2019-06-23 - Visitors At The Gate


Doctor Strange and Koa Turner arrive at the Gates of the Citadel and get an unwelcome welcome but it looks like Keiko and Piotr can finally go home. But at what cost?

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: June 23, 2019
Location: Limbo

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Theme Song



Koa Turner has been having an awful day. Shortly after turning the dream entity - calling herself Dreamqueen - to WAND to get dropped down a very, very deep warded hole the collar on his neck had started to smoke and melt away. The leather did, at any rate. The silver? That stuff is now stuck in his neck. Like a tattoo. Sort of cool looking, but really quite painful.

Well that was when Koa had asked Strange to accompany him. One stop by a haunted house later had confirmed the absence of Illyana Rasputin, Sam Guthrie and Keiko Kurita, the last of which had left a clue behind in the form of demon carcasses and a quarter staff.

There's a flash outside the massive, sort of creepy citadel in Limbo that fades to reveal Earth's Sorcerer Supreme and Koa Turner, the latter of whom is taking off a hard hat.

"… anyway, that's why the call it an interdimensional pile driver." He's saying, looking around. They're right in front of the front gates and even though he can't see them, he knows that there are demons around, which is why he lights up the shield on his right arm.

"Something's wrong. This place tastes different." He murmurs to his companion before starting forward to walk into the courtyard.

"Illyana?!" He calls out, the sound echoing over the walls. In his left hand he's got Keiko's staff. Figured he'd bring it with him. Just in case.

Outside of the citadel, Koa will see that things have changed. Along the path leading to the Citadel itself, there are demons that have been impaled. Hanging on them are signs that read 'Traitor' or 'Insurgent'. They're still alive, squirming on the pikes they are on, and as Koa and Strange arrive, they start to arrive. "It's challengers to the King! Get us down, we can help you!"

Wait, King?

One of the demons on the Citadel walls notices the arrival and runs inside, chattering and yelling, sending up the alarm. Against one of the walls of the castle, chained against it is a massive demon, it's horns ripped off. He pulls at the chains that hold him against the wall, but he is unable to break free.

From the shadows of the citadel's gates, a figure steps out. At seven and a half feet tall, the metallic form of Colossus /would/ be recognizable to Koa - except that his whole frame's metal skin is a dull gunmetal grey, and his entire right arm is engulfed in the same Eldritch style armor that Illyana uses. Gripped in his right hand is a blade.

A soul-steel blade - it's the size of a claymore, marked with whorls and twists - it's a practical, and very artistic peace. His steel eyes are nearly pale in color as he grits his teeth. "What sorcery is this, Belasco?" he growls. "We have seen this ruse before."

Keiko Kurita had been practicing in the courtyard when Koa arrives. Elena, now about five years old, had been practicing with her mother - following the forms the peruvian uses with her staff.

Hearing Koa's voice, the small tattooed woman collects her daughter in her arms. "Pequeno, I need you to do just as you're told." she murmurs as she joins Piotr on those citadel steps. Arrayed beside her are a very demonic looking Bella, a smallish purple demon named Ag'thaaz and Alexsi - a giant bear dog.

Koa might not recognise her right now. Her hair is long, hanging down to her waist. She's about seven years older and the ravages of living in a such a hostile environment show on her face. Scantily dressed in an outfit of demon leather, she looks … cruel and cold.

"Be gone demons or I shall you make you my slaves, just as I have all the others." Elena is settled easily on her left hip. "Our daughter is in need of new clothes your skins will do nicely."

"I'll be damned," the silver-templed man replies quietly to Koa upon their arrival; the little snort to himself is at his own dry sense of humor. It comes alongside a sphinx-like smirk. "I wouldn't have considered the angle to make that much of an impact, but duly noted." He scans the immediate area of Limbo about them and his dark brows gather in a frown. Koa isn't incorrect. It's like…knowing that you've got a leaking pipe in the house, but not where. A frisson of nerves travels through him and in the Sight, his aura ripples like disturbed water.

