1965-09-24 - In Thru The Window
Summary: Kai and Ambrose meet up again after all these years.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
ambrose kai 

The lines of Fate cross and recross every once in awhile. Sometimes it can take awhile for the threads to intersect once more. Kai hasn't aged much at all, but the beard at least makes him seem like an adult, which is an improvement over his previous meeting with Ambrose. He's dressed quite differently, too, in bright colors featuring stripes as a dominant theme.

It isn't an outfit that serves him well. Not when he's skittering over rooftops on the run from the police because some rich bully couldn't take with good grace a little Robin Hooding on behalf of the tenants of his building. Long story short, heat that was turned off got turned on, mechanisms to turn it off again were broken. Now the Elf is on the run.

As he's scrambling from roof to roof, he spies the end of the block coming up, and there's really only one place to hide. That empty house whose owners are gone, leaving their antiquities ungarded. And look! The window is already open. He ducks in.

The one house — the one house on the block that the master-thief had bookmarked for days, nay, weeks for a good rifling-through. The occupants had just left for their cruise to the tropics and every glass-doored case in the place is full of antiques ripe for the plucking.

But right now? Ambrose is pressed flat to the shadowiest corner of the room's wall, where Kai has just entered in his attempt to evade the police. The Jackal lets out a slow and silent sigh even as he gathers the Bane. It's a bit like nocking a bow, slowly setting the arrow to string and pulling back until maximally taut. Of course the Elf is the target.

What a surprise he's in for, once the curse sinks teeth into Kai's life-energy. Unless he's noticed, the attack will come on his next exhale.

Kai doesn't notice immediately, know. He's pressed against the wall next to the window, peering down at the street. "He can't have gotten too far," comes an authoratative voice from below. Kai gasps and presses himself tighter to the wall as one of the cops down there looks up. There's a shimmer of light and shadow, and the Elf has… not disappeared per se, but the shadows have darkened his features. Not so much the pale lily of youth as a greyish bit of background.

Ambrose hasn't registered with Kai yet. It's not until the cops, scratching their heads, move on that he relaxes, and the greyness lifts froma round him. He sags as he sighs. Phew, that was close.

|ROLL| Ambrose +rolls 1d20 for: 20

|ROLL| Kai +rolls 1d20 for: 3

Ambrose inhales and draws up taller in the shadows; with the Elf's attention averted to the street below and the approaching voices, the flash of nightshine in the accursed's eyes is missed. His stare goes nearly whale-eyed as he watches Kai almost pull a chameleon and blend into the backdrop of the room. Okay. Okay, yes — yes, this thing need to go — NOW.

On the sag, the Bane strikes. Fast as a blink, the sensation of a mouthful of teeth wrapping around Kai's body can be felt. Like hundreds of tiny milk teeth, the curse latches in and immediately begins siphoning. But — silly thing, biting off far more than it can chew, and far more than its host can handle.

With a strangled yelp, Ambrose goes pin-pupiled as he feels the astounding surge of energy flood into his body and falls out of the corner as he convulses to stumble down onto his hands and knees. He then falls to one hip, holding a hand against the side of his face, and tries to figure out why there are so many of the unknown interloper now dancing across his field of vision. Kai might recognize the thief from all those decades ago. He hasn't changed much but for the clothing he wears of dark jacket and black fatigue pants; his hair is shorter, but not dramatically so. The Elf might recognize the black headscarf more than anything else, almost a token symbol of the Jackal.

Kai remembers the sensation, too. He reels, swaying on his feet. Like standing up too fast and your head goes all swimmy. As his vision clears, he whips around on Ambrose, shoulders squaring. Who is this threat? What being dare make his head go swimmy! He draws himself up to his unfortunately not terribly impressive height. It's not even good for looming.

