The Thralls Have It

January 10, 2017:

Nate and Laura go shopping, thralls soon attack the duo and Kenth (who's not-so-sneakily tailing them)


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

It's a blustery, but oddly warm, mid-afternoon winter day. While it's not warm enough to wear spring jackets, it's warm enough that you only need a winter coat and possibly a hat, or scarf. Gloves are optional.

For X-23, or Laura, she's walking next to Nate and the two are calmly walking down one of the busier sidewalks within the Village. For the most part Nate has done all the talking, but finally, Laura will say. "I do not need more clothing." And while she says that, so far, the two haven't any bags within their hands. The two are just window shopping for now.

And while they left Illyana to do Illyana things concerning their lost demon, that demon lordling hasn't been idle.

He's been acquiring followers and with those followers little seeds of demonic energy have been placed within them. They're his eyes, ears and thralls. Several of these thralls are within the crowd currently, completely unaware of what they've become.

It's a subtle insidious magic.

Subtle and insidious magic… is something that appeals to a certain, young Native American named Kenth. He, too, has not been idle since the demon-lordling was released into the world — hooray for summoning books foolish college students can buy off e-Bay! — and his efforts…

Have brought him here.

Having left his van parked a few streets away, Kenth walks along the sidewalk on the opposite side of hte street in the Village, watching Laura — and her friend. He is wearing another long coat, and does a relatively good job at tailing his recent acquaintance…

Stalking demons in Hell served as good practice.

Since it is not cold, Nate has not bothered with a coat. Usually it needs to get really cold for him to take any extra piece of cloth. "Just a top hat? It works for magicians. I mean, look at Zatanna. She is your age, same hair color too." And he might not be too serious about the clothes thing, but teasing Laura is amusing. Also quite the feat, as she is oblivious to 90 of all teasing.

Obviously real magic, including demon magic, is not Nate "The Great" thing.

Much like Nate, Laura is wearing very little in actual winter clothing. Just her typical set of black pants, boots, black shirt and a beaten up red leather jacket. Her hardy constitution serves her well with most weather fronts seen within the city.

It's only when Nate teases about the top hat, that Laura's green-eyed gaze will flick away from people watching and turn towards Nate. There's calculation within her gaze as she considers the telepath; then with a flare of nostrils, the young woman will state flatly. "You are amused." She may not understand humor in most respects, but she does recognize the scent of it.

As for Kenth, with him being across the street Laura doesn't necessarily catch his familiar scent, but the mirroring of his movements to theirs does. While her pace doesn't falter she will say, "We are being followed. Across the street, trench coat -" If Nate touches her mind, he'll see who she's focused upon, as she has yet to realize that's Kenth.

Lastly, but far from least, are the demon seeds. For those that might sense it, the little seedlings begin to unfurl, as the demon lord senses the presence of Kenth and X-23. Two individuals who tried to thwart his plans -

There are two entities tracking the pair (Laura and Nate). One belongs to the young man, Kenth Chasinghawk, and although there is nothing particularly 'hostile' about him or his thoughts, he is very wary of Laura.

The other entity is… with Kenth.

It is something of a quasi-persona, bonded to the man, and manifesting as an articulated, metallic tail (and spine) under his coat.

The entity is decidedly… predatory in nature. Demonic. It reacts to the demon seeds, snaking out and tapping Kenth on the hip. "I know!" hisses the young man over his shoulder. "I know. And she's seen us too… I think. Damnit, behave! Who the hell is the fella with her?"

A rubbish truck goes by, and Kenth quickly leaps onto its side as it passes him, hopefully (to him) disappearing from view. The truck is heading up the street in the same direction as Laura and Nate.

It is not fair Laura can detect his teasing by scent. Although he supposes it might be handy for her at some point. "Y'know, Mouse? You should be able to detect those things just from the context and voice tone, like normal people do." He comments distractedly. He does notice the girl is watching someone at the other side of the street, though. Much of his paranoid watchfulness has survived several years of relative peace in non-Apocalyptic America. "Friend of yours?" He whispers to Laura.

Nate's remark about being able to detect humor by context and voice will have to be pondered later, as the situation seems to escalate with the disappearance of Kenth.

For X-23, her gaze will lock onto that garbage truck, as she considers the likeilhood that he hitched a ride upon it. It's something she'd do, if she considered her cover was blown. Her green-eyed gaze will turn back to Nate a moment, as he asks that last question of his. "Possibly." She finally admits, as the other man's look and gate seem familiar. Then, just like that, she moves.

The slim assassin will step out onto the streets, easily avoiding the traffic within this neighborhood, as she moves to get to the other side. Again, if Nate's keeping tags upon her thoughts, he'll should be able to keep up with her.

As for the demonic seeds, they complete their hostile take-over and for those with other-worldly senses, two, three, four and finally five, mystical beings will suddenly shine hot and red. For more mundane senses, all the might be felt from their minds is hostility, a lot of hostility. Already, those thralls begin to move through the crowd. Their movements are somewhat jerky and spastic, but they're fast.

So who's hunting whom??! Hells.

Kenth Chasinghawk projects his thought out loud and clear — not in the sense that a telepath might, but merely as a 'loud' thought. He jumps off the truck, landing nimbly on the side of the road, and drops into a crouch — one hand upon the ground.

He looks firstly at Nate as if sizing him up. More demon-food, he thinks to himself, and shifts his attention to Laura.

"They're here," is all he says, and the metallic tail pokes upward over his shoulder, its arrow-head tip 'nodding' in affirmation to both Laura and Nate. Then the tail head turns around, 'looks' at the approaching thralls, and its head splits open into a three-pronged pincer — not unlike a rearing cobra, in its own way.

