5459/Slithering In The Sewers

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Slithering In The Sewers
Date of Scene: 06 March 2021
Location: The Sewers Under New York City
Synopsis: While the unlikely collection of heroes might have managed to deal with the threat presented by the Lamia, Kurt is left with no answers on the more personal matter of his heritage.
Cast of Characters: Kurt Wagner, Amanda Sefton, Kainashi, Xi'An Coy Manh, Talia Wagner, Andi Benton

Kurt Wagner has posed:
So, it has been a few days since Kurt, Amanda and Talia confronted the Lamia Sorceress in it's hide out, driving it out of the abandonned water treatment plant on the Upper East Side, forcing it underground. But not before forcing it to leave a little piece of itself behind -- the tip of its tail, caught when Amanda tried to catch the ancient monster it a trap of ice. Not the outcome they were necessarily hoping ofr. But it did give them a place to start planning their pursuit.

The problem? The underside of Manhatten is an absolute warren of tunnels, service and maintenance, sewers and subway. It's a maze of the worst sort, a warren, but if they had any hopes that the snake woman might reemerge onto the surface to make things a little easier, that hope has been dashed. They surprised it. And it hasn't lived centuries by being careless. No, it's quite content to stay in it's hole. So they're just going to have to go in after it.

So there they are, hoofing it through the underground, far below the city streets above. It is, unsurprisingly, dark, aside from any lights they bring with them. Naturally Kurt is undaunted -- seeing perfectly well in the dark. He is also, for the most part, putting both his wallcrawling and outstanding acrobatic skills to good use, mostly managing to make his way through the passage without risking stepping in any of the many puddles or stretches where shallow water simply covers the entirety of the tunnel's floor, those dark little ponds reflecting light, making the going tricky. There's no real telling when a divot or more serious hole might plunge one a foot or two into that dark, stagnant water. Good reason to just avoid the entire messy affair. Of course not everyone is necessarily quite so lucky to be a wall clinging, fuzzy blue elf.

After last time Kurt has made sure to have a few more bodies with them. Which is both good and bad. Dealing with a lightning fast snake woman who can cast spells clearly could have gone better with a little more assistance. But they are definitely working in tighter quarters this time. Time will tell if more bodies will prove to be more of a hinderance then anything else. "I don't really see any signs of her," Kurt reports, glancing back towards Amanda and the others. "Any sense from your magical tracker thingy, oh mighty mystical one?" he asks of his foster sister, irreverent even now. Even this is not enough to dampen his spirits.

Amanda Sefton has posed:
It's a good thing Amanda has magic, really. Because crawling through sewers is a nasty, horrible business. In fact, she actually prefers Hell dimensions to sewers, most of the time. Sure, they both smell bad, but at least the refuse gets burned away.

The Roma sorceress has draped herself in shadows, so as not to stand out too brightly in the dimness. She's also cast a darkvision spell on herself... because she doesn't have her foster brother's natural gifts. As he clings to walls, she floats forward on an eldritch wind, trying to stay above the water line.

Her eyes glow softly with power, the piece of tail wrapped about a lodestone and hung on a piece of sinew she holds in her fist. It slowly circles one way and then the other. She whispers a few words and feels a faint tug. "That way," she tells the Elf, pointing off into the darkness. "We keep heading left, it feels like."

Kainashi has posed:
    Crawling through sewers is nasty, horrible business; there's all manner of flotsam and jetsam and used needles and discarded dreams and things both profane and poetic. But it works much better if you're not crawling, and more stepping along the side so that you're not sloshing around! Ninja tip: Move with silence.

    Elsewhere in the sewers, but nearby, someone's on a patrol, trying to track down a familiar scent. Clad in a pair of ripped black jeans and an open hoodie, a figure makes her way through the sewers, sticking to the shadows. She hadn't stumbled upon the scents of who she's tracking -- but something new has caught her nose. Something inhuman.

    The leathery nose of the mutant twitches, as amber eyes peer into the darkness, illuminated by storm drains and the street light that passes through them as the backpack-bearing mutant teen makes her way through this darkness.

Xi'An Coy Manh has posed:
Karma does not have magic, other than the magic of reading, and the magic of imagination. She does have mutant powers, though, as well as a working nose. She regrets one of these things.

She has been in worse places, perhaps, but this is not a great one to begin with. She is trying not to think about the details here, and is trying to tell herself that it's mostly a storm drain, not, like, literally...


She is bringing up the rear, perhaps by neccessity. At least her leg is non-slip. <<Ms. Sefton,>> Karma sends mentally to both Amanda and Kurt, <<This is me over there,>> hereupon she waves a little. <<I'm saying hello with my powers now in case we get separated. My apologies if you've worked with telepathy before.>>

<<Is it just the one... person?>> she asks Nightcrawler, also sneakily, in between momentary huffs of effort from moving quick yet quiet.

Talia Wagner has posed:
They walked away from last time.

Of course it did involvew Talia tipping her hand on one of her dirtiest tricks but still they almost had the Lamia and everyone came out of it unscatched.

Also Kurt got them ice cream.

Talia is pretty happy to be related to Kurt in a complicated manner, her dark vision is pretty much without peer.

She is moving nimbly along the walls keeping off the floor as well, trailing behind Kurt, Amanda, and Xi'an to guard the rear of the path.

Daa... ur Kurt did say he wanted more people brought along, the Lamia has proven difficult. So she contacted one of the few people she knew and met up to fill Mania in while scouting out the situation before the plucky band of adventurers descended into the sewers. She glanceds over towards the other. "Does your symbiote filter out the smell?" she asks curious towards the other young woman.

Andi Benton has posed:
It's true. Those in the sewers have picked up another, but a first look at her might bring into question exactly where her own allegiances lie. All black, except for the white tarantula-like spider motif in front and back, the white eye slits, and a couple lighter bits at the backs of the hands. There are also spikes. Quite a few, in fact.

Mania had been reached out to by Nocturne, and with her already in the city on a patrol it wasn't long for her to swing her way over to an entry point and catch up. One way of getting around? Wall-crawling. Kurt isn't the only one here who can do that, and it does keep her out of some of the muck.

