1964-01-12 - Meeting in a Strange Shop pt. I
Summary: Updates and new acquaintances abound when three Mystics cross paths at Devizes.
Related: Yang Jellies plot arc
Theme Song: None
amanda strange wanda 


Everyone might agree sorcerers are a darn tricky lot to scry on, especially the first among not-at-all equals. Add atop that Devizes simply does not tolerate such intrusions, deflecting them with a willfulness that lead many knowing members of the community to suspect the building is absolutely sentient and alive, and well… it comes down to footwork. Finding the place, too, is no easy task given it never stays put and aforementioned traces, they simply don't work.

This leaves the witch to read graffiti, searching for the indicative markers telling her where to go. These aren't any faster or easier than reading a Chinese phone book for Beijing (Peking, in these days), and it takes her considerable effort to link connections that zigzag and wander through the city until plunking them in a forgettable corner of Brooklyn near the docks. It's at least close-ish to Tribeca and Chinatown, but not by much.

Eventually, though, she can wander through the doorway with an eye for the cat usually sleeping or lording it over all the miniscule humans. Maybe, just maybe, he is here. Maybe not, but riding the wave of luck and fate is entirely Wanda's skill above many. She guides the way in, her pace even and still. "The rules of the place here are simple. No violence. No casting without approval of the owner. You break, you pay. You steal, you wish you were dead."


Being deflected when she teleports is definitely not something Amanda is used to. She had selected the building meanwhile as a waypoint. Her self-appointed chore is to become reasonably familiar with the layout of this far-too-vast-city so that she can do more than this awful hopping teleporting. She likes the vast distances. She tried returning to a few European cities just to make sure it was not a problem with her ability. Nope. She just doesn't know New York. So, ahem - she tried to teleport to the building she had selected as her waypoint, not realizing it was temporarily occupied - and she foun her teleportation deflected, sent back the way she came.

Frowning, and confused, Amanda tried again. Twice. When both failed, a third teleport took her closer without issue.

From there, it was a matter of investigating, checking to see if she's stopped entirely from approaching the building. When she's not, she gets closer - slowly - until she pushes against the entrance that moments before, Wanda had used to get inside. Unsure where she is as she starts to look around, confusion is plainly written on her face. Either she doesn't belong here, or this is her first time.


As per the usual, the Witch's inherent skill in luck and fate alike guides her unerringly in the correct direction. Ensconced in a corner of the small reading area beyond the shelves and with one leg splayed most undignified in accordance to his station overtop one of the plushy chair's armrests, the Sorcerer Supreme slowly turns another page in the grimoire he's been meaning to buy for weeks now. However, as his own luck would have it, a free chair meant settling in and getting lost within its eldritch musings on the nature of Limboan astrophysics. The author clearly hadn't been to the dimension since its new ruler instilled her will on the place (Illyana Rasputina, undisputed Queen of Limbo) and the man can't help the snarky half-smile as he reads a line of information that is clearly and simply incorrect given Limbo's current state.

Fingertip resting on the current page allows him to disengage from the writing when Strange hears a familiar voice followed by a familiar frisson of aura recognition. Steel-blue eyes narrow along with a smile. A single rumbling laugh and he waits for her to show, sitting as he is, with all the indolent comfort of a large cat along a limb. The black Belstaff helps in streamlining the overall image, though the crimson scarf is a bit garish.


Espy the witch, behold the Sorcerer Supreme. The pause at the octagonal foyer gives opportunity for her gaze to flick up to the glass windows painted in all their glory, shining bright as living shards of the rainbow in mythical delights. Suppose one could stand there all day and revel in the mythology and history printed there. Alas not today; she has other tasks at hand, a stygian purpose driving her forth from comforts to business otherwise. A flick of greeting comes to those who pass, the curator at his desk receiving a nod heavy with gravity and purpose. By his whim, and the store, anyone can be cast forth or permitted in.

The humming resonance of her aura kicking up several degrees is barely audible except in the Sight, and the Sight here positively crackles with energy. All the same, her bearings are made, and she walks that way, Wanda certain in her purpose.


To say Amanda's progress through Devizesis slow would be an understatement. The place almost overwhelms her in a variety of ways. Much, much more than she has ever encountered; her mother's minimal collection of grimoires (her collection now) looks positively amateurish in comparison. She ends up drawn in too many directions, books and her curiosity compelling her to take a peek. More than once she wonders if these books have details on the Winding Way. Or perhaps something to help find out what happened to her mother. Still, too many books.

Slowly but surely she makes her way in the direction of Strange and Wanda, her footsteps less muffled with every step. Part of that problem also because when she wasn't immediately pounced by something hostile, she stopped paying attention to how hard she was or was not tromping on the ground.


