The Wandering Tree Part III


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Scene Title The Wandering Tree, Part III
Synopsis Joseph Sullivan and Amato Salucci are approached by Noah Bennet seeking assistance on behalf of the Ferrymen.
Date December 4, 2010

Mont Moriah Monastery

Hard work builds character, that is something that Amato Salucci in his new life has come to learn by experience.

While carrying cardboard boxes od powdered milk, canned goods and other staples into the basement of the monastery isn't the hardest of labor he has done in his life, Amato is well aware that there is a certain ebb and flow to strenuous activities, and the hauling of firewood out of dry storage for the winter will soon be another labor of love far more strenuous than this to take his time with.

It wasn't long ago when he had reunited a mother and daughter long since estranged, was even less time since Brother Sullivan recruited him into the task of moving winter supplies down to storage in the basement from the back room they had been deposited in by the delivery trucks. The monastery is far from fully self-sustainable, and these necessary supplies are going to need to last the winter.

"You're worried," is Brother Sullivan's greeting from the basement when Amato emerges from the stairs, motioning towards a wooden shelving where canes, boxes and sacks have been arranged. They're alone, this much at least affords them some confidence. "Not fer yerself, but fer others?" He'd overheard the worry in Amato's voice about Noah Bennet, about the Ferrymen.

"Did y'know her?" Sullivan asks with a raise of his brow, slowly stepping towards the shelves to lend a hand with the organizing, "Huruma, I mean?"

Grimacing slightly with the weight of the box, though his lips are held tightly together, and his eyes are only slightly narrowed, Amato shakes his head when he sets the box down with it's fellows on the low shelves that will keep them off the stone floor and safe from various basement hazards. "I don't know her," Amato clarifies once he's had a chance to regain his breath. While one box isn't enough to strain him, several, coupled with multiple trips up and down the narrow steps, do so with ease.

He exhales, lingering in the basement and occupying himself by straightening the boxes to the point where the act may seem obsessive. "And yes, I'm worried. The people on Staten Island, who I went to when I left in the summer, were…" Amato pauses, and a small, nostaligic sort of smile finds it's way onto his face. "They aren't unlike your carnevale, I suppose."

But Amato shakes his head, and the smile leaves with the motion. "It is good to know they are safe," he says with a curt nod more to himself than to the monk who has become his friend here. He smoothes the bottom edge of a box so that it is flush with the metal shelf it sits on, then reluctantly stands.

One plus one quickly begins to become understanding for Sullivan as his head dips down, inclined into a slow nod. "So she's one'f 'em? He seems quick to accept that fact, bobbing his head into a slow series of short nods. "She's a kind soul, but a bit like the lion with a thorn in its paw." Sullivan's brows furrow, his mild stare leveled on Amato as he moves to stand beside him. "But at least you've the peace'f mind that they're well an' in good hands. Lots of good things come today," he opines with a kind smile, "families reunited, good news from afar…"

Leave it to Noah Bennet to shatter that.

"I'm sorry to say not everything is so rose-tinted, mister Sullivan." Noah Bennet's voice cuts through the basement from where he stands at the bottom of the steps, once ubiquitous horn-rimmed glasses replaced by more subdued wire-framed lenses. He carries a cane now, wooden, bracing his weight on it at his right side as he walks with a visible limp down off of the last step and down onto the floor.

Joseph isn't surprised by Noah's arrival, turning with leisurely pace to face the former Company agent with confidence and a lack of fear. "What's troubling you, son?" That Joseph Sullivan would know what is troubling Noah Bennet is not certain, but that he can feel that troubled heart is entirely different.

Amato is slow to turn and face Noah, and while he only knows Noah Bennet by name and reputation, he has no idea whether or not the Ferrymen Council member has any idea who exactly spent a summer tending to the livestock at The Garden. Then again, it would be foolish to assume Noah didn't know who Amato Salucci was.

It's partly due to that unspoken relationship that Amato returned to Mount Moriah when he did.

"The woman said everyone was alright," Amato says gravely, a subtle challenge in his voice as he studies the man at the foot of the stairs, daring him to contradict the words of his associate. Then again, it is quite easy for people to be safe one day and in danger the next, and Huruma, without any knowledge of Amato's connection to the Ferrymen, wouldn't have known - shouldn't have - divulged any such details.

