a touch of the outsider.

There is no mystery to the dark mark etched into his forearm, no confusion about what it is or where it had come from, and there isn’t any uncertainty about why it had been given to him in the first place, one of the few beings who made a habit of traversing the darker of dimensional planes and easily noticed by those who resided within. As far as purpose, there was little uncertainty about what it could do - not because of any unfamiliarity with a name written in a language that, unlike the eldritch languages of the Darkhold that wanted to be read, gave no inherent familiarity with its foreign tongue, but because the options, while not limitless, were many.

The mystery had been in why such a thing had occurred in the first place when the equation, while not complete and perhaps something that never would be, that answered the riddle of the shifts had some defined lines. There had been some certainties - that someone would be from one of a few universes - and, even without some sense of profound certainty, that had suddenly changed. It was evident in the tattoo he now wore, a new set of powers given by a new totem from a universe that was more commonly aligned with video games than its comic companion; and he doubted it would be the only instance of it.

It also stood to question just what the Outsider’s purpose had been - what he had intended Henry to do by extending the olive branch of primordial power he didn’t readily need - when there was no empire to overthrow or Empress to protect, but then again, it wasn’t like Henry knew everything, this had been something brand new and, in due time, he could only hope he would be able to connect the dots.

Perhaps it was no coincidence that he had chosen Limbo as the landing point for what was to be a test - a significant step into the practice of trial and error - just to see what he could accomplish with that living link to such a disjointed void.

He had only been half-joking when he mentioned it would start with a plague.

It isn’t the first time he has summoned creatures of ill-intent for his own purposes and it surely isn’t to be the last, but unlike those born of shadow dimensions controlled by Elder Gods and affiliated demons, the sudden explosion of smoke that seems to fissure from the ground before transforming into a swarm of dark grey rats feels unfamiliar under the low and ominous glow of the mark on his wrist. They’re wild, unruly, and unlike the symbiotes born of Henry’s wiles, there is no way for him to see what they see and no way to control what they do. They all at once scatter, sniffing the sulfuric air, attempting to find something to eat, and it seems within mere moments, there are none to be found on the open plane before him.

Though not a problem in this place where demons may just as readily pick them up in a much more volatile food chain, it, for the moment, has little usefulness save for moments of wanton destruction - at least until he figures out the rest, for the moment ignoring the sudden feeling of fatigue that seems to set into his arms, shaking them out before attempting to pull another trick out of the metaphorical hat provided to him.

Perhaps possession would have been the better to attempt, but just as the abilities of the mark were a work in progress, so was figuring out to use them - the willpower to draw them up from the depths of the void, the mental incantations if there had been any to say, the motions to follow were all new, Henry’s knowledge lying more in the consumption of spell books and grimoires, ancient tomes from times far beyond known history, and rarely drawn up from seemingly out of nowhere; so what comes from an outstretched hand isn’t a ghostly specter meant to take over the body of another, but a gust of wind that catapults earthly debris away from him a quick blast that, taken by surprise, knocks him back and off of his feet.

Great for defense, great for offense, but just as well, Henry can feel the drain as he stares up at the starless void above him while willing himself back up - perhaps not yet to his feet, but at least to sit upright, arms resting on his bent up knees. There are limits - limits that on a scale of blue bar mana consumption, he understands, but here? Now? In San Francisco seeing new multiverses? Where the hell was he supposed to get mana potions?

No, it isn’t bound to be so black and white, and he knows well enough there are different founts of energy and magics that he can draw on, but it was all still a puzzle to be put together.