1964-10-11 - Overdue Catching Up
Summary: A hearty talk about a possible serial killer, and a secret favor is done.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
strange lindon 

The weather outside is trying so very hard to summon up the last dredges of summer sunshine to melt away the clouds. They scuttle through the sky in patches grey and thick in counter to the clarity of the blue found beyond. Still, it's a day to stay indoors unless one wants to battle the fleeting and yet cutting washes of cold air that seem to sneak up and slap one upside the back of the head. Strange, while standing at the Window on the Worlds and musing over the state of reality, watched an unfortunate walker get wrapped up — literally — in their newspaper briefly. It earned a snort.

Now, however, he's entertaining the Archive downstairs. Ensconced in their respective chairs, the Sorcerer in daily dress-wear of an oceanic-blue shirt and black slacks, seems to be wearing his lack of sleep well for its state. He gives Lindon a tired half-smile before asking,

"What's on your mind, now that we've got our tea? Cream and honey's there," he adds, languidly gesturing to the tea stand by the fireplace as a reminder. The logs burn merrily, giving off needed heat. It's just shy of too warm in the room and the light shining in through the tall windows grants easy vision while simultaneously darkening the inherent mysterious shadows of the Sanctum.

Lindon doctors his tea with a little honey. Even though he is the same scholar Strange has known these many months, there's something to be said for the idea that the clothes make the man. He's finally seen fit to take his lanky frame to a tailor, and there are no more flashes of bare wrist or socked ankle. That tailored look forgives an awful lot of awkwardness.

Too warm is better than too cold. The walk from the train station was a bitter one, with those icy breezes finding their way right down his neck. The warmth causes his eyelids to droop a little, though. He doesn't wear his sleeplessness as well as the sorcerer. "I think I might have found a serial killer of wizards, and I was wondering what you'd think about it."

The Sorcerer is getting quite good at dissembling these days, for all that Lindon's statement is near equivalent to a dagger prickling at his ribs. He's also weary, however, and that probably lends most of the dangerously low pitch to his voice.

"I'd think that someone should begin to worry about my interest in their actions." The man shifts in his chair, seeming to slough off the skein of lassitude. Metaphors could be made to a snake curling more tightly, or perhaps a large cat lifting its head and stretching out large paws to indulge a flash of flesh-rending claws. "Is this what you and Cranston have concluded in your search thus far, aided by John Constantine?" He can hazard they're all interconnected, the dots sussed out by the Archive.

Lindon, for whom all mystical stuff is one flavor of doom or another, rattles off news of a possible serial killer as if it were just one more horror in the scrapbook of 'oh god what has happened to my life.' At the pitch of Strange's voice, he blinks a few times and sits up straighter. He nods slowly as he says, "Yes, I looked into it and had a few revelations."

He takes a sip of his tea, quiet, until it occurs to him Strange might want to hear said revelations. "Oh! Ah, I got the name Hargrove and four deaths coinciding with his presence, the last one being the wizard who made me like this, Aloys Reikland. Hargrove visited him the day he died. Later that night, Reikland's wards failed, but John swears Reikland was fastidious about his wards."

"Ah, a Ward-Splitter…" By the subtle imbuement of a noun, the words take on a potentially more foreboding state. "Someone who specializes in finding the weak points in guardian spells," Strange explains, probably without necessity for the Archive's vast stores of information at grasp.

He shifts again in his chair and gathers up his tea cup once again. "Has John claimed weregild for the death of Aloys?" His eyes slide up to consider Lindon from beneath hooded lids, seeming to measure or perhaps wait upon an answer to conclude something on his own.

Lindon nods again as he takes in the information. Hey, even if it is in his head somewhere, hearing the words spoken to him is an experience. It's a memory, it's his. So he takes it in with interest, those dark eyes fixed on Strange with a student's attentiveness.

With a shake of his head, he says, "Right now, I think John is just looking for answers. I told him I'll keep looking. I've had a sense of foreboding I can only attribute to my subconscious drawing conclusions it hasn't seen fit to inform me of yet. I'm poised for that revelation with aspirin and tea at the ready." Because he's already gotten headaches over this, and there are only more waiting in the wings.

