You're a Tilly

March 18, 2018:

Tom and Vivienne have some questions for Robert.


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Witchblade, Darkness, Angelus, the Curator, Lara Croft, Tilly Grimes


Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

( Immediately following: )

It's several blocks of quick paced walking through silence that Robert Berresford is leading the small troupe of them, pausing finally once he feels they are a safe distance away, his back finding the side of a beaten up and gored out old Ice Cream truck in a junk yard a small one, once upon a time a community playground, probably when this particular community location was nicer, had more families in it. Now it is rather run down, his claws curl in to his knees and hes locking red eyes on them behind him, waiting for each to show up in turn.


Lara gives him a look, she knows the conversation that's about to be had, about who they're going to have to go meet because the Curio shop is not far away, the location is only a couple blocks off and Ripclaw's leading them that general direction, "We'll talk soon. Yeah?"

The British woman replies with a simple, "Yeah, soon." Then disappears back the way they came. She is still conflicted and they know it. That'll have to be approached as well.


What a sight Tom Judge must make, the pale, tall and thin ex-priest, wearing his priest collar, covered in parts that might or might not be the remnants of someone's head, carting along a sword like a cane while he drunkenly weaves after a relative stranger.

Fact is, he's been in stranger situations than this.

The quick pace does not agree with him — he's pale and shaking by the time they reach their destination. It makes taking in Robert's claws and red eyes perhaps a little harder to bear — but yes, he's seen stranger things, and given his own form he isn't apt to judge by the cover. What he can judge by, though is the Rapture, which he lifts to eyesight as he regards the man before him.


There's something very much like surprise, but might well be closer to relief, when Tom takes her hand, rises to his feet. And then, when he falls into step with her, and they move to follow the man with claws for hands. "He's not with me. Neither is the other woman." Vivienne must mean the British one who just answered off, as those were the two that she saw trying to approach Tom. "Nor was that thing whose sword you bear." She keeps her pace slow, deliberate. She doesn't reach for the man walking beside her, but she remains close enough to assist him if he has need. Once they finally do stop, she turns her attention back to Tom, "You should sit." Plenty of bits and pieces of junk on which to do just that, as she looks back towards the man now settled onto an ice cream truck, "And what side is that?"


"The one that doesn't want to kill you." Robert replies to Vivienne, straightening up to a stand. Somewhere in their mad dash Sara has likewise split off, shes NYPD and probably giving them some time or pulled away to distract another uniform.

"My name is Robert Bearclaw. I've been tasked with rounding you up because of what you both possess." He tips his chin up as if that's a way of pointing at what they're armed and wardens of, "Apparently, it's a matter on a universal scale, potentially."


Tom's brows go upwards at Robert's words, a wary sort of hesitance written on his features. But, as he lowers the Rapture, there's no sense of disbelief, at least. "Have you been talking to Tilly?" he asks, scrubbing hand over his eyes for a moment. "So… rounding us up… for what, exactly?"

Hard to say whether Tom believes Vivienne or not. Certainly, he affords her a bleary-eyed look, as much for her telling him to sit as anything. Even if, begrudgingly, he does so, easing down onto an upturned drum. Can't fault a good idea, even if you're wary about the source of it. The sword, he plants into the dirt at his side, the hilt swinging back and forward momentarily with the momentum of the gesture.


"You'll forgive me if I point out that that's not exactly specific." While Tom looks to be finding a seat, Vivienne seems content to remain on her feet, still nominally between the still, probably, mostly drunk possibly not a priest, and the man with can openers for hands. "And I need something much more specific than 'potentially universal scale.'" Especially when the man doesn't sound convinced himself. "And, I should probably point out, the Spear is not wholly mine to do with as I please."


"The way it has been worded to me, for our own safety, the sake of bringing us together under one banner to keep the end of days at bay." Robert replies to Tom while straightening up, that motion also has him drawing his sleeves down again, hiding those biometallic claws that have shrunken down to safer lengths.

"You're both artifact bearers, right?" May as well verbal confirm. A look to each with those animistic red eyes, "Specifics… hrm… we may need to talk to my employer in those regards, hes the man who has most of your answers, at this point I am not much else than the messenger. A pitiful medium in these regards." An exhale escapes him.

"I am on your side though, if you are opposed to those Angel creatures… which it appears you are."


