Tanith & Tiffany, later. This scene starts with Constantine Trumping Tanith.
Comment: Constantine ran his own character, and therefore much of the scene. The original idea was to play the 'Mockingbird Game' ... get Tanith to synch often enough, agree often enough, that her ability to do otherwise faded.
It's the padded glove, and Tanith, actually, needed the metal one. She doesn't say 'yes' very often. Or agree very often.
However, the same vehicle worked; what was to be the final request was still satisfied, and a crack much rawer than Yatashi had planned was opened into her soul.
Constantine is filtered through some kind of veil, someplace where the shadows lie differently.
Constantine's Trump image says, faintly, "Tanith?"
Tanith's trump image says, "Constantine!"
Constantine's image wavers, refirms. "Are you in Berkeley?"
Tanith's trump image says, "I am... Are you *okay*? Where are
Tanith's trump image says, "I've been so worried..."
Constantine's Trump image shakes his head, holding the contact firm now. "No. I'm not sure...I need your help. I need to get out, but I can't come to Berkeley."
Tanith's trump image says, "Where should I go?"
Tanith says to Tiffany, fast, "Constantine's calling!"
Tiffany turns away from busily moving books around on the shelf. "Oh! Good. Is he okay?"
Tanith nods, closing her eyes to concentrate.
Constantine's trump image says, "Can you get to Arcadia? That would
work, for now."
Constantine's image flickers again, violently, and steadies.
Tanith's trump image says, "I can... I need to trump, though. Call
Tanith's trump image says, "Or can you reach me? I've tried and tried and it didn't work."
Constantine's trump image says, worried, "I'm not sure. I think...it's strange here. I'm holding an island now."
Tanith pulls on her overcoat and sword, slowly and carefully. She says in the trump call, "Can you trump a place while trumping someone?"
Constantine's trump image is slowly slipping into something almost cubist.
Tanith stops and concentrates hard on holding the connection steady.
Constantine's trump image says faintly, "I'm losing it. Will you risk this place with me?"
Tanith's trump image raises her eyebrows. "Of course, love. Take Tiffany?" She poises herself at any rate, to go before the image is lost.
Constantine's trump image nods. "Yes. Come to me." He holds out his hand.
Tanith holds out her hand. "Tiffany, we need to go through." She starts to stretch her other towards the air.
Tiffany looks nervous. "Where? The Mor don't want me to go anywhere ..."
Tanith goes through the trump, pulling Tiffany with her if she has time to talk her into it this time.
Constantine's image takes Tanith's hand, with a softly fading, "Tiffany too..."
Tiffany, looking nervous, takes Tanith's hand.
Tanith steps through.
Tiffany is dragged along. Zoop!
Tanith's first action on arriving is to look around quickly.
Constantine pulls both of you through into a place that feels bonechillingly wrong for anyone at home on any world named Earth. It does not smell of Chaos, this; rather, of nullity and void reforming into an Order that views you with indifference and finds you unsuited for Its ways. Tenuous, a bubble of that which you know srrounds you. It is only a grey plain, but it is of your world. Beyond that, twenty yards, and the brain will not accept what the filtered octarine light brings to your eyes.
Tiffany is still a little dazed, and looks around without urgency.
Tanith shivers, hard, and hugs Constantine.
Constantine says, eyes probing Tanith's, "How well do you remember
the ice cream parlor? How strong is it for you?"
Constantine hugs back, holding Tanith tight.
Tanith takes a breath. "Pretty well, I think."
Constantine nods, hesitating a moment, raising his hand to touch your forehead. "You're strong enough to help me gain focus, break out of here?"
Tanith says "I can try."
Constantine grins a bit. "You always do. Brave Tanith."
Tanith says "What do I need to do?"
Constantine says "Remember how we got through to the Queen? It's the same. I need you to focus on the Trump, tell us that it's real, tell us that this place isn't."
Tanith nods. "Start now?"
Constantine reaches in his jacket, pulls out a Trump of the ice cream parlor, and nods.
Tanith takes a few breaths, measuring them.
Constantine breathes in, focusing, resting his fingertips on the card.
The boundaries of the tenuous sanity around you shiver and move inwards about ten feet.
Tanith puts her fingertips near Constantine's, and stares at the
card, trying to ignore the goings on.
Tanith takes Tiffany's hand with her free hand.
Constantine starts slightly, and murmurs a pained "No..." before regaining focus. He puts his will on the Trump, almost as if pulling it around you and him.
Tanith moves Tiffany's fingers to touch the trump as well, urging her to help.
