1965-06-28 - I Say, There's a Carbonadium Ibex on Your Stoop
Summary: Scarlett brings novel-tea and a strange little companion to the Sanctum Sanctorum, much to Strange's eventual amusement.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
strange rogue 

"Tell her that I'll be out soon. No — tell her, verbatim, "I'm feeding the snakes and it will take me a few minutes. There's tea in the parlor if you wish. I thank you for your patience." That precisely." The silver-templed gentleman, in his master-blues, asks this of the slip-silvery wards that cloud about his person. They wisp away as quickly as the North Wind and leave him to his devices: primarily that of feeding the damn talking snakes in the greenhouse. Tucked away into a large back room of the Sanctum, with the outer wall actually built into the foundation of the mansion itself, it's a small slice of tropical paradise. Within the fogged panes of resilient glass, humidity clings to plants and his skin alike. Strange blows a resigned sigh and calls out,

"Alright, you scaly bastards. You want your rumors and secrets? Come and get them." Beneath the wide-spread fronds of a tree, stout of trunk and squat of root, he waits, arms loosely crossed and expression frankly irritated.

In the front entryway, that short space before the expanse of the foyer and its Grand Staircase, the guardian spells report the Master of the Sanctum's suggestions and gratitudes. They linger before the red-head, ready and able to take back a reply in turn.

The young lady brings her own particular tea paying homage to the heat baking New York flat. Humidity sweeps in like a shower in a closed bathroom, moisture hanging in the air. She could use a distraction to cope with that, as all city dwellers do, in an era without much air conditioning. Her offering is best served cold, pomegranate fruit mixed into a soft white Ti Quan Yin oolong. The Iron Goddess of mercy lends her tender kindness to the lush array, a tangy and luscious flavour promised. By itself, the tin smells remarkably fruity and mouthwatering. If it weren't a tin, Scarlett might have eaten it. Certainly a hopeful, tiny goat following her around for no particular reason wants to, bleating hopefully, left on the porch to its own devices. "You wait there," she says before stepping into the Sanctum. "Or wander off and find your mother. You aren't my guest."

Yes, the wards no doubt report like the worst guards she is talking to a tiny horned goat, one of exceedingly pretty, because its fair tufted coat isn't exactly normal. It's made of metal. In fact, it's made of a metal rare enough to cause a demented chase for it.

Trust her to know carbonadium. Carbonadium that slammed into her body, no pretty piece, for all she healed. So the Carbonadium Ibex of the Urals happily bleats and waits for a lid to chew on.

She steps inside, leaving her friend behind. That it comes with the aura of a cryptid, an impossibly rare magical creature, is beside the point. Scarlett inevitably falls into a chair and peers about, head tilted.

Back to him fly the slip-silvery wards and in mid-sentence, he pauses to listen to their report.

"Now, that's not entirely true, I wasn't the one holding the end of the pantyhose when — " Both snakes, having appeared from the foliage, hiss in irritation, a most querulous audience. "I'm sorry, a goat made of metal? A metallic goat on my doorstep? Oh, she brought tea, good," he asides to himself before turning back to the snakes. "That whole rumor about the pantyhose isn't true. I know, I know, I hate to disappoint you," he adds over his shoulder as the two snakes turn to one another and get to arguing the finer points of the tensile strength of today's undergarments.

The Sanctum is far cooler than the atmosphere of the greenhouse and he enters the parlor blotting his temples with the wrappings about his wrist. "Miss Autumn, I apologize for the delay. They get cantankerous when left to their own devices and prone to harassing the guests. I'll get to making the tea," he says as he holds out a scarred palm for the tin. "How are you then?" He pauses by the tea stand with his gaze lingering on her, motions come nearly to a halt.

A living, breathing, almost extinct goat of a breed in perilous decline in its own right would be fascinating. Now, a goat with spindled carbonadium fur, that's another matter altogether. It gently butts its carbonadium horns against the floor. Magic or no magic, supple adamantine-based compounds probably destroy the paint. It chews politely on the corner of the tin, bleating in what counts as a goatlike purr. A giggle, because the kid needs to giggle. That's its job.

