2019-05-28 - Let's Experiment


Work in Salem Center attracts Illyana's attention. She experiments with Koa and Keiko.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Tue May 28 06:42:08 2019
Location: Westchester

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Theme Song



"Mmmhmmmm. Mmmhmmm. Mmmmmmmmmhmmmmmm. Okay, are you done?"

Kilkenny the fox is sitting in the park in Salem in the late afternoon. Koa has been there for most of the day. The early part of that had been supervising WAND's withdrawal from the area. The later part of that had been calling Keiko to fix a planter in the park that his people had broken.

At the moment the fox spirit has him playing a game, one that he doesn't like very much. The game is 'draw wards in the air with one of Keiko's spirits standing next to you and try not to eat the spirit even a tiny bit while you're doing that.'

It's harder than it sounds. Sure, with Darque's magic out of him the constant compulsion to pull everything around him in just to taste it is gone, but the whole incident seems to have affected his control quite badly. Now whenever he draws he tends to draw too much, as if there's a part of him that is still grasping for power.

Keiko's wolf might not appreciate the game too much either, for that matter.

Koa lets out a sigh of frustration. "I'm still doing it aren't I?"

"Well I mean I think it's getting a bit better all things consi- yes, you're still doing it. Even I can feel it and I'm all the way over here."

"You're two feet from me Kilkenny."

"As I said."

It's probably a good thing that Bella likes Koa. The glowing spirit wolf is laying at his feet, head on her paws and ears plastered back. She doesn't look happy, she's shimmering like she's losing coherency, and if that had been anyone else, she might have bitten them by now.

Keiko looks none too happy either. The planter had needed gluing and holding - nothing too technical just a bit physical and very time consuming. She's casting sullen looks at Koa and Kilkenny and extremely concerned looks at Bella. Not that she's saying a thing.

Xavier's Institute isn't too far away, and is somewhere that Illyana spends a fair amount of time at and while Koa's magical workings are pretty low-key he's been at it a while and it's caught the magi's attention. She doesn't just appear though, given it's the middle of the day and all but the blonde is still going to garner some attention. Her heavy metal/goth look might be nothing to notice on the streets of New York, but here in Salem, it's a bit more noticeable.

"I should have known. What are you doing in my town again?" Illyana asks in a dry manner. Certainly Koa's ran into her enough times to make one wonder why. He knows for a fact that she claims to live in Mutant Town.

As Illyana gets closer, she sees the spirit wolf on the ground and frowns at Koa. "Why *are* you torturing that spirit?"

Keiko might well ask the same thing. Though it would probably be more along the lines of 'Why are you torturing my spirit?' Koa sighs and lowers his hand. The shimmering ward in the air in front of him holds for a couple of minutes and then winks out.

"Hello Illyana. Your town?" He does wonder but it could just be a turn of phrase. "Kilkenny here had the bright idea to test my control. As it turns out, it's somewhat lacking."

"You can bloody well say that again." Kilkenny mutters. "Keiko, love, I don't suppose you have anything to make Bella feel better here?"

Koa shakes his head at the fox spirit and looks again at the blonde.

"Ever since I took that chunk out of Darque I'm having trouble keeping my draw localized. Whenever I pull in magic I'm pulling it in from everything around me. I can stop at will but when I turn it on, I can't direct it."

He looks frustrated. "This… hasn't ever been a problem before."

And why is it now? If it was a matter of practice, it's not like he's lost any knowledge. Maybe something about HIM has changed, be it ever so subtly.

"What are YOU doing in your town?"

As Koa asks that he bends down to pat Bella, as if apologising for what she's gone through.

Keiko hasn't needed to ask. She'd seen Koa work in the city previously, felt him pull on the magic around and nearly dispel her Eagle and Wolf during a fight. It hadn't been nice. Which might be why she's letting him do this now.

