The Painted Paths


kazimir_icon.gif sylar_icon.gif

Scene Title The Painted Paths
Synopsis Sylar shows Kazimir a glimpse of the future.
Date November 11, 2007

Eagle Electric

Most notable business collapse in Queens was that of Eagle Electric, a major manufacturer based out of Long Island City for decades, comprised of acres of warehouses and manufacturing plants designed to produce electronic components to suit all sorts of needs. The western warehouse of the Eagle Electric lot is an enormous and foreboding red-painted building made entirely from sheets of ridged steel. Amidst the grass growing up through the cracks in the pavement and the burned out cars in the parking lot, it seems just as uninhabited as the rest of the area. A large and ruined sign at the top of the office and manufacturing building prominently reads, "Eagle Electric—Perfection Is Not An Accident.

He's been waiting, and now it's well into the day, though not yet noon. Sunlight burns even brighter than the hesitant streams of morning through the high windows, making the lights hanging from the rafters needless. The birds have started to congregate against since Munin had once given them reason to vacate in a flurry, and these are what Sylar listens to, trying to figure out if he'd ever want to truly hear them, and make them hear him.

He's currently occupying the "throne" in the center of the warehouse, long legs sprawled casually in front of him. In his lap is a plastic tube, about a foot and a half in length, one of those designed to transport paintings and artwork on paper. He's dressed very ordinary, in black leather sensible shoes, grey slacks, and a dark green button-down shirt that's tucked in neatly. His hair is combed and he looks a bit like an office worker on a casual Friday who didn't want to risk going in jeans.

As for waiting, Sylar doesn't mind - he's his own most interesting person, but he lifts his head when he can hear someone's approach.

The muffled beat of Kazimir's slow heart, the thump of shoes and the click of his cane. All these things come together at once in a slowly building symphony of clockwork precision. There, at times, is something almost mechanical about Kazimir, about the way he carries himself and moves about with effortless grace. Never has Sylar seen him drive, or even occupy a vehicle. How he gets from one end of the city to another is a bit of a mystery.

From the throne, it's clear why Kazimir has chosen that as his perch. What would otherwise be seen as haphazard arrangements of freight cargo, broken glass, shattered mirrors and stacks of ammunition all come together like some strange puzzle from this one vantage point. Reflections in glass, mirrors and windows allow almost the entire floor of the warehouse to be seen clearly. It makes spotting Kazimir's approach easy, long before he comes into view around one tall stack of crates.

"Amato would be distinctly displeased to see you there." Kazimir's eyes settle on Sylar, continuing his approach slowly, his voice belying no discomfort in the man's choice of seat. "To what do I owe the pleasure of this unexpected visit, Gabriel?" Kazimir stops just shy of the wooden palettes that serve as the dais, looking up to appraise how Sylar looks seated upon the chair, as if admiring something.

He doesn't know why Kazimir's heart beats the way it does. Maybe one day, he will find out, even if it takes cracking open the man's body from the middle to achieve it. Of course, Sylar could always just ask. Either way, it's a mystery to understand another day and for now, he merely listens to it. The most dead sounding sign of life he's ever encountered.

A warm, throaty chuckle adds to the sound ambience of the room. "Amato would probably be displeased to see me anywhere," Sylar points out, choosing then to look towards Kazimir as he approaches the dais. He leans forward a little in the chair, posture not so casual, but not yet rising to his feet. "Why do you do that?" he asks, his tone honestly curious, fixing Kazimir with a look of scrutiny in return of that look of vague admiration. "Why do you call me that? It's not who I am."

