1965-01-01 - The Man From Cheshire
Summary: Lindon gets a vision from an undesireable contact. Lamont and John start learning more about Hargrove's motives and targets the hard way.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
lamont constantine lindon 

It's a normal night, inasmuch as nights are normal around this household. Lindon is in the library of the manor he shares with Lamont. He's had headaches lately that have put him out of commission, and today he's well enough to sit up and write. It comes on subtly. He's writing, and then he's just writing more. When he's filled the empty journals within reach, he starts writing on the blotter. He fills all of the brand new calendar of 1965. Both sides. Then he's writing on his hand, his shirt, but it's hard to write on his sleeve, so he rises, looking around glassy-eyed for a blank surface. The wall will do. The kitten on his lap is dumped to the floor as he gets up without a second thought. That's hardly typical of Lindon. His lips are moving silently as he scrawls on the wallpaper.

The two magicians are in the library downstairs, discussing certain bits of magical theory idly, over mulled wine. Lamont's in an armchair by the fire, cat in his lap, petting her idly - it makes him look like an aspiring supervillain. Until that something comes down the link he shares with Lin, and he stands, abruptly. The cat squawks in protest and goes to groom herself on the hearth, huffily, as Monty turns for the door. "John," he says, curt. "Lin…..excuse me. He's having one of his visions." Constantine being one of the few he needn't lie to about it.

Constantine darkened Lamont's doorstep once more. Crude a crafter as he was he was consistently competent and dogged at his pursuit enough to maintain his Vatican bestowed title of 'The Constant One'. Even New Years the Constant One wasn't at least. Man he'd like to be but there were too many things off center and, well, he had few true friends in the world who he may visit in a moment of weakness from his self-appointed exile. There was a sharp inhale of breath and a furrowed brow. "Well… that explains that." A rough hand squeezed Kent's shoulder and already his detective's mind was clicking and whirring. "How is he?"

Lindon murmurs under his breath in Enochian. «From below, he devours. No mortal life, no escape, no more. The man of Cheshire is no more a man. With every feast, he grows beyond what he is.» After defiling the wallpaper, he turns back toward his desk. His beautiful dark eyes are gone, replaced by milky whiteness. Back to English, he mutters, "That can't be right, he's still encased in human flesh, and human flesh can be destroyed. No, the amulet, he's buried it in a wizard's box — damn it! Where, where, where…" He goes rifling through an atlas for maps. Unlike his usual self, he is not treating the book gently.

Lamont's there….having snagged paper and pen on the way. He knows how these tend to go, and he puts them on the desk, within reach of those pale hands. The sight of Lin in vision's grip - it dismays him, but it doesn't shock him, that's clear. No attempt to restrain the Archive, or guide him. But he does reach out along the link, mind and voice, "Lindon, John and I are here, if we can help…."

Constantine lifted a finger and traced a couple of lines in the air with his finger thoughtfully. He listened though, what was said and between the words spoken. Finally he looked to Lamont and set into motion himself, "Grab a pendulum for him. I'll start laying maps out." He knew he possessed one and skipped the questions. It seemed the most rudimentary way to assist was to arm him with tools. Sentiments were often tedious and John preferred to just get to it anyways.

The link between Lamont and Lindon floods the former with images. A face of an older man, eyes raving with lunacy and cruel pleasure. "I see you," he whispers, though it's not clear if it's directed at Lindon, Lamont, or neither. It's just an image after all, and it flies by fast. Lindon lets the atlas fall to the floor and he goes for the blank paper. He starts to sketch out a map, though of where isn't clear. "His vulnerability," he mutters. "I have it right here." He looks at Lindon, those milky eyes alien and strange. "He has a weakness. It's… it's…" He smacks himself in the head, leaving smear of ink on his brow. "It's too big! I can't get at it!" But he's trying.

It staggers Lamont like a blow - back a pace or two before he can steady himself properly. There's sweat on the Shadow's brow. It's been long and long since he had to contend with foes mind to mind as he once did, and while this isn't a direct, hostile attack, it's still a hell of a pressure. He makes no attempt to guide Lindon's glow of images, but only does his best to lend strength down the link. He gropes blindly in the drawer of the desk, comes up with a pendulum - a point of milky quartz, the silver chain of which he places in Lin's hand.

Constantine went through to volumes until he could find several atlas collections and started spreading them out: the US, New York, Europe, Russia, Asia, and two on central Asia and the middle east to start with for lack of more table space. it wasn't often he deigned to show compassion, but it was there. "Eeeeasy Lindon. One piece at a time. One small detail, don't swallow the whole pill mate."