Piotr's arrival has the tall Sorcerer squaring up with him in turn. His steel-blue eyes slide from the sword and back to the metallic man himself — that's a doozy of an issue, the soul trapped within the weaponry. Strange's eyes narrow further.

"Skinning others alive is is unacceptable in most societies I'm familiar with, so please, assume that we'll be speaking like civilized individuals." Keiko's given a lingering look, especially the brand along her side. Proof of the Sight being utilized appears in the silvery-violet about the centers of his eyes and he observes with keen attention to its attachments. He can see it feeding into her psyche to influence her thoughts and decisions to the demonic — yikes.

"We are no trick. I am Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme of Earth. We come to speak with Illyana. Is she not present?" His voice is calm and collected as he idly moves his hands before his chest in mudras of protection, one half of a shielding spell already on the tip of his tongue.

Koa blinks looking from Piotr to Keiko and back again. He doesn't really recognize either of them but he knows who Piotr is thanks to his metallic form. There is only one man with any connection to this place who looks like that. Or well, he doesn't look like THAT. Except now, apparently, he does.

"You…" He says to Piotr… "… are not the Rasputin I was hoping to see…" He doesn't provide his own name. It carries no mystical weight. Strange's should be plenty. Hopefully.

"His soul…" Koa half whispers to Strange. He knows the more powerful magus can see it too. "If Illyana isn't here something is badly wrong and we're on the clock. It looks like it's already been some time here."

He glances back at the demons asking to be let down, not sure if he trusts them. Well okay, he doesn't trust them but he's not sure if he can use them.

"Meat?" He says pointing the staff to Piotr. "Or potatoes?" Pointing to Keiko. They can try to talk but if this ends up in a fight he wants to know who is doing what.

"Piotr, we're looking for your sister. I take it she's not here. If you let us in… I think I might have an idea about how to find her."

Truth be told though the presence of these two already answers some of the questions. They're here. She's not. They probably didn't come willingly, so she is somewhere else.

And HE doesn't have the Staff. Which means that she is likely still alive.

The silver recently constricted and burned into Koa's neck gleams though of course there is no sun to make it do so.

"I don't think your daughter wants my skin. Too haole for this place…" He tells Keiko. The child is a wrinkle. If there's a fight he doesn't want to hurt her.

But if that child was born here who knows how much choice they'll have.

"Illyana is gone. She has abandoned Limbo." Piotr's teeth grind. "You /know/ this, Belasco. I am tired of this game. You come to us as a friend, in your diguise. In your tricks. I have driven you away before. And yet you come again. This time, I will make sure you do not return."

"You face the Colossus of Limbo!" he roars, that heavily accented Russian that gives away all of his ties to his little sister. "You dare not speak her name, sorcerer, I will rip out your tongue and feed it to S'ym!" He's been a good demon lately. Elena needs a babysitter sometimes.

Then they are threatening his family. He's been here. He's done this before. He's not going to let Belasco get close again. "Alexei! Bella! Rip them to pieces!" And with that, Piotr's running forward, drawing the blade back as he prepares to strike at the two with pure power.

Keiko fixes Strange with a hard look, her dark eyes are cat slitted and shine with light from within. None of this good. The quiet, reserved, woman who sometimes smiled is gone. What's left is a cold, hard woman who has been hone on Limbo's anvil.

"It isn't here and as you are insisting on being guests, you should be aware of that." She growls, the brand on her torso glowing ever more brightly as the two men push their luck with the Limbo Consort.

"I rather the cloak though. Elena, pequeno, the colour suits I think." The child gazes out from her mothers side, pale blue eyes slitted like Keiko's - and seeming to want to turn almost white. Koa's seen that before, hasn't he.

"As for you … we need colour. Or so mi Rey is always telling me."

When Piotr attacks, Bella and Alexei jump to. Bella circles left, massive jaws snapping at Koa. Alexei to the right, angling for Strange.

