1965-09-07 - ...And Two Monsters for Tea
Summary: A conversation over tea between a sorcerer and two monsters.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
adam halgrim strange 


The research has been done. Many hours spent pouring over old tomes has resulted in a few tidbits of interesting information, though decidedly abstract as they might be. A quick phone call — no doubt someone has the Sorcerer's phone number — and a time and date is decided for tea. Knock twice and the front door will open. Don't mind the warding spells, they'll look you over for weaponry or negative intentions and then allow you further within the entryway. Try not to shout at them, they're touch, the man had explained over the phone to Halgrim.

The doors of the Sanctum on Bleeker Street are darkwood, glossy and holding a frosted windowpane a-piece. Knocking twice opens the one beneath the knocker's knuckles and the outflux of air is warm, smelling of incense and brewing tea. Upon entry, swish — the warding spells might feel like the draft from an open refrigerator as they pour over, perhaps lightly tingle, but they mean no harm currently. They swish off and from a nearby side door within the short hallway comes,

"Here, come and sit. Professor?" That'll be Stephen speaking from within the sitting room beyond the door, himself working at brewing tea at the tea stand found on the brick hearth by the unlit fireplace.

Halgrim notes to Strange when they set up their meeting that he'll be bringing Adam, the aforementioned 'created being', to discuss things that happened on a trip to the Catskills; Halgrim can only give a second-hand accounting, but Adam was actually able to speak to the beast at length. (He can't quite bring himself to describe Adam as Frankenstein's Monster.) He warns Adam about the wards as they approach the building, saying, "They felt a little odd when I was last here, but didn't seem to bother," he taps on the stone where it rests under his shirt, "so I suspect you'll be fine."

As before, there's no reaction from the stone or the Fjorskar spirit, and Halgrim makes to follow the sound of Strange's voice once he hears it, pausing to be sure nothing happens with Adam and the wards.

Adam quietly walks alongside in his cloak. As tall as he is, it's almost as impressive as the sorcerer's cloak, but not nearly as opinionated. Apparently a nine-foot-tall grey woolen cloak with a deep hood is accompanying Halgrim. When Adam feels the wards, he picks up his head, but—nothing happens. "Very well, they do not trouble me," he murmurs.

Strange looks up from prepping tea and rather than pausing in sheer surprise, he continues to stir honey into his personal clay mug. In his Master-blues, he's formally present as Sorcerer Supreme for this particular chitchat. Halgrim gets a warm if aloof smile; the tall personage in the voluminous grey cloak gets an appraising once-over, not necessarily impersonal but without prying.

"Please, have a seat." There are multiple wing-backed chairs available in a half-ring before the brick hearth, where one might sit in the winter months and warm feet while sipping at a drink of their choice. One of them has a crimson swathe of fabric across it. The collars lift up almost as ears, but it remains where it is after the silver-templed man gives it a stern look. "If you'd like tea, either of you, do you have a preference?" he then asks, keen steel-blue eyes shifting back to his guests.

Halgrim relaxes as the wards permit Adam without incident, and leads the way to the sitting room. "Thank you for seeing us, Doctor." He considers the tea station, and says, "Something herbal, if you have it? Chammomile, or the like—I've had enough caffeine today, and probably shouldn't keep myself up too late." He can't deny it's been an exhausting week already, and there's still tomorrow, so he sits down in one of the available chairs without hesitation. Eyeing the cloak as it moves, he gestures at Adam, saying, "Doctor, allow me to introduce Adam. He's been an excellent friend to me since I had my first, ah, incident, here in the city. Without him and Dr. Morbius things would be far worse for me these past months."

Adam lifts his enormous hands to his hood and drops it back, revealing his great, awful head and his ice-white eyes set in black sclera. "Doctor," he says, in a voice like a double-bass cello's lowest note. Resonant and could easily be terrifying, but he's keeping it very quiet. The tone of his skin is recognizable immediately to a doctor: it's the color of corpses. "Tea would be welcome. Darjeeling black, if you have it."

The silver-templed man isn't about to admit his sudden fascination with the revelation of the personage under that ginormous hood aloud, but the impersonal slower once-over is likely proof enough. Hmm.

"Nice to meet you, Adam. Darjeeling black for you, I do have. Something herbal for you, Professor…." His scarred fingers flick through a collection of tags, all of different colors, tied to the strings of satchet within a large wicker basket on the tea stand. "…I do have a chamomile, here we are." Plucking the particular tea bags in question, he then begins to prepare his guests their brews.

"Doctor Morbius I know as well. A good man. I appreciate all of his efforts in acting as steadfast presence — you as well, Adam," and Strange nods to the tall creature with the odd eyes. "Is there any news to report in regards to your 'houseguest'?" He uses the term with a little fillip of fondness, like as not for the absurdity of it in his own opinion, giving Halgrim a thin half-smile.

