All the Fools

November 22, 2016:

Talisman and Rain go investigate Steel City and talk with two of the monsters, which do not seem too monstrous on close sight. (Emits by Dr. Strange).

Steel City

Desced in scene


NPCs: Agent Lid (DEO), Manphibian, N’Kantu the Mummy, Captain the Cat

Mentions: Andrew Bennett

Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

The DEO files didn’t really add much to what Dr. Strange had told Talisman. It was a more scientific approach, but with many more questions science can’t respond. The Black Room additions are more on target, but incomplete, possibly redacted.

Steel City was an industrial town, a city in slow decadence, but still fairly populous. About half of the humans were trapped in the mystical effect that turned into salt everyone above ground and poisoned several thousand survivors. A quarter million dead in a minute. Nothing like this had happened since the Mythic Age. And cities weren’t so large back then.

Files known may not have much in regards to access the DEO permits, but Agent Lid had worked personally with Talisman upon her questioning…


Doctor Strange may recall him when it came to dealings almost a year back with the Talisman of Tartessus. A willowy elven man of lithe proportions, long hair kept back in silvery/alabastrite fall. If it was not for a lustre, it would almost match the emptiness of his eyes. Or perhaps the devoid of emotion when he was tasked with tailing Liz into Steel City, as she was Canadian, and very insistent on using her diplomatic role to break her free of their 'placement' shackles.
When Liz breached the city line it seemed as if the mystical powers at play alone willed her transformation from a woman that looked "mountainous" and borne within a logging community gone modern to… Indiginous. Tanned, dark haired left long and randomly riddled in plaits tipped in beads and feathered accents to blend with the strands of leather and sinew-sewn attire.

Standing upon the edge of a hill bearing what was left of a steel roof her ember eyes close, head lifting to the light wind of salt and decay, as if listening…

There is no doubt magical energy is more… ‘dense’ in Steel City than in most other places Talisman has been in America. But it is not ‘good medicine’. The city is tainted by the deaths of its population. Dark magic.

Yet it is not the alien feeling of demonic magic. No. This was made by creatures native to the Earth, using terrestrial magic. There have always been terrible monsters in Earth, although for thousands of years they have been defeated, killed or jailed by the gods and their champions. Canada has the Great Beasts. But they didn’t do this.

The city is a graveyard. It is full of ghosts.

Rain hadn't gotten to poke around Steel City too much. But she has some basics, and an idea of what's going on. It seems almost like radiation based, whatever it is. But magic. She's not going to make a judgment call until she's got it settled thoroughly. Captain has a sturdy padded jacket on and looks like a CIA cat. Rain herself will turn up as best as she can. There's salt, holy water (oppa pagan style), and so on.

// Look what they do to you
Look what they do to me.
Must be joking if you think that either one is free..

Rain and Strange, both known, both met on Talisman's behalf. She has yet to introduce Agent id, but he needs to be polite on his own accord, and he chooses to act as a Black Room Operative, and on his own. Part of the deal? Work with the DEO, not announce them to the world, so Talisman keeps to the very black & white of it.

As long as it brings harm to none she cares for on either behalves…

When her eyes open they bear the incandescent azure glow and electrical draw of sprked veins from corners of lids. "Too many…"

Her words are low, almost a whisper unless you can // hear // beyond the scope of lips.
// Hello, my Name is Human. //

In the place of the human population a few hundreds, maybe a few thousands, non-human creatures have come to the city. There are vampires, but two hours before sunset most of them should be indoors, maybe underground. Many of the monsters are nocturnal, which makes a good idea to visit only during the day.

Not all monsters are nocturnal, though. For instance, a wagon is coming, slowly. It is pretty big, and it is pulled by a large creature, probably a man, but he wears a hooded robe. The wagon must weight several tons, but the creature pulls it easily.

He is not alone, there is a… obvious monster with him. A green-skinned humanoid with batrachian features. He only wears shorts. The green skinned humanoid enters one of the buildings for a minute and gets out with a salt statue. It is a children salt statue. “There are more, I need a few minutes,” he grumbles to his partner, depositing the statue on the wagon carefully. The wagon is half-full of the salt statues, the remains of the city inhabitants.

