1963-10-15 - Banishment Theory
Summary: Doctor Strange is working his magic on the Hellmouth once again. This time he's greeted by something strange and not particularly friendly.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
strange jillian 

It's a practice in active patience with practical application, truly, it is. It doesn't mean that Strange likes doing it more than once, however.

Again, he's here in the Park, veiled behind the illusory spell that makes mortal eyes slide from him as unimportant.

Again, his scarred hands are wreathed in neon-cobalt light as he delicately weaves supportive strands of magic into the battered, Mystically-cracked wards that surround the Hellmouth.

The construct, visible to those who look just hard enough or have the Sight, remains opaque (courtesy of a spell from Strange's old friend, Baron Mordo, cast after the furious banishment of a tentancled nightmare). Now it will resonate in a repetitive fashion, like the beat of a heart, with a glow of silvery-blue, feeding on itself in a feedback loop of self-strengthening. Very few spawn of the Hellmouth will be able to pass this upgrade.

The good Doctor, elbow-deep in his Mystical work, glares and whispers furiously as he works. His stance is grounded elegantly, elements of martial arts in the form. Only his fingers twitch in his trance-like state. The lambent power glows around the centers of his irises.


There's only so much that some weird shapechanging teacher is going to dissuade a demon from its goals. Jillian still has a knack for sniffing out things which are magical in nature. She still has a desire to locate (and take) such items which have been imbued with any sort of enchantments. It's more than a new hobby, and it's not something she's going to just stop doing.

That'd just be silly!

Central Park hasn't been very fertile hunting grounds when it comes to such items but there's a feeling of its presence which never left the Neyaphem's mind. The portal, still open though well barricaded by now, continues to speak to her.

She doesn't want to hear what it has to say, either.

What draws her back to the gateway this time isn't the whispering in her thoughts but the radiant bloom of energy which is being kicked up like dust in a whirlwind. Maybe she can't see it with the clarity of the caster's own eyes but she can feel it, tugging her closer. It's a powerful song, impossible to ignore.

The shadows make for excellent cover, particularly to those whom are able to blend into it. Jillian herself is very difficult to make out, however the golden band around her neck and the large polearm she carries with herself each have enchantments of their own. They may give away her position in the same way that Strange's casting gives away his.

From close overhead there's a soft *woomph* of displaced air. Something with large wings, flying very close to where the Doctor happens to stand.


The Sorcerer Supreme is not so deep in his work that he hasn't left access to his hindbrain in order to alert him to the presence of Anything Out to Get Him.

Humans never look up, anyways. Potentially-fatal flaw of the species.

A rush of adrenaline burst-charges his pulse at the sound of large wings moving air somewhere much too close for his comfort. Even as Strange flinches, curling into a sideways dive-roll of avoidance (oh please-oh please-oh please let him have moved fast enough to avoid any sort of talons!), he snarls out the ending Word to his sequence. Slapping the ground to disperse the contact of his body on the ground, he then brings himself up into full fighting stance.

The tornadic effect sensed by this potential winged enemy triples itself as the Eye of Agamotto glows in a blinding spark of citrine power. Lightning-orange sigils now hover before his palms and around his wrists, a most ancient writing counter-rotating in direction compared to the outermost edge of the discs. Any loose strands of hair and that signature crimson Cloak ripple.

His spark-lit eyes search the skies for this interloper and…there. The golden band against the shadows draws his attention and he locks onto it.

Like the dropping of the barometer before a storm, he gathers in power and the air becomes close with the taste of Mystical lightning.


And here Jillian thought there was a lot of energy in the air -before-… The sudden change in the lone man, and the outburst of power, very nearly takes her breath away as she sweeps right on past. Once again, hard to see, though that large golden choker happens to have quite a lot to say for anyone versed in Infernal spells.

She's hiding from someone. Someone powerful. In more ways than one, as long as she remains concealed around Strange!

There's another soft shift of air, perhaps ten feet away. Then the darkness gives way enough for two golden-hued slits of light to illuminate from within their pitch shroud. Eyes, not exactly without soul but without any physical definition.

"You are not like the others, Sorcerer. Compared to the faint brush of warmth I have felt within few others, you are as a limitless inferno. Nervous..as well. Have you stepped through the gateway, yourself?"

Despite the creature's entrance there's more a note of curiosity and intrigue rather than a desire for bloodshed. Here stands something peculiar. She wishes to learn more.

Those two eyes tilt, a canting of the creature's head. "A gateway which you attempt to seal."


