1964-11-18 - You'll Never Get Me Lucky Charm!
Summary: Or "How to Catch a Qilin 101", subtitled "Please don't do what the Sorcerer Supreme did".
Related: None
Theme Song: None
wanda strange 

The high mountains of the Far East — yes, the ones that the gods dance upon when the cloud cover is thick as pea soup. Concentrated light can be seen, things like flashlights and torches in the swirling thickness of the fallen skies — or the sudden and unpredictable sparkling of Gates opening and closing like some frantic combination of Frogger and Portal from the future.

"«When I find — the person who — hung a lucky dia — diadem on this — Qilin's neck, I am — going to skin — them alive!!!»" The Sorcerer's voice, speaking Tibetan, cuts in and out as he attempts to get one step ahead of the fleet-footed beast, that mythical chimeric combination of ox and stag and dragon, already wrapped in a skein of goodwill naturally. The golden links about its neck, something belonging far away from the reach of unpredictable creatures such as this, flash as it makes an unearthly leap from one icy ledge to another. One-hundred feet is cleared as easily as breathing and muted sunlight glints from layered scales. Strange glances to Wanda to make certain she's where she usually is, faithfully at his side and more than capable of keeping up with his scrambling strides and instinctive Gating.

Spoon rock knobs and emerge out of the morass, lumps on a serpentine back. Not the sort of location where Wanda feels entirely comfortable, naturally, given every footstep might lead to collapsing into the darkness and never emerging seen again. Such places hold deep mysteries best forgotten. Her patience finds an end when she wraps herself in glittery telekinesis, and promptly tries to forget about sudden drops.

Qilin, otherwise called kirin, probably have little to no good opinion of the witch or her spindrift brother. Corrupt, like tea, there during the Tibetan Revolution. This is exactly the place where she expects to find Agatha hanging around, Ebony lazily chewing the entrails of said poor mythical beast.

"Maybe feeding it would be good," she murmurs in Tibetan. This is a terrible idea.

With a grunt and a lunge into empty air, Strange clears that open distance through his own method of flight, the crimson Cloak, and remains aloft at the far side. He utters an acidic curse and glances over at the Witch, sparkling in unearthly defiance against the bland thickness of the low-hanging condensed water.

"«Maybe, but that would mean catching up with the damn thing,»" he grouses, running a hand back through his hair. Sweat and ambient moisture leave it somewhat bedraggled. "«Its natural aura in combination with that relic makes this a ridiculous task.»" Far ahead, the sounds of light hooves on rocks are heard beyond the slowly-shifting surrounds in chilly grey, almost bell-like. It's not far off, probably eyeing them with the same benign goodwill in its dark eyes as when they started the chase. It just refuses to allow itself to be caught, is all.

Wherest doth thou go, o wicked horsey-goat-deer? Wanda tests the footing under her boots and proceeds to walk forward just enough to smack into a jutting bit of rock, and the boulder leaves dusty marks along her brow and sleeve. Leather cleans up easier than her skin does, unwelcome embarrassment of rapelling by chance discovered. Her eyes narrow slightly as she registers a glare, the curses literally piling up underneath her tongue. Unfair indeed the cloak can simply fluff itself up, meant to do that, and she has to figure out how to remove the smudges.

"«You cannot ask it nicely to come down?»" Don't all magical creatures respect the Sorcerer Supreme? Of course not. Her shoulders tremble at the bell-hue and her clarion gaze rises, the probability strands dancing around her. Temptation is ever a matter of perspective.

He notes the collision and hides away the wince. A kiss on the brow may soothe later. "«Would that I could, but I believe it would continue to stare at me in that infuriatingly mild manner we saw earlier,»" Strange replies, rotating in mid-air to face towards the sound of the delicate hooves upon rimed stone. "«It is possibly an emissary to the gods, Beloved. Still…it can be momentarily contained, I think.»"

His eyes, a-glow with his power, slide to consider how the wend and weft of her own abilities begins to show. "«Care to flush it out, Rakshasi?»" The question wreathes white about his lips as he begins to weave a spell of his own within the relative space before his torso. It shimmers in finely-interlacing squares, perhaps a form of netting? "«All you need to do is stall it. I shall be right behind.»"

Infuriatingly mild. "«Like the Lama?»" Wanda tries not to frown, thoughts munched up against the painful bruising that she needs to rub away with her palm at a more convenient time. "«For all we know it is the very incarnation and we need to recite Buddhist mantras at it.»" Please don't ask her to recall the sevenfold path. In a pinch, she might. The very prospect requires slow inhalation to centre the soul and eradicate the discomforts of a chilly, damp world defined at high altitude by a lack of oxygen and meaningful direction.

