1965-11-04 - Learning of the Sacrifice
Summary: JP and Halgrim talk to Dr. Strange regarding the strange disappearances
Related: None
Theme Song: None
dead-girl halgrim jp strange 

A misty, cool late fall morning greets those traveling on their way to the Sanctum Sanctorum. A phone call to one Stephen Strange resulted in an invitation to revelations in regards to a certain supernatural fiend plaguing a portion of New York. Up to his wrists in otherwordly affairs, Strange is in no position to politely defer assistance in dealing with the creature. Thus, after arriving and being vetted by the wards (those silvery wisps of cooler air, sentient and yet not, guardians of the Sanctum when the Wizard and Witch are out of the townhouse), the motley group is now sequestered in the formal living room. There are enough chairs for all tucked in around a small round table. Not the first time a meeting has been held at it and during this time of year, no less.

"I appreciate you all coming," begins the Sorcerer Supreme. He's choosing to stand beside one of the chairs even as he finishes dressing his own cup of tea — something dark and spicy that requires two spoonfuls of honey, no milk. There's a tea tray centrally located on the table with all the fixings, should anyone wish for a cuppa. Even a plate of biscuits, though Strange can't eat these himself. "I've discovered a few things in regards to this spirit that you encountered recently. Are there questions before I begin, however?" Dressed in his mantle-blues, he glances at the faces around the table, patiently expectant.

JP could not for the life of him figure out what manner of museum this was. he had more leather, dirt, and denim than class or common sense. He wouldn't know how to be formal if it arrested him. Wait for it. His words were as relaxed as his manner of dress in that slurred Cajun French of his. "So you gon' be telin us what them blind cats is up to withthe yellin an' chantin an all that?" Tres bein."

A nod and then Strange sips at his tea. "Mmm." A small sound of appreciation for the taste of it, warming at his weather-sore joints as he holds the mug in two hands. "Yes, you'll likely kill yourselves without the knowledge and I won't have that responsibility resting on my shoulders. It's a rather difficult creature to deal with, unfortunately, but I have faith that you'll find a way. Any other questions?" A lift of dark brow, still dignified and patient by air. To the Sight, the silvery warding spells curl lazily around his form like a friendly house-cat before slipping around the room. They can be felt by the small shift in passing cooler air to the skin.

Halgrim arrives as himself, because Fjorskar takes direction somewhat poorly and wouldn't want to carry the golden bracelets around in an ammo can. (Of course, how she would move them is an interesting question, but not one anyone managed to ask her, so here he is.)

The ammo can is a fairly mundane looking piece of military surplus, the exact sort of thing one could expect the X-ternals to have for such an occasion, and when Halgrim arrives he promptly offers it to Stephen. "I believe this is meant for you," he says.

It was while the 'adults' were talking that JP wandered a look around. The man couldn't help what he was. Thsi place was utterly fantastic and the Cajun, for as historic and beautiful the architecture in New Orleans was, had never seen anything the likes of the Sanctum. Antiquities, the furniture, the things in glass cases and the smaller things laying about waiting to be palemd, and the security- uhhh uh oh!

The Sorcerer glances to Halgrim and then down at his offering. "Ah, yes, very good. I was told you might have these." He takes the ammo can in one faintly-shivering and scarred hand. Inside, the stone bracelets faintly rattle. He needs must set down his steaming mug of tea in order to open the can, but once he does, he gives the contents a clinical frown. "Hmm. A repository, it seems, for memory — for essence of another creature. Weaker than the fiend you're currently dealing with, but…" A further squint inside the can.

And JP — oh, that Cajun klepto. The wards suddenly appear to coallesce and then rush over to him. Swoosh! A tornadic effect around him, chilly and full of implied irritation, and then FLIP — upside down is the man over by the writing desk to which he wandered.

