1965-08-07 - Shanghai Session, 1922
Summary: Lessons in stability ensue after Lamont takes down an underworld rival. Ambrose and the Bane give their tutor a run for his money and life-energy, but all's well that ends well.
Related: Shanghai Heads-Up, 1922
Theme Song: None
lamont ambrose 

He's there as he says - sitting in an armchair, dressed in those loose pj pants and a plain t-shirt, since those are effectively only underwear, in this era. Cool and calm and recently showered, reading a book by the light of a lamp, as a fan blows muggy air towards him, cooling at least a little.

Nevermind that the local newspapers were full of the murder of Vasiliev this afternoon, the Shanghai Metropolitan Police, the only police here empowered to deal with foreigners, vowing to catch the killer.

|ROLL| Ambrose +rolls 1d20 for: 8

|ROLL| Lamont +rolls 1d20 for: 17

The roof is likely thick enough to keep the brisk steps from being heard, but not the landing upon the balcony. Ambrose aims for the railing and nails the balancing part of the act, at least. A little bit of moisture on the bottom of his Oriental slippers makes for a wobble and he does dismount, but it's like an Olympic gymnast needing to step down from the sawhorse or risk bloodying their nose. Graceful, but still with an essence of an accepting sigh at imperfection.

Nobody saw that…except Kent, surely. The Jackal smooths down the front of his black silk vest, eyes averted. Or course the pants match. Even as he's walking into the bedroom with a noticeable lack of unease, he looks up with a wry and knowing cast to the faint smile on his face.

"You let Li live, eh? You're going to make me wonder if you're placating me, Black," he says even as he sets up an easy half-sit, half-lean on the breakfast table by the window. Arms crossed do their mild showcasing of musculature.

Kent most definitely did. And he's gazing at Ambrose with the kind of iron calm that means he's likely clamping down on some reaction. "No need to wonder," he observes, drily. "Of course I am. Li has hopefully learned a salutary lesson. You may still lean on him for the relevant antiquities. I'm one step closer to a controlling interest in the Russians here in Shanghai."

He gestures at the pitcher and glasses sitting on a little side table. "If you're thirsty, please, drink. Did you come for a lesson, or merely to confirm the kill?"

The brunet's eyes flick to the offered beverage and accompanying containers. He bobs his head in a little nod of acknowledgement to these being present before looking back to Kent.

"I came to attend on both. I appreciate the placation. I will leverage what I can of the incident to keep him toeing the line rather than outright attempting to hunt me down and, apparently, skin me alive to bind a book." Oh, but the smug confidence that shines in his grin and then the laugh that follows. "Poor bastard. I have the best time sending his men back to him." A musical little sigh of contentment follows. Not the most normal of reactions to death threats and consequential bloodshed. He then resettles himself by rocking back and forth and then crossing ankles where he sit-leans.

"You heard me say it. I didn't practice. Going to slap my knuckles with a ruler?" He delivers the line with utter lack of guile. Apprently, not doing one's homework came hand-in-hand with ruler-swatting and he's used to that as well.

Lamont can't help himself. "Do you want me to?" he asks, and beneath that dryness there's something else, that darker note. Then he glances aside, as if scolding himself, and sighs. "Come, sit, we'll work on it. It'll be good for both of us…."

Saved from needing to respond by the other man furthering his thought, Ambrose merely gives Kent a considering look. His chin, dipped almost defensively, rises even as he sniffs shortly and then rises to his feet.

"Alright, sensei, where shall we go? Chairs again? I can pull one up to the desk." For all his neglect at settling himself down, he's apparently ready and raring to give it a shot right now. It's probably better than being bored in the dead of night when the rest of the normal world is asleep.

"Very well," he says, softly. And he extends his hand - not the one with the ring, of course. Looking levelly at his student, face as calm as a gilded Buddha's.

Taking up one of the breakfasting chairs, he brings it over and deftly swings it about. Straddling it with back facing towards the other man in his far more comfortable seat, Ambrose then takes a deep breath. He lets it out slowly and meets Kent's eyes even as he reaches out. At this angle and distance, he can rest an elbow on the chair's backing and then his palm upon the one offered out to him.

