1964-07-31 - Formulating a Plan
Summary: Powerful and wise minds discuss sealing the dream monster out of this reality for good.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
strange wanda lindon lamont 

Lindon sits in the library at a desk with books and notes stacked around him. Stretched across the back of his chair is Athena, dozing. Pyewacket sits on the desk, supervising Lindon's studies. Lindon is in a zone, focused. Someone is Archiving his little heart out, but it doesn't have the fervor of a vision.

He doesn't bring food in here, ever. Too many opportunities for catastrophe. But Lamont's got enough of a sense of mischief to roll a stray golf ball in from the hallway. Pye immediately springs to attention and then leaps down to bat at it. Distracting both cat and Archive.

Lindon glances up, and he grins. "Not another stray golf ball," he says, "we're surely haunted." Athena lifts her head, and she watches Pye as she decides whether she'd rather snooze near her human or play with her sister. It's a tough call. Eventually she puts her chin back on her paws and her eyes close. Lindon turns a page and writes. "I'm disturbable," he says toward the door.

"And disturbing," Lamont concedes, as he comes in. He's in one of those loose linen shirts, khaki pants, and looks cool and comfortable. It might be warm out, but that house is like a big, dim cave. Perfect for spending afternoons in bed in front of a fan, or dozing lazily on the back terrace. Pye starts to pursue the golf ball, skittering and batting and bouncing around it in challenge.

Athena can't take it anymore. She gets up, stretches, then hops to the floor to pursue Pye and the golf ball. Lindon chuckles and says, "And disturbing. I've been looking into your dream creature." He regards Lamont patiently, tilting up his cheek when the man draws close enough. He is himself in a button shirt with the sleeves rolled just below his elbows and khakis.

As if a kiss on the cheek would suffice. It does, but only for a starter. Then, gently, he's turning Lin's face for a proper kiss. Only then does he ask, more somberly, "What have you found?"

Lindon smiles into the kiss, and his expression turns sublime. He lowers his gaze demurely, then turns his attention back to his papers. "I don't think you're going to need to get the extract of that extinct herb for the ritual to close the rift," he says. "The mystic who bound it was good, but she was no Sorcerer Supreme. I think between the two of you, you could close the rift permanently."

"That's good news," he says, sinking back into one of the comfy leather armchairs, regarding Lin with bright eyes. "Very good indeed. Any details? What should I tell Strange?"

Lindon sorts through his notes. "Let's see, the ritual a thousand years ago was to generate the energy and attune it properly. So it looks like one or both of you will have to be attuned to the rift so you can interact with it, which will be dangerous. If one of you holds the rift closed and the other can mend it with enough mystical energy, that should do it. The ritual a thousand years ago was used to generate that energy, but with a Sorcerer Supreme, I don't think all that will be necessary."

Lamont looks dubious, lips thinning out. "I don't know if I'm a skilled enough sorcerer….Strange could do it, I'm sure. Though I suppose I could hold it once it is closed…."

Lindon admits, "I don't like the idea of you being attuned to it. I'm partial to your survival." He smiles a little, then his expression goes serious again. "It might be something to practice with him. The trick might be initiating that attunement. So far, when you've interacted with it, it has been on its terms." He rustles his notes. "I'm working on that."

"I don't like the idea much either," he concedes, with that wry twist to his lips. "But needs must. I'll consult Strange. We both should….I'm sure he'll know the actual mechanics. ANd you're right. If we can surprise it…."

"Or distract it elsewhere," Lindon says, half-distracted himself as thoughts fly through his head. He reads them on the air, eyes shifting line for line. "Which would endanger others, but others have fought it successfully, right?" He finds a fresh sheet of paper and starts writing again. "One group distracts it while the mystics — you and Strange — attune yourselves. Between the two of you, you would need to: suck it back into its home dimension, hold the rift closed, and seal the breach." He smiles weakly. "No problem."

