2019-09-20 - Once Upon A Nightmare


Illyana brings Koa to Limbo to deal with his Nightmare Problem.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Fri Sep 20 05:28:45 2019
Location: Limbo

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It's been a week or so now, of Illyana bringing Koa to Limbo to sleep in her room where it's Warded and backed with her power as the premiere Power of the realm which keeps the WAND agent safe from Nightmare making off with his dream-self. Since Illyana doesn't tend to sleep very often, Koa's had her bed. A large, four-poster affair with heavy furs for blankets. Don't tell PETA.

Tonight is different. Illyana teleported them into the room and then left, which was per usual. But as he's getting into bed, the door opens again and Illyana comes in with a heavy pair of manacles that she works on attaching to the headboard and then will lock Koa's wrists into.

The blonde sorceress is dressed differently than per her usual as well. Instead of the black leather, she's got a long dress in purple velvet that's slit up the side and cut low in front with long, belled sleeves and a bit more on the silver jewelry accents as well.

Being in Limbo is odd for Koa. Not strange, though it most certainly is that, but odd in the way it plays with his nature. The magic of the place seems to push at his skin, always tempting him to breath it in. That's been true since he fist came here what seems like ages ago, but recently it's started to 'soak' in. Like it gets past and into his system whether he draws in consciously in or not.

He's just gotten his shirt off and folded his pouch belt over a chair when she comes back in. He doesn't say anything but his brow quirks when he sees the manacles. When she actually grabs his wrist and locks him into it he finally does say something.

"Um…" Um, what on earth is going on? Illyana's not really one to explain and for the most part Koa isn't really one to question her. But this is absolutely the first time he's ever been chained to a bed.

The 'um' might also be for what she's wearing. There's not really any question that it looks good on her. It does. But it is completely outside her usual.

"Now I feel underdressed…" He says. Quietly, he doesn't have to say it loudly.

Illyana Rasputina is kneeling on the broad bed, testing to make sure the manacles are secure. His first utterance gets a glance with a hint of a smirk before her attention is back on what she's doing. Her fingers trace over the gold-chased metal and glowing lines appear in the wake of her touch.

As she finishes up, she chuckles at his statement, her gaze raking down over his chest to his pants that are still on and back up. "I'd say 'overdressed' myself." And then, shifting position a bit, she starts to undo his pants so she can drag them off of his legs as she gets back off the bed.

Tossing those aside she nods, pale eyes glinting a bit with amusement. "Better." Guess she'll know if he's a boxers or briefs kinda guy. Then she crooks her finger at him. "Red rover, red rover, send bitey-Koa right over."

Sort of both as it turns out. That style of underwear that seems to combine both. It probably says a lot about the credit that Illyana has built up with Koa that he doesn't protest her removing his pants but he DOES look very, very confused.

Though that lasts about as long as it takes for the sensation of whatever she did to those manacles to work into his wrists. Then he takes in a sharp breath and very nearly misses her calling out his, er, other half.

"Um, ahem. Yes." He almost says 'sorry'. Almost. Instead he takes in a deep breath again. His eyes gleam red as he draws in Limbo's power and Illyana can probably feel it, feel Limbo go into him.

Then those eyes close and the beast-hybrid version of himself sits up, testing the wrists first to make sure they won't hold the astral form.

"I've not bitten you, I don't think." His voice like this is rumbly. Almost… growly. The image of the tattoo on his neck gleams with borrowed power.

She called him, so he comes over. Good shark-dog-thing.

"Um…" This is how she knows it's still Koa. "Why the chains? And the…" He gestures to the dress. He has literally never seen her wearing anything of the sort.

The chains don't bind him, but astral versions come with him as beast-Koa pulls himself free. Without the chain joining them, they look more like bracers.

