2148/The Nickel Tour

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The Nickel Tour
Date of Scene: 18 June 2020
Location: Angelo's Pizza
Synopsis: Questions are asked and avoided. Anger rises and flight is reflexively chosen. So be it!
Cast of Characters: Sara Pezzini, Achilles

Sara Pezzini has posed:
The new house echos emptily, their shoes shuffling loudly on the hardwood floors. Outside the yard had the sad look of neglect, but under it the outlines of a proudly kept flower garden braving Brooklyn, traffic and the neighbor children and dogs are visible.

Sara walks ahead of him, flipping on the overhead lights, admiring the length of the floors and the bay window overlooking the front garden. Boxes stand here and there, a sofa, so new it still has some plastic wrapping on it, is turned to look out the window.

"Oh, I can tell this is great. It still feels like the 1930's, but it's been updated, not badly either." She turns in place, smiling, "How is the kitchen?"

Achilles has posed:
    "First thing I tested. Gas stove and oven... which is my preference." offers Angelo. "I mean if I have to do without a wood stove and using a goat as a garbage disposal." he adds in jest as he steps around you to turn the kitchen light on. "I mean what I prepared was nothing special. But homemade pesto sauce is something of a favorite and a specialty of mine. In time, I hope that I will be able to make it with ingredients from the garden."
    And that said, he turns to face you as he backs into the kitchen and gestures about. The counters are clean, and the dishes are put away. Not a lot of those, but they are good quality and simple. "Perhaps you might like to open a bottle of something less robust as the red from earlier?" he asks. "I have already put in a stock from my collection in the basement."

Sara Pezzini has posed:
Laughing, she nods, "You have your priorities straight, I can see. A basement, too, no less. You pick. I will set the desserts out. Okay?" Sara starts to open cabinets without permission, pulling down plates. "You are further along than I imagined. I know people who don't or can't unpack for months!"

Achilles has posed:
    "I have some... experience." offers Angelo with a smirk as he heads for the small door by the fridge that leads to the half basement. It's not large. Just a cellar really. But it is now a wine cellar.
    That said, he turns and heads down there. And after a minute or two, he comes up with a bottle of white wine that isn't anything extravagant, but it's not box wine either.
    He is already pulling the cork out with the screw as he steps up into the kitchen, and then sets the bottle on the counter. He eyes you... just looks. Not at anything in particular. Not a leer. It's more of... in wonder.
    His thoughts? . . o o O O (How can this mortal woman be peeling away my layers so effectively. It is like she were trained for it, but it is just.. who she is.)

Sara Pezzini has posed:
The restaurant would not hear of them leaving without two very sizable portions of freshly made strawberry tart and tiramisu. The Italians taught the French about shortcrust and creamy custard when Catherine de' Medici brought her cooks to the court of Henry II. The coffee in the tiramisu was a later arrival to Europe.

Sara hums to herself as she takes things out to the card table serving time as a dining table and office from its looks. Three trips suffice, the song something from her father's youth and appropriate to the occasion, Crosby, Stills, and Nash, 'Our House', comes to an end.

"You know to find and close on a house this quickly in Brooklyn is nothing short of a miracle, right?" She glances at him oddly for a moment, perhaps remembering just who she is talking to - the man who has lived in more places and circumstances than she could imagine.

Achilles has posed:
    "In my experience... when something is difficult, there is something to the old American adage of... enough money thrown at a problem can make it less of a problem. And.." Angelo shrugs, "Since I have more money than I could spend in five lifetimes, I see no reason not to make good use of it. Plus..."
    He glances about a bit and shrugs, "I must admit, I did a stint at making money via real estate in the Nineteen Fifties. It's.. become a part of my rather startlingly diverse set of skills."
    But he pours the wine into a couple of plastic cups before setting down the bottle and approaching to offer you one. "So, now that I have you alone in my secret lair... what shall this Master Villain do with you?" he asks, exaggerating the whole thing playfully.

Sara Pezzini has posed:
The rejoinder takes a moment, her face lighting up with a smile, "Villain are you? Ahhhh. Show me your bracers?"

Accepting the cup of wine, she smells it and nods her head, "Perfect with the strawberries." Her effort to remain superficial veers off track. "I forget, how much you know. What do you dream about?" The question pops out of her mouth before she edits herself.