Skin touches and immediately comes the wee minnow-like nibbling of the Bane beginning to take root. Ambrose closes his eyes and grimaces faintly. The sensation doesn't continue further, but it doesn't abate, not right off the bat.

It's that sensation of being submerged in water just perfectly cool. Calm and starlit, no clouds on the dark horizon. As if the Bane were a fever to be soothed away, its heat diffused into the depthless pool.

Kent is an odd invisible presence - in the pool? By it? Part of it? Hard to tell. But there's pressure on the Bane itself, as he brings his will to bear. See? Like this.

The rush of kything slips up and around his mind with gentle insistence, almost as a bathtub filling at high rate. He stands waist-deep now in that reflecting pool, comfortable in the freakish familiarity; it's a bit like expecting an ice cube to be cold and, indeed, it's cold. Soothing in its predictability.

Trying — The thought blips up and into the communicative feed. Again the flicker-flash of knuckles along the breast of a startled falcon and the echoing sussurus of him soothing the bird-Bane. On Kent's skin, the curse's draw at his life-energy begins to recede like the tide.

There. He permits himself a little flicker of…satisfaction? Pride, perhaps. As if in reply to the disapproval of warlocks past. God only knows where he got that training.

Good. He follows it, pressing it back, little by little, inexorable as the tide. Conscious of the danger, but unrelenting.

The Bane seems reluctant this time to be dismissed to its place within the marrow of its host, but both can sense the instance where it ceases to lap at Kent's residual life-energy and lay dormant. Ambrose's sigh is long and loud and infinitely relieved in the silence of the bedroom. His fingertips dig slightly at the wrist beneath them, reactionary and likely feeling for a pulse as last time.

Success — easier now — The student might be getting overconfident yet. Ripples stir here and there as his thoughts rise and swish away, more fickle than half-wild koi. Can do it myself — Or can he?

His skin is pale, the pulse slow and calm. He'sgot fairly iron control, though there's a spark at that digging of fingertips. Can you? Try. He doesn't yank his support out from under Ambrose instantly. Starts a slow withdrawal, step by step, measured as a dance.

|ROLL| Ambrose +rolls 1d20 for: 14

There comes the sharper splash of surprise at the sensation of the retreating influence from the other man. Ripples continue to spread as the Jackal rallies his intent, his breathing not drastically out of sync from its pre-set rhythm. The Bane in his bones stirs, but almost as a creature of the stygian oceanic depths; low, slow, and uninclined to breach the surface of the reflecting pool. Kent can likely feel the tremulous relief surge across the kything once more, the disbelieving breathy laughs little wufts of displaced mental-space even as he keeps the Bane from moving towards its succor with noticeable effort.

He hovers, observing. A blip of that cool pleasure. So you are. Good. He's utterly unrevealing, a shadow indeed, no real feeling transmitted. All that clamped down, held back.

|ROLL| Ambrose +rolls 1d20 for: 3

The pride is a fluff of bright flurries across the kything. It's followed by a recentering of his attention like something gathering in papers lost in a small gust of the breeze. His fingertips again pull at the skin beneath them. Where's the pulse, where's the pulse…ah, there.

Satisfaction blooms brilliantly red on the surface of the reflecting pool, turning several of its winking stars ruddy. The contrast fades out to leave it nearly monochromatic once more but for the wee riffles here and there. Images flash through again in broken-reel'd snippits of unrestrainted memory. Vivid, brilliant, there's the ghosting happiness of skin hunger assuaged without drain or pain or…the Bane. Pre-curse? Jasmine and honey tease the nose in golden curls of melted pearl and upon the lips, a phantasmal pressure —

— All of which Ambrose comes to realize is bared plainly to his advisor. The reflection pond scatters as the Bane leaps up from its rest and dares a SNAPSNAPSNAP at the skin beneath the Jackal's hand!

|ROLL| Lamont +rolls 1d20 for: 1

The break in the reverie is enough to startle Kent right off his balance. And when the Bane reasserts itself, he not only doesn't manage to help wrangle it back, he all but jumps on the grenade, as it were.