"I'm not opposed to them — they seem to object to me, however," Tom clarifies, somewhat dryly. "Demons, too — but that's just because they're sore about—" he stops, as if realizing he's probably oversharing with a veritable — two veritable strangers. It makes his lips thin for a moment.

"End of days, huh? Well — suppose I better stock up on the beer, then." He doesn't seem to be joking — in fact, he seems deadly serious. And while he doesn't verbally confirm Robert's question about being an artifact bearer, his hand, reflexively, goes to swinging double-cross hanging from his neck, before his glance flickers to the Magdalena. "I'm not sure there is a side… certainly not an our side." Yet.


"I am opposed to any creature that would kill indiscriminately and seek to do harm to innocents," And that's probably the first time, in a very long time, that anyone had thought to call Thomas Judge 'innocent'. "Even one that took the shape of a heavenly host or not." She does, at least, do Robert the courtesy of listening to his words, before she nods, "We may indeed need to speak to your employer. These are hardly matters which can be decided based solely on word of mouth." She pauses, before she continues, "That was not said with any intention to give you insult." Her attention swings back to Tom, listening to his part in the conversation, the barest hint of a wry smile at his insistence that 'they' are not on a side.


"In this, there are sides I would like to believe." Robert says. "That of those that which to preserve and those that wish to destroy."

A curious once over of them both, now able to see without the panic, fighting and noise, "As am I, ma'am." He says politely, she's not given a name up like Thomas.

"I will lead you to him in a moment, as soon as he responds to me we will venture there. What I do know, the people with me, those women and myself, one his a cop who believes in Justice and the other is a seeker of lost things and abhors evil, I am… I am what you see, only here to hurt those that intend to harm others… "

"Are you both uninjured?"


Why yes, Tom's brows do sweep up as high as they can manage in response to the Magdalena addressing him as 'innocent'. "Maybe we do," he agrees grudgingly with the suggestion they talk to Robert's employer. "Does he have a name, this mysterious employer of yours, anyway? Do we at least get a preview before the show?"

He rubs a hand over the stubble on his chin, frowning. "That SHIELD agent is one of yours? You sure it's not the other way around?" he asks, bluntly. As for the latter question, he rolls his shoulders, gaze turning inward briefly as if taking stock. "Nothing a good stiff drink wouldn't fix," he reports.


"That, I can agree with." Whether or not how Vivienne would define those might match the way Robert does, well…just for the moment, that's neither here nor there. And standing as she is, she can just catch the tail end of Tom's expression, the look of surprise, though not its origins. "I am no ma'am. I am called Vivienne Benoit." An odd bit of phrasing perhaps, where most others would have said, 'My name is…' "Though most call me Ana. And, yes, I am well enough. Nothing that time and some small amount of rest will not cure." She moderates her words, allowing Tom to direct the conversation, as he seems to have some knowledge of the situation that she does not.


"If he does it's not one I know. He goes by the Curator." says Robert. "Us hers?" A grunt escapes him, "I am as far detached from SHIELD as one can get, her loyalty to them is as far as a paycheck and the safety of others."

"Vivienne Benoit.. Ana, I apologize. Good manners is all that is intended here."

A buzz and he lifts up his phone again, scrolling through the emojis and broken texts, "It appears we are cleared. Walk with me? We can talk and I'll answer any questions you may have."


A little twitch of Tom's head suggests he's tucking away Vivienne's name — full name — for later use, though his gaze doesn't linger on her. There's still an air of wariness — as much for her as there is for Robert.

He grunts. "Just a paycheck, huh?" he clearly doesn't sound convinced. But answers won't come without questions, and thus when Robert indicates his employer is ready to talk, he pushes to his feet with an audible grunt, taking a moment to free to sword from the ground as he lengthens his stride to catch up.

"So… you an artifact bearer too?" he asks, eyeing the man's claws sidelong.


"That's hardly a glowing endorsement." it would seem the idea of being so mercenary doesn't sit well with the woman, though she makes no further evaluation, only qualifying with, "But perhaps my worldview is different from what might be considered normal in these environs. I am, after all, as they say, not from these parts." A glance towards Tom, as he rises to join the party, "What did you say to me before? I am not in Kansas, anymore."

