House of Mystery: The Library

July 21, 2014:

For its own inscrutable reasons, the house draws a seemingly random assortment of people back to it for a library trip.

The House of Mystery

Possibly a pocket dimension, the House exists outside space and time. It follows it's own metaphysical rules and the inside is larger than the outside.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

A turn of a doorknob, a step to the left, a blink of the eye…

And a blink, and the House of Mystery looms. It's an imposing Gothic edifice, with wings that disappear a hundred yards into the fog in each direction. The roofline is barely visible, and the front doors are antique, ancient, and huge.

Constantine appears from midair, missing a step and momentarily looking panicked. "Oh. Shite, it worked!" he declares, shaking his coat loose. He peers around the area, then cups his hands to his mouth. "Hallo! Anyone else here?" the skinny Brit calls, peering around the ghostly front lawn- which is, apparently, a graveyard.

*

"You again." A deep, growly voice rumbles. A familiar looking lean faced man with an oaken rod at his side is leaning on the house with his arms crossed. "Why am I not surprised, Constantine?" Levering himself up he walks over at a stroll.

"So… here we are… again. Well again for me. This is getting somewhat tiresome."

*

Alamogordo, New Mexico

"You sure you want to do this, Flash?" the scientists asks through a microphone out to the scarlet clad speedster on the circular runway. The Flash looks back into the control tower and gives EpicNod complete with the thumbs up and the steely eyes. In his hands is a box filled with some sort of mumbo jumbo he doesn't quite understand. But they needed his help, and he was told it was for cancer research, so if he and the Speed Force could help, then Right On Buddeh.

He puts the package inside a backpack he wears and digs a toe into the ground. "On your mark. Get set. Go!"

The Flash tears around the track at mind numbing speeds, accelerating and accelerating and accelerating until the ground crackles with all sorts of energy and lightning balls crackle out from his wake. Faster and faster; the hair on the pair of scientists in the tower stands on end, blown back by the wind and their paperwork goes flying. Should have invested in some windows, brah.

Faster and Faster until there's nothing…

Blink.

Blink Blink.

The Flash looks around and headjerks awkwardly as he stands next to Constantine. "Who are you?" Look at surroundings. "Am I dead?" His face becomes a wince. "Great, if I'm dead, there's probably no cable here, right?" Beat. "Roku?"

*

"Uh huh. If I can't find the door, you can be sure I'll make it back out," Sara says to the proprietor of the odds and ends shop who shuffles her through a back door and- "I'm beginning to think there's a greater message here," she drawls when she catches sight of Fenris and Constantine, crossing her arms over her chest. "I go chasing black market leads, and this is what I get. You two. Again. I should really just start calling you before I chase down new leads and save myself the extra steps." Wally appears, and Sara sighs. "This is definitively not Hell," she offers helpfully.

*

Magic. How Midgard surprises him even now. The toys with which these mortals play is delightful, if it weren't so very…

…pathetic.

Remarkably, however, the God of Chaos isn't drawn by the magic, even though it does tickle the back of his neck. He's here for another reason, and that reason just showed himself, drawing himself along with that oaken rod. "That's a good word, Fenris. Tiresome." The words are spoken casually, almost liltingly. "It's something you've been able to understand and recognize in yourself, isn't it?"

Standing to the side, there is a wiry man, dressed in green and gold leather, and he looks out of place yet very comfortable as he stands. Loki, Prince of Asgard, God of Chaos and Deceit.

The others, as they appear, gain something of a quizzical look from Loki, and Loki glances back towards his son in silent question. All of a sudden, it's gotten… crowded. Interesting.

*

The Flash makes the oh face at Sara and nods slowly. "So there is cable…" comes his slow response as his nod begins to get even slower as he seems to beckon Sara to nod with him.

*

Pepper Potts is just returning from a meeting with a contingent of HR people about (surprisingly) something other than Tony's behavior. There are some changes being made to SI's existing health insurance per Tony's requests, and she was talking over how to implement those changes. Waiting for the elevator doors to open on her office's floor, she tilts her head to stretch the muscles in her neck and shoulders, and thus isn't paying too much attention when she hears the telltale 'ding!' and steps forward…

… and stops abruptly when her shoes tap sharply against wooden flooring instead of plush corporate hallway carpet. Eyes going wide, she looks around really, REALLY hoping she's not going to abruptly find herself face to face with Sidhe queen Maeve. Because if that does happen, she truly hopes Dana will also be there. But after a moment of standing still in this old, dark hallway that reminds her of part of the old Stark Mansion if it were allowed to fall into ruin, she figures that the Fae aren't playing a nasty prank on her. So she takes a breath and a chance.

"Hello?"

*

Chaos has a way of toying with people. One moment, you're diving into the men's restroom in the middle of a holdup so you can get a good view of the mirror to … well, do 'the thing', and then the next…

Well, the next moment you're doing 'the thing' in front of the mirror, only instead of it working as things usually do, the mirror turns all askew and swallows you up.