"Mmm, too bad that. But you still bite other things, so it still works." Illyana says dismissively. She's digging in her pocket when he asks about the chains, pulling out her phone and flipping over to the camera setting so she can take a picture of the mostly-naked chained up Koa. She sets it as her wallpaper and then heads for the door, another crook of her finger indicating he should follow. She rolls her eyes a bit at his observation of her dress. "What, you think I can't wear anything else?" Her steps take them towards stairs that wind up, up, up, higher into the castle and one of her workrooms. This one is specifically for Summonings, with a large throne-like chair at one end and lots of large, arched openings that look out over Limbo.

"Let's just say I'd gotten used to your brand. Not that it doesn't look good." Koa murmurs of the change of clothes. The 'too bad' has him looking sidelong at her. 'Too bad that'? She possibly doesn't catch the look because she's getting her new wallpaper. When he sees that…

Then they're taking the stairs or, well, she is. Koa can fly like this so he sort of floats along behind and slightly to her left, with the occasional rattle of astral chains. At the top he takes in the room and the throne and…

"Oh…" He's starting to get some notion as to what she might be up to.

"At your side, then? Or… at your feet?" Either way he suspects he'll be kneeling. Then again, she knows that he doesn't really have a problem with that doesn't she? He'd done it on his first time here.

In front of her demons no less.

"I think he's had long enough to gnash his teeth, hmm?" Illyana nods to the circle. "The smaller circle." She points to the point of the pentagram closest to the throne. It puts him in a Circle in a Circle. The one he's to stand in is about six feet in diameter. The larger one closer to thirty, filling the room and the floor is crawling with layers upon layers of specialized Wards.

When Koa steps in, energy snaps from the edge of the circle to those manacles on his wrists, tethering him there. "When Nightmare tries to pull you to him, I should be able to pull a shadow of *him* here." She can't summon the Dream Lord himself. Not unless he's been very sloppy.

Reaching out to her side, Illyana's staff appears in her left hand. She gives it an idle spin and then sits down, smoothing her skirts as she rests the matte black length across her knees. "Why the look? Because everything is about impressions."

There's a pause, and Illyana fixes him with her pale gaze. "Trust in me." It's an order. And a request.

Trust in her. Illyana has, all in all been rather decent to Koa. More decent, anyway, than he would have expected someone in her condition to be. But it can't be argued that his association with her hasn't cost him, and badly. He's paid in pain, in mental torment, in changes to his fundamental being and with his very life itself. It would probably be sensible to question her at least a little bit.

He doesn't, though. When she tells him - asks him - to trust in her as he stands inside that circle, he bows his head in confirmation. "I do."

It may very well be a mistake. But he does.

The power all around him has a more visible effect on his Astral form. First the the tattoo on his neck gleams. Then his eyes follow, red. Then his whole form starts to subtly crawl, as if something were superimposed over it that isn't quiiite there.

The moment he's exposed he feels a tug and nearly slams into the side of the circle. The manacles keep him firmly in Limbo though and when Illyana's trap goes through the ghostly image of a man in sickly green appears in the circle. He looks a bit shocked. Nonplussed, even? Not quite sure what to say. Or quite where he 'is'.

Everything is about impressions. That'll make a lasting one.

As that piece of Nightmare appears, the larger Circle flares to life, powered by Illyana's will to keep him from slipping right back out. She can't hold him indefinitely of course, but she can keep this sliver of him trapped for a good long while. Definitely long enough for a chat, unless he chooses to sacrifice that portion of himself. Not a huge loss but significant enough it's likely to be something of a last resort.

"Nightmare. Lord of Dreams. Welcome to my home." Illyana rises to her feet, moving towards the circle, the ring of her staff hitting the stone floor marking time as she walks. As she gets to the edge of the Circle, she gives him a predator's smile. "I was hoping we could talk."

Koa remains silent. If he happens to have sunk to his knees that's probably at least partly because the yanking about was a bit draining and not a little bit terrifying if he's honest. The fact that he stays there is, well… appearances are important. Having his head bowed lets him listen, anyway, without looking like he's following the conversation.

