2019-08-15 - And, So It Begins...


Rachel finds herself before the Sorcerer Supreme…and learns that demons are floating around her all the time. Eek!

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Thu Aug 15 12:34:49 2019
Location: RP Room 4

Related Logs


Theme Song



Rachel has talked with the head of the art department of Empire State University, the local college, about this idea she's gotten inspiration for, a photo series that could later turn into her first gallery showing, based on the feedback she received on her current portfolio of photography and mixed media artwork. She hadn't considered it when she first went to speak with the director of the department, but they mentioned that she would do well and could really enjoy and flourish in the art environment at ESU… So, a seed was planted. And, Rachel's become kind of consumed by the idea of it. She's always loved art and been drawn to it, and has tinkered with it…but, didn't realize she had natural talent for it until the director told her so.

Anyway! The director said, if she completes her photo series, and she gets a showing for it, Rachel can be admitted to the honors program for art students, and could even be given a scholarship. But, because Rachel is pretty well stocked with funds, she won't take that aid from another, worthy hopeful. After that fruitful meeting, Rachel's been working on her project, when she has free time. Today is one of those days!

Because the nature of her project requires her to take photographs of people, she's wearing her messenger bag over her head and one shoulder, and it's got bunches of model release forms, in case the person decides they're okay with her using their likeness in a photograph. Now, because she's in a public place, she doesn't necessarily need to have signed release forms, but it never hurts to be overly prepared! Today, Rachel is dressed in a oversized, super lightweight pale grey sweater that drapes off one shoulder and reveals a black strap of something beneath it, black shiny spandex pants and motorcycle boots that come up to her mid-calf (http://i.imgur.com/InY4vPW.png), and she's wearing her hair straight with a pair of sunglasses perched atop her head in a makeshift headband. Her makeup, as per usual, is on *point* with a very nice daytime look, still slightly gothy but nothing outrageous, and her lips are painted in Ritual Blood Red.

She's got her camera out and hanging around her neck, but supported by her hands which sport finely manicured, black lacquered nails, as she wanders about the open area gallery. It's a pop-up gallery that happens from time to time and usually in different spots around the city. This artist's show is very modern and minimalist in presentation. Canvases that are just splooshed with paint and called something very outlandish like: The Color of My Soul's Blood Upon Learning My Parents Would Never Love Me Again. It's definitely not to Rachel's tastes, but it does tend to draw out the pretentious lot. Which is what she's after.


The gallery has quickly become familiar to Rachel, as she's been spending time there, imagining the space where she'll be putting her work, conceiving of its layout and thinking of what would be most effective. All of which makes it even more obvious as she turns a corner and finds herself in an area that didn't exist before. At all. It's not part of the gallery, as is made clear by the way the simple, plain walls bleed into something else, wood paneling running down a hallway. If Rachel turns to look behind her, she'll find the way blocked off, a plain wall present, not threatening but certainly showing that she's not in the proverbial Kansas anymore. She'll feel a soft pressure on her skin, in her ears, a pop like you have when you get on an airplane, but something deeper, more subtle than mere atmosphere.

There's a candle in a sconce at the entrance to the hallway and, within it, a set of stairs leading up, rotating around in a spiral. The gallery is only one floor, but it's clear that something awaits up there…


Rachel manages to get a few snaps of some visitors to the gallery. The idea is to capture their faces at the right moment. She has to capture the essential moment for her photo-series: the moment when they realize something that embarrasses or shames them. With Rachel's empathic powers, it makes it much easier for her to cherrypick the right moment, luckily. She got the idea when she met Robbie Reyes for the first time. She'd ordered a huge amount of food and the waitress was making judge-y faces about Rachel's crazy order to Robbie…when she realized that Rachel was staring at her the whole time. The look on the woman's face, as she was discovered being judgmental by the person about whom she was being judgmental….was priceless. And, Rachel had the presence of mind to take a quick snap of it, surreptitiously. So, she was after more. More people, having more moments, the raw embarrassment on their faces captured for art's sake. These moments happen far more frequently than one might imagine, but Rachel wasn't averse to helping them along. Asking questions of someone babbling about how much they know, for example, when it's clear they're fronting. There is often a spark of indignation, but this can be considerably lessened when she explains she's an artist and she's taking pictures for a photo-series, and would they like to sign a release form to potentially be used in a work of art? People's vanity can often be counted on in times like these.

