1964-07-08 - Fyr'bekri and their Ruddy Fleece (A "What If" Tale)
Summary: In an alternate universe, Lady Thor and Stephanie Strange take on the wild Fyr'bekri for a red fleece and then recover afterwards over tea and chit-chatter.
Related: The "What If" Tales.
Theme Song: None
thor strange 

Carefully, the scarred fingers part the tall grass. Glittering steel-blue eyes narrow at the distant four-legged forms. They reach down, crop mouthfuls of the local foliage, and then slowly crane their elongated faces to casually look about. Very few things bother a Fyr'bekri, wild ram-like creature of the high plains of the volcanic Hagilands. The cover for the two women is one of the rare thick patches of scratchy plants and Strange grimaces as a blade pokes into the pocket of her armpit.

Her whisper is low and melodious. "Your highness, do you really need the wool of the Fyr'bekri for your new cape? The dyers in Asgard must be perfectly capable of finding the correct color." As much as the Sorceress complains, she won't admit aloud that the silky and Mystically glistening coats of the creatures are very attractive. Nowhere has she seen such a vibrant hue of red other than in a certain relic.

Still, with this level of reward and renown comes much risk. These creatures are well known in the Olde Tales for simply looking upon a predator and setting it alight. Crispy-fried critters don't bother the wild sheep afterwards.


"Need is such a strong word, friend Strange," Thor whispers. The scion of Asgard narrows eyes the color of clouds and lightning at the huge, hulking beasts— each one big enough to knock a building over. "'Want', however — yes. Such a cloak resists cold, water, and staining. And it looks spectacularly stylish."

The big rams look docile, but that is an illusion. They're large, and aggressive. And mean.

The fabled hammer Mjolnir hangs from a leather thong around Thor's belt, and strong fingers caress the longspear borrowed from the Hall of Asgard. Mighty as the hammer is, the spear is sharp and sturdy, for aiming deep at the heart of such a mighty creature.

"Once more, my friend — rams and boar are hunted the same way," Thor whispers. "I will find the brush and settle myself. Startle them, drive them towards me. In their rage they will try to run me down, and I'll have one through the heart!"

The winged helmet of the Aesir is removed, and Thor shakes out her long blonde hair, and flashes an exultant grin at Strange. She replaces the helmet a moment later and snaps the half-guard of the facemask into place.

"Again, only when I am in ready," she whispers — and then she's off at a fast, low hustle, sticking low to the brush and upwind of the rams.


Her words are sharp and hissing. "Princess — your highness, WAIT — hmph." The Sorceress huffs to herself, watching the eldest of Odin's children disappear beyond their bower of relative safety. Why does she have to flush the gods-damned creatures?

…because pride is a hobble and there's a rather lofty statement that Strange needs to back up. Something about being able to single-handedly ensure the triumphant return of the Princess with blood-red fleece in tow.

Fine. Thor wants fireworks? There's going to be fireworks.

Strange, more petite than the muscularly-feminine blonde, finds ease in sneaking the opposite direction of the spear-bearing warrior-woman. The crimson Cloak is sash about her waist rather than vibrant flare of fabric. Don't want to accidentally attract any attention in any form from the Fyr'bekri! Sticking to the shadows helps, as does the relatively low light of the region. Her battle-leathers are ink-blue for the environment's dull glow. Once she thinks she's in position, Strange carefully draws ambient energy from the air about herself. In another dimension, the Mystical powers are a bit slower to react, but no less potent when harnessed.

One of the biggest males suddenly raises his head, pausing in chewing the gnarled grasses, and those flame-bright eyes shift about as do the large ears.

And there, the reflection of light from the large metallic point of Thor's spear — that's the signal.

"Vishanti preserve us," Strange whispers before lobbing the small baseball-sized globe of energy towards the edge of the herd. Upon impact with the ground, it explodes into a dazzling flowering of golden light, expanding upon itself a dozen times, and it issues a whistling shriek to boot. The Fyr'bekri immediately startle with sonorous cries and wheel about instead of glaring the Sorceress into cinders. Well…this time. The ground rumbles — pebbles rattle and jump — the drive is on!


The Fyr'berki roar and stampede and whirl. They are herd animals, and big and powerful as they are, there is that ancient part of their minds that recalls a time when apex predators hunted them.

So they scatter. The yearlings bleat and panic, and the mothers start to corral them in a loose u-shaped formation. It drives the children towards the safety of a wide meadow and a hillside where they can get a better eye on things.