"Others have, yes," He slouches further down in his seat, steeples his fingers. "I imagine Strange's consort could bring big guns to bear. And you're right. I might do better as bait. It knows me, it hates me, and I can resist it, especially if bolstered…"

"She's magnificent," Lindon says. He frowns, though, and he says, "I don't like the idea of you as bait. You could have been shot." He scrawls a few more notes. "Have you done any practice with protective spells?" he asks. "I'd feel better if you were bulletproof."

That makes him grin. "I'd feel better if I were, too. Strange and I have been working on that, but…..well, the simplest thing would be to try and grab it while the ritual actors were somewhere safe. Inside, perhaps. It's left marks on my aura, and that's enough to grant some sympathy. WE might be able to lure it…."

Lindon points to Lamont with his pen and says, "Keep in mind it's evolving even now, probably coming up with plans of its own while it lies dormant. It might not be in the mood to explore when it comes back, not when it's shown spite and malice. It'll probably be harder to control."

The smile fades, and he inclines his head, gravely. "Of course. But now it has more focussed. More of an aim. It knows Strange and I are threats to it. Harder to fight, but easier to direct. Less chance of harming bystanders."

"And it's still rather…" Lindon chews his lower lip as he casts about for the words he needs. "Young, I guess? Inexperienced. It doesn't think like we do, so it's not necessarily going to anticipate your moves because it has no reference. You could use that to your advantage."

Lamont looks thoughtful. The sunlight slanting in through the window blinds stripes one side of his profile in gold and shadow, leaving the other side dimmed. "Yes," he says, slowly. "Precisely. It might not expect us to come hunting it…….and I might be able to lock it into my own mind, at least partially, and hold it. Especially with STrange to bolster it."

Lindon's frown deepens. "You may not be wrong," he says. "I still don't like it, but honestly the more experience one has with it, the better for keeping it under control." He reaches for Lamont's hand. "I cant tell you don't do this, but I can say be careful."

HE laces his fingers with Lindon's, looks soberly into the Archive's dark eyes. "I promise I shall," he says, softly, grip tightening around the scholar's hand.

Lindon squeezes Lamont's hand and brings it to his lips. "Good," he says. "I'm too set in my ways to train another wizard this late in the game." He smiles wryly. "The good news is the last time you saw this thing, other people pissed it off, too. Maybe sharing the wrath around will give you a collective edge."

Of course, his grin goes all crooked. One needn't be a telepath to know what sort of 'training' he's contemplating. "Very true," he says. "I'll speak to Strange as soon as I may."

Lindon's eyes widen a touch and his brows lift. Why, Mr. Cranston. It takes Lindon a second to get there, but he does. He shuffles his papers and says, "Here's my notes. Try not to go galloping off to your doom without giving me some warning." He smiles up at Lamont. "My wizard." He's a happy artifact.

Lamont's answering smile is….kind of absurd. The lines of his face were never made for a look like that. Almost sappy. "Of course not," he tells the scholar. "And yes, I am. The most privileged of sorcerers."

Strange is invited to the house, and later, as they sit in the parlor drinking tea…

The lower floor of the house is still in its mostly-Victorian splendor. The parlor has heavy wooden furniture upholstered in dark plush….but it's comfy as hell. And somehow cooler on a warm summer evening. There's tea both iced and hot, toast, things like that. For all his years masquerading as an American, sometimes Lamont's birth makes itself clear. No staff about tonight - Lamont's made the tea and served it.

He himself is dressed in a linen shirt and khaki pants, about as informal as he ever gets in company. There's a pair of kittens gamboling around chasing a stray golf ball, mostly in the hallway. At the moment, the Shadow's leaning back in his chair, slouched a little, letting Lindon explain. It's the Archive who's made the discoveries, as it were.

Lindon is in a button shirt with sleeves rolled just below the elbows, and khakis. It's about as casual as he gets, too. The kittens are lilac-point Balinese, fierce little huntresses of about six months. Lindon has his notes on his lap, and he's consulting some of them as he says, "I did the calculations, and with the amount of power a Sorcerer Supreme has access to, the complicated ritual requiring the herb that's now extinct shouldn't be necessary. With enough raw power and cooperation, I think this tear can be permanently or semi-permanently repaired."