However, Rachel thinks she might be lost. She turned a corner and..she'll be damned if she knows where she is. Turning around, again, to try to get her bearings, she blinks hard as she's met with a brick wall. It wasn't there, for sure, just a moment ago. She purses her lips and looks around, again, just to be sure… She pats her hands on the wall and makes sure it's solid. Then, she notices the strange, wooj-y feeling that's growing. It was just a little tingle, at first, that she thought was fear and confusion at suddenly being inexplicably lost. But, now…it's growing. Drawing her toward it. Something deep inside her rumbles with excitement.

Her brow furrowed in skepticism, she takes a deep breath and just effin' goes for it. She walks in through the passage, her boots making little sound on the carpet that runs down the center of the hallway. She drops her jaw pointedly, trying to make her ears pop, but this is done absent-mindedly, as she's walking deeper into the spider's web. She's pretty sure this would be the moment in horror movies where some people would be screaming: GET OUT OF THERE YOU DUMB BITCH! But, she can't stop herself, now that she's started. Her eyes are slowly adjusting to the softer lighting in this place, having come from the well-lit outdoor area.

And, up the stairs she climbs… Her stomach feels funny.


The spiral of the staircase goes round and round, looping like a helix in a strand of DNA, up and up and up. The stairs are narrow, even for Rachel's slender frame, giving it a slightly claustrophobic feel, close and cloistered. It's cool, though, not hot or humid, a temperate and almost calming ease in the air that grows stronger as she approaches the top.

When she reaches it, she finds a small room that seems like it might belong in a country estate. The walls are lined with shelves and books. There's a divan and a sofa, a few chairs, a rolltop desk in the corner. A large ball of teal-tinted crystal sits pulsing in the center of a large antique table, carved images of dragons at each corner with bejeweled eyes.

Standing at that table is a man, tall and slim, with a cloak of navy and gold over his shoulders, the shirt beneath dark and accented by a massive golden amulet at his throat, the image of an open eye etched into it. He has dark hair just going grey at the temples, a neat beard and a pair of very intense eyes that fall directly upon her. His emotions are hard to gauge, but he radiates confidence and command.

"Miss Roth. I apologize for the dramatics, but they are hard to resist. And they do serve a purpose," he says. Of course, he doesn't say what that purpose is. "My name is Dr. Stephen Strange. I do not expect you to know my name. But I know yours. You don't know it yet, Miss Roth, but you need my help."


Rachel gives up walking around halfway up, finding it making her more motion-sick than she thought she could get…and settles for floating the middle…until she finds the opening at the top. She sets lightly back down on the floor as she cautiously enters the open doorway. She's not sure what she expected to find, but it wasn't this cozy library office with lots of neat little things to draw the eye and light the fires of curiosity. Turning her lavender gaze to the table at the sound of her voice being called, Rachel is taken aback a bit. However, this doesn't show in her body language or facial expression. No, she's on high alert and is walled off pretty well, at the moment, just in case. Especially with that weird vibe she's feeling from this place making her heart pound a bit faster.

At first, she's silent. She stands there, taking in the sight of Dr. Strange, even as he likely does the same to her. She slowly lifts her camera and takes a picture of him. She takes a few more, trying to avoid anything with text that might be personal or private. "You have a very interesting office, Dr. Stephen Strange," she says in a dreamy, detached sort of voice. "I hope you don't mind," she motions toward the camera. "Provided it doesn't, like, melt my very fancy camera. I hope it won't do that," she adds. Then, without asking more questions, she moves to sit on the sofa, crossing her legs, and resting comfortably. "I never say never, but I believe one would have a difficult time trying catch me complaining about exercising one's aesthetic. I appreciate it," she smiles. Boy, she sounds a lot more collected and intelligent than she feels, right now. She doesn't know what to expect, but this…striking gentleman doesn't appear to want to harm her, as far as she can tell. Not that he's making himself easy to read.


Strange regards her with a cool but bemused expression on his face, not giving away much. As noted, his emotions seem very much reined in, as if he were in command of his own spirit. Which, of course, he is.

"Your camera should be quite well. You aren't anywhere very exotic, in truth, just a bit on the other side of town from where you began your walk. I may have bent the weave of space a bit to bring you here to a place within my Sanctum, but, as I said, I do so for good reason," he says.

He moves around the table and comes to the other side, taking a chair near to the side of the sofa she has chosen, "I can offer you something to drink, most anything you please, although I understand any reluctance to partake. I did, after all, ambush you in a fashion. I assure you I mean you no harm. Quite the opposite," he says.

"Rachel, if I may call you that…do you have a sense of how many demons tend to be in your vicinity, on any given day? Not precise, just…a guess."


