Truths Yet to Discover


cardinal_icon.gif ghost2_icon.gif tamara_icon.gif

Scene Title Truths Yet to Discover
Synopsis A trade is made, and Tamara shows off a whole new set of symbols while prophesying about what is yet to come.
Date June 30, 2009

Central Park Zoo

Breaking into the Central Park zoo is easy. You go up the brick, between security cameras and patrolman circuits— it's not like a sudden elephant squeal is going to set anything off, so keeping noise minimal isn't nearly as much of an issue as trespassing on grounds where the primary inhabitants are humans, with their jealous dragons, treasure hoards, delicate sensibilities.

Ghost is standing over the lion pit. It smells faintly of cat shit because there's no wind here tonight, only warm heat laking in the air, sealed into Manhattan's atmosphere underneath an uncharacteristically static lid of cloud cover. A loose black jacket keeps his assembly of personal arms not only out of sight but their small and deadly shapes concealed, which is a different game altogether.

The old soldier is waiting.

The thief was plying his trade for years before his ability manifested; it's a simple matter to slip up the wall, dodging patrols with casual ease as he makes his way through the zoo. A penthouse apartment loaded with security, it's not. He's dressed darkly; black nylon jacket despite the heat no doubt concealing his own (no doubt lesser in number) armaments, black gloves, dark jeans. A fedora's perched atop his head, tonight.

The man by the lion pit, however, isn't recognized. Cardinal's tread is slow, careful as he approaches, hands tucked into the pockets of his jacket, eyes on the figure waiting for him. "Evening." Casual, quiet as it drifts in the air.

There isn't enough light in here that the lions' retinas are throwing white points back at him while he studies them. They are awake, though. Long, ropey-limbed strides moving across the ragged tumult of yellow grass and carefully caulked boulders, a deep, chuffing cough emerging from the corner where one giant cat calls to the other. Pretty.

"There's this song I've heard— 'Tattoo of a Lion' or some shit. It's really old from what I remember, but I don't know if it's come out yet, or if it's gonna.

"Fuckin' weird. Cognitive dissonance—" he looks up without turning his body. Squints slightly as he nips briefly out of the space of his own body, examining the hitch and pull of muscle and sensory nerves from within Cardinal's skin for a brief instant, before snapping back into his own skull with a blink. "Look like you're doing all right."

There's something subtly off about the viewpoint that's held behind those eyes, along those nerves; a subtle detachment of each sense from the other, as if they weren't quite firmly connected to one another in a coherent whole. The faintest of smiles touches Richard's lips, but not his eyes as he steps along up to the rail, two arms' lengths from the other man, gloved hands coming to rest upon it.

"Only because I have the phone numbers of a few healers," he replies in quiet, casual tones, "Spent a few weeks there with one hand; wouldn't recommend it. Plus, feels really fuckin' weird growing a limb back."

"We find our way off to sleep / And dream of the truths we have yet to discover."

Two lines only, the singer's voice young, female; pitched quiet, for the two men and their feline audience. Whether she's been here a while or only just arrived, Tamara doesn't indicate as she emerges from the evening shadows; her tee is violet, shorts faded blue denim, white socks peeking out above the rims of mud-splattered gray sneakers. Her long blonde hair, mussed from disregard but not truly tangled for once, doesn't blend into the darkness so well. Stealthy attire is not, apparently, one of the sybil's major concerns; neither is carrying her own personal armory.

She carries ice cream instead: two paper bowls, plastic spoons, the confection only a little melted despite summer heat. One is offered to Cardinal with a cheerful, welcoming smile. "A red bird and a bluebird; they're pretty colors to have together. Though owls are better in black."

A brow stoops on Ghost's forehead, a marked shift of expression for any number of things. The fact that Cardinal, too, no longer fits neatly inside the demarcations of his own head, or the words and melodic aria of a song that shouldn't yet be. He draws himself up, turns, finally, facing his company with a smile that's all sharp corners and immaculate, picket fence teeth.

Makes him look younger. A good thing, considering Sonny's revisions on the original material. Little bastard. "T'mara. Richard Cardinal," though she already knew that, "this is Tamara. Most talented precog I've ever met. When I come from, she's actually sane, if not until after she let my friends die en masse at Columbia University. It's a good story.