The Shadow's house is some big Gilded Age pile, way uptown. Walled and fenced, with meticulously kept grounds. None of which are exceptional to other sorcerers.

What Sorcerer and Witch will be cognizant of are the oddities of the wards in place. Very subtle - not the full defensive array of the Sanctum. No, they're webs woven to observe and misdirect, all of them linked to some odd presence in the lower stories. The basement, once the preserve of servants and wine cellar, is bound about with them….and within lurks something almost sentient. Some kind of defensive presence.

The bigger fierce huntress, a scarlet-point Transian, accompanies the blue-tinged Nepalese sorcerer. No one would be prone to mistaking her for the real threat, her claws smaller and fangs finer, the snow leopard to his very big tiger. She accompanies Strange like a shadow cast in the golden sheen of the sun, her very nature shrouded in a muddle of evasive spells and deceptive finishes disrupting most spells' attempts to define her. So misdirection meets a source of misdirection, and the two of them probably stumble upon an ancient truth buried in India somewhere.

In another of the most comfortable and darkly-plushed highbacked chairs, Strange nods thoughtfully. In his scarred hands, a demitasse of hot tea despite the weather. After all, the room itself is cool enough to warrant indulging in such a thing. He wears the storm-blues of his mantle in belted tunic and battle-leathers, woven shirt beneath wrist-wrappings; the crimson Cloak hovers behind the chair, semi-sentient presence. The wards know him well enough and that thing in the basement…he'll not bother that. No need to disturb a guardian.

"Were you able to gather any information on what this extinct herb may be? 'Extinct' is a term; many species have been rediscovered here on Earth or in parallel universes and realms, having propogated there," he comments to Lindon in particular. "Wanda has an extensive knowledge of the herbal Arts." His keen eyes flick to her, scarlet shadow so near and dear.

They flick briefly to the rolling sound of the dimpled golf ball from the hall and there go the kittens, one after another, all fluff and juvenile hunters in pale blurs. A small smile of amusement follows acknowledgement of their shenanigans.

Lamont leans forward a bit, setting down his cup on the coffee table. The gray eyes are very keen. "We'd been thinking…it knows you and me, Strange. It's already tried to kill me a few times. I could function as a lure - get it to come into range. And while I had its attention, you and your good lady might close the rift. I don't think I'd be much use on that end of it."

"Artemisia palusi manhattani," Lindon says. "A strain of mugwort that only grew in the swamps of Manhattan." He gestures around, adding, "Which we haven't had for some time. Now, if you want to dig under Greenwich Village, there's a small portion buried in an old hut the city built over way back when. There is some oil residue in a gourd."

The existence of the herb isn't a broadly known thing. It must be some loose bit of esoteric information kicking around inside Lindon's brain pan. There was nothing remarkable about it in mundane terms. It was just another mugwort. Mystically, it was tied particularly to this area, useful for attuning and anchoring. Alas, it was paved over.

Latin is not Wanda's strong suit but Transian comes right out of a Romance language having a forbidden affair with Slavic, and deciding to raise the children in both their fracture cultures. She can isolate Manhattan easily; artemisia as a wormwood is almost laughable. The palusi is the part she has to figure out. "Diodorus mentioned it. Palus. The marsh." She agrees on this front, though her thoughts travel alongside the estuary of the Hudson and deeper still to places. "Maybe on the island without big buildings." Staten. The sorceress clicks her tongue against the hard palate. "Why this? It might be grown somewhere else."

"Precisely," murmurs the Sorcerer in agreement with Wanda, looking from the Witch and back to the two gentlemen across the way. "I presume the herb itself amplified one's shamanic powers to the magnitude necessary to banish these creatures and close their torn rift in reality proper. However, if we don't need it after all…consider my curiosity simply scholarly in the matter. It can be hunted down another time. Cranston."

