1963-10-29 - Closing the Hellmouth
Summary: Magic of great power comes to close the problem haunting us all
Related: None
Theme Song: None
strange marcus wanda illyana marie-ange storm morgan 

-— New Activity ---
The world is nearly silent in New York City this Halloween. Officials had advised citizens to stay home until whatever was going on in the Park was resolved.

Over the span of the week, the Hellmouth has been growing in size and influence. Darkness has consumed the Park as well as the blocks surrounding it, and it seems to be expanding. The encroaching dark creeps as the world below rumbles and shifts. The tremors have become par the course as the earth complains against the push and pull of whatever magic causes the Hellmouth to grow.

The perimeter of the Park has been well guarded on each side. Like an ambling army, the dead, having been called from their final resting places, line the edge. And when the darkness grows, they slowly move — following the shadow and its influence.

The corpses vary in their range of decay with some missing half of their faces and others lining the space with nothing more than mangey skeletons. Blood lines the pavement that they tread, and those who fall get added to their number — making it a seemingly impossible army that has grown exponentially as government agencies, including the national guard, have attempted to intervene. The smell of death and dying follow the space downwind from the would-be army — a cautionary call to the world on a very dark, very nerve-wracking Halloween.


Ablutions, done.

Hours spent meditating and finalizing last-minute changes, done.

Bootstraps pulled up, spine steeled, mantle worn?


On the fringes of the the heavy darkness that enshrouds the park, a crackling spark of lightning appears with insulting brightness and expands outwards into the oculus of a Gate. Out steps the Sorcerer Supreme, armed for supernatural bear. Already, a spell wreathes his hands in lightning-blue. It's reflected in his irises and in the whipcrack of his voice, pitched for the others behind him to hear.

"Once the shield is down, go! Make a path to the Hellmouth!"

This is a guerrilla attack, out of the blue - literally. "CONFRACTUS!!!"

His Mystic spell, resounding with thunderous force, slams against the invisible forcefield put up by the sorceress who originally broke his wards. Tit-for-tat, he can hear the whining complaint of her casting reach a high pitch and then implode.

The shockwave washes over him like a wind before a thunderstorm, smelling of rain and tasting of ozone.



Marie-Ange draws Five Pentacles.


Marie-Ange draws 16 Tower.


Marie-Ange draws Eight Cups.


The storm comes before she does: high above, in the sky, clouds both dark and light form, and they turn slowly around and as they do so they build force. Perhaps it is nothing, perhaps it is nature, but — it seems as though it is all centered here, upon Central Park. Or perhaps that is a trick of perception.

But by the time Ororo Munroe arrives, the sky boils with its fury. The rain comes in force, and the thunder shakes the glass of the buildings that surround the park. She comes by air, the wind carrying her with ease; a figure in all black light armor, yet with the wild wind-swept hair of pure white that almost seems brilliant in the night sky. It is her eyes are truly alight, though: luminescent and pure they show with white light.

And the rain does not touch her. Not a drop.

Storm is not sure why she is here, but as she touches to the ground with an easy grace, she regards the … hellmouth, some call it? Her gaze is severe, but it does cause the light of her eyes to fade into their more typical dark blue. There are others coming as well, and she sees Strange and his gate and regards it for a long moment.


Illyana gathers eldritch power into her hands the moment they step out of the gate, her face set hard, brows drawn down in readiness for the confrontation. Amythyst light flickers and coalesces into a thin blade she draws from literal empty air, resolving itself into a whip-thin fragment of energy that looks more fire than force, resolved into the rough shape of a blade. In her other hand, curling fractals of sapphire force start winding into a coiling spring so bright it sears the eyes. Black shadows curl around her wrists and legs, resolving into the grim outlines of a semi-transparant armor plate.

With a strangled yell of fury, Illyana's first attack follows on the heel of Strange's, a ball of light that flies a few dozen yards skywards and explodes into light— bright white— day light, as intense as the midday sun.

She had readied herself for it; hopefully, her enemies had not.

Illyana gets a running start and leaps forward, holding her blade aside with a two-handed grip, and an explosion of force and yellow light sends her literally flying through the undead army with shocking velocity. Her sword a becomes a glimmering arc of light and magic that leaves a slashing path of coruscant destriction in her wake as she sets her sights on the biggest, ugliest brute nearby.


As always, Marcus has the same thought that he always does whenever he comes to the Hellmouth. 'I shouldn't be here'. For reasons, some of which people are aware of. He and Hellmouth do not mix, and already he feels the tug, that pull as the brands that have made him who he is vie for contention and control over who he is.

But this time it's a bit different. He's meditated, he's learning control, and he's not the raw-boned former soldier who doesn't know what from what when it comes to being an elementalist. Growth through trial and error, or merely just the fact that he's been practicing a lot. Thank the good Doctor Strange for help on that one.

Still, he's here. He doesn't exactly like being here, but he is all the same. From nearby there's an explosion as the power of elements erupts from him, wreathing him in flickering flames of elemental fire. And if suddenly channeled, the fire and wind sigils burn through his hoodie, the influx of power making his eyes glow a bright solid orange. What's summoned is a veritable torrent of elemental wind and fire, slowly churning and burning, leaving burnt ground in it's wake. And incinerating everything that happens to be undead in it's to blackened charred smear on the ground.


She stuck out like a sore thumb among the mystical brigade, but it didn't matter. The cards had spoken, Marie was to be among this number, and while she may be dressed in a simple sweater and skirt combination, she, too, was loaded for bear as she stepped through the gate. Pouch in hand, fingers already dipping into it.

The Five of Pentacles starts the assault, as five pentacle-emblazoned discs materialize in the air in front of the seer. They hover for a moment in a circular motion, before whipping directly at one of the corpses. The decay of the body assisting in making the discs able to literally sink through the flesh and rend one foe inert.

As that manifestation vanishes, Marie draws from the pouch again. The Tower; that would be useful, but more useful later. It's tucked behind the pouch. The third draw is the Eight of Cups; these she chooses to manifest, as eight golden goblets come to life in mid-air. Marie quickly moves into position a couple steps behind Strange himself, and directs the goblets to circle them — acting as a sort of shield, with metal slamming hard into any undead that tries to get in their way.

There's no words from Marie, here. She's ust going to be a good little soldier. Concentrating on keeping the cups (and herself) in the proper motion, rather than just how frightening the corpses are. The cards said she needed to be here, so clearly she would be safe, even against such fearsome and… odoriferous foes.

