1963-10-24 - The War Council of the Wizards
Summary: In the aftermath of the Hellmouth's growth, Dr. Strange and Merlin convene a meeting of the minds on how to deal with Morgan Le Fay and her magic.
Related: Something Wicked, all of Hellmouth plot arc
Theme Song: None
strange merlin wanda marie-ange thor 


It's not quite a Round Table in the middle of the living room with its roaring fire in the hearth, but it'll do. It's old enough, worn in places, dented and scratched with rough use - and currently piled with leather-bound tomes, some closed and some open.

The call had gone out earlier today, through various means. The wards contacted the current roommates of the Sorcerer Supreme the moment they set foot outside their rooms or entered the Sanctum. A spell composed of black feathers and whispers had flown off to the north. Yet another had been released into the air, fated to make it way as needed to whoever would answer. A final summons, mentally cast, went off towards the Institute.

As the guests join him, they'll find Strange standing before the table, staring down at an open tome with an intensity rarely seen. A newly-healed scar still stands bright on his forehead, proof of his brief sparring and bone-jarring impact by the detonation of the wards he'd so carefully tended and strengthened time and time again against the Hellmouth's incursion.

The Eye of Agamotto about his neck glows sullenly, as if reacting to its wielder's low-burning anger that makes his eyes turn ever-so-slightly silver in color. He wears his storm-blue battle-leathers, mended to newness - the crimson Cloak remains upstairs, resting after last night.

As each guest arrives, the wards of the Sanctum will allow them to enter and give them a curious once-over before leaving them be.


Black leather pants, burgundy leather coat, corset: these are the armaments of a modern knight of the round, at least in this incarnation. Her helm is a garnet-studded headband, her weapon a dagger being twisted around and around, the point resting against her fingernail. Black fingerless gloves at least give some protection.

Wanda Maximoff is not having a good day. Or, by some other measures, it's a fantastic day.

The wards will probably be direly unhappy with what they find: a titanic aural impact scar of earth magic, mindcraft, glittering probability, and a chaos scar a mile wide. They can endure.

She heads to a seat, dropping down to sit. Leg crossed angularly over her thigh allows for a sharp triangle to be designated between her seat and the table. The collar of her coat hides the litany of bruises down her back, though not the scratches, each needle fine, left on her boots as though she were attacked by pixies wielding cocktail swords. "I have decided I dislike grass."


Dressed in his usually attire, staff in hand, Merlin enters the living room. He waves his hands at the wards. "Blasted things, you know who I am!" There's a sullen look upon his face. He's not happy either. He can't believe the bad luck cast upon them after the events of the previous night. He knows something must be done, and he knows that the current Sorcerer Supreme will require some of his knowledge to get things done.

"Round tables are more aesthetically pleasing, just so you know." He grumbles.

He looks to Wanda for a moment, looking her over, before taking his own seat. For once, he takes off his hat, placing it on the table in front of him. Along with his sullenness, there's a tired sadness about him. For those who can see it, his aura has taken on a blue colour, which is quite different from his regular sparkling magical aura.


The cards work in mysterious ways, sometimes. The call to come to America was an example. Today, however, Marie was given Very. Specific. Direction. So surprising to her that she even attempted a second consultation; and she drew the exact same cards, in the exact same order.

Fate was guiding the little seer, and it would not be ignored. So she gathered her things (it wasn't hard, really) and obediently followed the call. She was the stranger here — at least she would be to most of the arrivals — so it was her duty to introduce herself once she was allowed into the Sanctum, and came into view of the others.

"Monsieur. Madame." she offers, bowing her head demurely as she stands before the Not Quite Round Table. "My name is Marie-Ange Colbert. You do not know me." You tell them, Captain Obvious! "…but fate has called me here today. How may I be of service?" Notably, she doesn't sit; she makes no assumptions. It would be rude!


Strange eyes each and every one of his arriving guests with thunderously thoughtful silence. He gives Wanda a sideways glance holding a silent question; no doubt they'll talk later over why grass is so distasteful.

To Merlin, he grants a nod and a fleeting smile. "I'll consider that next time I host more than two guests at a time." His voice is low, quiet, still slightly rough from last night's clarion spellcasting.

