1965-03-06 - Blackberry Clove Tea
Summary: Strange and Lindon talks, though it's more like Strange talks and Lindon babbles.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
lindon strange 

Lindon brought the tea from Mrs. O'Riley's. It's a blend Strange likes, with notes of blackberry. Which pleases Lindon just as well. He's got a broad taste in boiled leaves. Once pleasantries are made, Lindon says, "I thought I'd come update you on the state of the, ah, evil wizard trying to destroy you and turn Earth into a launchpad into other dimensions." He smiles tightly. "Words five years ago I never would have guessed I'd be saying with a straight face."

The smile is short-lived. "Has Lamont told you anything? I don't ask what you guys talk about. I don't always get the whole story from him, either, so my information may not be complete."

Caught in the act of sniffing at what scent-notes rise from his clay tea mug, Strange glances over at Lindon as he brings the tea down and away from his face. Indeed, the Archive brought the good stuff, the blend with cloves beneath and hints of summer throughout.

"An old friend managed to contact me, if we're speaking of the very same practitioner choosing to value power over the livelihoods of those whose souls he drains." He momentarily sets the steaming drink aside on the table and fusses with one of his hand-wraps. Clad in a t-shirt, plainly white and tight enough to show muscled proof of his interdimensional exploits, and black sweatpants, it might be the least formal Lindon's ever seen the man. He was interrupted in his practice of weaponless combat against a silumacrum of a many-armed deity, not too unlike the kind found in the belief systems of India.

Once the loose end of fabric is tucked away again, he flexes with a small grimace and mumbles, "There, better. Anyways, yes, I was informed that he's still on the hunt, even while being hunted. My friend is a graduate of Kamar-Taj, you see, and not one to be underestimated. If Vasant cannot catch this practitioner, few can." Those 'few' being himself and a handful of others. "He is a zealot. He has followers who dabble in the Blood Magics. He does not know your true nature and that is your boon, Lindon. Elsewise, I would need to take drastic action."

Lindon nods solemnly. Yes, that soul-stealing bastard. Lindon snaps his fingers. "Vasant." He exhales sharply. "That was driving me nuts." Not all the details fall into line, alas. Descriptions, life histories, but not names. Or names without context, always fun. He wraps both long-fingered hands around his mug and scents the tea before taking a sip. Tea is good. Tea is calming and the blend is delightful.

With another nod, he says, "That's good news. I'll sleep easier knowing he's looking for a book. There was a close call with a coworker of mine that his followers were coercing. He knew I had something, but not what I am. Lamont got him and his family out of the mess, and they're safe from any more 'convincing.' It was a close shave, though.

"On another note, we've got another one of his would-be victims staying with us. He's this nice Jewish man who makes toys and complains I'm too tall."

"Too tall? Hmm. I doubt he'd be much more comfortable in my presence. Still…he may need to tolerate it. The…" Strange pauses, giving Lindon a scrutinizing look as he rifles through the myriad memories attached to the Archive and his ilk, that of the Shadow. "…toymaker, yes. Cohen, was the name, if I remember correctly from not only your vision, but from what Vasant told me. What protections are set against scrying and the various forms of tracking magics?"

Taking up his mug again, he rolls shoulders the slightest as he leans back into the red wing-backed chair. Despite the post-workout relaxation, there's no hiding the sharp interest squared upon the Archive.

"I think it's my proportions," says the relatively thin librarian. "He calls me beanpole and asks if I'm afraid to stand still in case of vines." Which Lindon seems to be taking with good grace. There's even a small smile on his lips. "Yes, that's right. Mr. Cohen. He's at the manor, so he's under the same protections I am. It's warded up tight, though. As far as I understand these things when I'm not avoiding renegade squash."

Lindon takes another sip of tea, and pleasure shows plainly on his face. It fades though as he sees the way Strange is looking at him. "Which is to say Lamont assures me we're safe. I don't know how it works, I just trust him. I can trust him, right? Of course I can."

Strange nods, partially to himself, as his gaze slides off somewhere beyond Lindon's left shoulder and goes alight with the Sight. One finger held upright cues the Archive to silence, please, while he reaches out. After about a minute, the finger drops and animation returns to his frame, replacing the intense concentration.

"Yes, Cohen is fine at Cranston's manor. The wards there, while not strong as those of this Sanctum, are clever things. They deflect interest, give the impression that nothing of interest is there. Just a shadow?" He shrugs subtly, curling his lips. "Indeed, simply a shadow." The wry amusement he takes in slant-puns fades as he considers Lindon again.

"You wouldn't ask after trusting Cranston without good reason…?"

Lindon smiles, more than a little proud of his Shadow, muddying up the minds of would-be evildoers. The smile fades, and he says, "Oh, no, not really. It just occurred to me I'd never actually asked him what kind of wards he has or what they do. I really do trust him, but it seems like something I should at least take an academic interest in, especially all things considered. My life depends on those wards."