The cards are never wrong.


Cobalt lighting mixes with the searing garnet nimbus already oscillating around a young woman in a long leather coat. Where the two mystic stormfronts collide, they overlap in streams of heliotrope, throwing wisps that writhe in a dervish dance. Her halo laps against Strange's gateway for a moment, redoubling the illumination spread out ahead of them.

Ephemeral haze engulfs Wanda's gloved hands, neat mudras selecting fine threads from a tapestry visible only to her. An eldritch sheen rolls over her eyes, narrowed against the sudden cascades of rain tumbling down to soak the poisoned earth. Little of the battlefield is not subjected to her Sighted scrutiny, her perceptions altered to the mystical spectrum to determine whether protective spells lie in wait like landmines buried under the earth or hidden threats linger under the night.

For but a moment, she glances to Strange. A curt nod confirms his request, and the witch holds out her extended palm, fingers upright and thumb angled away. The other rests to the side, thumb crossed under her curled index finger, a deliberate, slender motion.

Ripples of sanguine radiance sweep away at the speed of thought, concentric rings that go pouring outwards to forcibly part whatever interference might think to close upon the coterie. The Red Sea doesn't only part for biblical patriarchs.


As the mystics' cascade circumvent the wall of zombies thanks to the now-collapsed forcefield, some of the dead turn. Heads without flesh snap around one-eighty-degrees to catch sight of the breach within the Park. A pint-sized skeleton screeches and sprints towards the group — the first in a small horde (the majority remain at the front line) that pursues those in the middle of the Park.

Fire stalls them when the heat reduces them to complete ash, a process that, thanks to magical intervention, is not an easy one. As flesh burns and falls from the walking dead, several of the skeletons, still alight with flame move forward.

Assault in all its forms, plays against the bodies' well enough — slow but effective. The rotting condition makes it possible to dismantle them one step at a time. It makes slow work of the bodies, but then they aren't ambling forward.

In the centre of the Park, just adjacent to the Hellmouth, Morgan Le Fay floats six feet into the air with her hands extended into the sky. Her long green dress — more of fashion in the Middle Ages than the 1960s — with large bell sleeves matches her eyes and floats beneath her almost like an ethereal angel. Yet nothing about Morgan Le Fay would seem angelic.

On the ground below, monster-trees, brought to life through some dark magic, protect the entrance to the Hellmouth, and the sorceress above.


Strange is in there casting spells along with the rest of them. Bolts of all types blast through the lines of undead that rush them again and again.

A quick head-count: everyone seems to be holding their own. He had stressed that he would be able to aid up until he directly engaged with Morgan. After all, with her prowess on par with his own, a distraction could be literally fatal to him.

The rain is both handy and unhelpful all at once. It conducts the Mystic-electrical spark of his spells from groaning corpse to shambling headless body with unrelenting speed and leaves behind charred, spasming undead in his wake. However, he's already slipped once. The Park's grass is being churned up into a mire of slick mud.

In a whisper of will, the Cloak kicks in and the good Doctor rises into the air. It grants him a broader view of the Park and - there. There she floats, standing sentinel by the portal she ripped into his world and attended in turn by undead trees.

The air is warped to carry his voice to all, including her. "To the Hellmouth! Stay on your guard!" And the Sorcerer Supreme whisks into flight, a beacon to lead the team of practitioners towards the luridly-glowing Hellmouth in the not-too-far distance.


Marie-Ange draws Two Cups.


Marie-Ange draws 9 Hermit.


Illyana leaves a twisted trail of destruction behind her, a violent rocket of magical and kinetic force. Where that strange artifact in her hand passes, sweeping crescents of light linger in the air. That blade, the Soulsword, seems to hunger for even ossified cadavers and shambling wretches alike; where it passes, magic falters and fails like an empty wake behind a ship slicing the ocean.

Her explosive fireball trajectory flings her at a towering wretch composed of dozens of spare body parts, an abominable mass of flesh and sinew forced into a mockery of life. Illyana's sword slams into the creature's breastbone and she checks it in the chest a half-second later with superhuman strength, striking with shoulder and knee. The great beast groans in pain and slowly topples over, slouging apart into roughage more suited to an abbatoir than a melee as her sword hungrily drinks the magics holding it stitched together. "Da! Am on guard!" Illyana shouts, flicking her blade in pair of whipping, scything arcs, laying low six skeletons surging at her from all angles.

She glances at the path of destruction hewn behind her, then her eyes flicker to Marcus, vaguely recognizing the man. Her brow furrows but she beckons him to move up to her fighting position, momentarily cleared by the shock of her impact against the rotten heap on the ground.

She opens her mouth to speak, to bark some command, but then spots Ororo descending into the fray. Her eyes bug wide and her jaw hangs loose, and despite her armor and the fierce mien of the battlefield she looks shocked as a child.

"'Ro?" she whispers— and then goes sprawling sideways when a zombie's arm swings and blindsides her, clobbering her two steps into a sprawl on the mud.


Ororo keeps back, behind these strangers who come to fight the creatures of darkness. But that doesn't mean she does nothing: once more her eyes glow alight, and the wind captures her white hair, and she lifts a graceful hand to gesture to the horde of the not quite as dead as dead could be.

It becomes cold. Very cold. High above the storm seems to be reaching down, the wind circling the whole of the park in its rage: but here, at this place, the heros an villains alike seem to be in the eye of the descending storm. Yet this eye is not a place of safety.

Storm lifts a hand, the gesture graceful in its way, and before her the winds come at her call. Look, its a zombienado. They might not die but they are terribly less then effective with that much wind spinning them around. Every so often a bodypart might go flying, which is a little gross, but Storm can handle it.

For the moment, focused, she doesn't quite notice Illyana. But she's working on the zombienado, so it should not be seen as an affront.


A soldier knows when to push when the time is right. The fire tornado dissapates, leaving only blackened ground in its wake. But it leaves more than plenty of undead to take of. Fueled by the proximity to the Hellmouth, his elemental castings becoming more and more visceral by the moment, as he walks forward, footprints of fire are left in his wake. His hands extend, and suddenly various undead and skeletons alike are cut to ribbons by gusts of elemental wind so sharp they rend flesh.

None of them get close enough to him, either their burnt to cinder or cut apart. His hoodie is all but tatters at this point, all four brands glowing so bright the veins in his body start to glow. Eyes shift colors rapidly from one element to the next. Eventually he finds himself taking up a position near Illyana, giving quick nod before his hand allow lances of fire away from them, or closing his fist to compact and crush a group of them within an earthy shell.