As Lamont is blown back a couple paces, Lindon wads up the map he's just drawn and throws it at Constantine. He's not conscious of his actions, not entirely, so without that keen awareness of physics, the throw is far more akin to his innate lack of athleticism. He's about to lunge at the maps when the pendulum hits his palm. He grips it reflexively, then calms down, exhaling a long breath as he resumes a straighter stance. "I have passed the first hurdle," he says. His gaze drifts — how one can tell when it's uniform milky is anyone's guess, but somehow it does — and he turns his head toward the maps. "That one." He points at Russia. "I hear you," he says. "I can't see you, but I hear you." He goes to his desk and starts writing more on the blank sheets. "There is more power here than I thought. He is more of a monster than a man." He's writing names. Abigail Cullpepper, Yves Galais, Francine Dumont, Alois Reikland. He starts to write another name. Ale—, then he scratches it out. "Not yet."

Lamont rests a hand gently on Lindon's wrist - not grasping hard, but making contact, skin to skin. His other goes for John's hand. They're letting Lindon guide, but he can at least gather what strength he may from the magician. "We are listening. John is right." His brow is knotted with worry, and they can feel the power humming in restraint. The temptation is to wade in, psychic guns blazing, but…in this case, patience is required.

Constantine grabbed the page and started to unbunch it laying it out where Kent could comfort Lindon, but also lay eyes on it. His cheeks pulled in at the 3-letter name. He looked to Lindon quietly replying, "Alexander Cohen. The toy maker we found." Of that he was certain. His hand rubbed at his stubble jaw, and tired blue eyes revivified with the spark of immediacy upon them all.

Sometimes these visions last awhile. Days, if not a week, once in a rare while, more. Patience is most definitely a virtue. But it's not all constant gibbering. Sometimes he's almost lucid. Like now, as he neatly writes his list and leans into Lamont's touch. His eyes face back to their normal brown, though they remain unfocused. "Yes, the toymaker," he says. "The Master requires Alexander Cohen's magic to animate an army." He smiles a little. "It will be easier when they all succumb. He won't enslave humanity. He has bigger fish to fry, other dimensions to conquer." He writes down, 'Dimensional rifts, collateral damage, millions, help them.' "It will be glorious."

"We're going to need Strange on this one," Lamont's voice is as dry as parchment, as he listens to this. He slips his arm around the relic, unabashed, draws him close. John already knows what they are. "Yes," he says to John. "Sounds like he's needed to make more than toy soldiers, this time."

Constantine pinched the bridge of his nose. "Every… holiday… Lamont. We just are going to have to start skipping birthdays. I don't think Earth could frankly take the strain." Deadpan, even now. He set his jaw though and nodded, "Want me to ring him up? Where's your phone? I'm with you that if someone's using our planet… reality? As a trans-dimensional staging ground he's going to want to know."

"He has plans for Strange. I can't… it's too far away, there's too much in the way." For now, Lindon won't go digging, not when he's in an information-rich vein at the moment. "If he finds me, I am going to be in a spot of trouble," he says. "If he can reach me. I'm unreachable." He practically singsongs that last bit. He keeps writing in his neat script. Coordinates, a few sketches of snowflakes, each one different as he mumbles to himself, distracted as he thinks. "Beware the witch. She traffics in darkness beyond mortal ken."

Now that's a phrase calculated to make Lamont blanch, and so he does. The shadow goes from merely English-fair to paper-colored, and it is not at all a flattering look. "Oh, dear," he says, mock-mildly. "There's one in the hall," he adds, in a sort of absent-minded aside. "I can reach out to him though….." His jaw tightens. "Surely he doesn't mean Strange's consort."

Constantine wasn't darting to the hall just yet. Now Lindon was spilling cryptic messages about his stomping grounds. He squint and in a far away thoughtful tone answered, "I… dooooon't think Wanda's what they're referring to. I mean, true, but right shape piece, wrong puzzle." There was more and now John's mind was reeling in lost data.

Lindon shakes his head and says, "The Irish witch." He writes out some of the words he's saying with addendum and notes. 'The Irish witch, old Cromm. Blood magic, sacrifice, strife. "It's quiet here," he murmurs. "He can't see me." For once, Lindon's inability to cut through his mental word storm comes in useful. No telepath can penetrate his mind short of the occasional lucky Lamont. "So many questions, so many answers. Kent Allard, John Constantine. I sense you."
You paged Lindon with 'ooooooh'.

