Journey Through Hell: Part 2

June 17, 2015:

John, Jes and Kitty visit a demon named Kazzik. The meeting gets a bit messy and the travelers argue.




NPCs: Kazzik


Mood Music: Bottom of the River - Delta Rae

Fade In…

There is no night or day in hell. John and Jesana really don't even need to sleep or rest, so it's mostly Kitty's meatsuit that requires rest. John seems to have an innate sense of how many hours passed, though it seems to not at all synchronize with Kitty's circadian rhythms. He just makes her stop and rest twice before they reach the glacier and start climbing up a nearly invisible crevasse.

"Orright, just a reminder," John mutters. "Don't deal with this bloke. He'll offer you almost anything you could want- memories you've forgotten, familiar faces, feelings of sunny days or a bloody steak dinner. Don't volunteer any information, don't engage with him, and for god's sake don't step on my toes. I'd like to get out of here not having to owe him anything I'm going to permanently miss."

John moves to a piece of ice that looks indistinguishable from everything else and slams his fist into it a few times. The ice swings open like a door to admit the Hellblazer and the two women, and they walk into a lavishly appointed study that looks like a combination travelling merchant's caravan tent and a palatial home estate. It's filled with items from the mundane to the infernal, overflowing with objects and knick-knacks and carpeted wall to wall.

"Oye! Kazzik!" John says, whistling sharply. "It's John! Get yer arse out here, mate, I've a desire to deal!"

Jes listens and nods. She hasn't said much since she did, whatever it was she'd done when he'd told her he needed her to draw deep and be strong. All of her emotions and memories and sense of self of been pushed down and locked away. All she has right now is the mission. Keep him and Kitty safe until they can get out of here. She isn't sure she'll be going with them and right now, she doesn't care. She'll be quiet and she'll wait and watch like told her to unless something goes wrong. Then she'll do whatever she has to for them to get out of here.

Being the only person here in their actual body, Kitty rests when she's told its necessary and walks where she's told. Despite the fact that she's supposedly well rested, everything here feels off. It's like those places where it's twilight 24 hours, making it impossible to properly know how much time has passed.

Though she does attempt to remain optimistic, the endless ice and cold that really only she can feel is a bit draining. Arms wrapped around herself, she nods at John's warnings. "Right right, don't eat the pomegranate seeds. No stepping on toes. As long as it's warm in there I'll keep my mouth shut for days." An unlikely promise, but they can all dream.

Once the door is open, she looks about curiously. It's impossible for her not to, it's filled with interesting objects that pull at her attention. She tries to look disinterested in it all, but she's not really fooling anyone.

A long, serpentlike creature slithers out from under a desk, eyes a bright green. It's a brushed nickle in color, with skin instead of scales, and long, bony arms that unfold from virtual invisibility to clasp in front of it, talons rubbing. The face is like a chinese dragon, with long drooping whiskers, and it draws its coils together until it can rise up to about nine feet tall.

"Constantine, why hello, my old friend," the demon hisses, bowing with a contemptuous, oily gesture. "Welcome back to Hell. Visiting, I assume- I'm quite sure the Lords wouldn't let you visit me for a moment if they knew you were here."

The demon slithers around to Jesana, looking at her speculatively. "A soul fragment, but a /powerful/ one. Even broken there is power here," he hisses, sinuously twisting a coiled loop around her personal space. "And undiluted by the Gates."

He movers to Kitty, nails clacking, and rises up until he stares down at the girl. "Oh mymymymymy, a /human/?" he says gleefully. "Flesh and soul intact! Oh, you're a pretty thing," he croons, reaching down to draw the edge of a talon across Kitty's cheek. "Yes, so pretty. You must be hungry. Food?" he invites, gesturing at a platter of sushi that appears from the air. "A mere lock of your hair is all I would ask for this bounteous feast. Surely you hunger, poor daughter of Eve."

