1964-05-23 - A Thorned Paw
Summary: Broody Sorcerer is broody. Warlock is prying. Everyone is grumpy. A drink is spilled!
Related: None
Theme Song: None
strange mordo 

Brooding. Oh yes, the man in the corner, two fingers arched against the silvered temple, is considering his drink with intense contemplation. Something's eating him nearly alive and everyone at the Bar With No Doors knows to give the Sorcerer a wide berth. It's not that he would lash out, but his reputation precedes him and no one wants to poke that bear with a sharp stick.

Strange idly rolls the bottom of the highball glass on the table, writing and rewriting the perfect condensation ring left on the wood. The shifting of the amber liquid, not clear for once, is soothing in its own way, predictable, absolutely nothing unexpected. He could do without unexpected for a little bit.


"What happened? Did someone get his knuckles smacked in London?" No one quite makes an entrance so well as a man swaddled in fresh green robes and leathers.

The forerunner of his whiskey-smooth barbed query might be the collapsing ring of sparks sensed in the entryway. Karl takes little time to negotiate a drink to the serpent-eyed waiter.

He cuts his way at a slow, direct path to exactly where the Sorcerer Supreme sulks. Everyone withdrawn from the lion with a thorn in his paw doesn't daunt the baron. The staff crossing his back twists and shudders. The leather cradle flexes around its three feet, pulling on his chest.

"Brooding too much again, old friend."

A tap of a finger. His eyebrow arches. "Is duty settling this badly with you? There is an escape you know."


The slow rise and fall marks the hook of the question digging into the Sorcerer's attention. With marked control, those steel-blues slowly draw a vertical line from the end of the table and up to the Warlock's face. Silence hangs like the blade of a guillotine and the patrons of the Bar slowly fall into the magnetic pull of the Sorcerer Supreme's wordless judgment.

"Karl," comes the greeting, a low near-growl from the lips set to a near-flat line. "Do you need my assistance in any manner?" Fall back onto diplomacy, always — that's the trick when the unexpected saunters into the picture. Strange settles back further into the middle of the u-shaped booth's cushioned backing, flexing metaphorical claws against his surroundings.


"What, no better greeting than that for me, bardd?"

Karl pulls himself up a chair. A sharp turn angles it in Strange's direction and he sinks down. Leather crackles and the staff slides up his back to prevent being pinned totally in place. It has a life all its own some days — all days.

His fingers tap against the nearest tabletop. Not more than a breath later, oxidizing smoke forms around a plain highball glass full of a curiously chartreuse liquid. Somehow the spiderweb filaments of cyan and darker yellow maintain their independence, rising up from the bottom to the top.

He smiles. "Come. You're out of sorts." An open invitation. Exactly what no one asked for but maybe they needed.


"No, you verdant dandy," replies said Bardd, curling those lips in what could be construed as a ruefully-allowed smirk. It's difficult to not rise to the flippant level of idle conversation doled out. Strange watches Karl settle in with no more excitement than said aforementioned lion eyeing a hyena. A quick one-two-three-four of fingertips along the side of his glass dictates the fidgeting necessary to keep from indulging in drawing sigils. "And where would we be going? I'm completely comfortable where I'm at in the moment." His voice hasn't risen one decibel in volume, still that implacably-calm baritone that manages to forewarn all in the same moment of lack of humor.


How old that title has already become. Giving no pleasure of a response on his swarthy face, Mordo shrugs. "Wherever four shots of Black Mercury get you."

His own glass has started to ominously vibrate on the table. The fine hairs splitting off the lighter filaments spread out. Time to drink it before it becomes poison. It does taste a fair bit less tart that wa though.

"You still haven't answered the question. Evasion doesn't suit you. It didn't as a stripling and it doesn't now."


The drink in the scarred hand is meant to be a sipper. The next mouthful does justice to the fact that Strange is, as the Warlock put it so unctuously, "out of sorts". A shot in one sitting, one of the four in the amber liquid that swirls through with nebulous clouds of high-noon-yellow and inverted-stardust. Rolling and then licking at his upper lip, Strange's eyes rise to Karl's face once again.