None of this is good. And hearing his true name is always a jolt. Kent's spine stiffens, and he draws himself up to his full height, as if to face down some unseen foe. "Who is it who speaks?" he asks, softly.

Constantine pressed his fingertips together against his lips. He had a singular and finite focus that would, no doubt, be some what of an assurance to Kent that the life he saved so long ago, had not giving up on his ceaseless quest for redemption. Finally after long silence he spoke. "Not Wanda. Cromm, or in the formal, Cromm Cruach. He demanded sacrifices of blood and soul, human, in promise of prosperity in agriculture, fertility, prosperity, and conquest in battle. The kicker? He could deliver on it. Our 'friend' here … is looking to wager some very high stakes. It's not making me feel at all better about having been on that list ever. We may not need to call Strange, but Alex and get him over here. But, our… circle…" He used the word loosely, "Will need to know. The Sanctum in London will also need to know. I'll see if they have anything on what's happening there for us."

Lindon smiles softly. "It's me," he says to Lamont. "I'm in deep, but I'm still me." For now. Almost shy, he adds, "You can ask me questions. There's a lot of stuff here." He's still writing, independent of what he's saying and possibly thinking. Just information. Names, dates, little details about this and that. Stuff that will take further research to puzzle out. "There's so much." His brow furrows. "It hurts. My head, I can't…" He presses his hand to his forehead. "Owie."

"Oh, thank God," Lamont says, with a quiver of relief in his voice. You can take the boy out of the Church, but can you take the Church out of the boy….He gives John a look. "I know that name," he says, and he is not in the least happy about it. An upnod at that. "Yes, they shall." To Lindon, gently, "Don't press too hard. Home in on one detail, if you can. Follow one thread in the storm."

Constantine watched this all thoughtfully. Nope he was not doing dinner any time soon after all. The boys had work to be done and though decency was being ripped apart as the very seams there was a comfort of falling into their natural roles. Really this is what they knew and if allowed them to focus on what they knew best. The Knight of Humanity said no more but ducked back out into the hall, and rang up Strange first before putting through a collect call to London Sanctum. They'd get cross with Kent's phone, not his. Still, it was his home office and this was grounds for international incident.

Lindon nods slowly. He stops writing for the moment, the better to squeeze Lamont's hand. This is a nice lull. He's responding to outside stimulation and not shirking touch. The fits come and go. "He has a relic," he says softly. "The Shadowveil. It conceals him." His voice trails off and he stares blankly into space for a moment. "He took it from one of his victims. It's a rather big advantage, I would think."

Oh, no no no. No one gets to outshadow the Living Shadow himself. That's pure grumpy competitiveness, the look on Lamont's face. "Not for long," he says, flatly. And now he's reaching down the link himself, trying to get a taste of that concealment. To know the feel of that relic.

Constantine knows better than to blindly go feel another man's relics. It doesn't mean he heeded that warning, but he knew about it. Kent… Keeeeent… Helping Lindon first remember?" He walked over and was starting to appreciate how Cassidy must feel most days. Still John disappeared coming back with a washtub with salt still dissolving in salt water. It was heavy so it was a careful process. Oh he was pulling out the tools to… oh keep him warded while he went spelunking. He wasn't going to tell him not to go. He was more of a have a rope for when you jump bloke.

Lamont is able to compel Lindon in the direction of that relic, too. Lindon gasps, but his mind focuses, narrowing along a single thread in a vast web. The Shadowveil isn't a veil, it turns out. It's… something wearable, made of metal? Maybe suspended from a chain? There's only glimpses visible along that line. Pushing harder for more information causes Lindon to wince and grip his forehead, but what one can glean is this: it's like a big you-don't-see-me spell. As for Lindon, the worst he's getting at this point is a headache. So he's still more or less fine.

It's like trying to walk a tightrope while leading a pitbull on a chain. Because there's that unthinking, reflexive aggression in Lamont, try as he might to help himself. John's reminder has him dialling it back, returning to his former position more as bolster and well of strength to Lindon. But that taste of him is on the link, smoky and bitter and dark, like burnt myrrh.

Constantine would love to know who the hell eats myrrh. Then again he could tell you the taste of brimstone because that shit does not come out of your nostrils for a time. God, they were born to a life uncomfortable and foul. But they could do something about it and that had John fired up. He set the basin down where Lindon's chair was when he wasn't flitting about manically. He snappointed at it to sit and… stick his feet in it? Shielding. Kent got a pat on the shoulder to let him know he was being looked after too. "There we are."

