The Snowbird Special
Roleplaying Log: The Snowbird Special
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

It's never a good sign when Magik and Domino start talking. Today's subject includes a fast pass straight to Limbo.

Other Characters Referenced: Danielle Moonstar, Warren Worthington
IC Date: November 04, 2019
IC Location: Xavier Institute
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 05 Nov 2019 00:13
Rating & Warnings: PG-13
Scene Soundtrack: [* ]
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

Not all that long ago, a dark ritual was performed in the sub-levels of the Xavier Institute. The very flesh and bone of an X-Man was combined with the very blackest of magics and in so doing attracted the attention of an infernal entity from between dimensions. An entity that would have killed those who inadvertently summoned it and desecrated those mortal remains. The entity was banished, but the ritual failed, all evidence of what took place carefully hidden away from a student body that probably wouldn't be impressed by how close they came to damnation.

And what of the demon sorceress who performed the ritual, and opened the Institute to such danger, despite supposedly the best of intentions? Has she slunk off to her hell dimension to lick her wounds?

…not exactly.

Illyana Rasputin sits at the counter in the kitchen of the Xavier Institute in an oversized black hoodie and leggings, her feet hooked over the bar of her high stool, sipping from a glass of what appears to be (and is) orange juice. Her blonde hair is a few shades darker than usual, damp from the shower, but the only sign that she's not a slightly older student is the large, leather bound tome in front of her, filled with occult diagrams and spidery writing. She turns a dry, flaking page and props up her head on one hand as she reads through the demonic script for at least the third time since the disastrous ritual.

***

Times have been ..interesting for Neena Thurman lately. She turned her back on the life which she had known the best in order to focus all of her efforts on helping the X-Men but that hadn't been such a smooth transition. Everyone has things to do and at the end of the day what she got stuck with had left her wondering if all of this was the right choice.

She got to look up phone records.

All of her combat training, all of her probability-warping ways, and she's been poking around..at phone records.

At least no one gave her a hard time for drinking the good stuff while stuck behind a monitor. Then again, they probably knew better than to question such a decision.

Dressed in a long-sleeved black top and cargo pants with a futuristic black, indigo and grey Kryptek camo pattern, she's the exact opposite of 'fitting in' around a school. Again..and probably for the best..no one's yet made a fuss about it.

What is -definitely- for the best is that there's a fresh pot of coffee in the kitchen, still steaming and barely touched. "Score" is muttered from the luck-bender's direction while she refills a mug which states 'I had my patience tested. I'm negative.'

She's just about to walk right past the blonde with mug in one hand and a fresh orange in the other when she stops herself short and backtracks a few slow steps for a proper double-take.

The book is what betrays Illyana's anonymity.

"You know, I -was- going to give you shit for betraying the Buddy System but it seems like karma picked up the slack. What's got you all dressed down with the rest of us mere mortals?"

***

Illyana doesn't look up from her book when she senses someone else come into the kitchen. Not because she's concentrating deeply on what's written on the pages, but because, even amongst the X-Men - let alone the students - there aren't many who would willingly interrupt her and she doesn't much feel like being sociable.

As soon as she hears the interloper's voice she knows that she's out of luck on that score, which gives her all of two options. And since opening a portal before Domino recognises her is basically running away, that option is out.

That's why, when Domino reverses to perform her double-take, she'll find Illyana waiting for her, head up, cold blue eyes ready to meet Domino's. If there's any guilt at having vanished as soon as that buddy system was established, it doesn't show on her face. No, it's Domino's comment on her outfit that draws the familiar smirk to break through her impassive mask.

"I'm washing the blood of my enemies out of my normal clothes."

It's even true! …from a certain point of view.

Illyana's gaze drops deliberately to take in Domino's excessively high-end camouflage. Mere mortals indeed.

"If you're looking for volunteers for paintball, I'm busy."

She sits back and takes a sip of her orange juice, book still open before her but seemingly completely forgotten.

***

"Seriously?" Domino grunts. "I got stuck doing background checks on phonecalls and you got into a fight without me? I thought we were closer than that."

Her tone changes in a heartbeat when Illy brings up paintball. "You sure?" she asks, looking hopeful while hooking a thumb over her shoulder with the orange still held. "Because I've been itching to shoot you in the face for a while now."

