1963-09-22 - Symbolic Knowledge
Summary: Dr. Strange and Marcus discuss the oddities of his unknown past and elemental sigils on his body before being interrupted by a distant cry for help.
Related: [http://marvel1963mush.wikidot.com/log:1963-09-19-unexpected-flames]
Theme Song: None
marcus strange 


Marcus has new clothes, which is nice, having finally been found and dragged back to Danny's apartment. She wasn't exactly thrilled with the fact that he had been wandering around, confused and foggy-headed for a couple of days. The following days haven't been much easier, but at least there hasn't been any more crazy outbursts of power. Okay, well, there was that one a day or so after Strange helped him out. The elementalist has come to conclusion that in order to keep whatever control he has, he needs to stay away from the Hellmouth. Which is becoming harder and harder the more the nasty stuff keeps coming out of it.

It did leave to a meeting between himself, Iron Fist, and Daredevil about trying to find people to hem in the demon-infestation that's been occurring in the Kitchen. As for Marcus, he can't say he's know a lot of people, he's kept to himself ever since escaping Germany. But he had met Strange, albeit briefly. But the Sorcerer did tell him the location of the Sanctum, so he might as well try to follow up whatever leads he can. Not only about the issue in the Kitchen, but maybe the man will be able to answer some questions about himself that he's been pondering for months. The end result is him finding the mansion and, beyond feeling a bit out of sorts, even if he doesn't look as homeless anymore, the part of town looks really fancy. Not used to that. Still, he knocks, no reason to back out now.


One of the Sanctum's dark-wood outer doors, inscribed with magical wards hewn into the surface, swings open; as the sunlight drifts over its patina, one might catch a glimpse, a flash, of the scrolling symbols. Dr. Strange, wearing his general house-clothing (white dress shirt, black dress pants, soft-soled boots, and the Eye of Agamotto about his neck), peers out from the cool dimness of the entryway and then smiles. He takes a step forwards and into the light, his calm smile mirrored in the lightness of his steel-blue eyes.

"Ah. You would be…" and it takes him a moment, "Marcus, yes? We met at the Park." The Sorcerer Supreme remembers that encounter all too well. A jaunt for scientific purposes had very quickly turned into a race against time and elemental magic to avoid injury to himself and others. "I assume you've come to speak with me?"

Perhaps Strange has some prescient powers after all. From within wafts the soothing scent of freshly-poured tea. "Please, come inside and follow me - we'll sit in the living room." Should Marcus choose to enter, Strange will close and lock the front door behind him as well as lead him to the living room.


"Yeah, that's me." Marcus nods, once the door opens. Thankfully, he's not wearing the nasty, homeless man clothes he was the first time they met, still clinging to the smell of the sewer and far too many stains that one might not want to consider where exactly they came from. Now, it's simple, new clothing. Jeans and a hoodie, black. Simple and non-descript, but more important, clean. There's also been an addition of fingerless biker gloves. The boots, which seem to be of WWII-era make are the same ones he he had the last time. Seems like they're important to him.

But he follows Strange inside. "I do, yeah." he nods at his reason for being here. "I have a couple questions that I think you might be one of the few people who'd be able to answer. At least, one of the few people who's not interested in getting me back into a lab." he adds at the end. "And I've sorta been asked to look for people who might be able to help with the situation in the Kitchen. I….don't know many people. I know Iron Fist, she's pretty much my sole friend in the city. The only other person I know, or who might be willing to assist…" a shrug, looking at the other man. "…might be you. So, here I am."


Strange listens as he leads Marcus to the living room. No reason to have a fire going in the fireplace currently, though the good doctor will gladly charm the fire to life if anyone gets too cold. He gives a thoughtful nod as he passes between the two high-backed chairs that stand before the hearth and waves a hand towards the one to his right, the guest chair. The chair to his left is his own chair, quite personal, marked by divots of use in the cushions.

"Please, sit. I will do my best to help you, Marcus, and answer your questions. If I don't know of the information you need, I may know of somewhere else for you to look." He pours two steaming cups of herbal tea, adding nothing to one cup of the dark brew; he glances over his shoulder at the young man and asks, "Would you like anything in your tea? Sugar, milk?"

He does note that Marcus has cleaned up - and well - since last they met. It lightens his heart that the young man has a connection somewhere within the city that could offer him such help.


