5013/To See A Man About A Soul

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To See A Man About A Soul
Date of Scene: 04 February 2021
Location: Lux
Synopsis: Amanda brings Terry to ask a question about his soul.
Cast of Characters: Lucifer, Amanda Sefton, Terry O'Neil

Lucifer has posed:
Lux in the daytime hours is not the explosive throb of night-life that most everyone who has been there (or heard of it) would associate with it. In the day, with the interior lighting lit, the place has a bizarre tone: like a stripper pulled off of a dark corner and thrust into an interrogation room.

Well, in this case, it'd be more evident that the stripper was in fact the Senator's daughter. In full lighting, Lux is still gorgeous, but in a different, sort of uptight way.

Or it would be, if there wasn't a pack of six people at some tables on the left clearly doing cocaine. That drags things back down to street-crime slightly. With demons. At least two are demons.

"You can wait over there," says the employee that lets Amanda and her associate in, gesturing to the bar-side (away from the drug users). "Day drinkers, or water?" asks the employee with a smile that shows no judgement.

Amanda Sefton has posed:
Amanda crosses with the employee who escorts them in towards the bar. "Water's fine," she tells him. Not so much because of the time -- it's mid-afternoon -- but because she had a glass of wine at lunch with a new client. So, she'll wait until dinner before she indulges again. In any case, she prefers to conduct this sort of business sober.

She turns Terry, making sure the young man is still with her, and looking to see how he reacts to the users in the corner and their demonic companions. For her part, she noted them, and moved on. They're not really a threat. And, these days... cocaine is a fairly mild habit, unfortunately. Then again, when she takes mind altering substances, it's usually in relation to some sort of magical or shamanic necessity. Completely different context.

"It won't be long," she tells the red headed youth. "I told him we were coming."

Terry O'Neil has posed:
"Water's good, too!" Terry adds after Amanda. The nineteen-year-old isn't quite sure if he would be given a drink if he asked for one, but considering the talcum powder tango going on by one of the tables... chances are that yes, yes they would. The Morningstar doesn't have to worry much about matters of legality, the ginger muses, or the danger of police raids.

Being completely bereft of his magical nature by that rather hamfisted partial transmigration with his Doppelganger, Terry doesn't see the demons, but to his credit he appears completely non-chalant when it comes to the users. You see things, when you grow up in New York, unless you belong to the homes of the sheltered and privileged, and the son of a single mother and private detective might be good-hearted, but he is not ignorant by any means.

"Good to know, I'd hate to show up un-announced," he says with a smile. He didn't know how to dress for this, so he went with his Default Ambiguously Good Clothes, which for winter were just a standard black turtleneck and black jeans. Aside from making him look like a time-displaced Beatnik, they also were slightly uncomfortable- as someone accustomed to wearing jackets, he keeps trying to stuff his hands in non-existent jacket pockets.

Lucifer has posed:
The /tone/ of the room changes, in some underlying manner that isn't immediately direct, when Lucifer's close by. The nature of the space is just slightly different, lightly /crawling/ in the same way a very soft, subtle hum of electricity might change a sensation. But it's easy to brush off... and then forget. One can get used to anything, really, if attention isn't paid, to something minor.

Something certainly /unimportant/.

"Wow, so early," Lucifer announces, as he appears out of what may be nowhere. .... No, just the elevator, but he came from beyond the drug users. One of them mumbles a quick question at Lucifer, and gets a sort of shoo-shoo distracted twist of wrist, which causes the querant to beam and head off towards the still-open elevator. Probably for more drugs. It's not like there's much other way to read that little exchange.

But Lucifer is on his way over, relaxed, and immacculate as always. He doesn't read in particular as something other than what he feels like portraying. Just one of the little humans. His 'inhuman' quality tends to be how relaxed he tends to make everyone feel: how open, how sharing, to leave shame outside on the street. All questions are welcome here.

Lucifer does have a book with him, a brown affair: a small one, maybe six inches across, like a little bible.

It's probably /not/ a bible.

"Early for problems, anyway," Lucifer grins. His teeth are straight and sharp, his beauty aggressively pushy, sometimes, when he puts on an intense smile. He flicks the smile to Terry smoothly from Amanda, though his stare is a bit penetrating, like he has one setting on that high-beam gaze.

