2020-04-11 - Dual Souled


Koa and Keiko finally confront Belasco

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sat Apr 11 10:32:13 2020
Location: Limbo

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Belasco. The fight with him had been a nasty one and had resulted in the sorcerer getting knifed by Koa. With his blood, it wasn't too hard for WAND to trace him and when Keiko and Koa returned not very long after, they ported in very near to his location.

The sky here is… still blue and the land is still mostly green but there's a lot more bare reddish earth showing. It looks more like a California pine forest. Not hell, not by a long shot, but also not the same kind of lush wild land the rest of Limbo is.

There is a building in the distance. A Victorian castle which is to say not REALLY the medieval kind. More the sort of castle designed to be impressive and comfortable and not the sort that's supposed to hold off attackers.

"Belasco's been busy." Koa grunts. "Don't see many demons, and he should still be hurt." Though the area will probably be warded. Keiko was given something to cut them, however so… that should be entertaining.

Keiko had been … antsy … while WAND had done their searching. She'd headed to the gym for a while to blow off steam, which is where Koa had found her.

Adjusting her pack, the demon-eyed woman looks around. "Busy … I suppose." She agrees, taking her staff out and extending it. "Are we going to have fun storming the castle?" Yes, she just totally quoted Princess Bride.

"Just because you can't see the demons, doesn't mean they aren't here …"

"I CAN see the demons." Koa points out. "And there aren't many of them." The auras they throw off, they're rather distinctive, and Koa can see them all. In fact they color his perception of things. He's spent years with them always overlaid over his sight. It's part of the reason why he didn't recognize Illyana when they first found her. He'd never seen her without the aura.

"Still a fair amount of magic. Three rows of wards on the outside. I don't think he wants visitors." Yeah, they are going to have fun storming the castle.

"Alright. Break out that knife. Let's go."

They can feel it when they get to the first set of wards. A thickening in the air. A sense of dread and a tingle of electricity. Cutting the magic won't be hard, though and Koa is already planning for how to get through the door.

Keiko just looks at Koa and draws the knife as well. He might gather what she might have said from the look - it says something she didn't give voice to it though.

"Maybe he just wants visitor with the right credentials. We didn't get a golden ticket, after all." Her hair is pulled back into a pony tail and she hadn't had time to shower before they left.

"Well that's unpleasant. At least it's not like being in a church …" she says as the electricity tingles. "Do you want me to hit it with my staff?" Koa probably wants her to use the knife but she's a being a little … obstinant.

"Use. The Damn. Tool. You were given." Koa half grates at her. Now is not the time for her to be stubborn. She can try her staff and it might work but they have NO idea what the infusion of promethium into it has done. It might break the wards or it might make them stronger. A two man raid on one of the most powerful sorcerers around isn't in his mind the time to find out.

While she's doing whatever it is she's going to do, Koa finds some water nearby and lifts it up. Even here that element responds to him. And it's a change, there never really used to be any of that around. Limbo was parched as a drunk after cutoff time.

There's some stirring behind the castle windows. They've been noticed, and no surprised. They are sort of standing in the open.

There's another look from the tattooed woman, her slitted cats eyes gleaming a little. Raising the knife, Keiko finds where the electricity is strongest and slices the air just like one might slice a block a cheese.

She is careful - the last thing she really wants is to 2 v Belasco and his horde out here.

"Heads up …." Keiko raises her chin towards the windows and salutes with the knife. If they've been noticed, she might as well acknowledge it. "Whatever you're going to do, better do it now …"

She can see Koa drawing on the magic here - her eyes narrowing and a growl starting in the back of her throat. She *knows* what drawing on the magic here does to him. To anyone.

One of these days the two of them might just need to fight and figure out who is in charge. Right now Koa shapes the water he's got into a long column, like a log, and swings it like a battering ram at Belasco's front door as soon as the wards go.

BOOM. The doors slam open, splintered. There's the sound of scratching on stone hallways. Someone or something - several of them - are running toward them.

Koa just drops the water where it is, making puddles. "There's the plan. Let's go."

He draws his gun and his chain and steps inside. They get about halfway down the 'entryway' which must be at least a hundred twenty feet long before crowd of demons descends from both sides of the grand stairway.