The males, though, scatter and snort, wheeling in all directions in a raw, raging fury. The beta males scamper and chuff — mostly juveniles and the older ones who are not of mating age — but the two or three alphas who dominate the pack spread out, looking for a fight.

The biggest one finds a target in Thor, who leaps out from behind a rock and screams at the top of her lungs. She smashes the hilt of her spear against the rock twice and then levels it at the ram — the big beast rips up the grass with a scrape of hooves, then drops its head and rushes at her headlong!

As mighty as Thor is, the rams are monstrous in size — easily the scale of an elephant — and have the sort of density of Asgardian mammals that makes them utterly massive.


A somewhat frantic, excited spate of laughter escapes Strange, who stands with a readiness to her stance and watches the chaos unfold. Oh gods below, the very earth rumbles as the herd scatters into their respective defensive sectionings.

And then there's the huge male charging at Thor! "Oh f — " The creature is massive and bulling down upon the smaller Asgardian with deadly intent in those eyes! They even begin to glow, gaining a fiery light, and the Sorceress has a throat-locking moment of utter terror that she didn't remind the Princess of the creature's innate abilities. Swallowing it down, the crimson Cloak unfolds a dozen times over and then the Mistress of the Arts, Mystical diplomat of Midgard to the Asgardian Courts, darts after the huge ram.

Drawing up in the air and calling upon past experience, she then throws a snowball-sized lump of pure heat-energy at what she haphazardly estimates is the jawline of the alpha caprine. It splatters against the broad cheek of the creature and sets it to stumbling over its cloven hooves. The head, with its fractured curling horns, shakes about even as it continues a tangle-limbed fall towards Thor!


Thor's eyes go wide and she tries to adjust the aim of her spear, but it's too late — the creature's head twists and deflects the blade, and a horn catches her square in the belly. Mercifully, her armor protects her from being gutted, but Thor goes flying sideways and hits the ground with a grunt of pain.

"Strange! Clear the field!" she bellows at her friend, trying to reset the longspear. The beast is too close now — not enough distance to use the beasts's momentum against it. She lunges forward with a shout and slams a solid foot of Asgardian steel into the ram, but it strikes shoulder and bone and fails to penetrate deep enough. She's flung by the ram's whirling, rolling a dozen times before rocking up to her knees and reaching for her hammer on her belt, snapping it loose with a flick of her wrist and spinning it by the leather cord. The spear wiggles against the ram's shoulder, and for a moment it is distracted by trying to tear it away.


|ROLL| Strange +rolls 1d100 for: 6


Singling out this enraged beast seems like it should easy enough. After all, the females seem dedicated to forming that impenetrable wall of snorting flesh and bright eyes. It's the other alpha male that has caught sight of that bright red Cloak and narrow in on it like some berzerker linebacker — give or take a few thousand pounds of weight.

Hovering in the air, Strange's full attention is on the Fyr'bekri engaged with removing that partially-buried spear of Asgardian make from its shoulder. The creature dances and bawls and leaves footprints four feet deep into the field dirt, its eyes glinting. It's begun to snort out clouds of deep-grey smoke, indicative that some ultra-hot biological process has begun, and the Sorceress is attempting yet another humdinger of a Mystical flashbang grenade when —

"ACK!" Only the deft twirl in place saves her from being laid out upon the broad side of the ram's skull. Thor might catch the following sharp cry abruptly cut out for how the upcurl of one of the horns catches brutally on the inner lining of the crimson Cloak. Throwing on the breaks, this Fyr'bekri tosses its head up and then to one side. As any weight on the end of a length will do, the Sorceress is swung around in a belated arc through high noon and then SMACK — against the broad scapula that stymied Thor's powerful thrust in the other beast.

She hangs limply, knocked unconscious for the impact upon the bone, and at the tender mercies of this alpha male more than big enough to crush her Midgardian frame into pulp.


"STRANGE!" Thor screams, in rage and fear — and despite the ram bulling down on her again, she hauls back her arm and twists powerfully from the hip, and flings Mjolnir at the monster.

Hunting with the hammer was poor sport, she'd explained — but to save Strange, sport takes a backseat, and the hammer flies with a supersonic crack and near-infinite mass behind it.

She doesn't get a chance to stop and witness the effect of her deific efforts, as the first alpha male tramples her rather roundly. Thor cries out in pain, swinging her fists at the beast, but there's little effect from her bare hands. She simply lacks the mass to root herself in the ground and really get a blow swinging.

