Wrong turn at Albuquerque

August 07, 2016:

Wanda stumbles into a magically concealed place and Doctor Strange goes investigating.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Zatanna

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

There are places in New York that are hidden for the non-initiated. Usually they are dangerous, but even if they aren’t, they are certainly weird. Doctor Strange, by his very presence in the city, is responsible of the existence of some of these places, and he watches over them warily.

Sometimes they draw in other magic-users, because they can easily see through the enchantments set to avoid the eyes of the mundane. Like now, when after taking the wrong turn (or maybe it was the right one) and stepping through a door stating Authorized Personal Only (but that definitely had to lead to the street and yes, it was open) Wanda finds herself in a small space that looks like a schools playground, but it is surrounded by brick walls. It is a school playground, but it is old and unkempt. The fences are discolored and rotten (wait, it is plastic, it shouldn’t be rotten) and the crawler is rusty and jagged… and made of iron. And in the middle of the playground, there is a stone gargoyle almost seven feet tall that really does not fit.

Wanda looks around at her strange surroundings and purses her lips in thought before sighing softly. "I am always doing this." Her fingers curl and stretch as scarlet energy builds around them…her magics…just in case. She looks up at the giant gargoyle. "You are very impressive" she smiles to it. "Please do not come alive." She wanders casually over to a swing set and settles down upon the chair. "Whoever brought me here" she calls out to the heavens, "Could you show yourself?"

There is no response for a minute or two. Then the same door that brought Wanda here opens, and Doctor Strange steps in, looking rather alarmed for a second. At seeing Wanda, he sighs in relief. “Thanks the Vishanti it is you,” he states, stepping forward, “but what are you doing here, Ms. Maximoff? This place is rather well hidden,” he looks around squinting his eyes. “Or so I thought. The concealment spells seem to be deteriorating around the edges.”

Wanda shares Strange's relief and she raises a hand in greeting to the Sorcerer Supreme. "Hello, Doc" she smiles. "I am not sure why I am here" she admits, "I think I took a wrong turn at Alberquerque." A pause. "Sorry, I have been watching old cartoons too much. I was not really thinking where I was going but this is where I ended up. I hope you do not mind." She stands, it would be rude to greet him sitting down. "What is this place for? You have children?" Wanda sucks on her lower lip a moment. "We should talk about the Vishanti too."

“This place is an old battleground,” replies Strange. “I have no children,” that question makes him blink. Then he turns to the door, which flickers briefly as he alters its destination. “We can talk about the Vishanti, but not here. Even standing here is dangerous and could awaken,” he glances to the gargoyle, “that creature. Which is hardly dead and barely contained. Please, follow me,” to the living room of the Sanctum.

A battleground? Wanda looks around fully expecting to see ghosts and dead bodies popping up. She would be quite happy to follow Strange just with that information never mind that the Vishanti could hear and the gargoyle could come alive. "Da…let us find somewhere safer." She follows him into the Sanctum…that change of destination through the door way out of her magic league.

No ghosts, but there might have been a small skull under the crawler, and maybe the stains on the fence are blood? Hard to say, and since they are leaving Wanda can’t check it out now.

“Wong, please, bring us some tea,” requests Strange, inviting Wanda to sit down on the couch. He remains at the door a few seconds, muttering some words and drawing glyphs of light on the surface. Then the door is gone, and he finds his favorite armchair to settle.

“An imp from the so-called Fifth Dimension broke through the walls of reality back in the mid-nineties,” he explains. “It was grim business, indeed. I should move the statue somewhere safer now my knowledge of the Arts is more up to the task.”

"That giant statue was an imp?" That seems more frightening than anything else. Wanda would hate to see the giant demons then. She settles herself as best she can on the couch but she is not used to luxury. "Can we talk now? Are we alone? As best we can be at least."

“Of course we can talk. I’ll tell Wong not to disturb us,” replies Strange, “the Sanctum is protected against eavesdropping if that is a concern, so we can talk about whatever concerns you.” He invited Wanda to come to visit at any time, too. Although to say the truth his house has been mystically hidden for much of the year. And he spends half his time in other dimensions. Doctor Strange is not a man easy to find.

"Okay" Wanda replies with a nod before taking a deep breath. "Did you know that the Vishanti were seeking out your replacement? They tested me…Zatanna…some others. They tested me by giving me great power…I don't have it anymore. And every time they came to visit I would point out that there already was a Sorcerer Supreme. Did you know about this? Is there a reason you will not be around soon? As far as I know the tests continue though they have not bothered me with one for some time."

“I was aware the Vishanti were testing some young mages, yes,” admit Strange. “And I am both concerned and pleased they are paying so much attention to our little world. As for replacing me, they might have foreseen the need, or they might want to have more than one Supreme Sorcerer. There are precedents of three serving at once.”

He leans back, and continues, “but the true test to choose a Supreme Sorcerer is the Time of the Vishanti, a tournament only the aged Genghis can invoke.”

"How can you have more than one Supreme? That does not make sense" Wanda replies with a smirk before considering his words more seriously. "I do not think I will make any final tournament but I am glad that you knew about it. I thought it was rather rude otherwise. Zatanna is much more involved in magics than I am. I think she would make a good Sorceress Supreme…once you are done of course."

“So would you,” notes Strange, “your power and the purity of your intent is undeniable. Dedication to the Arts is just a question of finding the time. But the Vishanti have an uncanny perspective as whom they want as Supreme Sorcerers and it is often difficult for mortals like us to understand them.”

"Perhaps you are right. There are far too many things in life to think that I know all the answers. Or any of the answers." Wanda shrugs at the complexities of life. "I should be on my way unless there is something else you would like to ask. We should not be strangers for so long again. I know I have an open invitation but your home is rather hard to find." A smile as she stands and offers her hand. "Good day, Doc."

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