2020-01-28 - Return To The Garden


A visit to Limbo to try and get more information on Illyana reveals something interesting..

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Tue Jan 28 05:05:29 2020
Location: Limbo

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Theme Song



The following day at WAND Koa and Keiko had worked their rather surprising and unusual lead. The first thing he did was have someone pick up the footage from the venue and run it through their databases. That had led to the following conversation.

"Yep. That's her. One hundred percent match. Um… how did you not recognize her?"

"Would you believe me if I said she looked completely different?"

That hadn't made sense to the intel tech but Koa sees auras. He never doesn't see them so… she had. And yet, that was her. But she hadn't looked right. Hadn't felt right. Hadn't seemed to recognize or remember them.

That had led directly to Koa marching down to the teleportarium with Keiko and telling them to dial up Limbo, something that he had previously been resistant to. Koa is just grabbing some kit from one of the lockers.

"So riddle me this Keiko. Last time Illyana was missing for all of five days before demons kidnapped someone to rule in her place. Why hasn't that happened again this time?"

That IS something of a mystery. It's been months here which is to say years or maybe centuries in Limbo. So… yeah. Why?

"Teleport is charging up. Almost ready sir." The tech says.

Keiko has been her usual pleasant self. Which is to say she's not smiled but she's not growled at anyone or tried to bite them. That's pleasant as far as Keiko is concerned right now.

"It's a long story, Agent." she says in relation to Illyana, not really willing to discuss it any further than that.

Standing by as Koa gets the kit, Keiko idly twirls the rod that extends to a staff. "There's an heir now, recognised officially and that heir has a child." She ponders. "Apart from that - Limbo wasn't there, was it? Not really. We couldn't get in and how many Limbo demons have you seen since the Darkchilde went missing?"

"A few. K'nerts been around near constantly, obnoxious little thing that he is. But that's my point. There's an heir. So why hasn't there been a bunch of demons by to grab Piotr. Or Elena. Or you." Or all three. Koa shakes his head, finishes grabbing a few things and steps onto the pad that serves as the teleportation area. He gestures for Keiko to take her place and tosses her a small device made of brass and gears. "Transdimensional radio. Don't lose it, we've only got a few." If something goes horribly wrong, the teleportarium can pull them out.

"Alright sir." Says the tech. "In three. Two. One…"

The spell goes off. Everything flashes bright. And then…

They're standing on a high hill with a sheer drop down one side. Everything is green. There are trees all around. The air is cool and pleasant and there's the sound of running water nearby.

Koa blinks. "This can't be right…"

"Who's to say they've been in Limbo? They might have been caught when the Darkchilde did her thing. If they haven't been able to get out …" Keiko shrugs. As far as she's concerned they've enough problems without borrowing more.

Catching the radio, she tucks down her top, leaving her hands free for staff and fighting. As the tech speaks, the rod extends and the peruvian stands ready.

Flash. Keiko's head swims for a moment as she reorients. "This isn't Limbo. Tech got it wrong."

"Uh no. I'm tracking you in limbo right now." The voice comes from the radio. That's the tech. Koa's eyes narrow.

"Are you sure about that? This doesn't look like the right place and it doesn't feel like the right place."

"Sir…" The tech sounds almost offended. "Limbo's pretty big. And it's the closest realm to Earth. It's kind of hard to miss. All my instruments are showing you're in Limbo."

Koa shakes his head. "What the hell…"

There's no citadel. No sign of demons. And the place looks wild but almost idyllic. "Illyana what did you do?"

Keiko can feel the demon on her back tug. Back. Away. Down the hill and into the woods.

"This isn't Limbo. This is some human paradise. Like that garden … you know the one, in the bible." Keiko growls. She can be obstinate and it's coming through in spades now.

"Where's the tree? Where's the citadel?" Keiko truly isn't impressed and even less so when her demon rouses and starts to pull at her. "Would you settle down …" the words are growled again as leathery, spirit, wings flare out from her shoulders as the demon decides to take offense.

"This way." She says to Koa, turning to head down the hill towards that wood. "It wants to go this way …"

Is that a good idea? She's no idea but the demon is more attuned to Limbo than either of them. Maybe. "What are you feeling, Koa? Anything?"