"That's a very subjective term." Noah admits to Amato, limping down the stairs slowly. "Mister Sullivan, mister Salucci," and there are no masks here. "I'm here on behalf of an organization known as the Ferrymen, and I have reason to believe that you know about us, mister Sullivan?" The response to Noah's introduction is query is a slow, thoughtful nod of Sullivan's head followed by a brief look to Amato before turning his attention to the spectacled man.

"Rumors, stories. It's a noble notion, even if one I don't feel that I could lend my own personal aid to. I tried to do, once, what they do… I don't have it in me anymore." Noah's limping progress into the room comes with a brief look to Amato, then back to Sullivan.

"Yet I have it on good word that you've helped seven unregistered Evolved find save passage into Canada." There's a knowing tone in Noah's voice, words more hushed now, confidence afforded. "We have a mutual friend in Quebec, mister Sullivan, and he told me good things about you. I was wondering if you and I might be able to come to an arrangement. That mister Salucci is here is… well, two birds with one stone." Overhead lantern light reflects off of Noah's glasses at the angle his head winds up at on returning his attention to Brother Sullivan.

"We've suffered a critical loss," is an uncomfortable thing to admit. "Our resources are slashed, our numbers are a tenth of what they were and a lot of innocent lives are hanging in the balance in what amounts to exile, mister Sullivan. We could all breathe easier knowing that there was someone to lean on, or at the very least an escape hatch at our backs."

The words critical loss strike a chord of fear in Amato's heart, one that resonates so profoundly that it would be impossible to hide from a man like Joseph Sullivan. Two birds with one stone echo in his head like undertones, heard only when the once the other words have started to ring. Amato swallows, his jaw tight and his fingers curling into fists at his sides. Bennet is here on business, and it takes every bit of self control the would-be priest has not to explode with that very worry that Brother Sullivan had pointed out not five minutes before they were joined by this man in glasses.

The last time fires meant anything to Amato, his own family was torn apart, left mangled and scattered to the point where it would take months for Amato to find them again. And when he did…

"Enlighten me," he finally says, the words whispered clearly - too clearly - with over annunciated consonants, adding to their intensity.

Noah turns a pointed look to Amato, brows lifted in that earnest expression of are you sure that always comes so rhetorically. "We were betrayed from within." It's a common trope, one Amato himself is painfully familiar with. It once cost him his hand, later cost him his sense of purpose. Both seem to have recovered well. "An operative of ours sold us out to the government, and during the riots we were ambushed by the military. Several of the council were murdered, we lost the lion's share of our safe houses, and the majority of the network was forced further underground than it already was."

It's a grim prognosis, one that Sullivan feels a certain kinship to all too well. The government had come for the Carnival too, murdered children. But he was the well-intending betrayer there, it was his sin for the betrayal of his own brother. It is a sin so biblical that Amato could not help but gravitate towards it when first his ability brushed Brother Sullivan.

"What can you offer in return," doesn't sound very priestly, from Joseph. "Good intentions can't protect what little flock I have here, an' you know as well as I do tha' the people here aren't dangerous. Some can barely fend fer themselves."

Noah breathes in deeply, letting his shoulders rise and fall as he looks around the supply room. "We're admittedly short on supplies too, resources are thin. What we do have is information, some advance warning. We could offer to give you access to some of that information network, keep you abreast of any potential movement headed in your direction…"

"And in turn, this place becomes one of your havens," Amato says, filling in the rest of Noah's sentence. His fear and anxiety, momentarily eased by Huruma's arrival but now as strong as ever, leave his tone not biting as it had been moments before, but level and cold. "At least," he adds, his eyebrows lifting as the lids drop marginally, "until they can be moved to Ontario." It's only a short distance away, with plenty of smaller roads and forest to cover their trails.

Amato dips his head for a moment before he opens his eyes to look askance to Joseph, the same clear guilt and want of redemption in his pale eyes as when he first met the man in monastic robes that hearkened so much of his childhood in the Vatican.

