1965-06-07 - Elemental, My Dear Practitioner
Summary: The Sorcerer Supreme must fix a geas worn by time and running water and does so with the necessary assistance of the Scarlet Witch.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
strange wanda 

|ROLL| Strange +rolls 1d20 for: 15

The Gate closes with flickering clicking sounds, far too loud in the misty stillness they step into. It's early morning here, somewhere on the Andalusian plains, and the small swamp is a mastery of primeval isolation. The natural fog is thick, silvery, and lazily strewn about per nature's mastery. Far in the distance, where the sun has yet to rise full, a bird sings almost shyly and falls again into voicelessness.

"I have to check on this place now and then," murmurs the Sorcerer not more than a hand's width from her ear. "It has a geas upon it, but the water, slow moving as it is, seems to wear it down every few years." Strange wears his storm-blues and his Cloak, albeit the relic lies about his neck as a friendly boa might, loop upon crimson loop. The ground beneath their boots is soft and an impress brings up water as one might squeeze a sponge, but the layers of dead grass prevent sinkage into pure muck. He moves in a direction towards the main spring's font itself, each step mindful of balance. His is the air of attention, though not of extreme worry. Whatever's here, he's dealt with before, clearly.

Andalusia, that crowning pinnacle of the fallen Moorish kingdom, holds its old secrets to its dusty chest. Dun lands softened by the silver mist provide a treasury for the senses, something worthy of admiration. Wanda brings her own jewel casket of carnelian, ruby, and onyx to bear. Her begemmed headband is oddly dull and lusterless under the absent sun.

"Is it that bad?" she asks as the fizzing fire evaporates behind her. Not for her a rod or wand. She is armed instead with a honey-slathered croissant, something tucked in pieces into her mouth. She means to impress none and tempt few, unless they find the thick nectar on her fingertips worth the moment. Her fingers are licked clean. Attentiveness in her mate is hardly concerning, but concern, on the other hand, is. Best to walk lightly and ask few questions, rather than walk quickly and ask too many like her questionable brother.

"Unfortunately, yes," the silver-templed man replies as he looks over his shoulder at her, finding the bedazzlement of gemstones and general beauty a thing to bring him to brief pause. A halt in his step and his smile is fast as a glint of sunlight from riverwater. "This is a place of old power, though a subtle one. I once attempted meditation here to suss out exactly what it is." Gloaming light traces his profile as he turns in the direction initially chosen, seeming to stretch mortal senses beyond the curtaining of silvery mist.

"I found my Astral form drawn towards the spring itself before I realized it, out of curiosity alone. Both the living and the dead…they find a magnetism if they aren't on their guard. Someone without a will to continue living?" His lips can be seen to thin. "They are found drowned here invariably. The locals know to send in someone with a rope about their waist in an attempt to find the body. The geas set down isn't harsh, a bit like cotton padding over a wound. It breathes but isn't open to the air. If that makes sense?" He asks even as he flexes fingers at his sides slowly. A gunslinger at dusty high noon might do the same. "It doesn't like the geas, inasmuch as I can ascribe human characteristics to an elemental force, so…" Lips pop quietly and he sighs. "I need you to be my anchor." His grin is now full of charm and an edge of readiness and he holds out a hand in almost symbolic offering. "If you hear anything odd or feel my attention waver, along the link, slap me. Send a jolt of power along it."

Some sights bring men and women to their knees. Others can only be appreciated slowly, like a proper cup of coffee. Trying to take it in all at once only leads to scorched senses and tummy discomforts, and who needs that? She doesn't aim to bewitch anyone at the moment, unless the taste of her particular brand of sorcery appeals to unknown features and spirits lurking about. "All places here have old power. The land remembers. If not you than the Visigoths, the Iberian tribes." They have different names, ones she is ignorant of in English, though her people have a collective memory owed to the great traveling people. Her fingers lace together as she opens her sight a sliver, letting the painful sensitivity settle in, like poking her toe in a very cold lake. No amount of girding loins will prepare her for how much a shock it is, and knowing of the coming prick doesn't help. Her shoulders flex slightly. Tension teeters on the brink.