The weight of Strange's gaze falls to the Shadow. "It's after you still? I remember it well enough, but the marked interest in you concerns me. Wanda and I could close the rift, yes, but you risk, what…your sanity? This isn't a decision to be made lightly or in haste." He thins his lips and frowns.

Still, pot calling the kettle black, with the Sorcerer's overweaned self-confidence he's notorious for indulging in.

Time and tide have knocked some of the edges off the Shadow's arrogance. He's dealing with other planes now, not the darker alleys of New York. For a moment, there's a quip on his lips about the current state of his sanity anyway….but a glance at Lindon, and he swallows it. "It tried to use a puppet to shoot me last time I encountered it. It recognizes me." Lamont still has the faint marks on his aura, after Strange's good work, the last time. "No, it isn't," he agrees, picking up his cup again. "But….I'm the most obvious choice. This thing needs to be dispatched before it succeeds in widening the rift. The longer we wait, the harder it will be. And I haven't the personal power to stitch the rift shut, not yet, save…." A glance at the floor, where whatever it is waits below, "In cases of direst emergency." If he can draw on Strange's power, rather than what lies beneath, he will.

Lindon offers Wanda an admiring smile. Such a brain-crush he's got. Suddenly, he cares deeply about this herb. What, not because Wanda mentioned it. Hush. To Strange, he says, "I've told him to be careful." He then says, "There are others it seems annoyed with, and if they're powered… I'm not saying it's acceptable to blithely risk the lives of others, but you might not have to keep it busy on your own." This to Lamont. To Strange, he says, "It's my understanding that this thing uses one's own worst fears to inflict lucid nightmares, but if it possesses a sleepwalker it can just as easily put a bullet in him." Such disapproval at this prospect.

The pot might be aware his living pot-holder exists in part to keep him from foolishly expending himself in harebrained schemes. The Vishanti can bap Strange upside the head, but it's so much cheaper to let that icy Slavic practicality take over instead. A nudge here, a suggestion there, and the taciturn brunette saves them all the energy and possible offense taken if one divine entity appears — even briefly — in the vicinity of another's claimed. "This risk to you is high. You like pain too much. Not the only food to bring out this thing." Her eyes narrow a fraction, their amber shade already simmering in an eclipse ready to spring and capture an unfortunate sun. "Not for you either, Doctor." Her tongue flicks to accommodate the stress she wants. "Sometimes this need, this will to go into the dark, goes back on you."

Her fingers flash lightly as she slips out of English. It may be rude. Too bad, she cannot express herself with the precision necessary. Tibetan; no other language she has is likely widely understood among those who need to know. And damn if she's not skillful at slicing and dicing the inflections to show herself as near a native of Lhasa, whereas the Nepalese and Tibetan bastardized from the northern border of Nepal makes a difference. "«Create a simulacrum with functional sentience on a loop. A trap to bring it out, attracted by something functionally capable of thought. It will only know when it strikes. Risk diminishes when it latches on to an artificial sentience.»"

"«Not a terrible idea…»" Strange muses, the act of falling into spoken Tibetan far easier than he'd like to admit. Realizing this, he clears his throat and shifts in his chair, digging shoulders further back into the comfortable backing. "Excuse me. It's not a terrible idea, using a lure composed of enough recognizable and attractive aural energy. Hook the creature and then banish it while it can't do much but struggle. Sew shut the rift behind it. It wouldn't have much of a chance to attack with its flavor of psychomancy."

He lifts an empty hand into the air, steel-blues shifting from face to face around the room.

Oh, she's got his number alllllready. Lamont looks….not wholly dismayed. There's amusement there, ruefulness. He is what he is, and it's all too obvious for those that know him. Then her lapsing into Tibetan has nim nodding. «Not within my power on my own….but yes, that sounds like an even better idea.» He casts a look at Lindon, very bright-eyed indeed…and even blushing. See. That's why we ask the bigger wizards for help, rather than jumping straight onto the magical grenade. He's learning wisdom, albeit slowly and painfully.