Tiffany nods, doing so ...
Constantine forces the Trump to open for us, his mind drawing on Tanith's certainty. The passage is rough, but the result is the ice cream shop.
Tiffany says "Ice cream!"
The ice cream shop looks much the same as ever, with Ray behind the counter with that half happy half sad smile.
Constantine says, tired, "Ice cream."
Tiffany says "Hi, Ray!"
Tanith smiles with relief, her hand moving from the trump to take Constantine's.
Tiffany hugs Constantine. "And you're back!"
Ray says, "Hi, Tiffany! Tanith! Mr. Constantine!"
Constantine grins a bit, and hugs Tiffany, squeezing Tanith's hand.
Tanith says "Hi, Ray. Can I get a fifty fifty shake?"
Constantine says "I need to tell you what happened, but I think we're safe and I need to breathe, first. Will you wait?"
Ray says, "Sure!" and goes about making up the shake, whistling an old pop tune to himself.
Tanith nods, and stands back to look Constantine over carefully. "Did you get hurt?"
Constantine pauses, finding a chair at a table before answering.
Ray brings the shake over to the table, setting it down. "How about you two?"
Tanith smiles gratefully at Ray as she takes the seat by the shake, wincing.
Constantine says "Can you come back for me in a few minutes, Ray?"
Ray nods, worry showing in his eyes. "Sure, Mr. Constantine."
Constantine turns back to Tanith. "I -- yes. It's part of what I need to talk about..."
Tiffany thinks. "Ice cream, Ray. Orange sherbet!"
Ray regains his smile and goes to get some orange sherbet.
Tanith says "Father Brown?"
Tanith stirs her shake. "I'm sorry. I'll hold off."
Constantine rests his forearms on the table, closing his eyes for a
Constantine opens his eyes, with a small smile. "I'd have trouble holding off if it was me in your place."
Tanith bites her lip, and nods.
Tiffany listens to Constantine curiously.
Ray comes back, and puts the sherbet on the table in front of Tiffany. With a flicker of a glance at Constantine, he heads back to the counter, whistling again.
Constantine says "Tiffany...you too, Tanith...how well do you know your Father's relatives?"
Tanith blinks. "I've never even been introduced to her dad. Well, once, but that wasn't an introduction."
Tiffany thinks, eating at the sherbet. "I'm not allowed to talk to them."
Constantine grins a bit at Tanith. "You're ahead of me. Were."
Tiffany says "Well, except some of my cousins, who are okay."
Tiffany says "Daddy doesn't want me to fall into the wrong hands."
Constantine says, grim, "Daddy's right."
Tanith says "What's going on?"
Tanith says "Are you *okay*?"
Constantine says "No."
Constantine says "I...Father Brown got me. He threw me there."
Tanith narrows her eyes. "He hurt you."
Constantine says, pushing it out, "He did something. I have to try hard to talk about it. Do you understand?"
Tanith's eyes widen. "Oh, god."
Constantine manages a ghost of a smile. "He doesn't, didn't know about Trump. Didn't count on it."
Tanith says "What did he *do* to you?"
Constantine steadies his hands carefully, taking a breath.
Tanith takes Constantine's hands.
Constantine squeezes, unawares. "I need to move up on it slowly."
Tanith says "Twenty questions?"
Constantine shakes his head. "Give me something...normal, first. Give me something to reassure that part of me. Can I have a bite of your shake?"
Tanith passes over the shake, watching Constantine with intent worry.
Constantine frees one hand, and sips the shake, letting some tension
drain out of him.
Constantine says, pushing his voice into relaxedness, "It's good. It helps. Remember the first time we came here?"
Tanith says "Yah."
Tanith tries to relax, or at least bury her tension.
Constantine says "We didn't know, then...it's odd, to remember."
Tanith smiles, a little wondering, a little sad. "It is."
Constantine says, jerking it out, "We're linked. He made a link."
Tanith says "Father Brown? He's gone *nuts*."
Tanith reaches forward, "Oh, god."
Constantine spares a mirthless smile. "Wouldn't you, if your brain was filtering between me and one of her uncles?"
Tanith takes Constantine's hands and squeezes. "Tiffany's uncle... are *you* getting that, too?"
Constantine starts to speak, stops, face clenched.
Tanith says urgently, "We left Father Brown in Berkeley. We need to get him before he leaves!"
Constantine recoils. "Don't make me go back there."
Tanith says "I can go, bring him out."
Constantine says, painfully, "Tanith..."
