1963-11-27 - Of Gods and Monsters
Summary: Scarlett and Marie-Ange have a tete-a-tete about just happened with their guests: a hitman and a medic with a valkyrie passenger.
Related: Not What I Had In Mind
Theme Song: None
marie-ange rogue 

The farewell of valkyries and their bad boyfriends goes without commentary. Scarlett returns to her room to meditate and, eventually, sleep. Doors locked behind her leave very little indication of anything amiss, only a determined certainty no one and nothing interrupts her. As she told them earnestly it's been a very, very long week.

One without her central compass accessible, and one without the raison d'etre at hand. One without answers and one without certainty.

Sleep gives way into the late hours of the night when rain threatens to sleet upon the windowpanes and the uncommonly balmy weather experienced in the front half of the week finally gives way to a gale. Out like a lion, in November's case. A cup of tea will be all she seeks, poured for her to drink at her stead, a ceramic pot stationed beside the table looking out the window. Here she curls up and stares outside at futures and the city, her secrets so much her own.


Much like her dear friend, Marie too had slept. Overwhelmed by the visit and the conflicting emotions the visitors drew out of her, she really needed the rest; but sleep was a fleeting thing, and it wasn't something that came easily to her right now to be certain, so up she is once again — and after taking the moment to dress, more for warmth than modesty given that the cards had said more company wasn't expected — and making her way out of her room.

Her movements are slow and tinged with grogginess, but still carry that same elegance that Marie always seems to have when she moves… but se doesn't move far upon spying the taller woman. "Good morning, Scarlett." is offered softly, she's pleased to see the other woman — but her voice lacks some of the recently gained peppiness. She's still going to approach, though, and if she's allowed? Slip arms around her friend for a lingering hug.


Morning is 10:52 PM, but who worries about that? The redhead of longer legs in tall thigh-high socks, cotton woven, casts her feet over the arm of the chair. It may be insouciant but too bad for it; she will not adjust her posture short of the royal court of Asgard appearing on a rainbow bridge into her presence. And then, she might ask what calamity demands the formality stay intact. Did Odin turn out to be married to Sleipnir? Is she pregnant? Has some awful future been foreseen that involves a mad orange lizard ruling their nation?

A hug is permitted from the stiff creature, though, the high-collared sweater trailing down over her hips no doubt in part why she permits it. Stealing the soul of her near friend is not something she cares to contemplate. Scarlett pats Marie with her forearm, having foregone total gloves; hers are fingerless, but she knows how to use only her palm. "Have another cookie? I think we should have a few left. Our guests wanted only cream and honey, of all things."


Not Marie, that's who! Morning is when she wakes up; it makes more sense that way, as morning in France is not morning in America and so on and so forth. Nonetheless, she's happy to enjoy the closeness for several moments before drawing away. At least long enough to indulge in a cookie. Because she likes to eat, and loves sweets even more. "Yes please."

Once she's claimed her cookie? She claims a spot on the floor next to Scarlett, content to remain there without need for chair or anything like that. "They were interesting people, no? Not quite who I thought might arrive, but… not entirely unpleasant, either."


Morning in France is every hour that isn't lunch, that much is true. Show up when you like, assume shop time will be whatever the owner feels like, and bureaucracy in triplicate runs on its own course. Scarlett understands this, even if she has not been to Lyon to be sure.

"They are interesting people, though dangerous. Trust him not for an instant," she replies softly. "She was unable to even take me to her doorstep when he was gravely ill out of fear he might react badly. Negatively, in a sense I think that he might hurt her over it. Those two have their own dynamic, but I suspect he abuses her in some fashion. The young lady, not the Valkyrie. None would be smart to do that." Her nose wrinkles a fashion and she sips her drink, smothering her blazing opinions about the inequality of their interactions. Trust someone raised at least as a bohemian and follower of counterculture to be something of a feminist, or at least very dangerous. "Do you know whom Brunnhilde is? I think it will be hard to find a translation of the Ring Cycle for you here in French, but I can possibly bomb over to Paris and find you one if you can put up without me for a few hours. Else I might ask my friend Illy to jaunt me over if she can afford to do so."


