Discoveries
Roleplaying Log: Discoveries
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Jess and Dani go looking for Alison and Warren's souls to ask who killed them

Other Characters Referenced:
IC Date: October 27, 2019
IC Location:
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 27 Oct 2019 20:34
Rating & Warnings:
Scene Soundtrack: [* ]
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

It's only a day later that Jessica receives a text from Dani. The text is short and to the point 'I could use your help now' and then 'Meet me at the Institute.'.

And now here the two women are. The room Dani has put them in is pretty average and non-descript, it was once a meeting room, but for today and this moment it's been conscripted into something else.

A room for magic. Or something close to it.

In the center of the room chalk has been used to draw a circle and then at roughly even spaces spokes have been drawn toward the center. Those spokes connect to a smaller circle in the center, with that second circle still large enough to comfortably allow Jess and Dani to sit and stand as needed.

Dani closes the door and locks it and once that's finished she turns back to Jess, "Thanks for coming to the Institute."

"I know I didn't say much at the crime scene, but I didn't want to worry Carolus with what we're going to try today."

And here she pauses a moment to gather her thoughts, her gaze unfocused, "But … what I want to do is find Warren and Ali's souls. Then we're going to ask who did this to them."

She brings her attention back to Jessica, "Then we're going hunting."


Jessica didn't know what to expect when she got the text, so she just came prepared. She's dressed in clothes that could go literally anywhere and do literally anything: navy jeans that could pass for slacks, a red scoop-necked blouse, a navy blazer, all in Starkweave to repel bullets. After hearing Moonstar's explanation, she decides 'ready for anything' was the right stance to take.

She gazes over all the magical preparations and tilts her head. "Good idea."

The case that had set her on a path that pulled her out of both alcoholism and cheap sordid cases alike had involved a very similar activity: speaking to the dead. Back then, she and Zatanna had had to break into a morgue to do it; this is a step up. Also a step up: no bodies. No formaldayhde and death-stench in the nostrils, no tearing one's gaze away from the gruesomeness of a Y-incision.

"How'd you know it wouldn't bother me any?"

That's not a very important question, but Jessica has never been one to let a curiosity pass without poking at it. The more important question:

"Do you need me to do anything specific or stand anywhere specific to help you here, or do you mostly need me out of the way and quiet for this one?"


Dani is dressed in similar-ish clothes, at least in protectiveness.

She wears something very close to her X-Men uniform, though this one is just straight black. Black sleeveless top, black pants, black boots. All ready to help aid against low-level attacks.

As to Jess' questions, Moonstar answers the last one first. "I need you in the circle." And for a moment, Moonstar's lips twitch into something of a smile, "You're coming with me on this journey. Normally I wouldn't bring people with me, but I'm worried about surprises. This case has been full of surprises."

And not fun ones.

"So, we're both going on a little journey. Step over the chalk, please."

Then once the two are both in the circle Moonstar finally addresses that initial question. Her tone is matter-of-fact, but there's some note of apology in her eyes, "I remember all the Bear showed me when I was under its thrall. It's given me insight into those it attacked and I know you'll have my back when I can't necessarily see everything."

She extends both her hands toward Jess now. "Be prepared for anything. It may similar sorts of things the Bear did to us. It could be worse. Perhaps, though, it'll be nothing at all, but we need to be prepared."


Jessica steps into the circle. She grimaces a little at Dani's explanation, but nods in understanding, too. It's possible the grimace was over the bear itself, rather than over the idea that Dani has insight into what makes her tick, or what her own specific demons are, but either way she doesn't spend any more time on it.

She clasps Dani's hands with her own slim ones. Dani's 'be prepared for anything' speech produces a tight jaw and a tilt of her head. "Got it," she says. "Let's do this."


As soon as Jess grips Dani's hands there's a moment of inaction, but then suddenly the temperature within the room drops.

Moonstar's hands become like ice and even with Jess' own tolerance against the heat and the cold there's an edge of burn that might be felt.

The room around the two fades to pitch black darkness and it's several heart-beats before it brightens.

That brightness starts as a pin-prick of light nearby. Then, like running headlong down a dark tunnel, it expands and grows bigger. When both can see again they find themselves in a room - no - they find themselves in a place.

