2019-09-11 - A Tree Grows


A disturbance in Limbo has Koa and Keiko fighting Lifeless and a HUGE Tree appearing.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Wed Sep 11 04:24:06 2019
Location: Limbo

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Theme Song



Koa has Keiko in his office. She's been going through a process and he has been helping her with that. He'd thought of trying to dissuade her. In fact he DID try to dissuade her but she's a stubborn little thing and she would have done it without his help if he'd made her. It would have just taken her longer.

And involved more swearing.

"You're gonna need to learn to read you know." He's saying as he types something out. He had been going to follow that up with a list of other things she's going to need to do but he doesn't get the chance. Both of their collars start to burn at the exact same time and there's a sense that something isn't quite right.

"I can read, Koa. Just not very well." Keiko mutters as she glares over at him. He's right, she would have just tried to do this on her own. It would have taken for ever and the small peruvian would have been in a foul mood. Fouler than usual.

"And I'm learning to read better …" Anything else she might say is cut off as she winces. It's the only indication of the pain that she's feeling "Aaare you ok?" She's already moving to check on Koa, cause normally that's when her collar hurts.

The alternative. That would mean Illyana is probably in trouble.

"No I'm not okay this fucking burns." Koa grunts. His eyes flash red dangerously. They've never done that before. And he normally doesn't swear either.

"Follow me." He says as the pain does not abate, rising forcefully from his desk and striding into the main room.

"Status board." He all but snaps to one of the magi-techs.

"Clear, sir. Little something going on in Limbo but…"

"Send us there."

"Sir we don't have an invitation to-"

"Fuck the invitation. Get us in there NOW!"

The tech blanches and obeys. Magical runes circle both of them and FLASH. They're in Limbo.

There is a HUGE tree out here. Keiko is familiar with the Oak. She's seen it before. This isn't that tree. It's taller. The branches are broader. It looks less like a shelter and more like the beginnings of one of those huge Californian redwoods.

"What the actual hell…" Koa barely has time to mutter that as the magic of Limbo washes around them before he sees something at the base of the tree. A circle of bone white energy that looks WRONG against the red of the local landscape and inside that, three creatures that seem to be trying to drain that tree somehow.

"Apart from that …" Keiko sort of snaps, collecting her staff and jacket as she follows Koa. The red eyes, the swearing, makes her look at him carefully. He gets her patented flatlook, but there's something behind it.

"Do it. I'll cover it with Illyana later." Keiko answers. As the mother of Illyana's niece, she's sure she has some sway.

After a moment of disorientation, Keiko manages to look around, at the tree and the environment "Where … are we?" It looks like Limbo, but it's different somehow, in a way she just can't put her finger on.

The staff extends as she squares off against those creatures. "In the name of the Darkchild, I order you to stop."

Koa pulls in magic. That's dangerous for him to do here but he doesn't think about it twice. His left arm glows green and his pendulum spins into his right fist and projects a shield. He fires but the bolt of magic from his now enchanted gun scatters on a field projected by that white circle.

There's a hideous noise from all around them. Demons have gathered. Like Limbo's immune system they can sense the intruders. Several bolder and stupider ones throw themselves at the field but are torn apart by it.

"Keiko your staff can usually breach magic. Give it a try." It's a long shot and if it does not work he'll need to work some warding.

The demons are looking at the two of them warily. They've got Illyana's marks on them, both, but that doesn't make them 'friendly'. It makes them competition. Limbo's denizens are as much a threat as these newcomers right now, who are ignoring Keiko's shouted command to halt.

"Koa…" That's said in a warning tone. Keiko doesn't *don't* but he can feel her slitted eyes, that are slowly turning yellow, fall on him. "Yeblya demons…" the peruvian mutters.

The staff twirls as glowing bat wings appear on her back, the chitinous scales that match them slowly creeping over her shoulders.

It's an expert strike that Keiko launches, the gossamer enfused weapon hitting the field they are trying to breach.

"Hush. Focus." Koa tells her. His eye are gleaming red and there's a predatory grace as he moves in behind her.

Keiko's strike shatters a chunk of the field and a portion of the white circle teen feet wide just blows away like ash in the wind. The demons around and behind the pair instantly spring into action as the gaunt, pale figures within it turn at the sudden interruption.

