2019-07-16 - Thirteen. It's A Number.


Following on in their investigation of The Silence, Koa reveals some interesting research.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Tue Jul 16 04:23:35 2019
Location: WAND

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Theme Song



"A WAND Agent is not a fighting man, and he is not a spy. He is an arcane expert. If things are weird, he understands them. When something is lost, he finds it. When people are taken, he brings them home. If he is lucky he will die young in a rift between realities for that is the closest he will get to being a hero. Hell, I don't know why anyone would want to be a WAND agent."

That… that is unmistakably Koa's voice and it is drifting down the hall from auditorium that Keiko had been told Koa could be found at. This is not the WAND sector of SHIELD and that is much louder than he normally speaks.

The auditorium is mostly empty. There's perhaps a dozen people in it, all in WAND uniforms. All standing, all looking just a bit intimidated by both the rather muscular man with the arm in sling giving the speech… and the contents of the speech.

Keiko hates walking around SHIELD. The place intimidates her - not that she'd admit it, not after Limbo, but it does. It doesn't help she's got the directional sense of … something not directional when she's inside. Still, there's Koa's voice and he's sounding authoritarian.

She's heard that before now.

Slipping into the auditorium, the small tattooed woman hangs near the back and watches. Those poor, poor agents. They have no idea what they've signed up for.

Koa is, in a way, attempting to explain it to them but this is also a device used to weed out people who don't deal well with authority. Maverick agents are one thing but people completely unable to function in part of a team are another and it's not unheard of in the arcane communities from which WAND draws most of it's manpower.

Koa nods to Keiko as she comes in and addresses the other agents. "You've got more indoc, and a basic arcane proficiency test. Agent Hammond will see you there. Dismissed."

He waits for the others to file out before coming down off the stage and leaning against it tiredly. "You made it. I was beginning to think you may have gotten lost."

Keiko watches everything from her position. It's a habit she honed in Limbo. Already watchful before that, the peruvian is even more so now. Tagging three of those in the group as being jumpy - she expects they'll be out of the program before long.

It happens. Better than dead or worse.

When the others filter out, her eyes move to Koa, her mouth twisting in a little moue of concern. "Still not sleeping, I see. Do I need to come by and make sure you do?" It's forward. There's no idea of personal space as far as she's concerned. Koa is … hers, in a way. Not like she's Illyana's or Piotrs, but they've been through things together.

"I did not get lost, no. It was a bit hard to when I could hear your voice, half a building away."

"I am not entirely sure how you propose to make me do that." Koa says with a snort. "Drug me? It won't help, trust me."

He levers off the stage and stands up, unaware of what is going through her head. "I've got a break on the locations you helped me uncover last night. There was something in our archives related to it and I think you'll find it interesting. Care to accompany me?"

"Neither am I." Keiko mutters. "But I'd still try." It's probably a good idea he doesn't know her thoughts. He'd just laugh at her, probably.

"And if I said no, I do not care to?" The Agent gets a sidelong glance from the spirit caller, as she starts to move alongside him. "Where is it I am accompanying you to? And what was it you found?"

"That would be silly, I would think, given that you already came all the way down here." Koa points out as he starts to move. "To our archives. Which means taking a bit of a trip."

And it is. Through the halls of the Triskellion, past the cafeteria and the lab spaces, up to a floor in the middle of a building and then into a broom closet which he opens.

There's a portal of course and he lightly pushes her through with his good arm.

When the light clears they're in a large room with a LOT of books. There's one already laid out on a nearby desk and Koa gestures.

"When the Europeans came over to the new world they brought their magic with them. And when they arrived they discovered the local populace embroiled in a conflict with a group from south and west of the landing sites that called itself - roughly translated - 'Nightfall'. This is the symbol they used…"

"It was silly question on your part." Keiko adds to the Agent as she follows him. The Triskellion feels labyrinthine to the spirit caller and she scowls at the broom closet when they get there. "I hate this thing…"

She's pushed though, which means she stumbles slightly as she passes through it. Into the library. "Too many books." She mutters as she looks around.

"Nightfall? Like my Nightfall?" Keiko murmurs, looking at the pages in the book that's opened. "An eclipse moon? Like this one?" There's the small tattoo she has on the inside of her upper arm. The mark they gave her when they took her.

"Just the right number of books I should think. Particularly because it had the book I needed." Koa flips a page and… yes. The iconography is not the same but it is similar. A sun eclipsing a moon. Done in a native american style but still.

"So yes very likely a precursor group, but look. They don't appear to have been worshiping Plokta at the time." When he points to a sample of their writing it looks… to spidery. Angular. In fact… it looks sort of like things she saw in the Lifeless Realms.

"Too many…" Keiko might be a little overwhelmed by the number of books, given she can't read. "It's not the same, but it's similar enough and it's like those ones we saw on the marks out in Hells Kitchen and the like." She frowns, her hand running over the brand on her stomach as she thinks.

"We saw that script, didn't we? We went to confront Sifror." It's quiet and for the first time in a long time, Koa will see worry cross her face. "The Nightfall were just a tool. Wielded by one splinter lord or another. I suppose it makes sense in a twisted way."

"We saw something similar yes… hang on." Koa fishes behind him and pulls out a small sketchbook. It's tricky flipping it open with one hand but she sees sketches of ruins, arcane symbols, people. Illyana is in there. Keiko is too. The pictures are… odd. The people he's drawn - and many of the items - tend to have odd auras about them. He's not a half bad artist as it happens.

