1963-11-05 - Grudging Thanks and Blue Angels
Summary: The Hellmouth is closed, Strange apologizes, Jillian gains a cult following…wait, what?!
Related: Banishment Theory
Theme Song: None
strange jillian 


Now that the Hellmouth is well and truly closed the resident demon population has dropped dramatically. What's left on this side of the gate doesn't tend to survive for long. Part of that..is due to one of their own.

Jillian has spent most (but not all!) of her time around Central Park, not happy to be on probation but content enough to hunt and kill without worry of repercussions. That part's pretty handy. She can't really complain. Too much.

As city life starts to pull itself back into some semblance of normalcy the conflicted Neyaphem's purpose, and presence, have begun to dwindle. She's widened her hunting grounds and made a few tours to other parts within the neighboring states (still hunting those magical artifacts!) Despite the change of behavior she frequently returns to the park, maybe out of habit. Maybe because she doesn't have anywhere else to go. Being homeless stinks, regardless of the dimension.


And it's a blessing that the demon population has plummeted. No longer does the Sorcerer Supreme have to keep half an ear out for the chiming of his wards. Still, the residual magics do ping lightly every now and then, the faintest clarion ping like a knife tapped to crystal stemware, and it does so now.

He doesn't emerge from his Gating spell armed for bear. Not anymore. Everything that remained after the Hellmouth's closure has been much less terrifying to deal with - or maybe Morgan set the standard so high that tentacles no longer disturb him. Strange inhales and there's nothing on the air to indicate any sort of trespass. The evening breeze smells of cool leaves and the promise of winter soon enough. He closes off his eyes and…there, the familiar signature.

His grin flashes white in the dim lighting near the trees even as the citrine stone within the diadem about his neck sparks. He recognizes it and remembers too well the kiss of her weapon against his neck.

"I've come to talk," he calls out, voice carrying well through the thin air.


Once more it is like a moth to a flame. The winged one could easily feel that energetic symphony of magic from as far out as a mile, a shining beacon which she could track without difficulty. This time with a voice. A request?

As with their first encounter there is little to see and even less to hear, perhaps a brief interruption of the lunar luminesce from the passing of a creature mid-flight. Then, emerging from the shadows about a dozen feet away from the sorcerer, stands Jillian. She hasn't changed much at all. The mask which used to conceal the lower half of her face is no longer drawn up. A keen eye would also notice what looks to be a couple of nasty wounds well on the mend. She must have a decent healing rate.

"Did you wish to..renegotiate..our arrangement?" she inquires with a cool, low-pitched voice while lightly resting the weighted end of her polearm upon the damp grass.


It's an interesting thought to consider and one he does ever-so-briefly as he watches her stand just shy of the edge of the moonlight.

"No, not in the least. I half-expected to find you gone along with the rest of the Hellmouth spawn." Strange's eyes lighten slightly as he extends his Sight to the creature and then beyond her. No sign of subterfuge, no assassination attempts lurking within leap-length of his back, and nothing left of the portal. "Have you found any others within the Park?"

He settles into a demi-relaxed stance, arms crossed loosely (ready to gun-sling a spell in a heartbeat). All around him and in the trees, the breeze flutters by and rattles dead leaves.


No answer is forthcoming. Seconds pass when Jillian does nothing more than stare at the sorcerer with that backlit golden gaze. Then she smirks, a light chuckle gracing the evening breeze as she starts to wander closer. Slowly, at that.

"Do you truly fear me so?" she inquires, coming to stand more in the light rather than the shadows. Still there is nothing to suggest that she's preparing for an attack. If anything she's looking more relaxed than ever before. The portal's been closed, and -she's still here.- The last major step in her grand plan for relocation.

"Other demons, yes. More as myself, no. Their numbers are few, it will not be long before they are but an undesired memory upon this realm. Soon I may be all that remains. I wonder what will become of me then?" she presses, her head wilting to one side in a sort of quizzical gesture.


"Fear, no. I could banish you with a spell and then sleep like a baby after a cup of tea. Respect? Yes - I respect you in the same way that I would any predator. Precautions are necessary when the being before you doesn't play fair every now and then."