Now, the young woman named Marie-Ange is new to him and no doubt caught by the free-flying whisper left to the autumn winds. The Sorcerer Supreme looks her over and then squints, searching her person with the Sight. Ah - potential. There was quite a bit of potential there. He's pleased and his lips rise into a smile that remains. "As the guardian of this Realm's fate, I appreciate you coming, Miss Colbert. Please, take a seat," and he gestures towards one of the free chairs.

It's not all who were called, but beggars can't be choosers, even in the face of a cataclysm.

His cheekbones show briefly as he grinds his teeth and then stands tall in his place, arms folded tightly across his chest. "Welcome to the Sanctum Sanctorum, those of you who are new." To Marie-Ange, specifically: "I am Dr. Stephen Strange, Sorcerer Supreme of Earth. Tea can be found on the stand by the fireplace." He nods in that direction before his steel-blue eyes flick over his guests.

"Everyone, this is a War Council. Last night, Morgan Le Fay, an enchantress with skill I have rarely seen, not only destroyed my wards, but also expanded the Hellmouth's influence and summoned the undead. She's behind this whole…fiasco." Probably not the word he wanted to use, but they are all polite company. "I have a plan to permanently banish the Hellmouth from this Realm and reality, but Morgan poses a very difficult barrier herself."

A brief tightening of his eyes, quick glance and away from Merlin. "I know enough about her to know that I will need your assistance. You were called because you possess abilities that can aid me. You don't have to face this danger if you don't want to. I won't make you. But if you do, I can promise you my utmost best at keeping you from harm while we ensure this Hellmouth's erasure."

A sharp sigh. "It has been a blight in my Realm long enough."


"Better balanced than a triangle table or a rectangle." Anyone can place Wanda as eastern European, but pinpointing her exact origins therein takes more work. Not Bulgarian and not Ukrainian, too rounded for Russian and too harsh for Czech. "No one has advantage this way. That is the idea, yes?" Another twirl of the handle of that knife puts her perilously close to a bleeding crater in her fingertip. A mere slip and disaster might wait.

The chair creaks when she turns in the seat to observe whom-else joins their fandango. Corsets are not meant for dramatic twists or leaning, but she accomplishes a look through shadowed eyes towards ancient legend and unknown. "Hello." That makes for a friendly greeting, as does that bold, open stare that almost waits for Marie to drop into a seat or hide in the corner.

Another twist of the dagger, and the hollow blackness in her eyes dances with the lightning storm in scarlet spellfire. "I am Wanda, called sometimes the Scarlet Witch." Reputation follows that name in some corners of the world, nothing compared to the others here. It's a name that blows on an idle breeze; theirs are howling gales and maelstroms.

"What we cannot see haunts us." She flicks her fingers into the air. "The darkness is spilling into the city gives cover for demons. The Hellmouth has changed. Louder, now."


"A consideration is all I ask." If this were a normal day, Merlin would most likely be more adamant about changing the table immediately by way of magic, but there are certainly more pressing matters. He offers a little smile to Wanda. "'Tis the way of it, yes. That is part of it. No advantage. With round tables, it is also the idea that none there are better than the other. A knight no better than their squire, a king no better than his most lowly of citizens." He explains.

He tilts his head at Marie-Ange. "I know you." He immediately switches to French and says, "It is a pleasure to see you again, young one. I only wish that it were under better circumstances."

Right. Back to the Hellmouth and Morgan. And to speaking English. "Morgan Le Fey is not to be underestimated." He knows from experience. "She is powerful. Extremely powerful. As is the Hellmouth that she created. But even those with power have weaknesses."


Oh, hiding in the corner might be Marie's choice in some occasions, but not today. Today, she was /meant/ to be here, and now invited, she obediently slips into one of the open seats and makes herself comfortable. The offer of tea is considered, but she opts against it for the moment — the aura in the room seems a bit too tense to relax fully.

"A pleasure to meet you both." she replies politely, before offering a small smile over towards Merlin; she hasn't forgotten /that/ man and his kindness, either. " «There are no bad circumstances, Monsieur. Only circumstances that we are bound to experience.» " As Strange goes on to tell the story of why they've been summoned? Marie grows quiet. This… this explains quite a bit. Some of the darker readings that she's experienced of late. Even the… creatures… that she ran into in the park. Fate has a way of tying the strings together when one waits for it. At the moment, though, she's absorbing the information. She's the newbie here, to say the least.