She can be such a motivational speaker.

"Oh hey! Remember when we had talked about having a means of getting in touch? Those were good times. For a second there it -almost- felt like we were going to be working together!"

With this said the albino quickly pulls up another stool and hops back onto it, somehow not spilling a drop of coffee on the mug's way to the counter. Now her expression is ..a bit harder to read.

"Don't shut me out of this, Illy. They've got me working as a freaking -office assistant.-"

Actually, that expression may be easier to read when paired with words. It's the call of someone who's been sidelined. Someone who's almost desperate to get back into the action. The pieces are all there. An adrenaline junkie who gets the most out of her powers by headbutting death at every corner and she's wound up losing all of it for the last week.

Yeah. Like..one week. She really -is- a junkie. A couple of days without a fix has her going stir-crazy. Sitting around so isn't her style.

"If you go off on another fun-filled adventure without me I'm getting a new Buddy."

***

Illyana got given a job that should have been within her capabilities and… she failed. Dani telling her not to beat herself up about it hasn't really helped. In fact, it's kind of the reverse. But as it turns out, there is one thing that makes her feel better about recent events:

At least she didn't get stuck looking through phone records.

Congratulations, Domino. At least your misfortune has cheered up the demon queen of Limbo.

The smirk transforms into a grin when Domino talks about shooting her. She appreciates the ring of truth in those words. She's about to answer in kind, but something makes her pause long enough for Domino to jump in again. Considering how reticent the pale lady was about letting Illyana in on her past, she wonders if Domino realises how much she's letting her see right now.

"Are you any good at it?"

Illyana puts as much innocent curiosity into her tone as she possibly can, but even she can't hold that pose for more than a second, and shakes her head with a snicker. Considering she's well within punching distance now, it's probably just as well that the next thing she does is to spin the tome she's been staring at around and push it toward Domino. It's not like she's blind to what Domino's demeanour is practically screaming at her.

"Take a look."

It's not quite as headache inducing as the N'Garai cairn that Illyana told Domino not to look at, but the sigils ringing the circle inscribed on the page seem to have too many angles to be rendered in two dimensions, and the spidery script seems to change whenever you take your eye off it for a second.

"Dani had me looking for Warren my way. It wasn't supposed to involve blood this time."

Illyana hesitates, then just settles on, "It did."

And it was less fun-filled than you might think, Illyana doesn't add.

"Still want in?"

***

Any good at it?

"I want to introduce the phone to three pounds of Semtex," Neena flatly replies in full seriousness. She could probably go on with the wishlist of common office-grade items which she'd like to toss down the wrong end of the firing range but she manages to quell any further opinions on the subject.

Just what kind of response the pale lady is looking to get from Magik might be questionable but a response of some fashion is soon to arrive. And it starts..with another BOOK. For a second Illy's going to be on the receiving end of a look which begs the question 'to shoot now or later?'

Then she actually looks down at the book and all thoughts about living out the rest of her days as a secretary vanish into the aether.

"Wasn't -supposed- to?" she repeats with a strange stare back at Illy. "You weren't joking about that a moment ago, were you." Needing a shower, and all.

It might be a loaded question. To anyone else it might look like an opportunity to sign over her soul to get in the Devil's good graces. The book between them is a symbol all of its own, like swearing upon the bible before a jury. She's still trying to decide if this tome might try to bite her hand off a'la Army of Darkness if she reaches out for it.

Action could be had. Or..she could chill out around here some more drinking all manner of questionable concoctions while staring at transcripts of other people talking about corporate takeovers.

Really there isn't any decision for her to make. A pale hand reaches for the book. Domino's back on the job. It's still working for the X-Men, right? They're both on the same team here. Their goals are aligned. She'll still be holding true to her loyalties.

At least that's what she'll be telling herself for the forseeable future.

"What have we got?"

***

"I know I live in a medieval themed castle and I'm only passingly familiar with modern tech…"

And seems to have an annoyingly good memory.

"…but that sounds like a 'no'. At least they didn't try to give me that job."

There's amusement, a faint hint of relief, and probably less sympathy than Domino deserves in Illyana's tone.