A crossroads.

The two stand in the center and from that center hundreds of pathways can be seen.

Some glitter and glow.

Some look old while others new.

Some scary and some not.

But there's only one that Danielle Moonstar looks toward. One where the pathway is made up of roots. Tree roots to be specific. Thick gnarled things that have grown together and are so intertwined that the trail is oddly smooth.

"This one." Moonstar says to Jess, "We take this one."

Here things are seen differently. Moonstar is still Moonstar, but the Cheyenne's clothing has changed. Upon her head is a winged headress, the feathers glow with the brillance of white starlight.

Around her body, however, is something less bright. A familiar cloak of the bear and within the pelt of that bear crystals of ice glimmer faintly against the darkness of its brown fur.

Before the black-haired woman steps onto that path she turns to Jess, "Remember, your will is the most important weapon you have here. Belief, whether positive or negative, is enough to change anything on this particular plane."

And then, "Avoid opening any doors though. Bad things tend to hide behind them."


Stepping onto this plane…

Doesn't really change what Jessica Jones looks like one bit. Her blazer is replaced by her leather jacket, but that's about it.

Planes like these often reveal aspects of a person's true self, or perhaps their self-concept, but Jess is always pretty much just Jess to her toes, giving the exterior world pretty much the sum total of what's going on in her interior world. She might pretext to solve a case. She might withhold some information from even her friends, either out of discomfort with talking about it or out of a feeling that it's just her problem and she needs to deal with it herself. But beyond that, what one sees is what one gets with this particular detective.

The instruction about will brings a ghost of a smile to her lips.

The rest?

"Trust me, my whole plan is to step where you step," she says dryly. She takes up a guard position sort of behind Dani and to the right…

And then literally steps where she steps. She wasn't kidding.


And then the two walk.

The path leads down and then up, and then it just goes on forever.

With each step the scenary shifts - forest, desert, savannah, darkness and then brightness.

The images begin to move faster with each step the two walk, which begs the question - are they moving faster or is it something else?

It sure doesn't seem like the two are walking any quicker than at a steady pace. The kind of pace that eats through however many miles a person has to walk. A look at Dani shows the Cheyenne woman frowning. Her gaze looks ahead, not back or to the side. Just straight ahead to wherever this road leads them.

It's almost monotonous in regards to the walking and the landscape.

Forest.

Desert.

Savannah.

Darkness.

Brightness.

Forest. Desert. Savannah. Darkness. Brightness. ForestDesertSavannahDarknessBrightnessForestDesertSavannahDarknessBrightnessForestDesertSavannahDarknessBrightness

And then -

ForestDesertSavannahDarkness - but there's a flash of something in that darkness - Brightness.

It begins again ForesttDesertSavannahDarkness and then the darkness pauses.

And now it oozes.

Or rather a creature oozes out.

It's all darkness, all of it, no eyes, no face, nothing. It almost looks gelatinous as it moves sluggishly out of the blackness.

Just as the creature appears Moonstar pauses, "Something isn't right." But does she mean the creature? Maybe!

However, when she speaks acts like a catalyst. At least, for the creature it does. A split appears across its ovoid body and when that split widens it reveals teeth.

So. Many. Teeth.

And while it doesn't have any eyes, or ears, it pinpoints Dani's location and JUMPS at the bear-shrouded form.


Something isn't right, Moonstar says, and Jessica stares.

"And we didn't even have to open a door," she quips.

Then the…Thing

Leaps at Dani Moonstar. And Jessica Jones leaps too; soaring over her head and through the air in attempt to get herself on a collision course with the thing. She'll settle for knocking it out of Dani's path; she'll try to get her arms around it to barrel it down to the ground.

Dani brought her to have her back, and that's exactly what she intends to do.


By this point Dani likewise realizes the two are no longer alone.

She turns just in time to watch as Jessica leaps upward to intercept whatever-the-hell-that-thing is.

Upon seeing the thing, Moonstar does what any sane woman does, she yells, "What the hell is that?"

In her hands a sword forms, hoarfrost covers the blade and glitters almost prettily in its iciness.

