2019-07-23 - Call of Cthulu


Why is Koa quoting cthonic?

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Tue Jul 23 00:00:00 2019
Location: RP Room 1

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Koa Turner is glad to have the use of both arms again. It makes sketching so much easier, and sketching is what he is doing today. His sketchbook has been getting full with all of the things he has put in it to recall details or remember or something similar.

At the moment he is sketching a set of glyphs that have been repeated with minor variations across all of the sites he has visited thus far. Most of them have had their pillars smashed and recently but a couple of them still had them intact. Those are now under guard.

The WAND agent is sitting in a park not far from the Rasputin residence. It's near the end of his shift and he had wanted to check in with Keiko, see if she'd gotten to any of the sites yet.

The small Rasputin/Kurita family moved back into the house, yesterday. Keiko has taken some time to ensure Elena is settled and managed to find someone she trusts for the child to stay with when she and Piotr go out. Today has been the first day she's had time to really … breath.

Why Koa hadn't just come to the house, she isn't sure, but she's happy to go out to meet him. The small peruvian comes across the park, Bella ranging about her … carrying a tennis ball.

When the demonic wolf sees Koa, she takes off at a lope … dropping the ball at the Agents feet and pawing at him.

Keiko herself still has dressings on her shoulders and torso's. Not so bad that's blindingly obvious, but still visible enough.

It's partly as a gesture of respect for the family space. Koa even has a set of keys he could use to get in - and has before - but he doesn't just drop by even if he is a friend. There are formalities to go through.

"Well hello to you too Bella." Koa chuckles as he leans down to pick up the ball and toss it. He'll do that a couple of times before Keiko gets to him.

"You look like shit, Keiko." And she kind of does. But that happens when one has been pinned to the ground.

Bella actually woofs when Koa tosses the ball and takes off after it, returning quickly. He's right. There's a couple of good throws before the peruvian joins them. Bella butting the woman in the side, almost affectionately. Which is probably interesting, given she looks more demonic than wolf now.

The ball is dropped at Koa's feet again and the huge wolf lays down, putting her head on her paws.

"Hello to you, Koa." Keiko answers quietly. "I'm glad you have such a high opinion of me." She might look bad, a little worse than after confronting Sifror or returning from Limbo. It is what it is and there's nothing she can do about it.

"We've moved back in, as you can see. You know you come by the house whenever, right?" He's her friend. Friends have privileges.

Koa gestures for Keiko to sit. She can see the book he's working on. He's actually quite good at sketching but then she's seen that before. "I did see that and yes I know. But I hadn't called ahead and I didn't want to drop in on the five of you doing something to talk shop." Really unpleasant shop too.

"How hard are you pushing yourself right now? You look like you need a weeks lie down though I know you don't want to take it."

He turns the book around. "It is a protection spell. A BIG protection spell. It covers most of what is now New York City. A lot of that would have been wilderness at the time. I still need to confirm if any of the sites you were going to check out have active pillars. Have you taken a look yet, perchance?"

Bella whines pitifully as she's ignored, nosing the ball at Koa's feet but not really interrupting. Keiko glances down and does the honours. Not even wincing as she throws over arm. It has to hurt though, doesn't it. The great wolf takes off to retrieve.

"I'm not pushing myself any harder than you are." Is the answer the Agent gets. Whether she needs a break or not, this is where they're at. That he did call to get her to come out, goes unremarked. "Are you getting the rest that you need, Koa?"

She knows he's not. She knows he's still dreaming, even if he doesn't share the details.

"Protection spell? You think this was a good thing?" She really hadn't expected that. "One. Earlier today. I went on my own." That's likely to cause problems when someone finds out she did. "I took photos…"

Handing over her phone, the small peruvian lets out a sigh. "There wasn't anything there and it was easy enough to get into to." There's several photo' on it. Some of them … of the floor or ceiling. Keiko really isn't good with technology - at all.

Koa laughs and starts to pick up the ball again but then Keiko's got it. It's a rather playful horrific demon wolf hybrid. "So that's three intact columns…" He murmurs, writing something down in an odd looking language.

