2019-10-17 - The Damned Morgue


Raven and Strange discover foul deeds at the Hell's Kitchen morgue.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Thu Oct 17 06:35:04 2019
Location: Hell's Kitchen

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Theme Song



It's the middle of the night in Hell's Kitchen. Attached to the local precinct is a subsidiary of St. Xavier's hospital. Called by some the Chop Shop or the Dump, the facility serves as the morgue for a part of the city where a lot of people die in very unpleasant ways. Junkies, mugging victims, the murdered and the abandoned fall to this facility. It is underfunded and understaffed.

Tonight, Stephen Strange felt a breach, a violation of the sanctity of the corporeal plane. An incursion. He's traced that incursion to this building.

He steps out of a portal in the alleyway next door, accompanied by his apprentice and paramous, Rachel Roth, the Raven. His crimson cloak wraps close around him, warding off the early shock of fall chill. It is cold tonight, breath showing as the dark haired man looks up at the building. "I have a bad feeling about th is," he says to Raven.


Dressed in dark black and purple so dark it could be confused for black, Raven is suited for superheroing. Moments before, though, she'd been swallowed up in an oversized knit sweater and a pair of leggings with fuzzy socks with gravestones on them. One of the first spells she'd begged to be taught, when she was capable of learning them, was how to transubstantiate her current clothing into her 'working' wear. Now, with a simple snap of her fingers — for flair, really, as she can do it without any special gesturing — she's 'battle ready' and following her mentor and paramour through the portal to a dank, gloomy place in Hell's Kitchen.

The cold doesn't bother her, the steam gently coiling off of any of her exposed skin, and pluming from her mouth as she parts black-painted lips. "Like, normal-bad, or mystically-bad, or demonically-bad, or supernaturally-bad, or preternaturally-bad, or cosmically-bad, or…?" she would probably continue if he hadn't continued forward, making her concentrate on matching his pace. Frankly, using her TK flight inches above the ground is less effort, so she does that, the impressive hood of her workingwear cloaking much of her face and appearance from any would-be lookers on.


Doctor Strange looks over at Raven with a slight smile, "That, my dear, is what we're here to discover," he says. "Can you give me a bit of empathic scoutings? Something's warding off the interior so I can't see inside, which is likely not a good thing. I'd like at least some sense of how many or what might be present there."

He takes a few moments to prepare himself, muttering a few simple incantations for himself and Raven. Protective armor and wards. A few healing spells set to trigger with the snap of a finger. And a few offensive tricks to keep up his sleeve. The more he had prepared in advance, the less he'd have to improvise in the moment - or the easier to buy time.

Was this likely to be a cosmic threat, capable of requiring the full breadth of his power? No.

But it always paid to be prepared.


The smile from him brings an answering smile to Rachel's face, her heart thumping a little harder, even now. It's just how he affects her. She gives herself a mental shake to clear her mind of daydreamy thoughts and nods to his request. "Sure thing," she says as she hovers in place, holding onto one edge of his cloak to make sure she doesn't fall behind while distracted. She and the cloak have become…if not friends, their relationship is at least one wherein they comfortably coexist. Mostly.

As they roll back in her head, she closes her eyes, opening her third; her chakra gem appears and glows with soft purple light, considerably concealed by her hood, as she focuses her energies and scans the area. "Mm," she exhales with unease. "There are some people, humans, in there. They're almost to Lovecraftian levels of horror, dotted in the upper floors. There's something… Some *thing* in the basement. It's very gross, oppa. Like a wound that delights in the pain and suffering it causes. It's also kind of slippery, like an eel, or like chasing a fleeting dream," she intones casually.


Doctor Strange nods, "Then let us make sure that it is, indeed, fleeting. Wounds need to be treated. Truly, tonight, we are going to be doctors," he says.

He flicks his hand and, dramatically, the front doors open wide, clanging metal. Within, whatever banks of lights normally operate seem to have been broken. "Keep close to me," he says. He knows she can handle herself but, nonetheless, this is his purview and he'll feel more at ease with her at his back than wandering off on her own.

He's only made a few steps inside when he pauses and holds up a hand. The following gesture directs her attention to the floor. Littered at various points along the entrance hallway, body parts seem to have been strewn haphazarldly. A hand, a leg. A piece of meat. A pair of eyeballs. None of them seeming to go to the same person. All of them torn with a ferocity and a force that is far from surgical, with ragged edges. The crimson-iron stink of it takes up a lot of the space, the suck of air from the open doors making it worse. Clearly, it will only grow more intense as they go deeper into the building.