Chaos magic works in mysterious ways, a little like the Ice-Capades or long-interest banking. Keith's transformation, truncated though it may have been in its execution, is successful — as it is Vorpal who appears out of thin air out of one of his own 'portable holes' in reality. One he does not recall creating in the least.

As he lands on his feet he looks around, eyes widening when he notices there are people about, and that he has landed in some place rather… atmospheric.

And he sticks out like an incredibly multicolored sore thumb. There is a woman near him who says 'Hello?' — and, well, it would be simply *rude* to leave that unanswered.

"… Hello to you as well!"

*

"Yep, me again," Constantine says, fishing for his lighter and a pack of cigarettes. His eyes flicker around the area, lighting up a bit at the sight of Sara. "Why, detective, how good of you to join us," he says with a pleased grin.

"No cable, my speedy friend," Constantine tells Flash. He walks a slow circle, regarding the assembled group. "No anything. No newspapers or internet, either. We're just lucky we're in an area that can sustain life," he says with a droll wit. He tilts his head, frowning at the front door. "And if I'm not mistaken, someone just arrived a bit off-target. I just wanted to walk about the place, but it seems you lot are thrown in with me, at least for a while," Constantine explains, dragging heavily on his pipe.

"Welcome all… to the House of Mystery. Shall we step inside?" he asks, moving to the front door with a confident step and hauling it open.

Once inside, the house looks like a gilded age mansion- at least to some people. To others, it looks like a decrepit wreck of an antiquated Victorian household. To others still, it will look like a castle, with fire pits and elaborate marble work. Constantine reaches into his pocket for a pair of vintage glasses and puts them on, moving forward with a confident stride.

Inside the house, Vorpal and Pepper find themselves in a room they can mutually agree on in their imagination- all plush carpet, dark woods, candelabras. Nothing seems overtly menacing… but then, traps never do. In the distance, there's the sound of a heavy door banging open, and voices echoing down the corridor.

*

Fenris rolls his eyes. Chaos may be, well, chaotic but it almost always has a sadistic sense of humor. "Hello, Loki." He says in a low half growl. "I did not realize that this was your kind of place."

The god-wolf half turns and seems ready to say something else when a faint sound from the house itself attracts his attention. His head snaps to the right, eyes on a door at the edge of the hallway they find themselves in.

"Did anyone else hear that?"

After a moment he calls out. "Miss Potts?"

"Detective." Fenris acknowledges Sara. "I rather assure you that if I had been following you in some manner, I would not have chosen this particular meeting place."

*

The Flash nods again in pretending as if he knows what's going on. He doesn't. Nevertheless he follows in behind Constantine, since he seems to be in charge. "Hey man," he says in his Midwestern drawl, "If you want me to I can scout through this place in a jiffy. It's what Tiggers do best. Flashes too." He smiles one of those fake cheesy smiles until some of the smoke gets in his face—he then chokes and feints back.

*

"Uh, not really," Sara answers Constantine's invitation, giving the house and her erstwhile compatriots equally suspicious looks. For those with a nose for such things, there's a powerful tingling of magic from the bracelet at her wrist, one that somehow seems to embrace both chaos and order. "It doesn't seem like an especially welcoming place. Or one that's keen on the laws of physics," she adds with a brief grimace toward Flash. "Seems like one of those places you start running, then every time you turn a corner there's another one. Just a guess."

*

Of -course- chaos has a sadistic sense of humor. What fun is it to turn worlds over and tear them apart for seemingly fleeting reasons if somehow it doesn't affect a single creature? The trick is to get that creature to -thank- you for it. But, chaos isn't always cruel. There is always a flower that rises in the middle of a burnt field.

Loki chuckles and opens a hand, "Of course it is. Where there is magic and chaos…" there he is, or if it's not by his hand, he will come. A siren song, if one doesn't mind crossing mythos!

Looking up at Constantine, a smile creeps across his face and he begins a slow walk towards the house, pausing near Sara, blue eyes looking down at that bracelet. With a deliberate air, he raises his gaze slowly until he looks at the detective and there, that smile finds its place, lightening his expression- all but his eyes. "Fascinating jewelry you wear. I'd love to know where you got it."

No sooner spoken but Loki continues towards the door now left open for Constantine's 'guests'.

*

Pepper Potts steps forward into a plushly carpeted room following the voice that said hello back, and blinks in surprise at the VERY colorful, er, individual. And then there's another voice calling her name, one that sounds familiar. She backs out of the room again trying to locate the source of the second voice, but her eyes keep going back to the brightly colored Vorpal. "You heard that, right?"

*

"Well… I certainly heard someone calling out for Annie Potts. However, considering:" The cheshire cat holds up fingers and begins to count down, "that One, we seem to have gotten shanghaied into the latest Stanley Kubrik movie, Two, this place is tickly all over with… odd vibes, and Three, it's never wise to plunge headfirst in the direction of voices whenever 'atmospheric' places like these are involved… the question is what should we do about it. And, honestly? You're talking to a giant upright cat, lady. Are you sure you're talking to someone you should be talking to?"