"Yes, I think it was a good thing. Or at least a necessary thing. The thing is those working usually require a lot of power and I can only think of one way they could have gotten enough. Blood. I don't see any evidence for mass sacrifice so I wonder if their magi sacrificed themselves to do it…"

He shakes his head. "Let me see what you've got. Hrm. Same set of glyphs. I only have them partly translated."

He closes his book. "That's going to need more work I think. I-"

His eyes abruptly glow light purple and he suddenly doubles over in pain. "What… the actual hell…"

The sigils that usually accompany his magic use light up. Only instead of the traditional abstract designs, they're in demonic.

It is an interesting concept - the demon wolf. Then again, Keiko spent five years in Limbo with the creature as an almost constant companion. Bella brings the ball back though and drops in on Koas feet. "Traitor…" the peruvian mutters and on others, there might be trace a fondness there. Not so Keiko - showing emotion is still not something she can, or will, do.

"I triggered a ward when I went in. If you have someone … you might want to reset it." It had hurt, worse than the other. She's certainly not about to say that though.

"What do they translat—-" she doesn't get more out as Koa doubles over. "Koa …" it's low and wary as she watches. She knows those glyphs - she saw enough of them in Limbo to know the language at least.

Bella starts growling when Koa doubles over. It's not clear if that's at the Agent or something else related to this.

Koa lets out a pained sound and grips the side of his neck. The side that filled in tooth is on. He looks up, eyes still blazing all the wrong colors. "Eshu, fagh'n cth'llarogh narlhoth." The words just spill from his lips and seconds after he says them K'nert leaps over the table they're at, snatches his sketchbook and bolts.

Koa falls over, hitting his knees. "Sonofabitch this hurts…"

Keiko's collar flares at the same as Koa's. She lets out a pained grunt as her own eyes turn yellow and giant bat wings, glowing blue, appear at her back. "Not .. again …" The chitinous armour made of scales starts to creep over her shoulders as well.

"Bella, fetch…" Keiko doesn't even falter when K'nert appears. "Tear him apart if you have to." She touches a tattoo and Mirlo appears a few seconds later "Take his eyes, Mirlo. I want that book." The bird circles round trying to catch the damned imp whilst Bella just leaps for his back.

Keiko will explain to Illyana later why one of her demons got hurt.

"Koa … " She drops her knees to support the Agent. "Stay with me … " She knows it hurts. She's experiencing at least some of it.


Out in public as they are there is an excellent chance that this will make a scene. Especially the part where she's got scales and wings.

K'nert skitters out of the way, avoiding the two demon spirits for the moment. It pauses to flip through pages and looks as if it is very hurriedly reading something. Then it drops the book and bolts, still chased and in real danger of being caught.

The pain starts to abate, slowly. Koa shakes himself and looks up. His eyes are still definitely the wrong color. "Pull it back, Kaiko." He means her demon. This is a bad place for this and…

"It's just feeding whatever's going on in me by being out."

"I'm … trying…" The demon spirit is strong and asserts itself when Keiko feels threatened. The scales stop crawling over her, which is a start. "What … " Feeding whatever happenings in him. Of course it is. "What's happening…"

Her eyes are so yellow now, they're nearly glowing. So much like a lizard or demon.

After a moment, the wings disappear and the scales to recede. Her eyes though, stay yellow.

Bella leaps, trying to tumble the imp as he stops. Mirlo circles wide and dives when the imp starts to run again. K'nert can probably feel Bella at his heels, her jaws snapping hard as she tries to catch him.

Bella does manage to tumble K'nert. He stumbles and goes tipping head over heels right under a park bench where he should be easy prey for Mirlo. But when the blackbird gets there, he's gone. He didn't come out the other side. Bella saw him just sink into the shadows and vanish.

"I don't know." Koa says. "It feels like the worst case of magical heartburn you could imagine. Like something inside me is reacting to… well, something else inside me." And he isn't sure what. Or how. But slowly the pain recedes. The sigils though, the ones above his arm, don't fade.

"Get a picture of those, if you can, before they're gone. I'll want to- Hey! Where's my damn sketchbook.?"

