2020-02-28 - It's A Guardian


T'Challa and Mari seek the gate to the Underworld in the Disaster Zone and meet a coyote

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Fri Feb 28 04:18:30 2020
Location: Disaster Zone

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Theme Song



Everywhere there are people, there are ghosts. However in places that have a history of death, or have experienced a lot of it in a short period of time recently, there are a lot of ghosts. And that does tend to be a bit problematic. Your average ghost isn't very troublesome. Most of them don't have the necessary strength to affect the real world. Most of them either resolve their issues or fade away within a few months.

Not so with the disaster zone. Here the dead are numerous, frighteningly durable and strong enough to be manifest. It is just one more thing gone wrong in a part of the city where a GREAT deal has gone wrong.

T'Challa, former King of Wakanda, is walking through the rubble strewn streets of the Zone near sunset. Gutted buildings and exposed steel girders surround him. The skyline is broken, a parody of what New York SHOULD look like. In the distance, a few miles back, lights shine from the rest of the city, but here the shadows are lengthening and it is getting dark.

He's in a rather informal shirt and jeans, for once. No sense in getting his nice suits ruined out here. Rather than looking up he is looking about at the milling ghosts - which he can see without them needing to manifest - and looking for a path… down.

Walking beside T'Challa is a dark skinned woman dressed in a yellow and black costume. Vixen, as she's known when dressed like this, or Mari McCabe. Her identity isn't a secret - she doesn't wear a mask after all.

"They're more numerous here, T'Challa?" she's saying as she looks around, lifting her chin towards the shell of a building. "Looks like the floor's given way over there."

She's already chided the man to be careful out here. An international incident with Wakanda is something she'd rather avoid. Plus, Bast might be pissed if her champion gets hurt.

If only he'd told her his secret - he'd have less of these lectures from her.

Jesana has been so busy since she got to New York, getting her lisences, a townhouse, making contacts. She was about to set up her home office when she ended up a bit..either on fire or crushed or something. She doesn't remember. It ended up with her losing a week though. Now that she's back from the underworld and has a free moment she's decided to check out the disaster zone. See it for herself. She's still wearing what she earlier referred to as a "white dude's wet dream" a white leather outfit that shows off way too much skin and a lot of silver and turquise jewelry. She hasn't been home to change yet and it's better than nakedness. It also changes with her unlike regular clothes. Which might be useful here.

There are so many ghosts here that it takes her until she's nearly walked into the two to realize they aren't part of the hordes. The wind was in the wrong way and she's kinda..shocked. That doesn't happen often. "Whoa. Holy costumed lady." Then she looks down at herself and sighs. "Yeah okay nevermind that."

T'Challa spots Jes in the fading light. It's… really really not hard. She's rather obvious and also the only obviously ALIVE thing here other than Mari. Whom he already knew was there. Because he's a keen observer like that.

"Very much more numerous, yes Vixen. Ah yes, that might be the gate we're lo-" He cuts off when Jes speaks and glances over. "Your costume appears to be holier." As in 'has more holes'. Well they're 'cutouts' to be fair, not holes but still.

"Are you perhaps lost? These streets get somewhat less safe after dark." In supremely unpleasant ways.

In fact… the ghosts are kind of starting to crowd and some of them are manifesting so that even Mari can see them.

Mari chuckles as Jes stops near her. "I'm not the one that's ordained by a Goddess."

"T'Challa is right, it's less than safe out here." He's asked the question though so she'll wait for an answer.

There's a glance back to the building and the collapsed in floor before her attention is wholly on the other woman. Well, almost. "Uh, T'Challa, we seem to have some guests."

She snickers. Holier. Ahahaha. In more ways than one. "I was actually gonna ask you folks that now that I see you aren't ghosts. I don't think I'm in much danger here." Wait what are they looking for? Was he gonna say gate? What the hell kinda gate would be in this mess. Now she is curious. Also that guy isn't bad looking. The lady smells interesting. It's been a little while. This is not exactly the best place to get her flirting on though. Ah well. She got some of that in earlier with large, blue, and gorgeous. The poor man. She grins and looks around, then winces.

