Shadow and Song

February 16, 2016:

X-23 is intrigued when she learns of Israfel and that he sings.


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

A shadow. Somewhere along the way Israfel has acquired a shadow. Oh, that shadow can only been seen in glimpses when Israfel sings, but once in awhile he'd see it.

Who's the shadow? One X-23 otherwise known as Laura Kinney.

It's his singing that has her intrigued, life at The Facility was very drab, kill-train-kill-train. There was very little in the way of the arts and his occasional humming to outright singing was easily caught by her sensitive ears and followed. That's how she found him.

It took her a minute, but eventually she realized he was sightless, as well. Blind. Something that wouldn't have been tolerated at The Facility either and because of that, X-23 continued to watch. And wait. To see what would become of this singing blind man.

Lucijan Dragovic — A.K.A. Israfel — stops humming. The translucent, phantasmic image around his body, barely visible with so little concentration going into it, fades when the man's voice falls silent, and he pauses in his walk through the school grounds.

His nostrils flare a little, and a tiny hint of a smile crosses his face. Turning around, his chin raises and blue-white eyes staring blindly ahead of him, he takes a breath and says:

"It is alright; you need not for to be following me. What is your name…?"

When Lucijan stops, so does his shadow. Well his secondary shadow. X-23 will pause in her quiet footsteps, as she watches the man with the faint aura likewise stop. She's careful to. stay far enough away and use whatever cover is available to stay hidden, but when he turns towards her direction, X-23 can't help but frown slightly.

That ever so slight frown deepens when the blind man seemingly knows she's about. Her own nostrils will flare slightly, as she automatically scents the air about herself. When nothing odd can be smelled, the dark-haired girl will consider her options. Leave, is definitely one of them, but so is staying and continuing to hide, or stepping out to show herself. Almost, she'll rock on her heels as she makes her decision, but that movement is stalled by her simple need to always be quiet. Silent.

Finally though, Laura will show herself. While she still steps quietly, now she adds a bit of sound to her footfalls. A rustle of dried grass, a crunch of a small pile of snow. Everything is used to announce her presence before she finally speaks up.

"Laura." Comes her rather monotone voice, as she offers her name when he asks that question of his.

"Laura…" the man with blue-black hair repeats. His accent is definitely East-European, although Kinney might just recognise the specific country — that being Croatian. Dragovic smiles and slightly turns his head to face from whence the subtle noise of footfalls came.

"I like this name," he goes on to say, still smiling gently. "I am Lucijan — Israfel, in the field. You may be calling me 'Luc' if you like." A pause. "Why for were you following me? Is early, no?"

Again comes the vague motion of scenting the air, as X-23 once more tests the waters, as it were. Her bright green gaze will circle around the area as well, before settling back upon the blind man. Her head will tilt ever so slightly to the side when the man speaks. While others might offer a 'pleasure to meet you, Luc.' Laura doesn't. Instead she'll wait until he's finished speaking before she does anything else.

Given Luc's better than average hearing, or perhaps better understanding of acoustics, or a combination of both, he should be able to tell that Laura while definitely having moved closer to him, is still several feet away from him. Thanks to the pitch of her voice allowing for insight to just how close she is to him.

"It is early." She says, finally managing to answer another one of his questions. As to just why she's following, she can only answer with a possibly cryptic, "You sing."

"I do," replies Luc.

He smiles again, with a faint creasing of his brow as he amiably ponders this strange girl before him. After a moment, he shrugs his shoulders and makes a muted gesture with one hand at the area around them.

"I am finding it… relaxing, especially in the morning. I… can stop. I do not want for to be bothering you. You are a new student here, yes?" he asks, more curious. "I was, few years ago."

Again the majority of response Israfel receives from the girl is silence. Oh, sure, it's an attentive silence, but silence all the same. Also to note, there's barely any fidgeting from her. No rustle of feet, or clothing, only the occasional glance about the area. An definite automated response from the girl.

Still, Laura does know that conversation needs to happen and she needs to practice, so it's not so alien for her. It also helps that she finds Israfel a curiosity. It's making her more verbose than normal. Or feeling the need to be more verbose than normal.

"You are not bothering me." She says, in that rather flat tone of voice of hers. "Yes, I am new here." She also adds, simply rattling off the facts to his question. "Why?" She finally ends with, possibly meaning - why do you sing.