It is important to note that it is a crowd and not a horde. The hordes of Limbo have been somewhat thinned since the 'reset.' Still, there's a few dozen of them and some of them look nasty.

Koa doesn't even bother talking to them. He just shoots the first one down the stairs in the head. Which rather sets the tone for how things go next.

Maybe they will have to fight. Or maybe Koa will do whatever it is he's destined to do and leave Keiko to muddle through on her own. That's what she was told, wasn't it?

Without conscious thought, as Keiko follows Koa in, leathery bat wings appear on her back and her skin turns to chitin scales. It's not exactly armour anymore - it's … part of her.

Koa shoots and Keiko explodes into action to the other side of the grand stairway - swinging her staff and taking a demon in the head. This is going to be a fight and she's been spoiling for a fight for ages.

Koa moves like, appropriately enough, liquid. He whips a demon with his chain and then snares it to use it as leverage to wall run, clothesline another demon and then shoot two more. He's impossible to pin down and when one does get close enough the Hawaiian descended agent just kicks him into another.

Keiko finds herself quickly surrounded - which is more or less inevitable since it's two on two or three dozen. A big one comes in at her with a spiked brass club while two smaller ones go for her legs from either side. The way these demons fight is like a pack of animals. You're never facing all of them at once, it's never quite that coordinated. Instead the big ones go in relying on brute force and the smaller ones look for opportunities to strike while the target is distracted or their back is turned. Works well even on trained warriors but anyone actually on the demons level make the tactic much harder to pull off.

Keiko growls, grabbing one of the smaller demons - letting it try and sink its teeth into her arm , swinging it around to clear the other smaller ones back and tossing it into the bigger ones.

She can't help but turn her back but her wings beat back the ones that try her that way. Rather than waste her time on the smaller creatures, the demon tainted spirit caller finds the largest, nastiest one she can and focusses on it.

At the same time, she calls Bella and Cullen, who arrive in a flurry of claws and teeth.

Cullen keeps her back clear as Bella bounds over to Koa. It's just become 4 on a lot.

The fight gets nastier especially with the addition of the animals or that is to say, with the addition of even more demons. Off to her right Keiko hears Koa's gun go off about a dozen times in rapid succession though it's impossible to tell specifically who he is shooting at. The chain rattles and he might have just thrown someone. But she can also hear him grunt. It's impossible not to take hits in an environment like this. And these guys can hit hard enough to hut.

The big brass club, that's the nastiest one she can find, comes right at her and that big spiky club comes down. It is probably too heavy to directly block, but deflecting it, that is definitely an option and there are lots of people to deflect it into. Once it is out of the way he should have a hard time readying it for another strike.

Keiko doesn't glance at Koa but really wishes she had a link with Bella - the wolf could show her what's going on. That said, she needs to get Mirlo back as well - the raven could be her eyes in the sky. She doesn't have that at the moment and worrying about Koa isn't going to help either of them.

Taking a claw down the face - the chitin skin not quite enough to protect against another demon - blood pours down her face and she grunts as well.

Watching the club, Keiko knows she can't block it but she's small and nimble - something the larger demon likely hasn't considered. Keiko has to keep moving though, if she stands still she'll be mobbed. The staff comes up, connecting with the club as it descends - numbing her shoulder with the impact. As the blow goes wide, Keiko tumbles - into the group of demons to her left - the club should land in that area.

When it does, the small WAND Agent moves again … this time to behind the large demon and she kicks him with the flat of her foot - knocking him more off balance, as her staff comes down on his head.

The club smashes into the ground with a boom. It sends splinters of polished stone flying everywhere and there's also a fair bit of goop and maybe bone because that thing definitely took out three or four demons on the way. It leaves them crushed as the big guy tries to get his club back up and by that time Keiko has made him stumble forward. He drops the club and spins around to use his fists, only to take the staff to the face. It BURNS and he shrieks, falling backwards. Down but possibly not out.

Four more demons come at Keiko, one from above, two from behind and one from her right. The crowd is thinning. There's only eight or so now and Koa almost literally feeds one to Bella before choking another with his chain, using it as a shield to deflect something stabby from one of it's companions.

Keiko trusts Conner to have her back and the Barghest most certainly does. As the two come for her from behind, Conner leaps and takes one by the throat as he knocks the second one back - pinning it to the ground as he tears the first ones throat out.

