1964-02-06 - Tangoing with the Third Reich, Pt II
Summary: In the heart of Patagonia, Maximus lives like a tsar, Stephen gets angry, and Wanda gets even.
Related: Tangoing with the Third Reich
Theme Song: N/A
maximus strange wanda 


Foggy mountains clothed in jungle are a world apart from the fertile plains of Patagonia. Far beyond the great cities of Argentina, the strings of villages beneath the cloud-locked peaks and snowy ridges might as well be out of time. Ways change little despite switchback roads chopped into the woodlands, walked once by Spanish conquistadors and their Incan slaves. Mysteries lie beneath the dense canopies where certain men and women linger in structures totally at odds with the native architecture. A handful of stone buildings clustered around one another lie forgotten except to a few, subterranean cellars and squat fortifications better suited to the outskirts of Kiehl rather than Asuncion or elegant Mendoza.

Several miles from the Chilean border, the dependable site boasts several escape points that can allow people to come and go from their jungle hideaway, slipping down to a handsome estate probably converted from a Spanish missionary. It's there where Maximus is a 'guest,' albeit an uncomfortable one likely weary of the fact he can't seem to get through the doors or windows of the two-floor pile or that it lacks modern amenities. That happens when one's a mining baron building the place in the latest early 19th century style.


What's worse than being a cross-dressed royal prisoner of crazy Nazi cultists? Going on 24 hours without a shave. 'Isabella' is starting to look a little rough. He is, however, getting what he wants out of them as far as food, drink and other things are concerned. Basically, within the house, he is like a caged tiger. Anything that comes into it is fair game for his powers, and perhaps the demon is even enjoying what he does as an amusement. Now, however, Maximus has moved into the bedroom of one of the others, and is rifling through their stuff while they stand there watching. Just…looking for clues, or maybe just bored.


With car and driver dismantled — a case of extreme spell-induced vertigo will do that to a person — it leaves Strange to play catch-up with his Consort. She's already through the Sonnerad portal, with its uncomfortable rays of anti-light curving out like kukri blades, and as the car comes to a complete stop with that back door still swung wide open, it's very easy to decide what to do next.

The pistol brought out by the gunman is deftly snatched away after a torqueing twist to the wrist. Who says you need sorcerous might to disarm a foe when your mentor basically gave you no option but to learn hand-to-hand fighting or get your keister kicked all over Kamar-Taj? It is flung mightily out into the pampas grass beyond the edges of the gravel road and then, as the darklight-limned portal begins to collapse and constrict down to a point of nothing, he too flings himself through it.

It strips him of the illusion masking him as tourist and wherever he lands, on feet or back or said keister or whatever, on land or maybe upon Wanda herself (ouch!), he lands in the garb of Sorcerer Supreme, storm-blue battle-leathers and crimson Cloak alike announcing him as such.

And maybe the expelled "OOF!" that leaves him upon impact.


Midnight first greets those transported through the black sunwheel ward, an absence of light and the thick, pungent scent of centuries of rot layered through the seasons. Two already landed ahead of the pursuing mystics: a woman in a leaf-stained gown already up to her feet, running in her sensible heeled shoes down the steep, winding path where the nearest stone storage hut offers shelter. Barely visible even ten feet away, the thick overgrowth conceals its entrance and Sophie Baumgartner feels around for the entrance buried in ferns.

A gentleman goes dashing down the slope in the most direct of fashions, using far more skill at managing his path. For someone in his fifties and a formerly fine suit, he has an advantage; an MP 40 submachine gun, reloaded on the dash. Heinrich uses the cover of greenery and darkness for his advantage, daring now and then to look over his shoulder for signs of a fell lantern. There are none, and his path takes him increasingly closer to a lakeside mansion in a curiously German style where "Lady Isabella" with a nine o' clock shadow maintains her court.


Cue Wanda crashing onto her stomach in the dirt and broken ferns, and almost immediately scrabbling up to her feet. Being prone is good as being dead, and the knife plucked from her boot has an effectively cutting edge. Dirt will ruin her leggings, and the same wet soil clings to her coat, but a good shake can dispel a little of that. No swamp monster yet, she has all of three steps towards the dark before Strange topples in after her and she whirls, nearly ready to fling the blade at him. Shield of the Seraphim or no, that might be hard to explain to Oshtur why he has a hilt sticking out of his chest. Fortunately she doesn't, gesturing. The rush to follow is absent; the snow leopard stalks its prey. It does not bash through the undergrowth growling and howling to stir up the deer into running away even faster. That would be stupid and it would be an extinct wanda leopard pretty frigging fast.


Meanwhile, Maximus happens upon the cultist's wallet and flicks through some cards, tossing them out of the wallet, making a mess, really, before he finally frowns and tosses it onto the dresser. Then he heads into the master suite, if the doors will open, to see if he can discover anything more about the demon boss that might help him prolong his own life around here.