Inasmuch as he wishes it didn't matter, it does. Of course Strange wouldn't have chosen a round table first - blame it on the hubris. He's quite used to being in charge.

With a whispered set of words, he places his splayed fingertips atop the surface of the table. It morphs with sudden fluidity into a perfectly round design, still managing to keep all of the tomes atop it as well as not jabbing anyone or knocking anyone's balance askew. "And now we are equals in this task."

He brings his scarred hands behind his back now and paces as he talks. "Wanda is correct. The influence is spreading and it will cause panic like we haven't seen. No doubt the undead I saw last night will be wandering in the dark hours. They need to be contained. But Merlin is correct as well - there are weaknesses that we can exploit. This is magic of the Dark Arts, not the Mystic Arts. It abhors life and light, continued existence, anything that's the antithesis of death and shadows."

He extends a hand and with a sudden flick of his wrist, a singular tome floats from the pile. The pages rattle as they rapidly open to a certain set and then the tome centers itself face-up on the table. "This is the brief summary of Morgan Le Fay, as told by Geoffrey of Monmouth. Merlin, I assume you're familiar with the telling?"

He hopes that Merlin can share more information with the group as a whole.


The shift in the table's shape brings a slight arch of Wanda's eyebrows. Add it to the list of yet more questions to cover later. Sooner or later they'll have something akin to an actual calendar to follow, she and Strange, though her dark honey-brown eyes travel over the sorcerer's various wounds while ignoring her own.

At least the physical ones. Her tense shoulders and clipped bearing are illustrative enough for ongoing cares. Slowly her feet hit the ground and she forces herself to sit up. The dagger goes into a sheath at the side of her leg, tucked away nicely.

"So we wake up the earth? Counter by growth?" Her arms cross, and she does not touch the books until bidden.


As the table changes shape and becomes circular, a genuine smile crosses Merlin's face. He looks to Strange, a glint in his eye, and he nods to the man. 'I thank you for the gesture, Sorcerer Supreme. It shall not easily be forgotten.' He sends this message directly to Strange's mind, so that only he can hear the words.

"I am familiar with Geofrey of Monmouth's writings, yes. Is this Vita Merlini? Is it in the original Latin, or have you had it translated?" He's curious, as he's seen the original, as well as many translations.

"All that is good and life affirming is the opposite of this Dark Magic. As such, we shall use it to counter her works. So, in a way, yes. Growth is a part of the work we must endeavour upon here. Life is sacred, and the Dark Arts seek to destroy it and bring back life which is not life."


She's seen strange things; blankets, demons appearing out of thin air. Men who could set paper on fire with just a touch. A table that changes shape as if it were made from a sculptor's clay? It gets a curious glance, but no gasp, no shock… but a shake of her head at the explanation. "Non, Docteur. You say this is war, we must know the roles we play, and the cards have spoken; my role is to serve at your pleasure. To do as told. You," she motions to the other three at the table. "are the Generals," There's a look towards Merlin. France uses different ranks for its armies, so she's not sure she chose the right word.

Otherwise, she sits and listens. Absorbing the information. Morgan Le Fay. The Hellmouth. There's a question, though, and she timidly raises a hand. When addressed, she speaks, "Forgive me for my lack of knowledge, Docteur… but you mean light, such as the brightness of the Sun that shines upon us, or something more spiritual?" She wants to be sure. …if it's the former, she can /definitely/ help there.


The wards… Thor's type of 'magical aura' is something yet again unique, and the door to the Sanctum is rapped upon by the Prince. In hand, a note from the already returned raven that had borne it. This is a place he's been before; no question, then, as to reason or import. A request of presence made (a sword?), as offered the last time he and the good Doctor had spoken, is now a request answered.


He glances to Wanda sitting to his right-hand side. Their eyes meet and hold and he offers her a small half-smile, reassuring. Strange can tell she's tense and so is he, mirrored Mystical practitioners in discomfort at their world uncontrolled around them.

