2019-07-24 - A Ward Against Scrying


Koa brings news of Witchfire, sort of

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Wed Jul 24 20:49:03 2019
Location: 46 Willow Place

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The Rasputin residence has some shiny new wards courtesy of WAND that should prevent a repeat of what happened to Sam and Keiko last week. They're very specifically keyed, it wouldn't do to have them trigger against demons, for example, but even so those in the house with the senses to do so can probably feel their presence. Whether that is comforting or not, well, that probably depends.

Koa is coming up the sidewalk toward the house in his usual professional clothing. He looks tired as often he does these days but he also looks like he's got the use of both arms which explains why he's got a four pack of coffee from a local coffee house, and some bagels. Sort of odd but it IS morning and this IS a day that he would be meeting a certain sorceress to make sure that she's still out, about and at liberty. Whatever the reason he's decided to come here, he doesn't waste any time going right up to the front door and knocking.

Yes he has a key, he's kind of the landlord. No he doesn't generally just let himself in. That's rude.

It's not comfortable for Keiko, the presence of the wards. They make her tattooes tingle most of the time. Then again, there's Illyana who also triggers that facet of her tattooes as well. It's something that she's got used to and if it makes her family safe, then the wards are totally worth it.

Having completed the tour of the sites yesterday, Keiko has taken most of the day off. Sort of. There's maintenance work required about the house and that's one of the reasons she gets subsidised rent. When Koa knocks she's up a ladder fixing a light fitting that had been broken in the kerfuffle, so it takes time for her to get to the door. Of course, she's still sporting the results of last weeks attack.

"I wasn't expecting you today. Have you come to speak to Illyana?" like I suggested isn't appended, but the words might be felt anyway.

Piotr isn't affected by the wards. He's one of the normies in the house, after all. Well, as normal as a seven and a half foot tall mutant can be. He's sporting some bandages as he was working in the living room. "You beat me to it, solnyshko." he offers to Keiko as he lowers himself back down.

And then he returns to the project that he was working on, currently shaping what appears to be a large tooth into a small icon.

"Sort of." Not exactly in the way she suggested, no. Well, not unless Illyana just decides to 'get a good look at him' right now. "We think we figured out how Witchfire was watching you all. So I came to fix that, make sure she can't find any of you whenever she wants. Coffee? Bagels? I got 'em for you guys."

One of the coffee's is Koa's. Another is way, way sweeter than he likes his. And then there's one marked Piotr and one marked Keiko. He turns the drink carrier so that they can get them if indeed they want them.

"What are you working on over there, big guy?" Koa asks as he unloads what he's got.

He glances around. "Though if she were about that would be convenient. Oh, none of you get squeamish with blood, right?"

"Of course I did." That's to Piotr. It's always hard to tell with Keiko if she's joking or not. Her humour is usually dryer than the Sahara desert and she really, never, smiles anymore.

"I'll have to see if she's here. I haven't seen her in a bit." Not that that means anything, the Limbo Queen has ways of coming and going.

Guiding Koa in, the peruvian gestures to the low table for him to put the food and drinks on. "Coffee is good. Saves me brewing some." No thankyou, of course. "I'll get plates." That doesn't take her long and she'll get back to the light fitting shortly.

The last comment about blood gets the flattest of looks. Squeamish with blood. Really.

"I was ordered to rest today. Elena is at the Institute. Keiko was working on things. So I was keeping her company. Apparently getting gnawwed on by a demon-like thing is good excuse to stay home." Piotr reponds as he gestures to tooth. "From creature that attacked at one of the pillars. Dispersed Bella in one hit, I kept Keiko safe." He's proud of that apparently.

"Thank you for the breakfast." At least someone will make up for the manners. "I believe there is cream cheese in the fridge." comes the offer, before there's the mention of blood. "I am pretty sure we are all used to blood by this point?" he asks. Because he's still having a hard time with what's humor and what isn't.

He sets down the tooth for now - it's taken on the shape of what looks like it may be Keiko - but as a chesse piece - she's sitting on Bella, in the classic pose of the creature rearing like a mount - the Knight piece.