Lindon glances between Strange and Wanda. "That might work," he says. He gives Lamont a look as if to say see? See!? Wanda knows the score. "Now, it is capable of possessing multiple people," he says slowly, thinking aloud. "It might not be a bad idea to have people on the lookout for anyone caught up by it, just in case. Wake them up, that should sever the connection."

Choices are made and some can be forgotten. The brunette witch has given all she might contribute at the moment, going back into silence again. Silence secreted from her vicinity further darkens the stillness adopted by Wanda. She does not even rub her fingers together, listening attentively behind the mask smoothing out her features.

"Sounds like a general battle-plan to me," opines the Sorcerer after sipping deeply at his tea. He licks excess from his upper lip before nodding, nearly to himself in this manner. "Yes, awaken the sleepwalkers and the dream-taken if the creature is able to multitask beyond its focus on the simulacrum. Creating such a thing is within my powers."

After all, he has the blessings of the gods when defending this reality proper and a Witch to back him up.

"Cranston, since you consider yourself the Mystical flavor of choice, we'll need to strip some of your aura to accomplish this. Consider yourself the chum for the waters."

Of course he can't resist the gibe. "I usually hold out for dinner and a movie first, if we're going to talk about stripping," he deadpans. Nevermind that Strange's consort has just wandered off to attend to witch business with a catlike disregard for social mores. Lamont's unoffended by this. "But I understand. Whatever you need to grant the necessary resonance to attract this thing."

Lindon eyes Lamont. Har har. He looks to Strange. See, Sorcerer? This is what he has to live with. "It won't hurt him will it?" Lindon asks. Since SOMEONE has to ask. "And of course, if there's anything you need from me, Strange, just say so. I'll continue looking at all the angles, but I've gotten close to running around in circles at this point." He shakes his head. The brain, it gets tired sometimes.

Lamont just gets this…look from Strange, beginning with a side-glance diverted from the sudden disappearance of the Witch and then full on. A single brow rises as his attention flickers to Lindon and back to the Shadow…and there's the curl of amusement, cat-like in a way. Just as enigmatic as his Consort.

"It shouldn't hurt, Lindon, no. It's not like siphoning soul-power from a body. That hurts a great deal. This is the energy emitted naturally from the body, not too unlike the ionized cloud around an electrical line. I'd also not be taking for a prolonged period of time — simply enough to garner a Mystical fingerprint, if you will."

To Lamont, he adds, "I tend to hold out for stripping when discussing dinner. No need for a movie."

No Witch to swat him in the arm this time around.

Which has Monty making a little gesture like a fencer conceding a touch. Serves him right for saying something flirtatious to his teacher. He turns a fond look on Lindon. Poor Lindon. Of all the magicians to bond to, he got this one. "Very well," he says, cheerfully.

Lindon nods to Strange, paying close attention. Next he might start asking after vaccinations and if Lamont will need to wear the cone of shame lest he try to chew out stitches. Then he coughs delicately. He's out of reach to swat either of them, but he has the gall to look scandalized. Prim librarian is prim. Never mind what he gets up to behind closed doors. He pinches the bridge of his nose and shakes his head.

Strange finishes his cup of tea, looking so very blithe and pleased with himself in his chair, and sets aside the demi-tasse.

"Don't stress yourself further for now, Lindon. You've provided a good amount of information and we do have the semblance of a plan for dealing with its next incursion upon reality." His attention shifts to the Shadow again. "Cranston, we should harvest what I need of your aura when next they attempt their incursion upon this reality. The fresher, the better. It's no difficult task for me to bring together the necessary Words and ingredients for the stalking horse. We'll be ready." The slow, dignified nod proclaim this so.

