5775/Feast of Souls: Pale Fire

From Heroes Assemble MUSH
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Feast of Souls: Pale Fire
Date of Scene: 29 March 2021
Location: Student Gardens, Xavier's
Synopsis: Plans to ward are complete, and the final elementalists put in place.
Cast of Characters: Illyana Rasputina, Gabby Kinney, Kassandra Pagonis

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
Some time after every student can be presumed to be safely fed, or at least in the process of chowing down, Sunday night stretches forward to the interminable decisions of what to do and who to do it with. Video games, a movie, a book? Homework? Gym? Hard choices to contemplate.

Sometimes, life intervenes.

Sometimes, life intervenes because a young woman grabs it by the horns and steer its head in a given direction.

The cause for this takes a strange form. In this case, a jaunty little pair of D6s gambol their way through Xavier's School for the Deran-- Gift--- Mysterious Purposes. They avoid other students with the skill of a pair of very small, elegantly constructed dice that otherwise look like cubes with spidery little legs. Swirling shapes openly cut from silver make up the external form of one, the other all interlocking gears that turn slowly in brassy elegance. Together, they hide behind books or lurk under a leaf until the passage is clear and they can trot off according to the spell or order that commands them. Dice daemons may not be /bright/ but they can follow an order.

An order that leads them after one of Julian Keller's vict... err, helpers. The other simply fits the criteria established by the Demon Queen, so if they part ways to find Gabby and Kassandra, so be it. What matters is what happens when they do find them. All this to say the die hops around to get its target's attention and guides by skittering, bouncing, or running into walls back out to the student gardens that are barely lit and almost ignored. Not planting season for another month at the earliest, and all the starters are in a greenhouse.

Gabby Kinney has posed:
It wasn't the first time Gabby had seen little demons such as the dice demons, even if she hadn't specifically seen their varient before. It did however remind her of those little rock demons that some of the others had found and gathered at one point. This meant that it was likely the work of the Russian demon queen she knew. So when the die rocks and rolls and jumps about in an attempt to catch her attention--It does. Curious she follows along without hesitation even though it meant leaving some dishes undone. Oops. Along the way, when paths cross, she waves to Kass with a cheery grin. "Hey! Guess we're needed," she informs without an ounce of uncertainty.

Kassandra Pagonis has posed:
Kassandra was actually in the process of finishing up dinner at this point. As a southern girl, sometimes you get a hankering for something that may not exactly be easy to find up here without expensive planes, portals, and what have you. So, when a source, local, was discovered that could get shrimp and oysters fresh from the Atlantic, Kass was on that like white on rice, ordering a little bit for herself so she could make something down home, stick to your ribs good. Oyster and Shrimp Po'boys.

While the oysters weren't exactly the hit she had wanted them to be, the shrimp, with their cornmeal flour dredge and little bit of salt and cajun spice, were perfect, and she was in the middle of finishing the last dish when the little dice demon bonked into her foot to get her attention and then started out the door, as if it expected her to follow. And with Gabby on her way out the door? What choice did she really have.

She did follow, of course. Much like a video game, if you don't take the cues when they're given, you might miss out on something awesome!

Kassandra Pagonis has posed:
"Guess so. It's the first time a dice has ever come to get me. Usually I'm the one carrying them places." D&D nerd? Kassandra? It's more likely than you think!

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
The brass D6 manages to spring over a doorway and plant itself hopelessly facedown in the grass, little legs struggling to right itself. Long and spindly things have little trouble negotiating brick or wood as though they are flat surfaces, but pulling itself from soft earth and shoe-flattened thickets of grass proves another matter. Without any help, it takes a few seconds to get straightened out. Gabby might be halfway to the gardens by that point. It can't speak, but it can frantically wave around its poor little limbs and scatter on a whirl of ticking gears.

The silver D6 has none of these problems as it bounces along, lacking a yellow exclamation point over its head but coming close enough to be worthwhile. Eventually it finds a rough wooden planter box used usually for lettuce and springs up, waving its flat face around hopefully like a pointer seeking its target.

Finding the Demon Queen isn't exactly hard once she emerges from around some bushes serving to separate untended rows where root crops thrive and a chunk used as an orchard. Her stalking gait gives her away, if that faint scent of opium blended among ambers and woods doesn't. That, or the excited hop-hop-hopping of the silver daemon recognizing the boss. It waves a leg at them all.

