1964-04-24 - Aegyptica: Karnak I
Summary: Doctor Strange has a summons during his meditation, and the consequences are bound to be heavy.
Related: N/A
Theme Song: None
strange wanda 

Note: Oshtur played by Wanda.

Study, as they say, is a form of homage paid by the intelligent man to the sentient creators and higher powers. Devoting oneself to intense research cleanses the spirit, a means of meditation upon a grand idea. For the discovery of a new connection or a freshly laid notion imbues a person with something akin to spiritual nirvana or rapture, the eureka moment a shock of pleasure. But not always.

Focused concentration, whether in meditation or devising a spell of some kind, gives a space for the divine to reach back.

In an instant, the Sorcerer Supreme takes leave of his body, the lightness of being separating him from the heavy, dense flesh and bone housing his spirit. He floats up as the chamber loses its distinction, enveloped in a cascade of sparkling phosphorescence bubbling beneath the dim tidal surge concocted from translucent shadows. A blue tinge cast over eroding furnishings and indistinct walls reflects upon his nebulous being.

He bobs up like a bubble to that surface, floating easily to a figure awaiting in a stately stone niche, and all ambient light emanates from her presence. Her, a woman in a very modern skirt suit, sits with her hands in her lap on a wooden bench. Only those endowed by the mantle of the Vishanti will make any sense of the constantly changed script scribed along the hems of a trenchcoat, fabric adopted simply because Strange requires something to look upon other than blinding, unimaginable majesty. Entirely sensible black shoes and nylons describe feet and legs, a skirt similarly writhing with citrine light beneath the heavy twill. Coming into that room brings more definition, the solid columns and pointed gothic arches reminiscent of a church or the Met Museum.

Doctor Strange. The mental tone Oshtur adopts is conversational, modulated to a wavelength that will not shred even his robust mind to ruined ribbons. Neither is she given especially to calling him by demeaning terms, the warm feminine alto reverberating with a measure of respectful affection.

// I require your aid. Not as Sorcerer Supreme, but as a Master of the Mystic Arts. Ripples from your actions bestirred a baleful presence interred long ago, rousing to wakefulness that which must not be loosed upon the world. // Her eyes are full of stars, whole constellations emerging and changing while he watches. Lips set to a sad smile at some poignant memory, recollection dragging her away a moment.

Oshtur returns her gaze to him. // Once, I lost a piece of my self to malevolent influences. This aspect I dared not absorb within me. Yet, you understand, by the First Law, I could not destroy it. Rather I divided and confined the aspect, in hopes time and isolation would purge the corruption from it until such time I could take the energy back.//

Images flow across his mind, a shared bond revealing a torrent of soldiers collapsed in bloody dirt, sand blasted away from great mud brick and stone walls. Shattered towers lie exposed to a lurid sky, and staggered rubble hints to where a vibrant city likely stood on the waterfront of a wild sea tinted rusty. Magic bleeds there, heavy and oily, an unwelcome taint even in memory. The visions revealed to him are not modern; the architecture stands out as Mediterranean, but not the graceful columns of Rome or Greece. Theirs is a blocky, solid feel, ancient beyond the rise of the more familiar empires of antiquity.

She continues, // By intent or accident, those protective bonds weakened or broke. That aspect is awakening. I set before you this imperative task to gather any missing fragments of my incarnation and contain them. I cannot do so myself without risking my own purity or risking interest of my kin. //

Indeed, meditation is what allows the mundane to transcend beyond, to the unseen worlds of the Astral Realm and many other planes of reality inaccessible otherwise. At this time, the Sorcerer Supreme in his morning practice of the process, had been focusing on piecing together a particularly difficult puzzle. Missing holes had been filled in to some extent; the harrowing whole had not yet been determined when he was pulled from his task.

Not a rude yank, not an insistent tugging at the sleeve — he knows this particular deific handprint very well. Separated from physical form, his Astral form takes a moment to appreciate the exhilarating freedom of such lightness even as his view is painted out in carbonated phosphorescence unmatched save by the nocturnal werelights of ocean-foam along a stretch of pebbled shore in the southern hemisphere.

The view clears and ah, of course — her Brightness at its most contained, still unable to hide away the brilliance of her form beneath austere clothing. It’s not a proper kowtow by any means (but he is, after Sorcerer Supreme, and entitled to his pride), but he bends at the waist a quarter-drop with fingertips lightly touching though palms remain separated. The gesture continues as he straightens again and murmurs, in reply to his personally-preferred title,

“Gracious Lady.” He’s thankful for the toning-down of her voice. The affection is returned in the deferential attention he grants her, no deviation in even a hint of his body language. After all, this is the one of the three he calls upon who most precisely aligns to his own morals and beliefs: preservation of life. Emotionless logic and fearsome wrath tend to malign protecting the candle of the soul at times — though with good and painful need when their reasoning applies.

