1963-11-08 - Strange Irregularities
Summary: Just when he thought it was safe to drink tea, the Sorcerer Supreme comes under attack and the Scarlet Witch loses control.
Related: Post-Spiders
Theme Song: Raid on Alamut - Harry Gregson-Williams
wanda strange 

Seabirds sigh in the window, winging past a tidal zone wreathed in spools of white mists and fog. Another shows the Table Mountain, sheared off top and cliffsides plunging down towards a glowing cinnabar and copper carpet heralding the onset of deep spring over the smallest of the floral kingdoms. The third peers down onto a sleepy city cast in darkness, thrown lights peeping in a sullen orange glow, and if the Soviets knew anyone could peer into Nizhny Novgorod, they would possibly hurl a battery of missiles and KGB agents at 177A Bleecker Street.

Atop Table Mountain, a light goes out.

Ripples run counter to the stillness of the tidal pool on the Olympic Peninsula.

In Nizhny Novgorod, the twin round headlights of a truck wink and the vehicle appears to drive forward into the ground on a sudden right angle. It disappears.

If an event happens in a Window and no one is there to view it, can it be seen?

The door linking the Sanctum of New York to a nexus point for three other cities slams open. Wards shimmer in notification, and then the polite bell ring becomes a toddler slamming a palm on the dinger. A back blast of a spell bursts through the dimensional gateway, long jellyfish streamers sucked into New York's hushed province. Sparks of radiance dance in neon afterglows, bioluminescent waves dappled in eyes stamped along every appendage. Over and over, sparks like eyes stare outwards.

Shining black ropes thick with iridescent oil plunge through the distortion and a body falls through moments later. The gateway pinches shut, cutting off the ropes but not the medusid appendages, which snatch back just in time. Do the wards keep wailing?

An old woman seated on a bench feeds the pigeons. Next to her sits a tall fellow in a suit, philosophizing about aliens and the invisible pantomime performed by a fellow in yellow robes across the street from them. He makes a convincing act of falling down, doesn't he? These street performers get better every day.

The sun comes up with no conclusions, the moon sweeps by without comment, and B'sso, master of the mystic art — if barely — struggles to make it ten feet to the doorstep of the Sanctum. He collapses as something unseen latches onto him.

His astral form shucked free of his body makes that last burst of speed, crashing into the wards to shock them into tolling again.


THEME: https://play.spotify.com/track/5HARZiEbfWnwXdv7ckqh5z


"I'm coming, I'm COMING, ALRIGHT, ALREADY!!!"

The Sorcerer Supreme's voice precedes him as he clatters down the Grand Staircase with a foreboding expression. A twist of his hand and idle gesture and the front doors to the Sanctum open abruptly.

The next attempt by the Astral form to rebound against the wards is foiled, but perhaps for the better - it swishes by Strange and seems to stumble over nothing as it gains the safety of the foyer. Blinking, the good Doctor has a moment of recognition - "Master B'sso?!" - and then it occurs to him that this is the Astral form of B'sso. Where's the body?

With vicious snarls on the Mystic plane, the wards suddenly flare to life around the open entrance. Blinking the Sight over his view, Strange immediately begins conjuring up a magical weapon. The blurring of tentacles batter at the silvery spells that snap and zap back at the potential invaders. "EVERY. DAMN. DAY!" A screech is heard at every cracking contact of the molten surujin in his hands. Like a lion tamer, he beats back the supernatural being until he can see down onto the sidewalk.

His body! It lies prone, devoid of its spirit, one arm outstretched in a terrible pose of failure to reach the door initially. Strange has to duck another tentacle and snarls as the weapon slices through the air before him. With another warbling shriek, they retreat more still and remain there, clearly done harassing him and his for a time. The Sorcerer's lambent eyes never leave the coagulation of oily stalks even as he kneels down and works B'sso's body up over one shoulder, firefighter-style.

"Don't. Even," he grinds out as one tentacle slips forwards a foot. It retracts quickly and there's the sense of simmering frustration. Backwards up the steps, one at a time, balancing the body and keeping the chained lighting at hand. "Wanda!" Her name should resound around the space of the foyer, even as Strange slams the doors shut with a force of will. "Wanda, I need your assistance!"

He quickly carries B'sso's body over beside the now-sitting Astral form of the Master and carefully lays it down beside the exhausted-looking spirit.