Emissary of the gods in the fog; that would be the case. They're bumbling around just as much as the mortals are. How completely dreadful. The Witch has to trust Strange not to guide them astray, for all she cannot avoid the damn sides of mountains — even floating — and entrust he knows what he is talking about. How does one stall a qilin? Offer it a really big carrot?

Probability isn't magic, but the gift of her veins, black-dark shadows slinking around the raspberry patch. She shoves the intent away, and floats up to the bell noise last heard. Add the piteous sound of 'Ow, it hurts' and the shuffle. Yes, this is Help Me, sorcerer style. "Help help, can anybody help?" is best broadcast by weakly shuffling along. If Asgard can do it, Midgard perfected it.

"«I desperately hope it isn't the reincarnation of anything but a pain in my ass,»" Strange mutters as he finishes up the spell and neatly clips the end of it with a specific mudra. It's a gathering of slowly-rotating mesh, oceanic-hued lines so fine as to barely be seen, as if woven from spider-silk of jade.

Brilliant, however, the ploy of lost traveler in the deep fog and clinging cold, teeth chattering and body rapidly losing heat. The Qilin cannot resist the plea anymore than a sunflower refuses to follow the sun. In that aspect of innocent need, at least, the Witch with the suppressed intent succeeds. Like something out of a fairy tale, the creature emerges from the fog, lead by the projection of a single multi-tined antler from its forehead. Carousel stag, meet tropical fish and add a dash of equatorial reptile — and don't forget that tufted tail, swishing placidly as it walks right up to Wanda. Note how the hooves leave no prints in the snow to track; rather Elf-like, it walks above it. Its dark-suede nose would probably feel like warm velvet if petted; it whuffles at her, blinking the biggest, brownest eyes with the longest cow-like lashes and turning large ears towards her. At its neck, the relic-charm glints golden and silver. No voice, but a fragile ring in rising note of query. Woman need help?

Out of immediate sight, Strange drifts with infinite caution and slowness through the clouds, intending to eventually end up above and behind the thing, all the better to cast his net — unless Wanda can cajole the creature into snatching distance of the relic and simply yank hard enough to break the chain.

So speaks Strange. Assume now this will be the most likely situation, the reincarnation of a previous sorcerer supreme's irksome apprentice. Probably transformed into this helpful form, it will be required to cause him headaches and heartaches as an object lesson. Wanda is not prepared for this outcome as she traverses the pearl bright mists that mound and course alongside the slopes falling away into empty space.

She truly is trying not to fall off the ends of the earth cropping up out of the flowing dark. Some skittering embrace of dust and chipped rock onto whatever pitiful plants manage to survive so high echoes in the ear, a symphony of damnation. Her soft grumble isn't for show. Another stubbed toe, and she might just flatten the whole damn mountain into a perfectly circular field to prove a point, if she can.

That particularly odd elk-like creature, an escapee of the Santa LSD workshop of champions, holds her fast. Amber-eyed sorceress, meet big-brown-eyed beast. Correction, something that needs a hug.

She is infinitely wary of things deserving hugs. Usually they have glue-tacky hides and want to drown foolish girls. Still, she carefully nods. And appropriately shows a measure of awe, eyes rounding. See stupid human banging into your mountain, bad impression for a qilin. "«I am sorry but I cannot find a path.»"

It would be just his luck that an apprentice reincarnated might haunt in the guise of a doe-eyed creature. It absolutely would — because nothing can be easy. Except pouring the Witch and himself both a hot cup of tea back at the Sanctum, which will indeed happen when all of this nonsense is through.

The Qilin flicks one dish-like ear to displace some lingering gathering of chilly dew upon the delicate rim, where hide turns flush with veins and exposed skin in minute wrinkling. It dips its head and leans forwards, sniffing further at the Witch after she stubs a boot against a snow-buried rock. Will lead you. Not lost long here. A cloth-wrapped mallet upon chimes seems harsh in comparison the notes of its projected intentions.

The reflection of the grey miasm can be seen in its dark eyes as it continues to approach her, closing the distance with spindle-legged steps around her…on thin air. Rather, the clouds themselves, per its native abilities. The thing was probably having a jest on their part by sticking to the rocks of the mountain itself. When alongside Wanda, it drops its head again, perhaps offering out its horn to grip? Or maybe attempting to encourage her to lift an arm as to slip its neck beneath, absolutely certain she is in need of aid.

