1965-10-26 - Conversation from on High
Summary: Adam successfully trees Ambrose for an enlightening conversation. The Bane is loosed, but no one dies! Another raving success.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
adam ambrose 

Halloween season is a tough one for Adam. Parodies of himself are everywhere, from masks to movies, and that name, that name that he hates, the name of his father, is thrown about with such carelessness. The season stirs up everything in him that he has worked so hard over the centuries to let lie. And it is perhaps for this reason more than any other that he waits, perfectly still, to catch Ambrose at his comings and goings. His great grey cloak's hood is up, shielding his face from view (but more properly, shielding humanity from the horror of his face). The night is misty. He seems like merely a thickening in the mist.

Ambrose is no stranger to the comfort of the mist that rises from the nearby river. It sleeks into the streets and hazes everything out, until the cones of streetlamps are nearly solidified and the rare pedestrian is a shadow unidentified. He's as anonymous as he can manage right now, with his maroon stocking cap and dark coat, equally-black fatigue pants, and across his chest diagonally slung, a knapsack with tonight's score. Nothing terribly exciting, at least in his own experience, simply an incomplete section of an old scroll. It's carefully sequestered away in the knapsack.

The Jackal nears the last street corner outside of his hidey-hole, that subterranean lair beneath the abandoned offices, at a brisk pace with hands in his pockets. He whistles softly, an old sea shanty, entirely off-tune. No nightingale is he. He's entirely oblivious to Adam's presence and the measured cadence of his steps from the gloom is proof of it. Confidence carries him onwards.

Adam moves. A nine foot tall pillar of mist solidifies out of the gloom like a shark silently cruising out of the depths. The grey cloak swirls but does not part as he steps towards the Jackal. When he speaks, his voice is so deep that it seems like some dire cello rather than a voice. "I have heard rumors of your exploits, Jackal."

|ROLL| Ambrose +rolls 1d20 for: 5

There's the sound of a single footstep to bring Ambrose up short, already raising his hands in the quintessential body language of 'OH SHIT'. Then comes that voice, stygian and stentorian and he literally clears the ground by at least two feet. By the name his nom-de-guerre leaves Adam's lips, he's landed again and is looking for the nearest vertical object. His brain, running at the speed of adrenaline, recognizes the tall being for who he is — that hulking creature who was not afraid of revolvers — and someone that strong will simply bust through a door. Ah, a street lamp. Well, when needs must.

Up the street-light Ambrose shimmies, making the metal creak and groan as he ascends like an over-sized squirrel. Once at the top, he clambers up onto the horizontal extension of the pole and clings to it. At least there are some diagonal bars to better weld the extension in place, for he rests his boots there.

From on high, trying so very hard to keep the quiver of surprise out of his voice: "Have you? Gained a modicum of curiosity after you barged into my abode?"

Adam pauses, halting midstride, cloak swishing as it settles back around him. Out of all the things Ambrose could have done…he's managed to surprise the old monster. "Ah." He walks towards the streetlight and looks up. The orange sodium light falls inside his hood and does not flatter him in the least; corpse-pale skin, sunken, dessicated features, and eyes that are so leeched of color they're white. "I went in search of your lair not for myself. Yet I find you quite the intriguing subject."

The wily Jackal can perhaps count himself hard to spot with the down-falling glare of the street-lamp. It's not that he can make any smooth leap of escape to any nearby object, not without risking being seen and much less possibly whiffing it entirely for how the pole might vibrate to his take-off.

"Really? I should count myself honored, I suppose. Intriguing — the kindest thing anyone's called me lately." Dry British humor floats down, rounded by his time in the desert. "And pray tell, why am I such the intriguing of interests to you? You must have more important things to do, such as…" His voice falls out. What does an old monster do? "Truly, other things," Ambrose finishes lamely from on high.

Adam's voice seems to come from everywhere at once, low vibrations almost below the range of human hearing. "I find a great many things intriguing. You, in particular, however, have haunted the Continent for decades, yet here you are, fresh and new." He considers. "I will lower my hood so we may understand each other." It's no less than a warning. He dips his head, one enormous hand coming up to push away the hood. The streetlight did not do the awfulness of his face justice. "I am the child of Dr. Frankenstein. My name is Adam."

