1965-01-29 - Sirens in Bordeaux
Summary: And Strange gets insulted for his choice of wardrobe.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
strange wanda 


Rivers feed the heartlands of France, be she a republic or an empire. Her soul sings along the Seine through the northern capital and again at the estuary of the mighty Rhone, Marseilles turning an eye to the azure Mediterranean. The lands of Eleanor of Aquitaine are watered by the Pyrenees dream of the Dordogne and Garonne, names going down in history as far back as The Song of Roland and into epic Roman histories of rebellious tribes who are commemorated in ancient place names. The Occitan-speakers here remembered the spirits who dwelled in groves and mountains, guarded sacred springs and haunted alpine ponds. Basque country is full of such stories in their torturous language, whereas the imprint of the long-lost Celts collectively faded from memory. Pity for them. They might have remembered the need to propitiate local water spirits or give sacrifices for the well-being of towns and villages.

Heavy rains have undone the swirling rivers, rising widely above its banks. The floodwaters moving downstream in a wave have already captured trees and bushes and detritus, a swirling mix of danger and fell force. What once might have been welcomed to replenish the fields with silt and soil now brings only fear to the great city of Bordeaux and surrounding villages.

One of those villages on a spreading slope, forty miles upriver, is reason to have the Sorcerer Supreme about. Possibly not intentionally, but marauding spirits are in his purview, right?

Indeed, the forgotten repects given to the ilk of the spirits riverine may have birthed the excess volume of loose water. Force gained in momentum and volume rips up the loosely-rooted young willows and bushes along its banks and as the normal tracts breach their banks, threaten too the older trees, even with their anchors of years worth of growth.

With most of the town already having evacuated, it leaves few to see what the man in the crimson Cloak does: hang above the churning waters, the tips of his boots licked by silty water rife with foamy ripples. He squints, watching like a hawk from on high, attempting to search out the maddened spirits.

«Beloved», are there any others left in the town? Strange turns on the spot, seeking her with his Sight-brightened eyes.

Robbing the spirits of their investments is never wise. And to think, all Wanda wants is a bottle of Bordeaux red and a proper baguette. Maybe a bit of butter. Rich, creamy butter shot by honey, yes, that goes on the list of wants. Nonetheless, she floats up on the air where safety overcomes impulse. No need to test how cold that water is. She's forded too many rivers in Europe to hold any illusions on the mystery. No words follow as she peers down at the eddies and brownish foam. Rivers aren't ever blue, especially dirty ones like this.

Her head tilts up, and detaching herself from the mysterious terrors of the marine variety, she squints into the grim mizzle. The place is flooding thanks to the rain, after all. "Someone in their attic?" A guess. Probably the aura of a person and not a bat. "The house is not beside the river."

The Sorcerer follows her line of sight and spits out something decidedly rude under his breath.

"Like as not some idiot thinking that the waters will recede before the foundations of their house gives out. Keep looking for the spirits and stall them," he adds, glancing back to her, she of the Mystical resonance in scarlet. "I'll remove the townfolk from the attic. Once the water spirits are quelled, I think a glass of wine is in order." There's the emergence of the endearingly-crooked smile at her. The Cloak riffles and then off he shoots, skimming the surface of the swirling waters with the speed of a swallow, towards the house in question.

The brunette shrugs, indecisive upon the motives of men. "They chose. Not a help." Of course he will put himself at risk, and the tacks spat by the Witch inform the world exactly what she thinks about that. Anyone putting Strange at risk probably earns her disdain and displeasure. The universe does not unleash smiles and butterflies in her presence, for the universe currently views things in a dim light. Imagine if they all got high on happiness. She'd probably be insane. Either way, she forces herself up telekinetically as a tree goes by.

Mustn't be snagged by the snag, after all.

Silty waters make for a perfect hideout for the spirits of the rivers. If the Witch is in a place with some ambient light, perhaps a street pole not yet collapsed by the rush, its post cause for a spreading V behind the flow, she may catch the sudden flash of scales. Mottled, like a zander, striping more a breath of wish for patterning in the end. The rise and disappearance of them heralds another splash farther down the rue. An object surfacing? Mayhaps. But where did it go?

Above and beyond the torrent, Strange reaches the house. There's a single lamp alight inside the upper story, just as his partner foretold, and he huffs a frosted breath. Easy enough to slowly pull open the window, cracked open as it was, as not to startle the occupant. It's the sound of boots landing on the dusty floor, tump-tump, that makes the house-owner swing about with a gasp.

"Excuse me, but you need to leave this place." Holding up and out both hands implies a peaceful intent. "The flooding is only going to get higher."

