Bad Decisions Everywhere
Roleplaying Log: Bad Decisions Everywhere
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Rogue makes a bad decision and then so does everyone else!

Other Characters Referenced:
IC Date: August 09, 2019
IC Location:
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 10 Aug 2019 12:48
Rating & Warnings:
NPC & GM Credits: Dani
Associated Plots

It's Summer and while the hot season is just starting to slowly fade away there's still enough sun and warmth to continue to keep the grass green, the flowers bright and the world healthy.

Only, for the Xavier Institute, half of the grounds are anything but that. Within the backyard and the forested areas Winter has come.

The air is cold, the grounds flecked with frost, and the area is noticeably darker than what it should be.

The darkness is both something felt within the air and seen on the ground.

In fact, a sea of blackness engulfs the grounds. Watching the shadows a person can see a particular ebb and flow to the darkness. It pushes forward and recedes away, before the cycle repeats.

At the edges of the darkness, a person can see the smallest of tendrils that occasionally uncurl and reach for anything that has some sort of life to it.

Wherever those tendrils (and shadow) touch the diamond glitter of ice appears to reflect brightly with early morning sunlight.

———

Rogue isn't really sure she's allowed to read the files. If she had been, she might have done so. She didn't want to ask just to be slapped down, and some part of her was quite sure she would be. But she doesn't really need the files to hear that this thing is a threat, or to see it for herself.

She chooses morning on some vague belief this thing will be weaker in the morning. Last night it came to her that she might be able to solve this problem. And maybe, in so doing, prove herself. Find some real acceptance here. Show that she's more than some terrorist.

Wearing her aviator jacket with all the X patches removed, jeans, a green turtleneck, and boots, along with heavy black gloves, she makes her purposeful way towards the thing and removes a single glove.

"Here goes nothing," she mutters, tilting her head to one side before plunging her hand hard into that darkness.

A sharp, short screech of feminine pain rings across the grounds not long after that. She drops to her knees, yanking her hand back, absolutely wreathed in shadows to the point that for a moment, it's impossible to see anything but a vaguely woman shaped tangle of whispering, ever-moving shadows.

———

Evacuation started the instant Warren was informed of what was likely going on at the Institute, which kept the students out of trouble, but hasn't done much to 1) get Dani back 2) prevent other people from getting themselves into trouble all on their own.

See also: Rogue.

Warren had come back up to the Institute as quickly as he could in order to rendezvous with the others converging on the school, though 'as quickly as he could' was still not 'as immediate as he wanted it to be.' It's the morning after he gets the news before he turns up, winging north from the city with Alison in tow.

So this means they arrive just about in time for things to go bad.

"I'm seeing a disturbance," he says to Ali, when they're still about two miles out. Too far for his hearing, but not too far for his sight. "…Someone touched it."

"Someone always touches it," he sighs, a moment later.

———

Not even time to have changed into her combat suit, Alison Blaire arrives looking like she stepped out of some Vogue executive meeting — white pant-suit, hair half-bunned — in hand carrying the strangest of artifacts. About the length of her arm, it's a lyre plated out of what appears to be solid gold — unearthly so. A type of unnatural gold that even makes Warren's outrageously beautiful hair colour a little sullen in comparison.

Mid-flight, she answers Warren's remark with a slooooow headturn. "What?! Who on earth at the Institute would have the stupidity to touch something like —"

3, 2, 1 —

Alison deadpans, "Rogue."

————

"Rogue," Warren says, at pretty much the same time.

———

Here goes nothing, indeed.

The shriek of pain alerts Kitty immediately. She's been in the kitchen. The shadows in the backyard are not something she will run from, especially when Dani is involved. And so, she has been attempting to shore up morale and also make pancakes (mediocre ones at best) for those left behind.

Dressed in what could be called Institute Leisure-ware at best in shorts, an oversized t-shirt and an apron, she immediately phases through walls, doors and everything else in her attempt to get toward the sound of pain and panic.

While she does not know for sure who exactly may have done such a thing, in the back of her throat she growls, "Rogue, what did you do."

Kitty is immediately running. A cry from above lets her know that Lockheed is flying right above, ready to help. She does not acknowledge him, but is grateful to know he's there. Pulling the apron off of herself, she notices the woman like tangle and before she takes a thought, decides a plan of action, she's wrapping the apron about her like oven mitts and grabbing for the figure to pull them out.

———

Rogue reaches out and touches the shadows and for a heart-beat of a moment the shadows almost recoil -

Who would willingly touch them?

- Apparently that would be Rogue -

But that's ok, it's really okay, for the shadows and after that moment of initial almost-shock wears off, the shadows greedily reach for the hand so willingly offered.

