1964-06-28 - Weaknesses over Drinks
Summary: Strangers have an interesting discussion in a bar— will it lead somewhere?
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
nathan-maccabee spawn karnak lucian 


Lux. The club is a posh and elegant place, people entertaining themselves, most dressing to simultaneously blend in and outdo each other.

However, most people are not Karnak. Which is probably for the best, as the woman sits at the bar, hood drawn over her head as she looks very out of place. Still, no one seems pay the woman much mind, even though if there was any sort of dress code, she's really not meeting it. Nor does she particularly seem to care, as a glass of water sits in front of her, ice being the only indulgence she has for it.


Nathan Maccabee strolls in with the soft jingle of spurs that is likely imperceptible over the music. His duster is pulled tight around with its supple matching belt and his hat rides high, giving anyone who cares a free look at who strolls beneath. He smiles easily as his slightly squinty eyes survey the club from behind what look to be genuine old school quartz lenses, stained a rosey tint and riding on the broken bridge of his nose.


Al Simmons is not the sort of guy you often see here in a club like this: but he's trying somewhat in vein to blend in. When you're barely shy of seven feet tall and built like a truck, blending in isn't especially easy, though. He does have a black hoodie on, and his hands are kept in the hoodie's pockets, so unless someone is close by they might not notice the fact that every inch of his skin looks like melted wax. To say he's disfigured by burns does an injustice to people who are disfigured by burns. But he keeps his head down and in the shadow. Approaching the bar, he says to the bartender, "Beer. On tap." His voice sounds like what happens when a bag of nails gets into a fight with sandpaper: its harsh, ragged and deep. When the bartender informs him you can't *get* beer here, he tilts his head up enough to glare. For just a moment his eyes flash with green, smokey hellfire, but its just his eyes staring at the menu for a time, "Fine… Sazerac."


Lux is the highest of class places. It manages that even when the clientele slips between grey, shady classes. Those sorts tend to stay mostly out of sight, execept when they don't.

One protesting man is bitterly bitching away in Bulgarian. His complaints are sharp to the ears, and he gets absolutely nowhere because a dusky-skinned woman in a tube top and fitted pants is literally carrying him to the stairs and out. He twists like a hooked fish for what little good it does him. Those steps to ground level are considerable. Hard enough to take on one's own, much less carrying someone else. Mazikeen, however, has absolutely no trouble.

"«You will not cross that doorway again, is that clear? Your boss is going to know you broke the peace. And your clients,»" Maz says for everyone who can hear and knows Bulgarian.

"And your nana," Lucian answers, underwhelmed by the display. He emerges from a doorway, holding a dented tin cup.

The strawberry-blonde manning the bar isn't at all impressed by anyone ordering standard drinks and then being annoyed about it. She goes to make the orders.


Karnak drinks her ice water at the bar, though she passes a curious glance towards Al as he takes a spot not too far from her and says simply, "Interesting choice." She might be smiling underneath her own hoodie, though it's hard to tell for sure as her eyes flicker around. She does, however, fixate on Mazikeen hauling out the Bulgarian, noting her moves and strength.

For future reference.


Nathan Maccabee steps gracefully out of the way of Mazikeen hauling the rascal, a departure from the swaggering gait he'd initially displayed. Cracking a wide and mirthful grin, he tips his hat and chuckles as they go by before turning to continue on his way to the bar. Sauntering up to it, he'll slip over a seat and offer,"I like this place. Dames haulin' out the refuse? That's style. What's t'night's flavor?"

Nate's manner of speaking has a slow timbre, but he's clear spoken. He maintains that smile and leans back ever so slightly as he looks forward to the response. Whatever it happens to be, he'll cheerfully order it. He's adventurous like that.


Turning to regard Karnak for a long moment, Al Simmons inclines his head slightly. Once the froofy drink arrives, he tilts it up for a sip, and grimaces. "It had less fruity crap." he grates, "Though I have no idea what the fuck a peychard is." He turns to look out over the crowd, eyes dark and alert, like he's looking for something. "Come here often? Any… funny business?" he asks of her.


