15382/Interlude: Won't you step into my parlour...

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Interlude: Won't you step into my parlour...
Date of Scene: 26 July 2023
Location: Sanctum Santorum - Base Floor
Synopsis: Into the Library of the mind, a whisper goes. Sinister and the Enchantress came to a quasi understanding.
Cast of Characters: Sinister, Enchantress (Moone)

Sinister has posed:
The funny thing about the speed of thought, is that a great many things can occur in a split second.

In addition to that, the dreamlike quality of a mindscape can be a direct escape from a crisis situation. In this particular instance, the blink of an eye and the time it takes to jerk a shoulder away is the span of an eternity in the mind's eye and change the game a little. Or a lot, depending on the ultimate outcome of such things. When one half of this equasion of two-in-one that is June Moone knows how to do mind tricks, how observant will she ultimately be, when in the spiderweb of mind woven by an incredibly potent telepath? That remains to be seen...

It is borrowed from memories, this landscape. A direct source of those places that June felt safe in. Maybe it's a coffee shop? Maybe an artist studio? Maybe it's her bedroom, or the dorms at university, or with an archaeology tool in hand. Either way, the 'safe place' is meant to be exactly the crow-bar needed to break the cycle of psychosis, if only on a temporary basis.

And Sinister? Well, he belongs there. Is natural there. Blends in there. Is a fixture there, like he was always in those places, observing from the sideline -- here, he looks like he's supposed to look, all black and red an silver, pale and inhuman. His cloak moves of its own accord, like the strands of it are serpentine and intelligent in their own right -- with him, they actually might be. He looks around, hands tucked in the small of his back... waiting.
Enchantress (Moone) has posed:
For June, it's her old university library. A massive towering place with multiple floors, layered with books. In this case, each of those books is a simple memory or a piece of information, the things she's learned, the things she's seen, going back to her earliest childhood and through the horrors of her adult life.

She's dressed comfortably in a cashmere sweater and tan slacks, sensible shoes under the table as she reads underneath a spotlight lamp, while the rest of the library remains in shadow, as if she stayed after h ours and they shut the place down to leave her there to her studies. Having the whole place to herself, just the way she likes it.

Sinister will be attired in the tweeds of academia, a professor perhaps, doctor that he is. His sudden presence will make June's self-image startle for a moment, sitting up straight and closing the tome which she's reading with a thump.

"I thought I was alone," she says aloud. "I'm not sure I know you." she says, the events of mere moments ago, meeting Sinister and Lucifer and Phantasm and Strange all at once, well, they hadn't quite been catalogued yet in this particular library, her deeper mind not fully aware of what's going on outside.

As for the Enchantress, she's somewhere, no doubt. But, for the moment, at least, she is somewhere else within their shared mindscape, leaving only June to contend with the telepathic intruder.
Sinister has posed:
Sinister does a very quick and cursory look to himself, taking in the personification that he's been enshrouded in, so that he's aware of it, then the library of mind with a look around; it seems a cursory glance, but the not-so-good Doctor is perceptive if he's anything -- that and in the mind, a look is an illusion anyway. The mind processes things much faster.

"It'll come to you eventually," and that isn't a lie, either. A few minutes, half an hour, the next instant, depending on the speed of long-term absorption. He smiles, it's kindly and here actually seems to reach his eyes. "I didn't want to interrupt you, you seemed engrossed. But I wanted to check on you."

That said, he gestures around the library and toward the shelves and beyond. "There's something happening, which I'm sure you're distantly aware of. Out there. Are you alright?"
Enchantress (Moone) has posed:
June Moone bites her bottom lip and lets out a breath, looking down at her lap as she stays in her seat.

"I try not to think about it. This is where I hide, this is my safe spot. I don't get visitors here. Except Her. She's wrecked the place a couple of times. It took me a long time to reorganize," she says.

