1963-11-12 - Bad Sun on the Rise
Summary: Two fresh enemies are forced to reconcile over a spreading plot of mystic murder most foul. Accusations fly at Wanda, and Aether and Doctor Strange puzzle over probabilities.
Related: The End is Coming Soon
Theme Song: Theme (Ezio's Family) - Jasper Kyd
mordo billy strange wanda 

The Bar with No Doors: a place as tacky as one can get in Manhattan, unless one includes the Empyrean for overdone Art Deco. Tiki gods and South Pacific motifs somehow survive the disgust of the local mystic community, in part because no one wants their drinks delivered in half a pineapple. Pineapples adulterate every liquor they touch with the intense sweetness. Not much has changed about the Polynesian knock-off feel since the US stormed the South Pacific and island-hopped through battles with evocative names like Guadalcanal and Coral Sea.

Yet sometimes, the press of fate and intuition or the suggestion of spells point to a particular conclusion. It can be an idea. It can be a vision. It's sometimes a destination.

On a Friday night the bar is relatively hopping, with the understanding all those who gather here do not defy the writ of neutrality. Ask not whether those 'Aumakua — guardian statues — are, in fact, real. Wards and spells, a common understanding, assure that the Bar is effectively Switzerland. Drinks circulate. Looks follow. It's a night when everyone is on tenterhooks even if they can't say why.


Baron Mordo emerges through a wall.

He is still sporting some injuries from his 'altercation' with Stephen Strange, and in some ways… he has aged a lot in what would be only a few nights to people on this world.

He makes his way straight for the bar. "An Yrutian Starburst — without lemon," he orders, and lets his head fall forward. He is tired, but smiling…


With the slightest distant echo of thunder, the Sorcerer Supreme enters the Bar with No Doors. No regalia, no sign of the mantle, save for the glimmer of golden chain about his neck, mostly hidden away by crimson scarf and black Belstaff crisp collar. He pauses in the doorway and idly scans the room with half-lidded eyes.

To the Sight, it's not only gaudy in decoration, it's psychedelic in atmosphere. Auras mingle and clash, spirits whisk by overhead, some stirred by slow-moving ceiling fans or wind among the pillars. Lots of familiar faces and he returns some smiles, some nods, and then…his expression shutters off.

That…warlock. The stillness of a predator overtakes his posture…and then melts away into the low buzz of tension. No going to the bar, not right now. A side table, perhaps, where he can glare daggers between the man's shoulder blades.

"Soda water," he murmurs to a nearly-invisible waiter, which whisks off to the bar. In the meanwhile, he takes the middle of a booth in a corner, more shadowed than some, and settles in.

Tenterhooks indeed.


"Oommm… Ooommm." Billy has a self-help book and its totally *revealing*, and it's teaching him to meditate. "Ooomm." It's not really 'oom' that he's supposed to say, he's sure, but its something. He's sitting in his bedroom, with candles out, going, "ooom.". Chanting is good, right? This is how you meditate, you *chant*. "Mind out of body…. Miiiind out of body… Miiiiiind oooout of booooody."

And then his mind is quite literally out of his body, and he accidentally astral projects. Like, WHOA. The astral plane is totally weird and totally extra super duper weird. Billy decides this 'meditation' thing is the shit, even though it wasn't meditation but an accidental spell that sent his mind roaming.

Still, in the etheric realm of mind and thought, Billy sorta wanders for awhile, drawn by symbolism and connection. The swells of astral eddies send him roaming this way or that. For how many hours? He's not sure, but eventually he sees someone he knows— the Sorcerer Supreme himself. After taking stock of where he is, Billy's mind snaps back to his body, and a few moments later, there's a blink in space as his coordinates in reality are adjusted and voila, red-cloaked Billy Kaplan (aka, Aether, right? Right) is right there by the table Strange chose. He leans against it for a moment, "What's up?"


ROLL: Wanda +rolls 1d5 for a result of: 2


Mordo's head comes up as he senses Strange's appearance.

It does not really require any magic or ESP — he can feel those eyes boring in between his shoulder blades like a pair of daggers. To Strange, he has only been gone a short time… not short enough.