There's a longer than usual pause before Illyana answers Domino's question, but finally the sorceress decides that the other woman deserves at least an outline of the truth.

"No. I wasn't." She says, not smirking now, the amusement gone from her tone. "And try not to get a paper cut while you're here." Another secretary reference? Really? "The med bay is locked from the inside until Dani and I can get it cleaned up. It looks like the inside of a really inefficient slaughterhouse in there." A second's pause. "Don't tell the kids."

As explanations go, it leaves a little to be desired on the detail front. And in any case, Illyana's far more interested in the answer to her own question than she is in answering Domino's. She waits for the pale lady to reach for the book…

…and then flips it shut before her fingers can graze the pages. "If you could read it you wouldn't want to touch it." Illyana says by way of explanation, then lets out a breath, showing her frustration for the first time.

"Not a lot more than we had before. We know Warren is alive, we know he's not in this dimension, but I couldn't pin down the location."

She's not quite ready to explain that Dani's calling in Doctor Strange because she couldn't get the job done.

"But while we're waiting, I can teach you how to contact me when I'm not around here."

***

"I must have seriously pissed in someone's Cornflakes around here," Domino muses not entirely to herself. "But you trying to do the work somehow reminds me of the 'Conan the Librarian' skit."

It takes a while but some (gory) details are finally being presented. The papercut bit might be worthy of an eye-rolling but with the earlier mention of blood, and a fairly recent memory of Illyana deliberately walking -around- pools of fresh blood, gives the albino a moment of thoughtful consideration.

It might be best to not let the book get a 'taste' of her.

"I was wondering why all of the Band-Aids were Fort Knoxxed," she deadpans while in reality having -no idea at all- that the medbay was on total lockdown. Then comes a thin smirk. "I bet Dani had a good time." And then "You think they let me interact with kids?" Sarcasm to the power of three.

For one fleeting moment it might seem like Illyana's letting her in. Just as quickly the book is flipped closed with the finality of a door being slammed shut.

"And yet you were reading it without a problem," Neena challenges with only a hint of irritation in her words. "I don't see you having such an aversion."

Man, trying to get a read on a demon is surprisingly difficult sometimes…

Neena's about to take a sip of coffee when the news hits. "What -what?- -Alive?- How?" Not in this dimension, "Did the demon bear thing come back? That ornery critter was -all over- tearing his wings apart."

Sheesh, how much has she been missing around here..? It's a big enough bombshell that she almost misses the proverbial olive branch which Magik offers next.

A means of contact. An -in- to all of this unholy craziness.

The mug is set aside, abandoned once more as the pale ex-merc holds her hands out to the sides. "Alright then. Let's hear it."

***

The return of Illyana's perennial smirk is likely to be answer enough, but Illyana still adds, in a studiously neutral tone, "Why don't you ask her? I'm sure she won't mind talking about it."

Added to which, it gets Illyana out of having to explain the process of the ritual, and just what she had to do with the remains of Warren's wings. She doubts Domino's that sentimental - or squeamish - but best to let Dani take that risk.

"How long has this place been turning out teenage mutant soldiers? I'm surprised you're not teaching a class."

It would be a lie to say there isn't a slight smile on Illyana's lips as she slides the book back to her, one hand remaining resting on top of it. "I've had a lot of practice." Illyana points out, without adding that the book can't really do anything to her that hasn't already happened.

Domino, she judges, still has all of her soul - although what sort of condition it's in is another matter.

"No-one told you?" Illyana's surprise might or might not be genuine, and she lets Domino rattle through her questions before confirming, "Alive. No bears this time." Although she's thoughtful as she says it. Something of the bear was with Dani in that room.

Is that a look of satisfaction that flickers across Illyana's face, in the light from the portal that swallows her tome? It's gone by the second flare of light, that deposits a stoppered glass bottle filled with a dark, viscous liquid, a single candle burning in an iron holder, several sheets of vellum, and an honest to God quill pen. This she hands to Domino, then unstoppers the glass bottle and slides a sheet of vellum in front of her.

"Whatever you do." Illyana cautions, in a tone that strongly suggests she's enjoying herself. "Don't lick the quill after you've dipped it in… let's just call it the ink." An oh so reassuring smile follows. "Now. Close your eyes and write me a message."