Of course Strange means her blinding speed and razor-edged polearm. Then again, they were at an impasse then. It lends credence to his confidence.

"I'd like to discuss that very thing," he then continues, gesturing with no Art to his motions to point momentarily at her: about the future fate of their agreement. "You've been keeping up on thinning their numbers and clearly, it's working."

A pause and a twist to his nose as if he //really/ doesn't want to say the next words aloud, but…dignity gets the better of him. "I thank you for it."


'Respect.' There's a new concept to Jillian. Fear is something she's used to, it comes with the territory. But -respect?- All she does in response to this is incline her head by a few degrees, almost as if swelling with pride. Or maybe she's simply acknowledging what he's saying. Either way, she's actually enjoying hearing him say it.

Though perhaps not quite as much as she's enjoying hearing what comes next. This guy, who put aaaallll of that effort into closing, sealing, and erasing the Hellmouth..and he's -thanking a demon.- She doesn't know how to respond! It's..it's recognition on a level which she has never experienced before!

Not that it's suddenly going to cause her to turn toward the path of light and abandon her wicked ways, but some recognition once in a while does go a long way.

"You did not leave me with much of a choice in the matter," she softly replies. It isn't meant to sting, merely a statement of observation. "And my desire to remain here was genuine."

There just -might- have been something along the lines of a 'thank you' on the way but those two words are never given a life of their own. Instead there's a sign of life not far away, a rustling in the brush. They are not alone, though the third presence does not seem infernal. Nor hostile. Timid, if anything.


Ehhhhhh, don't get too happy about it. He's just as apt to retract the gratitude if the demon slips up the tiniest bit. He can only extend the trust so far. After all, he's no idiot - sticking your hand in the lion's mouth just to prove a point gains you nothing if the jaws snap shut.

"No, I didn't, and for reasons of my own. That you stay here is beneficial to every party involved in our agreement. I ask that you—"

And then the rustling. With a whip of hands and formation of fingers, the mudras gestured out shine with the gloving of Mystic Art. Strange narrows his eyes towards the brush. "Come out or I will make you come out."


Again, another soft rustle. Then a pair of hands, empty, palms facing forward. "Sorry! Sorry, I didn't mean to..I'm sorry," comes the near frantic apologies of a lone man probably just starting into his forties. "It's justyou see—it's..it's -you-..! I've been searching, hoping, trying to see you with my very eyes..and it's true! You -do- exist, I -knew- you would!"

The guy looks really unassuming. Like a 'quiet librarian' sort of unassuming. Thinning brown hair kept short. Wireframe glasses. Simple attire. But his demeanor right now is that of having just stared in the face of pure divinity. He takes a few uneven steps closer, continuing to look completely awe-struck as he stares at Jillian, then turns to look at Strange.

"You've found her. You've found our Blue Angel."

Not skipping a beat the man drops to his knees, right there in the cold and damp grass, and bows in front of Jillian.

The same Jillian that is staring at the guy with narrowed eyes, looking utterly confused. "By the blood of my father's army..I do not know anything of this."


"Blue Angel…?" Strange echoes, his expression clearly indicating that he thinks the man crawling from the bushes, elbows and knees grimed and twigs with leaves stuck in his hair, is nutso. Off the walls. Has a few bats in his belfry.

A quiet snort as he glances over at Jillian and brings his hands down. The magic gloving them fades but not entirely out of sight; the low-level shine continues, more like bio-luminescence than incandescence. "You know nothing of this? You have a fan club," he mutters, scowling at the man. To him, Strange says, "Let me guess: she saved you from something."


The look that Jillian passes along to Strange has that 'I swear this isn't my fault!' vibe going to it but is otherwise completely blank. She's got nothing, really!

