1963-09-29 - Day Two In Vain
Summary: Failing to figure out what the artifact that Karnilla holds that removed her heart, Amora seeks out Doctor Strange in hopes the sorcerer might have heard of such a thing
Related: http://marvel1963mush.wikidot.com/log:1963-09-28-day-one-search
Theme Song: Control- Halsey
amora strange 

It wearies him, needing to continue checking on the status of the Hellmouth, but once again, the Sorcerer Supreme leans against a tree trunk at a distance and glares across the open expanse of burnt and mangled grass towards it. The shadows of the autumn-hued trees seem to dapple over him and aid in his casually-cast spell of illusion; any mortal who glances upon the battle-garbed and crimson-Cloaked magician is suddenly impelled by a feeling of dis-ease and vacates the area with haste. It's been useful so far in both keeping his view and the area clear of random passersby.

Strange strokes at the lines of his goatee pensively, his steely gaze narrowed at the wards he's set. He hasn't be alerted to any recent escapes or attempts lately, but it doesn't mean that demons can't be clever bastards.


Amora didn't have the magic to do much in terms of enhancing her beauty these days, much less the ability to dampen her natural beauty or cast the wards that she so desperately wished for. Yet she knew she only had a short time left before Karnilla would return her to Nornheim. A brief, wildly brief, time of 'freedom' left to her on Midgard.

Another time she might have spent it idle in some man's arms, or plotting how to scrape by some manner of revenge against those that she saw as having wronged her.

Yet now she had wasted the first day trying to recover, being sickened and wrapped up in blankets. The rest of the day, when she had finally dragged herself out of bed and found something passable to wear, she had spent it in the Son of Satan's library. Searching. Yet not a hint. Not a whisper of the magical staff or spear that Karnilla had used to pry her heart from her chest.

If Amora could still feel despair, she might have very nearly felt it then. Yet the cold lump in her chest gave her nothing, and she only had the memory of such feelings to go by. So she walked, carefully, picking her way about with a crystal she had snagged off some would be new age pagan shop. It worked just as well as one could expect. Not well at all.

The chances that she'd find the one she sought were so slim, and given the amount of time she had? A sigh fell from her full lips as she stalked along, the crystal held in her hands as she watched the faint green ribbon of magic in it flicker on and off with each step. How low, how pathetic for /her/.

It was actually exhausting to hold onto her illusion of mortality and hold the tracking spell, and she sank to the ground beside a tree, closing her eyes as she swallowed the lump that had formed in her throat.


Perhaps luckily(?) for Amora, the good doctor has been utilizing a low-key variation of his meditative status-check on the Park's surroundings. His focus is on finding old tracks and then memorizing their signature for later use; read as - hunting the loose creatures down.

A weak familiarity makes itself known, no stronger than that of a most basic practitioner, and he looks back over his left shoulder towards it. At first, he's baffled. The specific signature should have set off blaring alarms within the spells he's set in strategic places about New York City. This time…it doesn't even warrant a flicker of reaction.

As Strange strides through the growth of older oaks and maples, he keeps a sharp eye for the being in question and…there she is. There's enough leaves carpeting the forest floor that he snaps no twigs on his approach. He's mindful to release the illusion spell about his person and he can feel it slide away from his skin like a flush of luke-warm smoke.

"Lady Amora," he calls out as he approaches still more, stopping within a dozen feet of the Asgardian woman. She looks…ill, and it leaves him more uneasy still. He remembers the scene in Odin's Court; it's easy to recall the sorceress who made Amora fight at her shackles. What he doesn't know is what became of the meeting.


Green eyes lift upwards at the sound of foot-falls on the earth approaching her, and settle upon the very person she sought. A faint trace of a smile pulls at her lips as she closed her hand on the crystal and cut the power to the tracking spell she had been struggling to maintain. She rose, pressing a hand against the tree as she righted herself and brushed off the black skirt that hugged her legs.

"Didn't you hear? I'm not a lady anymore, Doctor. Stripped of everything I was in Asgard. All that I worked for.." Her voice was oddly mild, no inflection to demonstrate her feelings in regard to such matters and she pocketed the crystal with an after thought.