Koa closes his eyes at the question, even as they walk. When they open again, they're pure silver, the white is gone. "A little bit. Something faint. Not like it should be. But… I can feel the heartbeat." It's muffled. Or weak. But it is there. This… might be Limbo?

But if so what in the hells has happened to it?

The demon leads them down the hill and through a little defile with a stream running through it. As they move there are sounds of wildlife. Birds. Larger animals that go unseen. But no sign of demons.

That's almost unsettling for Koa. "I wonder if the only Limbo demons left were outside Limbo when whatever Illyana did happened." If so that would explain why there hasn't been a throng of demons demanding a ruler. There aren't any to rule.

They come up out of the defile and start ascending again. They reach the top of a little hill, bare of trees and there, sticking out of the ground, is Illyana's soulstaff. It's sheathed in energy and projecting something up into the blue sky that extends far beyond sight.

And it would mean that Keiko had been mostly right in her surmise that the demons they had seen had been outside when Limbo fell.

"How did a new biome get created?" That's an interesting word for an uneducate peruvian to use. "I mean, this has been completely remade. This isn't Limbo. Not anymore." She mutters as they move. "You can sense the heartbeat of Limbo?"

Stopping near to the soulstaff, Keiko frowns and looks at Koa, before following whatever is being projected up, to see how high it goes. "A beacon? Or a barrier? Something to protect this area and change it? And why in Limbo did the Darkechilde not recognise us? It's like she's another person, really." Like she might have exchanged souls or something similar.

"It was. She'd laughed." Koa remembers that. It was one of those little things that had made him think it wasn't her. He's heard Illyana laugh before. It hadn't ever sounded like that. At the question of whether or not he senses the heartbeat of Limbo he nods. And then squads down to touch the earth.

"I can feel it too but it's faint. Deep. Not like it was before."

Now the Staff… that's another question. Experimentally Koa reaches out to touch it. A field of energy zaps his hand an instant before he makes contact.

"Ow. Well. Okay. No touching." He looks up.

"It has to be a barrier. It's holding Limbo together, maybe? But there has to be a reason that Sifror hasn't just ploughed through here if Limbo is without a protector." Or even demons to slow the process down. There has to be a reason the Lord of the Lifeless hasn't just come through and breached the realm toward Earth.

The demon on Keiko's back stirs restlessly. Keiko gets flashes of Limbo. The Limbo that was. A number of visions stretching back further and further. And in the furthest ones, the dimmest, haziest ones, she can see something very like this.

What if Limbo wasn't transformed. What if it was put back to the way it used to be?

"And she ran. I've never seen the Darkchilde run." Keiko answers.

"Let me … " The peruvian reaches out to touch the staff, she expects she'll get zapped as well.

When the flashes come, it causes her to stumble a step.

"The demon. It's showing me images. Limbo … was like this once. Long ago." There's something nagging at her, hadn't Illyana said that to them before?

She does get zapped and there's enough power behind it to sting. It's not like power she's felt in Limbo before. It's purer. More natural. It's missing the taint and corruption that has characterized the place before. It's not ENTIRELY absent but one could miss it if all you felt before was the way it was a couple of months ago.

"It… remembers?" That makes sense. Demons are effectively immortal. If it remembers something like that then…

"I think I've read something about that in the WAND archives. And I think Illyana may have mentioned something like it."

He takes in a breath. "If Limbo's taint is missing that explains why our people couldn't find her. They were looking for the Darkchilde. And it's possible that SHE got reset along with the rest of the realm." Koa and Keiko had been pulled out but that hadn't happened to them. K'nert had actually told him that SHE was gone before K'nert got to him. But even if true, that doesn't mean that she wasn't more affected by it. She was after all tied closer to Limbo than the two of them.

Though not, it seems, any longer.

And that gives Koa a thought that makes him make a very, very unhappy face.

Keiko hisses at the sting but that's the most she emotes. Koa does get a puzzled look "You didn't say it felt like that." she accuses him.

"Remembers? I guess. It wasn't exactly like this but close. Wait …" Turning her attention inward, Keiko does something she's never done before. "Show me what happened…" she tells the demon. "… when it went from the garden to barren…."

