"The...'Horned Saint?'" A simple question in verbiage, there was an unveiled derision as Walter echoed what was not the first additional sobriquet he'd heard Strix call the man in the devil suit. Nor the first time he'd heard that particular nickname from the man's lips, but he made his derision known if only for the mutually hypocritical distaste each had for one another's particular brand of theatrics.
Finishing what was in his glass, Walter poured himself another, circling the room, indirectly bringing himself gradually closer to the last bastion of the Strix dynasty within Gothic—but not too close. He stopped, rubbing his thumb gently, yet firmly, along the condensation-covered glass. A personal defence mechanism, of sorts, using intense concentration, to keep himself from lunging at the Gothic Ghostshell and using the man's body as a sangre paintbrush to redecorate the walls of the penthouse. Easy cover-up. Burn it down. "Torched in the attack." "An unfortunate loss."
Short-sightedness. The same problem he saw in both of Arthur's recent contacts--but at least Noble and Denver knew their place. More than a peeve, the instant Walter caught a whiff of it in any of his associates, close or unproven—the instant his hair-trigger sensibilities felt such folly endangering his carefully laid plans—mayhem threatened to release: an almost entirely separate entity, more Neanderthal than human, embedded deep within every fiber of his being, that itself had no concerns save for the basest and most prominent of those which occurred to the Proto-Sapien before rage subsumed him. He took several breaths and considered Ishmael. Not his offer, but the man himself.
Picking up on the subtle cues of distress known only as the man's closest confidant would know, Arthur fast-walked his way between the two under the pretense of snatching the bottle of bourbon from his boss—"Aye! Well if it's our last night on Earth don't go hoggin' all the good stuff for yourself!"—the brief interjection apparently enough to pull the grandiose game-planner from his homicidal ideation.
"Mr. Strix, I respect your...passion, but you would do well to understand that I alone am the Word of God here—I will dictate when and how my resources are expended. You may have input to be considered on its merits but when I no longer see that merit in your mind as reflected in your words—" Pause. He breathed deeply. "...There are always battles to come. You have a gift for accumulating knowledge but without wisdom it only drives you to panic and recklessness."Bounding through my window, for example."I will not waste one resource - not a single man or dollar - aiding you in a fruitless endeavor that benefits no one. If that's not good enough for you, then you can use your 'charm'to learn his location." And with his own self-assured, externally derisive smile, added, "And as a gesture of goodwill for that which you have brought me tonight, I will welcome you back with open arms when you have learned better."
"I might could help," Arthur piped up again, almost shocked himself that he was somehow playing the voice of the middle ground. For now...Nonchalantly taking a swig directly from the bottle. "If you're so certain he's holed up somewhere and not out n' about doin' any of the dirty work himself, I just might happen to have information regarding certain patterns of behavior. But you know how this goes - nothing's free. First, the location of the safehouse like you promised. And I ain't gonna lie, more'n a little curious how you managed to make your way here, since none of this meeting is on paper, and officially, neither of us is in the city right now. I'll find that out sooner or later anyway, but if you're feelin' nice..." He shrugged, took a long sip.
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