The warlock's lip curls at that, and he raises his extradimensional beverage to his lips. Earthly drinks are so… pedestrian to him now. About the only thing on this planet that provided the right kind refreshment for him was…

Strange's perfectly brewed tea.

Damn him.

At the boy's arrival, Mordo frowns, but looks at the barkeep and inquires: "Who is the little red riding-hood with Strange there?"


Strange's perfect view of spine-drilling glaring is suddenly blocked off by a figure who melds out of thin air before him. Billy is subjected to the full force of said glare before the good Doctor tones it down a few notches and sighs.

First, a sip of soda water, and then he clears his throat. "The ceiling is up as is the sky and various interdimensional points of access within the bar. Unless you're asking in some odd sense of greeting, in which case, good evening and welcome to the Bar with No Doors." He includes the surroundings with his lazy wave of hand. "Neutral ground, no fights, no bending reality. Sit if you want to," and he nods to a space at the perfectly-round table.

Merlin clearly had some say in the décor.


A line of people sit at the bar. Fewer sit at tables, even fewer together. Usual suspects divided up by penchant and tradition. The voodoun priests and patrons prefer to lurk away from sight, whereas the followers of the Mystic Arts aren't shy about languishing. Punks following proto-New Age beliefs and a cobblepot approach to magic stick together, though they're the loudest, arguing over beer and orange juice. Native Americans, shamans of varied traditions from the Inuit to Tierra del Fuego, pepper the crowd. In the corner is a Korean sorcerer with a wolfhound seated at his feet, the dog's eyes bored into shadow and serving as his master's gaze.

In the corner a woman in a red coat makes an exchange with another, hooded one who writes on a slab of paper rather than speaks. A cloth pouch is exchanged between gnarled hands to gloved ones, and a square iron coin on a length of chain goes in the opposite direction.

The bartender, a jarred head, somehow telepathically mixes up drinks. They appear without being delivered by anything human. Tap your coaster, there they go, limited dimensional shift or teleportation gates. The Yrutian Starburst waiting for Mordo stays waiting, smoking a little. It's only when the man touches it that the liquid turns a weird ashen shade, and then rapidly gathers into a pile of dust. Alcohol boils off with the telltale scent of something over a bunsen burner, and a blue flame leaps up from the middle of the pile, leaving an acrid finish.

A stylized skull emerges out of a ghostly circle over the baron's shoulder, only visible to the Sight.


IMAGE: http://tinyurl.com/gto3jgg


For the moment, Billy is immune to glares, even great and powerful ones such as Doctor Strange's. Why? Because he turns the dimples on full power and grins. He's barely not a kid, this one is, and confident and not quite as serious as perhaps he should be with great powers of reality warping in his hands.

And he's not stupid, but he's not bright enough to not just grin through Strange's glare. "I was meditating and uhh, found you. I didn't know meditating could lead to out of body experiences, but it totally did. I must have been thinking of what you said the other day, because I kinda found you then poof."

Billy nods his head, a little more seriously, "I still don't understand why you say what I do isn't magic: magic seems to be taking will to do a thing and then making a thing be done by will. Isn't that like the definition of magic? I think I must be missing something, you being like, Head Magic Dude, and me being not, because it seems very magicy to me."

Then he pauses, "Wait is that a head in a jar?"


"It would appear the Sorcerer Supreme has picked up yet another stray…" Mordo remarks when reaching for his drink. As the Yrutian Starburst… bursts into flame and ash, Mordo glowers — but he does not turn around. He wouldn't give Strange the satisfaction. Instead, he orders another — then whispers to the bartender.

The next drink to be served at Strange's table… is clay-water with a hint of limestone: the marital-beverage drunk at the wedding ceremonies among the rock-elementals of the Dimension of Eight.

There's even a second glass… for Billy.

Many happy years to the pair of them.


The clay-water never reaches the table. That, too, turns to dust as grey as the ground down graves and the battleships in their watery tombs at Scapa and Midway. Another blue flame licks around the edges and evaporates.


