2020-02-22 - The Ground Moved


Koa's wards in Limbo are triggered.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sat Feb 22 08:47:40 2020
Location: Limbo

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Koa is, Keiko may start noticing, tired. Not physically tired. He's no more of that than she is. They're both working late hours, doing overtime keeping up with everything they have to stay on top of. It's not even mentally tired. It's more… morally tired. Or maybe spiritually tired. Worn down by keeping everything in check and fighting a losing battle with his own nature on top of that.

They've been doing research for the last little bit. They did manage to lift fingerprints off of the hand print and they matched Elena's. But the hand print is bigger than Elena's by a decent bit so how that's possible is not entirely clear. Also Elena hasn't BEEN to Limbo since it reset.

Keiko in the mean time has met with some success tracking down demons and tossing them back into Limbo, but they're a far, far cry form the endless horde they used to be. Now they might almost be an endangered species, albeit one that people are ambivalent about saving.

At the moment Koa is in the small room next to the teleportarium, reading something while Keiko tosses her latest catch back to Limbo.

It's been busy for Keiko. Not just because of her work but also looking after Elena and keeping the house … safe. Piotr has been busy with the Institute, which means his time at home has been limited as well.

Arriving back in the teleportarium, the small peruvian pushes her hair back from her face and sighs. One of the mages hands her a can of rootbeer and a muffin. "I know you haven't eaten all morning …"

Keiko blinks "Is it still morning? How long was I gone?"

"About half an hour here, how long there?"

The woman sighs again "A day, thereabouts. Where's Koa?"

The mage jerks their chin towards the room and Keiko looks in. "Have you eaten, Koa?"

"If I say yes, will you eat that muffin yourself instead of offering it to me?" Koa looks up from the table he's at, which has several books on it, most of them ancient looking. His sketchbook is open. He's got crumbs in front of him so he has either eaten or messily sacrificed a scone to some dark god of baking. Paul Hollywood or something.

The Agent closes the book and his beast turns his head, which makes the ghostly image of it sort of lean out a bit. It's quite disconcerting and it has been doing that a LOT more lately.

"All is well in Limbo, I trust?" Or as well as it can be expected to be. "The lab results came back on Elena and the handprint by the way. It doesn't seem to have been altered in any way. It's near certain as we can be to be an original hand print."

"Who says I was going to offer it to you? I was going to take Marjorie's instead." It's so hard to tell if Keiko is kidding or not, her expression so rarely changes. Majorie scoffs behind Keiko but pulls her muffin closer anyway.

"So that's a yes, then, you have?"

"No. It's not. It's still a green hell and there are so few demons…" The spirit caller grumbles. "But the demons at least aren't trying to get out. There are packs forming, which is good, I suppose." At least the stronger ones will keep the others in order. It just means that there will be stronger ones that Keiko has to beat down on.


"That doesn't make sense, Koa. That handprint is much larger than Elena's and, as far as I know. So what gives?"

"Not sure. I have some theories but none of the reading I've been doing has really shed any light on it. The key I think is that time runs oddly in Limbo. So it's possible that Elena has interacted with that stone in the past. Which is to say Elena in the future has interacted with that stone in the past. Our past, but also our future. It's… doing my head in a bit."

Limbo and time was always one thing he was perrrrrrrfectly happy to handwave.

"But yes I have eaten. If you're done we should-" Koa stops mid sentence and twitches. Then stands and picks his pendulum up off the table. "Someone just tripped one of the trip wards in Limbo."

He starts to stride out, no doubt that Keiko will be on his heels. "Open up a portal!" He calls out to the tech currently running the teleport board.

"Where to?"


Keiko gives Koa a sour look. Time travel dynamics do her head in. "Still doesn't make sense." She's wolfed her muffin down already and has just about drained the can of rootbeer.

When the other Agent moves, so does she. "To Limbo." She confirms, giving Koa a look that could sour milk for yelling.

The portal opens and Koa steps through. Like all these portals - maddeningly - it is impossible to see what is on the other side. So they just have to go through blind. Koa ignores the sour look. He odesn't have any milk to curdle.

It doesn't take very long to figure out what tripped things. There's a man and a woman present. The woman's right arm has black and yellow all over it in a circuit pattern. The 'Blood of the Machine' though the stuff on her arm looks… dead. Or at least controlled.

Their faces Keiko and Koa both know. Madeline and Jackson, both mutants, both part of the 'thirteen' that Siffror took.

Madeline is on her butt about ten feet from the staff, smoking slightly. She'd tried to grab it, it's a pretty sure bet.

Koa's gun is out in an instant. "Step away from the staff. Now."

Keiko takes our her staff extends it before they even step through the portal. "Control your temper." She says to him as he ignores the look. "They've a job to do and procedure to follow."

