1963-10-16 - The Sorcerer and The Bride
Summary: One does not simply walk into vampire territory. Strange tries and and Dracula sends one of his Brides to deal with the Sorcerer. The arrival of a friend saves the Sorcerer Supreme from much worse than a bite from a Bride.
Related: Once Upon A Hellmouth Plot
Theme Song: None
dracula strange marcus 

Hell's Kitchen. He's finally here, in person, and immediately upon entering this section of New York's many neighborhoods, the Sorcerer Supreme's teeth are set on edge.

It's a creeping sort of thing, the oppressive feeling in the air. Marcus hadn't been lying when he'd brought concern to the good doctor in regards to the happenings of the Kitchen. The collars of his dark coat are flipped up rather than flat against his shoulders as he walks down the dimly-lit sidewalk with careful purpose. The crimson scarf around his neck is double-wrapped, a protection despite its flimsy looks — for, after all, this is no simple scarf. His Sight is kept active, fueled with low-level power like a back burner on the stove, and it's granted him the impression of a miasma of fear.

Strange pauses under the golden cone of a streetlight and looks carefully around him. The subtle glow of power in his irises is far easier to note in the dark of nighttime and his line of sight is easy to track, even at a distance.

Somewhere, deeper within the Kitchen, there's a source of power, another signature that he hasn't come across before. It has a siren-like quality and his eyes narrow in the general direction of it as he sourly acknowledges its subtle machinations on his psyche, even from possibly miles away.

One does not step lightly into vampire territory.


The streets feel alive, somehow. A soft, sooty fog crawls from the gutters and curls around the sorcerer's feet. An unnatural cold licks under the skin, at the nerves, bypassing any garment, no matter how warm. When the natural wind comes, it carries with it a heavy stink of sewer and decay. The streetlamps flicker.

A window slams, and then door. The glowing golden rectangles of windows go dark like eyes shutting, porch lights go out. One can almost hear deadbolts and chains falling into place behind every door. The denizens of Hell's Kitchen are becoming proficient at living in what seems more and more like a real hell by the day. A cat shoots across the street, a furry scrap of life running for cover. It disappears into the shadows under a porch and there is a certain presence to the darkness there, the faint sound of something yowling before silence takes over.

A thin line of frost grows up the lamp post. Strange's breath hangs in the air on the next exhale. Numbness creeps in on the cold that manifests under his skin, draining senses and replacing them with dread.


His frown deepens as he watches the area suddenly react like a turtle retreating into its shell. Potentiality quivers in the air now and he slowly removes his scarred hands from his pockets, much like a gunslinger sensing an ambush.

His breath wreathes him thickly, a result of the rapid drop in temperature. His shiver is entirely natural, a reaction borne of nerves telling him that it's gotten awfully cold all of the sudden and -WAIT.

Far too late to do more than form counter-signs, summon up a swirl of dispelling, and Strange lets out a curse that falls silent to his ears. Even as he looks around him, the numbness of the fog's effects reaches his head entirely and he grits his teeth against a psychic lance against his mind.

Silence. Not even the sound of his heartbeat that now pounds at double-speed. He feels at his chest in a moment of panic — does his heart still beat?! — and finds that his blood flows within his veins. It's a clever sort of spell, drawing on instinctive nightmares hidden deep within his mind, reminiscent to the clash with omniscient Death.

"What in the hell?!" His spoken words are oddly-toned; the accent is there, a thing of lifelong presence within his voice, but he can't hear a damn thing. The vocal cords, they vibrate, but…nothing.

"Omnia sustinet," the good doctor whispers. Any mispronunciation is negated by the force of willpower into the spell and a half-dome of cobalt-blue defensive magic swirls up and grounds itself around him. Within its confines, the numbing fog is negated and evaporates — but the damage is done. The Sorcerer Supreme is without hearing.