Conversations fracture along lines of observation. Trust the witches to be the first. They always seem to sense off-ness the first. The little earth worshipping pagan girls who pretend to love Mother Nature and roll around in the flowers come a close second. One of them drops her napkin and utters a chirpy, girlish shriek of alarm, and jumps back in her seat, her chair almost knocking over.

Voodoun never speak very loudly anyways, to avoid offending the loa or attracting the wrong kind of spirits. But when one of their staves starts rattling a certain way they almost entirely look over as one. Not hard, they're a group squashed in the corner.

Talk slows. In patches it continues, suddenly oddly loud. A harshly overheard comment registers to all ears, too clear in the building hush. "Oh not again! Is nothing sacred? Maelgwyn, let's get out of here…"

The floating skull drags forward, and seems to merge with Mordo's head. A not-quite-perfect fit, but the bleached lines line up disturbingly well. In place of the Baron's eyes, deep ferrous pits start to spill grains of dust towards the ground. Globs of something wet, sticky, and tactile — in a rusted out shade — form around his boots.

"No place is safe. Nowhere is secure. The locks won't hold. Listen, listen as you would not hear! Proud fools, all of you. Not only in sancta and shrines, but on the city, the Pomerium is failing. The rod of misfortune that hangs over us falls, again and again, and inclines you to commiserate woes which you may one day experience. The wretched exercise over their fellows a power which you now see.

"Behold with terror, Wise of New York! Your acquaintance with peace indeed has given you a spineless aspect and a quavering tone. By yielding to the influence of Mammon you have forgotten Rome, Prague, and the universe. And they come, the Black Sun comes!"


Dimples, meet singly-arched eyebrow and a thinness to lips that imparts a reluctance to teach. Jaw muscles flex - once - and then the Sorcerer sighs slowly.

"Magic is energy drawn from reality. Energy can be drawn or dispersed. Reality, once affected, may not be able to be returned to its previous state. Futures can be directly affected or erased entirely."

Strange sips at his drink and makes a face of sudden disgust. It's gone incredibly acidic all of the sudden and metallic, as if he's bitten the inside of his mouth. "What in…"

His gaze is drawn up and irises blaze alight as he narrows his attention to Mordo once more. Slowly, with the crackling of ice-white aura visible only to the Sight, the good Doctor rises and steps around the table, placing himself between Billy and the spell-skull that spews some ridiculous diatribe about rods of misfortune and spineless aspects and the Black Sun.

Immediately after hearing the group's title, his gaze flicks to the red coat in the corner. Wanda. The name is projected psychically rather than spoken; it would never be heard in the rising clamor.


"I see, but—" Billy's gonna argue, he's gonna argue something fierce, then the weirdness factor gets turned up several slots and he blink. He's pushing away from the table quickly, and though the good Doctor puts himself between Billy and … the skull thing? Aether goes on alert. Without even trying he's floating a foot in the air, and electricity arcs down along his body, pooling into his hands as bright glowing storms of light and lightning that rest in his palms. "I think someone didn't get the note on neutral ground."


ROLL: Wanda +rolls 1d100 for a result of: 19


ROLL: Wanda +rolls 1d20 for a result of: 2


Mordo didn't see the skull.

It was over his shoulder after all.

But he felt it merging with his head, and he especially heard the voice — and saw the horrible goops of stuff on the floor, seemingly leaking from his own eyes.

Horrified, he jumps back off the stool.

"Tongues of the Fallen!" he exclaims in genuine shock, then he turns toward Strange and points an arm at the Sorcerer Supreme. "That was disgusting, Stephen!" But even as the words leave his lips, he knows it was not Stephen Strange who did it. And seeing Strange's reaction to the skull's message — particularly that last part of it — he adds: "Who or what in the blazes of Kthl is Black Sun??"


The skull is still superimposed fully over Mordo's face. Turn however they like, they see not the aspect of his dusky, noble face. They see the creaking rictus grin and the eye sockets bleeding yet more powdery grains. When he turns, yet more liquid spatters over his boots and seems to run off his hands, the deep bruised hemoglobin of heart's blood spattering everywhere.