Strange inclines his head gravely. "The gut instinct is never to be ignored, for all that some of society mocks it. I hope you find your conclusion sooner than later, for your sake and for possibly avoiding the headaches." If there's ever a point of empathy to be found, it's in the migraines brought on by overuse of magic. Does the Sorcerer ever know these mind-blitzing disasters.

"Should John claim weregild, I have no means to stop him unless I can find a dire lacking in his logic. Such a claim supercedes my own thoughts in the matter. Word is law in our world, Lindon, and though I am Sorcerer Supreme, I shepherd the Fate of this Reality. Unless this weregild has an effect upon it as such, John's actions are his own and thus, their karmic results." The shadows under his eyes appear to deepen; he's not reluctant to attempt to keep Lady Death from claiming another, simply denied by his own rules.

"I do hate to miss work," Lindon says. Like that's the issue with feeling like his eyes are going to explode out of his skull, not to mention getting physically sick and needing to be put to bed by Lamont with tea and a cold pack. The glamorous life of mysticism.

"For all his foibles," Lindon says, "I think John's motivation in all this is to prevent more loss of life. He's worried that Lamont might make a tempting target, though I have no pressing evidence that Hargrove is in New York." He pauses for a sip of tea, then adds, "There's something else."

Here, his brow knits, and he doesn't make eye contact with Strange, loath to have to say it at all. "The day a mystic named Francine Dumont died in New Orleans a few years ago, he told her that he would put her fortune telling ability to good use."

Strange narrows his eyes at the Archive for the information presented to him.

"Are you claiming that John was present on the day of this practitioner's death? Or that this Hargrove was to put her abilities to such use?" Shifting in his chair, the Sorcerer tucks his chin slightly and the shadows are cast heavier upon his facade. A faint glow has gathered in his irises, not too unlike the distant dance of lighting in thunderclouds. "I'm not concerned about Cranston. He's got a good head on his shoulders in the end, even if karma plagues him nearly on par with John. He's well-aware of his limits…or at least, I hope the lessons have taught him as such. I don't doubt that he'd make impulsive decisions if your person was in danger." He's equally guilty, that silver-templed man, of such things. The last time his Witch was in danger, someone nearly died in the white-knuckled grip of his scarred hands.

Lindon shakes his head quickly and says, "Oh no, not John, Hargrove. I have no idea what John gets up to when he's not around me, and I don't think about it too hard." John is a hard case of 'don't want to know.' Lindon takes a deep breath, and he drops his gaze to his teacup. "I think Hargrove was also after what Reikland was trying to make. The Archive." He clears his throat, then forces a smile. "But I'm well-protected. There's no need to worry about Lamont and his abilities."

Lindon is quiet for a moment. He's well aware of the risk of his existence, that people will want him, need him, and desperate people do desperate things. "I'll be careful," he says. "If nothing else, the manor is a fortress. Though if this man can destroy wards…"

"I have faith in Cranston's ability to protect you. Should he fall, I am the next to claim your defense. No one will touch you, Lindon." No mention of his status as living reliquary, simply his Name.

"Have faith too in the wardings about his manor." Strange flicks his brows high. "I once subtly tested what them, when I first came into contact with him. What lurks in the basement is nothing to be treated lightly. It's not the warding about the Sanctum, but that…invocation is a powerful one. If this Hargrove attempted to break in, he'd be very sorry, very shortly."

Lindon nods once and says, "I accept this." The words carry weight; though it's the man who is addressed, should the relic lose his wizard, he will accept the Sorcerer Supreme as his next master, should the sorcerer desire. These things aren't said lightly. Strange doesn't have to ask.

He laughs a little as what lurks in the basement is mentioned. "Even I can sense it once in awhile." He purses his lips, then admits, "Lamont wants to nurture mystical arts inside me, but I realized I'm resisting on some level. I thought about it, and I think the reason is I'm suspicious of magic."

Good, the Sorcerer thinks to himself. Balking on the Archive's part would have lead to future awkward on a level neither would wish to entertain. That claim is subtly and irrevocably staked.