Looking up from the ammo can, Strange lets out a long-suffering sigh, long and slow and almost sounding like a hiss of a cornered snake. "I could have sworn that I said to touch nothing, sir." He lifts a hand and snaps; the small wooden idol lifted from the desk appears in his palm. "Tsk. You chose poorly. This doesn't grant protection against venereal diseases, it encourages them. Have a seat." The wards float JP over and attempt to plop him in a chair back at the table again. "As we were…?" A less-than-amused thinning of lips at JP before he continues. "You're dealing with an entity of the Native peoples of the continent. The Cherokee, to be precise, one that the last Sorcerer Supreme banished before."

Halgrim relinquishes the cannister without hesitation. "So it's a trap?" He raises an eyebrow, gives Stephen an amused smile. "Which you leave sitting out on your desk?" He smiles sympathetically at JP, goes to have a seat. "I apologize, I wasn't there myself, though if you wanted I suppose I could…" He gestures, indicating a change of clothes, as it were.

JP was wide-eyed and very upside down. He …couldn't… well…. this was a thing.


JP mumbled to himself in French while fingers tried to reach downward like maybe that would help. Nope. Floating. We are floating. Dropped into a seat JP leaned back, all dignity in defense of himself, "Firs' all, y'honour it was lookin at me. It blinked. Secondly what in nine hells you wan' that in you house for, mon ami? That ain' safe. What if someone walk off with that though… maybe you lemme borrow it. Maybe get rid of some a the rats near the garage." Pragmatic plagues and poltices: JP's next business venture.

Strange gives the Cajun another vaguely irritated side-glance, though there's an undercurrent of wry amusement there beneath it all. "No, thank you, Professor. I understand what you're implying. Perhaps another time, when I can better control the surroundings?" He is polite, not meaning insult in his opinions, as he briefly addresses Halgrim, giving the man a faint smile.

"And as for you." Those keen eyes slide back to JP. "It has an effect on no one who lives within this household and no one will be borrowing anything from these premises. I said 'do not touch' for a reason." The small wooden idol is set aside by the mug of tea and ammo can, where it blinks beningly at JP. So close, my friend, so close to a nice case of crabs, it seems to think at him.

"As I was saying," and the Sorcerer picks up his mug of tea again. "According to my research, the last Sorcerer Supreme bound it in eternal and cyclical ritual luring of its victims. 'Green Eyes' is the easiest translation of its true name. It is immortal, a corrupted Nunnehi, a spirit person of Cherokee belief. The damnedest thing is…" Strange frowns in mild discomfort to continue, "…its victims come willingly. It offers their greatest wishes, wildest dreams, anything to persuade them to agree. Otherwise, it cannot place a hold upon them."

If anything Halgrim looks relieved. "Yes, that would be perfectly fine. There's no telling what she'd," he pulls a face, looks around himself, "make of all of this."

He leans back in his chair, scratches at his beard. "So that suggests it can only lure people who are suspetible to such promises?" Dryly, he adds, "I can't recall the last time someone offered me my dearest desire and I was able to take them in *any* way seriously, but it was probably two decades ago at the least."

JP missed almost the entirety of the conversation. Promarily because this was in English with big words nad bigger concepts and less so because IT WAS STILL BLINKING AT HIM! JP looked from the doodad to the two collegeates and abck to the thing, profs, doodad, old guys…. why was this bothering only him!? Finally he piped up for the important part of the conversation, "What it offerin in return and do it deliver?"

"Only those who are susceptible, yes," the Sorcerer confirms and then glances to JP. "Power, primarily. Legends tell that those who agree to its whims lose their eyes in return for sensory acuity and strength beyond that of the average human being on the street. No doubt they become a form of thrall or perhaps even sustenance for this 'Green Eyes'."

Another long sip of tea and a sigh. "It is difficult to predict where it may show in order to seduce another acolyte, but it is limited to within one-hundred miles of the Appalachian Mountain range. Thus, we can assume its lair is somewhere disturbingly nearby. Unfortunately, as is the way of deeply-set magics, to enter it, you'll need a sacrifice." The silver-templed man shakes his head, appearing jaded at the requirements, common enough as they are. "Someone will need to be burnt alive," he explains airily.