Achilles has posed:
    The request to show off the bracers is met with a shrug. "I'd say I'll show you mine if you show me yours, but.. I'd like to keep my eternal life a bit longer." But he grins and holds reaches up to remove his jacket. So he is left with a polo shirt and a pair of custom fit bracers on his forearms. That same gleaming bronze that he refers to as Celestial Bronze. It's.. not normal bronze. It is infused with what one might call mana, or power, or divine essence. Whatever it is, it's worked into the material on a cellular level and makes it... divinely empowered. It is what all of the godly weapons were made from.
    But he holds them out for inspection. "Do you want to try one on?" he asks. "Assuming your friend there won't object?"
    And then the question about dreams comes and his eyes angle downward for just a moment as accumulated sadness flickers through them. But only for a moment, "My dreams are... not good places. It has been more than three thousand years... and I can still see Hector's face as it was the moment I killed him. I wake sometimes thinking that that fight is still going on... and the worst part is... I am still winning it and don't want to." he admits.

Sara Pezzini has posed:
It was a flippant wish, something to head off jokes about etchings. She nods, her eyes widening comically at the thought of his near brush with death from his comment. The smile fades to seriousness as she tentatively brushes her fingers over a bracer, a glance to confirm that she can. A sound of a giant bell muffled by great distance fills the air, it stops her hand and she looks at her own wrist where the stone on her bracelet is lit with an inner light making the red pulse.

"Oh! I don't know that it would be a good thing for me to show you mine. Look!"

She takes a step back, lowering her arm, "The question was out of place. Thank you for answering it so honestly. Only the good would wake up thinking that about a victory, Ac-Angelo."

Achilles has posed:
    And then the 'bong' sound makes him snap out of his maudlin thoughts. And then he smirks... letting them go entirely. "Like I said, I was kidding." he says, exaggerating as he bends down to speak directly to the bracelet. "I would never ask that. But.. you can try one on if you wish. Weapons or armor?" he asks as he inclines his head, reaching to unfasten the bracers which.. do not appear to -have- any fastenings. But they split in half like clamshells just the same.

Sara Pezzini has posed:
"Um, oh, jeez. Ah, armor! Will the Witchblade let me, I wonder?" She looks at her arm with trepidation. "Better a weapon, I think. Yeah." She makes an attempt to share his smile, the quickness that he put his own sadness aside noted.

Achilles has posed:
    Aside, more like on hold to be dealt with later. One thing he learned... emotional compartmentalization. But he nods and sets the left bracer on the table. Then he looks at your right wrist and says, "Hrmm.."
    He tilts his head and asks, "Mighty Witchblade, may I put this upon her right wrist that she try my -far- inferior weapons?"

Sara Pezzini has posed:
The stone looks inert, reflecting the ambient light dully. "What's the worse that could happen?" With a searching look, she asks, "Have you allowed anyone to do this before Achilles? I think it's right to use your true name, right now." Extending her arm, she takes a deep calming breath then nods solemnly for him to go ahead.

Achilles has posed:
    "Well... I have let others wield my weapons. Yes." offers Achilles. "Though, it has been some time since anyone did. The last time was.." And he reaches to gently fasten the bracer shut about your slender forearm... going so far as to slide the witchblade bracelet down to your wrist since this goes to the forearm. And the moment the bracer closes, it's not like you feel it change. But it is literally like spandex in feeling how comfortable it is. And.. it's skin tight. Like it was crafted just for you.
    "... Patrocles." he says softly, finishing his earlier statement.
    "Now, if it works for you, the way it works for me... you just envision the form of the weapon you wish. It can produce my Xiphos... sword, my spear, or my bow. It even produces arrows for me. The god of the forge is a genius for the record."

Sara Pezzini has posed:
The Witchblade knows, it's as though it reads both their hearts and accepts this interloper. Sara feels the flare of wariness from it as he settles it on her arm. The Witchblade pulses coldly as though asserting its ownership over its wielder and then the bracer smoothes itself to her skin.

"Patrocles?" Sara parrots the word without understanding and then the story comes to her. On a quick intake of breath, her eyes flicker from the bracer to him and back. She touches one finger to it and asks it for a weapon. Stepping back, glowing dully from the overhead light, a sword appears in her hand. She looks at it open-mouthed in awe then raises it to admire the glint of its edge.

