2020-03-27 - Confrontational


The wards in Limbo are tripped again. This time, it's Belasco.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Fri Mar 27 08:51:31 2020
Location: Limbo

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Theme Song



Koa is training. There's an agility room in the WAND part of the complex that just looks like a really weird cube of a room with a grid on all surfaces. That grid is composed a a series of independently articulated stone pillars that can independently extend or retract allowing it to simulate many surfaces or indeed a surface in motion. That's what Koa is doing now. He's putting himself through the paces, leaping from ledge to ledge and moving through an extremely rough simulated environment. He's clearly calling upon his heritage a bit because he is moving with a fluid grace that he doesn't otherwise.

Training is a very important part of every agent's routine after all and WAND has to train for more varied and odd situations than most.

Keiko is training as well. She likes the physical activity and the challenge the room provides. She isn't moving with the same fluid grace that Koa is, but she's still quite graceful, all things considered.

Training is important and it's a comfort to the small peruvian sometimes - the routine reminiscent of her … youth.

One of the pillars retracts just as she's about to put her weight on it. Somehow, she manages to transfer the momentum into a tumble and come up, precariously balanced on the next one.

Koa lands on a 'surface' next to her and then has to adjust rapidly as it starts to crumble beneath him. He reaches out to push Keiko to the next 'ledge' which is already rising up probably past where a jump is advisable but it's either take the jump or take the 'fall' and the fall will be somewhat uncomfortable.

"Come on! Keep up!" She doesn't have the same tools that he has to traverse things like this but then again if they're ever caught in this kind of a situation it's not like the death trap will care that she doesn't. It's make the jump or don't make it at all.

It's like Keiko was expecting the push, though Koa still gets a flat look from the WAND agent. She doesn't try to resist the fall, using her legs to launch her as high she can - there is absolutely no way she can make that leap and Koa knew it when he pushed.

Wings sprout from her back, leathery batlike things, pushing down on the air once to lift her up. Her feet touch the pillar and the look she turns on Koa is feral for a moment, her eyes flashing yellow before she controls it.

"I think I should be saying that to you…" She's off again, wings still there, dropping down to the next pillar and crouching - waiting for it to rise high enough to move again.

"We're not done yet. Here' comes the rolling boulder." Now they're running downhill and the floor is still 'crumbling' beneath them. Behind them the roof is 'rumbling' down to simulate something rolling down the hill after them. Getting caught is kind of painful. Even Koa is a bit unsteady here and there's no room to just fly. The goal is the door to the room. They have to get out of the 'chamber' before it's all over for them.

They can only hope and pray at this point.

"Come on, come on!" Koa urges. He's sweaty now. This is hard work even for him. And it really gets the adrenaline pumping.

"I didn't say we were…" Keiko growls, leaping from the column as it gets high to land on the downhill slope. "Darkchilde save us. I swear you put the difficulty on this up each time we come in here."

There's no more talking from Keiko as her legs pump to keep her moving. The unstable floor makes it hard to keep her balance, so she tumbles - using the momentum to get some distance


"There's no mastery from practice you've already perfected." Maybe he does ratchet up the difficulty each time they go in. Or maybe he is doing that to provide a challenge for his own increasingly strong inhuman nature. Whatever the case…

The jaws of the room snap shut right on Keiko's heels as Koa finishes the course with a leap out the door and into the antechamber. It wouldn't do after all for this to go right into a hallway. There's towels here and water and other conveniences for those with sore muscles, bruises or otherwise.

Koa goes right over to that water. Keiko will be fine, he's sure.

Keiko is growling as they come through the door. The 'snap' catching a wing as it trails. It takes a minute for the wings to disappear but the growling is still going as the small peruvian snatches up a towel and drink before stalking across the room.

"Did you prove what you wanted to?" She finally says without looking at Koa. She knows, at least, some of what is going on with him at least.

"Who said it was about proving anything?" Koa says, sipping on his water. "Do you think you make it out of those kinds of things alive if you DON'T practice? And anyway what would I be proving?"

The water is cold. Refrigerated. Just what the doctor ordered for cooling down after an intense workout. Does she indeed know what is going on with him? Well a little surely.

"You're using your powers more than you ever have." Keiko says directly. "And each time we go in, you make it harder. What do you think you think you might be proving? George keeps making an appearance …." Yes, she called his 'other self', George.


"What are we doing about Belasco?" Elena is still in care at SHIELD - it can't continue for much longer but Keiko is finding herself stretched thin at the moment.

"Really, do not give different names to other parts of me unless you want to give me disassociative disorders." Koa glares at Keiko for a moment. He's serious about that. Names have power and she's giving a different name - and therefore a different identity - to a piece of him he's trying to keep under control.