Tanith says "We can't let him get *away*."
Constantine says "It's not that."
Tanith calms herself and listens.
Constantine says "He's not controlling it. He's not even really in there anymore. Do you know what I mean?"
Tanith says "He can still be a link. It's magic."
Constantine says "Yes. I know. Tanith, do you know how you break a
Constantine watches you, eyes dark and unhappy and shadowed.
Tanith says "No, but it's easier *with* the person right
Tanith says "And I can find someone who can."
Tanith says "I bet Mark can."
Constantine says, very softly, "My mind has made of him a Trump, and he is charged with that invulnerable energy."
Tanith says "Then Rand."
Constantine turns his face away.
Tanith says, reasonably, "I think we need to get him and soon. We
can discuss what to do after."
Tanith says "Will you be okay with Tiffany? I'll go get him, at least get him somewhere *safe*."
Tanith says "I won't take him back here."
Constantine says, without looking, "He's draining me."
Tanith says "Do you know how to make him *stop*?"
Constantine says, voice suddenly angry and despairing, "You need to kill the link." And bites off further words, in the stillness.
Tanith goes cold.
Tanith says, carefully, "You're not a mage, Constantine."
Tanith says "I think I should ask Rand or someone like him."
Tanith says "How much danger are you in?"
Tanith says "How much time do we have?"
Constantine looks back, eyes bleak. "I'm five hundred years of
knowledge of Trump."
Constantine says "I'm the student of Prince Caine of Amber, who does not have an equal in this field."
Tanith winces. "Then how much time do we have?"
Constantine says, very carefully, "And I can feel myself slipping. And I don't want to go back there, where we were."
Tanith says "I'll go."
Constantine says "About mages."
Constantine says "You can't touch Trump with magic. Ask Bleys."
Tanith says "Okay. I still want to get him somewhere safe. Do we have hours? Days?"
Constantine says "Hours? I think. May I give you a way to him?"
Tanith says "You have his trump?"
Constantine summons up a grim smile. "I might as well *be* his
Trump, right now."
Constantine says "I'm going to open you a gate. Go through, take him, come back."
Tanith says "Come back, okay."
Tanith touches you softly on the cheek. "Sure you're up to it?"
Tanith says "There are other ways of doing this."
Constantine says, simply, "I've got to be, neh?"
Tanith says "No, you don't. There are other ways."
Constantine looks off for a moment, concentrating. "I don't even think he's in your world anymore."
Tanith says "Oh. Guess not."
Constantine looks back, touch of something repressed in his voice. "And I'm slipping."
Tanith stands, concealing discomfort, and bends to kiss Constantine on the forehead. "I'm ready."
Constantine hesitates again, murmurs, "Do what you must, my love. I trust you." And with a convulsive motion of his hands, he opens a brilliant raw red Trump Gate above the center of the table.
Tanith steps up and through quickly, a hand on her sword.
You step through into a subway car, in transit, the interior lined thick with graffitti in shades that might once have been bright. It's only a quarter full, and most of the people are grouped at one end. There's a man at the other end, isolated -- yes, him -- wrapped in a black overcoat and otherwise looking much as he ordinarily would.
He looks over as Tanith arrives. "Tanith." He sounds startled, but complacent; his eyes are furious.
Tanith still has a subway car behind her?
Tanith er, braino. Trump gate?
Tanith walks slowly towards Father Brown, her hand dropping back so the sword isn't obvious beneath the coat, but still on the sword.
He stands up, abruptly. "This isn't your league, Tanith. I request that you stay out of this; I'd hate it if you messed things up."
Tanith's eyes are cold, inhumanly vivid. "You made it my business." She walks forward smoothly, hunting, all wounds forgotten.
He stares at Tanith for a moment more, and then laughs, bitter and with an edge of hilarity. "Oh, come off it." He waves his hand, and something twists through the air; the car jostles, as if thrown momentarily off the track.
The air between you and Brown seems charged, difficult to move through; as if filled by some spiritual stuff that nevertheless resists even the body.
Tanith struggles at it, draws her sword with a whisper not metal, and slashes at the air. It doesn't help.
Slowly, Tanith gets closer. Father Brown is watching, eyes alight with amusement ... and something colder underneath.
Tanith keeps her sword up, not using it, just continuing forward with determination.
Father Brown shrugs, spreading his hands wide to give Tanith a clear shot at his heart. The stuff seems to be spreading backwards ... you can hear someone in the other side of the car coughing.
Tanith glances back, fast, and shouts, "Keep back! Go into the red
thing if you have to, it's safe!"