The doors within the suite will open for Maximus, but the exterior ones will not. He can pine by a window in his questionably flashy dress or prowl through the kitchen to enjoy some of the finest German vittles, but there's no sense in banging his head against the glass. Even without a pane, he simply cannot penetrate the outside world. The others come and go, though. Alas, the mighty master bedroom is weirdly vacant: a bed, yes, and a closet yes, these are aspects of expected furnishings. But even a sweep over tells it's not a place where someone really lives. Changes an outfit, maybe. On the other hand, if he wants a snappy suit, he can find one, as long as he likes black. They're all black, with starched white shirts hanging there. Every last one.


Agamotto would not be pleased with said knifing, had it occurred. Mind you, it's much harder to take down the man, but it wouldn't have been comfortable.

That sound of expelled air seems muffled by the dark atmosphere and Strange too scrambles to his feet, somehow managing to get hands up between himself and the poised Witch. The whites of his eyes flash even as his teeth do in momentary affront. Then his theoretical hackles settle and he whispers,

"Twitchy fingers there, «Beloved». They went…that way?" It's a guess, towards the lighted windows of the mansion by the water. "Lead on." He's happy to guard their backs. After all, hunting humans isn't his forte, though he can unhappily draw conclusions as to the similar intelligence levels between them and demons.

The Sorcerer knows better than to draw up any sort of light or call up a spell, not unless direly needed. He noted the lack of MP 40 in the car. Someone else has it and he's not about to get himself riddled with bullets. If there's any sign of light, it's from behind the slits of his eyes, from the Sight within his irises.


Wanda flexes her gloved fingers, turning the knife to rest against her gloved wrist rather than point dangerously at any bird or passing bandit. Old powers dwell in these mountains, forgotten by time, bloodthirsty nonetheless and long overdue in sacrifice. Tribute is not something she intends to offer out of the Sorcerer Supreme. Besides, Merlin's like to make her wash up after it. She swivels around to gain her bearings, impossible in the dense foliage. Even a few dozen yards away, the crackles in the leaves and warning hoots of wildlife become disorienting quickly. They can't see but a few trunks deep but for the forest.

Time to move. A nod to Strange's comments is all the answer he means to get. The witch picks a more cautious route, in part because she really cannot afford to slide all the way down to the base of the hill on her belly. Springing from spot to spot, she slides and skids every so often, clutching hold of tree roots and one unfortunate bush yanked out by its stem later, she's traversing the territory down.


Annnnd Max is sorting through the man's clothes, looking for anything remotely 'him'. So it is that given the time and apparently his own insanity, he ends up unwittingly wearing a nice, male suit and a Nazi uniform trenchcoat. Simply put, he looks super sexy, but thoroughly evil, not to mention that he still has his eye make-up on, though its all smeared, and his hair is an unkempt mass of black curls.


Meanwhile, Sophie sinks down into the dark and fishes around in her safehouse for anything resembling a match or a lighter. A lantern. Finding none, she huddles in the dark and begins to chant in German, old and wild words to a dark power uttered in a whisper.

Heinrich has no such compunctions about turning the MP40 against anything that dare threaten itself, including… a very dangerous chinchilla scrambling across the grassy verge doing nothing more than minding its own business. A rattle of bullets tears into the night. The chinchilla goes flying back ragdoll style a good fifteen feet. He marches on at speed for the back of the manor, met by another man in a khaki shirt that screams 'brownshirt' with absolutely no loss of pride on that fact. "Heinrich! What are you doing? What did that ever do to you?"

"I activated the wheel!" snaps Heinrich, and they both hasten towards the interior. A ward, glittering black to the Sight, locks them in.


The Witch might take the route on foot, but the Cloak has no compulsions in keeping its master grounded. In like-mindedness, it isn't more than a dozen sliding steps before Strange lifts from the earth itself. His cover: the trees themselves. Like one of the birds of the region, he flits from thick canopy to canopy until he reaches the edge of the grounds. Within the shadows of broad leaves that nearly feel palpable, the Sorcerer narrows his eyes. It grants him an excellent view of the manor sprawling along the shore of the lake as well as an opportunity to suss out the wards around the place as well as potential methods of taking them apart.

It was acceptable to blow Morgan Le Fay's to smithereens, but perhaps not here. Morgan never had automatic gunfire to aid her.

Across the connection they share: "«Beloved», we need to access…wait." The mental voice peters out as the Sorcerer notes something of interest beyond them, back in the way they came. "That's not good. Do you feel it?" The sensation of skin crawling on the back of one's neck, the echoes of the wind in Words that shouldn't be spoken.


