bitterguardian: (tea & books)
Amarante's first visit to Horvath's home was brief, but the place makes an impression. Deep underground, buried in metal and concrete and layers of wards even his old master would be impressed by, Horvath is an old dragon huddled in a subterranean lair. He may have mentioned 'the vault', and he's told her before of how he guards something the Morganians would gladly kill him to get. His home is a bomb shelter, and he keeps it very tightly under lock and key.

Inside this fortress, he's made a grand space, though. His library fills most of an abandoned train station, with a cathedral ceiling that's mostly lost in shadow and rows of bookshelves that stretch further than can be seen from standing in any one spot. There are throw rugs, plush antique chairs and couches, desks and tables piled with books and papers and knickknacks, and a few display stands and cabinets that hold bizarre and impressive items collected on his travels over the ages. Lamps scattered throughout the place cast just enough light to give a warm and cozy glow to the place, without making it too bright. It's a far cry from the sanctuary Mara took him to, but the place has been molded around him like well-worn clothing or a favorite chair. Every inch of the place is very him.

Winter sent him curling up close to home, in the kind of retreat he tried to warn her he so often falls prey to. The cold has begun to creep into his bones, the past few years, and he hates to even risk slipping on the ice. It's far easier to stay down here, in the warmth and comfort of his books and his cats. He feels a little guilty for it, but with spring, it seems time to make an effort to come out of hibernation. His invitation is tentative, since she's been busy serving her Lady over the winter, and having her visit him isn't much of a step outside himself, but he's trying. With a table laid out for tea, Horvath awaits his guest, while the cats demand his attention simply because they can sense his quiet anxieties.
bitterguardian: (tea & books)

Horvath can, even if he thinks back hard on the past few decades since he settled in New York, count the number of guests he's had on one hand. It's only been Bel, the past five years or so, and he's had two or three trusted associates over to talk shop in the past twenty years, once each. Most of those have since passed on, anyway. A large reason is that he is cautious, to the point of paranoia. After all, his home is built around a vault that contains some very volatile magical items, which is the very reason he settled there, wanting to guard it more closely. That's partly an excuse, though. It's only subconsciously that he looks for reasons to keep people out; out of his home, out of his life. Friends are dangerous, it hurts too much to get attached only to outlive them in what seems like such a short time.

More recently, that's changed, and he's making an effort to open up again. It still takes some careful adjustments to the wards, to let even one person in. Fortunately he knows Anna fairly well, having astral projected with her, so that makes the adjustment easier. She should feel privileged, being one of only three people currently able to pass through the fortification of shields that surround his home.

At the arranged time, he magically teleports her in, to a dim cozy library with a vaulted ceiling of tile. There are no windows, and if one studies the architectural details it's not hard to see the remnants of the turn-of-the-century train station this place once was. Horvath has since filled it with bookshelves, desks, floor lamps and chairs. It's comfortably warm, and the furniture is antique and well-padded, much like the man who makes his home here. A low table has been laid out with tea, finger sandwiches, and cookies, with a few book-shaped wrapped packages stacked to one side.
bitterguardian: (uncertainty)
Thanksgiving is over, but that's only the prelude to the holiday season. Now Christmas shopping is in full swing, the weather has turned very brisk, and the city is in full winter mode. Even on a weekday, the streets are crowded with shoppers, and the coffee shop is busy, too.

Horvath has proven easy enough to reach by email, and agreeable to meeting at the coffee shop of her choosing, offering to bring a few books along. Now, though, he's late, albeit only by ten minutes or so. When he does come in, he looms in the doorway a little, a tall, bulky figure made even bigger by a long winter coat and scarf. He's got a leather satchel, and his cane, and once he spots her he still has to get over to her table. Of course he could just bully his way through the crowd waiting to order their fancy drinks and get on with their shopping, but instead he takes the route of trying to make his large frame take up as little space as possible, squeezing through gaps in the massed patrons with mumbled apologies and a rocking limp. By the time he gets to the table, he's slightly out of breath and flustered.

So much for making a good impression.
bitterguardian: (Merlin circle)
(Continued from here...)

After tea, of course, and a quick trip home to collect what he needs, Horvath returns to Anna ready to make a trip to the astral plane. He's returned with a bag, and spends a few minutes puttering with dried things in jars and tins, making a sort of potpourri in a stone bowl that's already blackened inside. He does pull a heavy magic tome out of thin air, consulting it briefly with reading glasses perched on his crooked nose.

"All right. Chairs, or floor?" The book is gently vanished back to wherever it came from, and he looks for a good patch of open floor space for the ritual circle.
bitterguardian: (little smile)
After years of living in his subterranean home around the vault, Horvath is unused to being woken by sunlight. To fall asleep comfortably sunk deep in a plush chair is familiar, but the chair is not his own, and to wake with a cat sleeping on him, and another running around playing is familiar, but these are not his cats and there are more than two. Also he rarely has the foresight to pull a blanket over himself. To feel so much at home in a place that is not his home comes as a strange surprise.

Last night before he dozed off in the chair, however, he had a great deal of food and alcohol, and his body would urgently like to remind him of that fact. He's grateful for the new set of crutches in easy reach, and he hauls himself up on them and swings along off to the bathroom, letting the cats scatter in his wake.

