2019-07-30 - Nightmare on Willow Place


A Hawaiian dance sorceress shows Keiko some disturbing truths.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Tue Jul 30 08:27:03 2019
Location: 46 Willow Place

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Theme Song



It's late and the Rasputin house is more or less quiet. Elena has gone to bed and at the moment there's no one in the front room. This is not an ordinary house it goes without saying. Keiko has to keep busy on it because it tends to revert to it's 'original state' if anything too modern is used. Which means vintage parts have to be found or made. It IS possible to slowly walk it forward into the 21st century. But… it's a laborious process.

There's a knock at the door. It's a rather pretty dark skinned woman that Keiko has seen before in M-Town. Teaching dance. Kalani, she called herself.

For whatever reason, Keiko is up, sitting at the kitchen table with a reader. This one is a spanish reader. Where she got it is anyone's guess.

When the door sounds, it takes a few minutes to get there and the peruvian just sort of looks at the 'guest', frowning. "Hello. Kalani, right? I don't think I asked for dance lessons tonight."

Is … she joking? Maybe. "How can I help you?"

"You didn't though you should consider it." Kalani looks young. Not much older than mid twenties. She dimples when she smiles. Tonight she looks like she was out running.

"Can I come in. It's important. Your collar is about to go off, I think." Her collar. She means that band of leather wrapped around Keiko's neck. What does she know about it?

How indeed. Keiko hasn't really spoken to anyone but Piotr about that collar and even then, she's not told him much. It's … not a comfortable subject for him, that connection she has with Koa - which might be understandable but it's there and under complicated in the dictionary there's a picture of the Rasputins.

"Last person we let in tried to kill me wit—- " Keiko doesn't finish that statement and consider Kalani. "How do you know about it?" She's suspicious and probably rightly so.

"You can come in." Her phone is on the table by the door and she picks up, sending a message to Koa as she does. Just checking in. Everything OK? KK.

Kalani steps inside and smiles again. A bit more subdued this time. "Thank you." She takes a few steps forward and looks around. "It's a really nice place. WAND's been sitting on this one for forever. I'm almost surprised they found someone to look after it. Let alone the entire Rasputin family plus."

Keiko gets no answer from Koa but that's not unusual at this time of night.

"I'm… something of a witch. Or sorceress. I prefer 'kahuna' myself. Which is Hawaiian for, well, witch. Or sorceress. I can see it on you. I remember when we first met. You didn't have it. And I can tell that it connects you to him. It's not difficult to see if you know what to look for."

She turns to watch Keiko over where she is by the door. The peruvian woman gets a sudden sense that something is… wrong. It feels like the first time she found Koa, when he was having a nightmare. It's felt like that every few days since then.

"It's happening isn't it. You know something is wrong but you can't quite tell what."

That gets a raised brow from the peruvian. "You know a lot for someone we don't know. I'm not a Rasputin. Hence the plus, I suppose." There's Sam as well who isn't a Rasputin, so there's also that.

"I didn't have it the first time, no." Keiko resists the urge to touch that band that's melded with the skin on her throat. She doesn't say anything about whether it connects her to Koa or not.

"And if it is? What of it?" If it is Koa, the man doesn't want help and helping him is likely to have him grumbling at her for interfering and … potentially other problems that she'll deal with later.

"You need to tell me what you know."

Kalani laughs. It's a rather nice sound. Light. Almost musical. "Keiko, I'm a sorceress. If I told you 'what I know' we might be here for a very long time. But you need to know about this. And it's easier if I show you. If you'll permit me?

She holds a hand out to Keiko. "Go on. Take it…"

Once she does the world seems to fold around them and they're some place else. A very, very dark place. There's a throne surrounded by skulls and on it a figure clad in green. In front of and above the throne is Koa. Suspended by chains on each wrist, hanging there. He looks pained. His eyes are shut.

"He cannot hear you, so please don't shout and fuss."

"You're a sorceress and you bend words with the best of them." Keiko looks at the hand and then Kalani's face. "You really think…." The peruvian shakes her head, she knows better than to take that. Taking up the short rod she normally carries with her and takes the hand.

Illyana will chide her later. Or Piotr will. Someone will most likely.

Keiko growls as their destination resolves and she goes to step forward, the quarterstaff extending in a fluid movement. "If I can't help him, why bring me here." Her lips are pulled back in a snarl, revealing the sharp fangs that have formed.

"Because to help him you need to understand." Kalani directs Keiko's attention to the figure in green on the throne. "His name is Nightmare. He's been tormenting Koa for weeks now. Drawing him through his dreams into this astral space and…" Her face twists in something like anger and disgust.

"He blames Koa for letting his daughter free. Koa won't tell him about Illyana, or Piotr, or Sam, or you. But in truth it's simply a reason for Nightmare to torture him. Koa knows that. Knows there would be no relief if he gave in. Just more victims."

She looks at the cruel sneer on Nightmare's face. "He's a Splinter Lord. Powerful, but he never leaves his realm."