"What do you want to do about Belasco? Looking for him is out of the question. He has all of Limbo to hide in and we don't have enough people to search for him. So unless you're hiding a sympathetic link to him I don't know about we have to wait for him to make a move before there IS anything to do about him."

"When are you going to do something about that? Except for trying to suppress it?" Keiko shoots back to the other agent. "It's the only time you even talk about it with me - when I poke you so hard you bite."

She's combative today. At least she's not emotionally constipated?

"You're pushing yourself, drawing more and more on your powers. I know about having other … bits … to yourself, Koa. I know that fighting them is just exhausting and in the end … it's not good."

"So, like with everything else we're doing, we just have to wait. Like a rabbit in a hedge. Knowing the predator is out there and will jump when move - we just don't know when. I want to do SOMETHING, Koa. I don't want to lose you and Elena as well."

"Enough, Keiko!" Koa snaps. "I know you're feeling hemmed in but snapping at me for not talking to you about my problems is not going to help! I don't have a way to find Belasco. I don't have a way to confront him! I don't like waiting any more than you do but what the hell do you expect me to do about-"

Koa's rounding on Keiko is cut off when both of their alarm wards go off. Something just entered the area where the staff is.

"We'll finish this later." Koa holds up his charm and activates it, taking them both to the glade in Limbo where a demonic man in what are best described as 'robes' is standing with about twenty large ish demons.

"Ah, so prompt. N'astirh told me you would be, though."

Keiko doesn't cower when Koa snaps and turns on her. The small peruvian sets her feet and growls, her tattooes rippling under her skin. She's down for this fight - the run through the room wasn't anywhere near enough to let off steam, it seems.

When the alarms go off, she grabs her staff and is still growling when they make the Limbo Glade. Yellow eyes rake over the demonic man and demons. "So you're Belasco. Somehow I thought you would be … bigger…"

Belasco just laughs. He's used to people being insolent. "I'd say you remind me of my apprentice but she looked a bit more intelligent than you do. Still, I hope you are intelligent enough to reconsider your position as relayed to me by my second. I am prepared to even promise to leave my former apprentice alone if you will not oppose me in securing that staff. The power over Limbo was mine once. Who better to wield it again."

"A potted plant." Koa retorts, drawing his sidearm. The pistol is sheathed in a emerald glow. "My answer is still no."

Belasco sighs and rolls his eyes. "Very well." He gestures to the demons. Who rush at both Keiko and Koa in a mass of scales, fangs and leathery wings.

"A turnip." Keiko answers as Koa retorts. She's not smart, she knows it - she's barely educated at that. What she is though, is a fighter and her blood is up. "You can't have Limbo. So crawl back into the hole that the Darkchilde buried you in."

It's a feral grin that the demons get when they rush her. Keiko's staff moves with speed and accuracy. As one brute launches itself at her, she tumbles between its legs, turning to smack it hard on the back and push it into the others.

"This the best you have? No wonder you're begging us for the staff."

Koa shoots two before they're on him and he has to give ground. He is possibly, if he projects, strong enough to go toe to toe with them but he doesn't want to leave his body laying around with this many of them. Kieko is surrounded. It's impossible to tell by how many because it is after all twenty against two but they harass her like a pack of wolves. One goes in and then another from the opposite side. Trying to catch her out or wear her down.

Belasco, meanwhile, is not simply content to watch his minions do the work. He short-range teleports to the other side of the glade and begins to chant, raising his hands as the skies darken and redden. Whatever it is he's doing, both Koa and Keiko can FEEL the power he's gathering for it and he'll probably be done in a moment.

Keiko is growling, hissing and spitting as she uses her staff to keep the demons away. She's not entirely successful and has taken several scratches and bites already. Tumbling to avoid the pincer movement, she touches her arm and Bella appears, growling right alongside her mistress. The spirit wolf launches herself and one of the demons, going for its throat.

Better odds now but still not good enough.

When Belasco starts to chant, Keiko swears at the feel of the magic. "Glydril, come…" In a second or so, the huge dragon is hanging in the air above the Splinter Lord. "Get him…"

The dragon belches a gout of flame at the man as she dives.

Dodging another attack but taking a glancing blow to the back, Keiko summons a third tattoo to the frey. Conner - the large Barghest. "Help Koa…" she grunts as she manages to barely tumble and avoid another swipe.

Conner bounds towards the other agent - paws first at a demon who is harrassing him.

Keiko catches a glimpse of Koa, separated from her by ten demons and about sixty feet, ripping the throat out of one of them with a knife held in a reverse grip. He turns and shoots another and when Connor leaps, Koa tumbles again to get some space. One of the demons catches his gun-wrist only to be knifed through the arm and then twice in the gut.

