2019-05-01 - To Be Marked


Nightmares bring some mutants to Salem Center in the dark of night

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Wed May 1 01:49:56 2019
Location: Salem Center

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Nightmares. The very word is, to most people, evocative of a time in their childhood when a bad dream could leave them shaking and headed for their parents' bedroom. As an adult, most people will laugh in reminiscing about that time, or shudder when they have the occasional bad dream as an adult.

But that does not begin to cover what some people experience.

The nightmares for Remy were not, tonight, the usual ones. Not unless he regularly dreams of something horrible welling up from beneath Salem and leaching the life out of it and everyone in it before something dark and formless reaches with spindly fingers toward a mansion not far away. The decay and fear in the air are palpable as it seems to reach right for the cajun man, stabbing right for his heart before waking up.

In fact, anyone sensitive to dreams, or magic that produces them will have seen something roughly similar if not quite so personalized.

It is the dead of night in Salem and the all the people in it are fortunately still sound asleep in their beds. WAND Agent Koa Turner, a broad and well built looking man, is crouching in the now dark city park, using a small pendulum to draw symbols in the dirt around an ornate, sealed case. He stands and flicks a clear, rapidly evaporating bit of slime off his arm.

"Keiko?" He hisses into the night around him. "Did you find him or did he get away?"

Remy had had a good evening, he'd gotten to hangout with a good friend and he'd made himself a super tasty meal that the people on them silly cooking shows would even fawn over (at least in his opinion).

But his sleep? Well that continues to the thorn in the Cajun's side. He's starting to wonder if his past has left a curse on him, to make it impossible for him to get a good night's rest, like his mind is lost in some dark place every time his red eyes go shut.

So now he's on his bike, jacket on and fluttering in the wind behind him as he rides his back toward Salem Center. There are some places there open all night, so he recalls anyhow. Maybe he could find himself a card game to hustle the other players outta their cash, who knows.

Remy's motorcycle rumbles up to the park to come to a stop beneath a tree. He shuts it off and then plants his feet in the ground, a second later his darkened face is briefly visible as a little pink spark lights a cigarette between his lips.

A large glowing blue … dog … stalks through the gloom near Koa. It's patrolling, by the looks of its movements. Not to far away, a small asiatic looking woman with tattooes covering her arms and torso, stands - breathing heavily - with a metal quarter staff held loosely in her hand.

"Conner can't find him anywhere near, Agent Turner." Her accent is a mutts - nothing particularly distinctive but hints of a lot of different ones. "Conner, come back …" The 'black dog' cause that's what it is, snorts at Keiko and pads over near Koa basically ignoring his mistress.

As the bike rumbles up, the small woman glances over "We have a guest, Agent Turner." She moves to put herself between Koa and the newcomer.

Nightmares suck. To avoid them, Illyana just forgoes sleep most of the time. Which could be a contributing factor to why she's often considered to be a bitch. But this isn't one of her usual nightmares and waking, she can feel the way the magical world shivers around her.

The sorceress teleports in to the alley behind Harry's. This late, the flare of her stepping disks are like a beacon, and she's not looking to make an entrance at the moment. She's not in sight of the park, and so out of sight of the other three at the moment.

"You have the best-worst animals…" Koa mutters, scratching Connor's ears as his eyes settle on the man with the motorcycle. It's hard to see his features because, well, he's backlit but for the brief spark of light when he lit up.

To Remy this possibly doesn't look great. There's something very ornate on the ground surrounded by what certainly looks to be some kind of arcane circle - even if one's only exposure to the arcane is Harry Potter. The ornate box is pulsing with a sickly green inner late and there are waves of disquiet coming off of it. It's certainly possible that this thing is generating nightmares. And that these people were generating nightmares. And if they were generating nightmares that got to Remy, were did they ALSO blanket this town with them?

"Late night for a turn on the merry-go-round." The broad man calls out, flicking his hand so that the chain of the pendulum wraps around it, leaving the small stone he'd been 'drawing' with resting against his knuckles. That glows too, slightly.

"Something we can help you with?"

Oh yeah, and there's a glowing, vaguely demonic looking dog.