Dozens of black filaments wrap around Rogue's hand and then quickly wind their way around it. With each touch the doors into the mass of blackness opens and for Rogue a cacophony begins.

Memories pour forth.

Emotions.

Power.

A lot of power.

Once the shadow's hold on Rogue's hand is secure the tendrils quickly begin to wind their way past the hand, past her wrist and up her arm. Their movement, while fast, only increases when Kitty appears and steps up to help.

Two souls for the price of one moment of bravery. Yes.

This is good.

———

Rogue didn't really expect anyone to get involved in trying to help her. Even if she screamed bloody murder. If the Brotherhood saw her as the X-Men do, as a dubious turncoat enemy, an action like this would be left to play out; either she would prove herself, or she would die, and either outcome would be fine.

So she's shocked when one Kitty Pryde comes for her, and then chagrined.

The shadows whipping around her slide under her skin, absorbed with effortless ease. A close eye would see that she'd already been sucking some of that dark power down, but there was just so much of it, and it had hurt. That assault of memories, that cacophony, an icy chill that had at first burned all over her body, but which she'd grown way more used to. She'd yanked back and backed off when she'd hit her knees, though that would have been impossible to see.

What's not impossible to see is the way the woman suddenly clenches her fists as if grabbing the shadows, hurling them away from both her and Kitty, slinging them back at their source. She holds up a hand with a narrowed eye and says, "Back off," in a voice that still is tinged with Southern accent, but which is somehow stronger, firmer, more confident and commanding, with none of the mask-like Southern charm cheer that so often hides the lonely and uncertain woman beneath.

It's also not hard to see that this experience has left its mark. Save for that one stubborn white streak in her hair, those curls have turned pitch black. Not as if they'd gone bottle black, but as if they were made of the shadows themselves. One eye remains emerald green, but the other is deep obsidian. And her skin has gone so pale it looks like porcelain, tinged with a hint of blue.

And for all that, for all that and without much thought to the optics at all, she says: "Kitty? Hey…are you alright?"

She reaches out as if thinking Kitty herself might need help, or steadying, or something.

———

When motivated, Warren can fly pretty fast. The remaining two miles disappear under his white wings as he translates altitude into speed, folding into a dive.

"I don't know what we're going to do when we get there," he says, "but whatever it is, it better be pretty fast."

Alison has a few seconds to prepare before the two of them are crashing directly onto the scene, Warren opening his wings to their full extent at the last moment to brake them in a hover directly above the odd tableau. Even in that short amount of time, it seems like the situation has suddenly altered. Rogue's thrown the shadows back — somehow — but…

If anyone's going to see those changes to Rogue really quickly, it's Warren — he absorbs them within a glance of his sharp eyes, and it worries him enough that he snaps a short, "Hey — hold up," when Rogue reaches towards Kitty. He descends a little closer, his wings fanning warningly.

———

A little too fast.

Not that Alison complains — not this time — because speed is of the essence. When he lets her down, she looks a little windblown around the edges, her blonde hair escaped in wisps and tresses from her previously-immaculate bun. Heels sinking into the mid-summer grass, and entirely not dressed for this in any effective way — she still squares her stance, reminscent of old training, and holds ground, that golden lyre still in hand.

There's quite a bit to take in within one searching glance. Rogue, whom Alison places immediately — has never been in the top twenty of Alison Blaire's Favourite People list, and really has been deliberately avoided this past many months, but she knows the woman enough to know —

— that look isn't normal. Doesn't look all that right, either.

Alison frowns, looking between both Rogue and Kitty, and that amorphous body of shadow, letting the suppression go on her field enough that her entire body halos with threatening light. "What the hell happened?!"

———

It's a little too late as Kitty has already reached for Rogue and started to try and pull her backward.

Frowning, she grabs at the woman and yanks her even further way from the field, as she does so, she phases. She's careful to keep the apron between her and skin contact with the other woman, as she knows what that may mean.

"I'm fine," Kitty tells Rogue with a harsh undertone. "What were you thinking?" There's mistrust there, an anger, a possibility, a thought that this is all a distraction.

Toward Warren and Alison, Kitty is quick to say, "She decided to just go and touch it! Because why not! It's a random gooey demonic substance, why not just poke it with a stick, or in this case my body."

———

The shadows are pushed away by Rogue-Dani-Bear.

They retreat and for a few minutes there's breathing room as the darkness mulls in confusion.

Is this Demon Bear?

No.

Dani?

No?

This is them, but not! This is … someone or something else. Rogue. This is Rogue.

Which is like them, but not. Like a child the shadows fold in on themselves as they consider the oddity nearby. It causes a vague roil within their depths and its only Warren and Alison's arrival that causes the shadows to pause in their confusion. Then with Kitty Pryde's outburst the shadows turn their attention again.