To Merlin, a subtle nod and the low sideways comment of, "Original Latin, possibly one of the few in existence." This is said in a moment of pause between conversation. He nods at what the Wizard has to add to their planning. Indeed - light and life, this is how they will counter Morgan's works.

"No need to raise hands," he says to Marie-Ange with a laugh that seems to surprise even himself. "Yes, all Light in all senses. Sunlight, it shares warmth and grants life. Moonlight is merely reflected sunlight, starlight is distant sunlight - all light. Also spiritual light, as from the soul - willpower," he adds, holding up a hand and wreathing it in silvery magic that sparkles. "Vampires particularly hate this."

He opens his mouth as to continue, but then pauses, his eyes flickering to the front doors as the wards bring him tiding of not a sword-maiden, but a Prince. "Your highness, please, come join us," and the words are taken by the wards to the front door, which swings open of its own accord. Thor is welcome to sit at the table as he pleases - or pace. After all, he and Strange do share a pacing tendency.


"A general, me?" Long fingers folded together rest upon the backs of her gloved hands, and Wanda disregards all propriety putting her elbows on the table. Her mouth hides behind the steepled ridge her knuckles make. "No. Not important." The position deprives her of a little dignity in favor of more gravity, adding to a paltry sum. The split ends of her claret leather jacket shiver and turn as she looks upon the space above the books.

"Make life," she says to herself more than anyone else. Musing at the table, how ghastly a disordering of her senses because the hodgepodge of famous personages is too great a burden. Saying your highness is enough to make her bump the underside of the table with her knee and put both feet on the floor.


Looking at Marie with curiosity, Merlin smile gently. "That's the correct word, yes, if you were going for a military example. However, at this table, the magic that binds us and brings us all together, well…" He chuckles softly. "We all bring our strengths. We are all in this together." He tells her, as he glances around at Wanda and Strange as well. "And we are in this with all those beyond these walls. The work we do, we do with and for them. We may not have songs sung or tales told about what we do here, but we all have important parts to play."

Merlin turns once more to Strange, nodding his head while he glances at the book. "I know this book well. And I know the stories even better. I've lived them. Breathed them." His voice shakes and his breathing becomes slightly ragged. "I saw Morgan's story come to fruition. It was one I wished not to live again. The Fates, it would seem, have decided to bring her back into my own story, however. I shall be meaning to speak with them firmly on this matter."

He sighs. "But for now, we must work. There must be a reason you bring these stories up, Mister Doctor Strange? Do you have an enquiry to make of me?"


"Oui, Docteur. As you wish it." Marie brightens visibly as her theory turns out to be correct. Now she knows why she was called here. She digs for a moment before she produces a small velvet pouch, and slender fingers withdraw three cards from it carefully. The Sun, The Moon, The Star. It's certainly the kind of light that the girl can produce — as wills go, she's likely the weakest in the room by a mile. The three Rider-Waite tarot cards are laid on the table thusly.

"This is a service I can provide. As Monsieur Merlin has borne witness to, I can," A look is given over towards Wanda, along with a brief smile. It's nice to not be the only non-native speaker in the room. "…not only use the Tarot to divine the days yet to come," and recieve invitations, it seems! "but also make the cards themselves come to life."

..then there's the issue of 'Your Highness.' Manners take precedence as Marie jolts up from her seat, turns, and performs an elegant curtsey towards the room's newest occupant — simple deduction names him the royalty to whom Strange refers, and she quiets on that note. In the presence of royalty, you do not speak until spoken to.

Oh, and she /wants/ to chime in after Merlin's words, especially as they pertain to what she interprets as Fate itself — Fate is absolute to her, afterall. But her choice to observe decorum spares the wizard this time, and she simply listens. Listens and tries very hard not to scrunch up her face. One must put the proper display on, afterall.


The door opens to him, and as Thor gains entrance, he rumbles his greetings, "Strange.. all.." Those he has not yet met. Inclining his head at his host's own greeting, he takes the few steps to the table, but he doesn't sit. He is a pacer…

"Stories? Of what purpose to the stories?" Thor's missed some of this, and bright blue eyes land upon each in their turn. "Do we fight with echoes of stories?" After all, there are stories of him, so there are multiple truths to be found within histories now long considered myth and legend.

