5824/Fracture Lines

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Fracture Lines
Date of Scene: 01 April 2021
Location: Astral Realm
Synopsis: It's all fun and games in the Twelfth Dimension.
Cast of Characters: Illyana Rasputina, Stephen Strange

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
By darkness, the great Eye of Agamotto built into the copper-panelled roof practically glows. Light filtering through takes on a distinctly soft glow, watered shadows and muted antique golden glows standing out among the everchanging baroque shapes worthy of a museum. In the middle of the foyer, Illyana herself burns almost defiantly pale, an Arctic flame framed in hellish oiled blacks. A shadow bars her throat and face, echoed off the swirling shape crossing the circular portal. Her feet do not quite touch the parquetry floor.

"A day of fools for embarking on a journey," she comments in the sardonic tone of Russian humour, mordant to the point of inviting the gallows. "How appropriate."

For any journey, even a short-lived one, certain measures need to be taken. Black boots for the path, cropped jacket with long sleeves an echo of the armoured uniform for fighting. All those, with a few gewgaws radiating magic of various dark and bright entreaties hanging from her waist, give away the possibilities faced in the company of the Sorcerer Supreme.

The other one.

"Where then? The Fourth Dimension? Hunting the shadows in the Twelfth?" she asks.

Stephen Strange has posed:
"A day of fools. Yes, how appropriate." That *other* Sorcerer Supreme casts a glance towards the stylized window, then back down towards his counterpart, his guest. And, tonight, his partner. "Never let it be said that I never had a sense of humour. Or a sense of timing."

As far as the journey, it would seem that Strange has opted for nothing more than his usual rainment. Perhaps he feels that he will fare just as well regardless. Or, rather, perhaps he just has the one ensemble, apart from lounging jackets, which will certainly not be appropriate for any journey outside of the Sanctum.

"Well, shadow hunting is a noble past time. I had thought that it may quicken the step and bring a little thrill to this day of fools. Unless, of course, you have a preference?" A pause. "I have found that the shadows are not particularly fond of cloaks, personally."

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
The Other Sorcerer Supreme. Has he ever borne that title in this realm when faced by another, or is it contingent on Strange being the Sorcerer Supreme? Perhaps if Agamotto walks.

"You are a very jester." Deadpan Russian could be the same as Illyana in hysterics, the tone delineated by so very little. Her frost-pale eyes track him through the dazzling foyer, somehow larger on the outside than within. Her tongue flicks against dark lips polished a glorious shade of black currant, almost wine-stained, but no such goblet comes to hand. As he speaks of cloaks, her gaze shifts to the vermillion example, and gives it a knowing wink. Maybe he sees, and perhaps not, but Doctor Strange wouldn't be a doctor for lacking perspicacity. "Is that so?"

Eyes narrowed slightly as she draws closer, circling in carefully. Such is the nature of things, stalking hunter around a hunter. "Let's. Do I open the door?"

Stephen Strange has posed:
"It is, indeed." The Cloak gives a little flourish. The equivalent of a bow. "We did find that it was only a temporary entrapment, but it was long enough to allow for the proper education of said miscreates. There has been occasion in which the 12th Dimension has found cracks in the borders of our realm that has allowed a few to have an unwelcomed excursion. It was necessary to teach the insurgents proper manners."

Stephen is hardly deadpan. There is a certain lilt to his voice as he speaks. Tinged with amusement...most appropriate, given Illyana's declaration. "I am a jester? And here I am, without my motley." A tip of a wink, perhaps in response to the blonde's own, or most likely one just because. "Though, hardly appropriate hunter attire. Much too loud."

Oh, he is a funny one, that Strange.

An offer from the Demon Queen to provide passage? Who is Strange to resist such an offer. "By all means."

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
The Cloak deserves a strange kind of respect, the sort carried over from knowing too well of relics and artifacts. They are not mere objects and it shows. "Miscreants? Harsh judgment, Doctor, but not unfounded. They do not happen upon our realms often." The slight crook of Illyana's fingers almost elicits a comparison to reaching for the hilt of a sword in the wrong time, wrong place. "When they do? It must be clear we do not tolerate such issues, da? They would think badly if they transgress on boundaries."

Big words, technical terms, devote a different path than simply showing the harsh illustrations of uneasy Russian. But then she's not an illiterate peasant struggling to understand, rather a young woman concealing that wit.

