15336/The Librarian: Trying from Another Way..

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The Librarian: Trying from Another Way..
Date of Scene: 13 July 2023
Location: Sanctum Santorum - Base Floor
Synopsis: Willow drops of at Strange's home (with cookies1) to see if he could help her with the 'Book'. He does, but not the way she expected.
Cast of Characters: Willow Rosenberg, Doctor Strange
Tinyplot: The Librarian

Willow Rosenberg has posed:
Thursday. Beautiful sun, heading to sunset. Willow was all done with her jobs (except walking around Sunnydale after dark with Buffy). With her satchel wrapped crosswise between her shoulders, and a Tupperware container under her arm, she stood on the steps of the Sorcerer Supreme trying to get enough nerve to knock.

"What if he looks at me like I'm a kindergartener, and pats me on my back, before sending me on my way? It has happened!"

Not quite.

Sure, often in the past, she'd had some problems with people not seeing her as a magic user, and pretty much as a backwards nerd. Without her 'I'm with the Justice League' t-shirt? (did they have one of those??) She was just an ordinary university student. Admittedly, a terribly bright young student. But student, nonetheless.

"What if I knock, and give, say, 10 seconds? Then I would have tried it, instead of turning away without giving it a chance."

10 seconds isn't very long. And with Brownstones (like this) you may not even hear the first knocking.

In short it was a cop out.

Still, mind made up, shoulders back, she knocked.

One potato.. two potatoe.. three..
Doctor Strange has posed:
Stephen Strange stands in the foyer of the Sanctum before a floor to ceiling mirror straightening the cuffs of his prestine white shirt from beneath the black sleeves of an equally well tailored dinner jacket. The middle button fastened, an obsidian black tie, and a slacks. his hair was was slicked back, groomed, and he was over a decade younger if the lack of gray at his temples was any indication. Lacking his gotee and mustache.

Lacking the scars on his hands.

The reflection he saw there stood in opposition to reality, of course, but that's the nature of most things in the Santorum. "Ah, I remember this.." He says to nobody in particular, the older reality of Doctor Strange, with his sweat pants and tanktop, having just finished his workout, points a trembling finger at the reflection. "It's the night I re-"

One potato...

With a swipe of his hand, the reflection vanished, his robes cascade down around him, and the Cloak of levitation caught upon his extended fingers to be placed upon his shoulders in a fluid motion of his wrist.

"This better be important." Passing towards the entrance to the Brown Stone which hides so much more than what one might expect of a building of this size, "Or Girl Scout Cookies." As the portal is pulled open, peering around and then purposefully at Willow. A charming, enough, smile on his face.

"Willow Rosenberg." Hand sweeping inward, "Come in, I've been expecting you." A pause, wrist turning over to peer down at the watch, "Well, no, I was expecting you several months ago, but... anyways, come in. Would you like some tea?"
Willow Rosenberg has posed:
Too bad she didn't hear him say 'Girl Guide Cookies'! Not that hers were of that ilk. Just chocolate chips. Plus a little surprise in them.

What she did hear him say was her name, and that she was several months overdue.


(What was he referring to that happened several months before now?)

"Tea would be fine. Just a little sugar." Walking in through the entranceway, "You know my name? Like really know my name?" That was a surprise. "Oh! I almost forgot! I made some cookies. It's a new recipe. I've been told that they are good. Should I tell you what's inside, or let you try them first?"
Doctor Strange has posed:
"I have no idea, before you ask." Stephen says, pushing the door closed behind Willow once she's entered. He steps ahead to lead her to a comfortable sitting area where tea has already been arranged. Likely through magical means, but it is entirely possible that he just has placements set 'just in case', no matter the day. "Why you would be coming calling on me, that is." Glancing back, over a shoulder, as he pours tea into one cup from a rather ancient kettle. A single cub of sugar dropped, along with a slice of limon, before he holds the cup in her direction by the edge of the saucer.

"I assume you're here to tell me." Not nearly as curt as some may have heard him to be, but certainly not as polite as his smile would suggest. Once she's taken the tea, he takes a seat himself and brings his right leg up over the left. "Mm, cookies. Let me guess, ^Vidalia Chocolate Chip?"

A smile playing through his goatee. "I had them once, over twelve years ago now, I think." Wrist flip flopping side to side, but ultimately extending to be given the tupperware container. "Even if they're not, I appreciate the gesture."
Willow Rosenberg has posed:
*blink blink*

Then a smile. "That's right! It's weird - I never get the urge to try something new when I am given them away. Sometimes even ones that I have tried for years, I have had them turn out so disgustingly.." *shudder* "I'm not the best baker of oatmeal raisin cookies. Even with my learning about potions." Which she was better at, but not perfect in the least.