The voice that answers Nocturne is a blend of female and alien, a rougher texture to the words. "We can limit the stench, yes. And improve our sight. And other things, too. So you are after a..magical snake woman? That is new." She's going with the 'faceless' look for now. Those fangs and that tongue are kept hidden.

Kurt Wagner has posed:
Sometimes it is just best not to think anymore about one's surroundings then one has to. There's no way to change them, no way to make them smell any better. So just ignore it and get on with what you have to do.

Again, that is a little bit easier when one is crawling along the wall, or finding over hanging grips from pipes and supports that he can cling or swing from, those four limbs joined by that prehensile tail that lets him move as easily along the roof as others might along the ground.

Kurt does make just a little bit of a face when Amanda gives her news, a heavy -- and just a little theatrical -- sigh coming from the fuzzy blue elf. "I thought you might say that. I was hoping for the right. That leads to service and maintenance tunnels. This is going to take us right into the heart of the sewers," he notes. Way to sell it Wagner.

Fortunately Kurt has worked with telepaths. A lot of telepaths. Sometimes it seems like it is hard to go more then ten feet at the mansion without tripping over one of the mutant telepaths that calls the place home. Either way, he readily adjusts, slipping into that mental speak without hesitation. It is quieter afterall. << Only one giant snake lady >> he clarifies. << But she is very quick. And she has magic at her disposal. And is hundreds of years old, so has plenty of experience. She seems to have been in New York for decades too, so probably knows the lay of the land waaaaay better then us. >> he offers up. Such bright and happy tidings, right? Isn't everyone glad that he dragged you along?

<< Oh, and she might be able to summon up demon thingies too, so watch out for that, definitely. >> He is just a font of useful advice.

Up ahead, he does take a surreptitous look back at the reinforcements his daughter from another dimension has brought along before abruptly freezing in place, going still, almost disappearing entirely as that dark indigo fur is all but swallowed up by the encompassing shadows. <<I hear something approaching. Get ready, this could be it! >>

Talia Wagner has posed:
"That would be really useful about not, jealous." she notes amused to Mania as she continues to scamper along the wall of the tunnel. "Lamia, ancient snake lady sorceresss that has been really nasty character. Almost had her in the old water treatment plant but she managed to get away."

Quite convoersation. "Guy who looks kinda like me is Kurt, that is Amanda, and that is Xi'an." she notes introducing "Everyone this is .. uh.. Mania." right codenames. Making sure her associate is introducted ot he squad and known to be not a threat.

Well mostly.

"I mean of course it is in the heart of the sewers..." amusement.

At Kurt's warning though she leaps to a spot where she can duck partially, blending even more with the darkness and an indent for partial cover as she strains to hear what Kurt is hearing.

Amanda Sefton has posed:
The telepathic touch is unfamiliar to Amanda, who is usually careful about such things. But as the young woman waves to identify herself, the sorceress' natural wards give way to allow the telepath in far enough to communicate. <<I've met a telepath or two,>> she smiles to Karma. An image of Jean Grey flits across her mind fleetingly, as if in proof.

<<I'd wager she's been here nigh on a century or more,>> she tells her brother. <<Given the size of her skin, she's too big to have moved freely outside of the city in a very long time.>>

As Kurt alerts them to the lamia's probable approach, however, the sorceress begins chanting softly and flicking gestures at the walls. Softly glowing runes and sigils appear and then fade as she sets both protective and offensive wards against any incoming evil.

Kainashi has posed:
    Trust in the Heart of the Sewers! -- wait, no, that's not the right line.

    Kainashi slips down a familiar tunnel. It stunk of rotting flesh, the overly sweet smell of corpses. Hundreds of rats.

    "... that was a bad night." she recounts to herself quietly, steering away from a boarded over passage. She sliped further towards the center of the NYC sewer system in Brooklyn, giving a little tuneless hum before she stop to scent the air.

    The inhuman scent was a bit stronger here, but there were other scents wafting through the sewer air that were not the natural funk of the stormwater.


Xi'An Coy Manh has posed:
Karma replies to Amanda's mental picture of Jean with several decent approximations of emojis, mostly :kiss:, :100:, and :white_check:.

"Call me Karma," says Karma, raising a hand to wave in greeting. She reaches out to touch the minds of the others with them for pretty much the same reason she did with Amanda, and seems to pause without quite reaching contact as she considers Mania in thought for a long moment.

We, she thinks to herself. Limit the stench. Someone there who doesn't want to have their ears out. Interesting. She does not press the mental probe, instead turning her attention forwards and speaking aloud if in rather hushed tones: "I'm jealous of you all who don't have to stand on this pavement. Ygh."

But something is coming. Karma does something that may strike the unfamiliar as odd -- she takes about a half dozen steps backwards and presses herself into a niche of brickwork. Hardly camouflage but better than nothing! Perhaps she is hiding from possible enemy gunfire.

<<Demons AND a sorceress! Nice and easy either way, potentially,>> she remarks to Kurt mentally.

Andi Benton has posed:
"Yes. We are Mania. Spider-Man is our friend." In case they needed to know. It may help them understand a little of where some of this all comes from.

Along the way, she leaves the wall and splashes down lightly in the water. Not /all/ of it is filthy. A lot of it is simply runoff from above. The way she moves, it's like she's stalking something. Whatever they've said so far of the Lamia, Mania does not view herself as anything but a predator down here, even with the unknown surely awaiting her, awaiting them.

If Karma tries any probe to seek establishing contact, she will come across both the human and alien minds, and the alien one does not wish to be 'touched' by anyone else. There is a bond there, a presence that extends well beyond anything most of them have probably encountered.

As they close in, it might be noticed the sharper fingertips lengthen by a couple inches, becoming even more claw-like.

"We can hear someone else. Be careful," Mania reports. Friend or foe, it isn't clear just yet.

Kurt Wagner has posed:
Here it is finally! Their chance to deal with this Snake Woman once and for all! To make the city above safe from her depredations! And maybe, just maybe get a few answers for himself. Kurt goes still, goes silent and motions back towards the others in their unlikely little crew to do the same so that they will have a chance to ambush the Lamia. It might be there only chance, given just how quick the creature is.

