1963-10-30 - Old Friends Part II - The Orb
Summary: After having been molested by the magical wards protecting Strange's home, Mordo has a proposal for his old friend, concerning a runed Orb in his possession, and a tempting adventure…
Related: Old Friends Part I
Theme Song: None
mordo strange 


Mordo takes a look around the living room of Doctor Stephen Strange.

It's odd; take away all the magic and actually surprisingly little changes. There had always been a certain… practicality to Strange's take on magic that Mordo admired. True, some elements were decidedly 'showy' — but that really couldn't be helped.

A spell is as a spell is.

Laws like that predate this particular incarnation of the cosmos.

No, the living room says more about 'Stephen Strange, the man' than it does about 'Stephen Strange, the Sorcerer Supreme' — at least to Mordo. "You know, dear fellow, you could at least tidy up those piles of books over there," he tells his friend after a moment, not answering his question right away. "I'm sure they were never meant to stand like that… Oh. Cream, no sugar," he remarks to an earlier question, and leans back in the comfy chair —

— instantly, Mordo sits forward. He frowns. Then he reaches behind himself and pulls out a miniaturised cage of some description — not unlike a birdcage, just… and is that a figure inside it? A doll, surely? — that had ended up stuck between the cushions. He holds it up.

"Do I want to know?"

Mordo doesn't quite wait for an answer — but instead puts the cage down somewhere nearby, and clears his throat. "As to why I am here, old boy. I…have a puzzle for you."


"Careful now, Karl, you're starting to sound like my mother," Strange replies with a smirk as he turns back to finish preparing his old friend's cup of tea.

Upon being asked if there's some sort of sordid machination afoot, he glances over his shoulder in time to see the odd little cage set aside. A few quiet laughs escape him even as he mutters, now down to the spoon he's clinking on the tea cup, "Oh yes, I was wondering where that got off to."

And there — the lure. Bright, shiny, full of intrigue and doesn't Karl know him all too well. The good Doctor nods as he turns and walks over to Karl, placing the cup and saucer down on the coffee table beside the couch. He returns to his high-backed chair and settles in, even going so far as to subtly wiggle his shoulder-blades back into the cushions, before he gives the Baron a searching look. But not for long — a boyish grin slowly curves his lips.

"Do go on, Karl. Don't leave a friend hanging?"


The object withdrawn from Karl Mordo's suit — rather from a pouch tucked inside. It is one of those 'bigger on the inside' pouches that mages do so love to carry with them — is a sphere.

The sphere appears to be made of some kind of metal, non-reflective — at least in this present state — and is covered in tiny grooves in a never-ending pattern… not unlike a fingerprint. It is large enough to fit neatly in the palm of one's hand, and one could wrap one's fingers around part of it.

It 'thrums' faintly, when touched.

Mordo hands it over in exchange for his tea, and comments blandly: "As best as I am able to determine," says he as if speaking of the weather. "The grooves are actually writing. Very small writing, but writing nonetheless. The language eludes me. What do you make of it? Currently, it serves as an adequate paperweight. The banality of such a use offends me."

There is a pause.

Mordo casts his eye around the living room once more.

"Your mother has a point, Stephen," says he.


Baubles. Nothing like baubles to hold his attention.

His steel-blue eyes narrow as he rises and strides over to take the offered sphere. A humming sound escapes Strange even as he holds the sphere up to the ambient light coming from the windows, their blinds drawn back to let in the weak autumn glow.

"It's nothing I've seen before," the good Doctor murmurs as he runs all of his fingertips over the surface, looking for all the world like a raccoon attempting to reach some covetous treat. "Definitely writing, perhaps with connections to ancient Mesopotamia. It looks like…some sort of proto-Sumerian. I've seen it before…"

His voice drops into silence as he processes what Karl last stated and grants his friend an edged smirk. "Mothers do tend to be wise and generally ignored when it comes to personal spaces. I know where everything is, ergo, why move it?" He tosses the sphere into the air nonchalantly and catches it deftly, despite the subtle tremble of his hand. "Where did you find this?"


"Proto-Sumerian…" Karl Mordo murmurs behind the rim of his cup of tea. "You see, this is why no one will date you, Stephen — your head is all but permanently fixed in dead civilisations. Or other dimensions. Fortunately, however," and he sets the cup of tea down. "It makes you annoyingly useful from time to time."

The baron smiles.

It is about as close to 'thank you' as he usually gets — depending on his mood. "As to where I found it… I 'liberated' it from a particularly disagreeable cult in the worship of Sham-horoth — you know the one. Webs. Legs. Far too many eyes to be practical. They're locals, by the by… I think they might be holding a slight grudge…"

He pauses to drink more of his tea. "Delicious. Do you think you can decipher it?" he asks, referring to the orb.


"Well, thanks, Karl, for that compliment. Ever since I took on the mantle, dating is a luxury that I can't afford." Wryly-said, especially in light of the fact that Strange could literally summon up any luxury that he wishes in this material world. Affection? The Baron has a painfully-good point. The amount of time the Sorcerer spends in his books is enough to turn most courtiers away.