Illyana Rasputina comes down from upstairs wearing shorts and a slightly oversized T-shirt. Bare feet. None of the silver jewelry or makeup that usually adds the 'goth' to her 'metal' look. It's such a departure from how people see her, those that don't all the time might not recognize her at first. Well. Unless one meets her eyes. No change in clothing will make those any warmer.

"Did someone mention blood? No, I don't want any in my coffee." And obviously, one of those is for her. She doesn't bother to ask. The blonde touches Keiko's shoulder lightly as she passes and leans against Piotr as she reaches for the coffee before looking over to Koa.

Koa turns the box one more time so that Illyana can get her coffee - with cream and sugar, enough to make the WAND agent's face pinch - takes his own and then sets it down on the nearby table. Piotr's offer of cream cheese gets a smile.

"That'd be great. I didn't grab any of that." And he should have, but these oversights happen.

It is perhaps noteable to the two Rasputins that Koa's right arm is no longer bandaged.

"Figured I'd bring coffee to you today, Illyana, rather than you coming to me. Hope you don't mind."

The agent kicks a chair out and sits down and opens a pouch on his belt to retrieve a small wooden knife lined with what definitely look like animal teeth. Sharks teeth, actually.

"This is an occultation charm. We figure that Witchfire was scrying you Piotr, and Keiko and Sam. Probably not Illyana because the chance that she would realize is too great, but that's how she knew when to time her attack. So, to prevent that from happening again, this little guy is going to hide you. But it has to taste your blood in order to do that."

It's an artifact, Illyana and Keiko can both tell that.

"You got chewed on by a demon?" Koa's brow goes up slightly. He glances to Keiko and then Illyana and then back to Piotr. "Keiko didn't mention that. Do you need any medical attention, since you got hurt helping us out?"

Us. As in WAND. Koa got Illyana's brother hurt by sending Keiko to help handle something for him. Cough. That's not awkward at all.

As Illyana passes and touches her shoulder, Keiko looks at her. It's about all anyone gets from her, in general. It's not a 'go away' type look but 'I see you' look. Emotions - the peruvian really doesn't do them. Not visibly.

"A bit of blood in your coffee adds spice." Another dry joke that probably won't land that way as Keiko takes a seat on the floor, crossing her legs and listening. "I think there's cream cheese left. I didn't eat all of it." But she definitely ate a *lot* of it. With sweet chilli sauce and crackers.

Don't Judge.

"There were photos of the creature in the images I gave, Koa. It looked demonic, but I don't think it was. It hadn't triggered the wards. I did that." There's not a lot to be said about that. That she triggers wards aimed at demons is … a given now. "You'll want to send someone to reset the wards at all the locations. They were very weak anyway."

"You're going to hang that over the front door?" Another dry comment. She could be joking or it might be serious this time. Toss a coin.

"I think he tends to tag us. Or at least you two. Before releasing you back into the wild. Like National Geographic?" Piotr asks as he feels his sister's touch and reaches behind him to give her a quick pat, before he returns to polishing and working on the chess piece.

"I will heal - Keiko said that the injuries did not appear severe." Because she's not just a handywoman, but she also plays doctor.. nevermind. "It was large creature. Many teeth. I should have collected more, but I did not have this idea until I returned."

Then he's reminded, he reaches into his pocket, taking out three small smooth stones that have small icons carved into them. "These were in the creature's nest. I can only assume it dislodged them."

Illyana Rasputina sips at her coffee, leaning in to take a closer look at the artifact that Koa's pulled out. "But why is she bothering to keep tabs on me at all?" And yes, she'd have to do a roundabout way of doing so. Which she apparently found. The blonde is Not Pleased.

When Piotr says that he'll heal, Illyana gives him a Look. "There are perfectly good doctors at the Institute. 'Not Severe' tends to be code for 'it won't kill you'. Get checked out." She looks down at the stones that Piotr brings out, but doesn't touch them. She's a bit gunshy about touching strange potentially magical things these days, damnit.

