1964-04-07 - Sense of Purpose
Summary: Wherein Dr. Strange and Kai Alfsson discuss some heavy things.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None' — please, don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
strange kai 

Once more, the Scone Elf strikes, and his presence coincides with another pickup from Mrs. O'Riley's. He's on with the usual patter, feeding Strange information about his life should the good Doctor ever want to exploit him. Trust is a funny thing. He trusts Strange to figure out anything he wants to anyway, so why worry about it? Besides, who else is he going to talk to?

After a story of his gun-face-pointing friend making pigeon stew on a rooftop in Hell's Kitchen, Kai spoons more sugar into his tea and asks, "When is it appropriate in a relationship to tell him about the stolen artifact?"


With package actually in his care rather than behind the counter, Strange leans back in his chair and holds his tea cup, as always, for the warmth. The scarf, crimson and sly as always, hangs about his neck this time. It already fringe-waved at Kai once, sensing the awe given by the Alfeimian youngster, and has been quiet since getting reprimanded by the Sorcerer.

The story about pigeon stew is taken with a grain of salt and rewards Kai with a true laugh that makes the Doctor's eyes twinkle. "Pigeon stew and now about the artifact of yours…" He peters off, directing a faintly-glowing look towards the art bag near the Elf's person. "When you know the person won't kill you for it." He levels an utterly serious expression at the Moon Elf.


Half the time, it's like Kai is also addressing the scarf. So it doesn't feel left out. He cocks his head at the expression on Strange's face. Strange stands out amongst the other Midgardians for reasons like this: the scarf, the faint glowing, the sanctum with all of his sanctumness. At the leveled look, he bites the corner of his lip, then he says carefully, "I don't think it'll be of any use to him. It requires sacrifice to use. Most people don't want to be left so vulnerable.

He breaks off a bit of scone to munch on. Mrs. O'Riley's campaign to fatten him up is well-received. "It's the problem I've had all along with the thing, man. Like, past a certain point, not mentioning it seems worse. Like I'm hiding it because I stole it. Which I didn't. My folks did. I just found it and failed to give it back. At what point is it, like, hiding something?"


They're all good questions and Strange leaves his gaze upon the Moon Elf even as he thinks. Forgive him if it turns into a squirm-inducing, narrowed and calculating type of look. He's merely thinking, not considering how to turn Kai inside out by his tonsils.

"It's true that most people think twice about sacrificing anything without knowing the risks and ramifications first. If you consider yourself its keeper, there's no need to mention it unless someone else brings it up…theoretically. After all, I own a good number of relics no one has any idea exist and I don't go around explaining of their existence." A languid shrug on his part, not too unlike a large cat resettling on a branch. "If your life is at risk having it, you keep it hidden or you hide it elsewhere, not on your person. A life outweighs a relic." And no one's changing his mind on that.


Kai sits up taller. He remembers his etiquette lessons from Alfheim, and that's what the pointed looks remind him of. Taller, shoulders squared. Even the way he holds his tea is more polished. The way he speaks. Old Norse, translated through the effect of Allspeak. "I don't know that my life is in danger, but if I were implicated in its theft, I could well join my parents in their Asgardian prison. I don't fancy that, Doctor. The confinement of social mores alone is like being strangled. I can't imagine what four walls and nothing else would do.

One might say the worst thing one could do to Kai is to lock him up with nothing to do. One might also say the worst thing one could do to anyone else is to put them in that cell with the elf.

"I could hide it away again," he allows. This time, when he takes a bite of his scone, it's with a precision that doesn't leave a single stray crumb. "If I don't use it, though," he adds once the bite is swallowed, "My life has less value. Helping people is what gives me a sense of purpose. It makes a long, sad life worth the time it consumes."


"A life has infinite value." Strange's voice gains a bit of steel before he can catch himself. He sighs shortly. "The relic can't be empowered without a wielder, hmm? Ergo, you wouldn't be helping others if you didn't exist or were dead."

The steam from his tea wreathes up around his face as he pauses, looking through it at the Elf. "If your life is in jeopardy, yes, hide it. Don't have it on your person. You've likely considered this, however, and since it's still on your person…" The corners of his lips rise slightly. "The rewards must outweigh the risks, even with your family's current incarceration."


"Anyone can wield it," Kai says. Then he admits, "but most mortals aren't strong enough, and no one can charge it as well as I can." Okay, he's losing the argument with himself that his life isn't that important.

"Don't get me wrong, man, I like being alive. It's the ultimate kick." He's starting to relax from that stern look that made him all Good Elf for a little while. Very little. "I don't think he'd hurt me," he adds, "or turn me in. There's nothing in it for him. I'm mostly afraid someone will take it away."


"It's a valid concern, especially with an artifact of great power," the good Doctor agrees after sipping at his tea. He's glad to see the tense air begin to seep away from the Alfheimian. It's nice being the Sorcerer Supreme and all, but it gets tiring having people look like cats in a room full of rocking chairs in conversations. "Are you able to defend yourself in the case of being attacked? Or would the artifact itself take issue with being taken in turn from you?"


That's what Strange gets for using the Grandma Stare. But Kai is a resilient elf. "On a mortal scale I can clean up like nobody's business," he says, "but compared to an Asgardian?" He shakes his head. "As for the apple, it's… you know, I never really thought about it. As far as I can tell, it doesn't think. But I can feed it better than most, so maybe it likes me? I don't know." He glances down at his bag. Inscrutable trinket!

