1964-03-20 - The Birds and the Zom-Bees
Summary: The odds roll in favor of life discussions amidst the scattered remains of the undead.
Related: A Wrinkle in the Park, Something Wicked arc
Theme Song: None
hrimhari strange 

The smell.

The first thing anyone with an olfactory system would notice about this particular corner of Central Park… is the smell. The very air is stained with it, and to breathe it is to taste… undeath. For one such as Hrimhari, Asgardian Prince of Wolves, it is torture.

The prince stands in wolf-man form upon a pile of twitching bodies — shambling zombies torn to pieces by tooth and claw… and what appears to be the 'assistance' of thorn-ed vines. Nature itself has come to the wolfman's aid, impaling and ensnaring the undead, keeping their twitching dismembered appendages from inflicting any more harm upon the living.

Well, these ones at least.

There will be more.

It is well past nightfall. The air is cold, and grey clouds cover the night sky in a shroud as though the very heavens were ashamed to look upon the twisted corruptions of her children — the undead — below.

And the prince… howls.


The mournful sound echoes and draws the attention of one particularly-wrathful Sorcerer just finishing meting out Mystical justice. The remains of the undead he dealt with are naught but bits of ash floating down onto the torn grass, churned and muddied by the earth-bound beings. The crimson Cloak wiggles its collars and Strange acknowledges this distractedly.

His Sight lights up the Park like a bizarre combination of infrared-thermal, ultraviolet, and some other wavelength that allows him to see what technology can't — mainly, the insane amount of crazy going on within the boundaries of the greenbelt. It also aids in aligning him to the one who unleashed said bay and he flits up higher into the night air. It's chilly at this altitude, no buffering granted by the leafless tree limbs in winter's grip, and he narrows his eyes towards a particularly-bright signature.

Oh. OH. Seven hells!

Memories click into place and he remembers now why the cry sets his teeth on edge while simultaneously setting his heart to pounding madly. The taste of loam and fresh blood briefly paints his palate even as he races a rush of cold wind towards the figure standing upon his triumphant battle-ground. The Sorcerer lands in silence, the moonlight catching on the ruffle of the relic at his shoulders and he gives the Wolf-Prince a wry smile.

"Good hunting, your highness?"


Hrimhari turns around slowly, each movement of his muscles deliberate and careful. Even before he fixes his golden eyes upon the Sorcerer Supreme, his ears have turned in that direction, and he has that familiar scent in his nostrils.

Despite the stench of the undead.

Leaping high and nimbly off the pile of still-moving bodies, the wolfman lands upon the earth just a few feet from Strange, and draws himself up to his full height.

Then he nobly bows his head.

"This one is pleased to smell you, Spell-Weaver," he tells the man. "'Tis far more preferable to…" and he leaves the sentence hanging, gesturing to the undead with a clawed hand. "This is an abomination," Hrimhari adds in a low tone. "It should not be. The Earth and Sky bemoan the fate of these poor souls, so twisted are they. Is there naught a Man can do?" He puts the question to Strange.


The Sorcerer Supreme returns the respectful nod with equivalent timing in the motion. He eyes the pile of twitching, vine-entangled limbs, torsos, heads…general undead mess and glowers.

"Yes, I wish we met again on better terms, but this…this is a start." Strange looks to the Wolf-Prince. "I have been doing what I can. This has all the hallmarks of a familiar face, but I hesitate without being certain. If this particular individual defied the death imposed upon them…it will take drastic measures that I won't use without consideration." Such is the curse of being Conduit to a deific triumvate. Impulsiveness often ends in disaster.

He carefully surveys the surrounding trees with eyes a-glow in amaranthine. The Hellmouth scarred not only the random mundane-folk caught off-guard by its terrifying denizens. The shadows have gained a dimension of their own with the re-emergence of the undead.

"I have found that I can banish whatever curse consumes them if I catch it early enough, but…" And his heart vaguely aches. The whirlwind of pale flakes blowing away from the undead he dispatched earlier are lost likely to said breeze, all that is left of once-vibrant individuals. It pains him and his morality alike.