Anger. This they understand.

Again like a shark scenting the smallest drop of blood in the ocean the darkness extends itself outward again.

The slim tendrils snake across the grass, angling sharply towards Kitty.

———

Seeing Angel mantling protectively, Rogue raises one bare hand and one gloved one, and steps back. "I mean her no harm, Warren," she says evenly.

Though a few seconds later she seems…distracted. Her hair moves and writhes like snakes, and there's a soft hissing sound to go with it. Her gaze turns inward, a frown furrows her brow…

And then Kitty's sharp voice draws her attention away again.

"I was thinking," she says evenly, "that I know my powers very well, and that I could absorb this thing and solve the problem it represented. I could have done it, too, but-"

But Kitty's plight distracts her from saying why she didn't do what she is so confident she could have done. "Calm down, Kitty, you're making it hungry. For you."

She chins over to the tendrils. "It's confused by me, and I don't know if I'm going to be able to call it off again."

A look over to Alison, one that swings between the three of them moments later. "If you all want to yell at me we'd best do it some distance from this manifestation."

———

Warren does not look convinced by Rogue's assurance, especially when Kitty chimes in angrily that she 'just decided to go and touch it.' His sharp gaze swings towards Rogue as he finally drops lower, closer to the ground, letting Alison down in the process.

"I was thinking," he starts angrily, "that even if you could, you should have maybe conferred with the rest of us before you went doing — " His feathers puff out at he gestures at the tentacle hair, and the wiggling darkness under her skin, and the everything, "any of that."

He starts to turn in the air, his wings beating more strongly to keep him aloft. If there's ONE thing he agrees with Rogue about right now, it's 'not figuring this shit out right next to the shadow blob.' "All of you, over here — "

And the sneaky tendrils trying to creep over towards Kitty catch his eye. "Kitty, watch it!" he warns, darting towards her with wings flared, ready to scruff her if she can't phase out of the way.

———

There is no Scott Summers in congress to hear out this sad sorry excuse for an explanation, so Alison takes it on herself to glower with the force of a thousand disapproving frowns.

I was thinking—, Rogue says —

"You were THINKING?!" Alison spits back, incredulous. "No, you weren't thinking, because who the hell does that sort of thing without clearing it with the team?! That crap is powerful enough to take Dani, and she's gifted for astral warfare — what if it decided instead to absorb you?! This is not how we do things!"

There is no Scott Summers to lecture — aw, hell, Alison Buzzkill Blaire would be lecturing anyway.

But Rogue does offer some sort of reasonable intelligence — that Kitty's own outrage is tempting the shadows. Alison clams up on her own pique, temper checked. "Great, so it's gone Ghostbusters 2 on us? But, yeah, we all need to get the hell away, and get you to the medbay, and —"

Warren reacts, spotting something with his keen eyes that the Dazzler doesn't yet notice. She reacts an instant after he does, her light seething bright. He makes that swoop for Kitty, and she's providing cover fire, burning bright in a searing ward. Question of the hour: it's creepy psychic shadow, but it's still shadow — her light might be able to do something, right?

———

Despite Rogue's attempt to help Kitty, it only serves to add to her annoyance.

Kitty came here to help Rogue out of a situation the other woman clearly got herself into and she's being lectured? How dare she. While she keeps a very firm grip on Rogue through the apron, Warren deftly wings in and plucks Kitty up. So focused is she on the other woman and getting her out of the muck, she doesn't fight back on the wings that start to pull her backward.

"She just decided to do it!" Kitty ineffectually kicks a leg outward to make a point. She's upset, worried, letting her emotions out. "Warren, put me down!! I've got this!!"

———

Rogue senses the tendrils movements, Warren spies them and that allows their prize (Kitty) to be taken away from them.

The one bubbling with so much outraged anger.

To make matters worse Alison shines like a beacon against the darkness. Between everything and her light the shadows find themselves pushed back. They retreat closer to the trees and the forested area.

And while its true light is anathema to the darkness, the light also creates that very same thing; shadows.

That alone is enough for the darkness and with the subtlest of movements the bleakness sinks downward into the ground. Now it leaches forward, pushing past roots and dirt, past seeds and worms, and other assorted ground creatures. It stretches out wisps of blackness like the feathery antennae of the moth. Briefly reaching for the humanoid shadows that sit just above itself, upon the sun-warmed ground.

It delicately touches the underside of each.

The Angry one (Kitty)

The Beautiful one (Angel)

The one that is the Same but Different (Rogue)

And finally, Alison Blaire - the one who shines so bright and while there is all of that light, there is still a wellspring of darkness to be found within her.

That's enough for the darkness to make its decision.

