2019-07-12 - Something's Been Disturbed


Koa investigates an abandoned tunnel under New York. Something has been let free.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Fri Jul 12 06:27:00 2019
Location: Tunnels under New York

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Theme Song



It had been early afternoon when Keiko got Koa's call. He needed some help. WAND work. Probably not dangerous but best to be prepared. The location?

New York, actually.

New York is an old city and like all old cities it has secrets. Koa is standing in front of one of them, a bunch of passageways that appear to date back to around the time of the city's founding. They connect to a maintenance tunnel that Keiko will have to come down. It's well lit here but the old passages don't have any artificial lighting - or at least probably don't.

Which is why the WAND agent is peering down them with a flashlight held in his good hand. The other is still tied uselessly at his side. He looks tired. Like he isn't sleeping well at all.

Keiko is ready to go back to work. She thinks. She's taken the time that both Illyana and Koa said she should and tried to recover but there's only so much recovery that can be done. She's broken, in interesting ways and that's not going to be mended soon … if ever.

Arriving at the location given, the peruvian locks her bike up and heads down the maintenance tunnel to meet Koa. When she does, the Agent gets a critical look "Still dreaming, then." is all she says. If she didn't have other concerns, she'd probably go and stay with him.

"What have we go?"

"Old tunnels beneath the city." Koa says as he stands up and holds out the flashlight for her. He has another one in his belt. "They may have been used for smuggling or something but they go quite deep and someone's been down here recently. I need to take a look. I don't think there'll be anything down there but…"

He shrugs. He doesn't actually know.

"Also I only have one good hand. So. If you're ready…"

The agent starts to descend the rough hewn stairs into darkness. "And yes I'm still dreaming. Most people dream, you know." Though he knows very few people dream as he does.

"Most don't remember it or look as tired you." Keiko answers. If anything she's become more direct than she ever was. Dressed in a crop top, serviceable work pants and hikers, she peers down the tunnel as well. "You want to take a walk?"

She can see he only has one good arm and that it doesn't seem to be healing. She takes the flashlight, pointing in the direction they're going, touching the tattoo of Bella to call her.

The grey wolf appears beside her, earning a scratch on the ears before it paces to bump Koa's good hand.

"Let's go …" Bella will range ahead of them slightly - early warning in case there's a problem.

A bit like a canary in a mine.

"Hello girl." Koa says, scratching the demonwolf as best he can before letting her pace ahead. These actually go down quite a ways. The air is a bit stale but the passage is quite clean. Koa wonders about that. Either someone would have to be maintaining it, or something is preventing things from creeping in here or growing here.

"Feel anything?" He murmurs quietly as they walk. After five or six solid minutes of going down stairs the floor bottoms out and widens to become some kind of hall or gallery.

The WAND agent sweeps his light around. The room is mostly bare and quite long, being some sixty feet by thirty. It's hard to take everything in though because it's so very dark.

"There's some inscriptions on the wall…" Koa mutters. "Take a look around while I look at them."

Say. Over there. That stone slab. It looks… loose.

Keiko draws the rod that extends to her quarterstaff and a spare flashlight given Koa doesn't give up his. She keeps even with the Agent as they walk, Bella ranging ahead of them. "Not yet. Nothing that makes my tattooes sting, at any rate. And Bella doesn't either, not yet."

"Don't do anything stupid." She says dryly, casting a look at his arm before moving off. "Bella, stay with Koa." Her tone is still muted - the aftermath of Limbo.

When she finds the slab, Keiko spends a few moments examining it. "This looks like it moves. How are you doing over there?" She asks, nudging the slab to see how heavy it is.

"Like continuing to breathe?" Koa mutters as he walks over to the wall and starts peering over at it. He absently scratches Bella as he does.

The stone moves but it is quite heavy. However that little test is enough for her to see underneath it. There's a shallow hole and something that sparkles. When she finally gets the slab moved, it's a book. It is an OLD book. It could easily date from the early days of New York and it looks like some manner of dairy. It's held shut by a thin silver chain that looks like someone's necklace. There's a sapphire on it and it's tied hurriedly, as if someone tied it up and dropped it here under the stone after being interrupted.