The world is oppressive in its silence. The fog rises, swirling wisps of black that suck in the faint glow of the streetlamps. Falling snow stands out like stars against the darkness before it, too, is swallowed up. Winter has come to Hell's Kitchen, cold that saps the will and slows the blood, makes easy prey of even the strongest men.

Prey. The cat trots out into the street again, visible in the thin patches of the fog. It watches Strange, the curl of its tail like a question mark. It has no eyes. Somehow, it watches anyway, out of the clotted sockets, then sits to wash a paw. Its white underbelly is black and ragged, torn open.

The sense of something behind Strange might be real, it just might be fear, then something collides with his magic. Teenagers, young, dressed in the latest fashion, jostling, hammering against his shield. For a moment, they look human, like drunken kids lost on the way to a party. Then, Strange looks one in the eyes — feverish eyes in a bleached-out face — and there is no soul behind them. All of them have long, beautiful white teeth that show when they laugh. They slam their bodies up against his defenses, reckless with hunger.


ROLL: Strange +rolls 1d100 for a result of: 56


He has time to experience a moment of confusion in regards to the cat — a cat is a cat, should be a cat, but this one should be dead, what the hell?! — and then, the vibrations resonate through his shielding like the toll of a giant bronze bell.

Whipping around in place, Strange immediately begins drawing in power. Snowflakes are sucked in from the air around him, even beyond the shield, from a distance that encompasses a radius of at least seventy feet; they melt against the radiant Mystical heat of the spell.

The black coat burns away, beginning at its edges and ending centered above his sternum, not into ash but into unbeing as he assumes the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme. Storm-blue battle-leathers, recently stitched from a demon attack, clothe him. The crimson scarf unfurls and gains volume from nowhere to hang now from his shoulders as the Cloak of Levitation. With a sinister glint, the Eye of Agamotto — along with its bright-eyed wielder — glares back in the presence of such Dark Arts.

Still, the numbing fog, with its insidious touch of lidocaine to the senses, has done its job well. The spell he utters is an attempt to banish the shadowy vampiric influence from the teenagers that hammer and snarl with glistening fangs beyond his defenses. One little mistake, however — the sound of a long O rather than a long U — and the spell takes on a heat rather than a healing chill. It erupts from his hands, traveling through the cobalt wall of power, and strikes at the teenagers like lightning.

They have no soul; they cannot be saved, despite his good intentions.


The vampires shriek, the ones in the fore take the brunt of the spells. Their flesh boils away from their bones and the fire devours them. Flaming bone shrapnel showers outward as they explode and fall into dust in the same moment that they are aware that true death awaits them. Some lucky few, faster and wiser and older, take flight, compressing and collapsing into dense, black bat-forms that circle skyward, out of reach of Strange's flame.

<You are powerful, my Lord.> A statement. A compliment.

The cat is no longer alone. Shadows wind through the fog, marked only by the way their blackness resists the wind that tugs the vapors, thinning them here, gathering them there. The cat casts a shadow of its own, long and black, from under its torn belly. Darkness drips from its eye sockets and the shadow spreads.

<This city is hunting ground to wolves that walk on two legs,> someone says from the shadows. Her voice speaks under Strange's skin, the way the fog touched him with cold before it stole his hearing. <How is it, my Lord, to kill wolves that once were babes? To kill your own kind?> After the voice, a touch like the fog, but soothing this time. Warm, in contrast to the cold, comforting. <Does it wound the heart?>


"Ugh!" A vehement sound of disturbed surprise as the voice wends itself beneath his clothing, leaving trails of goosebumps in its wake like nails on skin. It echoes as from an odd distance to his partially-protected mind. Those exercises in psychic strengthening have been paying off, but he is but a novice to this experienced projection. All he can do is sporadically mute the volume.

Strange shakes his head and tries very hard to find the source of it; if he can spot the true speaker, he can strike hard and fast.