"Hammer!" she shouts, reaching for Mjolnir. It reverses course and flies at her grip — but then she's flung a dozen yards by the big ram, and it flies wide of her grasp to skitter across the dirt in a heavy runnel of debris.

Thor hits the ground with a grunt of pain, her helmet going flying and her spray of fine blonde hair framing her face in a rough halo.


|ROLL| Strange +rolls 1d2 for: 1


Thank goodness for the armor worn by the Princess! It's like as not all that saves her from the toe-curling impact of the Fyr'bekri male to her body. The creature still fights to remove the spear from its shoulder and this now takes precedence with the Annoying Little Being removed from play. It bawls and bucks, attempting to rub back at the spear with its horns.

Mjolnir, in an impressive display of impact, HURTLES into the neck of the alpha male about to drop his head and rub the Sorceress into the field dirt. There's a humongous THUMP and this ram utters a shocked bleat and throws back its head. Again, with the pendulum business, and the Cloak is able to disengage at the height of the arc from the blunt catch of the horn. A few ragdolling somersaults and the Sorceress Supreme is stopped for the relic's safety net of Mystically-expanded fabric. She slumps in its hug for a few seconds before groaning and beginning to move about.

"Oh gods below, what…?" Blinking blearily, she looks down at the supine body of the Fyr'bekri male still dragging its legs weakly across the field-turf. A near-broken neck, due to Mjolnir. "DAMNIT." Wheeling in place, she's quick to spot the sprawl of the Asgardian Princess as well as the runnel of the hammer's off-targeted flight. A flit of storm-blue and red around the spear-bearing alpha male, now literally snorting smoke, and Strange is quick to offer Thor a hand, meant to be taken in a warrior's grip. "To your feet, your highness. You felled one, time to retreat and let it pass." She means zip away to the nearby cliffs and let the life slip from the one fallen across the field. "Take back your spear and let's go!"


Thor grabs Strange's wrist out of reflex and snatches up the spear with the other. They fly off — and then the Asgardian realizes the scope of Strange's suggestion.

"Nay! I 'twill not leave the beast wounded to die a slow death— and one yet has wounded me and I will see vengeance!"

Thor weighs at least four hundred pounds of dense bone and muscle, so she simply lets go of Strange's wrist to let gravity take hold.

She hits the ground, rolling, and smacks the spearblade on a rock.

"HAH! Come at me, beast!" she bellows, striking the rock twice more. The ram eye-narrows at her and then with a snorting bellow of blind rage, it rushes at Thor once again, tilting those horns back to rake at her with the sharp points.

Thor drives the butt of the spear into the ground, aims the blade low, and fearlessly stares down the ram as it charges at her with murder in its strange, slit-like eyes. The silver blade glints in the light, red clinging to the runnels.


Hey, the suggestion was worth a shot!

With the logic of retreat lost to the frenzy of battle and the truth that suffering is potentially at hand, Strange draws back to let the Princess engage fully with the lesser-wounded of the two Fyr'bekri. If she's not hallucinating…the air around them both is markedly rising in temperature. Sweat beadlets break out upon the petite woman's forehead and she grimaces with the realization that the Fyr'bekri intends to cook them where they stand before mashing them into a pulp. How kind of it.

Her head pounds, but still the Sorceress manages to summon up a rather clever little twist on the earlier lobbed spheres of startling flares. The spell detonates after being whipped towards the nose of the snorting, murder-glaring alpha male bearing down upon the blonde Asgardian and FLASH!!! Only to the creature's eyes does the world white out — blinded! It bawls in bloody frustration, throwing back its head even as it continues to charge. The line of its throat is revealed as is the ribcase, finally undefended by the wide skull and curling horns.


Thor grits her teeth and holds until the last possible second, and the force of the creature's momentum impales it on the length of the silvered steel. She shouts with force and fury, and forces the creature up over her, off of its front hooves. It screams and bellows in insane rage, flailing, but the crosspiece keeps her from being struck by the sharp hooves.

She dances back and forth with the beast, blood flowing everywhere as the beast screams and rages and chokes. Finally it stumbles sideways and she hauls the spear back, holding it in a warding position. The big ram chokes and staggers away, leaving lifeblood in a trail behind it as it bleeds out into the grass.

Chest heaving and covered in gore, Thor looks like a savage warrior more than Princess of Asgard — eyes bright with the battle-lust, she watches the creature stumble and mewl in pain. It collapses to one knee, and she moves up behind it and with an expert thrust, slips the blade behind an ear and into the brain.