"Kill!" One of them says in a thin ghostly voice and Keiko finds herself rushed by five creatures that look very much like the Lifeless they've battled earlier, but taller and more solid somehow.

Ooops. Make that four lifeless. No, three. Koa's weapon rings out several times and emerald bolts fell two, but this is only the first wave. The others are coming around the tree. But they're at a disadvantage, they have to stay between the tree and the white circle, trapped in by it even as the demons are kept out.

A few of them don't move, but continue draining the tree of… something. Energy possibly. It's starting to look a bit sickly.

That just earns another flatlook from the peruvian. She's respectful but the concern is there.

"Is it phased?" The staff strikes the shield again when she sees the hole it makes, even as the small woman drops and sweeps her leg at the Lifeless coming for her.

Koa can see the battle she's waging within herself - the scales ebbing and flowing as she tries to control that demon spirit. It distracts her a little, not enough to notice those trying to drain the train. "Take care of these, I've got those …" She tries to tumble through the hole she's made to make it to those.

Koa nods. Demons are pushing in behind them. The little ones are running between their legs and biting and clawing at the lifeless but they're not strong enough to make anything happen. Koa turns to the left to take the ones coming around the tree in that direction. He jump-dodges a punch, kicks off the tree and hammers his opponent into the field which tears him apart as easily as it did the demons. Keiko probably doesn't have time to watch but if she does she might be able to tell he's enhancing himself. He's only ever moved that fluidly a few times before.

The ones opposing Keiko come at her in alternating pairs. First one comes at her from the left, then one from the right. They're trying to open up a hole in her defenses. When she trips one and sends him tumbling it screws up their timing and gives her an opening to move deeper into their ranks which will put her in a better position to strike, but also puts her at risk of being isolated and surrounded.

Keiko is quick and extremely well trained. That staff is like an extension to her body. Tumbling and spinning, her slitted eyes watch carefully - becoming more and more yellow the longer she lets the fight draw on. There's a high to this - fighting. Letting the moment take her - when it's just her, her staff and her opponent.

She's not watching Koa, but if she was she'd worry. Worry he's drawing on the taint of this place. Not like she isn't, of course.

She gets hit as she moves, the lifeless slice her skin and land punches - not that they'd know it for all the pain that she shows. As the one goes tumbling, Keiko pivots on the other and brings the end of her staff down hard, intent on knocking it out or killing it. It's only then she faces the others "Hey tonto del culo! I said stop in the name of the Darkchild. You haven't, now I am going to stop you." She doesn't wait, blood oozing from the cuts she's received so far, just spins in to hit the next one she can.

he taunt, well, it's a sure bet that the Lifeless don't understand it. The next one goes down in a heap and there's screams behind her as Koa tosses another into the wall. And then there's a LOT of shooting. It almost sounds like panic fire though Keiko probably knows Koa better than that. What… would make him panic fire after all?

Besides that gun can't run out. Which makes it probably somewhat disturbing when the firing stops.

That's the point at which one of the creatures behind her grabs her by the ankle, yanks and tries to slam her into that barrier, to her death.

The Lifeless weren't supposed to understand the taunt. It was to make Keiko feel better. It worked.

She's midspin when the gunfire sounds, when she stops she's facing the Agents, the *other* Agents, direction trying to work out what's happening. She's distracted enough so the claws that close about her ankle are a small shock.

She growls as she moves through the air, and calls that damn demon spirit, her body covered nearly instantly in chitinous demon scales. Her wings beat down, fighting the momentum of the swing as that staff of her rounds to hit the Lifeless across the side of the head.

The staff hit drops the lifeless to the ground and Keiko's wings barely arrest her short of the field. Demons are swarming underfoot now. She can see Koa fallen nearby. He's not bleeding. It's POSSIBLE that he just projected but there's no time to tell.

Because at that moment something BIG comes around the tree. Unlike the rest of the lifeless this thing is near fifteen feet tall. It has energy crackling on both hands. Pale white energy. Keiko can feel the life draining off of her just being near it.

It bellows wordlessly and charges down the narrow, curved lane, batting demons aside as it makes right for Keiko.

