1965-05-23 - Grim Conversation
Summary: Constantine and Adam discuss with Halgrim the future of his unwanted roommate.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
adam halgrim constantine 

Constantine was approached by Adam about a delicate matter that required a certain sort of expertise dealing with all manner of things squicky, monstrous, and ephemeral. By George, John Constantine was that poor bastard with that rather unfortunate skill-set. Needless to say he was coaxed into giving aid to Halgrim and his tenant. So now they travel through Monster Metropolis to find the person in question.

"Often he is not here below," Adam says, walking alongside Constantine. It's one of his steps for every three or four of John's, so he's ambling, really. "In particular now, as it is finals season." He's heard at length from Halgrim about that. "We might try his office hours." The total absurdity of a construct and a wizard going to a possessed man's office hours seems to escape him.

Fortunately for Adam, Constantine, and the students of Columbia, the university is now officially on summer break, and that means Halgrim gets some time doing something other than teaching and grading. It's not the flashiest research work, but there's worse, and so he's brought a few copied papers and a pair of books with him to the lean-to.

It's improved slightly since Halgrim first woke up in it: someone's procured a futon that's full enough to qualify as a bed and not just 'a bag of cotton lumps', and the blanket is a patchwork quilt Adam might recognize as those made by one of the alligator sisters (they're a motley mess of frabric scraps over a simple shredded filler; ugly, but comfortable and, most importantly, free). There's also a sloppy child's drawing in crayon and marker on one wall: a rough suggestion of a wolf with big, curling horns and a ragged black mane; Halgrim's other face.

If he minds the image, it's not apparent. He's focused on the photocopied articles, which he's making notes on as he reads through a book.

Constantine plodded along in the manner he usually did with zero cares to give in the world. He's seen its true face. There was really little left to get worked up over. Still today wasn't about the endless nihilism that bit at the heels of the Saint of Last Chances. Today there was actually someone they might restore quality of life to on some level. That was decent enough innit? Well, for John it was more of a challenge and getting to poke at primordial spirits. That was always interesting.

John mused as they traveled, "Ever notice it's always we academics that keep winding up win reality's steamiest piles of shite? You suppose this is where 'ignorance is bliss' came from, mate?" Fair point. Reaching the destination there was a two-knuckle rap to the door.

Adam hangs behind John out of long habit, not to let his face be the first one seen. "It's always the old story. The fruit of knowledge is sweet, but its consequences are bitter." Constantine and he are two who know that well. "Professor Lindqvist," he addresses the lean-to. "I've brought you John Constantine. He's known for…" he pauses. Maybe he shouldn't tell Halgrim everything John is known for. "For facility with malicious spirits."

Papers and books shuffle about—there's an upturned orange crate with a Unicorn Brand label on it for Halgrim to use as a 'desk'—and Halgrim pokes his head out of the door, already looking pleased to hear a familiar voice. "Ah, Adam, good to see you. And, hello, Mr. Constantine." Halgrim offers his hand for a shake; it's a rough, calloused hand, the kind one gets from a fair amount of manual labor. His expression turns wry. "If you're familiar with malicious spirits then I have to assume Adam already acquainted you with my particular…situation." His accent is, despite his time in the States, still distinctly Scandanavian.

Constantine arched an eyebrow witha scant, wily grin shaking the professor's hand, "You might say we've met." The Brit took a long moment to look around the room to take note and stock of it giving the findings a nod. "Be rather keen on how you two met though if you don't mind me asking, Professor. I'd love to hear your account on the event. Moonlighting as an archaeologist? Comparative theology? Ancient lit? Bad camping trip?"

"As would I." Adam leaves all his ugliness on display when he's downstairs; there's a couple few Morlocks who could give him a run for his money, after all. So it's obvious that his huge face is alight with interest. "And I have drawn your other self, if you have never seen him in more detail than—" he nods to the crayon drawing.

Halgrim's comfort evaporatesd, and he swallows. "No—thank you, Adam, I don't think I need to see what he…really looks like." He raises an eyebrow at Constantine in turn, and gestures at the papers and books. "Not moonlighting, Mr. Constantine. I *am* an archaeologist. Though I've not been in the field since, well." He looks away and sighs. "I've never had to actually tell anyone before," he says. "So please forgive me if my telling is fragmented."