As for Jessica, she jumps at the creature that's intent on taking a bite out of Moonstar. They collide and possibly surprisingly the thing is much more solid and firm than one might anticipate. In fact, as Jess wraps her arms around it she'll easily feel there's more to it than just blob and teeth. However, when she slams it to the ground that's when its real body is revealed as the darkness around it evaporates. The best thing it can be compared to is a monsterously large crab - just replace claws with rows and rows of sharp teeth.

It snaps at Jess, trying to seek its teeth into any part of her. Arm, shoulder, torso, even her head and face. It's not too picky.

Now it's Dani's turn, for as soon as Jess has it slammed to the ground the woman leaps toward the pair. "Move!" Shouts the Cheyenne, "I can kill it."

She's going to skewer it on her sword, she just doesn't have enough time to get all those words out.


Jess feels the bite of something into her arm, feels it pierce her jacket and flesh, sending rolling waves of blood down to slick up her hand. She ignores the pain. Adrenaline is singing a much louder song at the moment.

Dani says move, and Jess does, though perhaps not exactly the way Dani actually meant when she shouted that word.

Seeing how fast the thing moved, Jess is loathe to let it go. Instead, she rolls smoothly to her feet still holding the thing, shifting her grip to its claws as they make their controlled tumble together. She then sort of thrusts it out between them like a particularly vicious puppy she doesn't want to be holding, all in the hopes of giving Dani Moonstar a clear shot to do her killing with no fear of being rushed.


The sword sinks into the yucky things carapace with a hiss and the creature dies.

Or rather dissipates as it literally disintegrates into smoke.

Carefully Dani drops the point of her sword away from Jess, "Good coordination.", in both ways, she likely means. "You okay?"

She squints slightly and there's a slight shift to her gaze, "You're hit.", which should be a question, but isn't. Dani has some skill on this particular plane and she can see things that should be there. "How bad?" She strives to keep the concern out of her voice, but it's there. Psychic wounds are nothing to be sneezed at.

With the creature gone the scenary along the side of the road begins to move again, even as they stand still.

Forest. Desert. Savannah. Brightness.


Jessica pulls her arm out of her jacket to examine the wound. "It'll be gone in a few days. I'll be fine once I staunch the bleeding. What's with this shifting scenery thing anyway?"

She considers how to staunch the bleeding, and finally just turns her shirt into a crop top so she can wind the cloth around her arm and tie it off. She zips her jacket high enough to hide it. This doesn't seem a good place to try whipping out her STUFF app. She's not even sure whether she's really here-here or just mentally here-here. It sure feels like really, but all the same.

"It almost seems like we could just stand here and ride the spiritual escalator to somewhere."


Moonstar steps closer to look at the wound and she definitely frowns, "It could be worse, yes.", she agrees, but still she frowns.

And when Jess creates a bandage out of her own clothes the Cheyenne can't help but smile a touch, but she doesn't reveal necessarily what causes her to smile briefly.

Instead she turns her attention to the scenary that loops, "Think of it as a search pattern, or grid. We're methodically looking for them -" And here is where she finally reveals some of what caused her to say something isn't right "- but they're being stubborn. Or they're hiding." She doesn't voice aloud why she thinks they might be hiding, instead she adds, "So, we're searching every corner of this plane we can. Let's get back to it. Before something else finds us."

Those words bring Dani back to the gnarled tree-root-path and when both women step back upon the path they're greeted by yet another sight.

A tree. Or rather, something that looks like a tree, if it were warped and had glowing red eyes (and glowing jagged mouth) and could move.

Oh, let's face it it's really a demonic Ent. That's what it is.

And with that realization the thing roars a bark of a sound and launches it's many branches at both women, though Dani gets the majority of those razor-sharp limbs.

"Oh for fu -!"


Jessica is ready to leap right around the time the glowing red eyes appear, and this time she does before anything can hit her. Razor sharp limbs mean her hands are the wrong tool for the task. After her initial leap back she leaps up, and then comes straight down with her feet together and her arms up in a position meant to guard her face. She's going to try to just barrel through as many of those branches as possible, tries to snap them right off of the Demon Ent's body.