"It seems they may have passed back and forth yes. Here it is. Yes. The script is very similar. This book notes that they were engaged in trying to bring about something called 'The Silence'." Those very words were used in the hideway under the sewer. That can't be a coincidence.

"You drew me…" Just like Piotr likes to. Keiko will never understand that drive, it seems. "Why the hazy stuff around them?" She's distracted for the moment as she looks at images. "Oh right. Yes, it looks similar, doesn't it?"

"So everything I was raised to, was a lie." They'd tried to tell her that, when she first met them. Whilst she might have sworn them off, sworn Plokta off, some part of her had tried to hold onto something that might have meant she was more than a just a tool.

"Does it say what The Silence is? It looks like you have the connection to that room."

"I draw a lot of things, and people." Koa says looking up. "Helps me remember what I've seen, where I've been. Important details and… so on. I've got a good memory, but I see a lot of things."

He looks back down at the image of Keiko. "I see magic. I see the way it hangs and swirls and shapes around people and it can tell you a lot." That explains both Illyana and Keiko, why they both seems to have things around them. And the two images of Piotr as well, one plain, the other roiling with unsettled chaos in the air around the big metal man.

"Cults lie. I'm sorry that it was the one that raised you but…" He sighs and flips a page in the larger book. "No, but whatever it was, it was some kind of working. Some goal that the Nightfall was pursuing. And the people who were here were convinced it was going to be bad." Was the Nightfall completely given over to Sifror then? Or just part of it?

It may be hard to know, but Keiko had heard stories of when Silence blanketed the land.

"According to the tome here, there was a defense put up. It was anchored in thirteen places and arranged like a thirteen pointed star…"

He flips the page and, well, there's a map. But an old and probably not terribly accurate one.

"This maps pretty well to what we found last night. The trouble is we only found nine of the thirteen. We need to know if the rest still exist. And then we need to start opening them up."

"What is you see when you look at now, then, compared to when we first met?" Keiko asks quietly. He never really told her that he could do that - maybe he had and maybe she hadn't listened, but she doesn't think so. Does it worry her, the changes? Hard to say.

"Thirteen…." Keiko raises her catslitted eyes to the Agent. "Thirteen locations, a thirteen pointed star. Thirteen children." Is it coincidence? She doesn't know. "Do you think that part of the Nightfall that had defected took them? And took them for Sifror? It would make some sort of sense, wouldn't it." Use the attack on New York to take the children and use to enact … The Silence.

"I can hunt with Cullen more. We should be able to find them. The other locations. Who is going to open them though? You're not in any state to do all that much."

"Thirteen is a number that comes up a lot. As to the Nightfall? Maybe." Koa steps back and lets Keiko get a closer look if she wants it. "Maybe. Siffror certainly seems to have mortal agents. Are they descendants of these people? Hard to say. Either way they were both clearly in on some kind of plan. That's IF Siffror's people took these kids. And if they did… I can't find any trace of them."

He trails off, turning things over in his head, like he does with a good puzzle.

"Your aura is… stronger, for certain. There's more magic in you in an absolute sense. It's also darker. The things you've done and the power you've taken in… all of that has marked you. It looks a lot more like Illyana's now though… not nearly so powerful."

Which makes sense. Illyana has a LOT of power.

"Piotr's too though your aura is stronger than his. His is… painful to look at. What was done to him was almost a direct perversion of his nature. To see something twisted like that…"

He trails off and shakes his head.

"Some of them may already be open. But I need to know if this web is complete before we do any of that. If it isn't, the power that was going into it might be building up somewhere and that could be bad."

"I don't have magic of my own. Not like Illyana. I won't be powerful. Mine should be just an echo of that." Keiko is at least practical. It doesn't surprise that Koa has said that, though she'll think on the implications. "Piotr. I would have saved him that, if I could."

She wonders sometimes if the sword saved or damned him and then wonders what became of that thing.

"When do you want to go hunting again?" It's simple for Keiko. They have a goal now, she wants to achieve it.

"Soon. Tonight, if you're not busy. These things tend to work better at night. Magical energies flare then." Koa is straight to the point on that one. "I may need to do some research on where the magi who came here from Europe practiced before they emigrated."

The WAND agent takes a breath and lets it out. "He would have spared you what you went through, if he could. And I would have spared you both. But sometimes that's just not how it works out."

Koa did act to spare as many people as he could as expediently as he could. And, well, Keiko knows how that has worked out for him so far.

"Come. Let's get some lunch. You can tell me what the Rasputins are up to before you have to go fix faucets or what have you."

"Tonight is good. I'll leave a message with Piotr that I'll be out till late." Keiko's remembering that part of her life, at least. She doesn't mention Elena, or that Piotr will care for her. She might not be maternal but she is incredibly protective.

"I would offer to help you research … but …" She can't read. Keiko is so much better at hitting things or setting her spirits loose to deal with them."

She doesn't comment on what Piotr would have done but Koa gets a look. "You sacrificed more than you should and I do not want you to do that again. Not for me." beat "Food will be good, though. I'm hungry."

Because she always is.

"That's the job." Koa says with a wry smile over his shoulder as he moves down toward the cafeteria.

'If he is lucky he will die young caught in a rift between realities for that is the closest he will get to being a hero. Hell, I don't know why anyone would want to be a WAND agent!' Was that just a speech made to shock new recruits? Or was Koa giving them a warning? A glimpse into a possible future, not with magic but with hard earned experience? It's hard to say.

And Koa isn't telling.

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