"Oh yeah, Piotr. That's the plan. Then film a show called 'The Wild Rasputins.'" Beat. "Actually no on second thought that's a terrible title."

rKoa turns the knife to offer the hilt to Keiko first, since she's closer than Piotr. "It just needs a little blood. All you have to do is prick yourself, no need to, like, slice your hand or anything like that. Give it to Piotr when you're done. When Witchfire tries to scry you next, she'll find the knife instead. We should get Sam too. I may have to catch him at work."

Koa takes out his phone as Piotr describes the creature and looks at it. His face twists. "Not a demon no. It… kind of looks like one of the Lifeless. Which squares with what I've been finding out…" The stones have Koa quirking a brow too and he grabs an empty plate to offer out to Piotr so he can drop them on. He doesn't want to directly touch them either.

The writing is hard to make out. It might be in some kind of demotic. More pertinent to Illyana though is the fact that they're charged. This is earth magic. As in, something that taps the earth itself. That kind of magic, carved into stone, is usually expensive and not in money. It takes… sacrifice to imbue magic with this kind of permanence.

"I think I can answer part of that question. I've found some old records that suggest that someone tried to enact a ritual called 'The Silence' in the early days of New York. From what I can tell the ritual caused another realm to bleed into earth. But it failed because the local magic community threw up a geomantic barrier. Fast forward, the barrier has been mostly forgotten and someone has been sabotaging it. That leaves the possibility of someone trying again open. Except to do so would require getting from one of the out realms to earth. And the easiest way to GET from the outer realms to earth - or at least the most efficient one…"

Is to go through Limbo. Koa doesn't say that. He leaves it hanging but Illyana will get it. The other two might as well at this point.

The chess piece is good work and Keiko watches as Piotr works on it. "I also told him to get them looked at. I'm good at sewing things up, Limbo style but not here. There…" Illyana has it, so she falls quiet.

Illyana raises a really good question "And why did she have Piotrs sword? That was taken by some demons after the fight, I remember that much." Keikos catseyes rest on the blonde. That Witchfire now has it … is … concerning. Are any of the blondes demons involved in that?

Taking the knife from Koa, the peruvian doesn't falter, pressing the tip to her fingertip, drawing a spot of blood and letting it pool on the blade. That done she passes it on to Piotr.

"I don't understand. You're saying they need to do what now?" She might get it but doesn't like the implication. At All.

"We have all the makings for a telenovella." Piotr responds dryly as he shakes his head. "They were treated. I will be healed. It is hard to give someone who turns into metal a tetanus shot." comes the comment as he moves to sip from his coffee. Then taking up a bagel to snack on, before Keiko cuts herself and then offers the blade to him.

"Ladies first." He defers to Illyana in this case, as he takes a bite from the pastry and continues to work on the small piece. "There is all types of magic. Next thing you know, Baba Yaga will have penthouse." he rumbles in mild frustration. Mainly because there's precious little he can do about it all.

Illyana Rasputina chuckles at Piotr, passing the knife on. "*I* don't need to give blood. I'd notice if she tried, not to mention I do have protections in place against that. Besides, I don't want to be in WANDs new tellanovella."

The blonde's humor slips away at Koa's news. "Is to go through Limbo, because Limbo touches Earth." There are *downsides* to touching most of space and time. Illyana rubs at the back of her neck. Closing Limbo off isn't really something she can do. Well. Not easily. And not from outside. She'd need to wall herself up inside the realm to hold it closed. Head down, hands behind her neck, she paces the room in her bare feet.

"I don't know Keiko. But Limbo's too big a place for this to be coincidence. It has to have been brought to her. I don't buy that she just found it." Koa shakes his head. That blade was… terrifying.

"And, from what she said, having Piotr's soul in it had purified the metal. Honestly if it weren't such a stretch I'd almost say that the whole thing had been set up. You getting stuck in the dream realm, Illyana. You two, Piotr and Keiko, winding up in Limbo with that sword for as long as you did…"

The WAND agent takes a breath and lets it out, rubbing the side of his neck where that filled in tooth is. As Piotr and Keiko prick themselves they can feel something settle over them. It's magic but it's not like a blanket or the itch of a spell wrapping around them. It's more like a tether. Something that runs to the knife. Well, Koa had said that the knife would misdirect any attempts to find them. What else might it do?

