1965-03-10 - What a Kegger
Summary: Someone's drugged a local bar's delivery and now the patrons as well as barstaff are spread about, Sleeping Beauties all. No one's going to be Prince Charming and kiss them all, right…? Oh god, there must be a spell.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
strange wanda 

The Sanctum Sanctorum can be home to many strangenesses, including the eponymous Doctor. But getting out into the wider city or, indeed, New York State regional area is not a terrible thing to do.

There's a town halfway up the seaboard to Massachusetts, just out of sight of Long Island, which truly is rather long. Low-key lifestyles attract the residents to quiet waters and clapboard buildings, the empty beaches at this particular time hardly calling anyone from cosmopolitan Manhattan. Connecticut, then, laidback towns and charming green squares under dead grass, and no less than twenty unconscious people sprawled in a pub and a field. Maybe they shouldn't have purchased that particularly notorious extract from a rare, mythical plant that blooms twice a century and needs to be watered in the tears of a widow and the laugh of an anointed priest.

"Well, this is…" Strange stands on the edge of the field, surveying the sprawl of unconscious bodies and glowering. The breeze catches at the crimson Cloak about his shoulders, causing it to dance lazily about his legs. "…a mess," is all he can conjure up without subjecting his fiance to rude words. He glances over at her. "«Beloved», I sense nothing as a spell. I suspect something else entirely…perhaps something more natural? An enchanted herb of sorts?"

This is many things. Wanda has wet hair in thick braids, scowling at the general state of the world. It could have something to do with the rash running up her arm and that decided hobble to her gait, a byproduct of sliding down a rocky set of stairs intended for no one tall or living to walk. Or take fast as she can, holding onto Mayan kingfisher feathers while hordes of huge, rainbow-coloured birds pursued her at speed.

"It smells." Her opinion is fair; the ocean does stink, all in all. Her expression takes in the whole of her emotive range: displeased. "Maybe smoke."

Strange nods silently before walking over to the nearest sprawled and prone body. He kneels down and places two fingers against the carotid artery, his eyes narrowed in concentration. Count the beats in 15 seconds, multiply by four, basic nursing math, and…

"They're not dead." Hey, he's earned his doctorate once again. "Inhalation…? Possible." Canting his head to one side, he lifts up an eyelid and checks the pupil's state of responsiveness by waving his other hand across the ambient light-flow. "Come here. Tell me what you see."

The majority of those people dropped are in the little pub on the waterfront, a few on the green around a bench nearby. Nothing otherwise to suggest things went horribly awry so much as they imbibed too much and took a nap.

Wanda is not a healer, not by that sort of trade. She thumbs the hilt of a dagger that no SHIELD agent ought to be going for first, but her habits refined in the Polish hinterland and East Berlin say go hard, violent, and fast. "I see…" Words that won't translate to English well. «Unconscious people. They are not bruised, they are not injured. If they breathe, carbon monoxide?»

"«Yet they breathe. Yes, carbon monoxide could be a factor, but I don't see any proof of a failed motor.»" Rising to his booted feet, he makes his way over to the pub's door. It doesn't take much to open it and peer inside. Bodies are indeed strewn about here as well. That glower is something fierce. Let's hope his face doesn't get stuck like that.

"What in the seven hells…" His eyes immediately shift towards the bar, seeking out an oddly-shaped bottle, or a container with some glowing liquid inside, perhaps.

A nod follows and Wanda raises her hand to her mouth, stifling a pang of a cough. Her braids sway slightly as she struggles to inhale, waving off any concern. Nothing like choking oneself silly by swallowing wrong. A few moments to compose herself only reaps certain benefits, molten heat flickering in her watering amber eyes. Thou shalt not inhale a damn seed or something.

Her pace will be a bit slower, lighter, than Strange on account of his superior size and mass. The pub looks nice enough in a Connecticut seaside kind of way, decorated with much too much sailing memorabilia. Flags here, semaphore there, it spells out "The Mystic Hole" and that's in fact a legitimate name given the Mystic River spills into the Sound not that far off. Of course, reading such notiec is beyond her skill, and she follows into the cheerful gloom under the heavy woods and glazed windows. There is a bar with someone fast asleep or fallen over it, a few people slumped on tables, and slumped in booths. One toppled onto the floor despite his stool and now wears it as a dunce's crown.