Strange is calm and dignified. Lamont's got that hound's eagerness in his eyes - if he had a tail, it'd be wagging. "Good," he says, sitting back again. Lindon gets a fond look…..and then a wicked grin. Cone of shame indeed.

Lindon nods to Strange solemnly, and Lamont gets a lofty side-eye. Oh, he doesn't know what Mr. Cranston might be implying with those looks, for he is a prim gentleman. "I won't strain myself," He tells Strange. "I know we're in good hands. The shaman who mended the rift a thousand years ago was good and did great things, but was no Sorceress Supreme." With a reality-bending Consort and a student who lusts after dangers.

The rolling of the golf ball heads in the opposite direction down the nearby hallway and Strange looks over to see the two kittens darting after it again. Such lunacy — though not as moon-touched as a certain juvenile Malk in the throes of bottlebrush-tailed madness. When this happens, everybody just shuts doors and hopes for the best. No telling how many places iron coins are hidden around the Sanctum at this point.

"I appreciate your faith in me and my hands, Lindon — both of you," he replies quietly, steepling said hands before his chest and angling them out to adopt a more formal pose yet, even with one ankle resting on a knee. "Cranston, you knw how to contact me across the Astral Plane should such an event occur?"

The immediate retort behind his teeth is that he keeps a flask of whiskey on him for just such occasions. But he restrains himself with a long intake of breath, and says, "I'm not entirely certain," Better to admit ignorance than stumble in case of pride. One kitty comes scampering through and heads to hide under Lindon's chair…..the other barrels after her, sees Strange and comes to a screeching halt, arching her back and fluffing up. Stranger danger! Lamont holds out a hand to her, clicks his tongue to call her attention.

Lindon laughs softly as the kittens come tearing in. He leans over and puts his fingertips down to the floor, and the kitten under his chair comes out to sniff. That's how he gets her, picking her up and giving her a cuddle. One-handed, he moves his notes, then pets the kitten in earnest. She has a crackly purr, and it's clear she's an affectionate one. "Your sister is taking on the Sorcerer Supreme," he murmurs to the young cat.

The Sorcerer Supreme eyes the kitten in full toebean-in-electrical-socket-mode with true amusement.

"That's a plucky one." At risking of teeny, tiny needle teeth and claws to his fingers, he reaches one hand down towards the floor and drums his fingertips against the base of the chair. "It's not terribly difficult, Cranston. You enter the Astral Plane and project towards my aural signature. I'll pick it up." More tappity-tap along the fabric of the chair.

Kitten remains suspicious, but intrigued. Her gaze doesn't waver from Strange….and she starts sidling towards him, ready to bounce away should he do anything startling. "That's Pyewacket." Of course he couldn't resist the obvious name. "All right. I'll try it soon, just for practice's sake," he adds.

"This is Athena," Lindon says. The kitten bunts his chin, purring and purring. Now is cuddle time. She watches Strange and her littermate with interest, but not enough interest to give up her perch on her human. Lindon murmurs, "Uh oh, be cautious, Dr. Strange. She's fierce." There is a subtle shift in tone that implies strongly this librarian is nuts about cats.

"Pyewacket the fierce," murmurs Strange, watching the kitten with the same level of subdued anticipation that a lounging leopard might observe a small bird on a nearby branch. More riffling of his fingers along with the schiff-schiff of fingernails on the chair fabric, no more loud than necessary to keep little spitfire's attention.

He's a terrible tease, though he does this with Aralune on a regular basis, so…this is decidedly the less risky of the two scenarios as such.

"Yes, do practice at least once, Cranston. Not at three in the morning, please," he adds, his somnolent gaze landing on the Shadow. "I would rather not be startled from my sleep."

She finally works up her courage and leaps up onto Strange's leg to bat at that teasing hand, grimacing like a tiny gargoyle. Such fierceness. "Soon," Lamont agrees, grinning.

Lindon grins at Pye, and he murmurs to Athena, "You're a sweet kitty though, aren't you?" She purrs. "Remember when I said I was getting kittens?" Lindon says to Strange. Like no, really, where did these mysterious cats come from? "They're such darlings." Yeah, a personality quirk revealed: someone has the makings of being a crazy cat gentleman.