But he does pause, looking up at the sorcessess atop the knarled living trees. A squint. Then, as if he's shaking something off, he goes to what he was doing. Which is more or less breaking as much undead stuff as possible to let Strange do his thing.


As the sight of smaller foes being involved in the fray catches the attention of emerald eyes, Marie twists her card-holding wrist slightly, adjusting the angle at which the cups dance around herself and the Doctor — at least until he takes flight. Yes, she /could/ get up there… but she'll remain on foot, instead. Initial plan changed, she tilts her hand forward as she marches through the park — probably slower than the others, but her concentration's focused more on keeping the embodiments of her cards in motion than herself.

With the change, cups are hurled forward at her foes in a manner that would make Denton "Cy" Young himself proud — until he were to realize that Marie's projectiles are intended to /hit/ her 'batters' (the undead!), rather than blow past them. As contact is made and manifestations dissolve, she draws again. The Two of Cups is used in a very similar manner — another pair of goblets is flung towards the horde, whichever of their number comes closest to her.

There's other people here. Voices that she /doesn't/ know. There's a quick glance around to determine intention — the undead are obvious, but one must fear the living more. Judging Storm and Marcus to be on their side from the actions they're taking, since the cards are being used for /other/ purposes now, she draws again… and this time the Hermit comes to life in front of her.

Clad in a white, hooded robe and armed with lantern and staff, he walks as she walks. Serving as her personal vanguard. The first thing that tries to get near, however, will be the target of the Hermit's lantern —with the intention of breaking the tool against them to set that first fool (not to be confused with the Fool!) aflame.


The battlefield shares something in common with a classical composition, ruled by its own tempos and the overwhelming presence of so many instruments. Animated trees thrash about in their bleak awakening. Winds score paths with a howling voice of their own against the soul-steel solo carved by Illyana through masses of desiccated bodies. Attempting to perceive any section at once would consume a mystic from attempting anything else, thus Wanda stays to her delicately wrought part while Strange conducts them all.

Propelled upwards by a bolt of energy, she seizes upon her improved perspective. When a flank of undead press too close upon the circumference of the clearing, Wanda crosses her wrists and pulls in the gravitational waves to herself. Force converges in a spinning planetoid, its very instability marked by the wobbling spin, and incandescent rays flow in and out of her. Timing for the performance is everything. Groaning and howling cadavers in their ponderous lentos stumble, contrasting the building allegretto tempo of her casting.

Radiant tongues dance over those rotten, yellowing skulls and the matted patches of hair glued to decomposing scalps. Inverted staccato bursts capture their bodies, and she concentrates while suspended midair to the inversions of pressure demanded by capturing the spell at its apex. She braces, the contained force arching her spine in mute agony, and diagonally sweeps her arms from shoulder to hip.

The witch demonstrates a classical exercise in Macedonian battle strategy — divide et impera — as she flings the combatants airborne at the converging animated hardwoods, opening a wedge for her compatriots to exploit. For the occasion, she festoons the undead upon the oaks and maples. So many somber grey marshmellows and ghost pumpkins act as pincushions, liberally tossed in here and there for effect. Fleshy bodies stud branches and bony ribcages foul long boughs, possibly ripping away the pointier ones.

Could it be the younger Maximoff twin is having fun, plying her chords over the battlefield? She very well may. Weirdo.


A crack of magical green lighting, electric and angry comes down in loud cracks that Le Fay governs towards those encroaching on her person. As the heroes close the distance, those closest to her can see the reflection of fire in her eyes. Her hands, still extended into the air calls to power as she draws from the ley lines beneath the earth's surface.

The earth rumbles, complaining as she continues to drive the Hellmouth forward, willing it to extend and move. Her endgame, still not realized, has her maintaining her place above the world as she wills her tree monsters to do her bidding. The large, branch-laden trees swipe at the heroes below. They uproot, moving the ground where they rise, and they ripple the earth where they snake and move.

Morgan's eyes hone in on Strange, and for a moment, the bolts into the sky stop. "Sorcerer Supreme — " the timbre of her voice has an other-worldly quality, a collection of many voices, male, female, old, and young, as she speaks, drawing on the energies of those she's brought back from the dead. " — your army is ill-equipped, the world is permeable, and you have nothing left."


A barrel roll helps the good Doctor dodge the first blindingly-bright crack of verdant lightning, but he has to whip in an arc to avoid the next and then the third is deflected with a hastily-discharged counter burst of silvery energy that still leaves him tasting metal and shaking numbness from his fingertips even as he flies onwards.

Crisped blades of grass, long dead from being trampled/spell-riven/back-blasted by broken wards/generally killed by the oozing reach of the Hellmouth, fly up in a puft from the sudden hovering stop of the Sorcerer Supreme, just shy of the reaches of the creaking trees. He can see their branches begin to twist, clearly itching to take another swat at him. All about them hang the flung and impaled bodies of undead, several of them still quite convinced that they can extricate themselves from the spears of pointy branches that bisect them.

Strange gives the Scarlet Witch a brief glance over his shoulder and raises an eyebrow, torn between mildly-disgusted concern and being wryly-impressed. She's making a very twisted point.

"Nothing left? That's quaint," he calls out, his Mystically-lit eyes flicking to Morgan and narrowing at her. "You know, your fascination with the dead concerns me a little. You don't need to share it with us. Why don't you go back to hell and take your friends with you?"

He needs to get closer still, beneath the flailing boughs of a huge old oak tree, in order to execute his plan.


Illyana flings the stagger into a roll, coming up with a swiping cut of her blade that drops two skeletal attackers into a rattling pile of bone, her sword undoing the enchantments binding them together.

"Marcus!" Illyana shouts at her temporary ally, never stopping her pacing— she strikes with speed and fury at anything that draws near, hauling him along to keep up as Marie and Wanda join the fray— the question of Ororo will have to wait.

Time for a moment of battlefield focus. "Keep up with Strange!" she shouts, beckoning the others to join her in a mad scramble.

"Marie, guard the rear!" she shouts at the woman wielding the Tarot like a weapon. "Wanda, left flank, I take right! Marcus, burn a path for us!" the diminutive blonde sorceress orders, positioning herself in the vanguard of their little squad. She aims her sword for Marcus' reference— a heavy oak that seems to be Strange's destination, the path obstructed by dark trees and snivelling forest imps and wretches.