A mental lunge forward at something that isn't really consciously attacking him, foolish as trying to play chicken with a train. But his life force pours in like a stream, like that blood from the death wound.

There's a pained sound from him in the physical world, not quite a gasp or a groan, a wheeze. From floating to nearly drowning.


The chair goes toppling as Ambrose throws himself backwards and away from the man. Again, the sensation of rippling a Bandaid from a half-healed wound is likely not fun in the least. The Bane goes with him, licking shimmering ichor from its lips. He loses his breath as his spine hits the floor and then he's rolling. Limbs gathered beneath him propel him into a readied half-crouch, hands outheld before him as if to catch or redirect some vengeful attack in return. The whites of his eyes flash as he stares.

"…I'm sorry," he breathes, looking absolutely mortified.

Kent's sprawled in the chair, half-slipped out of it, draped there like a toy dropped carelessly by a child. One hand to his chest, gasping softly, eyes wild and fixed on Ambrose.

Slowly, he comes back to himself, little by little. Levering himself upright in the chair, painfully. "A lesson to both of us, not to be arrogant," he says, finally. Then he settles….and holds out his hand ot Ambrose again. One that trembles, a little.

Like a stray dog ready to bolt at the first wrong movement, Ambrose waits and watches. He's gone still and snap-shot ready to react to anything thrown at him, God be damned if it's a mental retort. But then…

"…you're not serious?" The distance between them makes his voice smaller yet. "I just nearly…" — killed you, is how that sentence is to be completed and apparently without needing to speak it aloud. He straightens until he stands tall in his balanced stance, palms still held out towards Kent.

He grins at that, feral, humorless. "I am entirely serious. Get back over here and sit down, even if you have to sit the chair like it's a horse, like you apparently do. Failures will happen."

He points, imperiously. "This is how I buy my life back again, from you."

Ambrose scowls. "I almost took it again, you lunatic," he replies, taken aback at the insistence he's seeing from the other man. "You won't have a goddamn thing to buy if there's nothing there to sell!" He drops his hands and continues staring, almost looking nauseated.

"Black. Be honest with yourself. How am I supposed to — to — center myself or whatever the hell it is? After that?" He flushes through his cheeks as he remembers the trigger for the disruption and looks away to one side almost guiltily.

"Look at me," His voice is low, firm. "Breathe. Focus on the breath. Focus on how that feels." Kent's hand is out to him, patient, waiting. "You can not continue as you are. Surely you know how to ride a horse. And surely you've fallen off one. You get back and you get back on."

In obvious reluctance, those cerulean-blues slide back over and up to consider Kent through the dusting of dark lashes when asked. Ambrose reaches across his own body to rub at the outside of his bicep and by the wrinkle of his lips, he's definitely fighting his own deep-seated concerns on matters.

"…yes, you get back on," he finally allows in a murmur so soft as to barely be heard. He doesn't necessarily drag his feet, but he makes his way slowly back over and sits in the chair in that annoying straddling manner once more. Not really able to meet Kent's gaze again, he simply closes his eyes and begins to focus on his breathing once more. At this point, he hasn't yet reached out to place his palm atop the other one offered yet. For right now, breathing. Simply breathing.

And stalling.

The gray eyes are unwavering, cold. When Ambrose fails to reach out his hand again promptly, he waits only a little, before snapping his fingers peremptorily. "Give me your hand." It's so very much an order.

The minutest flinch makes the loose locks about Ambrose's half-tucked face wiggle. Kent's words catch him off-guard, apparently, and he inhales before exhaling almost mulishly through his nose. Not quite a huff, but something fairly close to it.

"Hope you like lilies," he snarks roughly by way of warning against the Bane's tingling voltage beneath his own skin. And that — is the press of his palm against the other man's hand. He has his eyes almost screwed shut and it'll be easy enough to tell through the kything that he's fighting to keep the bird-Bane from flying free of its jesses by white-knuckled grip. The pins-and-needles is almost a phantom pain upon Kent's palm, barely held back by gritty and irritated force of will from its host. There's no mastery. Just plain strength alone.

|ROLL| Lamont +rolls 1d20 for: 10

Not the blade-like force it's been before. But….enough, enough. He's there, that presence, cool and dark, the water like an obsidian mirror. Not just brute force. Control yourself and control it. It is part of you, but you are the master. The mind wants to wander, the body to distract. But the will is over all.