"Find anything?" Koa calls back. "This seems to be a record of some kind but it's written in some kind of code. I'm trying to decypher it. Looks… hermetic…" That last is mostly to himself.

The Wolf doesn't move far from Koa, even leans against his leg a bit.

Keiko gazes at the hole under the slab "Maybe. The slab was covering something. Just … a minute." It takes a bit for her to move it sufficiently to get at what's under it.

"Whatever you do, Koa, don't read it …" That sounds like a way for things to go back. Either way, Keiko takes the book and turns it over in her hands. If there's anything written on it, It's unlikely she'll be able to read it in full.

"Looks like a … what do you call it? A dnevnik? diario? You know, something someone writes their thoughts in…" It's the necklace that gets her attention the most though. "You'll need to read it, I can't."

Is there anything special about it?

"I have been doing this for a few years you know." Koa says over his shoulder in a dry, slightly amused manner. She's very concerned for his safety. Though she's not wrong. Not reading potential spells aloud is a basic lesson for spellcasters.

"Diary, is the word you're looking for." Koa says. "I'll be right over. I think I've got something here."

When Keiko's hand touches the chain she gets a series of flashes. New York. Dutch settlers. Dark nights closing in. People missing. The End closing in. The Silence. It covered everything. Quiet as a grave.

It takes less than a second but the flashing of images is so rapid and intense she might be out of breath when it's all done.

"And you're injured because you saved us." Keiko answers as flatly as ever, taking up the necklace to turn it over in her hand.

She doesn't hear the rest of what Koa says as the images assault her. They come so quickly, she's knocked on her backside and by the time she comes back to herself, Bella is standing over her, licking her face.

"Gah. I'm alright." It's muted still as she works to regain her calm … Whoa, her head is spinning from that. "Uh. This necklace is spelled, I think."

"I'm injured because I don't know when to quit…" Koa mutters but she might not hear him. He does notice when she falls though and when Bella runs over. When she comes to he's also standing over her. He's not licking her face though.

"It is though not much. Looks like a memory charm. What did you get?"

Does Koa know when to quit? He'd told Illyana once that he doesn't leave people behind. That seems to be a bedrock principle for him. So… yes. It's possible that he doesn't play well with the notion of crossing certain lines.

Keiko didn't hear him - or at least no consciously. "Uh. Give me a … minute." Keiko curls her fingers in Bella's spirit fur and drags herself to her feet, handing the diary over to Koa to read. She can't, after all.

"Lots of things. New York, like I've seen in paintings - not like it is now. People dressed in hats and cloaks …" she has to describe the look because she really has no idea, uneducated as she is. "… Then lots of nights that are really, really dark, as the end comes. Then it's just quiet. Everything. There's no sound at all."

"I … don't know if that's right."

"Darkness. End." Koa looks back and the inscriptions on the wall as he takes the diary. "The Silence. That's what they called it. These caves seem to have been some kind of hideaway or refuge. They wrote a record of what happened here but some of it has been blotted out. There are hints that there might have been other safe places in the countryside. Except that countryside is now New York City. I'm going to have to search around and see what I can find."

The Silence. What on earth could this be? Sounds like some kind of 'event'.

"The big question is why this place started pinging actively all of a sudden. Just showed up like a blip on WAND's ley line maps."

When old magical things activate out of the blue, that's usually bad.

"Sounds like what you saw was New York two hundred and fifty years ago or so." Koa sighs. "Something's going on. I've seen some of these symbols before, in the inscription here. This, and this. These have both shown up in sites I've investigated looking for those missing kids."

Keiko is frowning, staring down at the hole under the slab. She's listening though. "The Silence. When we were younger, we were told of a time when the outposts of the Nightfall were blanketed somehow so noone could speak. I… " she shakes her head. "I don't remember much. It was a long time ago now and since Limbo …"

She recalls even less of her childhood.

She looks at the diary when Koa mentions it "Can you get someone to try and recover the book? That's possible, I think? I saw it on CSI." because of she did.