The beast dies with a groan, leaving the wounded, winded blonde woman standing over the corpse.


The sound of breath leaving the creature's lungs means the end of it all…at least, on this half of the field. Strange winces and touches at the back of her head carefully. Through the raven-dark waves of shoulder-length hair, she can feel a goose-egg beginning to form. Warily, she watches the beta males and the matriarchs, but none of the other Fyr'bekri seem inclined to tangle with the two tiny predators that felled their alpha males.

The scraping of the other ram's front legs catches the dark-haired woman's attention and she thins her lips. "Sit, your highness, catch your breath. I can't abide the thing's suffering any longer." Looking over the bloodied Asgardian with a momentary doctor's dispassion and finding her hale if not battered, she then flits across the churned landscape. This Fyr'bekri is confused, half-blinded by the primal fright of being unable to feel its hind legs, and its skin flinches beneath the small scarred hands placed against its neck. The impact point of Mjolnir is visible, having dented the wool of the male nearly beneath the skin, and it's here that the healing spell begins. The air around Strange spirals upwards and outwards as the sky-blue magic rushes into the creature's body. It's all a matter of will, ultimately — one wills itself to live, the other wills away the potential inability to continue a normal life. The herd needs a leader. When the spell seems to be nearing completion, the Sorceress is quick to retreat back across the field to Thor.

Floating in mid-air nearby, her sigh is long and weary. Still, the scales may be balanced. The Fyr'bekri that met Mjolnir's wrath gets to its feet and then plunges away into the high brush, taking the rest of the herd with it.

"…oh thank gods," can be heard.


"Aye, Doctor, a moment to gain my breath," Thor agrees, nodding breathlessly at Stephanie. She finds a rock and sits, dropping her spear to the grass and leans forward to rest her elbows on her knees.

She winces and sits upright, massaging her ribs on the right side, and a fond smile crosses her face at the sight of Stephanie taking precious moments and energy to heal the beast that had nearly killed her moments before. When Strange returns, Thor smiles up at her friend. She's looking a little haggard too — well battered — but exultant in her victory.

"You're a kind breath of wind, my friend," she tells Strange, still clutching her side. "I suppose 'twould have been greedy of me to have two pelts this day — still, there's enough for at least a brace of cloaks, and 'twould complement your shawl most nicely," she tells the Doctor.

"Come, let us to camp — I needs remove this armor," she admits, wincing but chuckling softly. "I am perhaps not as swift a foot as I had thought!"


"Shawl. Puh," mutters Strange, most unladylike. The crimson Cloak sets her upon an undisturbed section of field and keeps her from wobbling too badly. "It's a cloak, your highness. It might take offense, be mindful." The collar wiggle and disrupt the wind-mussed fall of her hair. Tucking it behind her ears, the Sorceress sighs again as she eyes Thor. "Camping sounds like a plan. Do you need help removing the armor? I'll see what I can do once I take a look at the impact site."

The good Doctor is the house, even a bit dizzy still as she is. "Remain sitting if you can. If your ribs are broken, we don't need any shards entering your lungs or floating about. Next time, dodge better." Her eyes, still a-glow with the Sight, flick beyond the hulking carcass of the alpha Fyr'bekri to where the other male once lay. "Kind? …I suppose. It was suffering. I can't abide by this. But then again, you didn't really want another pelt, did you, your highness…?" The Princess is subject then to a small dry smirk. "You wanted to tell your father of your exploits. Not one Fyr'bekri, but two for the Princess's efforts. Never mind the Sorceress, one should have seen the Hammer in action." The grin spreads, still sly in friendly tease.


"Yes, well… the Sorceress helped," Thor says, grinning back at her friend — then she laughs, a merry, brassy sound, and rises to her feet. Gathering her gear and weapons, she walks with a limp and a hitch — but under her own power.

"Come, my friend, as you know me so well — we'll have the hunters come and take the pelt, and soon we'll dine on roasted ram," she tells Stephanie, trying not to nurse her wounds.

Soon enough they're back at the encampment, and the royal servants head out to gather the beast and skin it. Thor hands off her spear to an armorer, and then heads into the palatial tent that is the Princess' of Asgard. Having worn lighter hunting chain instead of her mystical armor, she reaches to her side with fumbling fingers and starts trying to undo the leather straps holding it in place. "Have some wine, Doctor," she offers to her friend, nodding at a small table with mead and wine in decanters. "I'll be but a minute," she assures Strange, sighing in frustration at the cumbersome clasps.