The last question is a playful one, and the cat walks slowly towards the door from where the sound came from. And then he moves a little to the side of it. "Speaking seriously, though? I could take a peek…"

*

"Good fellow, if you start running, you're likely to break what passes for physics around here," Constantine informs Flash. "You might very well undo reality itself. Or pass into the utter void, from whence there is no return- the space between the worlds, where nothing but thought and transient emotion exists. Even Gods tread lightly in those places," he says, glancing at Loki. "For they say that is where Old Ones slumber."

After /that/ pronouncement, he claps his hands, running around in a short, busy circle, trenchcoat flapping. He produces a whirlygig from one pocket and spins it, as if gleaning some information from the device before tucking it away. He peers at everything through his glasses, up close, even the people. Sara gets a wide grin and a wink, and then Loki gets a twice-over, eyes narrowing. "You, sir, are /green/," Constantine says, gravely.

"Ok, children, lesson time," Constantine declares, clapping his hands together once. "We're in the House of Mystery, bad thing. We came in the front door, good thing! The House brought us here, bad thing," he counts on one hand, "but it doesn't… seem… malicious. Which is…."

He trails off a bit ominously. He then licks a finger and holds it to the air in a short arc. "If my math is right, and it never is, we ought to head up these stairs and take a left," he advises the group. "After we've collected our wayward guests." He takes a step to lead the group, then whirls in place, eyes serious.

"Don't make any bargains here," he warns them. "Don't take anything. Don't eat any food, don't cross the streams, and for god's sake, whatever you do, don't wander off," he informs everyone. He straightens his loose tie. "Me, I'm going to do what I always do: Stay out of trouble," he says, whirling and facing the stairs, before going to trudge up them.

"Badly."

*

Fenris, or 'Wolfson' as some may know him, remembers how voices work in this place. And how irritating they can be. So he calls out again. "Miss Potts, if you can hear me, try to come this way… and don't touch anything you don't have to."

Fenris sighs and looks between Sara and Loki. Yay. The Witchblade and his imp of a father in one place. This can only go well. Yep. Oy… "Detective, I do fear your investigation may have to take a… hopefully short hiatus until we can get back out of here."

*

"Yeah, that'd probably be, like, pretty bad huh? I like the whole time space continuum just like it is. Not broked." The Flash asks and nods and suddenly feels as though following Constantine may not be the smartest idea ever. Dude seems sort of crazy. Of course… He hrms and tip toes after Constantine, trying to be vewy vewy quiet.

*

Sara Pezzini smiles tightly back at Loki. People who recognize the bracelet are never good news. "Tournament prize," she answers helpfully, sighing before following the others into the strange building. Constantine's explanation gets a long look, along with a shrug for Flash when her instinct on the running ahead thing proves right, before she turns a rueful smile on Fenris. "My investigations seem to be one long string of hiatuses. Hiatusi. Hell if I know," she waves a hand dismissively.

*

"That's what 'they' say," Loki offers agreeably. "Stories spoken at feasts after much drink, meant to lure the foolhardy." Though, the Prince isn't stupid. There is truth in stories; he should know. It's all in the telling.

Spinning around, Loki walks backwards, his arms opening to his sides in beckoning, following Constantine's path. "Won't this be exciting?" And he sounds the words with gusto, his smile gaining a mischievous gleam.

"A tournament prize? Tell me, then… who was your champion, fair maid, who won such a thing?" The Asgardian isn't going to let it drop… not yet. Or ever, truly.

*

Pepper Potts nods to Vorpal and steps aside to let him continue ahead of her. "Well, one, I've actually seen weirder places; two makes me a little concerned; three, that voice sounds familiar." She pulls her shoulder bag forward to put the folders in her hand inside and dig through it to pull out an ornately-decorated, matte black hairstick. Odd, since her hair is already pulled back into a ponytail. She settles the bag back on her shoulder and holds the hairstick in her hand as if it were an impromptu weapon.

*

Vorpal looks at the hairstick and raises an eyebrow. Well, considering how things were going, he would not be surprised if it turned out to be magic wand of sorts.

"I'm Vorpal, by the way. It sounds just like it's spelled. You're Miss Potts, I take it?" He reaches for the door and starts to open it, eyes narrowing as he looks into the hall.

"I sure hope we don't run into one of those boring maniacs who's going to gloat. I hate it when they do that… hello, what's this?" his ears twitch at the sound of someone walking up stairs, and he spots some people.

*

"You know, Loki- it is Loki, isn't it?" Constantine says, wandering through the hallway at the top of the stairs. Contrary to his instructions, he touches everything, opens doors, straightening then un-straightening pictures as he goes.

"Not every little magical knick-knack is worth owning. It's like a good matchstick, you never… want to take it… from the person holding it," he trails off, examining a blank section of wall.

He knocks on it. Sniffs it. Licks the wallpaper. Stands back and holds a painter's thumb up to it. Then he knocks around a circle, turns once in place, and leans against it casually.

"WoaoAahaOh!" he says, sounding not at all convincing as the 'secret' door falls open.