Even pouring a cup of tea may be impossible, for that would naturally follow the Ancient One's disapproving look, his demanding requirements doubtful to ever be met by the likes of an upstart magician eager to prove his talents.

Wanda absolutely should not be considering what prances around benignly in her thoughts, the myriad sensation of possibilities pointing lodestone-bright in the direction she oughta ignore. Smart idea, wrapping her arms around that broad neck and hiding under the horn, and pretending this is the ideal time to offer the goodwill charm a hug. Because anything that generous must be evil. Everything should be terribly wrong and unkind and devilishly awful.

Oh damn Strange, he best be behaving and figuring out how to remove whatever this thing is wearing, other than his fiancee.

He'll figure it out…eventually. The Sorcerer is still attempting extreme stealth nearly at their high noon now, keeping his aura abnormally still by thinking the most placid thoughts. The net-spell remains at low luminary strength, impossible to see through the clouds. It can wear his fiance for now.

The Qilin seems to be content by her actions, trying its very hardest to not move too abruptly and at a speed that she can easily follow. Mind your steps. Will keep you safe. It's the premise of the thing; by contact, she too gains the skill of sky-walking. It's a bit like being led about on the arm of a gentleman not meaning to accomplish a single thing but escorting a beautiful woman across a distance from point A to B, offering harmless conversational tidbits in the meantime and not a single leering glance in impropriety.

With all the subtlety of air disturbed in a room, Strange's voice comes across the soulbond in a near-whisper: "Can you reach the necklace?" Against her side, Wanda will feel the gentle rise and fall of its scaled ribs, not slimy at all, but rather soft to the touch. The ruff of perked hair along its spine is a bit coarse, like a zebra's mane minus that striping. Its large ears perk as if sensing something nearby, but it continues placidly on, appearing to begin a path that will lead them to walk over a broad chasm with Stygian depths.

Walking around with a hug is going to be a challenge for the long-legged witch, to be sure. She has no easy tsak maneuvering in a way to avoid being struck in the head with a tine or gored by luck turning successful or questionable. One footfall and another allow her to maintain the safest route possible, though the telekinesis at least keeps her from falling on her face. At least she can hope so.

What a happy life the qilin leads, to be so charmed by the presence o fothers, and prone to offering kind assistance to travelers. She can almost feel terrible about waylaying the noble assistant, entrusting in its goodwill to assure she will not be unfortunately flattened for her audacity.

She can't help it. She reaches up to scritch at the stiff mane, an adjustment largely to impress a sense of thanks.

I cannot rob such a thing. It's already gone beyond what it has right to.

"I understand, «Beloved». I shall act." With that, the soulbond drops to eerie silence, all the better to muffle his existence.

The escort on four legs is accepting of the scritching, even leaning into it slightly. Kindness will never be rejected. It doesn't give a single thought to fear of falling as they cross the abyss. Surrounded in a cloud of doubled luck, they could well walk shortly on a rainbow rather than mist.

The very second they're a good number of steps onto firm ground again — or at least a short distance above it, where a surprise landing is a safe bet — a stooping shadow in crimson explodes into view before the Qilin. Like the webbed expansion of an octopus's tentacles upon prey, it wraps around the creature's head, effectively blinding it. The tenting of the horn is blunted by the douty relic even as the Qilin rears up, losing any interest in acting as escort.

As if sliding into second base, there goes Strange, zipping out of the relative gloom on the thin snow covering the mildly-graded slope. Lead by an outstretched boot and wincing against a bruised hip, he relies on the general aura around the Qilin for this plan to succeed.

By the skin of his teeth, he misses being stepped upon by the delicate cloven hooves and a scarred hand makes a reckless grab at the thing's fluffy chest fur. Yoink — the necklace breaks and he's got it, even as he ricochets off a firmly-planted hind leg. Like a top lead by flailing limbs that sweep up wafts of snow, he has time for a short cry of shock before jettisoning off into thin air and out of sight. Cloak immediately abandons the supernatural escort for its master, flicking out of sight at speed of terminal velocity in an instant.

The Witch will be safe and secure by proxy of the Qilin's aura. Startled beyond comfort, it takes off into the clouds and leaves her where she landed. A breathless period of silence follows and then Strange rises up into view, back-colored by the brightness of the Cloak.

"You can tell me how much I'm an idiot back at the Sanctum," he mutters, offering her a hand even as he tries for a devil-may-care grin. This gentleman's intent is to take her back to the mansion and bundle her up in a warm blanket while preparing her tea and possibly accepting a few tart words about risking his general safety.

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