He strains to hear any sound of her approach, those golden eyes peering through the darkness, soaking up every little stray trace of light. glinting their in the darkness. The patter of water and the sound of his heartbeat in his ears the only thing registering on his senses at all. And then he sees it, that flicker of movement in the darkness. Movement that shows something that is most definitely not a Snake Woman. Almost at once some of the tension trains out of Kurt, the fuzzy blue elf no longer quite so tightly pressed to the ceiling where he clings.

"You're not an ancient Snake Woman Sorcerer," he says, almost accusingly, in Kainashi's direction. As if this is all her fault.

Which might be why he does not hear the softest of ill-voices carried on the stinking, stagnant air that circulates through these tunnels. There is a sense of power unleashed with each word, a language little heard uttered in centuries, murmured incantations in Anciet Greek. And the tunnel that they are all in begins to... twist. To ripple and tighten like a snakes body coiling tighter and tighter around them. It is subtle at first, almost like a trick of the light -- easy in a confined, dark, underground space. But in seconds it is unmistkable. The tunnel isn't collapsing, but it is rather rapidly compressing around them. Where there was clearance to spare moments earlier, there the roof rapidly seems to be descending, inches shrinking away until there might be six feet of clearance at most, the walls likewise seeming to squeeze closer, to narrow the passage until two people would struggle to walk abreast.

And the passage tightens still. "I think we had better move," Kurt suggests, scampering along the roof before pointing to a side passage that juts off from the main one. Well -- what used to be the main passage. They look pretty close in size at this point.

Amanda Sefton has posed:
Amanda's fingers snap and gesture swiftly. A portal appears in the midst of the group, offering a quick leap to the safer side passage for those clear-headed enough to understand what it is. She steps through it, holding it open with her power while beginning to conjure a counter to further warping of the tunnels around them. It's hard to balance the two spells at once. Stephen Strange would doubtlessly find it easier. Then again, he'd probably dump the lamia's butt in the mirror dimension and be done with it.

For Amanda... it's a little more work.

Talia Wagner has posed:
"Okay. That is .. yeah what Kurt said. Definitely not the target of this little escapade." she cocks her head and stays stuck to the wall, eyes able to take in the details. "Looks like a dog mutant girl though.... can we double check it isn't one of the sorceress's illusions maybe Amanda?"

She glances to their magic expert as she keeps casting. "What?" she says confused, then the tunnel she is clinging too is collapsing, well compressing, ur coiling and liable to be surprisingly deadly. "Crap."

She will leap down and tumble like an acrobat through Amanda's portal now.

Kainashi has posed:
    -- that's a new scent. Two new... three... new scents. Someone smells like mothballs that were rolled in sunshine, someone smells like sandalwood and pachouli had a really good night in Venice. Someone smells a little bit like what you would imagine Christmas and Rotten Eggs to smell like -- and then there's Mania.

    And the smallish figure in the hoodie and ripped jeans blinks as a Blue Fuzzy Elf regards her, she blinks.

    "Nnnnnope. Just friendly neighborhood watchdog. Hi Mania!" she replies to the groupThen her head cants. There's movement under the hood as one ear draws up.

    "Do ancient snake women sorcerers sound like someone reading off the names of a buncha asteroids?" she questions -- and then the stones begin to move! She gives a bark of surprise, and deciding that any group Mania is with, is a worthwhile group to escape with, she also chooses to go through the magical portal, tumbling less like an acrobat and more like a very clumsy person through it!

Xi'An Coy Manh has posed:
Karma does not go past the initial mental touch that brushes against Mania. There is no need for force. It is illuminating, a wonderful thing. (Karma is absolutely assuming this is Mania's mutation and that most of these people are also mutants. This is the world she chooses to live in.)

Her efforts to take cover turn out to be in vain. Ancient words spoken in a tongue half-dead and spoken largely in memory ring outwards, and Karma grimaces, before she leans out and says, "It's shrinking --"

Amanda's producing a portal! Karma lunges forwards and through it, if with somewhat less grace than Talia: "It's Greek," she tells Kainashi in passing.

Andi Benton has posed:
//What is this, Andi?//
<<It feels like magic. I don't really know what magic feels like, but it has to be magic.>>
//We have decided we do not like magic.//

There is a brief internal conversation between Andi and her bond, and as the walls of the place begin to creep in tighter around them, Mania moves more swiftly to get to a hopefully safer place. The portal is not used, mainly because of an uncertainty about it.

They do get to the safer spot, giving them all a chance to regroup and make further plans. By the time they do, the symbiote has noticed who's joined them.

//Andi, it is the doggy!//
<<Whatever you're thinking, we have more important things to do right now. Let's get this dealt with first.>>
//...fine. If there is a snake thing here, we will deal with it.//

All the same, Mania waves a black-clad hand in Kainashi's direction. "Hey, you. Keep close. We're hunting a lamia. It sounds dangerous. This is very weird. And is it us or does he look very interesting?" A thumb is jerked in Nightcrawler's direction.

Kurt Wagner has posed:
It is really a good thing that little side passage happened to be there wasn't it? Because that main passage continues to shrink down, anyone lingering too long before leaping through the helpful portal Amanda provided or darting down the side tunnel themselves will find that the roof and walls continue to compress, narrowing with increasing swiftness until anyone will need to crouch and shuffle along as both walls back easily be touched by anyone partially extending their hands. Certainly Kurt doesn't hesitate to dive for that portal either, flashing an encouraging grin of thanks at Amanda as she pushes herself a little for all their benefits.

Their custom, friendly escape hatch seems secure enough at least, those passing through Amanda's portal deposited about ten feet down the passage way. This tunnel does not seem to be shrinking, though for anyone glancing back towards the entrance of the passageway they will see that it continues to shrink on down until there is little more then a tiny hole, barely large enough to peer through. They won't be going back out that way, that much is for certain.

"Greek would track. The creature that we're looking for, it is out of Greek mythology," the fuzzy blue elf offers up helpfully, quickly glancing around to make sure that they are all acounted for. And they are! They even seem to have gained an ally. "I guess that means we won't be sneaking up on her," he notes, which does seem to be a given if she is already casting spells at them. He really should check in with the others -- or again, more specifically probably Amanda -- if she has any notions on who to protect them from this sort of thing.