He sighs quietly. "I've got it bad, man. Let me tell you, he makes me crazy. I want to show him my apple. And he's not even hurt. I just…" He shakes his head again, then he eyes Strange thoughtfully. "Do you know the bookseller I'm talking about? I'm not being very cool about this." After all, he lives in a time when what he is is illegal. Implicating someone else is super uncool.


Strange's attention shifts too, taking in the Sight-revealed presence of the apple within the satchel. It never ceases to amaze him on some quiet level that the Elf doesn't have Mystical creatures constantly stalking him; the artifact's resonance is muted for the bag itself, but not by much. A clever being could locate it with effort and time.

"Take the time and see if the artifact has any compulsions on the matter. If it communicates, inquire." The crimson scarf snuggles up closer to the Sorcerer and he smiles with understated but true affection for his own relic. His gaze flicks back to Kai. "You're welcome to regale me as to this bookseller. I know a good number of them throughout the city, mundane and Mystical alike. Perhaps I've crossed paths with him before."



Kai considers. Common sense says deflect. Curiosity just wants to know. "He owns a shop near Central Park and sells antique books," he says. There, he's naming no names. On paper, he's still being shady about it all. "I don't know if any of the books are mystical."

He glances down at the bag again. Then he eyes the scarf with no small amount of envy. "It never cuddles up to me," he mentions. "Nothing cool like that. Mostly it just sits there like a rock until I need it to work. Then it glows pretty-like and gets all warm. But that's because it's eating my life force." So glib about it all.


The good Doctor nods, calculating and coming up with a few idea as to whom this mysterious book seller might be. There aren't that many shops near Central Park. He can follow up on this little tidbit easily enough if a name never comes to light. If there's one thing he's good at, it's problem solving…and tracking.

The Elf's comment in regards to the scarf gets a bark of a laugh out of him. "Perhaps that's your artifact's way of showing affection. Would you rather it gave you whiplash? Or snapped you in the arm when you weren't paying attention to it?" The scarf ripples about his neck in a little wave that travels its entire length and Strange rolls his eyes slightly. "I would recommend not touching it, but you seem nonplussed about it, so…I'll add be careful simply to fulfill my role as purveyor of endless wisdom." Another laugh, one aimed at himself. He sets his cup aside and rests his jaw in his hand, two fingers alongside one silvered temple; the other hand gets to slowly drawing unfinished sigils, the usual habit of fidgeting.

"I would know if the books were Mystical," he adds. The smile deepens slightly and he guesses, "Not going to share his name? No matter. It's not my business to pry."


"If it meant healing someone?" Kai has to think about this. Then he shakes his head. "But it looks like a cuddler. Mine just kind of beats like a heart when I'm holding it and, uh…" He slouches a little, hitching a shoulder like whatever man. "Glowing. Don't judge me, cat. It's not like I'm some Tinkerbell." He scowls just in case judgment is forthcoming.

"You don't understand," he adds as he pours himself a little more tea. "I have to touch it for it to work. I told you it requires sacrifice, right? All those good vibes gotta come from somewhere, dig? It's no big deal, I can sleep it off."

Kai has to think about the name situation. It comes down to whether or not he trusts Strange. He trusts Strange to find out whatever he wants to know, certainly. He trusts Strange not to take away his trinket or rat him out. This isn't quite the same as either of those. Someone else's life gets affected by this. He holds up a finger and says, "You know how much trouble we'd get in if anyone knew. His name is Serurre."


Strange nods. "Sleeping it off means that it isn't sapping too much from you at once. I get the feeling you'll be fine, Gerhard. You know your limits."

A single dark eyebrow raises first before joining the other. Ooh, intrigue. Color him terribly curious. "I'd rather not court trouble if at all possible. Unfortunately, that name means nothing to me — or perhaps fortunately, if knowing his true name would cause issues. Serurre…hmm." Nope, nothing's ringing a bell. He knows all of the Mystical book sellers. "Does he go by another name?"


"It's perfectly safe," Kai reassures. "You'd pass out before you'd expire." See? Perfectly safe. Nothing bad could possibly happen.

While Kai may have a thing for the Smith of Lies, he is himself a rather guileless creature. When Strange asks if Serurre goes by another name, he bites the corner of his lip. "I don't know," he lies. But he knows, he knows he can't lie to this man, so he does the best he can given his situation and throws him another bone. "My real name is Hjuki."


Poor Kai — or rather, Hjuki, the true Name tossed out to Strange. Ooh. Does the Elf recognize the gravity of this action, giving a Sorcerer a true Name?

"You do realize that you don't need to tell me of your real name, young man?" His voice is quiet simply to gentle the scariness of the fact presented next: "After all, Names have power. I appreciate the trust that you grant me." A respectful nod given to the Alfheimian. "If you fear for his safety, you keep his name secret. Clearly, you feel safe enough. I doubt your relic would let you get into too much trouble anyways," and he grins.


It's no small bone he throws. Whoever he's protecting, he must really have it bad for them. He shrugs and offers Strange a winsome smile. "I know," he says simply. There are others who know the name but they've got nowhere near Strange's power. Downtrodden, sad souls who get visits from the grey-clad figure with the glowing bauble, who takes away their pain. They know the name Hjuki. It's the truth that protects the lie that is Kai Alfsson.

But what are the odds they would ever know what to do with it?

"I hope you're right," he says, "because I'd like to be its perfect wielder. I mean, like, I know I am, but it'd be swinging if it knew I was." His gaze is caught by a clock on the wall, and he sits up suddenly. "Is it really three? Oh, man. I'm going to be late for work." He… works? "I gotta go, man." He gets to his feet, starts to head out, comes back to fetch his satchel, then says, "Next time I swing by, I'll let you see it." Then he's off.

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