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Count Zaroff sits purposefully in one of the nicer Nexus chairs. His… 
28th-Jun-2009 12:36 am
Count Zaroff sits purposefully in one of the nicer Nexus chairs. His papirosi is dangling elegantly from his fingertips, while his left hand is busy tracing the line of a very deep, old scar on his head. He seems both mesmerized by the old wound, and also trying to will away an impending headache.

"Suppose..." His thick accent muddles his words slightly. "Suppose that the one drive, your one true passion in life ceased to fulfill you, and that you grew bored with it. You have dedicated your entire livelihood to this one pursuit, and now..." He waves his hand in the air dismissively, the cigarette smoke tracing the motions in the air with its thick line of white smoke. "Do you attempt to find something new, and alien to replace it? Or do you find a way to escalate the qualities in it that kept you interested for so long?"

((Tags will be answered in the morning - est. <12 hours from original post timestamp))
28th-Jun-2009 06:27 am (UTC)
I would think it would be difficult to grow bored with something so important and all-consuming. Did it change, or did you?
28th-Jun-2009 04:42 pm (UTC)
I believe it changed. I found a way to once again enjoy it, but it required a change on my behalf. That and I found I needed to also change the situation. Afterwards, things once again began to pick up. Still, I occasionally suffer from the old complaint of boredom. The price of committing oneself to a lifetime of perfection, I suppose.
28th-Jun-2009 10:19 pm (UTC)
Hmm. ::Aya might be amused by the last statement but you'd never be able to tell from his face.:: It sounds like you made quite a commitment. Is the occasional spot of boredom reason enough to abandon this thing?
28th-Jun-2009 10:25 pm (UTC)
I would prefer not to. It has been the drive behind all other passions since I was but a boy. To abandon it, would be to forfeit all that I have achieved.
28th-Jun-2009 10:28 pm (UTC)
Then you'll have to change yourself again to fit it?
28th-Jun-2009 10:31 pm (UTC)
I am hoping my newest efforts are successful, but in the meantime, it feels like things progress too slowly to be making a difference. Still, I intend to win this minor battle. There is only one enemy any man truly knows, and that is himself.
28th-Jun-2009 10:03 am (UTC) - [text, anon, untraceable]
I want to truly end, and I want to move forward.
28th-Jun-2009 04:44 pm (UTC) - Re: [text, anon, untraceable]
Zaroff Regards this remark with a curious glance, before replying to it in a deliberate fashion.

Such a thought has briefly passed through my head, but even I realize that there must be a way to change the situation. It is possible to push forward by force, if it is necessary.
28th-Jun-2009 02:24 pm (UTC)
Courtney is hanging out in the Nexus with a chess set, carved prettily of soapstone, save for one pawn, which has been replaced with the head of a Barbie doll with its blond hair chopped off. She's playing both sides in a mediocre fashion, a little bit listlessly. The board is propped up off the floor by a stack of books on alchemy. She looks relieved by the interruption of someone nearby asking a question, moves the black queen, and raises an eyebrow.

"That depends on what escalation entails. You're describing something that could become an obsession, if it isn't already, and that's always risky. On the other hand, if it's something that's not inherently dangerous, there could be no problem. If we're talking macrame, then by all means, escalate to bigger and better macrame. If we're talking demon-summoning, I recommend against it. But if you want to find something new and alien to replace it, this is the place to do it."
28th-Jun-2009 04:51 pm (UTC)
Ah, chess! Zaroff's second most favorite game. He is certainly perplexed by the severed Barbie head, but he is equally attracted to such a strange modification of the chess set. The person sitting before it is naught but a child, but he's willing to entertain anyone at the moment. A rare opportunity indeed.

"My dear, if there is no danger, what thrill is there?" He gives a weary grin as the fingers trace the scar repeatedly. "I have devoted my entire life, since I was but a boy, to this pursuit. I can think of nothing else that would bring me a greater sense of fulfillment, and at times, even though I have improved my situation, I am still haunted some nights by the weary hand of boredom." Fixing the tails to his suit as he stands, Count Zaroff stands over Courtney's chess set, watching with veiled curiosity, trying to determine if the Barbie head is indeed a new piece with new powers, or just a childish method of replacing a lost pawn.
28th-Jun-2009 06:08 pm (UTC)
"Oh, we're talking thrills." She smiles wryly. "Well, in that case you're probably going to get yourself killed, but if that's what floats your boat, I say good luck. Just try not to take the rest of the world down with you."

Noting his look she gestures to the Barbie head sheepishly, "One of the goblins I live with ate the pawn. I told him he'd have to replace it himself, and this is what he brought me. I'm not that great at chess, but I like it. It's not like other games. Once you know you can't win, the game is over."

Indeed, her statement that she's not very good at chess is borne out by the game she's playing. She's a fair player, with a good grasp on the rules and some sense of strategy, but she's too aggressive and relies too much on her queens. White is currently winning.
28th-Jun-2009 06:22 pm (UTC)
"Goblins?" She also mentioned demons earlier. More mythological things, and he begins to wonder how many people like her, and his earlier acquaintance there are in this place. He waves off the question with a trail of cigarette smoke, and makes a note to ignore her statement about his 'trill seeking'.

