1964-09-17 - Waxing True
Summary: A prank, a whomping, and a gift — all in one fell swoop! Also lovingly known as "Holy crap, Strange, your dice didn't screw you over for once!"
Related: None
Theme Song: None
strange lamont 

It's a beautiful fall afternoon. Clear as a bell, breezy, as fresh as a city of millions can ever get. The kind of day that has Strange heading out his own front door with no unpleasant anticipation in his mind at all.

Nevermind the cold eye on the distant scope. There's an observer lying in wait, having already dialled in the effects of that clean fall breeze and the lowering light down the canyons of steel and glass.

|ROLL| Strange +rolls 1d10 for: 51

|ROLL| Lamont +rolls 1d100 for: 54

Off to the market on such a fine day is the Sorcerer Supreme. He deigns to walk when the weather behaves like this, the movement of the air removing what tang and mineral-laden taste of exhaust lingers from nearby busier streets. Greenwich Village seems quiet as he pulls the front door shut. It clicks and his Mystical senses tell him that the wards have shorn up what defenses need be as such. He wears a light jacket and, for the first time in many months, the crimson Cloak in disguise as scarf hangs loosely about his neck. How domestic, Strange looks, as he patters down the front steps of the Sanctum and to the sidewalk.

Indeed, nothing on his mind but the wistful wonderings of a possible moonbow-smile from the Witch after the larders are refilled, especially with the rare honey he's going to procure — whipped blackberry, only available post-August for the season of the berries themselves. He puts hands in his pockets and begins to walk down the sidewalk.

Upon nearly reaching the corner, with the walk signal already encouraging the commuters to hurry across, a cold finger draws from between upper shoulder-blades and up his neck. The Sorcerer's eyes flash wide; thump-thump, the beat of his heart, but —

|ROLL| Lamont +rolls 1d100 for: 44

|ROLL| Strange +rolls 1d100 for: 47

The icy finger of fate is not sufficient. Strange can feel the impact as the projectile strikes. There's a sudden bloom of brighter scarlet across the oh-so-coincidental flutter of his scarf - brighter than blood, and laced with inky black. Then a second streak over the left breast of his jacket, spreading in a bicolored smear: wax. A rifle suppressed is too quiet to be heard at this distance, amidst the noise of the city. What sort of attack is this?

|ROLL| Strange +rolls 1d100 for: 22

|ROLL| Lamont +rolls 1d100 for: 49

|ROLL| Strange +rolls 1d100 for: 81

It's impossible not to flinch, not with the immediacy of the attack. Bless the Cloak, with its supernatural premonition and ability to perceive things that its master may not catch with mortal senses. Strange curls his chin and jaw inwards, towards the sudden spat of brilliant red that appears on his jacket. With the crowd having passed on across the street, there's no one to immediately notice his reaction other than clutching a hand to his collarbone and ducking into the shadow of one of the planted trees along the sidewalk.

Beneath the canopy in changing colors, he gasps a few times. How not to panic, even briefly? His entire body finishes out the adrenaline-boosted checklist for basic functions — yep, still breathing and by the gods, he must not be dead for the racing of his heart in his ears. Strange brings out his fingers before him, staring at the substance. It takes another moment and a squint. …wax? Red wax. Red and black wax…? Threaded with…the black.

The flare of temper, unusual for the man and buoyed on immensely by affronted sense of self-preservation, brings him to clench his fist into white-knuckled tension. The Words are whispered sharply and break in the air like brittle glass.

It's one hell of a whomping of pure Mystical force headed back in the opposite direction, aided by Mystical sympathy. No one's going to die, but…a bloody nose is Fateful, perhaps. Outside the Sight, anyone's going to feel a sudden rush of air, as if a large bird passed by quickly. Strange will know if it lands as well and…where it landed. A Gate is imminent afterwards.

|ROLL| Strange +rolls 1d100 for: 100

Apparently Fate agrees that Strange's student has been a very, very naughty boy indeed. For when Strange gates in in a storm of righteous anger and infuriated magical woolens, what he finds is his fauxprentice laid out unconscious on the gravelled rooftop of an office building some blocks hence. Well, at least Monty's still a good shot. There's a rifle not far from him, dark against the gravel….and by the look of him, some giant grabbed him by the heels and swung him against a convenient wall like a housewife beating dust out of a carpet. Bruising, blood, and a distinct sense of at least some bones shoved out of true like books crooked on a shelf. He is breathing.