His breath doesn't fog nearly as thickly within the confines of his dome, but the cold remains ever-present and ever-pressing around him. "Better than to let them suffer," he mutters. His throat vibrates, but still — no sound. However, no need to speak any louder; he has the sneaking suspicion that this feminine presence can hear him just fine. "Show yourself — or do you have no heart?"

Cowards, the lot of them, he thinks, even as his eyes narrow at the puddling shadow of the undead cat beyond the edges of the streetlamp's golden circle.


Something dense and massive coasts by overhead, marked by the slow beat of wings so large that the air they move washes up against Strange's defenses like a wave. Looking up, the smaller bats can be seen unfolding into their original forms on rooftops, one perches boldly on a streetlamp. Their eyes flicker red in the gloom.

<Not there,> the woman chides. A sensitive mind can feel something larger behind her. She is strong but she is not the source of the fog. She is one with it. <You will not find me above, that is not my place. I hope you are not shy. Our little play is not without an audience.>

At the end of the street, looping streaks of light cut through the fog, then two sets of glowing eyes. The cat is illuminated from behind and its shadow rushes forward, almost as far as Strange's defenses. The tips of its shadowy ears, curving forward like fangs, stop inches short — if he steps forward, he will meet them.

Beyond the cat, the strange lights resolve into something mundane. Two police cars. Strange can be certain that their sirens were wailing outside of his ability to hear, mocking his deafness. The cars halt like guard dogs on either side of the dead cat, and four officers step out into the street. They're shouting orders Strange can't hear.

<I am a low thing,> the shadow of the cat says modestly. <Of low means and crude tricks. Not as refined as you, my Lord.>


ROLL: Strange +rolls 1d100 for a result of: 83


A sensitive mind is part and parcel for the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme. Indeed, there is a stronger presence at play here and one bearing that signature he initially felt when he'd crossed the boundaries between safety and insanity here in the Kitchen.

Strange knows without a doubt that he's dealing with vampires now. Clearly, he's assuming that this lead-weighted psychic feeling of dread that emanates from above him, prickled here and there by the sharper, less-powered psyches of the youngling-vampires, is none other than the leader of the blood-seeking lot.

The female voice, so sweet and dry, like the lingering scent of crushed dead violets, takes on a tone of delight. It's enough warning to draw his focus from the rooftops above to the shadow of the dead cat, so close and threatening to the edges of his enspelled dome, and he hisses,


It's a sin, to draw in the innocents, and a barbed insult, for them to be those who bear the mortal facet of his own protective stance in this city. Strange slowly straightens into a neutral posture and lowers his hands to the level of his ribs, close to his body. His fingers twitch, trigger-happy, and his mind whirls through spell after spell even as he watches the officers approach slowly. They seem equally trigger-happy. A silvering of willpower is breathed into the cobalt defensive spell and it strengthens further, enough to act as Mystical Kevlar against the chances of blazing gunfire.

He'll need to be fast — it's a difficult thing he's attempting. Annnnd…he watches the body language of the lead officer, who seems to be reaching for his gun now…go.

Two quick gestures — crossed arms before his chest, hands gloved in translucent white, and then a uncrossing that leaves a radiant X-shaped glow of ambient light — and the Sorcerer vanishes behind an Illusory glamour. For all intents and purposes, to the mortal eye, he is gone.

The cement is chilled beneath the knee he drops down upon as he ducks and collapses the spell encasing him. Snow swirls in around him, momentarily outlining his invisible form, before it blows out again in an explosion of pure magical force.

The intent is to knock the officers from their feet, scatter them like chaff in the wind, send them tumbling to the ground and hopefully unconscious — this should leave them beyond psychic control. The low-lying sweep of force should hit them just below their knees.


Sin is the way of things in the world of vampires. In few other places is it so enshrined as both a necessity and a point of pride. The officers open fire in unison — the bullets are well-placed, these are experienced men. The disappearance of the sorcerer is hardly means for them to relent, guided as they are by a power beyond their understanding. They advance instead, only to be blown back before they make it even three steps.

