2020-03-15 - You're Doomed


Another alarm in Limbo has Koa and Keiko facing an old enemy and Koa learning a few things.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sun Mar 15 05:10:18 2020
Location: Limbo

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Koa and Keiko have been back to Limbo three or four times in the past week or so. Some of those have been false alarms, with lone demons tripping the wards that the WAND agent has set up. One of them was an attempted but failed attempt to break through from Siffror's realm. One of them was a group of demons clearly working for Belasco.

The wards have gone off again and by this point they all know the drill. Koa had been sleeping - at home, alone - when he felt it. He sent a text to Keiko then grabbed his artifacts and used a teleport charm to get into Limbo.

When they arrive there is a large green demon with a long-ish face and wings. It is just standing there as if waiting for them. As if it knew they would show up and show up in a hurry.

Koa recognizes him immediately. It's the demon who ripped his heart out.

The demons who had tripped the wards had been dealt with rather roughly by Keiko. Who had beaten them with her staff and sworn at them in demonic. The ones working Belasco hadn't faired so well either, Keiko had taken souvenirs of wings and ears from them.

When the text came, she'd been studying. She's another exam coming up at WAND. Making sure that Elena was tucked in safe and sound and someone was watching her, the small peruvian used teleport charm and arrived about the same time as Koa.

"You!" she snarls at the horse faced demon, extending her staff and twirling it. It looks like she's going to attack him outright but she holds … barely. "Those were feints, by the demons. They were testing us…"

"Of course I was." The Demon says with an unpleasant expression that is probably a smile. Koa motions for Keiko to hold. He hasn't attacked and from the looks of it he hasn't tried to touch the staff either. "I needed to know what you could do and what you were prepared to do."

"Well we're here. Do you have anything to say before I shoot you?"

"I'm here to parlay. I know that the Darkchild is out of commission or the land wouldn't look like this. I know that neither of you can take up the staff or one of you would have. And I know that there is a force outside that threatens not only this place but your precious earth as well."

It's a terrible growl that comes from Keiko's throat and the wings of the demon start to grow from her back. They flicker as the small woman struggles internally to control it. Then they're gone.

"He works for Belasco. I won't listen to him. He'd chain the Darkchilde if he could."

Keiko thinks Koa should totally shoot N'astirh. She'd laugh.

"What do you want, demon of Belasco?"

Koa has his gun in hand and that green glow surrounding his arm so shooting Belasco is definitely on the table. N'astirh puts both clawed hands up in a placating gesture.

"It's true. He would like his apprentice back. And… well. You've seen what she's living like now. Don't you think it would be better if-"

"No." Koa says firmly.

"Alright. Well consider other angles to this. Limbo needs a ruler. You know this in your heart of hearts. If it does not have one, it will eventually fall. And then everything you both love will die. The Darkchild. Your families." He looks at Keiko. "Your daughter. Don't you think Illyana would sacrifice herself for your daughter? If she had to make the choice, what do you think she would do?"

"We are not dragging her back if she doesn't want to come." Keiko says lowly, her eyes so very, very yellow at the moment.

"You think it will die because there is no Darkchilde? Or because of what *Siffror* is trying to do." Keiko won't answer that question - they saw what Illyana had been prepared to do. She'd try to destroy Limbo, herself and Koa in attempt to save it.

"Siffror. He WILL break through you know. He is coming. Belasco can stop him. If you leave things as they are you're not only risking Illyana, you're risking Elena. Isn't it better to have some world than no world at all?"

Koa glares at N'astirh. His answer is still no. He's not giving Belasco that power in any event but especially not knowing he'll go for Illyana again. He, however, doesn't have a child to consider. A child whose life WILL be snuffed out if Siffror manages to get through Limbo.

"You know she'd make the call. You know I am right." The green demon presses.

"If he breaks through, we will fight him." Keiko answers, the wings on her back moving. Yes, they're back and she hasn't noticed.

"What good is a world where we make the decision to sacrifice someone for our comfort?" Keiko shakes her head. She'll fight till she's no breath in her body to safe Elena, but she won't force another to make that decision.

"It doesn't matter. The Darkchilde we knew does not exist." She tells N'astirh.

Koa nods and N'astirh looks at him now. What about another vector of attack. "What if she could? Amnesia is a simple thing to fix. Belasco could doubtless work a trinket that would give that back."

The senior WAND agent glares. Is it possible? Sure. Would he like that? Also yes. But he's had enough experience dealing with demons to know that even if this weren't an offer being made by an enemy that it would have so much fine print.