"I can tell you that, without a doubt, you will not learn one ounce of the Mystical Arts without acceptance. It's not too unlike mesmerism. Trust begets the slip into compulsion. The Arts are a fickle thing as well. If you're uncertain, it is a waste of time to fret further about it." He lifts a hand in mute vague apology. "I understand too your suspicions of magic. You've been used badly by it. No one should dare to question your concerns."

"I think acceptance will take awhile," Lindon says. "Maybe once this nasty business is concluded. My existence has felt like an unfinished book. There are so many questions, and even if the answers are dreadful, at least there will be answers." He touches up his tea with a little more, and he stirs in a touch more honey. "I can't accept questions without answers, not about this."

He smiles wryly as he adds, "Poor Lamont, he may have to wait. He just wants me to be safe, and he figures if I can at least sense danger, I can better avoid it. I believe him. It's sensible. But it's like you say, I've been burned before."

Strange nods. "You have. Thus, Cranston will need to be patient. He seems the patient sort in the end." Silence follows for a short time while the Sorcerer drinks his tea to half-full volume.

"I hope your answers don't give you cause for further concern. If you need my assistance, you know it's available. Very few disregard my mantle and they eventually find a way to regret doing such." There's not precisely pride in the statement. He seems more ruefully accepting in expression as he sets aside the demi-tasse again.

Lindon's smile is an open, kind thing so few people get to see when he's awkward and guarded. "Thank you," he says. "I have a feeling it's bad, but while magic has taught me there are monsters, it's also taught me that monsters can be slain. I just…" He narrows his eyes, squinting into the middle distance. "I get a sense of terrible power, and a force of personality, a maliciousness. I don't think Hargrove is a good guy."

With a sigh, he takes another swallow of tea, then says, "Well. My big fear is the Abyss will gaze back into me, but I won't be satisfied until I'm done digging. I'll sleep better knowing I have you and Lamont looking out for me." And John, but god knows how that could go.

"It's nothing extra to add to my plate to be available," Strange replies, looking to reassure the Archive that he can take on the weight of the world on his shoulders if need be. "Though bear in mind that if I am not immediately available, I am involved with shuttering up the veils between our world and the next. They've been resonating in my Mystical senses lately and I suspect that I'll need to act sooner than later."

Joy, so much joy, the strain of taming a bucking reality back into complacency when someone goads it on from another side.

Lindon says easily, "Oh, I presume you've got far more pressing matters than this. and that's fine. It's probably something Lamont can handle, and I know John is champing at the bit to get some answers. He and Aloys Reikland were friends not too long ago. I won't be surprised when he declares weregild, but I'm not going to suggest it to him." Or at least he won't try to. Lindon and his blurting of ideas…

"I hope you know that if you have need of my talents, you only have to ask. It's worth a headache or two to be of use to the Sorcerer Supreme." That last he says with a wry smile, though no less sincere for it. "I know things in the higher realms are a little complicated right now. It's above my pay grade, but I understand if you're occupied."

"Occupied." A snort. "A quaint understatement." Still, the Sorcerer gives Lindon the same tired half-smile, fond in the end. "Regardless, I appreciate your understanding in the matter and acknowledge your offer of assistance."

Suddenly, a light come to life within his faintly-glowing eyes. The Archive might recognize the flickering of quicksilver thoughts and Strange squints at the fire for all of a second before looking back to him. "Lindon, what I'm about to ask you has tremendous bearing upon my future exploits. I need you to understand that if you reveal what I am about to ask of you in any manner, I will know precisely who…let the cat out the bag." He needn't expand on what could happen. Imagination always does the best work. "Do you agree to silence on the matter?"

Lindon tilts his head, birdlike, and interested in what that light behind the sorcerer's eyes might mean. When asked, he considers the words, then nods slowly. "Yes," he decides. "I think it's fair to offer confidentiality, and Lamont would understand if I didn't arouse his suspicions or mention it to him.

He lapses into thought as he works his way through his tea, small sips to savor the taste. Finally, he smiles. "Yes, I think that's the best policy. I'll offer you and Lamont confidentiality, and others so long as their requests don't put anyone in danger."