Bella whines as Koa pats her, her tail thumping listlessly once but she doesn't lift her head. "I have to send her back, Kilkenny. She feeds from me. They all do." That's not something she shares with just anyone. "If you're finished, I'll do it. It's starting to … " Illyana's arrival has her pausing for a moment, her eyes not meeting the blondes. "… pain me." she finishes quietly.

Another admission. How much had Koa taken for it to affect their bond?

The planter is just about done, Keiko letting go of the bits and testing the glue. "Salem is where Witches lived, yes? Makes sense Miss Rasputina calls this home."

"I spent my high school years here on Earth near here. I still have friends I visit once in a while." Illyana says, telling the truth and yet not saying a lot. "Be glad I someone to teach me how to be 'civilized', otherwise you'd be dealing with a human-looking demon."

The blonde gives Keiko a nod, looking over curiously to where she's been working but doesn't ask *why*. Listening to the exchange about Bella, the blonde looks back and forth between Keiko and Koa and then gestures between the pair of them. "So can you push your power into her? To make up what you've drained? Or are you an only-on-tap sorta guy?"

Illyana childishly sticks her tongue out at Keiko. "I'm not a Witch. Two-bit potion makers. I'm a sorceress."

"Different Salem." Koa says quietly to Keiko. "Massachusetts. That's where the witch trials were." Granted this one sees it's share of oddities. It has never yet tried to burn its…. sorceresses, though. Not that he knows of anyway.

"And yes, I think I should stop. Call her back, Keiko." No reason to torment the poor spirit anymore. Despite the fact that he frequently eats them Koa doesn't dislike spirits. Well… okay. Depends on the spirit. He doesn't dislike Bella though.

Illyana gets a tight smile when she mentions being 'civilized.' A tight and somewhat ironic smile. "I can put power into things that are designed to take it. I've never tried to pump power into a spirit before, though. Usually I've taken it out for a reason. I'm pretty good at moving energy around. Just less good at forming it. That's why I need stuff like this…" He taps the snake coiled around his left arm briefly.

"Kind of wonder what happened to you though, you know?" Kilkenny says, having shifted itself so it can watch both Illyana and Koa at the same time. Keiko is also important to watch but Kilkenny isn't scared the tattoo'd woman will eat him.

"All I can think is that taking from Darque affected me more than I thought it did. I thought it'd… crossed a line, but dodged another one. I wonder, though…"

Koa loses his eyes and starts to… push. It's what he does when he separates himself from, er, himself. But this time he doesn't push all the way out. Just enough to let the 'aura' loose, but not his soul. And yeah, there's changes. As Keiko and Illyana watch his featres become leaner. His form seems sleeker. The general sense of him predatory. When he opens his eyes there's a dead quality to them. Like looking into a shark's. Something that you know is concerned with one question and one question only: 'Are you food?'

"That's a good song …" Keiko murmurs, raising her eyes long enough to see Illyana stick out her tongue. Massachusetts is a *really* old song by the Bee Gee's. Yep more of her odd pulp culture knowledge. And Sorceress then …" She is frowning trying to work out *why* there would be two places called Salem.

That pondering doesn't last long, her head snaps up "Do what?" she's not sure she's heard that right. "It's forbidden …" So maybe the Nightfall have knowledge of this. Or maybe she's just misunderstood.

She murmurs and gestures though, Bella dissipates to smoke that retracts to her arm. "It's almost like that mark on my back …" she considers. "It tried to suck that cretan bull spirit into it."

There's no need for Kilkenny to be scared of her. Why would he? Though she does wonder what might happen if he's too near when her mark activates.

"You've never tried it before?" Illyana seems surprised at that. But then, she went to a school where figuring out new things to do with your power was literally part of the curriculum.

When Keiko says it's forbidden, Illyana frowns her way. "What's forbidden?" Because there's a good chance that if the Nightfall forbid something, it could be something they can use.

The sorceress watches Koa as his body starts to reflect what lies beneath. Something she's quite familiar with. She steps closer, putting herself between Koa and Killkenny and snapping her fingers in front of his face to get his attention. "Easy there." If someone else said the words, they might be said soothingly. From Illyana? It's a warning.