With the trio now moving in the sane direction, she once again falls into verbal step with Tom, allowing him to offer questions of his own, listening intently to the answers given. The apology she waves aside, "I understood your intention, but it…is not a term I am accustomed to. Where I am from, ma'am is rarely used aside from addressing royalty. And I am certainly not that." And yes, the descendant of The Christ says that with absolute conviction, and a straight face. "What cause has your employer given you to believe this 'end of days' he is trying to prevent?"


"Just a paycheck." Ripclaw repeats, "Shes a fighter, on the right side." He adds with honest conviction.

"I would put my life in either of their hands." Not that they know him or have to have any faith in what hes saying, hes an honorable man that likes to think he can convey as much.

"Perhaps and no, Kansas is even more confusing." A light smile, forced but hes trying.

"He has shown me some of what we face, I've seen through the astral planes and dream worlds other realms destroyed, witnessed what some of these artifact bearers and other seekers are capable of, their atrocities and inflictions upon innocents, its… terrible. Ungodly and speaks of their real intent."


A brief quirk of lip is Tom's reaction to that reference from Vivienne. "Indeed." But the smile doesn't linger as he walks, especially when Robert repeats his certainty on the SHIELD agent. He gives a little grunt at the man's vouching for his companions, though doesn't seem overly convinced, yet.

He's listening but also not, but the last couple of sentences ring like a bull for him. "What do you mean, their real intent?"


"Ah. Perhaps things get lost in the cornfields." A bit of humour, enough to show that Vivienne appreciates the attempt, before she returns to the serious undercurrent of the conversation, busying herself, as she walks, with checking and rechecking her gear. The hand she cut is examined, but it seems not to be bothering her. "You seem to be implying that there are artifact bearers on both sides of this situation. Though I would be wary of trusting something that you were shown. Especially by anyone who had a vested interest in gaining your trust and assistance. have you attempted to verify this information through other sources?"


"We have reason to believe so."

"The Angelus, tonight, for example. That is one of the Artifacts, opposition to the Darkness, something I know more than enough about." His history with Capri, Jackie Estacado's sister, that's some of his acquired in these regards. "But to your earlier question, no, I am not a bearer." He says to Tom, not having meant to fail in a reply just overlooked by the question about Lara Croft and his insistence to defend his comrades, if anything once someone has Robert's loyalty is is hard locked.

"I'm something else, a student of the occult and a medicine man of the old ways. This is in defense of the realms then it is my duty, my task and something I've come to terms with."

"I have verified as much as possible to my resources, the Curator has been up front with us despite his… unique nature."


"Ah," Tom breathes, like he suddenly understands. "You're a Tilly." It makes sense to him — makes him laugh, even, for a moment, even if she'd be likely as not furious at him for the thought. He doesn't seem all that surprised when Robert confirms he's not an artifact bearer.

It's the latter that makes the ex-priest's brows raise. Unique nature?


Vivienne looks over to Tom, as he mentions that name for a second time. Clearly someone of some import, and so she notes the name and the association, but asks no questions. "So what precisely does your Curator want with us…or is it the artifacts he wants and he means to separate us from them?" Curator, after all, sounds a hell of a lot like 'Collector', to her. "Because that isn't going to happen."


"The man's collection is impressive but it doesn't include any artifacts that I have seen nor has he tried to separate the others who have been near."

"A Tilly? I don't know what that is." Clueless a dark brow lift casts at Tom as they round a corner, now making way down a long sidewalk, street lamps lighting the way as they pass by closed shops towards one in particular, Curio & Antiques. It's lit up by one small red bulb that flickers on and off. The only red light on the strip.

"From what I have discerned, he wants us to put down the other bearers and put their artifacts in safer hands. There are ways to seal them away or pass them on to less vile individuals he claims. They're impossible to destroy."

"It is a lot to take in… but then, look at our lives?" A grin, a crooked one that shows teeth to one side and makes red eyes glint. He assumes these two, like Sara, Lara and himself have suffered no end of hardships, it just tends to be the road traveled, it's in the eyes.


"Nor should you," Tom replies, with a thin smile. Vivienne's question sparks his interest — clearly he hadn't considered that — and he glances at Robert carefully, anew, as they approach the shop.

