1963-12-20 - A Christmas Mystery
Summary: Log Summary
Related: None
Theme Song: None
strange lorna wanda 

Someone (Ladies Home Journal) put the wretched idea in Wanda's mind that American people celebrate their holidays in a particular way. It involves red socks with ridiculous knit shapes hanging from the mantle where sparks might ignite them and burn down the house, fatally killing the idiot residents who allowed a fire to burn unattended all night long. There needs to be a plate of food going to waste to demonstrate their affluence and the failures of capitalism, though the carrots are not clear. The sweets, however, are to convince mice and rats to appear and eat, then be engulfed in flame, and further the spread of the fire.

Obviously white fluff strung everywhere makes for hazards when someone attempts to break into the house, a cunning trap that will hopefully garrotte them. Are they wire or fishing line? She is not entirely certain; the picture was maddeningly vague. Loose candles exist purely to provide flame sources for the myriad bits of metal that might dazzle a bewildered ghost, probably some anthropological carryover of a defunct tradition from England, where they still believe in magic.

Then there's that damn tree, flammability source numero uno, an essential addition. It's witty, she has to admit, a dried out evergreen being a stealthy source of fuel with minimal fuss. One might even have sap to act as a fine explosive accelerant. Glass balls studding it seems pointless until she considers the idea of caltrops and cacophonous noise, alarming the terrified, burning spirit thieves invited to enter by a fireplace. Well, whatever works.

Hence she's at the other great department store in town, the one that doesn't rhyme with Spacy's, peering at the picked over selection of glass balls, pinwheels, bells, and pointy droplets that might poke someone's eye out and shatter into a thousand sparkling shards. That might be why she has three cardboard sleeves of those in her basket. Also why she has no less than one hundred tin icicles, for her tree will apparently of the varietal of Christmas Stabbity Death Pine. She currently peers at pinecone owls with dubious consideration, their beaks glued on by a toddler with four left thumbs. The birds go back where they can inspire a new generation of surrealist painters.


Strange has no idea about how heavily she's considering these safety hazards that said Christmas ornaments pose. Between the two of them, he's more inclined to place trust in the Sanctum's wardings against flaming disaster as well as the general common sense of its inhabitants. Mystics tend to be a bit more careful about knocking over candles, especially in light of spilled wax and bungled summoning spells.

Wait, you wanted a harp? Have a Harpy. Good luck, Chuck.

The Sorcerer is acting the tag-along, hands in his pockets, eyeing everything around him with mild interest. He revisits the sheer volume of decorations in her handbasket before laughing quietly.

"Are you sure the tree will able to hold all of those? Enough boughs?"


Lorna quite literally had her arms filled with various decorations. Not all of them solely for Christmas. There were several candles, boughs of holly looking garlands, packages of tinsel, and a box or two of lights. She didn't have a basket or a cart, but clearly had taken on more than she could feasibly carry.

Her hair was back to brown, dyed to the the hue that it had been most of her life. While she was getting more comfortable with her natural hair… well, suffice to say most everyone else in the country could be hit or miss.

Still, Lorna managed to spot Wanda and Strange together, and her eyebrows climbed upwards before she approached with a grin. "Wanda!" She bit her lower lip, struggling to remember the Doctor's name. "Erm.. uh, Doctor?" She blinked, was it Doctor Weird?


"The icicles are very light. How can ten of these bend a branch?" The boxes rattle in the basket where they rest, the wire handles over Wanda's forearm. She has to move with caution to avoid displacing random things laid out for decorations, and a stand of that funny new invention, 'spray snow.' It is totally ignored. She has no need for such horrors, even if they are eagerly frosting many a house in the area. Wretched! And the picture did not include them, so it cannot be authentic or traditional.

She glances sidelong at Strange. "You mean to have a small tree on the table?" Oh no. "Fifteen foot fresh monster from the forest or nothing at all."

Please pretend reality did not hear that. Or rather, the witch's intuition has not struck upon the situation taking place in the depths of the lot selling spruces, cedars, pines, and firs harvested from New York and further afield. Some poor fellow asked to trim a tree on behalf of Mrs. Falstaff and her 38-year-old son, Perkin, is about to discover Hometree don't like that, and those shears are about to come flying through a display window to decapitate Scrappy the Alligator and Chimes the Clown.

The momentary pause, however, gives the girl a distant look before her tawny eyes refocus upon Lorna. She isn't quite up to recognition immediately but reason waltzes back in after taking a temporary stroll out to Fifth Avenue. "Miss Lorna." A pause goes after that, and she tells Strange, "That is Lorna. She is the daughter of Mr. Erik… Lensherr." Pause, please pray she's remembered that. "Doctor Strange," she adds in an offhanded way, distraction growing into a decided roving of the Sight as she drowns under the atmosphere in the place, all sorts of expectation crushing for a moment. "Yes, that is really our name, surprise."


"Fifteen feet?" He pauses and then shrugs. At his neck, the crimson scarf snuggles in a bit tighter and Strange glances down at it. It never normally chooses to move of its own volition without good reason. "Yes, that's fine," he continues distractedly, tilting his head in query towards the fall of scarf down his front. He probably looks like he's searching for some phantom ketchup stain — or concerned as to the location of his bellybutton. Still there, no worries.

Hearing a name followed by his title, the good Doctor looks up to see a brunette approaching. Lickity-split, his memory pulls forth a meeting over tea in regards to scrying spells and enchanted rings. The young woman from the Frost Institute, friend to Illyana. The introduction given by Wanda affirms his correct recollection.

