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Looking for the Weak Link
[Image: harrison_ford_05.jpg]

After the meeting with his Atharim daughter Giordano had taken time to figure out his next move. She was Atharim, and she was Sentient, he wondered how much like him she was, but she was to be put down, regardless of what the Atharim beleived now. He wouldn't tolerate another like him. It was his own arragoance he knew that, but he shouldn't have lived either, not as powerful as he was.

Giordano had gone home, he also brought Luka this time, though Luka was hesitant on the whole thing and had spent a good deal of their time hiding in the hotel he'd booked for them. Luka was Giordano's back up plan and someone to keep Alessandra in check if necessary. She'd become increasingly wary of him, for good reason, her job had a good deal to do with it.

At first he followed the girl around hiding in plain sight. She never noticed him in his warm fur coats and hats. It was easy to hide in Moscow's weather, Aria never indicated he was there, never gave him an ounce to worry over. He was not worried, not even when he had followed her to the same tattoo shop she'd been frequenting for some time now. The man inside was a friend, but he knew it was so very much more. The darkness in her had passed, but she was still evil, still a child of creation that needed to go. His arrogance insistent upon it.

When the girl left Giordano walked around the block a few times before he stepped inside. The little bell above the door chimed. He had a plan, and this man would be part of it even if he didn't want to be. In his pocket, Giordano held a drawing from a book he'd taken from one of those old books underneath Aria's apartment. The orobourous was simple and all black.

Giordano took off his hat and laid the paper on the counter. The man smiled at him and Giordano smiled back, no point in letting him know he had ill intentions, but first things first. "I'd like this on my left forearm. Can you help me?"
It had been a slow day. It probably would pick up later this evening, though. In the meantime, he was doing some homework for his classes. He had his tablet in holomode and was viewing Taoist paintings from the 7th century BC to the 13th century AD. The assignment was to chart the changes reflected in the art, sculpture and calligraphy as it began to adopt the more formal structures of Buddhism and Confucianism. It was the sort of assignment he liked because it allowed his mind to sweep across the centuries and see the ebb and flow of ideas reflected in the art, the simple minimal lines of tranquil nature scenes gradually evolving into rich and beautiful depictions of paradise, forces, and a large pantheon of gods.

He found himself drawn to the delicate lines of the early works, the suggestion and insinuation rather than the depiction of of a place. His mind would filled in the gaps, fall into those empty spaces, projecting his own emotion and self on to the scene. It seemed a nearly interactive form of artwork, especially given that it was over 2500 years old. Piece after piece put him in a peaceful state of mind.

The ding of a door interrupted his meditation and he looked up to a see an older dignified looking man bundled in warm clothing come in. Lucas smiled at him and got up. "Welcome. What can I do for you?"

The man's weathered face seemed friendly enough, though there was an intensity about him, and he took out a piece of paper even as he removed his hat. "I'd like this on my left forearm. Can you help me?"

Lucas looked down at the paper and blinked. He couldn't help his reaction. This snake image was like the one on Aria's arm. A same form of it anyway. A snake eating its tail. It was an ancient image and he'd done a few over the years. But the placement of it was what surprised him. Aria had one on her forearm too.

His mind went back to that first time, working on her arm, adding the dragons. That first session had also been when that cute girl- Rune- came in and had Sergei ink her as well. On the forearm. He'd looked at Sergei's work. The snake biting its tail again. And they had known each other.

He wasn't stupid. That tattoo meant something to Aria. It represented the life she led, the group she belonged to. He wasn't sure what that meant, exactly, but it was serious. Aria was serious and intense. To the point that it made him sad to imagine a woman living in that abyss of solitude for as long as she had. It had pulled at him.

And now here was another asking for the tattoo. And displaying a similar attitude. He was older- a lot older- than Aria or Rune had been. Maybe he was a supervisor or whatever they would call it. A higher up in the group she worked for. He wanted to learn more. For Aria's sake, he did. He wanted her to find a way to happiness.