"And yet, there area always opportunities with which one may retaliate, and take their enemy by surprise, my dear. Turning the tides of battle..." Bred from a race of military prowess, Zaroff knows much about games of stratagem. He studies the chess board, and fluffs his goatee briefly. "It is not merely an opinion, but a fact of the matter. One is never finished, until the game is truly over." He narrows his eyes at the board and then gives a glance around. Still standing, he leans over, casting a short shadow over Courtney. "If it would not intrude, may I?" He pins his cigarette between his lips and shoves both hands into his pockets.
28th-Jun-2009 06:42 pm (UTC)
She starts to answer his question about goblins, but stops at the wave of his hand. She gets a lot of questions about her house goblins and rarely objects to answering, but the explanations can get lengthy.

Courtney's clever in her way, but she runs best on adrenaline and mana, and chess requires neither. Her uncle nearly always wins their games, and when she brought the board to play with the Shadow, he defeated her easily, as well. She glances up at the stranger, nods, and gestures to the board. "Sure, help yourself. Like I said, I'm not that great."
28th-Jun-2009 06:49 pm (UTC)
"Practice and perseverance go a long way in such games." He does note a few situations on the board that will prove curious to overcome. He's not about to reset her game, mostly because it would take the challenge out of trying to rectify the situation. He leans over far enough to take black and moves the pawn, capturing one of her own, before standing up straight again. He is not about to sit down on the floor. "Even the simplest of strategies can improve the odds of survival in such games."
28th-Jun-2009 05:15 pm (UTC)
Toad shrugs, briefly raising the collar of his stiff new leather jacket around his ears.

"They say a change is as good as a rest. I'd try something new for a while... or pursue and old goal in a new way."
28th-Jun-2009 05:24 pm (UTC)
"My good fellow, pursuing an old goal in a new way is exactly the method I have chosen." Zaroff takes a drag of his cigarette, and puffs the smoke out, ringing his head in white. He studies the stiff leather jacket and it's raised collar a bit curiously. Such fashion the people here had.
28th-Jun-2009 05:33 pm (UTC)
If the leather jacket gets the Count's attention the chainmail vest layered over it probably will as well.

"It's a choice I've been forced into recently myself."

"What is your goal? That is, if it's not imposing on secrets to ask."

From the way the man looks Toad thinks it could be anything from writing a symphony to ruling Europe.
28th-Jun-2009 05:54 pm (UTC)
Indeed, the chainmail vest is a rather curious choice of apparel, and it has his attention. He studies its craftsmanship very, very closely for the briefest of moments before taking another drag from his cigarette.

"Interesting." He runs his fingertips along the scar with a grin. 'Ruling Europe' is definitely the closer of the two. "Have you found your attempt to rekindle interest in an old endeavor successful?"
28th-Jun-2009 06:33 pm (UTC)
The vest is very well crafted of modern (that is, 21st century) steel and thick leather. It looks as new as the jacket.

He tilts his head and considers the question. "Yeah, actually. I mean, it gets me out of bed in the morning."
28th-Jun-2009 06:37 pm (UTC)
The Count's interest is gained, but he shelves the immediate thoughts in his head for another time, instead focusing on the conversation.

"And yet you still find yourself...unfulfilled as it were?" There is some genuine concern in his voice.
29th-Jun-2009 02:41 am (UTC)
A young woman in a nurse's uniform pauses, intrigued by the question. It seems doubtful that she and Count Zaroff share the same sort of passions. "I'd try to find out why I grew bored of such an all-consuming pursuit before taking on something new."
29th-Jun-2009 10:50 am (UTC)
"Indeed, a very logical solution to such a problem." The nurse uniform from a very similar era to Zaroff's gives him pause. He gives her a good natured smile, though he is wary. He's unfamiliar with the concept of alternate worlds that may be experiencing a similar time period, and wonders if she is from his own world. "Say you have pinpointed the problem, and that problem is that you have perfected yourself in your pursuit, and are being plagued by the demon of boredom. What would you do, my dear lady, to alleviate the situation?"
29th-Jun-2009 11:09 am (UTC)
Sarah, in turn, is somewhat pleased to see someone dressed in a style similar to her time period, and formally at that. "That's a little hard for me to imagine," she smiles, self-effacing. "Perhaps then I'd try something new, but similar in spirit to my old pursuit. It'd be a shame to let all I'd learn go to waste simply because I was so good at it."
29th-Jun-2009 11:35 am (UTC)
At this, Zaroff breaks into a genuine smile.

"Such was my opinion as well." He pauses and then bows low, holding out his hand to take hers for an aristocratic kiss of the knuckles, if she is willing to allow him. "I am Count Zaroff. May I ask the name of the lady who graces me with her company?"
29th-Jun-2009 11:42 am (UTC)
Sarah offers her hand, bemused and flattered by his method of introduction. "Sarah Branigan," she replies. "A pleasure to meet you, Count." That explains the suit. "May I ask what pursuit you were referring to?"
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