One of the voodoun practitioners makes a hasty motion with his hand. The two at his side stand immediately from the table, hands clutching at pouches on their belts and hidden under a double-breasted jacket. Convenient, having places to stow carefully prepared herbs and offerings. Creole exchanged between them leads to a guttural sound, a gathering of power linked through dried bones and a sudden spill of rum. The liquid hits the ground in sandy crystals, to their visible shock.

From the bald mystic in saffron button-down shirt, a shocked whisper. "Memento mori?"

"Caput mortuum," snaps a shaman, making a gesture to ward off evil as old as human speech.

The wolfhound stirs. Lips curl back and reveal a line of jagged teeth rimed in kelp and ice. Its charcoal borehole eyes roll to the skull, and the blind Korean mage lights a joss stick he pulled from his square sleeve.

Near the bar, where a line of mystics and warlocks turn, the cloaked figure retreats back. Coat pulled around her, the woman in black and burgundy retreats with her prize cupped in her hands. Narrowed eyes skim the Bar and locate Strange among the hushed masses easily. Wanda swings around the long way, coming up alongside the booth with Mordo fixed squarely in her sights. The skull-spelled baron might remain so without Billy floating twelve inches up.

"Sit down in the booth. Now." Her voice is a whipcrack of iron the way only Russians, Germans, and the unfortunate patchwork of nations between can manifest, menace in even their lullabies. "You break the rules, it does not."


Mordo's words are heard, but not fully processed. Behind him, Strange feels the static of powers suddenly drawn and half-turns to look over his shoulder. His aura flares brighter still in apprehension. Another quickly-flickering glance is spared for the entire bar before him, even as he unconsciously offers up spread hands in a gesture of 'one moment please' combined with 'please don't do anything'.

But Wanda beats him to the recrimination as she approaches them. He adds, "This is only a spoken warning, as awful as it looks. There is no need to draw spells." One last thunderous look towards the young man before shifting to Wanda and softening to mere concern.

"What do you know about this?" His voice is softer, pitched for her ears only, and he needs to lean in slightly, even as he takes in the sight of the immutable skull once more.


Is that a mom voice? Wanda totally used a mom voice. Billy is practically immediately in the booth and unelectrified, even though she totally has no right to mom voice him. The speed is fast but it was not quite teleportation, at least. "I didn't /do/ anything." he notes with a frown, "And the skull thing was like threatening." is added in his own defense. Still, he's going to sit and look like he sucked on something sour.


Mordo tries not to look down.

True, in his dealings with Kthl, If'ylgrth and others like them, he has seen worse… but never coming from his own /face. He stands there glowering at Wanda, Strange and the… red riding-hood with them, before finally taking a stand before all three of them, chin raised, hands at his sides. Over one shoulder, one can see the hilt of his darkwater sword. Over the other… the haft of the Staff of the Living Tribunal.

"You have some explaining to do, girl," he tells Wanda in a deathly quiet tone of voice. No, the baron does not like being made a vessel for anything — especially a talking skull with some serious conjunctivitis.

He glowers equally at Strange.


Words bubble from clashing teeth, bluish-white, and now a thicker ichor drools out over bony chin and ossified jaws. Liquid drips from under Mordo's nails. It stains his fingertips and it near shines upon the floor in russet puddles and rusty drops.
"The Black Sun passes the Pomerium. They shred it like smoke. Fie — wretches, burn with your masters. As if that would cleanse the desolation and death you carried into this beautiful country. Sit there fat and content in your taverna, ye brooding hens of mages. This night I see my own death and deny its cheerless touch. I shudder to touch the company of that tradition now victorious over my own. Oh! Latins! Is it not then sufficient glory to have conquered an intelligent people, and must the vanquished come and perish beneath the hand that smote them? My fortitude contends no more with adversity!"

The skull crashes to the ground with a sound no astral construct makes. It rolls through the bloody smears and halts, rocking back and forth, staring up with empty accusing eyesockets.