She screams with a fury and focus that belies her petite size and lashes out with a snap and slash of her Soulsword, each powerful blow from that unholy relic felling an undead monster on the spot— and periodically she cuts loose with an explosive short-ranged burst of lightning flung from her left hand, emulating the style her mentor's chosen to adopt.

The weather's certainly helping, anyway.


Tree monsters? That's … different. Storm solves that problem simply: she wills the wind take her into the sky, and she soars up, wind and hair dancing in the sky. For Ororo, flying is almost effortless, she has but to wish it and the winds take her. That's fortunate, for controlling the rest— the zombienado and the descending winter storm— takes considerable effort.

That descending storm is full of its cold rage, but it does not touch most of the zombies, tree monsters, or heroes who are at the center of the winter's fury. Soon enough it becomes clear it is meant as *containment*, and a dangerous bit at that, for ice forms within the encircling winds, a ready threat. Does zombies want to brave the blizzard? If so you will get the crap beat out of you with hail that grows bigger and harder and sharper by the moment.

But all of this, it taxes Ororo, with her hands held up, one before her— holding the zombienado— one behind— holding the blizzard. She will permit not a single member of this horde to reach the city beyond if she can, but attempting that is as much as she can handle.


Marie-Ange draws 14 Temperance.


Marcus is good at taking orders. And yeah, trees are really flammable, so taking the head of thing, he allows himself and his aura of flames around him to burst into flames, as a campfire suddenly being doused with gasoline. The ground in a ten feet circle around him suddenly ignites on fire, melting and glassing over at the extreme heat. About ready to ignite the air on fire at this point.

With strained yell in exertion, he unleashes a withering torrent of elemental fire, squarely aimed at the trees that he's been pointed out to light up. At least, that's his intention, anyways.


Marie-Ange draws Six Wands.


She had been doing /so/ well, too. That was, until Morgan changed her plan of attack and used the very trees themselves against her enemies while Marie was concentrating her focus on the undead. One hefty branch swings — driving down to, and in fact /through/ the Hermit as the old man disappates into mist, and into Marie herself, knocking the seer into a roll that would be comical if not for the dire stakes.

…and she'd just recently gotten cleaned up, too! No fair! A muddied Marie stands carefully, one hand clinging to cards and pouch alike with a death grip, the other rubbing at her shoulder where the tree landed it's blow.

There's a glance up ahead when Illyana calls out her name; orders, she can follow them with the best, and it's time for another card to assist in that. "Oui, mademoiselle!" she yells forward. Temperance. It /was/ time to fly, afterall. She summons forth the white-robed angelic being, first moving to cling to the heavenly creature's back as it stood on the ground before her, and drawing once more even as it took flight to carry her up and over the tree line, staying towards the rear of the pack as instructed — but /above/ them. The Six of Wands took care of the ground game, as six wooden staves form and move into position behind the good Doctor — threatening to whallop any foes who come near, or intercept any blows directed his way, as needbe.


"Yes," calls the witch on high. Hovering above the reach of most undead has its benefits, not the least avoiding clawed hands or offal and suppurating gobbets of stinking fat and burning muscle dripping off the horde. Wanda blindly thumbs the leather flap of a belt pouch, hooking her finger under the button and tugging upwards. Fingers scoop out a stamped ceramic object about the size of a nickel, which she presses to her palm until it cracks.

"Copalicor," she whispers.

The bound spell escapes as a floating magenta wisp that immediately streaks ahead of her on a bumbling path, meandering around to touch one trunk. It flits past a bough and the flailing severed arm impaled on a wooden spike, headed to the next, shedding fading fuchsia dust in a yarn trail. Sparks and embers from Marcus' cyclonic rage spill over the distance, guided by the cross-breezes of the freezing storm.

As it wanders, she utters a hushed incantation. So far her environmental effects cleared paths and redecorated with decidedly gothic sensibilities — or Gothic, a possibility given her Eastern European origins. Soft syllables clash upon her tongue as she remains calm in the storm, almost drifting with the chaotic troughs of energy surging beneath the airborne mystics. Pain angles over her features, hollowed out in extremis to reveal the height of her cheekbones. She mentally forks fresh mystic pathways between the flame spells, then connects them to the magic-cordite trail winding among the trees. Marcus' radius just grew exponentially, bifurcating and splitting, again and again.

Pearlescent feathers glitter in the corner of her eye. Wanda cries out, "Watch!" Her hands strike together with a clap, the embers blooming like fireworks as the whitefire spreads among the canopy from tree to tree, branch to branch, igniting wherever the curling, loopy magenta signature touched as fast as the eye can see. She keeps pressing forward after Illyana, shepherding the power in a flaming wave, singing her prayers to the earth.


A sly smile edges Morgan's lips. "They're not my dead, dear Sorcerer Supreme. They're yours." The serpentine expression furthers and a sinister flick of her wrist calls something else forward. "And you will be a wonderful addition to their number," her head tilts slightly, patronizingly, like a mother who has just corrected her child or told them a fact plain as day.

A long howl announces the presence of a wholly different horde as the large wolves lead the way for a second army. The second string — reluctant and not as bent on following Morgan's will — is far more animalistic than the first. Necromancy had brought the dead to life. Demons, beasts, and long squid like beings seen only in a child's worst nightmares trail towards the casters to thwart whatever plans they intend.

The permeability of the spirit world opens further, a feeling that each of those gathered can sense. The change is palpable as the hour drags on, and as the sky overhead shifts, the alignment of the great bear and little bear falls into strange array.

The starlight continues along the ley lines on the ground, and with it, a beam of green energy — visually identical to those cast by the sorceress herself — extends from the base of the Hellmouth into the night sky.

A cackle, eerie, and resounding, in that same vocal chorus, emits from the woman floating in the sky. "The world is ready. The time is right," her eyes widen, and, oddly, her hands clasp together in front of her.

The Hellmouth itself, however, sees something new emerge — something unseen for a very long time. The beast, and its body far beyond the scope of anything that has managed to escape before, roars loudly. Its ashen body, with glowing embers beneath, creates the sickening scent of fire and brimstone. Large round horns like those on a bull extend from its head. Angry teeth in an array of sharp fangs extend from its mouth. The balrog, claws out of the Hellmouth. Its tail sweeps along the floor of the Park, singeing plants, animal, and whatever it touches. Destruction is its goal.

And suddenly Le Fay's plans become clear.

She doesn't aim to take over the world.

She aims to reap it.