However, before Kurt can ask any questions they abruptly find out just why they have been herded down this passageway so conveniently. The ground beneath them suddenly just disappears and they find themselves falling into the darkness below. The walls surrounding them seem to be... coated in a thick, unpleasant slime. Perhaps algae? Perhaps something... less pleasant.

And from down below, for those with the sense to listen or who can pierce the veil of darkness? Clearly water awaits. Deep water, judging by the sounds of it lapping against the sides of a... cistern, perhaps? A little more disturbingly however? Several large somethings are clearly thrashing around in that water.

Falling through the darkness, Kurt reaches out, looking to grab hold of whomever he can. Neither the fall, nor the darkness greatly concerns him. Teleportation is a wonderful thing. But he can't reach everyone...

Amanda Sefton has posed:
It's *possible* the shrinking tunnel was an illusion -- though Amanda is remarkably good at seeing through such things. It's also possible the lamia *wants* the little band of adventurers to go down this passage. She may very well be herding them. None of this escapes Amanda's consideration. But, she'd sooner take the chance on that than risk them getting squashed or worse. "Did you really expect to, after last time?" she asks her foster brother drily.

Then the floor is falling out beneath them and she's rising up on eldritch winds, straining to try to catch the others as well. Calling out in a clear voice, she starts chanting in the Romani language, calling up curls of steel and iron from beyond the walls of the tunnels. Branch like thrusts of metal and concrete create dryer footing and hand holds, a sheen of sweat on the sorceress' brow. She alights on one of them, crouching in a manner not entirely dissimilar to the blue Elf, trying to catch her breath. Even so, the slime is starting to seep along the new scaffolding she's made. "Relentless bitch..." she mutters, starting to gather her power once more.

Talia Wagner has posed:
"Mania!" when she doesn't come through the portal, but then she manages to squeeze through and regroup.

Talia sighs a bit in relief. "Amanda's magic is safe... I.. uh glad you made it." a glance to the dog girl. "Definitely stay close. Really deadly threat down here we are trying to deal with. I'm Nocturne." introducting herself. "I'm pretty sure we have never had any luck sneaking up on her Kurt." she muses.

Which right... that is when the snakes trap is truly sprung. The blue fuzzy mutant chick scrambles trying to get a grip on the wall but gets a whole lot of slime for her trouble.

God this is gross.

Which honestly causes her to slip her grip on the first of the metal bars... though she manages to get a hold on a much lower one, dangling way too close to the water below. "Guh..."

Her eyes flicking to the slime oozing down the bit of metal she is precariously holding "Oh come on!"

Xi'An Coy Manh has posed:
The floor goes away. Karma looks downwards and she lets out a shriek. She kicks out with the cybernetic leg but this is not enough to do more than scrape against the wall. As she rolls, she puts a hand to her temple. There is a faint gleam of purple sparkling structure in the dark.

And then something huge thrashes, rises - a flash of paleness.

Karma disappears from sight.

The huge shape splashes down.

The water ripples...


<<I... can't eat a singer. I never could...>>

The shape resolves a little bit, shifting. It becomes clearer what it is. The jaw is loosened, and slightly propped open.

<<I never will.>>

Karma's arm peeks out from the maw of what must be SOME kind of enormous crocodile and gives a thumbs up before she brings it back in, the jaws partially closing.

"Try to land on this one if you have to," Karma explains. "This is completely disgusting. The vision's interesting..."

Kainashi has posed:
    "Wait, wait, I know this joke! This is where someone says 'It's all Greek to me', right?" the canine-girl smiles, her scarred up face and amber eyes looking to each of them before the floor drops out beneath them.

    Momentarily weightless, she tries to step from stone to stone to the side of the tunnel that isn't collapsing, but she ends up tumbling through the air, reaching into her bag and pulling her weighted chain, which she loops over one of the metal bars hanging over and pulling her legs up from the jaws of anything that might be below.

    "Uh... she's not Greek, right?"

Andi Benton has posed:
Before much more can be said of the matter at hand - that tunnel closing up is just not right, whether real or just an illusion - the floor gives out. The sensation of falling is very real, and Mania lets out an unhindered obscenity from the surprise of it, immediately casting out lines of webbing to try to stop the fall. It catches but doesn't really hold, and while her descent is slowed it isn't stopped.

Fortunately, the metal bars that are brought out of the side walls make for something the more acrobatic among them can make use of, and she calls out, "Nice trick!" as she sends another line of webbing out to help pull herself closer, landing atop the bar to perch there before looking down at more and what awaits them below.

"Do we need to kill these things?" is asked, eyes near the spiky 'hair' narrowing upon the beasties that swarm in the water.

Kurt Wagner has posed:
Their descent is swift -- at least at first. Each of them have a variety of tools at thier disposal of course, be it a gift for wall-climbing, teleportation or hey, there's that magic thing working in their favor this time. And failing that? Well, that's what friends -- or allies at least -- are for. Whether managing to slow their own descent or caught up in Amanda's magical conjurations of various hand holds everyone has a chance to prevent from simply plunging into the dark waters of the cistern below. Which is a good thing.

As they descend, just what they are descending into becomes clear. The chamber is vaguely silo shaped, the roof they fall through dome-shaped though there are a few outcroppings where other tunnels drain out into the large cistern, along with a maintainence walkway. And at the bottom? Dark waters of unknown depth. Along with a half dozen or more very large crocodiles -- as Karma has already discovered -- thrashing about, gapping maws open showing off all those cutting teeth as they peer up as if waiting for meal time. Maybe they are. They do not seem to notice -- or perhaps just do not care -- that one of their number no longer seems to be waiting for feeding time with quite so voracious of an appetite.

And of course, perched on one of those outcroppings? The Snake Woman Sorceress they have been hunting. She hisses -- a particularly silibant sound -- before she returns to that chanting in Ancient Greek, more mystical incantations murmured out to plague them no doubt.