Of course that's his take on it.

Up to his waist again in the reflecting pool, he reaches the palm of his psyche to touch its surface. Images flicker again. Jesses jingle and there's a harsh screech that grates on the ear. Shush! The sharp reprimand is indicative of his temper flash-feeding on guilt. Shush-shush-shush… The coolness of the water beneath his hand is something to draw upon; up it runnels along his arm and upon his neck, sluicing across the torso.

Breathe. In and out, breathe. One, two. Cold and hot, cycling. Feel his heartbeat begin to slow…to match the one across from him.

Shush… Minutes might have passed. Seconds? Who knows — this is beyond the conscious flow of time. The echoes of a lullaby by wooden flute dance briefly across Ambrose's mind before it settles into near silence again. Peace… Wistful wisp, that.

Kent's almost always so self-contained as to be nearly a nullity. Not much of him comes across that isn't the images or orders - few stray memories or impressions. Calm. Even with it, even when you fear or are angry.

Cold even with himself. If he's afraidof another lethal stumble, it loses itself in the cool of the water. And no images from him show in that reflective surface; he's there only as a shadow, a black cutout that blocks the glow of stars.

Shush. The final command to the tingling hunger is the requisite level of tranquility from Ambrose's psyche. The Bane slips away with a speed nearly grandiose and dignified and goes dormant, content for now to remain in its crevasse in the depths. Relief flutters the surface of the reflection pool in a passing gust of wind.

In the few second's relative silence that follows, stillness of the mind reigns. Then, as always from the inexperienced once, the attention wiggles in its balance. It shifts to the silhouette seen on the starry surface. — ? —

That's all you need to see of me here, His mental tone is almost dismissive. The rest of this you have to shape, to control. To see into. We're in your mind, not mine. A flicker of amusement, bitter and sharp. You don't want to see inside mine. Focus. Focus until calming that is so secondnature you don't have to think consciously about it.

Shape pool? Wonderment is twinklings of pale light in a falling comet's arcing flash far above the water. Shape — mold like clay — see? My mind — mine — The psyche's palm lifts and touches to the suface of the reflecting pond again. The silhouette wavers as the mind expects it to and a // — !? — // follows behind. See you — how? — why this? — why — it's my mind, mine, but — Another pat-pat of the water has it almost splashing up on the limb. Someone's doing an excellent job of being distracted; at least he's remaining cognizant of how he's breathing, of how his heartbeat is slow and predictable.

Then the shadow resolves forward, into something solid. Kent, as he sees himself when he looks in the mirror. Older, harsher, and somehow without any of his physical beauty - standing in the pool facing Ambrose. But I'm with you in it. This is an image I know that's good for instruction. It was used with me when I was younger. Now there's a thought, whatever strange schooling an infant sorcerer receives. The taste of dust and boredom, the scent of lawns just mowed. With the offhand possessiveness of a man stilling a restless pet, he lays a hand over Ambrose's heart. It's still novel to you, I know. When you are stronger and more experienced, this will be your landscape to shape as you will. But not yet.

Huh — not the same — you look different. It slips before he can quash the thought flat. Embarrassment blooms, but he waves it aside with a sweep of thought until it's nothing but faint pink undertones. The taste of talc, he knows; the greenery is something he knows from a far younger life, younger yet than proper schooling.

Ambrose doesn't flinch mentally as Kent reaches out. The mind conveys the predicted response; five fingers and the warm flat of foreign skin come to rest above where he projects his heart to be in his psyche-self. It glitters as a rhythmically-pulsing beacon in garnet and gold. The touch of light pressure upon his chest draws from Ambrose a soothed sigh that can be heard to resonate across the kything-space. The rings expanding out from their respective hips begin to disappear and blend away into the mirror-like surface.