Achilles has posed:
    Nodding slowly, Achilles murmurs, "My younger cousin. My protégé'." he says with a shrug, "When I refused to take the field, he put on my armor, my helmet... took my sword and spear and took the field in my name. He was good... the most -naturally- talented warrior I had ever taught."
    But needless to say, the sword that manifests in your hand is no English four foot monstrosity. This weapon is lightweight and simple. It is not made to look pretty. It is made to do one thing.. to win battles. To spill blood. "After he died holding that blade, I took my gear and left the war for a time. When I returned, it was with those bracers. Nobody else would be able to claim they were me. And that was when I killed Hector. For it was his blade that killed my cousin."
    He shakes his head sadly, "In my grief, I compounded the crime and merely made it worse, not better."

Sara Pezzini has posed:
Some grief transcends time. She feels the wound in him as fresh as if it was this morning that he took revenge for his cousin, robbing another life and plunging himself into remorse. The blade's edges sing with the light, but it's not a bloodthirsty thing. It was a tool, the best of its kind in its way perhaps but inanimate, better than the Witchblade, which had its own will.

"But it is beautiful none the less. A sword worthy of the man who wields it," she says softly with conviction.

Achilles has posed:
    "Yes. Hephaestus always does the finest work." offers Achilles with a wry smile. "The modern day fascination with the sword ignores the fact that the -spear- was the ruler of the field in my day. Swords were only used when battle closed to the range at which they were less wieldy." He grins and shrugs, "Dismiss the sword. Think it and it shall happen. But if you think of the spear... wait. Make sure you have room. It is just under seven feet long." he states as he too steps back.

Sara Pezzini has posed:
"Which do you prefer?" She shuts her eyes, and the blade retracts itself. Her hand is lifted in the air, holding nothing. "Hephaestus was a magic wielder." Turning her empty hand over to hold out to him, "Which do you prefer? Or, is it the weapon that answers your need that is one that you prefer?"

Achilles has posed:
    "To be honest, I have no preference in weapon. The only thing that I prefer is that if I am in combat... I win." Achilles shakes his head and shrugs. "I use the right weapon for the right situation." And then he smirks, "I have not seen my distant cousin in many -many- years or I might have asked him to add things like a handgun or some such to the bracers." But he shrugs, "It helps to have weapons I know that I can rely upon. But the greatest weapon of all is. . . no offense to your marvelous bracelet... but the greatest weapon ever developed is the human brain." he says, tapping his temple.

Sara Pezzini has posed:
Smiling with satisfaction at knowing he considered winning more important than the weapon, she takes a step back and asks the bracer for a spear. With barely enough room to avoid spearing Angelo, it appears. The spear is well over 6 feet long with a wide bladed tip made out of the same bronze as the sword, a wooden shaft that looked hard as metal and a bronze butt. Eyes wide with surprise and wonder, she hefts it, exploring its balance.

"I would hate to lose this, it's as beautiful as the sword. Beautiful balance. But don't ask me how I know that, it just feels right in my hand."

Achilles has posed:
    The weapon does feel like it belongs in the hand. Like only one thing is missing... a shield on the other arm. But then Angelo steps closer. He reaches a hand up to the haft of the spear and says, "I believe your other friend there is imparting knowledge of how to wield the weapon into you. That is amazing but... no substitute for practice and experience."
    That said and that done, he closes his hand around the haft and steps back.. gently tugging the spear free from your grip (I hope!) at which point he rests the butt on the ground. "As I was saying. So many people romanticize the sword. But the sword is the backup weapon. The spear is -the- first weapon of war. Simple and yet truly terrifyingly effective." he says, "You should consider that when you are forming your blade into weapons. Reach can be more important in many cases. Such as..." And he steps back a half pace before kicking the butt of the spear aside with his lead foot, and using his hand to twist and swivel the thing about until that spear tip aims your way from maybe a foot and a half in front of you. "Now. If all you had was a normal sword... how would you get past this?" he asks.. a good four feet of haft and blade between the two of you.

Sara Pezzini has posed:
The Witchblade hums a note of agreement that Sara feels through the bones of her arm. A cascade of memories riffle through her head like the pages of a book, showing her how to fight with a spear, and disappear like a waking dream. Bewildered, her eyes flicker between her wrist, the spear and Achilles. A little frisson of cold lifts the hairs on her neck as she rebels against the images sent to her and the Witchblade reinforces the shiver with a warning.

Mouth open, speechless, Sara nods, her joy in the moment of discovering Achille's weapons shadowed by the Witchblade's imperative to make her into a warrior capable of wielding spear, blade and other unknown weapons.

With an effort she comes back to the now. "You must show me the bow!" Reaching for the bracer, she slips her fingers under its edge asking to remove it. It is obedient as the Witchblade is not. She hands it bck to Achilles with a forced smile.