"Uh…" Marcus looks at the tea. "I'm not sure. I've…never had tea before. Or maybe I have. I can't really recall." As if that statement needs explanation, he does indeed explain. "Whatever was done to me, my memory was…fragmented. I remember being in the Army, I remember being a sniper, fighting the Nazis. But even that's in bits and pieces, but enough to figure it out. But I also know that was nineteen years ago." And he still has the look of a young soldier, not yet in his 30s. Maybe early to mid 20s? "I'll be thankful of whatever you can offer. But mostly, the question that comes to mind is; what am I? I remember a lab. I remember men speaking in German. I remember being with injected with things that made my body burn. I remember the brands being burned into me. But not why."

Then a sigh, leaning back into the chair he's been offered. "I know my government considers me dead. They'd have to to. Killed in action. I don't know where I came from. Parents, where I was born, that kind of thing. I don't think I've ever been to New York until I got the boat I had hidden onto. And then I find I can do…well…stuff." He shakes his head. "I'm sorry if I'm not really making any sense. I guess I'm just grasping at straws. I'm still grasping things I've seen that, when I was younger, I would've never believed. And now I find myself burning demons and vampires and other things that I can't really describe. And..heh," he passes a look onto Strange. "You certainly did come off like the 'wise man on the mountain' sorta thing." Then, finally, there's a glance at the tea. "Ummm…milk and sugar?" Yeah, no idea how to drink tea.


Shadows slowly darken the good doctor's eyes as he takes in this story, so freely offered to him by the young man. It's abhorrent, the sheer fact that someone with a doctorate would turn their experience and skills against the motto of "first, do no harm". What Marcus describes…this is incredibly harmful and he cannot fathom how these foreign scientists ever morally excused it all. Eventually, he has to avert his gaze to the empty fireplace. No reason to scare off his guest with the growing corona of Mystical energy about his irises. With a puft, the fire comes to life and brings Strange out of his dark musings. This little show of lashing magic makes one side of his lips rise in a self-effacing sort of smile and he glances back at Marcus in time hear the young man's faint laugh and offered titlement to Strange of 'wise'.

"Milk and sugar it is," he replies quietly. He stirs in a little sugar and not too much milk; no reason to over-do things, especially if this is the first foray into the realm of tea for his guest. He gives the other cup one last stir, clinks the spoon free of droplets, and then delivers it to the side table next to Marcus's chair. He himself settles into his chair with a slow sigh and takes a sip from his china cup before setting it on his own side table. "Marcus, that is…I'm very sorry." As if he needs to apologize for the depravity that his guest has suffered; he'd rather smite the rogue scientists all where they stand. "You're making enough sense, don't worry. Allow me to clarify your needs: you would have me explain to you in regards to these sigils on your body and then aid in recovering your memory?" He leans to one side in the chair, resting an elbow on the arm-rest and then his jaw against his hand, two lean fingers remaining pressed to his sideburns while the rest are curled. He looks contemplative, as if already answering his own question within his mind.


Taking in a breath, Marcus thinks, then looking at the creamy liquid in his cup, lifting it up to sip at it. "Hey, this is good." is says off-handedly. It's not coffee, as any former GI will attest to that really being their lifeblood instead of the real stuff. The fact that he apologizes gets a headshake. "I appreciate that, but sympathy isn't…ah, I dunno. Just want to explain what I can before I can find answers. Maybe it'll be easier. All I've gleamed is that these scientists worked for Hydra, which was some kind of inner sect of the Nazi regime? And they kept me in some kind of stasis for nineteen years? I mean, that's the only way I can really explain how that long of time can pass and I still look like what I did in 1945. So the world today? Not the world I left. Still trying to adapt to that." Though when he sets down his cup, he looks pensive. As if he's not really thrilled with what he's going to offer. "Maybe you might make something more of this if you actually looked at the brands. Which, I mean, I realize I'be become a bit more self-conscious since I got them." And with that, he leans forward enough to strip off his hoodie.

And yeah, there are brands there, two against burned into the space between his upper pectorals and shoulders, and two just above his hips. The rune work is complex, runes and words of power that have been used are possibly ones that, while not evil in origin are neither good. Because the elements have no moral alignment. They just are. And as previously suspected, they seem to be growing larger, runic words burning themselves onto his skin, a suggestion of learning, through use and experience, the more they grow. To what, that is an interesting question. Each them seem to spread away from their centers, either down his legs and arms or towards his chest, slowly turning his veins into elemental leylines.