"I do not. The cards spoke of him as one to be judged, not to be trusted, yet the company as a whole to be welcomed. She was harder to read, however, though I suspect that is because there are two souls living in her head." Marie admits, bowing her head slightly. "A shame for her, should he abuse her… and for him, should she seek our assistance in escape someday." Because Marie would help with that gladly if such trouble /was/ going on.

"She is an angel, yes? Sent from Heaven to show that we are not forsaken; and to escort the souls of the dead to their final paradise." she asks, seeming fairly positive but not /entirely/ so. Scarlett holds plenty of sway with her, as always. "I can take care of myself when I must; I /do/ go out on occasion." she teases. "Even the other day I went to visit with a friend of mine who I had not seen in some time."


The redheads united in their concern are left to chew on cookies and worry about how things might pan out in future days. Scarlett is not particularly talkative in times, though this is one where she forces herself to speak anyways. But she sighs. "Not an angel. The valkyrja is not a peaceful creature, she chooses the dead. In many ways she controls who dies and manipulates events to save her favorites or send enemies to their grave. She's a warrior through and through, and unlike angels, her god is not entirely benign. He is powerful and a trickster, an honourable king whose rules of honour and goodness aren't God the Trinity's."

Might as well bite the bullet. "I have met him. The mighty one who is Thor Odinson's father, that would be whom she answers to, rather than Hela, Queen of the Dead, the way she made it sound. Either way, the valkyries are an extension, somewhat, of his will. I think they all exist by his wishes, and as their own person, but they aren't fully independent. They are here to reclaim the dead of Asgard, not humanity, and there are different kinds of angels. Different psychopomps who escort their dead home. I am certain Mercury or Hermes does the function for the Olympians, assisted by the varied psychopomps of the Greco-Roman underworld, for example. And I myself? If I die, it's probably one of the Valkyries' lot who will come and get me or so I am told, but then I hold a true faith in one of them." Just name her Sigyn already. She'll kill whomever does.

"Brunnhilde, the Valkyrie, has an interest in you. She believes you can be groomed with future time. I will not stand in your way or those of the cards, but please have a care." Azure eyes narrowed, she stares out the window rather than face Marie. "I care too much about you to feel comfortable with the meddling of other powers, much as I am myself subject to them. But please be careful and walk lightly. I cannot stand the notion you might be hurt. Whom did you meet?"


The correction between what Marie /thought/ and what Brunnhilde actually /is/ leaves the shorter girl a bit crestfallen. She had taken the visit as a sign that she might not be the horrible person she worries might be the case, somewhere inside of her. Now she knows otherwise, although with Scarlett's eyes away from her the only sign might be the way that she leans her head against her friend. It's a defeated lean.

"I see." she replies, closing her eyes in thought. "So she holds some sway over fate itself, if she is able to choose those who live and those who die." Which might make her a good friend to cultivate. Marie holds no care for herself; she goes where and when fate desires. Scarlett is a different matter entirely. "You have led a most fascinating life, Scarlett. Meeting with Kings and Presidents in such ways… I do not think I would know what to do with myself." She would; etiquette is a part of her being, but so is self-doubt. "…and it is hard /not/ to hold faith in that which you can actually see; the harder is to believe what you cannot. It is why I struggled with my own faith for many years, until I saw it come to life before my very eyes." The Hellmouth did that to her, to be sure.

The latter startles her a bit, head tilting upwards, doe-wide staring. "In me? …groomed for what?" Then a pause, and a reassuring smile. "You stand not in my way, or of my cards, Scarlett; both they," And cue color to her cheeks, "and I, suggest that you /are/ part of my way, written into my story by the fates themselves… and I am glad for it. I will be careful, though, I promise you this."

