1965-05-12 - About Phylacteries
Summary: Strange, Lindon, and Lamont have a pleasant conversation over tea.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
strange lamont lindon 


There's the sound of golf balls rolling through the main hallway, over the shining parquet floor. Even Lamont the dark avenger occasionally unbends enough to play with the kitties - domesticity may lie oddly on his shoulders, but he manages. The kittens go skittering past the library door, eyes huge, ears laid back…..then the human follows more sedately, to retrieve the balls before they can be batted under the sofas and lost forever.

Lindon peeks out of the library in time to see a kitten skitter by. Then he looks up and grins at Lamont. "Caught you," he says. Then he looks to the kittens wreaking feline hell upon the golf palls. "If we're ever attacked by golfers, we'll be safe. I can sleep easier."

"I was trying," he says, with immense dignity…utterly belied by the glitter in the gray eyes, "To practice telekinesis. But….they got involved, and I gave up for the moment." Then he grins, despite himself. How it changes the harsh lines of his face.

"They're good at getting involved. You should see them when they're helping me catalog." He steps into the hallway and wraps his arms around Lamont's shoulders. "And now you've got me distarcting you. It's a wonder you ever get anything done."

Which embrace Monty leans into, unashamedly. In the privacy of the house, out of the sight of guests, he's affectionate. "You are a welcome distraction. It's ….it's nice to be out from under the weight of obsession. What a fanatic I was," he observes, with a faint wistfulness.

Lindon guides Lamont into the library, toward one of the couches put there for reading at one's leisure. "Obsession clouds the mind," he says. "Besides, when you have nothing to lose, you have nothing to gain. Now you have something to fight for, and a world worthy of protecting."

"Precisely. It's very different from answering merely to one's own sense of righteousness," Lamont admits. "It helps studying with the Sorcerer, as well. He's from a very different school, a very different perspective." He lets himself be steered, contentedly.

"Righteousness has its place," Lindon says. His brow furrows, and he glances to the floor as he sits down. "I keep telling him what I think you should work on. I try not to, but he looks at me, and I just want you to excel, and I start talking. You might want to bring a sweater to your next lesson."

There's that rare, lambent delight in his face at that. "I see," he says, laughing. "What did you tell him I should work on this time?" Lamont isn't the least annoyed. Far from it. He leans over, rests his head on Lin's shoulder.

"It's just that, in inclement conditions, it's important to maintain focus," Lindon says, his hands folded on his lap. He does smile though as Lamont leans his head on his shoulder. "So I suggested perhaps conduct a lesson in harsher conditions than you're used to."

"I see," he says, mildly. "Well, it's true. And he and I both did learn in the high Himalayas," he says, musing. "It'll be like old times, I suppose. Though those old times were hard enough…"

Lindon leans against Lamont lightly. "Better to get used to fighting in hard circumstances in practice than on the fly. I don't mean to give him so many difficult scenarios. I worry. There's so many things that could happen, and for you to go into something without knowing what you're doing…" There he is, getting himself worked up with the fretting.

"Ssssh," Monty sets a thumb gently on Lindon's lower lip. "You're right. As the saying goes 'Train hard, fight easy'. And Strange is no slacker, nor likely to go easy on me - I've not been this stretched since I was under the tutelage of the Masters of Shambhala. But I'm also a better magician now than ever I've been."

Lindon takes a deep breath, and the tension in his shoulders releases. "He's a good teacher," Lindon says. "I trust him to have your best interests in mind." He clasps Lamont's hand in his. "I stay up nights thinking about all the things that could go wrong, is all."

He squeezes that hand in return, brings it to his lips, kisses the fingertips each in turn. "I won't tell you not to worry. You're no fool and you have an agile mind. But….believe me, I think of you, these days, when I am tempted to anything foolish. I take being here for you very seriously. And so does Strange."

Lindon lowers his gaze again and smiles softly. "I'm glad you do," he says. "Dr. Strange said he would care for me if anything happened to you, so I don't fear for myself so much, but being without you would break my heart. This house would feel like a tomb, to be in it all alone."

"If that ever happens….sell it," he says, bluntly. "It's mine, not my family's. You're my heir, now. Let the Doctor help you." He nuzzles into the dark hair, breath warm. "But….it may never come to that. I will live a very long time, if I'm not killed."

Lindon's brows lift. "That's right," he says. "I keep forgetting that you did the paperwork already." He squeezes Lamont's hand. "It won't be an issue for a long, long time," he says. He tilts his head toward Lamont's, closing his eyes. No comment on how long he'll live. It only brings unhappy thoughts.

"It won't," he agrees. As if insisting might ward off Fate. But then….he's got the Doctor as an ally. Fate can be negotiated with.

"If you and Strange have to go to Archangel, I'll go with you, if you want," Lindon says. "I don't know if I'll be a help or a hinderance. I don't even know what's there except it's important."

