August 24, 2017:

Doctor Strange invites Ripclaw to the sanctum to talk about magic and incoming threats.

Dr. Strange Sanctum


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Magik, Darkedge, Sofia Strange, Tattoo, Ozymandias, Morella


Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

After the defeat of Bal Pteor Strange had planned to close ties with the supernatural warriors that brought the demon down. Maybe a celebration was due. But… the best-laid plans of mice and magicians often go awry.
First Illyana went to sulk in Limbo for several weeks. Then someone that felt like Dormammu started pressing on the reality walls between the Cinnibar Clouds and Singapore, of all places. It was not Dormammu, but Ikonn, so it was a week of riddles and avoiding illusions in clever ways not to anger too much the Lord of Illusions and still outsmart him into leaving the city alone.
Strange still has a lingering headache.
He was really looking forward to talk shop with fellow magic users, drink a good brandy, something almost normal. It has been a bad year. Make it two years.
Definitely receiving Robert Berresford/Bearclaw for an afternoon is a better way to spend the afternoon. Since Illyana is skipping her lesson again. Besides, it gave him an excuse to look for tomes on shamanic magic in his library. Not many of those among the works of ancient Supreme Sorcerers and those of the Vishanti tradition, but he found a couple books in English the mutant might find interesting some scrolls he had never read. Or even seen before. But it is typical of mystic writings to hide themselves until some odd condition comes into being.
Wong guides Robert to the library, and Strange stands up when the powerful-built native American comes in, “Ripclaw, I am glad to see you again. Or do you prefer Bearclaw?” He offers his hand for a handshake, although the grip of his horribly scarred hand feels quite weak.

Robert Berresford's tailing of Wong is quiet as he politely observes the Sanctum Sanctorum, his footfalls for such a large man and one wearing cowboy boots are eeriely silent.
"Doctor Strange, you can call me Robert." Bearclaw, he never goes by that. A certain amount of redundancy. "If you prefer formal, Berresford works."
The handshake is accepted and returned, the odd limited warmth of those biometallic claws evident. Retracted they're largely harmless looking and can almost pass for normal hands. Not quite though.

Cybernetic hands are interesting. From a medical viewpoint and… no, lets be honest. He still misses having fully functional hands able to perform miraculous surgeries. It has been almost fifty years and he still misses it.
So his eyes linger briefly in Robert’s hands, before gesturing an invitation for him to sit down. “Welcome to my Sanctum, Robert. Please, call me Stephen. Would you like brandy? Or tea?” He offers, taking a seat himself. “Before we start, would you tell me something? You are cybernetically enhanced, right? Does it interfere with your ability to channel or manipulate mystic energy?”

Robert spares one more look around before drawing out a seat and lowering in to it. Seating himself casually and comfortably so they can converse. "No thanks on the Brandy, Stephen." Ripclaw practises the name once. "If you wish to call it that, yes, I have cybernetic augmentions, some of them visible. If it does I am unaware of it, my ability to manipulate mystic energy is very limited as it is anyways. I was not a fast student in the arts and I cannot say if that is to do with my modifications or simply my nature." A smirk from the red eye'd mutant.

Strange nods briefly. “Magic requires intense focus and intention. I believe you have the potential for great power, but maybe it is not yet the right time to devote all your energies to the Arts. For many mortals the moment to learn comes when we disregard the ambitions and conflicts of youth.”
He will serve himself a glass of liquor, while Wong brings tea for Ripclaw. Then he adds, “I wasn’t even aware of the supernatural until my 30s, at least you know a good deal of the lore, don’t you?”

"You are not the first to say such things. I have had mentors before you, elders, wisemen, lunatics… " A wave of one of those clawed hands, "I am not a magician or a sorceror. I dabble. I know of spirits, the realms, rites and techniques that you would consider mundane likely but they're what I know. Enough to handle what I've encountered." A thoughful noise, "I do. I was raised learning the stories of the Old and New. It's a stereotype that is exercised." A shrug of his shoulders, bestowed upon him is a birthright and titles he is aware of yet does his best not to let them rule him or the perception of who Ripclaw is.