Achilles has posed:
    The bracer comes away easily enough. Achilles accepts it and wraps it about his wrist like it was an old friend. And in a half a second, the spear is gone. No flash of light, just poof, gone.
    "The bow is not a weapon that I personalized so much and so... just like the spear has not changed much over the years, and my sword is a part of me... the bow is just a bow and so it has.... how should I say, adapted more to the times. IT is no high tech system of pulleys and levers, but.. it adapted to the best bow design that I personally have ever had the opportunity to use. At least if you want to combine power with mobility..." And the bow that materializes in his hand is one that must be a master craftsman's pride and joy. The shape is that of one of the Mongol Recurve designs. But the material looks to be that same ironwood as the spear. But in layers. But between those layers of wood is that same Celestial Bronze. So a bow with a metal core that must take serious strength to pull. And a quiver appears on his hip. Not the back. A quick which he pulls an arrow out of with his right hand and brings right up to his bow without switching the arrow to the left side. Bronze tip shining, the arrow is pointed away from both of you for... he is not stupid. "I am not the most accomplished archer, but I admit that I do enjoy shooting this weapon."

Sara Pezzini has posed:
Grateful to be forgetting herself, Sara puts herself next to Achilles to admire the bow. "All of the weapons are truly beautiful. They have, I'm not sure I know how to say it, the authority of good design. I mean, well, you get me, right?" She touches the bracelet as she says with a touch of relief, "I don't know how to shoot a bow and arrow, so I doubt I will be using one." Regaining balance, she lightly touches him on the shoulder, "Dessert?"

Achilles has posed:
    "Dessert." says Achilles as he grins, "It is never too late to learn to use a bow. It is not something one picks up overnight." he suggests as he dismisses his toy and moves to sit back down. "One of these days, I'll let you try out the shield. It is not some lightweight aluminum thing. It is wood and bronze and weighs somewhere upwards of twenty pounds. But what it lacks in mobility, it makes up for in coverage and protection."
    That said, he looks your way, "Do you think you could show me something of your blade? Show me how it manifests for you? I understand the overall look varies from wielder to wielder."

Sara Pezzini has posed:
"I, ah," Sara shakes her head, stricken. "It won't come to me unless I'm in danger." She rubs her upper arms as if cold. "It's not like your bracer. It has a mind or a spirit, Angelo. And, it would not show itself to you. At least, I don't think so. There is so much I don't know about it. So much I need to learn."

Gesturing to the dessert, she's unable to look at him, shrugs and spreads her hands, unable to explain more.

Achilles has posed:
    "I understand. But... I think that just means that you have not fully bonded with it. Not fully accepted it. That you are still thinking of it and of yourself as two separate things, and it as a mere tool." offers Achilles. "I believe that you need to have a full bond. That you need to accept it, deep down... need to understand that it is you and you are it. That the two of you have become one in the way that couples married for fifty years might be. Able to anticipate one another, and to accept one another for all of their good and bad sides."

Sara Pezzini has posed:
Frowning with an edge of angry denial pulling her eyebrows together, she presses her lips together, shaking her head no. "It wants too much. I don't want to marry it." Sara looks at the Witchblade like it is a snake wrapped around her wrist then up at Achilles. "You know, don't you? You've seen what it does to people, haven't you? And, I'm supposed to accept this?"

Achilles has posed:
    Shrugging his shoulders, Achilles says, "Is violence and destruction something that only a magical relic can make us do?"
    He shakes his head, "Sara. I am as guilty of death and destruction as that weapon is. Perhaps more guilty. I -have- seen what it can do when accepted. I have seen what it can do to protect you and those around you. I have also heard about what can happen if one tries to -use- it without fully accepting it. But..."
    He inclines his head and shrugs, "You -could- think of it as tempering its bloodlust, its temptation to violence with your heart. I know that you hurt as much as those you harm when you are forced to use violence. That if you are forced to take a life, that it haunts you."
    And then he leans forward and says, "Do you know how I know this?" he asks. "Because you and I are so much alike, in so many ways. I had to live the life of a gloryhound monster and learn to respect life. You however, are even more special. You respect life without having been forced to destroy it so much. So use that good heart. Use the -protector- in your heart.. the protector who sought out the police force, not because you craved power or authority, but because you felt the calling to place yourself between the innocent and those who would do them harm... use that to temper the blade. But you need to accept the blade for it to accept you fully."