"Now Mama?" Elena asks, Keiko shakes her head. "Not yet. Your father is strong and will make short work of these two."

Around the ramparts of the courtyard, demons start to gather. Big ones and little ones. All sorts of shapes and sizes. Their King and his Consort is challenged. This is the sort of thing they thrive on. Who will they feast on tonight?

"Oh for fucks-" This place crawls on Koa's skin. The magic isn't like the magic on earth. It's always pressing in. Seeming to want to be channeled and used. The WAND thaumivore knows its a terrible idea but right now he has no choice. Red motes just materialize in the air and flow into him. That silver gleams brightly and his eyes flare to red.

The a green aura surrounds Keiko's former staff in Koa's hand as the power of a long forgotten asp goddess suffuses it and with more than human grace the WAND agent slips to the side and takes the first blow on his shield.

Piotr has seen it bite into demons. And possibly also demonic magic. But when it hits his shield it glances off leaving Koa to retaliate by sweeping at the big man's legs before squaring off with the two hounds. Bella is the first to arrive and gets LAUNCHED by the staff hit back to Keiko's feet. That'll hurt. Quite a bit.

Strange will react in good time, Koa knows. He just has to stick it out for a few minutes here.

While the omosium that makes up Piotr's skin in this form is magic-resistant, it is not magic proof. Piotr's blade - made from his soul - his entire soul, is brought down onto the shield in an overhand strike. That Koa was able to take the strike may be the first surprise for the massive metal Russian as he feels the sweep of his legs and he goes down in a heap.

When Bella is hit, Piotr seems to realize that Keiko is going to be hurt as well. "Solnyshko!" he calls out, before he rises fully to his feet and rushes at Koa, dropping the soul-steel blade as he attempts to wrap both of his arms around Koa and rip him off the ground in a full rip to try to crush down on the WAND agent. "You are not allowed to hurt her!"

Keiko and Elena watch from the stairs, confident in Piotr and his sword and the spirits.

The Peruvians eyes widen as Piotrs sword almost bounces from the shield. Something nigglingly at the back of her mind. Piotrs sword hadn't hurt her … much and yet cut through demons like a hot knife through butter.

There's also those motes and that flash of green. Could Belasko know all those details?

She opens to mouth to say something just as Bella is hit. Damn that hurts. Keiko doesn't cry out with the pain that infuses her as the demonic wolf lands on her back with crack … she's not moving … and dissipates into smoke.

In pain and under attack, that brand on her belly glows even brighter. Her temper rises to the near uncontrollable. They've threatened her family and that can not stand.

A few muttered words, a pointed finger and a few seconds later, nothing happens. She'd muffed the summoning in her pain and her anger. Elena, wisely, doesn't say anything.

"Clearly, diplomacy was not an option here."

The mutter comes even as Strange calmly sets himself into a more balanced stance, one boot angled farther behind himself. It's has multiple veins of martial artistry to it and he combines not only a touch of Tai-Chi, but of a mudra-aligned spellcasting. The aura of Limbo itself — it's familiar to him and while he might taste it in the back of his throat like blood and feel its abrasion on his nerves, he will use it nonetheless. From around his person explodes a sudden out-wash of reality like a soundwave.

Gravity in the immediate area of the combatants reverses for all save for Koa and himself. Those affected won't rise far, but far enough that no fingers and toes outstretched may touch the ground.

"Ohshit." Koa says as Piotr gets back up FURIOUS. He eyes that sword that the big man dropped as he is borne down own. Piotr is HUGE. He's considering something a little stupid to try to avoid the bear hug when the gravity alters in the area. And for once Koa is thankful that Illyana is not around. Though, uh, she may notice someone's been touching her plane later.

She may notice other things have been touched too but Koa isn't thinking on that.

The WAND agent gives the Sorcerer Supreme a tight grin and staff-vaults past Piotr, taking the time to smack the abandoned sword in Strange's direction. The reality of Limbo will reassert itself after a couple of moments - it's a stubborn realm - but that's enough time to reposition for next strikes.