Koa has neither seen Illyana nor is he aware of her presence, so, no little late night quip for her. Just as well, this really doesn't look great.

Remy remains on his motorcycle, oblivious of Heavy Metal Magik being nearby at all since she showed up behind that bar that he was going to go search for a card game in… but now these people in the park were garnering his attention.

When one of them calls out to him, he just stands up and steps off of his motorcycle, his trench coat falling around his lower legs as it settles in the wind of the night. His cigarette flares as he takes a draw off of it and then dims once more before a hand reaches up to remove it from his lips.

"Just out for a late night stroll." He says back to them. "T'inkin' about goin' t'Blockbuster, rentin' me one'a them Weekend at Bernie's movies. Ya know, little late night laughs." The Cajun accented voice from the man releases then a light laugh. "What about you?" He asks out into the dark then. "Ya'll want me t'pick you up a Lord'a the Rings movie?"

Is there even a Blockbuster around here anymore? Probably not. Definitely not. He must be toying with them.

Keiko glares at the dog, hissing "Conner … you're supposed to be fearsome and scary." The dog, Barghest actually, just wags its tail and leans into Koa's hand for that scratching. "It would help, Agent Turner, if you didn't reward them when they … acted like this."

Conners head rises as Illyana arrives, sniffing the breeze. He lets out a soft growl and starts to pad towards that corner - it won't be long before he finds who lurchs there.

"Someone else is here…" Keiko says quietly, still standing somewhere between Koa and Remy. "What's a blockbuster? Weekend at Bernies is streaming. I couldn't watch Lord of the Rings…" So, very, very literal.

Illyana Rasputina can sense the magical presence of whatever's in the park, and inwardly she groans that it's the same. damned. place.

The blonde wears enough black that she's not particularly easy for those with purely-human senses to spot. She's not hiding though, and as she draws closer she makes out figures in the park. She hasn't heard the conversation yet, or made out who they are since her sight is pretty bog-standard human so between one step and the next her staff appears. As the base hits the asphalt when she continues to walk forward, the *thud* adds a counterpoint to her steps.

WAND had made the same observation, which is why there is now a Task Force in the city. Not that they're obvious. WAND agents aren't typical SHIELD Agents and these ones have been doing some rather subtle things, monitoring mostly.

"Blockbuster? If you're going there why not pick up Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. Seems like about the right decade…" That last bit is muttered. Koa is slightly tense. Remy's arrival as they're cleaning up seems a bit coincidental and in Koa's world there are no coincidences.

He wants to ask Keiko how she can not know what a Blockbuster is as he tries to probe Remy for more information, but he's distracted by the sudden 'thump, click, thump, click' of boots and staff hitting the asphalt. "That sounds eerily like Miss Rasput-"

Before he can finish THAT however the sickly blue-green light around the box surges in a gout of what certainly looks like eerie fire. Except it pushes out a wave of cold. And fear. Cold and fear that Remy felt recently. That Illyana felt recently.

It slams against an invisible barrier at the circle's edge and is it coincidence that it's aimed in Remy's general direction? Illyana will be able to see it clearly, as well as Koa's momentary panic as he spins in place to see what the flare up is behind him.

"Holy hell!" He says, bringing a hand up. Fortunately his circle holds. This time.

"Keiko I thought you said these things were inert without a magus to trigger them!"

Remy just looks to the first of them who didn't know what the video rental store was, it made him smile in the dark. "Netflix. Only it in a store." He explains in short before he shakes his head lightly to their combined responses to him presence.

"Ya know… I get the distinct impression 'ere that some nefarious things be happenin' in this park t'night. Like the da kinda t'ings that maybe shouldn't be happenin', no?"

Its the sound of those footfalls from Magik down the way that briefly makes Remy look away in her direction but that sudden blasting magic force makes him instantly look BACK and get ready for whatever was about to happen!

His cigarette remains in his mouth while his left hand produces a telescoping bo-staff that unfolds on both ends after a flourish that sends its length twirling through the air at his side. All the while the Cajun is leaping up a brick wall that is about 6 feet tall and mounted by those shitty pale glowing solar lamps that never quite glow bright enough to be of any real value when it comes to providing ambient illumination.