He's quiet a moment, glancing down at his tea. "I worry sometimes he'll throw himself at threats without thinking overly much of his own self-preservation. He can't bear the thought he might lose me, even though…" He sighs. "He's going to."

"Not necessarily," opines the good Doctor. "Surely you remember the conversation we had so long ago?" Dark brows flick high. "I'm certain that if push came to shove, a solution could be found."

The tea is a lovely melange of sweetness and spice to cut through what honey he stirred into the drink. He hums in appreciation even as he lets it sit on his tongue, all the better to suss out the fainter notes. A swallow and sigh, the ending burring out. "Excellent blend, Lindon. Also bear in mind that Cranston knows better than to throw himself willy-nilly into the teeth of Death herself. I've warned him otherwise."

"My worry," Lindon says, "is that these things tend to come at a cost. Any rash act of desperation, no matter how well intended, could have devastating consequences, possibly for the caster. If I had to choose between one of us being safe, there's no decision to be made. I'd protect him, every time."

He looks at Strange with a small smile and says quietly, "You've never seen him look into the eyes of his lover who's dying. However slowly. I don't feel like we should be in any particular rush to worry, but it comes up after each vision, when we're assessing how much it took from me. These past ones have been minor. I haven't noticed any loss."

In any case, he inclines his head. "It reminded me of you, then I got the feeling you liked it, so I picked it. Maybe I saw you drinking it once and intuited it."

"Entirely possible," Strange agrees with Lindon's thoughts on successfully bringing a lovely leaf-blend. He takes another huge sip, simply to feel the warmth slowly work its way down into his core and then spread outwards, and then sets aside the mug again.

"If avoiding desperation is the goal, then more lessons may be in order. I can think of a few…aspects to touch upon, but you…" He curls a fond grin containing a good parts tease. "You have a tendency to give such interesting ideas."

Lindon's brow furrows. "Do I?" he asks, though there's a hitch in his tone, a briefly panicked look in his eyes, that betray the fact he knows full well he gives Dr. Strange too many ideas. Too, too many. "I don't want to get him in trouble just because he wants me to get better," he says, backpedaling so hard he leans back in his seat. "It's just that he likes to fix things, there's nothing wrong with that. I wouldn't try giving him something unfixable. It would frustrate him to death."

"Nonsense." Strange lifts a hand from its resting place on one of the seat-arms and seems to wave the protest away congenially. "A little struggle never hurt anyone, much less Cranston. Learning without some effort is a thing of myth. Frustration feeds growth, in a way." He tilts his head to one side, continuing to pin Lindon with his attention. "Go on then. Were you me, how would you test Cranston further?"

Lindon squirms. "No, I said don't give him an unfixable problem." Because clarifying will fix it, right? He has to try. Oh, Lamont, what has he done? He takes a deep breath and drops his gaze to his tea. If he's not looking at those eyes, they have no power over him. Right? Right.

Time passes, and then he blurts out, "Put him in a position where he has to choose between the greater good and what he treasures." He clamps a hand over his mouth, wide-eyed.

One dark brow slowly arcs up, in equal slow time with the breaking of goatee's properly-tended line. Oh, there's that wicked dimple. Someone's deeply amused, even if the laughter is repressed and shows as twinkles in his Sight-less eyes, now back to their steel-blue naturality.

"That wasn't so hard, was it?" Rhetorical question, given how Lindon squirmed. "An excellent proposition. I'll have to mull it over and adjust the difficulty level appropriately. Any other ideas?" Strange poses the question with blatant lack of guile in tone. It's that foxy smirk that gives everything away.

Lindon says, "I've betrayed him. I'm the worst r— partner ever." He shakes his head reflexively. No, devil wizard, he is tapped for ideas. He refuses to be party to this any longer! He drinks his tea, giving Strange a defiant look that's about as effective as a kitten staring down a Doberman. Then he glances down, shoulders hunching. Nnng. Sipping his tea buys him a little more wherewithal. "I mean," he starts, then stops. "If you want to not torture him, you could investigate ways to mitigate the damage to my brain. Let him test his ideas not on my head."

"Who's calling it torture? I simply consider it a difficult test. He is apprentice to the Sorcerer Supreme, not some hedge-wizard. Were he not up to the task, he wouldn't be here." And it's really just that simple, at least to Strange. "I'm happy to also offer this other alternative to him, in case he feels that he's not up to the challenge. It may be as easy as rifling through the library upstairs for a week. Bookwork is equally as important as sparring. Kamar-Taj is infamous for this balance of work ethic." He just keeps smiling, pleased with what has come of tea thus far.