There's a rumble and the whole place shakes a bit, rattling a bit and there's the echo of the Enchantress' cold, wicked laughter going through the place, seeming to come out of the air itself, although Sinister's telepathic senses might sense that it's coming from 'outside' of this particular construct.

June gets up, hugging herself and leads the professorial misfit over to the 'window' outside. There, there is a great swamp, as if the library rose out if it, a great tower on unstable land in a twisted realm of broken trees, fog, mossy water and great beasts lurking beneath. The Enchantress sits in the center of a stone circle, a Stonehenge of her own, her abyssal eyes gazing up as she gives a little wave of fingers at those looking out at her.
Sinister has posed:
Following, this shattered existence within the skull is duly noted, with a soft "Hmm," and a short sigh. "Why is it that the brutal and empowered tend to think so extremely high of themselves?" he ponders, lifting a hand to wave back -- a scale of fingers slowly delivered. "I suspect that reorganizing the library becomes more difficult every single time that you have to do it. The dewey decimal system is all scattered and some of the microfiches are missing from where they're supposed to be. So things start to go back in the wrong order. And then there's the new deliveries, which need to be catalogued, but where do you even put some of those? Fiction? Autobiographical? Horror?"

He sniffs, turns a single turn on the spot to take in how structurally intact the library appears to be. And then, back to observing out of the window for a couple of long, narrow-eyed moments. Then, turning away sidelong and downward to June, his gaze settles.

"What did it used to look like out there?" he asks, because there's a step that begins a journey and they're only at the beginning of it after all.
Enchantress (Moone) has posed:
June Moone wraps her arms around herself, turning away from the window, "Pastoral, peaceful. Perhaps a bit naive. I grew up full of fairy tales and dreams. The kind of girl who had unicorns on her walls and bookshelves full of fantasy novels, with handsome princes and elves and dark lords who threaten the world but always lose out in the end to the noble hero."

"I never dreamed I would be the wicked witch. Or, at least, that the wicked witch would become me, I guess."

"What do you want here, doctor? You can't fix me. I can't be fixed. I had hoped that Dr. Strange could help but I don't think he can. I think he'll just try to destroy me, to save the world from Her. But she'll just escape and find some other poor soul to haunt. Sometimes I think that's just what i should do. Be her prison. Forget about my life. Forget about my dreams. Just keep her inside, for as long as I can. Maybe like Sleeping Beauty. Can you make me a spinning wheel for me to prick my finger, doctor?"
Sinister has posed:
"He probably can't. And you're probably correct. But lucky for you, I'm an extremely clever, inherently curious creature. I also know a thing or two about a broken mind..." Sinister replies, smiles and this time it's a trace wicked, in an alluring manner. "What help did you want? Because that kind of thing belongs in the realm of realistic expectations, which usually start as lofty aspirations."

He shrugs his shoulders, shakes off the illusion he was painted in and sits himself down on the air, with the lazy grace of an individual used to owning the space around him.

From the book shelves, half a dozen ravens fly in and perch on various pieces of scenery, some looking into the stacks, some keeping a watchful black eye on the world outside the castle in the swamp.
Enchantress (Moone) has posed:
June Moone shivers, "It doesn't matter what I want. Anything you do, she'll just tear apart the second you're gone. She likes me this way. I think my fear makes her happy. It's like the warm bath she has at the end of the day, just soaking in my pain. She's going to hollow me out eventually until I'm just a husk. So I guess, if we're talking about wishes, maybe for that...not to happen?"

"I don't know! I d0n't know what I want! I just want it to stop and it can't!"

She breaks down and cries and, as she does, the library rumbles again. Suddenly, there's a gust of hot, damp air in the place, humid and reeking. The chair June left is no longer empty as the shadow of the Enchantress sits there, slowly growing more solid. Her eyes remain abyssal, however, her twisted smile wide as she drums her long, black nails along the table.

