A Witch, A Mage and A Sorcerer

Summary:
February 20, 2015: A Mage, A Witch and the Sorcerer Supreme walk into a bar….

Silveroak Tavern - NYC

The Silveroak Tavern sits nestled off one of those side streets in New York no one ever quite thinks about until they happen to be there. It's like a hidden gem in the city, really. Red brick facade accented by green painted wood in an old English pub style. There's no writing over it to proclaim its name. There's just a wooden sign that hangs on a copper bracket over the street, painted with a silver tree, a tankard inscribed on its trunk.

Pushing inside the red-painted door leads one to the warm, golden tap room. A long bar sits against the far wall, the shelves behind it laden with popularly recognizable through to entirely obscure bottles of alcohol from all around the world. A full sized keg, the sort one might expect to see in a period movie, sits at the far end, an oak tree like the one on the hanging sign burnt into its face. It houses the local house mead, widely rumoured by those in the know to be the best in the city? if not the world. The smell of rich and homey foods can be detected wafting from the kitchen, though getting through to that kitchen is a challenge to any not part of the staff.

The place is owned and operated by a small, silver-haired woman apparently in her 60s with merry eyes and a tacit demeanor. She is at once everyone's kindly mother and fierce landlady, a genuine force of nature. Her name is Wassea and she is not lightly crossed in this place. This is a neutral meeting ground. Dark, light, or wild, it matters not. All that matters is that the peace is kept and food and respite are enjoyed to their fullest.


Characters

NPCs

  • None

Mood Music:
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Zatanna is in New York meeting with her business managers, again, to discuss what needs to be done to get her stage show running in the Tri Cities. To be honest, much of the delay in actually getting the shows going has been her - her duties with the Titans, helping the druid known as The Fox in Gotham and working with Jericho and Illyana on the Hydra problem are all taking up time and, whilst the shows are important, they just aren't AS important as the rest.

The teen Homo Magi has left the meetings and decided that lunch would be in order and where better, for a magical type to go than the Silveroak Tavern? Zee's currently sitting at a table in the corner, so she can see the comings and goings, eating a burger and chips, with a glass of white wine (we don't ask how Zee manages that) on the table.

***

Wanda just follows her feet and invariably they lead her to places where she should be. Mostly it's a place that is dangerous and crawling with evil but every now and then she ends up somewhere she belongs. And as the delicious aroma of the food and drink reach out to her through the red door, Wanda has decided this is the place. If they let her in. She pushes open the door and slips into the warmth. Her keen gaze scanning the room for danger before she takes a few hesitant steps inside.

Wanda is dressed in a randomly assembled ensemble of clothes old, new, torn and ripped - she lives on the street after all. Though they all have a scarlet hue to them. The heels of her boots clicking on the wooden floor as warily approaches the bar, her hands digging deep into her pockets in an attempt to find some currency.

***

The old brass hinges upon the door creak gently in protest to the weight of the heavy oak door when pushed open to permit another into the establishment..

A middle-aged man in a rumpled burgundy suit-coat and finely pressed suit-pants enters soon thereafter taking care to hold the door for the next fellow.

With mild clatter a bald Asian man in a dark green Mao suit enters next an ancient wheeled steamer trunk in tow.

"Doctor Strange!" the tacit old woman calls out when she sees them enter, "Mr. Wong.." She adds without much of a glance at the overly large trunk he's the latter is pulling with him, "I have missed you the last two weeks."

"Wassea," a warm smile brightens the doctor's narrow face as he reaches to take her hand in polite greeting, "My apologies for being inattentive. I have been out of the country on business and I had not thought notify you." He seems to chastise himself there, "I do know how you worry." His smile turns to a wry grin, "Why," he looks at where Zatanna is seated, "You have even given up Wong's favorite table."

Wassea's gray features seem to lose some age as the doctor prattles on and she squeezes his hands before releasing, "If I were to hold tables for your infrequent arrivals, Stephen. I'm afraid I would not be open much longer.."

For his part, Wong all but rolls his eyes as the two go back and forth with their unrequited love. He makes his way to the table next to their usual one — just near Zatanna — taking a seat.

Strange arrives a few moments later, "You're sure?" He asks the man with a gentle humor and then sits.