Lindon says quickly, "Of course he'll be up to it. He's a good wizard, and he's not afraid of a challenge. I'm the one who coddles." He doesn't look apologetic about it, either. Someone has to be a tender influence in the Shadow's life, and it's not his teacher. "I'm sure he'd be glad for any teaching you threw his way. I know he holds you in high regard, and he values your lessons."

On firmer ground, Lindon starts to relax. Yes. He's fixed this. "I'm rather fond of bookwork, myself, and I'd be happy to get some use in that regard. I've got so much stuff in my head, and I want to tell people. It's a problem."

"Good to hear that I'm not a tyrant, despite what others might have said in the past." Oh-ho. Past apprentices? Still, Strange presses on. "Are you still keeping up with your diaries? Your notebooks? I presume you've found a way beyond writing on the walls themselves…?" He asks this lightly, not intending to cause affront.

Lindon scuffs a foot idly, and he says nothing. Nothing! About what past apprentices might have said. Instead, he says, "Lamont is glad to have you." He nods then and adds, "Oh yes. I've filled shelves with my writing. I'm spoiled for choice when it comes to information these days. I just don't know the important, burning question: where is Hargrove? It's like he doesn't exist when I think about him outside of what other people have said." He frowns. "That doesn't generally happen."

"I was told that he has gained an ability to…make attention slip from him — or rather the name itself," Strange says quietly, perturbed by this information. "I would challenge yourself to think on the power itself rather than whom it protects. It may be that the spell is powerful enough to deflect even a distant source of interest such as yourself."

"It would have to be powerful," Lindon says with no false modesty. "There's no resistance against the idea of him, but he's just gone. There's this Hargrove-shaped hole in the knowledge of all things. I wrote down some no-seeum rituals and spells for Lamont, and I've examined their use, but he's not working with any of the ones I've found so far."

He taps his chin lightly. "Yes," he finally says. "Focus on the power. It had to come from somewhere. His eyes glaze over a little, and they dart as though he's trying to read the air. "I remember a glimpse of something," Lindon says. "Maybe from my last vision?" He rarely remembers them well. "Not a spell. A relic."

Now that's the best bait for this particular Sorcerer, collector and protector of many an esoteric item imbued with magical abilities. His lids half-fall across his eyes again, tell for his curiosity piqued.

"A relic? Would this be in your notes? Or are you capable of remembering the finer details?"

Lindon stares into his tea, not really seeing the dregs in the cup, but perhaps using them as a focus to divine the information he wants. "Shadow," he says. "Shadow something. It's got a name. Shadow…veil?" His brow furrows. "My mind wants to slide right off it. I can see that it was created, but who created it and what happened after that is just missing. No, it's like it never happened. The history of the thing just stops."

He looks up at Strange, brows knitting. "I guess with a name like Shadowveil it doesn't announce itself loudly and shriek a nonstop alarm. Would be handy if the name was ironic."

The Sorcerer snorts. "Indeed, if it were that easy, the name would be a terrible irony." He rises from his chair to pour a warmer into his tea, seeing as it's cooled towards luke-warm. "Now I can't say that the library isn't good for anything. Shadowveil," he repeats, mostly to himself. "Indeed, I have no memory of it. I'll have to do further research myself."

"I'll write down whatever I can find out. Maybe there's something to deduct from what is missing, not just what's there," Lindon says. "I remember something about my vision didn't sit well with Lamont. I think it must be this, the Shadowveil and Hargrove's use of it. It's rather like stealing his thunder. You can't blame a man for being offended." Because he will always take Lamont's side. "I've forgotten so much about what the vision told me about Hargrove, I'm glad I wrote it down. It's like my mind wants to forget him."

"It may be a residual effect of the Shadowveil itself, if the name is, in fact, any indication to its abilities." Another spoonful of honey is stirred in for good measure, such that the clove doesn't bite the tongue too hard. "I can imagine that Cranston would take issue with this spell. I can also say, however, that it will take much to impress me beyond what I've seen of his own capabilities. They are a thing to behold." He's not too proud to share this little factoid, proud as he is in turn of his fauxpprentice.

Lindon smiles broadly. "He's very good at what he does," he says, part proud lover and part loyal relic. Sometimes, the two halves come together nicely. "He'll take care of this impostor." His features pinch with worry briefly, then he says, "You all will. You have to. People like Hargrove can't be allowed to win. I have to believe that isn't our Fate." He searches Strange's features for some confirmation.

At first, all that's available to Lindon is the Sorcerer's proud profile, with strong nose and jawline. Then he looks over, a faint smile on his lips.

"Without belief, none of us would be here. It is a sword when all else fails. You have faith in us? Good. When those who know us well believe, nothing can stop us." He sips at his tea again and decides it has enough dissolved bee-sugar within. "Hargrove is bound to fail, possibly at the hands of his own hubris."

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