Bearing Gifts

April 19, 2018:

With their host away, Vivienne takes the opportunity to pass on a pair of gifts for Lara.

Somewhere in the Elevator

The main living area. In all its glory.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Robert Berresford, Tom Judge, Sara Pezzini, Dr. Strange, The Curator (NPC), Josef Durant (NPC), C.C. (NPC)

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

The two women, visitors to the elevator, had been, for the time being, left to their own devices, as Ripclaw had received a call which, it seemed, could not wait. Vivienne had showed no inclination to venture beyond the living space where they had been set, and CC did on occasion pop in to check on them, and so, for the nonce, it was a small amount of downtime, as they waited to see what their host had in mind for them.

But never one to be idle, was Vivienne Benoit, and so, into the relative silence, as she slung the wrapped bundle down from her shoulder, she offer the beginnings of a conversation, "Lara, how much do you know about sword-fighting?"

-

Lara spent the downtime just wandering around the living space and finding some fridge that had some bottles of water in it. She took one and uncapped it to sip from it whilst she wandered and stared at all the interesting decorations (?) that were up and on display.

When the other woman spoke up with this question, Lara turned her eyes to the left to look at her and she showed a light smile. "Not a lot." She responded. "I took a few fencing classes as a child, but I was too… aggressive, the instructor had told my parents. They were horrified to find out that I'd thrashed a bunch of things within the training room. I guess I'd leapt up onto tables and thought that I was being trained to become a swashbuckling pirate."

Lara shows Viv a small smile. "I had a vivid imagination as a child. Sometimes it got the better of me."

-

The story Lara imparts actually seems to draw something sympathetic from Vivienne, as she rises from her seat, moving over to set the bundle out on top of a table, her hand sweeping some of the detritus away to leave the surface clean, "Would you believe that I did much the same? Though I had training swords, I too grew up imagining the wonderful adventures in store for me." She falls momentarily silent, eyes raking across Lara's form. Accessing, and thoughtful, as if she were sizing the woman up, as any armorer or outfitter might. "But perhaps we can hope that something of that girl still exists."

Vivienne begins to unfold the bundle, her hands careful, almost reverent, as she unwraps two swords, both in dark sheaths, much like the ones she herself wears. Not katanas, as Vivienne herself wears, but a pair of wakizashi, each nearly two feet in length. "And if so, she might enjoy thrashing a few things in truth."

-

Lara turns to face the other fully while being sized up as though she were at a clothier's, she'd seen looks like that before what with all the formal events she's had to attend in her life. The British explorer takes a step forward and moves over to stand beside Viv as the weapons are rolled out. While she's pulling the swords out, Lara shows a slight grin on her lips. "I'm quite sure part of her still resides in me." She says to Viv, smiling a little at her before looking down at what she's doing. "Some might say I've gotten worse rather than better, most likely."

When the swords were pulled out and put on display, Lara's dark brown eyes roam them over and she slowly nods her head. "They're beautiful… They look quite capable of thrashing a great many things." Lara softly says before taking another sip of her water and then looking back to Ana. "Part of your skillset, I assume? Slicing and dicing the demons?"

-

Vivienne, having uncovered the weapons, waits until Lara comes around to her side of the table, before she moves to unsheath each sword in turn. Her movements are slow and deliberate. Not only out of respect for the weapons, but also out of an understanding that despite the fact that they are allies, the women do not know each other well, and so, it was a way of showing that she had no ill intentions towards the archaeologist. Lara's smile, she returns, before she answers, "Yes. Although I have been trained in the use of modern weapons, and can manage small arms well enough, the traditional weapons of sword and lance have ever been the tools of the Magdalena."

Taking one of the swords, she offers it, hilt first, to the other woman, "You, of all of us whom I have met, are the least defended against what is coming. Tom, Lt. Pezzini, myself, we have our artifacts, and our gifts. Robert has his cybernetics. You," she drifts off, considering her words, "Are not as well armed as we are. And I cannot grant you power, nor give you the artifact I carry, but perhaps these will do instead."