Once he's tended to the basics, and ascertained that while he is hung over, it's not a bad one, he notices the note from his host conveniently stabbed through on a prong of the antlers around the bathroom mirror. She had some foresight, indeed.

Bonjour Max! I hope that your sleep was a deep, healing one and that you woke to a better day! I had an errand to run early this morn, and might not make it back in time to be there when you wake. So! There is food, coffee, tea - and I shall return with fresh eggs for breakfast if you sleep so long.
Mara


The towels from yesterday have been replaced with clean ones, his clothes are washed and mended on the bed, and there's the salve still waiting back on the footstool beside the chair in which he slept. Thanks to the ambient light of day waking him, it's not late by any means, so he takes time to wash, to put salve and a bandage over the blistered stump of his leg, and to dress in his own clothes once more. When he emerges to investigate the kitchen, Horvath feels more like himself than he has since his encounter with Shub niggurath sent him questing. Pantleg folded up and tucked neatly (a trick he learned back in the army hospital when he was first learning to adapt to the amputation), moving faster on the new crutches than he can with a cane, he murmurs to the cats, and seeks out a cup of tea to help drive away the vestiges of a headache that's not strong enough to dampen a good mood.
bitterguardian: (hurt)
((In the wake of this thread.))

While neither of them has been all that busy, per se, it's easy for two old hermits to fall a little out of touch. Thus the text comes completely out of the blue, on Balthazar's PINpoint, one evening.

needa frin k. nexuus bar won
t takw me.


Balthazar could be forgiven for assuming the Nexus bar won't take him because he is already, in fact, shitfaced. There's not much they turn people away for. Horvath so drunk he can't type seems wholly out of character, though, and when Balthazar PINpoints to him by following the signal of his own device, he finds Horvath sitting quite rigid on a Nexus bench, as far from drunk as it is possible to be. What he is, instead, is deathly pale and sweating, shaking like a leaf, stiff and tense as a cord stretched taut to the breaking point. He's breathing a little fast, wheezing softly, but there are no visible injuries or any signs of blood, although he is slightly damp.
A stench rolls off him, though, something like rotting milk and afterbirth and raw, primal fear. It scrapes at every sense of Wrong a sorcerer could have, and worse than simply Wrong, it's Eldritch.

For Jelani

Mar. 30th, 2013 08:41 pm
bitterguardian: (Merlin circle)


Balthazar Blake doesn't always answer his PINpoint texts right away, but when more than twenty-four hours go by with no reply, that's worrisome. The Arcana Cabana sits empty, doors locked from the inside, but of course he's not the most tidy person so it's hard to tell if there's any minor signs of struggle. Nothing seems terribly out of place, though, at least no more so than usual. The nearest thing there is that could be a sign of abrupt departure is the coffee left in the pot, but that's not reliable either. Sometimes he just forgets.

Upstairs, Saint is sleeping on the couch, but slithers off and hobbles over to slurp on Jelani's hands, tail wagging. There's still a little food in his bowl, and water. Not much, but the bag is sitting on the floor. If he's gone another day, the dog will be able to knock it over and feed himself, but he's apparently well-behaved enough not to do that when he doesn't need to.

It's while Jelani is upstairs investigating that a sound comes from downstairs. It's a thump, impossible not to notice. Impossible to mistake for nothing.
bitterguardian: (Merlin circle)
It's funny how quickly Balthazar and Horvath have become fast friends again. They were almost brothers, once upon a time, and without the nasty complication of being on opposite sides, or Balthazar being insane, they've fallen straight back into old ways.

So it's not all that unusual for Horvath to be visiting the Arcana Cabana, leaning casually against a counter and playing with a little stone statue of a bird while Balthazar rummages in a stack of cardboard boxes nearby, regaling him with stories of his travels, punctuated by the occasional sneeze from the dust he's stirring up. Horvath's hat and coat are still on, but only because he's just gotten there a few minutes ago, and they haven't moved to the back room for tea yet. Both the old sorcerers are looking forward to a peaceful afternoon of nostalgia, tea, and cookies.
bitterguardian: (wary bw)



It's been a very long time since Horvath celebrated any kind of holiday at all. Apprentices, friends, anyone who'd give him a reason to recognize one day of the year might be different from any other have all fallen by the wayside a long time ago. He's never had a very good track record with either, anyway.

Now that he's found the Nexus, and both an informal student and a very surprising friend through it, Christmas has come to his attention at last. He's badly out of practice. All the traditions seem to have changed and he trained himself to 'bah-humbug' and generally ignore the shopfront decorations that seem to get more garish with each passing decade, or even year. Affording gifts are no problem, he has plenty set aside and continues work as a researcher, which gives him an active income he doesn't even really need. Gifts themselves don't really seem the spirit of the thing, though. Somebody was speaking out against the crass commercialism of the holiday not so long ago, Dickens, wasn't that his name? He said the true essence of the holiday needed to be brought back.

In that spirit, Horvath offers Balthazar Blake the best gift he has to give; trust. It's also been a very long time since he let anybody into his home, which is tightly warded and concealed into a magical masterwork of a fortress. Altering the shields to let him in is enough work in itself, but he's also laid out a nice formal tea, with two cups and little cakes and finger sandwiches. The books are cleared away from a table, and two large comfortable chairs set up at it, facing each other. Next to all that effort, the little box in neat gift wrap with real fabric ribbon is merely a trifle.

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Maxim Horvath

March 2016

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