Maz hauls the protesting suit up the stairs to the door. It's best not to know what happens above. Not that anyone will see directly given the serpentine walls of pale green glass set beside one another that reduces their silhouettes to an underwater sheen. "Oof!" gets unceremoniously cut off by the doorway shutting.

Lucian looks into the cup and carries his dented, useless metal mug off somewhere else. The liquid ends up poured down the drain of a sink behind the granite and marble bar. In the alcohol is some kind of fine white powder barely visible, sediment washed out. The blond man rubs his jawline. "Peychaud was a Caribbean Frenchman who created bitters, alcohol infused by aromatic botanicals. Fruit, orange peel, cassia, gentian petals, herbs, as examples. It gives the Sazerac its flavour." He offers that explanation easily. "I'd tell you we have something strong enough to leave you in a stupor, but we only offer that on the second date."


Karnak looks over at Al, pulling back her hood to reveal her face, as well as the jet black hair braided tightly behind her, just a few strands of silver present that seem to be cosmetic as opposed to age. Not necessarily an unattractive face either, though the green bars outlining her features are decidedly… unique. She then shrugs, "This is my first time here. I am unfamiliar with the intoxicants that they carry here." Her eyes flicker over towards Lucian, and then she hrms, "Apparently he is not, however." She gives Lucian a considering look, as if studying him for some reason.


Nathan Maccabee upraises a single bushy brow towards the conversation underway as he's brought his drink. He'll regard the green tinted substance for a moment, then sample it with a sip. He inquires after it with the bartender,"So, mind if I ask…?"

Apparently Nate was brought a glass of chartreusse.

Nathan hmms, his expression one of novelty. He'll lean against the bar slightly, minding his business for the time being. The glass is regarded with curiosity for the longest, clearly he's never even heard of it.


The more Lucian explains Peychaud, the more Al is sure that he's oh so not going to like this. "I drink for the burn, not the flavor." is ground out like glass shards under a bulldozer, directed towards Lucian, "I don't date." Anymore.. Now that he reaches for his glass, the horrid burns on his hands become visible, and he lets that be enough of a response to Karnak showing her odd appearance. "This is my second. I heard something was stirring." He turns and stares off over towards Lucian for a long moment, "You work here?"


The 'chartreuse' isn't what he thinks it is. It's actually the Vigil, which satisfies for 'green' and 'containing chartreuse.' Better choice than some of the others out there, being smoother on the tongue and less inflicted with bitters of the rare variety. Angostura and Peychauds these are not. Whipped up by the strawberry-blonde bartendress, she shakes up the liquor and spins their blend through something that appears like a tiny ferris wheel with an interior ball. It's a storm of flavour until delivered to Nathan. She moves around behind Lucian.

He's satisfied to play for time, nodding at the question. "Ask what now?" Nothing unbecoming in the question considering his manner as a barkeep is open and not unfriendly. "Next time," this to Spawn, "have a Sin-eater. More keeping with your tastes, probably. And yes, I do. I get out time and again. What's your poison, ma'am?"


Karnak eyes Lucian with a faint smile, "I have been drinking ice water to this point. Alcohol has not typically been something I indulge in that often." Though, she does give Al a curious look as she arches a brow, "You heard something was stirring?" She doesn't react to the burns on Al's hands, not seeming to care about the man's appearance at all as she finishes her glass of ice water, looking over at Lucian as she adds, "If you have a drink to recommend, I would partake of that then."


Nathan Maccabee follows the tendress with a curious eye as he indulges the flavorful drink with slow, even sips. At least he's aquainted with the existance of sipping drinks. He'll comment as an aside,"Been some time since I had a proper drink. Been throwin' back liquor for well nigh an age, it's a miracle I can taste."

Nate chuckles ruefully at something, his gaunt cheeks spreading wide in a sardonic manner. The humor might be lost on most, alas. He'll eventually set the glass down after a few sips, not wanting to squander it at once.


