2913/Hunting Down the Three

From Heroes Assemble MUSH
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Hunting Down the Three
Date of Scene: 14 August 2020
Location: Limbo
Synopsis: No description
Cast of Characters: Illyana Rasputina, Tabitha Smith, James Proudstar

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
Thunderstorms besiege Westchester County at a time when Long Island is knocked off the grid, Magneto put a rock in the sky, and really? Fuck this popsicle stand.

Enter Limbo. The drop through space and dimensions comes roughly, even for Illyana's lovers. Jagged streams of stone flow upward in a wild waterfall of magma, crashing to assail some half-drowned city of naughty demons trying to test the patience of their queen. Hops and skips take them not to the lovely dacha beside a deep, inviting lake in the silver-birch forest, but rather instead, the crash comes down in a city that clashes together the glories of a Mughal city market and gardens combined with an Arabic paradise, green minarets and glistening bone spires shifted around. Here people move back and forth in desert garb, wrapped up in brilliant veils and cloth.

Samarkand is not so far on the Silk Road from Russia. Neither is the hostile desert that inspired a thousand stories among the Turks beyond, who carried impressions and stories far beyond Arabia. Here might be found memories of jinn and Hindi gods, blue- and green-skinned, fierce and proud and not entirely human. Not at all.

A place to land as the girl crashes to the ground on a handsome secret garden. Hers is not a shade of black wrapped around her for once, but midnight blue. The shroud she pulls down leaves only her glowing eyes bare, the ornate devising seductive rather than a burka or something so confining. It's a wonder there aren't goat-hooves under that dress, but still.

"Keller's soul was in the hands of a demon flouting my authority," she says flatly. "One of his viziers operates here, fat and secure." A lie, of course. Nothing is secure from the all-knowing, dark gaze of the Demon Queen. Not in Limbo, not even the rebels. It's an awful state of things. "Tonight we start a war."

Tabitha Smith has posed:
Coming and going from Limbo, as frequently or infrequently as it may be, is not actually something that she ever REALLY gets used to. That drop and shift, the transition from a reality that is shitty sometimes, but familiar, is always disorienting.

But usually when she lands it's familiar, as far as hellscapes go. This place? Not familiar at all. And it makes Tabby take a whole minute to adjust her thoughts before she frowns, "Wait."

Those blue eyes turn towards Illy, and she stares for a minute. But what comes out of her mouth isn't something about how soul's are stealable. "We're going to start a war?"

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
"Yes." The smile that briefly graces the veiled blonde's countenance is bright as the sun, ruby-black lips curling into a look that would normally hold allure. It probably doesn't with her eyes glowing that vibrant actinic blue, slanted too sharply. Faded silk covers the contour of her face descending to her chin, pinned in a swathe. "Answering the insult done to me twiceover. Once on my ascension, then by taking Keller's soul."

She doesn't draw the Soulsword, since every entity of Limbo from those under rocks to winging through the sky knows exactly what that blade embodies, even if they have never seen their liege. Some things truly go with the territory. That doesn't stop her from pulling a different blade, thin and black, from nothing. Sliding it up her sleeve into a wrist sheath, she says further, "Inflict as much damage as you like."

In a city of sandstone, brass, tile and marble, that may be a great deal indeed. Plants to burn, twisted and gorgeous as they are. Wooden lattices and fragrant screens abound. She tips her head to Tabby. "The Three think themselves immune to consequence. We three answer." Three. Minus one Jimmy. Against a city of demons.

Tabitha Smith has posed:
Someone is actually telling her to blow up as much as she can, and Tabby looks like she's the Coyote that has finally caught the Roadrunner, and has no idea what to actually do with it now that she's caught it.

Limbo is a place, these things are real. But are they real in the same way that Xavier's is, Genosha...places in the "real" world.

The moral and ethical turmoil lasts a minute, or two. Before Tabby just shakes her head, turning on her heel to start heading out of the garden and towards the streets and paths of the city itself. "No one is immune to consequence."