Koa in the mean time smacks Alexi hard with that glowing staff and then chucks it, end first, at Keiko's gut. Hard. His eyes gleam with the power he's already pulled in and there's a hint of something bestial at the edges of his features. A touch of his astral form, though not yet fully manifested.

"Stand down!" He snaps, partly to Keiko but partly, oddly, to the child.

Looks like Strange opted to take the big guy. Good luck Strange.

Piotr rips at the ground as gravity tries to yank him up. Pulled up, Strange will find that holding him is a -strain-. That magic-resistant skin is a pain in the ass to Illyana on the best days, and at the moment, it's infused with something else as Alexi is smashed, and the massive dog goes flying. It lands in a pile with a whimper and then vanishes.

And Koa will notice that it is /not/ Keiko that responds, it's /Piotr/, as the massive Russian growls in pain, but the pain is enough to break his concentration and he returns to his all too human form.

It is Piotr. He's grizzled. Older. Maybe aged along with Keiko. The Russian's right side bears a massive tattoo that covers it - the same arm that was covered in the Eldritch armor in his metallic form. "Keiko.. Elena.." he says quietly, realizing he's failing them.

He tries to push on - even as his own sword is pushed further away from him.

Illyana is sure to note that other things have been touched.

The demons that gather roar in appreciation. They really don't care who wins this. It's chaos they relish.

Gravity reversing itself has Keiko rising from the ground, balancing Elena with ease on her hip. It's enough of distraction that she's slow on the summon that should follow and Koa's before her in a heartbeat.

"Never! Scum of Belasco."

On her hip, Elenas eyes fade from pale blue to white. It's an eeiry affectation in a child but strangely familiar. Koa feels the empathic connection from the child - calling his beast. Is it demonic or is it purely animal empathy.

"Mama. Friend. Stop now." She finally says. Will Piotr hear that? It's hard to tell.

The little imp closest to them gets the childs attention. "Bad. Sit." And it does.

"Piotr?" Keiko's eyes cut between the big man and Koa. "Koa? Koa? Hhhow. It's been so long…" She straightens her back though and sets her jaw. Koa is sure to recognise that.

"Keiko?" Wait. Piotr and Keiko? That would mean the child is….

Koa rolls his eyes and tosses his staff at her feet for her to use as leverage to stand.

"I leave you alone for one day, I swear."

Keiko, he suspects is not in a position to get up quickly and interfere with him when he walks back over to the sword, picks it up and brings it down point first on Piotr's back.

There's a flash and a concussive blast that knocks Koa over and sends the sword flying. And Piotr…

Well he's not stabbed. But he might feel like he's gotten something back.

"Ow…" Koa says picking himself up. "Alright there big guy. Do we still need to dance?"

When Elena says that they're friends, there is confusion on the large Russian's face. "Agent Turner..?" he starts to say, just before the sword is brought around, and when he's hit square in the back, the large Russian's breath seems to be knocked out of him.

There's several gasps for breath and struggling as a soul finds it's way back into the man, and when he transforms out of reflex, that steel is the same brilliant chrome as before - except for his right arm.

It is still the eldritch armor, twisted and spiked.

Getting to his feet, he's moving to stand with Keiko and Elena. He's hurting, he's in pain. But they're safe now. However..

"You have Illyana?"

Under these circumstances, Keiko would normally say I didn't do it. but she totally did.

"It's been … more than a day. What took you so long?" She shoots back instead. Her eyes gleam, lit from behind, when she sees her staff. Her Gossamer staff. Not the rebar or bone she's been using here.

It does take a moment to pick herself up, not letting go of Elena for a moment. Her jaw sets as she bites her tongue to stop herself calling out when Koa stabs Piotr and is knocked back himself.

Making her way to the men who are gathered, the small purple demon trundleing along behind them, she stops. "You are back, mi Rey?" Some of it is clear now. "Bring in Illyana, we will clean up here."