The crunch of the good Doctor's first step onto the rooftop is accompanied by a roll of thunder from a clear sky and the flickering wraiths of werelight around his person. Wrath? Oh yes. What sort of sick —

The sight of Lamont sprawled across the stone-strewn surface brings him up short. A gutteral sound escapes from between nearly-shut teeth and then cheekbones stand high as he grinds enamel, their shadows great in the sunlight from above. The rifle is slagged. Immediately. Beyond recovery. There — the outlet for the rest of the acidic temper. The smell of burnt plastic having succumbed to molten spell-light blows thankfully away from the two men as Strange kneels down on one knee beside Lamont. A quick-once over and he sighs, rolling eyes up and then shut as he schools himself to calm. His aura becomes as near-glassy as a slow-moving river even as he places a full palm against the Shadow's sternum.

The healing spell is a familiar one, maybe even to the patient's subconsciousness, and it wends through; bones knit and reorient into proper alignment, blood evaporates from split skin and the flesh heals closed once more. It jolts through the brain, delicately balancing neural processes and removing swelling. The Sorcerer chooses to leave his palm there, a noticeable portion of his weight placed upon it. The first thing that Lamont's going to see when he wakes is a pair of thunderous glowing eyes and the first thing he's going to hear is,

"Well? What did you learn?"

There is no hint of humor, mordant or otherwise, as those gray eyes open. Strange can see the scarlet of an 8-ball hemorrhage fade into the proper white, as he looks up at the Doctor. "How did I get here?" he replies, voice as hoarse as if he'd been sleeping for hours. There's even a quizzical tilt to his brows. Did he give the right answer? A solid blow to the head has the effect of retrograde amnesia, and apparently he's got a bad case of it.

…not exactly the answer the good Doctor was expecting. He leaves his hand where it is as he considers the options, his own head canted minutely to one side. The weight doesn't shift at all; the unspoken statement is: don't - move - an inch.

"You made a very unwise decision and suffered the consequences for it," Strange finally replies, his voice quiet and bladed in a way. "As a prank, you shot me — the Sorcerer Supreme of Earth." His free hand plucks at the black jacket, where harden runnels of scarlet wax remain, an obvious eyesore. "I'm afraid that I'm going to have to subject you the Tribunal of the Elders for this mistake and strip you of your powers. They frown upon attempted murder as a joke." There is no mirth to be found in the man's expression for how he levels this upon his pseudo-apprentice.

Except for, deep inside, he's trembling with repressed and relieved laughter. Apprentice alive, check. Amnesia? …eh, he'll deal with that too. But first?

The attempt at making the Shadow squirm.

That makes his expression harden. Don't try to bullshit a bulllshitter, honest and true-hearted Sorcerer. Lamont's eyes immediately narrow, even as he remains docilely beneath that hand. "Pull the other one, it has bells on," he retorts. "I shot you with wax, not steel, lead or magic. Gave you a salutary bloody lesson, I should think," …..now where, precisely, did that English accent come from? The one he's never displayed before. Realizing he's been startled into betraying something he didn't mean to, Lamont folds his lips, like an obstinate toddler.

"Oh-ho. Me?" That free hand directs a pointer finger at his own collarbone, right where the Eye would sit, and Strange curves his lips into a smile full of social malice, far more toothy than Lamont has ever seen from the man. "A lesson, for the Sorcerer Supreme? In what, Union Jack, my mortality?" He gathers up a sudden fistful of Lamont's shirt and pulls him off the rooftop slightly as his face leans in closer. His voice drops lower still, crisp in a show of controlled emotion.

"Lady Death has kidskin gloves, Cranston. They're soft as a mother's touch before the world blackens around you. I appreciate the reminder about as much as bamboo splinters shoved under my fingernails."

He's got that odd face, all long bones and harsh angles, as expressive as the basalt pharaohs in the Met. The usual languor is gone, replaced by a kind of stony truculence. The accent drops back into the usual generic upper class New Yorker, that officer's bark a momentary slip. Gently, he reaches up a hand and flicks a flake of wax off the 'wound' in the jacket. One that'd've been very serious indeed, had there been real metal involved. "Are you mortal?" he asks, quietly.

The crimson scarf dares a light smack at Lamont's knuckles before it settles back again, reprimanded mentally by its master. The wax will need to be picked from it as well, but that's a task for later.

"Am I? Care to test it with something more than letter wax?" Strange replies in that same incisive manner. "Lady Death would be so pleased to balance the scales in her favor again." What a delightfully vague answer.

