1964-08-01 - Unconventional Sage Advice
Summary: Xi'an visits Caliban to have a heart to heart of a similar past and a frightening future.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
karma caliban 

Xi'an aka Shan aka Karma isn't exactly a regular in these parts. Being entirely human (looking) and dressed well isn't exactly something that makes one welcome. Still, she's been here a few times before. Hopefully someone remembers her. It's certainly not as though she's afraid exactly. At least, not afraid of other people. Maybe afraid of using her own powers. But, well…

Xi'an is dressed in a plaid short-sleeved shirt and jeans. It's about as demure and basic as she can manage, and she's surely aiming for those two things. A coat over her shoulders would likely be better, but it's damn hot, even hours after sunset. So, this will have to do.

Soon as she's well and into Mutant Town, she starts asking around. Anyone seen a man called Caliban?

There are not always people ready to give up the location of one of their own, and especially not one that throws fear around like candy at a parade. Little by little directions narrow the search down because one thing was fundamentally true: The poor can bribe pretty easily, and a buck goes a far here as it does in Hell's Kitchen.

Inside a small warehouse in a more commercialized area Xi'an is nudged though there were a few of the Morlocks loitering around, adopting a 'greaser' style to themselves and giving Xi'an the up and down. One woman was covered in quills, another of the young men had overtly reptilian skin, and the third had grey skin and webbed fingers. The escort though pointed her through the door telling them only, "She's here to see Caliban." And the grin on the smaller grey mutant grinned with a row of sharp teeth as if this were somehow entertaining to him.

There was a rasp voice that came from inside and the three stopped laughing looking suddenly quite concerned. The source of this was inside the warehouse, sitting on a stack of pallets. Legs folded beneath himself sat the scarred albino known to her as Caliban casting a reproachful, violet gaze back to them. "Lewis, treat our guest with respect." The unspoken consequence hung unfinished. The albino's fingers flexes a bit with his eyes on 'Lewis' for a long moment before looking back to Xi'an. A hint of a smile warmed, because manners mattered to him. The faintly Eastern European accent greeted her, "Good evening. You are a bit away from home today. There is a special occasion?"

Xi'an is patient. She lets a few bucks slip, too. She's reaching into her front pocket each time, of course. No purse, nothing in her back pockets. Because, ya know, it's just a good way to lose a purse or a wallet. She moves where told, she waits around, until she finally ends up where she imagines the man himself might be. And there he is.

"Caliban," she says, her voice warm and friendly, tinged with a French accent. There's a quick nod to the guardians, no offense taken, no harm done, then she walks directly towards the man. She pauses a few feet in front of his stack of pallets. "Visiting," she says. "And you'll have to hop down, if you wish cheek kisses."

The book was set down by pale fingers that were a scant too long. Legs unfolded and they were not alone here. There were a few hanging about though Caliban seemed happy to keep their business separate from that of the rest of the Morlocks. While he enjoyed his fancy manners this was not a universal interest. In fact the niceties seemed to exist to indulge possibly he and he alone, while in fact, there seemed to be some look of judgement and resentment towards the all too human looking woman with her face in tact.

Caliban seemed aware of this as well and hopped down in his time, unfolding lank limbs, and gesturing for her to walk with. The heavy side rolling warehouse door he moved aside like a pocket door, gestured her past to the alley beyond which would, eventually find the subway or the street. For now it wound the outskirts of a streetlamp where, in fact things were more pleasant. He admitted to her, "These are trying times. Your company is… unexpected. How are the children?"

Sensing that tension - because what good empath can't pick up on the obvious signs? - Xi'an reins it back. Her smile goes to merely polite. She folds her hands in front of her. There's no attempt for a proper French greeting. She merely dips her head, and follows along. She's quiet, until they're outside.

"I've heard a few matters gone awry," Xi'an says, once they're alone. "I thought it would be a good time to check on you," she decides. Check on him. Like he might need keeping. "They are well. Leong will start highschool in the fall," she says, and her eyes go big. "Getting so old…"

Caliban watched the street vigilantly. One stayed alive by paying attention. A life on the street meant a head on a swivel and that just stayed hand in hand. He pushed his hood back looking a bit like a strange, broken street monk. The washed out violet of his eyes regarded her curiously, listening, though keeping his thoughts on 'business matters' locked tight back away from the surface of note. Besides that he'd know if she tried to peek and so far neither of them have broken any civility with the other. "This is good to hear. Were I able to do as much for Shuna I would. I have… heard the news of the surface. It is seeming like war is finding your old home as it had mine. I thought of you." He really did like to keep track of little things didn't he? Though when you live underground the little things become fascinating for lack of regular entertainment.

Well, that certainly causes a frown to slip over her lips. "Yes," Xi'an whispers out. She takes in a deep breath, holds it a moment, then lets it out, nice and slow. "It's… horrible. Just horrible. My family is in the South," she says. "But… I don't believe any of the men involved on either side have what is best for the people in mind," she murmurs. "Though… that is foolish to say, no? When do they ever?" she asks. There's a pause, and then her eyes find Caliban again, as she continues to walk beside him. "Is there more trouble? Something specific… local? Something specifically troubling you, that is?"