Lamont's lips purse. But he doesn't brush the idea away immediately. Far from it. "If the Doctor goes with us….I think it might be safe enough. Very little can stand against him…." Clearly, the thought is growing on him.

Lindon nods, then slips an arm around Lamont's shoulders, pressing his lips to his hair. "I couldn't live his life," he says. "Going up against threats like this all the time. My hair would be white. I'd be shaking all the time from nerves. I don't know how he does it. Or you, to be honest."

"He has gods in his back pocket," Lamont's voice is dry, but….not irreverent, surprisingly. "His responsibilities are very great, but he's been granted commensurate power to deal with them. I don't know that I could deal with his job, but then…..it was never offered to me. Fate knows what it's doing in those cases. More often than you might think."

"Assuming Fate is sentient," Lindon says, "rather than being a vast sense of balance to a chaotic universe. It seeks power than can keep the scales from tipping too far one way or another. I don't know. I don't focus on Fate too often. It's just begging for a vision." He pauses, licks his lips, then says, "You know you can trigger them. If you ever need to know how to stop something big. I want you to do it."

Lamont rests a long hand on that dark head, fingertips digging in just a little. Enough to make it a massage - he turns it into such, carefully. "I will remember that," he says, and it has the air of an oath.

Lindon relaxes. Tension building up over the conversation eases again. "Good. I'm not much use to you spouting facts you could find in any encyclopedia. Sometimes you have to go deeper." He smiles weakly as he adds, "I'd do more than go a little crazy for you."

It's a calm evening at home, Shadow and Archive in the library, talking quietly. The cats are in the main hallway, batting around golf balls, and skittering at shadows.

They say curiosity killed the cat — but what if the cat was immortal? Or at least partially so. And this whole phylactery business? In Archangel? Well…it's 'nip enough to set the compass arrow to the Shadow's manor.

It's highly likely that multiple sets of triangle'd ears perk and whiskered faces turn in a certain direction. Perhaps Puck might even make a chirrup of interest, wherever he may be found. Regardless, the flinter-crack of Strange's willpower upon reality proper announces him even as the cats might in turn. He steps through and into what counts as the entryway, clad in a decidedly civilian manner this evening. Black slacks and shined dress shoes, along with a silken button-down in a rich cobalt-nee-ocean-blue beneath a black blazer, could be an odd sight on him. City-slick? Absolutely.

"Ah, Cranston, you're present, excellent." The Sorcerer gets right down to brass tacks. "Lindon. Any new prescience in regards to the phylactery?" He finds a nearby surface and leans lightly upon, all eyes for the Archive in particular.

Lindon glances to the cats as they turn their attention to a certain point in space. Puck chirrups, and Lindon says, "What is it, boy?" Then the sparks of the Gate sketch out their circle, and Lindon sits up taller, reclaiming his hand from Lamont's to sit with them folded in his lap. He's being good!

"Doctor," he says. "We were just discussing that, if you two ended up going to Archangel, I would go with you if you wanted, though I'm not sure how much help I would be." After the kittens regarding Strange for a moment, Athena pounces on his foot, then bounces back sideways, back arched. Then she bolts under the couch, and Pyewacket chases after. Puck continues to watch the Sorcerer Supreme.

Lindon clears his throat and says, "The more I study the phylactery, the more I get a sense of life and essence. Many lives, perhaps. The phyactery itself has a darkness to it, but what's inside is… is the essence of something immortal."

The cats all turning to the Gate before it appears has Lamont frankly staring. "I'd heard that they can do that, but never seen it," he says, bluntly. "I've seen it in certain magical dogs, but….not in ordinary cats. The stories are true." Then he's rising to go greet the Sorcerer, hand out in greeting. Strange can appear without warning without upsetting him or the wards, it seems. It's good to be the King. Or the Supreme, as it were. "What sort of immortal?" he asks Lin, softly.

Athena is given a slash of a smile, humor repressed in light of his professional visit. He's watching you, little fuzzy.

Like a large cat shifting from an idle stance, Strange almost uncoils from his lazy lean in order to return Lamont's handshake. As always, the flirt of Mystical static from Sorcerer to practitioner, but a far kinder tickling than the backlash of their initial greeting.

"Yes, as Cranston asks. What of this sense of immortality? It seems more details are being revealed to you over time. I presume meditation is helping you retain the clarity of information?" The subtle arch of a dark brow and smallest dimpling brings to mind a gentle tease of the mentor rather than simply the Sorcerer.

The two Balinese kittens watch Strange from beneath the couch. Puck continues to regard him from where he sits. He blinks slowly, trying to get in good with cosmic power. Sure, he is but a kitten now but why not start making connections early?

