1964-03-19 - That's Not A Bear!
Summary: Look — if you're going to ship griffins, you have to use more than just padlocks to keep them in the box.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
strange thor 


There's a whole world of the weird that runs parallel to day to day lives of most New Yorkers. Even by New York standards. Entertainment, shopping, commerce, cops and robbers— even menageries of wild animals in zoos.

Most of the time, this world doesn't interact with the 'real' world. But sometimes, accidents happen, which is almost inevitably when people like Dr. Strange get to make a 'house call'. Not every supernatural disaster is a dimensional-shattering event bordering on apocalyptic, but even the most mundane of emergencies can have rippling repercussions if not attended.

So when a slightly stunted griffin breaks loose from a shipping container and starts terrorizing the Polish district, it's the sort of thing one might need tended to fairly quickly. One can only pretend it's a 'wild bear' for so long before the government steps in and realizes there's an entire shadow society being overlooked.

The griffin's been loose for about an hour, and Strange's mystic senses bring him to an abandoned fish cannery. The griffin's wings are too stunted for real flight, but it's hungry enough, and the sharp break and lion claws are doing a fine job rending the flesh of a flank of cow stolen from a nearby butcher's. For now, it's unaware of Strange— but the animal's senses are as keen as any.

*

Thank the gods it's an abandoned cannery. The butcher will probably report the missing slab of bovine and give some stuttering explanation that will make the police roll their eyes at their desks later, but pretend concern in the moment. Feathered…bear…thing, what?

This, however, is recognized as a juvenile Griffin, of the African persuasion. One half Bateleur, one half lion, all talons and raking claws and one hell of a sharp beak that bloodies itself easily in the raw meat. Strange, having landed carefully outside the cannery, finds it easy enough to track the skid marks in spilt red through a door left open for lack of care for the property. His eyes narrow as he spots the creature pulling aggressively at a rib, attempting to snap it for the marrow inside.

"Surprise," he whispers to himself, tiptoeing a bit closer. Still a good few dozen feet away — these creatures are quick, no need to get with grabbing reach because they will grab you — the Sorcerer begins drawing up a netting spell. Bag and grab, easy as that.

Or that it would be so easy.

*

Strange is halfway through his slow incantation when abruptly the wild animal snaps its head up. The bloodied, dripping beak swings left, then right, then a sidelong eye cocks at Strange.

Then the beak aims right at him, and /both/ eyes stare at him. The animal squawks once, something between curiosity and warning. The wings flutter and flex, and it takes a halting pace towards strange, the squawk becoming more pronounced as it takes two padding steps towards his concealed position.

*

To pause or to indulge in a little curiosity himself…?

The Sorcerer could continue whispering the spell and bending the Mystical energy to his will, but…what if… There's so much more pride and bragging rights in befriending a Griffin. After all, they're notoriously intelligent, flighty as to whom they approach, and pickier still as to whom they take as friend. Far less picky for foe. Hmm.

Putting a momentary pause on the casting — after all, it's a matter of keeping the point of focus in the forefront of his mind — he straightens slowly from his half-crouch until he's fully upright. The crimson Cloak flutters its collar, perhaps sensing a weird parallel in the supernatural creature, and shifts as it mimicking the wing-flexion on a more subtle note. Strange doesn't speak. He waits, watches, quietly, on tinter-hooks for how those talons on the front legs are all eagle and all nearly three inches of blood-crusted hook. Not to mention that beak. Charming, covered in viscera as it is.

*

The griffin makes another atonal squawk. A shrill bird cry, deepened by that cavernous chest. The talons click on the concrete as they extend and scratch, each three-inch blade gouging thin lines in the rough stone.

Another step. Then another. The griffin's head bobbles as it sniffs the air, chest huffing in several low gasps.

Then abruptly the tip of that beak drops and the head elevates. Wings flutter, pinions extending.

That's all the warning Strange gets before the creature charges at him with a territorial screech, and with a shocking amount of acceleration!

*

The man's eyes widen, recognizing on some elemental level that this is not going well abruptly.

"Sh — !!!"

Cloak for the win! A yank timed to that uncanny sense of timing by the relic pulls the Sorcerer aside, interrupting the hissed curse. Hopefully there's not too much friction for the creature's rush across the grey floor because the charge is blindingly fast and he's still calculating reactions.