The rest of the information draws a sour look from the peruvian. "What do you need me to do?"

If Koa doesn't know when quit. Neither does Keiko.


Type "+thelp" for help.

"I can give someone the book and see if they can get more out of it, yes…" Koa says as he leafs through it. He pauses as she asks her next question, peering at one of the pages. It's a sketch of some kind. Finally he turns the book around to show her. A gaunt humanoid being with no mouth.

"That looks familiar, doesn't it?" It looks like one of the beings they fought during the Nightfall Incident. One of the Lifeless, it had seemed to be.

"Do? I'm not sure yet. I need to track down the rest of these alleged safe zones and see if this case is related to my other one in any way." The Agent shifts a little bit and settles his injured arm. "Why would someone two hundred and fifty years ago have a sketch of one of the Lifeless in their diary?"

"Vaguely. We fought one, didn't we?" Keiko tries to remember. Out of all the horrifying things she's been through, that one is hard to remember.

"Why? Because they've been here before and bought The Silence I saw or came during it. Whatever it was, it's all tied up together." Feeling unsettled, the small peruvian starts to pace the area they're in. "None of this good and I don't like it. At least with the Nightfall, I knew what to expect."

"I'll help you." It's not really a request she makes of the Agent. "I'll help you track the places down and see what we can find." He's only got one arm, after all. "I've only got the maintenance work SHIELD gives me and the fifteen hours a week with the Wayne Foundation. I've got time."

And Elena's in school, out of her reach.

"We did, yeah." Koa says. "Two, perhaps. They were involved a bit." In fact he wonders a lot of they weren't behind the disappearance of the kids he's looking for now, given they seemed to be interested but he hasn't found anything definite connecting them. Not yet, anyway.

"New York, well, most major American cities have haunting rumors and everyone likes to talk about how they're built on places of magical power. Mostly that's all bunk but… I do have to wonder. If they've been here before is there a reason for it?"

He makes a face and as he does something blows from off to the side. That makes him frown and he licks a finger.

"There's a cross breeze in here." He says finally. "There's a crack or a passage or something. Take a look around…"

He starts shining the light around but doesn't see anything. Bella, though, might notice that there is something… about the back wall. The place doesn't tingle with power… until you get over there. A spell that's hiding something perhaps? Is… is that wall real?

"It was so long ago." Keiko murmurs. It was for her, just not for Koa.

"All places have nodes of power, Koa. You know that. There's less than people expect but still…"

It's as she wanders around the area, she feels the breeze herself. "There is yes… Bella …" The great grey demon wolf chuffs at the pair of them and paces in the direction that Keiko indicates.

It takes the wolf a moment before she chuffs again, calling Keiko and Koa over to her. "She's right there's something here. My tattooes are stinging. Does your pendulum help you find stuff like this?" She asks, putting her hand out to touch the wall in front of her.

And her hand moves through it…

"Yes but…" Koa unholsters his weapon. "I don't think I need to. You seem to have it right there."

Koa walks up to the wall and carefully pushes through it. Keiko can neither see nor hear him once he does but after a moment his hand comes back out to pull her through.

On the other side there's a living space. It's a wide, circular room clearly ventilated somehow. There's likely another passage that leads back to the surface, possibly into the maintenance tunnels again.

What's interesting about it, though, is the fact that when Koa pulls Keiko through she trips something. A ward that lashes out at her weakly. It's likely old and doesn't have much power left. But why her? And Bella?

Well, there's some pretty easy guesses anyway.

Koa doesn't notice the ward go off clearly because he's staring at what seems to be a plinth in the center of the room bounded by old beds, furniture and other detritus of people living here.

"So it se—-" And there goes Koa. Keiko peers at the wall and is about to step when Koa's arm appears and tugs her through. "Whoa. OK then." Bella follows of course, growling a little as her mistress temporarily disappears.

"OW… what was that." Keiko grumbles as Bella yelps. "There must be wards here, did you trip them, Koa?"

Why indeed her and Bella. She'll wonder at that in a moment.

"What have you found?" Her attention finally turns toward the plinth and the associate debris. "Looks like people lived here for a while."