Kazimir settles his eyes on Sylar, then the plastic tube laid across his lap, then back up again. "It is who you are, which is more important than who you're pretending to be." He steps up onto the cloth-covered dais, the white canvas muffling the sound of his footsteps, but the hollow palettes give it a very deep echoing tone. "You were born Gabriel Gray, your mother was Virginia Gray. You were a watch repairman, and then one day…" A brow raises slowly, "That changed. The name you took," Kazimir's eyes flit down to the watch on his wrist, then back up again, "It's as much of who you are as the clothes you wear. It's a mask, Gabriel. You wear it to hide who and what you really are, so that any affront to you can be attributed to the mask, not the man behind it. To protect yourself…" He takes a few more steps over, cane thumping on the palettes.

"Finding out about your parentage, all that requires was an assessment of public and private records based on the information Amato gleaned from you. Finding out about the monster you turned into took some more effort, but much of that Amato relayed to me fretfully. I was surprised to find out how much of it was truth…" He stops just two feet from the throne, looking down, now, at Sylar. "You are Gabriel Gray, whether you want to admit it or not. Anything that hides behind an alias, it is a sign of weakness. You, Gabriel, are anything but weak. Your name is strong, profoundly so, and there is great power in a name."

He listens in silence to the explanation that unravels. The day he had introduced himself as 'Gabriel Sylar', more than two years ago now… can he really think back and understand what made him say it? Enhanced memory doesn't cover the days you never had it, and fills your mind with information after it. He can remember every single face he passed on his way to Eagle Electric, but he can barely recall enough to understand his own transformation. Sylar levels a stare at Kazimir as he comes to that conclusion, and easily he's the first one to look away again, down at the item in his hands.

Hesitation passes before he gets to his feet from the throne, walking along the dais to stand nearest Kazimir, the two men elevated above the dust, debris and dirt covered floor of the warehouse around them. The only reply, really, is the crack of plastic against plastic as he twists open the cap of the carrier tube, letting it fall open on a hinge.

"I brought something I thought would interest you," he says. Subject change, despite the fact he'd been the one to ask the question. "It's another talent I have. I can see the future and when I do, I paint the image. The man whom I took it from was a drug addict who couldn't control his own ability without a shot of heroin in his system." The tube is dropped to rest at his feet, having withdrawn the roll of paper.

"Precognition?" Kazimir's eyes narrow slightly as he looks to the plastic tube as it's unscrewed, moving to pass alongside of Sylar as he rises from the chair. "I knew someone with an ability like that, once." The old man switches places with Sylar, moving to settle down into the creaking and cloth-shrouded chair, laying his cane across his lap as he does. "His name was Alexi Petrostad, he could see the future in reflections of a mirror, as if watching them on a television…" Kazimir settles one hand on the cane, his thumb brushing over the scar in the steel of the wolf's head. "Alexi was a useful asset, he joined us in Russia when we were tracking down a man who claimed to be the historical Rasputin himself."

One gray brow rises slowly, "Alexi was weak, though, too weak to do our Work." As the roll of paper is withdrawn, Kazimir's pale blue eyes come to settle on it, intently. "What he saw in the future, he did not have the wherewithal to go through with. I could feel his fear and hesitation, see it in his eyes." Kazimir's head cants to the side, blue eyes assessing Sylar carefully, "He tried to use what he saw in that vision to turn against us. It cost me the life of a very valuable agent, and for his betrayal I made certain that he lived to regret his decision for as long as he possibly could."

"I've painted lots of pictures," Sylar says, standing, still, on the edge of the dais, the rolled up image held loosely in his hand. "I see them as paths, and options. Some are as inevitable as the ground coming to meet you when you fall. Some are glimpses as to what could be." A explosion consuming Manhattan was certainly the ground Peter met when he failed to fly. A picture of a President, a window of opportunity now closed, not one he wants to open again. But this… who knows?

The papery rustling sound of Sylar unfolded the image fills the air, and he comes to stand closer so he can hold it out for Kazimir's observation. What appears is at first an abstract swath of greys, blacks and other colours that resembles the city, the sky above a broiling purple of thunder and sunset. Details come into focus and it's clear that this is a major street in Manhattan, ruined just like the rest of them but from recent damage too - a car has rammed into a store window in the distance and no one has cleared it up. Broken buildings seem to be the work of recent destruction, and trash settles on the ground from where no one's bothered to pick it up. Newspapers, posters, flyers - no readable details yield themselves from these items. But the destruction seems more of a setting than the true prophecy, but one thing is made abundantly clear…

No one walks these streets.