"Forged using techniques as old as the Knights Templar, cooled with holy water, blessed and warded in the name of Saint Michael the Archangel."

-

For her part, Lara is an attentive listener and a very well educated woman. Some things about the swords speak out to her, their make and history can be seen in their craftsmanship… or at least 'hints' toward it all. But she's not about to nerd out on all of that while Vivienne is attempting to explain all of this to her and when she does, Lara's eyes go back to the woman and her dark brows lift up some in surprise.

"For me?" She asks the other. "To defend myself?" She looks back to the exposed blade and its gleaming dangerous length, then back over to Ana. "I'm flattered, to be sure." Lara says, a smile fluttering on her lips briefly. "I… can't say that I don't need something, based on my experiences these past several months a handgun or two, hasn't really been 'up to snuff' so to speak."

A light huff of a laugh is released before Lara nods once toward Vivienne. "Thank you, for considering this about me. Its very kind and gracious. I just… will have to do my very best not to murder myself with them, huh?" And now she's grinning.

-

Vivienne, to her credit, seems more than content to allow Lara to study the blades to her hearts content, the words she offers even acknowledging that, even stepping back, as she speaks, so that the swords are now in Lara's space and not hers, "Yes. They are for you. They are yours, for as long as you need and require them. This is the purpose for which they were forged, to fight evil, to safeguard the world. And…it seems right to me that you should bear them."

"I suspect, that no matter how skilled you are with handguns, that they were not made to fight what is coming. Though," and her her smile turns almost mischievous. "I suppose I could attempt to bless your bullets. Though, I imagine it would not be quite as effective as these."

"You are welcome, but I do not anticipate you risking death and dismemberment. We will train, you and I, and you will soon improve. And Robert as well, is a suitable training partner." And an answering grin, "Just be mindful of that one. He is full of tricks on the training mat." Clearly, she seems to be speaking from experience.

-

Lara holds up one of the swords and inspects it carefully. She may not be an experienced sword fighter, but in her line of work she's held a lot of swords of many different makes and designs and of many different levels of quality and sharpness. She knows HOW to hold a sword at the very least and how to respect one.

Her eyes go up to Viv's and she shows an honest and heartfelt smile. "Thank you." She says softly, her voice calm and sincere. "I'll keep them close to me and figure out… a way to more easily carry them on my person. Perhaps a harness on my back…"

One thing that Miss Croft likes to do is craft things for her weapons, all manner of ways to store weapons and gear on her person, she's a bit of an accessory nut and she likes to design the stuff herself, perfectly fit to her body and shape. "This is an amazing gift and I'll put what time is needed into learning how to properly wield them, so that I… so that I'll do them the justice that they deserve." A slight grin is shown then to Ana.

-

Vivienne steps back, allowing Lara plenty of room, in case she needs room to experiment with the blades. And all the while that same assessing look. Waiting the way the other woman moves and handles herself. Lara's smile is returned with the same genuine feeling, and again, something that speaks of kindred spirits, as Vivienne removes her coat, hands rising to twist her hair up into a knot, exposing the harness she wears, and the Spear set within it, "I look forward to seeing what you come up with." She doesn't bother to slip the coat back on, instead tossing it over a chair still pulled up to the table they're working on, "I have no doubt that you will use them well. But if you'll take some advice that I was given once…remember that you are the weapon. These are only extensions of your will."

-

Lara is still holding the sword with both of her hands, its blade is laying across her newly-healed wrist that Viv had fixed up outside of Robert's super secret base here. She grins very faintly at the words the woman speaks lastly there. "Sage advice." She tells her and nods once toward the harness that the other is wearing. "Something like that, would serve me well for these, I would think. Such as Wonder Woman wears." Lara then pauses before setting the sword down, she looks up and over to the other again. "Wonder Woman is the one with the sword and shield, isn't she?" She exhales quietly. "I'm awful with super hero names and personas…" She didn't grow up around them! In her part of London she was rather isolated from 'Supers' and her explorations around the globe they were a rare sight to behold… She didn't see many until she moved to the 'States'.