"I'm not asking for confidentiality beyond my own person." Strange wears his mantle now, in how his expression is set in the same enduring grimness found in carved statues throughout the centuries. "I ask for your silence on the matter beyond the confines of this room and our combined presence. No Cranston, no John, no nothing. Not even Puck, kitten though he may be."

He sighs. "If you cannot grant this, I will take my queries elsewhere. The speed of finding an answer may hold the critical tipping point for either saving or destroying another world besides our own." And that's all Lindon's going to get for now.

Lindon waves a hand and says, "Puck doesn't care about things like this. Mostly we talk about toys and belly rubs." Yeah, he talks to his cat, probably in a baby-talk voice, too.

He looks up from his teacup to Strange. "You have my confidence. I can absolutely grant it to you. I only meant that confidentiality as a policy is a good one. A responsible one. It's no one else's business. I swear I won't tell a soul, not even Lamont."

The Sorcerer has no doubt in his mind that baby-talk occurs, for all he's guilty of it himself from time to time — though wait until Aralune talks back at him. Then it'll be like shepherding a furry toddler. Dear gods below.

"Mind what you're swearing," Strange adds quietly, " — and to whom you're swearing it to. Broken promises are anathema to the Arts." Once he's absolutely certain that Lindon is aware of the gravity of his words, he continues in a voice no louder than before.

"I was speaking to a…colleague yesterday. She came to me with concerns from her world and its paralleled universe." Yep, that's right, there's even a paralled Midgard. Muse on that, Archive. "She named what I can only guess to be a relic, an enchanted gemstone: the Mandalay Jewel. Does this happen to ring a bell?"

There might be a Midgard where Lindon is cool. Or normal. Behold the passing wistful look on his face. Then his brow knits as he draws inward to think. Mandalay Jewel. He seeks, but it's buried deep, and he shakes his head slowly. "I get a sense it exists," he says. "But its whereabouts and what it is, can you give me a day or two to go digging? There's so much stuff in here." He gestures to his head. "It's like standing in a room full of books that have been pulled off their shelves. But I'll find it."

The sigh is slow, accepting and longing, in a way. Damn. He'd been hoping for an immediate answer.

"I don't have an option in the matter. I have faith that her world will hold stable in the interim. Elsewise…" And Strange closes off his eyes, crow's feet appearing in a passing expression of what could be nearly construed as distress. "No. I have faith." Speaking it aloud seems to make it so, for all that he absolutely seems to wear his silvered temples in age rather than sporting them early in his youth. Another short sigh and he seems to shake off the passing cloud, sitting upright until once more lordly in his chair. "Work fast, if you can." He'll exert no more pressure upon the request than that.

Lindon offers Strange an apologetic wince. Still, his focus draws inward. Mandalay Jewel. He catches a thread and pursues it, but it's information that needs to be teased out. He sips his tea idly and, when he runs out, he holds the cup, staring into the middle distance.

"Let me think about it," he says without being entirely aware he's said it. "I can do this." Yes! There's a cache of information on the Jewel. He just has to sort through it. "I've got something…" That premonition before the revelation that is coming quickly.

|ROLL| Lindon +rolls 1d20 for: 8

The Mandalay Jewel.

Before his mind's eye, a multi-spired crystal appears. Bright against the mental confines, it glows — nay, radiates a cosmic energy on par with a contained collapsing star. All of its geometric filaments point upwards and the base itself is smoother than melted glass, a half-dome shaped to be cupped in some form of manus.

Another name: Mandalay Gem. Celestial origin. Artifact. Esoteric weapon. The very air around it arcs in crescent moons of flickering power, all in ranges of ultraviolet.

Lindon's seen this before, nearly the same color as Strange's eyes when fully alight, watching him from what seems like an impossible distance.

Spotlit again by the phantasmal crackle of ions splitting in its own atmosphere, the gemstone flares, vitality to make one's teeth ache.