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
Truer words never spoken. Tabby's statement gets a smirk from Illyana. She instead gracefully follows the other blonde. "How do you want to look?" she asks, as if wearing a t-shirt or jeans or a sundress isn't going to stand out. The garden ahead of them is a pretty thing, privacy fencing of lattices that smell spiced and lovely. A fountain plays in the middle. It spits out water amounts to a honey wine instead fo water, and the figures reflected in the glass-chip bowl are rather less than enchanting unless someone thinks a hunt by dragon-like monsters and tiger-headed nobles in finery is especially lovely. Preyed upon demons flee, elegant, ruinously doomed.

Beyond that lies a thoroughfare lined in awnings and tile-decorated arches to cool courtyards, for the design follows whimsy of a demonic inspiration rather than any humans. Slender walkways spring between the taller towers and the dizzying multitudes sometimes lash out into shows of violence along the marketplace.

And there are a lot in the market quite a few squares down, but audible, the thrum of noise melting into the bubbling of lava guided down channels for sheer decoration. Because every city of bronze and brass needs to have its own personal show of glowing red-hot, molten rock! Demons, demons, everywhere. Specifically the one they want, not so much.

Tabitha Smith has posed:
"Why can't I just look like I always look?" Tabby wonders, glancing over at Illy at the question, then down at herself to check if she's having a moment of The Emperor's New Clothes, and didn't realize it.

But that is just a moment, then she's looking back around at the market that stretches out, the thoroughfares with their awnings and tiles.

As the noise, the surroundings, the demons, are all taken in, she stretches her hands out to her sides, summoning up two roiling balls of energy. Then the first one is thrown straight ahead of her and where they are standing, "Let's get this war started."

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
"Do you want to be targeted immediately?" The question might give Tabitha pause and it might not, but the Demon Queen is beyond entirely worrying. There can be subtle bombardments, like sneaking into a walled house and dropping from the garden to unleash terrible things. Then so may there be acts of abject ruin, laying waste to whole swathes of a community founded by impulse and reshaped as often as Limbo is. Such is the nature of the psychotropic realm.

She walks behind, fallen midnight, starless in those ultramarine robes. The garden starts to burn where her feet touch the manicured grass, the combed white gravel, the stones left crackling with embers spreading outward. The only sign to mark the ascent of Man over the Three. Woman?

Walking down the street would normally be such a lovely experience, what with corrupted citrus-like trees spangled with deadly poisonous serpentine creatures and fruit that ignites like citrus oil or lodgepole pine sap. Once aerosolized, they explode, and that's sure to send splinters of glass, stone, and pottery flying. Wood shall burst, and suffer accordingly, while Boom-Boom lives up to the moment.

"Zarazh," she whispers, her dark shadow teeming in a roiling mass. "Don't you think we need some music?"

It's not a demon bard, but one confined to holding a Bluetooth speaker anyway, at least in a bag. Whatever tunes are called for might be entirely based on what streams from a phone or iPod-equivalent. No need for a transdimensional signal.

James Proudstar has posed:
"Silent, looming presence" pretty much sums up Jimmy at this point. Despite his size, he makes little to no sound as he stalks along just behind Illyana. If he's got any objections to starting a war in Limbo, he certainly doesn't voice them. Then again, the wolfish grin on his face as Tabby starts to stalk off certainly doesn't seem like he's discouraging it.

Tabitha Smith has posed:
Music? Tabby glances over at Illy, "Something with a little beat."

To better go with the booms, maybe. The second bomb in her hand is flippantly tossed towards a wall before she starts towards Illyana and Jimmy, "What are they going to do? Cry foul?"

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
Music then, it might be strange but it's a hell of an additive to the destruction of a city. The Ride of the Valkyries this is not, as she whips through the playlist available on the device. No, no need for that... David Bowie starts up behind a piquant beat, but the lyrics aren't exactly right.