Attention sweeps the resolution of Kent in his mind once over and again; curiosity, uncertainty, fear, hesitation…the wee inkling of trust all wash out and across in the misty prism of a moonbow. When? — soon, it has to be soon — soon?

No one ever sees themselves as they truly are. Not as others see them A link within a link, hearts in time again. Breath to breath, like the ebb and flow of a tide. I don't know. It depends on you. You need stability, consistency. The beginning is good, but….look at what a slip can do. No urging him to just be patient. What kind of feral creature would *he* be, isolated like that? It's a testament to Ambrose's strength that he's sane at all. Still and calm and cold, his fingers dark over that glow, but not dimming it, not obscuring it. As if he were warming his hand over an ember.

I saw — felt it bite. There's a tremble of anxiety that sets the stars themselves to shivering above. Ambrose can be heard outside of the the kything to inhale deeply once, almost as a sleeper stirring, before everything appears to settle down into calmness. The gentle beating of the garnet-heart continues warmly beneath the outline of dark hand as a constant within the malleable kything around them.

See myself? — How to see — not in a mirror, but — The hand lifted from the inky surface of the water is considered; it has a nebulous form here, as if he'd never considered that what he might see differs from another person entirely. Fingers curl, fall to misty uncertainty, and then reform more solidly as they stretch again. I'll work at — practice — promise. It has the golden solemnity of something given from guileless earnesty.

What he could do here, in a defenseless mind….it doesn't bear thinking about. But the point is Ambrose's control, not his own. Good. That's what it needs. You'll surpass me, in time. Not need me. No use in spinning it out beyond its natural course. Then he's withdrawing to a mere shadow again, folding down and back and dwindling. But stillpresent, watching.

Oh good. In surprising clarity, the short but full sentence almost sounds as Ambrose himself spoke it aloud. It breaks apart on the surface of the reflection pool and sets the silhouette in perfect black to wavering briefly. Are you tired? — sleepless — need to rest? It's a query aimed at Kent with a small thin glass floor of apprehension beneath it. The kything about them doesn't seem to be weakening and the Bane remains laid low in pseudo-rest, but it's clear that the Jackal would rather not subject the other man to another missing chunk of life-energy. Must not lose the favored pawn in his personal long-game, after all.

In a little, he replies, softly. Endurance is worth working on, as well. His presence seems steady enough. I will let you know when I must. The sense of a smile, of a comment held back. You? Is this very tiring for you?

Yes — no — how to explain… The misty presence of Ambrose himself within the kythin seems to affect a pensive scratch along the line of his own jaw for a second or two. Marksmanship. The liquid fabric of the starry sky at his waist ripples and it appears that the imagery flashes here now.

The sight down the long line of a rifle — eyes narrow, then one closed — waiting on a command — waiting — sweat trickling down the back of one's neck — the passing whine of a horse fly and trying not to flinch — the command never coming because the captain's an arse — someone down the line yelping as the fly lands and does its dutiful deed of biting — putting down the rifle and then getting to one's booted feet — sand at elbows being brushed off — resigned sigh echoing throughout the mental space as the heartrate rises briefly in memory of jogs long enough to wring them out in their own sweat.

Patience is fine — repetition boring — still necessary. A shrug projected. Worth it.

A wisp of approval at that. Apparently he has memories as visceral. After all, when he was first an aviator, it was part of the army Air Corps, before the RAF was born.

An image of his own in reply -a fencer working against a dummy. Lunging and parrying the spring-swaying arm, time and time and time again, until muscles burned and the lungs are wrung for air.

Muted fireworks of interest light up briefly.

Swordsmanship — miss that — still favor the pistols. The wet-ash remanents of Kent's dispelled vision are replaced by a short and semi-broken reel of other memories. A similar dummy attacked again and again by training rapier. It then breaks to the sight through mesh of driving at an opponent along the narrow strip of piste — the silvery blur of clashing blades — faint shouts echo as a touch digs into giving flesh, ouch. Still stings in phantom pain even though the tip was dulled.

Guns are faster, comes the excuse and accompanying little smirk, flash of a Cheshire Cat's grin, there and gone.

