Strange Ramen

January 27, 2018:

Doctor Strange arrives in the Curator's Shop to talk with the man himself about the mystical mayhem that has been happening under everyone's noses. Lara Croft is there eating Ramen Noodles! (Ripclaw spoofing Curator)

The Curator's Shop

Characters

NPCs: The Curator

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

The winter wonderland of New York right now holds many strange and interesting things happening beneath it's chilly breath, the flooring of snow and skylines of pales at least attractive, if not hazardous and causing a slow of the bustling Tri-Cities.

Of recent days there has been magical mishaps and supernatural incidents and a Manhattan based Antique and Curio Shop that caters to specialized clients in recent days. With the applied help of Damage Control sweeping NYC streets clean of snow and a budget awardeness to city ordinance at least the frosty 'hell' thats descended on everyone is tolerable, adapt, survive and eventually thrive, correct?

The Curator's shop has become a rally point for the seekers of the Artifacts, the aged Chinese man fast becoming Sara Pezzini's go to on questions involving the Occult. It's interior is as always, musty, a little too warm, far too many candles in places that could alarm someone to possible fires and cluttered with relics from around the world, flintlocks, swords, vases, masks, war bonnets, stones covered in inscriptions, a knight's full plate suit. The smell of an oaken incense permiates the shop along with fresh tea leaves. Somewhere in the background a TV's volume too high can be heard blaring the sounds of what might be The Walking Dead.

Lara Croft is in the shop's kitchen area on the phone. She's talking to her employer at SHIELD's WAND division and she's preparing herself a bowl of ramen noodles… not exactly high dining, but it was enough to fill her stomach up and give her fuel to go back to what she was doing, which was always research.

Dressed in a long grey sleeved tshirt with the sleeves shoved up to her elbows, some olive hued pants and a pair of boots, she looked ever-utilitarian in her casual clothing choices.

"No, I get that." Lara says in her deeply British influenced voice. "But I just spent an evening in another plain of existance and I'm hoping to find more out about it before I write my report." Her voice carried from the kitchen area while the pot of boiling water prepared her noodles.

Strange has been pretty busy lately due to the blizzard and a certain bear spirit. But he is the Supreme Sorcerer and he lives in New York. Weirdness that happens in the city draw his attention sooner or later. Usually sooner it did this time.

The door of the shop opens to let the middle-aged gentleman inside. He is tall, lean. Dressed for winter in a dark coat, matching hat, red scarf, yet somehow there is barely a snowflake on it.

The doctor peers around curiously, letting his mystical senses guide him. It is a rather normal (if British) voice what draws his attention. Normal folks do not mention other planes of existence in phone conversations. Actually supernatural people do not do it often, either. Yes, he goes to investigate.
The Curator has been exceptionally pleasant and accomodating to the continued presence of Lara, Robert, Sara and Jackie. He did after all call them together with a purpose of working with him. The phone conversation is at best ignored, he knows who they are and what their engagements include. Priorities, life. Such as it is.

"Hello, welcome to my shop." The aged fellow says with a friendly tone, his fingers placed togethr, tips against tips in a steeple before him, a stereotypical appeal that he knows works in the West. Movies have done him very well.
Yes, even a precursory glance will give tell that some of this stuff here, much of it is authentic, mystical or detailing as such. This is not a fake shop. The man is likewise surrounded in an aura laced with magical flickerings. If one so wishes to see or sense these things.

Lara hung up her phone after telling the person on the other end that she'd be prepared for the next assignment sometime in the next few days. She sighed heavily and leaned herself up against the countertop on her right hip in thought for a moment while steam wafted up from the pot on the stove beside her.

Lara came out of her small trance-like state when she heard voices in the other room and then she looked over to see Doctor Strange there-in, she remembered him of course. A look was lingered before she turned back to her dinner and she took it off the stove and twisted the knob to deactivate the burner.

She went about pouring the noodles and mixing in an assortment of species before she stepped out of the kitchen and just gently leenad herself against the doorframe by her right shoulder, watching the others while her food cooled some.

Strange's curiosity is stalled by the presence of the old man. He offers a tense smile and nods. "And good day to you, too," he replies politely. Then he spots Lara. "Lady Croft?" He murmurs.

He clears his throat, eyes back in the Curator. "You have an interesting shop in here, I can't believe I had not spotted it before." He unbuttons his coat and pulls a card from his breast pocket, offering it to the old man. "Here. Allow me to introduce myself. Doctor Stephen Strange."
"Oh? I have had it here for some time. I recently reopened again though, some new wares have come in. I was in London before here." The Curator informs, a smile around his mustache given to Lara as she joins them.
"Make yourself comfortable. Doctor Stephen Strange." The man remarks, its a slow sounding out of Strange's name before a glint appears in his eyes, "Ahh, you are him. The mystical warden of this realm."

"A very special guest. Would you like some, tea?" Without looking gnarled old knuckles grasp up the card, he has many rings on. Each finger has one or two, mostly gaudy, ornate and old. Something grandmothers would wear. It makes his hands look aged, brings out the liverspots and wrinkles nicely.