Maybe Karl laughs, maybe he doesn't — regardless, the good Doctor listens and glances up from studying the silver orb to give his friend a flat look. "Liberated it, huh? Sham-Horoth, wonderful. I'll be sure to play the diplomat if they come to complain."

The tiny writing, so small that he needs to squint, is ridiculously difficult to see in the wane autumn light coming in from outside. Strange walks over to the fireplace and feels at the inscribed language with a fingertip. "I could decipher it, sure, but I'd have to cross-reference with the Proto-Sumerian language, likely along with that one script used by the Earth elementals in the second continent of the eight dimension. You know, those ones that always want to hug you to death."


"Not the dimension of the Eight…"

Mordo groans audibly. "Please tell me we'll not have to go there just to translate the Orb…" he remarks aloud, then finishes his tea. "I suppose… it makes sense." The baron looks over at Strange. "Eight is also the symbol of infinity, and the writing upon the Orb has no discernable beginning nor end — not that I can see. I imagine… finding the starting point would be our first course of action — begin in one place, it translates one way. Begin in another… and the message changes."

He leans back in his chair and interlaces his fingers in his lap. "You have to admit, it is an ingenious way to hide a message. One wonders where many a mistaken scholar has ended up — and if all his pieces went to the same place."

Mordo smiles.

He relishes the challenge.


"If there was a manual for this, it would already be known," Strange replies distractedly as he affirms that the script is indeed, all linked together into one eternally-repeating sentence.

Ugh, that's incredibly annoying.

The good Doctor steps away from the fire and tosses the orb up to catch it again. "I don't know that we'd need to go into that dimension specifically for this, but it may be useful to touch base with _." There is no way to phonetically translate what the good Doctor just said; it's some garbled title of sorts that sounds like the creaking of rusty hinges when heavy rocks land on it and then maybe some sort of high-pitched exhalation. "You know, that one? It always has some sort of reflective earth within its make-up, to designate it as leader? _ could possibly show us where the script starts and we could go from there."

It would have been a perfectly nonchalantly-executed shrug on the Sorcerer's part but for the hint of a boyish grin hanging about his lips. "You've never been one for hugs though, so I understand if you want to stay here and drink tea. _ likes me more anyways." Okay, now he's smirking at his old friend.


Mordo resists the urge… to glare.

He is only partially successful.

"Yes, __," the baron remarks — also pronouncing the extradimensional being's name — although, this conversation should prove that there truly are some sounds that no human tongue should ever attempt to replicate. Lesser men would go mad. "I thought the pair of you were quite… what's that word mundane people like to use? …'chummy' with him." And he gives Stephen an arched eyebrow.

"I found it markedly disconcerting — like watching a pair of seagulls actually cooperate over a shiny trinket for a change. It's the sort of thing one might appreciate… until one realises what it will mean for beach-goers the world over, when all seagulls are doing it."

The swarthy man smiles, matching his old friend's expression.

"Well, you have your trinket," says he with a gleam in his eye. "The rest of the seagulls should come any minute, now. Delay would be… ill-advised, no?"


Strange's laugh at his old friend's tonal distaste in the word choice of 'chummy' is ignored. He keeps the rest of the chuckling behind closed, folded lips as he tries desperately to square his face up to polite interest — and succeeds enough, apparently, for Karl to continue going on and on about seagulls.

"You know what would be ill-advised? You hugging _. What if you made its mate unhappy? Then we'd both be in trouble."

A final toss and catch of the orb. The good Doctor inhales and exhales as he looks down at the oddly-runed surface. Please — like he ever had a chance in turning down this mystery handed to him.

"I suppose, yes, we should get going. Time waits for no man."

In a brilliant flash of citrine light, the Eye of Agamotto appears to hang from his neck. The edges of all of his clothing begin to burn away in a rapid encindering that doesn't destroy the daywear; no, it merely replaces it with the battle-leathers of the Sorcerer Supreme once the reversal spell is complete. From the foyer flies in the crimson Cloak, summoned with a mental call from its master, and it clasps about his shoulders like a familiar bird of prey. Strange gives Karl a grin and raises one hand in the beginning mudra to drawing up a Gate. "Ready then?"


Mordo smiles, although his lips tighten at the sight of the Cloak of Levitation (which should have been his…), and lifts a hand to the collar of his suit jacket. Tapping at the fabric lightly with a finger… causes it to crack — as if it were made of glass. In fact, the singular crack splits into several others all across the clothing Mordo wears.

One more tap… and his attire shatters into tiny shards that fall about his feet, leaving him clad instead in his dark green tunic and cloak. There are leather pauldrons on his shoulders — inscribed with runes — matching the vambraces on his arms, greaves on his legs, and vest over his torso. The ensorcelled armour is layered somewhat after the fashion of the ancient Samurai.

The darkwater Sword of Sherab is sheathed at his back.

As the illusive shards fade into nothingness, the baron steps over to the Gate and nods his head. "I'm rather fond of a phrase you Americans like to say," remarks he in an amiable tone of voice. "Just like old times," and the smirk turns into a smile.

"I wonder if __ will remember us…"



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