Decision made. With crimson fabric flaring out and around him, he's some Mystical torero armed instead with a rapidly-conjured liquid-lightning surujin, plasmal chains sparkling even as it crackles into being and he's quick to flick the weapon in the general direction of the juvenile Griffin. At full extension, it snaps in thin air, sparking violently at the end for the impact against the veil of reality around the Griffin and driving home that this is no simple featherless skin-creature. This one has its own bite.

*

The griffin is fast, but an adolescent, and clearly unaccustomed to hunting prey. It squawks angrily as it overshoots Strange — knocking over the shelves he was crouched need and crashing heavily through more behind him, to an unending tumult of noise.

It emerges from the cacophony with an angry hiss, feathered crest flaring, and scrambles for traction once more at Strange. The snap of the 'whip' makes it flinch violently and scramble off course, moving to a wary, angry circling of Strange. It hisses, then screeches in a basso tone, hips swiveling as it lowers that barrel chest and prepares to launch at its lunch again.

"FOUL BEAST!" comes a clarion cry — and them something heavy slams full into the side of the griffin's chest, cracking a rib and sending it skittering aside, yowling in pain. A heavy framing hammer falls to the ground with a clatter, and a few feet away, Donald Blake hefts a pipe wrench and with a strong throwing arm, flings it at the griffin once more, eliciting an outraged snarl from the predator.

*

Meeting those beetle-black avian eyes dead on, Strange hovers not far from the ground, his own teeth bared. "Stupid juvenile animal," he mutters, readying the surujin once more with intent to snap that bright beak shut. Nothing like flicking a major predator painfully in the nose to make it think twice.

The shout makes him retreat back another few feet for the surprise and the surujin makes an electrical hum with a fling averted. Wait a second! What in the seven hells?! The sound of the bone breaking is disturbing.

"Tho — !!! Your — Goddammit, DONALD!" Gotta keep track of precisely whom he's addressing and how. Another set of talons waits beyond the delineation between the worlds to stir up his brain if he messes up. Crazy…crazy Asgardian! No, wait, MORTAL. ACK.

Even as the apex creature threatens with sound echoing around the empty cannery, he's flitting to Donald's side and landing with surprising grace. "What are you doing here?!" The surujin continues to thrum like a plucked cello string and crack with potential where he keeps the weapon moving, ready in a moment's notice to crack it with painful impact.

*

The bird cries out in pain as a second heavy tool hits it in the ribs, and it whirls on Donald, clearly pegging him as an actual threat. He reaches down and picks up the haft of his Uru hammer, rolling it awkwardly in his grip as if still accustoming himself to the heft of the weapon.

"'Twas treating a woman injured by this beast," he explains, circling to try and keep as much debris as possible between him and the griffin. "I saw you give chase and supposed you'd need — !"

He's cut off as the griffin LEAPS at him — and with a flap of those stunted wings, easily traverses fifteen feet of miscellaneous metal sprawled across heavy work tables. Donald leaps sideways in alarm, barely missing the slashing talons, and comes up in a tight roll to his feet. He lunges backwards and with a shout of force, swings his hammer at a slashing set of talons. Bones crunch and the griffin hops away shrieking in pain, consternated by Donald's defense.

*

No need to do more than dance lightly aside, for Strange isn't the target, though he's quick to take advantage of the Griffin's agonized retreat for the equivalence of badly-stubbed toes. A quick stutter-dash around the sturdy butchering tables and he's close enough. The sparking whip snakes out and tangles around those hind legs, all feline muscle and rabid eviscerating fury should one of them go down beneath the creature. Hocks are summarily drawn together and the crimson Cloak helps brace him as he holds tightly to the line. It's nearly as bad as wrangling that Varg! …yes, that Varg, oy.

"I'd need what, you to swing that hammer around because you can't do half of what you used to do?! Get back!" The Sorcerer's voice rings out overtop the griffin's complaining shrieks. "You're making it more mad!"

*

It's a -strong- animal, and Cloak's attempt to 'help' ends up putting enormous strain on the Sorceror's long fingers. The animal tries to kick and buck, but succeeds only in falling atop itself with a screech of fury. It wheels left, then right, and abruptly realizes that Strange can only keep pulling it off balance for so long!