A shiver down his spine despite the thin flash of teeth between his lips in a snarl. He's reminded of something most definitely otherworldly, not of this reality — and the fact that she speaks make him simultaneously pensive and warier than before. Intelligence is never something to be underestimated in the world of magic.

He straightens from his stance and the pressure in the air about him lessens, though an undercurrent of menace remains as well as the rotating concentric circles around his wrists. He's one bad intention away from a defensive attack. He can barely pick out her form through the shadowy murk surrounding her; it's devilishly difficult and she'd be able to slip away into the nearest darkness with ease before he realized it.

"The day I step through that gateway is the day I bring it down over my head and damn the consequences," he replies tersely. Clearly, his alignment is not with the Hellmouth. "Please, enlighten me — did you step through the gateway?"

Careful now indeed. Banishing is his specialty.


The man's question goes unanswered for the moment. In some situations words aren't necessary, though before any sort of reveal may occur Jillian..actually chuckles. It's a soft, albeit dark, note. "If past experience has anything to say..you probably do not want to do that. But, you do not need to step through it in order to close it. I thought I had recognized the pattern of those wards. You have spent time here before, cutting away at the gate's power sliver by sliver."

Then she takes a step forward, though with the way that the shadows twist and evaporate about her figure it isn't necessary to walk away from it. She's probably just being dramatic, which also happens to be rather easy for her to do! The creature's wings remain relaxed, the glaive which is taller than she is stays loosely held in one hand as more of a walking stick than as a weapon.

No more hiding for her. She's offering him the chance to see exactly what it is that he's dealing with. Obviously something which had come from the other side of that gateway

"Step through? No. Though I may have flown through it. The final piece of my puzzle, for better or worse..my salvation. I will not come between you and your work here, Sorcerer, for I wish to see it closed as well."


All the while, from the deepest shadows of the nearest brush beyond the sizzling edge of the wards, they are being watched. This escapee of the Hellmouth doesn't mind whom it hunts — either being that stands cautiously before one another will satiate its lust for violent death — but the one in the bloody-hued garment is closest, distracted, easier prey. A forked tongue, purpled with the rot that circulates through its veins, slips out to lick at the torn lips, cut by its own profusion of fangs. The prickling thorns of the brush mean nothing to its hairless skin; the catch and drag of contact is ignored as it pads closer still like some demented hybrid between a coyote and monkey. Pricolici, the nomads of eastern Europe call this species; an evil soul doomed to undeath in the middle of forms, whip-like tail its source of power, agonizing pain its succor. Bony shoulders shift up and down in a mockery of a hunting cat as it readies itself for the pounce. A quick knock-down, disable the limbs, and go for the heart. Ribs? They'll snap like toothpicks in its jaws.

Strange narrows his eyes at the being that reveals itself to him. Absolutely not of this reality and no doubt truly from the gateway, as she so nonchalantly mentions. Her wish that it should be closed, a morality in temporary alignment with his? That's completely novel.

"Forgive my suspicions, but when you appear before me with a weapon in your hands and tell me that you want something that no other demonic entity wants, I just can't believe — "

//Schuff schuff — thudditythud — // Feet running at his back and he spins, half a Word from his lips, as a blur of pale-grey skin slams into him with the force of a large dog. The breath is knocked from his lungs and only his instinctively-thrown-up forearm across the thing's leanly-tendoned throat prevents the initial death blow.

Those wickedly-curved black talons still rake across his battle-leathers, parting the fabric as easily as butter, and scraping at his skin to leave thin lines in his flesh. The teeth snap shut once with the sound of wet scissors before the Eye of Agamotto gives the thing a wicked blast of heated Mystic magic. With a yelp, it's flung bodily from him to land about a dozen feet away. Both combatants do their best to get to their feet first. Strange has no idea what the winged creature behind him is up to; right now, he's in the middle of gasping weakly for air and standing up with a wobble.

Counter-signs, form the counter-signs!!! he thinks frantically. His dizzied brain is catching up too slowly and it's agonizing to watch the Chupacabra-like creature shake off his attack and offer him a beady-eyed, nightmarish snarl full of teeth more than four inches long. Beadlets of dark blood well from the scratches visible through his torn clothing.


And just what -is- the Neyaphem doing through all of this..?

Standing. And watching. With particular emphasis on -doing nothing at all.-

"Where else would I keep my weapon?" she asks while the Sorcerer and beast get caught up in their momentary tangle. Jillian's looking rather lost in thought for those few moments, though Strange may never see it. "For what good does a weapon if it is not available when one requires its presence? It would be foolish to abandon it so thoughtlessly. A time may yet present itself in which I would come to appreciate its company. A time such as this one, perhaps..?"