The tip of one of Keikos brushes the field, dissolving slightly as the small peruvian struggles to get away. "Koa. Where, by the Darkchild, ARE you?" She growls. She's sure he's projected but leaving his body like that here in Limbo - is beyond dangerous.

"Merde" Keiko growls again as she starts to fade, dropping to a three point crouch using her staff as a crutch. "Glydril, Onyxia, to me…" The armour shimmers to reveal her tattooes as she touches them. Within seconds, the giant Dragon and Harpy Eagle hang behind her. "Attack …"

Onyxia screams and launches herself at that thing. Glydril … bellows fire.

The demon-spirits summon as the protective circle starts to collapse. Other demons, Limbo demons, swarm in but the big thing just blasts or bats them away. Onyixa takes a blast to her wing and then the thing lurches away from the fire. It puts some kind of a protective shield up to ward off Glydril.

And then Koa - Beast Koa - comes THROUGH the tree behind it and sinks his claws into the back of it's neck.

"Now, Keiko!"

The creature bellows and all of it's magic stutters for an instant.

Keiko grunts in pain as Onyxia's wing is shredded. The Harpy Eagle screaming in pain and defiance as she lurches around trying to launch another attack at the creature. Glydril doesn't care about the ward and just rams into it, taking a jolt of arcane energy that stuns her.

But not for long. She does it again. And again.

Despite the pain that's fed back from her spirits, Keiko levers herself to her feet and glares at the Shark-Wolf things. The tattered bat wings propel her forward as the staff spins, the peruvian spirit caller turning the staff end on. And drives it into the Lifeless chest. "Do NOT tap its energy, Koa or by the darkchild, I'll beat you senseless."

Sure she will.

"You have a better idea?!" Koa snarls - and it is a snarl, with a bestial growl underlying it. "Just kill it already and I won't HAVE To tap it!"

It has a LOT of energy and it BURNS at Koa like nothing else has before. To counter it - to flush it from his system really - Koa pulls in more of the surrounding Limbo. It soothes. It feels dark and warm and comforting. And that's probably a really bad thing.

The big lifeless is finally put onto its back and laid open to a killing blow. Demons swarm all over it but nothing big enough to deliver that blow has made it through. Nothing but Keiko.

"Finish it already!!"

"Yes. You hold it, I'll hit it." Keiko has watched one too many movie it seems. "And I'm trying. My staff isn't designed to be used like this…"

There's a squelching sound as she draws the staff out of the chest cavity, wings lifting her higher as the thing is put on its back. "Draw from me, damn you…" She knows exactly what he's doing and it worries her.

Not that she gives him much time to respond, the staff is turned end on again and Keiko puts her whole weight behind the staff and drives the end through the Lifeless' forehead - right between the eyes.

"Onyxia, Glydril…" she moves to the side as the Harpy Eagle lands on the creatures chest and tears its chest open.

"I need you fighting, tonta!" Koa snaps. He doesn't talk like that. Or didn't until very, very recently.

There's a great deal of tearing as Koa basically holds the creature down. Well, metaphysically does so anyway. Eventually the lifeless expires and the demons begin to rip it apart and… eat it.

Koa lets go of the corpse as soon as it is one and flies back to his own body. And has to slap a couple of imps off him. No he's not dead.

There's a HUGE crowd around the bodies now. Koa motions Keiko away from it, up a little hill. He can't think with all the snarling and chewing and bickering.

The tree stands above it all. Huge. Immobile and INCREDIBLY improbable.

"I am fighting …" Keiko snarls. Eyes impossibly yellow, with the demon scale armour covering her it's nearly impossible to tell her apart from the others there. Her temper is short, like the rest of her, and Koa's snapping gets what is a likely response. It's not like Keiko to lose control of her temper in a fight though.

When the demons swarm, Keiko moves back, letting the armour melt away and calling the two spirits to her. "Good girl…" she croons to Onyxia, tickling under the human chin of the bird head. CREEPY "… rest now." the harpy eagle fades to smoke. Glydril lands as they climb that hill, laying her draconic head on the ground in front of them. Keiko scratches her eye ridges before dismissing her too.

Then it's just her and Koa… battered but alive - the two of them. "Is it here? And what is it?" She asks as she turns to the agent, grasping his chin to turn his eyes to hers.

Koa's eyes have a red tint to them but have not gone completely red. He pulls his head out of her hand, shooting her a look.