Gabby Kinney has posed:
Gabby Kinney isn't going to abandon her poor little guide, even if it might be a weird dice whirly gig demon. She stoops down to scoop it up in between her cupped palms. "Just point the way, I'll get us there," she assures with a little sympathetic cooing to it's plight. "I know what it's like to be small too. It's not always easy." Toward Kass she grins a bit. "I've only used dice when gambling but I was told I'm not allowed to do that anymore. Oh, and Monopoly but that's such a bad game. Everyone gets angry." Naturally. With that taken care of, her curiosity piqued, she moves along where ever pointed. At least until she spots Illyana. It was hard to miss her form, and harder yet to not expect to see her with such guides as these. "Hi Illyana! What do you need us for?" Might as well get to the point right off the bat. She was as prepared as she could be for anything at all. "Are we going to go to Limbo again?" Well maybe prepared.

Kassandra Pagonis has posed:
The silver d6 gets a palm to hop into if it's needed, the little thing surprisingly heavy despite its size. Lots of something went in to forming it, or reshaping it, or whatever, and it seems that matter, even in Illyana's realm, follows some basic rules. "There are lots of ways to use dice that aren't gambling related. With dice like these, though....yes, I'm going, I'm going." She chides the dice as she follows along behind Gabby. "It wouldn't so much be gambling as taking the casino for all it had thanks to a lucky streak. Gambling implies a chance of loss...with these little guys, we'd roll big numbers or whatever you need to roll." Kass knows dice are used in gambling and that's about it. She would not be a good person to take to Vegas.

Slowing to a stop, holding her dice in an upturned palm, she looks to Gabby, one brow arching slightly at the mention of Limbo. "I'm sorry....where?"

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
Tiny gears tick and twirl in the D6 Gabby has found as her guide. It wiggles even when still, illuminated from within by a coppery light. Small sparks form when it rubs its little legs together, entirely pleased with itself. Unlike its silver version, it's still a little dirty. The silver one would preen itself if it could, rubbing its legs over its corners rather curiously like a cat.

Illyana brushes a few leaves off the arcing black line of her boot, having acquired a few unwanted riders along the way. A natural gesture, but swiftly replaced by the proper harsh lines of her immaculate posture as she stands. She tends to very few fidgety movements, and even fewer without immediate purpose. "Hello," comes with the faintest trails of silver, her breath condensing only a little. No point in waving it away, not entirely. "Nyet, such travel is unnecessary."

Her pale gaze moves away from Gabby just slightly, assessing her obliquely for a few moments. Then on to Kass, acknowledged with that slightly tendered upnod. The daemons are a terrible addition to any gambling game, given they can turn themselves any which way of their own volition and seem highly taken with hopping up and down at various intervals. (Hello, Boss Lady! Found the people, found the people, ooooh a window!)

"I want to talk about another matter. How do you feel about keeping vampires or soul-draining witches or demons from showing up when you're fast asleep in your beds?" Well, blunt questions are the best questions.

Gabby Kinney has posed:
Gabby Kinney gently touches the top of the brass D6 to get some dirt off while it seems quite pleased with itself. It was cute at the very least, even if it would be useless in gambling. "I dunno if they'd listen to us enough to understand the rules for a game," she points out to Kass with a wry grin. It was kind of hyper, like she could often be. The question of Limbo earns a small shrug. "Long story? It's kind of like... uh. Demon realm I guess?" It's said with a hint of uncertainty. If she were labeling it wrong, she had a feeling that Illyana would soon correct her on it either way. --- It's Illyana who she fixes her gaze on watching as she seems to be shedding the last lingering remnants of some mystica something or other. She had enough experience with such things so far as to give Illyana her space while she does so in spite of the urge to go and hug the older woman. Some things needed to settle first and weren't into being touched. Sometimes that was Illyana herself. At the question she looks to Kass, then back to Illyana with a nod. "I don't think that's even a real question. The answer is 'no bueno' as Julio would say. What do we need to do to keep that stuff from happening? And is there a reason it's a threat suddenly? I mean... like... or just in general?"

Kassandra Pagonis has posed:
If you had caught Kassandra a month ago, she would have called Illyana crazy but, based on what she's learned over the past few days? It's really not too much of a shock that soul-draining witches or demons from beyond are a thing. After all, she's got a silvery one sitting in her palm, its faces shifting spots from time to time. One to three to six to two to three again in no discernable order. "It'd be a truly random game, at least." she says to Gabby, straightening as Illyana makes her appearance. The woman could look regal in a garbage bag.

     Questions about Limbo will have to come later - the questions posed seem a bit more important, as far as things go. "Considering I'm just now getting real sleep, not having to worry about my immortal soul being drained away by a passing spectre would be a good thing, yeah. I mean...is this a thing we need to worry about? I mean, you wouldn't be bringing us here if it wasn't, I guess...."