"Don't touch any of it," he says. Not that she likely needs much warning in that regard. Medical man though he may be, the callous and cruel nature of this dismembering irks him. Still, he pauses, kneeling in front of one piece and cocking his head, "This isn't fresh. These are from the morgue below. It's even been chilled, I can tell from the color of the flesh," he says.


Because she's basically hovering and holding onto his cape, the Doctor is definitely defining the pace of their approach. Rachel simply nods as he bids her to stay close and not to touch the gory remains that are scattered around the floor. Her brows furrow in thought as she takes in the sight and hears Stephen's assessment. "Is it…trying to build itself a body?" she wonders. "I mean.. Why else rip apart bodies chilling in the morgue? Does it look as though any of the bodies have been nibbled on? Are all of the pieces present?" she asks, casting her gaze all around, murmuring a simple spell to give her better sight in the dark and some light telescopic capabilities.


Doctor Strange shakes his head, "Definitely not all of the pieces present. What that means, for certain, I do not know," he says.

The litany of body parts continues as the pair move deeper into the morgue. Given a choice between the elevator and the stairs, Strange leads the way towards the stairwell. "Electronics tend to be unreliable in such circumstances," he says.

He does pause to take a closer look at the elevator. Markings have been smeared over the metal sliding doors, arcane symbols of some sort. "Demonic script," he says. "I'd have to have my books to sort the exact dialect. But infernal, no doubt about that," he says. He doesn't read it aloud. "It's a promise of chaos. A taunt."


Rachel nods her head at the reply, casting her scrutinizing gaze over the whole area as they move deeper into the building. "So, art imitates life. No big surprise, there," she grins a bit, referencing the fact that electronics seem to fail in horror movies. That might not be clear to Stephen, but she wants to give him a chance to figure it out without stepping on her own joke. "S'fine by me, oppa. Are we gonna go upstairs to check on the people, first, or are we going straight to the source?" she asks, looking at the symbols written in demonic script. Some of them look kinda familiar, but in that way that one isn't sure if they're imagining that they're familiar or not. So, she doesn't comment on them. "Well, isn't that kind," she says grimly. "I'm willing to bet it'll regret that promise when you're done, though." There's no small hint of pride in that statement.


Doctor Strange sighs and looks thoughtful for a moment, "While I understand the desire to check on their safety, the easiest way to make sure the civilians are protected is to deal with the threat directly," he says. "See if you can empathically calm them, at least, so they're not suffering," he says.

He floats down the stairs himself, the cloak of levitation carrying him with ease as the pair make their way down two flights. THere are more body parts here at the base of the stairs - a literal pile, like a small pyramid, with a head sticking out of the top. As the two arrive, the eyes open and the hollow sockets within, the eyes replaced with an eerie luminescence, ghostly and pale.

"Sorceror and student," a voice says. Not just one voice, a multitude, but not in harmony, dissonant and hard to hear. There's a moistness to the voice, a serpentine quality that seems to curl in the ear. "We anticipated your arrival."


Raven gives Doctor Strange a comforting smile and nods, already directing calming empathic waves up to the people terrified on the floors above. "On it," she says quietly as the sense of unease grows thicker in the air as they descend, both with feet not touching the floor. It makes avoiding tripping on random organs or limbs much easier. Rachel has seen some gross and scary stuff in her life, but this is a bit much. She doesn't let the disgust she feels reach her facial expression, but it's pretty gross. Especially the moistness in the vocalized words. "Sick," she breathes, unvoiced, like Kevin McCallister upon seeing the Pigeon Lady in Central Park.


Doctor Strange steps a little in front of Raven, protective of her almost instinctually. The cloak billows, too, providing her with further protection.

"To whom am I speaking?" the Sorceror Supreme demands.
"A worm, unworthy of the spittle of my Master's tongue."
"Who is your Master, then?"
"That is not an answer."
"It is, though you know it not."
"What do you want here?"
"The answer is the same."
Strange furrows his brow. "I'm not playing games with you."
"Oh, but you are. You are. You're just used to playing with rules and my Master is the only one who sets them. And he's not tellllllling," the head says, singsonging the last.

Strange shakes his head, "Begone, despoiler. Leave this mortal flesh," he says. He holds up his hand in an arcane gesture, muttering quickly in a Latinate derivative until the head shrieks and the eyes fall dim.