"Found th' library!" the Brit calls out from the doorway he'd 'stumbled' into. "Hope you all like a good read!"

And what a library! Six stories tall, at least, with twelve-foot shelves and ladders everywhere. It must be nearly a hundred feet deep and stretches in long arcs in both directions, a rhombus in shape. Constantine moves to the center of the 'doughnut', standing on a table and twirling with his arms upraised. "Welcome to the House of Mystery's library! Don't look for Mister Decimal, because Dewey is out," he advises everyone as they enter. "And do be careful. Bookworms, you know," he says, eyes shifting about.

*

Fenris snorts, suspecting that 'bookworms' is rather more literal than not, but doesn't seem in the least inclined to do more than stand in the doorway and watch. He does shoot Sara an apologetic look. It's not like it's his fault that Loki showed up but he always feels a bit bad when someone lands in Loki's crosshairs.

"I thought handling things in here was bad, Constantine." He rumbles, turning at Vorpal's call. The purple cat doesn't look at all familiar…. but the redhead behind him… "Ah. Miss Potts. There you are."

*

"Right-o!" The Flash says as he enters the library with some gusto. Having superpowers was how he got through his freshman year of college. Why he never graduated, however, well, that's a topic for next time, Bucko.

One by one he takes to reading them at superspeeds, pausing to become visible at several moments, always holding his chin as if to show exactly how much he is really pondering the inner meanings of the work.

One of the books snaps shut on Wally's fingers and starts gnawing toothlessly. It flies off his hand a moment later- the title on the spine says 'Consumerism 101'.

*

Sara arches a brow at Loki. "That'd be me," she drawls in reply, hands in her pockets as she follows the group through the hallway. After twenty-four hours trapped with Etrigan, a field trip with Loki is…Well. Comparatively not so bad. As they walk, she tilts her head slightly, as though listening, picking up on the unusual feel of the place. As Pepper and Vorpal join them, she blinks a few times, tipping her chin politely (maybe they're hallucinations, who knows in this place) before following Constantine to the library.

"Was there something you were looking for in here, Constantine, or are you just giving us the grand tour?"

*

"That is my name," Loki response easily, his hand reaching out to touch the walls. As they do, he brings it back and lifts to study anything that may have been left upon them. "Through the ages, yes." Now, he rubs fingers together, and there appears a rune that flashes before him before it disappears into the aether once again. He watches the space where it had been before turning his attention back to Constantine. "Want, or should? Please. It's always better freely given. Even when it's not."

Though… library. Books are and have always been a fascination for him, and slipping into the room, his gaze moves about the shelves. The Flash… an irritant, and at one point, sets something of a forcefield near himself so he's not bothered with a fleeting… mortal. Any luck (in his book), it'll act very much like a bug on a windscreen.

Sara's response falls now on deaf ears, his attention diverted. Whether or not she's concerned about him matters not; he has full freedom of movement. The demon does not. He is here and now, has been for thousands of years and fully intends to be around for thousands more. Here. On Midgard. Amongst mortals. Soon enough, they'll kneel.

"Shadows that fall. Pity. Chaotic words, meaning everything and nothing. Codes for those things long lost. Fenris, do you remember your villur?"

*

Pepper Potts offers Vorpal a brief smile when he eyes the hairstick, then nods as he introduces himself. "Please call me Pepper." Vorpal, why does that sound famil… oh. "One, two, and through and through, the vorpal blade went snickersnack," she says quietly to herself. And then they see the others enter what looks like a library. She recognizes Mr. Wolfson almost instantly, Sara seems familiar, but the rest not at all. Best to remain alert, then. She subconsciously tightens her grip on the cold iron hairstick in her hand.

*

"Pepper. Pepper. Pepper Po-"

Dingdingdingdingding. "I see…" The cheshire hms. It seemed that she had some common associates, so he waves at her to follow him and he leads the way to joining the group, such as it is.

"I guess that as long as we are joining this apparent Conga Line of the Occult, perhaps introductions—-"

The cheshire stops dead in his tracks as he approaches the library-bound group. He tenses visibly and looks in Sara's direction, though not with any hostile intent.

~There's something… uncomfortable around here.~
~No spit, sherlock. It's called EVERYTHING~
~No, I mean, there's something uncomfortable +1 around here~

Vorpal breaks into a sudden cheshire grin — what, something wrong? No siree! "— introductions. Yes." He gives Sara a wide berth as he slips into the library, waving a hand around. "…I'm Vorpal… and oh my goodness, would you look at those tomes. I wonder if they have the un-bowdlerized version of Sense and Sensibility here. I head it was quite steamy."

*

"The two aren't mutually exclusive!" Constantine shouts, disappearing into the stacks. He emerges from another row a moment later, holding a few books in his hand. "We're looking for a book, a very special book," he tells the group, flipping through the manuscripts. He doesn't read them- just looks at the cover and tosses them over his shoulder. "Reading books here is dangerous," he explains, as a book goes zooming off over his shoulder and back to its place on the wall. "There are dark magics here, old magics. The House decides who should or shouldn't read it. Sometimes you have to be the right person in the right /place/ to read it," Constantine explains, patting a pillar fondly. "Or the right mindset. Or have a particular tune in your head. I've been in and out of here a dozen times now, and I barely've scratched the surface."