Was this what Pandora had been talking about? In a way, Keiko is on tenterhooks waiting for something to happen to Koa.

When Koa draws his gun, Keiko moves away from him. "Your boss couldn't break through, so he's sent sacrifices. Nice decorations by the way, Madeline."

"That's not a nice thing to say to your future king!" Jackson says and he lunges for the staff. He doesn't even get to lay a hand on it before Koa has shot him, the magical blast from the gun throwing the man back and into a tree.

Madeline snarls and gets up. Her arm glows a bit - well the golden parts do - and she tries to close with Keiko and punch her.

In previous encounters the mutants had ALWAYS used magic of some kind and not their powers. Koa has said that the staff is projecting some kind of barrier field. Is it possible that this has cut them off from their magic? If so beating them might be a bit easier. OR… they might have practice with their powers a bit…

"Not my King. I have a Queen already, you slug." Keiko doesn't mind being rude to this pair. They'll get angry and angry people make mistakes. Emotional people make mistakes. "See, you can't even complete a simple task. How's he ever to be King with the likes of you serving him."

She *might* be spending a little too much time with the demons.

As Madeline closes on her, Keiko swings her staff to deflect the punch. She doesn't rely on magic but skill when she fights and Keiko is a very skilled fighter.

The last time Keiko had fought anything with that pattern, she'd been infected and it hadn't been nice. She has to avoid being touched, she knows that but to beat Madeline … she's got to get close.

And preferably without calling her demon - particularly here in Limbo.

As the staff connects with Madeline's fist and pushes the arm wide, Keiko spins and brings the weapon up between Madeline's legs - whilst not quite as effective on a woman, it will still hurt.

Then the peruvian is tumbling forward, to put some distance between them.

The punch is forceful. Not so forceful that Keiko can't slap it away but strong enough that Keiko knows it's more than normal. The woman follows through and turns as her arm is forced wide. When the asian woman strikes between the legs, Madeline tries to roll, having largely the same distance. As they separate they can hear Koa get a hand on Jackson and just THROW him into a tree. A different tree this time, have to spread it around.

"Whomever pulls that staff from the ground will have POWER over this place. And you will KNEEL!" She punches the ground and it responds, spiking up beneath Keiko. That's a VERY inconvenient power.

"Oh seriously?" Keiko just stares at Madeline and laughs in her face. "I think you have your legends messed up. And you aren't Arthur or Gwynevere … Maybe you're Mordred though. An inbred bastard."

The ground spikes up and Keiko leaps, hitting the trunk of a nearby tree and sliding the staff over a branch, using it to let her swing her feet around, trying to hit Madeline in the back and push her into those spikes.

"I think you should kneel…."

Jackson groans as Koa throws him again. He's moving slowly but he knows he has to move and stop the Agent getting a hand on him. He rolls, clumsily off the trunk and tries to scurry away. He might make it?

"You should remember… Mordred won!" Madeline swats the staff away with her unusual hand and makes a gesture to call the earth to attack Keiko again. The earth does not. But it DOES rumble rather unusually. In a way that sounds almost… angry.

Koa does miss his grab but that just makes him reach for the chain about his waist. He's about to rather painfully lasso Jackson when the earth starts to shake and rumble. And then sways.

"Woah. The hell?"

Oh right. Jackson. Koa recovers his balance and whips that chain out.

"Mordred was killed by his father and his father killed him." Keiko growls, watching as the hand moves and tumbling to her left. "What's wrong? Not as good as you think you are." The spirit caller taunts, nearly loosing her balance as the earth shakes when she rises.

That's ok, she tumbles and brings her staff down in an overhead slash, intent on bringing the gossamer forged weapon down on Madelines head.

As Koa's chain whips out, Jackson stumbles clumsily. The combination of being thrown against trees and the ground rumbling putting him right off balance.

The chain hits, he cries and tumbles to the side, then he blinks out sight. Where he was. He's no longer there.

"But his father died." The woman snaps back. She takes the hit, but not on her head. She snakes out of the way and takes it on her shoulder instead. The crack is audible but then she grabs the staff with both hands and tries - tries - to swing Keiko into a large standing stone.

The ground shakes VIOLENTLY and throws her off balance, probably Keiko too, but she still doesn't let go.

Koa swears. Teleporter. Of course he's a teleporter. This is, thankfully, not entirely out of his experience and he whips around looking for his target only to be sent stumbling by a mini earthquake.

"What the HELL?!" He shouts mostly to Keiko. "Limbo doesn't have earthquakes!"

"It's her…." Keiko grunts as Madeline catches the staff. The woman is taller and has more leverage to get the swing started. "… she's doing it. Earth powers or something." Keiko starts to change. Koa might not see it, but the wings don't as much flow from the tattoo as they have in the past, they just appear - more part of her than have been in the past. And they appear on their own, without the armour …

With her wings beating down powerfully, Keiko uses the 'lift' to add strength to her movements and doesn't try to take the staff back. With Madelines hands on it, she can't cast. But it does give Keiko leverage to get the mutant tugging harder and then with a feral smile … she lets go and follows, ready to pounce when Madeline falls.