Still, there's a dangerous glint there that wasn't present way back when. The Elf is an Avenger, damn it. He fights evil in its many forms. He's chucked Captain America into a swimming pool. Things are different now. His brow furrows, and as recognition dawns, the glint fades, and Kai's brows lift in amusement. "That didn't go as planned, did it." English accent, same as ever.

Ambrose blinks hard and lets out a soft groan. Then he squints at the voice. Somewhere, deep in the annals of his long memory, it tickles at someone he once knew — or who once scared him enough to cause an imprint.

"Who in the bloody hell are you?" he asks weakly even as he tries to drag himself to his feet. It takes more than a few seconds of getting his knees to work again and snagging the nearest desk edge in order to pull himself up. Everything's…geez, every glint of light has a halo around it and he feels as if pure coffee has replaced his blood. It is acutely uncomfortable in a way, restless leg syndrome over one's entire body. "I know you from somewhere…?" He leans heavily on the desk. His ferocious glower is something weak given how he has to keep squinting to avert the worst of the prismatic glow about the room. The Bane smacks its lips contentedly. Mmm, life-energy.

"We did that one job in London, years ago," Kai says. He tidies his nice, mod-style jacket with a tug, then runs a hand through his hair to unruffle it a bit. The cops have gone, and his concerns have shifted from getting arrested to being properly dapper. "You're the one who left the silver to me and took the old stuff."

He looks Ambrose over. "You haven't aged a day," he says. Like he's one to talk. Take away the beard, and one could say the same of him.

Kai gets a dubious crinkle-eyed look. "That one job in London…? I've run so many bloody jobs in London, it's useless to…" But wait, there's more! His memory kicks up a vague connection. There was…a roof and a window open just like that and…wait, the moonlight glowing and —

Ambrose's eyes go wide again. There goes the flash of crimson-red in nightshine, present at all times now during the nocturnal hours, proof of progression in proficiency of his curse-granted abilities. "Bloody christ. You — I told you to go make friends with pigeons." He scoffs, jaw hanging open for a second. "You haven't aged a day either. Wait-wait-wait," and he sits on the desk with his face half in-hand again while he holds the other out in a 'stop' gesture. "…you're not human. The word starting with an L. I still can't pronounce it to save my life," he mutters, dropping his hand to squint at Kai again. "What in the ruddy blazes are you doing here?"

"Ljosalfar," Kai says. The word falls off his tongue with a musical lilt. "Call me an Elf, most Midgardians do." Those that know he's not human, anyway." He looks around the place. Sure, he's turned over a new leaf, but silver is silver. "I came to New York to start a new life. That's what I spent my take on. A ticket."

His casual perusal brings his gaze around to Ambrose. "Still stealing old things?" he asks. There's no judgment in his voice. He knows he's supposed to stand for truth and goodness now, but busting thieves is a little too hypocritical when they aren't stealing from the poor.

The Jackal remains suspicious of this 'Elf' business, but then again, he's been alive for over eighty-five years at this point and still sports the youth of mid-twenties, so who is he to judge? At least, that's how his logic processes the information as he considers Kai from across the room. His dominant hand is now resting lightly upon the handle of one service revolver, old habit ingrained and never lost.

"Returning what is lost to where it should be found," Ambrose corrects the Elf with little ire. It has the tone of something long-repeated. "Still, yes. I came here to see what New York had to offer, though far more recently than you, I assume, if you spent your take as such. It has been rich takings thus far…" His smile is thin and cold, like the edge of a knife.

Kai nods, his gaze flitting toward the shift of movement of that dominant hand, though he doesn't seem overly concerned. "So you send it all back where it came from? Where's the money in that?" He pauses, then asks, "Or is it a mystical calling? Bringing back that which has been taken away because you've been geased or something?"

He leans one hip against a table and folds his arms over his chest. "A geas would explain a lot," he says. "Like your temperament."

Ambrose's expression grows distant and the microtell of leaning slightly away from Kai is proof enough that the Elf's guess has landed home. He's still fighting to not be dazzled by the misty prismatic glow around every reflected light and it shows in how he continues to nearly close his eyes.