***

Zee see's Wanda enter and smiles slightly to herself, raising a hand in greeting. "Hello Wanda, would you like to join me? I've way to much here to eat by myself" and she can always order more if they're still hungry.

Stranges' entrance and conversation with Wassea has her tilting her head in recognition of the name. As they take up the table near her's she looks over "I'm sorry, I didn't realise this was someone's table, Dr Strange." She grew up with her family home of Shadowcrest, where the library speaks extensively of the Sorcerer Supreme.

***

A little jump from the redhead at her name being called out before she recognises Zee and smiles warmly. She makes her way over and plonks herself down at the table. "Hello" she greets in her Eastern European accented voice. "I will pay for anything I eat" she promises before digging right in on anything she can reach. The concentration on her food only slightly interrupted by the ornately dressed fellows who sit at the next table. His name is 'Strange'? How…strange. Nothing registers with Wanda about the name though her mind and memories aren't what they could be.

***

The doctor absently pats his jacket before reaching his right hand beneath the left side of it to some pocket sewn within, "Think nothing of it," he admonishes Zatanna politely his sensible gray eyes softening as he looks to her with a smile, "It is merely a formulaic raillery conducted between two old friends." He produces a small black book from the inside of his coat which he presses onto the table top before him.

"Indeed, it is I who owe you an apology for the merest innuendo that you might have created offense." There's a pause as Wanda joins in her accent catching his attention by way of a gentile nod, "Please, let me treat you and your friend to lunch." A faint movement of his hand seems to ward back protest where none has been given, "I insist."

***

"No offence Dr Strange." Zee smiles her stage smile "It was a good excuse to speak with you, more than anything." The teen magician looks a little sheepish. "I'm Zatanna Zatara, Zee to my friends. And this is Wanda." Turning to look as Wanda sits, Zee gives a small shake of her head "I was going to say, 'my shout', but I've been beaten to it. Dr Strange has offered." Nodding to Strange, Zee's smile doesn't falter "That's very kind of you, thank you."

Both may note, now they are closer to Zee, the diamond encrusted collar she wears at her neck, with a tag that has a strange scrawling script on it.

***

Wanda manages a nod of greeting to Strange between her frantic eating. It seems she hasn't eaten for a while and her body language suggests no touching of her food - actually more of a warning than a suggestion. "You are a doctor?" she manages to ask in some semblance of politeness before her eyes catch the collar. There is something about it that is horribly familiar yet also completely alien. She stares at it a moment before her stomach reminds Wanda why they are here and the eating recommences. "So we can eat anything?" she asks her benefactors.

***

Strange's gregarious nature shifts from simple sociability to a mildly furrowed brow which can only represent intrigue, "Zatara?" He repeats the name and then seems to look at Wong, "Did I hear that right?" before turning his attention back to the pair of women.

Although the attention did not last overly long, Wong does nod when the question is asked.

"You /must/ be related to Giovanni," he replies with renewed interest while mentally noting comparing her features to the other, "Truly a pleasure, Zatanna."

His attention shifts to Wanda there, "Doctor Stephen Strange," he says concurrently answering the question she posed to him while introducing himself, "Retired." He admits and adds, "Yes, anything you wish and as much of it as you can carry out if that is your desire." Certainly, that could be taken as a challenge.

"That is an /interesting/ choker you are wearing, Ms. Zatara." He says before regarding Zatanna, "Do you know what the inscription says?"

Wong casually reaches to take an eye glass case from his pocket.

***

Strange directing a look at Wong, brings Zee attention to him and she nods with a smile "Yes, Giovani is my Dad." At his comment on her collar, the raven haired womans hand rises unconsciously to touch it and she flushes slightly "No, I don't. The person who gave it to me didn't tell me." But the collar was really more of a joke, a reminder to Zee to be careful with what she says.

"Eat what you like, Wanda" Zee remembers the last time, Wanda loves her food when she can get it.

***

Wanda doesn't need to be told twice to eat. She is gorging on as much as she can - so how does she stay so thin! A nod to Strange seems to be an acceptance of the all-you-can-eat challenge. A hand raises and a finger points at the tag on Zatanna's collar. "That is bad" she notes, her eyes still locked on the food. "I have seen writing like that at home." A pause before she adds once more. "Bad." Wanda looks around for a drink and, finding none, yells an order out across the room to the bar. Some half-chewed food may have been spat out while she did so.

