2019-05-18 - Trial of Three


A door appears in a park which leads to a surreal experience.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sat May 18 06:29:52 2019
Location: Flushing Meadows-Corona Park

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Theme Song



Koa has a small notebook full of people who might be useful in his investigations. Most WAND folks do. It's called a 'Local' book, which is short for 'Local Asset'. WAND lacks the vast resources of manpower that SHIELD does and the delicate nature of the work means that unusual individuals are often required. Such individuals are recorded and well compensated for their time and the danger they undertake. And Koa has called on two of them to come out to Flushing Meadows park, at the site of the 1964 world fair. This place is something of a tourist destination - the saucers and the Hall of Science. It's after hours though and Koa is waiting for his people to arrive beneath one of those towers.

What this is about he hasn't said yet, but he's got something that looks like a compass in his right hand and he is periodically peering at it.

Jerry Sledge arrives before long, casting his gaze around the towers and the sights as he moves through the area; he's never been out here, only ever seen it in movies. Something with Will Smith, if he remembers right. Jerry stops not far from Koa, and takes one more look around before settling his gaze on the man. "Agent Turner," he says as he approaches, giving a slow nod of his head in greeting and acknowledgement. He doesn't ask any questions, or say much more, but awaits an explanation.

Keiko is as busy as ever though she's had a couple of nasty surprises in the last few days. Nothing she's told anyone about … yet. When Koa had called, she'd been on the other side of town and had to take the subway and then bike the rest of the way.

It's a slightly warm, asiatic looking, woman who arrives and chains her bike up before approaching the Agent and Jerry who seem to be waiting.

"You wanted to see me, Agent Turner?" She gives a nod to Jerry. "Mister Sledge, isn't it?"

Neither of the men will miss the bruising on her cheek.

"Mister Sledge. Miss Kurita." Koa cants his head at the bruising. "What happened to you?"

It's a bit unusual for her to be hurt. Well okay it's not but it's a bit unusual for her to be visibly hurt.

"Well, now. Thank you both for coming. We've got something of an interesting development here. Do you see that door at the base of the tower?"

He points at what looks like a pretty solid metal door. It's locked, it seems. "It's not supposed to be there. And it wasn't there yesterday. And it's kind of throwing off spooky vibes to everything around it. WAND has asked me to go inside and take a look. I could use some backup." Beat. "And also a way of getting into the door." Jerry gets eyed for that. He is the one of the punchy fists, after all.

"Won't lie, I'm not entirely sure where the door will go or whether it will be on this plane of existence so if you don't want to come, no hard feelings."

"Jerry is fine," the large man says in response to Keiko. "That's quite the shiner," he comments, but doesn't dwell on the subject. When Koa starts, he turns his attention. A nod is given to the question of the door, and he listens to the explanation, and a quizzical look passes over his features for a moment. "Won't know until we open it up," he comments with a shrug, already moving to approach the door. His hands touch the door, and the same metal forms at his fingertips, moving up and over his arms almost all the way to his shoulders. "Knock knock," Jerry says before pulling his arms back and pounding them on the surface of the door, putting as much force behind it as he can. No sense in being precious about it.

"Someone decided to leave me a message." Keiko murmurs, touching her cheek gingerly before looking at the door. "Seems the denim crows have decided I'm a problem. It's strange that none of the Nightfall have tried for me."

Either the denim crows have decided she needs to be taught a lesson or there's something else happening.

"Jerry then. I'll try to remember, Mister Sledge." Her attention already turning to the doorway as she pulls the short metal rod from her backpack. "Will you want Bella, Agent Turner?" She's in, it seems.

"Cartels have feelings too." Koa jokes grimly. He'll speak to her about that later. It could be the Crows decided that on their own. Or it could be they were acting on instructions. It'd be good to find out which.

The door dents inward and slams open when Jerry hits it. Beyond it… stars. An immense star field and ground that is so black it seems to absorb the light coming into it from the lamps about the park. Koa quirks a brow. He had been ready for a fight. Something hostile. But there's nothing of the sort in the offing.

Of course he knows better than to take that at face value. He unholsters his weapon, motions to the other two to follow him and starts walking, following that compass.