"A friend of mine, his name is Roberto. He recognizes that we live under the tower's influence, and has made an offer that I wish to discuss with you." Because it involves her too.


"I am…" Oh powers above, the business of the new President and the bewildered Kennedy, the kings and princes and gods. Scarlett puts down her cup of tea before putting her head in her hands. "You make me sound competent at any of this. I am not important, I merely happen to be where things happen and struggle, the same as everyone else, to know what to do. Stand among the gods, you know your mortality. It is that moment of staring into the stars aware they are so remote and great, you are a speck of light in the sky. I believe your faith is easier and fulfilling more than mine."

Marie's faith does not include the monsters in her head shrieking every second of the waking day, as they are now.

"What else? Alliance, service, I think. She believes you would be good to act upon her path, perhaps, and I am less inclined." Inclined to use and freedom of choice; on that front, Scarlett is dreadfully focused upon independence and freedom. It's there in the set of her jaw. But Roberto makes a smile. "Oh? The Tower's influence, destruction? Or that you represent beginnings, ends, and other things? You and he, you and I, us all? Go ahead and tell me."


"My faith in the /cards/ is easy only because I was born into it, and because they consistently reaffirm my faith. Every single day, they prove themselves in and out." She trails off a moment, her eyes left to linger on her friend… but soon she's speaking once again. "My faith in God… Gods, maybe? Grows more complicated by the day. Were they only stories, they would be far less frightening, but my very eyes have seen that which they can never unsee, and more. My very sanity is kept woven carefully by the fact that my destiny is written, and I turn the pages one at a time." A pause, and Marie reaches out a hand to gently squeeze the first clothed part of Scarlett she can reach from the floor, eyes growing serious. "You /are/ important." she insists. To at least one.

"… I see." Marie's not hard to consider ally /or/ servant, with one caveat. "I will listen, consult the cards, and do as they say. Much as when you bring me to meet Monsieur Xavier. If they say to follow… I have no choice in the matter. I only obey."

Then there's a nod, and absently her other hand reaches up to stroke through her own red locks. "All these things; the nation itself is rocked by the Tower's influence in every way, transitioning to a new sense of normal with things that… are very much not. Monsieur Roberto is a businessman, he travels the world… and he plans a trip to beaches," She thinks back to recall the names that were dropped. "Bora Bora… Bermuda… he was unsure which, but has space upon his jet, and we have been invited in order to escape for a while." Like the people leaping out of the burning Tower itself. Except not falling to their doom. The thought hits her a little fuller and her cheeks tint a shade, eyes turning towards the floor. "That is… if such a trip would interest you, of course." is added meekly.


"Perhaps it is easier to understand this way. In Hinduism, a religion of India, they believe there are countless gods and demigods. Local spirits worshipped by a few, the patron of a town, the great and mighty Brahma or Sarasvati," says the bohemian, her head bowed slightly as she takes in the formative darkness gathering where lights go out. It's still early for the Village, but not everywhere else in the City that Never Sleeps. Some of its workers do. "Not for nothing the great authors call it the land of a million and one gods. Yet, in their faith, all gods are merely aspects of the feminine divine or the masculine divine. They have a hundred names for one masculine power, who is 'God.' And above them all is the feminine and masculine divine merged into one perfectly harmonious being. Now I would not blaspheme or cause you discomfort, but perhaps there is another way to look at this from a Christian context." Scarlett clearly has thought on this before, if she's drawing these parallels with effortless ease. She frames her hands together over her midsection, settled a little more upright instead of lolling about like a cat. "At the highest pinnacle is God the creator, the maker of all. Are we not his children? Are the angels not his creation, and all living things? Perhaps a way to see these powers is with God at the top, and each of them is something of an angel or a servant to his will. Just as the angelic choruses have greater and lesser powers, maybe the mighty beings we encounter are the same. Some have more power than others. In Orthodoxy the Holy Spirit — Sophia — is considered feminine. It's still an aspect of God. Suppose nature, the earth, is a goddess like power? Wouldn't she be an aspect of God? And so it goes with the Asgardians, and all the rest. A higher power, I think, stands behind them all, one unknowable and nearly untouchable except possibly at the instant of death or revelation of faith. I don't know that much yet."