"The route to earth goes through Limbo, yes. And the route to Limbo goes through you, Illyana."

He looks at the stones again, a little bit closer and tilts his head, this way and that. "I've got one other bit of somewhat unpleasant news. One of our agents, an oracle type, told me something about you Piotr. She said 'The Knight of the Rasputins is hunted by he who poisoned his snowflake.'"

Keiko growls as she feels that blanket settle over her. Eyes turning the knife, lips drawing back in small snarl. "If that redirects attempts on us, it can be used in reversed. Where are you going to keep it?" She *really* wasn't thinking when she pricked her finger. She waits for Koa to say with me.

In 3 … 2… 1…

"I saw what that blade did to Limbo demons. When S'ym challenged Piotr, he didn't stand a chance. The blade just melted him once Piotr decided to use it."

Piotrs refusal to see someone about the injuries gets her usual flat eyed look. No comments but he *knows* what she's thinking.

"Do we need someone in Limbo then, more permanently, guarding it?" Keikos a good soldier. A strategist, a general, she is not. The oracles words though, there's another small growl from the woman.

She knows who 'poisoned' Illyana.

Fortunately, Piotr has /not/ pricked his finger yet - he tried to defer to Illyana, remember? So when Keiko asks the question and he sees the change in her demeanor, he lifts his brow. "She has a blade purified by my soul. If it is not what it is missing." he points out as he sets down the knife. He's /not/ going to use it yet.

There's a lift of his brow. "And who is this so-called knight?" Because supposedly, he's the knight. And oracles are confusing and he probably needs it a little more bluntly.

He sucks at charades too, folks.

"Purified the metal, but whoever she is can still use it." Illyana notes, still pacing the room. It gives her something to do. Koa's suggestion that this is all part of an even larger plan gets another frown and she pauses. Looking over at him. "That would imply someone who thinks on a much… grander scale than most." As in, someone likely not human.

The question from Keiko about someone guardian Limbo gets a grunt of annoyance. "Limbo is always best with someone watchdogging it. That's why I spend so much time there." Illyana tries to minimize how much time it *looks* like to everyone else, but she's still reliant on demons toeing the line and keeping the others in check.

"You're obviously the Knight, Piotr." Illyana points out. She's called him her 'knight in shining armor' before. Pointing that out to him has her noticing he hasn't pricked his finger yet, and she frowns over at him. "You're not planning to make yourself a target are you?" She says, more demand than question.

Koa gives Piotr a look that says 'really?' though whether that's for the question or for not using the occultation charm is anyone's guess. "Probably the guy whose soul was pure enough to make a sword burn demons. I would call that guy a knight, I think."

And as for the rest… "Now I should clarify that WAND hasn't had any whisper of activity from Illyana's former teacher in quite some time but we're starting to look now." Illyana gets a respectful nod. "Look from here that is. If we think we need to send someone you'll be asked first, of course."

And that person will probably be Koa because he's the one who has the rapport.

"Where would I keep the knife? In a locked vault in WAND behind three layers of wards with an armed guard next to it? I'm no an idiot." Some might dispute that.

What? Did she think she was going to keep it on his person and try to bait Witchfire out? She's already nearly killed him once.

"Someone who thinks on a grander scale than most AND someone with a lot of influence. Lining up events like that would not have been easy." That's an understement, it would have been near impossible. But it COULD have been done. Maybe. With enough juice and contacts.

"So at the moment as I see it we have three problems. One: There's a geomantic defense spell over the city that someone is sabotaging. Two: There's a crazed witch with a magical sword out there who will do anything to hurt Illyana, and there's possibly twelve MORE where that came from. And three: We have vague hints that Piotr is being hunted. Possibly separately but I don't know if I buy that. I will say that Oracles can be pretty roundabout but this one felt fairly direct to me."

Keiko considers and gives Piotr an even flatter look. "Prick your finger. Your daughter needs you to be around for a long time." There's absolutely no telling what Keiko might do if Piotr did anything that might leave Elena unguarded. The only thing that is certain there is that Keiko would absolutely do something.

And yes, she's not beneath using the 'Elena card' either.

