2019-10-29 - Not Star Wars


K'nert brings news of N'astirh's fall

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Tue Oct 29 08:26:08 2019
Location: WAND Offices

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It's early afternoon at WAND and Koa is in his office with a stack of books and scrolls and what looks very much like an urn on his desk. The urn is small and dark and appears to be made of something like lead. There's markings and reliefs on it but they're quite faded and the ones that can be made out clearly appear to depict fantastical images. For example that might be a kraken on one end? If it isn't… spaghetti. It's hard to say. The books on Koa's desk are in several languages and he's got his sketch and notepad out. His notes are in yet ANOTHER language, well sort of. Not a language so much as it is his shorthand but there's a LOT of arcane symbols in his shorthand so… sort of like a language, yes.

Keiko has been classes all morning and her mood isn't much improved from the other day. Not that it's easy to tell, the woman never smiles and regularly gives co-workers that flat look of hers. Since her meeting with the Director though, there maybe a few more.

Coming into Koa's office, the tattooed woman looks at the urn, the pile of books and his sketch book before putting a box from the local bakery and a cup of coffee in front of him.

"I'm hungry, thought you might be too." is all she says as she collapses into a chair. "What are you working there?"

Koa reaches over to take some of whatever is in the box. It almost doesn't matter what it is because he is also hungry. He finishes taking a few notes and finally looks up. "Good thinking, I am, yes. Thank you."

Demons don't say thank you and neither do predators but Koa can do this here in his office where it's perfectly safe. Right? "Another angle to the case. It's a 'kurgan' urn though it's unusual for that since the people who are typically buried in kurgans aren't often known for making things like urns. I'm trying to decypher the-"

There's rather abruptly something on his head. Balancing. It's a K'nert who just sort of hops out of the shadows.

"The hell?"

It's an eclair in the box. What possessed Keiko to buy him that is a very good question. She's happily munching on donuts. Koa might be able to say 'please' and 'thank you' in his office, Keiko just … doesn't. It's been too long for her to break that habit.

"A Kurgan? Like in Highlander?" It's hard to tell when she's joking or not but Koa might be able to able to tell that she is. "Wait, that doesn't make sense. Why would people who don't make things like urns bury their dead in."

"What do you want, K'nert…. " Her coffee is slopped as she starts just a little. "If you want to be a hat for Koa, come here. My knives are sharp."

K'net hops off Koa's head though in a direction out of Keiko's immediate arms reach. Koa gives the little imp a sour look like he's very seriously considering just backhanding him off the desk. "Kurgan, Keiko, as in burial mounds or the culture that made them." Highlander. She watches the worst movies.

"N'astirh is fallen." K'nert hisses. Koa only catches a bit of that because his demonic isn't quite as practiced as Keiko's. Which is a nice way of saying that he has never been stuck in a hell realm for years on end.

All the same. What on EARTH does that mean?

Highlander is a great movie. The sequels however, don't make much sense. Keiko just gives Koa a look at the correction and then turns her slitted eyes to the imp. Koa totally should backhand K'nert, teach the creature his place in their pecking order.

"N'astirh has fallen?" She translated when she sees the look Koa gives to her. "Down the well and you need Lassie to save him? Speak plainly, K'nert. Where has fallen. What happened."

Fallen. Perhaps the imp means like Rome fell.

"As in dead, K'nert?" Koa cants his head. Demons come back, that's one of the MOST annoying things about Limbo demons. They don't stay dead. K'nert, however, shakes his head.

"He's been corrupted."

What one earth does it mean to a Limbo demon for something to become corrupt. Corruption is what Limbo does. So if something is corrupt from a Limbo perspective…

"The sickness that is eating Limbo has infected him."

"Demons don't die, you now that Koa." Keiko mutters, brow furrowing. "Corrupted? What sickness?" Sometimes Keiko feels like she's three steps behind.

And Pandora wants her to learn all she can before Koa … falls. It just makes her even more growly.

