1964-05-22 - Fire and Brimstone
Summary: Regulars meeting up at Lux. Looking for answers, finding too many questions.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
lamont lucian 

He's become something of a regular….working his way slowly and curiously through the more exotic cocktails. EVen if nothing quite matches the Bar With No Doors. But then, Lux doesn't usually have Strange in it….while the Sorcerer Supreme's been the soul of kindness, the last meeting was profoundly embarassing….and it's left Lamont with the unthinking temptation to lick his left shoulder when disconcerted. Stress grooming, right?

So he's here, parked on his accustomed stool. Not much for chatter with the bartenders, but at least he's not a noisy or insistent drunk. And for once, he looks like he's actually working on *being* drunk, instead of confining himself to the one or two drinks. He's in white linen shirt and dark pants - dressed down for him, it doesn't even pretend to be a suit.

Most nights, Lucian mans the bar. Sometimes he prowls among the back rooms or ghosts through the mezzanine, escorted by some attractive woman on his arm. The cigarettes he favours are more an affectation than anything. Smoke isn't present now. Liquor, sure. Patrons drink no standard tipples tonight, for a sign mounted above the bar on a chalkboard reads: No dull drinks.

Screw juleps and whiskey sours. It's time to live a little, apparently ever since he slouched out of an American institution to found Babylon. The bartender in question is dark-skinned Maz, a woman tall enough to intimidate and flat, cool eyes appraising everything by how far it fails to measure up. Her hair is worn in twin tight black braids. And she watches the customers at the bar with accustomed brutality.

The blond slips up to her, from the opposite side for once. "Whiling away a few more hours unto eternity? How the long night settles uneasy on the city. Or some poetry." He smirks, the line of his mouth alluding to it. "I never had a taste for that kind of bullshit, honestly."

The amount of liquor he's already put away is betrayed by that faint hint of flush on the high cheekbones, and the glassy, bemused brightness of the gray eyes. "Not generally my taste, either," he admits. The New York accent's blurred into something more distinctly English, and he's nipping off each syllable like a seamstress does a stray thread. " Especially that sort of overwrought late Victorian the schoolbooks here seem to favor. Wilde's prose is almost entirely to his credit, but his poetry…." Monty trails off, as if in respectful delicacy, before adding, "Some of the poets of the first World War weren't bad, though."

Glassy, bemused eyes: always a fine sign of something to take advantage of. Mazikeen glances at the stirring variety of patrons making themselves known, talking with one another around a table or booth.

"Trouble is headed your way, boss," she mutters from the corner of her mouth and slinks off, making an unfair show of violet and black attire glistening in the low bronzed light of the edison bulbs.

"Showoff." The tone isn't precisely fond so much as contrarian. He leans his back against the bar. A cigarette is tucked between his fingers out of nowhere, lit no less, though in the moment it took to turn he could probably have snatched it. "'In Flanders' fields, the poppies grow, between the crosses, row on row?' About the only good thing to come out of Flanders, really." Nothing languid about him, even as he settles and plucks up a martini glass from behind the bar. "At least you're educated. Plenty are not."

Lamont concedes the point with a bemused little smile, a flash of brows, and a spreading of one hand. Whatever the gravity of his nature, Monty's not a broody drunk, happily. "Something like that," he agrees, nodding. "And some. God knows I got enough 'improving' poetry when I was a schoolboy in England. I had an aunt who was odiously fond of that kind of thing."

"Yes, the Brits have never been beyond classical forms of torture. Beyond keeping the windows open at night and offering insufficient blankets, the cuisine." Lucian pulls a face at the memory, distaste crumpling his mouth into a sensual line carved from alabaster and rose marble. "Boiled, overboiled, par-boiled, the commitment of the empire to civilisation. It was foreordained they would take their borders well beyond their shores, if only to find a decent meal. Or poetry." He sips the martini, a kiss of brutal liquid stealing over his palate and blooming into a vicious aftershock once swallowed.

A glance for the current tally, though there's nothing to speak of. He eyes Lamont's head. "It would seem your current job as financier isn't settling well with you."