Peculiar it seems to sadden her she does not, no? What else could address the longing in her eyes, the downward bow of her lips.

Recalled to herself, the girl blinks her azure eyes, the fomenting shade brightening some. The citrine light filtering in from the sodium streetlights casts her in an odd shade of copper, one that doesn't quite go with her hair, but the sheer curtains have a diffusing effect. "We were invited to go to a tropical island? Are you quite mad, cherie, to even have to consider it?" A getaway! "Of course we should. The winters are damp and cold, and any promise of the sun sounds absolutely remarkable. Fresh coconuts, warm sand under our feet! It will be delightful." Clearly someone doesn't worry at all about what she looks like in a bathing suit, because her bathing costume is probably a net and circa 1901.


In some ways, it's like Marie was back at the convent, listening attentively while her teacher spoke; except that was someone who was most cruel to her, and this was someone who she listened to because she /wanted/ to. Hanging on every word the taller woman spoke, and lifting her head to give full attention. Arms — in sweater sleeves — even cross to rest upon Scarlett's knee like the good student she is. "That… fits." she says finally, her mind putting the pieces of the puzzle together silently during her pause. "It makes sense, how all can exist at once. Your wisdom never ceases to amaze me, Scarlett." she replies, smiling brightly — at least, until she sees that look upon the other's face. "Is something the matter…?" she asks, staying put for the moment. Contact is reassuring, and it puts her close enough to hug if needed.

The happier news? It brings a bit of a sheepish smile to Marie's face, and she nods. "The cards told me to ask you, first." It was almost a reading she led for herself, but the cards were drawn just the same. Still, she seems rather happy for the reaction. "I will tell him that we will go, then. It seems like it will be a…. fun experience, to say the least." Poor Marie. She hasn't even considered that she'd have to wear a bathing suit, because she's never been to a beach!


"It can be about the nearest way to make sense of cosmology that I have. It does not necessarily make it easier for a monotheistic view, unless you can contend the saints, the choirs, and even demons all belong in a different hierarchy and possibly one we will never fully understand. Without having the creator here to affirm or refine the structure, the theory is the best I have going forward. And many 'gods,' I think, we have discovered to be instead highly advanced lifeforms or humanoids from places well developed beyond our own cultures." Scarlett allows for that touch, her socks doing a great deal to protect her from touch, and the rest of her simply has to shift to ensure that Marie does not end up a comatose sprawl on the floor while she stares into the fates' whims and sings her dreadful songs to the cards, while they shuffle about cantankerous and wrathful, for she is not really their mistress. Contact is reassuring, and yet a foreign province for her.

Berto has no idea of what he's signing up for, does he? Redheads burn in the sun. They'll probably pull out a big umbrella and hide under huge sun hats the whole time. See, Victorian bathing costumes are perfectly reasonable, supposing one is fair as the day is long!


"One of the sisters told me once that faith… loses something, if it must be seen to be believed. It did not help me much then, but I consider now that she may have meant that when it comes to…" she waves a hand in the general direction of 'up' "…all those things, there is much we are not meant to understand; simply to believe. I prefer to see, myself, but one can only see so much with human eyes." There's a little shrug to that; she's accepting of the thought. A piece of her fractured psyche put ever-so-carefully into place, even if it's taken much time and few things short of divine intervention.

"Oh… I should ask, in case he asks the same of me; if we may choose, have you a preference?" He /did/ say he's renting the jet… and no, Berto has No. Idea. At. All.