Scarlett, in all her gentility, partakes of nothing not offered to her. Perchance that choice of pomegranate factors into her thoughts. No one is perfect; symbolism counts for wizards and even unconscious projection could be a problem when it comes to the Sorcerer Supreme. Either way, she crosses her ankles. The reckless adoption of something for the heat means she wears a sleeveless top and a long skirt, her deadly skin completely bare and covered in henna designs from the knuckles to the elbows. The short, cropped vest spangled in lovely embroidery gives bohemian a fresh meaning, as do the pile of flowers woven into her hair. "You should not complain. I am your guest, and you have many cares upon your head. It is, after all, still working hours?" Fingers delicately sculpt out a curve. "Though I trust all remains well and peaceful in your house."

Strange pauses as he hears the sound of faint scraping and thumping at the front doors of the Sanctum. It sounds an awful lot like the ruckus that Silver used to make in his stall, all those many years ago, back on the farm. "….I'll deal with that later," he grumbles to himself. The ever-heated tea pot has steam rising from its spout in naught but a gesture overtop it and the tea is left to steep as he glances to his guest again.

"I'm always on call," replies he with a light brushing of resigned acceptance in tone. "It's amazing how I can't seem to shake that aspect of my job choices. Maybe I get some perverse enjoyment out of it, deep in my soul." He laughs, the sound warm in the airy room. A glance up at the ceiling seems habitual before he looks to her again. "My home is content, yes. Nothing has escaped, nothing is broken, and no one's opening the basement doors or the chained refrigerator. I have little to complain about, all things considered." Leaning in over the wisps of heat swirling up from the dark brews, he inhales and hums. "A good blend. You seem well then. And Barnes?" he asks as he paces away a few steps, hands hidden away behind his back in his usual composed manner.

The goat hasn't begun chewing on the doorknob. The knob or handle won't be any trouble for those dainty hooves, given the natural habitat of an Ibex is standing on a sliver of rock over thin air, levitating rock or not. It will eventually perch itself there like a gargoyle and blink hopefully at the world going by, in a most caprine fashion. Little stubby tail wiggling, and go.

"When are we free to pursue our own aims and goals?" Scarlett muses, not truly anticipating a response wholecloth from a man used to spinning tales to regale the minds of society — or delude them to his existence. "Nonetheless, you have some familiarity? It is not as though doctors traipse about as they like, or partake of lengthy holidays. No more than students find themselves hauled into the classroom at the whims of our overlords. Professors, naturally, care not one whit about our lives but as we fulfill their onerous, cumbersome laws. Draconian nature of the beast, I almost wonder if I should settle down into another path. Alas, what kind of career is there for a girl like me?" Mirth mingles with a sharper edge of knowledge in those vast, luminous eyes shaded as bright as the northern lights in their most active phases. She will take tea in a cup only when offered, and not before. "Chained refrigerator? I will remember to consult you about holiday dinners." Trailing off to consider no doubt the paltry state of her fridge, and the other nine pantries adult supersoldiers raid freely, the lingering air of distracted contemplation flickers around her.

"I am." Simple enough statement. "Caught unawares by this stillness, and cannot help but to think we're at the centre of a brewing storm. The eye wall passes over sooner or later, and as I love the blue sky, the rain and the wind come. I am… settled, I suppose. Harbouring ideas I should not harbour, learning. He's happy. Happier than I think he ever let's on. He went through near hell and back, and came out scraped but intact with the people he cares about most in a similar state. Mostly."

The Sorcerer inclines his head and the crow's-feet of understanding appear at the corner of his eyes. His moderated steps take him back over to the tea stand and, judging the color and depth of fruity nuances to be correct, he delivers unto his guest a cuppa resting on its small plate.

"Peace is a tremulous thing," he agrees with a faint note of sympathy. "A thing to treasure for how a storm can blow it away as easily as goosedown. Happiness shared, however, takes roots against the worst of times. I…admit that I wouldn't have ever taken a bet that you and he would take up living with one another, but if I were completely perfect, the world might implode." Even as he takes up his own demitasse, Scarlett is given a slant wink. The wing-backed chair he calls his own by proxy of long hours spent occupying it and the furniture even taking on the subtle shape of his broad shoulders is now his to sit upon and he does with a little sigh. "The refrigerator in question holds some nourishment that I can digest. However, nothing in it is from this reality proper, and as such, no one is allowed access to it but myself." Hey — proof that the man does eat after all! "I would never serve anything inside it to guests, much less those from a universe beyond our own. I'm sure I'm allowed my foibles in keeping what food I can eat to myself alone."