"I don't bear a grudge." Not against her, anyway, not really: you could as soon begrudge the sun for burning yellow.

The soft pitch of song given voice draws Cardinal's attention away from the feline beasts that lurk below in their musky heat and feline stench, his head lifting to look in the direction of the young woman so casually dressed. A brow lifts, bemused; a glance to Ghost, as if questioning if this is really the person he says she is, and then back to her.

Then, he's offered ice cream. It's surreal enough that he takes it without really thinking about it, glancing down, then back up with a higher arch of that brow. "Tamara," he says post-introductions, acknowledging her with an easy nod. Then a glance, edged, towards Ghost. "You have friends?" Deadpan.

"Don't be catty," Tamara chides Richard, however gentle the statement's delivery may be. She turns to hold out the second bowl to Teo, head canting to one side, regarding him with a lopsided smile. "Was I? Or just better at pretending?" The girl continues to consider the Sicilian for a moment longer, lifting a hand to brush empty fingertips against the skin of his face, smile slowly stretching into a good-natured grin. "Give Teo and Gabriel my regards."

She steps past them, perches on the low barrier, facing the two men. Hands folded in her lap, the sybil's expression is expectant; this wouldn't have been as important as it is unless there were business to conduct. Her eyes are dark, as her clothing is not; it could be a function of the lack of light, but Teo at least knows better. Tamara considers the both of them thoughtfully. "Have you decided why you're here?"

Teo and Gabriel appear to be at least momentarily unavailable to offer salutation themselves. Ghost's gaze turns outward again. He spares Cardinal a sidelong grimace of annoyance, and then a suitably flippant response on the heels of Tamara's gentle chastisement: "It's not my fucking fault they don't know who they are."

It's on Cardinal, no doubt, whether or not he really wants to waste his breath on that particular debate. For now, Ghost has his back to the pride and is accepting the other cup of ice cream with delight. "I wouldn't be one to make a distinction there, sweetheart." One rough thumb and forefinger span the base of the confection's tiny round receptacle, holding it in place while he roots through his jacket lapel for the sibyl's reciprocal gift.

"For you."

Sheet of velvet, cord-tied— as you'd carry diamonds. You probably don't need to go back (forward?) ten years with Tamara to figure that precious stones aren't this girl's best friend, however. He underhands it, gently, onto the fold of hands on Tamara's lap, before grasping the tiny plastic pick of the spoon, starts to dig into the frozen dairy mound there. "Wanted to make a few introductions, ask a couple questions. Mostly about Arthur Petrelli— how the socio-political prognosis looks if he loses, this time."

A noncommitant sound stirs past Cardinal's lips; a debate he doesn't care to waste breath on, perhaps. Pettiness of that level can wait until business is dealt with, and the man who would rule the world bereft of his last breath.

The plastic spoon is inverted in the thief's — can he be called a thief still? He's not certain what he is, anymore — hand and plunged into the warmth-softened confection to stir for a spoonful. Silence, though, at the sybil's questions and Ghost's response; watching with sharply attentive eyes, listening closely.

She doesn't let the velvet pouch hit her lap; plucks it deftly out of the air without ever quite looking at the item. Dark eyes remain directed at Teo, but her focus drifts, phases out; as her focus wavers, so does the emotion seep out of Tamara's expression, brows knitting in fine, tense lines. "He couldn't win. Not in the way you mean, he meant; but there's mines still. The deepest water runs silent." Her words are clinical rather than childish; spare and serious, rather than playful. "It's not the question you need to ask."

The sybil tilts her head, as though listening; yet she doesn't afford Teo the opportunity to interject an edgewise query. Hears, instead, what could be asked, even as she answers that very thing. "The wolf howls. Will howl. Has howled. He is angry; the raven flies with wings of fire. It must not come to ground." Her head shifts slightly, gaze seeming to center once more upon Teo. "Still beyond the horizon, dancing in the skyfire. Arthur is the moment; is first. But not, never again, last."

"I can live with that," Ghost answers, after a protracted moment. Then a brief pause, a philosophical shrug, sort of a joke except that he doesn't particularly expect any of the company— outside or within him— to laugh: "Or die of it. Wouldn't kill me either way." Arrogance, certainly, but only the sort due one who's given a great deal of thought to one's untimely demise. You tend to save a little time for it, once you've experienced it once.