"The book, ladies and germs, is 'The Book of Vices'," he tells everyone, clasping his hands together. "It's a compendium of greater texts- of things dark and terrible. We need to find a copy of it. This will help us find out what pages should be in … another book," he says, glancing at Loki warily. "A book that shall not be named here. It's an appendix of the damned," he says, with a soft voice and terrible smile, rubbing his hands together. "So let's be librarians, shall we?"

*

Fenris lets out an expansive sigh, and moves to the side to admit Vorpal and Pepper. "This is not the realm of Air and Darkness," he murmurs low as Pepper passes by. Then he strides in and looks about. He really, really has no interest in anything in here, but if it can help with that… outside issue, perhaps it couldn't hurt to look.

Well actually it could. Let's hope it doesn't hurt too much.

"Villur, yes, Loki. How could I forget? Your lessons were quite… Memorable."

*

The Flash flips the book away and rubs at his hand as it receives a nasty bite. He recoils his head at it with disgust. It still smarts. Even now. As Constantine mentions they need to find a book, that seems much more likely. "I think it's. Wait,—where is it?" He begins to retrack his steps, throwing the room into a whirlwind and anyone with hair without product might get a bit messy.

*

Fix it, fix it, fix it. The Witchblade nags at the back of Sara's mind as it picks up on the forces not of the room, but in the room, causing the detective to rub briefly at her temple. The Loki. The Vorpal. Swirling energy, potential, fix it, fix it, fix it.

"So, what I'm hearing here," she drawls at Constantine's explanation, "Is that it's probably your fault we all wandered through random doors and into this place." Not that she isn't going to help with the whole searching thing. She's here, after all, and she might as well. Before she can reach for a book, though, there's a Flash going around the room, making reaching sort of like sticking your hand into a fan, and she draws her hand back sharply.

*

Midgardian languages, Loki cannot read. Magicks, however? Some are easy, others need bending to his will. In his head is stored the magicks of worlds long lost, of worlds never dreamt of by the mortals here. "Think of that when looking at the tomes." If there's anything the Norse love is words, word games and codes. -That- is the heart and essence of magic. The love of code.. and puzzles.

As Flash moves around, blowing things, the Asgardian Prince looks oddly… unruffled. Unblown. It's the little things, truly.

Loki can feel the magic of the Witchblade. Not -what- it is, but the feel of it, and as he looks to the books, there's a whisper that comes from the God of Chaos as he dips closely to her ear, "Such a burden easily lifted. Easily shared…"

As for the others? No concern… not unless they do something untoward.

*

Pepper Potts smiles at the tall man she remembers from a building fire several days back, then furrows her brow for a moment at his soft comment. Her expression clears again when she understands his reference, and slips the hairstick back into her bag. Then, as Constantine explains the search for a particular book and one man becomes a disconcerting blur, she sidles over closer to Sara. "I… was going to offer to help, but I'd probably end up getting pushed aside." She looks around the huge library, fascinated by the architecture of the room, soothed by the smell of old books, and probably strangely calm considering they all just appeared here.

*

Listening to Constantine's explanation, the cheshire raises an eyebrow. So he had been recruited, through some sort of magic, to look for this … book. Why? He had stopped questioning these things, as they seemed to happen to him at rather infrequent frequent intervals.

"Appendix of the Damned? Got it. So we're looking for the cast list of 'Showgirls', then."

Vorpal cracks his knuckles. He looks around at the library and blinks as he sees The Flash in action.

~That -is- the frickin' Flash in here. I guess he must have been chosen for speed-reading?~
~You don't make the jokes around here, I do.~
~What I keep wondering is 'who' is making these choices. Do you think that if I ask the rather strange man he will answer?~
~He might answer. Whether or not it makes sense is another thing entirely.~

He eyes the extremely dignified man who does not seem to be perturbed by Flash's windy ways. Better give that one a wide berth- something tells him that it is best to speak softly and tread low when wild things are about.

"Well, before I start flipping through Eldritch Sports Illustrated catalogs, a name would be nice. Of course, if you don't have a name, I'm sure we can get you one somewhere. You rather look like a Sandy to me. Or Bigglesworth." Vorpal says, arms crossed and half-grinning in Constantine's direction. "Feel free to clarify. What is is that you do, anyways?"

*

"I fix things," Constantine says absently, watching Loki out the corner of his eye. "The impossible, the surreal, the things that are out of place," he clarifies, for the Cheshire. "The things you see out the corner of your eye, the images that disappear when you blink. That's where I look, where most people don't, and I tend to take it very poorly-" he slams a book shut and hurls it at a wall- "when things better left in darkness and myth threaten people to whom I've become attached."