Scaled skin and weedy hair meant to blend into the heavy, dark waters are enough to warrant a glimpse now and then. Whether or not the witch, her eyes bleeding to the traces of the Sight, catches the glimpse, she will eventually. She floats midair rather than standing, hardly concerned about what the passing duck or a grumbling gull might opine about her. Not her problem. Where went that odd shape? No way to tell, but she pulls out a simple pebble from her pocket. Throwing it to skip across the surface is somewhat successful, and a second is much smoother about skimming the way than the first. Voila!

The old, grimy fellow who probably served in Vichy or Free French forces — this close to the border, impossible to say — is busy hauling through a box upon interruption. He screws up his face in a sneer. "Go away, sheep-licking officer! I will leave when I'm good and ready. Like when I'm dead, hon non?"

Plit-plit-plit-plit — and on it skips, the pebble, across the writhing surface…at least, until a webbed hand pops up and plucks the jumping stone from its jarring path. Pale flesh, yellowed in its shadows, slips under again with nary a second thought and, again, the curling flash of light from fish-like rounding of some part of a body. Is that a soft musical whine? But — but there are no whales to be found in this river, freshwater as it is!

Strange curls his lip slightly. Who enjoys defiance? Not him. "Whatever you're searching for is not worth a slow, agonizing death by drowning, sir." The Sorcerer turns and takes the few steps back to the half-shuttered window, checking on the status of the flood. Rising still, and seemingly with more vigor now. "We don't have time for this, come along." He holds out a hand to the old man expectantly.

That underwater whine rattles through the slurry of milk chocolate water roaring for the deep indentation next to Bordeaux. Not something pretty for the nineteenth century bridges and beautiful waterfront, already so maltreated by the war. Wanda flits along, the red beams around her wrists bright as neon when she wills herself forward. Some parts of the art can only be seen by mystics; some, like these, are literally blessing herself with a gift. So be it.

"Mere, I am not going to drown. You act like I do not know a thing about a boat." The geezer scowls. "I don't want to go. This house has been in my family for seventy-three years. It is solid. It stood through the war, it will stand through a man with bad collars." LE GASP.

|ROLL| Strange +rolls 1d20 for: 15

|ROLL| Wanda +rolls 1d20 for: 14

Something beneath the water follows her shadow, tracking her unerringly along her path. It lies low enough beneath the surface that only a chance thinning of the carried earth and miasm of muddy greenery grants a glimpse. With the knowledge of a century and lessons learned in restraint, it eels gracefully around a mostly-submerged car. Another winsome call to the Witch from the overhanging shadow of a shop's awning.

The entire volume of the Cloak trembles indignantly; it's enough to make Strange place a scarred hand overtop his heart, in part pinning down the relic and in part soothing it. If it's a gesture that imparts care, wonderful, because the Sorcerer is definitely frowning at this point.

"The house may be solid, but you are not." He rolls his lips and looks briefly off into some dark corner of the attic before coming to some conclusion. "What are you searching for?" he asks, meeting the man's eyes again.

Up she floats, gaining a bit more ground because branches sticking gout of the water are no joke and no one knows what terrain lies underneath a river simply by staring at it. Not as though Wanda consulted road maps through an old village that's been in place for five centuries. She trusts to stay up, up where she won't be affected by waves or hidden bridges or sudden upending of a Renault floating along about five minutes from now.

The squeaky noise is hard to capture over the roar of the water, and honestly, she's much as concerned for Strange in that house somewhere off to her right as much as the lone newsstand. Her shoulders arch and she frowns, amber eyes bright violet and lightening more red. Not always the best sign.

"I want my football," says displeased curmudgeon. "I know exactly where it is. You just sod off and convince Old Man Courbet to get on his way with that stinky dog of his."

|ROLL| Strange +rolls 1d20 for: 2

|ROLL| Wanda +rolls 1d20 for: 20

From the shadows beneath the flooded awning explodes the same webbed hand bearing recurved nails. It wraps about the nearest boot, locking about her ankle like a living manacle and then comes the sudden yank of weight. No spare fat to be found on this water elemental, hailing from the northern reaches and misplaced. Lost? Transplanted perhaps, and if that, someone's in big trouble for doing it. The Nokk bares slimed teeth, a hiss bubbling and proving the saliva's elasticity, as it attempts to pull the Witch back beneath the roiling surface.

"Fine. You have three minutes." Never let it be said that Strange has no patience. It's simply limited by the off-chance of time-worn architecture being abraided by swiftly-rising water. The Cloak undulates slowly along the outer lines of his legs and he glances again outside. Great, the flood stage is about twelve feet shy of the house's front door.

|ROLL| Wanda +rolls 1d100 for: 91

What was that, pulling her down into the churning abyss? Wanda's voice escapes in a defiant shriek, the war cry of a stooping peregrine or the fabled Amazonian striking back at all. She responds to that gurgling, toothy pull with something about to be unmistakable as a beacon. Ruby halos burst out from pointing fingers, molecules forming themselves along the fortunosphere bow wave. The thought is sky but far more aligned with rocketing the pair of them heavenwards into the clouds where the witch's extant levitation will serve and gravity is no one's friend to a toothy beast. Evading the geyser explosion is hard, doubly because super-pressurized air just happens to blow out of a few tanks or maybe a sewer. Up that column goes, aided by a number of unlikely events. Since they're together, they're both flying airborne together, though the mad turbulence whipping them around might leave Wanda absent one boot. It wouldn't be the first time she got knocked around like a crisp bag in a gale.