"Still, you're the one person I was hoping to speak to. I spent all day yesterday reading in a less than impressive library. Did you know the Son of Satan has a library on magical works? I'm sure you're aware.. Still, it is better than most mortals own. It simply didn't have much in what I sought." A sigh fell from her lips, and she tucked a piece of golden hair back behind an ear.


A frown of uncertain concern (a look that should be most familiar to Amora) puts an edge to his previous mien of confusion. Strange drops his chin and scans her, from toes to top of head, and then makes eye contact with her again.

"That is most unfortunate to hear," he offers in response to hearing of the dismissal of her title. That she was searching for him specifically is news of the most fascinating and disquieting type. "Though, I'm not sure if I'm able to help restore your title to your, Lady Amora." Old habits die hard; he'll remember to forgo the 'Lady' next he speaks. "I must preserve the peace between our two Realms and the All-Father wouldn't appreciate me wading into Asgardian justice." He assumes this is what Amora wishes back, her title and the powers that came with it.


A wave of her hand followed and Amora pushed off from the tree, settling a hand on her hip, as she shook her head. "Nay—I mean no. No, I have no interest in asking for your aid in such a lost endeavor. That title, and my power are lost to me for the foreseeable future. I ask not about that. Merely.. I need your knowledge on an artifact I have seen as of late. A thing of terrible power. I have never seen nor heard of its make. It is not Asgardian. Nor is it .. at least I /think/ it is not made by the dwarves. Such a thing would be named and known and I have never heard mention of such a thing."

Green eyes swept around the area, as she shifted on her toes warily. Her features paling ever so slightly as some thought occured to her. "Can you please set some wards against prying eyes and ears?"


"Yes, I can do this," he replies after a moment of pensive silence. It is as simple as a whisper of will and the sweeping gesture of one of his scarred hands. The autumnal air around them, smelling of loam and winter's approach, seems to bubble outwards from a central point between their figures. A briefest push of pressure on eardrums and then the odd sense of muffling. The distant cry of a jay is cut-off in mid-jeer. "What is this artifact that you seek? And bear in mind, Amora," Yes, this time, he's correct in addressing her, "That if I know of it and have found it, it will be hidden it for its safe-keeping. Beyond anyone's grasp but my own."

The Sorcerer Supreme can set down some vicious wards of containment and, as in past escapades, only his touch will unlock them.


A shrug of her shoulders rose and fell as she feels the sensation of his magic wash over the area. A faint smile that might have been relief pulled at her lips as she tilts her head back and inhales the scent of magic in the area. Then her shoulders slumped faintly and she moved to lean back against the tree. Her hands carefully tucked under her chest and against her middle rather than seeking to invade his personal space.

"I care not if you find it, my dear. For I fear that none will be able to get it even if you knew its place." A twist of her lips followed that and then she was looking back down at her toes, a golden brow hooked upwards in thought.

"It is entirely silver, and one part of it appears to be a staff top—intricately curved and beautiful to the eye.. The other part, the lower part.. it does not end in a manner befitting a staff, but a spear. It is sharp on all the edges." She gestures as she speaks then, her gaze lifting to gauge his expression.

"It's magic feels cold, like frostbite. It tastes of blood and old things. Yet it is not of Jotunheim. I would know it's origins if it were as simple as that.."


This is most certainly not the Amora he knows. He's oddly settled, just a bit, by seeing her absorb some of the magic that currently entombs them from any sort of spying. A minute shake of his head is his response to the action.

Her description of the artifact sounds more like some ritualistic tool than any sort of wand or weapon. Part athame and part focus. The fact that it's entirely silver makes it unknown to him. Strange has catalogued a few Mystical weapons during his reign as Sorcerer Supreme and quite a few staves, but…nothing like this. It's a bit galling to admit it.

"Unfortunately…" and he sighs, "I do not know of this artifact. It sounds like nothing of Midgardian origin. I would assume from your description of 'blood and old things' that it's been used in magic of a darker nature. Though…perhaps magic of creation, which would preclude nearly all of the known artifacts of Earth," he muses, his eyes focused on some distant point over Amora's shoulder. "It could be of godly origin." Strange means of Valhalla, of Olympus, of Gaia, of any of the universes that exist on the whims of beings such as the Vishanti.