"A kind of magnet?" She chews on her inner cheek, contemplative in the way of opening herself further to the currents. "Something in the ground? The ground itself?" She is a witch, it only stands that ancient tie to the living breathing nature of the physical sphere applies to her in some way. Andalusia is so much a place of high plateaus and dusty shoals, rather than soft coasts, as Catalonia seeks to be. She inhales, cautious, poisoned under the weight of her thoughts. But the water being under a curse is one thing, whereas the land itself may be stained by the same and she just doesn't know. "I am a good anchor. I weigh some."

|ROLL| Wanda +rolls 1d20 for: 18

"«You are my compass rose,»" Strange reaffirms softly in Tibetan and with an earnesty he shares with none other on this planet, much less within this reality. Perhaps a thought exercise, given the touch of the darker arcane upon his beloved Witch. Still, he nods and peers again into the veiling of misty air, almost as if he's scenting a familiarity on the relative winds. "The land itself remembers, yes. You have a way with words. The ancient people knew this. No doubt there are offerings buried in the silt of the swamp itself." Another quick little confident grin and he then sighs, his breath wreathing faintly in the moisture-heavy air. "Alright, very good. Stay here for now, please. Remember: slap me if you feel me falter," he reminds her. A lean inwards leaves a peck cooling on her temple and there he strides, disappearing into the silvery fog.

To her Sight, the flow of water is easily revealed through the miasm. That appears only on the mortal plane of viewing. What natural Mystical propensities water, as an element, usually has are present. Nothing off-colors its slow seep into the surrounding land, resting as it is on a high water-table. The spring's source is able to be located by the slow upwelling in almost tidal flows from the earth itself. As a heart might beat, it ebbs and flows from some source deep within the cavernous depths of the planet itself. To her ears alone: a sudden rippling, as if something swirled spritely through the shadows of a dark pond, and then a pattern of droplets hitting the surface, crisp and crystalline-sharp, like fracturing ice. Attention greets attention and the weight of it coming to rest upon her isn't heavy, but rather thick, like a layered leather duster.

??? …?
A blip: surprise, as best can be interpreted, followed by glee.
Familiarity. Kinship to she of elemental powers, Gaia-blessed.
Ping, droplet.
// …?!//
Another ping, this one sharp as a bullet through glass. Frustration wells up, slow as old blood, pops.
Along the soulbond, the sense of startlement, almost as a cat might fly upwards into the air, followed by bristling.

«Point true.»

Tibetan is a great deal more comfortable for her still than English, though she will always favour the pastiche of tongues taught in the motherland. Her unique situation, by virtue of her position at his side, allows her to speculate on the spring without approaching the water. "The land never forgets. It knew when it was wet but now is dry. The rock sings the old songs." It is a rough approximation for what she means to say, but Wanda is used to simplifying her opinions for the better part of valour. No one needs to suffer her trying to mince her way around the stumbling blocks of English imagery. Her shoulders form a line. "Will you put your finger in the geas?"

That's right, Stephen Strange, supreme provoker, master poker at large.

She draws in a breath to align herself to the elements around them, and to simply luxuriate in the cool mist. It's hot and humid already in New York, and if there is anything to judge by, it will continue to be so for months. She deserves this much. "I will not move. You are mine." That much is made plain when the veiling spell on her finger disappears, exposing the band in all its worth. She doesn't need to do the same for her necklace. A silver line of truth, even as her attention dips low, deep, and long. In kind, she settles out a thin tendril to establish herself against the elemental influence. An exhalation pushes out a breath, surprise peppering it. She focuses, calm, registering her better half moving beyond her touch in a sort. Acknowledgment anchors a response, wordless, to them.

|ROLL| Strange +rolls 1d20 for: 16

|ROLL| Strange +rolls 1d20 for: 2

Supreme provoker indeed. It's called 'bravery' if you survive the encounter, 'stupidity' if you don't. Somewhere in that amalgamation, a tenuous sense of self-preservation keeps him from outright pestering the element not terribly enthused to see him again.

The silvery mists, to the mortal eye, thicken. To the Mystical Sight, they take on a photolumiscence in lustrous runs of ochre, slate, quartz, shale. It's not a run of colors associated with demonic activity, rather the inherent geography of the land beneath their relative feet. It soothes to the mind and wisps about.

To her again comes the slow rush of smothering attention; phantasmal liquid swirls against exposed skin and drags at clothing with friction that simply doesn't exist.
A series of plopping rings, almost a rill, expressing frustration and then a high note of question. Almost: why?
A basso thump registered in the bones might bring to mind the internal collapse of a water-hewn passage.
The elemental tries conveying to her: Time.
Spans of eons.
Crushing pressure lessening over the blur of sky-running stars and moons and planets, some snuffed as their light ceases to reach earth.
A draw, always, forever more.
To be.
It is.
Beyond human affectations of morality.