He pulls on the bronze chain around his neck, yanking out the amulet that's hidden under his shirt. It's not terribly large, unlike when Constantine previously saw it; worn by the beast, it was easily the size of a lime, but on Halgrim it's maybe a few centimeters at most. They're closer, though, than the beast would allow them get, and at this range the metallic inclusions that give the rough, blood red stone its internal glow are more apparent. "it all began with this thing."

Constantine nodded slowly offering offhandedly, "Doesn't it usually?" He shrugged more in expression than body, "No apologies needed, gov. Tell it as ya like." His beady eyes took note. It didn't look like Stranges or something he could blame the Catholics for today. Interesting. "Likewise I'm to assume any attempt to remove it has been met with folly, yeah?"

Adam has been so calm, up until now. Because now is when he suddenly looms up close, bending over to get in Halgrim's face. Passions that are usually on a leash bubble to the surface, causing his face to contort in a growl. "Not tonight," he rumbles, "but some night you will see him. And then you will be forced to obey the command of Apollo: Know Thyself."

Halgrim leans back enough that he has to put a foot behind himself to remain steady. He doesn't seem particularly nervous about Adam getting in his space; on the contrary—one of his hands forms into a fist, and there's a distinct sense that both Adam and Constantine can feel building: something is clawing at a doorway, trying to shove its way though, and something else is sitting stubbornly in front of that door, bracing it shut. The stone around Halgrim's neck flickers, and the edges of his irises gleam red-gold for a moment. He takes a deep breath, lets it out, and says, "We'll see about that," not once looking away.

|ROLL| Constantine +rolls 1d20 for: 20

Constantine took a deep breath pinching the bridge of his nose and walked a slow circle around the conflict. Mostly hermetic he started repeating a mantra in old tongue. With a series of hand gestures kept to the subtle while the lads bickered he did what good mages do: He pulled up a protective barrier to keep this business from affecting the material world. Just in case. The myriad tattoos on his skin faintly glowed with an emanating luminescence under his skin, and then died down. "There. That's a bit more helpful. Now when we're all done waving our cocks about deciding the future of the professor might we get back to the past a bit and find out how this all started? I assure you that taking responsibility for one's actions will be in a later discussion I can almost certainly guarantee will not be proctored by yours truly. Now, if you'd be so kind as to continue?"

Adam's dry, cold lips pull back from his teeth in challenge. "So we will, Professor. So we will." When the Mirror Dimension manifests, it surprises him enough to back off, looking around at the almost-but-not-quite new reality Constantine has sealed them off into. Its crystalline borders convince him that the mage is serious. "Very well," he growls. Straightens up, tosses his long black hair back over a massive shoulder.

'Personal responsibility' brings Halgrim up short, and he visibly crumples. If the wolf is still at the door, it's gone utterly silent. "Yes, of course," he says, sounding dazed, and clears his throat. "Apologies, Mr. Constantine." He gives their new setting a curious glance, shakes his head. "To answer your question I did try to get rid of it, on several occasions. The first time I tried to leave it at home, I woke up miles from my apartment, in the forest." He's quiet for a moment, then, "That's also when I realized what had really happened at the dig site. And after that I made more attempts to abandon it in various places, but they all ended the same. And when one of them resulted in an entire herd of sheep slaughtered, I…thought I should stop trying." He runs a hand over his face.

"We were, on a dig, in northern Norway. Overbygd, near Skjold specifically—not that, I expect that means anything to either of you." Halgrim glances between them, on the off chance it does. "It's fairly remote. There's a military garrison there."

Adam rumbles, "I know it. At the least, I knew it fifty years ago." He's folded his long arms and seems, if not relaxed, at least under control. "Beautiful land, with few humans to despoil it."