The sounds of battle have nearly died out around him as his focus narrows his world to the haughty Sorceress before him. Even as the scarlet magics waft on the fires of the elemental casting, Strange is able to dive closer and skid to a halt. It was imperative that he's within reach of the scarred circle of his old wards and now, with the ancient oak dancing back in a shimmy of silent pain, he's ready.

Once he's grounded himself, with booted feet on the earth and tendrils of willpower buried within the ley lines that thrum beneath him, Strange begins.

The conduit of the Sorcerer Supreme pulls in massive amounts of power, enough to set his teeth to clenching and hair writhing along with loose sections of clothing. His scarred hands are wreathed in scintillating starlight. His voice resonates, cutting through the howling wind that surrounds this section of the Park and through the battle cries that rise around him.

"Intra circulum, tenetur elementum, expellere omnes ad infernum! Vayu - Tejas - Prithi - Apas - AKASH!!!"

With goosebump-raising chimes, the wards erupt around the Hellmouth once more and then bleed into the dried-blood pentagram that originally called forth the hellish portal. At each point, with each titling of the element, the points of the star flash in their respective colors. The silver of the magic takes on an opalescent hue. Strange stands at one of the points, acting now not only as channel, but anchor for the warding spell through the element of Soul. The casting is bolstered still more by Himalayan salts that dissolve from his palms and herbs that wend their way in, leaving behind the smells of burnt leaves within the crackling ozone.

Anyone he knows, anyone not of Hellish ilk, can cross in and out of these wards. Anything pertaining to the Hellmouth and Morgan?

Out of luck.

Strange grits his teeth as he glares at Morgan. "Time's up, Sorceress."


Big one. Illyana's eyes fly open— not in shock, but glee.

Ooh, Illyana does love a big fight.

"That one?" she asks, pointing her sword at the Balrog. "That one is /mine/."

"Protect Strange!" she orders the other three warriors near her. "Nothing else matters!" She turns her eyes towards Wanda and Marie and Marcus, wrapping herself in the umber shadows of Limbo, her eyes filling in from the edges until they're a void of pitch in place of her cornflower eyes. A nimbus of dark energy chills the air around her, and her features become sharper, stark, even.

"I will attend the beast."

She turns and digs her boot toes into the ground like a track starter, hips swivelling as she gets low. Her head tilts back to eye the beast and those shadows grow thicker, darker, wrapping around her in a protective coccoon of blackened shadow and warped, chaotic power.

The tension grows so great the air around her groans with the weight of it all, and then Illyana literally explodes off the ground like a shot launched from a ballistae. Shadows burn a path before her and one in her wake, and the amythst brilliance of her Soulsword grows almost blindingly intense by contrast as she leverages the totality of her focus— her psychic, mystic, physical might— behind that ephermal sword in her hands with the intent of burying it to the hilt in the Balrog's immense chest, a hyperkinetic eldritch missile masquerading as a petite blonde from Russia.


It's a strange storm: its eye so wide, but the area of its wind quite small. It doesn't engulf much beyond the park, but in that range beyond the eye and into the blizzard's fury, the storm has become deadly. The hail isn't so much hail as daggers of hard, thick ice, and it does not fall, it spins: it races through the air, ravaging a tree here or there, but never slowing down.

And so, at her limit, Ororo combines her problem. Even as the great beast emerges, she holds the containing blizzard, and the zombienado, but with a gesture, she sends that smaller cyclone off and into the fury of winter.

As the others wage their battle, she holds the blizzard, and as she releases the power of the zombienado… The zombies do not fall to the ground, they are instead captured in the furious winds, and ice shard after ice shard slams into each one.

It might take awhile to die, and they may not die at all, being dead, but there's not likely to be very much left of them if they do manage to claw their way through the storm.

But she continues as she was: containment is her duty here. There's plenty of firepower on the ground, clearly.


There's this suggestion that the sudden influx of power, maybe from interaction with Wanda, maybe from the fact that something out of a Tolkin book just decided to show up, who knows. Someone call Merlin and have him stand on a bridge. Marcus has never poured this much power into a single burst or tapping into the very essence of what an element is. The first is the fractures that can be seen around the brands on his chest, as if the skin was breaking away revealing leylines of magic. There's no blood, just a whiteness, like there's a flashlight in his chest that's causing streams of energy to peirce through.

The next is the…shimmering? It's like Marcus is moving slow motion, every movement rippled or mirrored by another, four others to be exact. The cracks on his body seem to run down where his veins lay, up his arms and over the shoulders. The fire he's emitting suddenly stop, realizing with an expression of horror. Strange once said about being the vessel or conduit, that it was always a battle for control. Suppose, finally finds out who wins that particular fight.

There's the briefest of looks at the others. Fear, perhaps. Pain, maybe. Confusion, mostly. He's not even aware of what's really happening. But the fractures on his body become larger, wider, and there's this…sensation like everything is being sucked inward. Like how how a nuclear blast pulls air inward before blasting outward? It's kind of like. There's a shimmering, a rainbow of colors in his eyes, and in one scream, as his form and figure seem to almost tear itself apart.

Which results in an explosion of sorts, causing the very ground to ripple and shake in it's place, like a wave the earth seems to move of it's own, like water, wrapping up Marcus' figure and burying him. Like some kind of transumation, the ground seems to burn, then melt, before blowing away entirely. The end result is something….odd. Four figure fly out from the ground, each forming a point of a box, with Strange at their center. They…all look like Marcus, save for the fact that each of them have different colored glowing eyes and only a single brand on their chest. Well, Illyana did say to protect him.


Things just got real. Real bad in a hurry. As if they weren't bad enough before, Marie gets another encounter with demons to add to her conflicted feelings about her powers, her actions, and /everything./ ….and if that's not enough? The Balrog. Marie clings tighter to the Temperance angel, practically shaking at the sight. "Le Diable!" comes the frightened call.

…at least until Illyana yells out again. Grounding Marie mentally — if only because she volunteered to face the demon herself. It means Marie can focus /elsewhere./ Which is precisely what she needed to do. The angelic being she rides upon drops into a dive, coming to land near Strange once again. Releasing the angel, and the wands that served as the Sorceror Supreme's defenders, she instead scrambles to put herself next to the Doctor, inside the quartet of Marcuses (Marcusi? Batoosie?) and bring out the next card. The one she'd been holding back. Everything is drawn for a purpose.

"Be safe!" is the last thing she yells before the Tower itself rises. Around her. Around Strange. Around the four versions of Marcus. Anything that wants in? Is going to have to go through big, beautiful stone walls to do it.

