The bar was dimly lit, the old mahogany wood showing signs of wear with scuffs along the walls and benches. A man sat alone in a booth, nursing a Guiness beer. His blond hair was cut short, his face a pattern of age lines and scars, his clothes those of a working man.
The elegantly dressed woman entered the bar softly, so as to not disturb the ambiance. She approached the bar and slid onto one of the high, vinyl covered stools. The barman took her order. “Red wine, please.”
As she waited for her drink, she looked around the room. There she saw the subject of her search. When she received her wine, she dismounted her seat and eased over to him as if not to startle the man away.
“Good evening, my friend,” She slid in opposite him, depositing her Gucci purse on the hard wooden bench.
“Good evening, Diana,” He nodded with a sad smile. His voice rough from ages of shouted commands.
“And how shall I call you?” she nodded encouragingly. “Khufu, or Carter?”
“Carter for now,” he lifted his empty mug at the waitress who nodded. He put it with a collection already on the table. The young woman came with another beer and a second glass of wine.
“Do you know why I sought you out?”
He shook his head and took a drink. “No, but I can imagine. Another foe to conquer, another enemy at the gate. Sorry, not interested.”
“I'm working with the Batman for now. There is something big coming.”
“Haven't you learned that working with mortals will break your heart.” He sat the mug down and drew circles in the water rings with a calloused finger. “Making friends, then losing them, is so sad.”
She looked at him with a little smile. “Neither of us is immortal. You more than I know it.”
“But we are both old.” he drew a symbol on the table. “You are hundreds of years old. Me, thousands.”
“I can die by a weapon if I'm not careful.” she said.
“And I will.” He looked at her with his present blue eyes. “Chay'era is already dead. She is calling to me. You know I cannot refuse the curse.”
“Can you not resist it for a little while?”
“No, the time is too close. I would go, and by dying, break your concentration.” he sighed and drained the mug again. “Perhaps in our next incarnations, my wife and I can be of help. But now, I am only tired. My very bones ache. The wings grow heavy and the mace difficult to control.”
Diana looked at her old friend and saw his depression. She was saddened by it.
“Bruce and Arthur will certainly help,” he said. “I don't know of the others but I'm sure you will prevail...with Clark.”
“Clark is dead.”
“Not so much I think,” He shifted his weight and climbed out of the booth dropping a hundred and a fifty on the table.
She stood up gracefully and faced him. “So you are now a Priest of Apollo with portents for me?”
“Always follow the sun, daughter of Themyscira. Never look to the shadows.”
“I will see you again, my friend.”
“I hope so. But, in the casting of the bones of chance one never knows where he may find himself.”
She reached out to lay her hand on his shoulder. “I pray you find her quickly.”
“May the gods hear your words.” He took her hand in his and kissed it. “Farewell, daughter of Amazons. Fight well.”
The man turned and walked out of the bar.
The waitress came to collect the glassware and the money. She looked in dismay at the large denominations. “I can't take these. We don't take anything bigger than twenties.”
Diana looked at her. “The money is good. Enjoy your tip.”
The girl looked at her doubtfully. “I don't know. Do you think he'll be back?”
“No, child.” the woman shook her head as she picked up her purse. “Not in this lifetime.”She gave a sad smile and left the dark room for the sun.