"The sickness… you mean the Stelaes? That we saw when were there last? With that circuitry?"

K'nert nods a few times at Keiko's words. "The sickness. It takes Limbo and makes it Not-Limbo. Mistress contains it but more appears. N'astirh got too close. It is on him now. In him."

Koa frowns. He nods to Keiko, he does know that, but he wanted to confirm. "How do you know this?"

"I saw it. N'astirh serves the Sickness Now. I think it is teaching him things. He has called out to Witchfire. They plan something. Something here. On earth. Something about the Child."

"N'astirh got too close. He thought he could what the Darkchilde could not, didn't he?" Keiko growls. "I'm sure he was working for Belasco." That's to Koa as an aside. If he's not, that might be an opportunity.

"And you thought to come and tell us because we belong to the Darkchilde? Why should we believe you, K'nert?" Keiko's face goes utterly impassive at the mention the Child, but the brand on her chest starts to pulse as her teeth start to grind.

"Which Child."

"Because I belong to the Darkchilde as well." K'nert is a loyalist. He'd be a terrible person if he WERE a person but he isn't. He's a demon. He can only be according to his nature. He wants Illyana to rule. To be the Darkchilde. To fulfill the prophesy. And this might threaten that.

Or is he working another angle?

"Your child." K'nert says simply and Koa sucks in a breath. He looks at Keiko. That might set her off. The woman is VERY protective of her daughter.

Keiko scowls at K'nert. She knows enough of demons to not believe what they say but K'nert is loyal to Illyana - or so it seems. "The Darkchilde will hear of this, K'nert. If you are lying I will ask to take your hide." A strip at a time.

He might be working another angle, it's hard to tell with demons. It doesn't do to underestimate them but are they really that smart?

The brand pulses brightly and Keiko launches herself at K'nert trying to get her hands around his throat. "You will take them a message. If they come for my daughter, I will make them regret it. They will not die, they will live with what I do to them."

Koa actually moves - surprisingly quickly - to catch Keiko by the back of her shirt and yank her back into her seat. "Hey! Enough!" He snaps. It's not really that he's fond of K'nert. It's more that one, he doesn't want his desk ruined and she's about to scatter everything everywhere and two, she'll trip the anti violence wards and those will give her a real kick in the teeth.

K'nert scampers backwards anyway. His eyes gleam as he watches Koa assert his place in charge. Stuff like this? It just plays into the nature that Limbo is trying to push onto them both.

"Keiko, he can't carry a message to demons that aren't working for Illyana."

Koa is strong. Keiko … isn't. And she's tiny. Yanking her back is easy. Getting the control over her? That's a bit harder as her own demon stirs. When she looks at Koa, Keiko's eyes are bright yellow, her lips peeled back to reveal the fangs that are there.

One day Koa might be challenged by the Spirit Caller. Today is not that day though and she settles. "He can spread the word amongst the others, the message will get to them." the peruvian snarls, the brand on her chest still pulsing. "They will not touch my daughter, Koa."

"Scram." Koa says to K'nert. And perhaps to Keiko's surprise, K'nert does exactly that, hopping off the desk and running down the hallway. He'll probably wind back up in Limbo shortly. He might do what Keiko told him to. Start gossiping. Demons seem to like doing that anyway.

Once the imp is gone Koa looks at Keiko and lets go of the back of her shirt as she settles. "You're going to need to see to her security. I figure she's probably pretty safe at home given who she lives with. What's security like at her school?"

Keiko snarls at K'nert as he leaves, her eyes still glowing yellow. She's marked him and it's not going to be an easy 'truce' between them. Right now she's angry and that brand is working its magic on her.

"I see to her safety, Koa…" she's still growling. Completely unhappy with the news "And how the hell am I supposed to know what the security of her school is like? I'm not *allowed* there, remember?" It's bitter and frustrated.

"I want her with me at all times till this is resolved."

"I doubt that's going to be possible because you've got to work, she could get into a lot of trouble here and if this drags out - which it might - she does still need things like school. And socialization." Koa understands the knee jerk reaction but he's trying to work with what's possible here. And also what's likely.