Well, then. Rain's philosophy is all about balance, and sometimes that means telling vampires to stay on THEIR side of the lawn. Sometimes, though, who knows? Captain is draped over her shoulder, and the witch looks about. For her part, she seems to be more human than witch some days, since magic wasn't always something she had.
"Holy biblical references, Frogger," She mumbles.

Captain is alert, triangular ears and freckle dotted nose a-wriggle. He is a predator and predators mind both prey and other predators. She's travelling on her broomstick, so her footsteps don't give her away. She looks to Talisman, seeming not to recognize the creature beyond its resemblance to Battletoads (and she really hopes this level is possible). Stay in cover, peer. They are collecting statues. On one hand, that's a person at one point. On the OTHER… finders, keepers, and humans are not the apex predators they fancy themselves to be. That, and few escape the ravages of scavengers without a solid burial. "Hey, you recognize them?" She whispers. She seems willing to at least consider talking to them. Would it be ironic or appropriate to newt them? That question will wait until she sees a peaceful outcome is impossible.

Talisman shakes her head slowly, not only in what she is seeing, but in response to Rain's question.

Bare feet barely seem to touch the Earth beneath, and perhaps it is intentional to barely touch down upon the forsaken grounds that are salted earth. For a moment for once in a long time she did not even desire to peer into the spirit realm here, as what could be seen by the naked eye was just a glimpse of the horrors beyond, the ones that rose the flesh along her spine in a manner that tlls you to turn around and walk away slowly but never avert your eyes.

"Even children…" The sight alone a thing that caused the hand gripping her staff to shudder, and once the very base of its shaft touched the ground it behan to crumble and reform… But if she loosed fully, she would lose herself.

The green skinned creature walks back into the house, but the hooded figure starts when Talisman hits the ground with the staff, turning to look in the women’s direction. Then, he shambles towards them, walking slowly and dragging his feet.
The first monster gets out of the building with another salt statue in his arms, and sees his partner leaving. “What is going on? N’Kantu?” He leaves the statue on the ground carefully and hurries after his partner.

There is no need to peer in the spirit world for Talisman. The air is full of ghosts and death spirits, but although that alone would make the city unhealthy for the living, it is not the miasma that kills normal humans.

Rain frowns, and nods at Talisman's words. She doesn't like the maisma, nor does Captain who looks like he's in full hunter mode. Rain lifts a hand cautiously, though she braces herself. "Guess we'll try diplomacy first," She offers.

Talisman's contact was but a mere nick, and if they felt that disturbance alone they had no idea, and it showed the evident thought when her eyes narrow upon the one shuffling his approach.

Agent Lid is silent, almost like a breeze of that deathly thick air and not even a shadow is cast as he moves away and around, splitting off. His intentions unknown, but it will not be long if necessary.

"Shall we, then?" Talisman does not look at those with her, instead she remains locked upon the warped creature that approaches and that staff is lifted ever so slightly and with it comes the feel of darkness dispelling, a waver before it starts to creep back in. Warning shot.

The one called N’Kantu arrives first. He moves slowly, but his stride is long. Under the hood they can see a skeletal face, framed by leather-like, ancient bandages, but he (it?) has yellow on yellow eyes. There is a broadsword at his belt, half-hidden under the robe’s folds, but he is not drawing it yet.

The green monster arrives next, growling a warning. “Who are you?” He asks, studying the newcomers warily. “Newcomers or curious…” he looks at N’Kantu and the mummified man says, voice raspy and weak, “sorcerersss…”

Rain has a cat on her shoulders. She peers at the two, and nods at Talisman. She has her relic pistols at her hips, hidden beneath a hoodie. She loves long clothes. Weirdo. "We're more the second. Who might you be?" Rain offers. She's polite, but wary and alert - violet eyes flicking here and there.