Bella growls and tumbles after K'nert, not quite fitting under that bench. Mirlo dives and has to pull back sharply. No imp. Where the hell had he gone?

With her target gone, Bella turns and retrieves the sketchbook, trotting back to Koa with it in her mouth.

"K'nert took it. Bella is get——" Keiko doesn't say anything more, but takes her phone to snap a photo of those sigils. "You said my demon was feeding you … what did you mean?"

Koa is struggling back to his feet. "I could feel, I'm not sure, some kind of feedback effect when your demon came out. I'm not sure what it was but it was making whatever was going on in me worse." Of course what happened drew her demon out in the first place. That's a nasty kind of feedback effect.

"Thank you Bella." He scratches her ears. The book is still open - thankfully not slobbery since she's not 'real' in that sense. It's got several sketches on it and…

"The hell?" Koa peers at one of the pages. Slightly torn but there's writing on it. His writing. It looks… not demonic. Something else.

Keiko frowns. "My demon … I'm still working on controlling that spirit. It's strong and reacts when I'm … threatened. It's bad when I have nightmares, actually." She won't speak of what happened a week or so ago. "I'll get better at that as time goes by, I always do."

It's likely she won't this time, though. Will she? As time goes by … well, they'll see.

"That … I remember what you said when your collar went off…" Keiko touches the filled in tooth on his neck. "It sounded cthonic." How the hell does she know that? She can't read or spell. "That … looks like stuff from the ads for the board game."

"It did yeah…" He pauses. "Wait, how the hell exactly do you know that?" Because she can't read or spell and they don't actually speak Cthonic in Limbo. It's a flavor of demonic that's related but not the same thing. And how does she know what Cthonic is?

Koa gives Keiko a look. "What board game, now?" She's gonna say Arkham Horror, isn't she?

"What? Oh. Late night TV and stuff. I don't watch much horror, none since I got back really but … it's on there." It can't be the same, but it's similar enough for her to recognise "Plus documentaries and stuff. There's a heap of stuff on Amazon and Netflix and when you're alone …"

You tend watch anything.

"Was I wrong? It was Cthonic, yes?" The last question has her thinking … "Elder Sign, I think it was. One of those infomercials they do sometimes."

"But why were you speaking it. And writing it?"

"They do informercials for Elder Sign?" Koa just stares at her for a moment and then looks down at the writing. "The symbols looked Cthonic, yes. And this does as well. That's my writing, that's very clearly my writing. But I don't remember writing this…"

He plays his finger down them. They're arranged in vertical rows, much like Chinese. "I can't read this. I'm going to need to try to get it translated." He pauses and then looks back up. "I was speaking it? Just now?"

"Yes?" Keiko looks at the stare and shrugs a little. Most of her knowledge comes from TV or … streaming media as it is these days. "I didn't see you writing these. You were showing me the protection spell and then grabbed your neck. That's when my collar went off, as well, and you spoke. Sounded like Cthonic. I could repeat it, but I don't think that's a good idea."

The peruvian looks at the book and then back up at Koa "Then K'nert appeared and took off with it." Thanks to Mirlo, she'd seen a lot of that chase too. "I … think he tried to read part of it."

"I think he probably DID read part of it." Koa mutters glancing over in the direction K'nert took off, somewhat sourly. That imp is a great deal of trouble and he is convinced that it's a lot smarter than it looks. Which isn't too hard honestly.

"No it's probably not a good idea to repeat it but why wouldn't I remember it?" Koa looks somewhat worried.

"What did you feel when it started happening? Beyond pain, that is." Because they both felt that.

"I'm going to skin that one. He's the one that took us to Limbo." Keiko mutters. And he keeps interfering with her life. And now Koa's it seems.

"What did I feel? It happened so quickly… Something … here …" Her hand goes over her heart. "pulling on it. Like when you …" Her yellow eyes hold Koa's gaze "… ate that piece of my soul."

Yellow eyes still. They take longer and longer to revert to brown. They will eventually, won't they?

"You know if you do that they just come back stronger, smarter and more real, right?" Koa mutters. Illyana had explained that to him. Paying attention to demons gives them 'reality'. It gives them personalities, goals and all that. Unfortunately ANY kind of attention will do. Hatred is enough. It's a no-win situation. These… seem to be common to Limbo.