There was something troubling him, though the faint feeling of fear he dragged around seemed to permeate all of his other emotions. His scarred lips pressed together thoughtfully listening. As she went on there was a short torrent of other feelings causing him to flinch faintly. Too-long fingers rubbed his face. The Eastern European accent stayed quiet and rasped, not without empathy returned, "When I was a child I lost my mother to other people's wars. Likely my father too. I never did see him after. Now we get sent here and still we cannot escape other people's wars. There will always be those trying to make it our problem I think.But this? This I think you understand. I am sorry that this is happening to you." And that was for all points, a truth.

As they continue to walk, Xi'an reaches out, to slide her hand around his arm, at the elbow, as a man ought to escort a lady. It's only proper! "I know the feeling all too well," she murmurs. He'd know that Karma's mother and father died in fleeing violence in Vietnam. Things haven't been good there in a while. And of course, the lack of mom and dad are the reason why she has to take care of her siblings. "I am sorry as well. But… it will be what it will be. I've yet to speak with… my people… to see if they will want me to travel there. I've not been back, not since I came. I admit… it would be nice but… the reason for the trip…" She just sighs.

Caliban walked with her and while it was perhaps strange to his people, these small customs, he didn't care. His other hand laid over hers on his elbow as they walked. He'd remembered when she asked him for help finding her siblings and while against his nature in many a sense, it was that common thread they shared that compelled him to help her initially. The ridge of his brow creased in concern observing, "You are afraid to go back? To see it happen again?" He knew she bore fear in her heart and it was not of this place and not of him, but he felt it as much as she knew these things. He fell quiet and shook his head, "I am not considered a brave man, Xi'an, but, I think, that your fear is well placed. I think it is a very sane thing to be concerned about. No one wants to see these things. We are orphans of strife. This is not something we run to, but sometimes we do to find those that need to run to something."

"I am afraid to go back," Xi'an says, with a faint nod. "Afraid of the war. Afraid of the death. But…" she sucks in a long, slow breath, then shakes her head. "Moreso? I am afraid of what… I will feel compelled to do. If I will want to stay and guard my family there. If I will want to… hurt those that hurt them. I-…" She just shakes her head. "It is hard. There much to fear…" she murmurs. Then there's a sweet smile, as she looks aside again. "I think of all of these things… and then I wonder… what difference could I make? The powers I have. It feels…" She just sighs, and shakes her head. "It's hard to think of these things."

Caliban listened. Sometimes understanding is found in odd company because the problem is not that of a typical nature. Really one could almost throw a rock and hit a mutant (which was an ill advised practice, by the by) and find someone with a relatable story. He walked slowly and gave her a slow nod. He offered to her a a thought, "But they are not your only people now. I ask myself this with all the things above the dirt, yes I came from this world but still I have my own. If something happens to me what about Shuna?" Because he didn't care to see his kid fend for herself as he had. A look of question came back to her, "Your brother and sister? What we do is sometimes secondary to who we do these things for. You? I? We can do very terrible things. I do not particularly enjoy these things but sometimes for our family to protect them it's what we must do. Life is not easy like that I do not think. But if you want to try to confront those fear? Maybe I can help you. Will it make you less afraid? No, but it will help you be prepared when you are. It is perhaps something." He patted her hand. He didn't threaten her with the terrible wickedness that he was rumored to draw down, but instead offered it to her.

"Just as you say… I have my family… my brother and sister," Xi'an murmurs out. There's a soft sigh, and then she gives a little shrug. "Another fear, added to the list," she says. Then she binks, and looks aside. "Ah… thank you, Caliban," she says, with a tight smile. "But I think… well. Talking helps," she says. "And I will gladly take your words. Your advice. Your stories," she murmurs. Because fuck no she doesn't want supernatural dread put into her! But she's very polite about it.

Caliban was a dreadful soul in the most literal sense possible, but strangely that intimate connection to terror helped him have a profound respect for it. He did understand the crippling burden it placed on someone; how it stole the breath from their lungs and sapped the will from their heart. It was cruel, and yet a wondrous teacher to learn from. Those were hard lessons though. His scarred lips twist into a warm smile, "That I think you are welcome to have." He had to offer and while he wasn't proud he did enjoy seeing what drove people over to the edge and shoved, but this was not the place for psychological science. "These are trying times. Make sure you tell them the stories. They were young but the memories should not be yours alone. Share them in case they risk becoming lost. Then they can never truly take that place from us." Strange council from strange sages.

"That's a good idea," Xi'an replies, as she listens to the man. she considers it a little more, and she bobs her head. "They have seen their fair share of bad things-" Hello, kidnapped! "-but they should remember it all. It is… life," she decides. A pause, and then she gives a little tug to his arm. "It is time for me to go, Caliban. Thank you for seeing me."

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