Heedless of the tiny claws, the Sorcerer continues the dance of fingers, always just a short distance beyond little Pyewacket's reach. He played with barn cats growing up and knows how to keep himself from bleeding unnecessarily.

"I have some vague memory of you mentioning it, yes. I presume Aralune spurred this turn of Fate?" Strange glances up to the Archive, a dimple appearing to one side of his lips. "I appreciate not needing to carry an iron coin on my person when visiting."

She's batting herself into a frenzy, pupils big, tiny needle teeth exposed. "He liked carrying me around as a cat," Lamont notes, teasingly. "So….now we each have one."

"Aralune is beautiful," Lindon says, "and I thought why couldn't we have a couple cats of our own? Ones that won't make us hallucinate." Lamont get a glance. Butter wouldn't melt in the Archive's mouth just now. "I do like cat," he admits. Athena grooms his thumb as he pets her. "Especially the sweet little sweeties," he croons to Athena. He has the grace to look a bit self-conscious after that. Clearing his throat, he says, "Aralune's very pretty, is all I mean."

"Oh, she's gorgeous like a freshly-sharpened number eleven blade," replies the Sorcerer, referring to a preferred medical scalpel head in the neurosurgical field. "Very lovely until you're bleeding profusely." Pyewacket gets a teasing touch on the end of her nose, a light return-bat to her wide-pupiled chase of his fingertips.

"I promise, you'll appreciate these two more in the long run. I can't imagine it will be any fun once she reaches maturity. Imagine…Fae back-sassing with feline logic behind it," he mutters, unable to keep from smiling at the kitten on his lap currently.

That has Lamont's expression going flat. "She's going to talk?" he all but demands. Pye leaps after that hand again. Must catch. Mine mine mine.

"She's going to talk?" Lindon says, his expression perking right up. Athena sprawls across Lindon's supporting arm flat on her back, eyes closing in kitty bliss. He tickles her tummy with a fingertip, and she puts a paw on his hand. No, no ticklings. Only cuddles now.

"Oh, absolutely." Strange's tone is slightly distracted (and muchly amused) for the kitten now hanging from his arm mercilessly, her teeth and claws buried in the wrappings about his wrist. It's clear that she intends to shimmy up to his wiggling fingers and finally catch them.

But nope. Sorcerous fuddy-duddy strikes again. Carefully, he scruffs fierce little Pyewacket and carefully deposits her on the floor, to be loosed and let her fancies take her where they will.

"Malk, or Malkin, grow to be incredibly sentient creatures. Aralune is treated much like a furry toddler in the Sanctum currently. The rules are the rules and they don't change for the general safety of its inhabitants. I expect her to say her first word any day now." The Sorcerer grins.

Oh, God. He doesn't speak aloud, but Lamont's expression makes it oh so clear. Her first word will be something like 'YUM!' when she spots Cranston. Pyewacket goes skittering towards the cold and empty fireplace, where she settles down on the cold stone of the hearth.

"Do you want to say hello to Dr. Strange?" Lindon croons to the kitten in his arms. She seems content where she is. "I think that's neat," Lindon tells Strange. "Sometimes I wish I knew what these little girls are thinking. Especially that one." He nods toward Pyewacket. "She's got the madness. She attacks poor Athena all the time."

Strange stretches in his chair, arms and hands extending out not too unlike a tiger, all lean muscle, before settling in again to rest his jaw on fisted knuckles.

"I don't look forwards to Aralune speaking, to be honest. I remember my siblings. They always said too much and I wonder that Aralune's mind is more advanced than her language skills. She's also Fae," he stresses, shaking his head slowly. "They're never anything but tricksy. I'll have my own Sphinx in miniature before too long."

