2020-06-20 - Why Do We Need Goats?


Koa has legwork to do, which means research and Keiko has to learn to do it.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sat Jun 20 22:48:10 2020
Location: The Triskelion

Related Logs


Theme Song



The investigations last night had failed to yield any actual opponents, HYDRA or otherwise, but it had yielded a number of odd broken charms, insignia and other small items that are easily overlooked that might provide clues, so Koa had gathered them up, deposited them in the WAND evidence rooms and gone to get some sleep.

He was in early this morning and has been doing a combination of spirit correspondence and deep dive research to get a picture about what is going on. It is now late morning and Keiko should be in at this point. Koa is in one of the study rooms close to his office with a stack of books taller than K'nert. Who is perched up on the chandelier watching, but at present being quiet and also being ignored.

Keiko generally doesn't start early as she likes to take Elena to school. Which is amazing given the woman has very human tendencies at all but for her daughter, the peruvian truly tries.

She is in now though and enters the study room, lizard eyes narrowing at K'nert as she places a mug of coffee next to Koa.

She doesn't say anything, she rarely does these days. Instead she stands back and sips at her own coffee, eyes running over the research that Koa has there.

"Morning." Koa says, gesturing for Keiko to sit. He has two books set aside and a notepad. He is aware of course that she has trouble reading but this is part of how she learns. She's going to ask him lots of questions about what something like 'diaphanous ectoplasmic medium' means but, you know. On the job training.

"Start looking through for references to ascension and arete." Easy to do right?

"How's the kid?"

"I'd rather do legwork…" Keiko answers as she takes a seat. Bashing people, that's more her style. Flipping the first book open, the peruvian sighs. There's no illustrations, no pictures, this is going to be …. boring. Thank Limbo she's got a big mug of coffee.

"Arete? Mountain Range or Excellence?" She's learned a lot of things in the last few months. "And why?"

It helps to have context, sometimes.

The one thing Keiko knows is to not mark the books. She'd scandalized one of the instructors when she'd started making notes in the margin, that she now knows is what the notepad is for.

"Kid? Elena?" Koa rarely asks after the girl. "She's well. Settling into her new school, I think." A shadow passes over her face but she covers quickly by turning to read the book.

"Excellence. The Greeks used it as a term relating to some of their heroes and it was viewed as a quasi-supernatural quality." So anything referencing it MIGHT be referencing how to attain it and a lot of that involves pleasing, entreating or otherwise invoking the gods whom the ancient Greeks believed ruled over everything.

"What was that look for?" Koa says as he jots down something on a notepad. He has a short hand for referencing books like this. A set of numbers that generally goes 'page-paragraph-line'. It makes it easier to find things in these tomes which frequently to not have anything so prosaic as a table of contents.

"I know you'd rather do legwork but this IS legwork."

"Why that then? Out of all the things we could be looking for, why arete and ascension?"

Keiko's writing is unpracticed and nearly childish but she's taken to using Koa's shorthand. "Why not artifacts or blessings, for example?"

"She wants to know when Papa and Tetya are coming home. Me saying I don't know isn't doing it anymore." The tattooed spirit caller is slower than Koa, she's going to have to sound a lot of this out.

"When I dropped her off she told me it was my fault they're gone."

"Someone is petitioning the gods for power. Gods are funny creatures very attached to their traditions and formalities, so just asking them politely won't do it. You need to give the right sacrifices, say the right words, find the right people to do the asking for you. Someone thinks they know how to do that. They'd have had to scour old stories to find out." Koa says as he makes a few more notes. Then he looks up.

"Why don't you just tell her the truth about Tetya. She was sick. She was lost. We only found her again recently and she needs some time to put Limbo back in order." Koa does not know for a fact that Illyana IS doing that but that should be a good enough explanation for a child.

"She's hurt, sounds like. Kids can be cruel sometimes." And a child raised in Limbo might not know anything but.

"So you're saying because they're saying prayers, it's less likely to be an artifact. And you what? Want to find the prayers they are using?" In a a twisted sense it makes sense but Keiko doesn't understand why 'arete' is a key.

"I told her that, Koa. And said Tetya will be home as soon as she can be - but … she's stubborn." That should sound familiar to the other Agent. "And she's six. Besides, I failed to protect her when she cast that spell. And it's not like I was ever warm to her Papa, was I?"