Her lips purse, dark currant and bruised summer-bright berries together. "No motley? I am disappointed. We must remedy that." A snap of her fingers and the world around her falls asunder, blurring boundaries collapsing on the teleporter's stepping disk.

It lacks all the friendliness of his firefly portals, or frankly even hers. Same tradition, different approaches, in magic. But this is no magic: it's the manifestation of a dimension within the Sanctum, assuming the Vishanti even permit such.

If not, she has to go outside. Bruising to the ego.

Stephen Strange has posed:
There is certainly agreement with Illyana's assessment, even if she decried it to be harsh. "Harsh it may be, but, as you say, necessary. There are moments when diplomacy must be cast aside for the sake of the realm. However, we did manage to find an amiable solution, even so. Better to trap and release than simply deliver final retribution, yes? After all, one must at least leave one to relay the message to not try again."

Then, back to playful banter. "Oh, I daresay that I would look positively ridiculous in motley. Which, I suppose, is rather the point." The manifestation of the stepping disk saves Stephen from making any more of a fool of himself, no matter how fitting for the theme of the day.

The portal is allowed. The Three will find no fault in the conjuring. After all, it was their servant that declared it allowable. Surely Stephen knows what he is doing.

At least, most of the time.

Without hesitation, he steps onward. Her portals hold no fear for one that has conversed with demons, even now.

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
Limbo offers no kindness, a reflection of the past two masters in their reflected harshness. At best Illyana offers to buffer some of that, either as courtesy or testament to reinforcing the battered shards of her humanity. An unkind gesture to expose the Earth's foremost mystic defender to the howling pandemonium winds and soul-scouring violence of the outermost reaches where the chaotic, unformed power of the dimension stands at its perigee.

But it hurts. She cannot smother its signature. Through silver fire comes the violent unravelling of self, distributed unevenly across different unfolding physical axes. Feet folding inward and splitting apart six ways, legs thrown up, head plummeting through the floor is all relative. Plunging into the Astral Realm is almost a kindness compared to this, traversing the byways of all times that have been and all places that are. Space folds on itself in a heartbeat and a lifetime, expanding at the speed of light and collapsing past a gravitational threshold until all reality crumples up in a crunched paper ball of Strange or Rasputina.

Glimmers and suggestions: the blonde waif, the red-skinned monster, the horned archdemon, the Elder Gods through broken gate, the sorceress, the student, the lover, the fighter, the countless shades of who she is and not.

Bare ground. Rock, blasted marble, wrapped in starlit roses. Another step and the process reverses, thrusting them out into the shadebound realm of the Twelfth Dimension.

Funny how shadows have illumination, a swimming twilight of flitting ethereal forms superimposed on other wobbling shapes seen underwater, if there /were/ water. Light dances over purple strands like a great kelp forest, without the ocean to support it, where small black motes school in fishy abandon.

Stephen Strange has posed:
There might have been no fear in stepping into the void. However, it does not mean that he is not affected. There is always a wrenching of reality when stepping from one dimension to another. However, Strange's methods is more...direct. There isn't a need for a waypoint. With Illyana's portals, it is the descent into Limbo that adds the extra level of difficulty. He doesn't show it, but only through practice, meditation, and force of will. A lesser person would have most likely emptied their stomachs on such a trip.

The world of shadows is almost a welcomed sight. There is only the momentary hesitation of that first step, testing that it is well and truly solid before composure returns. The barest of flickers to demonstrate that the journey extracted its price. Dark eyes peruse the sights, taking note. "I sincerely doubt that we will find much welcome here. Though, perhaps some quarter. It has been some time since the incursion was attempted and I did return them safe and whole. That might gives us limited consideration."

Right. Keep dreaming, sorcerer.

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
No need for the halfway point may prove a benefit of portals, but the cost to the mutant sorceress proves infinitely less than the expenditure to breach actual dimensions. Her springboard also enfolds the world in shadows and light for an instant, something at least to fall back to should their reception prove very unfriendly indeed. Footing proves amiable enough in the muck, whatever the ground consists of. Something tarry and gooey. Yuck.

Almost at once, Illyana casually draws her arm behind her and procures the slender hilt of that fearsome effigy of a sword. "A hunt, I thought. Is this meant to be diplomacy by the pen?" she asks him, squaring Strange up with a smirk. A flicked roll of her wrist invites him to proceed. "I often just walk until encountering something, and we burn them from there?"