The looks up. "That's only part of the problem though. The other part…"

"Very good." Nightmare says, standing up. "It's a lovely gem you have inside that head of yours Turner." He stalks downward and starts to pace around Koa. "You know for most people that would be the climax. Fear of dying. Stabbed through the heart. Betrayed. But you, Koa, oooooh… that isn't what you fear at all is it? It's about the OTHER part of the story…"

"He doesn't want help." Keiko mutters to Kalani. "But you know that, don't you. that's why you bought me here." Keiko is uneducated, not stupid and she tends to understand people better than they understand her. A lot of the time, not all.

Watching the figure in green, she snarls even more. "Another Splinter Lord. There's enough of them. I'd like to have less of them." beat "Why doesn't he leave here? Is he afraid he won't the power or …" She's already collecting data, not making decisions just collecting.

She falls silent and listens. She could ask Kalani, but she wants to here this play out.

"Here, in this Astral space, Nightmare rules." Kalani explains. "It is like a dream and he is the lord of dreams. Hence his name. Koa cannot leave. Not unless something pulls him out of the dream. And if something does, Nightmare just finds him again the next time he sleeps."

Kalani gestures toward Koa and space around them folds again. This time rather than just seeing, Keiko feels it. A blade through the back and into the heart. The warm, creeping sensation of the blood running out the back. The darkness closing in. Dying. This is what dying feels like.

And then she's in Limbo. Next to Kalani. There's a large green demon standing over Koa, who is flat on his back, on an altar. It plunges it's claws into his chest. Keiko can feel that too. Feel his heart - his ruined heart - get torn from him. And she can see the demon lift something else. Something black and misshapen to place into his chest.

"The Astral Space…" Keiko will remember that. She doesn't understand it, she's not a mage or anything like that. She's a soldier. "That's what I woke him from last time, wasn't it? And he's not been right since then …" If Nightmare doesn't kill Koa, Keiko might.

So much compassion from the peruvian.

As space folds again and the sword slides through, Keiko gasps and finds it hard to breath - a passing feeling but realistic enough to actually frighten her.

"Wait …" her eyes narrow at the demon and what it's doing. "Wait … no … what is this and what is that?"

"I would be very surprised if he right for a very long time after this. Nightmare is ancient. He knows how to hurt people. Physically and psychologically. He's had a lot of time to dig at Koa. To find what he fears. What he wants. What would break him into a thousand pieces were it ever to happen."

"This is Limbo. Did Koa tell you how he got back from Holland? He had been stabbed through the heart. He was dying. Something dragged him in here and… fixed him."

She watches, apparently also unable to look away. Keiko might see Kalani shed a tear. "They tore his heart out of him and put a demon's heart in its place."

"Has he found it? Nightmare that is?" Keiko is thinking hard about what Koa told her of that day. "This … is the day that Witchfire tried to kill him. He *should* have died …"

… something was over me. Something green. Winged. Long face. A demon of some kind, I think. He dragged me somewhere and told me I couldn't die just yet.

He did something. It hurt. A lot. I'm not really sure what it was. A ritual, possibly.

I remember being asked if I wanted to live

The people who would need me. The harm that Witchfire might do if left to run around.

The snippets of that conversation play through Keiko's mind and she gets paler and paler. Where Kalani might shed a tear, the murderbug gets stiller and calmer, colder. "I'm going to kill him, Kalani. I'm going to make clothes from his skin." There's a quiet confidence to the words and should Kalani look at Keiko's eyes they've gone bright yellow. "Can that be fixed. Can his heart be saved."

What had she heard about a heart recently … That needs closer examination. Later. Not now.

Kalani shakes her head. "His original heart is in Limbo somewhere if it didn't get eaten. But no. Putting that back into him even if it could be done would not save him. He was dying, Keiko. Stabbed through the heart and left alone in a cave. Can THIS be fixed?"

She takes a breath and lets it out. "If it can it will take a higher power than me to do so."

The demons step back and a pentagram on the ground lights up. There's a ritual. Koa glows with power at the center of it and even from this distance she can see a gleam on his neck. There's that tooth, filling in. When he'd come back… that's when the first tooth had been filled.

"Has Nightmare found what he needs to break Koa? Yes, and no. Koa won't allow himself to be broken. Not until he's sure that the only person who will suffer for it is himself." Kalani's mouth sets in a hard line. "I have a feeling that this suits Nightmare just fine. The longer Koa holds out, the longer he can torment him."

"He should be let to die. There's some fates worth then death." Keiko knows what she's saying and it's not what she wants. "What was the ritual, Kalani? What is that … thing … doing to Koa?"

"Can you find a higher power? If so do it… I want to know what our options are." She's snarling now, eyes ever so yellow. There will be a price to this, she knows that and she'll pay it, if she can. Koa didn't ask for this and she knows why he accepted it.

As to Nightmare, those eeiry eyes finally turn to the sorceress "Why are you showing me this?"