While Kurt initially intended to grab whomever he could and *bamf*, when Amanda provides so many accessible hand helds as if cojured up by magic -- which they are in fact -- he lets himself fall, tail lashing out at the last moment to coil around one of those bars -- fortunately not slimey yet -- and bring himself to an abrupt stop. "Alligators in the sewer? That's supposed to be an urban myth," he chides the Lamia. Maybe she conjured them up, maybe the stories are real and she's been raising these things down here for the past century. It probably doesn't really matter. They look more then ready to eat them either way.

The Lamia might stare daggers at Kurt, but she does not cease her chanting. The reasons for which become obvious moments later as those snake-like eyes glint malevolently under hte light of what appear to be floating torches summoned up, floating and bobbing about the chamber. No doubt so they can see their doom waiting for them.

Back at the water treatment plant Amanda managed to surprise the Snake Woman, countering her magic. This time the Lamia does something very similiar. But instead of countering her spells, she feeds more magic into them. Lots more magic. All those branching bars of metal and concrete that gave purchase to those falling? They suddenly begin to twist and move, their ends growing snake heads, complete with fangs that glisten ominously with what appears to be venom. Those same hand holds that saved them moments before now twist and writhe, the heads lashing out towards those whom have found safety.

And down below the Lamia finally smiles, the expression every bit as malicious as the glint in her eyes. And then, somehow, it is as if a second voice begins to chant, identical to the Lamia but somehow speaking different words, maintaining two separate incantations at the same time. And the stale, dark air in the cistern begins to stir, to move, a gentle breeze at first, but rapidly growing towards something much more violent.

"I wouldn't suggest petting them!" Kurt offers back to Mania. "But it's the Snake Woman that's the threat, the Snake Woman!" he says, flipping and spinning to avoid the pair of metal and concrete snake heads that snap at him with those glistening fangs...

Amanda Sefton has posed:
"All myths have their basis in reality," Amanda observes mildly, her eyes glowing with power. Then, however, her magic is being co-opted and the sorceress lets out a yelp of surprise and irritation.

Springing aloft again, she wraps herself in a shield and starts to drop through the maze of metal and snakes, heading toward the water. She's not sure where the second voice is coming from, but she knows she can't sit back and throw spells this time. She's going to need to engage directly or her companions will never have a chance to do what they can do.

So, magenta energy protecting her from whatever slings and arrows come her way, she plummets into the middle of the spell song to start slinging out her sigils and circles once more. She works, essentially, on creating a faraday cage of magic. Something that will trap the magics the lamia uses, even if it traps her as well.

Kurt may have to bamf her out at the end of this. But for now, she can hold her own.

Talia Wagner has posed:
Talia's yellow eyes narrow as her metal bar that was already becoming slippery turns into a steel snake. "Of course..." she mutters mostly to herself. She lets go with one hand, suddenly she has a tail which wraps for extra stability on the slick bar.

Her free hand gestures and flings, a large purplish red blast of hexbolt. Shaving the 'head' off the snake girder ands then she slides towards it letting herself gain speed.

At the last possible moment she uses the leverage and momentum she has to fling herself off through the air towards the maintence walkway.

Because unlike her dad she can't teleport.

She does add insult to injury though by flinging a hexbolt at the Lamia as she sails through the air though.

Doubtful she can hit the fast snake lady but maybe she will serve as a hated distraction.

She is pretty sure she is on the Lamia's shit list.

Kainashi has posed:
    Kainashi is pretty familiar with the concept of dangerous lizards.

    "Oh, I lived down here for a while, those are the first I've seen!" she replies up to Kurt, her tail giving a momentary wag before it stops "And yeeaaaah they don't look friendly."

    The wind's picking up in the chamber, making her ears flop a bit as she pulls back her lips, gritting her teeth and she swings her legs.

    SNake lady's the bad guy? Well then!

     -- with her metal perch beginning to slither and hiss, Kainashi gives a soft 'eek!' sound, and swings her legs up and over her as she turns in mid-air, twisting her chain on the snake head and releases one half, falling down to a ledge below with a huff, and with a smooth movement there is a throwing knife glinting in her hand, and then going for a strike against the lamia -- but she has to get quite close for a good shot, slightly below the lamia and close to the crocodiles below as she crouches down and prepares to evacuate her ledge!

Xi'An Coy Manh has posed:
The crocodile under mental domination, or -- we're not going to acronym that, takes this opportunity to dive with its feast.

Karma holds her breath as the creature swims down into the cistern for a moment, trying not to think about all the bacteria getting into her hair. The crocodile's eyes are turned onto the floor - she is trying to spot, to remember, to see signs of victims, the remains of the missing. And after a single loop, the crocodile comes back up to the surface...

In time for Karma to realize that the big snake is here, now. Karma can only see some shapes moving through the eyes of the reptile, but she can HEAR it all fine - magic is being formed. To herself Karma thinks: An ancient sorceress... if I try this I'm only going to get one shot... but even if I fail, I might have to, or the rest of them are just going to get killed!

Though, Karma thinks, as the crocodile's eyeballs recieve the images of the ledges, the outcroppings. Is there enough to...

Anyway, to the external eye, it's just a crocodile swimming and chilling because it ate a mutant whole. Food-motivation means that once you're fed, you can take it easy.

Andi Benton has posed:
Mania's perch suddenly tries to bite her, so she leaves it. "Stupid snakes," she gripes, but the Big Bad Snake is down there awaiting them. "Sooo how do we hurt this thing? Can we cut it?"

And then, Mania speaks up inside the head of her host.

//Let us out more, Andi. We will help.//
<<If we have to. Let's see what we need to do.>>

It's not that Andi's afraid or hesitant to act, she's just trying to decide how she needs to act. For the time being, she finds a ledge to land upon and crouches, solid white eyes sweeping this way and that with the turning of her head.

Kurt Wagner has posed:
Fortunately for them all their appear to be some limits on Amanda's co-opted magic and while those concrete and metal bars -- now snakes -- twist and writhe, it does not appear as if they are growing any longer. So as they group above increasingly abandon those improvised perches for new ground, the improvised snakes do not pursue, stuck in place, hissing after their fleeing prey.

Karma survey of the underwater portions of the cistern do indeed turn up what might be expected in the assorted detritus under those dark waters. And yes, there are a disturbing number of bones scattered about suggesting that these giant crocodiles have indeed been here for sometime. If there is any relief there are no signs of more recent, fresher bodies. It's something.