"I suppose you could call it a geas," he replies almost sotto-voce. "I think it a curse, though that stance too is slowly changing with the passing decades." No need to play coy with this one here, he's not human in the first place and touched so heavily over by magic that even a mundane like the Jackal can sense it. "I have retainers and those who receive the antiques where they arrive. They oversee their return and I am paid for my efforts. Many believe that the museums are prideful thieves in turn, showcasing what is not theirs to keep."

Kai's curls bob as he nods again. "Yeah,, you have the look." Just how many cursed people has he met? He considers for a moment. "Hmm. I guess you have a point. They display stuff they probably got by some thief somewhere in the process. It's not like the ancient Egyptians made their mummies expecting them to end up at the Met or wherever."

Lowering his voice, Kai adds, "I remember the mummy craze. Dark and strange times, mate. Dark and strange."

Staring at the Elf for a second as he does some calculations at age that he promptly ignores afterwards, Ambrose eventually nods.

"I…believe you entirely," he replies somewhat faintly. Clearing his throat, he seems shaken enough by the idea that the young creature before him is several thousand years old that he has nothing smart to say for a noticeable few seconds. "I remember how they used to treat them as nothing but side-show souvenirs. Bloody dangerous, doing that. You'd think that they would have learned from Lord Carnarvon, but…apparently not." There's the sense of himself included in that statement somehow.

"…I have the look?" he then asks, eyeing Kai with yet again the ambient flash of red in his pupils.

Kai taps the side of his eye. "There's the red flare," he says, "though that's not really a giveaway, lots of things have eyes that flare red. I just mean you've got a look. There's desperation in the lines of your face, and the way you carry yourself, like there's a burden, man. I can tell you're not a man at peace."

Whereas the Elf seems quite lackadaisical, himself. Despite that, he says, "I have a curse. It's fairly new. I'm still getting used to it. I suppose I should think about getting it broken at some point."

"Bloody hell…" Ambrose buries his face in his hands again and then rubs the meat of them into his eyes. Go away, aftershine, go awaaaay! He blinks once revealed and sighs. Oh well. Time will have to pass for it to fade, apparently. At least Kai's not one big prismatic show.

"And how do you expect to break your curse? Because I cannot. And frankly, it's darkly entertaining to me to hear how people go about things," he admits almost hollowly.

"Dunno," Kai admits. "I was marked by the Wild Hunt. They chased me down and killed me, which is another story entirely, but as you can see, I overcame it." He gives a modest little bow where he stands. "The thing is, though, I'm still marked. People and things of a predatory nature think I'm prey. I get hassled a lot. Stray dogs bark at me, thieves try to rob me. People with dark ideas of a good time follow me at night."

All of which he shrugs off. He's stronger than most of the stuff that tries to bother him. "I suppose if I find a way to remove the mark, that might do the trick, but I don't know if it's skin deep or if it has seeped into my soul. I have a friend I could ask. It just never comes up."

"…it all sounds like a bloody mess," Ambrose comments drily. "At least now, I am aware of what might come of crossing the Wild Hunt. He wasn't lying after all," the master-thief says to himself, looking askance at some benign object lying on the only other desk in the room. He brings himself back from whatever little foray into memory he delved into looking a little haunted by it, given the deeper crow's lines about his eyes. These relax with some effort on his part. "Why not ask this friend of yours? Why not remove what shackles you? Are you attracted by suffering or something like it?" A little wrinkle of his nose at Kai.

"I forget about it," Kai admits. "Most of the things in this realm are so much weaker than I am. They're throwing themselves against something they can't hope to beat. It's inconvenient, but it's rarely anything I can't handle." He rubs at the back of his neck sheepishly. It's not like he wants to brag, but the truth is what it is.

"I should talk to him, though. It's not really fair to keep beating up people who hit the ground hard when they can't exactly help themselves."