Sitting down, she exchanges the cookies for the tea. "Don't worry about the Tupperware. I bought it at the thrift shop near my apartment, just for occasions like this. I thought about asking you about this book that is bothering me."

"It's been lost for, gee, almost four years. I mean, I've thought about it occasionally. But not like this. And yet, when I scry for it? It's.. strange."
Doctor Strange has posed:
"Strange is my name." Stephen says, something of a dad joke as he peels open the container with an upwards glance, head cant downward to regard the cookies she'd broughten to sweeten the deal. A haunting of a grin, then he takes one of the cookies and uses chewing it as a thoughtful moment of silence. Very precise, very polite, but both tupperware and treat are set aside as the subject of the book comes back around.

"A book that's been lost for years and, I'm guessing by you saying it's strange, doesn't want to be found." A napkin wipes at his fingers, then the corners of his mouth. Casually glancing around the sitting room before back to Willow properly, "There are a number of reasons that might be the case, the least of which is timing. Some things aren't meant to be found until they're meant to be found, but I think-" Waving a finger in the air as he stands and passes over to a row of books on an old shelf near the pair of chairs and table.

That same finger passes across spines until finally tipping one out into his hand. "Ah ha, Demobius Abstractia." It doesn't look particularly old, this book he's holding as he returns to his seat. Though he treats it as if it might be as he flips through pages, "A theory of devination of the abstract." Pausing in flipping those pages to twist his hand, fingers curled, "Searching for the absence of something, rather than that thing itself. See, everything leaves an imprint, but somethings leave a void." His hand drops back to open the book to the desired page.

Which he hoists from the upper spine, turns, and holds out to Willow. "If something doesn't want you to know where it's at, as your book seems, then you look for where it's not."
Willow Rosenberg has posed:
"Strange." She repeated to solidify the name in her brain. Like John, he didn't use a proper name as she had been told to address someone older, or wiser than she.

Waiting till he had picked out some cookies, Willow corrected him. Well, she was correcting herself. "It's actually been lost for.. Do you know when the Library of Alexandria burnt down? That's the when." (48 B.C.) "I have found just a little bit about it, back when I was supposed to find it."

"It is easier if you learn about it. The end result, regardless, is for a while we 'forgot' about it." She says 'forgot' in air quotes. "Even Castiel forgot it - and he's an angel! Of course we already knew that the book couldn't be found by demons, or angelic beings."

She waits until he has the page that he wanted. Patiently. Drinking her tea.
Doctor Strange has posed:
"Doctor. I was making a play on words, Ms Rosenberg. You said the situation was 'strange', I said 'that's my name.'.." Stephen peers up at her, then shakes his head, "Forget it, it wasn't funny. I've never been well known for my sense of humor anyways." The book, the one whose pages he's been leafing through, is finally held out to her once he's found the page he was looking for.

"That's a long time for a book to be lost, but given the number of pieces of literature that are simply haven't been found yet, I'd say it seems par for the course... That's a golf reference, by the way. I feel like I have to explain these things, I'm not sure what the youths of this generation are familiar with." Once she's taken the book, he replaces it with pouring himself a cup of tea.

A single slice of lemon, which gently stirs itself after he flicks his fingers in a circular pattern. "That's a lot of spinning plates. No demons, no angels.. no magi-" Hand extended out to her. "Have you tried the dewey decimel system?"
Willow Rosenberg has posed:
It wasn't 'lost' lost per se. After the library was gone, someone gathered the bits and pieces of the book and made it /into/ a book. Remember that most of the things that were stored at the library were scrolls. And as scrolls it was hard for people to find it." Willow scrunched up her face. "This part I.. We.. have very little about. Just, it was a series of scrolls, and it was lost in the fire. Or so they thought."

She paused. Blinked. And blushed. "No, it's not you. It's me. I think unless it is magic, I just assume people mean what they say. It's great when I am figuring out mathematical theories and computer science programs, but not so good in one on one joking. Now that I have thought about it, it's funny. With a name like Willow people don't really make jokes about you. They might ask if you are named after the plant. And before you ask, I really don't know. My parents weren't the sort to pick a plant like the willow for its meaning."

Willow shrugs.