The only sound on the other side of the door is wind. Endless wind that can be heard blowing but felt only faintly. After about five or six minutes of walking though, something else starts. Voices. Different for each of them. Family, friends, old rivals, all speak in whispers on the wind. Questioning, always questioning. Keiko's faith is questioned. Koa's sanity. Jerry's sense of purpose and his courage are questioned by those soft, oh so familiar sounding whispers.

Koa shakes his head. "That's… disconcerting… Did anyone hear that?"

He still can. The wind, somehow, speaks to them. Or something past the wind, perhaps.

The metal fades from Jerry's arms after a moment, returning to their slightly tanned, normal skintone and composition. The door demolished, he takes a step back to let Agent Turner take point, and follows him through. He's quiet and alert, taking care to watch for anything out of the ordinary that might jump out at them from the darkness. But nothing seems to be coming. And then the voices start. At first, he can't recognize that's what they are, and then he thinks they're just in his head. But then, gradually, they're coming from around him. His head darts around, scowling at the voices and their questions, their taunting. Distracting, to say the least. Only when Koa's voice cuts through does his attention snap back to the task at hand, and the company he's in. "Yeah," he says curtly. "And they can shut the hell up any time." Especially that one that sounds like Mom. "Where are we?"

Keiko shakes out the rod to form a full length quarterstaff that she holds rather expertly. "So it seems, Agent Turner. They've got even more feelings now." She murmurs. "Or rather, they're … sore." Her grasp on the English language is an interesting one.

As the door swings open, the tattooed woman blinks "Oooh. A bit like a Monty Pythons Meaning of Life or … maybe Zathura!" She's a damn movie junkie.

As they move, she glances at the compass "Interesting trinket. Something you picked up on a dig?" Jerry too gets sidelong looks. "Did you hear th——"

She really really doesn't like what she's hearing.

"Yeah. Tracks strong magical sources. Really strong ones." Which is why Koa is following it.

"I'm not sure, but if I had to guess, I'd say we're in the dream realms. A lot of people think that it's sort of like a surreal Alice in Wonderland kind of trip. Which it is but only if you're in the near parts of it. Near the dreams of humans. When you get out far enough you hit the dreams of things that have no connection to humanity at all. Stars. Planets. Ancient, nameless beings."

Koa cracks a small smile. "Fun stuff…"

It's hard to say how much further they go. The sense of time here is a little difficult but eventually they see light in the distance. Approaching closer it appears to be a large timber and thatch hall with glowing, humanoid beings standing outside that look kind of like… well, fantasy depictions of 'islanders' with spears and overlarge masks. Or… are those their heads.

A small crowd of them come out of the structure to look at the three and finally a rather large one steps out to address them.

"Jerry Sledge. Keiko Kurita. Koa Turner. You are expected. Are you prepared to undergo the trials?"

Koa looks down at his compass and then back up. It's pointing right at the guy. "What trials are those?"

"The Trials of The Three. Courage. Wisdom. Compassion. Your coming was looked for. Predicated. Now you are here. Are you prepared?"

Koa looks confused and glances to the other two. They've GOT to have questions about this.

It'd be a lie to pretend that Jerry understands even part of what's going on here. Most of what Koa says about the dream realm goes in one ear and out the other, try as he might to get his head around it. It's not that he's dumb, but stuff like this is pretty bizarre, and rather than try to understand it, probably best to go with it, and if necessary smash whatever parts of it need smashing. He continues to follow, until they reach the group of.. people, we guess? Jerry gets a confused look when they address the trio, and his hands start to turn to stone out of reflex more than a conscious effort. "How the hell'd he know our names," he asks aloud, not really expecting an answer. When Koa looks at him, he speaks up again. "Trials, like tests? I'm shit at tests."

Keiko would like to ask more about Koa's compass but she doesn't. She growls a little as her Faith is continually questioned. Why? Because the questions aren't anything different to what others have already asked her and what she questions herself - even if she doesn't admit that to anyone.

The small woman does try to give Jerry a reassuring look. That too is not something she's used to doing and it shows. "Dream walking is not something to be done lightly, Agent Turner." she frowns as he speaks. "We usually need preparation for such a feat." We. The Nightfall, she means. "And that looks like the cast from Moana…" she mutters.