Suggesting Al get a Sin-eater has the man barking a rough, deep chuckle, "I'm familiar with sin-eaters. I never thought to drink one." He regards Karnak for a moment, "Nothing specific." he admits, "But there's something odd about this place and its not just the freaky drink choice." He's not sure what, though. Call it hell-sense. He nods to Lucian then, lifting a scarred hand up to rub at his cheek, which briefly lets a bit of light in to show his features: the burns cover his face, too. "Do you know the owner?" he grates out to, well, the owner.


The slightest gesture banishes off the strawberry-blonde of many a name to the far end of the bar. Drinks need to be mixed. He's got the business figured out there. The Morningstar reaches for the white rag and wipes down the interior back to a nearly spotless condition once more. The materials of his craft are all around and on the wall in a string of bottles with no labels or distinguishing features. They could be ketamine or poison for all anyone knows. "Do you prefer flavours sour, sweet, herbal, citrus, acidic? Something else?" This to Karnak. The role of mad chemist and confessor to regents and rakehells comes to him effortlessly, a faint, crooked smile. "You're in fine company here, no matter how long you've drank. I can near guarantee we have a recipe that will ignite your tastebuds."

Without instructions those gifted hands wait, poised as a virtuoso awaiting the instruction of a conductor. Lift that baton and watch the magic happen. "I'm well acquainted, yes. What strikes you so oddly? Used to be a speakeasy."


Karnak looks evenly at Lucian, then simply says, "Something like existence then. Sour, and acidic." She doesn't return the smile towards Lucian. Indeed, she doesn't seem charmed at all. But then again, she doesn't seem to display much charm either as she gives Lucian a rather intent gaze, eyes narrowing just a bit as she apparently has a rather grim outlook on life in general, judging from the way she described her drink.


Nathan Maccabee just eyes the continued exchange between Karnak and the tender. The middle aged cowboy in the big city taps his glass idly a couple times before taking another sip, then sets the glass back down again. He'll comment,"It can get worse, miss. I promise. Take where I grew up. Coal mines was the thing, an' if not there then the oil flats. Coal mines, you was working a death sentence. First you cough, work a little bit longer it became a wheeze. Your taste goes from the dust chokin' everything, no tooth brushes t'fix it you see. Indigestion of the worst sort sets in. Then one day, you just fall over. I'll not spoil the air discussin' the oil flats." A genial small and offered toast is made as if that's a favor.


"What's his story?" asks Al Simmons of Lucian, leaning forward, watching the man intently as he prepares to do… mad alchemy. To answer his question he shrugs one of his massive shoulders, "Don't suppose you've seen a clown around here, have you? Fat, ugly little man… bad teeth. Voice like nails on the chalkboard? Maybe goes by Barney Saunders minus the clown-getup, same other attributes?" It would be just like one of Malebolgia's lieutenants to lure him to some weird club just to taunt him.


Sour and acid, then. For that, Lucifer Morningstar must actually spend a moment in contemplation. A moment is enough. Doors open and the mind that spun up stars from the cosmic ashes of the first round of explosions that formed the universe has basically no trouble consulting the different ingredients at his disposal. Two bottles come down from the shelf, tall and thin. Another vial in dark green that should belong in great-aunt Harriet's mirrored and locked cabinet 'from Paris' joins. He procures from a drawer two more concoctions that can't possibly meet anyone's licensing standards. But if the mafia had half the connections he does in the East Village area to keep the police from bothering him, they'd rule much more than New York and Bahhhhhhstan. They'd have Italy in their fist. He doles out pinches and splashes into a weathered steel canister. The concoction takes shape with liberal splashes and shakes, the masterpiece poured from the green glass bottle shorter than his thumb.

"Came to town, saw an opportunity and he took it. Made this place as a sanctuary for those of like mind, and because they flock together, found a need to keep them satisfied," says that blond. His smile is easy as the spritz and shake of the contents in the canister. He pours out the brew into a tulip glass steadily until the layers are situated just so, pushing it to Karnak. Find a flaw with that. There /isn't/ one. Because perfection and pride goeth in twinned dances. "Not anyone around here, I'm afraid."


Karnak watches the process of creating the drink with casual interest. And when it's set in front of her, she watches it, very carefully for a few moments, as if silently taking up the unspoken dare of finding an imperfection in that drink. So then, after a long moment, she takes up the glass, nodding towards Lucian as she takes a drink. Then something truly odd happens.