"Oh fuck. Uh. Actually I apologize if you're like just innocent people, although I didn't expect to find any here but well." So many of them are looking at her. Wait, Goddess? Hm. She eyes the african man. "I'm having a great day." That might seem a weird thing to say at the moment but she lives for chaos.

T'Challa looks like someone who works out a lot and Mari LITERALLY looks like a fashion model because, ahem, she is. Was. Has been in the past.

Things are going to get more interesting though because as Jesana announces she's having a great day, T'Challa is turning to look around them at the ghosts pressing in and as he does a ghostly crown of blue flame appears on his head. That stops the press inward.

"They're a bit antsy for some reason." He nods to Mari. "They weren't just a minute ago, though. Either we are getting close to that gate or…"

Eyes turn back to Jesana. "What did you say your name was, Miss? I am, as she says, T'Challa, and this is the Vixen. Heroine extraordinaire." That last bit ISN'T part of her name but T'challa is generous with the titles like that.

If Mari smells interesting it's because of the body wash she's using. Or well, maybe it's because she's been working out a bit here as they search.

"I'm not sure I've been innocent since my late teens." She quips to Jesana and winks before nudging T'Challa with her shoulder. "I'm Vixen when I'm dressed like this. Mari when I'm not …" There's a cheeky grin at that.

The ghosts pressing in have her moving to a defensive position at T'Challa's shoulder, the glowing silhouette of a panther appearing behind her a s claws appear at her fingertips.

"Please tell me we don't have to fight them, T'Challa."

Oh he's sharp, this one. "Heh. I didn't. I don't know what kinda gate you're looking for. Maybe it is that!" She smiles brightly. Though she doubts it. The chaos started kicking in at the park she was spit out in earlier and has been increasing since. It ought to taper off soon but thats probably stirring them. That or the fact that she can see them. All of them. This place is so not gonna work out as somewhere to hide bodies. Or whatever. "Well that's handy. All I can do is talk to them." She eyes the crown. Takes a closer look at The Vixen. Heroine Extraordinaire?? Glances down at herself. "Just to be clear I'm not a lost, drunk, stripper or something. At least not at this moment."

"I'm Jesana. She looks at the spirits again. "Man this place needs cleansed by like, all the priests of all the things." Oooh Vixen indeed. Jesana grins at the woman. "Mari. Nice." "Hey ya'all quit that." Jesana glowers at the ghosts. "Or I'll make some of your afterlife suck more than it currently does." It's not entirely a bluff. She can stay here and harass the hell out of them. There won't be much chance for them to move on with her actively preventing it. And she might even, if she comes back with all the right stuff, be able to help some of them out but right now they're an annoyance distracting form the interesting things. Er, people. Interesting people.

"Avernian Gate. Cthonic Gate. Whatever you wish to call it. A gate that leads to the underworld which I am divinely informed is rather broken. The Incredible Vixen is making sure I do not get into too much trouble while we investigate that." He is totally angling to get smacked right now. And not 'on the cheek'.

The ghosts are still gathering around but at least they're not crowding. At Jesana's warning some of them shuffle back a little but it doesn't stop them from staring.

The Wakandan sighs, his crown flickering like candleflame and turns to start walking toward an area where the street is caving in, the one Mari had pointed out.

"Are you sure you're not innocent, Mari?" He teases the dark skinned woman over his shoulder.

"So having established that you are none of those things, Jesana, what ARE you doing here and why might it be that you're so interesting to the dead?"

"T'Challa…" Mari sighs. Smacked indeed. She might just do that … later. "Just ignore the titles, I'm Vixen and he likes to tease …" She says "And I would say it's nice to meet you, Jesana, but why are you here?" It's an echo of T'Challa's question and the comment about the street needing cleansing gets a smirk from Mari. "We're … sort of trying to do that. Well, he is. I'm more the muscle at the moment."

He is going to be in so much trouble when it finally comes out who his alter ego is.