A grimace pulls at her lips as she angled her eyes upwards to the sky above and withholds a sigh. "I thought it would be too convenient to have it known. I will not trouble you with the hope that you'd let me see your library. But if you come across such a thing.. I.." She shook her head after a moment. "Never you mind. Put it from your mind rather.. It will do me no good."

A pale hand rose to drag through her hair again, combing it back from her face. "Ritual.. in origin. Huh.. I had never considered it.." Her lips purse together and she shifts her weight upon her feet. Karnilla had mentioned her a broken vessel. Perhaps that was what the old harridan intended? It was possible. But why steal her heart? There were other methods of control out there.. and then to send her to Midgard of all places? It was confusing.

"The silver would make me consider Alfheim.. but again, it is not their style to produce weapons at all. It isn't of the pantheon that I am familiar with. It might be of Olympian, but it doesn't seem like something they would create. Possibly older? The elder gods?" She hitched a brow upwards as she muttered her thoughts aloud and then angled a gaze back to the Doctor.

"In your medical opinion.. and mystical opinion.. can it be possible that magic imitates things needed for life? Things that the body needs to function?"


"The first thing that comes to mind is necromancy, of course," he hedges, knowing that Amora may already be familiar with or at least have come across the branch of magic in her past adventures. "On Earth, there is a form of magic called 'voodoo' or 'Voodun', depending on whether you ask a layman or practitioner. In both cases, magic can replace the energy of life itself in order to allow the spell-bearer to function."

Strange's eyes narrow at the woman across from him. "Why do you ask?"


Another slow shake of her head follows, and a faint ghost of a smile plays over Amora's lips. She shrugged, a roll of her shoulders as she held up her hands. "I cannot say if it is related or not. What is this 'voodun'? I have never heard of it before. Can it make life? Can it make a person breathe and blood flow after death? I am familiar with the taint of necromancy. But I have never breached such a magic. It is Hel's realm and I would never cross /her/."

A short list of people she would never cross, but there is at least one more to add to the list.

"Would it have anything like the artifact I described?"


"It came from West Africa, from tribes taken into slavery. It revolves around ancestor worship and spirit-summoning, mostly protective though harming others is well within reason through curses. Perhaps you've heard of voodoo dolls?" The things are singularly interesting to Strange. He finds them both fascinating and utterly repellant. That such an innocent concept as a doll could be twisted to such dark purposes has always bothered him. "It can make facsimiles of life. Not true life, but shambling corpses with empty eyes. From what you told me earlier, I doubt that the weapon-staff you seek is of Voodun origin. They do use athame, the double-edged knives of sacrifice, but staves are used for focus objects rather than weapons. Though, I suppose one could smack an enemy with a staff, even if it wasn't more than a conduit for the spells."

Strange would know of being smacked with a staff - but that's a whole other story entirely.


A grimace twisted Amora's lips as she thought on his words, her head tilted to the side. "Then it is not that. As you said.. not Midgardian in make or craft." She made sighed then, a gust of air that left her hair moving about her features.

"Can you not think of anything that would keep something alive … after.. say an injury of some great make? Not heal it.. but.. make life continue to be as if that injury were not there.. but not heal it?" Her brows pinched, "Like say.. it removed an organ or something. Or damaged it." Amora moved away from the tree, pacing and staring down at the soil beneath her feet as if it might hold some answers. She was, very carefully, not looking to the Doctor as she spoke.


"No, not Midgardian," Strange echoes very quietly as he watches her pace away from him. He's not the best of interpreters, by any means (the FBI would have a delightful run-around with him during interrogation, for example), but that is closed-off body language. He knows it from past catastrophic failures of the social type.

"Amora, I can't answer you well if I don't know everything. What are you not sharing?" he asks. Plainly. No beating about the bush. He readies himself for…something - anything - abnormal.


Amora shifted, and paused, rotating on her feet to face him again. Her shoulders set at a stiff line as she eyed the Sorcerer Supreme of Midgard before her. "I dare not.. I mean am not sure I can.." She made a muffled sound of annoyance and stalked forward toward him, reaching for his hand and settling it above her chest on the right.