She smiles. Actually smiles at Lucian. The expression is both somewhat odd as well as genuine, "This… is good. Thank you." Her eyes flicker over Lucian, evaluating the man as he seems to be far more than he appears.


Nathan Maccabee will toss back the remnants of his drink at this point. Setting the glass down before him one last time, he rubs at the stubble on his chin in a thoughtful manner. Eyes sparkle slightly behind rosey lenses. The man then rises to his feet, reaching into his duster without bothering to unbelt. He'll withdraw a pouch that he unfastens to remove from within a single gold coin. Setting down on the bar, he'll offer,"Excellent service."

With that, Nate turns to make his way the same that he came.


"Sanctuary for those of like mind?" inquires Al, tilting his head to the side a moment, frowning. That Karnak seems to approve of the drink has him looking somewhat disappointed at her, for what little of his expression is visible. Fine! Don't be on the grumpy team. He then adds, relaxing a little when the Violator doesn't seem to be about, "Well, good. If you see the guy you might want to have your lady friend kick him out. Or kick him in the balls repeatedly."


The golden coin is caught up, tested. Not by biting, mostly just by checking it. Lucian says, "You're welcome back to Lux any time. No conversations of coal or oil required, though you might want to avoid next Thursday." No further explanation given there. Maybe he's hosting oilmen from Texas and Pennsylvania or half the royal family of Qatar. It's the latter to worry about. He almost looks amused at Karnak's reaction. The woman might be dour as a post, but he had an entire realm of those to worry about. "Isn't it? Nothing like a satisfying match."

The emptied canister is set aside. He puts back the other bottles and paraphernalia of his art where they belong, shelves and cabinet nooks and niches. "Sanctuary for people who enjoy a refined drink and conversation. Those who don't see the need for go-go dancers or pot smoke or peeling posters to make good ambiance. Those who value other luxuries. Anyone can serve a dessert or a good sidecar. It's not the soul of a club. Lux is unto itself."


Karnak hmms a bit, her smile fading into the dour nature that seems to be her default setting. Though there might be a hint of a smile as she continues to slowly savor the drink set before her, either not noticing or caring about Lucian's amusement as she says, "It does seem very much unlike other places I have seen here. It feels… comfortable." Of course, that might be the drink talking as she considers Lucian's words, her eyes still seeming to find him, even as they wander around the club to take it in more fully.


The gold coin features an equal armed cross on one side, and an angel with a flaming sword on the other. It's purity is likely as quality as any even Lucian would have encountered. Nathan pauses in his departure to turn to the man at the bar, offering a simple reply accompanied by a hat tip,"My thanks."

With that, Nate continues out the door.


Al gives Lucian a long look as he describes the clientele, and he snorts, gravel meets nails voice remarking, "So, basically, not me." There's a certain ragged amusement in his features, "Although I can completely get behind the lack of go-go dancers, pot smoke or peeling posters. I'm used to dark and smelly divces." The huge guy shrugs his shoulders, "Name's Al." That's a greeting to them both.


Lucian chuckles under his breath. "Then what are your tastes?" He makes the coin vanish by putting it in a very unimpressive location: a lockbox. How thrilling. "Dark is fine. A dive?" The grin is not something long-lived as he once more lapses to silence to let the others speak. No one comes to hear the bartender yammer on, do they?


Karnak looks between Lucian and Al, observing their interaction with interest as she nurses her drink. Content to savor the rather odd taste of it, though she seems to find it pleasing, as her dourness gives way to something almost approaching niceness. Almost as an afterthought, she adds, "Karnak." Which could be her name, or even just a random statement complementing Lucian on the drink. She doesn't exactly elaborate, as verbose is NOT the word to describe her.


"My taste." Al considers that, "Strong enough that I can actually get a sensation out of it. As close to gasoline as possible. This.." He gestures to his drink, "…barely registers." He shrugs one of his massive shoulders, "Breathing in when you're on fire is bad for your taste buds." Also throat, from the voice. Then again, since he's not actually really alive anymore, its not like he needs to drink. He blinks at Karnak, "… 'Karnak'?" And looks closer at her, frowning. "Not from around here, I take it."