Benefits to knowing how to twist things:

    "Jimmy's from America,
    My baby's at the wheel,

    Nobody needs anyone,
    They don't even just pretend!
    Jimmy's from America..."

The saucy little slink of synth rolls over into a swagger, blending matters as an ichorous feline, more nightmare than panther, manifests out of Illyana's shadow. Its eyes glint as blue as hers, and the collar burns with the Bluetooth logo. Really.

    "I'm afraid of Americans,
    I'm afraid of the world,
    I'm afraid I can't help it,
    I'm afraid I can't."

The stamping rock beat approaches the explosives ready to detonate, gorgeously elaborate walls crashing down as she watches the first wave of denizens in their gorgeous robes and flame-licked coats turn, taking immediate note. Weapons where demons are involved are never in short supply: claws, flaming balls, fangs, jagged appendages bursting through silk and soulcloth. Horns and hulking physiques are just the half of it. The polite young maidens with knowing eyes drip venom from prehensile appendages, and serpentine horrors suddenly show off their six arms. Green-and-blue nightmares from a desert dream.

Illyana kisses her fingertips to her lips, and deadpans, "Pri podzharivanii!"

Indeed, to their health, as the first of the flows of lava rises up and up and up, a defensive mechanism for something Jimmy might even find a bit too hard to ignore. A Dreamtime Serpent gone absolutely magmatic, really. Its screech is all falling rocks and globs of melted stone. Fire isn't much worry to the demons here. "Play, loves."

James Proudstar has posed:
Jimmy glances up at the massive magma-serpent, eyes widening a touch beneath his mask. He's quite resistant to heat and injury but he's not sure if he's "chill out in magma" level. Superman he's not.

Does any of that stop him? Nope, not in the least. With a whooping war-cry he launches himself into the air and aims to land a hammer-blow right between the serpent's eyes. You know...hopefully not a spot where Magma is covering. And maybe if the contact is quick and incidental it won't stick. You know, like firewalkers and stuff.

Tabitha Smith has posed:
The song she doesn't recognize. And the twist of the lyrics has Tabby stopping to listen, her head tilting just a fraction trying to actually place the song.

Until there is a serpent, and Jimmy is heading for a lava monster. She snaps right back to the present, a larger bomb being summoned up but she holds onto it to make sure that when she flings it, no one on her side is in the splash zone.

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
The stamping chorus builds up, a decisive counterpoint from the Brit himself as the bombshells blow. Tabby's lack of knowledge about Bowie will be rectified at another time, but considering the digital library is vast, she probably has Madonna or something horrendously sugar-coated in there. Pussy Riot, possibly.

     "I'm afraid of Americans,
     Tabby's from America.
     Tabby wants revenge,
     Tabby wants weave fire and smoke.

     Jimmy wants victory,
     Jimmy wants to see your bodies broke.
     Jimmy's from America."

The demons are closing from every side, rushing out from the buildings that line the thoroughfare, ignoring fire but definitely not explosions knocking them off their feet or riddling them with bits of shrapnel. Tall and large and small and fast, hulking or barbed, they fly and scramble and run for Tabitha. Jimmy. The woman in blue, who holds out her hand, a glyph burning on her palm. One swift turn and the ground heaves up, the road buckling in a U-shaped hump, first inverted with the crest at the top and then plunging it straight down to a classic form. It buys Tabby a little time to blow shit to smithereens. But still, the flying ones lunge down for her from the sky, dropping in a flock of shrieking multitudes.

Nothing like letting your enraged boyfriend missing chunks of his soul loose, which is exactly what Illyana does without preamble. He's facing thirty feet of magma-flooded serpent though, and the crust of semi-hard rock breaks and blows, burning damn hot and forming rippled spikes as it reacts with its 'armour.' Punching into basalt may break skin and it may not, but the thing is still a demon, if one roiling to try and loop around the fast-moving Apache in coils like a snake. If only it were JUST a snake. It's a lot worse than that, given mouths can form anywhere. Ew.