She seems absolutely serious.

***

'I'm surprised you're not teaching a class.'

"I'm new," Domino claims without skipping a beat.

It's half true. Illyana's quite familiar with half-truths.

"No one told me," she repeats with more than a little frustration present. "Though I have a meeting with the brass later tonight. You may have just spoiled their moment, so thank you for that." This happens to sound genuine. Keep such a big secret from her? Damn right they're going to lose their moment! She can be petty with the best of 'em.

"Good. I've had more than enough of evil psychic ursines for the rest of my life."

It's STILL so bizarre watching those portals open and close seemingly with a mind of their own. No wave of Magik's hands, no muttering of words. The book's there one moment and gone the next, replaced with a couple of curious and hopelessly oldschool items. When the quill is handed to her she absently takes it with a look about her like 'the hell am I supposed to do with this?'

"It's blood, isn't it," she flatly claims. "It's okay to tell me the details, you know. I'd like to think we've established that I'm not squeamish. Wait..what? Are you—"

Serious?

Yeah. Okay. That's a little odd. Just..like any message at all? Fine. Neena closes her eyes and writes two words. Three letters to the first, six letters to the second.

Then she opens her eyes. Blinks twice. It's accompanied with the creepest feeling of spiderlegs dancing up along her spine, putting the hair on the back of her neck on end.

"That isn't what I wrote…" Then comes another wide-eyed stare back to Illyana. "Is this auto-translating to Hell-ese? It's censoring me, isn't it. That is -not- what an F-bomb looks like."

***

Nobody told Illyana she shouldn't tell anyone that Warren isn't dead. Maybe it was supposed to be implicit, but that's the danger of leaving this sort of thing to the judgment of the team's resident demon sorceress.

She certainly doesn't look at all concerned that she's spoiled anyone's big moment. If anyone asks, she'll probably claim the buddy system as a defence. Yes. Even though she basically ditched Domino as soon as she signed up to it.

Illyana seems quite pleased with Domino's nonplussed reaction to the collection of fairly unimpressive antiques that arrive before her. Maybe she's still getting her own back for Neena complaining that she never calls first.

Blood? That gets an indulgent smile. There's blood in it, certainly. Among other things.

Domino gets a flat look when she asks if Illyana is…

"Serious? Yes. This is magic. It's not going to work the way you think it should work. There's a bit more to sending a message to another dimension than hitting speed dial."

Get on with it, in other words. Illyana's waiting for the punchline… and she's not disappointed. Domino's proved surprisingly resilient to being unsettled by Limbo and its associated demons. Illyana wanted to see what happened when the pale lady had to actually dip her fingers into another world, not just observe it.

"That's exactly what you wrote." Illyana tells her, confidently. "Just not the language you thought you were writing in." Her eyes flicker down to the sheet of vellum, and she snorts. She can read what's been written, even if Neena can't.

"I thought you wanted this? You really need to make up your mind."

Illyana nods toward the candle. "Burn it."

***

"Would you rather I wrote you something sweet like 'dinner at eight?'" Neena says in challenge. "My mind is made up. Hanging out with jerks should be familiar to you by now, HellBarbie. This is how you know that you're dealing with me."

Yeah, so..it auto-translated. Because THAT'S not scary at all. Little by little she's discovering what it means to walk this path. Lucky for her she happens to have a very skilled guide, though she doesn't think for a second that if push came to shove Illyana wouldn't throw her under the bus. It's one thing to never trust anyone or turn your back on another person. When it comes to demons there's even less to question about the idea. There are some things you just -do not do.-

Instead she's got her guard up and has a front row seat as she willingly partakes in magic which is probably blacker than her hair.

Attention lingers upon the alien script which had resulted from her hand before putting the note to flame, fingertips pinching the vellum by the corner as the flickering candle begins to work a magic as old as time. Houston, we have ignition.

Then Neena doubles down.

"If I'm going to be surrounded by more like this then I'm going to need to know what to do and what not to do. Sooner or later you're not going to be around to bail my ass out of trouble." She says this as though it's fact, not a mere possibility.

"Maybe it'll be S'ym. Or an N'Garai. Or a 'frog-dog' thing. Or that dragon flying around in the sky. If you don't prepare me then I'm going to die down there."