The demons that gathered all skulk back in the shadows. Their King and his Consort were bested, were they not? Why don't they look like it?

"No." Koa says folding his arms. "I was hoping you did. Or rather I was hoping she was here. Since she's not, and since you don't have the Soul Staff, seems a fair bet that she's being kept somewhere. Somehow."

That's a wrinkle the other two might not have picked up. Keiko wouldn't really know enough. Did Piotr?

Speaking of things related to the soul? Where'd that sword go. It went into the crowd of demons but it doesn't seem to be about now. Not that Koa is really thinking it at the moment.

Keiko's question has him sighing. "Time runs differently in Limbo. You've been gone for - near as I can tell, less than two days. Possibly closer to one." It's been much longer for them here though, he can tell.

"If she's not here with you then the best shot is deeper into the castle. Maybe there'll be some clues. Follow me, if you will."

Koa needs to look either way and he's not going back until he has some answers at least. So he heads into the Citadel, following lines of power only he can see. The other two he trusts to follow him.

And not shank him.

"How long have you been stuck here?" He asks more quietly. He's not as concerned with proprieties with them as he might be with what he still remembers as being Limbos ACTUAL ruler. And given they've been running the place seemingly, it might make things easier to transition back if he's more casual.

So he is.

Reaching to take Elena from Keiko, if she allows, Piotr will hold the child at his side with ease. "Long enough." comes the response to Koa, a frown pulling at his features, that only deepens when he is delivered the news. "Illyana is not here. We have searched the area, when we were finally leave the Citadel." he shakes his head.

He doesn't realize how /large/ Limbo truly is when it comes to it.

When Keiko asks her question of him, Piotr's hand finds hers. "I am here, solnyshko." he promises her. He seems to be whole - time will tell if that's the case. His thoughts are not on the sword at the moment - the swirl of emotions of the return of his soul has him concentrating on family instead of himself.

So yes, he's back.

Elena makes grabby hands at Piotr "Elena go with Papa." Just as Piotr reaches for her. Keiko doesn't complain as she hands her over. Is it strange for a mother to show so little concern?

"Then she is still alive." Keiko glances at Piotr. She expects to see relief on his face. They'd held out hope for so long. Elena … well, two healthy young people together for that long?

"Go. We will cover you …" that gossamer infused staff gripped lightly in her right hand, her left hand in Piotrs, she follows, along with Ag'thaaz and Alexsi as well.

"Uh. Years, clearly. Six or seven." she looks to Piotr, he's better with childhood developmental milestones. It's been seven. "We've explored most of the castle, she is not here." An oblique way of asking where they hell they heading.

"The castle is the center of Limbo." Koa points out. "It's where Belasco ruled the place from. Where your sister ruled the place from and where you ruled the place from. And that's not an accident. There's power flowing out from here and you might not be able to see it but…"

He can.

The Agent glances over at the big sometimes metal man and then to Keiko and then to the child. And then back. Yes. He can guess from how things look at least some of the things that have gone on. And then there's the 'Papa' bit.

The path through the castle winds down, and down, and down. Limbo reacts to intent and desire and that applies to moving through it as much as anything else. Have a fixed destination in mind, and you'll get there quicker. Be afraid that you'll meet demons… and you almost certainly will.

Some time later, deep in the bowls of the Citadel, they encounter a locked door and a winged demon that Piotr makes short work of. One punch's work in fact. He hasn't lost it. Inside is a chamber unlike any other in this place. A large room with a standing circular frame on one end with an iris cover shut in front of it. At the other there is an altar inside a magical circle. Silvery metal runs through the entire place and its covered with spidery, demonic script. Every once in a while there's a deep 'th-thump' from somewhere lower yet.

"Who boy. That's where all the power is coming from." Koa says looking around. He bites his lip.