The redheaded girl sprawled on the loveseat easily kicks her foot, bouncing her heel off the side, and she probably considers getting up. Scarlett considers not a few things, one being the jarring look. "She might be correct. Belief stands apart from understanding. You can believe without proof. Faith is not exactly science, though we treat them in a similar vein." And that is all she has to say upon that, her grave eyes widening slightly as she stares off into the void of space around the ceiling, half-anticipating a spider to be crawling along on a web of stardust and faerie fire. Such a strange little creature.

"A preference?" This pulls her back in, like the need to check on the kettle or smoke coming from the oven. "A place? I… Bermuda is within range for me easily enough. Bora Bora is French Polynesia. We could speak freely there. Bora Bora." Of course, she's going to want Tahiti. Her eyes are the same colour as the water, anyways! Marie did mean which place, didn't she?


The kick — while not aimed at her, felt at her point of contact with Scarlett — is enough to move Marie in anticipation of Scarlett's urge to get up; the shorter redhead standing only briefly before moving to sit on the loveseat as well. Letting herself sink into the cushions as deeply as her weight will allow her, which is enough for her comfort, if not great for her posture. Comfort wins tonight. "Perhaps, ma cherie. I learned much at the convent… but not all of it do I believe as strongly as the sisters." Especially as it pertains to the cards, but that much is likely obvious enough.

"Yes, of places." And she listens; and… well, being able to speak the language is a big plus. So if they get to choose, that seems a solid pick in her book. "Any would be new to me and I suspect quite familiar for him; so your preference, I think, holds the most weight." After all, like she said, Bermuda she could potentially reach. …for that matter, Marie might be able to make it, too. Though /her/ method of arrival might shock more than a few locals.


Scarlett wiggles about to get to her feet; a slightly abashed heat flits through her fair expression, then fades away. One has to respond to their desire for something to eat, after all, and the implicit acidic hollow in her stomach insists, absolutely, this be done this very moment. She does make a point of twisting and swiveling around Marie, so no one ends up trampled or falling flat on their stomach as the other goes careening out the window. That would be disaster enough. She moves over to the kitchen, disregarding the plate of cookies and pulling open the fridge in anticipation of surveying breakfast or dinner, whatever her topsy-turvy cycle is bidden to be. "Mmm. He is that well traveled, is he? I still likely have a card or two on him for that, though I shan't say that. Suspect the deliciousness of warm weather and the beaches will make up for anything. How did you manage to convince him to have you taken on holiday? Was there a point of conversation about it, or is he putting you up to a dare?"


"I told him what the cards told me." she admits simply enough - for her part, she's not moving just yet. She's found that comfortable spot and she's quite loathe to leave it for the moment! So she just lets her eyes follow Scarlett as she walks, and raises her voice accordingly. She's not one who likes to raise her voice; but it's logical at the moment, to be sure. "They told me that I was to come see him. We spoke of the troubles going on in the world.. and he suggested a holiday as a pleasant diversion."


Food in the fridge is plentiful enough, but Scarlett ends up with none of it. She peers into a cabinet afterwards, pulling out a bowl, and then a spoon, for naught that seems to fascinate her appetite. Oh, the woes of choice in an era bereft of processed foods. Unless onion soup counts, which the Sixties are completely wild about. "I think your cards have a kind sense to them. I do appreciate that. Do you suspect they have a conscious mind, or a manner of volition of their own?" Because assuredly, she's thinking of them as a relic without saying such. "I should hope they aren't bothered by the recent events either. There is a blessing, though, to having some greater view on life. Tools of fate often seem more… poised."


That's a thought that has crossed her mind more than once, so it's an easy answer to give. "I believe them to be… similar to a telephone, where a conscious mind /is/ on the other end, but cannot be seen, only spoken to." Marie replies, closing her eyes thoughtfully. As for recent events? "I do not believe they are bothered by them; they orchestrate such things for reasons we mortals cannot understand, but for a greater good."

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