"No." The agent says flatly.

N'astirh shakes his head. "Not unexpected, but I did try. I have one more offer then…"

And now he looks right at Keiko. "What if, by giving up this staff, it would save him? You know he's doomed, and so do I."

Koa quirks a brow. "You know what, Keiko?"

Keiko just growls as N'astirh perseveres. "You really don't get it do you? Then again, you *are* a demon." It's said so derisively. One day someone may be saying that to her.

For the first time in the longest time, Keiko actually flinches. "I don't *know* anything of the sort." She finally says. "I know what I'm told but that isn't written in concrete." Later. She'll explain it later. If he'll let her.

"It wouldn't save him, though, would it?" the Peruvian says. "Not really." As much she might wish it differently, this is not a deal she's ready to take.


"I think we are done here. Do you want to conclude this by being skinned or are you going to go?"

N'astirh bares his teeth at the threat, assuming that they would win. But he does back away a step. "I came only to deliver a message. The next time, we shall see what we shall see."

His wings flap and lift him into the air and he shoots away. Koa sighs and releases enchantment on his weapon. The green aura fades from his arm.

"Next time, Belasco is going to make a serious effort for the staff." He says quietly.

Keiko just growls, holding her staff in front of her, wings flexing in anger as N'astirh departs. "He would make a lovely bathrobe for Elena." she snarls. Once she's sure he's gone, the small woman starts pacing, swearing in Spanish, Russian and Demonic.

"He will and we can't let him. I … will stay here to watch it." She's not thinking clearly but she might not be wrong. And she's waiting for the other shoe to drop on N'astirhs revelation.

"That isn't practical, Keiko. We'll beef up the protections and I'll get some ward experts to come here and layer down some more circles of wards but we can't have someone staying here full time until this is resolved. That could be years on earth and centuries here."

Koa shakes his head and holsters his weapon. The standing stone with Elena's hand print is not far away.

"What was he talking about? Me being doomed?"

Keiko follows Koa gaze towards the standing stone and stalks in that direction, running her hand lovingly over the print. It's the only time she ever shows any real emotion - when her daughter is involved.

The wings slowly fade from her back - now a part of her and not a spirit projection. Turning to face Koa, he can see the pain in her eyes. "Do you remember when Agent Peters wanted to speak to me? She … told me the Agency had some … 'visions' I suppose, about you. That you … will.. make decisions that will mean you … won't work for the Agency for long. She wouldn't tell me what but … " she shrugs. "She didn't say doomed, not exactly. But it's not going to be nice, whatever it is."

Koa takes in a deep breath and lets it out. "I seeeeeeee."

He puts both hands behind him and looks out over the bits of Limbo they can see from way up here. There's no sun, but there is some heat. Like a summer day high in the mountains. There's even a bit of wind. It's more pleasant than it has possibly ever been.

"They've been divining me. They do that to everyone. And they saw something. They saw something they didn't think I could avoid. And they told you this… why?"

It's funny, how they're doing this in Limbo. The place where Keiko knows she shouldn't show emotion or fear. And yet, it's there, in her eyes and her voice. In the way she clenches her fist like she wants to punch something.

"Divining. Yes. That's it."

Koa might think she's not going to answer, she takes so long to say something more.

"Agent Peters wanted me to learn all I could from you."

Which means, in a way, they're grooming her to replace him.

"I didn't want to Koa. I wanted to tell you. She told me not to. But now I have." All this time, she's bottled her emotions up and now … here they are.

Koa turns to look at Keiko. He looks tired but he doesn't look upset. "They didn't want me to take actions that would make whatever is going to happen worse. I get it, though I don't agree. They should have at least told me so that I could train you more properly."

He runs his hand through his hair and shakes his head. "Well, it's done. You did right doing what they asked. But now we have to make sure that whenever it happens, you're as ready as I can make you."

"I told her that." Keiko mutters. She turns her back and stalks back to the stone, kneeling before it and covering Elena's handprint with her own.

Who knows what's going through her mind at the moment. "Go ahead. I'll be along later." She finally manages to get out. She doesn't want to lose Koa, like she lost her parents, then the nightfall, then Piotr …

Koa puts a hand on her shoulder as he walks by. He'll go further up the mountain and take a look in the caves he's seen up there. Then he'll be back here. It's a risk, that time could be weeks but they've both got recall charms. If it gets to be too long Keiko can just leave and Koa will meet her on the outside.

There will be no easy answer to these problems. That is often the way of magic, Koa has found. Unlimited power. Endless temptation. A universe of options. But no easy answers.

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