That's the most Koa has heard her say in … forever. It's been even longer that she's expressed any weakness.

"Maybe I should find a family for Elena …" That doesn't sit well. Elena is hers and she's not she could 'give' her away.

"What's this story, Koa? It looks a fairy tale about a man who spread the blood of goats about himself and prayed for his son to be … restored?"

"Well no." Koa says as he makes a few more notes and then pushes the book aside to pull out another. "You weren't. But you of all people should realize that you can't protect everyone. That's never going to be part of this job. You are going to lose people. So far you haven't lost anyone important to you so just take the win, mm?"

There's a little bit more scratching of pen on paper and Koa looks up to snort. "Mmmm. Yes. Send away the one thing that humanizes you. That's a wonderful idea. Besides I don't think you ever COULD send Elena away. She can find her way to Limbo, she can find her way back to you. Besides, I don't think there's a family out there who can really cope." Not with what Elena is and her unusual circumstances and danger.

"Goats blood?" Koa stands up to lean over and look. "Hrmmmmmm. It's a version of the old Abrahamic story of Isaac. But with some significant differences. Curious. Look in that other book you've got and see if you find a matching story."

"If you mean by lost, they died or worse, then no." Keiko sighs, taking up her coffee for a drink. "WAND must have families that could … what's the word? Foster? Adopt? I could do it if it made her happy, Koa."

Could she? Keiko doesn't lie, not often at any rate. Maybe she just doesn't realise her attachment to the girl.

"Why the other book?" She pulls the second one over and starts to read. It will likely frustrate Koa at how slow she is. "What are the differences?"

"Do you think she'd really be happy that her mother sent her away?" Koa says, looking at Keiko dubiously. "Hell do you think YOU'D be happy? No. You'd be a wreck and a wreck that I'd have to deal with what's more."

Agent Turner glances down at his book and frowns, then reaches for something in a small bottle with a brush and begins to do something to the page.

"Two different authors from two different time periods but supposedly pulling from the same set of rituals, rites and legends. If it IS in the other book, then seeing the differences in the story will help us figure out which book might be more accurate. If it ISNT in the other book then we have to ask why on source has this story and one either didn't or didn't think it was important."

"My happiness isn't important." Keiko says. In many ways she considers her life … this. Fighting. Protecting her daughter. Protecting the Darkchilde and protecting Koa. Anything more, that's not a life for Keiko Kurita - the fates hadn't decreed it so.

Only peripherally aware of what Koa is doing on his side of the table, Keiko continues to read through the second book. Of course, there could be a translation error on Keiko's part - her reading level isn't great and she has to translate from English to Spanish to understand it.

"There's another one here, but it's about an inviting a god to a banquet, a celebration? Rite? The God bestows a gift on whoever does the inviting… I think. The language is very strange. But it mentions here, the blood of four and twenty goats will be shed."

This time it's more the story of Dionysus, not that Keiko knows it, but different again.

"Your happiness has to be important." Koa looks up and takes a breath. "Look, everyone here, everyone in this part of the building, knows that when push comes to shove we will all give our lives in the most hideous, horrendous, painful ways to buy another tomorrow for the rest of the world and odds are good that if and when we do the rest of the world will never know what we have done. There are parts of this job that cause us to accept injury or loneliness for the sake of others. You know that. You've watched me suffer in silence."

Keiko didn't KNOW Koa was suffering in silence but she's seen him do that.

"But you don't have that option anymore. You need to take care of your daughter for your sake, for her sake and for the sake of a world that really doesn't need another Witchfire unleashed on it. And to do that YOU need to be happy. You cannot, I repeat, cannot take care of your daughter right if you are miserable."

Koa pushes the book aside and glances down at what Keiko has. Four and twenty goats. "Hrm. That sounds like a clue to me. It's not a number that you'd normally see from the Greeks. Not in any of their traditions. Sounds like it's a clue to getting someone's attention. The story says this is about Dionysus but I kind of doubt it. Go back to the first book, the older one, and see what god was being entreated. I'm willing to bet it's not nearly as nice a god."

"I'm not miserable, Koa. This is what I have. Elena and my work. It is enough." Witchfire? Why would Koa equate Elena to Witchfire? Keiko isn't sure.

Keiko knew Koa suffered. Her connection to the Agent had been a sticking point with Elena's Papa. Even now, as broken as she is, the smaller agent would try to ease that suffering.