"Not really," he says, letting his hand fall. "I can't take you full on and prepared and ready," No hesitation in that admission. Strange fighting for his life is nothing he wants to face, even if he can't really tip the Sorcerer into Her hands again. "And I'm not ready to die yet."

"And I have no interest in subjecting you to her gracious touch," Strange growls before releasing his white-knuckled grip on Lamont's outerwear. No shove to flatten the man to the rooftop, even if the Sorcerer desperately wants to indulge in some selfish actions. Rising to his feet, he turns away from the Shadow, half-dismissing him in a way.

His dress shoe toes at the puddle of melted metal and plastic; within it, telltale swirls of scarlet wax from unfired pellets.

"This was unnecessary, Cranston," says the silver-templed man as he turns to look at the Shadow again. "Tell me truly — why? Did someone dare you to shoot at me?"

He rises with his usual fencer's grace, brushing gravel dust from himself - he's in a dress shirt and plain pants. An act of composure grooming just as much as if he'd licked a forepaw and passed it over his whiskers. "Only myself," he admits, ruefully, the ill nature smoothed away.

A sigh that peters out on a faint laugh from the Sorcerer.

"Cranston. You're an idiot." The arched eyebrow is accompanied by the smallest quirk at the corner of Strange's mouth. He's not entirely forgiving, but…somewhere deep inside, the eldest of three understands the thrill of a successful prank, even if it ends in a bloodied nose.

"It is to pull the very whiskers of Death," he quotes, whimsically. "But indeed, it is. Will you accept a gift in recompense?"

Cue the rise of the other eyebrow before they drift down. The man can't be blamed, can he? After all, he's just been shot at and boxes arriving at the Sanctum tend to be more malevolent than not.

"A gift…?" Strange repeats rather dubiously.

That lack of expression ….he's got an excellent deadpan, when he exerts himself, and he certainly is, now. "Yes," Lamont says, without hesitation.

Lamont isn't spared a second of his mentor's focus right now and the weight of his gaze is ever-present.

"If it's another surprise, Cranston, I will curse you and imagination is a dangerous thing." That quirk at his lips grows a tic stronger still, though Strange is still absolutely serious.

Something about the posture, the pose - that edge of poised theatricality, movement from a different era. And the look in the gray eyes…..the Shadow isn't merely a nom de guerre, a costume and a motto. A whole different set of darker facets; perhaps that's why he almost always refuses to affect black in the normal run of daily life. Somehow there in the golden light of afternoon. "It is," he allows. "And I venture that my current curse is heavy enough." A beat, and he adds, not apparently sequitur, "Kent Allard."

Strange will know it, though, with no particular whisper of Fate. That sense of weight, like finding the one gold coin in a trove of brass tokens. A true name.

Strange's dark brows flick high. Indeed, the pronouncement resonates upon the Mystical strands of his senses. To lay down such an offering…

"Well then…Kent." The Shadow will feel the lightest brush along the soul, a riffle through the wellspring of his being, for the Sorcerer's gentle repetition of his true Name — nothing painful, just a passing presence, like a slip of Springtime's breeze. "I thank you. It is a gift I accept with recognition as to its gravity. I will treasure it. For now, though…Lamont." There's a smile, faint but true, and the Sorcerer Supreme inclines his head in a respectful dip of chin. "My…mantle comes with a certain rapport to true Names. I'm not looking to make you spill your drink every time I idly mention it."

For all his attempts at that porcelain reserve, he shivers at it, even as he inclines his head. "Of course," he says, "I trust you."

"You and the world." Strange, for a passing moment, gains a weariness in his composure, though the ghost of that sardonic smile remains afixed upon his lips. His gaze slides away from Lamont, to the puddle of ruined gun, and lingers.

"Had enough for today then, Cranston?" The Sorcerer asks, glancing back to the man, still keeping his hands in the pockets of his jacket for now.

His gaze finally slides to it….but rather than looking irritated or sad, Lamont seems philosophical about it. "I think so, yes, thank you," he replies, as if Strange had merely offered him a cup of tea.

"Good." Strange seems relieved, even as he gets to drawing a rift upon reality. The sparkling oculus apparently leads back to the foyer of the Sanctum, given the odd slanting view of wooden-mosaic flooring and a few baseboards of the main staircase beneath the stained-glass window in the wall. "Go home, lay down. Rest. Have Lindon call me if you have unusual trouble remembering details or are suddenly dizzy."

The Sorcerer pauses. "Unless you'd like a Gate to your front door?"

"I think I'll be better for the walk, thank you," he says, innocently. At least he doesn't seem vague, in the least.

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