A sip of his tea and those dark brows nearly disappear into his hairline. "Gods below. That doesn't even need honey. You have an excellent nose for blends, Autumn. But — your schooling," and setting aside his cup, he then interlaces his fingers in a bridge before his sternum. In his storm-blues, he's slipped easily into the role of mentor rather than host. "You intend to finish it out, yes?"

"Peace holds a strange quality. We never seem to fully appreciate it until something disrupts the surface or takes it away completely." Scarlett rises out of her seat to offer assistance where she can, far from incapable of carrying plates or cups of tea easily as one pleases. The ability to float herself does not extend to telekinesis, alas, but she makes do how she may. Strange's statement leaves her smile a faint echo. "What, you never thought a suitably nice, pleasant student would never take up with a wanted man or the terrorist who taught her to rig explosives to buildings or brewed riots to sow dissent?" What news falls from her lips isn't exactly easy or glib, but treated with a neutral elegance, a grace of time and distance sparing her the horrible truth. "Even then, I tried to save him from those tendencies stitched in by a cruel hand. To be utterly honest, I wondered whether I would end up with a gun pointed to my head and the Soviets carting me off. That it turned out well owes more to him than anything I did. He was the one who rejected the unwelcome burdens; I merely imploded and made clear my intentions, library of the psyche or not."

No, she's not blushing. But then, she almost never does. Very little socially seems to cause her overt discomfort.

Sooner or later she sits to join him, her legs crossed lightly at the ankles and swept out the side, perfectly ladylike, utterly royal when it comes down. "The fruit blends that particular company," she nods to the lidless tin, "manages are something out of this world, nearly. I will slowly start digging my way through them in the next few weeks to find the best suited for my palate. You may be sure I intend to whisk a few over to you for your satisfaction, though I may not bother with the Yerba mate." Because a mildly drunken and high Sorcerer Supreme would be amusing, if not wise. Her languid gaze settles upon Strange. "My only memories are of being a student. The toil of short years proves I will always be a student." So sayeth the eternal scholar. "I took the summer off, and return come September. A master's degree once seemed utterly the thing, but now, it feels haphazard. I will polish up my thesis and be done. It's rather unfair to argue and defend when I have the sum in here." She taps her head. "I learned what I know fairly and conventionally, but rebutting political viewpoints when I have literally princes and kings in there…"

Outside, the ibex on the doorknob knocks a horn against the door. Because why not.

The Sorcerer seems to smile to himself. "Having access to viewpoints held by rarer instances of bloodline or godly pronouncement can only give a little spice to your thesis, I'm sure…something for your professors to chew over and wonder if it's to their liking or you've added a tablespoon rather than a pinch to upset their world views. There's a…certain satisfaction in upturning an assumptive viewpoint." He glances over at the front door again at the hollow sound of impact and his lips thin briefly. Still, he forges on. "Continual learning is important, especially in a rapidly-changing world. To put it frankly, stop learning and you die. It's more dramatic couched in terms of the metaphysical rather than the mundane world, but…then again, if you choose not to read the signs and step on a land mine, I suppose that counts too."

Another sigh and his bright eyes linger on her. They run from her flowery coiffing to her toes and back, nothing overtly overly-familiar in the observation. "Do you wish to continue your apprenticeship with me, Autumn? It's been some time since we've sat down to a lesson. I don't begrudge you your life and its interruptions. The last was…a humdinger." A deep divot of a frown shadows his features. "Despite it sounding trite, might I recommend…as your doctor…that you attempt to avoid, unless absolutely necessary, taking in the souls of ancient beings with an inability to understand modern morals. It's nearly impossible to find agreement with them."

The faintest line appears against her brow, the vivid streak of fire on pale skin shifting a fraction upward. "Naturally, Doctor. I would never wish to cease learning, considering I am not precisely wise in all the ways of the world. A hunger lies in a person when they realize enough to know they realize very little at all." The rim of the cup pressed to her lower lip dents the natural curve, the lushness drawn by Gaea's fair hand compressed a fraction and bleached of its rosy contour. Inhaling the fragrance of the tea saturates her palate, preparing her for the first act of communion engaging her palate. By the point the first drops touch her tongue and wet her lips, she practically submerges under Quan Yin — or Kannon if one is Japanese — in all her bodhisattvic mercies, drowned in that limpid joy of a good cuppa. "Besides, I do quite well for a four year old."

