1963-08-07 - Asgard Calling
Summary: Louis King pays a visit to the good Dr. Strange to discuss future offers of aid.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
louis strange 

Sunday nights are quiet in the city of Manhattan. Greenwich village in particular, considering that by this time the tourists are gone… what number of them there are. Yet that leaves the locals walking around, chatting, hanging out on stoops outside and sharing drinks as well as herbs amongst each other. It's a lovely neighborhood, with such a good vibe even as the sun slowly sets over the horizon.

So friendly, that in the time he's been standing there, Louis King has been offered a few drinks, and a few puffs as well as a kiss from some of the more light-hearted and happy flower children in the area. He denied the first two, but granted the last if only on the cheek as a group of giggling and laughing hippies continue on their way.

Yes it definitely has its own unique charm.

Yet for the last few hours, Louis King has been a presence outside a particular subtle distortion in reality. This one, however, is not made by the denizens of Muspelheim. It is the home of an individual that the professor of archaeology has an interest in meeting. So he has waited patiently. No attempt to force entry was made, though his presence was perhaps made known by a faint flicker of eldritch energy that would have served the mystical equivalent of ringing the doorbell.

For all of that, Louis has waited.


Sunday nights are set aside for bookwork and continued study of the Mystic Arts. It is known in the Sanctum that the good doctor is not to be disturbed during this time, not for anything other than world-ending peril. Even if someone were to be mugged on the very sidewalk before the brown-stone mansion, it will be left to some other local superhuman being to bring aid.

He's been at it for some time now, his patient study of the text before him. The Sanctum around him and its quiet, museum-like atmosphere has aided in his intent focus and distracted him from most everything around him, including a growing cramp in his left calf from where he settled into his lotus position not-quite-right. However, with his basic human senses entirely narrowed in the task of reading, it has left the Sanctum wards themselves to act sentinel. Not long after the sun has sunk beneath the horizon, painting the surrounding windows in shades of peach and limning the building's edges in gold, the wards disrupt Dr. Strange's studies.

Steel-blue eyes snap up from their fixed point on the faded script of the Book of the Vishanti lying open before its reader. Again, the wards alert him to something odd just beyond the edges of their purview. He turns and looks over his shoulder, the motion more for the sake of his own Mystically-heightened senses than actual sight, and slowly closes the book. He uncoils from his floating pose, wincing as his calf catches, and walks the book back over to its pedestal. It doesn't take him but a second to get downstairs (rifts within the Sanctum are quite easy to manipulate) and still, he hesitates before the Sanctum front doors.

This signature is familiar in the oddest of ways, more like a sense of Mystic deja-vu than anything else. He brushes off the front of his dusk-blue vest, makes sure that his Eye of Agamotto hangs comfortably about his neck, and opens the door to see…a man standing there.

"Hello," Strange says hesitantly, not quite crossing entirely over the Sanctum's threshold. "May I help you?"


When the good doctor opens the door, he'll sense the surroundings of Greenwich on this warm summer evening. The breeze is nice, even if it's too warm, and the scents of the city are the same along with the occasional ubiquitous sounds of far off traffic. But what most likely draws her attention is the prominence of the one man who stands there in front of the door, his hands in the pockets of his jacket and his attention now given fully to Dr. Strange.

At a glance he's just a clean cut fellow, decent grey suit, green tie. Not too much would stand out about him at just that cursory notice. But then there might be a recognition of the silhouette from Muspelheim albeit without the silvered armor. There also might be that subtle feel of energy about the fellow, a signature of the eldritch that would definitely be more remembered from that oh so brief encounter in the fiery dimension.

"Dr. Strange," The smile that is given is pleasant, open, and the accent with which the man speaks is of an upper crust Cambridge. "Louis King, do please forgive the intrusion. I was hoping to perhap make your acquaintance. We have met, though I am afraid not been introduced."

The tall man with the easy smile opens a hand towards the man, not closing the distance and perhaps entirely aware of where the boundaries of the sanctum begin. "If it will make you feel more at ease I can place myself at your disposal in a place you would consider a position of strength. I come here with no ill will and trust you would not ill use such a concession."