From above, after the revelation of the face hidden away inside the shadows of the hood: "….ugh!" Then the sound of a muffled castigation, aimed at himself, in Persian. "My…apologies. I suppose you receive that reaction often. I'll grant you decades, yes, since we're being candid. It's refreshing, in its way." A faint snort and it appears his shadow leans father out from the bar he lays himself along, giving the semblance of a panther along a limb. Adam gets a good squint before the Jackal speaks again. "Since you've connection to the professor," - and a subtle emphasis on the title, insinuating that both of them know very well who he's referencing - "I'll offer you the same in return. Lieutenant Atherton, Esquire, of Her Majesty's Army." A pause. "…I'm sorry, but the Dr. Frankenstein?" His voice lifts in surprise yet again.

That's undeniable amusement on that stitched, seamed face. "You suppose correctly." Adam smiles very thinly up at Ambrose. "One grows accustomed after the first eighty years or thereabouts. Your apologies are accepted, with thanks." His own accent is a blend of two dozen European countries; he sounds very well travelled. Perhaps at base it's something like a German speaker who learned English in London. "Lieutenant Atherton." He bows a shallow, correct, precise bow. Long glossy black hair slides over his massive shoulder like ink. "I am pleased to make your formal acquaintance. Allow me to tender my own apologies for my intrusion. Indeed I went on the Professor's behalf. I do not apologize for protecting him, but I will respect your privacy in future." Another pause, as Adam studies his treed specimen. "The original Dr. Frankenstein. Yes. There have been others."

"The original, I'll be damned…and thank you for you respect, in regards to my privacy…you're too kind." Ambrose continues to sound surprised, even slightly concerned and suspicious. His belt buckle clinks against the streetlamp's pole as he shifts to better balance. "I would hate to have to pick up everything and move yet again. It's difficult finding the correct location, much less establishing the aura about the place. I detest having to dig dead rats out of the walls." Of course, due to the smell. "But yet again, so sorry, you said…eighty years? Truly?" Now he sounds interested rather than nervous. "I suppose you mean since your…creation?" Ambrose hazards the word almost lightly. The specimen seems a little more relaxed now; the ambient light briefly reflects off his pupils, proof of the supernatural within his person.

"I should hate to put a fellow-monster out of doors," Adam says. So very, very polite. Yet for all his courtesy, those unnervingly intelligent eyes pick out the details they can (through the streetlight) on Ambrose without pity. "Ah, no, my …creation was considerably longer ago. I prefer the term 'birth', although 'creation' is apt. Frankenstein fancied himself no less a creator than God." On the name, his voice does something; it twists, somehow, halfswallowing itself. Unwilling to commit to saying it fully. "He made me too well, a durable product indeed." Bitter self-loathing. "And you, Atherton? What has given you your durability?"

A soft 'hmph' from on high, proof that the idea of himself being other than human needles the Jackal. But he remains silent, listening from his perch. What can be caught through the glare of the lamp are reflective surfaces: the gleam of metal from one revolver, where the coat rutches up to reveal it — same with the trench knife in its sheath — the buckle on the strap of the knapsack, carefully kept tucked to his belly. Farther out from the glow of the bulb, his dark boots, toes tucked and ready to allow him movement when pushing off the metal bars. Again, a flash of nightshine-red in the man's eyes, briefly shuttered by a blink, to mark where his face is.

"Durability," he echoes, voice gone quiet and thoughtful. "A good word." Now wry. "Mine comes from the human penchant to punish those who overstep their bounds — pettiness and a simple mistake of stepping where I should not have done as such. Had I known that crossing a threshold would have brought upon me my current boon?" Mockery in the signifier. "Puh. Ever is hindsight the clearest. You may be safe in my presence…or perhaps not. Do you know yourself to be living and not in a state of undeath?" Another shift, all the better to consider Adam cautiously.

"Life everlasting is no boon," Adam says, very quietly, like one who knows. "Rather the opposite. How men seek it, without a glimmer of comprehension for its true nature. I am…sorry, for your trouble." That is sincere. "I'm afraid I have no real knowledge of my own nature. Frankenstein was less than obliging in providing an education. Why is it you say I may be safe, or not?"

"Mine is not a kind punishment." It takes Ambrose about a minute to offer this. At his height, the wind moves gently, but the air is still cold. He shivers, but remains stalwart in his retreat up the pole. "Mine is a curse that strips life from the living, whether I would have it be so or not. I learned as time passed and so did those around me." The words fall like ice cubes. "I would not willingly injure you. Not you…nor anyone in connection to — " He falls silent again for a handful of seconds. "…the professor." Grudgingly revealed, the reason for his hesitance to engage — or at least, put forth as such as a front to cover up sincere fright. "If you are in a state of undeath, I do not believe you'll come under threat."