Halgrim looks askance at JP, nods to himself. He'd forgotten the translating Vitale had done on Halloween. "So, they trade their eyes to be come stronger, and…smell and hear well enough to do without sight," he confirms, bobs his eyebrows. "There's plenty of people who'd be willing to do that, it's true," he murmurs.

"Burned alive," he echoes, shudders. Then he tilts his head. "Do they have to die? Or is burning itself sufficient, do you think?"

JP arched an eyebrow and shook his head losing interest which might be for the best. Attention snapped back to Halgrim who was FINALLY speaking in a manner he could grab all of. Bonus. "Strength is a dumb super power to have. Couple guys in Mutant Town can no open doors because they keep crushin the handles an make em jammed shut. Had to fix two of em like that. Huge pain t'do." THen they were talking of burning people. His eyes left Halgrim and went ot the Wizard, and back to Halgrim. Slowly he placed his finger on teh tip of his nose.

The Sorcerer's nod is grave. "Yes, burnt alive, though the literal translation is to bones — to the skeletal frame — thankfully?" The questioning lilt is followed by a unapproving shake of his head. Willful injury is anathema to him, the Doctor first and foremost. "Whether they are intended to survive the sacrifice is an unknown." He grimaces.

"I can't speak for those who trade their sight for strength, but apparently, the offer alongside their wildest dreams is enough to lure them into service. Where you'll find someone insane enough to subject themselves to near-total immolation is beyond me." A lift of his hand. "I refuse to offer assistance on that front.

"Well, I know of at least one person who could burn but not die—of course, I suspect it's still very painful." Halgrim thinks on that. "Three, actually, though I've no idea how one of them could be healed afterwards." He sighs, shakes his head. "And yes in any case we can't ask someone to do that if it involves their actual death." So much for attempting to get creative with interpretations of old magic bindings.

"So then," he crosses his legs, folds his hands on his knees. "Do we need to draw it out? *Can* we? Or can we, ah," a glance at JP, "re-bind it where it is?"

JP sat there with finger on nose and when they looked back to him he spoke as clear English as he could, though with Elmo and Vitale as his primary influences he sounded liek a wayward cabbie. "Naht, it. WHen they say scook it Cajun they mean the food not the people." He thought about it and reasoned, "Ya you ain' tryin that with my healer either though… wait…" He looked to Strange curious, "Burn someoen t' the bone… all of em or like a tiny tiny piece work?"

Strange is on his way to pacing back towards the table now, both hands still wrapped around the hot mug. Damn steel pins. His attention returns from his pensive observation of the near distance in the room and he looks between the men as he pauses at the table again.

"The interpretation should be assumed to be literal. Magic, while known for its subtler nuances, is sometimes bald-faced in turn. To the skeleton itself, as in the entire frame. A severed finger would have been far too easy of an offering to repulse the beast. You may blame my predecessor." A tight smile, indicating he's not amused with the idea. "It is a very specific cycle of renewal and rebirth. I suggest that instead of chancing your luck at finding it here in the city, take the fight to the creature's lair itself. Should you succeed in both completing the offering of immolation as well as defeating the fiend in combat, it will rest for another several thousand years. It will remain bound in its cyclical existance regardless. That anyone can accomplish this is, in a sense, a blessing of its own. My predecessor did not wish to keep those who are brave of heart from acting." He nods to both gentlemen stoically.

Halgrim blinks at JP, eyes widening. "No! No, not—I wasn't thinking of him." He winces, shakes his head for emphasis. Elder, seemingly unaging beings and the undead? Maybe. Twenty year olds who were determined to throw themselves at horrible injuries? Definitely not an option.

He arches an eyebrow at Strange. "Well, I suppose I can at least ask the person I have in mind. The worst they can say is no. Not certain what other options we'll have if they do." He rubs a hand over his mouth. "How do we go about finding its lair? And, what sort of 'combat' are we looking at?"

JP was at least unmoving on teh point of people are not using VItale to do this and went back to finding a solution after that brainstorming. "Uhhhh new question? Person we burn to a crisp need to be alive? Like can we dig someone up? Like… wha'chu call it, exuding them or somethin?"