Silhouetted in the hidden manor, a black shadow of a figure stands, looking out the window. Square, military shoulders, hands crossed behind the back, there is an unmistakable arrogance present in the stance. It is the perfect backdrop for the fight and flight outside. But, really, Max is just trying to see his own reflection full length.


"What are you doing?" It's another older gentleman, somewhere around forty-five, giving Max the oddest of looks. "Man, you need a razor. You will give poor Hanne a fit if you keep up with that. This way, come now. You surely know where the washroom is?" He has no idea whatsoever why it's fine the woman he was not introduced to, and one who wanted to cut a lovely line on the dance floor waltzing, is now in masculine clothes and apparently out to vie with another mystic as the Byronic antihero of the year.

Skidding through the greenery, the best means of direction Wanda has won't be sight: the trees block her view ahead, the greenery far too thick right up to the near banks of the lakeshore and the manor house planted up the way. She instead relies on the simple principle that eventually all slopes lead to water or flatter land. Not like their quarry runs uphill, where the steep defile might finally limit him or the cap of a hill gives him nowhere to run. Picking out a path blindly means moving with light feet, no magic summoned. How she manages to not completely fall over a moldering log despite her foot slipping and arms flapping wildly at her sides, no one will know. Maybe it has something to do with the knife planted into the tree trunk for balance. Bidden to wait by a mental voice, she halts and throws a look back over her shoulder. The great red cloak of levitation aids in finding the source, if Strange is near enough, but the demon-hunter shakes her head slightly and points the knife, yanked from the hardwood, forward.

Her choice is going on, and she resumes picking her way forward, rather quickly compared to the pace before. The hunt is on, and unfortunately, she's not a lupine; her skill to take larger prey down is by stealth and ambush.


Said crimson Cloak is nearly the hue of thickly-fresh blood for the shadows cast upon it, but yes, easy enough to find the garment and its master if one knows where to look. Wanda does; after all, they share a spindle-thread of silver-amaranthine at all times, accented for a half-dozen gemstones and a key.

"«Beloved», I don't want to leave you to take them on alone, but this — " Again, the thought halts for the dissonance of the dark spell being formulated and how it makes the roots of his teeth hurt for how wrong it is. At his neck, the Eye of Agamotto vibrates, like a pager, and Strange huffs audibly. "I can't let this come to fruition. There's someone in the window, be wary." He's probably telling her something she already knows, but the man comes from the rolling farmlands of Nebraska, not the School of Hard Knocks Are For Wussies, Have a Curbstomping Instead.

It literally raises his blood pressure to hover there and watch her continue on, but he won't have them being ambushed from behind. "I'll be along as soon as I can be. Don't do anything stupid."

Okay, good Doctor, she'll be fine — probably, hence his heartfelt request. Their definitions of stupid tends to widely vary, however, so he expects the possibility of the worst. Barring a return thought opining that his presence would be best kept in tandem with the demon-hunting Witch, he retreats back the way they came, zeroing in on this sense of utter awful.

Maximus has literally no clue about the goings on of a witch in the woods, or that Strange agonizes over abandoning his girlfriend to the whims of a demon. Mostly…what he knows…is that this place only seems to have varieties of boiled meat and that shit is getting old. From the ominous vantage in the window, the King suddenly turns in his prison and petulantly knocks over the demon's lamp on his way out of the master bedroom. Then he starts forming a little trail of cultist minions, all who react with 'OMG WHAT DA FU-' the very second before he latches onto their stupid stupid sheep-brains. He leads them to the ground level and then instructs, succinctly, "Dig me a hole out of here."


Rapid murmurs fill the warehouse in the dark. Her fingers curled together, hands pressed, Sophie does her best to remember the proper incantations and murmurs. Nothing more than a whisper is necessary. The sacrifices she remembers, biting her lip hard and spitting on the ground. It would be unlikely even a fox would be capable of hearing her, alerting one of the fomenting powers steeped in this place.


Minions coming to Maximus' beckons are 'enough.' He needs to search around to find six, and the two recently entered falling under the mad Inhuman's gaze stare back at him when he drags them along. The first complaining about Heinrich shooting on a chinchilla for no apparent desire other than spite mutters something about pickaxes and shuffles away with the other, but the German staring back at the debutante-who-wasn't points the MP40 directly at him and says, in as flat and cold a tone as one might expect from a Nazi officer: "Nein."

That means no, to the sheltered young man from Attilan, who carried his brass pair in hand, and … this is not Nantucket. This is not a place where nasty villainous men chitchat in monologues. He states in flat, accented English, "Turn. Walk to the wall."

At least the industrious Germans do what they do best: dig themselves into a hole in the cellar, right?