Lindon nods to Strange and says, "Yes, the meditation is helping. I've managed to avoid the visions surrounding the magic while gleaning at least a little information." But the question remains, what sense of immortality? "I would say like the immortality of the soul if I were convinced there is such a thing."

"But there is," Lamont supplies, voice soft as down. Then he remembers his manners, "Would you like a drink, Doctor? Tea or something stronger?" he prompts, turning that gray stare on the Sorcerer.

"I can assure you that there is an immortality to the soul." Strange inhales and pauses, as if collecting a thought, before continuing more quietly, "I can assure you rather personally. Tea would be appreciated, Cranston, thank you. Something dark? With honey?" He gives Lamont a grateful nod even as he begins to pace across the open space before the two gentlemen.

"An immortality of soul…hmm." One side of his inner cheek is chewed upon in passing. "I wonder what bargain the poor bastard made to accomplish such a thing…" he murmurs, pausing before Puck. Fingers extended for a sniff then attempt to glide along one side of the cat's chin and then behind an ear, gently ruffling at soft fur.

Puck lifts his chin, eyes squinting as he's ruffled. Ah, yes. This will do nicely, haver of thumbs. A small trill of a purr fires up. He pauses to glance at Lindon though when Lindon rises to his feet and says, "I'll go make tea." Puck trills and pads after him. Lindon needs watching, clearly, even if it's just nipping down to the kitchen to make tea.

Lindon makes his way to the door, pauses, then turns back and says, "The image I held in my mind felt odd. Like the phylactery was bursting to capacity, and there was more than just one immortal soul trapped inside. Yes, I think trapped is a good word for it."

Then he turns to go, nipping down to the kitchen.

Monty's still a bit hung up on the cats' collective prescience, watching Puck as if he expected him to start spitting sparks or levitating. Not that it's beyond Strange to prank his apprentice as it is. "Assuming he made one willingly," he points out. "Many a magician might wish to have a soul on tap."

Strange watches the dark-pointed cat scoot off after the Archive and smiles almost to himself. Excellent. Lofted brows meet Lindon's statement from the doorway and then the Sorcerer glances to Lamont.

"From what I've gathered of this Hargrove, he might have done such a thing. He has had no qualms twisting the moral scales in his actions." Ooh, and that glower. The silver-templed man has that down to an art, the expression shifting his eyes all the darker even as a fillip of emotion brightens the centers of his irises. "To leave one's soul outside of one's body is…from what I've gathered over the years, asking for Lady Death to come and collect. It is a risky thing, even on the planes most welcoming to the Astral Form. How he might accomplish such a thing, over such a period of time…? It begs the question as to a possession, with the body itself being puppeted, especially if the original soul is no longer present. But to collect souls…?" Strange falls silent, his gaze sliding off to one side rather than accidentally boring a hole into Lamont's skull. "Power, I can see. The sheer…" He lifts a hand and slowly curls fingers as he considers. "Energy — both Mystical and biokinetic both. Animation, possibly." His shrug is not a comfortable one.

Lindon can barely be heard downstairs with Puck. Puck meows, Lindon baby-talks him. Who's a kitty? Is it Puck? Meow! It is! And so forth. Yeah, Lindon's got no dignity with cats. Puck keeps a close eye on his human, and Lindon puts together one of Strange's preferred blends. Just gotta wait for the water to boil.

There's a smile tugging at the corners of Lamont's mouth - he can't help it. But he looks grim as Strange continues. "Exactly," he says, softly. "I had someone try to do something like that to me. To pull my soul out of my body and keep it - to use my body as a puppet and my soul as a source of power…" There's an odd note in hisvoice. Not quite wistful.

Looking beyond Lamont and towards the kitchen, the ghost of a smile crosses the Sorcerer's lips at the baby talk. Aralune won't allow the baby talk anymore, apparently…at least, not from Big Fuzzy. Small Fuzzy, also known as the Witch, gets away with much more babying these days.

"Cranston." There's a pull of authority in Strange's voice accompanied by a narrowing of eyes. "This is the other ring-wielder you spoke of before? Shiwan Khan?" He heard that note and it sets faint alarms to jangling in his mind.

Lindon croons to Puck as he returns to the library with his tray. His voice and the meowing come closer. Then Puck trots in, preceding his human. All right, this library has the all clear, his human may enter. Which he does. Lindon brings the tea tray to the coffee table in front of the couch. Strange's preferred blend, honey and milk.

"It was," Lamont says. He's got that odd, still look. As if moving would jar loose memories he doesn't want to face. But nor does he turn away from Strange. No little tricks like that, especially not with Stephen present.

Strange continues to eye his fauxpprentice even as tea arrives and only breaks the focus once the tray is left upon the coffee table.