Keiko is moves like a dancer, up and over the club wielder to ram her staff, end on, through its throat. That done, she spins, taking the one coming from her right with crack of the staff, changing its angle to skewer the one coming from above.

She's cover in gore and ichor as she looks around.

As the creature Keiko impaled drops heavily to the ground another shot rings out. Koa, himself covered in gore, has shot the last one as it headed for her wing to try to break it. It also falls, squirming for a few moments before Koa shoots it again. Then the hall is dead silent. There's no noise coming from above them.

"Normally I'd say there would be more soon but I'm not seeing many more auras in here. Belasco's up there somewhere. Probably in a tower." He might be doing magic or he might be trying to recover.

Well actually, given the amount of noise they just made kicking in his door, he's probably doing magic even if he WAS trying to recover.

Keiko is growling as she draws the staff out of the monsters chin. If there are any demons left, that saw this, she just made one hell of a statement. Or is that Limbo of a statement.

"There should be more." It's not clear what she means by that. "If he's doing magic, wouldn't you be able to see that?"

Bella slinks over to Koa, sniffing at him and nuzzling his hand. Conner looks up from the demon feast he's having - his muzzle covered in ichor, his eyes glowing brighter than his spirit form.

"We have an advantage, we should take it." She doesn't say 'thank you' for saving her wing. Keiko just … doesn't do that.

"Let's go. Can you use your abilities to lift up, or do we take the stairs?"

"If he were moving or the magic powerful enough yes. Otherwise it can be tough to pick out in the general background of Limbo's nature." Because everything in Limbo is magical. The air. The ground. The pseudo Victorian castle that they're in. The bone that Connor is chewing on. Everything.

Koa gives Bella a scratch between the ears and then starts up the stairs. He knows how Limbo works - as does Keiko - in that it tends to react to what you're thinking and feeling. And he knows that if he really, really wants to smack Belasco in the face, it'll bring him there.

Which it does. They have to pass through almost gothic hallways full of armor and a few other places lifted out of a Victorian horror novel but eventually they come to a large wooden door that's barred and locked. Koa doesn't speak. He just slams the door at it's hinges and the thing falls off and inward by itself.

Behind is Belasco, standing at what looks like an altar with a knife in his hand. He's wearing heavy robes but the way he's standing suggests that perhaps he is still injured.

"Knock knock." Koa says, and then raises his weapon and fires. Belasco's hand flies up and a shield springs into being moments before the green bolt of the Asp Goddess would have hit him.

"Reckless. Just what I should expect from people like you."

There's no response for Koa. Keiko … is very much in a demonic mindset. Feral. It happens when she lets the demon spirit rise. When she snaps her fingers, Conner drops his grisly meal and ranges ahead of them as they walk.

As the door to Belasco's room bursts open, Keiko follows Koa in and skirts the wall. With the sorcerers attention on the senior WAND agent, the smaller one rolls, coming up to bring her staff down on that shield.

"Better than stupid, like you." Is all the little, gore covered, demoness says.

The staff rebounds off the shield, but it shimmers visibly, dimming. Unfortunately Keiko does not have time for a second strike. A shadow falls over her cast by a great pair of wings as N'astirh comes down from the ceiling to land behind her. His hands are already moving, charged with deadly energy that he throws at her, forcing her to move or be pinned between the demon and Belasco.

At the same time a cage manifests around Koa… for all of about two seconds before the furious WAND agent just consumes the magic powering it. "Let's play, Belasco." Koa half growls and throws a hand out, pulling enough power from the shield that his next shot punches right through it. And would punch right through the sorcerer if he didn't dive out of the way and come up with a sword.

"Indeed, Agent. Let's play. You'll make for an interesting experiment when I am finished here."

Koa still has Bella shadowing him. The wolf ranges to his side waiting for his signal.

Conner leaps as N'astirh comes down, knocking the demon off balance and buying Keiko precious time to roll to the side and come back up.

Her staff lashes out, whipping across that horse face. "Let's dance N'astirh. We've both been waiting for our chance." she growls. Her ears prick at the word 'experiment' from Belasco - she'll kill the hell lord before he can do that but her attention, by necessity is on the other demon.