It is Marie's rising and curtsy done to him that brings a quick smile to his face and he inclines his head. "Please.. take your comfort. I am here upon request of Doctor Strange," and a nodded gesture is given in the direction of the man himself. "If you are present as well, he will require your words."


It's with a wry sense of a smile that Strange returns the nod given to him by the eldest Prince of Asgard.

"You know well enough of how stories can offer more than just a late night's tale to entertain," he replies to Thor with a note of amusement in tone. He appreciates how cordial the Asgardian is to Marie-Ange; the curtsy is still new to him as well and the good Doctor isn't quite used to the formality. The idea of bringing Tarot cards to life…? Fate indeed. This is an avenue he's sure to pursue.

"I bring up this story because it contains facts, not just fancy." Now he addresses everyone once more. "Merlin, correct me if I'm wrong." A rare grant to another practitioner on his part. "Morgan Le Fay is said to be only partially human, related to the Fae. We need to take advantage of this fact in particular. Cold iron is anathema to the Fae. Magic may hold her, but we cannot hope to banish the Hellmouth entirely without obliterating her connection to it. After all, she has woven some of her own self into the construct. It would be the only way to retain such control over it. Destroy Morgan, destroy the Hellmouth's connection to this Realm."

His steel-blue eyes flick to Thor. "I had hoped that the Lady Sif would lend me her sword-arm in this instance, with her most tempered blade containing the iron. Is this possible?"

At the next opportunity, he'll explain precisely how to contain as well as wipe the Hellmouth from existence.


Standing up as Thor arrives in the room, Merlin bows to him, while giving him a glance over. "Prince Thor Odinson, I presume? I am Merlin of Camelot." He says by way of introduction. Sitting himself back down, he says. "I've stories about me and those who surrounded me in the court of Arthur, just as there are stories about you, Prince Thor."

He offers a nod to Strange. "The stories are true. She is part fae." He says quietly. "Metals shall weaken her. But she is not unintelligent. My apprentice shall most likely expect this tactic, and as such we shall have to be careful in how we enact it. She knows that I know her well, and she knows me well. But we can use all of this to our advantage."

After a short pause, Merlin speaks up again. "My apprentice likes to…what's the phrase? She's got a penchant for the dramatic. We should be able to use that against her."


"Of course, Your Highness. Thank you for your kindness." Marie replies, before taking her seat once more at Thor's bidding. Formality is something they taught Marie quite well back at the convent, even if many other lessons that might have served well at this table were scrubbed clean of any mysticism or banned entirely to keep outside influences from 'corrupting' the children.

Which is why Strange's words make her stare a bit blankly. It's a lot to take in, stories of Camelot, of Fae, of Magic and Hellmouths. She has much to learn about the mystical realms, perhaps even more than she has to learn about the new country she lives in.

There's one thing she /doesn't/ have to learn, however, and given how Merlin seems to have not met this… 'Thor' before? She tries to help the Royal save some face, half-whispering in an attempt for only him to hear. "Simply call him 'Merlin', Majesty. 'Ofcamelot' is not his surname."

Then her attention goes back towards Merlin and his speech; nodding quietly. Drawing all her cards, now, to start shuffling them. If Merlin and his apprentice (this Morgan person?) know one another so well, perhaps knowing what's to come will aid them most.


Marie-Ange shuffles her Tarot deck.


For Thor, those that don't do some sort of obeisance in his presence is strange. The fact that Marie did so is something rather refreshing! And now, Merlin. His head cants and as he stands there, there is that dawning awareness, and his smile grows. "I have heard of thee, Merlin of Camelot." The stories, after all! "'T'was a loss. I would have enjoyed a battle with your men." Yes, he fully believes that stories have been passed down! Oops.. too late? Thor looks down at Marie-Ange with a touch of 'Uh oh?'.. but he recovers well! Right?

The Prince pauses in his step, and the smile shifts into one of those 'so true' expressions as he dips his head yet again, but when the information comes, brows crease as he follows along, stringing things together. "The Lady Sif and myself are on diplomatic missions to the other Realms. Jotunheim is causing us a great deal of concern, but I can see how this would be a priority." He exhales in a breath and looks to the Merlin again, "A ruse, then. The sword could be enchanted.. say, converted to aught else, which would hide it's true nature? In that case, it would not be the Lady Sif who would wield it, but my brother, Prince Loki. He could get the closest with a cloaked weapon."