Amanda Sefton has posed:
Amanda is, perhaps, surprisingly comfortable around Lucifer. Sure, some of that is just the projection of the man's presence. But some of it is because, although she knows more clearly than just about anyone else what he is, she's also developed a certain level of trust with him. More than that... she's not the one he'll be focussing his attention on, today. Not really.

She smiles to him, turning as well to Terry. "Terry O'Neil, this is my friend Lucifer. If anyone can give you some useful advice, I expect he can. Why don't you tell him what you told me?" Because her quick summary to her friend over the phone was just that: Quick. And a summary. A very short summary based on what little she really knows.

Let the boys tease out this puzzle. It's outside of her usual knowledge base.

Terry O'Neil has posed:
Some might say Terry was already devoid of shame to begin with- it takes a certain kind of person to blurt out that Harley Quinn gave him a diamond-encrusted budgie smuggler as a gift to his boyfriend in the middle of a fancy cafe, after all... but there was a certain level of nervousness and anxiety that came with the anticipated meeting. Surprisingly, the redhead finds all of that melting away like the snow under the sun, and he even finds himself smiling a little. It's not that megawatt Cheshire grin he used to have, but it's something.

"Mr. Lucifer, thank you for agreeing to hear my problem..." .

His smile widens at that. "I am in something of a bind. I seem to have had a very big part of myself... my soul or essence... well, sort of /stolen/ from me by another version of me from another reality. And I'm afraid I'm sort of... fading out the longer I'm separated from that part of myself."

Indeed, his usually red hair is now a faded brown with only a few hints of red here and there, and his eyes are now fully grey. Although his demeanor isn't odd, at times it does give the impression that he has to summon some effort to start speaking.

His thinking was definitely sluggish, he realizes, knowing he has left something vital out.

"Oh... the part of the soul in question is, well..." and this is normally where he would preface things with 'this is really true, I know it sounds unbelievable', but when one speaks of stolen souls to someone, you have already hospcotched over the threshold of believability anyways, "The Cheshire Cat."

Lucifer has posed:
'Mr Lucifer' gets a little amused half-snort from Lucifer himself, but he doesn't seem to particularly mind it. Barely a speed-bump, that, and his expression remains open and entirely amiable. There's nothing satanic, on first look, at Lucifer. Beliving that he really is the Devil is a ridiculous leap for most people. 'Lucifer' being just a clever stage-name, naturally.

"Mmmm, yes. /Stolen/," Lucifer echoes, as if lightly insulted on Terry's behalf over the thievery. He moves over and seats himself on one of the comfortable couches there, one leg lifted to rest opposite ankle against his knee. It's a comfy sprawl, thoughtful but not a move that brushes anything off.

"Things don't really fade, so much, as move. No just..." Lucifer snaps his fingers, "blip, and a soul is gone." He relaxes the hand. "Stretched, though, yes. Pulled apart into pieces, some of it so small as to fragment, to end up 'moving on' as it were, or turning into ghostly haunts, lacking anchor... yes."

Lucifer considers Terry, smile vague but slightly kind, then coming up in intensity. "What is your /desire/ then? To recover what has been pulled away above all, or to destroy the thief to pull his power this way, I wonder?"

Amanda Sefton has posed:
Amanda is familiar with this particular give and take, having experiencd something like it, herself. She takes a sip of her water, watching Terry's reactions with curious eyes -- partly because she's noticed his 'fading'. Given what she saw when they first met and what she sees now... it's clear to her the Cheshire part of Terry's soul contains most of his vital essence. From that perspective, regaining it is definitely a priority.

She glances to Lucifer. "Does it matter *how* the soul fragment was stolen?" she asks. She doubts it, but it doesn't hurt to ask.

Terry O'Neil has posed:
Terry gulps at Lucifer's description, "Oh shit... I'm getting Bilboed..." he mutters. The question of desire brings him back to the speaker, and he frowns for a second.

"I'm not really much for destroying, but it's important I find a way to get it back. Those powers are dangerous and... in his hands, they could be very, very bad."