"What's forbidden?" The insistence that something not be tried has Koa echoing Illyana and swinging those dead shark eyes onto Keiko. "Why?" There's a slight… growl to his voice. A stridulation underlying it that doesn't seem natural.

The attention on Keiko - thankfully - only lasts for a moment though. She probably won't like it while it does but Illyana deliberately waves the 'red cape' at him to get him to focus on her. The eyes narrow and the warning registers. His hand flex - both women have seen that before - and seem to be tipped in sharp something. Bone? Chitin? Hard to say. He doesn't move though. His stillness is almost unnatural.

Kilkenny glances toward Keiko, wondering if he should make a break for cover behind her or just count his lucky stars that he has a sorceress between him and the big thaumivore.

Koa… breathes. His shoulders relax slightly. Not enough to let all the tension out.

"That's not what he used to look like, for sure." Kilkenny says, quietly but loud enough for Keiko and Illyana to hear.

"No… never tried. Tasted too good…" Koa growls. That's… probably not the answer he'd give if he were not doing exactly what he is doing right now.

Keiko watches the form, worrrying her bottom lip and calling Kilkenny over to her, so she can pet him. She *might* have pet Bella if she hadn't sent the wolf away.

"Pushing power into one of the others." She answers Illyana, quietly. "We can't do it. The bearers that is. But I heard some who'd been marked as magi's had tried … " she shivers a little but that might just be because Koa's looking at her. "… I don't know. We just told it's not what our Lord would allow."

She's not a magi. She's a spy. A soldier. Her purpose had been different.

"I know…" that's to Kilkenny, though her eyes don't leave Koa's form. "He told me that his form has been changing for years. But this is a big change from the last time I saw it."

Once Illyana has Koa's attention, she rests her hand on his head, as though to keep him in place. It's not too hard, since he's sitting down and she's standing. The sorceress looks over to Keiko, head cocked over to the side. "Well they lied about other stuff, to shove what they told you and listen to me. He's projecting, or trying to. Can either of you draw on it?" She worries her lower lip thoughtfully. "It might take physical contact."

Illyana gives a dark chuckle as Koa comments about how good it tasted, and remarks in a sarcastic tone, "Don't you know that anything that feels good is bad for you?"

The growl that Not-Quite-Koa gives is a bit unsettling. Illyana's not wrong. If the cult told her not to do that to her spirits odds are good that it's because it runs counter to their vision or purpose. It is POSSIBLE, sure, that it might actually get her killed but the sane, rational part of Koa's mind tells him that if Keiko were to try pushing power into those spirits it might actually attune them to her more closely. After all a bond of mutual respect and aid is stronger than one of dominion over another.

Well, that's the theory of the sane part of Koa. Illyana might disagree.

"Try it." Koa says, meaning to push power into her spirits but it might be taken to mean try drawing power from him. Which… might not also be a bad idea.

Kilkenny stays by Keiko for about forty seconds or so, letting himself be pet. Then he creeps over toward Koa. "Koa, mate? You okay? Just your friend Kilkenny here…"

Koa doesn't move his head. He's watching the spirit but also half paying attention to Illyana. The fox spirit looks back at Keiko and then touches him. The power doesn't take any special talent or effort to take. As close to the surface as Koa has pushed it, it just… comes off.


It'd definitely be easy for Keiko to take it off him, though where might it end up? It'd be trivially easy for Illyana to do that. She's already got her hand on him.

Looking up from his seated position Koa lets out a rumbling laugh. "Anything that feels good feeds me."

This isn't Koa. Or, well, it is actually. It's the part of him he keeps very firmly caged until he needs it. The part of him he depends on for strength. The part of him that he's been feeding magic. For years… with violence.

Both women can still see Koa, though. Behind the dead eyed predator. He's there. He's listening. And he is still (barely) in control.