"Talk to her father. I concur that she might need to be pulled out of her present school but that's not really something I have any kind of input in."

It slightly boggles Koa's mind that it is in any way LEGAL for a school to deny a parent access to the grounds where their child is but that's neither here nor there. It hasn't been a problem so far and he hasn't had to bring the force of the law down on it.

And again, this is between Keiko and Piotr.

The response is very Keiko though. To address the immediate threat. "I *know* that Koa but I won't have Elena taken by those N'astirh and Witchfire." For five years she, and Piotr, had kept Elena safe and here, on Earth, where it should be easier - Keiko has even less influence than she did.

"I don't know of any other school that will cater to her … unique nature." It's why Keiko hasn't made a fuss about not being on the grounds. "Hanks there, I'll send him a message and make sure he's watching her. Between him, Caden and Piotr she should never be alone."

"Is there no school for the employees of SHIELDs children?"

"Most of the people here are fairly ordinary. Well. Here in SHIELD not here in WAND. So they use normal schools." Koa points out. "However, due to the nature of our work WAND does know people who deal with magical children quite effectively. I could reach out to some of them if that's what you wanted."

It's still something she should talk over with Piotr but Koa is happy to provide resources and options. "We also don't know that they want to take her, specifically. Only that they want to do something that involves her." And that, sadly, could be anything. If N'astirh has been infected by the 'blood of the machine' it's possible he wants to spread it. Which is a… sort of frightening thought.

"Whatever they want, Koa, they need access to her …." Keiko points out. But do they? Or are they achieving their goal by having Keiko so fixated on her daughters protection? "… and I won't allow that."

"Tell me who to talk to and I'll make enquiries here. Then I'll make some decisions." She's still angry, though the brand has settled to dull pulse at the moment.

"What was it you called me here for, anyway?"

"Talk to Agent Vex at the front desk. He'll put you in touch with the relevant people. He's the one with the worms in his mouth." They call him a Worm-speaker. It's not really clear what he does but hey. He's quite helpful so long as you don't stare at his mouth while he's speaking.

"I wanted to ask you about something I found here on the urn. Can you ever remember in your time at the Nightfall anyone mentioning anything called a 'Lux Invicta?'" Which is Latin for 'Invincible Light' if she's been paying attention.

"Worms in his mouth…" Keiko makes a face. She's seen some strange things but that's just creepy and weird. "I will …"

"Lux Invicta?" that brings her attention back. She's thoughtful. "Once, when I started the trials for my last tattoo. Something about being able to withstand it or …. something. It wasn't clear, but the Magi were ones who were talking of it."

"What about it?"

"It might possibly also be known as the Lightforce." Koa says as he peers at some of his notes and one of the books. "The stuff I am translating speaks of it with some fear. Like it's a direct counter or antithesis of the forces the Nightfall wished to command. I was wondering if you knew much of it. Or why they feared it so."

Clearly Koa's thinking they may have found something they might be able to use. "We don't have much here about any 'Lightforce' in our libraries and I doubt we'll be able to go back to the Nightfall and ask to use theirs again."

"The magi kept their secrets, Koa and despite my … differences, I didn't question much. They also called it the Wrath of The Gods. I'm not sure what they meant, but it sounded like a way they would punish us."

"We can try the Nightfall. Portal in, right to the library this time - we know where it is. Or go to that library we went to first … or the Darkchildes in Limbo."

She sighs. "What about George Lucas?"

"Trying to do library research while fighting is a pain and risks destroying the things we want." Koa says with a shake of his head. "There is someone in SHIELD we might ask though. Don't know if she knows anything but even if she doesn't… all bet the people who used to be her handlers do."

Oh the Russians are so not going to like this.

The name of Lucas gets a blink. And a stare. "What about George Lucas?"

"Who said we have to fight? If we teleport in carefully, there should be no need. We know the Nightfall are stretched. Send a force to their borders, keep them distracted while we do that…" Keiko shrugs. She's too angry to be thinking all that clearly.