Talisman is only armed with all that you see, and don't. When the two approach, Talisman remains exactly where she is, unnmoving and even lifting her chin a bit in the inspection of them both. "All of the above." Asiding with Rain and yet not hiding their place here.

"And what is it you are doing, exactly. What happened to these people?" Her voice is even, level - for now. Diplomacy is a gossamer thread with Talisman, and their answers will likely choose how quickly it breaks.

But below, back where they had taken out the statue, Lid has neared but does not move to touch anything, instead he waits and watches.

“We are warriors,” replies the green humanoid. “Although tight now we are but gravediggers, putting to rest those killed in the city. I am called Manphibian, you can’t pronounce my real name. This is N’Kantu, he was human many centuries ago.” He glances back at Lid, then to the women. “What happened, you ask? How is you don’t know? All humans in the city were killed by black magic, turned into salt!”

Rain is listening. She bobs her head politely. "Thank you for putting them to rest, Manphibian and N'Kantu." She peers at them. "We heard that part. We were more trying to get to the root. This isn't a healthy situation for anyone, honestly," She notes. "Have you heard anything about the black magic?" She seems curious.

Putting to rest… Those words are enough to make Talisman stand down a bit more. "I am not from here, as I said, a traveler, curious, but the feel is hard to miss." State a report was shoved her way by DEO to investigate? No.

Lid being spotted and hearing their words also moves his hands with a quick motion that sheaths daggers back in a hidden holster, the salt statue of the child they were hauling now approached, a hand rising to touch with care…

"I heard and came with my friend to see, and see if help can be offered as well." Her on inquiry was going to be directly where Rain had gone, so instead she waits once more, sweeping that gaze over the landscape.

Manphibian grunts in assent. “Some humans with protection come, but few stay. No one really ‘helps’. Some come seeking answers, but I have few. Those which answers will sooner kill you than talk with you,” he turns back to the wagon, glaring at Lid. “N'Kantu believes the city is cursed and we should leave.” The mummy nods slowly. “He is probably right.”

Rain looks thoughtful, nodding. She frowns faintly. "I see. Well, thank you for at least sharing what you have. We're trying to find the root of this curse and help with it. He's probably right, yeah - but-" The witch has to do /something/. "It's definitely a short exposure zone." She muses. "Maybe finding the epicenter of this will be a start."

Lid ignores the glare, a sample is taken in the touch, just a scrape of fingernail and when he shoves his hands in his pocket non-chalantly the sample is placed in a vial that his pockes are lined with. All so casual, and fitting for the Elven agent.

Rain gets a look of approval, although it remains a relatively -cool- look it is there, the woman knows how to get to the point as well, so there is no punches pulled nor tea time. No time for that anyway.

"Then what is drawing the others here? There is nothing about this that screams haven." The question is asked even as the regrowth that had come from her dispelling aura bagn to wither and die, blackening as they stood there.

“The epicenter? You would be attacked if you go near the city center,” warns Manphibian. “The Shadow Queen is pretty hostile to humans, unless they are flunkies.” He shakes his head, gesturing N'Kantu to follow back to the wagon. “I was… invited, after a fashion. Lured by the possibility of a haven for monsters. But truth is some of the creatures here are mad, or lack all honor. Once food runs out there will be trouble.”

Talisman only offers Manphibian a half-wilted smile. But the way it reaches her eyes shows that she is up for this challenge. Lid is flashed a momentary look, and with a nod he slips off once more. "If we do not see you again, you'll at least hear of it." There si gratitude in Talisman's words but not thanks offered verbatum. Instead that light levitating walk carries her deeper and down a path away from Lid and Rain. They had investigating to do and can be done with discretion with less numbers.

"That is a foolhardy path," grumbles Manphibian. But he is not going to stop her, he has many salt statues to carry to the graveyards. It is a weird task for an alien monster like him, but it wasn't his idea.

In fact it was the idea of the Egyptian undead that now steps forward to stop Talisman. His people gave funeral rites much importance. The huge mummified warrior is slow, but has very long strides and catches up with the shaman quickly, moving before her. He growls, trying to work his calcified vocal chords. "Toooo… dangeroouuuus… waaaaitt."