"The commonly-known social constructs of prying should be kept in mind. It's rude to pry, Karl." He says this with a lightness that plucks at irritation. "I find it suits me well."


A sipper. Not a shot? Well, a gesture to the jarred bartender will change all that. He flashes four fingers. Thumb to palm, Karl forgets the man as soon as the request is made.

Then he might have to worry about his tongue scalded and frostbitten at the same time. Life isn't any fun without actual danger and risk. The staff rattles and settles in time with him. The verdant sorcerer measures up the man opposite him.

"That didn't work in Kamar-Taj and it won't work now." He frowns behind the rim of the glass. "No one else dares even ask. Not prying when you know full well I have every entitlement."


A short, flat bark of a laugh and at another table, one of the Sylphs in human guise literally jumps so much in surprise that she whisks out of this dimension, leaving behind a spilt glass of something gaseous that quickly evaporates.

"Entitlement," the Sorcerer bites out, hitting every consonant with precise diction despite the muted Midwestern twang. "Fine, Karl." The first word is drawn out, the second half buzzing against his palette before his lips curl about the Warlock's name. "Premonition. It's grinding on my nerves and getting on them as well. Something is going to happen and the tilt of reality is letting me know about it." He explains this sotto-voce, glaring down at his glass. A swirl of dark-light twinkles past the crystalline curve of the glass before smoking away again.


"Dour premonition. Never going to tell you anything nice. Like you have a good fish dinner to look forward to." Or anything, for that matter. At least in the culinary line of affairs. Karl partakes of no little pleasure in drifting into thought.

Yes, a delicious dinner. Something rich and flavorful on his tongue. The right seasonings to give oomph. Not for nothing does a smile register for a moment.

He taps his knee. "Remember to try and have a little excitement out of it? You'd think you had something stony up…"


Another mouthful of the drink puts him at a solid two shots in and those four others haven't reached the table yet. The crystal glass thumps lightly on the tabletop before Strange pops his lips.

"I'm…ready as I'll ever be," the Sorcerer grumbles, " — but I'd rather it just happened already, dammit." He slouches slightly in the booth now, struck silent for the internal musings at the sloth-imbuing liquid's influence in his veins. Starlight might twinkle and tickle, making one feel to leap to the sky for the freedom of earth. This is dark-light, the sweet call to rest, the lullaby to wend one to relaxation — to slow down a mind reeling through possibilities faster than a comet as is.


Karl smirks. His drink is vanished. The Black Mercury has a punch and a kick, something unforgiving on the palate. The best kind of alcohols often do. "When has forcing anything to come to pass ever been a good idea?"

He pushes back on his chair. It won't topple but the balance eases him up to stand. "Look at yourself. Really look, Stephen. This moping about — mourning, impatiently pacing — doesn't suit you. It never has. Find an outlet for all those energies." He considers.

A tighter set of lines wrinkle the corners of his eyes.

"Mop your floors a few times. Do those things you saved for a rainy day. Phone your mother. I'm sure she would like to hear from you." He gives his head a shake. "Three days. Expect a check-in. Failure to appear is not an option. I have my ways."


For all that Strange wasn't fidgeting in the first place, he manages to become very still now. A tremulous thrill of deep strings resonates from his aura that jumps about like a pond in an earthquake. Splashes of energy leave and swish back to the main cloud that seizures once more and then settles flat as glass.

Karl is gifted a flat look. A dead look. An utterly dismissive look.

"My mother has been gone from this world for nearly ten years now, Karl, but thank you for that marvelous suggestion. Trust me in that I will show should I choose to do so. I would not press otherwise." The low Mystical hum lengthens to basso notes, a warning snarl audible to match a face drawn to sharp lines, cheekbones and all. "Go. Away."

And, indeed, the Warlock does this, granting his no-longer-apprentice a glance containing a good deal of irritation and perhaps even a sprinkling of empathy. Strange misses this entirely and is left to throw back the rest of his glass. No being outwardly drunk in the Bar, not with his mantle, and the Gate allows him to leave the rest of it all behind — including those four shots, forlornly arriving not long after the Sorcerer disappears. There is a patiently resigned server to collect them. Sorcerers. Oy.


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