1963-09-27 - Two Magi and a Welcome Guest
Summary: The arrival of a most venerable practitioner of the Arts leaves Strange with a new house guest and most-welcomed aid.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
merlin strange 


Ley lines and magic and auras, oh my! Merlin has been tracking, or so he hopes, the sources of magic that will eventually lead him to the current Sorcerer Supreme. Or at least to someone who can tell him where to find said Sorcerer Supreme. The mystic dragon ley lines have brought him to a property with an aura that intrigues him greatly. Walking the path up to the main doors of the mansion that rests on the property, he adjusts his pointy had and robes, making sure his sword in its sheath isn't about to fall of the belt around his waist.

Once upon the doors, he uses his staff to pound on the door, knocking. "Hello?" He calls out in his British accent. "Is anybody home?" He knocks some more. "I best not have made this journey for nothing!"


The wards of the Sanctum flit to their master, currently striding down the hallway towards the library. His garb today is the simple white dress shirt and black pants, soft-soled boots. The Eye of Agamotto hangs about his neck, a familiar weight. He pauses to listen to their foreshortened description of the visitor thud-thudding on the door downstairs - what now, pointed hat? Magic? - and then, with a wrinkle between his brows, he steps briskly along the corridor and to the grand staircase.

"Alright, ALRIGHT!" Strange hollers as he steps into the foyer, knowing that the volume of his voice will reach through the wooden doors. A few clicking turns of unlocking mechanisms and he opens the right door with a whuft of indrawn air. What stands on his doorstep is…something straight out of the myths and legends that he was read as a child. A short laugh of amused confusion escapes his lips before he says, "Can I help you?"


"By the eye of a leprechaun, it took you long enough to answer!" Merlin moves to whop Strange's arm with his staff. "Does something amuse you, boy?" Most everyone seems like a child to him these days, even if those people are well into adulthood. "I should hope that you can help me! Or the mystic elements that led me here got things confused!" He peeks around Strange to look inside the mansion.

"Is your master at home? The Sorcerer Supreme doesn't live here, does he?" He finally turns back to Strange and looks him over properly. He narrows his eyes a little bit at the Eye of Agamotto. "Now there's something curious, it is!" He pokes at the Eye with his staff.


Between being lightly whopped in the arm and the staff now prodding at the gemstone encaged on its golden chair, Strange is unbalanced by this…singular visitor. He pushes the end of the staff away from his person, giving the man a narrow scowl.

"You're speaking to the Sorcerer Supreme himself. Please, don't touch." A citrine light flashes from the Eye of Agamotto as a subtle warning fueled by the good doctor himself. He's glad that his apprentice isn't around to see this burgeoning fiasco. "What…can I do for you?" he forces himself to say. Patience, he remembers the old voice of the Ancient One telling him. Patience before you act, Stephen.


"Well, excuse me, Supreme Sorcerer." Merlin does a little bow, his arms and staff outreached behind him as he does so, and his hat nearly falling off. It's been a long time since he's actually bowed to anybody. "I am here to help you with your problems. First of which, you may desire to get your pendant there checked out. I am pretty sure it just winked at me." Which, of course, it didn't. It was a flash of warning.

"The true problem I have come to help with is the darkness. The storm that has descended upon this 'New' York." He grits his teeth lightly. "My name is Myraddin of Ruta. Though you may know me better as Merlin of Camelot."


Strange has to lean back half a step to avoid being poked by the old man's ridiculous pointed hat and lets out another hesistant laugh, definitely considering the power levels of the wards at his back and whether or not they will repel this ridiculous - wait.

"I'm sorry, did you say Merlin? Of Camelot?" he asks disbelievingly. No. No way on this Earth. "But - but, that can't be — " and he stops himself short. No, it could be entirely true. The Ancient One taught him so. "Well, if you're aware of my problems, you won't mind if I ask you to prove that you are indeed this…Merlin, and not some demon."

He doesn't really need to ask this. With a slow blink, Strange enacts his Mystical vision and when he opens his eyes, it's dazzling, the aura around the wizened old man! He's only ever seen a similar glow about…the Ancient One.


Giving the younger man a stare as if to say, 'Do I look like the joking type?' Merlin puts his hand on his hip and taps the bottom of his staff against the ground a few times. "Of course I said Merlin of Camelot! What else would I have said? Morgan le Fay? I'm not Morgan, I'm Merlin!" He whops Strange on the arm with his staff once more.