Amanda asks an excellent question, and it jolts his memory, since he realizes he has never actually mentioned /how/ this happened.

The how can be very important in magic. Or so he has been told.

"There are... words that I have to say to transform. And I need to be looking at my eyes while doing so. At the time, I couldn't look into my mirror because my double was holding me at gunpoint after we had just made out- oversharing, forget that part- and I thought..."

He shoots Amanda a pained glance, and back to Lucifer "I thought, well, his eyes are technically /my/ eyes, so ..." he waves his hands in the air, gesturing the conclusion along. "At the time, I thought it made perfect sense."

Lucifer has posed:
"Whoops," Lucifer says empathetically, but grins some, at the assumption about eyes belonging to the same person. Naturally, the truth of that one seems to have been discovered.

"How matters, depending on your skill level to counter." That was mostly to Amanda. Then: "/Interestingly/, there are rituals related to finding pieces of lost souls. Massively easier if you are looking for a piece of your /own/ soul, so you should be able to do it yourself even as a little ghost. Based on your preference for mirrors, I've tagged a particular one here. You'll need to hunt up a few components, but I think..." Lucifer slides his glance to Amanda, and gives her a funny little smile.

"--- May we borrow your compact for a moment? I'll get you started, Bilbo. Mostly since I'd like to see the outcome of this." Yep, that nickname is going to now stick, perhaps.

"You'll want to return this book to me, to lift the curse that hanging onto it yields. For reference." Lucifer sets the little book down. Indeed, there is a bookmark in it. Lucifer /knows/ stuff. A proper Gandalf the 'White' of cocaine.

Amanda Sefton has posed:
Amanda gives a nod of acknowledgement as Lucifer counters her assumption. She files the information away. It's not a complete surprise, really, but it's more the application in this particular case that she's interested in. Not necessarily a master class in magic here, but knowledge is knowledge. She'll happily add to hers.

Her brows rise at the request, however. Nevertheless, she takes a moment to open her purse and fish out a small compact, passing it wordlessly to the nightclub mogul. Her smile is faintly wry. She has a feeling she'll be buying herself a new compact, soon enough.

Terry O'Neil has posed:
Terry's eyes widen again as he looks at the book. "... a curse. You know, that would be rather handy," he muses. "April still hasn't returned my copy of Biting The Sun and it's been four years."

He's a little bit prone to ramble and dissemble. The loss of focus might come from feeling stretched. Or maybe he's always been like this?

The thought, then, comes to him, "Since that part of me was the part that had all the magic... will I still be able to do it? I'm sorry to ask such a dumb question but, until..." he counts quickly, "nine months ago, I had no idea I had any of these powers. And afterwards I didn't have much of a chance to learn about magic."

The problem of being a magical creature- certain tricks came naturally to him without study. It had been an advantage early on in his heroing career, but now it had proven to be the opposite. "I only know people /with/ some sort of supernatural... spice, flavor? Flavor to them, who can do magic. Like Raven." Admittedly, saying that Raven had /some/ sort of supernatural flavor to her was an understatement along the lines of saying that the ocean had a little bit of water to it.

Lucifer has posed:
"By that I mean that certain individuals have more clout when it comes to directing or pulling souls around than others. Sometimes 'How' something was stolen matters less if you know who's fencing it." Lucifer tilts his hand back and forth, then smiles and extends to accept the compact. He opens it, and promptly smears it with the makeup from the other side. With a fingernail of ring finger, he neatly draws a quick sigil into the clouded surface of the mirror: a loop, and a twist, then three intersected lines.

Then, to Terry's question. "Sometimes those with /no/ magic can still read a book and summon something nasty. Usually it just sucks their life force out. You'll have magic by the time that price needs to be paid, won't you?"

A wink is added as he snaps the item shut, sets it on top of the book, and slides the pair of items over. "Have fun," Lucifer says, upbeat and pleased, as if he'd just hooked up Terry with AMAZING tickets. A ticket to continued life? Not a small ticket.

"When you're done, drop the book at the door. This isn't a library, the charge is in blood as time goes on. So maybe handle it sooner, or make your own notes. Whichever. I don't make photocopies for people." Not his jam. With that, though, he's getting up, having been flagged down by the demons across the way.