Thor may walk, but her friend has the grace of the lift of Levitation on her side. Thus, in silent relief for the singed tips of nerves wearied for drawing in an alien atmosphere, Strange floats back alongside the blonde Asgardian.

Mindful of kicking dirt from her boots before flitting into the large tent, the Sorceress then descends to the earth and wobbles once before making her way over to one of the fairly-comfortable chairs alongside the small table. She sighs as she sits down in it and then allows herself a moment to rest half her face in one palm.

"Oh gods below, I didn't take into account the possibility of an overcasting headache," she mutters before scrunching up her eyes. An inhale and a slow sigh and then she blinks over at Thor. "You know I prefer tea, your highness…but it'll be a cold day in Muspelheim when you have any around, so — thank you, but I shall decline for the safety of my skull." She curls a wry grin for a passing second — oh yes, petite and Midgardian means playing carefully with the meads known to the Court. "Need help?" Her eyes flick from the straps to the frowning face of the Princess, but she makes no move to get up — not just yet, anyways.


Thor struggles with her armor, then sighs and nods at Strange. "Aye, if you'd lend me your aid for a moment, I 'twould appreciate it," she says, finally. "'tis cumbersome gear and my shield-maiden is out hunting yet. Where is Sif?" she asks the air, crossly, but with some concern in her voice.

"In fact some tea might be procured, Doctor," Thor says, turning and lifting an arm over her head with a wince so Strange can aid her. "Forgive me for not thinking of it sooner. Ladies!" she calls.

Two of her handmaids enter and curtsey quickly, and Thor flashes a smile at the women. "Hot tea for the Doctor — gjalleroot and willowbark would suffice, with milk and honey. And please heat my bath," she requests. The girls set to work quickly, and by the time Strange has the buckles on Thor's armor undone, hot tea is being steeped nearby and Thor dismisses her handmaids.


Admittedly, one of the straps is fairly difficult to unknot, but between the persistent work of the Doctor's hands (faintly trembling as they are with their scarring) and the patience of the Princess to keep her arms raised as they are, the armor finally loosens enough to be removed.

Strange then retreats a respectful amount and lets out a mezzo-soprano hum of pleasure for the the travel mug full of steeping tea. "You're too kind, your highness," she murmurs, taking up the cup and returning to the chair. With legs crossed at the knee, she idly shifts one foot as she rests the base of the mug in her lap, hands curled about its sides. The crimson Cloak drapes over her in a perfectly-acceptable messy blanketing and the Sorceress sighs again — and then drops her chin.

"Oh, right," and she grimaces as she sits up straighter in the chair. "I should leave you to your bath." It's clear that she doesn't wish to leave her seat, but diplomacy will win out over comfort.


Thor drags off her armor and flings it aside with a gasp of relief as the pressure's relieved from her ribs. The surcoat of chain is tossed in a pile to be tended later, leaving her in a leather cuirass.

She gives Stephanie a strange look. "I do not mind the company, Stephanie," she tells her friend. "'tis a fine chance for us to speak and bond in quietude, beyond the demands of the court." Her leather arming doublet hangs to mid-thigh, and as she speaks she kicks off her boots and the storm-blue trousers that go with it. Bare legs carry a few ugly bruises from the brawl, and she grips the hem of her cuirass without any modesty and lifts it up over her head, grunting slightly in pain.

"Come, sit," she says, beckoning Strange to move to a divan across the tent. It proves to be part of a bathing area — Asgardian magics having dug a marble-lined pool and filled it with water. Her underthings are leather bands strapped tight across her chest and matching briefs, both a deep suede color. Neither remotely obscures her remarkably athletic musculature, marred by bruises on her legs and a thick, purple-yellow blotch spreading under her right rib. She touches it and hisses in pain, moving gingerly towards the water's edge.


Dark brows arch up in quiet doubt at the invitation, but indeed, there the Princess goes shucking leather clothing. Glancing towards the tent's entrance for the handmaidens proves them long gone and Strange looks back again.

"If you insist." The Cloak helps her rise to her feet and the quiet groan precedes her as she shuffles over to the settee. She tucks herself into the corner, where the arm of the divan meets its raised back, and pulls in one knee. The crimson silk of the relic wraps about her again and she strokes its light weight over the rounding of her shoulder with fingertips as one would a friendly cat. "You did well, old friend," murmurs Strange, and one collar tucks back a loose lock of silver-brushed hair. Its mistress completely the action before taking a healthy sip of the tea. "Mmm. Thank you again, your highness." The mug is lifted in salute. The good Doctor's eyes then get to stoically observing what she can of the bruises on the Asgardian's body. "Soak first. Get the blood from your skin. The willowbark will take the edge from this headache and then I'll do what I can in terms of healing."