Silhouetted, a vaguely-humanoid form is surrounded by a full-body suiting of the power — a shield.
Silhouetted, the shadow hand holds the Jewel while the other points and a veritable quasar's worth of matter-splitting power fires forth — a weapon.
Silhouetted against space, an entire planet is subsumed by a wash of the fuschia-hued energy, its geography evaporating into naught but slag and deafening silence from voices cut cleanly from existence — an end.

The artifact emits a loud humming and seems to begin to rattle existence around it — or maybe that's someone's teeth chattering instead.

Lindon closes his eyes, and his teacup tips in his hand as he forgets all about it. Thankfully, it's empty save for a few harmless droplets. Lindon's expression intensifies, his focus hardening. Sweat beads on his brow. "This is bad," he murmurs. "I see it, it's… it's beautiful, powerful. There's a… its power is a shield."

He purses his dry lips, wetting them, and his posture slumps as his mind turns to more important things than posture. "A weapon, such a terrible weapon," he says. Lifting his head, his gaze searches the air. He can see it. His fingers twitch to be writing, but he wouldn't dare. "I see it destroying a world, ending it." His eyes widen as, in silhouette, he watches a planet get wiped out.

He withdraws from the cache of thoughts quickly at that, and he shakes his head. "It's terrible," he says. "Celestial, powerful magic, but it's mean for violence and death."

"Gods below." The Sorcerer himself swallows before tipping his face towards into his waiting palms. The groan behind it is very gutteral and very unappreciative of yet another burden tipped upon his platter. Running his fingers back into his hair and completely disrupting its coifed state, he then gets to his feet, consumed by a frenetic surge of adrenaline.

"It had to be Celestial — had to be that!" The laugh is equally devoid of humor, some gut-reaction rather than delight. "Not of Earth — not of Asgard, no." Just as quickly, he's tucked one arm folded his chest while the other draws fingers along each side of his goatee. Before the fireplace, he paces, back and forth, muttering to himself. "They must be warned." The final thought is affirmation as to some plan.

"Lindon, thank you, from the bottom of my heart. I still require your silence on this matter," he reminds the Archive, glancing to the man with irises lit in frosted-lavender. "What do you need of me? Tea? A healing spell?"

Lindon takes out a handkerchief and mops at his brow. He looks a little wan around the edges and will probably require a liedown. He's definitely going to call for the driver to come get him. No walking to the subway when he can feel one of his spells coming on.

Oddly, in his relicy way, despite the strain it puts on him, he calmly accepts the sorcerer's intensity. Sure the man could destroy him with little more than a flick of his hand, but he's just pacing, working it out, doing what wizards do. Lindon feels perfectly safe in the Sanctum.

"Or course," he says, a little awed at his own revelation. "No one else is going to know about this." As for what he needs, he looks at his teacup. "Do you have that headache blend?" he asks. I just need to rest and call Lamont's driver to come get me. I think I'll spend the rest of the day lying down with cats."

"Of course, I recently restocked on it." Drawing a small Gate upon reality about a head and a half shy of his actual height, Strange then peers through. Reaching into it, he rummages about beyond, continuing to mutter to himself, before pulling out a small bag. By the look of it, it easily holds upwards of forty satchets of the specific blend of tea required to take an edge off of Archival headaches. The Gate is collapsed once more.

The Sorcerer walks the sack over to Lindon and hands it off with a curt nod. "Enough to last for some time, I'd hope. Remember the rules about not taking any other medications with it or drinking." Not that he even suspects Lindon would dally about the manor holding a highball glass of whiskey. "The phone is on the desk, there," and he points towards a small side-table right by the doorway leading from living room to foyer. "Take your time." Ever gracious, the master of the Sanctum, especially when handed the information of a lifetime.

Lindon takes the tea and says, "You're a lifesaver. This stuff works like nothing else." He nods then. Yes, he remembers the rules. His secret pleasure when it's time for this tea is a butter cookie or shortbread to go with it. The scandal! He gets to his feet and goes to make the call.

Once that's done, he says, "I hope it helps, and though I will if you need me to, I'm not going to voluntarily go poking around there again, not if I don't have to." Because it's deep enough in his mind it could trigger a vision, and nuts to that.

