1964-01-20 - A Touch of Darkness: Part iib
Summary: Mordo's and Strange's efforts to find the source of whatever is killing mages yields further interest results, as magic seems to not want to behave…
Related: http://marvel1963mush.wikidot.com/log:1964-01-19-a-touch-of-darkness:part-iia
Theme Song: None
mordo strange 

"You speak of 'it' as if it had a personality of its own…" Mordo retorts with his hands on his hips, although he does not disagree. He also looks on Stephen's efforts with a degree of satisfaction: "Glad to see it is not merely I," says he in a murmur. It'd just be embarrassing if the difficulties here were one-sided.

"Let's assume you're right then," he continues, walking over to Strange. "Something or someone drained this place — not merely the people — of any astral or mystical essence… or perhaps took this all outside or out of synch with the natural Order… 'It' expected mages to come looking — offered the perfect mystery, the perfect trap… We walk in, we… end. We cannot take the bodies out via magic…so."

Mordo walks over to a hitching rail (for horses, likely), grabs a rope and approaches the barn again. "We try this without magic. Ugh, something about this feels wrong…" The warlock attempts to form a lasso of sorts with the rope (it really isn't ideal for that), and gets to swinging it around his head. Once, twice, thrice…

He lets go.

The lasso lands in a perfect circle — around a fence post behind Mordo. Letting out a sigh, the swarthy man stalks back toward the fence, retrieves the rope, and glares at Stephen on his way past. "Not a word. Not one word."

He succeeds on his second attempt. The rope snags a different cadaver by the foot, pulls tight about the ankle, and the warlock sets about dragging the body out into the open. There is nothing glamorous about it, but it has to be done.

At first glance, Strange would be able to confirm what he already knows: this body — a man, Caucasian, in his 40s — has been drained of everything mystical, including its lifeforce. There will be no communion with this dead man's spirit; it would be easier to commune with a rock. There is something else though… the nothingness inside the barn is still connected to the body, like tendrils of 'dark' — just as 'dark' is the absence of 'light'. The tendrils are everything — all around the two sorcerers — as if they had walked into a screwed up ball of string…

But tendrils do not come from the barn;

They come from the bodies.

And they're hungry.

Petulant. That’s what Wanda might call his entire posture and expression alike, with his arms tightly folded and the air of a thunderstorm around him. He is Sorcerer Supreme and quite frankly, this failure on his part to retrieve a simple cadaver from the central axis of the barn’s open flooring is not acceptable.

“Right. A trap. We didn’t walk into it, therefore we’re not idiots.” Short words. Short temper. Stephen Strange, in a nutshell, especially around Baron Mordo and mistakes. Guaranteed when the two are in proximity.

That Mordo manages to lasso a fence post behind him does make him feel better. Of course, not a word spoken, but that smirk. Oh, that quietly-daggering glee which cannot be hidden for the curvature of his lips.

As the body is dragged from the darkness and into the wane light, he does offer up the side comment of, “That rope hasn’t been waxed in years. Beginner’s luck.” No denying it either; the Sorcerer, oddly enough, would know about how to throw a lariat given his childhood years on a farm. Challenge him to it now and he might be rusty, but somewhere, there’s a muscle memory.

The good Doctor tilts his head to one side even as he surveys the corpse dragged from its shadowy confines and into the open air. “It’s a shell.” Yes, he confirms what Karl likely knows. No one’s at home within the body, not even errant atoms of a soul, and even as he kneels to press a palm flat to the dead man’s chest, he’s not expecting any feedback — and he’s unfortunately right. Nothing responds to the silent call that the mantle-imbued touch engenders. He’s squinting at the man’s face, trying to decide if he can glean anything given the slack lack of expression when he’s hit again by the psychic backslap:

SO HUNGRY. Consuming all, liquid nitrogen sluicing through veins helpless to prevent its passing. Rictus, rigor mortis, beyond death, beyond recall, erasure at the level of existence. Bones hollowed of marrow, bodies hollowed of souls. Trash, sanctuary — Trojan horse for nearing prey. Snaking smoke-made-solid travels towards him in an anemone’s burst of seeking tentacles in an overlay vision of the body in inverted-colorized view.

