes almost literally. A necessity not to fall upon them.

Shock registers slowly and it comes in a fundamental crack in the star-crust of her being. Wobbling gravity flings itself outwards, as it were, and she stands still before Marie, head tilted a fraction as her thoughts catch up with the correct assumption she did hear what was said. The silence has to be agony. The pause lasts microseconds. Does time count in this situation?

Saturated luminosity catches in her eyes, and she holds out her trembling hands. "Marie, as a friend of the soul I have waited… I do not know how many years for. Mine is a life so strange and inconceivable I scarce know what to make of it, at times." Her words take on a somewhat more formal certainty there, evidence enough her quicksilver thoughts are reflected upon before speaking. "In such a short time, you have brought such light and hope. You honour me. But my heart belongs, whether blessed or cursed, to Loki Odinson of Asgard, prince of that realm and lord protector of Midgard, and while it may never amount to anything, perhaps it will — or perhaps it will bring pain and anguish for me — I am forsworn and vouchsafed from taking any other." Her words are soft, incredibly so, and French alone is capable of rolling such nuances into the poetry she needs.

Scarlett continues, certain and gentle as she knows to be, "I cannot foresee the future. It may be you have some role foreordained by the Fates I don't yet know, that we end up together, and if so then you know in your heart what will come. I will not knowingly lead another down a path of waiting and uncertainty, or anything less than the fullest of affection and attention. It is not you, cherie. It's that I belong to another, I've sworn it by my very being, and it's the path I choose. Always."


For Marie, right now there is nothing else but Scarlett. The people who bustle around the pair and shoot the occasional glare for those who don't get out of their way? They simply don't exist. No traffic, no buildings — she's barely aware of the sidewalk beneath her feet.

For one who's such a novice in romantic affairs, the wait isn't the hardest part. The wait is surrounded by ideal images of what romance /could/ be, poetic notions crafted by the other woman herself. When hands are offered? The shorter girl takes them eagerly, squeezing with anticipation of words to come.

…and then the strength leaves her. Her hands don't move an inch though. She stands, she listens to the words as they're spoken, she feels those hopes vanishing like one of her apparitions under attack. There's a slow nod of understanding as she takes the words in, and a frown that she tries to force down.

"Then I committed two sins today." she admits, wrinkling her nose a bit in distaste for her own actions. Were the cards wrong? No. They told her where her heart will stay for the time being, and they told her that it wasn't her choice. "I will not interfere, this I promise you." she offers, forcing her eyes to maintain contact. "…and worry not. The choice to wait or not is not your decision," That belongs to the cards. "Should things change, though… you will let me know, yes?"

She'll have to consult the cards again if the time comes; but she has no intention of using them to find out if and when it will. Privacy is a valuable thing, and she will not violate it.


"You do not sin for love, Marie." The answer there is not unkind, not in the least, couched in compassion and adamant morality that bids to do no harm. The pacifist is not a pacifist out of fear, or a lack of conviction. On the contrary, it's a reverence for life that defines almost every aspect of Scarlett's day to day existence, a vein of rich ore brought to the surface by a strike. "Love is never a sin, nor is affection. Look without fear. I will defy anyone who dares to tell me you should feel ashamed. Awkward, yes. Having one's bravery met by disappointment is difficult. Courage to speak your feelings is one of your great strengths. It is so rare in this day. Cherish it, fearlessly hold onto your virtues. And yes, I will."

She runs her thumb down her jawline, pinched against the pert curve of her chin. Then her hands fall aside to toy with her scarf rather fondly, folding an end under into her coat. She quizzically glances aside, as though vaguely startled how close the traffic moves to the sidewalk. Thoughts spiral back to the start. "This does not change how highly I esteem you. I would be dishonourable if I led you to believing I could give you what you deserve, and I cannot be the person who causes someone of such treasured acquaintance pain or disappointment. Nor is this going to deny you a home and friendship, and my highest regard."

Her unease — Marie's — will forever remain a sharp chord which the elder redhead hears constantly, and she takes what pains she can to smooth it over. Explaining herself doesn't come naturally, especially not in this front, but other parts do. "Cherie, you do not have to worry about interfering. I invite you to be what you have all along. Yourself. You have authority to speak if you believe i am acting astray or wrong. I'll strive to listen. This isn't about me, and even in love, I have a responsibility to be a good citizen and protector of humanity's interests. Regardless of those who may hold my affections, I cannot waver on my duties. You are a bulwark, and your opinion will always be welcome. Don't fear me."

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