Which little transformation he watches with a moment of dog-honest longing - Archive not withstanding, his tastes've been for women dark and men fair. But then Lucian's monologue has him pulling a face in return. "Don't remind me," he says, after a mouthful of his drink. "Uh. Makes me think of school. I went to one of the famous public ones, and it was years off my time in Purgatory, or so I hope." Then he pauses a moment. "My job as financier is fine," he says, with a dismissive ruffle of his fingers. "The Captain's a worthy man, precisely what it says on the tin. The group he's assembled are talents, if some of them a little mad…." A gesture takes in his own relative dishevelment. A hair or two out of place, oh no. Since he doesn't seem to groom with anything beyond a comb. "This is….for older things. A libation for ghosts."

"And how long ago was that, dear fellow? A decade or ten?" Lucian's voice holds a certain calibre of amusement to it. If he took to crooning, well, Sinatra would be a forgotten presence on the charts and a siren would be stamping her foot in soundless, inelegant rage. Her problem, not his. Licking the sheer of glassy liquid from his mouth, he carelessly leans back on his elbow. "Very good cause, just and righteous. Important to see to it the world doesn't cave in on itself and no one is so good with the money as a Brit. Or a German, unless you run too deep about Aachen. The Swiss seem so, but the Helvetii have always been a bit too tight-fisted when it comes to innovation and inspiration, wouldn't you say?" He angles slightly to Lamont, and if the fairness is a register of appreciation, then the light glistening on hair golder than gold is only fair. "And that is precisely why I stepped out. Not much of a joiner. Terrible at it, in fact."

"I'm not much of one, myself," he admits, after finishing that particular drink and setting it aside with a kind of finicking delicacy. Not quite to the stage of breaking glass without meaning to. "But….I'm willing to take orders from Rogers. I can fly, as well, and he's not got another pilot, not that I know of. As for the drink," He flicks a nail against the empty glass, makes it chime softly. "Yes, decades. To the author of all my good fortunes." He cocks an eye at Lucian, as if not sure how much of that was mockery….and then decides he's in no position to resent it, either way.

Lucian looks over the rim of his drink. Alcohol as transparent as water gives a fine frame for the stirring sediments, lines of faintest jade muddled with fragments of violet blossoms. "Stark, I would assume. Something of that nature is right up his alley. Failing that, it never hurts to have extra pairs of hands at the controls. As long as you're quite satisfied." Satisfaction rendered with a smile, nothing quite clear in whether he mocks the world or faces it appallingly bluntly. Nothing int he world is much left with surprise. "The author is none but yourself. You might thank your mother a few times, but the choices out of the gate are all your own."

"You know, I don't know if Stark can," Lamont muses, a little blearily. Now the pale eyes are somewhat heavy-lidded - he looks more like his usual somber self. "I should ask him." Then he smiles at that last comment, thin-lipped….but it's without bitterness. "Not entirely. I've had a great deal of good luck. Help. And born with a silver spoon," he adds, lifting a finger.

"A silver spoon helps immensely. So do particularly apt advantages we could spend all evening naming, but I doubt that's quite imperative to improving this mood before you end up curled up on your side in a cab, whisked off to some imposing Queen Anne on Long Island." Sometimes the man can be aptly observant, and other times he guesses. It comes with being the bartender. For all that he's held that cigarette, he hasn't smoked it. Lips form around the filter, a tight circle fashioned, and he breathes in. "So. What do you wish to make of it?"

Lamont's smile is abruptly dreamy, as he looks up at Lucian. "Haven't the faintest idea," he admits. "I've got no particular direction. And….just uptown, in fact. Not Long Island. I'm really with the Avengers to see what happens, truth be told. And I owe Captain Rogers my life from the last war. Well, World War II. I didn't fight in Korea." He glances down at the list of drinks, and then names something else obscure upon it as the next round. "One for yourself, if you like," he adds.

Lucian crosses his arms, stamping out the tobacco in the ashtray. "Or the one brewing in the South China Sea? Maybe the one being woven around Latveria, and the puppet proxies of Soviets and the U.S.?" He raises his shoulders, the pristine white shirt pulled taut over his skin. Obscure is easy for the alcohol, given how much of it is handmade by the man Lamont talks to. "What do want? Not entirely out of the Avengers, you answered that. Out of all of this. You walk like a man to the gates of horn and bone, but I imagine you'd be dragged kicking and screaming through them. Maybe you want to look through and see to remember why. Why what of course…"

He looks down at the surface of the bar again. The little smile curls the corner of his mouth. "Maybe I do. Maybe more magic. I've had a taste of it….but I've gone far enough to realize how meager the talent I have actually is. Parlor tricks." And he snaps his fingers, dismissively.