"Yes, a great deal actually." Halgrim looks askance at Adam, thinks back to their trip. "Adam thought it might be best if the—if Fjorskar," he says the name with an Old Norse pronunciation, different from his own native Swedish in subtle ways, "had more room to be. Central Park is nice, but it's not the wilderness. So we went to the Catskills, because they're close, and spent the weekend after I had a," he pauses, laughs almost helplessly, "particularly difficult week. Honestly if we hadn't I don't know if I'd have made it through these first days of fall semester." He gestures to Adam. "Adam did most of the speaking with her. I don't remember anything that she did or said, just changing and waking up." And as for what they talked about after that, he's not inclined to bring up. At least not yet. "But since that trip, and since these exercises of allowing her more, time, more space, I've felt less…pressure. When I'm angry I can talk her down, buy myself some time to go somewhere safer."

The corpse skin isn't the last of it, either. Adam's face is sunken in a dessicated way. He's stitched, each part a different skin tone from the last, sometimes drastically, although they've all faded. This is a creature who should not exist, by all laws of medicine, physics, and God. He bows a very shallow, correct old-world European bow. "Sorcerer Supreme, I have heard much of your accomplishments. You will forgive me if I choose to sit on the floor; I would not like to damage any of your handsome furniture." With that, he does, cloak pooling around him. "Yes. I spoke to the Fjorskar at length. She is a female power. A spirit of nature, or more properly, several spirits. A made thing, like myself, a chimerical thing, like myself."

Having listened to Halgrim's tale of discovery and consequential calm found in the storm of the new semester, the Sorcerer then delivers the guest each their tea — Darjeeling black to the creation living and a chamomile, plain and simple, to the Professor.

"Please, be comfortable," he says to Adam in particular. "A female power. Hmph. I did not want to assign a title as such, but I do not disagree. I found a similar identity when I spoke with her. Indeed, she is an amalgamation of many things. I saw her creation in a vision shared with me by the Fjorskar. Were you aware of this?" He looks from Adam to Halgrim as he pauses on the brick hearth, holding his own mug of tea, a dark summery blend of blackcurrent and cloves.

Halgrim sips his tea and sighs, murmurs, "Tak." It seems he was unaware of just how much he needed a good cup of something soothing. He looks between Strange and Adam. "No, I hadn't realized," he glances down at the stone, or rather the bump it forms in his shirt, "she could do that." He sounds, perhaps not worried, but at least disquieted, by the things this might imply. He has more tea, regards Adam thoughtfully. "Did she tell you any of that, in the mountains?"

Adam accepts the cup with great control and delicacy, and a murmur of thanks. It seems like he should instantly smash it with how big he is, but he doesn't. He holds it as if it were a sparrow who lit on him to investigate. "She did not say specifics. Her English is poor, and I do not speak her native tongue. She refused to speak in the other Nordic languages I know. Apparently, they are too Christian for her liking." He doesn't disagree. "She said she was created, and that…" pausing, he recollects, and picks his words carefully. "She wishes to be out of pain."

Strange's expression has a rare faint note of pity in it now as he looks upon the Professor.

"I wondered if there was pain," he firstly says, nodding to Adam in acknowledgement at his delicate choice of explanation. "I am surprised that she spoke to you at all, Adam. It took a shift into the trade jargon of the spirit-tongue for me to make clear sense of her communication. I mean no insult in this," he adds to Halgrim, just in case the Fjorskar is listening in. "I was shown a vision of a young practitioner attempting to…the creature put it as, gain what he could not have. A ceremonial spell collapsed upon him and every spirit present was torn asunder. She is what survived and arranged to 'be' to avert disaster in the void. You are apparently the first host to survive her presence. It speaks to your strength," he informs the Professor solemnly.

"I see," Halgrim says, carefully, because he's entirely unsure how to feel about, well, any of that. He's quiet for a time, toying with his tea and thinking things over. "Well, as you say I suppose it makes sense she's in pain." He swallows, since that brings up a memory which is still tender. "And thank you, Doctor, though perhaps it's less strength and more," he pulls a face, "stubbornness." He has a drink of tea. "I can't remember what happened when I touched the stone but I wouldn't be surprised if my first act was to dig in my heels." He sighs, considers his tea, then Strange. "Is there anything to be done for that pain, then?"

Adam sips the tea, without any apparent difficulty in how small it is to him. He just does it. He glances at Halgrim, fond. "Yes. She said she has taken over all other hosts. Although she said this is the first time her host has been human. She is displeased with that. As with much else." Really, there isn't much the Fjorskar does like. He hesitates again, glancing back at Strange. "There may be things she confided to me that I would not feel are to be passed on. She would not speak to you easily because you are a 'worldshaper'. I would not want to break my pack-sister's trust."

"There has been some peace found in how you've allowed her more reign, to spend time in the greenery of the Park and the wilds. No doubt that has taken away part of her pain. However, she remains in a state of unbalance, and that in itself, to a creature composed of energy harmonic to their individual states, is like as not akin to existing as one perpetual Charlie horse." Strange grimaces sympathetically before sipping his tea. "It is not something to lose sleep over, Professor, though I know that I say this and to do so is much easier said than done. There are advances to be made. I have found new information that the Fjorskar did not share with me, as she was unable to do so to some extent. For example, the one who bound the amulet itself within the box beneath the earth bound her against the written language of her time."