"P…prove it to you? I didn't know the current Sorcerer Supreme would be…" He takes a deep breath in. "Don't you know, I've been where you are? And you are what I once was?" He rubs his free hand over his face. "Fine. Let me prove it to you and then you can apologize to me by allowing me to stay here!" He leans on his staff and looks at Strange. "Now, how can I prove myself to you? I can tell you about the eye you wear? I can try to break through any barriers that you've got in there to keep unfriendlies out! I suppose I could permit you to attempt to probe my mind…if you're capable and if you don't think it would cause you to loose your sanity!" He lets out a little cackle of amusement.


"Ow! Gods above, STOP THAT!" Strange snaps, rubbing at the spot on his arm that has now been twice-whalloped by this Merlin creature. The impact of the staff on his wrist has knocked him from his moment of Mystical sight and he momentarily rubs at both eyes to clear his vision completely. One idea that the odd old man mentions, in the matter of proving himself, sounds like a delightful one.

"You know of the Eye of Agamotto? Then…Merlin," and he allows himself a beat of pause with one dark brow arched at the old man, "Tell me how I gained my immortality."

No one knows of this save for himself and one other.


"I don't see what so called gods, whether above or anywhere else, have to do with me stopping anything!" Merlin rebuts. Who knew meeting with the present Sorcerer Supreme would come with these little annoyances. Was he this annoying when he was Sorcerer Supreme? He'd like to think he wasn't.

"I've done much studying in my life, boy. I believe I've come across this 'Eye of Agamotto' at least once. Uglier than I imagined it would be." He lets out a hollow little 'ha', shaking his head. His eyes go wide and he looks at Strange as if he's crazy. "You'd like me to tell you how you gained your immortality? Fine." He grumbles slightly.

Taking a moment to ground himself, he stares into Strange's eyes. It's not long before his eyes start glowing and he can be heard murmuring some words under his breath. Not but a few minutes later, air seems to whip up around him, and only him, causing his pure white hair and beard to whip about messily all around him.

The house and the landscape around them begin to melt away as a new land appears. Nearby, Strange can see a recreation of himself and Death, and the very scene in which he was able to defeat Death and thus be granted immortality.


Strange wrinkles his nose. Clearly this Merlin has no idea just how much sway the trio-gods of the Vishanti have over this realm. Or has forgotten so, if he really was once the Sorcerer Supreme…gods only know how many decades ago. The good doctor, in a similar and unknowing vein to Merlin's inner musings, hopes that he never grows to be this overtly irritating.

And then comes the illusion spell. To the odd passerby, it seems that the good doctor is having a staring contest with an older, bearded man - which is apparently nothing new in the Greenwich Village neighborhood and especially around the Sanctum. The immediate neighbors have had no choice but to get used the odd visitors arriving on Strange's doorstep.

Strange has the tick-tick-tick of three seconds - one, to realize what was about to happen; two, to swallow against the sudden rise of his heart into his throat; and three, to steel himself as best he can. He's then hypnotized, sucked into the blaze of Mystical light ringed in Merlin's irises, and there's the briefest sensation of falling before the world around them rights itself and…

"Oh gods," he croaks within the illusion, seeing himself struggling against the overwhelming, undeniable presence of Death. It's gut-wrenching to watch, this past self who knew so little — he knew so little then compared with now. Strange gathers himself and rips free from Merlin's illusion with a massive force of willpower. Current reality comes back to him in a wash of senses and he finds himself clinging to the outer edge of the door, panting and staring at the old man before him. It takes him a few moments, but Dr. Strange finds his center (a result of long practice and it isn't easy after reliving such an event) and gets to standing upright once again. He then offers a scarred hand of greeting to Merlin and mutters, "My apologies, Myraddin. Welcome."


It's evident that the spells have, themselves, taken quite the toll on Merlin as well. His yellow, glowing eyes, stare at the visage before him that he has created, to prove himself worthy. It's only when the illusion is broken by Strange and his eyes return to normal that he shows signs of weakness. Both hands grasp onto his staff as he leans on it, closing his eyes and taking a few deep breaths, a slight pained expression upon his face.

After a moment, upon opening his eyes, he nods to Strange, reaching out his own hand. His old hand moves past the other Sorcerer's, grasping the man's forearm in greeting, as was the custom many years ago. "Your apology is accepted, boy. Though," He hesitates, a look of reluctance crosses his face. "I suppose if I'd still been the Sorcerer Supreme, I'd have requested a challenge in kind."

Moving to enter the mansion, he gathers his strength once more. "Now, what did you say your name was, boy?"


His scarred hand returns the gesture offered by Merlin with a respectfully-firm grasp of the wizened Magi's forearm. He feels badly now, though he is probably just as shaken by the whole episode.