Nightmare turns and looks at Illyana. His eyes narrow. "Darkchilde. You have an interesting way of extending an invitation."

The Dreamlord's eyes find Koa and narrow. "Ah. That is why I couldn't reach him. Very bad of him. I suppose I should have marked him to say that I was using him."

In truth Illyana had marked him before that. But Koa hadn't pressed the issue and Nightmare might not have recognized the marks as belonging to her per se. After all, she's new at this.

The politeness is almost eerie. Especially when Koa knows all too well that what Nightmare so casually speaks of is nothing less than torture that would break most men.

Illyana's steps take her around the edge of the circle until she's standing behind Koa. Reaching through it, where his smaller circle touches the larger, her ringed hand closes about the shaggy mane that passes for his hair and drags his head backward until his face tips upward and his throat is visible. "You just didn't notice that he was already well and truly claimed then?" Illyana's tone grows frosty, even if the words stay polite,

"Humans go in for such interesting decorations." It's a thin excuse and Illyana knows it. It's almost something of a challenge. 'Oh, were those your marks? Sorry, I mistook them for one of those cute tattoos that mortals use.'

Koa's eyes are solid red at this point and his features lean and aggressive. More so than they were when she called him out of his body. The blue astral form has gone slightly purple to boot.

Though noticing all that may be for another time. Nightmare looks down at the tattoo Illyana has exposed and then back up. "He took something of mine and refused to return it." Someone of his, he means. Koa had her delivered a couple of weeks ago. "Perhaps you'd like to punish him for the trespass, then?" Suggesting that she do something in her own realm might be juuuust shy of rude, but Nightmare is definitely trying to play it like he's got the upper hand here.

Which makes sense. Most splinter lords would.

Poor Koa. When Nightmare says he thought they were mere mortal decoration she pushes power through Koa to spark the Promethium in the tooth-like collar. "Then your age is showing, My Lord, to not recognize my hand." There's an underlying growl to her words, subtle reminder that it's a demon under the pretty facade.

As to Koa's theft? Now she gives the shadow of the Dream Lord a smirk, shaking her head as though in disappointment. "Couldn't keep your toys safe from a mortal, Nightmare?"

"Is it my age, Darkchilde, or is it yours that you have occupied your throne for a mere breath?" The rejoinder is immediate but Illyana can tell that stung. He didn't like that at all.

Koa has to bite down on his tongue to suppress a gasp when Illyana pushes power through him. His eyes half close and the markings on that collar glow brilliant white. The same color as her eyes when she's channeling power. Locked as he is with his head pulled back there's nothing he can do but try not to shake.

Now it's Nightmare's turn to growl a little and that smirk slides off his face just a little bit. "I don't know how he did it. But he broke something of importance and stole away the one it was keeping in place. And until she is returned I have a claim."

That's much less polite and much more of a challenge. Claiming grievance against someone who belongs to Illyana. "Unless of course he did that for you. But if he did… why wouldn't he tell me? I asked him oh so politely…"

The smirk comes back but nastier. Illyana knows damn well that Nightmare hurt Koa, badly and repeatedly. And now he's pointing that out. Koa's hers. And Nightmare hurt him.

"I take it, then, that my invitation to your house is about… resolving the matter, oh Darkchilde?"

Illyana Rasputina lets go Koa's head, her hand stroking down his back as she moves back to walking a slow circuit around the Circle. Forcing Nightmare to turn if he wants to keep facing her. Her staff rings softly with each pace. She chooses not to press the back-and-forth about their ages. She scored her point.

"We can barter back and forth until we reach an accord, but now that I know what you're doing I can protect him from you." Illyana points out, and then looks over to Koa. "Humans are stubborn pets. But I think he's learned his lesson already." At that, her gaze shifts back to him, clearly meaning Nightmare's 'hospitality'.