He stands atop this wall now, and produces a fan of cards out from his sleeve, one of them flashes to life with purple and red energy that illuminates the side of his face, showing him grinning around a lit cigarette.

"Guess we found some fun tonight after all?" He asks them, watching them guarding that weird box behind a shield of some kind?

Koa hasn't asked how long Keiko's been on the run - if he had, he might realise why she doesn't know what Blockbuster is. That chain has been diminishing for years now - and whilst it was common say five years ago, not so much in the last three or so.

Conner intercepts Illyana as the blonde steps forth, placing himself between her and the group. "Miss Rasputina …" There's no way, Keiko can see her in the shadows and she wouldn't know the sound the staff makes. "Conner. Let her pa—— Don't sass me, let her past." The Barghest growls and reluctantly gives way, padding back towards the group beside Illyana.

Keiko pales as the cold and fear washes over them. "Stay back …" she warns the tall man with the cards. His comment about Blockbuster momentarily forgotten. Her staff spins as she takes a defensive position. "They are. They only react when someone near can activate them … But he's gone. Conner is *never* wrong about that."

The sudden flare of light has Illyana picking up her pace, the staff dropping to a horizontal position in one hand as she jogs forward. By the time the barghest gets to her, she can see Kimiko and Koa. The flare of light helps. It's the familiar pinkish-purple glow of the cards that alert her to the third person that's gathered here this ominous night.

"By the Dark Lord.. What in Hades are you up to, Agent?" Illyana's tone is sharp. Clearly he's to blame for this.

"Well it's sure as hell active now! Did you ever interact with these… sacred artifacts?" That's to Keiko. There's a glow on Koa's right fist and he brings up a round ethereal shield though he's not sure whether he needs to have it between him and and the box or between him and the man with the cajun accent. For a moment he tries to split the difference. The blue green flame writhes back and forth as if it's a living thing, following Remy, trying to get out of the circle at him and when it can't do that, slamming BACK in Illyana's direction. After a moment the fires die down and the ornate box goes back to being an ornate box.

Well sort of. It's come open and there's what looks like a fist sized chunk of dark, flat stone sitting on it's red cushioned interior. There's writing on it but in the poor light it's hard to tell what it is.

"Miss Rasputina." Koa knows her first name is Illyana but he doesn't use it commonly. Too familiar, even if he and Keiko and Piotr and she did all share a social event. A not unpleasant one, even.

"I am attempting to secure the park with some help. It's being difficult."

Koa finally drops his free hand into his pocket and fishes out his ID. "Koa Turner. WAND." He says to Remy. "This is Keiko Kurita, an informant of mine, and Miss Rasputina."

He doesn't know, of course, that the two mutants know one another. Hell he doesn't know that Remy IS a mutant.

"And you have an odd idea of fun sir. You should have been here earlier. The fun was a lot more… zappy. I don't think I caught your name."

Remy gets ready for an 'attack' or whatever it was about to come out of that box in the park… but when it doesn't, when it strikes that shield dome that is blocking it, he takes a second to watch… then sees it dart after Illyana to try to do the same? This makes Remy loosen up a bit again, he stands up straighter and the energy in that playing card within his grasp loses its glow again.

"What is this? One'a them electric balls from Spencer's Gifts?" He quips before his red eyes now go to Magik and he grins, then hops off of the park wall he was standing on and casually starts to stride toward her with that bow staff wirling lazily around in his right hand, the cigarette bobbing up and down between his lips while he walks toward his friend.

"'Ello, Chere." He says, now reaching up to pluck the cig up and tap it out into the cold moist earth at his feet. "You know dese weirdos?" He asks, motioning toward the one with the WAND badge, pointing his bo-staff at them.

"Interacted with them…" Keiko pales at the question. It's something she had hoped Koa wouldn't ask. "Sort of … during the challenge and ritual. Well, ones like this. It's how they bind the Spirits." Keeping her eyes on Remy, the small woman takes a step back as the green light flares and flickers "My staff will affect it …"

Then it's gone and the stone with the writing in the box remains.

"Lord Plokta, Miss Rasputina. This is one of his. We managed to take it from one of the Magi when he was attempting to activate it here." She sounds a little perplexed as to why.