The guy on the ground, he's got something. When the question is raised, so is his head. All eyes on Strange, now. "On the contrary..this lovely being has saved -all- of us. Forgive me," he says while getting back to his feet. He's about to offer a hand in greeting as well, up until he glances down at the glowing gloves still in place around Strange's own hands. Maybe..he'll pass on the physical contact, here. "I am Jonas Thorne, and I have been tasked in organizing the Children of Penance until a time came when we might find our Angel. Some of us doubted our teachings, but..they're all true," he trails off in awed whisper once more as he turns to stare into the yellow eyes of a -demon.-

"She has returned to save the world of this Hellish infection, slaying her own kind for the good of us all! If one of the Fallen can change her ways and return to the light then there truly is hope in all things."

Jillian's head dips forward and her eyes close through most of his rant. By the end of it she's chuckling again. Looking back to Strange with something of a sneer, she states "I believe this is what your kind refer to as 'cause and effect?'"


"It's an unfortunate case of it, yes," Strange deadpans back to her, his gaze flicking to the man who has returned to bowing to the demon. "Another cult. Wonderful." Clearly, he's SO enthused.

The Sorcerer Supreme lets out a slow sigh that fogs in the chill of the night. This is /not/ what he had expected. To be attacked? Yes. To find the sprouting of yet another group dedicated to empowering those he stands against by their faith? No. Ugh.

"This is how Morgan started…" he mutters to himself, much too low to be heard by even Jillian and the man. "Okay, fine - Blue Angel, sure." The good Doctor folds his arms and scowls at the pair. "She's a demon who slays other demons. Absolutely, it goes against the natural state of things - and it does," he adds, pointing at Jillian to forestall any retort by her. "It's a great metaphor for saving face in light of evil and all that. Just…do me a favor, okay?"

He pins the man with steel-blue eyes. "Do NOT give me reason to hunt you all down and scatter you to the four winds. The last cult I dealt with? They're enjoying life in another dimension that the rest of this world might call hell."


Jillian sort of hangs onto her glaive as if it were a small tree rooted into place. Her body language suggests that she's relaxed. Her expression suggests that she is trying -so very very hard- not to bust out laughing in the face of the good Doctor Strange. Nothing needs to be said here! Mister Thorne has dealt forth a blow of truly fantastic proportions, and all she had to do..was get her hands a little bloody.

When stared at with such determination Thorne recoils half a step, looking as though he's debating running to take cover behind the demon in question. "Why..why would you think such a thing..? We're teaching others that there is hope, there is always..hope! We follow a path of light, of forgiveness! Our very idol bespeaks of such forgiveness. Please, Blue Angel..do you have a name of your own?"

The Neyaphem casts an almost lazy glance from the cultist back to Strange, ending with a gentle rolling of her shoulders. Giving this man a name would probably only give his following more power, and that is probably less than ideal. Buuuut…

"I do not wish to be rude."

Turning toward Jonas she places a three-fingered hand to her sternum and dips in a sort of half-bow/half-curtsey. "Jillian, of the Dark Realm."

Jonas looks like he's having a moment, alright. Next he's going to want to touch her hand.

Drawing in a slow breath and looking back to Strange with a 'well, what are you gonna do?' expression, she attempts to assure the sorcerer that "No harm will come to these souls."

Not by her hand, anyway. After all, she did come to this realm in search of power!


"No, don't….uggggggh," the Sorcerer groans as Jillian introduces herself to the cultist. Great. Names have power. He rubs at his eyes, scrubbing back and forth with index finger and thumb, before finally growing out a sigh.

"Let me ask you this…both of you. Angels and paths of light have nothing to do with bloodshed. Jillian, you kill other demons. You end lives. This is death. Death does not forgive. Are you absolutely sure that you want to continue on this path? Both of you?" His arms are tightly folded now, offering no threat but spoken words. "Fate is a fickle thing and this is your branching path. Choose and choose wisely."

After all, Strange is the shepherd of this reality's fate. Should a cult and its wolves threaten his sheep, he has every right to hunt for pelts.


Here's the evidence that the Doctor has had plenty of prior experience with these situations. Jonas actually stops, stays his tongue, and really thinks about what Strange is asking. So, the good news is that he isn't -completely- mindless in following his beliefs. It's a loophole, alright.