"Take your time, doctor," Thor says, removing her leather underthings. Nude, she steps into the water, brushing her hair back from her face. She sighs happily, wriggling her toes, and then settles down to chin level. Red floats away from her face, and she dives under the water for a moment to scrub vigorously.

It must be the magic of Asgard — the remains of her hunt disappear into nothing, the water still fresh and clear and steaming softly. With a blorble, Thor rises up from the water to her collarbone, brushing her hair back from her face and drifts lazily backwards in the warm surrender of the bath.

"Ahh. This 'tis heaven," she exhales, looking at the tent roof. She paddles to the edge of the tub and picks up a heavy stein of mead, and throws back half of it in few quick, hungry chugs.


Strange's elegant lips confer silent amusement for the actions of the disappearing mead. She sips at her tea with proper manners before sighing again.

"I could think of a few other things to make it more heavenly, but it will do for the moment." Her eyes, traveling up and around the tent, return to the Princess lounging on the edge of the tub. "I suppose if your hunting entourage brought along weavers, you'll have your new cape before the evening darkens entirely."


"Well, we brought much of the court with us," Thor says, resting her elbows on the edge of the tub and looking up at Stephanie. "If there's aught you crave, simply speak and I'll have it brought. Food? Fresh clothing?" she offers, her legs stretching out under the water behind her.

"I have spent enough campaigns to appreciate the value of some creature comforts in the field," she tells Stephanie, smiling at her and pulling a stray blonde tendril behind one ear. "A hot bath has become very nearly a necessity. Towels and field showers simply aren't adequate," she says wryly.


"When one comes in spattered in gore, I imagine a wetted towel won't do much at all," and the Sorceress shakes her head, grinning mildly. "I prefer showers myself. Potions and still water tend to become an issue. The moving water takes apart what magic remains on the skin."

Another sip of tea and the dark-brunette slouches minutely more into the corner of the couch. "No food, no, but thank you. My clothing is fine as well, not too dusty." Says the woman with one boot absolutely on the couch, heedless of any dried mud on its sole. "I can feel the tea beginning to work." She tilts her head slightly as the smile turns a bit fonder still upon the Asgardian Princess, impetuous young thing that she is. "I'm content as I can be, your highness."

"You're making it difficult to be a hostess, Stephanie," Thor remarks wryly — but she grins at Strange, and ducks her head into the water quickly, then emerges once more, brushing her hair back from her face.

"The worst sort of guess who wants for nothing at all. Hand me that towel, please?" she requests, holding a hand towards a thick, fluffy towel just out of arm's reach. "I probably shouldn't spend the day lounging around naked in a bath," she says, smiling. "Or at least be sociable."

"So… anything new in your life?" she inquires, pointedly. "Some new paramour, perhaps?"


The blonde Asgardian gets a blase shrug from the Sorceress. "I aim to keep everyone guessing, apparently," she murmurs even as she lifting a hand. A flick of fingers, turn of the wrist, and the desired towel gains a life of its own. Twinkling with illusory starlight, it flicks over towards Thor and lands within easy reach. "Ah, good, the tea is doing what it needs to do. I'll look at your injuries once you're dry and in your underthings again."

The query is enough to make Strange snort into her teacup before sipping at the hot relief found in liquid form. "New…? Novelty is a regular challenge in my life, your highness. Paramours…" and she hedges, looking down into the dark drink. Still, her lips curl at the corners. "Perhaps."


"Paramours?" Thor inquires, not missing the plural. She wraps the towel around herself as she leaves the tub, shedding water as she goes.

"Oh, surely that's a story," she says, her sky-blue eyes twinkling. Reaching for another towel, she starts scrubbing at her hair to get the water out of her blonde locks, and curls up near Strange's knees on the lounge.

"Must I pry it out of you, or will you share the sordid details? I'm starving for gossip," she confesses.