When the mummified entity stops before Talisman she ceases her path, the sparks of azure light crackling at the edges of eyes, bleeding out from the iris' blue. "Wait for your aid or wait for more warning? I have heard enough and this land needs to heal, as do its people." Small bits of the grounds dust kick up beneath her feet in that small space between bare feet laden in anklets and wrapped at the arch and heels.

"No more should be buried here, these grounds are salted enough to burn many more wounds." The slight breeze rustles the tassles that hang along the deep v at the front of her attire, shifting beads but none of them make a sound.

The mummy points to the wagon full of corpses, “deeeed neeeed… reeeest” he manages. As for her first question, that is a complex question and he has not enough words. Instead he points back and to the left. “P-parrk,” he states.

“N'Kantu wants you to go to the city park, hmm… botanical garden? That is where we are burying the dead,” he explains, “and were many of the newcomers gather.”

The tilt of Talismans head gives N'Kantu acknowledgement, and the direction he points she slowly shifts to take.

"Gathering in a graveyard. Sounds more like a dare of youths." She doesn't have to get it, this whole ordeal is nothing she has seen before nor felt in such a concentrated area, and nothing about it is 'normal' or healthy.

Dare of youths flies way over the head of the alien Manphibian and 3,000 years old N'Kantu. The first shrugs, the second looks vaguely confused, but modern culture does that to him. “Why are you here anyway, sorceress?” Asks the green-skinned creature.

"I already answered that question." A brow rises as she stares at them both, the trite words a thing that show her impatience and get Talismans eyes to narrow.

"Stalling? Or do you think I am a liar?" A flare of nostrils in a huffed breath out and she is moving towards the park now but still untouching of the ground, she had to reserve her energy for what she was likely to find.

“I think you are a fool looking for a fight,” replies Manphibian. “But that applies to most of the humans I know,” he nods at the mommy, “he wants to help you, he is better than most. Listen to him if you want to know this place. He… has an eye for the supernatural.”

A small sniff of laughter comes with a further lift of lips in her slight amusement at his assumption. Though correct as it may be. "If a fight is what it takes to fix this, then yes, I am looking for one. Lead the way then." A gesture comes with the look of eyes towards the aforementioned park.

“It always ends up in a fight,” comments Manphibian fatalistically. “The Shadow Queen and her cronies are planning something sinister. More human-killing will be involved, I am sure. I doubt words will sway her from her bloody path, many ancient monsters follow her, as well as many young and stupid bloodsuckers. You will want to talk with Andrew Bennett, who is also a fool. Unless you can manage to talk with N'Kantu with your magic.”

The hesitation has Talisman lingering, looking forward and then back to the two. "I think anyone who remains here is a fool." Manphibian gets a solid look, the blue flecks within amber spark back to life just before she approaches N'Kantu, a single hand extending towards him slowly, her own warning in regards to the contact before two fingers press upon the place where the hollow of his throat would be beneath old bandages.

Upon contact words are spoken, low and more like a chant that kicks up the dirt around them, the contact between casting a light blue glow as she attempts to take his ailment, heal the damage time had done to his voice.

Manphibian snorts, or maybe it is how he laughs. “Indeed, I rather not be here when the humans come seeking vengeance. But first I am trying to convince some others to leave too,” he grunts. Maybe he is looking for a fight, too. Fool anyway.

N'Kantu growls when Talisman touches his throat. There is old and powerful dark magic keeping him animate despite the state of his body, and he feels Elizabeth messing with it.

"The only person that needs to leave is this Dark Queen…" The words come spoken after the incantation is complete, that energy taking on the same blue glow that eminates from her eyes, sparking from between fingertips to that ragged and age old skin, but what it deposits within is a healing rite, something that begins to knit and rewind the old dead flesh, mending what has kept his speech crippled for so long, but also in that contact is smething restrained, that innate ability to dispell the dark magics within him, but in doing so she is likely to bring his 'life' to an end, so instead her focus remains on that one aspect if repairable without tampering too deep.

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