"It was eventually taken in by a sect to keep it safe. There were a bunch of problems then.." In the middle of her sentence she giggles. "You really don't know how I scry? Do you. And, Yes, most of the information comes from outside sources, where they were speaking of this, but /not/ speaking of this, if you know what I mean?" In other words they hadn't crossed the threshold to be noticed, and some who was an excellent digger of information pieced it together.
Doctor Strange has posed:
"Sure." Strange says, following along with her explanation easily enough. The saucer is set upon her knee, once again crossed over the other leg, and balanced with two fingers along the outter rim while sipping the warm contents. His blue eyes remain fixed on her, listening, as she continues.

"This sect, do they still exist? What purpose does the book serve? There's a lot of bits and baubles of the story I think I'm missing to accurately paint a picture of what it is you're actually looking for. Certainly any information in a collection of scrolls would be useful, but you're going to a great deal of effort for this, specifically..."

Another sip, saucer placed beside the tupperware container of cookies. "I don't know how you scry, specifically, no. Everyone does it a little differently, but the methods and the outcome always line up." Fingers extending straight, cutting to one side then the other, and finally down the middle of those two invisible slashes. "So what we must do, for you to find your misplaced book, is change the search parameters."
Willow Rosenberg has posed:
Willow sat back, and continued drinking her tea as she thought.

"The sect has been disbanded. They thought they were doing good, and all the while the book was enticing the priest who was in charge of them, until he was powerful enough to take on the entire sect by himself. I don't know if he was a known magic user, or what the story was.. The rest of the sect - the Covenant - killed the priest before he could escape with the book, and decided to take the rituals items, and the books off in different directions, and pass off onto the next person. And so on."

Where no one had the location of the person next to them. Like the underground railway.

"We've met someone who is the Covenant current 'leader'." Again with the air quotes. "She knows about the priest, and the ritual items as theory? Nobody knows where they are." Except the body of the priest - which the Covenant has taken to watching.

"I thought I could use the wordings that I used before. For some reason, they don't even get the same things that they used? Which is weird." She gets still for a moment. "The book. It was called A history of Angels - at one time. I couldn't tell you if it was the same thing now."

As for her scrying, "Most of the time I use the computer. It's part using the boolean word search, and part magic. Usually it's not easy to interpret? With the book, and the ritual bits it was a dot over a map of the United States that got weaker or stronger as we got closer. That makes it sound simple, but it really wasn't. Now if I try to scry it's a series a red dots all over for a second and then they are gone."

Of course every scrying event was different! Just to make it interesting.
Doctor Strange has posed:
"Oh, that old tale." Stephen says dryly, with his hands folded on his raised thigh where his leg has come up to cross the other. The only time his hands move is to reach for his tea for a sip, always making small sounds of acknowledgement for what she's saying. mhm. here, of course there. Conversational cues to encourage someone to keep speaking and assure them that, at the very least, he's paying attention.

"So you haven't tried traditional devination?" Immediately his hand comes up, "Okay, I say traditional and it makes it sound as if I'm questioning your methods, but that's not what I mean. I don't know a great deal about your capabilities with a computer, but I do know they can be externally manipulated.. I have a whole section in my library about internet wights."

His hand settles back upon his leg, "I'm simply seeing how much legwork you've already put in to your particular connundrum. Meeting you down the road, as it were." Which brings him back to the book he'd handed her, "I'll have to assume that the spell within that book will work with a computer, I've never tried it personally, but I trust in your methods.. Which brings us back around to mine."

His head cants to one side, "Has anyone asked the Priest?" A pause, "The dead one, that is."
Willow Rosenberg has posed:
"I do know what counters can be set unknowingly on computers. It's part of my Master's to know. I'm actually quite smart?" Willow says that with a query, not knowing if that was his point. "I use the computer as an extension of my scrying field. I've tried , but I sometimes wonder if the computer needs to be connected to the internet, or even if it needs to be turned on."

At that, Willow chews on her lower lips. The computer could be a crutch at times. Like so many parts and rituals that she continued to do regularly.

As he talks about asking the priest, Willow shudders and shakes her head. "I wasn't around him, but two of my friends were. He was horrible. He used undead magic while he was a priest. And the things that should have been used on him didn't work." Because, for some reason he maintained the protection against those very same things. Even when Castiel muttered the words himself! "Sam - a Hunter - said he had never seen such a thing, or hadn't read about such either. The woman who guarded the tomb gave them heck."

Then quieter, "Besides. He escaped."
Doctor Strange has posed:
"I have no doubt..." Stephen is a difficult man to decypher, whether he's being genuine in his statements or obtuse in how dry he says them. He never directly speaks insulting, at any rate. Though her explanation does seem to satisfy his curiosity regarding the use of computers in rituals, nodding to what she's said regarding them.