Wanda gets her due share of his attention, mostly to make sure she isn't going to join the somnolent crew scattered about the bar itself, and once he's certain she's going to live another day, he turns and walks further into it. The knicknacks are adorable, the homage to the nearby river something to smirk over silently, and then he's lingering over by the bar. Another test of a different person's arterial beat in their neck proves their state to be the same.

"Well…" He turns to look out across the place, weirdly silent as it is despite the number of living folk present. "I suppose a mass healing spell might do the trick."

No, the witch will not keel over at the first sign of trouble. Far from it, in some fashions; she simply cannot perform basic biological functions on her own conscious recognizance. Behold! Unimpressive interior sans nets, but there is definitely a large ship's wheel mounted on the wall and some scrimshaw worthy of admiration. Under other circumstances, she might be standing on a stool and petting the whalebone or the ivory in hopes of identifying whatever minute whaling scene is printed on it. Alas! She must be responsible and stab someone, like the bar or a fluttering piece of paper threatening them all. Her swivel and hiss towards the threatening poster is surely very impressive. But alas, it's just a poster.

"Will that work?" O ye of little faith! He is the Doctor to the dimension, minister of the pains of living! She clicks her tongue. "Where did it come from?"

She gets another long look from her fiance in turn for that hiss. The poster appears to be no more than it is and thus, he sighs, glancing around.

"Hells if I can tell right off the bat. It's worth trying, but yes, maybe after more scrutiny." Stepping away from the bar proper and as centrally into the room as he can manage, he then closes his eyes and exhales slowly. The minute drop of his head signifies concentration as he reaches out with senses beyond the norm. Anything of Mystical ilk cannot hide. What is revealed?

Scent? Color? Saturation? Wavelength of its signature?

The poster advertising a sailing race from 1948 is direly at risk of being segmented, but Wanda restrains herself from the great terror that defines her knives. See, hands raised to prove they are empty, not that it satisfies any possibility of harmlessness. Any mystic is fully capable of raising hell — in her case, quite literally — at the flick of a finger and the proper incantation. The Scarlet Witch isn't an idle name based on the hue of her coat and her dark eyes, glowing like submerged amethyst embers.

"Do not drink it." An unnecessary statement, but given Pietro usually accompanies her, this is a requirement. She pushes at the publican and the unconscious man slumped over the bar hardly moves to a poke of her finger. Another glance over the back of the bar shows no serpents, no demons laughing as they pop the kegs. The air holds a certain taint to it, thick, something that twists and writhes, originating from a tap and sinking into the floor.

Said wavelength is a weird shade of orange, and nothing good in the magical world is ever orange. Right?

Ooh, orange. Foreboding indeed, something to be seen in the peripheral sense-vision, its glow as a candle in a corner. Turning about on his heel, Strange eyes the suspect tap, his own irises reflecting an equal surge of eldritch energy throughout his person.

"Of course not. I'm not suicidal," and he snorts as he walks over to make his way behind the bar. He sniffs at the droplet hanging from the keg's tap and pulls back. "If that's what I think it is…" He glances to the Witch. "Smell. What do you think it is?" This just might be a test for the most pseudo of his myriad apprentices.

Maybe someone can call a medic for foolish wizards prone to slurping down whatever potions or vials they find, for that kind of idiocy is fatal. So too is defensive caution a risk, one to be avoided, as poisonous as impulse control being absent on one's sheet. All said and done, though, the brunette has to move carefully as she picks up glasses in the sink from the prospectively horrible tactical position of lying on her stomach. Her feet barely touch the ground, a curse of being less than deifically tall.

Her nostrils flare over the glasses. "Beer. Beer. This is… sticky and rusty." She holds it up. Cola sticks to the bottom in a syrupy goo, a bit still bubbling. Must be cleaned irregularly, how against code. Her breath fills her lungs, chest rising against the constriction of her corset, and she holds the oxygen deep as though she needs to have a maximum volume the better to parse through impressions. "Not almond." Her gaze flickers upwards to the ceiling, heavy lids sliding down, the better for her to parse through knowledge. «We have many poisonous plants around Mount Wundagore.» The place she never talks about, as it happens. «Too many could do something like this, but their signatures are clear. Blue spotting, lips going cold, they would have a bad impression. An impact in the glasses for the temperature. Nothing like that here, so they may be seen as unlikely. Something native to the country?»

"«Very good,»" and Strange kisses the crown of her head in passing as he makes his way back out from behind the bar, careful not to crunch more glass into the floor. There's enough of a mess as is, no need to make it worse. "«Spindle-Prick, as they call it here in America. If you're familiar with the tale of Sleeping Beauty, or at least some variation of it, the beautiful maiden falls asleep after she pricks her finger upon a spindle.»"