Glydril flies to Belasco and breathes fire down on him. The sorcerer puts up a shield - a dome of reddish energy that causes the flame to deflect as though it were blowing against stone or glass. Then he unleashes a working at Keiko and Koa, pushing power into the ground around them to make it writhe and grasp at them. Claws and talons form out of the very earth itself trying to trap the two WAND agents and hold them in place.

Keiko also still has demons to deal with. Bella has probably killed two and she's left three or four more on the ground with her staff but the one in front of her now is larger than the rest and she knows there's two particularly quick ones behind her. It comes in - the big one - and makes a grab not for her but for her staff, trying to strip her of her defense as something dives for her back. And the earth tries to trap her at the same time.

Conner turns as that demon grabs Koa's wrist. As Koa is knifing the thing, Conner closes his jaws over its wrist. There's a crunching of bones as the Barghest starts to pull. That hand isn't likely to be attached in just a moment.

The shield was expected from Belasco. The fire designed to try and throw off the casting. Glydril shrieks as she can *feel* the trouble that Keiko is in, diving again and again at the shield - if she can't melt it fire, maybe she can bash the thing in.

"Did you want something long and hard?" Keiko taunts that big demon, feeling the earth claw and grab at her ankles. She lets the staff go as she's covered with chitinous black scales, large leathery wings on her back. The wings beat at the creature behind her, as they lift. She grunts as the earth tears at her ankles … but she should be able to get above them.

The taunt just gets a confused look from the demon which… makes sense. Demons don't always 'get' biological things. Demons themselves don't really have a sex it seems - at least not in Limbo - and as evidenced by K'nert even the worldly ones are woefully uneducated when ti comes to the birds and the bees.

In either case she lifts off the ground and manages to lift the big one off of the ground. She's out of the range of the smaller ones unless they want to start throwing rocks at her and some might - demons CAN use weapons after all - but these ones don't look especially smart. So what is she going to do with that deadweight?

Glydrial makes Belasco focus all his attention on keeping her out. He needs all of his focus to maintain the shield against a physical weight and that itself is thrown off balance when EVERYONE is.

The mountain quakes and rumbles. It sounds angry. Koa sways and recovers faster than the demons near him. He cuts another one's throat out and leaves the dismembered one to Connor as he turns and moves for - wait. Where'd Belasco go?

The magus had managed to get off another short ranged teleport and appears behind Koa with a sword. He's about to run the senior WAND agent through when Koa's astral beast twists and bats it away with a snarl. The shocked agent turns and slashes with his knife, drawing blood but not much more than that.

Keiko doesn't notice the confused look, she's a little busy at the moment. Taloned fingers close around the big demons throat and draw blood as Keiko growls again - she doesn't feel the earth move either, being aloft.

"Let go …" the small peruvian demon shakes trying to dislodge the weight. She's moved just enough that when it drops, if it drops, it will be over the demons below. *Squish*.

Conner has a demon hand in his mouth when he leaps past Koa at Belasco, huge paws aiming the knock the magus flat. It takes Glydril a moment to work out Belasco has gone but soon she's screeching again and sending a trail of fire along the ground at him.

Koa has to dodge away to avoid the fire which is just as well because the mountain shakes again and there is what very much sounds like an angry roar. The fire licks at Belasco's robes and he makes a snarling sound, then vanishes. Teleport or did something else happen? Either way he's gone before the dragon can finish him off.

That leaves the demons about. Keiko shakes off the one hanging off her staff and it does indeed fall on the ones below it. Koa's weapon rings out several more times but with Belasco gone the demons who can still move are scattering as best they can.

Especially with the mountain roaring and shaking.

Keiko isn't inclined to let the demons go easily and harries them mercilessly as they go. "If I see you with him again, I will give you to the others. They've become very good at playing with the likes of you …" She tells them.

She'll let them go, the mountain is demanding attention.

"Koa… breath…" she tells the other agent as her spirits gather about them. Bella shoves her shaggy head under Koa's hand. "You did well…" That's to the spirits and Koa might be surprised at the hint of fondness in Keiko's voice.

The ground rumbles again and Koa wobbles for a moment unsteadily. The rings on the standing stone are glowing red. Flashing red almost like a warning. The WAND agent moves over to it and touches it experimentally.

"Hot." That's an understatement. It is VERY hot. And it is only cooling very slowly as the sky turns back from red to blue. Though there's still no sun. There's never a sun in Limbo.

"It's responding to something…." Keiko says, the spirits crowding the pair of them now. "… I wonder if it's responding to you …" It's so hard to tell though. She eyes the other Agent speculatively, tempted to tweak his temper again and test it.

She knows how to get him to react.

As the earth settles, Keiko runs her hand over the stone - it is hot but she doesn't show that. "It's alright. There's no more fighting …" Elena has something to do with this but Belasco was right. Keiko is stupid and she can't work out what's happening.