Adam observes the shiver. "I shall not harm you," he says, sounding dreadfully amused, "but if you care to remain on your perch, nobody would blame you for it." He frowns, hearing the conditions of Ambrose's curse. The frown turns his face into a sight that chills the gut. There is something so bizarrely unhuman, so alien about him, despite that he's made with a certain beauty to his proportions. Frankenstein was trying to create an ideal being, after all. "I am most curious, now. Perhaps at some time when you feel more comfortable, we might hazard an experiment."

Down fall a few soft laughs, rich with jaded amusement, like the leaves of recently-passed autumn. "Forgive me, but many a being has informed that I was safe in their presence and then proceeded to demonstrate otherwise — and you're mad. Puh, an experiment? It will hurt you, sirrah. It is an unkindness, what lurks in my bones. It was never constructed in beneficence, not even when forced to regurgitate what it's taken." Ambrose snorts again. "I will not hazard my own person. You're built as a warrior. I doubt you've a love-tap when you swing a fist."

A pause…and then, full of a chilly facet of amusement detached from humanity proper: "…but if you've a sincere interest in feeling the curse's bite, you're well within reach. As we've discussed…many a decade has passed since I was a naif in its control."

Adam chuckles in that massive chest, low and quiet and utterly cold. "In this modern age, in this young country, they do not know what 'sirrah' means. I do, and I believe you have no claim on me to use it." He puts his head to one side, thinking, observing. "If your control permits you to do minor harm only, then, yes. I cordially request that you bite me. I shall not strike you. If I must, I can move away swiftly."

"A cordial request. A bloody request…to be bitten." Another scoff. "You are mad. I'll gladly oblige you, Sir Adam." What a sass — at least he didn't use 'sirrah' again. "The curse is a bottomless fiend. Few thing satiate it. You'd be an aperitif." A blink-blink of those nightshine pupils. "Mind, you asked after it. I'll have cause for a row if you go about telling that professor otherwise."

And then the Bane strikes as a snake from beneath the shadows of a bush. Invisible to those without the Sight, it engulfs the Creature. Pins-and-needles surround Adam's skin from scalp to toes and then rip away like a thin layer of velcro from its basing. Nothing more to be induced than a yawn when all's said and done, a gentle tiger's cuff rather than the burying of teeth in throat. A shuddering sigh from on high, like Ambrose has popped a stiff joint and found release in pressure. "…I believe you've not a touch of undeath about you," he murmurs.

"I have been bitten by many unique teeth. You will add to my collection." Adam's white eyes glint in a humor that is cold and flashing, like a barracuda. "Fear not that I shall tattle to the Professor. I am my own man, and I accept my own risks."

He exhales, sharp, as the Bane makes him feel its teeth indeed. Those eyes close, concentrating on the sensation. The feel and taste of him is almost oceanic unto itself: cold, immensely old, immensely powerful, a thing beyond the control of men. There seems to be an unending supply, or a supply so vast that human comprehension cannot encompass it. Adam draws a breath back in, slowly. "Do I not?" he murmurs in return. "To know that is worth a thousand such bites."

"Oh, I'm no expert on matters." A rustling sound, as if he were shifting position. Indeed, his silhouette seems to be realigning limbs as if to dismount and…Ambrose drops down onto the concrete. He rises from his crouched landing slowly, still immensely cagey in Adam's immediate presence and even takes one step backwards away from the cloaked being. "I judge from relative experience in things." But he doesn't retreat further, choosing to remain rather than scamper off into the mists. "You've…rather a large well of life to you, sir. I profess myself intrigued. I would not have guessed, given your origins."

Adam does not move, remaining as still as if Ambrose were a bird alighting that he did not wish to frighten away. It's no wonder he can become so unseen at will. He can hold himself so still that the eye passes right over him. And yet, up close, from ground level? He's utterly preposterous in size. He just doesn't make sense as an animate being. One wonders where Frankenstein found parts enough big for him, or if maybe he spun muscle and skin from more basic elements of flesh. "You have tasted many life forces, no doubt. You have every claim to be an expert." Adam regards Ambrose with a lively and terrifying interest. "Thank you for satisfying an old monster's curiosity."