Lamont rolls his eyes at that. But doesn't bother to descend into that familiar married-couple squabble. Amazing how the relic-sorcerer bond looks like that. "She's going to be asking you questions constantly and making gnomic pronouncements. One of the tulkus had an oracular mastiff," Lamont says, sounding aggrieved at the memories.

Lindon catches that eyeroll, but he says nothing of it. Instead, he strokes the top of his innocent do-no-wrong kitten' head. She does in fact look like sweetness incarnate. "I think it'll be interesting," Lindon says. "What she has to say, and even though she's Fae, surely nurture over nature counts for something."

The humming sigh conveys a good portion of the Sorcerer's disagreement in the matter.

"I suppose we'll have to see if nurture plays out overtop nature. I doubt it. She is Fae-kin being raised in a contained household by human practitioners. I expect the enigmatic statements at the very least as well as observations best kept behind whiskered mouth. An oracular mastiff?" Strange 'hmphs'. "That must have been entertaining now and then."

"I'm sure Wanda will be thrilled to have another conversationalist when I'm away," he adds, his expression softening a bit. "Those two…actually, I despair less of her speaking to me than to the Witch. Two peas in a pod. Downright…mysterious at times. Once she reaches her adult weight, I won't need to worry about anyone attempting anything foolhardy in the Sanctum. Seventy pounds bare minimum, I would think, based on my research."

"Well, he liked to sleep next to me because I smelled intriguingly of bad karma," Lamont notes, wryly. "He did keep me warm. I was never as good at temperature-modification practices as I could've been. He was also the one who found me in the wreck. Saved my life. Apparently he woke them in the middle of the night insisting they had to go catch a shadow."

"In the end it worked out," Lindon points out. "You got back to your normal shape because of her eating your bad luck." He then adds, a little lamely, "When I was growing up, I had a grey tabby named Tiger." He scritches Athena's head. "He was just a normal cat, but, I don't know. We liked to hang out."

Strange nods. "You do attract the scavengers of karmic negativity, Cranston." He says it with a certain solemnity, as if admitting he knows what causes such a gravitition of creatures. "Still…as Lindon said, it all panned out well in the end. The Archive has a guardian and a fairly competent one at that."

Fairly. The Sorcerer isn't going to hand out compliments like candy. The Shadow gets to earn them.

Which makes that glint in his eyes brighten. "Working to improve," he all but chirrups, as he finds his teacup again and sips from it. A nod at Strange. "I do need it. It helps, really." There's a tender look at Lindon. "A good name," he allows.

Lindon grins and ducks his head. "Yes, I do feel like I'm in good hands," he says. "We've got ourselves quite a nice little arrangement." He tweaks a toe bean on Athena's paw, causing her to flick it and to utter a wordless mew without waking up. Then the librarian grins over at Lamont and things get just a little sappy in here. "He was a good cat. He had to stay in my room because Josie was allergic, but I stayed in my room most of the time, too, so he wasn't lonely."

"The joys of felines," muses Strange, nearly to himself in the volume of his voice. Athena is adorable, even if he'd never admit it aloud. A glance over at the nearby clock makes him grimace slightly. "Ah, dammit. Gentlemen, if you'll excuse me, it's my turn to feed Aralune." Whatever this entails precisely, bad luck is involved at the very least — it seems that the Sorcerer must have garned some on his last trip out of this dimension. But how? A story for another time, assuredly.

Rising to his feet, Strange gives Lamont and Lindon each a curt nod. "Thank you again for the appraisal of the situation. By all means, update me with information as needed and Cranston — I expect at least one attempt at Astral communication in the near future…during the afternoon hours." This addendum is important, after all. No 3am wake-up calls across the Astral Plane.

The Gate drawn up sparkles like fireflies and with not much further ado, the Sorcerer Supreme steps back into the Loft of the Sanctum. No doubt they can hear the belling 'mrowr' of an annoyed Malk kitten, even as the rift collapses. Someone's late for dinner.

"I'm going to learn to do that," Lamont informs Lindon, confidently. "Some day."

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