The elemental shifts focus again. A riffle beneath her chin might be the ghosting of liquiscent affection even as the retort of a slap can be felt in the distance, almost wavering through the air itself. GO AWAY.

Across the soulbond, OW. A spluttering, as if he's shaking off some form of psychic warning. Steeling resonance rings across, solidifying intent, and then…a sudden melting — a lever rusted and fighting suddenly clanking in the opposite direction. Joints loosen and knees test the ability to stand aright in water cold about ankles beyond sight and touch. A thread of exhaustion plucked expertly from beneath the patching of tenacity and then yanked to run in yards and yards, whorling, carding up another intent entirely.

What beautiful land this is, rich and fabled. Tucked on the threshold of Europe, separating the Mediterranean from the Atlantic, watered and wild, how can she not stare in awe at the sight? No wonder mankind has been beguiled by owning territory for limitless lifetimes. Possessiveness roused by desire is a terribly understandable thing.

Thinking in pure emotive thoughts, not conceptual ideals or words, is difficult, even for mystics. Wizards and witches approach the matter differently, but how can you teach pink to someone who may not even have eyes? She frames appreciation and respect in solid blocks of concentration. Nothing that smacks of ownership, merely recognition. The place is beautiful, the clean earth and the deep water, the mist in pretty shades that veil and dance. Respect for the ebb and flow of time soon follows, tiptoeing on its heels.

Who must go away requires more attention than she really has to spare, except that its aims point at the Sorcerer Supreme. That alone finds her putting her hand loose, reaching out along their bond to send a push of grounded recognition and love. Roots that sink like a tree cleave them together, a lacework rooting them to place. Her presence is still, the wellspring of energy she holds vast and waiting.

|ROLL| Strange +rolls 1d20 for: 13

The acceptance of the proffered netting in opalescent hues is attended by the crisp flash of citrine and celestial blues brightening almost as if someone broke surface and breathed necessary air. As embers brighten, so does the sense of self at the near-distance, shaking off the cling of influence older than written language of the region and older three times yet still. Gratitude, pure and simple as starlight, wreathes and nestles beneath the sternum even as the refraction of hardened glint is apparent yet again.

For her respect and appreciation, the elemental retracts its effects and washes back to her, up against her metaphysical shins as the warmth of an inland sea evaporated by eons and shifting scapes so long ago.
Kindred spirit, the thing seems to whisper on the shell of her ear and through her hair, scented with a kiss of brine.
Exasperation, followed by what could be disregard for her other half. The mists shiver.

//«Beloved, is it speaking to you?» The Sorcerer's attention is so very different from the ponderous focus of the elder elemental — something flicker-bright and refracting, silvery-steel consciousness and lightly-soured concern. With it comes the sense of a mental bloodied nose; a quick sniff clears the stuffing quickly enough from flow of processing.

She is not anywhere near as egotistical and idealistic as the man she loves. He holds a far stronger sense of identity than she does, but how is that not to be expected with someone who shared a womb with a blood brother, the sun to his moon? Pietro and Wanda sometimes may lose a sense of themselves, at least in her part, and so perchance the mutability of her sense of self is only to be expected. But when it comes to forging connections to others, she is rock solid, much more certain.

She holds fast without moving, just as Strange told her. She reaches out, envisioning him by thumbing her ring, a piece of his being braided into her. Relishing being his wife is one thing, but meditating on the nature of the man quick to frown if someone knocks into the Cauldron of the Cosmos or leaves a splat of feathers and bodily fluids on the window of the Eye is more than satisfactory to anchor her grip on the world.

There he is. Him, the legacy and the defender, stalwart and grumpy, poker of pokes, the tall glass who despises the banana mages of the world. Yes, cloned fools one and many have nothing to gain from him. A thin smile arcs over her lips, rare blossom that it is.

«It greets me. It yelled at you to leave, I think.» The water may call her, and it's as much her element as the stone foundations of the earth. «It does not seem to be angry or hostile. Some part of it is… very loud. Very heavy. A part is not very happy. I am not sure what happened.»

How can you query an elemental? The thought of 'hurt?' is pushed along.