As he listens in his form containing it own celestial miraging of coloring, the night sky shifts behind her lashes and he idly and fleetingly wonders at certain parallels to another feminine presence in his life. Interesting to hear, the problem at hand, but entirely logical — manage the madness if you cannot hope to destroy it. Isn’t that what the Mirror Dimension is for? His eyes visibly blank to that same pearly-blue phosphorescence as she shares visions with him. A blink returns pupils to his irises and he nods, brows knitted in a concerned frown.

“I understand, my Lady. I shall act in your stead and gather these missing pieces. Do you have a preference as to their manner of containment?”

Respectful, asking this, rather than assuming. After all, the impossibilities are endless and he is ever interested in learning more ways to…contain things.

The veiled woman clasps her hands together and does not rise from the wooden bench where she sits, and the sprawling symbols of power continue their march in absence of her movements. Withholding the enormous presence she casts requires active effort, not one unknown.

Strange, then, receives the fullness of her present focus without the usual weight that bestows. Glowing blue-green eyes shift away from him for a moment, assuredly peering through reality’s onion skin layers to seek something in particular.

The containment vessels risk contamination, regretfully. Do not transpose the pieces to anything enchanted you wish to use again. // she replies, the weight of her thoughts upon him again as light as a feather brushing over vellum. //Nor should they be stored together or the fragments, by their very nature, will attempt to coalesce into a full aspect. A suitable binding may be found in the Book.

Her chest rises and falls, though clearly her necessity of breathing is absent. Stars roll across her vision again, smothering the tropical aquamarine in a cloak of starry dust and spinning galaxies. Remain vigilant. My servants from that time suffered the corruption of my aspect. You may require aid from unwelcome quarters to attain your ends.

A vision shifts in his mind, a storm of dust pouring into a brownish grit seen from high orbit. It spills over the Mediterranean and enfolds North Africa in dust, drowning south of the Sahara, all but for a small lake. The coursing Nile vanishes into the sandstorm, a blot in the great violence at a point where the river hooks into a great bend. Another isle glitters in his sight, drowned by great waves as a speck of stone vanishes from sight.

My aspect was no friend to my brothers or sisters. When it fell, they enjoined to a cause. In this, you may negotiate with their ilk. We Three cannot directly intercede. My failures would risk their wellbeing, and this I will not do. Oshtur frowns at the mere memory and the room dissolves into a garden, a hidden alpine valley above a broad, long plain under heavy cultivation. From within the cradle of life, the village barely constitutes twenty houses, snuggled among their olive groves. An ancient truck wobbles along the rutted dirt road down the slope. A city stood here once. This is all that remains, after thirty centuries. Not a man alive remembers its name or its accomplishments. There is no record to find of it, or the principalities and cities that went up in fire to that corrupt aspect. Pray act with expediency, Doctor Strange.

She wipes her hand in front of her and the valley vanishes, replaced with the astral space they occupied before.

Again suffused with the ultra-carbonated effervescence of her Her power as she displays events in time and space spanning centuries and seconds before his eyes, Strange patiently gathers information.

Nothing to be reused, got that. Keep them separate, of course; no need to accidentally cross-contaminate. Other gods open to negotiation, perfect. Nothing like the novelty of borrowing powers he’s never accessed before, even if it might leave him tasting peppermint for a week.

Find the city, find the separated pieces of Her aspect, containment, management, right up his alley.

Blinking away the vision of dust kicked up behind the tires of the rust-pocketed truck, the good Doctor inclines his head again.

“I will act with all the speed possible, my Lady. I will…attempt to keep all aid in alignment with the applicable morality, but…if you say that rules must be bent, then…I will act in proper judgment.” The lingering bubbles within his psyche will likely allow him to zero in upon this site of a city lost to ancient times; already, he begins to spin a thread of intent towards Gating to the place. The Mystical mental loom is given pause as he awaits the return back to his physical body. After all, She summoned him, She will dismiss him as easily.

Her presence simply ceases to be. One moment Strange strives among the stars and the next he belongs to himself, catapulted backwards through space and time to the sheath of his mortal flesh.

Oshtur’s absence is a blow, falling into the night after memory of light.

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