Astrally shaped leaves start to fall, the message delivered and its master willing to spend no more energy, or slaughtered in the making. If Mordo looks down, or any of them do, they shall see the drops arranged in radiant rays around a central space he occupies, ringed by a sphere drawn by the skull's rolling advance. It's no mere pattern but a symbol. (URL: http://tinyurl.com/zsoxo8l)


Typically Wanda comes in three speeds. No-nonsense is the dominant setting, Wandaism a second rarely experienced. Heavy black eyelashes shade the brimming garnet sunset of her gaze, outer irises still amber-brown, and that weighted gaze does not deviate from the scene before her. She holds the cloth pouch in her hands yet, preventing any overt act of mystical spellcasting. Cupped palms and fingers save her bundle from open sight, and two steps closer pull her next to strange. Strange says enough, and despite Billy's rapid response, she adds nothing more to fuel that fire.

The verdant inferno with his weapons is another matter altogether. She addresses the Masters in terse words away from the briefly witnessed Mother aspect. This is the Crone. "«Harbinger»," she says in Tibetan. She does not have the word for it in English. "«Words of doom. You do not have them?»"


"«Harbinger», in English, could be 'omen' or 'portent'. Even 'augury'." Strange takes another step close to Mordo now, keeping everything about himself tightly leashed - save for the blue-white sparks that swirl about his irises, now nearing silvery-violet. The threat of violence is immediate; the action is not. This is, after all Neutral Ground.

"A precursor to the presence of something inherently twisted," and the word is snarled slightly. "«Anathema»," the good Doctor adds in clipped Tibetan, for both young woman and warlock. "And she doesn't have to explain a damn thing, Karl. You wore the skull. Explain it to us."

The skull? It's picked up with hands gloved in golden Mystic energy and plonked onto the table. The very touch of the Sorcerer Supreme is enough to void it of all prior influence as voice for a distant caster. Now, to anyone without the Sight, it's just a leering symbol of death.


The skull has an immediate sensation of power to it. Everyone probably sees something slightly differently magically. For Billy, it's full of math equations all over it, chemical formulae. The two Masters of the Mystic Arts see quite differently. Those aren't numbers and complex strings of X+Y(2/4a) to a magnitude of complicated but lines upon lines of strange symbols not widely used in at least a hundred years, and closer to two centuries.

Alchemical symbols race over the bony pate and curl around. More dust runs out from the eyeholes, and the rainbow sheen inside the sockets underneath is nothing like the dull red-rust powder.


"I have no idea what the flippin' heck is going on." Billy declares, looking at the skull, then around at each of the magi in turn. His eyes settle upon Mordo and he stares at the man, crossing his arms, putting on all airs he has of Teenager Who Is Not Impressed With Adulting. He does blink though and eye the skull after a moment, "Someone drew a heck of a lot of math homework onto that skull. And some chemistry homework, too: I remember my chemistry equations, I was good at them. Will be."


The moment he is free from the skull, Mordo steps to the side. It is also partly to get out of all the gunk and dust spilled via the skull onto the ground.

That is when he notices the symbol on the floor. Immediately, he gives a hiss of recognition and looks sharply over at Wanda. "The apartment," says he in an intense whisper. "The Alchemist. The sigil is the same there in the Astral as it is here in the Physical. What. The blazes. Is going on?"



Strange's eyes narrow at Mordo before shifting to Wanda. "What apartment? Alchemist?" Clearly, there is a reason that the Warlock is asking the Witch to explain herself and the Sorcerer hasn't been privy to this tale. There's the slightest shifting in his weight and he clenches his hands once before shoving them away into the pockets of his coat.

No one will see the shiver of slipping control on frustrated anger.


The bent black wheel upon the ground is no obscure design. It can be found carved in the Caucasus and the Carpathians, Sweden's high north to the lowlands of Austria. Bloody spokes in the circumference of the wheel decorate the space where Mordo stood. His boots are still smeared by astral blood and thick, runny plasma of a kind. It's not going away just because he scowls at it.

Wanda slides the cloth pouch into the pocket of her leather duster. Its shape distorts the fitted, tight lines but not unduly so. With hands bare, she can fold her arms over her chest and master the higher level version of Billy's totally unimpressed with the adults look, which amounts to the your generation is stifling mine expression. She might circumvent the question by the blasé regard alone.