Above the water those winds continue to grow under the influence of the Lamia's second chanting voice, swiftly growing in strength until being in the cistern is very much like being in a hurricane. Those winds batter those above the surface, a constant force pushing them towards the waters, tugging at limbs, trying to pull them away from their firm footing. One more challenge to navigate.

Does the Lamia know what Amanda is trying to do? Possibly. Clearly she is a sorceress who has the advantage of centuries on her side. But either way, she clearly feels that the sorceress is her most dangerous foe because she hisses again. Impossibly, her mouth stretches wide, the chanting still sounding even when her forked tongue appears. Then, distrurbingly those forks leap forward, changing into more and more forks -- all with little snake heads and all leaping towards Amanda.

With them under assault, some of Kurt's playfulness vanishes and he draws the rapier from his side an instant before *bamfing* vanishing from the perches above to appear right behind the Lamia, a rapidly dissipating cloud of inky black mist revealling him already in mid lunge. Whether she anticipated him, or whether she is simply that fast she darts away, leaping forward away from that thrust.

Still so quick. But there is not that much room to maneuver for her either and when she darts away from Kurt it is right into the path of that thrown knife of Kainashi, the blade knicking her despite the increasingly gusting winds. Again she hisses angrily and she darts forward again, just an instant before being blasted in half by Talia's hexbolt.

"At this point I would say we're open to anything! Throw the kitchen sink at her if you've got one!" he calls out, the increasingly gusting winds in the confined space making it hard for Kurt to be heard.

Amanda Sefton has posed:
Where is Amanda's little snake-fighting bot Patrick when she needs him? Were he here, he'd doubtlessly be in his magical, Starktech glory. But he's not here. And Amanda has nothing to rely on but her own wits and power. The Winding Way is strong tonight. She's very, *very* lucky in that regard. If it wasn't, she'd be sunk.

Golden lines of energy whip and trail around her, joined by sigils and runes that burn through the slime on the walls and bury into the rock. Even this far beneath it, New York is still her city. It's soul still sings to hers and her magic is still attuned to it. Her cage weaves like an elaborate bird's nest, zinging through the air until it envelops the snakewoman... just in time to keep those damned snakes from snacking on Amanda's magenta-magic protected flesh.

The sorceress' eyes glow and she spins toward her foe. "I have her magic contained!" she calls to the others. "I don't know for how long!" Maybe not long.

The snake is STRONG!

Xi'An Coy Manh has posed:
The sight of those bones takes away most of the weird whimsy of her current situation from Karma. She puts a hand on the crocodile's tongue as she hears Kurt's cry and tells it, "Sorry, big lips," quietly. It does not reply, of course. She then debarks, clinging to the wall...

But she doesn't have to be clear for long.

The crocodile makes a single loop round the cistern and then dives down under the water. Beneath that water, it makes several others, building up some momentum and letting Shan get a better feel for how its legs work (the legs were less important to her than the jaw/mouth apparatus, obviously). Her eyes narrow for a moment as she mutters, "Come on... and..."

It leaps. The same kind of leap that seemed to instantly destroy the mutant woman; but instead of simply grasping food and falling back into the water, the mutated sewer crocodile grips one of the protrusions and shoves itself up further, tail thrashing violently as it shoves upwards and -- from the position of the Lamia's high perch...

A crocodile comes out of the water and aims to bite her in the torso (a place, traditionally, that one does not want to be bitten in - especially by a crocodile.)

As the great reptile is committed to the attack, Karma releases her hold. She does not think the animal's going to come out of it well. Her head turns as she sizes up the other predators.

Kainashi has posed:
    THe snake is strong -- but Kainashi is stronger -- at least maybe. Physically.

    The dog-girl leaps from her ledge, rebounds off a wall to get some height, and she's bringing her weighted chains in again, her teeth bared, ears drawn back as she goes in, and the heavy weighted chain flies out as she tries to loop it around the lamia's torso, and brace to pull her down, counting on all of her raw, brute strength to lend a hand where her ninja skills might fail!

    "What's Greek for 'gotcha'?" she asks out loud, her tail giving a bit of a wag as her amber eyes narrow.

Talia Wagner has posed:
Well. Amanda tying up her magic is very good. Very good indeed.

Talia shifts her footing and takes a bead, trying to track the snake.... whose magic may be tied up but honestly she is still fast as hell. Like a snake honestly, a supernatural one at that.

She starts to fling HexBolts. One on hand literally trying to predict where the LAmia will be moving. The other hand, also literally throwing bolts is trying to herd her into the first set of bolts.

She is also trying to bad to be mindful and not hit the nice mutant dog girl who just launched herself at the snake. Her tongue poking out of her corner of her mouth a bit as she dashes along the metal maintence walk to get good angles and toss bolts.

Slowly moving herself physically closer, even if the snake is wise to her trick.

Andi Benton has posed:
The all-white eyes lead Mania to a decision. Those crocodiles would be easy to go after, but the true threat is the lamia sorceress. It may take a combined effort to bring her down, and then some. With the attack on Amanda mostly, if not entirely contained, and it leaves an opening to follow up on.

That wind is just so strong. It makes movement considerably more difficult, and trying to use webbing to swing with just means a risk of getting sent into the wall, or the water, or away from where you want to go. So, use the wind to your advantage.

//Andi, trust us.//

A line of webbing is sent out toward one side of the room, and Mania leaps into the swing. As the wind catches the figure, it brings the spider-inspired one toward its target. In letting go and soaring in the rest of the way, the face splits at the mouth as rows of long, fang-like teeth form, accompanied by an even longer, snake-like tongue.

The lamia is used to biting others? Now Mania is digging in along the tail, claws like talons also gripping and seeking to slice in. Attack!

Kurt Wagner has posed:
When things go wrong, they really go wrong.

That was certainly the case for them thus far. Mistaken identities, being herded about, falling right into the traps that the Snake Woman Sorceress had prepared for them. Definitely lots to be concerned with.

