2019-09-13 - Beware The Phalanx


Looking for more clues on the Stelae and the blood in the machine, Koa and Keiko head to the Limbo library.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Fri Sep 13 06:02:09 2019
Location: Library

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It's been a little time since the Stelae have appeared on Earth and none of the traditional avenues of research has been much help. Somehow, Koa managed to convince Illyana to let them access her library in Limbo - the WAND agent and the proto-WAND agent transported there not long ago.

Keiko is standing in the middle of it, turning slowly, eyes slightly wide at the size of it. "I … didn't know this was here." she says. Seven years she'd spent in Limbo and not realised.

Demons have gathered, they always do, to watch the pair. Not approaching but it's clear they might like to.

"Uh. Where do we start?"

"By not just pulling random books. Most of the things in here are pretty nasty and some of them will corrupt you just by touching them. Well… corrupt you worse." Koa says. Rather than look through the library themselves he glances back at the demons.

"You were here for years. They have to know what's in the library fairly well." Well, no they don't. Some of them are pretty hare brained.

"Tell them we're looking for anything they might have seen with this on it." He holds up a sample of that blood of the machine. "Maybe that'll get us somewhere?"

She might have to crack heads to make it work though.

"I'm not touching any book unless you tell me to." Keiko mutters. There's a benefit to her not being able to read so well - it doesn't call to her like it might to others. "The Demons? I … suppose you're right."

Extending her staff, the small peruvian stalks towards one of the smaller ones her eyes going yellow as she lets Limbo seep into her. "I want a book that has this on the cover …" She holds out the sample "… bring it to me."

The little imp sneers and just sits there. "You were weak as consort and you are weak now…."

Keiko sighs and brings her staff down hard. "Strong enough to hurt you. I know where the dungeons are and I'll drag you there if you don't do as I say now …" beat "Koa, give me your knife."

The Imp doesn't need reminding further and scampers into the library to a shelf … gesturing to a section. "Here, here. This one …"

Koa pulls out his athame and hands it to Keiko. "I want a belt." He says helpfully. He really, really doesn't though.

When the imp scampers to get a suitable book, Koa pulls it down and gingerly opens it. "See if there's any more. I'll look at this."

Keiko after all might have a hard time reading this.

By the time she gets back, with or without other books, he's sketching and muttering to himself. His eyes have gotten slightly more glowy, which is a sign that the ambient magics are working their way in. He's still acting more or less normally though.

Well. As normal as he gets. He's been a bit odd recently.

"I'll make you one. Demon skin tans nicely here in Limbo." Keiko answers rather emotionlessly. For her it's a fact of living in Limbo. You're hard and cold - showing emotion of any sort is a sign of weakness. Koa might get a feeling of what she was like when she was here.

"Well. You heard him." Keiko glares with yellow eyes at the Imp.

"Not doing the bidding of hi——"

Keiko carefully slices into the imp with the Athame "You were saying?"

"Over here …" the imp hisses and scrabbles away.

By the time she gets back there's two other tomes that are laid on the table near the other one.

She's quiet as she watches, noting his eyes and rubbing her arms. Her tattooes basically always itch while she's here.

"Where did you get that anyway?" She's talking about that piece of blood of the machine.

"Chipped it off of one of the stelae. They're all covered with it near the base." Koa says a bit absently as he sketches and reads. "It wasn't easy to get but it's the only part of the damn thing that seems able to come off." They'd kept it contained of course. No telling what kind of enchantments it has and after it reacted to Caden's powers he's very wary about doing anything with it.

"Alright." He says looking up. "Belasco didn't know quite what it was either, but he knew that the Nightfall had used it in the past because it was good at anchoring certain kinds of enchantment that you could normally only anchor to living things. They ALSO used it as a punishment sometimes - feeding traitors or captives to it, but they stopped about a thousand years ago and I can't quite tell why. Did you ever hear any stories of anything like this?"

In her time in the cult he means, though he doesn't say.

"Oh, right. That's what that is." Keiko had been distracted by several things at that time. She glares at the Imp who thinks to linger near them, brandishing her staff as a threat "Git." She's been watching old movies again!

It scampers off but not far before turning to watch the peruvian and the WAND agent with baleful eyes. They haven't made a fan, it seems.

"Stories like that?" Keiko thinks as she stand there. "Maybe … in the archives, a section you didn't see when were there, were statues. We were shown them regularly and told that is what became of traitors. They were brittle … but these ones were kept carefully."

"Interesting…" Koa says as he turns to the books Keiko brought him. One he flips through quickly and then lays a side. The other he lingers on, tilting his head this way and that. "Well. I think I know why they stopped using it."

He turns the book around. There's a full page ink illustration of a number of humanoid beings shoulder to shoulder in lockstep, advancing toward what looks like a village in the mountains somewhere. The inscription below is faded but Koa translates it.

"It says 'beware the phalanx.' Old word for a body of troops massed together like that. Looks like if it's fed too much it can do that. Or maybe if too many people are sacrificed and converted. Explains why we didn't see any in the Nightfall's hold. They must have purged it. But I'll bet they still knew where to get it if they needed it."

Keiko stares at the page and turns her eyes to hold Koas gaze. "Those things are … monstrous. Converted to what to what though? What are they are?" She's thoughtful for a moment, before glaring around the library at the demons gathered there.

Some of them preen a bit, making themselves look larger. Others draw back slightly.

"What if this is what they were planning for us? We still don't know what our final trial was to be." beat "Did you want to go back?"

"No." Koa shakes his head. "I think if the Nightfall were still using this in a big way you'd know about it. It could be one of the mysteries but from what I'm reading Belasco thought it was more of a 'special ingredient' they used whenever they needed to. A dangerous one."

He looks at the illustration again and shakes his head. "I have no idea what they are. Zombies of some kind perhaps?" Of course he thinks of it in a magical context.

"Wait. Look here." There's another illustration. It looks similar but not identical to the stelae they'd encountered earlier. Only this one has holy symbols to Plokta drawn on it.

"Hrm…" He peers at one of the drawings and then his eyes widen. "Keiko do you still have any of those old Nightfall Talismans? I need you to bleed on it."

It's a relief to Keiko when Koa answers like that. The Nightfall were terrible as it was without adding that to the mix. Though she does wonder what her fate might have been if she had been returned to their … loving … arms.

"They look like Zombies, don't they?" She's leaning the same in thoughts that Koa is. Why would they think anything else?

"That … looks like Ploktas symbol, doesn't it." beat "I do. I keep one in my pack just in case …" It takes her a moment to retrieve one of the gossamer glass discs, looking at Koa as she pricks her finger with the tip of the athame.

When the blood wells, she presses it to the disc, smearing the surface.

The moment she does it begins to glow and Keiko can perceive… something. It seems faint and far away and she might realize that's because it's on Earth and not in Limbo. But she can sense points. It's like nothing she's ever felt before. Connected to some kind of network. Possibly a network of Nightfall Stelae similar to the ones that Siffror is using. But MUCH more accessible since they exist ON earth.

They need to try this again. But not here.

Keiko draws in a breath and actually stumbles a little. That's dangerous to do that here but the sensation took her by her surprise. "It's on Earth. We need to go. Are you taking these books?" She looks at Koa.

She's not kidding. "I can find it … what it is. It's … everywhere."

Koa doesn't move to support her. Not here. He's got better instincts than that. He closes his sketch book and shakes his head. "No I have what I need and I'd rather not remove anything from Illyana's library that belongs here. Let's get back to earth. We can do more from there."

He takes out the little stone recall wafer and waits for Keiko to be ready. Then, when both wafers snap, they're whisked away.

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