The tea mug is set aside as Strange turns to walk over to the writing desk. A small pad of paper and a pen is picked up and he returns, writing carefully as he walks. Halgrim is handed a small lined page with coordinates on it. "The rough location of the creature's lair. You'll note it's not terribly far from here, no more than an hour and a half by vehicle."

The writing utensil and notepad are set down upon the table as he walks back around to retrieve his tea. "The instructions appear literal. The sacrifice must be burnt alive to its skeleton," he repeats, with subtle stress on the state of being. "If you've someone who can…tolerate such a thing, then they will be your key. A door will open. Now, whether or not that is literal as well, I've no confirmation, though please assume as such. Again. Magic." A moderately weary shrug on his part. Oy.

Nodding at JP, Halgrim says, "You raise an interesting question, about them being 'alive'. I know someone who's…" He pauses, gestures, "She's trapped, if you will, in a state of undeath. She could certainly survive," he makes a face for the lack of a better word, "such a process, but I wonder if she'd qualify as 'alive' for these purposes." He sighs, shakes his head. "She's the only one I can think of, though. Of the other two, one will simply refuse and I wouldn't have any idea of how to heal the other after the process, assuming he even survived it." And Halgrim will set *himself* on fire before he asks Adam to, so it's not really an option to begin with.

He accepts the slip of paper, looking it over and tucking it into his coat pocket. He has no bearings here in North America to suss out the location on sight, but a few minutes with a map will be more than sufficient. "And, assuming we can gain entry, do we know anything about how to defeat it?"

JP was REALLY reaching for it now. "Shit, I could call mon frere. He can animate a body and make it look alive. I don't think he can make it have no heartbeat though." He paused and realized how bad that sounded clarifying, "ANyone try an hurt mon petite frere we havin words. He a good kid and try an stick to- Oh! do it have to be human? LIke…rats or somethin?" Man leave it to a thief to try to find every last loophole.

"Unfortunately, I would readily assume that the sacrifice must be a human being in some form of animation that would be physically construed as factual life," Strange explains evenly. "My predecessor did not set the bar low for a good reason." A long sip of his tea and rub at one of his silvered temples. "Insofar as combat, gods only know. As the saying goes, I would 'come armed for bear'. It will be no easy challenge. It took a Sorcerer Supreme to bind it to the ritual as is."

"Well a bear we can certainly deal with," Halgrim says on a sigh. He was really hoping the answer to JP's question would be a yes. "Of course, she might not be interested in helping." He glances at Stephen his expression turning rueful; asking Fjorskar to participate in what is effectively the same process she went through herself might not go over so well. He doesn't envy whoever gets to have that conversation with her.

"Well then I'll speak to the young woman we met. She might be amenable to helping—she was agreeable enough in a general sense." He snorts a laugh. "And I might speak to the other one, too, just to see his reaction." He's going to enjoy that too much from the sound of it. "Thank you, Stephen, for your time."

JP frowned and leaned on his forearm forward on teh table, fingers out towards the sorcerer supreme… is he haggling? "Okay can I talk to this guy cause maybe we can offer em somethin to do better on his end of the deal and he can lower that bar a bit. I can get him a really good deal on some body work and new breaks." Oh yeah full. on. haggle mode. He was learning to speak New York well btu, aaaaw Prof! They were leaving. He stood up and sighed. One last warning look was given to the wooden doodad. He pointed to his eyes and then aimed those two fingers at the tiny bauble. I'm watching you, trinket!

Halgrim watches JP's interaction with the statue with amusement. "It's just taunting you, best to ignore it," he advises.

In order to save JP from himself, the Sorcerer Supreme picks up the small wooden idol once again in complete immunity from its curse. A lazy toss and catch despite his damaged hands and a small if still reserved smile. "I wish you and your compatriots luck. If you've further issues, do not hesitate to call and make an appointment. If I am…away from home, simply leave a message. I will speak with you one way or another."

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