Raking his fingers through the generous crop of stubbornly loose waves, the Morningstar laughs. A short sound, mind you, but rich and full of terrible promise shaded by something nagging at the ear, a tease to the mind. "A handful of cards, a girl to saw in half, and legerdemain won't save that ragtag assembly from the storm they unleash on themselves," he declares. "Non-united Nations, they are." His summer-blue eyes, crushed crystal, measure the alcohol and then the man bent over the bar. At least his shadow is, whereas Lucian's seems almost tangible unto itself, darker and fuller than it has any right to be. "What does that even mean, parlour tricks? You can summon a coin or pull a handkerchief from a sleeve? Bah. I've no time or taste for those who downplay what talents and abilities they have, even the least. Modesty has never become your kind and it never will, not even for the little shave-pates on their knees in roughspun robes. As if humility means everything and anything. It never has amounted to the least point other than proving a race to the bottom, which defies the entire purpose."

His eyes brighten at that, amused….mocking both himself and his company, by the way his mouth twists. "Fair enough," he says, with a low grating chuckle. "And you're right, it doesn't. But….illusion. Confusion to my enemies. A few mental abilities, unevenly available. Maybe I need to make a deal at the crossroads at midnight."

Lucian says, "As if that ever helped except to bargain with the wrong power for the cost of your mind and your wit, your wealth, and whatever else a charlatan waiting for you thinks to take you for." Contempt isn't nearly present, so much as a weary familiarity. Lucian squares off his shoulders and bends his leg, examining with no little fascination the drape of his pant against his foot. Of course, not an iota of what he wears - what he is - actually corresponds to a scrap of fabric. A drop of blood. Truly someone looking at him on the subatomic level might simply run away screaming in confusion, terror, and certainty the Tsar Bomba magnified twenty times might drop on them. No matter. He flicks a bit of dust off his leg, and satisfies himself, well enough. "Illusion, sleight of hand and mind. Yes, you did rather err on that side of caution with me, didn't you?" Or no caution at all."

The old Shadow chuckles at that, under his breath. "I did," he concedes. "And you're right, of course," he adds, a little ruefully. "Those stories never do turn out well. Anyone fool enough to give the Devil the obvious in deserves what happens to him."

Old and oldest. Truly it's quite easy. The Morningstar stares off into the night embodied in Lux, the warm burn of the coppery light washing over them in a steady ambient blaze. He pinches at his collar and loosens a button, nothing but a blank swath of fair skin there. His teeth barb the smile behind the faintly piercing wall presented in a curling grin. "You would concede it has everything to do with an external power than anything about your own agency?"

"I don't think I understand…..but if I do, then….honestly not really. Magic isn't a gift granted by anyone, angel or devil. Not really. The well of the dark heart is plumbed by one's own hand and will, or not at all." The smile's faded, but he's not blearily, drunkenly melancholy. Just….a hair more serious, if nowhere near sober.

"As a rule of fact, it is, though usually the costs of the strings attaching magic are so expensive, they're scarce worth the bargain. Depends, of course, on the kind. Drawing purely on an item is, of course, downright idiotic." Opinionated as much as he is, Lucian slinks against the bar and grabs a bottle at the ready, one squat and stout-necked, wide around as a man's palm. He pours out a fairly abundant draught into his martini glass, and pauses, looking at Lamont's with an arched eyebrow. "Divine has its drawbacks naturally as a source. I think you'd love and hate to hear that while all mankind has some vestige of a spark of potential, most of them have no idea whatsoever how to harness it. And for the better. Imagine how terrible it would be if they could all generate some kind of power. It wouldn't be safe. Or intelligent. Or ordered. They would all generate some kind of uniform chaos. Madness, really. Beautiful from afar, terrible up close. Can't even figure out what to do with the garbage."

Lamont nudges his over, hopefully. "That's very true. Though it tends to devour the foolish, the idler, and the corrupt swiftly enough. Sometimes not as swiftly as one might *want*," he allows, propping his chin on his hand. "If we were a race of true magicians, we'd destroy ourselves."

Lucian raises his eyebrows. "And you haven't how many times over? The races of true magicians tend to be slightly more restrained or much more shortlived as a civilisation." He eases himself into pouring more of that liquor, sharp and citrus along with hidden, evaporating notes, that hint of clove and distant souks. Some for him, some for Lamont. It could be much worse, he might just put the whole bottle in front of the man and say 'Drink.' And then enjoy the liver failure that might ensue. "Anything devours, given time. The corrosiveness of the human spirit or the substance?"