"Let's see. Nine Black Virtues. Elder go- this is a lock. And a gate." Pause. "I think we can use this…"

He turns to the other two. "But you're not going to like it. I have to sort of 'rewire' the place and then we're going to need to draw on the connections of blood." He points to Piotr. "And magic." He points to Keiko's collar embedded in her neck. "To find her. And I can almost promise it's gonna hurt."

You only need to watch 'The Blue Lagoon' or the 'Return to the Blue Lagoon' to get an idea of how and why Elena came about. "This is Elena Resputin." Piotr introduces the child to Koa. "He's not a demon, papa." comes Elena's comment. "No, no he's not. He's a friend." comes the Russian's response. "He's going to help us find Aunt Illyana. You will come with us." Not that they were going to have a choice in the matter.

It wasn't Piotr that took out the demon, however. While the punch may have put the demon out, when they arrived in the chamber, Elena's eyes went clear, and she looked at the demon. "Sit." she commanded, and the demon just /sat/. And only when he tried to struggle did Piotr put it down. Elena grins at the others, pleased as punch. The demons just listen to her.

When they arrive at the gate, there's a frown that presses against Piotr's features, before he gives a nod as he sets Elena down, but holds her hand. "If it restores Illyana."

And actually, don't watch 'Return to the Blue Lagoon'. It's terrible.

Keiko sees the look that Koa passes over them. She doesn't but tilts her chin defiantly. A challenge? Perhaps. Or just standing her ground. The Keiko he remembers was a stubborn creature. He might imagine what seven years here has done to her.

"I can feel the magic in my tattooes but it's always around." She murmurs quietly as they traipse the castle. It's just like the other times they've explored some parts are quicker than others.

Piotr really should have thought to reference Blue Lagoon with Keiko. That's another pop culture reference she would have got and not been quite so horrified. Or compared the act to goats.

"On a scale of being a conduit to Sifror being the worst to whelping Elena being the least, how painful?" Keiko finally asks when Koa explains. Her language, oi vey! "It is pain. It is to be endured. Let's find Illyana. Elena will be safe with Alexsi and Ag'thaaz."

Let's do this.

Koa nods to the daughter as she is introduced. "Miss Rasputina." He says, addressing her with the same kind of formality he used to use with Illyana.

"You two get comfortable inside that circle. It'll start in a minute."

Koa breaks out that pendulum of his and the other two can see him 'drawing' along the walls and in the air. It doesn't take him long to fill the room with sigils and lines, and designs with a spiral motif.

"Alright…" He glances back. "Here goes."

Koa pulls in power and pushes it into his designs. The circular frame at the far end of the room starts spinning and the 'th-thump' that sounds kind of like a heartbeat below them gets louder, and steadily more rapid.

The magic crawls over Piotr and Keiko, latching onto them. It does hurt, as Koa promised it would. A tingle. And then a tug and a burn. There's a LOT of power being routed through the circle they're in.

And then the demon shakes itself… and attacks again, lunging into the circle and trying to get past Piotr and onto Keiko.

"Shit!" Koa says. "I cannot cancel this! Deal with that thing!" Koa can't go in that circle either. Not if they want to find Limbo's Queen.

As the pair of them enter the circle, Piotr reaches to take Keiko's hand. He gives it a squeeze, reminding her that he's there, and he will protect her. Then the magic starts and it takes all Piotr has not to shift to his metal mode in order to shift through the pain. His teeth grit, and he growls deep in his throat as he feels the power coursing through him and his cry is an angry one.

Then comes the change in the power as the demon leaps into the circle - Piotr was sure he had put it down for the count, and when it breaks through and rushes at Keiko, he reacts. He's not able to slug it in time, he ends up grabbing it in the same way that he had tried to grab Koa.

He's able to get his hands on the wings of the creature, and restrain it, leaving it open to Keiko.

"Do not let Elena enter this circle or do anything to help." Keiko tells Ag'thaaz and Aleksi seriously. It's the first time she's shown any maternal inclinations to the child since Koa's been there.

Taking her place in the centre of the circle, Keiko stands with her staff held in her right hand. Now she has it she doesn't want to lose it again.