Mismatched brown and green eyes stare around the room but not with the interest and curiousity Kitty displays. Jes is looking for danger and nothing else. She's standing just to the side of but in front of Kitty, finding all the nearest things she could use as a weapon. Her brow furrows slightly as she considers whether or not she can lift something like this. Willpower matters, if she wants it bad enough then it should work, right?
Her eyes settle on the serpent thing and Jesana studies it with a cold expression. Her eyes narrow at the mention of others not knowing John is there. "You won't be telling them he is here. Either I will escape and find a way to make you suffer here or I will stay and make you suffer. I know what I am here demon. You don't hold power over me and neither do your lords." And she does, and if all of her self wasnt either missing or shoved away she'd be feeling in shock but none of it matters right now aside from the fact she can use it if she needs. Jes jabs a finger towards it's eye when it touches Kitty. "You only need one of them."

Kitty's not sure what she was expecting Kazzik to be. A person? A minotaur? A goblin? The large green snake creature is a bit of a surprise. Her eyes widen at the sight of him; eyes leaving behind what is in the room to rest on its owner. He's far more interesting than the trinkets.

The talon across the cheek is met with a wave of her hand in an attempt to get him to stop touching her. A shiver streaks down her spine. While she wasn't hungry before, the sight of the sushi suddenly makes her so. Blinking a few times, she shakes her head. "I'm fine." Trying to not give away too much information or chatter when she knows she's supposed to be more stoic, that's all she gives him. Jes' sudden jab and protection is met with a smirk for the spirit-coyote. Wrapping her arms back around herself, she looks back to Kazzik and attempts a glare.

The demon whirls on Jesana and lashes around her with coil and talon, sinking sharp claws into her ethereal flesh. It's fast. Faster than a cobra, faster than any creature that size has any right to be.

"You are NOTHING here!" the demons snarls, grabbing Jesana's jaw and talons sinking into her cheeks, drawing ghostly blood. "You are a commodity and it will be my /pleasure/ to serve you up to the Princes, whimpering and mewling like the quivering, broken mass you ar-"

John hauls back and /punches/ Kazzik in the side of the face, chains wrapped around his fists. They flare with tiny, illuminated runes for a moment, and the demon goes flying off of Jesana and smashes into a shelf.

"Orright, everyone calm the fuck down," John says, coolly. "My apologies for her temerity, Kazzik," he tells the demon courteously, ignoring Jesana utterly. "I haven't broken her in quite yet. Slaves," he says with a chuckle and a shrug.

"I don't need anything vital from you, Kazzik," he tells the demon. "Just to play messenger. I need you to deliver my words to some friends in Limbo and the Astral plane. I'll pay you for your time," he tells the demon as it slithers to a coiled poise again. "You know I'm good for it."

Jes shows no reaction to the demon's snarling or attacking her. She doesn't even blink. Just stands and watches coldly as John handles him. She'll remain quiet and behave now, unless he tells her otherwise. The initial display of dominance done and her point made. She's Coyote, or she will be and no pissant little demon lord has power over her. John though, she'll submit to and obey. So she lowers her gaze to the floor and her shoulders droop as she settles on her knees at John's side in a submissive crouch.

When the demon whirls at Jesana, Kitty quickly moves to try and pull the serpent off her. "Hey! Jesus Christ, you're a temperamental snake!" Once John punches the offending creature, she moves to Jesana to make sure the woman is okay. There's not much she can do for ghost blood and wounds, but she can at least offer some comfort. "You alright?" she asks the coyote. She keeps one ear open as John deals with Kazzik, looking toward the man with curious expression on her face.

Kazzik snarls and coils, tail lashing. "Get out, John," it hisses, a ruffle of scales behind its neck flaring. "How dare you. How DARE you allow a servitor to assault me, and then strike /me/!"

"Quite right, Kazzik," John says, cooly. A shimmering length of chair slips from between his fingers and with a flicker of his wrist, he lashes it across Jesana's shoulders. It's not mere metal, it's /John/, his hate and anger and fury- those things that weigh the soul down in chains- turned into weapons. And it cuts Jesana's soul, not just her skin. John looks at Kitty and casually backhands her with a brutal motion, his face without concern.