Thus does she sip, properly silenced by the rich fruits and flowers blended into an immaculate balance, harmonized against the rarefied atmosphere of the Sanctum itself. "Very much so, if you find yourself able and willing. The past few months — mm. I have insights to very difficult matters that might best be directed in a positive way. And let's be honest, politics holds only a measure eof fascination. I would care very much to be an apt diplomat, and balance the different worlds facing us, but not everything can be solved immediately by words. Nor a fist." Her fingers curl around the cup's handle, so innocent, hardly suggestive she could crush it to dust without a moment's thought. "In general, Doctor Strange, I avoid absorbing anyone except a very select chosen few. And that mostly for their benefit, more than mine." Human save point and go, after all. She strokes the line of her jaw idly, regarding him. "I have a good many more people to keep together and happy than before. Nor have I every cosmic force to keep our respective governments and forces from deciding to claim them. Have no doubt I'll use every reasonable avenue at my disposal, but when it comes to the people I care about, I'll move heaven and earth for them."

Or rivers. Great big rivers.

"I have little doubt of this given what I've observed in your propensity to act as shield rather than sword," murmurs the Doctor, sporting a knowing little smile even as he reaches out for his cup. Long fingers mapped in red take it up and interlace about it, appreciating what heat it emits. Today's pain is less than usual, manageable rather than insufferable, and it offers a modicum of ease to his person and general air. "I understand. I would pull the very stars from the night skies above if the safety of my loved ones warranted such an action. I attempt to avoid engendering its need, of course. Nothing like a believable bluff to stand in where words and fists fail."

A comfortable silence reigns for a short time as he sips at his tea and mulls the flavors of his tongue. Sweet without being cloying, deep without drowning in the essence of fruit, it's a delightful change from the usual rich and tongue-twanging Chais or blackcurrent-clove of his regular intake. "We'll take up your lessons when you choose — as your schedule allows it. I would rather you complete your thesis than learn to gather the strands of sunlight and weave a dishcloth of them. In a world rooted in the mundane, it is more economical."

"Would you think well of me acting as the sabre? Does there stand an advantage when I walk onto the field, wielding a curse?" Scarlett's smile holds an opacity of basalt, for all the gods made her out of moonlight and sunfire, wrapped up in a cloak of pale radiance. "True, I might be effective putting out my hands and wresting their very name and life from them. Ripping away their knowledge puts me on a better footing. Tactically, the decision is sound. Now if they never wake up, or they only bestir from a coma months later, is that going to earn a reputation for me and the rest of us with powers of any sort as responsible? No. I think rather I'll set off a version of the Inquisition, and they will find a high enough calibre to put something through my head. I rather like my head. Believe me that there are times when anger stirs me to act. Every time, every last one, I'm reminded why I cannot." Her gaze flickers askance to some point safe on the wall above the wizard's shoulder, relatively innocent indeed. "Save for the few. I cannot help what I will do for them, only that I seek to do so with the best of intentions and mitigate the sins done. If I would not care for the consequences, that makes me every bit as dangerous as the forces I contend with. Alas, things are never quite grey as they are shaded inversely like that."

She chuckles softly all the same, dispelling the notion by downing the remainder of her tea. "My summer is open. Pending the various alliances I holding calling me — and few are active in a sense right now — I am at your disposal. As long as I am home by a reasonable hour. Two of the boys panic when I break routine, and they may be inclined to show up."

The goat gnaws on the doorknob.

"We can't be permitting that then. I have no interest in keeping you past any late hour. Much of my research and reading is best done after the sun has set." Still, by the flicker in his steel-blue eyes, Strange is clearly considering what would come of two of the…clones? Offspring — visiting. Rogers hadn't done a good job of explaining it to him beyond that of magical influence in their creation and now, inadvertantly…he's intrigued. However, he can be patient as the leopard on a limb, idling keeping watch until the moment to drop.

Hearing the sound of the goat's antics, the man huffs and sets aside his tea cup. "If you'll excuse me, I need to deal with this before it becomes more active vandalism." Rising to his feet, he then makes his way into the entryway and then to the door. Opening the one with the least amount of weight resistance, he immediately glowers at the shiny creature balancing so majestically on the doorknob. "Will you please cease?" The guardian spells waft immediately behind him and offer no means of entrance to the Sanctum whatsoever.

LOG NOTE: To be continued.

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