Possibly the most impressive fact is what runes have been used. These are, in essence, the purest language to be used. The sort of runes that are no longer used, which not only tap Marcus into the very source where the primal forces come from, but also the idea the man will eventually become a conduit for them. These rune did not come from Earth. Somewhere else, but another question would be, where exactly? As it stands, the are in their larval stages.

"Yeah," Marcus nods finally. "What are they, where did they come from. Aiding my memory? That would be nice, not gonna lie. I'd like to know more about me. Who I was. Getting tired of the stranger in a strange land, not even comfortable in his own skin because he doesn't know who's skin it belongs to. Granted, I may never find those answers until I find one of the scientists and tie him a chair and beat it out of him. But, well, not gonna lie. These things scare the hell out of me. Especially when…y'know. They start doing their own thing."


Strange doesn't move from his position; only his eyes, narrowed and flinty with scalpel-fine focus, flicker about the sigils he can see on Marcus's body. These are indeed basest elemental magic and finally, the good doctor does shift his weight and tilt his head.

"Hmm." At first, the noncommittal sound is the only response. Then, the good doctor raises one hand and eldritch power in multiple hues surrounds his fingers. He gives a nonchalant swirling gesture and seems to release the strands of colored light into the open space before the fireplace. They separate, swirl about chaotically, and then begin to form shapes. Their chaotic sparkling thins to become delicate lines of writing - sigils, copies of the exact shapes drawn into Marcus's flesh.

"They are old, these symbols. Yes, ancient…very ancient, archaic beyond measure. Proto-symbols, known to earliest mankind and indeed granted by a power beyond their knowing. They were lost to time, likely by a jealous god intent on keeping such otherwordly power to the deities." Each copy of the sigils begins to spin slowly, floating up…and down…minutely in amounts, turning as if on a perfectly-vertical axis. "How these scientists found them without godly intervention is…monumental luck." And Strange is implying that no amount of humanly luck would have brought these symbols back into human knowledge. Some dark fate rolled the dice instead.

"Vayu - " and the yellow symbol spins briskly.

"Tejas - " and the red symbol flares brightly.

"Apas - " and the blue symbol ripples briefly.

"Prithivi - " and the final black symbol seems to shiver.

"Now that you know their names, perhaps you may better control them." With an elegant gesture, he seems to smooth the magical whiteboard from the air using his palm and the symbols dissolve into nothingness. "I recommend a mantra of sorts, one that you devise from your head and your heart. The elements may use you as a channel, but you are the channel. You alone control the flow of the magic through your veins and into this reality." Strange gives Marcus a small, knowing, and sympathetic smile. "I recommend practicing this someplace quiet and away from anything that could accidentally be destroyed. These elements may be…temperamental when you first attempt to control them."


"I remember a book. Or a very thick scroll. They kept going back to it." Marcus looks, as if the attempt to remember anything of importance might gleam some kind of light on the situation. "They were obsessive over it. Or was it a stone tablet? It was something they kept going back to. But, I was kept chained to a…it wasn't metal. It didn't feel like a table. There was more roughness to it. I felt…grooves on the underside of my arms and legs?" He doesn't sound sure. Of any of it. "I wish I could be sure. But I could never see exactly, and what I do remember are fuzzy at best. They would speak German then….something else. More like chanting."

Watching the mirror reflections of his own sigils float in the air, it gives him a different perspective on. "Holy…I've never seen them like this. Or…" then he listens to Strange's story, blinking. "But why me? What little I can remember, I was just some grunt GI. I wasn't anything special. I don't know why they'd choose me when there might be easier people to experiment on." No answer there, but one more missing soldier amongst the dead wouldn't be missed, maybe that was why. Or something else, who knows. "These Hydra guys, from what little I've found out about them, they didn't sound great. Nasty sorts, especially if innermost Nazi leaders reported to them. But, now that I think about it, there was one word in German that I recognized, mostly because of old debriefings. But the fact that they kept using it over and over, and every time they did I feel like they were talking to me. They would say 'magischwaffe'. Now, I can pretty tell that 'magisch' means magic or magical, that's easy to figure out. But 'waffe'. I know that word really damn well. It meant weapon. Is that why they did this? And then took my memory? Because they were going to make me into some kind of weapon?" It's a thought that perhaps, he's been sitting on for a long time, maybe afraid to say it out-loud. Or a thought that haunts him before he falls asleep at night.

