In a House at a Crooked Street

July 27, 2018:

Doctor Strange is drawn to an odd house in Brooklyn where a mysterious old man and an injured Ripclaw await. (Odoaker emitted by Ripclaw)

406 Willows, Brooklyn


NPCs: Odoaker

Mentions: Lara Croft

Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

406 Willows Brooklyn.

A crooked street, a small building sits crushed between two larger newer structures. The outside of it overgrown with moss and vines in the front of it a leaning and bent tree that looks trapped between dead and rotting precariously overhangs a parked car.

Those who live around here claim this place is haunted, no one leaves it or enters until after nightfall or under the cover of darker conditions. The front yard with its overgrown vegetation looks out of place on the well-manicured lane, the gate a rusted old black thing never seems to shut but no one ventures past it. It is here that Doctor Strange had been 'summoned' by a call, a pull or more specifically a 'geas' from an outside force, one that didn't succeed against the Sorcerer Supreme of Earth but that attempt and trail lies there and leads to… here.

Strange studies the house from the outside, cautiously. No detection spells, just cloaking spells to try to prevent whoever cast the geas to detect he is here. It is probably a trap, but the situation is such that he needs to investigate even traps. Lilith and Circe are out there, plotting doom and destruction and Strange can't find them. Meanwhile, Thor went to Asgard to seek aid, and has yet to report back.

He did check with the Justice League, but neither Diana nor Vivienne are at the Hall. He is going to have to check this out alone. Which is usually how he does everything, to be honest. His calls to the Justice League for backup are at best half-hearted.

But see, he is the Supreme Sorcerer. Nothing to worry about, right?

The magician steps into the front yard, heading for the front door.

There is a magical aura about the location, that otherworldly that says someone like Strange is no stranger. Malicious or not is hard to tell. At the threshold the gate creaks open and the growth of foliage around Strange actually shrivels and moves along the ground, the ruffling of leaves audible as it responds, in pulling back small animal bones can be seen, likely Timmy Wadsworth's missing cat and Miss Codgerly's prized toy poodle. Some have guard dogs while others apparently have carnivorous shrubbery…

The door is a dark oaken thing, heavy, aged and upon a close inspection Doctor Strange will see the etching around it, a sigil to ward off evil and potent spirits and another to also contain energies inside. While central to it a larger one, an obfuscation ward. One meant to hide what lies beyond.
None of these require any form of dispel or enchantment breaks for the Doctor. Like the gate the door simply opens.

Within contrary to the outside the walls are immense, an elaborate and expensive yet very clean indoor chamber that has a single massive stairwell going upwards. Duality embraced with the all white walls, ceiling, smooth floor, stairwell and its black banisters, black piano, black fireplace and black funirture. There are no windows and apparently no doors that are visible, with the whitewash of it just appears to go on and on. Like there is no end, exit or entrance. Though, there are of course those stairs up and seemingly where the fireplace is there has to be a wall there.

On the pro side: a ward against evil spirits; on the con side: pet-eating shrubbery. It feels like a wizard's home, but no one Strange knows about. Rude of them to settle in his city without even a token note.

Better to investigate further before taking offense, though.

Since the door opens so easily, Strange assumes he has been invited, and likely detected. "Good morning," he greets, "please show yourself, I am too old for hide and seek games."

There is a rueful noise coming from the top of the stairwell, a bent figure stands there. Old, hair a matted mess down to shoulders and past, she or he stands no more than five feet tall maybe once before doubling over with time they could have stood three inches more, at best.
A wrinkled one eyed face visible underneath the rough stringy hair. "Is it morning where you are from?" A hoarse voice questions. "There are no games of hide and seek here. I sought you out."
"Besides, Sorcerer Supreme, our kind are prone to such things. It is in our very essence."

"My name is Odoaker… you may call me Otto."

Our kind is prone to all kinds of annoying and unpractical traditions.

But Strange has learned to keep his opinion to himself when dealing with traditionalists. And tricksters. "It is indeed a good summer morning," confirms the younger-looking wizard. "And if it wasn't, it is still my wish you have a good morning, master Otto. I felt your call, and I am curious, so I came… cautiously, for these are dangerous times."

He takes a step forward, and if Odoaker remains on the top of the stairwell, he begins climbing with measured pace (and his mystical senses open).

"They are. They are." The man repeats himself and that single eye gets a far away look then he taps his long cane on the ground, an odd thing the top of it is covered in a fur or down at the top above his hand, knotwork woven around it and threads hanging down around his fist.

"I did not call you for myself however or these times."

As Stephen steps upon the stairwell he doesn't have to 'walk' up them more than three steps before he is at the top, as illusions go time and distance are often part of the act.

A slow turn from the bent ancient and hes stepping once and twice and a third they are at a doorway, a large yawning open thing with another of those fireplaces inside, yet within the room looks different, more rustic, furs on the flooring, cabin like walls, old wooden chairs and dangling beadwork of bones, strings, runes of stone and the like hang from rafters in all directions.

