Old Scrolls

August 11, 2018:

It is the morning after the Museum visitation and breakfast with Wong and Strange. Vivienne steals the tea-making duties. Adara receives a history lesson.

Strange's Sanctum


NPCs: Wong


Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

It is the morning of the day after. Doctor Strange had one of *those nights* in which he had to hit several places to put down small fires or meet important and not so important people. He finally had time to stop and grab food at around four in the morning, and most of his visitors had left or retired to guest rooms. Fortunately Wong was the perfect host, as usual.

Now, it is nine in the morning, and Strange managed about four hours of meditation, so he is feeling pretty good. If nothing explodes today, he will go back to the meditation room after he unpacks this… stolen museum crate. Weeeeell, lets say temporarily borrowed for a good cause.

But why is it covered by this white foam? Weird.

Wong moved it from the study to the living room at some point during the night. Perhaps a wise move, he has some experiments going in the study.

Besides, only fair everyone sees what is inside, right? While having the breakfast tea. Hopefully there is not a mummy inside, or any kind of dead or undead. "No wards, but it would be odd if a museum put those. There is a faint magic aura. Darkedge was right, it is ancient. Hmm… here it says 2007 and some code we should check. Given it must have been manipulated by the museum curators and archeologists I doubt it is dangerous." Still he does some basic warding, and then opens the tinted methacrylate top. Such a fancy (and expensive) way to pack antiquities. Only in Metropolis.

Vivienne looked up from where she had been preparing tea. She'd had a chance to rest, if not sleep, and get herself as cleaned up as she was likely to be. Since she had not had a chance to go home, preferring to remain within the Samctum until Strange could return, she'd at least stripped off her outer armor, leaving the softer padding beneath, and over that had managed to wrangle a robe, simple and utilitarian, over that. "I would imagine, as with most scrolls, it isn't the item itself that is the real danger, but the words and the power it can unleash."

Wong looks at Vivienne as the young woman makes the tea. It is hard to read if he is amused or outraged about this tea-making 'intrusion'. Unsure himself, he decides to keep himself busy preparing the tea service. "Did they say scrolls? Most Lilim have not been on Earth in millennia, I doubt they know a book from a scroll," comments the oriental man.

Strange peers to the contents of the crate and frowns. "Yes, but… this is neither. Or rather," he lifts a glass-protected sheet or metal. "It is not what I expected. Alchemically-treated to endure without rust. But it is not iron, copper or bronze. And I don't recognize these glyps."

A sigh escapes her lips as she walks in on the heeled armored legs of the Ember Stone's bio-organic armor. She looks a little flustered and is wearing a robe over her usual, err, costume. The strange, almost dreadlock like hair sways as she walks in and Adara looks over at Vivienne briefly and then at Wong. She then blinks as she sees Strange before she finds a spot to sit. The wings, at least, are not present and the tail is not either. She idly clacks a soft, slightly clawed finger on to the table before her and looks ot Vivienne, "Tea as well, thank you." She says in that slightly otherworldly voice. At least her eyes aren't firey pits like they sometimes are.

Vivienne was all too aware of Wong hovering, and the look she gave him was apologetic, "I just need something to do with my hands, is all." She does glance over, as Adara enters, nodding to her request for tea, "Yes, they definitely said scrolls, so Adara told me, but I was not there." She does pause, as she realizes her misstep, "I don't think you've been introduced, "Adara, this is Doctor Strange, the Sorcerer Supreme, we are in his abode. This is Wong, I'm not sure if I told you his name yet." She leaves the woman to make her own introduction, given that she hasn't chosen to return to her normal form. Since she has no idea what the fire woman calls herself, she simply uses the name she does know.

"Ah, you must be Miss Hong," greets the mage. "I am…" but Vivienne is making introductions, "just Doctor Strange, welcome to my house," he is wearing a suit, charcoal grey, a gold amulet on a chain where the tie should be. He looks more like a doctor than a sorcerer.

Back to the 'scrolls', he brings the first one to the table so the others can get a good look. Bluish metal, the symbols dull silver. They catch the light in a very nice way. The glyphs are fairly simple, hinting an alphabetic, not syllabic language, yet also rather alien. "I'd say they resemble runes of a demonic language, but… not quite." Back to the crate, where he mutters surprised at the very large number of sheets.