"I expect you to leave that information well enough alone for now. That you haven't dissolved into a full-blown panic is notable, Lindon," Strange adds from where he stands by the fireplace, still mostly absorbed with what-ifs and playing out mental games of chess on an inter-worldly scale. Emotionless, this processing, cold logic no warmer than sheet-ice, and it would give some people pause, surely, to be privy to his machinations. "Well done…" he muses, distraction obvious in his tone.

An abrupt shake of his head and he's walking towards, then past Lindon and into the foyer. "Come, I'll wait by the door with you. There's a chair there if you need to sit further."

Lindon smiles as he's told well done, not to mention spared from further delving. Not a full blown panic, but his hands tremble just a little. He's seen some shit, but this? This is bad. The fact this exists at all is very bad. He swallows, and he sits. "Thank you," he says. So unlike his usual 'well I'm leaving now' mode of departure.

"How do you do it?" he asks with quiet awe. "Deal with stuff like this on a day to day basis? Just knowing about it is almost too much for me." Almost. He's made of sterner stuff than even he realizes.

"Hmm?" Forgive the Sorcerer his inattentive state, clear by how his expression returns from its inwards state and lands on Lindon once more as he paces past the Archive. The chair utilized by the guest is still rather comfortable, heavily padded on seat, back, and arms despite its sturdy darkwood framing, somehow Art Deco and modern simultaneously. "As you said: I deal with it. Dwelling on inaction is not something that I can afford to do."

Back the other direction now he paces, towards the front doors with their slim panels of fogged glass showing dreary light outside. Yet again, he's got one arm tucked to his chest and fingertips drawing the lines of his facial hair. "I don't think of it fully in terms of 'dangerous' anymore. If I did, I wouldn't be privy to the mantle of the Vishanti. They pick their Conduits for their own reasons, but I'd like to think it's because we have a fine understanding of bravery versus stupidity — and a sense of self-preservation to accompany it." He laughs at himself here, about-facing once more to continue his pacing. "I take my chances, take the shots that manage to touch me — few and far between as they are — and I go to sleep at night hoping that my dreams are kind instead of reminding me of my immortality and its limitations."

His eyes shift upwards, looking at something beyond the walls present and towards the Loft. "She makes it worth it thousands of times over and again, mi cerhani." Lindon will know it despite its native tongue being Transian: star of stars.

Lindon's gaze lifts as well, and he smiles. Warm, gentle. "She is a treasure beyond measure," he says, "and wholly her own person. I'm glad that you two have one another, Doctor. I have a lot of admiration for her." Intellectual crushes aren't the same as horning in on a man's lady, honest. "Thank the stars you have her to inspire you, because what you're called to do is beyond any of us."

With a small laugh, he adds, "Dwelling on inaction is just about all I can do. I suppose someone has to, and I don't regret that I'm not the one who goes charging in. It's immensely satisfying to be of use to those who do." Outside, a town car pulls up, and Lindon, glancing out the window, says, "I think that's me."

"Inspire me…yes." He sounds decidedly inspired, proud cock of the Sanctum walk, and purring to boot. Still, it's a passing thing revealed, the depths of his affections proving to be a potent fault line that needs be shuttered away again beneath propriety and responsibility.

Strange glances to the entrance and then walks briskly to it. Opening one of the doors proves that, indeed, the town car is waiting alongside the broad paved walk below, and he looks to Lindon again.

"I believe it is. Thank you again, Lindon. Your service today has been invaluable. Go, rest." A beat. "Be mindful." Wasn't going to get out of this one without one final warning in regards to silence. Still, it's not said unkindly, simply in a matter-of-fact tone.

Lindon gathers his coat. He's not going to put it on for a short walk to the car, but best not forget it. "I live to serve." Wry as the words are, there's the ring of truth to them. He serves knowledge in every way he can, and today? Today he's gotten to do one better, and despite his paleness and ashen looks, there's genuine pleasure in his eyes.

The final warning gets a small nod. Oh yes, he will obey. Sorry, Lamont, but sometimes duty to a higher cause means keeping mum. Now that the car is there, Lindon's free to say, "Well, I'll see you around." And he goes. Conversation over now.

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