***

"Father?" the doctor nods politely, "Truly a pleasure," he repeats, "I had the great fortune of seeing him perform," his tone shifts to question himself, "A decade ago? Surely it was not two?" He asks as if perplexed that so much time could have passed but soon returns to the present with a pointed, "A true virtuoso. It was a great honor to see him at work. You should be quite proud.." the sorcerer says with a kind smile.

"Wong," his tone shifts suddenly, "Do you—"

The man slides a pair of reading glasses across the table without a word.

"Yes," Strange says approvingly, "Thank you." His thin hands work them open before donning the wire-rim spectacles at the tip of his nose. Gray eyes tilt to peer down the bridge of his nose. Lips move in an inaudible whisper and then he says, "If found please return to," then he seems to catch himself, biting the tip of his own tongue, the corners of his mouth curling into a slight smirk, "Clever." He says and reaches to peel the glasses off of his face.

Tipping them slightly to point at Wanda as if to indicate some truth in her assessment he adds, "I'm afraid, Ms. Zatara, that the last bit /is/ better left unspoken." Folding the glasses again he passes them back to Wong, "If you were my daughter I would advise you to admire it upon the neck of your dress form." He hands the glasses back to Wong, "However, if ever you should find that it irritates please do give me a call."

Helpfully, Wong then slides a faded business card across the table with Strange's address in Greenwich.
"Perhaps sometime we might get together merely to display our craft for one another." He adds, irreverently.

"Wanda," she has his curiosity again, "Your accent is intriguing is intriguing as your knowledge of symbology." Then he asks, "Where is 'home'?"

***

Zees eyes widen as Strange reads and then she shakes her head and laughs. "Well, I knew there was something to it. I'll be speaking with Jericho about that." She shrugs slightly "It was a gift from the Illyana" She's not sure if people will recognise the name "For helping her…" do something rather large, actually "But I'll certainly keep your offer in mind." Wanda's comment gets a slight nod from the teen mage "The script, yes. But not the person who gave it to me. It's complicated, really."

Taking the card, she grins at Strange "That might be a bit of fun, actually. And I am immensely proud of my Dad, he encouraged me to fly the nest, which is why I'm here now and not with him."

Settling back in the seat, Zee turns her attention to her food and Wanda, the answer of great interest. "We didn't really talk much, the last time we met, Wanda."

***

"A little country" Wanda shrugs, seemingly not very interested in relating to much history. "In Europe" she is willing to add. "I had to leave. It is not very interesting. I came with my brother but…he has forgotten me. You should try the food." Some brilliant changing of the subject there. "Why would a good person give you bad gift for helping?" she asks Zatanna, peering up at her with a confused expression.

***

Dr. Strange listens passively as Zatanna attempts to explain the choker and those involved in having bequeathed it to her. Whatever other opinions he may or may not have he does not render openly having already given what he believes is the best advice possible under the circumstances.

Wanda's brief explanation has his attention though her desire for anonymity doesn't cause him to press that issue further either, "There is a moment in every person's life where they must abandon some part of themselves to the past." He says in a practical manner, "Whatever the circumstances — I have found that it is the people that you meet which shall provide the crucible to your flame of new identity. Although you may be hungry you will never be allowed to starve. If you find yourself ailing with no where else to turn you need only find 177A Bleecker Street where there shall always be a warm meal."

Moments later, when Wanda makes an additional inquiry of Zee he does not feign disinterest — sitting aside for a moment like some sort of garish magistrate.

***

"The gift in itself is not bad, Wanda. Not to me, at any rate." Zee shakes her head slightly "The tag, is likely meant as a joke. Knowing Illyana, it is. And there really aren't many who could read, and out of those who could not many would do it aloud." nodding to Strange as an example, she blows out a breath "It's complicated, really. The collar is a reminder of the offer of great power I refused and to be careful of the words I use at times. Jericho and Illyana are, for the most part, good people." Glancing to Wanda, Zee frowns a little "Your brother doesn't remember, you? That must be a horrible feeling."

***

"And what if you meet someone who is happy to read it out aloud?" Wanda muses in a sing-song voice. "Will they be such good friends then? It is like having a gun strapped to your head and relying on everyone you meet not to pull the trigger. Even strangers. Even monsters." Her voice drifts off as she returns to intensive eating and then, as if she remembered something important all of a sudden she adds, "Cover the words."