The Sorcerer steps around prone bodies and heads centrally once again. "It can be fixed by a simple healing spell, though the hangover?" And he whistles, a leap of a note before a descent down the musical scale. "It'll be rough."

"Spider Prick?" No, girl, spindle prick. Wanda raises her eyebrows, the mouthful of words not translating right and that much she is aware of. "Needle. Poke of needle on the finger." She flexes her gloved digits for good measure and then anchors herself against the bar, pushing herself up past the taps, including the one infused by the tainted glimmer in the sight. "At least they sleep. It could be bad to be sick instead."

Always look on the bright side of death. She doesn't whistle, but nods to the mention from Strange. Her fiance is fixed with a thoughtful regard as she bellies back and dusts her coat off, hauling on her corset end. The breath deprived from her is minimal, but lying on the boning is rather difficult. "Does it look as…" Whatever the plant name is, she doesn't know in English. "The beer plant looks? An accident?"

"I doubt it." This is reasons for another scowl. The medical professional in him does not approve of mass-sominiacal poisonings. "The distilling of the beer itself is tumultuous enough that the extract would have broken apart before it was kegged. 'Tumultuous' means rough, jarring, jerking about in agitation. Not like wine, where it sits for a long time," Strange explains. "I noticed that it was smeared on the tap itself, in a gelly. A bit of it would melt into each drink poured from the tap. It's potent, as you can see."

Shaking his head, Strange settles himself yet again, taking up a balanced stance and raising his hands palm-up to the ceiling. "This will only take a minute, «Beloved», and then we can leave." Around him, his aura begins to undulate, disturbed as a pebble might ripple a pond. The pale sky-blue magic begins to flow out over the edges of his hands, hitting the floor before being pulled back up into a cyclone effect about his body. It's concentrating the effect before blowing it outwards, able to touch everyone present.

Wanda cares very little for poisonings of any sort, be they standard anthrax or cyanide capsules. She shakes her head to his description, striving to push her hair back from her ears and gazes in concern at the taps. The close graze could have fouled her corset, and that calls for using a napkin, wiping herself down with furious speed.

"Do what you need to do," she says. This is his province, the role of the Sorcerer Supreme, and pride goeth before a good job or a bad decision. His position is well and truly deserved, for all the pain and hurt suffered by the dimension and those within it. Thus he isn't being roughed up too much by her regard, only the recognition of what must be done. He needs his battery, he has one, standing right there. "I watch if someone wakes up."

"Please do," the Sorcerer murmurs, his tone distracted. Then comes the outrush of the spell itself. It washes through the entire room, finding its way into every nook and cranny, crevice and crack, and certainly touching all present, including poor miss Wanda and that unfortunate friction-rash. Maybe it's enough to soothe the reddened skin!

Only maybe, however. This was already quite specific, geared towards metabolizing what Mystical drug lingers in the system of all present and passed out and slobbering on their various bar surfaces.

The middle of the room seems a reasonable place to stand, as the glut of fallen patrons are in tables of twos and threes. A few in the booths remain in close enough reach she can interpose herself to watch Stephen's back in the event anyone chooses to get frisky or take out their confusion on a good man. Her thumb traces circles around the hilt of a dagger, her curses never that far from indifferent walls jailing that unwelcome mutational gift. Fortune follows the bold, but what of the cautious daughter who spins care into faerie dust illusions or violence?

The burgundy coat flashes in motion when she swivels, taking her bearings fully with the Sight opening crack by crack, an occluded disk dropped when the spell-bright friction leaps to the sorcerer's command. She has a very real chance of being blinded, all said and done, hence the perennial caution laid on her acute sensitivity. Not in this case, entirely. Power leaps and alights on the fallen, burrowing in, chasing the same routes. No doubt someone is going to wake up with a taste of power and goo on their palate, and something horrible to cough up in the morning.

It'll take a few minutes for the healing spell to sink bone-deep, ferreting out all of the residue from the Spindle-Kiss. Strange inhales and exhales again, curling in fingers and then quickly rotating his wrists to bring the spread of thumbs and digits inwards. The cessation of the flow of magic grinds to a trickle and then to a complete halt. He opens his eyes, looking somewhat lazily content if only for a passing second, before he shakes off the meditative doze of this particular branch of magic.