"Let's have dinner soon? Or I'll think I'm just a skeleton key to problems for you," Lucifer teases of Amanda, though, moving towards her with the clear expectation of a side-hug of farewell.

Amanda Sefton has posed:
Amanda laughs lightly, accepting the side-hug, returning it in kind. "Dinner would be great," she agrees, blue eyes sparkling. It seems a fair price to her. "You're quite superior to a skeleton key, by far." And she certainly owes him some time for all the time he's spent.

Besides... a girl can't spent *all* her time chasing work or chasing monsters. And with Kurt's recent revelation of an extradimensional daughter? Yeah... A break is probably a good choice. "How's your Friday looking?"

She pushes to her feet, however, and gives Terry a small smile. "This should set you on the right path." If he can figure out how to use it. But, that, presumably, is what the book is for. And that's his price to pay, not hers. Blood magic is a tricky thing. And her healing powers don't extend to herself.

Terry O'Neil has posed:
"Yessir, thank you-" Terry says, carefully picking up the book and the compact as if he were a waitress at Denny's carrying a veritable eiffel tower of drinks. "I'll make sure to write everything down and bring the book by tonight. I can take it over to the Emba-" wait. Take an enchanted and possibly cursed book into the Themysciran Embassy? Where there might be someone there who could detect it? That isn't a good idea, "My ho-" His childhood home, which was compromised and potentially watched by Doppelgangers. "Cousin April's and I'll get it copied."

April's seemed the safest. Especially if Harley was too busy to get curious about a cursed book of magic. It should be fine, right? What's the worst that could happen?

"And thank you for helping me out... I really need to find a way to learn more about magic. I'm afraid this probably won't be the only time my ignorance will get me in mortal danger."

He doesn't mention that the main reason he has remained so ignorant is the fact that he is positively certain that, should he ask Raven to help him learn about magic, she might probably trap him in a mirror or something.

After they've made their exit, Terry does ask Amanda one question. "So... er. Do you know of any books I could read to instruct myself, or something?" A glance at the one he is carrying. "Curse-free ones, I mean."

Amanda Sefton has posed:
Outside the club, the brisk winter breeze ruffling her blonde hair, Amanda gives Terry an evaluating look. "I do," she concedes, pulling on a pair of leather gloves against the cold. "But I don't know if that's the wisest course." There's a reason the whole master-apprentice thing has existed so long in the magical community. "You're chaotic by nature. Most books on the basics of magic tend to be big on order and structure. They need to be, since uncontroled magic in the hands of an amateur can be deadly." A beat. "Usually to the amateur."

She gestures for him to walk with her, heading down the street to where there's a more mundane coffee shop. "You need to know both the reason why -- the *real* reason why -- you want to learn magic and how to do so without killing anyone... especially yourself. Your essential nature tends to chaos. There are schools of magic that work very well with that. But even they have rules and structures."

Terry O'Neil has posed:
Sliding his hands into his jeans pockets, Terry frowns. "I guess it's about learning more about myself. And how to not... cause problems for my friends."

He looks downcast as he says, "Almost everybody is pretty angry with me over what happened. I guess that the longer I ignore the nature of who I am, the longer I'll be in danger of doing stupid shit without intending to."

He shrugs, "But what else is new. So... you up for a bagel?"

He rubs at his right arm, frowning. For a moment, he could swear he felt a slight pain. But it is gone before he can really focus on it.

Amanda Sefton has posed:
"Sure," Amanda says, leading him to the coffee shop and stepping inside. "It's a good why," she agrees. "But that's less about learning magic, I suspect, and more about learning more about the Cheshire Cat -- who he is, what he does on a deeper level than what Carroll's stories and critics suggest, and what sort of impact a creature like he is may have on Existence. In addition to what his abilities are, how they can be used, and how you can take advantage of them. I don't doubt you're creative and strong willed enough for it. Regardless, you're looking more at loremastery, and less at wizardy, if you get what I mean. More research, less spellcasting."