"I know what you want. I'm even willing to give her back to you." Her pacing comes to a stop, and she turns to face Nightmare. "My price is simple. Leave those I've marked be." As she speaks the last, her eyes blaze white with power.

Koa's head doesn't return to the bowed position he was when this started. Instead his eyes follow Illyana as she makes the circuit. Follow her and slide right off Nightmare, as if he were unimportant. When she looks at him he simply inclines his head once. Yes, he learned that lesson quite well.

"You have her?" That seems to surprise Nightmare. He didn't know where WAND was keeping her, nor did he know that WAND had transferred her to Illyana. He is, perhaps, not all seeing. But then if he were he'd have known who was protecting Koa.

Her terms are simple. Reasonable even. Nightmare does not immediately agree to them, however. He looks at Illyana's blazing eyes, and then at Koa and smiles a bit… wickedly.

"Mmmm, but he WAS rather fun to toy with. The things he fears, Darkchilde. And the things he wants. Sometimes they're the same thing you know. But his anguish is… sweet." He looks at Koa like the Agent is a fine wine.

"But… I suppose I WAS starting to tire of him." Nightmare's eyes return to Illyana. "Very well Darkchilde. On our words, then, let this accord be struck. Keep your pet. Though if ever you tire of him or he displeases you. Or perhaps you'd like to watch? I can show you so many delicious ways to open their minds…"

That may appeal to Illyana. She had said not long ago to someone else that she wanted dark and evil things. Nightmare may sense that. Or perhaps he's just sick. Either way, he's offeirng her Koa's screams and agony. Not just agony of the body, but endless and prolonged agony of the mind and soul as well.

Illyana Rasputina could have tried to drive for a harder bargain. Larger concessions. Looked to make Nightmare eat crow for touching what's hers. And of course, part of that appeals to her but the risks start to rise and she's got more than enough on her plate right now.

As Nightmare speaks of Koa as though he were something to sup on, her burning gaze slides over to him, and Koa can almost see her imagining his tortures laid out for her amusement, instead of the Dream Lord's. Can see how very tempting that offer is.

Finally she looks back over to Nightmare. "I plan to be here for a very long time, and I'm sure there will be opportunities to… entertain." The smirk she gives him is more conspiratorial than mocking. Raising her staff, she brings it down on the floor and energy ripples out from it, the power of the Circle fading and freeing that piece of Nightmare. Stepping towards him, she lifts her hand towards his, fingertips outstretched. "If you'll let me key in on you, I'll deliver her to you." Now her smirk turns wry. "Otherwise, I'll have to just drop her wherever I find a opening to your realm…"

Koa's eyes stay on Illyana during the exchange and yes. Yes he can see that she's tempted by the offer. He can see her considering it. He can see her imagining how it might be to draw out his innermost being, his hopes and fears and turn them on him.

She'd asked him to trust her. Does he trust that she'll hold back her worst demons for his sake? He doesn't really have a reason to. He knows about demons. And he knows enough about her to know that her basic nature is drifting very much in that direction. So believing in her now is less an act of trust and more an act of faith.

And Koa has faith in her.

That, however, is of no moment to Nightmare. The Fear Lord stretches out his fingertips and touches Illyana's. That should be enough. If she wishes to come to his realm, well… he's not concerned. Perhaps he should be but he is an old and arrogant Splinter Lord. So he isn't.

That is perhaps how Dream Queen managed to get OUT in the first place.

"Just send her on over. Now, is there anything more you wish to bargain for?" The return smile is conspiratorial as well. He knows what he said resonated on some level.

And with nothing more than that agreement, his word that he'll leave hers alone, Illyana teleports the Dream Queen back to her father's open arms. Surely her screams will echo through the dreams of mortals for some time to come.

"Not today." Her hand dropping back to her side, she leans in towards him, as though sharing a secret. "But, now that we've been introduced I'll try a more… conventional approach to get your attention next time." A chuckle and then she starts to head over towards where Koa is still kneeling in his own circle, the tethers having disappeared with the rest of the circle.