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
Illyana doesn't quite expound on Gabby's explanation other than to say, "Another dimension." Like that's the most normal thing in the world, a matter-of-factness shriven of any sort of impatience. The sky is blue, Limbo is a dimension, Scott gives out detention.

The daemons won't rush to her, unless neglected, otherwise content in being noticed at achieving their aims. She holds frozen still as Gabby approaches, telegraphing a purpose, and concedes with the icy grace of a statue meeting a tourist. Hello, there is a hug, the thousand-AU stare turned outward. No stabbing then. "You always have choice," she gently reminds the shorter girl, awkwardly patting her shoulder in a gesture of wooden hello-ing. "I ask in case you want to act. It will not be familiar or easy."

Those warnings garnered, it's rather like the slow crescendo of woodwind-based notes in Grieg's great work. Pull the coda out, and then the strings and brass sections roar in behind the tiptoeing melody, ripping the curtain of ignorance back. "Da, a significant worry. It goes unconsidered because few know the threats," she explains for Kassandra. This few clearly excludes the blonde Russian looking off over the gardens. "I plan on correcting it using like to fight like supernatural means for supernatural forces." Windy switchback logic trails higher, carved with a light touch. "A ward, which is a magical barrier that keeps the monsters out. The kind of magic I will use benefits from folding in the powers of residents, for they live here, they are this school. So too those powers give greater strength and impact in defending the place. Which is why I would ask if you are interested. They," a nod to the pair of die daemons wiggling around for attention, "thought you were able candidates."

Gabby Kinney has posed:
Gabby Kinney bestows the hug because that's what she does. It's firm, it's solid, it's warm. It's accepting of the icy demon queen that she was friends with even if her own movements were awkward. Then she relaxes and steps back to leave her free once more. It never hurt to remind someone that they were missed, and hugs were a great way to do that. Moving the little dice demon from her palm up to her shoulder like some kind of eldrich cute parrot she listens to the potential threats without any humor. This was serious time it seemed, even if the need wasn't an immediate fight. "Of course I want to help. All you ever need to do is ask and I'll help no matter what, Illyana. We're friends." She almost said teammates, but she wasn't officially on any team. It didn't matter. "We've both been through enough in spite of our age that I'll always take you seriously when you talk of things you're familiar with. I mean, I know I'm no expert, but you are. So I trust you."

Glancing back toward Kassandra she offers the other a grin as well. "Yeah I don't recommend getting your soul removed, it kind of hurts a ton even for me." And she'd only had a sliver of it removed! "So I'm on board with helping to keep those things out."

Kassandra Pagonis has posed:
The little silver demon is rolled gingerly around in her palm as Illyana speaks - not that the statuesque blonde is being ignored - not in the least. It's a nervous tic, with Kassandra needing to do something with her hands when things of great importance are discussed. It's part of the reason she doesn't use clicky pens for notes - if you were sitting with her during a test? *click click click click click click* ad infinitum. Not fun. And the fact that Silver seems to enjoy the attention helps, too.

     "It doesn't require, like, a finger or anything, does it? Gabby's okay on that front, but I have a little more difficulty regrowing extremeties." Gabby told Kass a little about what she could do, which is why it's being referred, but right now she's just trying to figure out how things work and what exactly they'll be needed to do. So...instead of wondering, she just asks. "So we'd be...templates...for this ward? Our patterns will give the ward another layer to prevent? Like Gabby's healing would prevent life drain, and my seeing would prevent scrying, or something like that?" She steps forward to stand next to Gabby, waiting for the hug to end, kind of thinking of giving Illyana one but not knowing her well enough to chance it. "And would this help with the debt I owe those who rescued me, or is that something entirely different?"

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
Tip the die upside down and it might right itself, but it's in no hurry to bounce away from Kassandra. The hollow frame of swirls gives it solidity to the touch and not a great deal of warmth to the metal, for all it glows a fuzzy greyish hue. No click-click-click at least.

Illyana arches her eyebrows when the question of sacrifices comes up, and she shifts her weight subtly to her back foot. "Would you prefer an eye, your firstborn, and a pint of blood?" The tone is drier and chillier than any Arctic plain, though that's par for her course. Two beats stretch into five, elongated to the point where she might be thought not to speak at all. "Nyet. The ritual does not require anything from you. Keller's issue was unique and the damage to you long since healed."

Her finger slides up her cheekbone, brushing her hair away in a golden wave from her shoulder to rest behind her ear. "A ward requires fuel to sustain itself and anchoring points, like a tent, to secure it." She pauses again, fingers curling thoughtfully at her side. "While I perform the ritual, those who participate have three roles. They will help anchor the spell, like a tent stake. They gather their power, and da, the abilities you have give characteristics I can weave in. Then, they channel their power to fuel the spell through me, joining with everyone else in the process. We would have to practice so you can be familiar with synergizing. I would not want Bobby to turn me to ice, for example."