"I have hunted," she says in bitterly accented Transian, "before I had more years than fingers. Do what They bid." Knife in hand, the witch plucks one of the charms off her belt and snaps the wooden disk in two. Even to most mystics, the casting fails to register. That would defeat the purpose of drawing on a veil of invisibility, an illusion that throws no sign of its presence. Wanda smothers her aura and her presence, melting into the dappled shadows. A good thing, too, considering cover runs out within ten yards and she's suddenly through a wall of thinning trees onto a mowed green yard. Wot now? The sparkling waters of Nahuel Huapi Lake, its attendant islands, unravel before her in glistening sapphire on steel forms. The spell doesn't totally smother sound, but that makes no difference as she circles around the stone house, measuring possibilities. Firing the place probably constitutes some kind of sin, convenient as it might be. She skirts rapidly around the edges, the ward doing very little but annoying her as she puts her hand out to push through the invisible barrier.

Ohhh, Maximus can tell what it means even without knowing German. And he understands the little twitch of the gun towards the wall, too, just fine without the cold English telling him what to do. "You know, I know what you are. And you have it all wrong. Your people were never the chosen ones. But mine are." His own tone is far too sensual for what he's saying, the odd mix meant to keep the other off
balance. He walks backwards, keeping his eyes on the man.


He won't argue with that attitude, not right now. Strange will watch her go with his pulse in his throat. Stupid Vishanti. Any light flashes off his bared teeth as he turns on a dime in the air and flits back uphill and into the dense forest.

The woman may whisper, but that means absolutely nothing when the Sorcerer Supreme has a bead on the incantation being whispered, even if a sharp-eared vulpine might walk past without detecting her. The Eye comes with a few choice perks, that being clarity of Sight. The stirrings of talons upon reality draw him unerringly to the little stone hut and he has a moment to wonder at how well-hidden it was within the greenery. Without the Eye, glowing sullen-green in the presence of that which it detest (namely someone else attempting to disturb its Conduit), he might not have arrived so soon.

With irises a-glow, he remains well above and out of sight from anyone within it, utilizing the same thick foliage as he counter-casts in a whisper:

"By the sweet nothings of Oshtur,
Grand lady divine,
Let my will and slumber intertwine —"

The spell coalesceces in misty hues of indigo-banishment and airy-grey around his fingers.

"No more to cast,
Instead to sleep,
May Vishanti erase intention's reap."

The spell should dart home into the hut and quickly subdue the caster, ending whatever madness she intends


Too many words from the mouthy princeling is going to get him smacked with the metal butt of the machine pistol or possibly ventilated. At least he will get to claim polka dots are the hottest new trend among exiles. Heinrich says nothing at all in response, his pale blue eyes distant as the ancient heart of winter, and about as welcoming. He flicks his finger lightly against the trigger, the cold, unblinking eye focused on Maximus' chest. "Your lipstick is slovenly." Ooh, someone just called him trashy.

Sophie's repetition of words abruptly trails off into a lazy mumble, and then the soft thump of her fleshy body striking the storage room floor follows. Listen hard enough and Strange might hear her even breathing trailing off.

But ending? Ending is a wish of a man determined to shepherd Earth quietly towards its appointed destiny, wrought of its own denizens manifesting their will. Ending is not a reality, not now. Low, rolling notes assuredly travel even if the bell ceases to peal.

Kurt Schaeffer gives a cold, slight smile as he walks into the long corridor where Maximus poses against a wall. "Ah. I think I preferred you in the dress."

Wanda's still knocking on the invisible barrier. It resists letting her pass and the invisibility shroud around her wavers as she forcibly shoves against the resistance, crossing her arms rather than relying on breaking her wrist trying to pass against the rather steely surface. After several precious seconds bordering on a half minute of fighting against it, the spreading cracks without letting her through are becoming just a little too volatile. If you can't go through it, force the damn nut open. She gathers a handful of raw probability, leaching out of her aura in a brilliant amaranthine glow. Beams leak through her closed fist, and when unleashed, the probability grenade slams into the spell and forces reality to fray the barrier. It simply isn't there anymore. And with that, she darts through, running for a stretch of wall with a window. Was Maximus paying attention? Did he see a purple-tinged bolt just drop the intangible torus enfolding the place?


Maximus turns his steel eyes towards the demon, Kurt, then back towards the gun, which would certainly ruin his day, particularly at this range. He doesn't want to test out his ability to survive such things. And being called trashy? Does the man not recognize such a classic shade?! Obviously not. His offense is overshadowed though, by the need to talk his way out of this. How many times has he avoided death with a clever mouth? Lots. He'll have to try again. Elegantly, he forms a faint smile, and he forces his eyes to twinkle, "Ahh…there's the man of the hour. You know, I hardly knew what to do with myself, so, I put on your jacket so I could still /smell/ you." When in doubt, go creepy, stalkery.

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