The Neyaphem may be smug, though she is far from immune to harm. Despite being of the soldier caste, such a creature could easily tear the limbs from her body. However..at the moment it happens to be leaving her alone!

The easy route here would be to grab Strange and take to the skies, they should both be safe from such a beast while airborne. It might be the sane, logical choice. Two things which demons aren't particularly well known for. The glaive comes up in both of her hands, a heavier displacement of air following the polearm as she spins it about and tucks it into place before she launches herself into the air.

She excels with fast ambush attacks from above. Against a beast as strong as this, she'll gladly take the higher ground. Get enough speed and the right angle of approach and she'll try to stab clean through the Pricolici.

Until then, best of luck to Strange!


Best of luck indeed! He's tried to wheeze out a few Words, but it's like dragging at the string of a sputtering engine. There's not enough air for him to even finish a single syllable.

The Pricolici seems wary of him now, though still insanely confident (what are demons known for again?) that it has its prey cornered. Blood. Life force. The ease of picking out the metallic scent is chilling and the creature's tongue slips out once again. Pain already laces the Sorcerer's aura. Like a shark sensing the floundering of prey, the creature continues to draw closer in an entrancing show of primal, gut-watering presence. Once within distance, it'll try again, heedless of the sting of the All-Seeing Eye. Just a scratch, after all. The winged being, another of its ilk — it bleeds not, no need to divert its attention.

Strange's hands shiver in the counter-signs of a flimsy attempt to draw up a protection spell. Nope, defensive thinking just won't do it right now. Too many Words! He falls back on an offensive ploy he rarely uses as it requires no Words, but in exchange, a force of will.

Gripping a handful of reality's strings in each hand, he claps his palms together with a grunting gasp and pulls apart the newly-molten strands. This weapon is a whip-like conjuring of liquid light, its essence drawn from the very fabric of the world around him, and just in time.

With an enraged yowl of realization — this prey has its own fangs!!! — the Pricolici moves to attack. It's fast, faster than any earthly creature, and zigzags with an unnerving grace. His eyes are hard-pressed to track it!

With a stroke of adrenaline-fueled luck, Strange side-steps the initial leap. There's no time to press a counter-attack on his part; the creature folds its spine at a supernatural angle and launches itself at him again. Another dodge, but not without consequences; the creature's bulk slams into his arm, knocking his balance askew. A stumble to the side, having to catch himself on his free un-enspelled hand, and Strange is on one knee.

The Pricolici is able to roll through its fumbled landing like some demented side-spun top and rights itself in an eerie flexion of limbs. Another enraged snarl and it crouches low, the reflection of the light whip drawing vertical slits against the beetle-blackness of its eyes.


Truly this would be a most entertaining spectacle, if Jillian had the attention to spare. (Okay, so she has -some- attention to spare but she's still missing out on some of the action.) While she's gaining altitude and banking around..and lining up her attack with a creature that moves much faster than it has any right to for its size..she's also watching the pair down below. This here is what made gladiator battles popular in days long past. It's the sort of thing her own Lord had called upon for his own amusement.

My, how the situation has turned. No longer is Jillian one of those stuck within the bloodied ring upon the dirt!

Eventually she spies a window to attack. Not ideal, but it's a start. There is no warning, no beating of wings or a battlecry torn from the lungs. In a flash of deep blue the Neyaphem reappears, the glaive braced within both hands and both feet as if she were clinging to a massive harpoon. Such an attack would be most devastating to many a creature..if only it were to land true.

Enchanted steel nicks but a scale or two before digging a deep furrow into the tainted earth beside the beast, Jillian's momentum turning from dive-bomb to forward roll to another launch into the air, there and gone within a second's passing. It's a clean miss, though she's not out of the skirmish yet. The lizard isn't the only Infernal with the aid of haste: Miss as she may she still makes for a very challenging target, herself.

This one just may require their combined efforts. If Strange is to stay alive through it, anyway.


The Pricolici's screech of frustration should easily reach the winged being at her height. Even as it bucks and curls into itself, protecting the smoking sliver of missing skin from its thin ribs, it searches the air for her. It has been attacked and defies another aerial assault fearlessly. Its thin tail sings through the air as it lashes back and forth. In its madness, it rises onto its hind limbs and claws up towards the distant speck. Come back down here again, I dare you!!! it seems to snarl.