The Wolf-Prince considers the words of the Master Mage in silence, breathing evenly, weighing up his options. His claws and fur are spattered with blood and gore, although his face is cleaner than the rest of him.

He could not quite bring himself to sink his teeth into the zombies, but rather relied upon his claws and nature-magic to do the work. Thus, turning about, he crouches down and sinks his claws into the soil — Speaking to it in his native language: the Wolf-Tongue.

The vines start writhing then, tightening over the undead bodies they hold, and begin drawing the corpses down, down, down, into the ground.

Smaller vines snag dismembered limbs — such as a hand pulling itself along the ground toward Stephen Strange — and pull them down as well. Leaving this process to continue on its own, Hrimhari stands back up once more, and turns to look at Strange.

"This one would learn the scent of whomever is behind such… devilry. If Stephen Strange requires aid — Hrimhari will answer. Hrimhari did not come back to Midgard to find it infested with the Restless Dead. Moons passed before such an ailment was cured in Asgard…"


Strange watches the earth deal with the anathema that walks upon its surface with flat eyes. The hand attempting to walk its way towards him disappears as well. Shame. He was looking forwards to punting the thing as far as it could fly.

"If you're able to scent them, let me know immediately, your highness," he replies. "I'll use all the aid I can get." After all, it look a handful of practitioners along with himself to close the original tear between dimensions here in the Park. This new devilry, to quote the Prince, is far trickier, but there's an excellent chance that one as agile and in-tune with the land around them can overcome the odds. "I doubt that it will take more than a moon's span to solve this issue, but in the meantime, management is what is needed most. Protecting the public." The Sorcerer folds his arms tightly, all frustrated formality.


"Have faith," replies the prince, lifting his chin to look up at Strange. Even in this form, the wolfman is not exactly tall — a mere 5'10", lean and wiry, build for speed, not brute force — but it has not stopped him from standing up to giants.

"The Earth will not forsake her own altogether. It does puzzle me why this location here should be the target of… so many attempts to infiltrate, corrupt and control this Hunting Ground. This one knows the 'veil' is thin here… but not what made it thus in the first place. What says the Spell-Weaver? Does he possess this knowledge? Why here?"


"Revenge." Strange's voice is hollow, even if his eyes glitter with muted temper, a flicker-flash of emotion breaking the seamless poise he usually wraps about him not too unlike the crimson Cloak. "A reminder of a success hard-earned and an opportunity taken when given. The greenbelt is purity in the middle of the city as well, hard-earned sacred peace that the people of New York care deeply for. Deny them their peace…"

And he closes his eyes, frowning for the swirl of memories, dark and light alike. He remembers falling, taken off-guard by a wraith of nightmarish power. He remembers dueling with a demon and an oath to hunt them made by firelight that grew into harmonious love. He remembers that love casting the final blow in the face of imminent disaster even as he bled for his Realm. His sigh ghosts white in the chill air of the night.

"Even when I was not the Sorcerer Supreme, I think the veils were thin here. This is a special place, hence it being the epicenter of many an attack from beyond." Meaning another dimension or time entirely.


"This one will keep watch then," replies the Wolf-Prince, then he hesitates. "It was ever the intention to return to Midgard, once Paths between our worlds began to open once more… but now that Hrimhari has set paw to road… beholding the turmoil all around…"

He draws a breath and releases it in a cloud of hot air. "This one is not sure where to start." Those golden eyes find Strange's and narrow a bit as he stares. "A man smells weary," he tells the sorcerer. "The Righteous truly do not sleep."


Yet another sigh fogs, this one a puff of dragon-smoke for the huff of a laugh as its origins.

"No, not well, at least," the Sorcerer murmurs, glancing over at the Wolf-Prince. His eyes still glow faintly frosted-lilac, somewhat eerie in the dim night lighting of the park. "If you don't mind my thoughts on the matter, you've made an excellent start by culling the shamblers. I know of your signature, your aura, as well. I might find myself in need of an unbiased opinion on matters in the near future." There's the implication that a spell-note of sorts may reach the Wolf-Prince, tasting of ozone and incense and ticklish live-wire power.