She speaks casually, relatively unconcerned about being overheard. In the first place, her voice isn't that loud. In the second... it's New York. New Yorkers figure they've heard it all already, anyway.

Terry O'Neil has posed:
"I guess that makes sense," Terry says, eyes looking a little distant as he glances at the rest of the coffee shop. "I don't know if I can find the answers here on Earth. And I couldn't find a way back /there/... I tried."

He considers ordering a cappuccino, since he's going to need the nervous energy to transcribe the ritual from the cursed tome and have it back ASAP. "It's strange. Before all of this happened, I was perfectly happy being... ordinary. It was a thrill to just get to hang out with the Titans like some sort of pet reporter. Then things manifested... and it was great." He smiles.

Then his smile wilts. "And now I'm back to where I started. Useless. The Tower got attacked yesterday and all I could do was whack a couple of the intruders with /frying pans/ like I was Tika Waylan or something. I never felt more useless in my life."

Cappuccino it is. He has decided.

Amanda Sefton has posed:
Amanda gives him a small, sympathetic smile. "You might find more answers on Earth than you think. There are more than a few occult experts out there with particularly esoteric and obscure fields of study. In your case, I'd start by looking for folklorists and fantasists with their feet in both classical studies and literary critique. But you'll want to look for the ones that present more controversial discussions -- counter cultural interpretations or those whose agendas are clearly anti-establishment. Not because of their politics specifically, but because they're more open to considering unconventional sources and can often point you in the direction of primary sources significantly outside accepted accademic canon."

Think maybe she's had a little bit of experience in this?

"I can likely come up with some places for you to start, but it's not my field of expertise, so it may take time." And she's already pretty busy.

She orders herself a bagle and a cup of tea. Nothing too exotic.

"Your best course of action, right now, is to figure out how to use the book and mirror you've been given. Trust your instincts. Just because you've lost your mojo doesn't mean you've lost your heart and mind."

Terry O'Neil has posed:
Terry sighs a little and tries to smile. "I know what you're telling me, but I feel so ..." he waves a hand, and when his cup finally arrives, he takes a sip. "I've just been given a glimpse of how utterly useless I am without my powers. You take Troia's strength and she still knows how to fight like an Amazon. Robin and Hawkeye don't need no stinkin' powers. Take the chaos out of me and I'm the most useless of the Titans unless interviewing someone to death is a skill."

"Even when if I get them back," he mutters, "I wonder if should even go back..."

That gray haze of depression was threatening to peak again, so instead he takes another sip from his coffee. "Maybe I haven't lost my heart and mind, but I've certainly lost my groove." How did Stella get it back?

Amanda Sefton has posed:
"Terry," Amanda says gently, laying a hand on his, "you're missing half your soul -- the vibrant half. Concentrate on getting that back. Then worry about the rest. Nothing will make sense to you until that happens." She smiles at him, empathy in her blue eyes. "The magical discipline I follow waxes and wanes unpredictably. One day, I can have enough magical energy to take on a god. The next, I can't even light a candle. I've hard to learn other skills to survive in battle." She chuckles softly. "Never underestimate the utility of a good can of mace against a zombie horde."

Her expression sobers. "You know now where your weaknesses lie, and that you can't rely on luck to fill the void. It's an important lesson. So, go get your soul back. Then, take all that energy and start learning other ways to defend yourself and help others. That's all you can do. That's all any of us can do."

She lets out a soft breath. "Look. Give me a call later. I'll flip through some books, chat with a couple of friends, see if I can come up with some resources for you. But in the meantime... focus on what Lucifer gave you. The man has provided the tools, but it's up to you to do the work. He'll never do it for you." And neither can she.

"Right now, though... I have to go. I promised a friend I'd look over her wedding arrangements -- which might not seem as pressing, until you consider the fact I make my living as an event planner. Even witches have bills to pay." She smiles again, giving his hand a squeeze. "Talk with Kian. And with the rest of your friends. They'll help." If they don't, they're not truly friends. But, he'll need to learn that on his own, too.

She rises to her feet, wrapping her bagel in a napkin to go. "Don't worry, Terry. It'll work out. Cats always land on their feet." There's nothing more she can really say. So she gives him one last smile and slips back out onto the street.