By this time Dragovic's curiosity about this person has grown considerably: the uncommon syntax, questions so direct, blanket colours to her words — as though every sound knew exactly what it 'wanted to be' before she made it. Such 'purpose' to her thoughts, so little room for error.

"You were trained for to be…hmm, how you say…silent-until-heard-on-purpose, no?" he finally asks, although given his tone of voice his comment could just as easily be a statement. He gives a slight nod of his head, to further demonstrate what (he thinks) he understands. When he next opens his mouth, lyrics issue forth, sung in a light, soaring tenor…

"Pa - aaa - nis angelicu - uu - us…"

As the first notes of the song (Panis Angelicus), are given life, Luc appears to become surrounded, or robed, in translucent blue-white cloth. It covers him completely, like one image — a brighter image — superimposed over his own.

"Fi - iii - it panis hominu - uuu - um…"

By now, the singer looks almost angelic, glowing faintly where he stands — but at the same time, his (astral) eyes blink and he looks directly at Laura. She may or may not feel the gentle tug of Lucijan's mind, almost as if this ghostly form were reaching out to her…

"I sing for to see," he tells her quite honestly, both his physical mouth and the mouth of his astral self moving in unison — two voices speaking as one… until the astral image fades.

Lucijan shrugs.

"And for to enjoy singing."

Laura isn't the only one who has unusual syntax here, though Laura understands where Israfel's is coming from. English isn't his native tongue. That's certain.

His question slash statement is heard and X-23 will finally nod and then speak. "Yes. I was trained to kill." Comes her unabashed words, again with very little emotion behind those words of hers, even with the 'shocking' revelation of hers.

And while more could potentially be said, Laura doesn't add anything after those words. Only silence. Which is thankfully filled by Israfel's voice.

Her head cants to the side now, as she listens to the Latin words being sung. Whether she enjoys his singing or not, isn't clear, as her expression stays as flat as her voice, but, she is listening with that intent silence of hers again. It's only when his astral self overlays his physical self, that X-23 will focus upon that. A slight frown tugs at her eyebrows and lips, as she considers the glowing man before her. The tug at her mind, while felt, is overtly ignored for the moment. "Your singing allows you to see." Comes her own question slash statement. "Psychically?" She ends with, that one word finally rising upward in a classic questioning tone.

The singer nods, once again completely blind. "It is… how you say, not being practical for to sing all the time. Can also be dangerous. I…" and he hesitates a bit longer here.

"I was trained for to not kill."

He shrugs again, not wanting to alienate Laura with that statement. "Do you know many people here?" he eventually asks. It would be no surprise that most students (at this hour) are still in bed. There are a few early-risers, and some that just never go to sleep in the first place, but at this present moment very few students pass Israfel and Laura by.

"Friends?" he adds.

If it were anyone else, Laura would likely have smiled at the practical statement of Israfel's. As is, X-23 nods once, saying, "Singing would too easily give your location away to enemies." And as to his remark about being trained not to kill, Laura can't help that faint frown form upon her lips again. "A pacifist." Comes her monotone query, even if it is said more statement like than question. "You never fight?"

It's the mention of friends, however, that causes Laura to pause now. Does she have friends? That question actually earns silence from the girl, thoughtful silence now as she considers that. While some may embellish their answers, Laura does not, as she doesn't understand that she doesn't have that many friends. Once more, she states the facts, as they were .. are, "Yes. Three friends. Nate, Betsy and Hank."

Luc listens.

As Laura names the few friends she has, the white-eyed man nods his head in understanding. "You choose your friends carefully," he remarks in a quiet voice. "Taking your time with your answer — this consideration is good."

He goes to speak again, but falls silent as a pair of young students walk by, discussing classes, upcoming tests, plans for the weekend… It is not until the sound of footsteps has faded that the singer continues.

"I have fought. And… killed. This, to me, is not a good thing. Is great shame, so I am asking forgiveness. Often." Muscles around his eyes twitch faintly, and he almost turns his face away — just a little. Laura might notice the impulse to look away.

"There is always forgiveness," he adds, head bowed a fraction. "This, for you, is true also."

While Laura feels surprise at Israfel's confession, none of it shows upon her features. It's only at his next words that her expression shifts ever so slightly. Again, there's that small frown, but beneath that frown is something more. More than just one emotion. Understanding, shame, anger. All of it.