The old man points at the bundle in the bedding and shuffles closer. Stepping past the threshold. "I believe this is one of yours."

Robert Berresford lies in the fur makeshift bed. His head plastered with sweat and unconscious, bared torso shows off the cybernetic enhancements, a wet towel lie on his chest and he appears to be well just unconscious and perhaps in a fever state. "I figured I would be kind enough to return him to you."

Strange follows the one called Otto without further word. In truth he is studying the spatial tricks of the house to see if he can learn something new. Certainly there is a couple places in his own, ever so temperamental, dwelling they could benefit from some spatial bending.

The observation comes to a quit end when he reaches the room and the injured man inside. Strange sighs, "one of mine… I suppose. He is my friend, and he lives in my city. What happened to him?" The question is made as Strange approaches the fallen Ghost Walker, quietly casting a diagnostic spell of his own devising.

"I found him /between/." Otto observes. Both of his hands held to the wooly cane.

"He had been what I assumed mortally wounded but as you can see without any aid of magicks he has healed rather well for a man-machine. There was a sense of New York and the center about him, I assumed, he belonged here." The man hefts up a knotted cord and stares that one eye at it, "Yes, right here." He shakes it. "I was not incorrect."

"What is alarming though, your friend here, he carried with him this." The knot placed down and next to Ripclaw a half-covered disc is visible, gold, pure gold. It radiates power in a contained hum. "A seal, one of set. I believed the last of these was seen several of this world's Geomancer's ago."

Strange eyes narrow at seeing the seal. "It seems part of a seal, indeed," confirms Strange, no saying more to the mysterious Otto. He does verify Ripclaw's mutant power is overcoming the injuries, which is a relief. He could try to boost his healing system, but not in this enchanted house, and not without some testing. The advanced healing factor might react poorly to a mystical intervention and it looks as if the large man will recover on his own.

"He is not easy to kill," comments Strange. "But I am most grateful you have brought him home. With your permission I will take him to my Sanctum, and call some of his friends."

"Yes, please take him. His… " A tap on Ripclaw's bicep upon the bio-metal, a muted clunk sound of wood and alien composite. "It is offensive. This man has a great energy to him that is poisoned by this… crafted metal. Your world and its modern science has ruined another of our kind."

Otto steps back, "Take that thing with you too. " He mentions the disc, "It belongs in Midgard not outside of it or between."

Odoaker studies Doctor Strange, a curious sound coming from his throat. "You are pursuing these upstarts and chaos makers? Those causing grief to realms?" This question holds some weight in the form that its as if someone just asked if Stephen was doing his job.

Strange begins casting more openly, orange and gold runes writing around his wrists and over Ripclaws powerful form. A mild trance spell, then levitation, he is not carrying the cyborg by himself. "Ruined? I don't think so, he is a free man and he will find a way to remove those implants if he wants."

A sharp glance is directed to Otto when he makes those questions. So very rhetorical. "You know I do, I am the Supreme Sorcerer and those problems are my business."

He did say 'upstarts' however. Which is not how someone would refer to ancients like Lilith and Circe. Unless 'Otto' is older than the mountains, he knows something. "If you have knowledge to share, however, I would appreciate the information."

"If you say so." Otto remarks, a sour expression there none the less while Ripclaw is levitated.

"I can only share what we're all aware of, there are things in motion. The sleepers and the deceivers are making bold moves and attempting to upset the status quo. Like vermin no longer afraid of the light." The man's lips twist and he turns his head to spit a phlegmy wad. One full of more than just saliva.

"All I can tell you is continue to gather your mortal forces, find those capable of the sight and consider remember when you face the wolves, be ready for their teeth and they do not discriminate."
"The Gods are being provoked intentionally and the Eldest of them are not pleased. Should they begin to take action… we welcome another great deluge, a Ragnarok."

"Then like the Sumerians all that will be left is trinkets like that one." The gold disc. That, should dawn on Strange. The writing upon it. As if it piece would clip together and suddenly the words are decipherable. "There will be no resistance in leaving this Hall."

"The deluge has been coming since the millennium changed and the Ancient One passed into a higher plane," agrees Strange, a grave expression in his face. "The Axis Mundi has realigned and I have been slow at taking the strongest precautions, but fortunately the Age of Heroes is at its zenith and Earth's champions are stronger they have been in twenty five centuries. I find the odds not as bleak as they could be."

He palms the disk in his hand. One of the seals of hell. More players joining the game or another feint. Hopefully Bearclaw will know more of it. "Farewell, master Otto. Although perhaps we will meet again soon."

"Indeed. Awareness acknowledged. Good."

"Fare thee well, Sorcerer Supreme. May you not drown in the blood of your enemies." The old man says as he departs with the wounded Ghost Warrior.

The house changes slightly once outside, that power inside swept away and it becomes less of a presence.

Ripclaw's eyes open up and they roll towards Stephen, "Strange… we… have to save Lara." It's all he can manage before his head turns to the side and he fades to unconsciousness again. Left to be transported with the wizard of New York.

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