Tanith reaches to grab Father Brown by the collar.
The people back away towards the end of the car, nervously. If appropriate in a subway car, some of them open the door and try to move between cars.
Father Brown smiles, and the air in front of him lights with a blue sheen, slick and slippery and unyielding, shielding him from your touch.
Through the Gate, Constantine's voice, a shadow of what it should be: "It's my energy. You know me..."
Tanith cuts across the blue air.
The blue air doesn't give at all to the touch of the sword.
As the sword blade touches, though, there's a shimmer from the Trump Gate. A flicker, perhaps.
Tanith puts her right palm flat against the sheen, holding her sword at the ready, and stares at Father Brown, trying to pull at him as in a trump.
Father Brown's contemptuous look falters. For a moment, the blue sheen flares bright, in conjunction with the raw red of the Gate... and fades, not completely. The sheen no longer feels solid.
Tanith reaches through and grabs Father Brown's collar if she can, tight.
His face is shocked, as your hands have little trouble reaching him. The sheen fades with his arrogance.
Tanith hauls him forward, then suddenly pushes sideways, klonging his head against one of the poles.
Father Brown goes out like a light. The remaining glow of the sheen cushions him some, but not nearly enough. At the back of the car, the other subway riders have all either left or crowded themselves into a very small space.
Tanith drags him back to the trump gate.
Constantine can be seen vaguely through the gate, which is taking on more and more overtones of purple. He is very still, eyes screwed tight shut.
Tanith pushes Father Brown before her and steps through.
The Gate snaps shut with a noise like lightning set free. Slowly, Constantine opens his eyes. "Tanith?"
Tanith's shoulder is bleeding from the strain of carrying Father Brown, even through the overcoat. She lowers him to the floor, and sheathes her sword.
Tiffany says, "Yay! You're back!"
Constantine stands, stiffly. His eyes do not look at anything in the room. "I can feel him."
Tanith says "Tiffany, can you make sure he doesn't do anything?"
Tiffany nods, and fixes Father Brown with a gimlet gaze. (Cover Cover)
Tanith goes over and takes Constantine's hand. "He's here. Should I take him somewhere else?"
Constantine says, voice frayed, "Too close."
Tanith says "I'll get him out of here."
Constantine takes a step towards Father Brown.
Tanith steps back, pulling the trump of the Cal quad from her
Tanith says "No, keep back, I'll get him out of here."
Constantine takes another step.
Tiffany looks worriedly between Father Brown and Constantine.
Tanith looks alarmed, and grabs Father Brown.
Tanith says "Tiffany, keep Constantine away from him."
Constantine takes another step.
Tanith pulls back two steps and stares at the trump.
Constantine's movements slow greatly.
Tanith says "Tiffany, move."
Tiffany nods, moving towards Constantine and attempting to take his hand.
Tanith stares harder. "It's not working."
Tanith says "Anything could be happening."
Tiffany nods warily, and will grab Constantine's arm if she can't get his hand.
Tanith moves Father Brown to the opposite side of the room and tries again.
Constantine throws up a clumsy arm to block Tiffany away.
Ray is nowhere to be seen, a broom leaning alone against the counter.
Tanith glances at Ray. "Got that library here right now?"
Tiffany's hand wraps around Constantine's arm, and she pulls her thumb around to get a better grip.
Constantine's arm is caught. He twists, grunting.
Tanith curses softly.
Tiffany says "What's going on?"
Tanith says "Trumps aren't working!"
Tanith pulls out another one, tries it.
Tanith tries one more trump, shoves them back into her pocket when it doesn't work.
Constantine twists his arm violently, not in directions it's supposed to go, trying to free himself.
Tanith peels up one of Father Brown's eyelids, decides he's still
unconscious enough, and strides with a trace of a limp over to Tiffany
Tanith takes his arms. "Stop! Constantine, stop!"
Tiffany loses her grip briefly, and looks sternly at Constantine. "Stop that or I'll have to goop you."
Constantine starts at Tanith's touch, his eyes losing their glaze. His body, suddenly, relaxes.
Tanith holds Constantine tightly, arms wrapped around him. "Tiffany, make sure Father Brown stays down."
Constantine turns, looks directly at Tanith. His face is open, clear, although it's easy to see the tremors in his body.
Tiffany nods uncertainly, and goes back to watching Father Brown.
Constantine says "Tanith, I'm dying. Will you save me?"
And his body goes completely limp, his eyes rolling up in his head, collapsing in Tanith's arms.