"Also, this is /not/ my fault," Constantine assures Sara a bit petulantly. "I'm just a man with a nice coat. The House brings people here when she thinks they're needed. I can't really tell her what to do, the dratted old thing," he says, kicking a pillar.

At that instant, an old, loose-leaf notebook falls off a stack and lands neatly in Pepper's arms. It reads 'Book of Vices' on the binder, in crude lettering, and looks like someone lifted it from a high school English student's backpack.

*

Fenris raps his rod on Loki's coat when he starts whispering to Sara. "Play nice." He says in a way that makes clear he absolutely doesn't expect to be heeded. It's Loki, after all. He's about to start stirring up the winds when the book they're looking for literally falls into Pepper's arms.

"Well." He says after a moment's staring. "That's convenient. I should have a care about opening it though, Miss Potts."

*

The Flash sighs with some irritation and points in Pepper's arms. "There it is."

*

"Really not," Sara assures Loki with a faint sigh, turning a rueful smile on Pepper when she comes over. "I was only going to help as a means of getting out of here sooner," she admits in a low tone, a glimmer of amusement in her features. "I generally try to make a rule of not touching these sorts of things. Every time I do, things either go horribly wrong, or I somehow end up stuck with them."

And then the book falls right into Pepper's arms, and she clears her throat sheepishly. "Of course, I'm sure that's not how it works for everyone."

*

This house… it's very much like his own castle at Eldred. One made of myth and magic born of the man who made it and its new master. All one truly needs to do is to -listen- to the whispers and to feel the tendrils. As with most magical items, it doesn't usually take Loki long to understand its emanations.

Books, however? A weakness of his. Truly. There's a scowl that creases Loki's face; suddenly, those within are trifles. In his way. Interrupting him from attaining a goal, and he can feel the ire welling. This.. this is something he wants. Knowledge and to determine if it's information already gained, or something new to incorporate.

Wheeling about now, Loki wears a sneer as the book sails across. The words spoke gain a rebuke that is keenly edged, his words a hiss. "Myth is real. It's the only way your pathetic brains could begin to understand the glory they've witnessed." He stalks towards Constantine, blue eyes blazing, "There's truth in darkness; it's when light shines that those seek to hide what they truly are. Beware of those who walk in the light because they are hiding much."

Loki looks up, and when the book falls, there's something about the Asgardian Prince that causes his entire manner and mien to shift, and a smirk rises. He can feel a tap on his shoulder from his son, and as he turns about, he waves a hand.

And is gone.

*

Pepper Potts seems content to people watch, but then all but yelps aloud in surprise when a battered binder literally falls into her arms. There, on the cover, it declares itself, and Pepper lifts her eyes from staring at it to look at the others in a mixture of confusion and concern. Her eyes eventually land on Fenris in particular. "… what now?"

*

Vorpal raises an eyebrow when the man in green delivers his Pronouncement. He felt it merited the capital 'P'.

"I guess he must have found out that someone switched the stick up his butt with Folgers Crystals."

He looks at Flash's pointing, and then at Pepper's arms. "Well, indeed- there it is." He stands next to Flash, arms crossed and head tilted. "As m'lady said, what now? Do we need to find a new name for the Childlike Empress or something?"

*

"Do let's make a note not to let him return, dear?" Constantine asks the House, patting a pillar affectionately as Loki vanishes. He raises an eyebrow at Fenrir and Sara, then turns at the sound of a book falling.

"Miss Potts! Miss Potts, if you please," he says, getting her attention. He whips his glasses off and smiles earnestly at the woman, keeping her attention on him with little flickering gestures of his hands and movement of his body, drawing near carefully. "Do let's just relax and stand still a moment, deary, if you don't mind," he coos, hands reaching out. "Just don't … open … that … book," he says, his voice going quite still as he closes on the tome, with all the enthusiasm of a bomb technician approaching live explosives.

*

Fenris looks on very carefully at Constantine as he comes moving up. He inclines his head slightly from Pepper to the chain smoking Brit. "I believe it will be safer for you to just hand it over. I have no doubt the book could prove useful to you, but if I do not scent you wrong… you have entanglements enough right now."

*

The Flash, for once, remains quiet as he listens to Fenris and Constantine speak. In the initial excitement of everything he'd not let it sink in how confusing and slightly scary this whole ordeal is. The sooner he can get out of here, the better.

*

Sara Pezzini eyes Constantine. "Right. Because that's super reassuring, right there," she murmurs at his tone, shaking her head to Pepper. "I'm sure you're fine. Things I would never usually say for five hundred, Alec: Just go ahead and give the crazy man the book of creepy things."

*

Pepper Potts looks from Constantine to Fenris to Sara and back, then offers the binder to the former. He was the one that wanted the book in the first place, right? "Here. I'm, um, glad I could help find it."

*

Constantine's hands close on the book, and he exhales very, very slowly. There's a rustling noise in the distance, which he apparently ignores, taking the Tome and tucking it under one arm.

"Good, that's found," Constantine says. "Now, the good news is that the library lets you read any book in it," he explains to the group. "The bad news is, the librarian disapproves of checking books out or writing on the walls. Loki made a little mark just a minute ago," he explains to the crew, slowly ushering people to the door. The rustling noise grows louder, like a thousand combs brushing at once. "And the cleaners are coming."