There's a reticence to Strange's pensive stare that he gives Thor in light of the news of diplomatic missions. And here he thought that the youngest Prince wanted nothing to do with the Hellmouth. After all, hadn't he just sent back a missive with Lady Liv about being certain to close it?

"It's an interesting approach, your highness. My concern would be Morgan's liking of illusion magic. She is no mere caster. I'm also concerned that she may be able to directly affect reality with her illusion magics, given her abilities. If illusion is how your brother would attempt to sneak close, I'm not sure it will work. I had hoped to draw Morgan's attention myself, so there would be no special need to sneak up on her. After all, Merlin mentioned her penchant for the dramatic. I have no doubt that if I had a moment of weakness, it would draw her to me like a moth to flame."

He sighs. "Allow me to think on it while I explain my plan."

Strange then rolls up his sleeves. With the raising of both his hands, palms lifting upwards with controlled grace, the ambient light in the room darkens as the fire in the fireplace lowers. The silvery magic swirls outwards from his hands to collect in a writhing orb in the center of the table. It shines bright enough to line edges and curves throughout the room in gilt and starlight. As he speaks, it illustrates his words visually, demonstrating the topography of the Park as well as the Hellmouth and his planned counter-attack to its recent growth.

"Those of you with Occult knowledge will recognize the Hellmouth as a gateway into this Realm. Any gateway can be closed, but this door must be forced closed and locked firmly. The wards that I originally circumscribed around the Hellmouth are broken, yes, but they've left remnants and I can take advantage of these." A swish like a burning fuse sparks into a visible circle around the three-dimensional Hellmouth. A five-starred sigil then sinks down into view and latches into place beneath the Hellmouth, each of its points connected along the circle. "Once a pentagram - now a pentacle." Strange nods, his face backlit by his magic. "Elements contained by human will. It will be easy enough for me to introduce the addition of sanctified water with Himalayan rock salt and a specific herbal mixture. I will be the conduit of the spell, seeing as I need to be touching the ground in order to draw from the ley lines within the Park." Spreading argent veins suddenly branch beneath the image of the Hellmouth enclosed. "I can attach myself to these ley lines and then channel the power of Gaia into this new ward, not only containing, but forcing everything caught within its limits to return to the Hellmouth. I won't be able to fight anyone but Morgan once she's caught within the wards." His expression grows closed, shadowed. "I'll need to be protected. I can't be distracted, not for an instant. Her power is nearly if not equal to mine in this Realm." The good Doctor swallows and then, with a regretful note, "She would be a candidate for the mantle of Sorceress Supreme if not for her inability to keep her hands out of twisting the fate of this world."

Let that sink in for as second.

"It doesn't matter what happens to me. She is a master of illusions. Unless the wards fall, I am fine." The last three words are stressed. His steel-blue eyes shift to Thor once again, following the Prince's pacing, before he looks at each person in turn. "I ask a dangerous thing of anyone who chooses to wield iron against Morgan. If they are to engage with Morgan and slay her physical body, they'll need to be within the wards. I may be able to drop them momentarily or they may need to stay within them from the start. I'm uncertain as to which." Cornered. No escape once within if overwhelmed. Strange's magic will single them out and avoid them, but no other magic will. It's yet another sobering thought to add to this melange.


"I am sure that the knights of the round table would have given you and your warriors a mighty battle, Prince Thor." Merlin responds, giving him a nod. "They were skilled mightily. I'd like to believe they were some of the best warriors in all the realms."

He chuckles at Marie. "I am usually happy to just be called Merlin, this is true. But 'of Camelot', when used as two separate words, can be used as a title for myself, and can, as such, be used when addressing me, in an official capacity." He explains, hoping that he explains it well.

"My apprentice," he says, finally looking back to Strange, "is not the only master of illusions. I can match her skill any day. As I am sure, if stories hold true, Prince Loki can. There are many ways to keep her distracted while you work, Mister Doctor Strange."


When she's unable to save Thor before he goes down a similar road to the one she did? Pale cheeks redden. Well. At least she /tried!/ A demure smile is offered back up to the Prince in turn; of course he recovered well. He's Royalty. It's what they do, even if they hadn't!