He'll likely hear her take a few steps closer as she says, "It does not feel like it.". Are her words, again perhaps slightly puzzling since she's not referencing just exactly what she's responding to. Most likely the forgiveness part.

"Did you mean to kill?" She will finally ask, even as her eyes keep a look out for any other early risers upon this particular path.


Taking a page from the Book of Laura, Luc replies simply and straight to the point. The word should be familiar — painfully so, in most cases — and is spoken in a tone that implies hefty amount of gravity.

As if the word itself were a heavy burden.

"They took the life of a man, my friend was being," he goes on to explain, his voice low and troubled. His right hand trembles, and he clenches it into a fist. "For my sins, I seek forgiveness — but, you are being right: it does not always /feel/ so." He smiles, tentatively at first and then with growing confidence.

"I am having faith in place of feeling. This makes sense, yes?" It surprises him — and it shows in his face — how easy he has found it to confess this to a person he has barely met.

But then, this one before him understands death.

The Purifiers. That one word is enough for Laura to understand and easily, X-23 says, "They are not good people. Many of them deserve death." She states solemnly, even as she listens to the rest of what Israfel has to say. Still that frown lingers upon her lips, as she considers what next to say. Faith is something hard for Laura to comprehend and that might be clear, with her next words. "I do not know of this faith." Comes her hesitant words, "I just wish not to kill anymore. Is that the same thing?" Comes her question and while some might think her question isn't sincere, it truly is.

"It is hard." Comes her final confession, even as she finally allows one or two fidgets, as she offers a very faint sigh and a slight shift to her stance. That movement is enough to cause a slight crinkle of shoes against ground.

The muted pain in Luc's face slowly fades, replaced with a benign smile. "Wishing for not to kill is start," he tells Laura in his heavily accented English. "Is good start. As for rest…" and he bobs his shoulder a little. "It comes with time, and effort, and prayer, and… good friends. That is important too. This…"

And he gestures to the school around them both, keeping his head still, his chin raised and that same benign expression on his face. "This is good place for to make… how you say, strong effort." He lowers his arm to his side again.

"No one is mastering this quickly." He pauses and starts to sing again, softly. "Nella fantasia io vedo un mondo giusto… Li tutti vivono… in pace e in onesta…" (Nella Fantasia) Having summoned his 'soul-self' with music, Israfel turns around to peer in a direction that would lead to the atrium inside the school. He looks back at Laura, and tilts his head to the side, just as he slowly returns to normal.

"Will you walk with me? This talk…pleases me."


All his words are listened to, with that attentive air from the girl. In fact, there's a rather intense look within her eyes as she considers his words. Everything is always done at a hundred percent from Laura, it seems. Either way, the dark-haired woman will. turn her gaze in the same direction as Israfel's. "I will walk." She says in agreement and to show just that, Laura will take a step in the general direction of said atrium. She'll keep her pace purposely slow, as she keeps an eye on the unseeing man. At least, unseeing when he's not singing.

And while Laura might have stayed silent for the walk, she doesn't. Instead, her words, while slow, do come. "It is easier to kill." She tells him, likewise finding an ease with this man. Much like she finds conversation easier with Betsy. "Simpler. Everything else is harder. And people talk so much." Those last words of hers might sound like a joke, but it's not. All the chatter around the school is sometimes very hard on her nerves. "Out here -" Meaning the paths and wooded areas of Xavier's, "- It is easier to find silence."

"Silence…" Israfel murmurs as he continues to walk beside Laura. For the most part, silence is exactly what he delivers, yet he walks as one who well-knows his way, despite his blindness.

Likely due to having a good memory of what he saw, while singing. "Is surprise, no? That one who must create… voice — no, sound — for to see, must also enjoy not-hearing?" He lets out a brief chuckle, then hums a single note to give him a few seconds of vision.

"It is less being 'silence', and more being… 'less noise'. In forest, world is clearer, the 'song' of nature is for being heard. I hear myself better, my soul. Pain cannot hide in such place, yes? Pain can… 'be'. Heal. There is music in silence, Laura."

He suddenly smiles, chin raised and sightless eyes gleaming.

"There is music also in conversation — and friends."

"Friends." Laura echoes, even as she continues onward to the atrium. "Yes."

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