"Tell me, does it beat? Can you feel my heart Doctor? Is it strange to you? Does it feel right?" Her eyes were locked onto him, and despite the words she used.. her voice was flat. There was no emotion behind it nor in her gaze.

When or if the Doctor actually paused to feel for her heart beat.. he would feel it. As any normal heart beat should be..


Her grip is as strong as ever and Strange flinches against the pressure of her grab about his wrist. Her skin is warm, as always, and he stills himself out of sheer stubborn will rather than retreat from her.

Beneath his palm, the familiar cadence - thudthud, thudthud, thudthud - slightly elevated from her brisk stride back to him. His steel-blue eyes shift from the back of his scarred hand, resting overtop her shirt, up to her face, where he grants her a narrow look of uneasy warning. "I can feel your heart, yes. It's beating right now," he says slowly, carefully, as if speaking to someone on the verge of crazed action.

Once he really looks at her, a prickle of apprehension truly shifts up his spine. Her eyes are…empty. Not in the sense of Voodun and its un-life, but…it as if a candle has been blown out. "You're not talking about your physical heart, are you…?" His words are hesitant, as if broaching a subject he'd rather not learn of.


Amora let her grip on his wrist go at his words and she stepped back, dropping her gaze from him. Her lips parted as she seemed to struggle with what to say and then thought better of it. She fell silent instead and hugged her arms around herself. One hand rose to press against her chest where her the illusion of a heart beat had resided.

"I can't feel it.." She whispered, oh so softly. "I know not what.. happened.. how it happened.. how it's possible that I yet live.." Her shoulders hunched forward as she spoke.

"I just need to know.. and I don't know.. I'm not anything.. anymore.."


The tendons in his wrist creak a little in minor disagreement with their previous handling as he pulls his hand away. His palm still tingles from where it had rested on Amora's shift and he makes a white-knuckled fist to erase the pins-and-needles sensation.

It's the realest puppetry he's ever seen. The shell of Amora without the life within. Strange looks aside and thinks, hard, about the sorcery of such a curse. It's not quite Voodun and not necromancy either, but it's not the Art of Creation - rather, the Art of Chaos, sundering what should be unable to be separated from heart and body: soul.

He rolls his shoulders against a shiver, but it still makes his blood chill. Old magic…uncaring magic beyond that which he dabbled in.

"This is your punishment, isn't it?" he asks, voice seemingly loud in the quivering silence of their domed spell-sanctuary. "She did this to you." She being, of course, Amora's caretaker.


A shiver runs over Amora as she turns away from him, her gaze darting around the grove and she rose her hands to brush against the wardings he had set. As if ensuring that they held strong and that Karnilla wasn't able to hear every word that escaped their lips. She had no magic to add to them, and she knew it.

Then slowly, she turned back toward Strange and nodded slowly, her eyes running over him. "I tried to run." She whispered again, her shoulders rising and falling.

"I return to her tomorrow. She set me here for two day's time.. I know not why.. Nor what she desires from me. After two thousand years.. she tossed me out when I was a child for being undisciplined.. And now.. I know not why.."


Strange considers her words. It sounds…remarkably like what he'd considered in the past regarding his apprentice and her actions. Though, not to this extreme, not in the world! More like…taking away the car keys.

"Inasmuch as I know you won't like hearing this at all, Amora, this sounds like a lesson to me," he murmurs, avoiding her eyes briefly. "Perhaps she meant for you to see that there is no option but to return to her and…" Repent? Apologize? In Strange's limited interactions with Asgardians in general, they have all been so impulsive - other than the youngest Prince, much too deliberate, that one - and he has no idea of the true cause of Amora's curse. He assumes that she has perhaps gone too far within the realms of Asgard.

Regardless, it seems like overkill to him of Midgardian origin.

"I'm sorry that I could not help you further," he adds, the words buoyed by inevitable human sympathy. "However, I don't think that I was supposed to."

With that, he gives a dismissive wave and the spell-bubble of warding drops like a rainshower to the leaves on the forest floor. "I wish you luck," he adds over his shoulder as he turns away. An opened rift later, a crackling of energy, and the Sorcerer Supreme has left Amora to her search.

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