"I don't think so." Koa shakes his head. "Belasco put magic into the earth. Which is the same thing that mutant did the last time she was here. I don't think this mountain likes having magic pushed into it. Or at the very least it doesn't like being used as a weapon." Koa would test that but he doesn't really have a way to do so at the moment. He's a bit more interested in this rock though.

"Look…" As it cools down the rock starts to 'weep' promethium again in very small amounts. But this time it starts to fill up cracks that appeared when it heated up, healing itself somehow. But more than that when Keiko touches it the promethium seems to flow around her hand and when she pulls her hand away a few droplets of it flow down her hand as if directed by their own will and onto her staff where they're just absorbed in.

"Maybe you're right but it's hard to tell. I could just make you angry again." It's always hard to tell when Keiko is joking, she emotes so little. "I wonder if the magic is breaking through something though …"

"Huh …." the peruvian watches as the droplets run over her hand and disappear into the metal of the staff. "It's … thirsty…." With a glance to Koa, the small woman moves the staff closer to the stone - seeing if the promethium reacts to it. "And the stone … it's healing. It's like, it's alive."

The promethium does indeed flow into it. Not very much of it mind. Just a few more drops. But as it does the staff turns silvery and stays that way. Koa watches from the side, arms folded. He can see things that she can't like the way the staff is developing an aura.

"Yeah, it is healing. Like it's alive. Like maybe the whole mountain is alive. That would certainly explain why it doesn't seem to like being tampered with. And it would explain why it seems to react to things with some manner of intelligence." Like showing them the stone shortly after they first got here.

What it doesn't explain is what it is. Limbo so far as Koa knows has never recordered anything quite like this before.

Keiko frowns at the staff that is more silvery than before. "Can you see it? What is it doing to my staff?" She asks. Her combative approach from earlier has lessened a bit. "What if you come near it… don't do that. Forget I said anything …"

Keiko takes a deep breath and looks around for a moment. "What … if … it's the Darkchilde that lies here?"

"It's developing an aura but it looks… blank. There's no personality to it, as it were. It's becoming more magical though and more attuned to Limbo." Koa says distractedly as he thinks on what Keiko said last. The WAND agent mulls it over a little bit and then shakes his head slowly.

"Yes, I think, and no. I think her power is here. The 'mantle'. The thing that made her the darkchilde. And possibly her memories with it. But it isn't her. It's more like her than it is anything else but if someone else took it up they'd gain the power, but they wouldn't be the Darkchilde. Not in the sense that the demons used to speak of it. Not in the sense that-"

Not in the sense of being the promised one. K'nert says from Koa's side.

"For the love of- Where did you come from?!"

I live here.

"A personality? Items don't have personalities, Koa." Keiko scoffs, still frowning at her favourite weapon. Attuned to Limbo can't be good, but Keiko do so like it …

"That. That's what I meant. The Darkchilde, the thing that made Illyana the Darkchilde. She channelled a lot of power when she fought of that plague, what if was absorbed into the land…"

Because that makes sense to Keiko.

"K'nert!" The small woman growls at the demon. "If they have the power of the Darkchilde though, it makes them one sort of. They just couldn't … rule Limbo with it …"

That's a question without being a question.

"Or into the staff. Which I think closer to the mark." Koa looks down at K'nert suspiciously.

They would rule Limbo. They just wouldn't be what we were promised. You're getting her back right? Putting the Darkchilde back into the human?

Koa glares at K'nert because that's not a question he wants to answer. "We're going to fix this." Is what he says instead and lets K'nert draw his own conclusions.

"Anyway that explains why Belasco wants it. It would increase his power considerably and give him the mantle of rulership back. Which I'm sure he wants because he wanted to be king of this place in the first place. He just didn't want to be stuck here. And that means he'll try again." Koa sighs and looks down at his knife. And then blinks.

"But… I have some of his blood on my knife."

"Makes sense." Keiko looks to K'nert to see what he has to taunt them with. "Promised?" What were they promised - that's interesting.

"We're fixing it." Keiko knows Koa doesn't want to hurt Illyana but the small woman isn't sure there's an option. "Yes. You have blood, we have WAND and Conner." The huge spirit Barghest comes and sits by Koa's side munching on the arm of the demon he caught.

"We can go after him. At last."

"Mmmhmm. Which we're going to. Let me reset the wards and then head back to arrange for some proper backup and extraction if we need it. Then we go after him. He'll still be injured and out of sorts so now is the best time to do so." Of course 'now' could be days or even weeks later in Limbo time but that's just a risk they're going to have to take. Going after Belasco half cocked has gotten more than one person in trouble, if half the things Koa has heard are accurate.

Belasco's rather shadowy, but one does not become a Splinter Lord by being weak or stupid. So, he is not to be underestimated.

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