And, as he does so, the room beyond and behind him begins to rattle and shake, the sounds of impact and clattering metal filling the air.


Rachel isn't scared of the thing, exactly. It's more like the thing makes her feel unclean. Like she needs to take a really long shower and scour her flesh hard to rid it of the oily, greasy sensation she feels like she's coated in, just being in its general vicinity. It's a psychic kind of unclean. And, it's very effective. The moistness of the many-voiced words effortlessly add to the discomfort she feels, but she tries to keep her mind focused on the people on the floors above, sending them calming, peaceful empathic vibes. She very much doesn't want to be in this location, so she's sending as much of her consciousness upward as she can without actually astral projecting…which is what she really wants to do, to get her psyche away from the psychic quagmire of filth and ichor that's thicker than swamp water in the presence of the demonic underling. She is only barely conscious of the danger that the metallic rattling heralds.


The pile of parts explodes, trying to shower the mystics in gore, only for Strange to ward it off, throwing up a wall of telekinetic force and blasting outwards, strong enough to knock open the pair of padlocked doors behind it.

Opened up, the morgue itself is revealed, the various drawers having been pulled open as bodies begin to rise and lurch towards the two of them. These aren't proper zombies, though, but rather amalgams, mingling parts from various bodies into sloppy, carnal simulacrums of humanity. Some have piles of intestines for heads, others lurch forward on hands rather than feet. One has two torsos, fused together and wobbling unevenly, coming at them on all fours.

"What manner of Hell has been opened here?" Strange mutters.


Rachel exhales sharply as her attention returns fully to the scene before her, even kept safely behind Stephen and the cape. "Oh, my," she says at the sight of the lurching reanimated dead. "Do you think Ifede knows anything about this?" she wonders, already looking for ways to deter the creature-things from pouring out of the opened doors. "Ugh. Do you know any exorcism spells?" she asks with a note of hope in her voice. She's certain the answer will be something along the lines of, 'yes, but it's not that simple, Rachel.' Still. Doesn't hurt to ask.


"Were they bound to living souls, no. But inhabiting dead flesh, they are remarkably simple. This is a strange possession. Here," he says. He turns towards her and brushes a hand over her face, a muttered incantation letting him share his sight with her.

When she looks again, she can see the demons inhabiting the things. Not a single demon for each body, but multiple demons, countless, swarming over, animating invidual limbs, roping out intestines like snakes, a true team effort.

Strange throws up his hands and calls out, releasing cleansing jets of flame from each of his hands, "Use your soulself, drive them out, you're too strong for them, they'll flee in the presence of that strength!"


She smiles a little smile to herself as she is validated in her expectation. Rachel's brows lift in surprise as Stephen rounds on her and lays a sight spell on her, giving her the ability to see as he does. "This is spooky, gross, and disconcerting all at once," she says with a half of a hrghhh sound swallowed. "The demons are gross," she clarifies, just in case he might get it twisted. Frankly, she doesn't need any more encouragement. Her soul's been wanting to jump out of her body and lash out for quite some time, now. The words no sooner leave Doctor Strange's mouth than her body slumps, beginning to sink from her hover toward the floor like a deflating balloon.

Her soulself, an unrealistically, fuckoff huge black raven jets out of her body, starting as tendrils of black smoke that coil out from every inch of her and explode outward into the coalesced form of the gigantic bird. It caws loudly, the sort of sound that cuts through to the bone and makes one feel like someone's walked over their grave. The Raven begins divebombing the masses of little demons with purple-black glinting eyes, all talons and claws and intimidatingly large, beating wings. This bird means business.


As Raven drives off the spirits, Strange takes care of the flesh. The flames he generates spread, leaping from body to body, consuming the monstrous things thrashing towards them. He sees the arcane markings allowing them access scrawled onto the wall and turns his flames there, burning off the blood-smeared on the tile and shutting those portals, letting the demons be sucked back to where they belong.

The whole thing doesn't take much more than forty seconds. They're left with piles of ash and charred meat, Raven returning to her body h aving scattered the demons before her.

"Yes. This is an abomination. Whoever is responsible for this madness…must be brought to heel," he says. He helps Raven to her feet, her body having grown weak from the momentary lack of her soul-self, pulling her against him as he hears the sound of the sirens outside, "We will find them, Rachel. And we will make them pay."

And the cloak swallows them both up, returning them to his Sanctum and leaving the authorities to try and sort out just what mayhem has occurred here.


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