"On your right," she calls to Dani in warning, not wanting the woman to accidentally end up in her rather destructive path.


Moonstar brings her sword up and slices through those bristly branches. "Thanks!"

The tree tries to strike both women now with such ferocious stabs. It's using its branches like spears almost, as it tries to skewer the two women upon those deadly limbs.

Jess barrels through the branches, snaps them off even, and with each branch broken something rather distressing happens. Those broken 'twigs' begin to move, change, and grow.

"Spirits." Dani says, when she realizes the two of them are creating more demonic creatures, "Jess, can you get to the trunk? Let's take care of the Mama first."

And where Dani held a sword now she holds an axe. A giant sharp axe. "Catch!" Which she then throws to Jessica Jones.


Jessica hits the ground and finds herself engaged in a dance of dodging. There is one particularly nasty near-miss that might have taken her right through the heart; this makes her hit the dirt and roll.

And then she realizes she's just created more of them with her maneuver.

"Oh for fuck's—"

But Dani keeps right on task, and Jess stays on task too. She catches the axe neatly by the hilt, and says, "On it!"

She starts focusing on zigging and zagging to get closer, eyes narrowed in concentration. The moment she gets a shot, the very moment, she's going to try to cleave the entire tree in two, swinging that axe (somewhat uncharacteristically, in fact), with every last ounce of her strength.


*CRACK*

That's the sound of Jessica's axe hitting the trunk of the tree.

The Demonic Ent HOWLS and while there's pain heard in that sound, death is likewise there. It cracks into two pieces and as Jess fells that particular tree, all those baby Ents collapse as well. The red glow of the Mama's eyes, and its mouth, slowly fades and when completely out the tree falls to ash.

"Good hit." Dani says as she steps over to Jess, "Let's get -" Moving, but Moonstar's words stop as her gaze flickers back to the road the two stand upon. Creatures of every shape and size can be seen, some float, some come from the ground, some stand, some slither, all are focused upon one person only Dani.

Moonstar stares for a silent second before she turns to Jess. "It's time to run."

Because now Dani knows for certain, they're coming after her. Or she's attracting them. Or both.

"Whatever you do don't let go of my hand."

Or she'll be lost.

As soon as Jess takes her hand, Moonstar moves. It starts as one step and then two, and then the two go far faster than before. It's as if they have wings as the two are buffeted forward upon the speed of the Valkyrior.

Those creatures upon the road become a blur of darkness and some of that bleakness reaches for both women.

Their fleeting touches is a psionic call to both, to slow down, stop, to surrender.


Jessica is certainly a fast runner, and she holds Moonstar's hand tight. Her other hand still grips the axe. She becomes aware of blooms of red sprouting all over her mind, behind her eyes, letting her know attempts are being made. She allows herself a grim smile. They can hurt themselves on that, if they aren't careful.

"I don't get the feeling this is Warren and Alison playing coy. Those two wouldn't try to stop you from finding us. I get the feeling that someone else is involved. Someone who is actively trying to keep us from them. Maybe Hodge is secretly a wizard, or hired one, or cut a deal with one?"


The wind whips past them and upon the wind is the sound of horse hooves. A hundred of them. A thousand.

Dani can feel Brightwind's presence here, helping them. Gratefulness fills her for whatever god or goddess put the winged horse in her life journey.

"Maybe." Dani says, "But I think it's me. I think I'm attracting them." Her gaze cuts sideways to Jessica for a moment, "The Bear is part of me. I think that part is what's attracted those things. Like seeks out like?" She says with a harsh laugh, "And with the Bear being rather evil it attracts similar things."

They run and run and run.

They pass creatures that are so inhuman that they confuse the eye. Then there are other things that look similar to animals upon earth. "There!" Dani yells, as the two approach the Brightness.

"We'll be safe there!"

They're almost there to that welcoming warmth and brightness. Where safety can be found, but before they can get there Dani's footsteps stop. Her hand, which tightly holds Jess', arrests both of their movements as the Valkyrie stops in the middle of the road.

The road itself is empty, all except for one presence.

It's a shadow that's shaped vaguely like a person.