Master B'sso, who in this very age fits the bohemian ideals of Christ the Loving Soul, wears the yellow and green of Kamar-Taj in his astral form a fair bit better than the bloodsoaked and dust-rimed garments fluttering around his slowly descending body.

The good Doctor need not wait long. B'sso's mastery of astral projection and its minute variations is well-known. He instructs a good many of the intermediate and senior students on attaining the calm purpose of being to step forth.

It should be no surprise then that his smile is calm for all he is within inches of death's doorstep. "There," he indicates a space on the sidewalk. A ghastly number of grubs, ranging from fat to long and segmented, spatter the face of reality through a whirlpool wavering against the fabric of creation. The dying light of the gate illuminates their existence well enough.

The largest of them is doubly as tall as Strange. All are covered in the bioluminescent eyes that dotted the filaments plunging through the doorway from the mountain aerie.

B'sso walks alongside the Sorcerer Supreme, not quite returning to his body until they reach the Sanctum. Only then is it wise to brave death without imparting the words. "These are a plague upon Ngamring County. A warlord sought to establish his power over the people and block access to Kangri Rinpoche, the sacred mountain." He speaks of the mighty peak that feeds the Indus and the Brahmaputra, the headwaters for among the greatest waterways in southern Asia… and their most sacred leylines. "We challenged him and he opened the Lead Coffer of Shalomon. We are besieged by them."

A moment later, spirit forges with flesh and he chokes alive, vomiting out a string of ectoplasm onto the ground. Wounds burn. He slouches helplessly against the wall.


Footsteps serenade the call from above. The habit of sharpening knives and oiling weapons falls naturally to a girl who lives by them, and putting down a whetstone when the alarm rises means the brunette witch is already armed, and literally caught steel-handed. Her only addition requires a quick snatch of a belt to holster her favoured blades in, as a precaution.

Some mystics have their fancy staves. She uses long blades intended to pierce vital places and inflict fatal blows, to sever and cut and slice. The headlong descent at speed brings her hurrying through the foyer, slashing a triple line in the air. Upwelling cerise radiance flows out and wraps around her as she steps through the glittering mist. It's one way to form a shield and armour herself against life's cares.


To hear news of stunted waters and besieged ley lines brings the thunderous expression forefront. A steadying hand is placed on the body as it begins to slump to one side. "I thought the Coffer was still hidden?" The good Doctor's questioning halts in the face of the effects of rejoining of Astral to physical. From Sorcerer to surgeon, he flips mind-tracks even as he senses the approaching frissons of Wanda and her powers. "Come on, B'sso, tell me more," he murmurs even as he begins checking pulse, color of gums, responsiveness of pupil to ambient light. The wounds are extensive and he can't tell how deep they run.

He glances up at Wanda and jerks his head towards the front doors. "I don't know if the Gate's shut outside, but it's Shalomon grubs, the big ones. Take care of anything that got into this reality, I have to stabilize him." The groan from his fellow practitioner jerks his attention back and Strange summons up radiant Mystic energy on the surface of his free palm; the other hand keeps B'sso from collapsing further. "Take what you need," the Sorcerer murmurs as he pushes his palm gently overtop the heart chakra, mindful of pain that lurks beneath rent robes. The excess magic should flow into the Master and bolster any sort of self-healing he may attempt.


The nature of the wounds cause B'sso to shake his head gingerly. "No. We thought the same, that it was a decoy. Damaged in corner… contents escaped." The contents the size of grain can, in time, eat a hole through a mountain and come out the other side as long as a locomotive or carriage. He grimaces and presses his hand to his side, preventing the loss of oxygen from a hole about as wide as a bottle neck. Not good. The bone is completely missing in a perfectly round hole. He'll be pulling harder than he might like, but the order is an order from good blooded Doctor Strange.

"Tain and Gyche are down," he offers, every breath losing some of the oxygen maintained in a deflated lung, the other struggling and wheezing. Still, he is calm and almost serene. Not for nothing is he the Buddy Jesus-Buddha of Kamar-Taj. "Shamir, Doctor. Those are its chaff."

Shamir, the worms said to eat through all forms of solid matter, were critical in the day of King Solomon.