At least until Robert speaks of the Curator's intent, and then he rocks to a halt. "Put down? You mean kill," he says it flatly. "And if I become… difficult, will he do the same to me? To her?" his fingers flicker towards Vivienne.


Whatever differences she might have with the man walking beside her, something in Robert's reply seems to affect both of them in precisely the same way, and Vivienne too, slows her steps, though the business is not, now, very far from where she's standing, "And who decides if the bearer is worthy, or suitable to his cause? Not all of the artifacts are purely good or purely evil, and neither, I would imagine, are their bearers. I will not be put in the position be judge, jury, and executioner." And still, despite her words, she manages to look more than a little surprised when Tom shows some passing concern for her continue existence.


"Choice of words I suppose." Robert pauses at the door under the red light, "Remember I said a cop and a SHIELD official… kill isn't our first course, it is the absolute last, I have no intention of becoming a murderer." More of one at the very least. Death is no stranger to Ripclaw.

"There are always alternatives. If you become difficult, if you are a *just* man and not a corrupt mongrel, I promise, you Thomas Judge, I will do everything I can to save you. As I would for anyone worth a damn." A synthetic palm presses to the door. "The both of you, Ana."

An exhale, "Look, I am not suited for this sort of explanation and I am certainly not keeping you here, I likely couldn't if I tried. Meet the man, decide for yourselves. This is all free will and choice, I give you my word, you will walk out of here."

"We could use your help though. Lara and I are not bearers, only Sara is, that is the only artifact currently on our side, the Darkness once aligned to us has disappeared that leaves us at a severe disadvantage."

"But there is strength in numbers and if you seek more knowledge about your own relics, the others, all of it, this man beyond this door, he has answers."


Tom stares at that door. More correctly, at the space beyond the door, like somehow he can, even from here, see the soul of the man that supposedly holds a future — good or ill — in his hands. His fingers, reflexively, reach up to touch, to grasp, the Rapture.

His jaw clenches. "After you." His fingers flicker. After her, and him. Such a gentlemen. Well, she is wearing the armor.


"What we intend, and what comes to pass are not always the same thing." There's something in Vivienne's voice, in those words, that seems to hold some thought, some memory perhaps, beyond the scope of their current conversation. "So long as you know that I will do what I will do, to protect lives. Even if it means going against your employer." As they finally begin to move once again, she again, without provocation, puts herself between the way ahead, and Tom walking behind. "But I will at least met with him. Learn what I can of his intentions, and of the other artifacts."


"I feel we are kindred spirits in this, Ana." Robert grins, "If he were to try and stop me from protecting someone, yes, he would be ripped through as quickly as our enemies. I harbor no misgivings there." Tom's attempts to pierce the heart and what lies beyond are met with a new and strange 'null' a complete lack of anything other than empty, there is also a golden waver in the air, a ripple that appears like a painting just got washed off, those with artifacts and the sight can see it.

Ripclaw pauses and looks at the both of them, "This place is enchanted, even the Sorcerer Supreme found the magic behind it impressive, supposedly the Krampus couldn't even break though so instead decided to urinate on this very spot… " A fingertip taps the wall beside the door.


Tom takes a step forward. Maybe towards another bad decision, maybe not. Whatever the case he's spared from the knowledge by the tinny sound of his phone ringing. The ring tone is some rock song from the eighties; a catchy tune, but who can remember the name, these days?

He lifts it to his ear, frowning. "What? Tilly… slow down, I can't…" his eyes go distant for a moment, then snap towards Robert. Something wary creeps into his expression. "If you're sure…" he grimaces. "All right, fine. I'll be there soon."

Hanging up, he pushes himself straight, with effort. "I've uh… got to go. Something… urgent. I'll be back if I can." He's lying. Probably. Either way, he's turning and hastily walking the other way, just shy of running, the 'clink' of metal of that sword he's using as a cane accompanying his abrupt departure.


There's something very much like that frown, that overtakes Vivienne's expression as they step past that veil, and even the voice of the Spear in her head is dampened. That seems, rather than to calm her, only to make her more wary. Still, the artifact is only a tool. She is, after all, the true weapon. And so, she steps further in.

Only to pause once again, as Tom's phone rings, and he makes his hurried excuses. There's a moment, a brief one, when she almost looks ready to speak, and then…no. She simply watches him walk away, before she turns back to Robert, "Lead the way."

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