Strange's eyes travel up and down the man who stands on his broad doorstep. The sense of familiarity to the stranger is gnawing at his psyche and if there's one thing he doesn't like in the least, it's not knowing something. The man's normalcy is also off-putting to Strange, a quirk of his that others in the past have run foul of. Had the man been wearing something like an otherwordly robe or perhaps some supernaturally-donned set of weaponry, he would be…a more trusted sight to the doctor.

Straightening in the shadows of the doorway, Strange lets out a wispy laugh and replies to his visitor, "It's not often that my memory fails me. Forgive me, but I'm not certain that I remember where we've crossed paths before."

He notes the man's offer of a better meeting place and decides that he won't leave the Sanctum's wards, not for this stranger, at least not at this moment. Standing this close to the man is leaving Mystic impressions of dancing icen spiderwebs across any exposed skin and leaving goosebumps over the rest. The power signature is as high as Strange has felt, more so even than his apprentice, Illyana Rasputina. After a significant and meaningful pause, he adds, "I would be happy to consider your kind gesture further once you are known to me. Truthfully, you are familiar…" He peters off as he looks into the man's face. Behind the stranger, across the street, an entire pane of glass is reflecting pure sunlight. The silhouette rings more of a bell and combined with the Mystic signature, Strange's memory is jogged. "Muspelheim," he states quietly, a lilt of query in his tone.


"Indeed," Louis touches his fingers to the center of his chest and lowers his head slightly in the way of a bow. "I am also known as Loki, of Asgard."

There's a subtle feeling to him, he's able to sense that feeling of energy, that eldritch silhouette that allows him to feel the power, in such proximity it's difficult to hide such from someone so deft in the arts. Yet there is also an aspect of a strong charm set upon him that seems to obscure him to the eye of mystical perception. To many of Strange's ways of perciving the arcane the being in front of him simply isn't there. If there is an attempt to perceive the man's mind, it seems as if he is just a void from which no thoughts emanate.

It's almost as if a spell of such precision was woven in detail to obscure him from scrying, from geas, from the mystical to perceive him from near and far. Then again, he may very well know the benefits of such a spell.

"If you wish I will give you insight as to the reason we were trespassing upon Surtur's lands. Though I should warn you that the knowledge of such might bind you to repercussions I can not free you from. Fair warning."


A subtle rock-back onto his booted heels is Strange's only obvious physical note of a surprised response other than the knitting of his dark brows. He knows the name well enough through his studies of the realms, but this is the very first time that any being of Asgardian-mein has graced his doorstep. To the doctor's senses, the sensation of delicate icy tendrils abating and returning is the only major indicator of potential danger. He quickly retracts any of his own attempts to subtly ascertain otherwise as this Asgardian is nothing but a void in human form. Strange thinks he might sense some unknown variant of a masking spell, some weaving that shares a base nature with his own defensive capabilities, but without knowing its origin, any further attempts would be as useful as peering at a two-way mirror.

It's clever how the bait is laid before him. Strange's lips rise into a smile that isn't reflected in his eyes. Simply ask for more information and indeed, rope himself into all sorts of trouble. No wonder Illyana was unable to resist aiding the man.

"I acknowledge and appreciate your forewarning," he replies cordially. "Although, I must know how you came to meet my apprentice, Illyana. I was told that you crossed paths in Limbo." His arms are now crossed, clearly communicating that he isn't pleased by the whole ordeal, though moreso that Illyana conveniently forgot to mention it until they stood in Muspelheim itself.


For a moment Louis' brow furrows a touch, his lips pursing as he looks a touch past Strange. He takes in a breath and it's the faint hiss of someone who may have just touched a warm plate in a restaurant. Pained, but not terribly so. "That opens a glance at the dangers, but…" His brow knits as he looks down, then back up. "It most likely should be safe enough."

