Suffice it to say, Doctor Stephen Strange was having a rather strange day. He had traveled through Kamar-Taj to the London sanctum, seeking any and all information on the multiverse in order to better understand the repercussions of whatever spell that had been cast that shattered the barriers between dimensions. For some reason, London seemed to experience these dimensional incursions than even New York City did, though what little information he had managed to find thus-far had been generally unhelpful. Even the master of the sanctum had been unable to help him in that regard.
Stephen had been digging through the sanctum’s reports on multidimensional anomalies for the better part of four hours, not quite ready to admit that the words were starting to bleed together and retaining the contents of what he was reading was becoming harder and harder. He sighed, squeezing his eyes shut and pinching the bridge of his nose.
Perhaps a break would do him good. He could grab a drink, perhaps something to eat, and come back with fresh eyes. It wasn’t as if the multiverse were in danger of being breached again anytime soon, and as weary as he was, it was a definite possibility that he could miss something important.
Rising from the table he was seated at, Stephen grabbed the cloak of levitation from where it hovered beside him, draping it around his shoulders. He left the stack of books and carefully taken, but mostly illegible notes where they rested on the table and made his way into the hallway, the doors sliding silently shut behind him. The layout of the London sanctum seemed to be the same as his back on Bleecker Street, so the kitchen shouldn’t be too hard to find.
Stephen strode down the hallway, but when he heard a distinctly American-accented voice coming from the room where the magical artifacts, those which were both off-limits and extremely dangerous, were stored, he paused. As far as he knew, the only people allowed in here were the masters of the sanctums themselves, and judging by the accent, the master of the London sanctum this person was most definitely not.
He slid the door open, stepping inside, and glanced around, ready to draw on magic if need be. Stephen was prepared for a lot of things. A rogue magician like Mordo, some sort of interdimensional being that was seeking world domination (he had to deal with those at least once a month back in New York City), perhaps even a multiversal incursion. What Stephen had not expected was for a man that looked like he was wrapped in mummy bandages and wearing a white hooded cloak. He seemed to be oblivious to Stephen’s presence, though he was definitely talking to someone. Stephen crept closer, straining his ears to hear what was being said.
“Steven, I swear, stop geeking out about all these artifacts and just point out the one we need,” the white-cloaked man muttered.
Stephen froze for a moment, confused as to how this person knew who he was, but apparently he hadn’t been the Stephen this intruder was referring to. He continued surveying the room, his back to Stephen. Though by the way his posture was stiff, Stephen could tell he was on edge.
The intruder paused, tilting his head as if listening to something, before he approached the far corner of the room. Hanging on the wall was a golden ankh, inlaid with lapis lazuli. Inscribed upon it were a series of hierogliphs, their meaning long-since lost to time. He reached out to grab it, but paused, his fingers hovering mere inches from its surface.
“Sorcerer,” the man seemingly corrected, though who he was talking to Stephen still had no idea. “And we don’t really have a choice. We need this ankh now. We don’t have time to negotiate. We’re on a time crunch, remember?”
There was a long pause, and then he sighed. “You are insufferable, you know that? Fine. I’ll leave an I.O.U. Happy?”
As the white-cloaked man’s hand closed around the ankh, Stephen decided to make his presence known. The cloak of levitation flared out around him, and Stephen floated up into the air, magic crackling around his hands. “You’re not supposed to be in here.”
The man whirled around, throwing crescent-shaped boomerangs in Stephen’s direction. Stephen deflected them, glaring at the man with an unamused look.
Stephen raised an eyebrow. “Who exactly do you think you are, breaking into the London Sanctum?”
“I’m Moon Knight, the Fist of Khonshu. We’ll be taking this ankh off your hands. I’d recommend you don’t get in our way.”
Stephen sighed. “Hand over the ankh, ‘Fist of Khonshu’. We can do this the easy way or the hard way. And I’m warning you right now, you really don’t want to pick the hard way.”
Moon Knight slipped the ankh into his belt, drawing two more crescent darts and slipping into a fighting stance.
“That’s not going to happen.”
“Hard way it is, then.”
With a complicated series of hand gestures, Stephen summoned a magical shield and whip. He slashed the whip at Moon Knight, who dove out of the way, ducking behind one of the many display cases lining the room. The glass shattered and scattered around the floor, but Moon Knight kept moving, making a beeline for the window on the opposite side of the room.