"Lucian. Interesting name. A great Egyptian city." And one that didn't worship him! Points for that. "Particularly interesting. Rather fine temples there." He smirks at the challenge that Al wordlessly gives. He wants to pick up something like that? So he shall have. A few moments are needed as he signals a passing Maz with two fingers, and says, "Kerebas. You know where it is?"

The flat stare from the dark-eyed woman suggests he just asked if she knows 1+2.


Karnak glances over towards Al, then says simply, "French." Which might also explain the attitude, even as she passes Lucian a wry expression, "It was, so I have heard. I have never been there myself. Though I have wandered to enough places that it is a little surprising that I have not been." Her eyes flicker to Mazikeen, and she pauses, having to catch herself from tensing visibly as… well, Karnak sensed enough to know something is very off about the bouncer.


The skepticism is palpable around Al as he regards Karnak for a moment, then he snaps a burned hand and gestures to Lucian, "Thought it was familiar." Why in the name of all that is unholy would he recognize an Egyptian city name, but he seems to. Probably got drunk in hell with an ancient egyptian. Its only then really that he notices Maz, and that odd sense triggers. For just a moment the whites of his eyes give off a faint mist of green smoke. But it vanishes into the shadows.


Mazikeen, she of the dark and bitter looks, vanishes into one of the side entrances that marks a hall somewhere. It goes into the building. She might come back with a Soviet-make rocket launcher. Probably not though. There is a bottle in question, a clay jar in fact, which will be all Al's.

Lucian chuckles. "Karnak is probably the grandest temple complex in Africa. Comparable with very few in the vicinities. If Egypt is to your taste, an easy travel down the Nile."


Karnak shakes her head a bit, "I admit to finding the architecture there interesting, though I have not had an opportunity to travel that way. Perhaps at some point this will change." She glances at the clay jar with a raised brow, "That seems a bit… unusual."


"Egypt. Operated there briefly, but it wasn't one of my primary operating theaters." The… clay jar draws Al's attention. The skepticism returns, "This looks like a limited run, how much is this gonna set me back?" he asks, twisting it open and shrugging, deciding to go with it no matter what the cost. He tilts it back for a swig, and grunts as the burn of the alcohol actually gets through his scar tissue. The other drink? It is pushed away in distaste. This is clearly more his style. "Name's Simmons. Al Simmons. Sergeant Major in the marines before going into private practice." He half shrugs, "These days I'm something of a PI." Why he's suddenly sharing is anyone's guess.


The clay jar isn't much to speak of. A thing stoppered in wax as some of them are. It's darker to the bottom and less to the top. The quantity is sufficient to put down a dwarf if dwarves in fact existed and were entitled to three rounds than the standard two in Heaven.

"Cheaper than a gold. I like information." The barkeep doesn't even so much as a snicker. He takes the matter seriously. Safely. Maz and the strawberry-blonde both stay well away as they have actual owrk to do. "PI. Then you are a welcome asset 'round here, Mr. Simmons. Lucian." He flashes one of those rare smiles. "And you, Miss Karnak? What keeps you employed?"


The woman frowns slightly at the mention of employment, then says simply, "I am a consultant by trade. I have an ability to see the weak spots. In anything." She finishes the drink, setting down the glass with a satisfied expression as she just reiterates, "Anything."


"Need something investigated?" Al asks of Lucian. Taking another swig, Simmons' hellspawn body seems to react well to the potent alcohol. Or at least he doesn't seem like he's gonna pass out quickly: it hurts, but in a pleasant way. Then again Al really doesn't have the pleasant sensations much anymore. He turns to regard Karnak for a moment, tilts his head, and grunts. Standing, he tugs open his hoodie and pulls it off, dropping it to the table before him. To have a seven foot tall wall of muscle draws attention naturally: when he's in a short-sleeve t-shirt that clings to his body but shows all that skin— with every bit of it horribly burned? He turns to give a challenging look at Karnak, "I don't do weak spots." His smile is dark, "But I'll humor you."