And with that he explains with one hand opening towards the man, palm up. Not seeking to shake hands or the like, but as if offering him the answers from there. "A delegation had been sent from Surtur's warriors. They were confronted and returned to their realm after having issued an ultimatum. I investigated. For, you see, they came to Midgard without breaking the treaties they hold with Asgard. I wondered how they had arranged such. I explored their entry points and upon finding them I found myself in Limbo."

He pauses then for that to register before he adds lightly, "It was there that I spoke to your charge as she was seemingly very displeased with the Fire Giants. Apparently they had sought to traverse her realm without her well wishes. It was rather interesting."


Strange's eyes shutter in a squint as he listens to the explanation. No earth-shattering surprise that Illyana forgot to mention it to him then, if all that was had was a brief discussion involving intruders traipsing about her realm. He is well aware that his apprentice jealously safe-guards her Limbo and its ability to offer her security in trying times.

"I see," he finally replies. His chest rises and falls in a soothing, self-centering sigh. "As you are unable to…share further information with me regarding these Fire Giants, I will leave you to your plans. They are no concern of mine currently," he adds with a one-shouldered shrug and little corresponding tilt of his head. He assumes that this Loki, with his ability to travel between realms and dimensions, is well aware of Strange's status as Sorcerer Supreme. Should any sort of plans involving Fire Giants spill onto Earth itself, he will then expect to be speaking once again with the charming man and this time with magic in hand.


"I am, however, curious about making the acquaintance of the Sorcerer Supreme." Louis lifts his chin a touch, the smile still rather open and pleasant. "I've met three other rather strong mystical individuals in this realm and they have all been staggeringly fine beings." He keeps his place there, not having moved a step as if recognizing that this territory is rightly Strange's.

"The fellow in Jamaica was quite kind, learned, though he does suffer from a touch narrow of a viewpoint. Then there was another in Ghana who had the most lovely approach to temporal perception manipulation, he was an artist in depicting what he perceived as Fate."

A pause as he glances to the side, as if perhaps half-expecting one or more of them to appear simply at mentioning of their existence. He looks back to the sorcerer and adds, "And, of course, the old woman in Russia with the rather lively hut. She was the only one who did not wish to be disturbed at the least."

His smile broadens, "I do hope we will be able to consider each other decent colleagues at the least and perhaps comrades in arms in the future. Though if you do seek primarily to further your study I understand the need for privacy and self-inflicted reclusion perpetua."


"Comrades in arms with the Trickster God of Asgard," Strange muses aloud, voicing it for Loki to hear for the reason of returning the acknowledgement of titled power. For now, he ignores the small jibe at his hermit-like habits since it is, quite frankly, truthful. The good doctor is not terribly surprised to hear mention of the other Magicians of this realm. They rank low on his list of concerns and have been respectful in all interactions with him thus far. His ego purrs at the fact that they accede to his Mystical whims. Of all the things that Strange has never been able to shed completely during his growth as Sorcerer Supreme, it is hubris.

His gaze flickers back to Loki's charming smile and he returns it with lips closed. Colleagues will do for now and he voices as such: "I see no reason why we can't consider one another acquaintances for the moment. I ask your forgiveness for my lack of trust, but understand that I know you only a little and only through your past actions." He is, of course, referencing the old Norse myths and only of what Illyana reported to him.


"Tales, myths, and all…" Louis lifts a hand and casually waves it to the side as if he were making those words he just uttered disappear from reality. "You must realize, Good Doctor, that what is known of myself and my kind. The tales humanity has created surrounding us. They are embellished."

That smile shifts a touch as he lifts a hand upwards to scratch the curve of his jawline with the pad of his thumb, as if smoothing the line of his beard. "Aye, we are long-lived peoples. And indeed, there are bonds on us due to the roles we have taken as deities. You know the rituals. If you so wished you could summon me to you and I would be bound by the ancient rites to perform some due service, depending on what was granted in trade."

Now that might be a curious admission, perhaps a subtle way of offering insight, a subtle present given upon the table of mutual cooperation.

"Yet the time I spent on Midgard when those tales were created… I was here but barely a decade. Many tales sprung up from bare moments, glimpses in passing, battles fought from afar."