"So rude, going around me, speaking directly to the mouse. What is your problem anyway? You're no saint, I can smell the sin on you a mile away."
Sinister has posed:
"What made you think that -I- was going to be the one that did anything?" Sinister ponders, even as the girl dissolves into tears after expressing her wish, loses the battle against the one on the outside and he's now in the Presence. "Ahh well, we'll talk later, I suspect."

There's a smile, a roll of his hand in a doff and a bow over the gesture. "Aah, and you would be the Wicked Witch, no doubt. The frogs were courtesy of you, I assume?"

Shifting in his position, Sinister sits a little more upright, crossing his legs at the knee and adjusting so that it seems as if he's seated in a high-backed chair, or some vacant throne of nothingness, a little askew, a little lazily present. "I don't have a problem, per se. Just a peculiar desire to pose a question to you."
Enchantress (Moone) has posed:
June Moone smiles, "I prefer to be called The Enchantress. Witch can have such nasty connotations," she says. Here, she's less of the stereotype as well, although she is horrifying, indeed, in her appearance. Her skin is pasty and corpselike, marked with bruises and showing black veins underneath. Her mouth and eyes are both abyssal black, her wet hair half-draped across her face. Her dress is stained with blood over a skeletal frame, the hollows of her shoulderblades deep.

"Normally I would drag an impudent intruder down into the muck with me, especially one so clearly radiating arrogance as you. But I'm curious, this time, and will tolerate your questioning. For now."
Sinister has posed:
"I prefer confident, just as you prefer 'Enchantress' -- I leave Arrogant to the pissing contest that you vomited frogs at..." Sinister flashes another smile, complete with dimples this time. He cocks his head, an observation of the personification of perpetual famine and pestilence that the creature embodies. "So my question to you: Do you like to continue being free to romp about and cause chaos wherever you feel like it? It's a pretty simple question I suspect and won't be a particularly involved answer. But humour me."
Enchantress (Moone) has posed:
Enchantress sinks back in the chair, her gnarled hands gripping the arms of the thing. "That may be the most veiled threat I've ever heard. It's impressive in its own way," she says, although any amusement barely makes it into the chilling essence of her tone.

""I'm hardly free. If I were free, I wouldn't need the mouse and her pathetic little body to access the mortal plane of existence. But the curse which cast me into the abyss forbids me to enter the world utterly as myself, so a skin I must wear, however pathetic and mewling it might be," she sighs.

"But still. I understand. The sorcerer and the devil might conspire to bind me further. Put me in a bottle or a trinket, tuck me away in a dusty corner of this wretched Sanctum to be forgotten. Yes, dear horror, I would prefer my freedom."
Sinister has posed:
"It wasn't a threat, actually. I know it could be taken that way, but that wasn't the intent." Sinister states this, then rolls his hand toward her, palm up, an engagement gesture. "And you just extrapolated and elaborated as to the issue you face, daily."

There is a mild laugh though, as if he were conversing over a cocktail in a bar, not in a mindscape that is hellish, with the Hag-o-hags. "Well, Strange might. Lucifer is less likely to, unless he gets very annoyed or just loses patience. That can happen, unfortunately." He tilts his head, the dying star red of his gaze flickering and flaring from time to time.

"I'm less concerned about that possibility right now, than the actually fairly real possibility that you'll burn out your plaything. The fact that she's coming apart at the seams, tells a very particular story. I'm wondering how we can repair that, or at least... mitigate it. Give her a bit more of an ablative coating, so she doesn't implode in her own psychosis. That I believe, would be incredibly frustrating, to spend an indeterminate period of time stuck in a jibbering wreck that's forgotten how to say your name."

By the look on his face, eyebrows raised, chin tilted a little, the silent 'you know I'm right' goes unsaid.
Enchantress (Moone) has posed:
Enchantress steeples her fingers in consideration. The shadows in the place grow deeper and there's a rumble of thunder in the distance, the flash of lightning through the window. A glance over there will reveal June now frozen like a statue in her weeping state, face in her hands bent over, a coating of ice over her psychic body, imprisoned and suffering once again at the whim of the Enchantress.