Gabby Kinney has posed:
Gabby Kinney winces a bit at mention of sacrifices. "I think that was a special case," she murmurs quietly. Only to be quite glad that was the case when Illyana elaborates. A little breath is let out though she hadn't meant to hold it. Instead she grins again with her conviction renewed. "Oh, and since I can heal I wonder if that would help the ward heal itself if it gets damaged? That would be cool and super useful!" Which means, yay, she's useful! -- Again she nods quite readily as further details are given. "I'm up for it. My powers don't affect anyone else, but I can still practice too."

Kassandra Pagonis has posed:
"I think the hows are far above my pay grade, but the whys aren't." Kassandra rolls the little Dice from palm to palm, letting it clamber up her arm like a spider to perch on her shoulder, the opposite of Gabby's, it's little pincers or what have you grooming themselves and, occasionally, Kassandra's hair. It's really rather cute. For a demon.

It takes only a moment for Kassandra to agree, nodding her head. "This place...I owe so much to the people that run it. If I can be of assistance just....just let me know what I need to do."

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
"How matters as much as why." She hasn't forgotten Kassandra's question but it takes longer for Illyana to get around to it, at least. She inclines her head. "I do not judge on debts owed to the school unless asked." A very formal statement enunciated precisely indicates exactly the intent behind every word.

That stillness in her body goes infinitely deeper than a lack of motion, the narrowing of her gaze the only giveaway of anything off. For she is what she is, and a Hell Lord can and very much does negotiate on debt in all its forms. A breath and the moment fades. "For the ritual, each participant is assigned a role, da? I am using the elements to help them visualise their powers and how they connect to others. We need to share a common vision, a common language. The Chinese system is easy because the five elements all feed into one another. Some practice to teach you to meditate and feel how the others feel will make it easier, as will developing a focus that you use to channel your thoughts through. A focus is a physical object with symbolic connection for you, like using blood as a focus to heal the body because the power affected on one drop can be echoed through the patient's whole circulatory system. Or a firework for a whole explosion, for simple examples."

Gabby Kinney has posed:
"I don't... I don't think it's that kind of a debt anyway. This is more of a 'pay it forward' kind of place. They help others because they know it will help them in the future, you know? So..." Gabby spreads her hands helplessly. There was a debt situation with Illyana's own position she knew. One she didn't really want to get into if she could avoid it. "I think the debt you feel to being saved is just as much as any of us have felt for this place. But you'd be helping future generations to stay here, too, so I think that would be a pretty solid option." With that reasoning behind it she tips her head to the side considering the explanation of elements. "I get that. We actually did meditate back at the labs as part of our practice to help us focus, though we didn't really use any particular methodology behind it. I should be able to do it with some pointers."

Kassandra Pagonis has posed:
There's a thing about having a demon princess, queen, or whatever Illyana is, standing right there to put lots of things into perspective. Balance, debt, and repayment of such, even when burdened by it inadvertantly, still needs to be taken care of in the proper ways. Gabby's explanation does make Kassandra feel a little better, but she may corner Illyana at some point for discussions on such things. Just to see where she stands, cosmologically. If anyone might know, it'd be Illyana.

"I did some meditation to keep from being hungry. It got me through a few nights, believe it or not. Mind over the self." Kassandra grins, glancing to Gabby and then turning her attention fully to Illyana. "Will Gabby and I be taking up a couple of the slots - the only ones - or will there be two Fire, two Water, to Earth...things like that?"

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
Queen, Sorceress Supreme, and Hell Lord among peers with really horrible portfolios like Pluto, Mephisto, and Hela. No wonder she's the least scary monster.

"Meditation comes easier stilling your mind. You have to practice externalization before directing your thoughts and energy into an object. For now I would recommend you consider what meaningfully expresses or personifies protection for you. In terms of your elements." Long words. She's going to be very quiet for hours to come to compensate. To Gabby, she inclines her head. "Fire, in your case. It is the thrill-chaser, those who are passionate about life. And yours, Kassandra, is wood. A ground visionary with patience to match, whose extensive roots sink deep into the ground and promote growth from that foundation."

Having dispatched those, she holds out her hand and the D6 in silver wiggles, then leaps with a spring of those gossamer legs to land in it. The parrot on Gabby's shoulder doesn't do more than wiggle, and she flicks her fingers. "Off with you then. I will return this later, if you want it."

And with that, she's on her way.