'Bent the weave of space'? Rachel's inwardly wtfing, but outwardly she seems placid and neutral. "Well, who knows what might happen. I've seen lots of movies and my imagination is a fertile place. Better to ask and be answered, I feel, than be left to my own hellish mindscape of possibilities. I took some very good pictures, today. It was reckless of me to take more without asking, first. But, the reactions are so much more…natural, if captured unawares. Like that thing where even atoms behave differently when being observed, or something like that," she waves a hand.

Her eyes follow his movements as he sits down in a chair near the sofa, while she leans into the arm of it. "I want a banana-mango-pineapple smoothie, if you can make it happen. If you can, then you can probably drug me without needing to deliver it via the shake, so I might as well drink it," she reasons. It's kind of Wonderland logic, but hey. Bending of space and whatnot happening here.

Rachel looks thoughtful for a moment. "What are we counting as my 'vicinity'? Five mile radius? The East Side? New York? The East Coast?" she asks, lifting her elegantly shaped brows. "Whatever I guess, I'll be wrong. I try not to…think about demons. I'd rather protect others from them, naturally," her voice sounds a little…flatter, tenser, at a certain point in her reply.


Strange gives a small laugh, "How very specific," he says. He steps over to a side table, with a small bar attached, and lifts up a simple teapot. He strokes a finger along the rune on the side, eyes closing for the briefest of seconds and, when he pours, what comes out is a frothy orange-yellow, thick and undeniably sweet, the citrus scent filling the air for a moment before he offers the glass with a long-fingered hand.

"I meant a more intimate definitely. Just within the air around you. The answer is dozens. Sometimes more, sometimes less, but never none. It is not your fault. Your blood carries the power of an archdemon within it. These demons aren't much more than parasites, drawn magnetically to the power of your blood. To them, you are a lodestone," he says.

"For the most part, they are harmless, but they are chum in the water, leaving temptation that may draw something far more predatory," he says. "I can help you learn to recognize them. How to ward them off. For your own protection. If you'd like, of course."


Rachel nods her head to his comment. "Exactly. If you can get it, I'll drink it," she says with an odd little smile. Then, she watches with curiosity as he gets up and does his thing with the teapot. Her brows lifting, she watches in amazement as he pours a glassful of her requested beverage. She schools her features, though, when he turns his attention back to her. He may have seen a glimpse of her schoolgirl-wonder, but he's probably too polite to mention it. "Thank you." She accepts the glass with a smile and cheerses the air with it before draining it of its cold, sweet contents while he speaks, explaining things to her.

Her brow crinkling slightly at the thought of dozens of invisible demons being around her at all times, she casts a skeptical glance around. "Wh" she tries to think of the best question to ask, next. "How?" How does he know about her half-demon heritage? "Why?" Why does her blood draw them? What does it do for them? What does their presence do to her? "When?" When did he become aware of this, and why offer to teach her now? She clears her throat, "There are too many questions and I don't know what to ask first."


He gets a cup of his own, a simple china teacup, almost delicate on its saucer as he takes a sip of something. Mint, from the hint of warm fumes spilling off it. "I understand this may all be a bit much. But I've found sudden immersion a better technique than slow revelation. I would rather give you too much information and let you sort it out than trickle something out to you, like breadcrumbs through the forest," he says.

"I am this world's Sorceror Supreme. For all the glory of the title, it simply means that it's my responsibility to protect the Earth from mystic and magical threat. As you can imagine, sudden gatherings of even low level demons are likely to draw my attention. Short observation showed me you were both unaware of the demonic trail you were leaving and that you were a person of good heart. If you have a malevolent purpose or agenda, I have yet to detect sign of it. And I did look," he says.

"You have gifts, but they are still unrefined. Potential, but as yet unmined. I can remedy that situation, although I won't promise it would be easy."


Rachel nods her head. It is. It's too much. But, she's trying to keep her head above water. She's employing all of the meditative techniques she can call to mind to keep herself from doing something really strange. "Okay," she replies, listening more than talking. She pays attention to the words, but finds herself mesmerized by the way the Sorcerer Supreme's mouth moves. She's probably dissociating a little bit, to deal. But, she can still mostly comprehend what he's saying. She blushes visibly when he mentions he looked at her. Because this seems more like a much more in-depth, intimate look than a cursory glance. She clears her throat and shifts a little, "Well." She doesn't have anything to say in response. She /tries/ to be a good person, but…y'know.

"I definitely don't want to be leaving trails of demons anywhere, so yes. Whatever it takes, I will learn whatever you will teach me. I'm sure this is a great honor, to be taught anything by the Sorcerer Supreme…but, I'm a little dissociate-y, at the moment. Forgive me if I'm kind of out-of-it. My stomach kind of hurts, now," she says in answer to everything. She smiles awkwardly.