Wolf, raven. Symbols, not always people. His brow creases, once, committing these words to memory in as much detail as he's capable of in fleeting time. Lions come closer to their concrete perimeter, angle their heads back to study the silhouettes above. Ghost pries out another mouthful of ice cream. "Nice of you to say so like I'm going to live long enough to learn and grow enough to give a fuck about all that up ahead."

"So we shouldn't plan any vacations, is what you're saying," comes Cardinal's dry response to the words spoken by the sybil, the spoon stirring about in the chilled cream before digging out another dollop of it to feed his sweet tooth. He swallows, then gestures with the spoon vaguely through the air, "I know a wolf, but I doubt it's the same one. Don't know any ravens, m'afraid."

Tilting her head, Tamara regards Cardinal, her eyes a little less dark, a little more blue. "The lark has a song about the raven. You heard it. She hears just enough." Looking over her shoulder at the lions for a moment, the sybil subsequently drops off her perch, brushes her fingers against Ghost's arm. "Being snide doesn't change what the mirror holds," she reminds him gently. "You need only remember." Walking past the duo, Tamara turns around to look at them once more, the velvet pouch held securely in one hand. "Is there anything else?"

The ghost's mouth finds a thinner line, not quite harsh but almost a smile, like a strip of wire being pulled in opposite directions and drawn downward by a faint lassitude of gravity. "I'm not being snide.

"I'm being" he pauses here, perhaps strangely, reluctant to admit this for whatever reason. That he likes being alive, still. Seems selfish, somehow, after the decade he's had, the months he's put everybody else through. Teo and Gabriel probably won't think so, when they claw their way back to lucidity enough to recall and remark. "Grateful."

He inclines his head, once, in what looks like a simplified gesture of acknowledgment, but his eyes are on the velvet-bound handful Tamara carries, instead. He lifts his eyes. Smiles with them, faintly. "I think that's it, grazie."

A brow lifts a little, Cardinal's gaze sliding from Tamara to Ghost— his expression bemused, questioning. "You have any idea what any of that just meant? Because I'm not exactly Mister Literary Interpretation over here…." A shake of his head, attention drifting back to the sybil, brow furrowing, "I don't think I know any larks. I…"

He pauses, gaze falling on the velvet-wrapped bundle, and then lifting to Ghost, eyes hard. He doesn't verbalize his suspicion, however.

The girl laughs, quietly, cheerily. "Someday you might've remembered how to show it. Don't forget to go see her, bluebird. There's more you've lost than you think, and sometimes it's the ones that can't speak for themselves that matter most." The advice is not flippant, even if her tone is light. Blue eyes flick to Cardinal, Tamara's smile faintly wry. "Listen. Always listen. Cassandra was only Cassandra because no one cared enough to hear." She wriggles the fingers of her free hand at the pair, then departs, soon fading into the surrounding shadows.

Ghost does nothing. Says nothing. Seems not to be breathing for a moment, as he turns over this progression of words, symbols, instructions over in his mind. His eyes thin with a smile afterward, swiveled over at Cardinal on the axis of his neck.

"She misses me," he acknowledges, finally, pitching his attention after Tamara only when she goes. "I've missed her too. Fine— I'm not heartless.

"Remember the words," he says, tennis matching his regard at Cardinal, again. "Wolf, raven— with fire, lark, song. They'll make sense sooner or later. Preferably the former. Either way, you won't be able to say she hadn't told you so." The plastic goes up between his forefinger and thumb, penduluming once, a wave that intimates farewell even if he isn't making any ostensible action to withdraw, just yet.

"Wanna meet Edward?"

"No," Cardinal refutes with a slight shake of his head, his lips curling in a wry half-smile, "Cassandra was Cassandra because no one wanted to hear her." Oh, how he knows that one, though.

A tilt of his head, gaze slanting back to Ghost, one brow arching subtly. "Your Edward? Sure. Wouldn't mind seein' the difference between the two."

A trill of laughter greets both men's words, though the girl who is its source makes no move to return. "Care enough, and 'want' falls by the way. I know of Edward," the sybil calls, no segue between the subjects whatsoever.

"I give him headaches."

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