"They listen to you?" The question is asked as T'Challa starts to move, Mari following, spirit claws gleaming in the dusk. "The only thing they listen to of me is my claws in their incorporeal bodies."

Smirking back at T'Challa, Mari just chuckles "Oh, definitely not since I met you … "

"Aw man. Which underworld? Cause I just got back from mine and I really don't wanna see that place again so soon." It could be interesting to see a different one? Might be some fighting. "Oh I'm not. I didn't come here for them. I just wanted to see it. Thought it'd be pretty deserted and I might find some places to hide…things.. but I really don't think I'm gonna do that now." No that's not shady sounding at allll. She eyes the ghosts and for a moment there is sorrow on her face. Most of them don't deserve this. But that's life.

"They're interested in me though because I can see them. With time and the right stuff I can probably help some of them. I could try. I've never had to do that before usually they pass on their own eventually. I know how though. At least, as some of The People do it." She doesn't know which tribe she's from actually so she's made contact with many over the years. Hm. If they are trying to help then.. and she does need more contacts on the good side of the law.. which they might be.. "Okay. I can definitely be muscle. If you want. I was really just scouting around. I just moved to New York a few months ago." Damn, are they together? That likely lessons her odds with either. Or the pair.. but.. "Now is not the time Jesana." She mutters and turns to look at the caving street. "Can ya'all see in the dark?"

"Uh… the local one. I am not an underworld expert per se but I believe they all go to roughly the same dreary place before they split up and get more specific." As he walks more ghosts materialize around them. Six to be precise, all African, all warriors carrying spears and shields. They march alongside Mari and Jesana and T'Challa like some kind of royal honor guard. Which is precisely what they are.

"Innocence is overrated, then, do you not think?" The man with the ghostly crown winks to Mari. They decend, carefully, down some cracked asphalt and yep. There they are. A gate.

"And yes, Jesana. If you would like, I would not turn down the assistance. This can be a bit tricky. With any luck we won't have a welcome wagon…"

And indeed they do not. When they step through the gate they're in a set of gloomy, dimly lit caverns. There's water dripping somewhere in the distance. It's musty and stale. And… oddly, everything is cracked. The floor is uneven. Like there's been an earthquake."

"No, cannot really see in the dark but that fortunately seems unnecessary now. Mari, do you hear or smell anything?

Mari gives Jesana a sidelong look. Just back from her underworld and wanting to hide some things? Hmmmm.

"The spirits here are disturbed because of the attack, we think. And there might be something keeping them here - we're … not sure. We were told to look for …" They arrive at the gate and she nods "… this and see what we can find."

The ghostly warriors don't seem to warrant even a blink from Mari though she does give them all a very respectful nod. One that might indicate she's familiar with them.

"Only when not being innocent involves you, T'Challa." The ex-model is somewhat cheeky, really.

When T'Challa asks if Mari can smell anything, a glowing silhouette of a bear joins the panther behind her and the dark skinned woman raises her nose to the air.

"Yes. Something … that way. There's a … tapping and the scent … is wrong."

Jesana blinks at ghostguard and then looks around. "Damn. This is fucking depressing." She kneels and touches the floor. Sniffs the air. "Whoever is in charge of this needs a kick in the ass. What are looking for exactly? I mean, a particular scent?" She eyes the two for a long moment. Rolls her eyes. Oh whatever. She's here isn't she? She's obviously proved she isn't a normal human. "Like, don't freak out. I can't talk but I can understand everything. If there is anything down here I'll smell it. Or maybe here it." Before they have much chance to wonder just what the hell she's talking about, she's gone.

Or it looks that way for a split second. The next there is a very large coyote standing where she was. She looks at the two again, judging their response to make sure she doesn't need to go on the defensive. Or just leave them here. She's kinda hungry again. Doubtful there is anything good to eat in this place though. Although..she hears tapping. And turns to look in that direction, her tail going up in an aggressive sign. She's the size of small wolf and has pretty coloring for a coyote. And very light brown eyes. She sniffs the air deeply and then sneezes. Yick.