"But who are you thinking of? And why would they know?"

As to Lucas, she manages to look sheepish. "Lightforce, Force, Lightsabre. Sounds all very Jedi to me."

"Laynia Petrovna. You've met her. Darkstar. We found Darque with her. She wields something called 'The Darkforce'. She may know about the Lightforce. And if she doesn't her former handlers might." It's a lot of if's but it's worth pursuing. Unlike the thing that has Koa pinching the bridge of his nose.

"This is not star wars and Jedi are not real." He says with an exaggerated sigh.

"Why didn't you just say that?" Keiko gives Koa a 'look'. Her anger slowly abating to annoyance at the world around her. "Do you think it's that simple? That it's a similar power? I … didn't draw that conclusion."

How on earth is she supposed to learn what he knows? Pandora Peters must be mad if she thinks Keiko is anything like up to it.

"Who says they're not? We have mutants who move things with their mind and no one really knows how they do it. Why can't they be Jedi and that be the Force?"

"I DID say that." Koa says, almost exactly like Harrison Ford a long time ago in a galaxy far far away. "It might not be that simple but these writings certainly make it seem like the Darkforce and the Lightforce are an opposed pair. That's not an uncommon arrangement in the mystical world so it does make some sense."

Koa puts down his pin and swivels his chair to more directly face Keiko.

"Because there is no one 'Force' that connects everything. Believe me, Keiko, if it did my job would be a lot easier."

"You didn't say it was Laynia until I asked." Keiko points out. Still shaking her head at not drawing the conclusion. Koa's Solo impersonation just gets a flat look. He might not understand her frustration but she's been 'off' since her discussion with the director.

"Didn't say it was the same. Star Wars is a fantasy movie, afterall. I was joking anyway, about Lucas." And it had fallen flat.

"There's no joking in baseball." Koa mutters. That's an entirely different type of movie that he's misquoting. "Anyway yes. Laynia. We should talk to her and if we have to investigate her handlers, it'd be good to have her along." If only because she's sure to want to know what on EARTH happened to them. Koa hasn't looked to see if SHIELD has files but he suspects not.

Secret Cold War era activities are often still quite secret. For good reasons some of the time but it is a right pain in the ass.

"What movie is that?" Keiko asks. That might Koa boggle that there's something she hasn't seen.

"Then lets go talk to her. Her handlers are the Russians, yes? The ones who have something to do with this Blood of the Machine."

The small spirit caller is quiet, her eyes now just a dull yellow. "How do you do it, Koa? Put all this information together and make your analysis? I'm too stupid, I think. Easier to beat things with my staff until they talk."

"A League of Their Own. You should watch it some time." Koa says as he puts everything down and leans forward to rub his eyes a little bit. "Different projects I'm pretty sure. Things tend to be highly compartmentalized when you're dealing with governments."

Not all Russians are doing the same thing. Case in point, the Russians they know.

"I ask myself what I know and what questions I have. Then I look and see if what I have in front of me gives me any answers. Or at least better questions." There's a lot of that. Finding better questions, that is.

"Some things don't respond well to staff beatings.

Keiko shakes her head and stares at the wall as Koa answers her question. She's not educated, not like he is, not like others. Maybe she'll tell Peters to find someone else to learn from Koa, Keiko doesn't think she can do it.

"They don't. And that's where you come in." The smaller Agent agrees, sighing again. "Let's go find Laynia and talk to her. I need to message Hank and make sure Elena is safe, I can do that on my way there."

This whole thing, since meeting with the Director has left her … adrift.

Koa stands and nods. "Sure thing. Hopefully she's in today otherwise we may have to go hunt her down." Ordinarily he wouldn't bother the woman if it were, like, her day off. However extradimensional invasions mean that no downtime is safe from him. If he needs to hunt her down that's exactly what he's going to do.

At least Keiko's met the woman and she knows that the peruvian never, ever, smiles.

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