James Proudstar has posed:
Jimmy did not sign up for multi-mouthed magma constricting vipers! In point of fact he "nopes" right out of that situation with a mighty leap, even if he has to give the snake's head a backhand as he goes to keep it from trying to swallow him. He lands next to a heavily-built demon on digitigrade legs, who has a second to look surprised before he's snatched up and bodily hurled to intercept one of those demons swooping at Tabby. (Swooping. Is. Bad.)

He hasn't forgotten Magma-Snake-Thing...he's just trying to devise an alternative method of beating it down.

Tabitha Smith has posed:
There is probably something wrong with her, that she doesn't know Bowie. But then again, has anyone really listened to the music that Tabby does? She needs plenty of help in that entire department, honestly.

"Shit!" Tabby exclaims when they start to swoop, and the larger bomb she'd been holding onto is flung in the general direction....ish of the magma snake. "Incoming!"

That part is, then the next part is the better part of valor, and Tabby dives for Jimmy when she spots him hurling demons at the swooping ones.

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
In this city of brass and marble, beautiful as it is horrendous, even the very foundations shake to the basso beat of Bowie. Reverb shouldn't originate from anywhere no device projects the song. Except it does, the thread of mana sunk into the ground turning those deep archways and gridded windows into speakers, giving rise to the slinky swaying rock chorus in all its fury.

"Be afraid of Americans,
Be afraid of the world,
I'm afraid I can't help it,
I'm afraid I can't!"

The unraveling magma serpent lifted from the gutter bites at Jimmy's flesh, richly glowing copper fangs radiating heat that would scorch Tabby's flesh and blacken muscles at the first contact. When he leaps away, it comes racing towards him, half black mamba vertical ripple and half coil-spring, carelessly leaving a trail of splattered molten rock in its wake. It gives chase while the flapping vulture-winged demons crashing down from the towers in a steep drop try to do what vultures do: swarm and eat flesh.

Exploding magma is harder than it looks. Fire absorbs shocks well, but gloop blows away from it and the diminished hole is rolled over by more shades of melted rock. Okay, less springing constrictor flame monster, but still one eagerly descending on the humans. It certainly *knows* about humans, at least.

The soulless queen in her violet robes doesn't give up the gig just yet, though one of the green-skinned men erupting in a frenzy of silk and daggers from a courtyard in the rubble directly to her left learns how fast she can duck a blade without one in her hands. In a word: fast. But now she's busy.

James Proudstar has posed:
Jimmy moves to shelter Tabby from the onslaught, but the onslaught comes from a lot of directions at once. Jimmy's not particularly worried about himself (yet), but yes, Tabby is considerably squishier than he is. Another demon grabbed, almost in a wrestling-style takedown, but utilized to grab it's ankles and start swinging it as an impromptu bludgeon, swatting the Snake's head aside (perhaps rather messily for the demon depending on how magma-resistant it is), before it too, gets hurled away, this time at a cluster of approaching demons to shut the down.

"Quick, gimme the biggest one you've got and tell me how many seconds I have." He says to Tabby in a half-second of /not/ battling back a horde.

Tabitha Smith has posed:
As soon as she's in Jimmy's shadow, Tabby whirls to throw a much smaller one of the bombs in the direction of where she came from, and slightly upwards, in the hopes of knocking a demon out of the sky herself.

Being far squishier in a place where bone could probably be literally melted is not the most comforting of thoughts, which is why Tabby doesn't spare more than a second or two on the very idea. Until Jimmy is asking for the BIGGEST she's got.

There's a flash of trepidation that crosses her face, eyes shifting from him towards where Illy is, but then she knuckles down and starts creating. "Keep them off me as long as you can..."

And she trusts him to do just that, her focus on the rapidly growing ball of energy in her hands. Basket ball sized, then she starts pushing further than that, pouring everything into it before she has one the size of a small beach ball. It gets held out, "Twelve seconds."