"Yes, it is, and we've met before, Lorna and I. I spoke with her over tea at O'Rileys, when I was discussing enchantments to prevent scrying with a friend of hers." He hedges on mentioning Crystal, uncertain if it pertains directly to the situation at hand. Politics don't mix well with Chrismas shopping. "I don't believe I've met your father though, Lorna, does he live here?"


ROLL: Wanda +rolls 1d100 for a result of: 56


Noisy tree is noisy. Crunch! The shears hit the glass right about then, and take out part of an ugly Christmas display meant to enthrall little girls and boys, but mostly just gives them uncomfortable feelings.


A beam as Wanda gets her name correct, and Lorna shuffles a box beneath her arm. "Doctor Strange! Yes, that's it! I'm sorry, so much as happened since then. I got your ring that you sent! It's been super helpful. Oh! Wanda, and you know each other? Small world. Geeze, everyone seems to know everyone around New York…" She chirped and glanced between the two of them.

"My tata, my father," She added the English title, "He's seeing Miss Crystal. And kinda, my tata lives in—" She broke off, sensing the flying metal shears smack into the glass. Her green eyes go wide and she bites her lower lip, glancing in the direction of the chaos.


"That is good." Exactly what, let them figure on their own. Wanda flinches from the sound off a crack and unpleasant things that follow, notably an elderly woman shouting and her son making noises better reserved for a steam engine encountering a particularly steep climb. The wheezy hiss is soon enough followed by three people moving inside from the tree lot at a fairly fast clip, as much as one can do in a long skirt; escorting one's mother; and being run through the shoulder by a pointy branch that left an equally pointed, round hole. They're all yelling a number of things, none coherent.

"Such terrible service!""I'm done! I'm done, Watson! This isn't funny!""But where is our tree?"

The brunette watches them go by and eyes those owls again. Clearly the deranged toddler-made pinecone ornaments have something to do with it.


Strange gives the young woman a professional smile as he listens. Ah, so it's Lorna the scarf is wiggling about. Why does it do this around her? He still hasn't pinned down a reason when the chaos begins.

Steel-blue eyes narrow towards that section of the store and he takes a few steps towards it, placing his body between them and the sense of wrongness towards the tree lot. Of the people quickly departing the area, no one seems to have the build to whip pruning shears with that amount of force. When he glances back at Wanda, those irises are bleeding towards pale-lilac.

"Care to join me? Something's afoot."


Concern and confusion colored Lorna's expression as she watched the chaos build. Her eyebrows furrowed, lips pursed as her smile faded to pursed lips. Green eyes narrowed faintly as she shifted her focus beyond the people and moving pieces of metal around her. Still, it was a /lot/ of metal around, too much for her to make heads or tails of what was going on.

Even as people began to clear out of the area, she set her rather large armful of things to be purchased aside and looked between Wanda and Strange. Then her gaze settled firmly on Wanda, "Is it like that time in the electronics store? Cause uhm.. that was totally weird.."


A faint shake of her head throws the fuzz from her mind, and Wanda puts down her basket of ornaments. They clatter about and make a rather unhappy noise in their cardboard boxes, not especially well padded. Designs could stand to be improved by a few layers of styrofoam and crumpled newspaper.

"Not in the box they showed us. Somewhere else?" A little shake of her head throws dark hair around her shoulders and face. "They do not look happy. Let me see they are not shot or something worse." Evidently that puts Lorna up for the adventure, the older girl off to find out what the hell the fuss is about.


The Sorcerer gives a nod of approval. "Good idea, «Beloved». I didn't see any blood, but best to make sure." His mildly-lambent eyes shift to Lorna. "If you're going to tag along, stay behind me. It could be…something different."

He remembers how startled the young woman was at the mention of magic and the ensuing conversation about wards. Though, is it any safer for her to be caught off-guard if she isn't aware of the possibility?

"It could be magic," he adds quietly, even as he goes to thread his way through garish displays of garland and lights and toys that smile with all the warmth of a serial killer. Mmm, clowns.


Lorna blinks as Wanda walks off, but trails after Strange all the same. "I sensed those shears go flying. Whatever threw that metal.. it was going at a good clip." And then she paused, glancing around again.

"Also, if it's magic, tell me what you want me to do. I've gotten way better at my powers. Helps that I've been training with my tata, and all. Though uhm.. again.. er.." She remained fairly close to Strange as they wove their way between light displays and other chaos of the holiday decor festooned with glitter.

"I'm not exactly out out as a .. as I am. Can you magic make sure that like no one snaps pictures of me or something? Cause I don't want to end up in the Newspaper." Not like Magneto. Nope. She would rather not have to explain /that/ to Emma Frost. Or her adoptive parents.


Wanda has to stand on tiptoe to see past the collections of wreaths and garlands. When that proves completely unsuitable to figuring out where the complaining family of two went, and if they followed the employee who bailed, the only answer is legwork. Her icicles and various ornaments are summarily forgotten, her pace lengthening to catch up with them, or at least give a cursory survey of the aisles. However it goes, they won't see her for a while.

The tree lot is outside in the snow. Sadly for them, it's rather chilly and the door is fogged up; the one bloke manning it has gone stumbling into the shop and apparently will be happy to tell the department store manager where to stick it before he trundles off into the hospital to get three stitches.

Certainly nothing looks amiss. Just several Christmas trees trussed up behind a row of white bulbs, three bushy rows, waiting to be trimmed and taken home. No tree with angry eyebrows and a maniacal laugh. There is, however, a small bush wearing a Santa hat.

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