Eve of Battle


nisha_icon.gif tavisha_icon.gif truman_icon.gif

Scene Title Eve of Battle
Synopsis Someone is back in town.
Date February 4, 2009


Like some ancient ritual, the shouts of the multitude rise with the intensity of the acts they witness. Within the cage in the middle of the arena-like room, two grown men are locked in combat, not unlike ancient Romans. These men bare they teeth and growl as one darts from point to point inside their iron prison, climbing the walls and even the ceiling as if he were some sucker-footed amphibian. The other shoots plume after plume of fire, trying to catch the first in a still moment - but those are rare.

The crowd is getting a bit unruly given the temporary stalemate the match has fallen into. Some are booing, others are shouting obscenities at both their man and his opponent. Still others sit in silence.

Nisha falls into the latter category.

She isn't here as James Muldoon's lawyer, but rather a simple spectator, sitting high on the safer fourth wall next to a man who, days ago, had no idea people like this existed. She looks out of place, but she's clearly made an effort not to, adopting darker colors and less jewelry than she would wear if attending an event of social equivilance in Manhattan.

While those gathered around the cage might well not appreciate the stand off nature of the fight, Tavisha is silently enthralled. A silent spectator also, he sits with his elbows against his knees, back curved and expression serious. When a taller pillar of flame shoots forth from the fighter's hands, engulfing a few bars and making the metal almost red with heat, the light flickers their way, throwing back the shadows for the moment before the darkness leaks back in.

He's dressed unspectacularly, but nicer than when he first met Nisha - a dark blue dress shirt of inexpensive material, a pair of obviously new jeans, and second-hand sensible shoes recently polished. A watch on his wrist, also, a new addition, and he's cleanshaven, hair combed, and not a trace of visible injury left.

When more flame is thrown, catching the quicker opponent off guard with the heated bars of metal on which he climbs searing his hands, forcing him to fall, some of the crowd cheers, and Tavisha smiles briefly, unconsciously, before back to seriously studying this display of power. Thoughtful.

A significant percentage of the crowd is on their feet, shouting suggestions or distractions in order to get the horse they backed to come out the victor. The quick climber is able to turn his fall into a roll, barely avoiding another jet of fire. It singes his back, and he ends up curled on his side practically beneath his opponent.

But for the moment, Nisha isn't watching the fight. She's watching Tavisha. Smiling, she leans forward, letting her eyes move back to the cage where the winning fighter is gloating, perhaps early. "Enjoying yourself?" she asks, a twinge of pride in her tone. It's hard to say exactly what she's proud of, though.

Tavisha turns his head a little when Nisha speaks to him, her voice low, beneath the ruckus of audience and fighters, although with his hearing, he'd be able to pick it out anyway. But even as he does, he keeps his eyes trained on the battle as the soon-to-be winner extends out his arms and lets flame dance along them in a moment of showmanship. "Yes," he answers, now sparing her glance and a twist of a half-smile. "I am. Just watching them…" He could care less about who wins, really, and it shows. "It doesn't seem like it should be real."

But real it is. Which is hard to believe, sometimes, for the person who started it all. The person who, right this moment, has made his return to the Pancratium. His Pancratium, though righ now it feels like anything but.

He's arrived unannounced, perhaps, but certainly not unnoticed - several frequent betters tear their attention away from the ongoing fight as the smartly dressed man passes them by, stride confident and shoulders pushed back as he searches for a familiar face. This is what eventually brings him to stand behind both Nisha and her tag-along, though he looks at neither when he finally addresses them. "Miss Kotecha." His focus remains on the cage and its inhabitants, his eyes narrowing with a slow exhale. "And friend." Something in his voice gives away the anger that is not currently present in his expression. or carefully controlled posture. Something about current affairs has him… less than pleased, and it seems he expects Nisha to know exactly why.

Nisha turns to smile at Tavisha, then all the way about when she hears her name. Her eyes are wide with surprise, but all other points would indicate it is a pleasant one. She stands, offering a hand to the Pancratium's owner. "Mister Adler," she says as if she were a guest in his home at some fancy party. "May I introduce Tavisha." She nods toward the man sitting at her side before continuing in the introduction. "Tavisha, this is Truman Adler. He owns this arena."