As Thor and the Sorceror Supreme speak, she continues to learn. Taking in bits and pieces of information and weaving them together in her mind. Every bit and piece serving to shed a little light on the many puzzles that the seer has yet to solve. She doesn't understand /everything/ that Strange speaks because of her lack of knowledge, but the magical pictures helped her understand, as well… and she thinks she got the majority of it.

"I fear I am not gifted in the physical arts." Marie offers, almost mournfully at the admission. "But my cards can act in places where I can do little. Perhaps my contribution would be best served working in your defense against outside forces?" She's not sure, but this is what she's surmised so far at least.

Then Merlin having caught word of her attempted warning to Thor? Causes her to go further shades of red, eyes turning downcast. "Mon dieu!" she yelps, startled by being called out on it. When Merlin explains, though, she nods… and nods… then laughs softly. "You Americans… I fear I will never learn enough of your strange customs.'"


"Loki's conjurations are not merely illusion, Doctor," Thor's not sure if he's reminding the Sorceror or giving him new, specialized information. "When he changes something, it is, for all intents and purposes, changed." When Merlin follows and backs his words, the Prince pauses behind a chair and takes hold of it loosely.

"You speak of closing the hole, but there will be a weakness there all the same, regardless of what is done. Is there a way to not only seal it, but to place something before it. Something that would cause ill should any attempt be made to approach it once more from the other side? Like a cork upon a keg. Or.. a guard upon the door. While the door may be unlocked, there is something that bars the way."

Magic has never been Thor's strong suit; long has he relied upon his brother there. Or his mother. Or Amora… and he has none of those before him now. What he does have, however, is Merlin.. who speaks a little more plainly than Dr. Strange does, and seems to have the same understandings.

Marie's blush gains a lopsided smile from the Prince and a quick 'I got this' nod, ostensibly in thanks. "You were not called to offer muscle, Lady.. support where your strengths lie."


The good Doctor gives Merlin a more focused glance as he processes his statement; it would be true, seeing that Morgan first learned from the Arch-Wizard, that he would be extremely competent at casting illusory spells. Perhaps they won't even need to borrow an Asgardian at all… It's a risky thought, one that has him momentarily chewing on his bottom lip, and he quickly centers himself to a neutral expression. He's very certain not to look to his right, towards the abnormally-silent Wanda.

In regards to Marie-Ange, he nods at her through the wispy magic hovering at chest-height to his standing stance. "Yes, that would be best, Miss Colbert, as the Prince mentioned. If your strengths lie in the defensive magics, then your aid in protecting me is welcomed." He grants her a fully-charming smile, rarity from Strange in these dark times. It's nice to have support.

Thor is granted a singularly-arched dark brow. "I wasn't aware that your brother could literally change reality around him." This is news to the Sorcerer Supreme. "I'll have to speak with him about this the next time we have tea. As far as sealing the weakness in the veil of reality at the Hellmouth, that is how my pentacle will work. As long as I remain alive, that particular place will remain impenetrable from all angles - there will never be another Hellmouth at that location in Central Park." Kill the Sorcerer Supreme, unleash the Hellmouth again. At least all the weight is on his shoulders, as it should be. After all, it is his mantle.


"I am not American, child." Merlin tells Marie, shaking his head. "Technically I'm not even British. But…" He glances at the group. "That is a long guarded story that is best told at another time." He clears his throat. "As for your work on defending Mister Doctor Strange, your help will gladly be welcomed."

He nods to Thor. "We shall certainly find ways to ensure the Hellmouth remains closed." He sighs and frowns at Strange's words "And should our friendly Sorcerer Supreme find himself incapacitated for any reason, and unable to keep it closed? I suppose I shall be called forth to take his place. I bare a brunt of the responsibility. Morgan…she was my apprentice. It comes to me to ensure that she does no more harm and to bring reprieve where she has wrought havoc."


As the others see to agree with Marie's assessment of how she can best help, the girl from Lyons nods to herself, too. "Then I know how I may serve." she confirms — and then it's back to listening mode for her. There's a lot of information here for her to absorb, afterall.