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
A lot of directions indeed. Benefit of having the population of one of Limbo's everchanging cities rising up: numbers. Lots of little demons, big demons, the kind to swarm as the opportunities arise. They don't hesitate to move in numbers, pairs and trios rushing in to take the opportunity to cut with claws, knives, even a whip. No problem with grappling Jimmy or Tabby if they have the opportunity.

This might be unfair, altogether, but then they still have to duel around the big Apache and the much bigger Pokemon from almost-hell. It doesn't care about the other demons, but snaps and bites. Twelve seconds as the looming, not quite so big fiery monster sets the demon-maul aflame and bites it in two. Oops.

Meanwhile, there's Illyana, falling back into the melange of trouble, one hand behind her back. Using her sleeve to confound a man with a pair of daggers is just a brilliant way to get her sleeves cut to ribbons. Maybe the Sinister camp got to her. The taller, faster demon cuts through her defenses and gets closer to nicking her pale arm revealed through violet silk, and when he comes under her guard to stab her ribs, she lunges into a hug.

To headbutt him.

The black-barbed crown that was hidden up to this point reveals itself in all its glory, and it makes for a pretty sickening crunch. To him.

James Proudstar has posed:
Jimmy does indeed ably fend off the Demons that encroach, with a very-frequent gaze given to the Magma-Snake drawing nearer. It's not slow. But it's not quite fast enough either.

Jimmy grabs the beach-ball sized bomb, looking v. serious at Tabby when he notes:

"When I move, roll into that ditch over there and cover your head." There is, conveniently a furrow in the ground courtesy of today's happenings. Then Jimmy grits his teeth and looks towards the onrushing Magma snake. It's very much a "this is gonna suck" sort of look. That's second one.

Two and three, Jimmy lunges forward to meet the snake.

Four, Jimmy slam-dunks that "beachball" into the Snake's maw, making a point to try to shove it far enough back it can't be easily spat out. Even if it means getting burned.

Five, Jimmy extracts his arm and rolls away from the snapping jaw, to the side, and then ducks under a constricting coil, ending near the creatures tail.

Six, Jimmy grabs the end of that tail, gritting his teeth as the heat starts to burn the flesh of his hand and arms, and soon his trunk as he squeezes it to him. There's a growl as new-mouths sprout to bite, but he ignores it. Pain passes.

Seven, eight, nine, ten...Jimmy puts his strength to near its' utmost use, swinging the bulk of the magma-serpent about to scatter the swarming Demons as best he can. Might even knock a couple small buildings over as he goes, but hey, consider it an urban renewal opportunity.

Eleven, Jimmy pries the parts of the tail "attached" from himself and releases the serpent in mid swing, sending it flying roughly in the direction of the largest glut of Demons he can see, be they standing or flattened by swinging serpent.

Twelve: *BA-DA-BOOOOOOOM* goes the dynamite, as Jimmy dives to cover Tabby, who is hopefully in the furrow to make this a lot easier.

Now, Jimmy has noticed that a lot of these demons are resistant to heat and magma, but what he's counting on is the magma that ends up all over them from this explosion...to cool. And people covered in rock, however light, probably have a lot harder time moving than those that aren't. At worst its' a few moments distraction...at best it ends up a lot more effective than he anticipates. Which would be nice, because these burns and bites suck, even if he knows they'll heal relatively quickly. Not so fast that they won't remain a factor in -this- fight though, if the sacrifice play doesn't pay off.

Tabitha Smith has posed:
"Move?" Tabby asks, but she doesn't argue, and she doesn't ask far beyond just that one word. Making sure that she is moving because there's not anything good that is going to come from things when that bomb explodes.

As Jimmy moves, she moves, diving in the direction of the ditch and flinging herself into it, rolling down to the lowest point before she can get her arms up over her head. She doesn't look up to make sure that anything is going to come down on her, which means that after those twelve seconds she's just bracing for it all.

The impact of Jimmy against her when it all blows gets a surprised yelp of surprise, but she doesn't flail or anything.