Remy gets a *look* for calling her a weirdo. "And you are? Agent Turner has already said who we are." At least he didn't call her his sidekick.

Illyana Rasputina's forward progress pulls up to a stop as the writhing force contained behind Koa's shield turns towards her. Her hands come up, staff with those upward facing prongs held defensively before her as a precaution. When the blue-green flames hit the shield and turn back upon themselves she relaxes her stance and starts forward again.

Remy is given a smirk and a nod as the devil-eyed man joins her. "I've run into them a time or two." Comes Illyana's slightly mocking drawl in response to Remy's question. She doesn't tell him he's wrong about them being weirdos. Pale eyes glitter as she gestures to Remy, "This isn't Plokie. Plotka's all floating head and blobby body. This is Gambit. Way easier on the eyes when he's got his shirt off."

The demon queen gives Remy a reassuring nod and her mannerism relaxes as she jerks her chin toward the cause of the lightshow. "So… it apparently doesn't like *me*." Or Remy, but she didn't get a great look at what it was going after in that first surge.

Koa has to suppress the urge to ask Keiko if she's ever seen Plokta with his shirt off. This would possibly not go well with the ex-cultists.

"Gambit. Chess player, then?" Koa hasn't heard the name but given who he works for that's probably not very surprising. What is surprising, to him at least, is the fact that Gambit knows Illyana. It's really a rather surprising number of surprisingly interesting people she seems to know.

"Well, it doesn't much like you, does it Gambit. Or you, Miss Rasputina…"

The magical shield that Koa is holding drops and he edges toward the box. He's going to try to get the damn thing shut.

"So may I ask what brings you both here? Does it possibly have something to do with the fight we had here about half an hour ago?"

After a moment's reflection he adds: "What was that magus trying to do anyway, Keiko? And, do they have any more of these things?"

The WAND agent considers trying to erase the circle and close the box but before he can do that the stone tablet starts glowing again. This time, instead of flame, it's projecting ghostly images. One is a map of New Orleans 9th Ward with an upsidedown pentagram superimposed over it. Another is a circle with nine smaller circles arranged upon it. Some of them glowing. And what looks like a spiral motif within it.

"The hell is it doing now?"

Remy's red eyes look back over to the one who asks him who he is and he just flashes them a grin before his eyes go back to Illyana and as he's named by her he shows her an expression of pain for being outed like that, but she'd likely know that he's just goofing around and not really pained by it. When she mentions him looking good without a shirt he has to grin at her.

"So you _were_ watchin' me bring dat furniture in the other day?" He asks her with a big grin now. Apparently he'd had his shirt off while doing some moving in to his new place in the lake house.

The Chess question makes Gambit look back to those people with their magic box. He takes one last draw on his cigarette before he flicks it away and it snaps into a little purpley explosion in the air above the ground.

"Ah been known t'move a few Pawns around now and den." He replies to that inquirey, then gives another flourishing twirl of his bo-staff at his side. Then… then he points it at that pentagram.

"Da Big Easy." He indicates with the bo. "What you people doin' here, dis gettin' a smidge uncomfortable now."

Beside Illyana, Conner crouches and growls at the box. He doesn't like it about as much as his mistress. When Koa takes a step forward the hound leaps, placing himself between Koa and the circle. He might just knock Koa back.

Keiko almost snickers before she gives Illyana a *look* now. "The amulet …" she says shaking her head. "Lord Plokta has never seen fit to manifest to me and I doubt right now he considers me worthy."

"Gambit, then." Her dark eyes move back to Remy. "A friend of Miss Rasputina's, I might have known. How do you know each other?" Does she look when Illyana mentions 'shirt off'. She … might.

As to the question from Koa, she shakes her head. "I'm not a Magi, Agent Turner. I can't do magic - I'm just the recipient of it. I've only ever seen them do something like this less than a handful of times and those times, they were forming a gateway. Not a portal, mind. Something … stronger. More enduring."

Remys question has her sighing "What does it look like we're trying to do? We're trying to contain it and stop the Nightfall … doing what they're doing." the Nightfall, not something that Remy's heard of before.