"Sooner or later. There's always something worth knowing about." That seething concoction is not something the average mortal can tolerate. Not with the distilled emotion and the crackling underbelly thrashed into every joule of excitement burning there. Oh, this ought to be fun when Al starts stripping. Hello, attention comes from on high and low for those disposed to turning. The blond chuckles terribly softly.


Karnak turns and looks at Al Simmons for a long moment, seeming to weigh his existence with her pitiless gaze. Then she says simply, "A deal gone sour, that gave you power you didn't want, and gifts you couldn't use, to mock your attempts at reclaiming a life you never realized was precious until it ended." Her eyes harden as she regards Al, continuing, "You rage at the world because you think it wronged you, never realizing that you were the one that wronged the world in the first place, but now you think you have learned, channeling your rage at those that would harm your friends. Not that you consider them friends, but they consider you a friend, for whatever reason that may be." With that, the woman then looks at Lucian and says simply, "While that was delicious, I would like another ice water next, please." Probably to refill her veins, considering the cool way she just outlined Simmons to his face.


Simmons had a very specific kind of 'weakness' in mind when he challenged the woman, and though its not quite as obvious with all the scarring, his muscles tense and some of that rage rises up to his features. But Simmons was a Sergeant Major: Sergeants do not lose their cool, ever, and Sergeant Majors even less. Death doesn't rob you of twenty years in the marines. He gives a curt nod, "Close enough." He lifts up his hoodie and slips it on, and he adds in a softer voice, "I protect those that the world forgot, that's why they consider me their friend." Of course, she was right that even he didn't return that feeling. He settles back down into a chair to find someone to glare at, and instead takes a looong swig from the burning liquid. He grunts again, and.. maybe.. feels it. But its just in his head, right? He's got nothing like blood stream to intoxicate.


But do sergeant majors yell at people? They could! And should.

"Those forgotten by the world, or outcast by it, have a shelter here," says the man once known as Samael. It may be useful information later. It may be sympathetic too. He reaches for a glass and adds ice in a scoop, then provides this cooling beverage to Karnak at her request. Another slides in front of Al because the man deserves something. "I won't ask you to perform the same to me, of course. I know my own imperfections fairly well." Because there is, truly, only one.

He happens to be the picture in the dictionary to illustrate it.


The woman actually smiles at that, "Oh, I saw it rather quickly, though it's a bit unusual in its prominence." She then glances at Al, and simply says, "You did ask. I would not have said such things if you had not insisted. Your presumption that I would physically attack you was simply that." With that, she takes a long drink of the ice water, then turns her gaze back towards Lucian, "A lifetime of training to see the flaws everywhere in this world." Her lips curve a bit, the smile growing somewhat bitter as she says, "Which is, my weakness, as well as my strength." Probably the closest thing to guilt she would feel, offering that knowledge to the two as a bit of a quid pro quo for her earlier statements regarding Al.


"I made an assumption: assumptions are always dangerous." grinds Simmons' voice harshly, "Necessary, often, but dangerous nonetheless. I can't fault you for defying my expectation: though I didn't think you would *attack* me. You don't look the fool, anything but." He eyes Lucian for a long moment, "The forgotten, here? You're a bit… upscale for what I'm talking about. I operate out of Saint Bartholomew's in Hell's Kitchen. Everyone nearby knows if you sleep in an alley, you're safe— and if its cold, you come there. No one messes with the homeless there." The threat of violence is so absolute its unmistakable what he means: or they die.


"Not everyone in need looks like it. You'd be surprised how many of those in a fine suit or a nice house have an emptiness they are struggling against." He shrugs. Lucian taps his finger on the bar. "It's high time I went and checked that everything settled down. If you'll excuse me."


Finishing the ice water, Karnak sets the empty glass down, then nods, "Of course. I should probably make my way as well. Though I might return at some point, should circumstances allow." She gives Al another appraising glance, and a faint smile, then nods towards Lucian as she rises, pulling the hood back up over her head to obscure her features, "Until then." And just like that, she leaves, walking out of the club with nary a backwards glance.


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