This, too, is said as a fact. Domino may finally be starting to understand.

***

Domino's challenge is met with a tilt of Illyana's head to one side, a slight narrowing of her eyes in consideration, and a question. "Depends. Do you know how to cook?" She's currently 50/50 on whether Domino eats anything other than MREs. It's probably the camouflage pants that've done it. There's just a chance that Illyana's not taking Neena entirely seriously.

Wait. 'HellBarbie'? There's a flash of something in Illyana's eyes. Could be irritation. Could be amusement. Could be both at once. "Who said all my friends are jerks?" Illyana asks instead, mildly, but with a gleam of mischief in her eyes. "Dani ended up covered in blood and she still gave me a pep talk." Oddly, Illyana's irritation comes through more clearly when she says that. "But I'll give you one thing. It does sound like you."

Illyana's eyes track the vellum as Domino holds it to the flame. It burns swiftly, the flame seeming eager to consume it utterly, no small pieces falling as ash, only the smallest wisp of smoke rising about the flame. Not nearly enough to trouble the Institute's smoke and heat detectors. Once it's completely gone, Illyana reaches out a hand and quenches the small flame between thumb and forefinger, before transferring her gaze back to Domino. There's more to see… but Domino isn't finished. And Illyana listens.

"That's possible." She replies, evenly, her eyes not leaving Domino's. What's possible? All of it?

All of it.

"There are a lot of ways to die in Limbo. Or worse. The most important thing I can tell you? The thing you need to never forget?" Illyana grins. "Never trust a demon." The world goes silver white as one of the sorceress' portals swallows them both.

Where they rematerialise is nowhere that Domino has seen before. It's a large chamber walled and floored in stone, with a high, vaulted roof, but it's not the throne room. Instead, the chamber has a large, circular table of polished stone dominating it, surrounded by high-backed stone chairs. Illyana's delivered them into two of them with pinpoint precision. The chamber is lit from above by a light well, that illuminates the table, and by more of those torches that never seem to burn out. On the table before Domino is a piece of vellum. With a mocking little flourish, Illyana flips the vellum over, displaying the message Domino just wrote, and burned.

Incidentally, beyond the light well, the chamber seems to have no exit.

***

Can she cook? It seems like a random question but Neena answers truthfully with a wobbling of a hand. "But I can pay someone else to bring me dinner like a boss."

Then she looks almost offended, herself. "I didn't say -all- of your friends are jerks but you do seem to hang out with scores of infernals. Tell me I'm wrong." Heh. "Oh, Dani… I can't help but love that girl."

When she isn't having nightmares about being ordered to kill her, anyway.

There are much bigger concerns on the horizon, however. The look from Magik says it all. Then she confirms what Domino had already figured out on her own.

"I don't."

Just as Illy had held her gaze a moment earlier, it's now being offered in return. She's learned enough about working alongside other guns for hire. All someone has to do is flash a few more dollar signs and that guy whom you could have trusted with your life is suddenly stabbing you in the back and running off with the score.

So what, then, would she have called following Illyana's instruction with their first little ritual together?

She knows it's Limbo without being told. That it happens to have no exits..that part she can figure out for herself.

"Yep," she abruptly speaks up with a heavy sigh while looking around the cylindrical space. "I went and did it again. Okay. Write message, burn page, get taken south for the winter. I'll call that the Snowbird Special. Solid copy. Now can we go back? I still haven't had any of that coffee."

***

She doesn't?

Illyana's still looking at Domino, still wearing that grin, only now she's sitting across that stone table from her. In Limbo.

She really doesn't have to say anything, does she?

Illyana sits back in her chair, no small amount of satisfaction evident in the way she gets herself comfortable, as Domino admits that, yes, she did just go and do it again.

"You had to know it would work, if you needed it to." Sure, this was done for Domino's benefit. And Illyana's not just extending their stay in Limbo for a little longer because she can. "But I'd hate for your coffee to get cold."

And just like that, they're back in the kitchen. Illyana picks up her glass, drains the last of her orange juice, and slips down from her stool. "Find me after you've spoken to Dani?" She suggests, before snorting quietly. "Unless she gives you more office work to do. You're on your own with that."

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