“Holy shit — Vittu!” Immediately, the defensive spell is spat out with a flung hand to direct its path away from them both. Strange falls to one hip before he scrambles upright as the cadaver merely flops back a few meters and lies there, uncomfortably arrayed with unnaturally-bent limbs and contorted neck that no living human would tolerate. It stares towards the house, empty eyes to empty windows, and the Sorcerer grimaces, rubbing at bicep opposite with the palm that conducted the magic not seconds ago. “They’re poisoned, diseased somehow. Whatever’s in that barn is in them. Don’t touch it.”

He probably doesn’t have to say it twice. Karl might have felt the coffin-kin caress of the tendrils about his aura.


Mordo backs away quickly, summoning a shield of water before him, to fend off strikes from the serpent-like tendrils growing out of the corpse. The further away he and Strange put themselves, the more docile the tendrils become — but something about their behaviour bothers the swarthy warlock… beyond the fact that the things are trying to drain him of everything that makes him him.

"You know, Stephen…" he murmurs carefully — keeping the darkwater shield in place as a precaution while he stares at the body on the ground. "These… things coming from the bodies, don't they seem like… oh, vines? Roots, even? For a moment there I thought there was some sort of mind behind the hunger coming from this… anti-magic… ness — but the more I think about it…"

He pauses, frowns and 'sets' the magical shield down so that it forms a static forcefield between him and the body — from the ground up. "I feel as though we have walked into the midst of a… carnivorous plant. It may be nothing… then again, it may be everything. There are no signs of a struggle, and yet this 'force' is growing out of the bodies of those whom it has already claimed… If it should prove true…"

And his eyes go wide. "Perhaps the 'attack' itself did not occur in the barn. Perhaps it happened elsewhere, and this is simply where the… 'soul-vine'? I don't know — 'sprouted'?" He backs off further as the 'vines' appear to be making it through his shield (not surprising, considering what they do to magic). "There must be some kind of spell we can use… but perhaps we should check the house first?"


“I can think of one plant we’ve encountered before that liked the taste of blood over water…” The Sorcerer grows quiet after that thought. Likely, the Baron can remember well-enough the handy-dandy carnivorous venus flytraps-gone-manic summoned at the hands of a certain interdimensional demon-god.

That the oily tentacles eat through the Darkwater shield thrown up by the warlock concerns Strange as well. With a glance towards Karl, he begins to lead the way towards the house by traveling a markedly-wide arc around the body. It still lies like a broken doll, staring, and even as the crimson Cloaked practitioner eyes it warily, he half-expects it to twitch. One hand remains upraised in a half-formed mudra just in case. Suspicious Sorcerer is suspicious. The path he travels brings them parallel along the fenceline, with its rusty nails and half-fallen beams, and through a patch of shin-high dried grass before he can See that the searching extensions have calmed enough to not actively track them anymore. Beyond reach and apparently immediate sensing, the solid-smoke merely undulates in unappointed directions, a freakish bloom of strands that do appear to be lengthening little by little with each passing moment.

Only when Strange is absolutely certain they’re safe in the interim does he allow his hand to drop to his side. This brings them nearest yet to the house, should Karl be walking beside him, and the shift in attention back to the empty building with its staring windows and yawning doorway, devoid of wood paneling on hinges, means another impressive glower on that refined face. His mother would most definitely remind him that his face could get stuck like that.

“You think that music has anything to do with it?” Still, it plays on, quiet and yet insistent, like some demented record on eternal repeat. The tune is irritating most because of how it seems to dampen the abilities of his other senses that reach out in an attempt to search the house. It’s not like a slap on the wrist, more like attempting to find a needle in a haystack. Or perhaps a void-vine’s roots in a graveyard of humanity?



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