His smile deepens as he sees the distant approach of the scarlet-clad Witch and she's given a little nod.

"Miss Maximoff." The youthful title buzzes as it always does when uttered by his lips. His voice, while respectfully quiet in light of the other readers in the room, still manages to carry beyond the shelves. "What brings you here?" Strange isn't so distracted that he can't hazard a guess, but he'd rather hear it than straight-out assume. This is could be something as simple as a shared story about a certain teenaged duo's antic guaranteed to bring a laugh or as harrowing as a report that the veil between realities has fallen to allow entry by some dark demigod intent on stealing the souls of every newborn within a five mile radius of the rip. Let it be known that the darker of the two offered scenarios would bring him scrambling from Devizes limned in Mystical energy and since he's noted nary a tingle from the ward-trip alarms, it can't be that.

A bit of amaranthine light floods the centers of his irises and a silent greeting passes to her, much more personal in nature, heard only by her via the pentacle at her neck. At his own, the bronze chit hidden beneath white dress shirt warms to his skin.

But what's this? A sense of another practitioner, new to him, farther behind and beyond the shelves out of sight.



Amanda pushes onto her tiptoes and carefully looks around the bookshelf to try to determine where, exactly, the voice came from. It really oesn't help that her winter coat is such a bright white. It stands out against the various tomes and bookcases quite nicely. She pulls her hood back up, the intent being to obscure her face. Just on the offchance (highly unlikely, but weirder coincidences have happened to her) that it's someone who recognizes her. Or worse, recognizes her AND still reports in to her mother. That would not do at all.


Might as well try and hide from a leopard in a dark jungle. Tracking happens to be one of the good Doctor's specialties and he leans in his chair to see around the Witch towards the unrecognized magical signature.

"You've got a tail," Strange murmurs softly to Wanda, meaning a follower rather than an extension of her own person. A bit louder, to carry towards what he can make out of the figure who apparently wear a white coat: "I don't know what they've been telling you, but contrary to popular opinion, I don't bite."

A nearby venerated Korean wizard, another usual to the contrary shop, has a wolfhound at his feet. The dog in question cants empty eyes towards the Sorcerer Supreme as if to question whether or not he actually just made that statement. Strange eyes the dog with a single eyebrow arched before smirking and shrugging at it. A whuff of a sigh and the creature goes back to sleep at its owner's feet.


The delicacy of interactions here involve many elements. Not disrupting the hallowed silence of a bookstore, not nudging aside any of the grimoires — some of them do and can defend themselves, not interrupting another caster hard in research or reading about the atmospheric principles of psychokinetic interactions in the fourth dimension, such as they may be.

Wanda is principled in her approach to demur and examine a shelf lined by several individual toes, a set interconnected by silvery plated chains thin as a child's finger. Verdigris covers stir when she nears and they edge away, links jangling, the sounds of their dismay audible. Some things are opinionated about their owners, and others simply don't like anyone until properly purchased. She smirks at them, no beautiful smile of greeting for them.

Time to drift, which she does, floating towards Strange. A swish of her leather coat murmurs against her leggings, and her boots tread softly. "The yang jelly returned to Chinatown," she says only within earshot. "They look very big. New Year comes. They would eat very well. She saw them, as did I."

A nod is given to Amanda, and she circles around the sorcerer to his righthand side, pressing her hand to a table. "They did not do harm. But they are very hungry. Like our son, always eating. Except they do not bite, like me."


That's a voice she at least recognizes. Slowly, Amanda peeks out from the bookcase. She's only run into Wanda twice, but both encounters were pretty pleasant (yang-devouring jellyfish aside). She pulls down her hood and steps into view, taking careful steps in the direction of Strange and Wanda. A hand flicks into her hair under the impression she's pushing a lock of her black hair out of the way, but it's an obviously nervous gesture. Amanda doesn't enjoy feeling nervous. She always likes new experiences. But the method in which she stumbled on this place… it really feels like she's somewhere she shouldn't be.

"Apologies for intruding," she offers, her accent that familiar one Wanda's heard before, with a few of the vowel sounds tinged by the influence of Bonnsch dialect German. "I was trying to find my way…"


He listens to Wanda's report, a subtle tilt to his head towards her belying the process, and then a shift of Sight-brightened eyes to her before he nods again. More carefully disguised is the amusement at the Witch's dryly-humored statement; his aura reflects his amusement with a twinkling riffle towards her. A humming sigh and then his scalpel-keen attention flicks back to the newcomer in white.