…it doesn't hurt that this /also/ means Marie doesn't have to look at the infernal balrog on the outside, either.


Call her, she will come.

Illyana calling dibs upon the balrog scarce registers with Wanda, no sooner manifesting than engaged in a wave of Soviet wrath. The impelling force that draws her to the heart of the battle in the good Doctor's lee can no more be denied than a light particle reaching the event horizon might pull away from its certain demise without breaking universal laws at the subatomic level. Say nothing of her, and her very genetics, existing to undermine those cosmic pillars. That is a guarded tale for another day. Hopefully.

She lands before the mystic barrier and never hesitates crossing the radiant silvered wards that suppress her bloody signature down to a diluted sheen. Wild hair flies around her squared shoulders as she kneels for a brief moment, touching her fingertips to the prithi axis and whispering to the tormented earth. Her sacrifice is a small one alongside the impassioned prayer to that mother: magic of the daughter, tears of the sister, blood of the lover. She releases them into Gaia's care and stands.

The witch lifts her head. Hell is so close at hand, held back by a man's scarred hands and the brazen Eye hanging from his throat, buried now within a tall stone tower. Contempt and wonder, fear and wrath all have their moment mirrored in those glowing garnet eyes turned upon Morgan in her profane splendour. Each emotion has its short-lived span before decaying into something else, transmuted before the rising tide encoded into the depths of her soul.

It's always the unpredictable ones who tilt battles.

Take your eye off them for a second and — they're gone.


The green in Morgan's eyes turns electric with the energy that runs through both herself and the Hellmouth. "No. Strange one. It's just begun. The first day of a new era!" She cackles again. Beneath one of the many layers of her dress, a book, worn with faded pages crumbling to nothing, and a slanted 'd' emblazoned on the front opens in front of her. She recites a long line of Latin. And in doing so, she channels the energy from the sky — the alignment of the stars playing perfectly to her plans — and she pushes it towards him, casting bolts of energy at the Sorcerer Supreme.

The beast staggers backwards beneath the influence of Illyana's blade. Much like the animal it is, it flails madly to remove the tiny blonde from its layers. While it lacks true skin, the magic energy Illyana wields against it does, indeed causes it pain, and it lashes out. Claws wretch, seeking flesh to dig into in a desperate attempt to push her from it.

Zombie-cicles, courtesy of Storm crack and fall from the sky. They rain down in cold energy, utterly destroying each of the bodies encased in the ice. Rotted flesh, when it meets the ground, shatters, leaving icy remains to melt back into the earth from which they'd risen.

Two squid like cthulus slide to where Strange is casting, bearing threat from the Park beyond. Long tentacles thrash at the walls that Marie-Ange has created, pushing against them as hard as they can manage. And while the Tower doesn't easily collapse, the vibrations against stone walls can be felt. The beasts are strong.


Then it's on to the defensive for the Sorcerer Supreme. A blooming cat's cradle of green plasma strands, the fire from the stars drawn close and directed, flies at him from Morgan's outstretched hands, lashing with the malevolence of viper's tongues. They are deflected with great effort from a momentary flash of silvery shield and spark off to die against the swirling aurora of the warding circle in miniature supernovas that push the trapped air within the wards into heated tornadic eddies.

Strange counter-casts with a gout of chilled wind, honed to razor-like edges, and the Sorceress dances daintily around them with an elegant flexibility that must be drawn from the Hellmouth's influence - no one should be able to bend like that?!

A crash of thunder announces her next attack and Strange's harried shielding deflects a hyper-focus bolt of verdant lightning. He can feel the heat wash over him beyond the edges of his defenses and the shielding holds - but at the expense of the wards! The ley line's power becomes momentarily unchained and lashes out around him to leave streaks of glowing glassed earth. Thank the gods that she can't cast such a spell for an eternity - he's able to grab the reins once more and the opalescent circle stabilizes.

His bones ache, his muscles are just beginning to shake from overdrawn nerves, and he can feel one hell of a cluster-headache beginning to come on, but the good Doctor never ceases to counter and attack.

Lime-hued Saint Elmo's fire flashes to be deflected by ice-water-graced mudras and then followed by shrieking shadows that die in shredding arcs of white light.

It's a light show of the extremes behind the wall of the banishing wards.

And damned it all if he doesn't recognize that book!!!!


The weather witch holds, floating there in the sky beyond the reach of the trees, a black gloved hand up and focused as she pours her mind, thought and power into the furious chaos of what is a winter hurricane confined into very, very tight spaces. Its easy for Storm to call a storm: get angry, a storm comes.

But *focusing* a storm, controlling it to this degree, is a thing of great difficulty.

Ororo manages, though. She holds. And since she no longer splitting her will between the zombienado and the blizzard, she can send gusts of deep winter into the zombies. These are not themselves attacks, they intend to do no harm, but they are strong and do intend to push some of that mass into the cold fury of the blizzard.

Someone has to deal with the minions while the big guns deal with Morgan and her beast, after all.


Marie-Ange draws .


Marie-Ange draws Nine Cups.


"The universe is against you, girl." It's Marcus' voice, but it doesn't really sound like something he'd say. The voices are emphereal, hollow, like they're being spoken from a long tube. "You toy and paw at things beyond your ken. You reach for Avarice, but you will find naught but dust and ash." And it's all of them saying words at once. Four voices, that sound like one.

Each of them look at Strange in unison, and as if a decision had been made between the four of them, they each extend an arm towards the Sorceror, each of them exploding into an aura of color; red, yellow, black, and blue. Infusing him with power to fight the witch. And really, it's a lot. Enough that suddenly it feels colder, the wind dies down and the ground seems to almost pale slightly.


Tiny but fierce! Like a clinging bulldog, Illyana holds on to the hilt of her Soulsword even as the Balrog's frantic thrashing draws the edge through its body. Skin splits in a zigzag of putrescent heated blood, more molten rock than liquid iron, and the creature's cry echoes brazenly as it staggers backwards.

Her grunt is lost within the roar as she plants both feet and throws her weight away from the hellish beast to draw out the Soulsword. Her landing is muffled by a padding of Limboic dark-light and she narrows her blacked-out eyes. There - she can see the glowing heat of the thing even as it crouches, glaring at her with twisted fear in its eyes.

The next strike slams home into the Balrog's chest with an audible crack of impact. Her spell-propelled force sends the creature stumbling back once more. It swats at its chest and one claw rakes down towards the petite blonde Russian.