There's perhaps a single note of warning for Rogue, before the ground beneath Alison Blaire bubbles upward with pitch blackness. It's like a pit of tar suddenly opens up beneath Alison and with an obvious greediness the shadows wrap around the woman's ankles and legs. It doesn't matter that the smaller of the filaments burn away at the touch of her light, the rest pull at her. To bring her down into their depths.

Into the coldness and the bleakness that it is.

———

Dazzler's burst of light sure has an effect on Rogue, just as it does in the shadows. She lets out a pained sound and throws up her arms, which sear in response, sizzling and burning. Black tears of pain spring to her eyes. There's instinctive motion, and shadows swallow her too…but there's something about the quality of that swallowing that is different. She, at least, is not being taken by the demon, but there's no sign she even knows what she's doing.

And when a rush of black, blacker, blackest is done, she's no longer on the Institute grounds.

She's not even in the state.

She rolls over into the wet, muddy shadows of a Mississippi bayou, gasping and disoriented. And when she does get her bearings a moment later, unsure how that happened or even if Alison is okay…Alison, who both dressed her down and somehow conveyed that she cared enough to want Rogue to have medical treatment, cared if she lived or died, thought she was on the team

She slams her bare fist down into said mud and says a word a lady shouldn't oughta say, a word Rogue almost never does say. It comes out with hissed vehemence though, just the same.

"Shit."

———

Warren's yelling quickly finds itself overtaken by the yelling of Alison, who is really much better at the Scott Summers lecturing than he is, to be honest. He lets Alison take point on that accordingly, his gaze swiveling around to instead check the surroundings. Turns out it's a good thing he did, because it enables him to sweep in and grab Kitty out of the way before she gets tentacled by some enterprising shadow tendrils.

Or is it a good thing??

Because a second later, the shadows decide that if they can't have the one, they'll go get the other!

Kitty's demands of 'put me down!!' are abruptly answered, perhaps not in the way she might wish. Given what happens — and given she knows that he knows full well what her powers are — she might forgive Warren for flat-out dropping her the moment Alison disappears in a welter of shadows. Rogue starts to disappear too, in a storm of blackness, but bless his heart — Warren doesn't quite notice.

He doesn't notice — because he's already divebombing straight into the shadows that are spiriting Alison away, with a complete and valiant lack of hesitation, getting himself carried off too.

Weren't they just saying stuff about doing reckless stuff without thinking?

———

That burning corona, wisping off the edges of the Dazzler's photonic field, repels that writhing, spidering shadow — but it comes at a price.

It burns Rogue, too, who may well be half-shadow at this point.

That sound of pain alerts Alison like nothing else in this world, and she turns her head, immediately stricken. Seeing Rogue burn, with chitin-black tears rolling down her face…

It guts out Alison on the spot. Happening again, just like her last concert, burning someone, hurting someone. She's so sorry. She's so, so sorry.

Her light snuffs out like a thumbed candle wick. Gone out. Pulled in. Horrified at what she may have done, her anger already forgotten, she lifts a hand —

— and inhales sharply as something burning-cold shuts around her legs. She looks down, sees that it has grabbed her, and cries out in alarm, though — surprisingly enough — her light does not return. Perhaps too afraid of the possibility of killing Rogue in the process, there is little she can do but physically struggle, even as that climbing corruption freezes her straight to the marrow. She cannot seem to find her voice, in that breathless way people do in sleep paralysis, but tries to shout Warren's name.

It happens so fast — more so, when Alison sinks so far that the ravenous shadow reaches her heart, and touches something that just — makes her go gentle. Resigned. Accepting. Her eyes darken, patient, staring straight forward until it pulls her from sight.

———

Anger, that's what fuels Kitty Pryde in this moment.

Anger that this entity has encroached on her home, anger that it has absorbed someone she cares for, anger that it is attempting to take others she holds dear.

Warren drops her at her request and maybe she should be annoyed. In the novels and in the movies the 'damsel' always tells the person pulling her out of danger while others are involved to 'let them go!' 'put them back!' and they always deny them for their own good. Warren, however, listens to Kitty. And for that, she is glad. Warren is someone who listens to her. He drops her, and as he lets her go, she makes a few decisions. Ali is in this hold and she has to help. Angling herself, she make a play that she knows generally works: phasing through danger. As she falls, she reaches out her hands for Warren and Ali and prepares to phase them.

However, as she reaches, the shadows effect her. This is not like her normal phasing. Her hands do not grab, but pass right through Warren and Ali her descent accelerating.

Kitty let's out a pained yell before her fingers - desperately attempting to grab tightly onto whoever, whatever, they can - slip through. She is insubstantial, nothing, only a sound of dismay, surprise and pain accompanying her attempts. "Warren! Ali!" she yells for a moment!

And then she's into the shadows.

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