He tossed more of those crescent darts at Stephen, and Stephen raised his shield to block them. Unfortunately, the shield obscured a section of his vision, and he was barely able to react as Moon Knight attempted to stab him. As Stephen twisted out of the way, Moon Knight pushed past him and across the room to the other side.
Moon Knight smashed through the circular window, his cape billowing behind him in a crescent shape as he descended. Stephen floated out behind him, blocking his escape as he landed in front of his intended escape route.
“We don’t have time for this,” Moon Knight snarled.
As Moon Knight slashed at him yet again with his crescent darts, Stephen saw his opening and seized it. He dodged inside, forcefully pressing the palm of his hand to Moon Knight’s chest.
Moon Knight’s astral form was pushed out of his physical form, and Stephen had to admit, he took it a lot better than he was expecting. He swore fluently in several languages under his breath, fighting to get back to his body.
“I’ll be taking this back, now.”
Stephen reached for the ankh, despite Moon Knight’s protests, but before he could grab it a white gloved hand inexplicably wrapped around his wrist and stopped him. Moon Knight’s hand. But how…?
Moon Knight took a few tentative steps back, and Stephen, dumbfounded, didn’t stop him. His entire wardrobe had somehow, miraculously, changed completely, a white three-piece suit and gloves replacing the mummy wrappings. A white mask still covered his entire face, a crescent moon embroidered on the forehead.
“You’re Doctor Strange, yeah?” Moon Knight asked in an inexplicably British accent. “I’m terribly sorry about him. The name’s Mister Knight, and I have to say, it’s an absolute honor to meet you.”
Stephen could see Moon Knight shaking his head as Mister Knight continued.
“I hate to bother you like this, bruv, but we really do need that ankh. Fate of the world and all that, you know how it is. Well, be seeing you around, hopefully.”
“Hopefully not,” Moon Knight muttered.
What the hell was going on?
Abruptly, Mister Knight turned heel and sprinted away, Moon Knight staring after him with some combination of relief and annoyance. Stephen sighed and removed a sling ring from where it was attached to his belt, slipping it over his fingers. He opened a portal in front of Mister Knight, which Mister Knight didn’t notice until he ran through and subsequently got his astral form pushed out of his body.
Mister Knight did not seem to be taking the sudden shift into an astral form as well as Moon Knight had, staring at Stephen with wide eyes.
“That was a bit rude, wasn’t it?” Mister Knight managed, and Moon Knight sighed.
“Dammit, Steven,” he muttered, and Mister Knight’s - Steven’s - eyes went wide.
“Oh, like you did so much better, Marc.”
“You are really starting to get on my nerves,” Stephen stated, and Marc and Steven’s heads whipped to look at him. He didn’t miss the way Marc shifted protectively in front of Steven. “First you break into the London sanctum to steal a magical artifact, claiming you need it to ‘save the world’, then in the subsequent fight I push not one but two astral forms out of your body. Would either of you care to explain what’s going on?”
Another, foreign voice rang out, with a distinct New York accent. “I’d rather not, actually.”
Stephen had no time to react before he was punched in the jaw, the force of the blow knocking his head to the side and sending him stumbling. He could already tell he’d be sporting an ugly bruise that Wong would most definitely make fun of him for later. Glancing over, he saw Moon Knight- Mister Knight- whoever dressed like your average New York cabbie, newsboy cap and all. Stephen was ready to give up on this whole thing, because quite frankly, this was ridiculous.
“Who is that?” Steven’s eyes were wide, glancing at Marc, who seemed to want to be anywhere but there. Honestly, Stephen was asking the same question.
“I’ll explain later.”
“Later, Steven, I promise. Now let’s go.”
Marc and Steven’s astral forms returned to their body. It flickered between the cabbie, Mister Knight, and Moon Knight for a moment before settling on Moon Knight. Moon Knight jumped to the roof of a nearby building, on top of which Stephen could have sworn he saw a bird-skeleton-man-god-thing lurking. Moon Knight glanced back at him for a moment before disappearing onto the streets on the other side.
Stephen trudged back into the sanctum, directing himself back towards the library. He’d certainly taken a break, though it hadn’t gone exactly how he had initially planned. Regardless, he should probably alert the master of the sanctum to the fact that a dangerous magical artifact had been stolen by someone claiming to be the servant to a god.
Though for all Stephen cared, Moon Knight could keep the damn thing.