The tentacles thrash; Marie can hear them. Marie can /feel/ them, it's getting harder to keep the Tower up and she knows it won't be long until those tentacles break through. Dropping down to one knee, she tucks her card pouch under one arm and uses that hand to hold onto the floor. Trying to keep her balance. If things can get to Strange, well… it's not good for anyone. At least the Marcuses are there for when the Tower inevitably falls!

"Be.. be ready, monsieurs…!" the French girl warns Marcus, fingers grasping for her next card to ready herself. Those fingers aren't able to find purchase the first time she draws — but when she goes back to the well, this time there's water. Nine Cups full of it. As it stands, the Tower can probably stand one or two more hits… and when it falls, the shield of Cups will be quickly summoned to replace it.

It's hard to say just how much longer Marie will be able to keep it up in her current state, though.


Countless mystic hazards bombard the demesnes bounded by Doctor Strange's wards. Ice-rimed earth imperils footing, low-flying lightning threatens creative decapitation. Booming shockwaves rattle through stone and flesh alike. Massive temperature fluctuations stymie suitable wardrobe choices — coat on or coat off? The sorcerers' duel rends the very air and bones of the ground in sobbing, shrieking elemental lamentations so casually disregarded.

The witch is gone. Long live the witch.

In the midst of so much magical white noise, the little things rarely stand out. Who hears a whisper under howling stormwinds and perception-bending tours de force? If a backpack falls in the bedlam and no one is looking from within a tower, does anything happen? No one spared a thought for the pulsating boundaries defined by Strange's will, even when they contract and expand in coruscating witchlight. Walked three times — or run, leapt, dodged, crawled, skidded — clockwise is a route full of portent and karmic significance, calling to correspondences old as any known to mankind. Pure iron powder, equal to the cores of stars doomed to die, laces the air. It hangs suspended in a veil, superbly conductive, already reacting to the dampness in the electrified atmosphere.

A whispered murmur comes without a trace of irony. "They that sow the wind shall reap the whirlwind."

Behind the breeze, punched into every grain, seeping through every step, the building magical tsunami erupts. Arcane tentacles writhe in purified effigy of the chthonic beasts assailing the towers. Garnet tendrils fly in the air, twisting in helixes and chaotic eddies. They bloom outwards in long petals over head height, while others careen wildly within the circumscribed hemisphere of the wards. Roman candles flaring upwards carry the iron filings in a shining faerie curtain over Morgan, under her, around her, shot off from too many points to strictly be one.

Black shadows, scarlet fire: the maelstrom descends.


The balrog complains against the influence of Illyana's sword, but as it weakens, it doesn't let up. Its tail thrashes back at her, aiming to trip the blonde with its sharp motion.

The cthulus bang harder against the walls of the tower, causing it to crumble on the inside until they're utterly destroyed beneath the influence of Wanda's magics. And as the rock collapses inward the chips are swirled hard by the mistress sorceress that wills the destruction of the world. And as they swirl, they writhe and slash against flesh. Attention in particular is paid to the Doctor who comes on the receiving end of a large rock to his face amid the rock-torrent cyclone.

Pleased with herself and her successes, and already convinced of her victory, Morgan lurches forward. Yet her expression changes as a hand clasps her throat. Iron particles enter the lungs of the half-fae floating, causing her body to descend to the ground. Her feet make purchase with the earth and two hands grasp at her throat as her body attempts to breathe. Green eyes bug out as each cell within her asphyxiates from the poison that so easily enters her bloodstream. She gasps for air, but nothing enters her longs.

Her collapse on the ground stills the minions that had so easily worked beneath her influence: the dead return to death. The balrog, however, still has some fight in him.

Lifeless, Morgan Le Fay stares up at the starry sky.

And as Morgan collapses, the book falls to the ground.


Calling the storm is difficult: controlling the storm is difficult as well. But storms are a coalescence of power, and that power does not simply go away when Ororo no longer wants it.

As the dead fall, as the villainis falls, Storm allows herself to settle to the ground, but she lifts both hands and presses outwards.

She has gathered enormous power into that storm that was meant to contain the dead, and now that power must be sent away: but sending it away is in a way more difficult then calling it. Its here, now, it *wants* to rage, to expend itself. But Storm will not allow that. So she closes her eyes, kneels, and *concentrates*.

It is not a quick thing, the fading of the fury of winter. But it begins, clearly. The winds lessen some. The air warms some. The hail shrinks.

She struggles. It would be so easy to let go. To just release the storm, her wall, her weapon. The storm would play out in its own way, then. It would expand and savage. It would be *so easy* to let go, and she longs to. She longs with every cell of her body to let go.

But Ororo does not let go. She, with careful skill and great will, draws out the rage, quiets the wind, and sends away the storm.


The ley lines are forced into alignment, against their natural tendency to flow as wildly as Niagara Falls, and this leaves Strange to merely draw power from them rather than continually fight for control. There's a deep thud, like a giant door dropping into place, that is heard on the deepest register of human hearing, as the wards click into place -

BUT. No one plays fair like Morgan Le Fay plays fair - no, wait, unfair.

The collision of the largest chunk of squid-slimed stone into his face knocks him clear from the air. The breath leaves his lungs as he hits the ground on his side. Stars flash before his vision, having nothing at all to do with the ambient light of the wards, and Strange wobbles as he pushes himself to one hip. The blood he spits out shines with silvery starlight. It's most definitely a broken nose for him.

Squinting through the pain, the Sorcerer Supreme sees the mirrored collapse of Morgan Le Fay and the stilling of her chest. It can't be…that easy?

The heated pitter-patter of falling flecks of iron on his skin draws his focus and he senses that this has aspects of Scarlet to it. Wanda?! What was she doing inside the wards?!

He stumbles to his feet, swiping the back of his sleeve across his bleeding nose and then collapsing to one knee again as the pain momentarily blinds him. The book. He has to get that book!

Maybe he crawls, maybe he wobbles - only one witch can see how he makes his way over to the Sorceress's corpse and picks up the book with trembling hands. It's clutched to his chest tightly as he looks down at the body before him. He spits blood again - beside her, not on her, before making his wobbly way beyond the wards.