"A… dog?" T'Challa can probably be forgiven for that. He comes from a nation where there ARE no coyotes. Those are a strictly new world thing. So yeah she sort of looks like a dog or… "Ah. No. A jackal. How interesting." Still wrong but closer.

"No one is really in charge here. This is just the underworld. The portion of it that is closest to the surface. I do not come here often and… I do not believe you have ever been here have you Mari?"

Both women can smell it though. Even without T'Challa explaining it stands out. Everything else down here smells damp and musty but there is SOMETHING that smells… burnt. Slightly… rotten. Sulphur, that's what that is. It's off to the right, down one of the MANY cracked and broken pathways.

There's something else. Tapping, as Mari says. And scraping. Like bone or metal dragging on the stone. In the distance. In that direction.

How very pleasant.

"Well do lead on, Miss Jackal." Mari and he will happily let her take point, ahem.

"Do you mean down here or in the Zone in general?" Mari asks as Jes drops to the ground. "Freak ou—- ohhhh. I see. A shape shifter." The ex-model covers her mouth as T'Challa gets the species wrong.

"Ahem. That would be a coyote, T'Challa." She chuckles a little and then asides to Jesana "He's not from around here …"

Because that's totally not obvious.

"It might be a gas leak down that, so be careful … Though that smells like something rotting."

Jesana turns back from the sound and the *look* she gives TChalla. An absolute sneer. Which turns into a grin when amends to Jackal. Much less offensive. Miss Jackal. Jesus. Her father is gonna love this. The grin widens. She's mixing all the religious down in here. Really though, no one in charge? Someone ought to fix that.. although apparently they are here to fix something. Maybe. What the fuck is that noise? If it's another wendigo she's gonna be very pissed but it can't be that. She's almost certain.

So, continue on like this, or shift back? Considering she doesn't have her bow, her gun, or a single frickin knife, what had she been thinking coming here instead of going straight home? Jesana ops to stay coyote. Mari corrects T'Challa and Jesana yips softly in approval, bounds over and licks Mari's hand. Then she darts back to take up a guard position in front of the two and starts trotting towards the noise. Sulphur? Like a hot spring.. or like some kinda demonic shit? This doesn't look like hotspring central here.

"Coyote?" T'Challa has to actually think about that for a moment and that doesn't happen often. "Ah yes. I see. Rather large for a coyote though." Really, she kind of is.

It's hard to say how long it is that they walk. Quite some time though though winding but remarkably similar looking caverns and tunnels. Whatever is making that sound they do not encounter it but it is loud enough for even T'Challa to hear it when they get to the source of that smell.

Which is a crack in the floor. A crack that's about ten feet long and a few inches wide that is radiating heat and stink. The entire room is sort of blackened.

"Oh. That… is NOT supposed to be there. I understand why the ghosts did not want to come down here. That probably goes to one of the places that they call 'hell'."

Scrape. Scrape. Scraaaaaaape.

NOW it's getting closer and something else comes into the scent mix.

Blood. Old dried blood.

A scarecrow rounds the corner. It's seven or eight feet tall and mostly composed of wooden rods, with a bit of stuffed straw bags. On the ends of its too long arms are a pair of sickle-scythes.

"That is inconvenient…" T'Challa says, eyes widening slightly. He steps back. He is NOT the muscle here, even if he is handy in a fight. That would be what Mari and Jesana are for.

"Yes, a very large coyote." Mari smiles, letting her claws draw through Jes' fur as the coyote runs off.

She's quiet as they make their way through the tunnels, alert for any trouble or danger to T'Challa. When they make the area, her nose wrinkles and she dismisses the bear "That is … disgusting…" she mutters. "And yes, it does explain a lot of things. Can you … close it?"

Mari isn't sure of T'Challa's powers.

"What's tha—— shit." Mari moves to stand in front of the King of the Dead, letting his guard form up around her. "Keep your Lord safe …" she says to them as she watches the scarecrow. The panther still glows behind her. That will give her speed and some damage. Her costume should protect from those scythes.