Sara Pezzini has posed:
Closing her eyes squeezes out a tear that she dashes away angrily. Swallowing, unable to look at him, miserable with being this vulnerable and unsure in front of someone whose good opinion is important to her, she holds up a hand to make him stop.

The words penetrate through her denial. Sara nods confirming what he had said, "You've seen that before. It came to me because of my good heart or because I know how to kill?"

Unsteadily, she goes to couch and sits down heavily, putting her head against the back. Eyes closed she sits with her arms spread in utter abandon.

Achilles has posed:
    "Ah, so now we get to the crux of the matter." says Achilles as he stands up and picks up one dish of the dessert you had prepared. He steps over and crouches down before you. Holding his left hand out, he offers you a dessert. "I posit you a question." he states softly, calmly and easily.
    "The most important question that you need to ask yourself right now is this...." A pause and he adds, "Does it matter -what- reason the blade had to find you?" Another pause before he adds, "I suggest that it does not matter why the blade sought -you- out. All that matters is why you choose to use -it-. What purpose you set for it. Dessert?" he asks with a hopeful smile as he crouches there before you.

Sara Pezzini has posed:
Begrudgingly Sara opens up one eye to peer owlishly at him then sits up. A deep breath, a swallow and she nods reluctantly. "You've gone straight to the heart of it, Angelo. It's not the weapon that is evil but how you use it" She frowns again, "No, it depends on how *I* use it."

Accepting the plate from him, she takes a bite. "Get yours!"

Achilles has posed:
    Smiling, Achilles nods his head and gets up to his feet before he turns and steps over to grab his dessert. "A weapon is only as good or evil as the purpose it is turned to. Now... tell me. Your Heckler and Koch Forty Five, is it good or evil?" he asks as he sits down beside you.
    He takes a bite of the dessert and smiles, "Wow. That place has fantastic desserts."

Sara Pezzini has posed:
Sara takes off talking without breathing between sentences - from barely being able to talk to motor mouth.

"My HK45 doesn't talk to me or make me feel and remember things, Angelo. It also doesn't morph into different shapes either. It also fires when I squeeze the trigger if I keep it cleaned and oiled and with sufficient ammunition. It doesn't give me bad dreams or premonitions or turn into a full suit of armor."

Her fork clinks hard as she takes a fierce bit of tart on to her fork and eats it. She glares at him over the delicious bite of tart as though it's all his fault. Unfairly. Of course.

Achilles has posed:
    "THat is a good and valid point. So. Does the capabilities of the weapon make it more or less evil?" Achilles asks conversationally, as if asking what your favorite flavor of ice cream might be.
    "I wager that if you were forced to make a split second choice between the handgun and the witchblade... your hand would snap out for the handgun without any conscious thought from you."
    He scoops another bite of the tart and savors it to give you time to think that through. Then he opens his eyes.. yes, he closed them to enjoy the bite and to give you a moment of virtual privacy.
    "So, why is that do you think?" he asks. "Is it because you do not trust the blade? Believe me, the blade will not trust you so long as you do not trust -it-. You need to learn that it is there for you. You just need to be there for it."

Sara Pezzini has posed:
"Mary, mother of god! Trust it?" She stares at him like he just asked her to strip and run down Bedford Avenue naked, professing to love the Mafia. When he doesn't back down she takes another bite of tart. "How could I have forgotten how good their desserts are?"

"The Periculum," she says in a whisper. Concentrating on her tart, she shakes her head slowly without looking at him. "My trial."

Achilles has posed:
    "Okay. If you are unhappy with the blade, and do not want it, then get rid of it." offers Achilles with a nonchalant shrug. "You keep speaking as if you hate and are terrified of the blade. If that is true, then why do you still have it?"
    He stands up and heads to the table to grab the wine glasses, turning to return your way, "Unless you -want- to keep it and just cannot explain why, not even to yourself? And -that- is what scares you the most?"

Sara Pezzini has posed:
Sara grips the sides of her plate hard enough to crack it in half. Her hands shake, the anger terrifies her. Breathing through her nose, her shoulders lift with the effort to contain herself.

"I guess after three thousand years of being your inimitable self you have all the damned answers, don't you? You're insufferable. How would you know what scares me?"

She stands, balances the pieces of plate on a nearby box and without looking back walks out the front door.

Achilles has posed:
    "Because a lot of those fears are ones that I have shared." Achilles murmurs with a shake of his head.
    But he doesn't stop you from leaving as much as he'd love to. When she is out of earshot, he murmurs, "Well, you know where I'll be living." as he turns to start cleaning up the mess.