Tanith holds him upright, "No!"
Tiffany looks over, startled. "Agh!"
Tanith lowers him to the floor, hands trembling, and checks for breathing and pulse.
Constantine's body is slack, and while he is breathing and his heart still beats, both are slowing.
Tanith looks up at Tiffany, her eyes wide and terrified. "What do I do?"
Tiffany says "I don't know!"
Tiffany wrings her hands.
Tanith has a thought. "You haven't tried yet. Try going to the bar!"
Tiffany says "But Constantine's being drained to nothing and I'm not thirsty!"
Tanith says "No, find someone."
Tanith says "Find Rand."
Tanith says "Bleys."
Tanith says "Jenner or Laura."
Tanith says "Or Azuth."
Tiffany says "Oh!"
Tiffany nods, ruffling around in her backpack.
Tiffany pulls out a Trump of the Bar!
Tiffany stares at it!
Tanith watches Constantine, glancing once at Father Brown's still
Tanith kneels next to Constantine, her hand at his throat, and murmurs to him, her voice on the edge of panic.
Tiffany vanishes with Trump special effects!
Tiffany has ... left. (To an empty bar.)
Tanith lets out a breath of relief.
Constantine's breathing slows further, below the rate it's at when he's in deep trance.
Tanith says "No..."
Tanith pulls out a trump of Tiffany and tries that.
Tanith says to Tiffany, "Pull me and him through."
The Trump contact is fuzzy, very.
Tanith says to the image of Tiffany, "Maybe the distance will help."
Tiffany extends a hand towards Tanith.
Constantine's heart slows, further. It's hard to tell if it's missing beats or not.
Tanith cradles Constantine in her left arm, and goes through to Tiffany.
Tiffany drags you through the fuzz to the bar.
Tanith looks wide-eyed at the empty bar, and lays Constantine down.
The opening of space that the Trump created does not close; Father Brown is still visible, slumped.
Tanith says "Shit."
Tiffany says "Is he okay?"
Tanith says "No, and it didn't close."
Tanith says "Look, I'll try the mirrors. I think if we get him away
it could help."
Tanith picks up Constantine and heads for the mirror.
Constantine quivers, stretching out an arm towards the gate. A blue
sheen forms around it, leaps off, goes through.
Constantine's breathing is no longer detectible.
Tanith goes through the mirror.
Constantine is lifeless, breathing stopped.
Beyond the gate, Father Brown stirs.
Tiffany starts to follow uncertainly, then looks back. "I'm supposed to keep him down."
Tanith says "No!"
Tanith frantically pulls him through the Chaos mirror.
The meadow is as it should be, with biouvaced troops.
Tanith checks pulse and breathing again, and waves the Aspnes troops over frantically.
Tiffany Trumps Tanith and tells her Father Brown is stirring.
The Aspnes commander sprints over, brusquely brushing Tanith away. After a moment, he looks at her. "What did you *do* to him?"
Tanith pants, "It's a trump thing."
Tanith stays a few heartbeats more, determines that he's unmoving, and sprints back to the mirror.
The commander growls, "He's dead or dying," after you, his voice trailing away as you hit the mirror.
Father Brown stands, like an automaton.
Tanith hits the bar mirror at a dead run and heads for where the
trump rift was.
Tanith has her sword out at this point.
The Trump Rift is there, Father Brown smiling a smile that is not his own on the other side.
Tanith runs through the rift, swinging the sword with all her force at Father Brown.
Father Brown throws up an arm, eyes astonished, smile dropping. It's not in time. The sword hits, cuts deep, blood spraying across the mirrors of the ice cream shop.
Tiffany stares worriedly in through the mirror, mouth open.
Tanith has a touch of her old inhuman grace back, and her face is utterly blank. She brings the sword back around and aims a vicious cut at his neck.
Father Brown falls back, leaving more blood. The sword hits his
neck, slicing across the windpipe, and laying open his jugular.
Father Brown collapses to the floor. The dark light in his eyes fades, his breathing slows. Almost, it's a mirror of what happened to Constantine, speeded up and wrought in violence.
There is a shattering sensation somewhere in your mind, as the horror of the act is ... touched, split, expanded by something ... burrowing into you and then it is there.
Tanith's sword slides out of hands to the floor. She stands, swaying.
The world turns about you ...
As you fall to the floor, the world wavers and you are in the apartment.
Whenever you recover from this, you feel the strong urge to crawl into bed. Your weapon is again at your side.
In the morning, Constantine Trumps Tanith and fusses.