Koa glances to Keiko and frowns. "No…" He didn't trip the wards. But why would he? He might be a predator but he's a predator from around here. "Why did you… oh."

That logic isn't hard for him to follow. She spent a long time in Limbo. The corruption must run deep. Deep enough for her to trigger anti-demon wards.

"That's… gonna be inconvenient in the future." He murmurs quietly.

"This looks like some kind of… safehouse. Refuge." He says as he walks up to the plinth. "This… take a look. There are inscriptions of protection here. Something was anchored. Look how the rock is jagged. They had some kind of… pillar here, projecting something. But it's been shattered."

He feels at the edges. Sharp. Not smooth.

"Recently, too…"

THAT's why this place started showing up on their radar. Someone found whatever was here and smashed it.

"Why does that sound bad?"

"What is going to be …. oh…" Keiko's brain catches up. "I'm not sure why. I'm still me." Sort of. She's not the woman he knew a month ago. He can see the changes, even if for her they've been so slow she has no idea. "Why ward just against demons, though?" She's said aloud. She … knows in a way.

"Recently too." It does explain that at least. "The question is, what was on the plinth? Because whatever that thing was doing, I'd bet it was holding something in."


"General wards require too much power and they're a pain to maintain. So usually when you're warding you only ward against the thing you're most worried about. If there's wards against demons here, someone was worried about them getting in."

Not that the ward in it's present shape is doing much.

"Mmmmm. I don't know about holding something in…" Koa is peering at the plinth from several angles. "All of the spellwork on this thing is protective. If I had to guess I'd say it's more likely to be the anchor for something that was casting a very big kind of defensive spell. A barrier of some kind. Only there's no record of that and people would have noticed, so it has to be something more subtle. Whatever it was, someone took exception to it. Recently."

Beat. "That's probably not good."

He straightens up to look at Keiko. "You are still you. But you know you've changed, right?"

"Who would be worried about demons getting in here? Is that what they saw the big bad as?" Someones been watching reruns of Buffy and Angel, again.

"So the question is, did something break out, or did something break in?" The peruvian asks. "And how do we find out, what or who?" It's a worry. She could try and track whatever was here. Cullen would be good for that.

"Of course I've change, Koa. It's been seven years for me. I'm a mother and I'm far more ruthless than I ever was. I did things, so that we would survive." She's dancing around it. "But that's not what you mean is it? You're talking about why my eyes go yellow … among other things."


Type "+thelp" for help.

"Unless you're going to end the phrase with 'wolf', don't say 'big bad'." Koa mutters. Maybe he's not a fan of Buffy and Angel.

Okay, no. He's not a fan of Buffy and Angel.

"That's a very good question, Keiko. I don't know. I'm inclined to say based on the fact that it looks like people were living here at one point, something broke in. I'm guessing that this was supposed to be some kind of refuge. Though it doesn't look like it has been maintained for a very long time."

Perhaps the threat passed. Or perhaps it didn't pass. Perhaps it got everyone who was living here. Though there's no bodies so… perhaps not.

"Yes, I am talking about that. I've told you before that magic always exacts a price. You were in Limbo for seven years. Do you think pain was the only price you paid for surviving there?"

"Big bad." Keiko answers, turning to look around. "I wonder if it took something or if someone was being held here to protect them." He's right, it doesn't look maintained but she's frowning, stepping closer to poke around in what remains. Maybe there's something there that she's missed.

"Of course not, Koa. I know I'm paying the price. I started paying the night we after Sifror." That gets him a catseye stare "So did you. It's not just the collars and 'belonging' to Illyana. You … look at you. Me … I soaked in Limbo and did unspeakable things. Those things … stain. It's more than that though, isn't it?"

She's not stupid. Uneducated but not stupid.

Turning so her back is to him, she shows that tattoo to him. "That's holding the spirit of a demon in the metal of Limbo. You don't think I know that's bad?" It's somewhat resigned.