But much less enjoyable, he agrees, with that impression of a sigh. Muting back again, fading to flat blackness, as if that silhouette were merely a placeholder. Quiet, emotionless. Amazing how he suppresses it.

Really? The sense of a head tilted, almost as a dog cocking its ears. Swords are messy — slow — bullet aimed well — done — you would know. Resentment unfurls webbed wings briefly before shutting them again tightly. Now is not the time for baring teeth, not when the leviathan rests. Tomfoolery, sword against a gun — one shot — death.

A pause. — ? — The air stills, as if gathering for something. Gone — but there — shadow — not shadow — nightmare, but not — why not be? Present as he was within the kything earlier, apparently, as a more recognizable space-filling form.

He's silent for a bit, but it has that air of consideration. Musing. Habit. This is your mind, I don't want to….take up too much space? Warp things out of shape, maybe. The sense of someone trying not to step on metaphysical toes. A little blip of chagrined apology. He's already made a faux pas, admitting that. Evidence of his own internal sickness, those places where he's bent out of shape and wrong.

The blanket of reflected stars shivers again. Again the sideways angling of head, this time followed by the very deliberate weight of full mental attention upon Kent.

…possible to do that very thing? Again, a burst of crystal-clarity as if the dial on a radio has slid the needle along its horizontal path into perfect alignment. Misgiving blossoms as a clinging deep green mist overtop the cool waters, its hue that of the underside of nightshade.

I'm trained and practiced. You're not. I'm not here to usurp your will. That sense of him folding in on himself, like a man wrapping a cloak more tightly around his body…and making his form more amorphous. Something not to be looked at closely. Surely that isn't….shame?

As the silhouette appears to melt and blur about its edges like ink upon the starred surface, the shadowed-jade gathers itself into a loose-limbed form. Skulking, its head low, vaguely canine, it circles around on four feet behind the miasm of form. Ripples appear and break upon one another in frail silvery rings as it watches; misgiving taken form here, its eyes blank and white and staring in hyper-focus.

How would I know if you did? The critical question asked with perfect inflection. The canid continues its leery attention, almost blended into the undivined distance on the water's surface.

Grave and still. You would not be able to mistake it. I ….not here. The contours are yours, known to you. It would feel wrong. A pillar of darkness, turning upon itself.

The Misgiving Taken Form trots closer yet on those long legs, still glaring blankly. One might consider it awfully similar to any desert canid.

Like before — commands — I know it. And he does, to whatever detriment or boon the knowledge may serve him in the long-run. Around behind the cyclone the skulker moves, bip-bip-bip-bip, leaving ripple-prints in its wake. It disappears behind the vague mental construct that is Ambrose within his own mind and does not reappear as such. Instead, the low roll of fog about the waist. Not here what?

You would know if I were to alter something by force. He explains….and slowly resolves into his solid self again. First flat and black and white, like a moving picture image….and then with color and dimension. As if this were a courtesy, to take on a full image. Meant as placation, perhaps.

I'm glad — to know, I mean — Unbidden, the image of a flickering forked tongue blurs and disappates almost as quickly as it came, leaving the stars briefly astir in their own small universal dance. Another pale-rose wash of embarrassment followed by the metal sheen of steel. Someone's not budging on their stance that Kent is one slippery character, apparently.

Again comes the sense of pointed attention upon the newly-rendered form of the other man and then the twist of frustation, sour and flat. Don't understand that — how to do it — mirror? — what is seen in a mirror?

Another mulling silence. I….you have control. Picture yourself in your mind. How you want to be….what you see when you see your physical body. Will it. Make it happen, he offers.

The image of him as a snake doesn't seem to offend. There's a gray wave of patient acknowledgement. He's got reason to think of Kent that way, after all.

Picture — myself, me — me, myself, and I — The trio of identifiers seem to float and dance almost lyrically, as if he were gently mocking the idea while entertaining it in the same beat. A frown literally gathers more nebulous self about his undefined form.