He smiled at the man. "Yeah, I can do this. In fact, it's simple enough that we can do it in one session."
He put out a hand. "I'm Lucas."
[Image: harrison_ford_05.jpg]

Giordano smiled, he was a master at emulating emotion, he was neither happy, sad or mad or any such emotions. He honestly was only looking for leverage over his poor misguided daughter. Had he known, maybe things would be different.

The man was curious about his choice of tattoo, he wondered what questions it had invoked upon his thoughts. Maybe that would make him more likely to answer questions.

He offered his name, Lucas, it reminded him of his son, any young man really did, of his three, no four, living children Luka was the closest to him in terms of power and ability. Alessandra had no talent what-so-ever, she was just a glorified empath. But she was the only child who had a decent relationship with him going up. Luka wanted nothing to do with Giordano's interests outside of their lessons about his ability. Mara was her mother's daughter, prone to the same over protectiveness of them all. Poor Christina, he felt the rage of the death of his daughter rise inside her. The Atharim had killed her! He sighed inwardly, because of him. He knew that. He'd put his family on the radar, and because of the bitch of a woman that mothered this girl.

The smile had faded, but he offered his hand with a new one, "Giordano. You come highly recommended." He took off his coat and wondered what Aria had told Lucas of the night he had stopped by. He only knew that she'd gone to see him at the infernal church that paid tribute to her cause. Autunna Luna had told him much after their nights, and during their days together. She was not a prize he was happy to flaunt, but he had manipulated one of their own, and she loved him for it.

Edited by Alex, Nov 7 2014, 08:38 AM.
The man's voice was gruff. "Giordano. You come highly recommended."

Lucas smiled at him as he took his hand and chuckled. "That's always good to hear."
Releasing the man's hand, he looked at the image again. "This is actually a pretty popular theme."
He looked at the man and was going to ask what it meant to him. But that wasn't his way with regular customers. It would come off too phony. He'd let the man talk and steer things in the direction he wanted.

Instead he took the picture and walked over to the his projection machine. "So do you want to do this now or schedule it for a later date?"
[Image: harrison_ford_05.jpg]

Giordano looked around, the place was pretty empty. Now was good, he was pretty sure this plan would work, at least a little bit. He wondered how to make it look older than it was, but it probably didn't matter once it healed.

"Now looks like as good as a time as any, unless you've pressing plans, lad."

Seeing the oroborous up on the project screen make Giordano's anger seethe behind the smile. He was sure his true emotions didn't show. He was that sure of himself. Giordano knew his powers well, knew what they were capable of, and he knew how to manipulate a person.

The chair looked comfortable enough. He smiled, "Though I do hope this chair will not make my old bones ache." Giordano was sure he'd be fine, but sympathy was card he was willing to play to get to the heart of the matter.

He sat down and settled in for the torturous time that was ahead, it wasn't the pain that he feared, it was the touch of this man. Touch was far more powerful than just feeling a person from feet away. Touch brought on more emotions, but it was also the very reason he was here - to get down to what this man meant to the girl he hunted.
Lucas shrugged. "No plans. Now is fine."

The man sat down slowly and Lucas wondered why he was getting this tattoo when he was so old. Aria and Rune were both young and athletic. He didn't fully understand what it meant but his impression was that you got them young. Aria had been what? 16? This guy had to be in his 70s. Not weak by any means. But embracing a new life?

Oh well. Not his problem. In fact it gave him an idea. The projector embedded a light film of tracing ink on the skin. Lucas got his gun and loaded it with the base color. The buzz of the gun filled the quiet shop and Lucas looked at the man before taking his hand. The skin was soft and had lost some elasticity."You even do this before?"
At the man's shake, he went on. "Well, it will hurt at first, like a scrape. But you get used to it, I promise. You might even enjoy it."

He braced the man's hand and started. He also started to talk, to distract the man from the beginning. "Gotta say, we don't get too many in your age. It's a pretty cool thing to do."
He paused and then went on. " I've seen a few of these. What do they mean?"