Bones crack, bodies fly, guns clatter and bounce in the street. One hits the windshield of his own car, caving it in; his blood creeps out into the spiderweb of the glass. His partner comes to rest against a lamp post, bent at an awkward angle. The third is wedged under his own police car, the fourth flies over the top and rolls down the back. There is nothing but stillness again — for a second that stretches out until…

The cat twitches an ear, yawns. The vampire on the streetlamp descends like a black bolt, pounces the officer on the windshield and tears out the man's throat. Blood fans out across the hood of the patrol car. The rest of the vampires, as if unleashed by the spray of red, fall upon the remaining hapless officers. There is only so much protection to be had from the mortal representatives of the city.

<Those marked for death will die,> the shadows murmur. <Check your own soul for signs, my Lord.>


ROLL: Strange +rolls 1d100 for a result of: 40


ROLL: Strange +rolls 1d100 for a result of: 43


The bullets all ricocheted from the spell's surface in rippling flashes and the few that were fired even as he collapsed it missed by the sheerest string of luck. There are scuff marks in the cement behind Strange where the ammo whizzed between arm and ribs, zipped a neat rend in the leather of one leg of his pants. Luck, however, is a fickle mistress and denied her touch with one of the last. The tip of his left ear bleeds a single, slow, budding drop where a bullet hit true, taking a chunk the size of half a dime from the outer edge; he'd felt the wind of it drag at his hair even as the burning pain reminded him that he was hit.

For now, he needs to ignore it and steels himself, pushes down the small agony.

"Best get your eyesight checked then, sunshine," the Sorcerer hisses before he rises from his crouch and spits out that same spell, from earlier in the clash, in the attempt to punish the youngest of the undead in their quest to drink from the stunned and bleeding officers.

The same mistake, as before, but this time not offered with guilt — with defensive anger. The ice-blue power licks out towards the fledglings in a bow wave of funneled Mystic might that intends to scatter them like the weaklings they are. It should fly true and hit only the undead; the very meaning of the words draws exception to innocent human flesh.

And I don't fear Death, he thinks, his glare shifting to the dead cat, even as the spell finishes leaving his outstretched hands. She marked me as her own. There's no guarantee that his mental words reach this hidden scion of the Lord of the Vampires. After all, he is still learning in his ability and no doubt it is communicated through the static of his spellcasting and divided focus. Stop hiding and SHOW YOURSELF!

A massive influx of willpower, pure human tenacity and soul-edged intent to draw her out.


Strange's mystic assault on the vampires is successful. Those it does not reduce to dust, it sets aflame with blue fire, sending them yelping into the fog like dogs. They know better than to linger in the face of his wrath. The young may throw themselves at power again and again but they grow old, who know what battles to fight. The last two survivors lurk in the shadows between houses, watching for a chance to strike again, should Strange weaken.

At least some of the officers will survive, broken and bloodied but with stories to tell. Their blood clots in the dust of destroyed vampires that fills their wounds. One groans but does not rise.

The cat is unscathed for the moment, but only because she was not in the line of fire. When Strange stabs at her with his will, it splits her open and she falls into two sad calico scraps — soft fur on the outside, black ichor within. His will cuts deep beneath her, into her shadow, tears it apart from source to edge.

It is as though the cat and its shadow were a veil over reality. The truth behind the broken illusion emerges, stepping into view wreathed in that terrible black fog. Whoever she is, the fog licks at her fondly, trails behind her like a cape.

The Bride is tall, exquisite, and pale. Her hair, black as the fog, is swept up only to cascade back down in midnight spirals. She is modestly dressed, shining mail over velvet robes that swirl around her silver-toed boots. In her hand she carries an archaic weapon — a beautifully wrought war axe balanced by the star head of a mace at the end of the shaft. It has a power of its own, it serves as wand as well as weapon.