"When we were in Limbo, Bel—- " she picks up on the 'no name' thing going on here "challenged a few times via proxy. We never saw him directly, either. But he did have agents in the citadel. Of that I'm sure."

She considers for a moment "I could spend some time in Limbo… though I'm likely more of a target than anything." She could. She's already corrupted. What's a little bit more?

"Sometimes you're not an idiot, Koa." Comes the dry response. She won't expound on that here but she might well speak with Illyana privately, anyway.

"I would rather have the blade with family." Piotr's going to be stubborn. He glances aside at Illyana, but he's not answering her at the moment. Being the older brother means he gets to be the stubborn one. "They will also seek Mikhail." he suggests to the others. "Once they know he exists. And will you make Elena get pricked as well?" he asks.

And then Keiko is speaking up and his hand slams on the table. "Absoluetly /not/." comes the rumbling - and this time it is Keiko that gets the /Look/ from Piotr. And then he points out. "Illyana has appointed me heir. If any should go, it would be me. One. I can remain in my armored form - for who knows how long and the corruption will not affect me. Two, I was only affected last time because I had to remove my soul to protect Keiko. Three, I am more than capable of handling myself when there."

Illyana Rasputina holds up her hands in a placating manner. Eeesh. Illyana being the peacemaker? Signs of the End Times, surely. "We're all targets. We're all at risk. So everyone should try to have backup. So no one's going to play Man in the Castle in Limbo. Both of you could handle yourselves *fine*," She assures them, looking back and forth. "But let's avoid sticking *either* of you in there, hmm? When they make their push, I don't think it's gonna be subtle, even if this is part of some quiet grand scheme." And the best idea might be to close off Limbo *after* they've committed and entered the realm. But Illyana doesn't volunteer that. Old habits.

As Piotr voices his concerns about who keeps the artifact, she looks over to Koa. "Will it be safe enough with me?" And yes. Every damned one of them is getting pricked.

Koa watches the discussion go back and forth mostly quietly. There is, perhaps, a small ghost of a smile when Illyana steps in to play peacemaker. Not her nature, he knows that, but she does it anyway. "When you say 'blade' do you mean the soulsteel sword? We'll try to get it back but I don't think baiting her is a good call." That's all he's got on that for the moment.

"But yes, Illyana. Knife should be safe with you if that's what you're talking about. She won't try scrying you directly and the fact that she didn't go after you first thing suggests at least to me that she's not confident she can take you. Once everyone is pricked we can keep it in WAND. If she really wants to try jumping in there, she's more than welcome to."

He pauses gathering his thoughts. "If Belasco is in play it means that the elder gods are as well. There's a place I'd meant to go to find some answers to what THEY might want, but it's not a place I'd dare set foot without help. Magical backup…" He looks at Illyana. "And some serious strength, toughness and fighting power." Then at Piotr and Keiko.

"If the knife stays with WAND and they scry it, they'll go there and be in that stronghold." Keiko adds. The attack will at least be someone elses problem for a short time. Long enough, hopefully, to alert them and let them get at least Elena safe. "And yes, Elena will be protected by it too. Now prick yourself."

It's not a request and it shows a quiet strength to the Peruvian.

Piotrs outburst has Keiko's eyes flashing yellow. She doesn't startle though and she doesn't back down. It's probably best Illyana speaks up when she does, it stops Keiko responding. Though that might not be end of that discussion - just the public one.

"I'd rather not go to Limbo again but we do what we must." Koa is really going to hate that she heard that speech he gave, in time.

"The elder gods … you mean, like Cthulu?" Keiko gives Koa a very pointed look. Maybe she found some podcasts to listen to last night. Or some videos to watch. "What is it you want us to do for now, then?"

Oh no, it totally is not the end of the discussion. And Piotr knows that as well as Piotr does. However there's a grunt when he finally relents to the others, and takes the knife to pick himself, and then after that's done, he's sets it aside for Koa to take back for Sam. "Make sure Mikhail gets the same coverage." he rumbles, taking over making sure the family is covered.

And then Keiko asks what they are needed for, and he goes quiet instead to listen and learn. He is very much out of his element and it shows. But he's trying.