Wong smiles at Vivienne, "I know… tea making is relaxing, yes?" The 'scroll' is given a cursory glance. "I'd say we need to know where they were found. 2006? Very recent. There might be something in the net."

A look over to Vivienne and she nods a little before smiling to the Doctor and Wong in turn, "Yes, I am Adara and you may call me that. I intended to come up with something for when I'm like this." She gestures, "Emberwing, I think, was one I liked." She then shifts uncomfortably, "Though I suppose for now I don't have a lot of choice in this form." She frowns and then shrugs, "The Ember Stone wants to stay like this for the moment and arguing with it was taxing to the point where I simply figured it was a small concession." She then looks to the scroll, sitting up some and then tilting her head, "Have you done any scientific analysis of it?"

"It is. But I know you are also quite particular about how it should be done." Still, Vivienne appreciates that Wong, thus far, as been polite enough not to slap her hands away, and so, once the conversation begins in earnest, she sets out a tray and begins the process of selecting cups, pouring tea, and then adding the usual carafe of milk and cream, as well as sugar and honey, to carry over to where they are working. "Does she have a name she'd prefer?"

"Scientific?" Strange arches an eyebrow. "No, but I will take them to the Hall of Justice for analysis later. They seem safe enough, the only enchantments I can detect are preservation magics. I don't like the 'feeling', but even dark magic can be harmless when done for a simple utility spell. Most grimories are protected. On the other hand this could be a book of spells, I suppose. Those are rarely harmless."

Wong just shakes his head to Vivienne. "No 'right way' to make tea, Miss Benoit." It is just odd to have a visitor willing to make it herself.

Wong was trained to serve and protect the masters of Tamar-Taj since childhood, like everyone in his family. Somehow he ended up in New York because he was the best of his generation, and Master Yao, the Ancient One died (okay - 'transcended into a higher plane') leaving the title to an American. Sometimes he feels he has seen everything, but other times the small things surprise him.

A look to Vivienne, "She? I'm not sure it cares." She looks sideways for a moment and shrugs before she looks then to Strange and nods her head, "I am curious if we can determine something by perhaps micro-organisms that might be present on it." She shrugs and then sighs, "I'm still new to this whole magic business." She nods her head before looking down a moment, "Frankly I am kinda new to all of this."

Vivienne nods to Adara, "A number of the artifacts, oddly enough, have genders assigned to them. The Darkness is male and claims always a male host, the Angelus female to a female host, the Witchblade is male, but is always paired with a woman. Which, I know, makes not at all any sort of sense as they have no bodies of their own, but it remains an odd fact. Given that when the stone manifests, it manifests as a creature, which even looking nothing at all like you as you are when you are not armored, is still visually female, I simply assumed that it too might have a gender. Clearly, it seems to be cognizant enough that it can communicate with you." But turning to the task of setting out tea for everyone, leaving them to add their own flavourings, she leaves discussion of the scrolls to the rest.

"It could be Batman will identify the language and the precedence of these sheets with a glance," comments Strange with some amusement. "Meanwhile, I suppose I should try a translation spell. It doesn't seem to be protected, but who knows…" he grabs another glass-covered sheet and moves some distance from the table. No reason to ruin everyone's breakfast if it explodes in his face, right?

"Ah, they are alchemical formulea… well, part of one. I doubt the sheets are in the right order," he states with a satisfied expression. "Lets see…" he skims over a few more sheets. Frowns. "This can't be right… it wouldn't work… why bother with such a complex setup if it blatantly can't work…" he straightens, thoughtful. Then ahs, as it dawns on him, "Omnipotent Oshtur!"

He looks at the others. "The formulae are ancient beyond belief. They would have worked well… before the Cataclysm that sunk Atlantis."

Vivienne took her tea with cream and sugar, and added a generous amount of the first, less of the other, before she turned to watch Strange begin the work of attempting to, at least identify, if not translate the scrolls, such as they were. There's attentiveness in her gaze and a generous amount of curiosity, "I will just assume that Atlantis existed and not bother you with such questions, but what is 'Omnipotent Oshtur'? Is that the contents of those scrolls, or a sorcerous expletive?"