The Bride swings it slowly as she walks the path of her own shadow toward Strange. <I am here.>


His throat bobbles even as Strange draws back a single step, the only concession he allows the approaching vampire. Her aura, to his Sight, bubbles with oily slicks of the Dark Arts and he sighs slowly as he straightens his shoulders.

Practitioner to practitioner then, a battle of wills and wiles at the speed of thought and voiced Words. He can do this…he thinks.

Curse the undead's devious results of the fog. He's not a lip-reader in the least. She won't even use the same hand gestures as he does, perhaps not even at all if her prowess stands with certain spellwork. Her words ring again with the muffled echoes of sorcerous skill and he flicks out his hands into shining, white-golden points of impending Mystic retort to anything she throws his way. His stance, martial, hints of Eastern defensive hand-to-hand combat within the lines of his readied feet and the set of his torso.

Do your worst.

Must he really state this? Tsk — ego might get him into trouble.


<The world has not seen my worst these many centuries.> The words hum along Strange's nerves. The Bride swings her weapon in a lazy arc, inscribing some vile sigil in the air. The incantations on her lips are incomprehensible, even to those who can hear.

Strange's own shadow, cast by the watery light of the streetlamp above him, thickens and becomes one with the street. A tarry void opens up beneath him, hot and horrible, stinking of sulfur.

One moment, she is some feet from him, the next, the mace end of the weapon is coming at his skull. She is close enough for him to smell her, crushed violets and old books mingled with the hell-stench of the anchor his shadow has become.


The Sorcerer Supreme's eyes widen a little at the sense of slippery menace that draws up the back of his neck like the tip of a dagger. It's a race against time once he sees her weapon on the move, his lips forming Words of defensive countering, but —

His balance is offset the very second that the once-firm surface of the cement weakens and then gravity enacts its inevitable pull. Up to his ankles in some sort of hellacious muck!

Strange has time to utter a grunt of effort in his attempt to pull one leg loose and then he looks up. Time slows and crystallizes in the way that only adrenaline can provide. No, wait, in the manner that the Eye of Agamotto can provide!

It seems that the gods aren't leaving Strange to have his fun alone.

A surge of citrine power fills his body and the good doctor is able to get one hand on the haft of the weapon. He'll change the arc of the blow, but still need to duck with some wildly-uncomfortable torque of his spine, seeing as his boots are still entrenched firmly in the sulfurous muck of his mutated shadow.

The breeze of the passing morning-star is laced with pressed flowers and rotten eggs. Strange is able to catch himself on one hand, with its impact beyond the sticky reach of the blackness beneath him, and with the other hand, outstretched in counter-balance as well as counter-attack, shove a hastily-contrived neutral bolt at the Bride's torso.


The counterstrike meets its mark, the shining plane of the Bride's breastplate. The redirection of her blow, and the magic behind it, has her off-balance — she did not expect mortals to be quite so strong — and so the strike drives her back and away from Strange with all the force of a car going full throttle.

The Bride keeps her grip on her weapon, though, and its momentum does resonate through Strange's body.

He hit her hard, but how hard? Surely not hard enough for her to dissipate in a silvered mist when she strikes the almost-solid wall of fog closing in around them. But gone she is. Her weapon falls to the street — it should ring like a bell but the sound never reaches Strange. Her magic lingers there, in the weapon, glowing like a brand.

And then, before the weapon is truly still, thin knives — ten, two sets of five, black and curving — sink into Strange's shoulders from behind. Darkness wraps around him like another cloak, a weight is on him, surely she cannot weigh so much, and then fire blossoms in the left side of his throat.

It feels as though the pain explodes out from the vein but it is the Bride's teeth that sink into his flesh and cause the wound. Before the information can fully manifest in Strange's mind, the poison is already moving in.


The Sorcerer really should learn to put his back to a wall when he's fighting. Surprise is an element used effectively against him, sometimes with dreadful results by an experienced foe.