Strange chuckles, “magician, sorcerer, shaman, witch, wisemen… yes, and a hundred other titles. In truth there are almost as many ways to understand and use magic as those who practice them. Even among established organizations. Even disciples eventually develop their own style which might be quite different to the teacher’s.”
He sips his drink, “you say dabble, but you very few can leave the path once they take the first steps. And I think it is even harder now. The world will need the magicians more than ever. The events the past years have caused a shift of the… focus. Old barriers are crumbling and magic seems to flow stronger. I fear Earth is becoming a very alluring target. That demon…”
He grows silent for a few seconds, then continues. “The Trinity of Ashes had never before become involved with Earth. Even indirectly. Most mystics have not even heard of them. They are the opposite and rivals of the Vishanti. It bodes ill.”

"That is why you are who you are, no?" Ripclaw counters, "You're the gatekeeper. It is good to know at least you're taking your duties seriously." That is genuine from the Native American. He's aware of what the Sorcerer Supreme does for the realm and those before the current one, the stories were told to him by his mentors. "Yes, these times were warned. " He opts to go silent for now and lets Strange carry on.

“Gatekeeper,” Strange grimaces. “I have a large number of useless titles. But yes, keeping out outsider parasites is one of the most important tasks I have. And in truth I can’t do it alone. So another of my duties is delegating. I need also train disciples, recruit altruistic mystics and protect places of power and knowledge so humankind and the other peoples that share the world with us have a chance to survive and grow.”
He finishes his brandy and resists the temptation of having more. “The recruiting and organizing part is often the hardest. Like herding cats. Fortunately nowadays many powerful heroes protect the world. But even the Justice League has limitations. Most of their members can’t identify or defend from the simplest curse.”

"You have more titles than most men can think up." Ripclaw agrees, "Is this why you have invited me here? You're wanting to delegate?" A dark brow arches, "I am not capable of being your apprentice or a student, not a very good one. My priorities own me but, I can of course offer you aid when I am available or it is needed. I am a bound man, like you. This is sort of a give in. Plus, it spices things up." A sudden grin breaks the man's placid demeanor.
"I am an ally, Doctor Strange. I have been since Oedha awakened me. You can call on me should you need aid, perhaps it simply needed said but I considered it a give in."

Strange smiles faintly. “I do want your alliance, yes. Also to help keep you on the path, because you can learn much even without formal teaching and while you fulfill your other duties.” He gestures to the library around them. “And I wish to offer you access to the Sanctum and my library. I have the impression, or intuition, the New York region is being threatened by supernatural enemies even now. We need to be prepared. Bal Pteor was only one of the first.”

Ripclaw nods slowly yet without any hesitation. Access to the Sanctums library? He won't pass that up. He's rather fond of literature after all and many of these books go untouched by but a few select.
"I'll do what I can to help. Are there others you have asked or is it just you, me and Mr. Wong?"

“Illyana, and eventually my daughter Sofia,” replies Strange. Then adds, “the immortal called Ozymandias, who is my teammate in the Justice League. Ms. Elinor Ravensdale, and hopefully her friend, the surly Avalonian elf Darkedge, should he choose remain in New York. I plan to ask the tattooed woman, Kida, too.”

"I am familiar with several of those." Ripclaw says, "I appreciate you welcoming me in to your home, Doctor Strange. I am on this side of the city I need to make a stop. If you'll pardon me." The man stands up and gives a curt nod before making his way towards the exit, "I will be in touch."

Strange hrms, perhaps surprised Robert had to go so soon. Still, he shakes the man’s hand again and gives Wong the couple tomes on ancient American supernatural matters he managed to find in his library so Robert can take a look. They can talk about them next time he visits. Maybe to add a few corrections.

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