Oooh, scritchins! She likes this lady.

Ah. So it is Demonic shit. She was pretty sure it wasn't hot springs. I mean, sometimes she gets that lucky. Sometimes its more like this. Jesana looks up, sees the scarecrow, turns back to her companions with way more of a wtf?? stare than a coyote should be able to have and then turns back. Seriously. What the actual fuck. This is not what she'd expected. Well okay then. For a moment she ponders options. There are many.

Let's see.. first she's just gonna fun, leap into it's chest to see if she can knock it over and then dart away. She's freaking fast. If it falls maybe she and Mari can get the weapons and hack it death. Or apart. Or whatever. Or throw it down that hole? That seems possible. It maybe came out of there anyway.

She can knock it over. And does. Jesana gets past the thing to send it into a tumble, but it just rolls like it's an acrobat and rises in time to meet Mari's rush. One of the scythes glances off of Mari's costume without cutting - thankfully - but it hooks the next one under her leg and yanks to trip her up. At the same time it turns to screech at Jesana and a crow goes flying toward her. It's a very BIG crow and the way it's eyes are blood red and it's trailing some kind of nasty magic, it's a fair bet that Jesana doesn't want to get hit by it.

Behind T'Challa is doing… something. It looks like he's knelt near the crevice and driven a ghostly spear into it. It's SLOWLY starting to close.

"Keep that thing busy! I have a plan!"

T'Challa ALWAYS has a plan.

Mari's eyes widen as the scarecrow tumbles, grunts as the scythe hits her costume and topples as he hooks her leg. That doesn't put her on her back though, she manages to flip and land on her feet - then the thing is showing her its back.

Nice. The spirit caller leaps onto its back, digging long spirit claws into it's chest with hand and eyes with the other.

"I don't think that's going to be a problem." She calls to T'Challa. Keeping the scarecrow busy. "Jesana, duck…" That crow looks dangerous.

Oh. He's going to end up hating her isn't he? She can have *such* a negative impact on plans. Ah well, maybe she can hide that long enough to be endearing? It's worth a shot. That crow does not look tasty. Also, why is the damned stick thing so fast?? She whirls, shifts to human from in a crouch and grabs one of its arms, pulling as she leaps away. She's also trying to dodge the damn bird cause it ain't gonna taste like chicken. She's sure. If the stick with the blade doesn't come loose immediately then she will let go, hit the floor and roll.

She's sturdy so that won't hurt her and she can immediately shift back and move. If she gets the weapon she's gonna swirl it right at that bird. She doesn't think it will piss off a native Crow god. This thing doesn't seem affliated but if it does well, that's laters fucking problem. Boy, that red fire actually might hurt. Jesana really doesn't wanna head back under on the same day she just got back.

It isn't thankfully, supernaturally strong though as Jes bends that wooden arm back she does get a close look at that scythe and it's dripping something green and foul smelling. The arm eventually breaks and she has it. Hah! Take that!

And then it grows a new one. Like that. Almost instant. Which is annoying but not a total lose because now SHE has a stick with a scythe. Which she can use to hit the bird. Which just gets split in half.

Mari for her part gets hit again, on the chest as she leaps over it to get onto it's back. Again the scythe fails to penetrate. But when she gets on it's back all HELL breaks loose. It doesn't like that. No not at all. It starts screeching and keening and suddenly there is a whole MURDER of crows around it.

All of them pecking and clawing at Mari and Jes, all of them somehow feeling like plague and death.

T'Challa is likely thankful that he helped Mari with that suit - it's taking a beating today that's for sure. Whatever is on it, sizzles against the fabric but it doesn't burn holes - at least not yet.

She's winded as she's hit in chest - taking a moment to suck air into her lungs as she tries to claw the scarecrow apart.

As the murder of crows appears, a glowing rhinocerous joins the panther hardening Mari's skin and giving her some strength.