"What choice do you have, fratello?" he asks, his voice low but still clear enough for the outsider to hear. "What choice do any of us have? To turn these people away would be unthinkable, no matter what risk it may pose to the order."
(New BB message (9/12) posted to 'IC - Hearsay and Rumors' by Brooklyn: The Blue Fairy's Scarcity)
Bennet may not be the young, spry agent that he was in his youth, but Noah Bennet's ability to steer a social situation towards an end that he prefers hasn't lost its capability with age or injury. Brother Sullivan's resigned sigh comes with a hand covering his mouth, fingers working at his goatee as he considers Amato's counsel, then turns his attention to Mr.Bennet with a reluctant nod of approval.

"He speaks the truth," is stated of Amato, "an' I'm thankful fer that much." The old, Irish priest looks to his counsel much in the way Kazimir once had, though for intentions far more pure. "If I agree t'help you an yours, an' we reach this arrangement mutually. What promise can you make me that what happened t'yours recently won't happen again, but also t'my flock in like turn?"

Noah was worried that was going to be asked. His brows knit together, fingers curl tighter around the head of his cane, and when he looks back up to Sullivan it's with honest regret. "I can't promise it won't. We're crippled right now, and we're reaching out to whoever we can that feels they may be able to offer aid. It's not a proud place to be, but it's where we are."

That was the answer that Brother Sullivan wanted to hear. "Honesty opens doors that lies close," Joseph admits with a furrow of his brows. "Tell your people we'll make arrangements, an' that the door t'Canada is open t'them should they need it." A look goes around to the supply cellar, then back. "I'll see what I can do about finding some way t'offer food relief t'you and yours as well. But it won't be quick."

Relief paints itself across Noah's face as he exhales a sigh and offers a smile that creases dimples at the corners of his mouth. "Thank you, it'll be a relief to everyone when I return with the news…"

"I'm coming with you."

As much as Joseph may value Amato's counsel, or even his relative vigor as someone who can haul firewood, boxes, and wrangle errant sheep, it's his place to go where he's needed most. The steady eyes he meets Noah with are unrelenting, and he holds them there for several hearbeats before he looks back to Joseph to offer some explanation. "I can help them," he assures his friend, brows furrowing. "And if they still have the Garden, there's enough space for a small herd." And be it milk or wool, sheep are easy enough to keep for a steady return. "Besides," he adds with a shake of his head. "there is still that young ram's ear to attend to, and we were going to have to remove him from the herd soon anyway. That can be done just as easily there as it can here."

That is, of course, assuming that The Garden is one of the safe houses that was not compromised.
Noah's smile doesn't fade, though his eyes to turn to Joseph on Amato's insistance. Brother Sullivan, however, seems to accept Amato's decision with noticable ease. "A purpose with good intentions, an' a point on yer compass guiding you t'where you need be." There's a faint smile that grows on Sullivan's bearded face as he turns back to look at Noah. "If you'll have him, of course."

"He has serendipitous timing," is the closest to a play onw ords Noah will get to. "The Garden is still intact, though the operators we had for it are displaced. As far as I know it's sitting abandoned, we moved all of the horses up to our fallback location, which is where you, Huruma and I will be headed once we're done here. Which," Noah offers a look to Sullivan. "I have a feeling will be tomorrow, given the storm brewing outside."

"I can have accomodations arranged for you," Sullivan readily offers with a dip of his head, one returned by Noah in appreciation.

"I can't explain to you how much this means to us, mister Sullivan. We're in dire need of allies right now, and I appreciate you taking this risk." For all Noah's newfound humility seems refreshing, Brother Sullivan takes no pride in it, merely comfort.

"We do what we must, and what is right. This," he looks to Amato, then back to Noah. "This feels mighty right."

Amato lifts his right hand to rest on Joseph's shoulder, giving it a friendly squeeze before simply letting it rest there. "Quia factus es spes mea turris fortitudinis a facie inimici," he murmurs to the older man, the man who is a man of the cloth, rather than simply a man of God. "Thank you."

When Amato looks to Noah again, the same determination bears a thread of camaraderie. "It is a long way from the city. You must be tired. You should eat something before retiring, and it will give us the opportunity to talk." But Amato winces as the words fall from his lips, his brows furrowing and his mouth turning toward a frown.

He has played this part before, and it is too easy a mantle to take up, even when not asked.

With a shake of his head, he gestures toward the stairs. "Please."

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