But sometimes, sometimes things change completely in little more then a blink of an eye. Everything is going anything but smoothly... and then it all falls into place. The Lamia is clearly a gifted sorceress, with centuries of experience. But again she lets herself get caught in a confined space. In seeking to use the cistern and the giant crocodiles against them, she took away her truly greatest asset -- well, second greatest after magic. Her speed. There just aren't a lot of places to go. So when Amanda throws up that magical Faraday cage? Suddenly all of her magical powers are grounded out, flowing uselessly into the worked stone around them instead of doing as the Lamia wants.

Her response? Probably predictable. It's probably hard not to fall back into old habits when one is hundreds, perhaps thousands of years old. So she tries the same escape again, trying to disappear under the water, leaving her crocodiles to discourage pursuit.

But this time is not last time. Kurt, Amanda and Talia are not on their own this time. And equally important, they've already seen that playbook.

When the Lamia goes to dive off her perch towards the water she is instead met by one of her pet crocs. But her pet is not driving, not at the moment and instead of having the cover she sought, she instead screams -- a terribly, piercing note of pain and rage -- as that powerful maw practically bites her in half, that impossibly powerful jaw locking on, holding her in place.

Which makes her easy prey indeed for Kainashi as she acrobatically flips into place, landing on the snake woman's back and binding her with that chain, adding another impediment that she is in no position to resist or escape. Her tail flails wildly, desperately trying to dislodge the dog-ninja. That is likely to be easier said then done.

Talia's hexbolts fly true and there is no doging them this time, not restrained as she is by both chain and jaw and they pierce deep into the Lamia who lets out another cry of pain, the fight seeming to all but drain out of her.

At least until Mania's talons begin to dig and slice at her tail, it's last weapon disarmed, left shreaded and bloody as the ancient sorceress, the creature out of myth collapses onto the stonework beneath her, still clawing at the ground though the fight otherwise seems to be gone.

And Kurt? Even with the winds dying he is not about to take any chances. He teleports again -- but not to launch an attack. Instead he appears by Amanda's side, wrapping an arm around her. He does not know how much power she has left at her disposal -- and sees no reason to risk it regardless, not when the others appear to have things so well in-hand. Instead he watches as the creature is brought low before teleporting back down to the ledge along with the blonde witch with that customary *bamf*, looking over the fallen Lamia.

"Remind me never to make any of you ladies angry," the fuzzy blue elf quips.

Amanda Sefton has posed:
Amanda glances quickly over her shoulder to Kurt as he bamfs in beside her. She knows what's coming next. Turning in against him, she closes her eyes as they bamf out of the cage and onto the ledge below. The cage hangs there still, suspended by the power she poured into it. But it won't be long before it starts to gradually fade.

Still, the other attacks are working well enough, Amanda is willing to take the moment to breathe and catch her breath. She doesn't quite release her power, just in case, but she's willing not to expend it.

She gives a soft laugh at Kurt's comments. "Hell hath no fury..." she quips, flashing him a grin. "And you choose your friends well."

Xi'An Coy Manh has posed:
The splashing quiets.

Karma wonders to herself about what that ancient sorceress's life was like. Why was she here? Was she born that way, or did she mutate - were they connected in some way? There are old mutants, she knows, it's not all the young people. But...

"It's no problem," she huffs to Kurt. "But -- hey, ah," she says while looking up towards Talia/Mania/the general direction of heaven. "Can you drop me a rope or anything?? My power's not much good for climbing!"

Kainashi has posed:
    Kai gets her chain around the Lamia, eighty pounds of solid steel and weight grasping around her torso, wind whipping up her hoodie as her hands hold tight, subtly bending the steel within them as she braces against the ledge she's on, her ears pinning back at her cries. She shifts her weight (and her nose wrinkles at the smell of rotten eggs again!), but as Mania rips at the tail she twists the chain around her forearm, holding the Lamia in place.

    "I'm not a bad dog!" she exclaims upwards to the semi-siblings, her ears still pinned back as if the statement was offensive! "But I'll be okay being friends even though you're a cute night-elf thing!" she states, and then, unwinding the chain from the lamia, the chain goes down to offer a way up to Karma.

    "An' you did really good, Mania!"

Xi'An Coy Manh has posed:
The chain comes down and Karma starts climbing it. "Oh thank God, you are mutant of the week. I was gonna freeze in there. I don't know how the crocodiles stay alive."

Talia Wagner has posed:
"Good job everyone!" notes TJ as she walks over to look the Lamia over. She eyes it sowly though peering down and then lifts one hand and castually hex bolts the downed Sorceress one solid time right in the torso to make sure she isn't playing possum there on the cold floor.

She seems strangely calm about that action.

"You are a very good in my book" chipperly over to Kainashi. "Also thanks.. I think that was for me... though I suppose it could have been Kurt... I am making assumptions here." she looks down the length of the Lamia to Mania to make sure she is okay, giving her a thumbs up.

Which is only a smidge off with a three digit'd hand.

Andi Benton has posed:
Winds begin to subside, but the combined force of the different attacks on the lamia are getting the job done. While the noises from the thing might be disturbing to others, the symbiote bonded to Andi takes it and feeds on it, pushing a side of Mania that doesn't want to just stop things here.

Even as the creature is down, Mania takes another bite into the tail. There might be some kind of enjoyment to it, a desire for more, and internally it's Andi who speaks up first this time.

<<That's enough! It's down!>>
//We must finish it, Andi! Finish it so it cannot do this again! Taste it! It is good, yes?//
<<I said..we need to back off, and see what we should do with it!>>

After a few more seconds of uncertainty there, by the time the winds are no more Mania rises slowly after discontinuing the impromptu attempt at having a meal, her head swiveling toward the others along with the rest of her body. That fangy mouth curls into a grin that's too wide by far. "So what do we do with it now?" she asks, an edge to that dual voice. The spiny extensions off the forearms and shins shift in place, as if flexing, then begin to flatten. The mouth itself starts to fade as well. Words or gestures of praise draw a look from her, but it'd be easy to see her as a potential danger of her own if control shifted a different way. She does not approach. Not quite yet.