The wash of scarlet iridescence in the Sight marks Wanda's passage, the knives gleaming along their cutting edges. She has none of the flash and panache of other mystics. That she cannot afford, much less against sinuous invertebrates unlikely to behave in a friendly fashion. Pausing at the door, she draws power into herself, steadied at the base of her spine and reserves anchored at throat and wrists. A nudge lets her own, ducking low, and a fat body bites through the wood, leaving a sizzling green shimmer that fades away. Flakes fall to the ground through the gap, and she whirls into action with none of her twin's speed. More is the pity, he might bag them all in ten seconds.

For everything else, there's a Maximoff hex. It's everywhere angry holy grubs would rather not be. She inverses her blades, rubbing her palms together, and thrusts down to ground zero. Reality forks around her in a bubble hemisphere, rising up nine feet, and exploding.


At first, the good Doctor struggles to keep the flow of the magic consistent to B'sso. It's a physical pull on his body, like blood draining from him, and he has to fight to keep from jerking away at the discomfort. But - the Master is having trouble breathing still. Strange's sharp eyes flicker about until he notes the hand pressed to his ribs. With gentle insistence, he removes the covering fingers and winces at what he can see through the tears in the robes.

A sigh and rueful smile-more-grimace towards his patient. "Give me a second."

Down his will goes, diving through basement and subbasement until it hits the outmost layer of the ley line rushing beneath the Sanctum. With palm flat to floor, he takes the initial hit of intense energy in his own body and lets out a grunt, closing off the radiance of his irises in an unconscious mirror to quashing down the power. The surge is now steady as it wends into the Master's body. "Changa," he whispers. The sky-blue spell, with its touch of spring air, should feel cooling to the wounds and begin to will new life back into the practitioner's broken body.

In the back of his mind, the Sorcerer wonders at the witch's progress in dealing with the grubs. The Sanctum's wards have not blared any new alarm, merely continued biting back at any attacks on the outside of the mansion.


B'sso pulls only so much as he absolutely needs to refuse his lungs. The hole in his side needs only a thin membrane before he stops. Try as he might, Strange will not convince him further. A smile creases his beard, his pallor troublingly blotchy.

"They eat through matter, man. A sword is no obstacle. The sham… B-bother." His fingers convulse and his body rattles at the rush of magic pouring through him, setting off seizures that shake at rigid muscles repeatedly.

On the other side of the door, several fine shafts of daylight pouring into the foyer are blocked by passing shadow. Floating forms in shades as bright as the desert, streaked orange and russet and coral, converge upon something new to consume. Metal! Wood! Concrete!

Their auras to the Sight are even more intense, technicolour trails following the bioluminescent eyes pulsing on their sides. Even hurled away, the grubs chew through the asphalt and a downspout there, a fire escape here, and a bumper on a '57 Mercury. Chrome wilts through the circular hole of their mouth. Radioactive shimmers melt around them, decaying materials in half-lives lasting seconds.

Wanda dives off the steps of the sanctum, playing a game of tag that isn't tag at all. Her knives are swiftly rendered useless, eroded down to flakes of rust and brittle metal upon contact. A toss flings the hilt into a trash can that promptly falls over and a shamir inches as fast as its stout body allows to perch on that surface. The old woman, the pigeons, and the tall fellow see none of this, nor that they are covered in at least four of the grubs apiece per human, and the pigeons are festooned with a worm or two.

Seeing mundane methods fail on that front, she spreads her fingers wide and forms a web of force. It struggles to take on a shape until she decides on the final product: a sword, slightly curved, hilt fitted to her hands. It's a thing of finesse and infinitely better for skewering a fat grub eating six inches into the ground, working on a pipe to the buildings in the area. Water pressure might be a problem for the next few days.


"Wha - no! B'sso, come on!!!" Strange's voice takes on a pitch of urgency as he breaks contact momentarily with the Master's heart chakra and helps the twitching body to lying on its side. His breathing increases as he momentarily goes blank-minded. Did he cause the seizure with the healing spell?! No - he couldn't have, the result runs counter to the magic's nature. Did the hole in the Master's side not close all of the way?

With the dragging sharp sound of ripping cloth (so sorry, Master B'sso, you'll get a new set of robes later, he promises), Strange reveals the ribs facing up and squints at the perfectly-round wound site, now covered in a thin layer of skin. He leans closer still…and then jerks back with a bitten-off cry of disgust.