Wanda's green eyes look over at Strange and his strange manservant. "I do not know this town very well. If I find this address then I will visit." A nod towards Zatanna as her expression grows dark. "It is very horrible. I saw him once…briefly…here in New York. He said he would be right back…but he never did. He told me that people did something to him but…I think he has outgrown his twin sister."

***

Strange smiles thinly at Wanda's final advice to Zatanna, "Words have power," He remarks then, "The sagacious man takes precautions to avoid giving others the power to directly control their destiny."

Wong, unlike Strange, has begun eating in a polite unobtrusive manner. When Wanda looks at him he stops and gives nods his head faintly. Seemingly mundane, the middle-aged Tibetan man seems ever the foreigner and yet for his oddity there is something strangely comforting to him.

Stephen Strange gives a brief look as if chastising himself, "I am so sorry," he says genuinely, "I am often so self absorbed that I manners grow careless. Wong is my.." there's a pause as his nimble mind attempts to find a term that will seem to best describe his role in the context of those present, "..personal valet. We have been friends for nearly thirty years."

Wong looks at Strange without great expression, "The Doctor /is/ self absorbed," He says with a thick Tibetan accent, "but he is the greatest man I have ever had the pleasure of serving."

Strange smiles slightly there, at the word play.

"I am sorry for your brother." Wong says, "The city is a great distraction to those who were raised over seas." His tone is deliberate and paced, "He has not out grown you but merely become distracted — as all men can be — be the lights and sounds of a new world." Lips purse, "He will look for you again when he finds himself lost. When he does welcome him and when he has settled, chastise his mistakes. Your love will make him, stronger."

***

Zee nods to Wong and offers a smile "Nice to meet you, Mr Wong." She's absorbing what Wanda and Strange have said as she eats, looking thoughtful. "Twins share a unique bond, don't they?" Zee turns her look on Wanda "People have done something to him? Is that what you said?" the young magician raises a shoulder and bites her bottom lip "If you need help, Wanda, let me know… I might be able to do something. You never know." Wongs statement gets a nod with an added "But if people have done something to him… it's more than just distraction."

***

"Twins share a bond" Wanda nods to Zatanna, "Which is why it hurts when it is broken by one of them." A shake of her head to Strange. "He will not be coming back. You are right…he has found much more exciting things to do in the big city. But I know that he is okay." More food is shovelled away into her mouth. "There were people chasing us. There /are/ people chasing us. We are running from them…but he runs much better. So he has to leave me behind to keep me safe." There are a number of ways that Wanda likes to convince herself that being left alone is good for both of them. "I hide in the street and he keeps running. If we were together they would find us."

***

"Doctor," Wong interjects, "This was to be an expedited appointment."

Strange grimaces slightly, "That was our agreement wasn't it?" He waves that off putting his hand over the little black book he earlier laid on the table and then lifts it to flip quickly through the pages, "I apologize for my haste but I have found that, upon retirement, my time is more constrained than it ever was while I was engaged in a practice."

"Forgive my haste but, please, know that your meals are taken care of.." He shifts to stand then sliding the book back into the left side of his jacket with his right hand, "Do not interpret my earlier kindness as empty parlance." The man's middle two fingers curl inward so that he points at them both with his pointer and pinky, "If ever you find yourself in peril my Sanctum will provide a respite."

"Ms. Zatanna, it was an honor to meet you."

"Wanda, you may hide in the streets but some day we all must face that which pursues us. See that when you meet it — it is on your terms."

Waiting for the casual exchange of farewells to complete he then moves to exit. Wong follows, steamer trunk in tow.

***

"Dr Strange, Mr Wong, a pleasure as well. And thank you for the meal." Zee stands as well, and nods to Wanda. "I've got to head off too, I have another meeting to get to." She pauses and looks back to Wanda. "The Titans public office is here in New York. If you ever need to contact me, you can through there. I'd like to help if I can."

***

Wanda nods to each as they leave, her eyes glancing up only briefly before getting back to the food. This is a goldmine! And she doesn't have to pay for anything? "Okay" she adds to each offer of assistance. "Thank you. For the food. For the help. Thank you both." Then back to the consuming of food and the calling for doggy bags later.

***


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