Illyana's voice rises a bit, so Nightmare can still hear her, even though she's walking away from him. "I should make sure my pet understands who he should be *most* terrified of, after all."

Nightmare's smile at that is nothing short of evil and his laugh is almost oily. Unpleasant. With the circle gone, Nightmare's echo vanishes. He, after all, has a wayward daughter to attend to. She escaped her confinement, and he is not likely to let that go easily.

Koa looks up when the Fear Lord goes, watching Illyana. He, perhaps tellingly, doesn't rise. She can see his nostrils flaring. He's rather sensitive to Limbo in general and her power in particular and he's had a fair amount of both in the last couple of minutes. There's a part of him that would normally want to thank her - though that would be dangerous in Limbo - but at the moment he seems a lot less likely to say that. He seems more… bestial. More like her critters. Or maybe more like her. The humanity is still there, but something is starting to bury it. Limbo has a way of doing that.

Illyana's staff disappears between one step and the next, and when she gets to Koa she reaches out to stroke his head, stepping into his personal space, close enough if he leaned forward just a little, he could lean his head against her. There's the slightest hint of a shiver that moves through her, but no sense of chill or trepidation. Her eyes slide back to their pale blue, the color mostly washed out from the power that always lurks behind them.

"Come on then. Let's get you back to your body." She murmurs softly to him, her touch smoothing over his head again. As though he really were her pet. Her gaze is sharp as she watches him, and it's unlikely that those changes, that Limbo's touch on him, has gone unnoticed.

Koa half closes his eyes and actually pushes his head into her hands, again almost as if he really were a pet. Then she feels his strange hybrid muzzle next to her neck, inhaling even though he doesn't strictly speaking breathe in this form. Inhaling and then breathing out very, very close. It takes him a moment to realize that he IS that close and pull himself back slightly. There's a visible effort to… calm himself? Contain himself? It's not that the beast is acting out, really. It's more that the control that Koa usually has is rather badly strained.

"You took care of me." He murmurs. It's as close to a thank you as he dare get out here. His jaw works for a moment as he takes in another breath trying to center himself. It really, really isn't working. The energy of Limbo isn't really a calming kind of thing. And for just a moment - a long drawn out moment - Koa can feel his own heartbeat even in this form resonate with something under his feet.

Ahem. He's still in her personal space bubble, he realizes, and takes himself back out of it.

Mild amusement flickers over Illyana's features as he snuffles at her neck, but her eyes are still slightly narrowed as she watches him. Sees him take that moment to try to keep his control.

As Koa steps back, pulling himself out her Illyana's space, space she appropriated from him when she stepped into his, her touch falls away. She heads towards the stairs, stopping briefly next to him. "If it's too tiring, you can always give in, and I'll keep you in hand." Because yes. She'll take care of him. The glance she gives him, eyes half-lidded and with the faintest hint of a smirk, she knows what kind of temptation she's laid before him.

And then the doors are opening with a groan, and she's walking through them to take him back to his body, chained to her bed.

Does she enjoy that? He has barely enough brain space to wonder that. The temptation. Knowing how badly he's strained to behave already and knowing what a statement like that does to his considerably frayed self control. She had told him once, it seems like a lifetime ago, that she has to poke people. Test them. Do things that satisfy her demonic nature. Is that one of them?

"Do you know what giving in meant?" Because she's seen what he does in this case. It could have meant taking a bite out of her just as easily as anything else. It probably didn't mean that. Koa's inner beast is very respectful of Illyana. But you know…

When finally they reach the bottom and the warded room Koa flows toward his body and then stops and looks back at her, long and searching. "It's been a long time since anyone has taken care of me." He says. "Longer, I think, than I can remember. Thank you, Illyana."

Then he turns to flow back into his body. His eyes open slowly and he feels the chains on his wrists. And then…

"Wait. Why did you need my pants off for this?"

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