cardinal_icon.gif griffin_icon.gif

Scene Title Scaramouch
Synopsis A man wanders off into the wasteland alone, only to discover that he has far more friends than he thinks.
Date December 16, 2010

Ruins of Midtown

Standing in the ruins of Midtown, it's hard to believe New York is still a living city.

There's life enough around the fringes — the stubborn, who refused to rebuild somewhere else; the hopeful, who believe the radiation is gone, or that they somehow won't be affected. Businesses, apartment complexes, taxis and bicycles and subways going to and fro — life goes on. Perhaps more quietly than in other parts of the city, shadowed by the reminder that even a city can die, but it does go on.

Then there is the waste. The empty core for which the living city is only a distant memory. Though a few major thoroughfares wind through the ruins, arteries linking the surviving halves, and the forms of some truly desperate souls can occasionally be glimpsed skulking in the shadows, the loudest noise here is of the wind whistling through the mangled remnants of buildings. Twisted cords of rebar reach out from shattered concrete; piles of masonry and warped metal huddle on the ground, broken and forlorn. Short stretches of road peek out from under rubble and dust only to disappear again shortly afterwards, dotted with the mangled and contorted forms of rusting cars, their windows long since shattered into glittering dust.

There are no bodies — not even pieces, not anymore. Just the bits and pieces of destroyed lives: ragged streamers fluttering from the handlebar which juts out of a pile of debris; a flowerbox turned on its side, coated by brick dust, dry sticks still clinging to the packed dirt inside; a lawn chair, its aluminum frame twisted but still recognizable, leaning against a flight of stairs climbing to nowhere.

At the center of this broken wasteland lies nothing at all. A hollow scooped out of the earth, just over half a mile across, coated in a thick layer of dust and ash. Nothing lives here. Not a bird; not a plant. Nothing stands here. Not one concrete block atop another. There is only a scar in the earth, cauterized by atomic fire. This is Death's ground.

It's cold today. Cold and gray and gloomy. Funny, how the winter weather makes for perfect depressed weather. And what's not to be depressed about? His sister was murdered in cold blood, and his son— his poor son, he has developed a nice case of PTSD. And his father, who he's barely known for three months, is the only person he has left. Sure, there's Grandpa Owain, but…who knows if they'll go after him next.

With Owain safe on Pollepel with Brian, Griffin has come here to find answers. But right now, Griffin is seeking out a safe place to hide off of the radar.

There's no respite from the weather in Midtown to be found. Once you evade the usual cordons around the edges - which isn't difficult to do - one is faced with miles of rubble-strewn streets and collapsed buildings. Hiroshima shadows blackened against walls and the twisted remnants of vehicles laying here and there.

The legacy of Griffin's former leader. Of Peter Petrelli.

There're plenty of places to find shelter, but all most of them offer is freedom from the wind. It's a miserable place to be on a miserable night like this.

Bundled tight in his coat and scarf and fuzzy hat, a heating pad around his knee, Griffin finally opts to take shelter from the wind. He dips into an old storefront with busted out windows, clapping his gloved hands together and blowing his breath between them. Way too cold out here. He leans against the inner wall of the store, as far from the door as he can manage, breathing for a moment.

He'll just rest a moment here, before he searches for another place. This won't do for the night, but it's a good place to stop and warm himself up. He rubs his hands together, glancing around at the ransacked place that used to be a store. Nothing on its shelves any longer. How appropriate it is, really, for him to be out here. It's his fault, after all— all of this is.

Green eyes glance around the shop, brows raising. "Fuck my life." This is muttered to the walls and counters as he rests his head against the wall, closing his eyes for a long moment.

"If I didn't know exactly why, I'd wonder why every depressed bastard in the lifestyle gravitates to Midtown the moment their life goes bad… goes bad…" A whisper stirs in the darkness of the convenience store - perhaps over near the toppled shelving, perhaps behind the counter where the bulletproof plastic has been pried away with a bar and carted off by enterprising looters.

"I suppose that we all know why, though. This is the wound in the heart of New York, and we're New Yorkers… New Yorkers…"

A few things in the shop promptly explode into splinters as Cardinal talks from the shadows, the telekinetic sending those Vectors flying in various directions when he can't determine the source of the voice. Instinctive reaction, really. Cardinal, however, is probably one of the few who can get away with sneaking up on Griffin without getting a telekinetic hand at their throat.

However, recognition dawns on his face after a moment, and Griffin's eyes change from the bluish-white glow they suddenly flared up into when things exploded, back to their normal green. "It's quite true. Though I'm a Hoosier, technically…does being here for nearly four months make me a New Yorker?" Contrary to the way the store exploded, Griffin sounds quite calm.