A faint shrug of her shoulders accompanies her reply. "Someone kills them? La Luna. The old man. Alumen the White. Now this person." Never play poker with her. For one, she has the look downpat. Two, she can probably cheat by having the deck stacked and the game already won before anyone sits down. "I heard anyone about the dead, the missing. You knew about Alumen. You came to her rooms. Unless you follow me like a hound."

The room is silent enough to hear angels dancing on the head of a dropped pin.


Billy still doesn't really have any idea what the heck is going on, but he keeps his arms crossed, and he tries out an expression that shows both aloofness and tolerance. So everyone's ignoring him, huh? Well he's paying attention! With a sniff, and a half-a-grin he gestures at the skull, "What's with the math? It's kind of twisted to carve a bunch of algorithms onto a skull. Not cool. We dealing with a bunch of evil mathematicians?"


The cold smile that curves Strange's lips after the finished thought from the Witch couldn't melt butter. It's very reaffirming to see the beginning of a possibility at exercising his right as Sorcerer Supreme to lay down some punishment. But…that's awfully selfish of him and even as he finishes the thought mentally, the oft-repeated mantra that was emblazoned into his soul by the Ancient One slips through like the brush of a dove's wings:

It's not all about you.

Billy speaking behind him makes the good Doctor glance over his shoulder and then down at the skull once more. "Math?" His eyes, a-glow with the Sight, flick up to the young man once more beneath a frown. "It's Mystic script from the 1600's, maybe as late as the 1700's. Alchemical…" The good Doctor's voice peters off as his gaze lingers on the skull sitting so quietly on the table, with its odd dust and old markings.


Wanda's made her point, such she feels almost comfortable slouching against the side of the booth occupied by two men of very different age, temperament, and viewpoint. The funny screwed up look on the younger's face does warrant one of those mild arches of her brows, her Sight-infused eyes losing a little more of their natural shade to that bright rouge glow. It refuses to evaporate without her relinquishing her expanded perceptions, and for the Witch, that is much too difficult. "Do you know people who make marks on bone? It does not seem they are bored." Understatement of the week, there.

A shake of her head throws dark tresses around her shoulders, a heavy lock ignoring her garnet-flecked headband and falling over her eye. She bats it off her brow. "This wheel we," a nod to Mr. Greensleeves grumping over there, "saw in blood on a wall. No body. Too much blood for a happy person."


"No." Billy shakes his head, pointing right at the head, his voice nothing but calm certainty, "It's mathematical formulae: I recognize some of it, though I can't tell you what it *means* in total, I haven't taken Calculus yet except as a hobby, but that there is calculus— the mathematics of change— I'm sure of it. I'm pretty damn positive that over there…" His finger moves, "Is a chemical formula of… some compound, something with bismuth? Being exposed to an acid as a transformative? Yeah, that's an acid, you can tell from the hydrogen its offering as the covalent bond. Its hard to isolate just one part from the rest, I'd have to sit down and write it out on paper instead of trying to trace it on some creepy old skull. But that's math, Doctor. Trust me, I'm *good* at math. It's my best subject."


A glance is spared towards the sunwheel on the ground at Mordo's boots. Otherwise, the Warlock is not acknowledged. Anathema.

Strange grants Billy, in turn, another flat look, but chooses to listen rather than argue his way into a bottomless hole. Even as he does, a memory comes to mind: second grade, with two of his classmates insisting that the dually-shaded ball was a single color when, in fact, they were both right.

He leans to see which symbols Billy points to and then the wheels really begin to turn. Chemistry…alchemy. The sigil for Bismuth is noted and the good Doctor nods slowly. "Aluminum," he murmurs, even as he reaches out to collect a bit of the dust found around the skull's eye sockets. It glints with metallic lights as he rubs it between fingertips and then blows it off his skin to one side.

His focus flicks back to Wanda now. "Alchemy, the sunwheel. Sonnenrad." A pause and then, spoken quieter still and with a subtle rise of eyebrows. "Darkhold…?"


The glittering rainbow inside the eye sockets shines with angular prisms caught under crystal. Dust no longer weeps onto the ground, but there's plenty to see above and beyond the glasses full of thick, choking powder worth a pretty penny in a chemist's lab, presumably.