Colors begin to bleed in here and there within the constraints of his mental expression, as if someone were painting upon wetted paper. The sun-kissed gold of his skin shows at hands and where shoulder meets neck before blooming in another hue in the crisp white of what could be a linen shirt; hair far more lank than reality brushes in as a lighter brown, as if time in the harsh desert light bleached it upon the highest layer. The angle of chin followed by hollowed cheeks shows against the nebulous undefined background. Lips show, only one shade more pink than the natural skin hue, and then the flush of color shows about his eyes. Bright, twinkling as the curl of a wave in the Mediterranean Sea, this is where he chooses to show zest — to show life. Beneath them, smudges dark, all the more contrast. Still, it's an incomplete picture and already, the mental strain of filling in the details is pulling him away from the previously-attained zen. The Bane stirs low in his bones, almost in warning.

Now there's that sensation of strength offered, warmth flowing in the waters ofthe pool. Restoring, bolstering. Don't strain yourself. Little by little…. He's the one in here, after all. Close within reach of that Bane. But you have the idea.

The incomplete Ambrose before him affects a nod, looking down at himself. Hands still transparents in some places, nonexistent in others, rotate and the sigh resonates in the kything. The image then falls apart into minute falling fireflies that die upon the starry waters as he devotes his attention back to soothing the Bane. It rumbles, but remains dormant.

//Another time — practice makes perfect — // Forbearance is apparently a hidden if mildly unpracticed trait within his personality, it seems. What strength he can glean from the offering is directed towards keeping the beast laid low. There's a sense of retreat, as if it seems silly now to have attempted to make himself visible rather than simply present within the kything.

I am tiring, he confesses. I'm going to withdraw. Are you ready? No just dropping that in Ambrose's lap. Slow and steady wins the race, as the saying goes. And Kent is going gray around the edges with it.

Yes. Firmly comes the affirmation. No doubt Kent can feel the attention slide from his presence and towards keeping the Bane at bay. It already stirs, but as if rolling an eye to consider the interloper within its host's body rather than surging upwards murderously. Ambrose continues his rounding breaths and centered heartbeat, his expression outwardly gone serene despite the blade-sharpening of his efforts mentally.

Then he's gone, the link dissolving like smoke blown by the wind. Slumped in his chair still, pale and clammy. More tiring than he gives the impression of being within the kythe.

Hand shaking, he reaches for the glass of water, just barely manages to keep from knocking it over. Then he's gulping a mouthful or two. He hasn't dosed himself today….and he is an addict.

In blatant and almost cheeky contrast, Ambrose emerges from the kything almost…perkier than when he went in. Granted, the large mouthful of life-energy from Kent gathered during the accidental slip of the Bane might account for this. He pulls back his hand and blinks almost as a cat might after awakening from a nap in the sunshine, slowly at first. He straightens in his seat to stretch his back and then gives Kent a once-over, concerned given the small divot above his nose.

"Tired? Or jonseing for something else entirely?"

"Yes, that as well," Almost curt, in his restrained way. He dampens a little cloth like a napkin, wipes his face and throat with it. IT's a warm night, and even with the fan… "I haven't had any today, yet." He's drawn, a little white around the lips. "I should rest."

The Jackal runs his eyes from the man's peaked face and to his toes and back. His dark brows knit before he simply shakes his head. He rises without comment from his straddling of the breakfasting chair before taking it in hand. He walks it back over to its placement at the small table tucked away next to the balcony and then lingers there, across the room.

"A shame, that," he finally says quietly. "Rest well then. I'd lock the doors," and he nods at the double panes. "You never know when someone might drop in. They might not mean you entirely well." His smile is sad, in its way, and almost guilty yet again.

Kent snorts at that comment. "I prefer to feel the breeze," he says, voice dry. He rises, carefully, as if to keep from swaying. "Go well, Atherton. I will see you again, soon."

"Too soon, I think," replies Ambrose, lightly mocking. The two-fingered salute, from temple and out, should look familiar enough given it's been seen before at the abandoned stables not long ago. He honors Kent's inclination towards moving air by not touching either of the two balcony doors on his way out. Up to the railing and extention — he's gone just like that, with a boosted leap. The keenest ear can probably pick up the retreating footsteps that fade all too fast, leaving the other man behind to his devices.

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