Her weight drives him forwards, onto his knees, and then his body seizes up in an instinctive rictus of agony. He's blinded now too, by this wrapping of living shadow about him, and claws frantically at the double set of long nails that have driven themselves effortlessly into the fabric of his battle-vest. They prick at his skin, still healing from his last brush with demonic foes.

The pressure of her unhinged jaw against his neck pushes his head to once side, drives the fangs in deep enough to touch one of the many nerves, and agony blinds him further still. There's a sense of foreign substance now and the second it touches his heart, Strange's body jolts again. His pupils constrict into pinpoints even as his irises flood with spring-green light.

Not yet, comes the brush from farthest distance, that feminine voice of omniscient peace. Not yet.

With a guttural snarl, he shoves his light-limned hand up into the face of Bride, so easily reached in her current position. The most vicious spell he's summoned yet — parts banishment, parts Mystic Arts, all pure and undiluted from the font of his human soul and all that indomitable willpower that makes him Sorcerer Supreme.

No demon he's crossed paths with yet has resisted the branding of this attack. It should be enough to force the Bride to disengage if not scar her permanently.

Should the Bride scarper, she leaves him kneeling on the pavement, clutching at his bleeding throat, clearly winded and panting from the drain of the spell. Easy prey for the waiting younglings in the surrounding shadows.


The Elementalist had heard something was going down with Strange. In his search to find the good Doctor, he's came across increasing numbers of vampires, which really had halted his ability to really try to catch up. So he's late to the party, a party that he didn't even know was going on. In his roaming of the Kitchen he's come across this battle between Strange and…someone. Another vampire? A woman? He's only just arriving to see the man almost get his throat ripped out. "Holy shit." he breathes from standing at the top of a building, looking down at the strewn bodies, cop cars, and all out desolation.

But from his vantage point, seeing the weakened Strange, the woman running away from whatever spell he put on her, and then the other vampires closing in on him. And he feel his eyes suddenly bleed into red, the fire brand on his shoulder starting to glow through his hoodie. And then his eyes start to swirl with yellow, and the glow from his air brand ignites. There's this certain churning, a certain pull of magic in the area. And it's coming right from him. "You will not fucking touch him!"

A column of fire surrounds Strange, protecting him, as Marcus leaps off the building, buffeted by a cushion of air that takes him down to the ground. Hands held infront of him, the column which seems to rise as high as the buildings are tall, starts to twist around the doctor. Faster, and faster, until it's become something of a tornado made of flames, churning and spinning. The wind kicks up, pushing the police cars away. The blending of red and yellow has made a blazing orange in his. The tornado grows larger, higher, faster, torrents of elemental fire burn at the walls and street, blackening them.

And the elementalist screams, pouring more elemental energy into, causing his brands to burn holes in his hoodie. Elemental fire burns the fog away. Streamers, tendrils of fire from the tornado shoot out from the main column, lashing out and lancing at whatever undead vampire that happens to be coming for the Doctor.

"YOU WANT TO SEE HELL? I'LL SHOW YOU HELL." Whatever worries about cutting loose Marcus might have, he's lost them at the sight of fight almost dying.


Strange's spell is like a fistful of sunlight smashed into the Bride's face. She screams as the flesh peels away from her skull, her eyes drain away, and then she is silent when the fire eats down to her throat and steals her voice. Her claws rake at Strange in reflexive, animal fury before she falls away.

As soon as Marcus emerges, though, a great form swoops down out of the sky from where it had been circling above the fray. It is a bat with luminous red eyes and bared white fangs. Even though Strange's hearing is impaired, he cannot miss the shriek of it descending.

The bat scoops up the Bride in its claws and soars skyward again, making for the center of Hell's Kitchen. The Bride hangs limp in its grasp, her long hair trailing like a flag. Blood and her burning flesh spatter a line down the middle of the street before petering out near the corner.