He glances to Adam now and adds as a brief aside, "I would not have you lose that trust. Someone needs to keep a connection to her within this world. You may be critical yet to averting bloodshed. Keep your peace in that which you believe to be privately-shared and tell me what you can."

Halgrim makes a low sound, just stops himself from reaching for his calf at the very idea. "I'll make sure to find more time for it, then." He's clearly curious about what these things meant for confidence between Fjorskar and Adam might be, but says nothing about it. He blinks at the mention of the proscription against the language. "So that would be—Proto Norse? And the Elder Futhark? Why would she do that?" He frowns. "Is there a point to making communication difficult for her? She was already being locked in a stone chest under a burial mound."

"If communication made her more dangerous, then yes, I imagine there was a point." Adam is sitting there like a very large, tea-sipping stone. Utterly steady. Utterly there, all of him in all his grotesque glory. The stories of him talk of a rampaging, murderous monster. Right now, he acts like, perhaps, he is accompanying a friend to a cancer diagnosis. He's here to be here.

The silver-templed man nods to Adam before looking back to Halgrim. "In a way, there is a danger and a point both. I believe the Fjorskar might be somehow aware of but unable to access the memory of the compedium of that which comprises both Proto-Norse and Old Norse. You're aware of these, Professor. Elder and Younger Futhark runes. The runes themselves were critical to the magic that initially summoned and then failed to bind her — they are critical yet still, even now, in your case. Creating a state of amnesia in the case of the Fjorskar would not allow her to practice seidr. She is well and truly contained for this, unable to share even with you, Professor, what she might know of how she was originally brought into being."

Strange sighs, the released breath swirling the steam that rises from his cup of dark tea. "Releasing her from that gaes might gain us more information, but I hazard to dally trivially in the practice of seidr. It is about change and bringing it upon oneself, from what I can glean of my studies. It might be best, in the meantime, to reach a more permanent state of harmony within." He touches at his own chest, at his sternum and his metaphysical soul-font from which he draws his own power for the Arts.

"Of course," Halgrim says on a soft sigh of understanding. "If you cannot use language, you cannot express your will and intent to forge the link between the abstract and the real. Which was the entire purpose of the Gift of Odin—the runes." He sits back, mulling over the implications. "I suppose, then, that she must have been performing magic of some sort? Or was trying to." His mouth flattens; he can't defend denying anyone a means to communicate, but he can certainly understand the concern of a creature as powerful as Fjorskar also performing magic, or empowering any host to do so.

He nods, and sips his tea. "That would seem the better course. If we can…ease whatever pain she still bears, even heal it, perhaps she and I might at least reach a more comfortable state." Of course, there's the question of what that will even result in, and though he doesn't give voice to it the concern is plain on his face.

Adam is thinking along those lines, because he says, "I expect she was trying to integrate herself." He falls quiet, still. A conventionally-living man would shift his weight; Adam doesn't. It's almost uncomfortable. "Her task is more difficult than my own. I was created of parts that are natural to each other. She was not."

"Yet she finds a point of similarity and friend in you, I think," Strange says to the grey cloak-wearing being. "It is an honor. I am jealous, in a way. I am but the intruder in her new worldly revelations, I think, being a practitioner — shaman — in her eyes. I must be continue to be mindful in interactions with her, I think." He doesn't seem concerned so much as thoughtful. His attention then shifts to Halgrim again.

"With her inability to perform her own magic, I believe the next step must come from you, Professor. Mind, much of this is conjecture, as the turth of the practice of seidr is one entangled with the spread of other religions," he warns before he continues. "It would be an attempt for you to attune yourself to the Fjorskar within. With your mind, you would need to come to an understanding that you are not necessarily separate beings — that you are one being sharing a space within this world. It is rather advanced meditation, but…you have already found the way to release her upon a thought rather than having her rip through your psyche to release herself in turn. I can see it working in both of your favors. Be mindful, however, that in bringin her closer to you and yourself closer to her, in turn, you may find that each may influence the other far more heavily than before."

"Well, a point in my favor here is I wasn't raised Christian," Halgrim says, scratching his beard. "My family kept the old traditions—what we'd managed to hold on to, that is." He gives Strange a rueful smile. "I've fallen out of practice since moving here, but there's no time like the present to rekindle them. Perhaps I can even dig up some I don't already know." He shifts uncomfortably as Strange hits on the very thing he's concerned with, looks away and coughs a voiceless laugh. "I'd be a liar to say I hadn't worried that was a possibility," he admits. "Ever since I stopped holding her back so much it's felt like she reacts to subtler tings than she used to. Threats to others rather than just myself, even in the absract, bring her closer." He sighs. "Probably nothing to be done for that except to hope she's willing to be guided." He looks at Adam. "We may have our work cut out for us there, my friend."

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