"I have seen some of the beasts which have emerged from that gateway," he starts in, speaking slowly as he chooses his words with care. "The matter of forgiveness..was beyond the others. They came here only wishing to kill and destroy. Had there have been any reasoning with them, any hope of ending their rampage…"

He recollects his thoughts then continues, "We have chosen to follow her not because of the violence, but for her protection. We..-I-..choose to see the good of what I have witnessed. Lives have been spared at the expense of what had amounted to feral animals. Tell me, sir..if your family was being threatened by a bear, and you could not save those that you loved, how would you feel..? What would you do? The bear is not even wicked in its ways, but surely something must still be done?"

Jillian's response is much more straight-forward. It starts with another gentle roll of her shoulders. "Once again it would seem that my hands are tied. Slaying them is the only means I have to 'send them back.' As for this man and his followers, I would not tell them how to live their lives."

She also can't shake that edge off of her expression, like this is all part of the biggest joke of the century!

"Be at ease, sorcerer. Should they stray toward a darker path they would have a reformed demon's wrath to face."


"And the wrath of the Sorcerer Supreme," Strange says with glitter in his eyes and a knife's edge to the straightness of his lips. Not amused, the good Doctor. Not amused.

His attention sips back to the supplicant. "If the bear was attacking humans, it had killed them before and gained a taste for flesh. It would need to die regardless of my feelings on the matter to save other lives. The minute your idol kills a human is the minute she breaks our contract and I am within my full right to remove her from this realm."

A beat and his scowl towards Jillian deepens. "And don't laugh, demon. The woman who opened the portal and allowed you to escape is dead. She thought it was all a lark too, meddling with this reality's fate."


"And should that -human- develop a taste for flesh…" Jillian counters while sloooowly lifting her head back up to watch Strange with that 'I'm bored with this' expression. "After all, I would hate to lose such devout followers due to an unfortunate outbreak of cannibalism."

What can she do? What can -anyone- do? The Devil himself might be awfully proud of her right now if she wasn't already high up on his shitlist for having gone AWOL on him.

Next Jillian looks over to Thorne. "Grant us a moment of privacy. Then we shall speak further."

Jonas promptly dips forward. "Of course—as you wish, Blue An..Lady Jillian."

After Jonas ducks back out of sight the Neyaphem takes on a very human quality when she thumbs over her shoulder at the lead cultist. "'Lady' Jillian," she deadpans with sarcasm just -dripping- off of the words. Drawing herself upright once more, she openly admits "I am as much at a loss as you, Sorcerer. As they say, I 'did not sign up for this.' I am not certain that I -want- this. I stand to gain nothing of use by leading them astray, but if they truly wish to believe in me…" she trails off with a frown, looking rather thoughtful. "There is power to be gained here. Earned. It need not be abused." Heck, the hard part's already been done for her! The cult's already a thing!

What did she wish to accomplish with the power she came here seeking, anyway? Revenge on good ol' Dad? With a thin smirk, she observes "It would seem that our fates are both destined to always remain at an impasse with the other."


Aaaaaah-hah-hah. Hah. Demon humor. Strange gives her another flat look. If only she knew the number of times he's dealt with cannibalism and how insidiously awful the echoes are within this reality and the society he protects.

"I'm fine with impasse. That's a balance I can accept." About as much as swallowing down a horse-pill, but the good Doctor knows when to act in patience rather than wrath. In lieu of anger, instead, a suggestion given in steely, quiet earnestness.

"You talk about power. It can corrupt, usually through fear. You want to have power, mastery, over those people? Then master yourself." There's a somberness to his expression now. "You want to keep them from harm? Then realize that it's not about you. It's about how this story ends. I hope it ends well for you and for them and not in fire."

With a final sigh, he shakes his head and turns his back on her. It's easy enough to open a Gate and the ambient light shines in golden shimmers onto him and the surroundings. "Remember our agreement," he calls over his shoulder. "Don't abuse it."

The crimson Cloak flutters behind him as he strides into the Sanctum. The chained lightning collapses inwards until it vanishes from sight, leaving the Park and its inhabitants to the uncaring silvery light of the moon and the chilled night breeze.


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