Kurt Wagner has posed:
It is quite likely they will never fully know just how many missing person's cases that this creature was actually responsible for over the years. How many homeless victims disappeared from the streets because of it. They might never know if there were other families raised and bred as it's servants and food supply like they found clues about at the 'haunted' house in Morningside Heights. And while that is a tragedy, they have at least put an end to it now.

Back on that ledge with the others, the smell of sulphur rapidly dissipating from the air around him Kurt glances down at the fallen Snake Woman sorceress looking her over, not with satisfaction but with a certain amount of regret. He never likes to see things come to this, no matter what sort of monster she might be. But he can accept it when necessary.

Still, the fuzzy blue elf stoops to help Karma back up onto the ledge thanks to Kai's chain giving her a way up before standing once more. He does not offer either a reproving word or glance for his 'daughter' when she fires that hexbolt into the bleeding form of the Lamia -- and indeed she flinches, showing that she's not quite finished off.

She twists just a little, until she can fix her gaze on Kurt and in somewhat broken English she offers up 'Your... family will be... disappointed in you..." she says, smiling cruelly one last time as blood wells up out of her mouth and over those fangs before those snake-like eyes go lifeless at last.

The fuzzy blue elf regards her in silence for a moment. The mystery of the demon claiming to be his brother has apparently been taken the grave with her. At least for now. He can live with that. "I know my family," he says quietly. "They are not disappointed in me. They quite like me. Because I am a delight," he says before breaking into a smile. "Thank you all for your assistance. I shall certainly sleep better knowing that this creature no longer preys on the inhabitants above." he says before rubbing his hands together. "Now... we celebrated with ice cream last time. What can I treat you all to this time?" he asks cheerfully.

Mysteries might remain. Kurt can clearly live with that.

Kainashi has posed:
    "I unno, there's a family resemblance, isn't there?" Kainashi calls up to Talia.

    And then there is much that happens. People regard the lamia. There is ice cream offered. Treats to be had!

    But when a headcount occurs -- the canine has vanished, up a side tunnel and back into the sewers, feeling her way around her home through the darkness.

    Kainashi has ninja-vanished!

Xi'An Coy Manh has posed:
Shan thinks about it for a few seconds, and then says, "Spa day."


Talia Wagner has posed:
Well. TJ considerS Kurt.

"Pizza. Definitely like a little league game win. Pizza." she seems pretty sure of this.

Then she looks back to Mania, a touch concerned.

Not worried for her own well being right now really, more worried about the other young woman being so quiet after the fight. "You okay Mania?"

Andi Benton has posed:
Mania glares at what's left of the lamia before it breathes its last breath, and she crosses her arms after moving back to more solid flooring. By that point, no more mouth. Back to the mostly faceless visage that hides expressions well. She looks closely at Nocturne and Nightcrawler, making note of all the things they have in common, and she simply says, "Glad we could help. We patrol the city a lot."

By the time she glances back in Kainashi's direction, the dog mutant is..no longer there. The eyes turn a little downcast, and even that 'hair' seems to droop in a way along with the shoulders slumping.

//Doggy left...//
<<Probably didn't want you trying to pet her in front of everybody.>>

Mania is sad! Oh no!

Andi tries to cover for it by quickly answering TJ, "Uh..yeah. We're good. Did we hear something about food? We..could probably use something with a lot of chocolate."

That ought to cheer the symbiote up soon enough.

"So you all know each other?" she asks.

Talia Wagner has posed:
TJ nods to Mania. "Yup. It is a new tradition we are starting. We end fights with treats for a job well done." she grins flashing a smile.

"This time I think we can accomadate lots of chocolate... and maybe some pizzas." she looks over to Kurt and the others as they are figuring out how to get out of here. Probably Kurt teleporting people out of the slime cistern one at a time.

"But yeah .. I'm complicatedly related to the other blue elf person... the rest are friends.. and well your dog friend." a shrug.

"Glad you showed up though... so dessert?"

Andi Benton has posed:
Mania is keeping quiet about what almost happened with the lamia, because the symbiote was hungry for more. Once those fangs got a taste, and given the threat, the instinct was to go beyond and ensure it would be over swiftly.

How they deal with the body, that's just going to be left to the X-Men, after Karma identifies them as such prior to everyone moving along.

(OOC: which a tired player said she'd mention)

For at least a few moments, the dark, organic-looking substance crawls back from Mania's face, revealing Andi's along with her own hair. "Are we gonna need to look more normal for this? Or does it matter, given..you know." She gestures toward the elfin contingent, at least. They can figure it all out in due time. "We definitely want in on dessert. And any food."

Talia Wagner has posed:
Talia fiddles with a device and an image inducer kicks in, leaving a very cute girl next door blonde vs. the fuzzy blue elf there.

All smoke and mirrors though.

"I figure anyone who wants to can get the food for those who don't want to. We can figure it out."

Andi Benton has posed:
Mania moves closer at this, squinting at the 'new' TJ. "Huh. That's a neat trick. An illusion, or a real thing?" she asks, Andi's expression more prevalent in showing her curiosity compared to just the eyes of the full Mania experience. A hand extends to touch a part of bare skin that had been blue before in order to note the texture, which will answer that question.

"We could just go without any of this," she says of the costume. "If we had to." First, getting back out of this place. If the side walls are still no good for webbing back up, there are ways.

Talia Wagner has posed:
Kurt probably teleports people up, as long as they are willing for a quick bamf.

Talia's arm feels lightly fuzzy still, like velvet. "Holographic disguise. Need to be careful what I do under it but it is super useful." the blond young woman grins.

Andi Benton has posed:
"If you need it to keep from getting too much attention, yeah," Andi says, then she lets the symbiote cover everything back up. "We know there have been problems lately," she adds, to put it lightly. "And your skin feels..nice."

Don't give the symbiote ideas, Andi. Kainashi already split.

Talia Wagner has posed:
TJ nods "It is pretty good for that. The human first and friends of humanity crowd are pretty much a pain in the ass."

"Though honestly a lot of the ramping is my 'grandmas' doing in the Brotherhood. Basically though the TLDR is yes it is often easier to use this thing whne going in to just snag ice cream or pizza."

The chat occuring on the way out of the sewers.

"Thanks. One of the small perks of super soft fur I spose."