"You must truly be hungry if you're asking me, your highness," and Strange laughs, her teeth flashing in a bright smile. She scoots to one side, allowing the Asgardian woman more space on the chaise-lounge. "Not paramours, no. I misspoke. I…recently met a very intriguing young man. Singular." Her tongue slips up to pass over her upper lip and those steely-blues flick up, full of twinkling delight. "He possesses powers unlike anyone I've ever come across, in all my years of carrying the mantle. Not only that, but he's…very handsome." By the inwards rolling of her lips, the Sorceress admits this with hesitation — or she meant something else entirely.


"Handsome." Thor laughs, shaking her head, and sets about the mundane task of drying her hair and whatnot. She steps behind a screen for modesty's sake to dress herself. "There is a certain appeal of the aesthetic," Thor agrees, tugging clothing onto dry skin. "If he's handsome enough to attain your attention, then he must be a vision indeed. Myself, though — the Captain Marvel is one I often find myself thinking of," Thor admits from behind the screens. She emerges wearing a tunic and leggings, and pulling a thick leather belt around her waist. "But she looks like a Valkyrie already, in poise and appearance."

She moves to a seat opposite the chaise and sits heavily, folding her legs under her and leaning sideways against the arm of the chair.

"What powers does this 'handsome man' of yours have, anyway?" Thor inquires of Strange, one brow lifted in question.


Strange nods, realizing afterwards that Thor can't see her nonverbal reply from behind the screen.

Instead, she agrees once the Princess emerges. "I believe I've heard of this Captain Marvel. I haven't had the honor of meeting her in person just yet." She then eyes the Asgardian carefully, a smirk hovering about her lips. "He's god-touched, I believe." She glances down at the surface of her tea and her expression softens noticeably. "I'm not completely certain, but…reality bends to his whims. Consider this, your highness." She looks up again, mildly grave and somehow fond all at once. "He's a handful, in a way."


"I can imagine, if barely," Thor concedes. "To rewrite reality itself is a magic mostly reserved for Odin and the others. My father and few others who can simply change that around them they wish to change, without so much as a spell or gesture."

She shakes her head and curls her feet under her, examining Strange. "So… is it these fine features that gains your attention, or these talents for rewriting the laws of nature? Is it the Doctor who is fascinated, or the woman?"


"Both," admits the Sorceress after a few moments of thought. She never looks away from Thor, even as her cheeks flush. An English rose, this one with dark hair and steely-blues, prone to pinking when under friendly scrutiny of the paramour sort. "He has agreed to restrain himself as best he can and he does a good job of this. I'm not worried…probably not as much as I should be." The concession is followed with a chuckle, wry somehow. "He's…taciturn. Brooding. But his eyes, they…"

The Princess is welcome to laugh for how vacant the attention on her becomes momentarily. With a little gasp and a blink, Strange smiles in embarrassment. "His eyes are beautiful. They speak when he doesn't. His hands are works of art and he…" Her gaze drops briefly to her own scarred fingers and back up. "He's an excellent kisser." It's a deflection from the momentary self-pitying and bolstered by a mild grin.


"Oh, you are more than merely intrigued. You are quite smitten," Thor accuses Strange — but she laughs, an easy peal that her alto saves from an adolescent giggle. Still, it's sympathetic, and she reaches across the narrow gap to squeeze Strange's wrist with fond affection.

"I am pleased you are happy, Stephanie. Pleasures are many but happiness is rare among such as us," she reminds the Sorcerer Supreme. "And he seems a man most sensual and aware, which is a quality quite lacking among many of his fellows," she remarks, with wry disdain for the male gender as a whole.


Strange returns the squeeze, smiling well and truly now. It brings dimples to her cheeks.

"I know how lacking it is, believe me," murmurs the Sorceress before she sips at her tea. "It's hard being taken seriously when you're of my build, but they come around if you banish them or turn them into a frog. It's been a while since I've had to do that, but…there's some…terrible delight in it." She sighs, shifting her legs about on the chaise lounge. "Dante is not that sort. He's respectful of my status as Sorceress Supreme, inclined more often than not to help defend rather than to stand to one side. I appreciate it immensely. Plus, he's…oh, goodness, I'm running at the mouth. Sorry, your highness, you don't need to hear more about the man. You'll meet him soon enough, I'm sure."

Thor gets a considering look, decidedly coy now. "And…yourself? Who courts the Princess as of late…?"


"Alas, I find myself unattached and free of foot," Thor says, eyes shining unrepentantly. "Revels with Asgardian and mortal alike fill my days. Beholden to none, I share my affections with any ere I desire, and none claim my time save those I give it to."