"Stephen Strange," the good doctor replies as he steps back and aside, just beyond the open door, to allow his newfound fellow-in-the-Arts across the cusp of the Sanctum's foyer. Immediately, the wards rush up to Merlin and gallivant about him like the friendliest of unseen dogs, offering an impression of polite interest and ascertaining of the old man's abilities. "Relax," Strange whispers as he looks into the middle distance over his shoulder and the semi-sentient defensive spells retreat respectfully, though their focus continues to be on the guest.


"Stephen Strange. Good. Good name." Perhaps the nicest thing that Merlin has said since his arrival here. "Oh! Now there's a curious thing!" He chuckles at wards. He reaches out his free hand and moves it through the air in a petting motion, as if petting the wards as one would do with a pet. "Oh no, 'tis quite all right. They're some of the nicer spells I've come across in my many centuries."

Looking about the foyer, he seems to scrutinize the entire place. "Quite modern, isn't it? But I like it. Not everywhere can be a castle or a crystal cave, I suppose." Though there's no mention to where he was living before he came here. "Now, as I said," He turns back to face Strange once he's a little ways into the mansion, "I've come to help. I had visions of the darkness and thought that the town could use all the help it could get."


Shutting the door behind them both seems to be final decision-maker for the wards. They take one more circling trot around Merlin before vanishing back into the composition of the Sanctum's walls. Strange watches them disappear with that odd not-quite-present look in his steel-blue eyes before returning his attention back to his guest.

"Yes, it has all of the most modern amenities." He walks beside Merlin into the main portion of the foyer, with the grand staircase overlooked by the stylized stained-glass window of the Eye of Agamotto. The mention of aid, especially from such a powerhouse in the world of the Arts, is welcomed. "There has been a massive influx of darkness into this Realm, yes," Strange replies, allowing rarely-seen weariness to suffuse his expression. "Not only that, but recent political changes within the Realm of Asgard have forced me to pursue alliances that may not bode well for the good of Earth. Granted, there has been minimal meddling thus far, but…" He sighs and rubs at one temple. "I worry. Whatever help you can offer is appreciated. In the vein of continued learning, I would be interested to hear your thoughts on bolstering mental defenses against psychic attacks and intrusions." Merlin is granted a polite if not thin-lipped smile (perhaps he knows of Strange's mishap at the Hellmouth and perhaps not; regardless, any irritation communicated is meant to be self-recrimination by intent).


"Goodbye, friendly wards!" Merlin calls after them as they make their retreat. "I really did like those wards." He tells Strange, in a tone that suggests it was more of an afterthought than anything else. "Not good. I have gathered at least minimal information. I believe I was told of a…Hellmouth appearing. Which is better than what my visions informed me of. My visions were…" He waves his hands about. "Well, they can be clear as day, or as clear as an opaque window." He sighs, looking up at the stained glass window. "The window better not wink at me like your pendant did!" He tells Strange as an aside. "That was just…strange." Whether the pun was intended or not, he doesn't say.

Rolling his eyes, Merlin shakes his head. "Asgardians. What a bunch of silly folk they are. Give me the Tuatha de Danaans instead. They all act the parts of gods, but they're merely just beings like the rest of us!" He looks to Strange and furrows his brow. "With whom did you make did you make alliances? Or shall I regret asking upon your answer?"

He lets out a little chuckle at the mention of psychic attacks. "Oh, I suppose I could help teach you a thing or two. If I'm taking over a bedroom here, it's the least I can do to impart some knowledge I may have gained that you do not possess."


The Sorcerer Supreme nods to Merlin. "Yes, a Hellmouth opened in Central Park. It's the city's only protected green," he adds for clarification; he also glances up at the decorative window to make sure that the old wizard was teasing. Weirder things have happened, but…his new guest will likely cause some reactions around the Sanctum that Strange hasn't seen yet. "I'm still searching for an answer to its existence and welcome any thoughts on the matter."

At the mention of the Tuatha de Danaans, the taller man gives another nod and adds a short laugh this time. "I'm not quite sure whom I'd chose to parley with first in the event of a global emergency, but you make an excellent point in that they are much closer to their humanity. In regards to the alliance…let us talk over tea in the living room. Oh, and please, take the Blue Room upstairs. The Rose Room is currently in use by my…apprentice." Strange glances over and offers Merlin a rather knowing smile before he leads the way. If he remembers correctly the legends of King Arthur, his new guest is very familiar with the trials and tribulations of mentorship. The Sorcerer Supreme is looking forwards to sharing the Sanctum with another scholar of the Arts…for now, at least.


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