Something moved behind the opaque tissue layer! Brain catches up after the adrenaline rush: a grub - a grub in him! Bullets are fine. Shrapnel is normal. These are inanimate. There is an animate thing eating at B'sso right now and GOD'S ABOVE.

With a quick shudder of revulsion that brings his shoulders up momentarily by his ears, Strange gloves his hands in not only the sky-blue of the healing spell, but also the faintest golden shimmer of Astral separation. This is Mystical surgery now. One last glance and grimace at B'sso - he seems to be stuck in the grips of seizure and a questioning offering of his own name goes unnoted. "Sorry, B'sso," the good Doctor mutters as he moves to straddle the man's torso and then pins the body in place with thighs. It places the ribs perfectly within reach and manages to contain the worst of the shuddering between a thigh against spinal cord and the other against sternum. Strange can also feel the thundering of the man's heart as well as his breathing patterns; who needs a machine when you can clearly tell if he stops breathing?

Then, the Sorcerer begins working his finger through the membrane of skin. Astral Art keeps his physical hands from actually splitting skin, but it doesn't keep the Master beneath him from making some sounds of extreme discomfort through his clenched teeth. "Sorry, sorry, sorry!" The mantra continues breathily as Strange squints, trying to locate the invasive body through his Sight.

There! And it BITES HIM! Hissing and freezing up, the Sorcerer then projects a sharp surge of pure ley line-bolstered power into the wriggling thing. Take that. It dies with a spasm and then, slowly and carefully, the good Doctor draws it from the wound.

It emerges in physical form pinched at its tail between his fingers and he throws its limp body to the foyer floor beside him. Part of the wards immediately sic to it and the creature is rendered nonexistent with furious fervor. Shaking blood from his fingers, Strange immediately ceases to straddle B'sso and presses palm to wound as well as over heart chakra once more.

"Come on…!" The heartbeat beneath his hands is scarily erratic.


Something has moved, something that eats through all the substances of the world eagerly. What's a bit of viscera to a creature that shaped the breastplate of Moses, the artifacts of the gods? It might just munch through the metal case of the Eye of Agamotto and puts its round mouth to a facet if it could.

Eyes rolled back in his skull, B'sso keeps spasming as his organs revolt at the surges of prickling energy cooking them. Froth forms at the corners of his beard but he doesn't fight the jarring seizures. He simply tries not to bite his own tongue off. That might be messy, and rude.

Have the wards received a Geiger counter? If not they would be vibrating with the ominous tickety-boo of a gauge going wild.

Wanda, outside, dances in death. There is no orchestrated footwork. She slices at the glimmering bands of a constricting worm that might want to bite her head off. Footwork is problematic on the uneven, potholed road where shamir poke their open mouths out of the ground and try to take off her boot at the ankle. A flurry of stabbing thrusts cuts through their sides. Not much stops a force blade applied using furious intent. Chunks of 'meat' go flying and oozing streamers spill out. They have mouths but no means to scream or shout. Shamir coil and curl in agony where she hacks through defenses, then topples over a bench past the flutter of pigeon wings and staring eyes.

Denuded feathers mean the avian sky-rats cannot fly, but merely flap about in mangy misery. They run through the street with wings open, while old woman and bony, tall man stare at the pantomime. "She's not so interesting as the other one," mutters the man. "I'd rather a simpler woman. This one looks complicated."

He chuffs an unhappy noise when the brunette witch elbows him and runs for the alley after a bigger one starting to bite into the side of the Sanctum. Wards assuredly shrill in protest.

The bite Sorcerer Supreme takes is not a good thing. They eat through bone. Radiation seeps in to tissues. Its body need not be alive to pulverize his living pattern in a good cylinder.


"Why won't you stabilize?!"

The nearby portion of the wards swirl around him and his faltering patient, acknowledging a foreign presence continuing within B'sso. "Ow!" The bite to his fingertip radiates a sudden burning lance of pain and Strange leans over to look at his palm splayed across the Master's chakral point. Oh. That explains it. The retreat of emotion is taken over by cold surgeon's logic wrought to blurring heights by adrenaline: his fingerpad is basically gone, through the delicate bone at the end, which glistens white nestled in bloody flesh.