"I'll make Elena a lovely skirt and top from your hide." The staff whistles around again, this time lower. Keiko is going to try and drop the demon to the ground.

N'astirh summons a stream of energy that moves between both hands a bit like a cats cradle and catches her staff with it. He tosses it off to the side and whips the energy out like a lash, aiming for Keiko's arms before he has to whip it back to ward off Connor. This is a test of both quickness and skill and N'astirh is not like common demons in either department.

"Have we both been waiting for this? Or are you just obsessed? I think it's the latter. You're broken and this is all you know." The green demon sneers.

In a reversal, Koa is using his chain like N'astirh is using the magical energy on his hands. He catches Belasco's blow and then uses the long end of the chain to whip at Belasco's legs which forces the Victorian sorcerer back to avoid being tripped. Belasco is clearly a superior swordsman but Koa is much physically quicker than he is, so the contest seems fairly even at the moment. There's a lot of sparks flying up from the Fetter and the blade as the two go at it almost quick enough that it's difficult to fullow the action.

The staff flies from Keiko's hands - she doesn't try to stop it. Instead, her hand drops to that knife that Koa had given her. The one that had cut the wards. She moves so quickly - the blade slashes up through the energy weave, as Keiko slips to one side as Connor is caught by the lash.

The Barghest yelps then snarls but does back off, starting to circle N'astirh to watch for an opening.

The energy-whip brushes Keiko's skin as she moves - the damn thing burns even through the chitinous plating. "So what if I'm broken. I'm good at what I do and I'll keep my family safe from the likes of you." She knows she's broken and instead of fighting it, she embraces it.

The last words are punctuated by a quick move from the peruvian, darting past N'astirh to slice at his side. She doesn't stop, just keeps moving past him. She's behind him, at least for the moment.

Belasco is strong and skilled with that blade. It rings out as it tangles with Koa's chain. Koa's lash gains the agent a moments reprieve as Belasco steps back - Koa can see an opening in the mans guard.

N'astirh moves to bat Keiko's blow away but the knife slices through the enchantment - though not without some resistance. She scores his side but takes an elbow between the shoulders for her trouble.

"Broken things never do what you want them to though." He sneers as he lands the hit and the turns again to smack Connor with a wing. Connor is getting dangerously close. He starts to channel a different spell into his hands, something that will be more effective against that knife. "Broken things just crack and fall apart. It's only a matter of time."

Koa spins away to make use of the full length of his chain and snag's Belasco's left - non sword - arm. He yanks to pull the older man off balance. There's blood in the water now. This might end very quickly if Koa gets the physical upper hand.

Belasco hadn't been expecting that. He'd been trying to taunt Koa in so he could deliver a flurry blows against the younger man. Being tugged off balance wouldn't normally be a problem for the older man - but he's injured. Koa had stuck a dagger in his side, after all. It makes him wince as he tries to parry the blow and untangle his arm from the chain. It also makes him slower than he should be - though the sword still comes at Koa, not trying to slice him but run him through.

Keiko grunts as the elbow connects between her shoulder blades. Her demon form is sturdy but still susceptible to that kind of attack. Nothing she's not used to however. "Right. So I won't do what you want me to." She retorts. Deliberately misunderstanding what he said.

Connor is thrown back a little, but comes in again. N'astirh now has to divide his attention between Keiko and the Barghest. The smile Keiko gives N'astirh is … chilling as he starts to cast again. The little demoness, tumbles in and doesn't try to knife him - just punches with all the force she can bear. If she can distract the casting, she'll buy herself time.

N'astirh gives ground, away from Koa and Belasco, vulnerable while he's casting. The punch connects on one of his ribs and there's a satisfying cracking noise. Wings flap as Connor comes in and gets a bite on the leg. N'astirh takes to the air briefly to hop back about eight feet and form burning stone spikes floating in the air above his shoulder which launch down at Connor and Bella rather than Keiko herself, taking advantage of the spirits lesser agility.

Koa in the meantime has Belasco exactly where he wants him. He slips the lunge and throws Belasco to the floor, spinning his chain to deliver a nasty body blow.