"There, three drops of blood," John says, gesturing at a trickle of scarlet dribbling from Kitty's lip. "Sanguinus vitae. We both know what that's worth here."

Kazzik slithers like an eel in water and picks the blood up with a talon to drop onto a dark ruby, then places it on a shelf and turns back to John.

"Amends made, Hellblazer. To whom shall I deliver the messages?"

John rolls up his sleeve and digs his fingers into his forearm and rips away his /own skin/, ghostly blood vanishing into the air. "There's a carrionite in Limbo named Samantha. A pegasus on the Astral named Terrilian. Watch out- he's a biter. And a woman on Earth named Sara Pezzini. Don't, uh…. don't sneak up on her, mate," he warns Kazzik. "Send an intermediary. She's in the know and she's quick on the draw."

Jesana drops onto all fours and lowers her face to the floor. She still doesn't cry out or react. However it might feel later, right now she doesn't feel anything. She won't unless or until she let's that part of herself out of the little box she's hidden it away in. She understands what John's doing too. She won't make it anyworse. Hopefully Kitty will think she's fine when she makes no sound and stand down.

The force of John's blow causes Kitty's head to whip around, the rest of her body turning and nearly tumbling into the nearby shelf. She simply was not prepared for it. It's not only the fact that John struck her across the face, but the sheer ferocity and callousness of it that takes her completely unawares. The blood dribbles down her lip and onto her chin. The mutant quickly presses a cold hand there to quell the bleeding. The look she gives him is first one of surprise and hurt and then distinct and suppressed anger. But, she does not fight with him just now. She knows they're in a dangerous position. Turning away from him, she moves to Jesana to check on the coyote.

"Mmmm, yesyes, very well, Constantine, I'll help you again. After all, after all, what are friends for?"

"Good. I'm also raiding your fridge. And I'm getting into your weapons locker. Bill me later- take it up with Zatanna if things go tits up."

Ten minutes later, Jesana and Kitty are carrying two big bags of stuff out of the demon's stall, the magician striding ahead of the two girls without looking back until they're safely sequestered in a cavern back at the glacier base.

John sinks to the ground and presses his forehead into his palms, grimacing in pain. The wound on his arm still bleeds, dribbling into the air and vanishing before it hits the ground. "I told you, I /told/ you two to keep your mouths shut," John says, wearily. "You almost blew it. If he got wind that I was trying to escort you two gits out of here, he'd have happily kidnapped you two. I'm not exactly playing with my full bag of tricks, you know," he says bitterly. "I bluffed my way through there with pocket change and a paper clip."

Jes sits quietly and stares off into space. She won't be upset with him later, if anything she'll be upset with herself. The words she'd spoken to the demon hadn't been intentional exactly. They'd come from somewhere else. She'd known and understood the risks coming here. Perhaps a lot better than Kitty had and she'd accepted the cost. Right now though she's still not herself and since nothing he said was an actual order to do something she just sits there, the wounds on her spirit still oozing blood that she doesn't even try to wipe away.

"Shut up John," Kitty tells him angrily and immediately. Now that they're out of immediate danger she has no qualms of telling him just where to shove it. Moving toward Jesana, she frowns and studies her. When she doesn't move to wipe away the blood, the mutant moves to do so, gently wiping at it with her shirt even as she argues. "He was attacking Jesana. I wasn't going to just stand there. I don't care what kind of demon of Hell he is. And I don't know what kind of apprentices you've had in the past, but I don't tend to stick around people who hit me and other people who care about them. I could give a rat's ass about the reasons behind it."

"You just don't get it yet, Kitty."