"T'Challa. Work faster. This thing is already dead …"

Jesana louds out a victory cry after splitting the bird but it quickly turns into a war cry as she and Mari come underattack by a murder of the fucking things. "The hell?!" She's gonna skin whoever made this thing alive. A half inch at a time. Then make their skin into a rug. Or a bookcover, depending. That is if who or whatever made this stuff is something she can kill. She can be patient when it comes to holding a grudge. And this is gonna leave her with one. "Nope. Not chicken!" She splutters and coughs and uses the scythe to slay as many of the crows as she can but she's definitely bleeding.

Actually she's bleeding a lot. This damn outfit. It offers no protection and while normally a bird would break its beak off pecking her, this is not normal. Probably she won't get a plague but its theoretically possible. And there are dozens of …pecks? Beak gouges? Slashes? Seriously what the hell. She's seen a lot of weird shit but this is new. Being pecked to death. Oh Creator, her Father can NEVER find out about this. He will make fun of her until the end of all time. THE END OF ALL TIME.

The crows at leas do thin out as they're killed. Mari is able to break pieces off and MOST of them stay gone. It's just whenever she breaks something off that is a 'critical component' it reappears. Though it does take longer to reappear each time she does it. They could possibly wear this thing down enough to break it permanently.

Fortunately that does not turn out to be necessary. T'Challa closes off the crevice and the thing suddenly stops fighting. Even when they attack it, it stops fighting. The crows vanish or fall to the floor dead. And it eventually just gets up and stands there, unmoving.

The Wakandan prince sighs. "Whew. That is a guardian. It must have been in defensive mode with the infernal intrusion. I'll bet there are several crevices like this down here, but we shouldn't press our luck. Better to come back later, better prepared. Mari are you okay? Jesana?"

Jesana is DEFINTIELY bleeding.

Mari's rhino skin saves her from a lot of damage, but those bird beaks are damn strong. Dropping from the back of the scarecrow, the ex-model has a few grazes on her face and nasty gash on the top of her head. "I'm fine. Nothing that an hour in your hot tub won't fix."

Seeing Jesana, the spirit caller moves to the woman and inspects her wounds "We need to get you to the clinic. These might fester." Who knows what those birds had on their beaks or even where those beaks had been.

"Are you well, T'Challa?" His ghostly guard had formed about him - she rather doubts anything got through.

And yes, they'll be back later. Better prepared. Much, much, better prepared.

Jesana scowls. "I am so not getting laid tonight." Because yes, that is her biggest worry at the moment. Priorities. She has them. "Ugh. What the hell kind of Guardian is that?" She glares at the scarecrow. "Anyone got a lighter?" Then she sighs, leans against the wall and closes her eyes for a few moments as she concentrates. "I'm…not in mortal peril. So that's good." Her eyes open and she frowns. "I guess I lied to Hank. I said a week isn't a long time for me. Well, it's gonna be a really frickin long weak healing from these bitches." Then she grins. "Holy shit that was awesome. But hey, are you two okay? I mean, those things were.." She's especially eyeing Mari. Her nostrils flaring as she tries to determine if the woman is bleeding.

"Yeahhh. I will come back with you though. I got a card. Just not on me. I'm a bounty hunter/P.I." Actually she's a lot of things but they don't need to know all of them right now. "Oh it's okay. They'll heal. I'm gonna go home and shower though and brush my teeth. Drink six bottles of whiskey and eat a small deer." She seems dead serious. "I'm at 1244 Colgate Ave, the Bronx. If you need me when you come back." She grins at the two, shifts to coyote and darts off. Food is a necessity now.

"I am well Mari, thank you. My honor guard did sterling service." And the hot tub will be ready, of course. It always is and it's rather pleasant on winter nights, in truth.

"Not if you remain here you will not. No one down here does much of that." T'Challa chuckles. He'd guess she was a young woman with concerns like that but given her powers, possibly not. Possibly very not. Not that it matters at the moment.

"We shall look you up, then, Miss Coyote." Since she didn't give a last name, after all.

"Well. Follow me then. I know the way out." It's a GOOD thing T'Challa is as aligned with death as he is. That means he always knows which way is 'up' down here. And with nothing else stopping them, he leads them back out.

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