"Yes. A cruelty, in a way, to swat the moth drawn to a lamp simply because it mimics the moon," agrees Ambrose. "Speak to him. Break your bloody curse, at least. You'll be ahead of me in this. Maybe I can find a modicum of peace in knowing that whomever this friend of yours is, there could lie an answer for me as well…though…" He laughs once, knowing and mournful all at once. "I doubt there's anything they could do. I am…beyond saving now, I think," he mutters almost airily.

Kai's brows lift. "Beyond saving? That's a dismal prospect," Kai says. "Have you consulted mystics? Most of them have no idea what they're talking about, but some of them are pretty keen." He's quick to admit, "I haven't been cursed very long though so I'm hardly an expert."

His gaze drifts, looking for the antiquities here Ambrose might be after. "I'll talk to him next time I see him. Hopefully the taint of it hasn't stained me too badly. My gran always did say I'd find a bad end. I should get it broken just to prove her wrong."

Ambrose smiles again, the expression lost in his eyes even as he goes to follow the Elf's own perusing of the room. What he came for lies deeper within the house, not in the immediate area, and so there's no defensive reaction on his part.

"I have spoken to one of the foremost mystics of the relative time and she was unable to give me clear answers. If anything, she left me with more questions than when I arrived. No…no, I am very convinced that it is too late for me. There is no salvaging myself upon its removal. But you? By all means. Spite your granddam. Spite is a most delicious spice and one of the greatest motivators, I've learned."

Kai smiles broadly. "Yeah, proving her wrong makes me happy. I didn't even tell her about dying and coming back cursed, because she'd just say something like 'I might have known.'" He shakes his head. No, not this time, not on his watch. Upon not finding what Ambrose might be here for, he turns his gaze back to the cursed man. "Don't you have any spite left in you? I would loan you some if I could."

"I spite the world by continuing to live. I have seen another accursed like myself embrace death. It was no solace to him or to myself. God only knows what came of his ashes, lost to the desert winds." The Jackal explains this as if it's an old scar, healed over but for the mark that lingers on his soul. "This is how I throw a finger up to fate and lady luck and the myriad constructs of society's attempt to explain away the nuances of life itself. I live and I work to level my own karma in turn by returning that which was once lost. It is no futile task. I have many more years in which to dedicate myself to the art and at the very least…it's something to do," he adds with a sigh.

"As far as filling the time goes," Kai says, "you could be doing much worse. At least you're returning things to where they belong. There's a balance to that, maybe an artfulness." He beams. "I spite the world by continuing to live, too. It's great, isn't it? " Yes, the Elf approves of all of this, very much in fact. "Well, if we ever run into the world out there," he nods toward the window, "I'll buy you a round of whatever it is you prefer to drink. One spiteful survivor to another."

"And I might even take you up on that, as long as you do not interrupt me in another one of my attempts." Ambrose is terse, but only to a point. There's still a portion of him ready to bolt at any second and poking the Elf who has admitted strength far beyond his own is not a wise course of action. He carefully rises to his feet and only wobbles a little, still completely a-buzz with life-energy. There will need to be an outlet somehow this evening or over the next few days.

"For now, I have a vase to return to its rightful home…which is not our current locale." And with that, he makes to pad silently into the hallway and disappear, off to most carefully take the ancient vessel for himself and his attempt to work off the Bane.

Kai tips off a rakish salute to Ambrose and says, "I should be going myself. I'll try not to interrupt your thing, man." He looks out the window. Yeah, the cops are long gone. "Til then," he says to Ambrose's retreating back. He doesn't even help himself to any of the silver. Imagining Steve's disappointed look is enough to disuade him. That boy scout is rubbing off on him.

Out the window he goes, and he scales down the house until he's got both feet on terra firma. Off he goes, whistling a little tune, hands shoved in his pockets. He's got the mod strut down. Beatniks are yesterday's news, Daddy-O.

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