And the Creature really is as tall as legends state. It's one of those moments where the reminder creeps up and leaps, startling the owner into it. Ambrose swallows despite himself, especially after the look he receives. There's interest there. Oh dear. So much for a bluff in a bite.

"You are welcome." He says this with a marked and careful delay in delivery of individual words, includes a politely dubious nod, and never takes his eyes off of Adam. "But truly, I am no expert. I am…" His thinned lips rise into something of a sneer, though not aimed at the hulking being not so far from him. "…I am no sommelier who sniffs and mulls the blends that cross his palate. I do not discriminate. What would be the point, when the curse does not do the same." Hands slide into his pockets and he seems to settle into a more relaxed stance, though he remains ready to duck and bolt at any instant. "Did the professor send you? Or is this more of your elderly curiosity, awaiting near my door?" There's that sneer again, partially a smirk now.

"Send me?" Adam lifts his eyebrows. "You mistake the nature of our relationship, perhaps. He does not send me. He is my dear friend, as the Victorians would call friendship, one with whom I gladly share my meager life beyond the bounds of what the New World deems appropriate. You must know what I mean. Here, now, men are not permitted to need to hold each other, to weep with each other's sorrows, to join each other on the adventure of living. Now it is considered sexually charged and distasteful. Many things the Victorians had wrong, but that…that they knew." Adam does shift, now, in a mere stirring of his cloak. "Besides, yes, I confess to curiosity. He thinks often of you."

A half-step back for the fluid movement of garment about Adam's form, but again, the Jackal pauses — nay, freezes. He can never embody the utter stillness that the Creature can enact, for he needs to breathe faster yet as simply a smaller being in turn. In a way, the observations of a time long since lost to him dent his armor of prickly indifference; the tells are around his eyes, where they gather at the corners.

"Indeed…" His gaze slides aside, out to the street. "That they did." A hard frown and shake of his head in disbelief even as he looks back at Adam. "Think of me, though? No doubt in distaste. I am…I have ever been at odds with him…over the years." Shoulders slump as he looks aside again, rankled at himself for the admission, clearly wishing he could take it back. It's too easy to speak with Adam. For all the monstrosity embodied, he has the familiarity of Victorian society about him. For someone so lonely, the old mannerisms are a honey-trap.

"He would not say he is fond of you." Adam doesn't bother to cushion that one. "But he thinks of you often, nonetheless. As now shall I. The years are long. To have someone who may keep pace with one…" He smiles again. It's hard to look at, pulling his face into a thousand thousand tiny wrinkles, a stitched seam gaping on his cheek. "A precious thing." And he just looks at Ambrose. Looks at him and looks at him and looks at him, before he deliberately drops his gaze. "I have been discourteous and kept you from your home long enough."

Another swallow. Ambrose's poise fractures; a mild lean away from that piercing interest and a false smile, lost in the alert light of his own eyes. "Most precious indeed." He assigns an opinion akin to splinters under fingernails to being so thoroughly considered, far more comfortable being unseen and unnoticed and the antithesis of this entire encounter. "It is advantageous to know of you as well, Adam. Thank you for this candid conversation and please, I beg you," - a little wince before he continues - "Do not linger and draw attention to my abode. Respectfully, I do prefer my privacy." Still, a short sigh and almost a roll of eyes, but… "Should I need to contact you, however, for any reason, how shall I endeavor to do so?" Manners win out. After all, he's not been squished and Adam seems the honorable sort.

Adam bows again, this time with a little flourish of cloak. "I shall not trouble you unasked here again. If you wish to contact me," and the smile he offers Ambrose now is bemused, "the best method would be to ask Professor Lindqvist. There are many more questions I would like to ask you, on a different night and in different circumstances. I will take my leave of you now, Atherton, and whatever good wishes might be offered by a wretch such as I, you have them."

The polite facade crackles again in a wrinkle of his nose. "…wonderful, the damned professor," he mutters, honestly not caring if Adam hears and/or reports his feelings to the man. He's not wrong; Lindqvist is damned, in his own way. "I cannot escape the man." Grumble grumble. His sighs gusts silvery as he looks back to Adam. He bows back, precise and fleetingly militaristic, before regaining his loose and cautious air. "Another night then. Be well." He then steps around Adam. Way around Adam. Swinging out into the street for a few yards around Adam — before continuing on down the sidewalk at a brisk pace, hoping the mist swallows him whole before those light-white eyes find him again. Spooky.

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