The skull grins. Its mysteries are its own, a silent thing in a silent place where other mystics are hastening to pay up their tabs and leave. Another outburst of death has thoroughly and completely disenchanted them with whatever they were doing. The voodoun are the exception; they remain, consulting one another in soft voices, barbed looks, and frowns at their offering to the loa being turned to crystal.

With her arms crossed, Wanda represents the bouncer for anyone bothering the academic conversation, surely. The sinuous line of her hip and shoulder cavort upon the booth's side, and she flinches briefly at use of German.

"Black Sun," she repeats to him, giving Strange a flat, grim look that bows her generous mouth downwards and might kill a basilisk at fifteen paces. "Old German folktales have the Sonnenrad. This thing, Aether, you know it? Have you seen it?"

Maybe they've forgotten by 19XX.


"Soo… evil mathematicians." judges Billy, walking around the table a bit to get a better look at the other side of the skull, "Sorry, Doc, you lost me, I don't know what any of those words but Aluminum means. Except Alchemy's that proto-chemistry before people figured out science was a thing." That said, he looks back to Wanda and shakes his head, "No, I've never seen anything like it. First creepy carved skull here. Well, outside of Halloween, where they're usually plastic. That's not plastic." He leans down and over the skull a bit, "More math. I can't make this out, it looks like two tracks are crossing eachother. One's definitely a chemical reaction though. I'd kill for a laptop right now." Not that any of them know what the hell that is.


What on earth is this kid talking about? Laptop? Who's lost whom at this point?

"Good, you shouldn't know anything about it and it'd be best if that remained this way." No changing Strange's mind on this one. The Darkhold is someplace quite sequestered, literally impossible to reach save for through his own machinations. He steps between Wanda and Mordo suddenly, leaning in close to speak softly to the young woman.

"Ahnenerbe…?" He's tall enough to block off all view of her from the Baron, perhaps even from Billy as he's standing before her.


ROLL: Wanda +rolls 1d100 for a result of: 50


Wanda's sanguine mood remains much the same throughout the discussion even with suspiciously loaded German words bandied about for the sake of process of elimination. The bloodless tap of her fingertips against her bicep calculates the answers shuttling back and forth. "Chemical reactions. A change of state. Change of being. Yes?" Watching her practice her understanding of technical English terms, however entertaining, has another purpose. "They are ways to say the same thing. The alchemist changes the object from one thing to another. The chemist makes something from one way to another. It does not matter, a rock or water or gold. It is a reaction."

Thoughts slip the net at a given word. Eyes thinning out, she grimaces and dips her head. "There is a—" A pause, and she girds herself a moment. "Castle. One in Austria. One in Bohemia." Czechoslovakia, yo! "They had a wheel on the floor. Many officers and important men were members. Most are dead or hiding now. I do not spare them."


"And calculus is the mathematics of change—" offers Billy with a little nod of his head, "It doesn't exactly change anything itself but its how a mathematician *talks* about change. So… is this creepy skull thing just one more thing to be changed, a HOWTO manual for changing something, or the output result from being changed? I can't tell what's the more creepy possibility. Evil, creepy — wait, what do you mean I do not spare them?" Wanda gets herself a wide-eyed look at that.


"Probably precisely what you think she means," Strange murmurs, glancing over at Billy with a solemn seriousness to his expression. "Which is all well and good considering what I think they're planning."

He turns and considers the skull once more. There's an idea forming in the back of his own cranium about the possible plans involved with the group, but he doesn't like how they all end in…

A short sigh. "We have to go there, don't we?" There's a note of apology in his query towards the Witch. Arbiter and guardian of his reality's fate, wielder of the Eye under which she's been scrutinized, he knows full well the gravity of what he's asking.


The cold, unyielding look from the young woman sums up everything. "They would not stay in this country. You are corrupt and impure, full of lesser beings. This is no nation worthy of their great work." Wanda's voice holds no warmth or condemnation, only the cold light of truth as seen through an extremely narrow lens.

It is not with much warmth that she adds, "Theresienstadt. It was to be the Alexandria Library of their new Camelot. It may still be."

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