The good Doctor lets out a wildly-pitched hum of disapproval. That he doesn't grow paler should earn him points for steely spirit; or perhaps he's been hit with a continual barrage of stress ever since the Hellmouth and his capacity for freaking out is about nulled.

"CHANGA!!!" His shout echoes around the foyer and this spell is charged with the potency of the Dragon ley lines once more. Strange's teeth flash as the magic seems to force out some invasive lingering poison from his finger - already it had traveled to his second knuckle, how disconcerting - and then it's whole once more. With both hands touching B'sso, the Master is also privy to the wallop of healing magic.

Part reviving jolt, part massive dosage of anti-radioactive-magic meant to counter and negate the foreign blight within the man. Whether or not it stops the seizure is another matter entirely.


ROLL: Wanda +rolls 1d100 for a result of: 3


Bioluminescent ichor splatters out on Strange. B'sso rolls to the side and vomits up more spores, fine as deeply ground flour dust. He spits out a clot of blood and phlegm, and puts his hands to the ground, convulsing with the force of the choking coughs the spell force out of him. Wiping the back of his hand over his mouth might seem the thing to do. Not happening, as he forces himself back and gags again, coughing out more.

"Bother," he hoarsely whispers. "Might do with a cup of tea." Forcing his protesting body back into an upright position demands that his lungs do not burst and the air saws in and out with an awkward whistle. So much healing and so much discomfort will be borne properly, in meditative pose.

Is it a positive sign the shadows aren't blocking the hole-riddled front door? They do not prevent a kiai shout in Transian from reaching either man, and a rattling shockwave that rolls against the walls and doors. That big one on the side of the building is steadily eating under the foundation of the Sanctum wall, and it lashes out with dazzling, mesmerizing patterns at Wanda, who leaps back to avoid direct contact. Her heel wobbles on a pothole and she tumbles, landing on her backside with a thump and a snarl. The force blade won't last long when flung at the creature, but she sends it end over end.

And then it swivels, those radioactive feelers swaying in the air, the countless bioluminescent eyes winking and flaring in an aggressive stance. Ahead of it, the lampstand simply disintegrates into dust. Then the ground starts to erode away. A street sign crashes to the ground. The '57 Mercury dissolves in half. She scrambles back, part crabwalk, part effort to get to her feet, and flings away one of the bloated devourers at the big one inching faster and faster after her. Rolling away leaves the shreds of her torn sleeve unraveling into nothing.

The two pedestrians have fled. Traffic is absent. The Village is curiously silent on Bleecker Street. Victory of a healing spell lands upon Strange, a relief for B'sso.

That's when the second, louder scream shakes the pillars of nearest creation. It's a sound to ring in the darkest corners of the mind, an unmistakable note. Defiance and intimidation and fear mingled into one torn from the pit of abyssal soul-depths are thrown without a word.

A legacy suspended in the bloodstream stirs. Midnight saturating the fine filaments inside her genetics quiver. Magic goes up like a geyser, stability flung apart.

Neither Master has to struggle with this one, the natural signature of incarnated chaos bursting like red lightning from a starry, cloudless sky.



Strange wipes the spectral sputum from his face with bloodied hands; the smears left are dually-red, both leftover from both Masters, with a glowing sheen overtop. He looks like some bizarre Mystical combination of battlefield medic and woad-marked warrior.

The good Doctor lets out a tired sigh as he slouches against the seat of the bench and allows his chin to touch his chest. More wiping of his hands, on his dress shirt now. It will assuredly meet a pair of scissors and the fireplace rather than the laundry. Bleach isn't getting those stains out.

"Yes, a cup of tea, and —"

The shrilling of the Sanctum's wards has been buzzing at his ear this entire time. He knows the protective spells can hold their own and that a certain pitch means they are calling for back-up. It's not their air-raid siren that draws his pupils to points and causes him to trip over himself in a rush to get to the front doors.

It's the wail that breaches barriers and veils to reach him and caress his spine with delicate icy drops of dread. The blowback of the surging probability field hits him on a Mystic level and causes him to flinch, turn his face aside; it's like the passing moment of opening an over door and feeling the heat bake skin to dryness. In a blossoming of blurring material, he's in the battle-leathers and wearing the Eye even as he throws open one front door.