"The Darkchilde got reset? Maybe? If that's the case, why not you or I? I know we were kicked out before too much happened but …" Something is niggling at her, her eyes turned to the soulstaff.

It's Koas unhappy face that makes her speak again. "What?"

"Did you think 'ow' meant that it tickled?" Koa says, misunderstanding her accusation a little bit. He takes a step back, still clearly thinking, and working through something.

The demon does show her. It's like watching a time lapse film. She can see the garden, though it's dim and distant and hazy. Over time - what must be thousands or maybe even hundreds of thousands of years - it remains that way. And then something happens. Some THING connects the place to the Elder Gods. And then, some time ago, Belasco arrives.

And then things really go to 'hell'. After he does the place changes drastically. Like he shaped it or corrupted it somehow. It was already on a downward trend but something he did accelerated it. A lot.

When she comes back, Koa is watching her. He takes a breath and lets it out.

"Do we really want to go after her? Do we really want to pull her back into this? I mean she did the impossible. She got away. There's no Darkchilde anymore. No slow, inevitable slide into corruption. If she means anything to us - and she does, to us both - why would we bring her back into this?"

It might not be that simple and Koa knows it. Her stepping disks will still bring her here and he's betting that Illyana is still a mutant. Moreover, just because she has forgotten Limbo presumably that doesn't mean that Limbo has forgotten her. Belasco might still be out there. In fact, Koa would put money on it. And there's a couple of angry Splinter Lords out there that she's crossed.

So it might not be that simple. But it's still a question they have to ask. Should they just let her slip into the night? It's clear that he would PREFER to go after her. That the thought of letting her be doesn't sit well with him. But it's a question that he voices all the same.

"It wasn't Belasco that made it like this." Keiko murmurs when she returns from her magical, mystical, memory. "He made it go quicker, but something connected the place to the Elder Gods, long before that." She says, thinking.

Yellow eyes rise to Koa as he starts to talk. "No, we don't. If she can get free, we should let her. I … don't think that's going to be possible though."

She's ignored his misunderstanding of her accusation, that's simply not important.

"Whatever happened, happened, Koa. It could well happen again. What if … we could keep it like this with the Darkchilde, or whatever she's become, as the Queen? Would that be so bad?"

"Belasco is still out there, Koa…." she looks around "Is it like this all over? We should find out."

"That makes sense. The heart must have been here long before Belasco was…" Koa sighs. It's possible the heart was here at the beginning and the Elder Gods corrupted it. Whatever the case they can't know now. He's connected to it and Keiko is as well in a more indirectly.

He sighs. "You're right. There is an excellent chance she won't be and in any case I think Piotr will go absolutely batshit if we tell him that we found his sister and she doesn't remember anything but we're going to let her go fade into the sunset."

So. Track her down it is.

"We need to find out if it's like this everywhere, yes, but we're not going to be able to do that just by traipsing all over the place. We're going to have to come back."

"Maybe Piotr would. I think … you underestimate him. All he wants is to protect his sister and … if he knows she doesn't remember anything and isn't tainted? He … might find peace with that." The small peruvian says.

"Why not?" Keiko asks about traipsing all over the place. She must have some skills in the forest, mustn't she? "We'll get Conner out of storage, anyway, and set him to tracking her. He's never let me down ever."

"Because this place is huge and there's only two of us. If we want to make a thorough search of it it'll take more than that."

"We'll get Conner but not before we make at least one stab at taking that Stelae network out of commission. We can do that when we get back. After we do that, win or lose we'll get Conner out of storage and track her down."

"Uh guys. Should I still be listening to this?" That's the tech again.

Koa sighs and rolls his eyes. "Shall we head back, Keiko?"

"Why not?" Keiko asks the tech in her usual blunt fashion. "We're not talking about having sex or anything. Just doing normal work stuff." OK. She might have done that last bit to make the tech squirm.

"We can head back. I want ice cream."

"Of course you do." Koa says as he motions for Keiko to stand within arms reach. He takes one last look at the staff, one last look at Limbo and then nods.

Tomorrow they'll get to work on what they need to track the former Darkchilde down. He's sort of glad Keiko answered the way she did. He didn't want to let it go anyway.

"Scotty, beam us up."

And in a flash of light, they're gone.

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