When Koa comments that it doesn't like Remy either, Illyana looks over to the Cajun with a frown. *She* happens to know he's a mutant and not a sorcerer, so she's not sure why he might garner the artifact's attention. "You didn't decide to go pick-pocketing Doctor Strange, did you?" She says, looking him over. Maybe he's got a magical item on him that the whatever-it-is is interested in?

Remy's question gets a chuckle. "How do you know that's the only time I've been watching you? Your place isn't warded. It's like its own cable channel." She says, taunting him a bit. Amusement turns to eyerolling at Keiko. "Plokta's never manifested to you because he's afraid to come to Earth where someone might kick his ass for waking me up tonight." The blonde finally gets around to answering Koa's question. "I only bother sleeping once a week and it's damned annoying to get jolted out of it."

A thoughtful frown touches Illyana's features again as she looks at Remy. "Did it wake you up? Or were you out?" It should have only affected Sensitives, right? She waves off Keiko's rhetorical question. "Her kind-o-not-really former cult is doing Bad Things and she's feeling guilty. Also, Agent Turner might be paying her."

Koa gestures to the circle of glowing symbols on the ground. Illyana will recognize them as celtic in origin. Koa's circle-craft seems to be a mix of European, North African and Far Eastern sources. "Containing whatever that is…" The agent finally pulls out a small flashlight and shines it on the tablet. "The script looks… huh."

There's a reason he's confused. It looks almost like Ogham but writes like Cthonic. There IS a group of beings that makes use of corrupted celtic like that, Illyana might be aware. They hail from, where else? Otherworld. Not to be confused with Otherplace.

"I have no idea why it might be showing us pictures of New Orleans, much less with… that over it."

"You only sleep once a week?" Had they both been sleeping and sensed something? Illyana's already asked that and Koa nods to Keiko to help him. "I'm going to knock down the circle. When I do, you shut the box with your staff, okay?"

As Koa is counting down the shard throws up another image. Five playing cards, all aces of spades. All with a skull at the center of the symbol.

"Interesting that the shard woke you two up and Keiko beating the crap out of a magus with her staff didn't…"

Remy has to grin back at Magik for that little quip about watching him. "I'm gonna have t'issue you a cover charge in that case, Rasputina." He says back at her before he just shakes hs his. "I got no clue. I wake up a lot most nights, whether it cause'a this Dungeons and Dragons duo here, or cause'a the usual? Who's t'say. But it is a bit odd that I come out here t'find you all talkin' about something so similar, no?"

He looks back to the question about how he and Illyana know one another and he points at her now with his bo-staff. "She my yoga instructor." He says, because he has a hard time ever answering a question with honesty to someone he doesn't know.

He then taps his bo-staff down on the ground and watches further on the shenanigans around this box. "That thing… belong somewhere far away from here, I say. Wit' that whacky Doctor Strange fella." And he shoots a look over to Illy. "Of whom I most certainly did not swipe nothin' from. Bad mojo, is all that kinda t'ing bring down upon a poor soul."

Illyana Rasputina has kept her staff out, because they're dealing with magic. She steps over towards Koa as he gestures at the circle so she can peer in at the thing before frowning over to the Agent. "Yeah, definitely from Otherworld." She notes.

"But aside from it trying to get a rise out of the Cajun, why would it be putting up ominous maps of New Orleans?" Because c'mon, who can't tell that Remy's from New Orleans?

Oh right. Keiko.

The blonde shrugs at Koa's question about her sleeping. "And tonight was a good example of why I don't bother most of the time." She grumbles. "And if you want Keiko beating someone up to wake me, she'll have to hit a lot harder. I was in the City." Illyana turns to look back at Remy when he says he'll have to charge her and smirks, followed by a huff of amusement that she's a yoga instructor. "Now there's a job I've never considered doing. I like telling people what do do, though."


Keiko recognises the script but doesn't know it's significance. She's a soldier or is it, was a soldier? No, still a soldier but she's changed alliances, mostly. Illyana gets a scowl for her quip about 'kind-o-not-really former cult' "You know nothing about me, Miss Rasputina." she answers before turning to the box. "Otherworld? That place that Lord Plokta managed to infiltrate?" She knows that much.