Constantine lifted his hand taking no offense nodding for him to continue discussing tragedies at dig sites and slaughtered flocks of Sheep. He couldn't help but note, "Well it does make them a bit easier to count. Go on." His lips pressed together and there was, in spite of his best efforts to teh contrary, a deep and genuine empathy there in his eyes as his listened neutrally to the story. "Been possessed before. Nasty business, mate. For what it's worth we all go through some trial and error before we look outside. But you! You won the jackpot. You found yourself a genuine primordial being that wanted to be found>"

Halgrim nods at Adam. "Still few. I can only imagine the garrison is meant to keep an eye on Finland and the Russians." He almost smiles, apparently finding that darkly amusing. He's all stone-faced seriousness a second later, though, and grimaces at Constantine's congratulations. "I've wondered about that, actually. How long did this site sit there, unnoticed? It wasn't well hidden. So why did no one notice it before we did?" He shakes his head. "And it was a little odd in other ways—it seemed to be a specialized burial mound, but there was no village that we knew of in that area, and they're not usually that isolated. But it's also not unheard of; sometimes we just don't know where the village is, and really we often never find them. So we didn't give it much thought, just noted the location and went about excavating."

Halgrim pauses and fingers the necklace. "The mound was actually an entrance extension, into a half-exposed sort of cave. Rolf—" He stops short, rubs at his eyes. "Rolf, he had a geology specialization, he said it looked like it might have been a cave, with a collapsed roof, and the mound had been built over it intentionally. There were large branches preserved in the dirt, so I suspect he was right about that." He laughs at some memory or another. "We had a hell of a time digging our entrance through it. Another item for the notes." He clears his throat again, and as he speaks his expression grows distant, like he's actually attempting to picture it. "Inside, we didn't find your typical burial mound contents. Instead it was almost entirely empty, save for an enormous skeleton, like from a bear or something that big, or bigger. And a stone chest. Old, ancient even, covered with mildew and the like. The lid of the chest was holding—it had closed onto an arm. A human arm. It was desiccated but there were fragments of cloth." He nods, like he's giving a report. "Very well-preserved. Cut off," he indicates just above his elbow, "with a clean, flat cut. No biting or gnawing."

Adam listens without speaking, standing in that statue-still way of his. Arms folded, head bowed. He offers, though, about the arm, "Sacrificed for an escape."

Constantine considered this folding his fingers loosly together, index fingers out to rest in the divet of his lip. "Villages sometimes relocate. Happened with the Innish, the Galls, Roanoke…" He could go on. He didn't. Looking to Adam his eyebrow arched earnestly impressed, "Good call that. Could be. So you can't part with it ad it wanted out. I know…" His hands rotated in vague circular gesture, "we can feel these things. You get a craving. Can you discern what it wants?"

Halgrim nods at Adam. "I've come to assume that. Some other, similarly unfortunate person found it previously." He ducks his head, as if he's ashamed. "And unlike me they managed to resist, and found a way to escape." He makes a face, shakes his head at Constantine's question. "No, I…I only opened the chest as part of the excavation. There wasn't, that I remember, any desire to do that, and none of the others seemed to wish to." He smiles, bitterly. "Of course, maybe I've forgotten intentionally. But even since then, I've never sensed that it wants anything. Aside from when I'm angry or scared or otherwise upset. Even then it's not that I can feel it wanting anything. It's more that it takes that chance to gain control and wreak havoc."

"He must desire something," Adam murmurs. "Can it be as simple as chaos itself? I have felt that desire as well. You could say I outgrew it. He is a spirit, though, altogether different."

Constantine arches an eyebrow, "A being in symbiosis will generally do whatever it has to to protect its host. Natural instinct. A ummm sorto of fight or flight response built into its higher consciousness. So not that you are… welll, assembled as it were, does it seem to have a pull? Wnat to act on things other than to protect you? Chase foxes, I don't know."

Halgrim tilts his head, looking thoughtful. "Not that I've noticed. The only sort of reaction I've ever seen from it has been violence." He nods at Adam. "Chaos for chaos' sake, as Adam says. Or maybe I'm subconsciously holding it down and those moments let it out, and after being held down it reacts more extremely than it would?" He thinks that over, shrugs. "I'm not sure I can say for certain that's the case. It's almost more like a sleeping disorder, or something like that. A feeling that I have to carry myself a certain way, and the pressure of that is wearing me down." He sighs, and looks exhausted for having mentioned that.

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