"Prepared? I have not partaken of the sacred smoke of Plokta. Nor have I been cleansed in our holy water." she says to the creatures. "What are the trials and what are allowed during them? Who is each test for and who are you?"

Oh wow. Keiko has all the questions.

"I am Kaltar. I am a servant of Hoggoth."

That makes Koa gulp. "Hoggoth's a bit of a big deal." He murmurs to the others. "But he's usually neutral-to-benevolent when it comes to humans."

"Did you set that door specifically for us?" The WAND agent asks.

"Yes. It was known you would appear at the appointed time." Kaltor responds. "The Trials of the Three are indeed tests, Jerry Sledge. They were ordained for those who would oppose the Lord of Merest Dreams. The creature of the Dark Domain is one who twists the desires of men into weapons to be used against them. Those who would oppose him must know themselves. You are allowed only what you bring to the tests. They will reveal to you that which you will not wish to see, but if you are worthy you may overcome the faults in your stars."

Koa sighs. He's WAND and deals with this all the time and he gets tired of it too.

"Okay. So, these guys were expecting us specifically and they want to make some kind of magical test of our character because they think it's important for us specifically and it has something to do with the mess Plokta is making on earth. If you guys still want out of this I'll do my best to GET you out of it… but there's a chance that this will be to our benefit. Hoggoth doesn't just toss his servants around and he's not especially likely to have picked us out for our very own torture chambers before a messy death. What do you guys think?"

Jerry lets out a long breath and looks first at Koa, then at Keiko. It's not a sigh, specifically, but one of resignation and acceptance. "We're here. Might as well make the most of it," he says grimly. "Be lying if I said I was excited about it, though." He cracks his knuckles, and takes a step forward. "Kaltar, is it?" Jerry regards the.. man? Whatever it is. "Let's get on with it." Seems like a 'the way out is through' kind of situation. Do it and get it over with, deal with the consequences on the other side.

Keiko draws back a step as the Lord of Merest Dreams is mentioned, eyes moving between Kaltar and Koa. "Oppose … him." Does she? She opposes the Nightfall, certainly but Plokta - that's who they mean, isn't it?. Does she really? She'd been raised to venerate the Splinter Lord and still does - more like muscle memory than anything.

"What are allowed to take in with us?" She looks at her staff, thinking that's probably not going to help her too much.

"Mister Sledge is right though. We're here and I don't think we'll be allowed to leave easily, either way." She really isn't looking forward to this. None of her trials have ever been pleasant.

"What you have." The response comes. "Enter your trials, then…" There's a sensation of falling for all three and then…

Jerry's father was not a good man. He was a violent man. He took what he wanted. And he's in front of Jerry now. That can't be him of course. He looks like he's young. He's taller than Jerry and in his prime but he still carries an aura of blood soaked authority with him. There's a chain in his hands. A thick length of chain…

"What do you think you're doing here boy?"


The Circle of Equals is a Nightfall tradition. A way of resolving disputes, be it ever so brutal but it serves another function. It serves to establish pecking order. Showing weakness within the Circle is dangerous. Incredibly dangerous. Cesar is in front of her, spinning his staff. "You're too mouthy for your own good, you know that, Keiko? Let's settle this once and for all."

While the tests might seem separate, the reality is that if anyone concentrates, they can not only see the others, but the tests they're going through as well. Koa is in what seems to be a tomb. And he looks like Indiana Jones, just a little bit.

Jerry loses his breath for a moment with the sensation of the fall, but regains it quickly as his surroundings become clear. Eyes settle on the young form of his father, and his already dour expression turns even darker. "You ain't real," Jerry spits out, though his senses tell him otherwise. "And you can't do shit to me anymore, you sick bastard." Jerry's steps close the distance between the two men, his gaze focused on the taller man, brazenly challenging him. If he can see the others, he doesn't give them any heed; even though his rational mind is telling him that this isn't really his father, it looks and sounds, and -feels- like him. And this is one dog that needs to be put down.

Maybe Kaltar has picked up something up from Keiko's mind. She sometimes thinks of Koa as Indiana Jones. A buffer version of, in fact. What he's doing though, she can't tell at the moment, right now, she's standing there looking up at Cesar, quarterstaff held in her hand.