It's simple now that they're grounded in the ley lines: "Expellere omnes ad infernum," he calls out, nasally tone and all, as he holds out a flat palm graced with the banishing ward before it. He checks the internal remains of the Hellmouth beyond the opalescent spell and catches a fleeting sight of an Astral form, garbed in a robe and limned in deep green, before the wards basically collapse in on themselves. The Eye of Agamotto sparks and tendrils of citrine weave their way into the rapidly-collecting point before…


And with the grace of a final flash of soul-silvered magic, the Hellmouth - and Morgan - are wiped from this reality, leaving behind any remaining demons and the scarred lands of the Park where it once sat.


Whether it's Limbo-influenced luck or pure skill, Illyana manages to dodge that feet-long talon coming down her. The agile swing of her body rotates around the pivot point of the sword buried deep within the Balrog's faltering heart and it literally drives her point home:

NO ONE tries to swat the Queen of Limbo.

The veining of reddish light that crisscrosses throughout the Balrog's skin flashes blindingly once and then fades, like the dying of an incandescent bulb.

The creature's collapse into its back is silent but for the ground-shaking thud of impact. Despite being flung from her position and likewise losing her grip on the Soulsword's hilt, Illyana takes her own contact with the muddied earth like a champ. She rolls a few times before coming up onto one knee. The violently-violet sword dissolves without the touch of its mistress. It resolves once more within her hands.

"Da. What's left?"

Nothing should be left. Technically.


There is little more for the four Marcus' to do. They look between each other. The one with red eyes glance down at the goings on, then kinda shrugs. "Well, that's that. Fulfilled the debt." There's a looking around between the other three. "So…is this what freedom is. This body feels so…limiting. But shit, at least we're not cooped up in that body anymore!" There's a particular sense of glee about that.

The one with the black eyes, grunts, rolling his shoulders, as if loosening up muscles he never knew he had. "Hrmph. She was weak." his voice sounds like a pair of boulders grinding together, glancing at Morgan's dead body. "Thought there'd be more of a threat involved."

"So. What now?" asks the one Marcus with yellow eyes, spinning in place, joyfully. "What do we do now?"

"Go with the flow, I reckon." answers the forth Marcus with blue eyes. "Frankly, I've spent enough time with the lot of you of for the past couple of eons. I'd like to have some time for myself."

"Shut up, Marcus." sniffs the red-eyed one. "Nobody is saying we should stick together anyways, Marcus,we go our seperate ways. Haven't had a chance to live, I say we do so."

"What about him?" the black-eyed one ask, ponderously and tilting his head downward.

Oh right, the actual Marcus. The one that's laying unconcious on the ground in a heap in hollowed chunk of ground from where the explosion took place. "Do we just kill him now…or what?"

"Leave him, he didn't ask for us, so it's not like we should hold anything again him." suggests the yellow Marcus.

"Do you really think that's a good idea, Marcus?" asks the red one.

"Which one are you asking?" blinks the blue one.

"Ugh, him! The air one. Screw it, I'm out of here, the rest of you fuckers can float here and debate but I'm not wasting anymore time."


The battle is won. …it seems like it, at least. Marie is /exhausted./ Granted, she doesn't entirely realize that Morgan's been defeated, having been concentrating on continuing to being the shield. The final defense — that shield of Cups — falls by the wayside as well, and Marie's strength gives out, the redhead falling face-first into the muddy ground of the park.

It's enough to jolt her back up, although only by way of a half-push up using her good arm. "…did we win?"

It didn't sound like the world was exploding around them anymore, which is really the best indicator that the girl has right now that everything may be back to being alright.

…either that, or it's the moment of silence as the world prepares to end with a whimper.


Powdered iron particles ride the turbulence responding to no microclimate beyond the one dynamically forged by the witch shuttling the air in a vortex shot through by its own forces. Wanda bows under that spell, too proud to utterly break to its demands for freedom. Incarnadine plasma rages between her curved fingers and tears around her wrists, scintilla fletched along the starry rays. Long streams of magical energy spear through her flesh and come straight out the other side, feeding into the globular spell suspending the ferric dust like a demented snow globe.

Mud and ichor-blackened ice stain her boots and a fresh cut running up the line of her thigh is caked in rusted earth, evidence to her urgent purpose taken without care. Aching limbs shudder at the taxing price paid of them, her hands and arms quivering, legs bent and driven towards the ground. Still her long fingers continuously ply the complex mudras, as finely as a harpist coaxes the long strings to shimmer with a breathtaking melody.

Her glowing eyes bleed the same intense sanguine shade of her livid aura. Already rooted by kindling her own erratic tempest, staring into the beyond with empowered sight roots her. Doubtful how much registers outside the arcane spectrum except what cannot be ignored, like the demon sent to its infernal grave or that black, black blotch of temptation.

Then something snaps.

The spell. Iron rains down on the brutalized soil as she stumbles forward, not catching herself before she drops. A hand skids over the grass, leaving a smear of powder several inches long. Wanda gets her sole onto firmer treading, a bit of rock and bone, then scrambles over to Strange. It's questionable what actually happens: if she trips again onto him, offers her hand to help him up, or smacks him on the shoulder to the umbrage of his suspiciously scarlet cloak. Maybe there's something tricky with red going on here.

"Why are you surprised?" A hoarse, tired question but there it is, stripped of its poetry. "I said I would help!"


The Sorcerer Supreme lies on his back now in the mud, blinking up at the starry sky above him. "And you did," he says roughly, nasally, to the Scarlet Witch who may have just sacked him. He takes the punch in the shoulder with a tiredly-amused grunt.

The trees no longer move, they're returned to their dormant state of autumnal glory. No more undead shamble about to attempt grasping at brains. No more hellish Balrog - it's a pile of rapidly evaporating ashes behind the approach of his victorious apprentice, whose Soulsword has been returned to the wily space of Limbo. No more storm above him, thanks to the containing control and tide-turning powers of a woman he doesn't even know by name - he'll need to thank her somehow, she played a critical role in keeping his defensively-inclined team safe. The little redhead, Marie-Ange - fate clearly intended her to safeguard him during this time and he'll return the favor for as long as needed. There are voices off around him somewhere and he tries to see who's talking, but the pain of his broken nose prevents him from really analyzing them other than noting that they sound suspiciously like Marcus.

No more Hellmouth and no more Morgan. Merlin is going to be chuffed.

Strange slowly sits up, aching as if he's been hit by a bus, and looks around him at all the faces.

"Well done…" he murmurs nasally, granting them all a bloody-lipped smile. "I couldn't have done it without you. Now…let's go home." The good Doctor keeps the book from the mud, but not his clothing. "We could all do with a shower."

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