Behold, the carnage fashioned by magical weapon and sheer determination. It spills across both sides of the street, which is now pocketed with holes that shouldn't be. Her presence is as easy to detect as the sun. Strange feels time slow around him in a surge of adrenaline - the Eye is silent for now - as he takes in the sight of the MASSIVE multi-eyed grub bearing down upon the Witch.


Just as her scream resounds, so does the Sorcerer Supreme's shout echo with near-physical force - perhaps it was augmented by the mantle? The giant grub, already reeling from the effects of the Chaotic corona expanding around Wanda, turns a few dozen eyes towards him in time for a razor-edged bolt of magic to slam into its side. Augmented further still by rage, it hits the creature with the impact of an eighteen-wheeler and the concrete vibrates with its momentary collapse.

"Wanda! WANDA, STOP!!!" Strange throws up his hands in the face of another coronal discharge of red-hot magic. Can't she hear him?!


ROLL: Wanda +rolls 1d100 for a result of: 34


The grub is the largest of them all. It took one the size of barleycorn, around 8.5 millimeters by the standard, to fashion the Temple of Solomon.

This one's taller than the missing Mercury Monterey, two hundred and eleven inches of coral and sandstone streaked body, feelers lashing the air. Eye after electric green eye wink along its flanks, marquee lights aglow in a posturing display that owes everything to sentence. Its round mouth points at her, and the pulsations underfoot are doing a hellish number on the infrastructure of Bleecker Street.

Poor DOT. They're going to be busy with Public Works to clean this up.

The hex bubble around her keeps widening, sustained in so much wildly oscillating light in its own contorting atmosphere. Flowers blossom under Wanda's feet and the cacophonous interplays of violin notes and the tidal vibrations of massive stars crackle around her as she holds her arm up, shielding her face. Her open palm both stands to catch any object that might be thrown at her and linking the complex threads of interlocking sigils and bubbles that pirouette down to her lower hand in total defiance of gravity.

It's a star in the making, a rapidly rotating starlet about to go nova.

She is still caught in a crouch, and every speck of dirt and trash and blown foliage floats around her, frozen grit in an autumnal snow globe shaken up. Skeletal leaves shift between acorns and mother of pearl and thorns, jouncing up and down opposite the wavering of the shamir's appendages.

Her halo is in full effect, overlaid by her hair floating around her and the scarlet signature that strobes over the tense bubble surface of the curse. Where thicker bruises form scarred possibilities, the raw energy behind it spikes and drops and rises. Beams from that interstellar lighthouse she barely holds has to go somewhere. Unstable plasma won't hold.

Sometimes the best choice, absorption, isn't an option. She flings it airborne at a clear patch of sky, flung upwards with bone-jarring force as the unpredictable hex turns the air orange and thick with the scent of strawberries, whiskey, and fynbos. Rainfall pours down around them, liquid helium that starts to boil away almost in a heartbeat.

Then the implosion that rattles the windows but doesn't break them, cloudy streaks and headlight beams peering out, falling in on itself.

She falls back to her knees, and her palms strike the weirdly pliant ground.


One nasty shamir down! The largest curls in a measure of deep agony. Whatever life remains to it drains out the steaming wound in its side, helium dripping over the eldritch burn wounds the mystic arts leave behind. Flashes fade out of existence. Other smaller worms chew through whatever materials lie before them, none longer than a middle finger.

Inside the sanctum, B'sso puts a hand to the wall and gives it an almost affectionate pat. He forces himself to his legs and finds the ground a great deal more steady than his last visit. Things he can be grateful for are many. Standing up straight is one of them. Violence is not his way though, student of the Ancient One, he certainly can do harm.

But he paints a straight line with his hands and light shines warm and green. A rotation draws a circle, and then he bisects this to draw another within it. Half circle motions link together a stabilizing barrier that he uses to mend the doors at least. The holes flow together. He wrinkles his nose at the natural smell.

"Tangerine tea does sound good." Maybe the happy goblet will chime for his opinions.


Another claret lashing of Chaos magic breaks on his shielding spell, summoned up rapidly in realization of the incoming arc. The shielding isn't dismantled, precisely, but definitely shaken in its composition. The back surge into Strange's hands leaves him shaking them in irritation; it's pins-and-needles with forge-hot points.

"FOCUS! WANDA, STOP!" His shouting sounds so small in the cacophony of sound that emerges from the distorting point of reality. STOP!!! he projects, uncertain if even his psychic command can reach her within the whirlwind of shredded air and light.