Donald gets a running start and with a bellow of effort, swings his hammer like a golfer. Maximum leverage in such a small confine, though he doesn't get his hips into it enough to really stack the blow. Still, it clips the griffin on the side of the skull and knocks it out cold. The beast *squawks* and thumps against the concrete, talons scraping feebly as the blow thoroughly dazes it.

"Wretched beast!" Donald grunts, expressing pain — a slashing talon had nicked his belly, just above a hipbone. Painful and red, but likely not hazardously deep. "It's only dazed, I think, Strange — what now?"

*

Indeed, there's some strain on tendons and they do complain, but if it means keeping the vicious creature hogtied and Donald out of reach of the flailing talons — or beak — or wings — it's worth it. Take your pick, the nurse is mortal enough to take a wound via any method.

The wince is for the sound of impact of Uru-metal hammer against supernatural skull and when the crackling line of the surujin goes slack, he rolls in said lack of tension for the sake of caution. The expression deepens, darkened by concern and frustration (nothing like dealing with a man still full of unconscious memories of charging into battle with vim and vigor and yelling fury), and he eyes the shallow gash. Descending to the floor takes but a thought and he's quick to kneel down and utilize the rest of the surujin's length to bind up the rest of the limbs. Tied like a calf, the griffin will be kept from doing much more than flapping about — though it would be wise to stay beyond swipe of the wings.

"I banish it back to its home dimension and it learns not to pick on nurses wielding hammers. Or men wearing red Cloaks, hmm?" The questioning goes right over the dazed creature's head; it was more of a point-maker rather than communication anyways.

It doesn't take much, a few distinct gestures and a murmured litany of a spell, and the threads of violet-bright magic settle overtop the juvenile griffin much like a net. Well, that concept was originally intended, but the plan went to hell in a handbag once the thing charged. Can't cast if you don't have fingers. A briefly-blinding flash and poof — magic! The abandoned cannery now plays host to them alone.

A heavy sigh and Strange looks back at Donald, a wry smile on his face. "I'd ask if you think your wound will need bandaging, but it seems insult to your current job."

*

"Hmm?" Donald looks at his stomach, then blanches. "By the Gods, I've been wounded!" he gapes. He winces, poking at it. "Is a mean looking gouge, but aside from being rather painful, it seems shallow enough. Some stitches should serve well to help it heal, though I'll have a proper scar," he says, grinning despite the pain. Exhilaration sings through his veins, and he looks around, hefting the hammer. "Are there no more griffins about, then? Just the one beast?" he says, trying to find the next fight to rush off to already.

*

A scoff of a laugh leaves him even as the Cloak's collars wiggle about; it recognizes the zest for battle in the man and delights in the purity of it. It quiets for the side-glance of its master.

"Not that I'm aware of and I think one is enough for today," the Sorcerer replies as he eyes the mess left in the wake of the scuffle. What to do with that errant side of beef too? It's a half-eaten slab of bloody meat. Eh, he can open a Gate easily enough beneath it and send it off to the Dimension of the Flesh Renders. The organisms will appreciate it enough. "Though it's not as if my other job is a secret anymore. You saw that I banished it. Do you want a healing spell?" He holds out his palm and the air immediately above it flickers to light with an auroral wavering in sky-blue. "No scars, unfortunately," Strange adds with a note of amusement.

*

"Aye, a spell of mending would be welcome," Donald says, after a moment's hesitation. Green energy washes over him, and he peers at the rend in his shirt. Aside from the splatter of blood and a ruined t-shirt, he's in fine health, and shakes his head in admiration for Strange's magic.

"It seems you've solved this beast well and true," he tells Strange, offering him a clasp of the forearm. "I'll leave you to your devices, Dr. Strange. Until we meet again."

*

Easy enough to cast the spell and to withdraw the power back into himself. The brief lack of focus in his eyes clears and he blinks to see the outstretched arm. It's returned after a moment's hesitation, mostly for the deific warning floating around the back of his mind, and his grasp about the nurse's forearm is steady in turn.

"Familiar with magic. Lady Amora must not be holding back then." It's more a musing-aloud than true conversation. Strange gives the man a truly friendly smile washed with the lightest touch of regret. "Yes, until we meet again."

*

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