John rises up and shoves his hand- his ethereal hand- into Kitty's skull. In a burning flash of image and noise and horror, there's a glimpse- a tiny glimpse- of what unspeakable horrors Kitty would have been subjected to. Mind and body and soul subjected to the endless depravities of the demons of the Netherrealms. Forced to face every fear, over and over. Friends and family endlessly murdered at her hands. Tortured again and again and again, and always offered the chance for succor if she only joins the demons in their reindeer games. All in a glimpse… a single, screaming glimpse.

"How many times do I have to get you to /listen/ to me, Apprentice?" John says, sounding exhausted and distraught. "This is Hell. These aren't just villains or bad guys or ne'er-do-wells. We are strangers in an unholy land. Jesana is marked like a beacon of life because she's walking around here with her /naked soul/. No coyote, no /skin/ to protect her, even. If Kirrik thought for a moment that she wasn't my property he would have consumed her on the spot. And you're here as a human," he tells her. "Flesh and blood- and a mutant of unspeakable power, /and/ with knowledge of our house. Do you have any idea what horrors you could wreck if possessed? What a Prince would do with you? You could spend a thousand years as one of the greatest scourges to walk the real world, if so much as one wrong word communicates to them that you're anything but a very, very brilliantly disguised traveller. I had to shut you both up and convinced Kirrik that whatever you are, I'm your superior and here on business, not lost and trying to pull an Orpheus routine."

Jes knows that he is right. A slight furrow forms at her brow again. Why had she spoken out? It takes a few moments to realize and understand and then she let's it ago. Now that she's aware it won't happen again. She won't endanger them further. Since he hasn't asked she doesn't tell him and if she gets out of here, the knowledge will be lost again until He is ready for her to have it. Even if John thinks to question her later, outside of hell she'll have no memory of what she'd spoken of when talking to the demon.

It all happens in an instant, the horrible things that John puts in Kitty's head, but it doesn't feel like it was that quick. As soon as she is able, she's smacking at his ethereal, yet still solid hand that gives her those images, instinctively knowing that it's that connection that is doing this to her. If she was angry before, she's furious now and fueled on the mental pain that he just put her through.

"Well then maybe you should listen to your own advice before throwing yourself into a Hell portal and being a self-righteous prick," she spits, shaking her head viciously to get rid of the flashes she saw. At the moment she's running on pure emotion and hurt, not able to stop herself. "You're just as in danger here and I don't care how much of a 'screw off' vibe you give there are people that care about you that are going to try and help you. The sooner you understand that, too, then maybe you'll stop putting yourself in positions that make it worse because you're taking it all on yourself."

As she speaks tears start to fall down her face, unbidden and seemingly completely out of nowhere. The salt starts to make the cut on her lip sting and she starts rubbing at it. Finally, she's let the anger out and she stops, taking a few deep breaths. "I'm sorry." Then, she adds, quietly, with quite a bit of conviction, "But, If you ever put images like that in my head again, I will pick a direction to start walking and I won't turn back."

"Fine," John says, bleakly. "Once we're topside, we're quits. I won't stop you. But until we're topside, you're stuck with me, and I'm going to keep you two gits alive alive and hopefully not burning above a lake of eternal fire."

He dumps out the bags, throwing clothing items and odd objects at the girls. "Kitty, I'm going to disguise you as succubus," he says, his tone coldly professional. "You're carrying too much meat for me to pass you off as a spirit and I don't think you remotely want to pretend to be a fetch or gelugon. The amulet is going to change your body. Anyone here could see through an illusion, but shapeshifting's pretty common. Horns, spadetail, cloven hooves, all that. I've got a few gimmicks in here that'll feign some of their powers, but use them sparingly. I don't know how long they'll last."

He passes some things to Jesana, most of them glittering and insubstantial. "You'll be a revenant. They're the equivalent of bounty hunters here," he tells her. "Just look implacable and talk a lot about vengeance and killing the betrayers if someone strikes up a convo- that should fool most anyone."