"Yoga instructor, Gambit? She teach you all sorts of new positions?" It's a little terse. She might apologise for that later. When this is all over.

Cajun and New Orleans - she doesn't know but she's focussing at the moment. Of course, she's used to dealing with the fact that she's uneducated.

"Ready …" beat "What the hell. I've never seen that … " Still, her staff moves when Koa's count finishes, flicking the lid of the box shut. It arcs when it touches the surface - like metal on wood just shouldn't.

"I very much agree. Though we usually just drop them into a warded vault in a deep hole in the ground, rather than take them over to Strange…" Koa nods to Gambit, wondering if the banter between Illyana and the cajun man is just that or if there's, perhaps, a reason he was teased about pickpocketing.

Hard to say really and he's not one to speculate, even if he is one to wonder.

"That wasn't just New Orleans, though. That was the Ninth Ward. I'm not really certain why it centered a pentagram there but…" Koa smudges out one of the symbols for his circle and the lights in it die.

A second before Keiko can close the box with her staff a gout of fire jets out of it headed right toward Remy. A face seems to form on the end of it though the Cajun won't have much time to look before it tears into his chest, then back out and right for Keiko whom it also strikes, in the chest and out the back, then it circles and heads right for Illyana.

"Woah!" Is all Koa has time to get out. He reaches toward the box and a number of ghostly motes of light fly from it and into him but that doesn't stop the bolt. Someone else - like someone with a magical staff - will have to handle that.

Keiko and Remy - if they think to look and haven't passed out from the pain because that HURT - will find a circle of spidery script on their chests. Same language as is on the tablet.

Remy's got more than enough quips to go around, and he's about to deliver a doozey of one as he turns and raises up a pointed finger. "Look 'ere—" He's cut off as that flash of faced-fire rips through him. It sends him stumbling backward with his bo-staff being used to keep him upright all together!

He turns and drops down to one knee, his leather long jacket flaps around his legs and against the ground as he's dropped to that knee… then he groans and moves to stand up, that bo-staff now acting as support to get him back to his feet.

"That be it." He announces. "Gambit's goin' back t'bed." He groans audibly and starts to stagger back through the park toward his motorcycle. A few steps in and he just falls flat on his face toward the ground.

Luckily, Illyana still has said magical staff in hand and as it rushes at her she brings it forward with a spin. The fire jets impact and splatter against it like a shield, splashing outwards and then finally dying out. She holds her position a bit, but it looks like the box is closed now. The look she gives Koa *isn't* complementary.

When Remy decides it's time to Leave Now, she doesn't blame him and any sticking around to help the WAND agent is derailed as the Cajun faceplants instead of making it to his motorcycle. Cursing under her breath she lets the Soulstaff fade and jogs over to Remy. "If this is part of your master plan of getting me into your bedroom… it's working." She tells the prone figure.

A stepping disk appears beneath Remy and the pair disappear. Guess Koa and Keiko are on their own. Again.


Conner howls and leaps to try and intercept that gout of flame - when the fire hits him, he disappears into a puff of smoke. Blue smoke that wends it ways back to Keiko's arm.

Keiko screams in pain as Conner dissipates and the fire hits her. It doesn't burn her shirt or her clothing but her skin beneath is agony. She's driven to her knees, her staff dropped beside her, conscious but barely. She doesn't see Illyana or Remy leave as she sobs.

That must say a lot about the pain. Koa has some inkling what she endured to get those tattooes, after all.

Koa curses and slams the box lid shut with his foot before it can do anything else. His eyes are glowing ghostly blue now which probably isn't a great sign but he's not otherwise acting strangely.

He'll be fine. Until the power he absorbed starts to burn, of course.

"Well that went just swimmingly." He mutters as he latches the box shut and picks it up. Then he goes over to Keiko.

"You still with me?" The agent gets her arm over his shoulders and gets her stood up. "Come on. Let's get you home." He has no idea about the burn under her shirt. And neither will she, for a while.

With one last look at where the mutant Splinter Lord and the cajun man disappeared, Koa starts off toward his truck.

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