Distraction is perfection. Strange slings back the light-whip and then, with the force and grace of a sportsman, flicks it forwards with all of the physics his fully-engaged arm can apply. With a snapping crack, he loops it around one of the creature's leanly-muscled thighs, above the bend of its knee, and yanks with force. The Mystical spell-weapon singes like a brand, melting into the creature's skin with unchecked ease, and the thing lets out a wailing shriek that he can feel in his teeth. Wincing as the creature falls into a scrabbling mess, biting furiously and ineffectively at the golden light-whip, the Sorcerer steadies himself and pulls the line taught with both hands. He won't let the Pricolici regain its footing, not this time.

Let the mighty power of the Vishanti's magic shear the creature's leg from it if it continues to struggle. He'll just bring back the weapon-spell and cast again for another disabling blow.


Attacks of opportunity: Something which anyone in combat can put to very effective use, regardless of what it is they are fighting for. From above Jillian can both hear and see the battle playing itself out. She knows when the Sorcerer lands a successful retaliation, which strikes true enough to give her the opportunity she requires.

This time she doesn't swoop in from an angle. No preparations are made should she miss twice. It's an all or nothing lunge at the creature's vulnerable underbelly, a flash of steel and an indigo blur away from a mortal strike.


The glaive bites into the creature's overturned body with such force that the tip of her bottom-most foot sinks into the vicious wound left behind, leaving one winged Neyaphem hanging off of the speared creature as though she were simply hanging off of a flagpole. A rather short one, at that.

Which presents some complication of its own. While the Pricolici may not be able to reach the ground with its wicked claws, it -can- reach closer toward its own chest. While Jillian is pinning it down with her weapon and weight it blindly lashes out with the remainder of its life, gashing the blue demon in several areas and ripping a chunk out of a wing.

For some reason she doesn't seem overly concerned about her own injuries at the moment, giving the glaive a sharp twist to open the wound further still.

"Some things remain consistent between the realms," she hisses.


Mortal blow effectively dealt. The Pricolici writhes out the last of its life attempting to take the one of the successful winged attacker. With a final few weak snaps, the hellish creature shivers in a contortion of death before going completely limp. Its ichor, as black as its muted eyes, flows sluggishly from the huge wound imparted by stoop-aided force.

With a grunt and yank, Strange pulls the light-whip away from the lifeless creature. Even as it retracts completely to him, it seems to fizzle and dispell from reality. Its maker releases the strands as easily as a handful of dandelion fluff. The Sorcerer is left panting, lightly-bleeding, and attempting to reconcile with the view before him.

Demonic being has just slain demonic being. What…in Agamotto's name.

A deep cough and a wince before he speaks, voice roughened by the aftereffects of a sacking: "Why did you kill it?"


What passes for the creature's blood might seem revolting to many. For Jillian it's not repulsive so much as a potent aid. As the last of the Pricolici's life drains away she wrenches her weapon free and turns it about, inspecting the dark fluid coating the otherwise polished metal of its blade.

Then she pulls the mask down from her nose, and licks some of the ichor off of her weapon.

When the next question is asked she turns her head in Strange's direction though doesn't quite make eye contact with the man, perched upon the giant dead lizard like a gargoyle. If he happens to look closely enough at her injuries he would be able to see them starting to mend themselves already. Not immediately, but quickly enough to be noticed with unaided eyes.

"I do not enjoy repeating myself, Sorcerer," she starts to reply in a low-pitched voice. Now she rises back to the balls of her oddly shaped feet, turning toward him as she steps down from the scaly corpse. Her bloodied weapon points toward where the Hellmouth yet lies, well warded..but still very much a threat.

"You have not yet completed your task here. Rest will not find you so easily."

She -did- say that she wanted the portal to be closed! Strange's magic is all over it, already. She seems confident that he'll be the one to finish the job, too.


Another cough and he stands fully upright. The night air is chilly through the slits in his torn battle-leathers, colder still on the drying blood caking to his skin. Strange was lucky that the Eye of Agamotto allowed him scratches as opposed to slices; otherwise, he'd be breathing bubbles.

Lesson learned, and a humbling one at that: the gods will let you bleed for your errors.

"Nor do I. You had no reason to kill it. What, you wish to claim my death for yourself? It would be a decidedly demonic thing to do. Never mind," he mutters, eyes flashing at her. "I'll just banish you myself and then worry about closing the damn thing."

A test. An unfairly-cast experiment in light of her aid. He's been double-crossed before. Let her actions carry weight along with her words. It's prickled him something good, needing her assistance.

Let it never be said that he can step down from ego's pedestal with ease.