"Do you know what it has done to you, though?" Koa asks quietly. He moves over to the wall and leans back against it. One of the things most people don't realize is how much being injured takes out of you physically. The energy the body devotes to healing itself can exhaust people way before they normally would tire and Koa is experiencing that times a thousand.

"We both paid a price. I signed up for mine. You never did yours. And while I know that you will have to live with what was taken from you all your life… I'm hoping you can find some kind of normal."

Though maybe not considering the family she's with now.

"Whatever was here, the protective qualities of this place have been deliberately sabotaged. I can't think of many good reasons to do that unless this place is part of a larger system."

"Done to me? I … don't, no. I know it's fighting me, still. It's always like that." Keiko answers slowly. "Right now, I've taken on characteristics of it rather than being able to summon the creature itself. And those characteristics seem to appear when I'm threatened."

Is it the demon exerting control over her, in someway? Or a subconscious response to when she feels threatened?

"I did, Koa. I did sign up. When I came and asked you for help. When I agreed to aid Illyana. No one knew or could tell me how it would it go - but I went into this, knowing there would be a cost. I've told Illyana, I've told Piotr and now I'm telling you - this is the most free I've ever felt. I don't … regret it. I can't. What we did, it was worth it."

"Larger system? Then let me help me find the other bits…"

"I will let you do that." Koa nods. "But I need to go back to WAND and do some research because I haven't the first clue where to look right now. WAND has some maps and early history of the city I'll be able to research."

But when he finds them he'll definitely need some help investigating them.

"That is… unless…" Well, there's a thought. "Can Cullen track things other than people?"

Because if he can there's a very good chance that they won'd need to go to all the trouble.

"He can, he's just not as good at it." Keiko answers honestly. "It's just not something I do often with him. Items don't have as strong as signature for him, but we've trained to do that when needed."

"Is that what you wanted to do, use him? I can call him whenever you're ready."

"If you think he can do it, that will save us a lot of time. Can he act independently or do you need to follow him around?" They can drive a bit. Or… fly a bit if Koa appropriates something that can fly. Which he is at this point willing to do if it saves him walking. He's fit. He exercises a lot, but even he doesn't want to take a bloodhound guided tour of the old city and it's surroundings.

Many of which are, you know, houses these days.

"Have him take a sniff of this, though. This central pillar. Whatever kind of magic it held there should be some residue of it."

Keiko gives Koa a look as she touches the tattoo of the Barghest. Cullen appears a few seconds later and pads over to Koa, snuffling at his injured for a moment. "Cullen, scent." Is all Keiko says. Eventually the black dog ambles over to the pillar.

Bella has gone to lay at Koa's feet. Maybe she senses he's not quite ok.

"Independently. I … see through his eyes. It lets him range far from me and for me to follow as I can. I'd say we could use Onyxia, but she can't carry both of us. We can use your car, though, right?"

"Yeah, that'll work." It's going to be a bit weird following around a big glowy dog but Koa likes that a lot more than he likes flying on an eagle with a person's head. Or as previously mentioned, walking around behind that dog on the world's most tortuous city safari.

"Your dragon could but I don't think we should really be scaring people like that. So, car it is. How long can you keep him out?"

He knows, or at least knew, that she had some limit. How long she can keep up the search will determine in large part where they start on this. He knows it's likely he'll have to do some research at some point but the more he can find out here, the more he can find in the library.

Cullen approaches the plinth and the broken pillar, diligently scenting it as Keiko and Koa talk. When he's done, he looks at the two expectantly and then points his nose in a direction.

"About an hour, then he'll disappear. I can call him again nearly immediately though. That shouldn't be a problem if he's just tracking. He won't be fresh, but it won't be any different to any other animal like that." Koa's scene Bella manifest with injuries from her previous fights, so there's that.

"Glydril would let us ride her, but she'll complain all the time. It's not really something I try to do in New York."

"Alright. Well, lets get started then. And let me know if it gets too late for you. I don't want to keep you from your other work. Or your family."

Because yes. She has a family. The one that she started and the one that she has found herself a part of and if anything can bring back some of the Keiko that could have been - that little girl that was taken from her mother - Koa thinks it might be that.

Even if it is a family of Rasputins.

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