-

"Josef will be glad to hear you say that. 'Finally, someone who listens.'" She waves that away, "He is my handler, my trainer, and a good friend. He made the journey with me from Rome. I am certain you'll meet him sooner, rather than later." With the weapons properly handed of, Vivienne heads over towards the refrigerator Lara rummaged through earlier, pulling out a bottle of water for herself. "I think so? I must confess, I am not really used to all of these…what are they called here? Metahumans? I suppose we deal in simpler things, if demons can be called such. I have spent most of my life working alone. And now it seems there are people with incredibly and unknown powers around ever corner."

-

The sword is put back into its case and Lara lays them both side by side on the table space. "Well. That would be something you and I have in common. I grew up mostly alone, playing games by myself and pretending my home was a mysterious pyramid lost to time and civilization. Among other settings and scenarios for it all." She glances to the other while Viv goes for the fridge as well. Lara lifts her water up for another sip then.

"But yes, here? Its been an experience, to witness the powers and abilities that these super powered people possess. I once broke an arm, as a child, attempting to fly to be like the ones I'd seen on television at my aunt's home. I thought that if I jumped off a high enough ledge, that my power would activate and sail me away into the clouds." She shows a grin. "Sailed me a way to the Emergency Room, more like it."

Lara's head lightly shakes side to side, she looks down to the swords. "If these help me fight off our enemies, however, that's all the power I ask for today."

-

"I was raised in a nunnery. There were…four other girls, like myself. Bearers of the blood of the Christ. But they did not allow us to befriend each other. They trained us to fight against one another. I had only myself for company, save for when I had lessons or meals. I suppose, they felt it was necessary to train us to be comfortable alone. Caring for no one, trusting only ourselves." Vivienne's lips curl into a wry smile, as she settles onto a relatively free, and clean, space on the arm of one of the couches, "We did not even have names. We were tools, to be honed and prepared for service. So…I spent much of my time in my own daydreams."

A nod, of agreement, as she reopens the bottle, taking another sip, "And it seems so strange to me. I have met some, like Robert, who seem to consider all of their actions, and I have seen others who…I can't explain it…they claim to be 'helping' but it seems like…flaunting their powers."

-

While Ana is speaking her tale, Lara turns to watch her sit on the sofa's edge while she herself choses to lean back/sit on the corner of the table that the swords are resting on behind her. She holds her bottle of water between her hands in front of her lap and stares at Viv whilst she explains all of that. "Extreme." She softly says in regards to the events at the Nunnery. "I'd tell you that I was sorry you were raised that way, but I doubt it'd offer you any real comfort or make me seem to have any real idea on the harshness that it truly was." Lara then flashes a small smile. "I'll say it anyway though… I'm sorry you had to go through that. You do, however, seem to have taken it for what best elements it had though. In that you appear to be strong and capable, self reliant and confident." Lara dips her small pointed chin in a singular nod. "Those are great things to have in yourself."

And after an inhale of the lovely basement air, Lara continues. "But yes, most people who do have the powers, seem to be eager to show them off. Sometimes far too eager."

-

"You are very kind to say so, Lara. And truthful as well. I survive because I don't know any other way but survival. I was called, not by the Church, though they raised me, but by God." Her tone is, not casual, but more…matter of fact. Her life, as Lara aptly put it, is her life. "And, in some ways, I cannot fault them for their harshness. The Magdalenas have never been long lived. I am twenty-two now, and have been in service for seven years. I am already approaching one of the longest terms of service in the most recent string of women to hold the mantle. But, I think it has made me who I am, in much the same way that your upbringing has molded you. And I don't know, if I had the power to change, if I would."