At his neck, the Eye of Agamotto shifts awake and citrine magic injects into his shielding, to stabilize and remind him that the gods…are…watching.

This is a possibility that should not exist, comes the voices in his head, a triumvirate overlapping that drives his eyes shut and torso into a bow. Teeth squeak and chin tucks to chest as they continue speaking. You are Sorcerer Supreme. The mantle does not make exceptions.

Even as he draws in a ragged breath and looks up, irises a-glow with amaranthine hues, he sees the moment where control is wrest back into her hands once again. The near-aneurysm-inducing laugh of one of the three - Oshtur? - and the Eye rotates shut once more with a decisive cleaving cling that travels unhampered by any aspect of reality within this world.

The detonation breaks on the Shield of Seraphim and then…ringing silence. The scent of liquid ozone. The taste of electrified whiskey and burnt petals.

The magic is withdrawn back into him with a gesture drawn in perfect control that dissolves seconds later into shivering as he holds out his hand. It drops as he takes in the scene before him.

The biggest grub is dead. She is fine. He is fine. All that is left are the smallest of the invasive creatures, no more dangerous when undisturbed than earthworms. It's a simple thing to remove them, a spell he can make up on the fly, but he's…very tired now.

His steps are marked as he approaches her with more caution than she's ever seen from him. He stops at least six feet short of her, out of reach of a sudden grab at him and far enough that he can jump back to defend in adrenaline-aided motions.



The girl on her knees stares up at the sky. The vault that accuses no one, returned to a shot of deepening blue where it belongs. One that holds no proof of obliterated lampposts, a felled bench or demolished vehicles caused by escaped beings.

One that no longer dumps silvery rain on her that transmutes the instant it hits the earth's surface. The temperature is so far above its boiling point, even at 9'C, the liquid cannot remain.

Teeth chatter and she coughs once, struggling to find her voice while magic ricochets around her, forming shields and smoothing twisted lines, but she pays very little heed to that. Breathe in, breathe out. Her throat aches like she decided to swallow canes of a Siberian blackberry, the brambles cutting into flesh.

Her hex bubble has long popped. Her knives long vanished. The energy torn out of her will not replenish fast, but a duty is a duty. Bending her back, she places her foot flat to the ground. Then pushing herself up from the road drags her back leg but she manages to straighten. Mostly. Strange is there, she knows this, but holds out her hand to forestall any further rescue. Or for balance. Or for feeling at the walls of reality.

When she meets his gaze, there are hopeful results. No mark on her brow, no disfiguring elements to her face, no black eyes or guttural laugh. Tiger-eye shimmers, a smudge of soot and dust on her brows. Her right arm is bare to the wrist, the other sleeve ragged but intact. "I heard you the…" She gulps and swallows another prickly lump, making a face at the raw feeling. "The first time. Not good to talk when it twists."

Crooked fingers slip over her face, falling into exhaustion. No adrenaline rages through her, no prospect of danger here. "I talk and things happen. Safer to be quiet." Her knees wobble and the curious lightness fills her in, running almost smooth.

A nod to the absent sign lying on the ground takes too much energy. "Don't know why it came." Puzzling, the girl rubs her shoulder, fingers missing the mark and scooting down to her elbow, clutching it to the inward curve of her waist. "Doctor. I cast, not—"

Airy statements disconnect thoughts. The lightness pops, almost dreamy, and then she sinks oh so slowly to her knees.


That she has no comment about the drying blood drawn haphazardly across his face, likely still slightly a-glow, tells much for the disconnect indeed. Strange watches her movements with guarded interest and finds her clear of any immediate signs of Dark influence.

Just Chaos magic out of control then. No biggie. It's not like he'll have nightmares for days now or anything.

There's a tightening to his eyes and lips as she admits to hearing him. Relief that he could slice through to her? Annoyance that his voice took so long? Trepidation that it wasn't effective at all?

The frown deepens as he notes, with medicine's lengthy experience, the sudden pallor in her skin and then he's lunging forwards. Not quick enough to stop her from impacting the crackled pavement on bent legs, but soon enough to prevent her skull from bouncing off hard cement. The delicate limbs and weight are gathered up into his arms and, with a grunt of weariness, the good Doctor rises to his feet. Her head is cradled against his chest and legs hang over embracing arm as he makes his way back to the Sanctum's front door. Any sort of nonsensical sounds from her are met with quietly-commanding shushes, meant kindly, perhaps a little gruff in the face of the recent stress.