That's what Dani's focused upon and here, her face has changed. No longer is it grim and worried, now it's relieved, "Thank the spirits."

They're here." She even goes so far as to point at that shadow creature.


Oof. Well, Jess has no good answer for the Mark of the Bear upon Dani's spirit. She just nods grimly, and keeps running. They dive for the Brightness and she sees a shadow. She's sliding into a defensive stance before Dani's face changes. Her relief bleeds through and Jessica relaxes.

They're here.

And what does one say, exactly? You don't just lead in with 'hi.'

She addresses the shadow creature and gets straight to the point. "What happened to you two? Who killed you?"


Moonstar drops Jessica's hand and takes a step toward the creature.

Jess asks her questions and Dani has very little to add.

Instead she just steps closer and reaches a hand for the shadow, for 'them'.

The creature obligingly takes her hand and as soon as they touch, the Cheyenne woman's skin goes ashen, though outwardly she doesn't seem to react to whatever is causing that pallor. Perhaps this is normal when talking to souls?

It's only with that touch secured that the shadow turns to Jessica Jones, and while it has no face, or head, there's a real feeling that it's looking at Jess. It extends a second tendril of shadow towards the woman and with that extension a wave of power rolls forth.

It tries to push the illusion that Moonstar currently sees at the woman. An image of Warren and Alison, their souls solid and real, speaking.

Giving answers. Telling the story of just what happened to them.


Jessica doesn't try to resist what's happening. She doesn't know if her own defenses will allow it to, but if it's soul to soul there's nothing on her that should mess with that. She thinks. John didn't say anything about souls when he set the thing, but she'd been so nervous that she'd only asked a few questions. And even if she had asked more, she's not sure 'what about souls' would have ever gotten onto her personal radar.

So not only does she not try to resist, she also reaches her hand out as well, attempting to take the…spirit's?…hand in turn.


As soon as Jess takes the things hand she jumps right into the illusion.

There's Warren, with wings rising sharply from his back, and Alison Blaire standing next to him. Both are ringed in a halo of light, something similar to Alison's own lights, but there's possibly a sense of holiness to it.

Their mouths move but the words they're garbled.

Warren speaks first, "No … that's … Alison."

Now Alison speaks when her name is spoken, "… Warren's right … gun …"

Dani doesn't seem to miss any of the words as she responds back, "I can't believe it. That bastard."

Both souls nod sadly and then their attention shifts momentarily to Jess and it's then that the red blooms in Jessica's mind.

This isn't soul-speak, but something psionic. An attack possibly? Or illusion.

And the shadowed grip upon her hand now burns, as the shadow reaches out and pulls upon the woman's lifeforce. On both their lifeforces.


Jess got hardly any of that, so she's glad Dani did.

She likes Warren. And, though she hasn't spent as much time in Alison's company, she liked her too.

But she has said before and will always say that she doesn't want anyone in her head. Not even people she loves, let alone those she merely likes. She is already tensing, readying herself to shove the spirit off, when she feels it reaching for her lifeforce.

She probably has more of it to give than most, really, but she's not sure what's going on here. She wants to hit the shadow as far as she can, forcing it to let her and Dani be.

Only one thing stills her: the fact that she doesn't necessarily understand what's going on here.

So instead, she gives a tight, nervous, "Dani? What's happening here? I don't mind donating a little juice to a friend, but this is real damned concerning."


The shadow-being continue to talk, moving the mouth of 'Warren' and 'Ali' and Dani listens.

It's only as Jess asks her question that the illusion is partially broken. It causes Dani to frown slightly, her movements and words slow as she takes her eyes off her 'friends' and looks to Jessica. "What?" Her words are thick sounding, as if she speaks half-asleep, "We're doing what we came here to -", and while she almost finishes that sentence something causes her to pause.

Her eyebrows knit together as her brain tries to figure out what's going on here. As it rings a very late 'get the fuck out of here' warning to the Valkyrie.

"Something isn't right."

It's a definite understatement, but when Moonstar's gaze looks back to the two souls (the shadow's gaze) and she's lost again.

"We'll bring them to justice." She says and her next words tremble slightly, "I promise."