Lara was in the process of lifting a spoonful of steamy noodles up to her lips when Strange spoke her name in its formality version. This made her rising hand pause and then she smiled faintly at him. "Doctor." She said softly. "Its good to see you again, I hope all is well for you." And with that said she gave a little blow to the spoon to help cool it so she wouldn't burn herself.

Lara's eyes went over to the Curator and she watched him for a moment while he spoke, she was fairly used to him by this point… his quirks and oddities had become far more familar to her in the month that they've had working together on all of this strange stuff (pun intended).

Lara was a risk taker though, so she put the hot food into her mouth to test it! It didn't burn her, so she was happily enjoying her dinner now.

"Tea would be good, thank you," replies the doctor to the old man. And a gentle smile is directed to Lara. "Quite. Barring some difficulties with the… winter I hope to sort out soon. I hope you are well yourself."

Then his attention is on the Curator again. "Mystical warden is an apt description of my role, indeed. I have noticed some incidents in this corner of the city that have drawn my attention. A clash of ancient powers. I came seeking understanding."
"I see you know our ever famous and enigmatic yet charming explorer? I have signed her on to assist me in my ongoing search for the rare, mysterious and mystical." Quirks? Yes, the Curator exhibits them by waving his fingers in the air as he says rare, mysterious and mystical. As though hes puppeteering invisibility and should be making an OooOoo sound.

Turning around and going through the beads to the kitchen Lara just evactuated he willl begin pouring cups for each of them.

"A clash? There have been multiple of recent, your awareness, it is surprising but I should expect as much, yes, yes… yes indeed. One in particular you grow curious of?" The louder the Curator talks to be heard the more his voice gets rocky, shaky even. Like Yoda's voice cracks. It must be an old bent wizard things. Strange may recall some stories of him, hes ancient after all, lots of stories of a shop that opens in places, people witness great wonderous or fabled objects within, then never gain, gone once more. He is low key, under the radar and a seeker, always finding new goods to and offering knowledge but not one to directly involve.

Lara nodded her head to Strange's counter question after showing him a faint smile. She looked over to the Curator when he flamboyantly spoke of her involvement in this and it just made her lightly grin. "Yes." She said softly. "I can tell that my presence is ever valuable." Was that sarcasm? "Asking non stop questions and constantly poking my nose into places it likely doesn't belong." She had a curious mind and always had.

"Going forward though, I believe there is a lot here that I can help with and I have every desire to do so. " Lara walked over to the arm of the sofa and sat down on that while the Curator went into the kitchen.

"I've already seen some wildly unbelievable things going on in the darker corners of the city here and around here… Stuff that cannot be left unchecked."

"Things that I imagine you are much more qualified for handling that I am, Doctor." Lara then said with her eyes back upon Stephen.

Strange studies the ancient man quietly, matching his appearance and mannerisms with the mystical shop owner of past sorcerers stories. Now the doctor is quite sure of the old man's identity, but not of his intentions. "Curious about everything, much as the Lady Croft here. And willing to learn, indeed."

But it is not idle curiosity what brought him here. "But in truth I am quite concerned about the incidents because when great powers class within a city innocent citizens are likely to end up hurt, or dead. So I am here to try to prevent more conflict and more destruction."
"My new found friends and I are not out for conflict or causing concern in your turf, Doctor Strange." The Curator promises coming back out with a tray, a cup of tea on it for each of them. This tray is set down on the edge of one of the displays, inside are old coins Greek, Byzantine and Roman of origin to others, little trinkets of days gone.

That sofa Lara is occupying surrounded by book stacks, a small round table before her, it is lewd in nature, one of Queen Catherine's very own collection.

"If anything we seek to prevent it. Ancient powers are on the move everywhere, especially after this freak storm started to plague this lovely city. Do you realize the Krampus peed on my front window? I awoke to it. Heard the chains, looked outside and the foul beast was… Fortunately my shop is contained in a very strong and old protection ward. A Volume IX Stygian scroll… "A murmur under the old mans breath about wishing he knew where he put it.

"I think people hve already been dying." Lara quietly commented on the tail end of Doctor Strange's words whle she eyed her bowl of soup and then listened to the Curator's additions to the conversation. The bit about Krampus got her to look up to the window that she assumed the Curator was indicating was 'peed on' and it just made the refined British woman to gently shake her head in restrained disgust.

Her eyes went back down to the food and she ran her spoon through it. "Something foul has been going on, and I think its been going on for some time… Only just now is it building to a point that its simmering over the pot's edge, and the rest of us are now noticing athe mess."

The doctor takes off his coat, leaving it on a chair. At some point his scarf seems to have vanished on its own. Then he takes a seat close to Lara. "That is good, and I will help if I can. The storm should be over soon. As for the Krampus… yes, it was loosened on the world by the sorceress Circe. I saw it happen," and failed to prevent it, and remembering makes the sorceress frown. "I have powerful allies chasing after the creature. Unfortunately there are several mystical emergencies going on at the same time. This year promises to be quite 'interesting'."
"Help us? You're far too busy and important a man for such things." The Curator insists, "I prefer we remain as low key and unnoticed as can be, it keeps my seekers safer that way and not drawing all the attention of eyes this world offers and beyond. All though, there may be ways youcan assist us."