"Swords have two edges. If she's too strong, she'll start to get in my way. If she's too strong, she'll push back and whine even more than she already does, wanting to live her life and be a boring little nothing like she always dreamed. She has no appreciation for what I have given her, what I could offer her."

Then she leans forward and cocks her head, even as a millipede crawls up out of her dress and up over her throat, along her chin and burrowing into the socket of her ear. She giggles for a moment. "Tickles."

"You called me wicked earlier. I suspect you know something of such things. So maybe, just maybe, if you insist on trying to buck up the mouse's self esteem, you could do me a favor and corrupt her a little bit. Her innocence is pathetic in a grown woman. Disgusting," she says, even as the millipede emerges in her mouth and she bites down on it, chewing vigorously and swallowing it.
Sinister has posed:
Sinister steeples his fingers, smiling again. But this time, he tilts his head forward, so the planes of his face become painted in the light and shadow of his gaze, casting his countenance in a far more nefarious manner. He watches the millipede activity with a kind of morbid fascination, lips parted ever so slightly. "//Fascinating//..." is breathed.

Then he seems to snap out of it, with a drum of fingertips against one another. "I'm willing to assist, if you are willing to dance. Are you willing to dance? Because that's how you avoid a two-edged sword, is by not being where it's slicing. I'll need you to work with me, so you and she /both/ get a bit of what you want."
Enchantress (Moone) has posed:
Enchantress leans forward again, her hands splayed on the table as she lowers her head until her chin rests upon it. The dark of her hair can be seen now to go not just over her shoulders and down her back but into the darkness and shadow around them both, that emptiness in her and of her. She titters madly, for she is mad, no doubt about that, Sinister can recognize that in her as much as in himself. She, too, was once human, a very, very long time ago, but she, like he, transformed herself into something greater, something other, something never before seen.

"I am wary of a man's desires, but I am listening. What is it that you want, dear doctor? I do hope it's something horrible."
Sinister has posed:
Sinister brings his palms together then draws them slowly apart, cupping them and lowering them to the table. Nestled between his hands, is a tiny mask; bejewelled and elegant, beautiful, alluring, enticing. He sets it down. "Put that someplace where you know where it is. It represents hiding, the mask we wear in the world, so nobody sees us for who we are. And when you whisper, slide or slither, just remember that mask. It will, if it works correctly, give a little bit of pleasure. And with it?" He leans back again, steepling the fingers once again. "Give her some of the pleasure she needs. Even if it makes you want to gag, make the day happy every so often. The six of the one, the one of the other. If she begins to feel /good/ about some of the things you do when you ride her, she will create new neural pathways. Slowly, inch by inch. And that way, you will do less abject breaking and more... sublimation. /That/ is what you need to aim for. To sublimate, then you'll have a lot less fight on your hands. I'll do what I can, on the outside."

He shifts his legs then, crossing them at the ankle instead of the knee. It lends an odd respectability to the posture, which is held extremely gracefully. "As to what I want? I actually don't want anything that you don't already do. You owe me nothing but being yourself -- you doing that, helps me in the long run anyway."
Enchantress (Moone) has posed:
Enchantress will examine the mask with her magick and her senses, seeking some hidden trick, some latch, some button, some spring. Check for traps, in other words, in the parlance of the Dungeons and Dragons that June loved to play, back when she had friends, back when she had a life.