"So they've already attempted to raise the Priest, but failed. Because he used death magic in life." Voice straining just slightly at the end of his rehashing when he turns to reach for his tea and take a sip. He doesn't continue until he's replaced the cup, taken a bite of the cookie she'd brought, and again raised it in recognition towards her.

"And he escaped." Of course he escaped.

"Have you tried to scry him? Maybe he's going wherever your book is..." Hand up, sudden, stalling immediate response, "Unless Undead can't find it either. There's a lot of rules, afterall."
Willow Rosenberg has posed:
"Nooooo. It was an accident that they broke the locks that were holding him. They thought that a piece of cloth was in the grave. They didn't check first, or they might not have tried it?"

To Willow, her story keeps on getting more and more fanciful by the minute. Add to that, that Sam should have known better..

"I guess I could scry the priest? But he's nothing that you want to meet up in a dark alley." Heck! Even a bright, sunny lit alley. And the odds are the undead priest does not follow the rules for undead things. Until she knew better? She wasn't going to touch that priest with an eleven foot pole! "
Doctor Strange has posed:
Stephen reaches up and pinches the bridge of his nose, gently rubbing up and down towards the corners of his eyes, when she says they hadn't checked the tomb for something that might have caused it to become unlocked. "You'll have to forgive me here.." Opening his hand, holding it up, "Your friends, the ones who inadvertantly released, by your own words, a very dangerous undead nemesis upon the world... was this their first instance dealing with something of this magnitude?"

"See this is where things get difficult for me. When people start monkeying around with elements outside their scope.. I think I'm starting to see why you and your friends haven't found this book." Almost, a close almost, immediately he looks a little guilty. "sorry... you have to appreciate my situation. Continue, please."

Hand held out towards her, "Refill of your tea?"
Willow Rosenberg has posed:
"Well, yes as a matter of fact it was." In truth they thought that the minions /were/ the things that were to be beaten (they were, but they weren't the hardest one!). To escape the minions, they hid out in the toolshed which only looked like a tool shed to keep others away. Out of the frying pan, and into the fire? Meanwhile, it was the worst part of the encounter.

"Well, of this type."

Good thing Sam wasn't here to listen to Strange talk about him!

Willow, though, looked dejected. "I guess some more tea. Though I can't see how you can help me." After all, it was a weird story for her, and she worked with those things!
Doctor Strange has posed:
Stephen could snap his fingers and the kettle would animate itself in pouring more tea, but he instead stands up and carries it over to do so himself. All while glancing up at the dejected young woman who had been sharing her story with him. "It's natural for people to assume the tribulations they're experiencing are the most outlandish ones imaginable, but I assure you that what we think and what are real? They are very rarely the same." The kettle is set back down while the small bowl of sugar is held out to her as he retakes his seat.

A quiet huff of a sigh, turned sideways in his chair.

"It is entirely possible I could simply snatch your book out of the infinite cosmos and hand it over to you.." Once she's taken a cube, he sets the bowl back down and holds up a finger, "I'm not saying I can...I'm saying it's possible I can." Then lays it down on his angled thigh, near his knee, "But I think the journey, in this case, is the point. If you get all the answers from someone else, the prize wouldn't be worth the effort you've already put into it.... How long has it been, again?"

Pausing long enough to allow for an answer, "So, I'll offer advice instead... and that book." Pointing to the one he'd laid out in front of her. "All roads lead to your Priest, but he's only undead. That might seem daunting at first, but you'll find a way... you are a smart woman right?" He holds up a second finger, "The things that didn't work before? They will continue not to work. Stop doing them.. Grow, expand, learn." The third finger.

"They're called the Mystic 'Arts', which means you have to refine yourself as much as your methods. You seem to have a terrible case of needing a great deal of help.. so much so that you've even come to me, but through all of your story? You've said very little about what 'you' did, only what your friends have. Now.."

His hand slaps his thigh, "Without knowing what it is you, specifically, want from me, I have given all I can think to give.. Unless you want to tell me what it is you actually 'need' from me."
Willow Rosenberg has posed:
In the end, Willow drank her second cup of tea. After all, she was polite! But despite Strange's pep talk to 'go out and try NEW things to discover what would work!', she was beyond dejected.

It was 4 years and a bit. For all she knew everything was okay. Castiel had the book. The angels had it tucked away in heaven, and sang of its being out of the history of mankind for good now!

Except Willow felt it was still on the run, and someday they would catch up with it again. And she wasn't too certain if she would be ready for that confrontation. Judging by Strange's reaction, neither would he! But for different reasons..