For Jess that shadow's touch now tries to crush her hand, it tries to siphon her lifeforce out even faster, understanding that Jess is the one who can see through this all.

And while the two battle against that darkness, the Brightness behind them deftly shines a welcoming warmth. They just have to get there.


'Something's not right' has been the refrain of the entire trip.

But that's all Jessica needs. She doesn't know what's causing this to go wrong, but they've got whatever answers they can get. And that means she rears back with her flattened open palm to hit the shadow hard in the solar plexus, flinging it off of her.

It's not nearly as strong as it would have been had the thing not been sucking at her like some sort of leather-clad power protein smoothie. She feels the burn and the cold in ways she can barely remember ever having felt. Feels her wound throbbing on her arm beneath her makeshift bandage.

There's no time to worry about it. Pale as she is, wan as she is after having some of her very essence siphoned, she's still prone to action. This time she seizes Dani so they don't get separate, wrapping an arm around her waist she'll apologize for later, and leaps, sending them hurtling towards that Brightness with no further fanfare.


The shadow is hit and while most shadows have no substance this one does.

Perhaps it's from all that lifeforce it siphoned from the two women?

Or perhaps there's more there than just darkness.

Either way, it's flung away and as soon as it's touch is broken Dani sags. Thankfully, Jess is there to literally pick Dani up and leap toward the Brightness.

The two easily make their escape into the light and with that light the world of shadow and demon, monster and foe, fades away. Here is where the true afterlife begins, where doors exist everywhere. Each leading to a different level of that eternal life at this heavenly crosswords.

And it's here, within this brightness, that Dani staggers-steps straight again. "Gods."

"That wasn't them." She adds after a moment of trying to gather her wits about her, "It was a creature trying to trick us."

Not that it probably needs explaining, but explain she does.

"Give me a second and then I'll see if I can contact them."

And as long as Jess doesn't hang onto her Moonstar takes a few steps away and closes her eyes. She centers herself with a few deep breathes and then she casts her senses out like a wide-fishing net.

Searching for Warren. For Alison. For her friends and family.

The silence stretches up until Dani opens her eyes with a start.

"They're *not* here."

She looks to Jess, "Their souls aren't *here*."


Jessica sags when they get into the crossroads. She opens no doors, but she slides against the walls and sags. She's…not feeling right. She's not feeling fatally hurt, but she needs a rest and she's not loving what she is feeling. She has a dozen questions, namely whether they'll regenerate what that thing took from them, but concludes that Dani would be a little more wigged out if that was permanent harm.

So she daydreams about good meals and sleep while Dani searches, and gazes at doors as if wondering which afterlife she'll be shepherded off to. Once upon a time her answer would have been a simple shrug, and the word 'Hell.' These days she has grown a little and she's not so sure. She's pretty sure the answer still isn't 'Heaven,' but maybe given there are clearly more than two options she concludes she might still be okay, one way or the other.

Moonstar says they aren't there, and she frowns.

"What if the bodies didn't disappear from the morgue? What if nothing went to the morgue in the first place? What if there were no bodies at all?"

No, wait, that might be too much of a leap.

"Unless you think they're ghosts, out roaming the earth, the other potential explanation for them not being here."


"No. They're not ghosts. I would have sensed revenants."

"No, I think you have it, but why? Where are they then?"

Moonstar mutters and then she closes her eyes again and reaches deep within herself, to the core that was once the Bear. To the feeling of when the Bear had a taste of both Alison and Warren's souls.

Moonstar pulls upon the power now and the air within the brightness turns chill, though not as cold as it could. There's just too much light and warmth here.

Now with the power of the Bear, Moonstar casts her net again and casts again.

Again.

And further out. Further until something familiar is felt.

"There!" Dani gasps, her hands stretching out before her as if to point, or capture something.

"Somewhere there, but not here. Let me see if I can -"

And she tries to see just where they are, she really tries, but before she can see where they're at the Valkyrie reaches her limit.

There's a backlash of energy that slams into Dani and then Jess and pulls their spiritual selves back down into their bodies.

Moonstar finds herself on the floor, the chalk circle and spokes smeared, but that doesn't stop her from opening her eyes, "Alive." She gasps out, "They're alive."

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