If there is anything amiss, Nisha doesn't pay any attention to it as she greets the Master of the House. She is confident and calm - it's just another night of caged mayhem on Staten Island. Nothing special.

Turning his head, Tavisha tilts just enough to peer up at the imposing man, and then follows Nisha's cue by standing up, reluctantly turning away from the goings on in the cage. There's a scream as fire finds its mark again, drowned out by the cheers of the savage audience, bursts of flame backlighting lawyer and companion. Truman gets a studious look from under a serious brow, and no immediate smile. Maybe just due to the quietly angry tone of voice he'd first heard from the man. But all the same, he again follows Nisha's actions and offers a hand after she does. "You have an interesting business going here, Mr. Adler."

Fancy party it may not be, but no one seems to have alterted Truman of this fact. There's a heartbeat of a pause in his actions when Nisha offers her hand, but when eventually both hands are shaken they are done so almost too firmly, as per usual. "Thank you… Tavisha. I hope you've enjoyed yourself." This is said without the earlier tense undertone, the name stored away for later. There's plenty of that frustration and urgency still in his eyes, though, when he looks to Nisha again. "Mr. Muldoon. I have to speak to him." No question.

Nisha blinks, tilting her head slightly at the terse declaration. "I'm afraid I don't know where he is at present," she says gently, tucking her chin in a manner that can only be described as demure and deferential. "I can give him a message, though, if you'd like." There is a twinge in her tone that might suggest that such a message shouldn't be very detailed, but why that is remains vague.

Briefly taking the time to watch the end of the fight as the two converse, the cage climber backing up into a corner as the the battle comes to its conclusion, money is exchanged between watchers, Tavisha continues to listen. Then, his gaze smoothly slides back to Truman, now with open curiousity, triggered by the curt way he speaks of the elusive Muldoon. Hierarchy, interesting. His eyebrows lift a little, and he smoothly cuts in with an innocent question in mild tones: "Is there something wrong?"

Something about Nisha's behavior seems to diminish some of the brusqueness in Truman's. He nods, then somewhat reluctantly admits, "Of course. You don't appear to be joined at the hip. I apologize."

The ongoing fight doesn't even appear to be of any interest to the arena's owner - he couldn't count how many of them he's seen in his lifetime - and Tavisha's question quickly draws him back to the matter at hand. "Nothing to worry about. Still— " And this is directed at Nisha, "If you would tell him to get into contact with me as soon as possible, I'd be glad." Still curt, but less so.

With a little bow of her head and a brief closing of her eyes, like any well-trained Indian woman, Nisha respectfully accepts the task. "Of course, sir." Yes, hierarchy, and while not a piece of Nisha's bread is buttered on any side by this man, she is more aware than he is how much she is tied into his business, however discreet and darkly.

Tavisha turns his back once he is answered - or perhaps, dismissed, glancing just in time to note Nisha's manner of agreement to Truman. Interest without judgment in his expression. Otherwise, he's sitting down once more, long legs stretched out in front of him and observing the fighters' departure from the cage, arms folding. Some audience moves out, some enter. A new fight will begin soon, and unlike Truman's apathy, it's all new to him.

Truman observes Nisha, seeming all kinds of uncertain for a moment. Not necessarily about her, mind you, but either way it's not a feeling he likes to linger on. He gives a short nod of his head in return, in thanks, before taking a step back and giving the room a quick sweep of the eyes. This somehow appears to anger him all over again, and there's a twitch of his lips before he simply turns and walks, throwing up a hand in a halfhearted wave over his shoulder. "Enjoy the show, Mr. Tavisha, Miss Kotecha." There are more important things to attend to.

"Good evening, Mister Alder."

Nisha returns to her seat gracefully, though it isn't incredibly difficult that the encounter has left her in a mood much more subdued than before. To any passerby, however, it may appear as though her favored fighter didn't come out the victor. Nothing more.

February 4th: Post-Trauma

Previously in this storyline…
Back on His Feet

Next in this storyline…

February 4th: Unexpected Vision Is Unexpected
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