"Take it?" Keiko's fingers run through Kilkenny's spectral fur. Is it any real comfort to her or is it a placebo? The latter perhaps. "It's not all——" her lips draw into a tight line as she hushes her noise and rises. There is the faintest of fear behind her eyes as she moves tentatively closer.

She expects this to hurt. A lot. That cretan bull spirit had burned.

"I don't want to hurt you …" she says, her hand making contact just like Kilkenny had. She holds her breath as she waits …. there's one place the excess power might end up. That indistinct outline on her back starts to throb.

"Then I'm surprised you're not holed up between the sheets then." Illyana snarks back to the predator as it says that anything that feels good feeds it. Despite her flippant manner, her expression is very serious. She has a pretty damned good idea of just what she's dealing with.

Keiko's worry over hurting Koa gets a dismissive sound from Illyana. "A little pain never hurt anyone." That statement is easier to understand when you're used to pain being a part of living. Pain is fleeting. Hurt is something more serious.

"Hurt me?" Koa just snorts. The power peels off hum like strips of bacon of a rasher and with no more effort. There may be some pain. Keiko can see a flicker in the eyes as she's watching and Kilkenny once again moves behind Illyana. This now being the furthest point away from Koa's teeth that has something good and solid between it.

The power is flavored. It feels like blood and death and a full belly on a hot night. It's heady. No wonder Koa enjoys this rush so much. Of course Illyana doesn't have to take his power to know that. She knows that rush already.

"Sheets…" Koa snorts again. "Food." This may explain why Koa's never been seen with anyone and why his apartment didn't really have signs that anyone but him had ever been in it. Well… that or it's possible that he's a bit of a magic nerd and kind of boring.

Either way Keiko doesn't need to take much power for the look to sort of recede from Koa. But the sense of dealing with a predatory being, that doesn't go away.

Curiously, neither does he move or try to shake off Illyana's hand. Keiko has probably observed him being very careful and respectful of the sorceress before. To the point where he only recently called her by her first name rather than the more formal 'Miss Rasputina.' That seems to extend to this frame of mind as well. Which… possibly helps.

"You know what I'm talking about." His voice is less growly but his expression no less unsettling. "I know you do. And I know you've enjoyed it."

Also things Koa would probably not say under ordinary circumstances. "I've seen it in your eyes."

"Taking something from another …" Keiko shakes her head. It's weakness to show that you care. That you don't want to hurt someone. And that gets you punished. As the power peels away, her tattooes respond - just like they did when she held that figurine. They ripple and writhe - a leg of the tarantula uncurls from her wrist, the tip of a dragon wing, the hawks beak … all make an appearance above her skin as she fights to keep them under control.

What would happen if they all activated at once? They've only even seen her activate two together.

The power runs up arm, over the glowing tattooes, over her shoulder and down her back … she gasps as she eyes go full black as she … tries to contain it.

Sheets? Food? None of that matters as the power tries to find a home on her body.

It doesn't matter how boring you are, when you look like Koa does, you get attention. Unless you specifically derail it. There's the slight narrowing of Illyana's pale gaze as she looks down at Koa, not flinching from that flat gaze. "Worried you might eat your bed partner in a decidedly not-fun manner, Agent Turner?" The use of his title is a small nudge, to help remind him of who he is.

Illyana's expression cools a bit as Koa, well, this side of Koa, makes his observations on *her*. She's 'saved' from having to make any sort of reply though as Keiko takes in that taste of power and it twists its way through her body. She releases her 'hold' on Koa, turning to grab Keiko by the wrists to try to steady her. "Channel it to them, if you can. To the wolf. Otherwise I'm going to have to rip it right back out, Keiko." Illyana's tone is warning and meant to get a bit of a rise from the other woman. To make her fight.

There isn't enough of the power to fully overwhelm Keiko… thankfully. But this is possibly a preview of future difficulties. Koa is going to have to gorge himself on magic before they enact Illyana's deception. Will it be like this? Or can he control himself better in the aftermath. Good question. For the act itself… so long as he does what Illyana tells him to it should be okay.