As Koa stumbles, Jackson appears beside him, knife in hand - aimed directly at the Agents throat.

Koa doesn't think she is. If she were she probably wouldn't be knocking herself down. He doesn't say that. He doesn't really have time to say that, because someone is trying to cut his throat. He throws himself backward but still gets nicked. Then his beast lunges out of its own accord and bites the man's arm.


Madeline DOES fall. On her butt. Again. She has the staff though and when Keiko pounces she swings it. But the demon-inked woman has probably anticipated that and in any case she's got wings and thus all the leverage and initiative in this situation.

Jackson screams as the shark-wolf clamps down on his arm, blinking away after a fraction longer than he should have. He appears next to Koa though, this time with a rock in his hand - bringing it down on the Agents head.

Keiko has indeed anticipated this and her nails are now claws. Long, cruel, sharp things that rake down Madelines face as the spirit callers skin turns to obsidian. It's not armour this time - it's her skin. The staff hits her shoulder with a 'clang' as those claws, grab Madelines throat and start to press.

Koa growls, this time the human form and not the ghostly shark-thing that's biting Jackson. He intercepts the rock and delivers a punch hard enough to break four ribs. When he does so the shark lets go and vanishes back into Koa but… that's another level of worrying.

Madeline goes still. Very still. And as Keiko starts to press there's an ANGRY sounding rumble from further up the mountain and the whole earth shakes again.

"Is it just me?" Koa calls over his shoulder. "Or does it sound like the MOUNTAIN is growling?"

"Control yourself…" Keiko is convinced that the Earth is responding to Madeline. "… and stop the earth doing that. You're not going anywhere and if you don't, I'll just kill you anyway. It's only paperwork for me and he does it anyway."

It's so dispassionate and her eyes are yellow slits. The armour and wings now a part of her.

"It's her. I'm sure of it. It's responding to her power." If it isn't, then they have a problem.

Koa's punch sends Jackson reeling, to hit a tree and slump there. He's … out … or nearly so. Koa should probably do something with him before….

Jackson blinks out. And doesn't reappear. Maybe Madeline is on her own for now.

Koa lashes out where Jackson was but… no avail. An instant later he reappears, woozy, but next to Madeline. Then both vanish and Koa snarls. Keiko probably will too. The two won't be coming back. The mountain rumbles more, seeming displeased and then finally quiets down.

Koa looks up toward the peak suspiciously and then looks toward the staff. It is undisturbed. No one actually got a hand on it. When anyone gets close it seems to zap them. But that great power would be the prize of anyone who COULD pull it out, that he does not doubt.

Keiko drops to the ground when Madeline disappears. Her claws digging in the grass and dirt as she swears roundly.

When she looks up at Koa, her eyes are ever so yellow, fangs are visible in her mouth … and her skin is obsidian still.

"See, I told you. It was her." she growls when she stops swearing. "Wasn't it?" She's thinking more on that and looks to the staff.

"I want to bring Elena here, Koa. Let her near that staff."

"I'm not sure." Koa says looking up at the mountain. "Whatever was happening I don't think she was directing it, not all of it. It was hurting her as much as us. If it were just her doing it, she would have stopped."

He looks back and Keiko and seems to weigh it in his mind. Then he nods. "We'll do it. Though we should be careful about letting her try to pick it up."

Touch it, sure. Pick it up? Thaaaat is probably is probably not a good idea.

"This will not be the only attempt on the staff. I need to reset the trip wards before we go. Do you see any of the demons here?"

Because he doesn't.

He doesn't see anything but trees.

"She couldn't make the earth respond to her…" Keiko says, still on her knees with her claws in the dirt. It's going to take her a moment to recover … in a way she's thankful that Koa hasn't commented. "If she didn't have control, she might not have."

"Not to pick it up, but if she can touch it … when the rest of us can't …"

Keiko growls at that thought. If Elena can touch it, she's going to take the child and hide her. Far away.

"No. I don't …" she looks around, climbing to her feet and walking away from Koa. "… reset the ward. I'm going to look and I'll be back."

"She wouldn't have tried to use a power in combat she couldn't control. That gets you dead. Fast." Koa points out. "We can ask her if we can ever catch her again." They had her, but… teleporters. They're impossible to pin down.

"Alright. Use your wafer if Limbo starts to stretch on. You know how time gets here. Otherwise, see you in a little bit."

Koa turns to start resetting the wards. This is bad and he's not sure what it means yet. But he knows they need to get a handle on it… before it gets a handle on them.

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