He notes the flushing and smiles, shaking his head, "Nothing too intrusive, I assure you. I respected your privacy," he says. "And, as I said, it's understandable that you're overwhelmed. Imagine how I felt when, as a humanist and a doctor, a believer in empirical truth and hard science, I found my befuddled self stumbling into an ashram to be reborn a magician," he says, gesturing. "I, at least, had help. Just as you will, henceforth," he says.

"I can get you something for the stomach if you like. I'm not certain the medicinal value of smoothies, but we can surely work something out. I also want you to understand that this is entirely your choice. You are not obligated, in any way. But, as I said, there are dangers to your current situation and I feel it inevitable that they will become far more serious left unattended," he says.

"Lie down on the couch if you need. You can ask any questions you like. Or just take a quiet moment to yourself, as you please."


Rachel blushes, again, at the smile. She shakes her head and waves her hand, as if to silently reassure him she didn't think he was being too intrusive or rude. No. Something about this man makes her feel younger than her twenty-two years and it's sort of making her…shy?! She swallows that idea and exhales a calming breath. "Religion isn't something I can really get into, bad experiences with it… But, I am very good at meditating. It's the only reason I'm as calm as I am," she smiles crookedly.

"I don't want to be irresponsible. I'm very aware that, if I'm not mindful and careful, I can cause harm to others around me. Being ignorant to dangers that exist is one thing. But, now that I know they're there and there's something I can do to make a difference for the better… If I chose to ignore those facts…well, that's just being a shitty person. I want to help others. What kind of do-gooder would that make me? A really poor one." She shakes her head, but does lie back on the couch a bit. "My stomach hurts from anxiety. It's nerves. I swear, being an empath is to have emotions so big that even constant use of meditation techniques means you still get a wonky tummy in times of turmoil. I just manage not to share it with everyone /else/ around me." She sighs.


Strange moves to sit on the couch next to Rachel and, perhaps presumptively, takes her hand in both of his, providing both reassuring warmth and, perhaps, just a bit of magic, radiating calm and soothing energy to her. Empath that she is, she's an open channel for this sort of projection, allowing him not to so much manipulate her as offer her comfort that someone without his sorcerous gifts might not be able to do.

"I don't have the full measure of your gifts, but I have gained senses I never dreamed existed once upon a time. I know such things can be double-edged. You mention meditation - that is a good first step and a solid base from which we can start. As we alter your consciousness, teach you to use your mind in new ways, you'll gain traction with these abilities and perhaps grow more keen in their use. Along with the other skills I can teach you. You have great magical potential within you. How could you not?"

"As for the rest, my observation of you may have been brief, but I can assure you that you are certainly not a shitty person, nor a poor one. I would not approach you if you were. The skills I can offer you are nothing to be taken up lightly. I am offering you not only protection and purpose, but power. I would not offer such if I did not think you would use it responsibly."


Rachel bites at the inside of her lower lip as Doctor Strange takes her hand in his. Why does it make her stomach feel weird in a different way? She feels the calming and soothing energies flowing into her as he holds her hand, and it strikes her very strongly. An unexpected sort of blow. Right to her feels. She feels it coming long before it escape. She tries very hard to hold it back, but…there's something about his way that makes her feel like she's safe. Really safe. Like, if her dad tried to come for her, and this man was with her, she'd be okay.

It's been so long since anyone truly offered her comfort or made her feel even a measure of safe… Her mother was a flake who was highly unreliable. Her teachers kept her at arm's length, not allowing her to form emotional connections with them, since she was supposed to be focusing on how to control her emotions, not give into them by forming attachments with others. So, this might be the first time in Rachel's life that anyone really cared enough to try to help her bear some of the enormous weight that she carries on her shoulders every second of every day, who offered to help her learn to lighten it maybe, or find ways to cope… And, he tops it off by giving her praise and compliments?

Doctor Strange will not be expecting it, but Rachel throws herself at him. She wraps her arms around him and holds tight to him. And, she will cry. Silent tears, the emotions felt bone-deep, and sweeping the area around her. She can't vocally express her gratitude, and she's actually failing her teachers by giving into her emotions, but…it's the instinctive urge she has, to hold tight to this man who offers her a life vest while she felt like she was drowning. Her empathic powers just roil over and leak out of her, spreading the overwhelming sense of gratitude and appreciation, and the just…crushing loneliness…she usually feels, having to lock others out.

It might seem like a long time, but she manages to get a grip on herself after a little bit…and sniffles, seeming to draw back all her empathic aura into herself. She sits back and bites her lower lip, brushing away tears from her cheeks. She figures there's not really anything she can say, except, "I apologize. I…was… I failed. I will try to do better."