"Thank you, Lindon," he says quietly as he collects up the demi-tasse with his preferred blend within. A sip and he adds, "Especially good, thank you. We were discussing the relative immortality of a soul and the possibly puppeteering of a body — specifically Hargrove's." He neglects to touch upon the mindful confession from Lamont. That's a conversation to be revisited in the Sorcerer's mind, rest assured. "Or that this collection of souls might act as a power source, unfortunate as that may be."

Lindon sits, and Puck hops up on the couch beside him, nestling in between Lindon's thigh and the arm of the couch. He purrs, happy fellow that he is. Lindon strokes his ears, then prepares his own cup of tea with a little milk and honey. "We know that Hargrove kills people to steal their power," Lindon says as he glances between the two men. Under the couch, the other two kittens have fallen asleep. "Maybe when they're murdered on his behalf, the soul doesn't make it to its hereafter."

There's a flicker, for just an instant, of Lamont's own power. The Shadow raising his head. The particular kind of evil he's intended to erase, a balancing of karma's scales. A momentary shift of the room's shadows, as if they'd taken on a consciousness of their own. "That would make sense," he says, reluctantly. If his role is asserting itself, if this situation needs the Shadow…..well, retirement might not be as thorough as he wants.

"That would be…unfortunate," opines Strange after he sips at his tea again. About his person, his aura reacts sympathetically in a Mystical way to that quick dancing of the Shadow's powers; the vision of a desert mirage surrounds him, momentarily bending the light about himself in turn. It then settles away once more, placid as a mountain-high lake.

Another sigh, heavier. "Lady Death won't take kindly to such an act, if this is in fact what Hargrove has been doing. He risks her…interest." The Sorcerer chooses the word carefully and imbues it with an eerie gravitas.

Lindon nods to Strange, and he casts a somewhat worried glance Lamont's way. "It would be something unfathomably dark," he says. "I can't imagine." He shivers a little, and Puck mews at his side. He strokes the kitten's fur again. "The man has got to be arrogant. No one attains this kind of power without being…" He glances to Strange, then down. "Confident."

He clears his throat. "So what happens if you two get the phylactery? What would you do with it? What might that do to Hargrove?"

That one Lamont doesn't even dare opine on. He looks mutely to Strange. "What…..what does piquing her interest…." He trails off, not even finishing the question.

The chuckle that slips from Strange's parted lips has decidedly darker notations, smooth and almost…hollow, in a way.

"Confident indeed, risking her interest. What does this entail? I dare not speak for the Lady, at risk of attracting her attention to myself. We don't agree on things as is and she prefers to…not be reminded of what could be construed as a failure on her part." Cue the toothy grin, all prickly pride in ivory.

"Insofar as the phylactery? My own decision will rest upon its contents and I will make said decision when I see fit to do so. It does not bode well to assume, not with potentially-immortal souls involved. As for Hargrove? I will also have a better idea of what ripples may spread from my disturbances once I see this phylactery in-person…however that comes to fruition."

Lindon sets his tea aside and rises to his feet, disturbing Puck, who blinks up at him, watching him as he pads to his desk and picks up a journal. Flipping through it swiftly, he comes to a page and brings it back, offering the open journal to him. Amidst many scribblings there are numbers circled. Beside it, in Lindon's handwriting, is the word 'coordinates?' "I've rearranged these digits in every preumutation I can, and one of those is a point just outside of Archangel, Siberia. It was a long shot, but then I remembered the angel of Siberia in my vision. Anyway, if I had to guess, that's where it is."

Lamont's polite departure from the sitting room is observed and his mentor gives the Shadow a nod by way of farewell. Then, Strange's hand shakes the slightest as he takes the journal from Lindon, murmuring a quiet "Thank you" before he frowns down at it. The tea cup rises to his lips as he reads over the notations and the numbers, taking interest in the ones surrounded by a circular emphasis in ink.

"It could be that this phylactery is located at this location, but…" His eyes rise to Lindon and linger. "This may also be a trap. Answer me this, Lindon. I believe I remember you mentioning that I was a target. What has come of this information? Do you have further knowledge on this matter? I cannot walk willingly into this, like a lamb to the slaughter…gods below, not that I would. The last being that dared to attempt to subjugate my Reality regreted it. I must protect this Reality above all else."

Lindon watches Lamont go, and he strokes Puck's fur absently. The kitten has him trained. A louder purr gets his ears scritched. "It might be a trap," he admits, "or there's a trap around it. The thing itself has importance. It's like… it's like if the knowledge in my mind is a web, it's something interesting wrapped up in silk. It disrupts the pattern. I would be surprised if it wasn't protected."

He rises to his feet again, and this time Puck gets up to trot after him. Lindon is so used to his feline shadow he doesn't have any partiuclar reaction. He goes through some of the journals on his desk, then shakes his head and says, "I can meditate on it and see what I come up with. I was so distracted by the shiny thing I didn't pay attention to anything in the shadows around it."

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