That this man would think Jillian wished to kill him, herself is something she can ignore. So long as he gets the job done, does it truly matter what he thinks? She would gladly leave him to his work right now. Except that he says something more.

Something which she cannot ignore.

Something which she -never- wants to hear.

Even though this Infernal wished the man no ill will they remain an easily angered breed, the matter of revenge often one of the first thoughts to pass through their minds. In an instant she darts forward, aided with a sudden shove of wings against air. Hand and tail alike attempt to catch the Sorcerer while the other hand holds her glaive true, seeking to press its dark-stained steel against his very throat. Not to kill… Not even to injure. But to threaten.

He had to have seen this one coming. Regardless if she's attempting to turn over a new leaf or not, not a single demon exists that fancies being sent back to their room. Not even when it's suggested in good humor.

"If lives are so meaningless to you then let us start with yours," she hisses.


He does see it coming and yet he's a hair too slow. A muttered curse of a Word, a grunt of impact, and the tableau is frozen potential violence.

The pulsating purple strands that encircle his outstretched wrist seems to bend from their cyclical course towards the being's sternum, where his palm pushes and fingertips dig with insistence into the base of her throat. About his waist is wrapped that agile demonic tail and his right bicep, the same arm that remains stiff in defensive pre-banishment, is currently gripped by her free hand. Her weight is surprisingly light given the strength he can feel in her every grasping of his person; he's in no position to topple over with his grounded stance.

The scalpel-thin edge of the glaive presses against the side of his neck and every thump of his heart kisses the keen edge.

A good ol' stand-off, it seems, and Strange doesn't deny it. His lips curl in a snarl of a smile. "I hold the lives of every - single - being — within this Realm in the very hand on your throat. Try me, demon. Spill my blood and you will have the joy of returning to your gate, with all of its hellish delights. Or…" His eyes drop momentarily to the weapon so close to cutting into him; moonlight glints from it, otherwise dulled by the stain of old ichor. His gaze flicks up to her again. "You release me, I release you, and maybe I'll reconsider banishing you."


Some Hellspawn get too cloudy in their rage to have a moments' worth of clarity. It's fortunate for Jillian that, in this instant, she is not suffering from such a hindurance. She can't see the hand which has her by the throat, but the soft glow of his magic still reaches her periphery. More than that..she can -feel- the current riding within his touch. An acidic burn to her very skin, right beneath the imp leather she wears.

He knows the dark language.

The threat of banishment is real.

One of those solid golden eyes grows ever so slightly wider than the other. Then, unlike with her weapon, she loses some of her fighting edge. This is not a trick. This is not a bluff.

"Do more than 'reconsider,' Sorcerer, for Jillian has come to your aid. Had I wished you dead I merely needed stay in flight while you became that foul creature's dinner, and you would thank me by returning me to the pit?"

The glaive departs from Strange's neck. Her two-point hold, a bit more reluctant, relaxes and retracts. He can think about her words if he wants. Right now all she wants to do is fly. Get away from this mage before he has a chance to recall her to the Brimstone dimension. He still has work to do, and she still has freedom to abuse.


Strange brushes off the lingering feeling of pressure on his arm where she gripped at him. Whew…he didn't actually have to go through it with it. Still, he fingers the skin of his neck where her weapon had so lightly threatened him with death from a razor's caress.

No blood. No harm. …no foul.

He grumbles under his breath for a second before sighing out a gust that fogs in the cold air.

"Thank you," he calls suddenly towards her, even if she's retreating. It's spoken like it tastes awful in his mouth, but he was raised with manners and they don't desert him, even if he's still conflicted about this being's morality.

It's different, this demon acting benevolently, and it's uncomfortably grey in his world of black and white. Maybe she can grant him a minute's more of trust in light of their stand-off and his withdrawing of his own weaponry. His hands no longer shine with the magic of banishment; he hides them within folded arms instead.

"Why?" the good doctor also calls out, uncertain if she's heard him.

His last words carry across the empty air between them, still ragged from his earlier assassination attempt.

"Guard the park, demon, and I won't banish you! Overstep yourself and you'll find me here again." And let that be a solemn promise. The Eye of Agamotto winks citrine once more at his neck.

With a tired sigh and wince that he hopes no one can see, Strange touches at his chest. "Ow…" he whispers before he counter-signs for the opening of a Gate back to the Sanctum. A dismissive glance is given to the rapidly-melting body of the Pricolici before he steps through the rift in reality and it shutters behind him in a fading sparkle of lightning.

The corpse will be gone with the sunrise, evaporated like the morning dew, and with it, all explanation for the ruckus of this evening.

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