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
Twelve. Basic laws of physics mostly apply to Limbo. Actions and equal opposite reactions, for example. The crash of a skull into another skull send Illyana and her demonic victim toppling ass over tea kettle.

Eleven. Newton would probably be gratified to know about force working properly, that Third Law particularly. It's quite spectacular when a very large explosion rips through a magmatic serpent roused in defense of independent demons in their city flouting rebellion. Explosive bursts send the splattered quagmire around them.

Ten. It's a mess. Worse, a magical wave blows out in a concussive vermilion semisphere, throwing paving stones and broken chunks of marble, sandstone, brass airborne. Anyone caught in the radius goes up, too.

Nine. Sound grows to an unearthly tremor, overwhelming the croon of Bowie with a ululating wail of rage.

Eight. Sand and dust crash down in waves, littering Jimmy and Tabby with a heavy scree that blows around like an angry dust devil. It would make sense; the inspiration taken from the Empty Quarter of Saudi and blasted planes of Africa isn't idle. Whatever just exited a broken building lands with a heavy thud.

Seven, six, five. The sandstorm builds up in earnest, raw power on the move. Not one of the Three, but a power in its own right is on the scene, snarling. Light dies in the world, spinning out into a gritty race of dun shadows that flense bare skin.

Four. <<Come out, come out, wherever you little children are.>> It doesn't matter what language that is. Sibilant words lance the simoom, beguiling, chiding, insinuating danger from the sandy, shrill howl of the wind.

Three. The gale grows.

Two. A laugh rakes the storm, somewhere nearby. Not beautiful, not friendly.

One. "Boo." A fiery blue light bursts into being.

James Proudstar has posed:
Jimmy keeps his head down, and by extension Tabby's, as the flensing storm rages above and around them. He's not likely to be flensed so easily, at least.

"Keep something over your eyes, nose and mouth. Even if it's just your hands." He speaks in Tabby's ear as he catches the luminescence of the portal opening. "It's only gonna be a second but this sand is gonna sting like hell. I'll get you there, though. On three. One...two...three!"

And with that, Jimmy hops back to his feet, and plucks up Tabby in his arms, heedless of the burns, and all-but-dives through that portal. He doesn't care much where it's going because even in Limbo it can't be THAT much worse than here at the moment.

Tabitha Smith has posed:
The raging, howling...sandy mess around them is no joke. Not even for Tabby, and she can theoretically crack a joke about anything.

The warning to keep something over her face has her using her shirt, and her hands, to cover her face. She's not at all hard to pick her up, and she's light in comparison to flinging demons around.

Where ever they are going, it really does have to be better then this.

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
Limbo is Limbo. Myriad realms, all in a pocket-sized universe.

Illyana's portal makes for a crashing step without any of the necessity of passing through Limbo to get elsewhere, meaning they remain in the same space. The distance isn't substantial, hurling them into a broken-open living chamber in one of the adjacent towers some distance back. Oh, it's very pretty, full of sumptuous hangings and the odd depiction of mortals in torment if one looks closely. Lots of art. One alarmed banker holding a jeweled scimitar of no little sharpness, and of course, his precious books. He holds back against a doorway leading to some kind of balcony.

Servant of soul-dealing greater demons, the Three, whom Illyana sent Tabby after in the first place. Consider it a 'I don't know what I can't see' moment.

Because she has to deal with the demon of the sandstorm, which means fighting wind with wind. Easy for her to throw her hands high and make the storm rage right back, rattling plants, tearing things free. Ooh, Limbo tumbleweed!

James Proudstar has posed:
It's not clear where exactly Jimmy might have expected they were going. This, however, isn't it. He blinks a few times, not recognizing the surroundings on any level beyond "Yep, it's Limbo"

"Uh...hey." Jimmy speaks to the Demon, then grins, though there's little in the way of actual humor to it, "Drop the sword and nobody has to get hurt. Much. You might even get to beg your Queen for mercy. Better be quick about it though, she ain't in the most forgiving mood right now."