"Circe? So she is a real entity. Confirmed from the words of the Sorceror Supreme himself!"

The aged man grins, skin like parchement folding in creases around his fu manchu, "That will be a wonderful thing. The cold… it is a hinderance and not good for my bones. It has been great in selling some of my potions !" The rack behind him, alchemical in nature, it's hosting jars of many things, probably some of them illegal, monkey brains, batwings, eyeballs, organs of all manners, also some strange cryptozological creatures.

"Foul as ever, my dear, Miss Croft. How is your soup? Also the book you were seeking earlier, it is on the forth shelf, third to the right and marked with a red ribbon. I made sure after your inquiry to make it my priority."

Lara looked to Stephen when he sat down on the sofa that she was resting on the right arm of. "I need to make sure you get a chance to speak with Robert on everything we experienced in the spirit realm that he was gracious enough to let me… partake in. It was unsettling, to say the least, and we both really would benefit from your feedback on it all, Doctor." She'd say to him then before her eyes went back to the Curator.

"Its good, far better than the kind that sustained me throughout my University days." She said back to him with a light smile before she stood up from the arm of the sofa and went to the bookshelf that hs spoke of. Lara crouched then in front of it and went to run her fingers across the spines of the books before she spied the ribbon and then pulled the book out.

"Excellent…" She whispered from where she was crouched, scanning the book over with her eyes.

"Not at all," protests Strange, picking up a cup of tea and sipping the warm liquid. "I am no more important than any other human being. And I am honor-bound to protect my fellow men. It is my duty as a doctor and as an agent of the Vishanti."

Robert, she said. A flash of intuition/insight strike. But Strange is not be surprised Bearclaw would be mixed in this group. "I will see the Ghost Warrior soon," he mentions Lara. "What has been going on exactly?"

The Curator has heard the spirit realm adventure from Robert, it's not exactly something he holds any expertise or vast knowledge in or so he told them.

"If you wish to take it with you, by all means, Miss Croft. Just make sure to seal it completely and keep it away from the floor, lights, smoke and windows."

"The Vishanti." The Curator mimics the word. His fingers rising up, rubbing his fu manchu, "Very well, if you insist. You know Mister Berresford? He is a reluctant seeker along side Miss Croft here. Something in his words about honor as well said he insisted on helping me. Funny that, you men and you admirable talk of honor. Old fools like me lost notions long ago but it is very admirable."

"You seek the story, very well, many many years ago, when I remember much less lines I recall encountering an artifact of great power, it scarred me, the things it could accomplish, burnt deep in to my soul. Gave me conviction to grow more curious, to investigate and learn… I have figured out there are more directly tied or related to it, thirteen or so. I have fashioned an encasement, one that can hold such objects safely away from eachother and the world. My seekers, graciously now using my knowledge hunt them for me. To bring them together so that they do not fall in to the wrong hands… We are currently in possession of two, perhaps three very shortly."

Lara spent a few moments eyeballing the book that the Curator had pointed out for her, she held it on the top of her right thigh and held her bowl of soup off to the side in her left hand. "Of course." She said softly a few moments later to what the Curator said about tending to it. She wouldn't spill ramen noodles on it! don't be silly!

Lara stood then and looked to Strange, showing him a faint and almost sleepy smile. "We better wait for Robert to help elaborate on all the finer points of the past several weeks. But yes, your help is greatly desired… at least in some compacity…" She glanced to the Curator then, understanding him by saying Strange was a bit High Profile for this work.

The book was slipped way into Lara's leather backpack thats resting on a chair and then she sat down on the edge of said chair and finished her dinner while looking to the Curator when he spoke.

Strange's eyes narrow, his inner eye focusing on the words. Thirteen artifacts linked. Containment of what might be cornerstones of magic. On the other hand they might be dangerous to leave unwatched. He is not sure if he likes what he hears. But definitely will wait until he has talked to Ripclaw before deciding if this is a worthwhile quest.

"Do these devices have names? I do have in my possession a few important artifacts," he admits. "Some to use for my mission. Others just need to be kept hidden, and bound."

The Curator intakes deeply at Lara's balancing of his book to her soup, careful as she is and her promise he swallows. A look at Doctor Strange is then awarded, with it a wide smile. Teeth showing.

"They do indeed. These I seek are not in your possession as far as I am aware but perhaps and if so, well, we shall barter later, I do love a good barter. It rem… "

The Curator stops as Strange looks faraway, the hat, scarf and man disappear in a sudden 'woosh' of whirring gold.

"I suppose he was not one for my story. Wizards… " A noise and that strange chortle laugh from the Curator. "I am going back to my shows, I can hear you if you have any questions, Miss Croft." Like some self amused little old grandpa the man shambles back to the room the TV is very loud from.

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