But it never lands. Belasco has been gauging Koa, watching to figure out what was so odd about him. Now he speaks a single word in Elder Cthonic and throws out a hand in a single gesture. Koa's inner beast is thrown out of him, back thirty feet toward a prepared cage. It doesn't get there. There's an astral 'band' between the two and Koa's astral form grits and strains at that band, holding onto it to maintain a tenuous connection to his physical form. Koa's eyes go wide.

Uh oh.

Keiko moves past N'astirh - not staying still long enough for the demon to get hold of her. N'astirh move is somewhat expected and Keiko is right there as he summons those spikes. "Connor, Bella … g——" The beasts have the scent of blood though. Bella is harrying Belasco and Connor is turning on N'astirh as the spikes connect. The spirits are punctured and collapse like the live versions would have - pinned to the ground with stone. They aren't dead, well they are, but it won't be long before they are … it's confusing.

The spirits dissipate into smoke and return to Keiko … who is left gasping and bleeding from puncture wounds on her own body.

N'astirh walks over and grabs Keiko by the throat. He throws her forward toward Belasco and then comes up behind her to trap her arms and make her watch what happens next. Belasco slowly picks himself up, keeping one hand up in what looks sort of like a defensive position while Koa and his bestial ghost thirty feet away struggle to maintain their connection.

"You know it's rude to interrupt a master sorcerer in his contemplations. Fortunately for you I shall forgive you. It isn't often that you find someone whose soul is acting almost independently. Once you are separated from it both your form and your spirit will keep me very interested for a long time. Quite a gift you've brought me, really."

Belasco keeps his hand up as he looks toward Keiko. "Ah, the would be ruler of Limbo. Or the one the demons in their stupidity thought to make so. No Darkchilde to save you this time. And when I decide what to do with her, you won't be there to interfere. In fact, you may well be carrying out my will…"

Keiko stumbles as she's thrown, the gore already covering her makes it hard to tell how bad her own wounds are. Hissing and spitting, she nearly dislocates her shoulder trying to free herself from N'astirh. Her eyes are bright yellow and so very slitted - it's almost hard to tell that is Keiko now.

"Who give you your information? This fuckwit?" Keiko swears at Belasco when he speaks to her. "Your information is wrong. I'm not the would be ruler of Limbo. But then, what can I expect from someone as stupid looking as you."

Koa might just kill later for this but she's deliberately trying to draw Belasco's attention and keep it.

"Good luck with. In case you haven't noticed, I'm not exactly easy to get on with. But try your best … I'm going to enjoy skinning this one and sewing an outfit from his hide."

She *doesn't* mention Elena.

"You know there was a time when the Darkchild was just about that recalcitrant." Belasco says with an unpleasant smile. "But I solved that. I fixed that. I made sure she was a perfect apprentice. And then do you know what happened?"

"She kicked your ass and threw you out of your own castle." Koa grunts. Belasco turns back to look at him and his eyes widen. Koa's astral form has thickened and strengthened the astral band between itself and the body. Koa's features begin to warp, becoming at once both canine and shark like. Something that doesn't exactly map to the real world but has aspects of both. With a 'snap' the astral form rubber bands back into Koa, now physically the embodiment of what his astral form has always represented.

Then there's a rush. His Astral form shoots out again toward Belasco and this time it pulls Koa's physical form with it. He claws the surprised sorcerer and then delivers a blow that would powder the rib cage of any normal person. N'astirh releases Keiko in shock.

Keiko's head comes up as Koa speaks. So much for distracting Belasco from him. The demonic smile returns though, wider than before "Yeah. She did. Because you're a loser and you always will be…" Keiko has lost all ability to censor herself.

As N'astirh releases her, the peruvian moves. Slower than she usually would - but that's the only sign of pain she shows. She's still holding the knife - why the demon hadn't taken it, well he'll be asking himself that in a moment.

She lurches as Koa hammers Belasco, intent on driving that knife deep. "I'll take your pelt with a hole in it."

So much indeed for any plan. Bearding Belasco in his den was always going to be dangerous but the idea had been to confront him while his ability to cast complex magic on the fly was hampered by his injury. And yet, injured as he is that doesn't seem to have stopped him.

This is not to say that either he OR N'astirh are getting the better end of this exchange. N'astirh certainly isn't. He screams in pain as Keiko stabs him in the chest. His wings and claws both come up to beat at Keiko's shoulders and scratch at her sides but she's already inside his reach.