«Ah.» A blip of exasperation on par with that of the ancient element reaches her, again flint-bright rather than the slow wash of time's waves. «Yelling would be a way to describe it. I admit to a headache now. Keep it distracted? I only have to patch up one place and I think…» The line of conversation goes flimsy, gossamer as cattail-reed fluff for a second, before solidifying again; like as not, the elemental shoved back, for there's a stumble to be had, a sloshed bump-bump of feet shuffling to keep balance. «Godsdamned thing.» A spike of irritation smoothes out soon enough. A portion of patience is drawn from her, scarlet intermingling with the higher photonic levels of blues to measure out amaranthine. «I'm not binding it, simply changing the geas to keep sapient beings away. I didn't set the original geas, someone else did about eight-hundred years ago.» The sluicing twist of pity across the soulbond is a bitter thin runneling, almost grudging; it's difficult to explain from his point of connection to the thing. The Sorcerer Supreme was labeled fool-monger long ago by privy of station alone, he in charge of keeping a natural influence at bay.

Fog brushes against her cheeks and presses to her lips, sporting that moonbow-smile.
Affectation of affection now from the elemental.
A complete retreat of focus from her other half, the shimmer brand to the Sight visible at twenty yards and then again from the moon if one squints hard enough.
It slips comfortable phantasmal streams beneath her clothing and bathes her fully, attempting to commune on the level of Mystical sympathy.
Hello, hello, and hello again. Bright plip-plops.

Hello indeed, bright ones. Sparkle drip, and spatter splotch. She paints with those terms of liquescent acknowledgement, reaching out to absorb what they might want to say.

To the frustrated one, a sense of motion, for is not water's essential nature mutable? It wants to dance, spinning around, draining along the path of least resistance. If it endorses that impression, she nudges along the sense of sinuous motion, likening herself to rolling down a grassy slope. Maybe that will quell those thwarted ambitions, or perhaps she's just done something terrible. «Not all so bad, is it?»

The water has so many faces and features, it's nearly defeatist to dip a toe into the depths and not stir things up a little. The fool-monger knows the art of dancing to the marionette strings of his own curiosity and good ideas, curbed by impulse, and whatever the Doctor is up to the witch will support. Her chin lifts as she takes in a breath, mindful that she hasn't toppled over on her stomach. Living inwardly through her flooded Sight could, after all, leave her terribly open to the risk of drowning in a few inches of brackish water. «It doesn't mean badly. It is a long time. Why was the geas laid? Do you know?»

The dazzling silhouette at a distance seems to glance over at her; the impression of metallic surgical instruments limned in Mystical light flashes as some amalgamation of fleeting, ricocheting sensory input.

«I would assume the original intention was safety. It has the base notes of shamanic magic, so I assume that this is a layered geas. The very beginnings trace back…» A caesura in communication is followed by the sense of pressing the very barest surface of his metaphysical fingertip to the surface of the magic itself, human-kind overlaid again and again. «Hundreds of thousands of years ago. Blood magic, sacrificial, though it doesn't require this. A misunderstanding, I think. An ancient practitioner thought to placate the natural draw with sacrifice and, I think, began a heritage of the practice. I don't believe the thing cares either way.» Back to threading he goes, snipping at a line there and quickly snagging two ends to braid it into another mutation of intent entirely. Vine-stitch in dawn-blue, brilliant and fine as spider-silk, lighter and stronger yet. Adrenaline transmits a facet of familiar quick-silver speed. No doubt it's slower still than her brother's signature. «Almost done, keep it distracted.» Dry and soft lips brand at her temple again in a ghosting of affection.

The elemental leaps around her aura now, crisp and clean as a high-mountain brook.
Hello and hello! Twinkle-swish.
Water rises around her boots, its physical state a thing of subterranean chill bubbling forth.
Freedom she's granted in an extra enticement from the stygian depths.
All around, sedge grasses and low-lying brush gasping for an extra drink release a grateful sigh in petrichor and the taste of green.

The tying of the knot is careful; the testing tug at his work is enough to pull the focus away briefly. Across the soulbond comes another OW!!! and then the lift of hands thrown up in chagrin. «Done.», he announces to her and to the environmental as a whole. Water drawn at least an inch higher on the natural table itself curls around his boots. «…did you…?» Contemplation followed by realization at the soothed elemental's reaction falls together like Tetris squares sliding into place with sharp click-click-clicks. The shocked amusement flying across the soulbond hits like throwing open curtains to let in summer sunshine even before the sound of his baritone laughter wends through the thick mists. «So be it.»

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