Jes nods absently and dresses herself with the bits and pieces. This role suits her pretty well. The only difference between it and herself right now is that she wouldn't be so talkative about what she was going to do. She will though now if it's necesarry. Despite it all being locked away something in John's tone still resonates within her and Jes looks up at Kitty. "It's not his fault. We chose to come here. I knew the risks. I didn't mean to speak out." She turns to John when she says the last. "I belong here. She doesn't and is frightened." Jes murmurs softly.

"If that's what you want, then fine," Kitty tells John stubbornly in regards to what will happen once they're out of Hell. As the clothes and objects are tossed her way, she allows some to fall at her feet while catching others with one hand. It's a matter of quality and not quantity when it comes to grabbing things while she's still absently rubbing at her eyes and her chin.

The idea of turning into a succubus is met with a snort. "I'm pretty sure I'm not going to want to use much of their powers to begin with," she tells him in what is practically a mutter. She knows what a succubus is and does and it's not really something she's keen on trying.

Jesana's reply gets a raised eyebrow. "Yeah, I'm not angry at him for my choice in coming here, Jesana," she tells her, not caring about lowering her tone or speaking about the man in question when he's right there. "I'd do that part again. It's getting horror visions shoved into my head and being struck across the face without apology because we're idiots for trying to help."

John starts sketching on pieces of paper and tucking them up his still-bleeding arm. It's a wound of his spirit, not of the flesh- literally tearing away at his soul in order to get a message to their friends.

"All right, girls. Up and at them. When in Rome, do as the Romans… when in Hell… well, remember that the bastiches you meet here are probably here for good reason. There is no 'do unto others' or 'turn the other cheek'. I aim to make sure we survive," he says, grimly, shoving the leftover goods into one bag and slinging it across his back. He checks the glittering, rune-covered chains that fade in and out of visibility across his arms and fists. "Blimey, I'm glad I took some measures in case this happened again. Orright, let's go," he says, heaving to his feet. "Mum's the word, sharp's the action. Hopefully our friends can get us some help one way or another."

And John starts walking, quickly, out in front of the women. Perhaps it's because he wants some distance. Perhaps it's to scout foes ahead.

More than likely it's so that neither of them can see the bleak look on the Hellblazer's face. The pain of Kitty's rejection isn't something new. Just a new take on a very old story that John Constantine is tired of hearing.

And as he walks, a new chain clicks against his wrist, heavy as heartache.

Jes watches him for awhile from behind as they walk. His pain is waking the part of her that needs to sleep right now and she's having to work to shove it away. Later she'll do what she can to mend things but he's right, right now they need to survive until they can get out of here. Still, she does move on ahead for a moment and gently touch his shoulder before falling back behind again. He's not going to be getting rid of her very easily, if at all.

Kitty arranges the things and armor she was given to turn into a cloven-hoofed succubus. It feels strange and like she's wearing a heavy coat. "Where's your stuff?" she asks Constantine. When he was doling out armor and disguises, she assumed he would have one, too. She came all this way to make sure he came back alright. Even if she's pissed at him, that doesn't mean that all goes away.

As John starts to walk forward ahead of them, she doesn't move to catch up. He can scout ahead or do what he wants and she will remain glowering. When Jesana moves up to catch up with him, she remains a few steps back.

"Trust me, Kitty," John says over his shoulder, unable to hide a look of angry glee. "Most people have nightmares about demons."

"Demons have nightmares about /me/."

Inside Jes smiles. She finds this just as amusing as the first time he'd told her. That isn't focusing though and she again sets the thought aside while she scans their surroundings as well. She's thinking about a lot of things though some of them won't be remembered later. Despite what's happened, aside from the upset between John and Kitty she's not likely to regret her decision to follow him here. She does what she will and doesn't waste time with regrets over how it turns out later. Pain and guilt at times perhaps but regret, never.

From behind the group Kitty snorts at the line, unable to keep the smirk off her face. It's a good comeback, she can't help but admit. Even in her succubus form, she crosses her arms over her chest as she walks, taking in the view as there is no one to talk to. Hopefully, this will be the last time she ever sees Hell, so she'll just have to figure out what she can of it while she's here.

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