He pauses. "Have you met my…other half?" It's an idle question, asked in true nonchalance for all the weight it might carry.


"The…Seidr-witch?" Hrimhari replies, half-hesitating on what to call Wanda Maximoff. He nods his head then, familiar with her scent. "This one has met her but once — but he smells her… on a Man." To signify whom he means, he points a claw at Strange…

And smirks lopsidedly.

"She is a man's Mate. The one who will bear pups — children — for him." Another hesitation follows, and the wolfman looks Strange squarely in the eyes once more.

"A woman smells of Chaos, Stephen Strange. A man smells of Order. 'Tis a match well-made."


The eyebrow is meant to be arch, almost triple-dog-daring the Wolf-Prince to continue about precisely what he can scent between the two practitioners. The mildly-rueful smile, however, implies that frankly, the Sorcerer had it coming asking a Wolf-Prince about identifying his significant other.

"It's good to hear approval. Very gratifying," Strange replies, unable to completely banish the grin. It does fade for the reminder that said Consort is deeply involved in the utter nonsense revolving around the Park as a whole and he looks properly pensive again. "You'll meet her again. I'll have to ask her about how you crossed paths." He rubs idly at one silvered temple.


After the sorcerer's response, the Prince of Wolves frowns — a rather 'human' expression, swivelling his ears this way and that as he considers something. "This one does not recall the first… He has smelled her on a Man… for many months — but of pups there is nothing. Has a Man not taken his Mate to bed then? The customs of Two-Legs are confusing to Hrimhari — even among the Aesir, and other Realm-Walkers. Why the Den if not for pups? Why the bed if not for breeding? Who will carry on the Strange line?"

A pause.

Then the wolfman frowns again.

"Strange line…" he murmurs to himself — aloud. "The name is fitting, if unfortunate. 'Tis as if to behold the whole Two-Leg race in one Man and his Mate… 'Strange'."

It would appear the Prince of Wolves has no filter, although the question is a good one. Who indeed will carry on the legacy of Sorcerer Supreme, keeper of so many perilous artefacts, watcher of so many worlds?

Here they are, Man and Wolf, pondering the importance of procreation… in a battlefield of zombies. What are the odds?


No filter. No filter at all. Refreshingly straightforward, yes, but kind of like a handful of snow down the back of your coat. Invigorating even as it makes you want to squirm.

Strange's face exhibits many a quick shift in emotion, but it finally ends with an air of acceptance and a sly ghosting of amusement behind half-lidded eyes, accented further still by a quirk of the mouth bordering on coy.

He attempts the jargon of the Wolf-Prince in his reply. "I assure you, your highness, my very Strange line remains strong. The pups are…more young-adult — yearlings, you might say — rather than juvenile and have even moved out of the Den. My Mate and I find time to ourselves once again." Of course he doesn't explain one little inkling of the wibbly wobbly timey wimey nonsense that brought the boys back to the present stretch of reality. "You'll meet them eventually, I'm sure."

They'll be the ones smelling of him and her and the East Wind and lightning-laced Chaos.


"'Tis fitting, this one supposes…" the prince murmurs aloud, and glances up at Strange. "To speak of life in the presence of its antithesis, its corruption. 'Twill prevail, in the end — it always does."

Then a smile graces his noble, lupine features. "'Tis also befitting a good Man, or woman, that one smells of family. Hrimhari is confident… that some Two-Legs understand this — like the Spell-Weaver and his Chaos-Bride. The line, however strange, must continue."

Hrimhari backs away from Stephen then, rolls his shoulders, stretches his neck around and flexes his claws before dropping into a crouch. As he does so, his form changes into that of a silver wolf, no larger than a typical beast.

"Be well, Spell-Weaver — thee and thy Mate. Hrimhari shall have his hounds watch out for thee. Call, and he will hear. Farewell." And with that, he vanishes into the night.


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