"I think…this is coming back with me." Oh yes, keg, he means you and everything in it, down to the smear of herbal sedative about the tap. It's simple enough to open a Gate and indulge in a little telemancy to lift the container and its contents through the glittering oculus. While he's conducting it, he glances over at Wanda. "We'll need to heal the ones outside too. Do you know the spell? Or can you mimic it?"

No more Auroras slumped over for century-year sleeps, no hedgerows of thorns poking up twenty feet, how fortunate for the citizens of tiny Mystic River port communities. They cannot know they were spared an unwelcome awakening only to find the universe charged on decades whilst they slumbered. The whole appearance is a bit less romantic faerie tale, since who would choose to pass out in a pub? Mr. Bean and very few others.

Let there be much head scratching and complaints about that one batch served up. Who trusts the Negawanicky Bighead Trout or the brew from that one place up in Massachusetts now? There will be complaints. The keg will have to be a matter of speculation, a 'big fish' story to go with all the years of rivalry in a small town. Strange can float that container to himself, bobbing along, otherwise looking exactly like every other beer keg known to the 1965 doldrums.

"I know ways. Earth takes to itself the bad," the witch muses. She rubs her fingertips together and checks the rafters for good measure, slipping outside once all is well to see whether the benchwarmers are ready to actually take on their role.

All is well and Wanda is welcome to begin her preparations for assisting the Sorcerer in their shared goal of protecting the Mundane population from the effects of one hell of a rude prank. Once the keg is stashed away into a corner of the Loft, the better to be observed and measured in Mystical terms later, Strange walks back out of the Gate and closes it off.

The first groan arises from a far corner and he pauses to near utter stillness, searching out the maker. Ah, a young woman in a pink blouse and matching poodle skirt, a la throwback to the '50s. Maybe she has some of the Arts in her lineage… Eh, he shouldn't pry. As quickly and quietly as he can manage, the Sorcerer exits the bar proper.

"They're waking," he reports to the Witch as soon as he's near enough to be heard.

Let the greater sorcerer perform the necessary protections. Wanda scratches a line on the ground and withdraws to the green, where the old habit of pre-Revolutionary towns to center around an open sward suits her well. Mustering grounds are natural earth, sometimes adorned by statues and fountains, but always actually grassy. Easy there for her to plunge her awareness into the soil and whisper a few words, an incantation to Gaea to open the channels.

Her art is rather simple, all told, a spell that links the fecund purification through countless layers of soil and carbon-based lifeforms, microbes that devour all manner of natural byproducts without harm. Or at least much. She spreads her fingers apart and forms the careful application of mudras, spinning and weaving links into a braid that she can easily direct around the fallen on the bench. Coiling vines might appear to the Sighted eye, spread out far and wide, seeking targets and corruption such as it exists. Then all she need do is direct and channel the substance back into the ground a few dozen times, using the aid of those happy organisms hungry for something tasty to remove the plague. That as much requires time; it's not as fast as his method or as flashy, but it does disperse the effect. It also means she stands around in the grass, being lazy like a cat.


"Well done." Strange gives her a mild smile, watching her work through the Sight that glows still in his eyes. It's always fascinating to see another approach. After all, a nail doesn't specifically require a hammer. "Let's get back to the Sanctum, before they all awake and wonder who their saviors may be. I'm not giving anyone true love's kiss," he adds, suddenly laughing at the irony of the situation.

Satisfaction to be found in a smile, praise that constitutes something important earns a bit of a distracted nod from Wanda. The pulsations of the seasonal rhythms swell under her feet, heavily influenced by the brine wrack of the sea, the counterbalance of her earthborne element. He is fire and air, she is the endless water and the solid stone that nurtures. Some quiet exhalation marks the snap back to rights of woman and greater planet, the severance of the Witch from her rightful inheritance momentarily painful and void. She wraps her arm around her midsection and leans forward, coughing.

"You better not." Yes, Strange, she heard that. "No kissing anyone without me. True love or bad love." Luck?

Strange sees the bend of her waist, recognizes that it has taken from her to aid in return, and quickly enough, he's there.

"Here, come on," he murmurs, his arm joining in parallel to hers to bring her close to his taller body and support her in turn. "Shower, tea, and a nap. I'll help." Another kiss to her hair, lingering in pressure, and he opens up another Gate.

"I'm very biased to your lips, «Beloved»," he reassures once they're stepping across the glittering oculus and into the Loft proper, headed for the master bedroom.

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