Koa coughs and looks away. He remembers that. He'd been so damn hungry that he just reached out through the still wide open link provided by the collars and took a bite.

"So it hurt, you're saying." Because he knows that had hurt her. Hurt her badly enough that she never really rcovered.

"I didn't say I would kill him. I said I would skin him. You'd be surprised how well they survive, flayed." She's hard, Keiko is. And there's little remorse. Particularly after the demon has ridden her.

"More than hurt, Koa." Keiko takes Koa's chin and turns his eyes to meet hers. "It … called to something. I can't tell you what it was too quick and it was over …"

That probably doesn't help, does it.

"So what is it? What's doing this …" Elder gods? Keiko's not thinking in that direction.

"That will also make him stronger." Koa murmurs. He lets it go though, there's no sense in chasing it too far.

"I don't know what's doing it. It… it might be a consequence of what I did in Limbo to get to the dream realm. Messing around with things related to the Old Ones is dangerous and inherently corruptive. More so than just Limbo itself. I opened that door. It's possible it did something."

It's possible it's something else but Koa just doesn't know.

"I'll look into it. See if this scrawl here has any clues. How much longer before you have all the sites surveyed, by the way? Just because I've got personal issues doesn't mean that we can let the looming one go."

Nine teeth, Nine rituals. Keiko has had made the connection. She really wishes she knew what had happened to Koa when he met Witchfire. Not that she belabours it, not yet. Maybe later.

"Do that and speak to Illyana. She is, at least, familiar with the heart and might have a better idea of what's happening to you." Koa can bet that when Keiko see's Illy, she's telling so he might as well just do it.

"Tomorrow, I told you just now, remember?" He might be forgiven for forgetting given the last few moments. "I'll take Piotr and we'll do as many as we can. If they're all like the one today, it will be easy."

"And don't worry, I'll take photos so you can see them."

"We have a standing coffee appointment. I'll bring it up." Koa says. The coffee appointment is really more so he knows that she hasn't gone missing and so that he can come looking for her if she does but it also works for things like this.

The agent shakes himself. "You did say that, yes. Sorry. I'm getting reports of some weirdness kicking up again and I don't know if it's related but I want to see if we can replicate this barrier spell. Or at least know what it's doing so we know what kind of trouble we're likely to run into…"

He sighs. "I'd say I wish it would quiet down but it never does in my experience. There's always one more thing over the horizon."

"Tell her *everything*" Keiko adds, finally standing and stretching a little. Bella noses at Koa before going to sit by Keiko's feet. "No matter if you think it will hurt her. She has to know to be able to help."

This is not the woman he knew a month ago. Still uneducated, there's a confidence about her.

"I will come and see when we finish. Probably the day after tomorrow as I expect we will finish late." she waves off his next comments "After seven years in Limbo, this stuff is easy, Koa. Without something to focus on, I'd … go mad."

"Can't have you doing that…" Koa mutters. "I'll…"

Keiko gets another look. She's perceptive he'll give her that. More so than he'd like sometimes. "I'll tell her." Everything? There's a lot to tell. Keiko knows that Koa hasn't been saying everything he could. Some of that seems to be his inherent nature. And some of it is the nature of the job. The more people you involve, the more people are involved. And that can expand the number of targets something has. Sometimes WAND operatives work alone EXACTLY for this reason. Limit exposure of everyone else. But it is HELL on the operatives.

Keiko just nods, ignoring the look. She's the Queen of LOOKS when it comes down to it. "Now, are you coming back to the house? They've been cooking and there's food. And beer."

Mirlo is dismissed and snakes back to her tattoo. Bella picks up the ball and prances a bit.

Keiko doesn't think Koa will. But she asks anyway.

"I…" Koa thinks to say no. To say that he's got work to do and he'll be okay. Truth is he could use a beer. And… then there's Bella.

"Alright. For a little while." He says quietly. Maybe, just maybe, it'll be nice to enjoy a beer in some quiet and not be in crippling pain.

Though that's likely to be short lived.

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