One of them opens at his mental willing and he strides past B'sso with all the dignity he can muster. "Master B'sso, if you would please keep an eye on her. I have a Gate to close and grubs to banish." She is laid across the length of a cushioned bench within the foyer and a kiss is pressed to her forehead before the Sorcerer Supreme turns about on his heel. No doubt he makes a foreboding figure as he travels back through the front door with the rumbling wake of approaching thunder behind him.

Both practitioners inside the Sanctum should first feel the riffling of reality as the Gate that initially spilled shamir into this dimension is dexterously sewn shut. Then the concussive feedback of the grub-banishing spell will be heard like a detonating canon. Likely Master B'sso, knowing his fellow caster so well, will note that there was a bit more pepper used than necessary in its creation. Out of sight of the bench, the front door to the Sanctum slams shut. Then, the sound of cloth gliding along the wall followed by the thump of impact to the floor and a gusty sigh followed by low groan. Anyone curious enough to peer around the corner will find him sitting as if he started standing and slid down into a defeated sit; face uptilted, eyes closed, panting slowly.


The words aren't nonsensical, largely because the effort to translate to English is simply not worth the effort. She manages, "Sorry," followed by, "Thank you." That might have to be enough under the woozy circumstances.

Her sleeve turned over dabs lightly at Strange's cheek. Light because more is too much for her light-headed state. Gentle fingers stroke down his goatee, cleaning away a smear, and then another.

Wanda hinges on the point of chaos, but she is not its conduit beyond her natural abilities. No elder god peers through her eyes and gives a 'Gotcha!' and finger-guns to the Eye. No shadow disfigures her countenance into a sickly mask.

Discarded to a bench when Strange has larger problems to deal with might normally give affront, but the witch cannot command more energy than needed to heat a kettle for the moment. Head pillowed on her forearm, she dangles her hand over the cushion and touches the ground. She surely hates this weakness, this vulnerability, proven in her stiffening shoulders and neck, an effort to keep her head up when it weighs so very much.

Her sorcery's not at its dregs, but the hexes are, poured out to a point rarely allowed. The experience is so strange, reminiscent of old memories of her adoptive father, and her mentor, tormenting her to the breaking point. Pure will fatigue, when she broke, and lay dazed in the snow. Shades of that dance over her eyes. It's not right.

In the time needed to sever the connection to the gate, Master B'sso maintains his curious dignity. He calmly channels the Mystic Arts to lend his support and smooth over tears. "This has not solved the issue of Shalomon's Lead Coffer. We can store the seed safely at Kamar-Taj. But we need the original box or the shamir simply escapes again. I'll keep watch over the holy mountain."

That promise is established as he intends to head within and find his way back to Kamar-Taj by normal means, his own magic depleted to the point a good meal, rest, and meditation are essential. A bath wouldn't go wrong, and some communing with nature on the good things in life. He smiles, anyways, in farewell.

That leaves the thump, the groan, to percolate through the Scarlet Witch's wobbly coherence. Earth supplies her energy enough, but there will be no fights in her until she replenishes her own stock of energy, or turns to magic. Silence and a lack of footfalls force her from the upholstered bench, staggering a few steps until the mental fog rights itself. Strange's direction takes time to locate, but soon enough she peers 'round the wall to him, and creeps towards him, trusting herself until about three meters away. The last distance is taken on hands and knees, to the point when she can lean against his legs.


B'sso's words reach him, however near or far they're spoken from, and all Strange can manage right now is an insouciant and limp-armed salute, two fingers from brow towards the general direction of the voice. Disrespectful? Not intended to be. He just…doesn't care right now.

He notes the Master's departing with one slightly-opened eye and then it's back to appreciating the pull of gravity on his entire body.

The sudden pressure of familiar weight against his thigh makes him flinch and inhale sharply, but it's only her. Tentatively, his hand descends to rub gently along her available arm, from elbow to shoulder, up and down, soothing to them both. Normalcy - or about as close as they can get in this moment.

"I hate grubs," he mutters. The wards of Sanctum chime silvery in an echo of near-sentient agreement.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License