"Er… expletive," admits Strange, looking somewhat embarrassed. "I move in peculiar circles, our expletives are also uncanny," he admits. "Atlantis exists, indeed. Although now it is underwater, you might have heard about Aquaman and Namor. There is a large city and a number of smaller enclaves in the Atlantic ocean. And they are not the only underwater civilization, just the most ancient. Indeed, I believe they are the most long-lasting nation on Earth. Atlantis sunk below the ocean twenty thousand years ago."

"Oshtur is the Elder Goddess of the Stars," offers Wong. "A benevolent, powerful spirit still worshipped in Africa as the Bright Lady and many other names."

A blink at all this and Adara rubs her forehead, "This is beyond me." She nods her head again before sighing, "I am a scientist. Not a magician." She looks over at Vivienne and then looks down at the thing glowing slightly at her chest hidden under the robe, "And I guess it is female." She shrugs, "Anwyay, Atlantis?" She looks up, "I had heard of that. And Oshtur? Wait." She rubs her head a little, "I remember those guys in the pasement talking about Lillith or something? Are you saying that all of this is because these myths are /all/ real?" She looks over, "I know we have a Thor but this is starting to register as extra parts weird."

"I would venture to say, Adara, from what I have seen and heard from people that I trust, that many, if not most of the things that we believed to be fairy tales exist." She lifts a hand to indicate herself, "The Spear, the Christ," she shifts to indicate Strange, "True Magic. Elves. And yes, Lilith, who is much more and much more powerful than even the apocryphal stories of the Bible would have you believe." But on that vein, she then turns back to Strange, "I have never heard of Namor, though I believe I have heard something of a being calling itself Aquaman. He is a member of the Justice League you mentioned, if the news reports I can vaguely remember are to be believed."

"Not all stories are real, but all myths are real," replies Strange, "and only a small part of the supernatural world has made to the stories." He leaves the sheets alone, and joins them for breakfast instead.

"Magic is very real, and you hold a supernatural artifact of great power, I believe," he nods at Magdalena. "Namor, you might have read about him from World War Two news reports, and Arthur, Aquaman, are heroes and rulers of underwater nations. Creatures the legends call elves lived in ancient Scandinavia and Ireland, now they have retired to their native dimension. Avalon, Alfheim, Faerie and other extra-planar realms."

Pause to serve tea. Thank you, Wong.

"Lilith is an ancient sorceress, maybe demon, maybe goddess - the Summerians worshipped her as the daughter of Ahriman. But she is older than the rest of the pantheon," she could also be Adam's wife, mentioned in the Talmud. But again, that text is much younger than Lilith. "She is called the Mother of Demons for obvious reasons. Last night you met some of her children."

"Well, one of those children could predict the future." She states and nods her head, "Even the Ember Stone's apparently." She sighs and shrugs, "I'm not sure how you fight such a being unless he can only predict one timeline at a time or something. The elf guy did stab him in the back while he was looking at me." She shrugs, "Just saying, that these guys are insanely strong. Stronger than anything I have read about or understand." She shrugs and there's a flare of fire in her eyes before she grabs her head and grumbles, "Yes, yes, we can burn them all…later…" She sighs.

"We certainly will not win against such a force alone. Which is precisely why Strange and Robert have been gathering allies. I have no doubt that what we met last night was only a fraction of the Lilim she can send after us. Whatever else they are, they are demons, and it seems as though each time I kill one, three more take their place. And the ones which I find myself against, more often than not, do not have a central unifying force strong enough to force them to their will." Vivienne shook her head, replenishing her tea as she spoke, "You are not like me, Adara. I was raised to know nothing else but this" she indicates herself, the armor that is still covered by a robe, "But that does not mean you cannot be capable of that task set before you. And you have unique skills which none of us have, and you make us stronger for that. For all that I imagine you feel like a fish out of water."

"The Lilim are Earth-demons, and each one of them is different," comments Strange. But he nods at Magdalena about the numbers. "And yet, after seeing what my teammates in the League can do, I am hard to impress by the power of most demons. This age some mortals like Superman can and do humble even the mightiest god."