-

Lara nods her head gently while listening to Ana's words. "The word itself… Magdalena, comes with a world reknowned amount of drama behind itself alone," She says before showing a soft smile. "But this 'order' that you were… placed into, at least it seems to have made you a stronger person." A slight headshake then toward the other woman. "I see no reason for you to change, as I've seen nothing but good intentions from you. You healed my arm…" Lara looks down at her wrist. "You gave me Demon Defense swords." Lara looks back behind her left shoulder briefly, then back to Vivienne. She flashes her a sly smile. "You're doing nothing but good, from my viewpoint. So keep being you, and this world will only be a better place. Yeah?" And with that she takes another sip of her bottled water that they swiped from Robert's basement fridge. Or was it CC's fridge?

-

"Yes. There are so many stories, most of them unkind, about who and what she was. What she meant to Christ and the role she was intended to play in the Church. And even more about what we were meant to do, to be." Lara's words bring a smile to Vivienne's lips, something tinged with a healthy dose of self-deprecation, eyes settled on the floor just in front of Lara's feet, "I have done what seemed right to me to do, always. I suppose, I am simply too accustomed to those who look for ulterior motives. Tom, for example, is convinced…that I likely intend to stab him in his sleep and steal the Rapture. The witchblade responds to me as though I were its enemy. The world is strange, Lara."

Lara is gently nodding her head to the other's words. "Biblical history isn't precisely my forte, but I certainly my own opinions and viewpoints on who Mary was." After a short pause, Lara's head shakes right to left. "As for Tom, he seems to… have a temper control issue. Based on my time with him the other night, I've come to believe that his emotions can often get the better of his judgement. But, perhaps I haven't gotten to know him enough yet to really know." A single nod is given before Lara centers her gaze onto Viv.

"What I do want you to help me with, is to keep a watch on the Curator and try to figure out what his goal in all of this is. I know that he is untrustworthy and I believe he's up to something that you and I would both find to be, quite unsavory…"

-

"As do most people. As they should. Historical figures, whether they have religious connotations or not, speak to each person in their own way. They exist to be who the person thinking of them needs them to be. I don't think any one view is necessarily better or worse than any other. Even my own views and beliefs are not for everyone." At the mention of Tom, she falls momentarily silent, before she shifts the thread of the conversation, "Tom is…angry, lost. I think…he's lost his faith, and the fact that I haven't makes him even moreso. But what he needs help with…I am not sure I am capable of it." And then, finally, a more serious expression, as talk turns to the dark cloud hanging over all of their heads, "I trust him not at all. He wants these artifacts, he means to use them. I think we need to find out precisely for what. Because I do not think it has anything to do with saving the world. He feels too…duplicitous."

-

Lara stands up from the table (as she's rarely the type to sit still for long without getting antsy—being a bit of an adrenaline junkie) and she paces over to a shelf of knick-knacks where she starts to eye them while listening to Viv's words. At the continuation of the bit about the Curator, Lara pauses her staring at the trinkets and looks back toward the other. "That's precisely it." She says back to her.

"He presents himself as a mere simplistic shop owner, who's in possession of information about a great darkness invading our reality… but his entire attitude is so damned flippant." She shakes her head and glances down at her right hand which still had some traces of the time that Robert's claws had cut her open there. "He's up to something." She just softly says, before looking back to Viv and summoning up a heavy smile.

"Anyway. I suppose we should seek our host, find out what our next move is. Yeah?"

-

Vivienne's nod is one of agreement, wholehearted. "I felt precisely the same. When Robert took me to meet him. He knew immediately, who I was, and what artifact I carried. He felt it. That is no normal gift. He invited me to ask him questions, and yet he gave me not a single straight answer. And what bothers me…the most is the ward he has in place. So strong that not even the Sorcerer Supreme, I am told, can break it? That is no simple shopkeeper. But I mean to find out what his purpose is. I will be glad to know that you will be working with me." A deep inhale, as she straightens, reaching out to reclaim her coat. Even as warm as it is in the Elevator, it's part of her kit, and she clearly seems more comfortable with it than without, "Yes, indeed. Where did my new familiar get off to?" Joking of course, though CC did ask. And he did pick the one with the gams, rather than the daffy one. "I'm sure he'll know where to find him."

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