The last of the young, the wiser pair of vampires, were creeping in to take their chances with the sorcerer when their hunt is interrupted by the elemental storm. They scatter, shrieking, for the shadows as his fire pursues them. The fog seems to ignite with the attack, swirling in the wind, catching the flames. It rages briefly, setting fire to leaves and to the fallen men who only now are returning to their senses. The body of the cat is consumed entirely — a thin feline shape made of ashes whisks off down the street and disappears into the night.


It's the near-disappearance of the air around Strange that makes him look up blearily to find his entire view of his surroundings suddenly obscured by a furious wall of elemental fire. He winces away from it before realizing that, within the eye of this pyric tornado, he's safe — very little heat, as if…

Closing his eyes, the Sorcerer's flickering Sight finds a familiar signature, Marcus!, beyond the superheated barrier surrounding him. The Bride's oily presence is gone on the winds; he has no idea where she's disappeared to. Even the two younglings vanish within a heartbeat of his search — he assumes that Marcus has brought justice to them.

Stumbling to his feet, he able to grimace and whisper a ragged Word to aid in his voice reaching through to the Elemenalist.

"Marcus," his voice carries, rough with pain and exertion, beyond the flames. "Marcus, control it. Once they're dead, release me. I need…I need to get back to the Sanctum."


Teeth barred, Marcus walks through the fire and the wind, unaffected by it, enough to see the figure carrying the woman off. "YOU'RE NEXT! COMING FOR YOU NEXT!" And yeah, the wind carries his voice so he makes sure that Vlad hears it. But for now, he stands in the eye of the storm that protects Strange. Blazing orange eyes flares brighter, before of his hands close into fist, and he screams again, causing the tornado, churning and growling like a raging elemental inferno to break and expand outward, into more like walls of fire that extend outward, filling the streets of fire, pushing it and burning anything and everything in it's wake.

But the voice of Strange rings in his head. It's so easy to cut loose. The Elements seem to relish it, thrive in it. They are chaotic and wild, and he can feel his body vibrate and shake with the depths of power that he hasn't even touched yet. But the word control burns in his mind and slowly, the fire begins to subside, the wind begins to settle and all that's left is a perfect circle of untouched pavement where the two stand, everything else around them is blackened and charred. A hand waves, causing the air to stir, reaching and extinguishing any fires that're still burning.

As for Marcus, he's suddenly gasping, panting, the color in his eyes returning to a more normal blue hue. "Doc…damn."


It's silent now in the streets of Hell's Kitchen. Scorched brick and metal and melted rubber from tires and the glistening of rapidly-cooling melted glass surround them. Streaks of ash remain of the vampires.

Silent all but for the gut-deep panting of the Sorcerer Supreme. His hand still covers the animalistic bite mark on the left side of his neck; it doesn't prevent a few rivulets of blood that slip from beneath the pressure of his palm.

He can hear himself breathe now. The cursing loss of his hearing is gone, along with the heavy malevolence. All have retreated, for now. The ambient sounds ring loudly to him.

"Thank you…Marcus…" Every swallow is painful; the Bride definitely nicked a nerve along with injecting whatever foul substance now seethes in his veins like a touch of acid. His entire body hurts.

Slowly, stubbornly, he pulls himself to his feet. His shadow is his own but for the remains of tarry goo that cling to his knees and boots with insulting smell intact. Strange has to catch himself on the nearby light-pole for a moment to stay upright. He's pale, but clearly won't lie down and die easily. "The…Sanctum. Meet me…meet me there…as soon as possible," he rasps. His gaze flickers with a sense of dizziness to various points around him before he grimaces, hiding away for a moment with a tuck of his chin. "This is…we need to discuss the vampires here."

Regardless of Marcus's response, the good doctor has just enough juice left in him (perhaps aided by the Eye) to open a Gate in the air before him. The Sanctum's Loft can be seen through it. He stumbles through it before the spell collapses and winks out, leaving Hell's Kitchen once more in the ever-capable hands of his fellow Elementalist.


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