She picks at her foot, looking for a rough patch on her smooth skin. Finding none, she focuses back on Strange. "He sounds most charming, however. I'll endeavour not to steal his attentions should we meet," she says, before laughing apologetically at her own brassy bravura and shaking her head despite herself.


Strange's eyebrows rise for all of a second before she breaks into laughter too. Her tea threatens to spill until placed on the arm of the lounge. Its balance is precarious, but it's a travel cup and not the usual china demi-tasse utilized by the Sorceress in her own abode.

"Oh, your highness, forgive me, but you are very much of no interest to him and never will be. Before you get concerned, allow me to explain," and she brings down the palm she held out towards Thor. "We share a soul-bond. I may be charmed in passing, he may admire someone else, but we would never act upon it. Still…you may try. Your Fate is your own." Time for the brunette to look decidedly smug where she sits. "But truly, no one courts the Princess of Asgard? A shame. They have no idea of what they miss." She's sincere in this.


"A lark, my friend, merely a lark. I should sooner destroy a work of art," Thor assures Strange, still smiling but taking a moment of real sincerity to tell Strange that she has no such designs.

"Aye, though — none court me," Thor says, sighing. And this time, there's something a little wistful. "Perhaps a day will come that a worthy ally rises, but — I am in no rush, either," she smiles, pulling her hair back over her shoulder. "What is a few years of loneliness in the face of immortality?"


The smug look fades into a mildly sympathetic air.

"I know that you wouldn't, your highness. Deep inside…you fear my retaliation," she suddenly jokes, winking at Thor. Then the shadow of melancholy returns. "Still…loneliness. It eats at us all, even us of immortal ilk. I…wouldn't trade what I have for the world. I wish one day that you find the same worthy counterpart. Gods below…I can barely imagine it," and Strange laughs again as the mercurial mood passes. She fetches her tea and finishes it but for the dregs.

"Here, let me see your bruises. I can't return you to your father and the Court with as many. I'll leave a few…for your stories over mead. Thank you again, your highness, for the tea." Rising to her feet, she seems less weary than before, more bright-eyed and the headache is all but gone. Her hands, outstretched with palms upwards, take on a sky-bright shimmering of magic even as her eyes bleed to a brilliant frosted-violet, touched by the Arts in turn.


Thor bows her head obligingly to Strange, letting the healing magics wash over her. When it's done, she shifts and twists her shoulders, testing her new range of motion.

"Aye, 'tis a great improvement," she smiles. The blonde rises and embraces Strange without hesitation, pulling the brunette close for a strong hug. "My gratitude, Stephanie Strange. Let us not be strangers, aye? I'll visit your home in Midgard, and you attend the Palace in my homeworld. We shall not let idle fortune determine when next we meet," she says, flashing a brilliant smile.


The mild trance that the Sorceress always enters when healing is broken during that proud, firm, warm hug. The air half-escapes her in a wheezy sound followed by a laugh for the rest of its use. She returns the hug, so very short as she is in comparison to the Asgardian Princess, as strongly as she can.

"Of course, your highness. I left a few bruises…for show and tell. That one on your ribs could be elaborated upon many times over." Strange grins as she steps back. "Would you rather I visited the Court first or you came to Midgard? I ask simply for planning's sake. My personal schedule is always nearly full, given the unpredictability of my mantle's responsibilities. I would like to make time for a friend. You could…meet Dante too, I suppose, if you felt inclined and I could convince him to accompany me…?"


"I shall attend you on Midgard first, my friend," Thor assures Strange. "Then, you will make a formal visit upon Asgard," she suggests. "We shall blend state and familiar visit," she tells the Sorceress Supreme.

"And I wish to meet this Dante!" she says, squeezing Stephanie's hands reassuringly. "He sounds most charming to have captured your attentions. I would welcome his company along with yours."


"He's…charming, yes, but not as social as myself. Be ready for the comment in regards to the volume of your voice," Strange warns in gentle humor. She returns the squeeze again and dimples. "You can find the Sanctum Sanctorum easily enough within New York City. Greenwich Village. You can't miss it, honestly. It's the mansion with the stained glass window inset upon the front of the third story."

She takes a few steps away, towards the open central portion of the travel tent, before opening a Gate upon the Loft of said building. It takes more effort than usual, considering she needs must traverse between distant points on the World Tree, but after a moment, tah-dah: the innards of that third level. "Knock on the front door and I'll answer. Or perhaps Dante will. You'll know. He's well over six feet tall." And isn't that precious, given it makes the Warlock nearly a foot taller than Strange herself.


Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License