He's so much bigger than her. And stronger and faster. Is he better though? He is older after all.

"And you always take offense when none is given …" she answers quietly, the staff twirls as she circles. Not attacking, not feinting - not like she did with Koa in their sparring session. "If you think you're better, come at me then …"

Strangely, an image of Koa and Jerry form in her mind.

It isn't his father. It isn't real. It can't be. "Oh I'm real boy. You're here, thinkin' you're, what. Some kind of hero? Makin' some kind of difference? You're your father's son through and through. Ain't that right?"

Courage. What is courage? The ability to stand up to a fight? Jerry has never had problems standing his ground, not recently anyway. So, what is courage in this case? What are they testing?

Jerry's Dad or whatever this is squares off and his fists turn to… molten metal. Iron. But so hot that they're glowing red. Then he throws a haymaker.


"I am better. And you're about to find out." The staff spins and Cesar goes right for Keiko. Goes in at her legs. Their kind of combat is spinning. Elusive. Always moving. Circling. It works well with the staff. "Do you think your friend is going to make it? I think his father's going to lay him out and then reduce him to a sobbing hulk."

Wait. These things… are aware of the others?

Koa, well it's not clear what he's doing. Examining something in the room he's in.

Jerry's body shifts into stone quickly, and he lifts his arm to block his father's attack, ducking to the side and letting it glance off him rather than hold it back completely; molten metal is gonna burn through rock if he tries. "I ain't like you," he grunts, and throws a punch with every ounce of strength he can muster behind it with his other fist. "Maybe I'm no hero, but I ain't like you," he repeats, maybe more for his own benefit than anything. Jerry's fighting style is direct; not a lot of fancy movements, not a lot of lightness on his feet. Take the hits you need to take, hit back harder.

Keiko, for all her lack of education, is rather clever. She's also rather stubborn. She's had to be to survive. She bats Cesar's staff away and keeps moving, eyes narrowing as Jerry and Koa is mentioned. "I don't know. Maybe his Dad will lay you out. For being so weak here."

The asiatic woman gets glimpses of the other two as she moves, concentrating just a little harder on Jerry. Maybe … she can find her way to him. There's something about parents laying into children that leaves her … cold. She doesn't know why.

"Do you want to find out, Cesar?" She feints this time, aiming only for his staff. Well… his fingers where they curl about it.

There's not a lot of fancy movements from Jerry's Dad either. The fight turns into a long slog of a brawl. Giving and recieving punches. The meaty thump of Jerry's fists onto his Dad's torso and face sounds again and again as he lands body blows in return. It's like a boxing match from hell. Neither side giving an inch, neither side going down.

"Oh are you now? What have you done with your life, huh? What are you doing here? Trial of courage? What good is YOUR courage? Who is it you think you're gonna protect?!"

What is courage? John Wayne once said it was knowing you were terrified and saddling up anyway. It's taking fights you can't win because they're the right thing to do. It's standing up to people like Jerry's dad…

"You tried to protect your mom once. We all know how well that worked out. Don't we, boy?"


Keiko's fight is much easier. Cesar may be having a bad day. Or maybe it's just that she's better than he is but she's stinging him at every turn. And soon enough he's bloodied. She can press her advantage but he's clearly pained. He's… well he's her Sibkin, isn't he? Does she really want to keep beating him senseless? Does she have a choice? Showing weakness here is… a mistake.

Jerry's taking everything his father is throwing at him; not just the hits, but the words. And they're rolling off his back, mostly. He's always despised everything about his father, always consciously tried to be as different from him as he could. Insults from him don't mean anything, at least not until his father brings up Jerry's mother. That gets a reaction. He growls, and throws himself fully at the other man, throwing rocky fists at his face, as fast and powerful as he can land the blows. "LEAVE. HER. OUT. OF. THIS." Struck a nerve, it would seem. And with each blow, Jerry's rocky form grows a bit bigger.

Keiko's momentarily lost 'sight' of Koa but she thinks on the Agent for a moment, last she saw he was 'looking' at something. Knowing the Agent that probably isn't going to well … And Jerry, can she can see him again as well?