It's so strange that as they speak, nobody who passes by seems to care, seems to acknowledge them, perhaps there is some intent in that. Yet Louis continues easily enough.

"Aye, I am some three thousand years old. But I am not merely Loki of Asgard. I have taken other roles in the past. And not all that of deceiver. At times it has been protector. At times it has been in vengeance." And as easily as that, several cards are set upon the table.


To Strange, it seems like a double-edged disclosure for Loki to dismiss aloud the relevancy of the old Norse tales and his wary surprise continues to grow as the Asgardian continues to expand with personal information. In one fell swoop, with the admittance of Loki's age and its implications, the doctor has a blood-chilling idea of the amount of aid or, conversely, the enormity of enmity that Loki could introduce into his life and his god-granted job as Sorcerer Supreme. It's not that the Vishanti would deny him assistance should they ever come to blows - it's more that he suspects that he could do little beyond parry each move while other machinations moved around the fight.

It seems that he /must/ put aside time to /very/ carefully consider his relationship with this man.

"Yes, the Norse tales explain as such." Around him, the wards of the Sanctum remain supernaturally-alert, like a watch-dog with ears pricked. "If there's one thing I've learned in my brief years as Sorcerer Supreme, it's that all tales have a base in reality. And the truth is…" He pauses, considering his words, and ends up laughing quietly. "Your offer is tempting. A simple summoning and not only deity-granted powers at my fingertips, but also the knowledge of ageless Asgardian magic itself." He briefly gestures before him, a flick of his wrist that accents his counter-offer: "I give no guarantees of ever accepting your aid, but the fact that you proffer it is greatly appreciated. Should you ever need assistance in the realm of Midgard, know that nothing keeps you from contacting me for aid."


A nod is given, "If you wished to use a more mundane way to gain my attention," Louis' smile curves a touch wry as he murmurs, "I teach Archaeology at the University of Columbia as Louis King." He takes a breath as if a touch embarrassed but then he adds, "I've been living as a mortal as best I can for the last one hundred and fifteen years. Yet matters have taken a turn for the worse of late and I find myself burdened with great purpose."

That having been said he takes a step back and the Sanctum might feel a rather appreciable lessening of wariness. Then again perhaps not. He turns aside, but then pauses as if remembering something. "Ah. Also, please forgive me if I impose on you again in another form. If matters in Muspelheim advance poorly, then my brother might call on you here for aid. Perhaps you will trust him, for in truth… he is much like the tales. Though of truly good heart. If a bit of an oaf."

At those words his smile broadens and he steps back again, "Until next time, Dr. Strange."


A twinkle enters the good doctor's eyes as he realizes that he's now put a face to the owner of the mysterious bronze name placard on the dark-wood door in the staff office section of the Archaeology building on Columbia's campus. Only once has he entered that area of the university and only to find a mislaid scalpel that had been purloined by one of the Archaeology students for use in removing debris from some artifact. Strange had been sentimentally attached to the thing, especially after the consultation in which he'd wielded said instrument had gone so well and earned him laud from the current medical staff.

Strange finds his interest further piqued by the Asgardian's admittance that his brother, the infamous Thunder God of the Norse tales, could be stopping by in the future. In his heart, he would love nothing more than to endear himself to the god as the tales also tell of Odin's great powers and abilities - more fodder in his never-ending quest to expand his knowledge of the realms and their deities.

There isn't anything particular sinister in the god's grin and Strange feels the wards settle down slightly as the man moves farther from the threshold. Still, again in his heart, he also can't help but wonder what piece he is considered on this dimensional chessboard that's been set for three thousand years. The need for careful circumspection becomes more apparent to him with every passing moment.

"Yes, until we meet again," he says, his hand rising to grip the edge of the open door. In a blink, Loki is gone and Strange is left staring at the vacant space he once composed. The doctor leans out farther from the doorway, looking left and right, before he retreats back into the Sanctum. The door shuts with a thump and there's the decisive snickt of the bolt sliding home - for once.


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