Oh no, it totally is not the end of the discussion. And Piotr knows that as well as Piotr does. However there's a grunt when he finally relents to the others, and takes the knife to pick himself, and then after that's done, he's sets it aside for Koa to take back for Sam. "Make sure Mikhail gets the same coverage." he rumbles, taking over making sure the family is covered.

And then Keiko asks what they are needed for, and he goes quiet instead to listen and learn. He is very much out of his element and it shows. But he's trying.

Illyana Rasputina makes a frustrated sort of sound as Keiko asks about Cthulhu. "No, and also kind of yes. Lovecraft likely borrowed some stuff as a basis so there's stuff in *common*, but you can throw everything else out the window. Just think 'unspeakable, unknowable evil' though, and you're on the right track. They're the ones Belasco serves." The ones Illyana was supposed to serve. She doesn't play the game of He Who Must Not Be Named. Screw that. She kicked his ass before and she'll do it again if she has to.

When Koa says he has somewhere he meant to find answers, she gestures for him to continue. Certainly, they have a lot of the bases covered that he'd need.

"There's a sunken city in the south pacific, a thousand miles from anywhere. WAND calls it R'lyeh. It's dangerous. Haunted by monsters and covered in corrupting, madness inducing magic. However there are chambers in it that house secrets that can supposedly give light to the 'workings of those who dwell in the darkness beyond the stars'. Not my words, obviously. I think it's worth a visit at this point."

But again, he dares not go alone. And of course Illyana just got finished saying that the Elder Gods were not like C'thulhu when Koa says he wants to go visit a sunken city.

Sorry Illyana.

"Mikhail will. Sam will. Elena will. I'll leave that to Illyana." Since she's going to keep the knife. It's a nice knife. Shark tooth and a dark, hard wood that entirely coincidentally shares the name of the agent who brought it.

"Piotr if you're still able I'd like you and Keiko to keep an eye on the remaining pillar sites as well. If we can catch whom or whatever is destroying them that might buy us more time."

The anchors for the geomantic spell he means.

Keiko gestures to Illyana and nods just a little "I got that, it's the closest I could come to something I knew." Why though would she have made that connection and why the pointed look to Koa, the one that he just ignored? Pointedly.

"We can watch the sites. Though I don't know that anyone will attempt them now. Not now they know we have visited." Maybe they will though, this whole thing is a bit of a puzzle.

"When do you want to go?" It's simple. Really. They have a lead. Elena has a sitter. They can do this whenever they want. And 'soon' sounds like a good idea.

Piotr may have noticed that look. And he glances down towards his own work. "I will help. Yes." After all, he saw what one of those creatures did and was able to take down Keiko quickly. He cannot let that happen again. There's a slight wince in his features, but it's brushed aside quickly. Illyana will know the look, easily enough.

"I will be at Keiko's side when she needs me." he finally decide.

Illyana Rasputina's pale gaze lingers on Piotr, but she finally pulls it away to look at Koa. She and Piotr will likely have to Talk again. But Later. She gives Koa a nod. "Let us know what we need and when we leave." Illyana can likely get them a lot of the way there with her portals. She looks back to Piotr. "I could talk to Scott, tell him ask the others to help keep an eye on the pillars." She doesn't usually bring her Otherdimensional concerns to the X-Men, but that *is* something they might be able to help deal with.

"Whomever you can, Illyana, would be good. WAND has a lot of resources but we are stretched thin right now. The task forces I deployed to protect Salem and M-Town are currently in Mexico City holding something nasty back. So at the moment…"

He gestures around. What's in the room is what they have.

"I'm thinking soon. A couple of days. A week at the outside. I'll make sure you have suitable gear and clothing but if there is stuff you want to bring with you then gather it. Anything that… reminds you who you are would be good. R'lyeh has a way of getting under your skin."

Koa rises and finishes his coffee. "Anyway, sorry to be the bearer of bad news. I'll see you folks soon."

And with that, the WAND agent takes up those odd stones, dumps them in his pouch and heads back to the street. Maybe one day he'll come by without a disaster brewing.


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