"Really Cesar. Maybe you should pick on someone your own size. Someone smaller seems to outclass you …" Those staffs they use are damn nasty. Gossamer forged they sting and burn far more than should. Draw blood far more easily. And all the little Nightfall spirit caller is doing is tapping and jabbing at him. She's taken a few hits herself, of course, but she doesn't show the pain - not like others do.

She could easily finish. Put Cesar to the ground with a fluid move but she does. She catches his staff on hers - much like Koa had caught his waster not long ago - and holds the grip. "I'm not going to hurt you anymore than this Cesar. I'm better than you in everyway. I don't need to hurt you badly."

She breaks the grip and twirls away.

The hits that Jerry lands do their work. They leave his father bloodied and battered and he falls to his knees laughing manically. "That's right Jerry. You remember the way she looked at you, don't you. She wanted you out of the house after that. Some hero you are. The one time you wanted to protect someone and you step in it. And now you're here. Pummelling the snot out of dear old dad. Admit it, boy. You're just like your father."

What is courage? Sometimes… it is the strength to put down the a sword and walk away from a fight. To admit that while anger is a powerful tool, and healthy sometimes, it can become a poison, or a crutch, if it is allowed to fester.

Cesar whimpers but the Sibko around Keiko jeers and urges her on. He's helpless. He might still put up a fight but he can't really contest her anymore. Not really.

But it's dangerous to show weakness in the Circle of Equals. The crowd baying for blood might just as soon turn on her.

Jerry stops beating the crap out of his father after those words. Finally noticing all the blood on his hands. "No," he says, pushing the man away, having a sudden moment of realization. "I'm not. I did protect her. I didn't do wrong, and I didn't make her go. That was on her, not on me." Jerry takes a step back. "You're a monster, and I hope you go straight to hell. But I'm not gonna be the one to take you there." He takes another step back, and then turns his back on the man completely. Not wasting any more time on him. Instead, he makes his way to where he can finally see through whatever haze he was in, toward Keiko and her fight.

Keiko tilts her chin and turns her back on the circle. "He's not worth it. I'm better than him…" She stops, turns back to her sibkin, her staff lashing out one last time to sting his backside. "But only a little." She ignores the circle and walks towards where Jerry and Koa should be.

If her Sibko turn on her. She'll deal with that. She rather doubts they will though.

"Agent Turner? Mister Sledge?" She might be limping a little but as is usual, the woman shows no other sign of the pain she must be in.

The haze dissipates. The figures that Keiko and Jerry were fighting vanish leaving only memories, feelings and perhaps… lessons.

Koa steps toward the other two and glances toward Kaltar. "Interesting game. The only winning move is not to play."

That's not quite true. But Kaltar seems satisfied with the results. "You have been judged worthy. In the name of Hoggoth I name you Knights of the Three and their blessing goes with you."

Those are not JUST words. The blessing is real and the weight of it settles on their shoulders like a mantle. It's potent and not entirely comfortable, but not painful or bad.

"I… thank you. Can you get us out of here?"

"Of course…"


In an instant the trio is back in New York. Near the parking lot where Koa's truck - and likely Jerry's ride as well - is. A car just ran a red light. There's much beeping and shouting. Yep. Back in the real world.

"Everyone okay?" Koa asks after the jarring transition of just being abruptly ejected from the Dream Realm.

The transit back is dizzying, and Jerry takes a moment to get his bearings again. "What the fuck," he mutters, shaking his head until things come back into focus. "Yeah, I think so," he says after a moment, hoping the ringing in his ears will soon silence. "So we're what, knights now? Feels.. I dunno. Weighty."

"You're playing War Games, Agent Turner?" of course Keiko would know that. Can't use a smart phone but can quote obscure references from movies easily enough. "Tic tac toe?" It might be questionable if she even really knows what that is.

"Wait, what? The Knight of the Three…. no…. I don't want i——" The dusky skinned woman actually curses a blue streak as the weight settles on her shoulders.

She jumps at the sound of the traffic and looks at the others. "Bloody gods. Always interfering…"

"Yeah. They put some power on us. I don't think it'll hurt you but I'll look into it all the same." Koa gives the two a half smile. "And of course the money will be in your accounts this evening. Now if you'll both excuse me… I need a stiff drink."

Keiko might catch a ride with Koa. But either way he heads off toward his truck.

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