Thor nods in Merlin's direction even as he speaks to Strange, "He speaks the truth. A passage to Midgard should not depend upon the well-being of one man. It should be closed and locked through time." The rest of the older magician's speech, however, gains the Prince's attention and he shakes his head. "While the actions of an apprentice usually fall upon the master, you cannot see all that will be done beyond your sight. Knowledge and faith go a long way, but in the end, there is freedom of movement." That said, of course, Thor can completely understand the responsibility born upon Merlin's shoulders. He, too, would feel the same way.

Marie's acknowledgment of her place gains the slip of a girl another ghosted smile before he turns fully, finally, to Strange, looking beyond momentarily to Wanda, and back. "If there is nothing else, Strange? I shall take my leave. Send a raven once again when this band begins, and I will do my best to fill in any holes that you may require." Yes, it's Strange's operation!


His steel-blue eyes linger on Merlin and his lips rise in a rueful smile. Accepting help. He's still learning, even when he doesn't want to. It is not a thing lightly spoken that Merlin would take on the mantle in his absence.

Strange gives the eldest Prince of Asgard a neutral smile. Unspoken, he wonders at the Bifrost and its far-sighted keeper. Doesn't that entail a passage which depends on the well-being of one man?

"My well-being is immortal. I'm not concerned, especially if your brother is able to aid as needed. Have no fear, your highness," and he pulls the silvery magic back into himself with nothing more than a thought. The room slowly brightens once more with ambient firelight. "The Vishanti have a stake in this reality. The Elder Gods will bolster my ability to sew the veil shut." After all, he is Doctor and neurosurgeon, skilled with sutures on a minute level.

Leaving his place at the table, the Sorcerer walks over and offers a hand to Thor in genuine gratitude. "I require nothing else at the moment, your highness. I appreciate you coming in Lady Sif's stead. I will send another raven should things change."


Thor has left.


Standing as the Asgardian asks about leaving, Merlin stands and gives him a bow once more. "It has been an honour, Prince Thor Odinson, God of Thunder." Once Thor is gone, he sits back down and looks at Strange. "You realize I'm immortal as well? I believe, with the two of us, there shall hopefully never be a chance for it to reopen. But, we should still have a plan should neither of us be around any longer." Asgardians do make good points every now and then. Or perhaps more than every now and then.

"Now? How about tea? I know I'd like some!" With a snap of his fingers, the tea set behind them starts making him some tea, with sugar and cream, and the cup floats over to his outstretched hand. "Ah, perfect. Thank you." He nods to the tea set and sips on the drink.


After firmly shaking the battle-callused hand of the eldest Prince of Asgard, Strange escorts him to the front door. It closes with a soft click and he walks back into the living room with a tired sigh. Merlin addresses him even as he pauses between the Arch-Wizard and Marie-Ange at the table, choosing to stand rather than sit, and he nods. "The plan is for the Vishanti to offer their power atop mine and seal the veil. You were once Sorcerer Supreme, don't you remember their clout? We can talk though, over tea." It's a solemn promise. Strange never reneges on tea except in emergencies.

Speaking of tea! The good Doctor watches the tea set get to work and the cup float loftily over to the Arch-Wizard's hand with a small smirk. In an accompanying summons, he draws the entire tea stand itself, on rolling wheels to beside the table. Now it's in reach of anyone in need of a nice cuppa. "Excellent idea, Merlin," he murmurs before glancing to Marie-Ange.

To her, he grants another smile that borders on fondness, laced with curiosity, curved by goodwill. "Don't feel small. If your powers truly lie in the command of Fate, you are aid beyond measure to us all. It's no small thing that they told you to come here." He looks across the table, towards Wanda, who has been listening all along. Now there's a noticeable softening in his gaze. Clearly they'll need to talk. Then it shifts to the others once more. "It might be a terrible fight and someone might get hurt. Scratch that, someone probably will get hurt. But…we'll get through it. I appreciate the help," the Sorcerer adds. It's getting easier to say.

His pacing takes him around the table and to where he stood before, when the Council began. His expression has lightened as has his tone, though it doesn't lose all of its steel. "Rest up. I have a feeling that we'll have other things to deal with before we step toe-to-toe with Morgan."

How correct he is.


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