Then, a flash of yellow may catch someone's eye, a splash of paint on a building, perhaps or a sign. Fine black brush strokes interrupt the sudden patch of bright, almost cheerful colour, but if you can read the symbol, you know that the yellow is only there to be eye-catching, to warn. In the center of it, is a black bio hazard symbol.

As Kazimir takes it in, Sylar watches him all the while as if to gauge out his reaction, or perhaps for approval, or something more. Either way, he studies the elderly man.

Kazimir leans back as the painting is unrolled, and his head tips back, regarding the picture silently, in the assessing and intent manner to which an art critic might. However Kazimir isn't as focused on values and tones, or even in the symbolism used so much as the directly implied meaning of them. One hand comes up to rest on his chin, fingers stroking over the bare skin as he leans forward, more carefully eyeing the imagery before something highly unusual creeps across the old man's face — a smile.

Blue eyes lift up to Sylar as Kazimir moves to settle back on his chair, the raised back creaking loudly as he strokes at his chin again, thoughtfully. "That is an intriguing possibility you have presented me with, Gabriel." The eyes divert back down to the painting again, "Perhaps proof positive that the plans being set into motion, the gears that are turning, are not stopped." His hand finally moves from his face, settling down on the arm of the chair. "This means we're on the right path." A terrible affirmation, if ever there was one.

"Destroy it." He intones a moment later, raising one hand slowly. "I feel that such revelations are best kept between you and I for the time being. There is certainly no need to concern the others with this development until such a time as that phase of the plan comes to fruition." The smile finally begins to fade from his weathered face, "For now, we keep that close to our chests."

In gentle, careful movements, Sylar rolls the painting back up. Though he does twist his mouth in a smirk back at Kazimir when the man shows that smile, his expression is still somehow unreadable. But he got the confirmation he wanted. "I'll destroy it," he confirms, despite the care he's given to the painting. As detailed as it is, it must have taken him long hours, and perhaps he doesn't want to ruin it before he sets it on fire. He even summons the container back to his hand with the intent to slip the painting back inside, snapping the lid closed.

Sylar turns, stepping down from the dais and onto the floor of the warehouse - not as nimbly as he'd like, stitches still holding him together threatening to pull with the movement, but he ignores it. Close to walking away, Sylar does hesitate, before turning back towards Kazimir, looking up at the man on his throne.

"You didn't happen to notice the lack of angels in this painting, did you?" he says. "What if something goes wrong? Wrong even by your standards."

"There are eventualities already in place, in case something goes terribly wrong." Kazimir rests his elbows on the arms of the chair, fingers steepled at his mouth as his eyes grow distant and unfocused, "There are measures that have been taken to ensure the survival of those who should survive. I am nothing," Kazimir notes with a hint of whimsy, "If not overly cautious." Blue eyes lift up to focus once more on Sylar. "If something goes wrong, beyond all of my best laid plans…" His tone loses that gentle and whimsical nature, "Well, that is one of the many reasons I'm training you as I am, Gabriel. You're special, and I feel that if you can survive one cataclysm, you can survive many."

As is almost routine, Sylar might confirm his name once more as a parting gesture. This time, there's only silence, and then a nod. He has much to think about, and best to do that where he can be alone. He starts back towards the exit in a few backwards steps, as one who is reluctant to show an emperor his back because it would be disrespectful - or an enemy (or the dearest of friends), out of fear. He turns, though, and walks towards the doors with echoing footsteps sounding out, foretold destruction in his hand, but in his heart… who knows.

November 11th: Closing In

Previously in this storyline…

Next in this storyline…

November 11th: So It Was Written
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