"Human weakness," he says. "That's my guess." He savors the drink - no longer lunging towards liquid oblivion. Lucian's done that much good for now, anyway. "This is good. Thanks," he adds. The scent of it's teasing.

The drink is smooth and layered, until the vicious bite gets its subtle claws in and the effervescent burn comes hotly alight, shoving the unfortunate drinker over the threshold of inebriated to out and out sauced. Because Lucian is the goddamn Devil. Sips can be taken, shots of that potent liqueur, and the guest is purely certain to be drawn into a sunset freefall of delight and soaring heat. "Ambition. Weakness. Preference for things not immediately attainable. /I/ had nothing to do with it. Take your own acceptance and agency, young man, just like all the others before and after you."

Lucian can see it wash over him, like the sweetest of tides. He blinks, slowly, like an owl just emerged into a sunset that's still too bright for comfort. "Young man," he retorts, amused. "I'm probably older than you by a long shot. But…..not blaming you. No one gets to blame the bartender." He's not reeling right off the stool, but his joints have gone loose, that sphinxish little smile slipping into place.

|ROLL| Lucian +rolls 1d100 for: 39

Down, down, down. That sweet spiral does a cantata on the tongue and waltzes down the throat, reserving the punch-drunk finale of a burlesque show when it's least expected. Shattering conventions is something Lucian does when he can, and it means sitting down onto a stool next to him and glancing over with bleak amusement. "Oh, are you? What side of a century are you?" He clicks the glass onto the bar.

He runs the tip of his tongue absently over his bottom lip. "Three quarters of one, almost," he insists, in a murmur. He does not look like he's anywhere near seventy five. Not even in sight. A worn late thirties, a comfortable middle forties, a youthful fifty…..not even that. Then he slants a look at Lucian, and raises a brow. "'s very strong, that." The accent's slipped further, into that cut-glass southern England. Eton or Harrow, take your pick.

"Terribly. Useful, though." Lucifer, the bastard, isn't affected for more than a moment. He swirls around the liquid and then takes in a deeper draught. "An almighty seventy-four and two-thirds? Remarkable. You have yourself a passel of useful information." He smirks a little, unable to entirely resist. The alcohol is a fine zing to his tongue, though. A sip takes up more, a fresh rush. Hard not to shiver in pleasure.

Even that hazed, he knows the piss is being taken, as the phrase goes. Lamont's eyeing him sidelong, still. "You're mocking me," he informs Lucian, but there's no offense there. "'s all right. I know, seems ridiculous." And he lets it go with one shoulder lifted and dropped in a half shrug. Then he glances down into his glass, consideringly. Takes another sip, with the air of a man who knows he's getting dangerously close to having to be poured into a cab's backseat to make it home.

Lucian shakes his head slightly, the indolence of a cat throwing off water if anyone were to look too hard. "Most men of that age are going senile as their brain cells deteriorate, their bodies unable to sustain the perfect replication of cells. Odd complaints and ailments arise. Memory fades. Synapses falter, the senses corrode, sight dimmed and vision blunted." He could go on, and chooses not to. "To avoid that and maintain a vestige of animation, interest, fascination. Tch, wisdom of one old man to another." He looks maybe thirty.

Obligingly, he clinks his glass against Lucian's. With great care, it must be noted. No breaking the glassware - he's not Asgardian, to show approval that way. "To wisdom," he agrees, amused still. But he does not demand that Lucian disclose his age in turn.

And all the better, really, because the bastard can't lie. No point to it either. "Yes. Keep an interest in life. Always have questions unanswered, right?" The languid moment of the alcohol on his tongue evaporates. Lucian smirks.

HE's going to finish that drink, and he knows it. Even though the hangover that follows is sure to be Mongol Horde in terms of how epic it is. "Precisely," he approves. Smiling again, a bit more broadly. He's actually faintly pink, at least from the collar on up.

Lucian's work be done. He pats the bar and swings off the stool, easily straightening. "Let me call you a cab," he says, and proposes a simple exit strategy. He gives a long look over his shoulder, and then strides, seeking out the telephone. A push button one, of course. Keeping with the times, now. "You do need to mind yourself. Let me give you a glass of water."

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