She receives a professional smile, detached with judgment withheld, before he closes the grimoire and reaches past Wanda to place it on the nearby table. He assumes a much more appropriate seated posture within the chair before speaking again.

"You're not intruding. This is neutral ground open to all with an interest in the Mystic Arts and you're either interested or happened to wander in accidentally — which wasn't an accident at all, given when this place doesn't want to be found, it can't be found — especially by someone without knowledge of the Arts," he adds, drumming the fingertips of one hand on the armrest. "Dr. Stephen Strange, Sorcerer Supreme. Wanda tells me you came across the yang jellyfish as well? What did you see?"

Another viewpoint is always appreciated.


Leather is supple, the underpinnings of that garment most certainly are not. Boning gives it presence and texture absent elsewhere, and reinforce a measure of formality to Wanda leaning forward; she holds a certain professional distance despite the plush armchair and the ripple of suitable crimson no doubt rendered a crook of her fingers in greeting. Let it not be said the witch refrains from saying hello to books and inanimate objects upon occasion.

She gives leave for Amanda to make introductions, inclining her head in acknowledgment or forfeiture of her right to speak, as it would happen.


"I stumbled in their presence," Amanda says. It seems she's making a habit of stumbling into things lately. She describes the jellyfish as she recalls them, noting she didn't even think to look for their presence until Wanda's spell made them visible. Her contribution to driving them off was, in her words, relatively simple: a teleportation spell to help Wanda circumvent the jellyfish using the building to get out of line of sight. Some elemental spells… What she does not mention (though Wanda may have noticed) was that it was precisely the second time she's had to use magic in somekind of defensive situation. Neither of them really need too much biographical blurbs. It wouldn't be interesting, anyhow.

"Forgive me, Doctor Strange - my name is Amanda Sefton," she mentions hastily after the explanation. Sometimes she does forget her manners.


That crimson scarf, always such a cad. It absolutely ripples back to the Witch and affirms that the garment might be in continual complicity with her. Strange gives the garment a mildly unamused glare before shifting his attention back to the young practitioner before him. It's hard to ignore Wanda beside him, let's face it, but he tries dearly, even when he hears the creak of leather.

The report is succinct and leaves him still drumming his fingertips on the armrest once she finishes. The addition of her name is appreciated with a flash of a grin. "Amanda, perfect. Nice to finally meet you." He leans forwards in his chair slightly as if to get up, but then aborts the move and settles back in once more. "I'll have to check up on these yang jellies then. The problem with the jellies is that they're silent. They're subtle things with subtle results…but they're a disease. They must be removed." Another nod and his eyes go distant off to the side, towards some unoccupied shelf dedicates to novice-level spells. "Wanda, did you attempt at all to engage them? Any idea on weaknesses?" He glances up at his consort, lips thinned.


Satisfying as the business may be, it also entitles Wanda to lean against the edge of the table. The majority of the weight being distributed on her feet, she finds it easier than not to look as though she participates in casual standing rather than sitting there. Nothing to draw Strange away from the important business of questioning the practitioner less familiar to him than herself. "Miss Sefton keeps business in Westchester County. Traveler, much like some of my people," she explains by way of a simple measure. "She was in Chinatown when I was stalking the jelly. It seemed they were active, and have moved away from the shoe store and the night market. I do not think they are trying to hurt anyone. But a crowd, and the activities of New Year? They are purely yang. Year of the Dragon."

How a Transian sorceress with an accent putting her squarely in the Warsaw Pact knows these things is a testament to the power of cheap noodle dishes and her particular dietary preferences.


Amanda isn't going to question Wanda's knowledge. Frankly she's grateful for it - she wasn't sure what yang was, really. But 'don't get close, they do a bad thing' is enough to convince her to stay away. Of course she did see the effects first hand, too. "I've been trying to learn the layout of the city," Amanda explains. Not that Strange demanded to know why she was in New York, of course. But for some reason, the man's presence makes her feel like she needs to justify herself. "I am glad to be able to help out somehow. First time I ever saw those… jellies."


"It's a good thing you wandered where you did, when you did," he murmurs to Amanda. Another sigh and he does commit to standing this time around. "You're right though, Wanda. Year of the Dragon, the sign known for vigorous emotional stances. Passion. No wonder the jellies were drawn there." Strange paces a few steps towards the wolfhound, which wakes to give him a suspicious look; it returns to sleeping once the Sorcerer turns away, to pace back towards Wanda where she leans on the table.

"Still, did either of you observe a marked negative effect on the community as a whole? There's taking an edge off of a vibrant crowd and there's draining them to the point of walking vegetables." Eyes returned to normal smoky-blue shift from Witch to practitioner and back.



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