The brand on her belly still glowing faintly. It's not until the Koa activates the circle that Keiko knows something is seriously wrong. That outline on her back, the one that Illyana used as a conduit for Sifror glows brightly as the power Koa is channeling flows through her.

Her knees buckle as she grits her teeth to remain standing. Then demon is on then. She whirls, the motion still graceful despite the pain, the quarter staff spinning - bringing her in range as Piotr pins the creature. She doesn't think twice, just brings the staff down, end on. Through the creatures heart to kill it.

It's like she's done this before… six times before, in fact.

When Keiko brings the staff down onto the creatures chest it doesn't just expire. It seems to distort and flow toward her like liquid smoke. Over Piotr's shoulder. Over Keiko's. And onto her back.

And at the same time something crawls up her leg. When she looks, it's that same silvery metal that can be seen all over the place. Crawling up her body, toward her back.

Piotr can feel the power tug on his concentration. And then the flashes of memory start. Memories of Illyana being a young child. Memories of the first time she was taken. Of when she came back. Happy memories. Sad ones. An overwhelming procession seemingly drawn up, passed over by the magic and discarded for the next one. And the next one. And the next one. The power is inside his head now. And it BURNS. It finds the most intense emotions it can and stirs those up. Is that Koa's doing? Or Limbo's? It's impossible to say.

Koa watches from over near the wheel, which is still spinning. His eyes are glowing pure, bright red. He has to keep pulling in power to maintain this and that's likely not doing him any good. He's standing by a lever though. Waiting.


Something on the wheel locks in place. And then another. And another. And still Koa waits.

There are so many memories. Sad, angry, talks on what she had become. On still being family. As they are ripped through, the large Russian grips the sides of his head, dropping to a knee as he feels the heat as he feels those intense feelings and emotions for his sister. Anger at being stuck here while she was missing.

Regret when he now knows the truth.

But mostly, the love of a devoted brother, as he closes his eyes and /screams/ in pain as he feels the locks clicking, the wheels turning.

Piotr can't save Keiko from this, even if he might wish to. The rituals had begun before she'd fled the Nightfall and she'd continued them, unwittingly, recently. Acting as conduit, fighting for her life her in Limbo, even having Elena - all part of the process to prepare her.

For what?

The demons spirit is sucked into that tattoo on her back. Burning and biting her as it does. Normally there'd be Nightfall magi to direct the way the ink flows but there isn't …

All there is the silvery metal. The promethium. And it reacts with gossamer infused ink, forcing the pattern to form on her back. Taking the form of the demon on the ground.

Keiko fights, oblivious to Piotrs turmiol, forcing the demon to submit to her will. Giant glowing bat wings appear and disappear over her shoulders. Chitinous armour ripples, appearing and disappearing, over her body. And still her battle rages as that silvery metal fills in the details.

The locks continue to click into place and the magic intensifies. Koa hears Piotr scream out. He knows that the mental anguish will give way to physical agony soon enough. There's too much magic flowing through that place to for it to be healthy for very long. He doesn't say anything though. Just sets his jaw, hardens his heart and waits.

Four locks. Five. Six. Eight.

There's nine total. As the magic starts to scour Piotr and Keiko's very being Koa sees the latch on the ninth lock flicker and throws the lever that opens the iris.

The iris opens. And THEN the ninth lock clunks into place. There's a moment where Koa is looking into a roiling void full of things that SHOULD NOT BE. And something comes out of it. A violet orb of light the size of baseball floats in and strikes him in the chest. And vanishes.

Koa shakes himself. And then the portal stabilizes, showing something else entirely. The scenery is impressive but ultimately unimportant because on the other side is a blonde young woman and an almost equally blonde young man.

The power starts to fade as the connection stabilizes leaving Piotr and Keiko panting and in agony and possibly not in much of a mind to move for at least a minute or so. But even if they're not looking they'll hear the booted agent step through. And hear his greeting to the other two.

"You two look like shit."

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