"Jesus." The word whispers in the wake of the utter destruction that erupts from the other man, "You are tense, Griffin… tense…"

The shadow of Richard Cardinal walks along the wall in the Messianic's direction, asking, "What the fuck happened that's worse than what's already happened… happened…?"

Griffin is silent for a long moment, dipping his face down toward the ground and quietly watching the clouds that result from his breath. Then, the man offers a laugh. It's not a happy laugh, though; it's the laugh of a man pushed to his limit. "What happened? My worst fears happened." He raises his eyes up toward the ceiling then, closing his eyes.

"My life finally touched my family. My sister, Marjorie Mihangle. She was part of Messiah for a while." His voice cracks. "She was murdered last week, by a Colonel Heller. He was looking for me." He rubs at his face with a gloved hand, frowning. "He broke her nose, then shot her in the head." Silence befalls the man for a long moment. "What's worse is, my son— she raised him when I was taken into prison. He heard it. All of it."

The man shivers, gritting his teeth and clenching his hands into fists. "He hasn't spoken since it happened, since I had to carry him out of there when—" He falters off, shaking his head. "I need to find out who this Colonel Heller is."

"Colonel Heller?" There's a long silence from the shadow, the silhouette of a man really (Scaramouch, Scaramouch) that listens to the man as he speaks, without a face to show any emotional reaction to speak of, "I'm not familiar with anyone by that name… what do you know about him? …about him…"

"I'll do what I can."

"I don't know anything about him. I got a message from my sister, saying that there was a Colonel Heller at her door, looking for me. I got there…her body was still warm when I got there, so it couldn't have been anyone else. There— there was a pot of tea made, one cup missing. "That's all that I know about him, though…"

Green eyes turn toward the shadow, a frown crawling over Griffin's face. "Do you know where I can find information about him?"

"Of course I do," Cardinal replies almost dismissively, as if the idea of him not being able to find something out was insulting, "But let's be honest, Griffin, you're a blunt instrument. Let me do the digging… I'll find out who this character is, one way or another… or another…"

He wants to press the issue. He wants the answers as soon as they come. "Please…I need to know. I need to— I don't really know what I need to do. I…I know that revenge never works, but…I want to rip him to shreds, whoever this Colonel Heller is. I need answers." He pauses, swallowing and rubbing at his face, bringing warmth back to his angrily burning cheeks.

"I can't just sit here. He took my baby sister from me. He took my son's childhood, his innocence from him." He shakes his head. "My son won't speak, I barely manage to get him to eat, he's— he's broken." Griffin shakes his head, turning tired eyes toward the shadow. "And I don't know what the hell to do. On the one hand, I have my son to worry about now. On the other, I want…no, I need to find out who killed my sister. My little Mack, she was a wonderful person, and he just…snuffed her out." He shakes his head slowly.


The word is spoken firmly, more audibly, as the shadow makes an effort to project the whispering voice that normally emerges from it. "Get a hold of yourself. If you go running off all… half-cocked… all you're going to do is get yourself killed… and then whoever this Heller is won't ever come to justice. Go and take care of your son. I'll tell you as soon as I find out anything about Heller. …Heller…"

"I'm here for another week or so. Can't go back until then, safer that way. Owain— he's safe." Griffin frowns rubbing his face. "I told him I'd take care of the bad men who did this to Marjorie." The man clears his throat, sighing faintly. "Confucius Apartments, Tartarus, or the Condemned Tenement. The one Peter used to live in. Find me… and please, hurry. My son and I… we need something to get us through this. I need to know why he's after me…why he's killing my family off to get to me."

A fidget. "Know a safer place I can stay?"

Now that the other man doesn't seem likely to cut him in half by accident, the shadow bulges outwards from the wall — spilling away to reveal Richard Cardinal, his head shaking slowly. "I might as well take you back to the library," he admits, his tone dry as he heads for the door of the convenience store, "Just don't break anything that isn't already broken. C'mon."

Griffin tilts his head toward Richard as he slips out of the shadows, turning and taking off after Cardinal, his usual limp not bothering. Perhaps the random hand prints in the dust and snow that litters the shop are the reason. "I only break things when people sneak up on me. You would too, if you were me." The man shrugs quietly, tucking his hands into the pocket of his coat, with his cane tucked under one arm.

"I never, to this day, will understand why people seem to insist on sneaking up on the twitchy telekinetic fugitive." Griffin manages to feign a slight amount of amusement with this remark.

"The first thing I'm doing when we get there," Cardinal states as he walks out into the cold of the evening, shaking his head slowly, "Is giving you some of the grass we have at the library. You need to fucking relax."

Griffin arches a brow. "Grass…you mean pot?" He looks thoughtful. "Haven't smoked since my college days. I miss the music geeks and their wonderful stashes." He's not smiling as he talks, but he's at least trying to be a little bit on the optimistic side, if only to get his mind off of his sister. "I…could probably use it."

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