"Maybe but I'm not at all certain of that option, Keiko. There ARE higher powers. There are celestial beings that could undo this work in an instant. But getting their attention is near impossible. They exist on such a higher order that you and I are to them as an ant is to us." So, it COULD happen… but it'd be difficult.

"As to the ritual… that I do not know. I do know that when it was finished he was attuned to something. His alignment had changed, as it were. I wish I could tell you more about that and I'd love to know myself."

The sorceresss sighs. "I'm showing you this because he won't let anyone close enough to see it. It isn't killing him. Not yet. But it's breaking him by degrees. Did you know when they asked him if he wanted to live… he hesitated?"

"He can't stay like that." Keiko growls, dark chitinous scales start to climb over her shoulder and down her arms. She still hasn't mastered that Spirit and it feeds on her rage and hate, making it easy to manifest.

"Attuned to something. Here in Limbo?" She suspects something but she's not saying a thing. "Who is the demon? I've seen it before."

"Because he wanted to die. It would have been easy. It was his time and he's tired." Keiko answers the question, getting control of her temper. The scales start receding when she does. "The only reason he said yes was because he didn't want any of us to be hurt." She shakes her head.

"You've shown me. He won't let me close enough to see, what the hell am I supposed to be do now? Tell him I know what's happening? Tell Illyana?"

"I know he can't. That's why you're here." Kalani says, turning dark, serious eyes on Keiko. "And I know why he hesitated. He's not… quite that broken. Not yet. He did want to die. For a moment it was tempting. To lay it all down. To rest, finally. He's still got life in him. But the hope is slowly being crushed out of him. And when he loses it…"

Then he's lost.

"The demon is called N'astirh." Kalani says, turning back to watch the ritual complete. "He's a sometimes servant of Belasco. Whether this was on his orders or someone else's I have no idea. As for what you are to do? That is up to you Keiko. Some of this will probably be found out by others. The demon heart, the ritual. But the totality of it and what it means, at the moment only he, you and I know. And my ability to act in this is limited."

"Why?" It's a direct question and probably rude. Keiko's eyes narrow at the woman "Why is it limited and what is it to you? What do you gain from all this?" Could Kalani have stopped this? Or had she just found out herself. "I'm not a sorceress, Kalani. I'm a soldier. I hit things till they die." And does it pretty well, actually.

Unconsciously, Keiko touches her collar. Can she help Koa through that? Send her strength to him, while he's being tortured. Remind him there are people who care for and … love him … here?

"I could kill him. But with that heart … " she lets out a frustrated sigh. "I need to speak to Illyana, if I can find her." The blonde might share the house she lives in, but she's elusive.

"Magic has rules. They're very rarely fair. This is one of them. In this I may not directly intervene. All that I can do I am doing, though. Believe me." Showing Keiko is likely part of 'All that she can do'.

Space folds around them again and they're back in the house. Did they ever really leave it? Or was it just a vision.

"You could kill him, yes. But I think that might upset a few people and to be perfectly honest with you, he's still needed. At least for a little while. This mess with the Silence, you'll need Koa before the end of it."

No doubt. But what will that cost both Koa and those around him?

"Speaking to Illyana is not a bad idea. And you are a soldier. But that's not all you are is it? A mother. A wife, kind of. And a friend. I'm not saying friendship is magic or anything like that. But you are more than a simple warrior."

The answer gets a growl from Keiko. "Magic again…" It's the cause of all her problems, really.

"Upset a few people? How upset they're going to be when they work out what's been done to him? How many do you think will want to lock him up and 'examine' him? How many do you think will want to kill him simply because of this. Those that know and love him … they'll understand." Could Keiko really do it? Not in cold blood no - she's never been that far gone.

Back in the house, the peruvian states pacing agitatedly, the rod hitting her calf as she does. "I never said I was a simple soldier, Kalani. I never said that's all I was. I'm a mother and a friend." She's resistant to being called 'wife' and one day someone might understand why. Maybe she will herself.

"If anyone buys Elena My Little Pony, I'm painting them black." she growls again. "I'm going to him now. Bring him back from that dream…." she dares the sorceress to stop her.

"He may wake before you get across town." Kalani points out. She does not try to stop Keiko though. If she wants to go break into Koa's house well… that's what she's going to do.

"Will those that know and love him understand? You seemed ready to kill him yourself just a moment ago. I think they might be upset as well, a bit. As you were. But not as much as if he actually died."

By her hand. There's a decent chance he may do that anyway. Was it he that the obelisk was talking about?

"If you are going I'll let myself out then."

"They will understand why I kill him." Keiko answers flatly. The obelisk hadn't been speaking to Keiko. It had spoken to Illyana. It had also mentioned something about 'hearts' and she needs to remember the words that it used. Filter that through new information.

"Sometimes death is preferable, Kalani." Keiko is already the woman out the house and shutting the door behind her. She'll send a message to Piotr in a moment right now … she's calling Onyxia. She can break into Koa's place. She's done it before.

The glazier loves her.

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