Which is a good thing in his book. Future Supreme Sorcerers are going to find annoying he is writing so much about the heroes in the Book of the Vishanti, which is supposed to be about spells and mystic events, not just history.

"Unfortunately the League is about to undertake a very dangerous mission far from Earth. I am leaving with them," he announces, "so it will be up to you to hold the fort and defeat, or at least delay Lilith and her army."

"Wait, hold on." She looks over at Vivienne and then at Strange, "You guys can easily wipe these guys out but you got something to do elsewhere?" She blinks a few times, "Really?" She sighs and shakes her head, "What exactly is so important not to stop someone who very literaly said they'd bring about the destruction of the Earth?" She asks and then twitches a little, "And no, not in fire that will leavve room for later creation…" She sighs, "This thing is…really specific in its wants sometimes."

"I would imagine that it is a threat equally as dire, though what it is has not been revealed to me. I will not be going. I have committed to this fight. Strange to his own." Vivienne sets aside her tea, rosing to retrieve a small plate of such pastries as Wong had been able to prepare on no notice, "I will have to make a trip to the bakery to repay you Wong." Vivienne, so very French of her as it is, often visited the Sanctum with French desserts in hand, "And there are others, not in our group who are also committed to the fight. I have one whom I would like to bring in, once I discuss the idea with Robert. Another warrior of the church like myself."

"Yes, it is a quest of great importance, and related to Lilith's plans," confirms Strange, sipping from his tea. "The same night she arrived Earth the Sun God Atum vanished. We are looking for him, we were requested… and Atum might be the key to stop Lilith in any case." He doesn't know yet. He doesn't know what Lilith is planning.

A glance is given to the 'scrolls'. Something so very old it might be older than Lilith. But from where? And what is in the alchemical formulae. "I suppose I need to do some studying. Would you please try to find out what the museum knows about the artifacts?"

A nod, "I have a connection to the museum, I can easily find out what they might know." Adara sighs and looks to Vivienne, "And I am fine involving myself but I warn you…I have been having trouble lately with the Ember Stone." She looks to Strange, "Like in here. It is both fearful that it will be taken from me by you and also covetous of every item in this place. It wants me to steal them all. Take them and become stronger." She twitches, "I can't do that…it's not right but it wants me to. It won't even let me shed this form while I'm here."

Vivienne turned her eyes to Adara, though, there was some quality in her voice, that was, not distant, but as though she were attempting to speak to the stone, and not just the woman. "I would no more take the stone from you than I would have taken the Rapture from Tom, no more than I would allow anyone to take the Spear from me. Nor," and here she looks to Strange, "would the good Doctor. I have no doubt that if he wished it, he could have removed both with hardly any effort at all. I know that she has no reason to trust us. Trust must be built over time. I hope that eventually, she will see us as allies and not enemies." To Strange, she continues, "Do what you have been called to do, Doctor. We will see to holding Lilith back until you can return."

The Stone? Strange looks at Adara with some curiosity. He is almost tempted to ask to let him study the stone. But no, bad idea. Not only might make a sentient artifact more paranoid, but he honestly has no time for experiments right now.

Something to watch, though. If the stone controls her even partially and it is hostile.

"Well, it might be best to leave this place if it is causing you inner conflict," he decides. "We can meet at the Hall of Justice tomorrow to compare notes. I'll make sure you can access the building. You too, of course, Vivienne."

"I know but it doesn't care." Adara nods her head and then stands up and states, "That is for the best." She nods her head as she then looks to the doctor and then Vivienne before sucking a sharp breath and letting it out slowly. She then walks toward the exit, "Until next time, I need to go home." She nods her head.

Vivienne rises as Adara does, her expression sympathetic, "If you should ever find Tom sober, talk to him. I think he knows something of what you are going through. But if you need sanctuary, Adara, you know where my home is. And I will make certain the Josef knows that you might need to shelter there. Also, if he is in residence, ignore the anthropomorphic cat. CC likes to make himself a nuisance." Yes, she says all of that with a straight face, "If you need us, any of us, we will be there for you."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License