Lindon tilts his head when Constantine speaks, though his gaze doesn't track him. He rubs at his forehead. "I'm sorry," he says, soft and meek. "It conceals itself well. I only see it because I'm on the inside." He closes his eyes. "Not. Not inside him but inside knowledge of him. He's worried about a champion."

Lamont helps by maneuvering Lin's feet into said tub. Hey, it's like a spa experience. Only….with evil magic. He's got no scruples about kicking off his own shoes and jamming his feet in there as well. "You see from his perspective? What does he fear?" he asks, in an eager whisper.

It was just a washtub. So while Lindon and Lamont could climb in there stepping on toes John slung an arm around either of their shoulders and said, "Yeaaaaah three's a crowd. Tell him next time you talk to him that he should be less worried about a champion and more worried about me calling up the flames of hell to singe his arse hair." John shook his head but waited for the answer to the most curious question.

"There is a man," Lindon says quietly. He relaxes when his feet are plunged into saltwater, if for no other reason than a foot soak feels good. "A man who wanders, a man from Kamar-taj. He bears a flaming sword, and he doesn't fear the man from Cheshire. He's in India. His name is…" He shakes his head. Can't get at the name. "I would know it if I heard it. He's feared because he survived. No one survives, but he did."

"Not Strange?" Lamont has to ask. "But surely someone Strange will know." That idea's reassuring. "Can you describe him, this champion? Epithet? Powers?" Arm around Lindon, still.

Constantine furrowed his brow and tossed Lamont a name that was a solid possibility of someone they served with back in the UK. "You think it's Prajesh? He waaaas always good at sidestep and translocation?" Turning back to the whole rub-a-dub-dub 3 Magi in a tub situation he assured, "It'll come to you when ti does."

Lindon shakes his head. "Not Strange. An Indian. His name starts with a V. Vasant? Visanti? V… V…" Constantine's reassurance that it will come when it comes relaxes him as he starts to push too hard. "Some Indian V-name, surname starts with a K. Kul-something." He laughs a little, thin and thready, staring blindly at nothing. His fingers get restless and he reaches for his pen. "He wears a sword on his hand like a glove."

"I don't know," Lamont'svoice is very dubious indeed. "But….that's distinctive. And Strange has contacts in Kamar-Taj. He will know….or know someone who does." He raises a hand to Lindon's temple, massages gently. A kind of strange tenderness, as he listens intent.

Constantine Hrmmmms and tapped his molars together. "Vasant sounds familiar. Dunno much about the bloke but we can maybe start there." It was at the least a place to start from. "We um, need water? aspirin? Honestly if you have chocolate is honestly does do wonders."

"I'm okay," Lindon says. "I think I need to just be quiet now, unless you have questions. I can answer questions. I can tell you the Indian man is stalwart and true. It annoys, to be reminded of just what a horrible creature the Master has become. He had dreams once of being a hero. He started out a hero. He needed to compromise. He made too many compromises." Lindon bows his head, chewing his lower lip.

"I think you should lie down," Lamont suggests. Yes, he's fussing over Lindon. Constantine can deal. "I've headache medicine, and the tea that Strange gives us to deal with precisely this. John, if you want to lie down in the guest room, for the moment…."

Constantine took a deep breath and nodded quietly to Kent. He wasn't going to make a big deal out of it and neither would he and that's just how they were. It was understood though that this was a time where they would silently fall back to looking out for one another under all the sardonic overtones like an old married couple they generally communicated in. "Yeah, that'll manage. It's late. Could likely use a third set of hands." He paused. "In case," he offered. Kent didn't get very close to things. He knew it was not easy to see something this close to him and his pride hacked at all in one night. "You lads carry on. I'll get the tea."

Lindon nods slowly. "Yes, I'll lie down." There's an air of consent to the words, not that he's thinking about a lie down but that he won't resist being urged to do so. Lamont will managed to get a few sips of tea into him, but little more. He doesn't sleep, though. He lies very still, eyes closed. It's the closest he'll get to rest tonight. Still, for being in the midst of a vision, it's a moment's peace.

"Thank you, John," he says, and there is genuine fervor in his voice, as well as that wealth of understanding. They do get each other, in their strange, class-conflicted English way.

He leads Lindon to bed - Lindon's own bedroom. Where Lamont himself will settle by him.

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