Koa just pounds Belasco. Growling in rage he snaps to the location his last punch put the sorcerer and hits him again. Then snaps behind him and hits him again. And again. Keiko can feel a glow from him. It's coming from his neck. The silver that normally circles it has started to glow white. And… another tooth is filling in.

Koa finally slams Belasco down and stands over him with his own sword. He looks like he is very seriously considering putting that sword through him.

Keiko is menace with that knife. She drags it down to N'astirh navel and back up to his where she twists it. N'astirh had threatened her daughter and hurt her spirits - she is going to extract payment for that from his hide. She takes any scratches and hits he gives her - she's beyond feeling those now.

Well she would if not for the seering pain on the collar about her neck. Inside, she draws the knife out, knocks the winged creature down and drives the knife through his throat - pinning him to the floor as she turns away from him.

"Koa … " she growls at the other Agent and moves towards him. Slowly. She wants to kill Belasco, she really does - the demon that she 'ate' is urging it. But something says … they shouldn't.

Koa growls. It doesn't even look like Koa anymore. It looks like the personification of a predator. A thing that eats magic. Belasco just pants, looking up at Koa. Silently, it seems, urging him to strike the fatal blow.

He doesn't. The tooth in his neck finishes filling in and Koa walks over to the alter, dropping the sword as he does. His physical form contorts and reshapes and eventually he looks like himself again.

"I know." He says to Keiko. They shouldn't kill him. But they can't leave him and they can't take him. He's trapped here, no force can remove him. So instead he strikes down and breaks the altar.

The castle begins to shake and crumble inwards. "Let's go."

He reaches into his pocket and holds up a teleport wafer. In an eyeblink they can be gone and leave N'astirh and Belasco to deal with the fallout of all the enchantments that Koa just undid.

For all that Keiko challenges Koa, her and now she doesn't. The little demoness hisses at Belasco as N'astirh struggles behind her to remove that knife. That tooth on Koa's neck is a problem - she wished she knew what they meant.

And yet the senior agent manages to control himself, mostly.

"I'll come back for your skin, don't worry." She tells N'astirh as Koa activates that wafer.

She arrives in WAND looking like the demon, covered in ichor and smelling foul … injured to a point that she staggers. "See to Koa." She growls at those around her.

She doesn't ask how he is.

Koa has a feral cast to his features and the WAND personnel look a bit worried as they approach him. He sighs and manages to pull himself off the platform and sit down heavily. Soon a couple of techs are looking at him.

"Don't let her walk out of here without medical attention." Koa says, glaring at Keiko. "She took on a major demon and her spirits got impaled." Hence the big bloody wounds. The techs look at him and then at her and then back at him but don't dare gainsay, er, either of them.

So one of them timidly comes over and says. "Uh, Agent, I can take you down to medical…"

Those yellow eyes just glare at Koa, the demoness's features slowly retreating - leaving Keiko standing there, ichor covered and blood dripping from several puncture wounds. How she's standing upright is probably a very good question.

"I *know* where medical is." She growls at the tech, baring the fangs in her mouth when she does. "I'll take Agent Turner down myself. Get back to work."

Oh, this is going to be splendid.

Koa gets up heavily and waves the other agents off. "I've got it." As in 'I'll handle Keiko'. Because she needs handling right now. Though she probably thinks Koa needs handling.

"Keiko you're bleeding from three holes that you shouldn't have. Stop giving them trouble and let's go."

Oh yes, this is going to be splendid.

And there is that look again. "I didn't say I wouldn't go. I said I knew where it was. I'm taking you down."

And when she's there, she'll consent to letting them look at her.

Without another word, the smaller agent moves slowly and carefully towards the medical bay - making sure the other Agent is going to come with her.

Koa is indeed going to come with her. The silver on his neck is still shining brightly, as if it had been recently polished. He's moving a little stiffly but nowhere near as much as her. The damage done to him is likely more… internal. Metaphysical. But that always seems to be the way with Koa. If he isn't physically beat to hell he's spiritually beat to hell.

Really, with a job like this it's a wonder anyone survives their first two weeks.

"Well let's go then." Taking him down indeed. Koa snorts. Fine. He'll go with her.

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