At that moment, a pair of giant, chittering centipedes- each at least twenty feet long and a foot in diameter- explode from the shadows, hissing and growling.

"Bookworms!" Constantine shouts, bodily shoving people towards the exit. "I told you! Quick! Go!" He grabs Pepper's hand and hauls her along with an excited, fierce grin.

"Run!"

*

Vorpal looks at the centipedes with a peculiar expression. It isn't a terrified one, but rather more around the likes of 'Yep, it's definitely Monday.'
"Bookworms. Well, it could be worse. I was expecting twenty foot long caterpillars telling me one side of the bookcase will make me taller." Vorpal drags behind just so that he can go after Pepper at the rearguard.
"Loki? So the god of mischief, not the hispter who gets me my lattes at Starbucks? … oh, what the hell, why not? Nothing could surprise me at this moment."

The Cheshire retreats with the rest, trying to open up a Rabbit Hole in the path of the bookworms — to deposit them further away from them, just to get a little bit of running ground. Of course, the nature of this place might not allow him recourse to his unique magic.

*

At the appearance of monsters Fenris' eyes narrow. "Get clear." He says, mostly to Pepper though it seems Constantine has that angle covered already. He doesn't doubt that the unique 'rules' of this place make fighting these things a losing proposition. But delaying them long enough for an escape? Maybe doable.

One step is all it takes to bring him in line with Sara as he yanks the silver necklace off of his neck. An instant later he has a rather impressively large sword in his left hand, and his rod in the right, eyeing the bookworms.

*

The Flash lightens a bit in his color and it could be mistaken for him not feeling well. Upon closer inspection it's not just his exposed skin, but the red suit he wears as well. After a few moments of phasing, a yellow, electric film seems to crackle over his body.

For his part, the Flash is extremely concerned by what's going on. "Hey. You!" he says to Constantine as he begins to slip away. "Wait. What's happening!" As he continues to dissipate he tries to run with the others. Heck this is something he's good at, but it's as if he's slogging through hip-deep mud. Just as he's about to be eaten by a bookworm, he dissipates further and then is gone.

Alamogordo, New Mexico

With a crackle THOOOOOM! And with a large eruption of air, the Flash reappears on the circular runway and skids to a stop.

"Flash! You're safe!"

The pair of scientists run out to him a look of relief on their faces. "Uh, yeah. Bein' not dead is pretty cool."

No idea how he got there, no idea how he got back, the Flash walks with the scientists back towards their lab, seeing if they can't figure it out.

*

Sara hisses through her teeth as the bookworms appear, all too happy to let the god-wolf do the big fighting. As he faces off against the creatures, she takes up a rearguard position behind Constantine and Pepper, the Witchblade sheathing her right hand and climbing up over her shoulder. "You're almost as bad as Trent!" she shouts to Constantine. "Fewer bullets, though."

*

Pepper Potts does actually yelp in surprise this time when Constantine grabs a hold of one of her hands and drags her along. Amazingly, despite the shoes she's wearing she is completely capable of keeping up with the insane Brit at a full run. "Is there always this much running involved?" Because, seriously.

*

The rabbit holes appear briefly before collapsing on themselves, the nature of this place clearly objecting to the Cheshire cat's treatment of the fabric of reality as an etch-a-sketch.

"Well, isn't -that- special?" Vorpal grumbles. "I guess it's time to go snicker-snack and all of that. You know, this blows as far as a library trip goes… those are all about finding the naughty books and giggling it up, not having to contend with Mothra's distant cousins."

He focuses his will and the surge of chaos magic bursts from his hands. A glowing, purple sword appears in his right hand, and he focuses on maintaining its existence. Taking his place near the group of Fenris and Sara bringing the rearguard, he keeps the glowing sword raised.

"… how the hell do we get out of here, anyways? I don't remember how I got here."

*

"I'll take that as a compliment!" the Brit tells Sara, running into the hallway with Pepper. As Fenris and Sara make their noble stand, Constantine swings Pepper around and grabs her by the shoulder. "The running's the best part!" he declares, patting her cheek with a quick, breathless grin on his face. "Now, pay attention," he tells her, pressing the book into her hands. "Whatever happens, whatever you do, don't open the book," he tells the woman, his voice hard and stern and with no trace of whimsy in it. "Don't even look at it overmuch," he advises. "Out the door and keep running until you're home. We'll hold off the bookworms, and I will come find you," he promises the redhead. "Now go! Run!"

He steps around the corner back into the library with his revolver in his hand and immediately starts shooting at the bookworms. One of them jerks backwards with two huge holes in it, seeping green ichor, while the other rounds on Sara and Fenrir, mandibles snapping and clacking as it tries to bite them.