He shakes his head and reaches out to squeeze her shoulder with a strong hand when she pulls back. The embrace did surprise him, but he returned it all the same. He can only imagine what it's like to go through life the way this girl has, with a cursed past and an uncertain future, with the feelings of every person she meets smearing over her like wet paint in a narrow hallway.

"No need to apologize. And no failure. There is no sin in feeling things, Rachel. Better that you express your feelings than bottle them up inside. I was guilty of that for many years myself. I do not think it was good for me. It made me bitter and, in the end, made me alone. Well. Enough of that," he smiles.

"I would like you to meet with me for impromptu lessons, about once a week. Just a few hours. I know you have your life and your friends, while I have my own responsibilities. But, in this way, hopefully, we can make things easier and better for you. And perhaps thwart a bit of evil in the bargain."


Rachel is embarrassed, on the one hand. It's been….years…since she let anyone feel what she was feeling. Truly feel what she was feeling, anyway. Before, it'd always been a mistake, where she'd become exhausted and it just happened. Her teachers were very unforgiving about these weaknesses. She bites her lower lip and nods, keeping her automatic, ingrained rebuttal of failure to herself. "I just wanted you to know how I felt. I'm not great with words, sometimes," she says, lamely.

She listens to his brief comment about how shutting himself off left him bitter and alone… And, she frowns a little. She doesn't like the idea of this man being shut off and unhappy. It's not a pleasant thing for her and she wouldn't wish it on many… Maybe bad people who are really gross, but…not this man. She keeps this thought to herself, too.

She nods her head to his words. He really does sound like a doctor telling her his diagnosis, and telling her what her prescription will be. 'Take one every day and see me next week.' "Yes, that sounds very workable," she agrees. "Ah… What am I to call you? Dr. Strange? Stephen? Sir?" she asks, smiling crookedly.


Doctor Strange considers for a moment, "You may call me whatever you like. Stephen is fine. I'm not prone to stand on formalities, especially if you're to study with me. We'll have to establish trust between us, after all," he says, meeting her eyes for a long moment before he helps her up to her feet, standing near enough that she can smell the cologne on him, something rich and earthy, speaking of autumn leaves and cool wind.

"I think you for sharing how you felt. I will try to be just as open with you as we move forward," he says. "one of the first things, perhaps, is for me to help you to learn not to be so very hard on yourself. You are a remarkable young woman."


Rachel smiles softly, listening to him speak, nodding her head. "Stephen, then," she says quietly. She's not sure why, but it feels kind of thrilling to call him by his first name when he's so..important a person. She's not sure why, but she's all over the place, now that she's in his presence. She's been off-kilter since that thrumming started calling her toward it. She, likewise, feels drawn to him. He's also quite handsome, if she's honest with herself. And, he smells so good…like a crisp autumn evening, just before it gets too dark… She starts to daydream a little, but, such thoughts make her blush and remember herself, again.

She purses her lips in embarrassment as he thanks her for letting her emotions spill out all over him. She rubs the back of her neck with her free hand… And, that's when she realizes her hand is still in his. She clears her throat and smiles, trying not to call attention to it. "That will be a very difficult lesson to learn. My teachers strove to grind it into me to be very hard on myself, so that I'll be mindful of the negative impact I can have if I slip up. They weren't wrong, but… It would be nice to not have to stay so…locked away, sometimes," she says, her voice going shy, again. To voice these ideas, this blasphemous desire according to the tenets of her zen masters, is also thrilling…but, she feels like she's sinning. Still, she surges on. "Maybe, if you're open to it, I can…let my hair down, so to speak, from time to time. Just to breathe a bit. Like unlacing a corset.." she trails off, not initially realizing the imagery she put out there. Oof, Rachel. Don't start putting ideas of naughty librarians out there or anything.

Before she can make matters more awkward with this handsome, powerful, would-be-mentor of a man, she stands, the act forcing her hand to withdraw with strength she didn't have to do on her own accord. "I'll… Well," she hesitates and reaches into her bag briefly to draw out a card with her details on it. She'd gotten the business cards for art-related situations, but they work just fine for this one, too. "Here," she smiles shyly and offers that card to him, uniquely stylized to share a tiny portion of her personality and aesthetic with whomever received one. "Text or call me any time," she says with just a hint of nervousness in her voice as she quickly, but gracefully, makes her way to the door. "Again…thank you. I look forward to our first lesson," she murmurs, tucking a shiny, silky lock of hair behind her ear. Then, she's gone, floating back downstairs and walking down the hallway, toward the light at the end of it. She doesn't look back. She can't. She's too nervous to do it, and she needs to get home so she can let her hair down. So to speak.


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