"I don't know. But very little grows here in Limbo and it has gotten HUGE."

The Agent makes a face. "In all your time here did you ever see anything like that outside the garden? And yet here that is, within sight of the Citadel."

He sighs. "Are you injured?" Not is she hurt. Not is she okay. He can't ask anything like that here. Just sticks to the facts. It's something he knows by instinct as a predator that she had to learn over the years.

Keiko's nails scratch Koa's chin as he pulls his head away. There's that stubborn look on her face that says she would argue if she could. He might expect *word* when they get back to earth.

"No. I did not. Not even in the garden. Piotr didn't tend it like Illyana does. Let's go look at it …" she starts to move, giving Koa the chance to say stop.

"I am, yes. Nothing to worry about. I will see to it when we are back on earth." beat "You?" She's sure he is, but will he tell her?

Probably not.

"Scratches and bruises. Nothing worse. The demons didn't do anything but lick me when I went down." Koa mutters as he strides off with her toward the garden.

Keiko unlike Koa knows where the Garden is and she knows how to get around in this place. You have to have a destination fixed in your mind. And sure enough, it works. Keiko's disciplined focus gets them there.

It looks untouched. It looks bigger than Keiko last saw it, but completely untouched.

Koa steps into it and peers around. "They didn't come here. Why? What makes that tree different to this one? Other than the fact that it's bigger?"

"They were trying to drain it." Keiko asks as she looks around the garden. She's not forgotten anything about living here. Not the way to navigate and certainly not the way to talk. It's the sullen, controlled spirit caller that stands in the Garden, looking back to the tree.

Were they trying to drain it? "Did you see any markings on it? Like those pillars?" The peruvian has such a bad feeling about this. "And have you seen Illyana yet?"

"We spoke yes. She's going to try to deal with Nightmare." Koa nods. "And a few other things. But…"

He taps his neck. Keiko can see there's a third tooth filled in. "Not all the news is good I'm afraid. Something connected me to the same eldritch lock that she's connected to and they're using me to turn the keys."

Which is bad all by itself but it also has some rather awful implications for Koa personally. That MIGHT be why he's got the red eyes. And is a bit more emotional. And is swearing. Also, he's soaking in Limbo at the moment and, well, Keiko knows what that did to her.

"No markings. I went all the way around it and ducked inside it too. There's nothing on it. But it had power and I'm going to guess this thing doesn't or at least… not the same kind of power."

He sighs and turns to pace and face Keiko. "The Lifeless drain life. That's what they do. So that tree must have been full of it. Way more than a tree should have or they wouldn't have bothered. The big question is what is it… and how did it get here? Did the demons ever bring you things for the garden? Or Piotr?"

"Do you need anything else here?" Keiko frowns and looks back towards that tree. "They'll want a report at HQ." It's her way of saying they should go - well, he should go. That news is going to make her spit and curse when they aren't here.

Here, in Limbo though, she's almost emotionless. Everything is on tight leash.

What other things, she wonders. Not that she needs to know, she's a soldier, Illyana's pet, after all.

"No markings, full of life or energy. I … Did Piotr bring me things for the garden? Or did the demons bring things for Piotr for the garden?" Keiko thinks and shakes her head slowly "No … but … when I was hunting, I bought back things … things that looked like they belonged here."

"Mmmm." Koa looks back toward the tree and then reaches back toward his back pouch. "I need enough time to sketch that thing. Then we should leave." Should leave. Not that he wants to. The power here feels good and Koa increasingly comes up with fewer and fewer reasons to resist drawing on it like breath.

That makes sense, if what Illyana told him about his heart is true.

"It might not be anything you brought, but I am positive it's not from this realm." Stepping disks open and close all the time. Things fall into and out of Limbo. But what could have fallen in that would give rise to that. And why oh why would it choose NOW to sprout?

"Sketch it and we'll go." Keiko gets not wanting to leave. The draw of the place once it's seeped into you. She'd not understood what he'd said about the lock - except It's bad. When they get back, she'll corner the Agent and risk the swearing and growling and get some answers from him.

"Something bought it here and the timing isn't coincidental. Those Lifeless wanted it for a reason."

Settling down, her staff across her knees, Keiko takes up silent sentinel while Koa works.

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