That thought is distracted once Strange starts to explain the name of each brand, nodding at them. "I never names for them. But now that you say it, it feels…right? Somehow? Like the names make the brands itch." There's a roll to his shoulder. "Yeah, maybe it'll help. Iron Fist says meditation to help create a 'balance' wouldn't be a bad idea either. She said if I control the elements, then the elements need to be in balance and that's one thing right now I'm fairly certain I'm not."

Finally, taking another drink of his tea(yeah, he likes it),he regards Strange after slipping his hoodie back on. The less he has to be topless,the better. "But I did come here to ask for your help. We're trying to get a number of us together in the Kitchen, to try and get a control on all the…nasty things that're running around. And well, could your help in that. If you can. You seemed to of taken an interest in the Hellmouth and that's where everything seems to coming from, but now all sorts of creatures are gallivanting around, though like I said, they seem to be making the Kitchen their haunt. I don't know why, but I'm going to try and find out."


The weak firelight flickers on the good doctor's face and he lets out a slow sigh as he closes his eyes. Again, this story…this hurts him on a deeply personal level, despite never having a hand in it. It is offensive.

"This friend of yours, Iron Fist, is entirely correct," he finally rumbles. The fingertips of one hand scrub briefly at his forehead, warding off the beginnings of a headache (not brought on by Marcus, not at all! Simply fallout from the psychic dagger he barely survived not a week back), and he keeps the groan behind his teeth before speaking again. "Meditation, along with a mantra that includes the names of the elements you just heard. It may take some time and practice, but I feel that you will quickly begin to notice more control over the elemental magic flowing through the sigils. Perhaps practice meditation with your friend, if you feel that she will be safe from the elements. They are great power and should most definitely be under control in the near future." His steel-blue gaze shifts to Marcus and within it is sadness, pity for the young man, hard anger at his misfortune at the hands of immorally-used knowledge. "Perhaps they did mean to turn you into a weapon, but you are your own man. You were born yourself and your will is always your own."

He pauses here, focus now averted back to the low-burning flames on the half-burnt wood. An ember crackles and falls into the grate. "Yes, I have been most interested in this Hellmouth and what it entails. You are not the first to come asking for my aid. Unfortunately, there is but one of me and I would ask you to continue in your fight against these demons. Keep destroying them utterly. Report to me when you can and tell me of their typing, species, elemental alignment - I need all of the information that you can share. This will help me narrow my studies and find a way to shut the Hellmouth entirely. Rest assured that when the time comes, I will —"

And then Strange's face screws into a picture of brief agony. He clutches at his head and leans forwards in his chair, looking momentarily as to fall from it. After a heavy moment of silence, he throws himself back into it, eyes wide and mouth agape. "Illyana!" he breathes, casting his senses about wildly for the source of the distress call heard only in his ears.

"Marcus, please, you'll need to excuse me," he says hurriedly as he scrambles to his feet. With a snap of his fingers that echoes at odds with the shaping of the living room, he's wreathed in a brief swirling of silvery magic. When it drops to his feet like roiling smoke, he wears the battle-garb of Sorcerer Supreme and the crimson Cloak of Levitation hangs from his shoulders; the Eye of Agamotto hangs still at his neck. "I am desperately needed. Come see me again in a few days time and bring the information."

He then casts a gating on the fly as he strides away across the room and disappears into the crackling circle of lightning.


"I'll let them you're interested, but can't be there personally. Maybe at some future point you might be able to have a more personal hand in things." Marcus nods, eyeballing the man curiously. "That's about all I can do right now until I get more information. Though, you've given more than enough to really think about. I'll talk to the Dragon Lady, hopefully she'll be able to help."

And then suddenly Strange is getting up to leave. "Er, yeah, no problem. Figure you got plenty of fish to fry, eh?" he nods, getting up, then having to back away as the Sorcerer Supreme makes a rather enthusiastic exit. "Well…guess I'll just let myself out, then. Ah…good tea!" Before heading for the door.


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