Pulling the other book towards her again, she sighs deeply. Why people like reading, she'll never know. "Uh. Maybe Nabu? That name is mentioned here and there's a reference to a swarm that find in a hive…"

It fits. Nabu was an ancient god of agriculture. A swarm and a hive - did they mean bee's?

"Nabu yes. Agricultural god. Not a particularly dark one so probably not a huge worry for us but still, something we should look into. Though finding the goats for that could be a problem." Well, it could be a problem in New York. Go into the country and it's a lot easier to find goats. Go into OTHER countries and its easier still.

"You are a lot less happy than you let on, and sending Elena away would be a disaster for both. And it's no mystery why, by the way. You AREN'T a demon. You're not fully human anymore but you are still human. Large parts of you anyway. You need human things and you can't do that while you're pretending to be a creature of Limbo."

"Find the goats? Why would we need goats?" Keiko knows why but she wants him to say it. "And does this mean I can stop reading?" She'll try. It doesn't. But ugh, reading.

"I didn't think I was presenting as happy." She challenges in response. "I'm not normal, Koa. I'm more a creature of … somewhere else than I am of here. I'm not a creature of Limbo either. I belong nowhere."

"You belong with your daughter. And you can make a home wherever you choose to. Doesn't mean it's going to be easy." Koa's eyes flash briefly. "Believe me I know about feeling like you're losing your place in the world." For Koa it is a bit less about losing his place in the world and more its losing his sense of himself but its similar enough. Disturbing things that you thought were safe and secure and constant.

Koa pushes another book to her. "No. It's good practice and anyway I don't want to go through all of these books myself."

"I never said it would be easy. You're the one going on about how I need to be happy. I'm … what I am. What I've become. You want me to keep Elena because … she might be a problem to the world and she's mine. I will. But I don't think you can expect more from me."

"It's not like I have friends or other family." And her time working doesn't leave much room for anything but caring for Elena.

Taking the books, the smaller agent looks up at Koa just in time to see his eyes flash. "You have other things to worry about than me, besides." beat "You didn't tell my why need the goats."

"I can expect you to try to be human for your sake and for hers. And I can expect you to take a friend's advice about not being stupid. Don't look at me, you're the one who was talking about giving up your daughter. I want you to keep her because yes she might be dangerous. But I know you love her and she loves you and I don't think you should try taking the easy way out."

Because while sending Elena to be fostered elsewhere, assuming that were possible, would make things temporarily easier, Koa is convinced it would destroy both the girl and the woman.

"I don't need goats. But if anyone wanted to do that rite, they might. And you're a little bit wrong. I need to worry about my partner being up to whatever is next. If you're not, that's a problem for me, isn't it? And I don't want to have to beat you on the mat again. Your claws hurt."

Koa is capable of sorting things out like that, but he prefers not to.

"Who says you could do it again?" Keiko is stubborn and she's been training hard. It's hard to tell if she might be joking a bit. "It wouldn't be the *easy* way out, Koa. It is something I consider as the right thing for her."

"You know I'm up to whatever comes next. It's what I was trained to do. It's this other stuff I … that is a challenge." It's the closest he's going to get to her saying 'a problem'.

"If we want somewhere that has goats, there's a farm about an hour and a half out of the city to the North. Elena had homework and we had to find out about it."

"You know if you give it two seconds of thought that it would not be the best thing for her." Koa says with a shake of his head. "The best thing for her is for her mother to teach her how to be human. Lord knows she already knows how to be a demon."

And to do that Keiko has to learn, or relearn, how to be human herself.

"We'll check it out. See if anyone has been asking after their wares. Or if any of them are missing." As to whether or not she's ready? Well physically he's sure she is. But will that be true if her life completely falls apart. He's seen it happen too many times to doubt what the answer is.

Keiko doesn't add anything to the discussion but looks up at Koa instead "Can I … get off early today? I want to get her from school…." and maybe go and feed the pigeons in the park. Or something. What is it that 'normal' mothers and daughters do? "… I'll make up the hours."

"If you want me to go through these books, I need to concentrate."

Koa looks at her for a moment and then nods. "Of course." He says understandingly. She's functionally a single mom at the moment and her child is very unusual. She can make up the hours later. Or not. Koa is happy to bill that time to 'keeping potentially active dimensional entities sated.' Fortunately the entity in question just needs ice cream and quality time.

If only they were all so easy to please.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License