Then, with a wave of her hands, the mask is gone, hidden away somewhere in her possessions, snatched for her own uses. "I will do as you suggest, although it pains me. I do so adore her suffering. She cries beautifully, for hours and hours. She was already a weepy little thing, lonely and frigid and sad. Dry as the books she loves. When I first took her, she screamed for days and her agonies, ah, her agonies nourished me. I lapped up her tears and supped on her blood and sank into her bones and dug in my roots. Her little soul is mine, now and forever. Not even death will save her from me. You tell that to your friends, to your Devil and your Sorcerer and that ghostly thing in the house. If they even think of trying to free her, I'll make her suffer as she never has before. Now, I know they don't really care - they might pretend sometimes, but I saw through her eyes, she is a curiosity, a thing, a mystery for them to unravel to stroke their precious egos. They are not heroes. But still - she is so very pathetic, they might grow soft to her whining. I might not be able to defeat them - although I might, I have power, more power than they imagine. Men's imaginations tend to be so very limited anyway," she says with a cruel laugh.

"But I can tear down the things they care about. I'll rip that precious Cloak. I'll find the Devil's favorites and rip them for my joy. Not you, of course. Although I wonder how you suffer. You must be very hard to hurt. Which only means your pain would be all the more delicious. But I digress. We are making friends here, after all."
Sinister has posed:
The mask, with the probing, is entirely psychic in nature -- there is no magic there, but there is a nugget of essentially... humanity. Endorphine rush, seratonin and the tangled strings that will inch in to give that tiny euphoric bliss of oxytocin. The doctor knows, you see, how to make a brain react how it needs to. He's got -so- much experience with brains. So very much. It has the potential to grow, that tiny nugget of psychic suggestion, if nutured the right way. The /clever/ way. And he might be a man, but he is so very clever; the mask reveals that. The layers of subtlety are intricate. Manipulative. Masking.

"I will relate, in somewhat more diplomatic and politic terms," he replies, studying the creature critically and carefully. There might be a hint of admiration, because he's looking essentially at the essence of a survivor. Maybe he's looking at a kind of reflection, because his face clouds a little as she continues to talk, the outward focus turning inward. There's a sniff, a deep breath and he closes his syes, leaning his head back slowly, so his face turns to the sky. Arms spread slowly outward, palms turned up, fingers curled, rising from the seat until he's crucified in the air.

    And then, the wave of pain. He isn't all that old, but he's older than any human should be and his pain is quite, quite glorious. Feeling every fool and every genius, ever aspiration and every murderous intent, /every/ day. And the pain of being broken a thousand fold over on the inside, repaired brick by brick, moral by moral, until what was left was nothing like it used to be. And pain /given/. Oh, so many screams, oh, so many pleas or mercy that never came, but for quiet, subtle moments. People saved, only to be used again and again, through thier children and their children's children. There are many that fear him. And just as many do not even know who he is. Ignominiously anonymous in a sea of humanity that slowly consumes itself. He is the subtle knife.
Enchantress (Moone) has posed:
Enchantress drinks. She is not a vampire, no, nor some succubus. She doesn't need the psychic energy to survive. She has more than enough of her own, thank you very much. But - she enjoys it. It's like a drug to her and she is, in her own way, a sort of junkie, a sensation junkie. Because she doesn't feel very much on her own anymore. She is a numb thing, a dead thing, and so the pain and the suffering, they make her feel alive, alive in the only way she's ever known. Her own life, after all, long long ago, before even Essex lived, was pain and suffering.

She's laughing, then, laughing and laughing as she basks in it, tearing at her garment, glorying in the agony of it all. Her own arms throw out and the lightning turns green, casting its emerald light through the windows of the 'library'.

"Thank you, doctor. I appreciate your offering," she says in the end. "You are an exquisite thing and very special. Perhaps we truly can be friends."
Sinister has posed:
"You're welcome to it," the voice is there, but the psychical presence of the man that made himself into a monster is no longer there. All of that happened in the glance of a storm grey eye, to a green one when a face was turned to his own. The window to a broken soul is sometimes also a doorway.

And what may come of that, may leave a room full of powerful mystics, utterly flummoxed.

And somewhere in his core, Doctor Nathaniel Essex vows to have a read of some of June's research. It will /surely/ be fascinating.