"Perhaps…" That sounds a bit more like Koa. His eyes close again and the power stops flowing. It's not that no more is there, but he's let it sink back inside him. He's stopped pushing it outward.

His eyes open again and they're… normal. More or less. He still doesn't move.

"It was always a concern that I might get predatory… or… something worse. Territorial possibly? I don't know. It never seemed like a good idea." He's answering that question to delay the other, implicit one. 'How are you'?

"It's gotten a lot worse hasn't it. The… warping of my nature. Predator-Koa's always a bit of a singleminded ass. 'I'm hungry, I'm hungry. I'm bored. Chase. Chase. Chase.'"

The agent shakes his head. Remembering, yes, who he is. And what he stands for.

"You okay, Keiko?"

Illyana is… good at motivating people. Though Keiko might not appreciate her methods. Or it might remind her of 'home'.

In Keiko's experience in more a lack of interest. Not that she's in any state to comment.

She tugs on her wrists as Illyana holds them, trying to tear them free. It wants to settle in that mark on her back, it wants to become part of her. It would be so easy. "Let me have it …" it's her turn growl now "I want it. Feels so good."

Maybe it's the pushing, the threat that follows, the black in Keikos recedes slightly. Koa and Illyana are treated to something that must be similar to when she mastered her spirits.

Bellas head rears from her tattoo and lets out a howl. A horrifying sounding thing as her eyes take on a similar to Keiko's. Then the wolf is there fully nourished and towering beside her mistress.

Keiko? She's panting and her eyes are slowly returning to normal. Illyana can feel her tremble under her hands.

Illyana Rasputina doesn't let go of Keiko until she starts looking more like herself, and then the blonde helps ease Keiko to the ground if it looks like standing is going to be a bit much for her before finally letting the tattooed woman free.

The blonde sorceress gives Bella a long look as the wolf reappears looking hale and hearty. "Well. That's something at least." Her tone is so very dry. Illyana looks between Koa and Keiko and shakes her head. "Addicts. The lot of you." It's her wry tone, the one that's ever so slightly mocking, with more meaning than what was said.

Placing her hands on her hips, Illyana glances over to Koa. "Where are you going to find the juice to play battery for me, by the way?"

"There's something we've got sealed away in WAND. It's a fountain that just… pumps the stuff out. We had to cut it out of a village square in France and move it wholesale. Never stops flowing water, or power. I was going to use that. Or, failing that go into the national park and just… take a walk."

And pull in everything around him, but hopefully move fast enough that he didn't kill too many things. "Depends on what I can get access to. Somehow, I think the second option might be the one that happens, but you never know."

Keiko gets a concerned look. He's not sure if she's ever felt the rush that he has in the same way he does. It's possibly telling that it's only after finishing all that, that he slowly rises.

"Addicts. Maybe. Life is a hell of a drug."

He doesn't say 'but you know that.' Not-Predator Koa is not quite as much of an ass.

"I'll make it, and I won't snap at you. I don't think there's any danger of that."

What his condition is afterwards? Well. They'll just have to see that.

"Done with the planter, Keiko? There's an ice cream parlor down the block and I could use something cool and sweet at the moment."

As opposed to hot and powerful.

Keiko doesn't meet Illyana's eyes again, her head canted down as she stands. She doesn't need to sit, that might be a pride thing more than anything. She does roll her shoulders in discomfit though.

Koa won't get anything from the look. Whatever the tattooed mage is feeling, she's buried it. Deep. Bella noses her hand and whines a little. That gets a response. Keiko ruffles the wolfs ears. "You have to go back, girl…" Alright, maybe there's a tone that Koa's not heard her use with the wolf. It's almost fond …

When the wolf is dispelled, the peruvian considers. "Maybe. I'll finish up here and I might join you …"

She might not too.

When has she ever turned down food?

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