No doubt that fate twisted blessing for her bears notice. Hi, honey, nothing odd, just throwing myself a few hundred meters into the air.

Three minutes to find the ball in the attic? Excellent. Old men don't move fast, this one in particular. He takes his sweet time shuffling through boxes and moving around the wall of the garretted ceiling, and leaves Strange to contemplate mothballs. Old puck might even climb onto the roof just because.

|ROLL| Strange +rolls 1d20 for: 1

|ROLL| Strange +rolls 1d20 for: 6

The Nokk was expecting a reaction, indeed, for supping on humankind — especially one glittering like a lighthouse from above the surface, how to resist? — is a thing of primeval delight. The resulting geyser from the Witch's reaction quickly yanks it far out of the water and ergo, far out of its comfort zone. The long face, with slitted nostrils and bulbous dark eyes, reflects a fairly recognizabe sense of shock as air replaces the chill embrace of the waters. Around and around and around, twisting, tumbling, and the Nokk lets out a truly terrified cry! It grabbed more than it could chew upon and twice over! Sticky paws means that it does take the slip of a boot to reject the grip of the riverine creature and lo, the results of centrifugal force!

The mass of scaled monster keens in a beautiful arc through the air, clutching that boot to its chest as if it's going to save it from some horrid fate. CRASH — through an abandoned shop window and WHUMP — against the wall. The sticky slide ends in a splash…and the dazed Nokk considers the small goldfish now swimming before its face. Pert lips smooch at its nose once or twice before the rest of the school shows up.

HEY. HEY. HEY. WHY ARE YOU IN THIS TANK? HEY. FOOD? HEY. YOU. HEY. The open lid, proof of sudden retreat by the pet store owners, slams down with one ill-timed flick of the Nokk's tail..and now it's trapped with the goldfish as friends. Annoying friends. Imagine the gulls from Finding Nemo. Yes, like that. At least it has a boot?

Strange, on the other hand? His eyes widen and he whirls on the spot, staring off towards the town proper. The flash of scarlet light can be seen through the mire.

"Ohhhhhhh…" The fricative dries his lip even as he whirls again. "We have to go, right now." As carefully as can be managed, the Sorcerer opens up a Gate upon the air between himself and the window. It leads to a place of safety high above ground, not far from where a restaurant is acting as brief gathering point for the displaced. "Come along, your house will be still be here once you return," he states as he grabs the old man's elbow and leads him through the scintillating oculus. Once the curmudgeon is through, he collapses the Gate. It's easy enough to step out through the window again. All of a few seconds to set a simple warding spell ("Keep water from crossing this circle about the place") and he then flies as fast as he can towards his Beloved.

That poor boot was good to survive for another year or two of hard use, three if she patched it up. Poor boot, how little did she know you! Awful situation, really, and one of sheer frustration and agony for all involved. What a dreadful outcome! Poor thing that suffers the most ignominious of outcomes, ne'er shall your sacrifice be forgot in the one mystery not yet solved. What fool of a nokk would ever attack the crimson witch, bearing the mark as she does of greater horrors and wonders. Not much on her own part, but there's a certain indignation that burns in her terrestrial aura for the affront.

At least the tank has a boot, a nice bit of leather to hide inside. The goldfish can cuddle in the toe and pretend there are stories of mermen and mermaids who sing to the sweet clownfish on reefs, and tell enchanting tales of Atlantis where the biggest dick of the sea dwells.

The witch tumbles around enough that she ought to be sick, but the notion of sickness can wait until she's not in the water, not in the trees, not in the — oh no, that's a roof, and she veers widely back towards the brown waters, cursing Pietro the whole damn time. What does he have to do with fish people? Apparently he's the sonova who birthed them all or made them displaced, in her views, and show off running on water and seas, damn your face off, will all eventually find herself right-side up, flailing her arms back and forth to slow her descent. It shouldn't work, but wobbly telekinesis waves actually do. So take that, Wanda pancake is not on the menu.

Strange can negotiate the rest.

With his irises gone reflective of the ultraviolet wavelength of their bond, Strange unerringly flies towards the weebly-wobbly twitchy-Witchy. He can hazard at the planned landing zone, a flat section of rooftop free of ornaments beyond a chimney and an abandoned bird nest, gone to tatters from the weather. With gentle precision, he snags one forearm gently while offering out his other hand as another point of stability.

"I hazard you found one of the water spirits?" he asks, giving her a small and wry smile as they touch down atop the wetted surface.

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