Four more bookworms crawl over rails and stairways, chittering and scrambling after the remaining visitors to the house. "Run! There are more of them coming, and they are angry!" Constantine shouts, firing off wildly aimed shots at the creepy crawlies. "This isn't a fight you win! Follow me, out the front door! Hurry!" he declares, waving everyone to follow him out through the front doors a short ways down the hall.

*

Fenris is not wading into battle. He's giving ground, though doing so quickly enough to get out while slowly enough to not let anything around him is sort of a delicate act.. That is because he doesn't have any intention of dying here either and if he can make it out on his own power, that'd be a nice bonus. That 'gran espee de guerre' in his hand (most people need two for that kind of thing) does an admirable job of cleaving bookworm limbs and mandibles, and the rod in his left hand can, apparently, genrate hurricane force winds. It hasn't all gone his way either. He's got several wounds that would range from debilitating to fatal were he less… sturdy.

"Will the door open?" He calls back as he creates some space and rushes back before having to turn at by again. So close to the door now. So close.

*

With a thought, there's a blade in Sara's hand, slicing through a hungry mandible and one skittering leg as she retreat. "Don't have to tell me twice!" she exclaims at Constantine's directions, making a break for the front door at a dead run once Pepper is clear. The rest of these people? Definitely able to take care of themselves. In the 'respect for their fighting prowess' sense, rather than the 'screw those guys' sense. Of course.

*

Pepper Potts gasps as Constantine swings her around to a stop then shoves that stupid binder back into her hands. "Why can't you just read it here?" Clearly, though, this had been the Brit's plan in the first place. Damn him. Upon seeing the additional bookworms starting toward the rest, all she can do is heed the man's words. Looking around quickly, she sees the open front door down the stairs. She races to the stairs, and knowing she'd be risking destroying an ankle if she tried to run down them, she uses the binder to help her slide down the banister and then she's off and out the front door like a trained sprinter. Wearing four-inch Pradas.

She's less than three steps past the door when she realizes she's running full tilt through her office and doesn't have time to even think about stopping before she runs smack into the far wall. And bounces off to land on her rear on the thankfully carpeted floor. At least she managed to keep the binder clutched tightly in her arms so it didn't have a chance of falling open.

"Miss Potts, are you all right?" JARVIS asks over the speakers hidden in the ceiling.

*

"Oh, running away is the new courage? I'm game." the Cheshire cat says, tripping back lightly. Since retreat is the word of the day, he changes his straegy so as to throw the sword. The chaos construct flies true to impale or otherwise inconvenience the creepy crawlies, with the added benefit that he could create another a soon as he was done lobbing one. As he does so, to lighten the mood and perhaps everybody's steps (because it is a scientifically proven fact that running and jogging are more effective when there's a catchy tune being played), he half-sings half-recites:
"Brave Sir Vorpal ran away.
Bravely ran away, away!
When danger reared its ugly head,
He bravely turned his tail and fled.
Yes, brave Sir Vorpal turned about
And gallantly he chickened out."

As he aims one of his swords at the body of one of the chasing worms, he calls "I really hope you know what you're doing, bloke with the unknown name but dapper coat," he says, getting near to the door.

*

Constantine stands by the door, urging people out. "Go, go, go!" he calls like a jumpmaster. The last one, he grins fearlessly at the bookworms, then turns to the door, adjusting his necktie. "GERONIMOOOOO!" he shouts, leaping through the portal and landing God knows where.

*

Fenris is out just before Constantine, bleeding from several wounds. He seems to stagger a bit the moment he clears the portal and then vanishes from all sight.

Pepper Potts picks herself up off of the floor with a slight wince and answers the AI before he calls for help. "I'm fine, JARVIS. And not Tony-fine. Honestly fine." She goes to her desk, opens the bottom most drawer, and moves a few things around to shove the binder in underneath several other items, then closes and locks her desk. "I can't believe I let that…" She stops herself from saying anything more, knowing the AI hears everything, and this is best not shared.

*

Vorpal throws his last sword and then turns tail, diving for the door "Geez, I'm going, I'm goi—"

And back in a little restaurant in Brooklyn, two amateur criminals are preparing to make a break for it as they head to the door.

It's a glass door, perfectly clear, with NOBODY on the other side. You can tell because it is a glass door.

So, as you might understand, it really rather ruins our two thugs' day when said door flies violently to meet them just as they were going to open it with their bodies. The sheet of glass slams into their bodies, sending them backwards and against one of the unoccupied booths, where they sink into blissful unconsciousness.

Vorpal, who just happened to emerge from said door, stares at the two knocked out thugs with a raised eyebrow and a smirk just as the patrons in the restaurant start to clap.

"Monday. Definitely." He starts moving towards the two thugs and taking out two handcuffs from his vest.

~… that git. Now I need to know how all of this ends…~
~Well, how hard can it be to get an appointment with Miss Potts?~
~I'm sure it'd be no trouble at all.~
~Nope. No trouble at all~
~We're totally going to impersonate someone, aren't we?~
~You bet your sweet ass we will. Tomorrow.~

"Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee, you're under arrest and coming with me." He smirks, cuffing the two criminals together and slapping them a little to bring them out of consciousness.

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