He knew, of course, about the symbol of eternity. He was an art student. But he wanted to see what the guy said. Maybe it would help him understand Aria.
[Image: harrison_ford_05.jpg]

Giordano wasn't worried about the pain. He was surprised the boy commented on his age. But he was trying to make conversation. He wouldn't fault him, at least not too bad.

He started working and the pain shot up his arm and it nearly startled him. Giordano was not a fan of his own personal pain, he took great lengths to prevent it. But he could see how someone of his abilities could like it. It made him wonder the reasons why little miss Aria stopped into this very shop, and met this man. Was he delivering her pain? That could be useful, something to consider. But he was here to see what he meant to her.

The question was hard to answer, he knew what it meant, knew what it represented, but what would a real Atharim tell him? Giordano thought back to when he question Autunna. Her green eyes staring back at him with the power of love he'd instilled upon her. He smiled at the memory.

"It's the symbol of eternity, it reminds me of my family. To forever remain together no matter the situation. Family is forever. My daughter has one similar. I'm trying to be 'hip' with the kids as they say." The lies flowed effortlessly over his lips. He smiled. "You remind me a lot of my son, even the name is similar. I'm sure there are ladies knocking down your door much like they are his."
The man didn't really seemed phased by the pain except for a brief jump at the beginning. His answer was pretty much in line with what he knew. That seemed a dead-end.

He relaxed and listened to the man go on. He laughed at the thought of this Dad trying to be hip. A bit long in the tooth for that. "Just stay away from the single stud earings. Nothing says mid-life crisis like that."
He laughed. He was far more than middle aged but it still fit. "Well that and maybe coloring your hair jet black or something."

The guy mentioned a daughter and son. And that the girls were probably beating down his door. He wished. Well, not really. Not unless the girl was Aria, maybe. Maybe. There were lots of cute girls out there. That girl Rune. Stephania and Crista too, from school. They'd done a few projects together and he'd be lying if he didn't say that his eyes wandered a bit. But he did feel a connection with Aria.

"You close to your kids?"
[Image: harrison_ford_05.jpg]

The lad, Lucas, he knew his name now, he hadn't commented on the girls. Which made him wonder, though his emotions said that he had a few to look at, probably a little more than that. It didn't seem he wanted to talk about himself though, that was not going to help matters any on his end.

Giordano laughed when he spoke about a mid-life crisis. Maybe that's what this was all about, paying back the organization that ruined parts of his life. He was going to make them pay for killing his youngest daughter, the reason he came back to his family.

The question nearly caught him off guard as he seethed quietly in his anger. He shook his head. "Depends on when you want to know. As children they despised me for the most part. What kid doesn't when their parents keep them on short leashes. The eldest middle daughter, she was close to me as a child. She enjoyed working on cars with me, her brother had no interest what-so-ever, so she took up that helm so he could pursue whatever it was he was doing at the time."

"My youngest, who has passed from this world, was the closest. One child I never even knew. An error that I look to make up for." Giordano winced at the pain slightly as Lucas hit a particular sensitive spot.

"Now, none of my children are close, I suppose that happens when they grow up and move away."
Lucas listened was was reminded of his own father. Hadn't cared anything at all about him until he started embarrassing the family with his addiction. It was like he flipped a switch or something. Took no responsibility for his own actions, for the environment he'd created. The loneliness of childhood came back with a crash.

Lucas' heart beat faster as he got angrier. Then he realized he'd gripped the man's hand to tightly, was pressing down with the gun too hard. He looked up at the guy and apologized. "Sorry about that. Sometimes it's easy to lose control."
He meant it emotionally but he hoped the man would think he was referring to his grip on the gun.

He paused for a moment and took a deep breath, doing his silent prayer, trying to clear his head. For the first time in a while, he wanted a drink. He shoved the thought away violently but felt it lurking in the background, slithering, waiting. He focused on his work, hoping it would go away in time.

"So...trying to reconnect with a child huh? That the one you're trying to be 'hip' for?"

Edited by Lucas, Nov 13 2014, 05:34 PM.

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