Seeing that alone is enough to have some people making a quick exit from the area in other directions. "Who's he?" Kenth asks of Laura, motioning toward Nate with his chin. "They're getting closer…"

Nate frowns when Laura starts crossing the street. Now, doing a mental scan in the middle of a busy New York street is just begging for a headache. So he does so cautiously. And amusingly enough the demon minds are unreadable, almost lost in the crowd if not for the intensity of their dark emotions. "Yeah, we got thre… five hostiles. Also, your friend is weird," he says this in a conversational tone from the other side of the street so only Laura keen ears can catch it. A second later he hits the whole area with a 'getoutofhere' mental command to try to get all the normal humans out of the way of the incoming super-human brawl.

They're here. That statement is enough to cause X-23 to pause; her gaze now sweeps out towards the crowds and while she doesn't have any other-worldly or mutant senses that can tell her who's a thrall and who's not, her eyes do pick up the odd jerks and lurches from one of the thralls. The faintest frown begins to tug the slim assassin's mouth downward, as she continues to watch the man move towards them.

It's only with Kenth's last question that X's gaze will turn back towards the man. "A friend." Comes her short and to the point answer, "There are five hostiles." She continues with, as her sensitive ears pick up Nate's words - and those last words of his only causes the dark-haired woman to turn her gaze towards Nate a moment.

If she were anyone else she might find it amusing he thinks Kenth is odd, when his own background isn't that normal.

Either way, the assassin will deploy the claws housed within her hands with a familiar *SNIKT*, even as the crowds of normal people begin to run, thanks to that telepathic suggestion from Nate. When the dust settles as much as it can, the trio will see just who the thralls are. Two men and three women and while they look completely ordinary, their eyes (and their mental-scapes) give them away. Two are near Nathan, while three are mid-way between the trio. The two nearest Nate will immediately try to pounce him -

Once close enough, Nate should be able see that their physiology has changed, as their fingers are more claw-like now.

The Demonspine is now thoroughly… irked.

Making some effort not to shred his clothes *completely*, slender 'fingers' that resemble metallic bones emerge from Kenth's back and wrap around his body. The tail on the other hand, doubles in length, and rears upward — poised to strike.

"We are not going away," says Kenth in a voice that sounds artificially augmented. He addresses the thralls. "We hope your friend has skills," he adds — to Laura, while glancing at Nate.

The fact that the other civilians in the area are already leaving is not lost on Chasinghawk, but he does not immediately attribute it to Nate Grey's doing. As the first of the thralls pounces, Kenth leaps straight up to one of the streetlights, then wraps his tail around a trashcan and tosses it at the closest assailant.

Without the other minds cluttering the psychic plane so much, Nate can 'see' the demon-ish people more clearly, and shift into a combat stance when two of them rush him. The first one hits a hastily raised telekinetic wall, and he slides to a side to attempt to grab the second's wrist and judo-throw him (her?) facefirst to the pavement. "What is this about, by the way?" He asks.

+MEET: Nate Grey has arrived via +meet.

Kenth's question about skills earns a flat, "He does." From Laura, as her green-eyed gaze follows the thralls that attack Nate.

That first demon-thrall near Nate hits that TK wall and bounces harmlessly away - a man, if anyone is keeping track. The second thrall is a woman and while that judo throw works, the demon born thrall seems to have superb reflexes and durability, as she literally rolls with that slam to the pavement.

Once crouched she's upon all fours, her leg will lash out with an almost inhuman speed, intending to sweep Nate's legs from beneath him. As for the three that are in-between the three heroes, two look towards X-23 and Kenth, while the third looks to Nate. Then, as if on cue, all three run. Two streak towards X-23 and Kenth, both male and both with sharpened claws out. The third goes to add herself into the fray with Nate.

The garbage can that Kenth threw at one of the thralls is avoided with a neat dodge and with a snarl, that particular throw leaps UPWARD toward Kenth, to try and grab onto him, or even swipe him, with those claws. The one headed towards X-23 is doing something similar, as it tries to pounce the dark-haired assassin.

Seeing a thrall bounce off an invisible wall of psychic energy has Demonspine — Kenth, that is — blinking in surprise. Laura had not been kidding when she said Nate could handle himself. "Some skills there," he murmurs in appreciation, eliciting a nod from his tail.

Kenth then hisses as the garbage can misses his intended target, and steels himself for the creature's counter-attack. As it and the others get closer, the young man's spinetail thins out to the width of a razor, and slashes through the base of the tall streetlight.

Kenth rides the structure down on top of the oncoming thralls…

Nate jumps back when the demon-woman sweeps the ground, but hovers a few feet from the floor instead of landing. He glances at the 3rd demon and smirks, "don't think they like me much."

He lets the wall fade, instead turning all his psychic energy inwards, towards physical power, and receives the new attacker with a devastating hook punch, or so he hopes. If he misses he is going to find himself surrounded.

The lamppost comes down and hard, but for Kenth and his tail, they might be disappointed. Instead of smacking the two demons that were headed towards the assassin and Kenth, they only got one. The one headed for Kenth -

- the demon headed for X-23 was mid-pounce when the post started its crash downward and so, X-23 and the demon go rolling head over heels. The struggle between the two starts, with clawed tipped fingers and adamantium claws jockeying for supremacy.

As for Nate, that TK-infused punch does hit dead center upon the thrall he's battling. The thrall goes down with a muffled groan and while it doesn't necessarily rise back upwards, he still is somewhat surrounded. One thrall can be found on his left side, while the other is on his right. Quick as a blink, both thralls throw themselves at Nate.

It does seem like they don't like Nate very much.

Kenth grunts.

"These… creatures are beginning to annoy me," says he, just as the streetlight lands with a crash to the ground. After a second's pause, he adds: "Us. Annoy us."

Instead of leaping *at* the nearest thrall (which happens to be one of the two currently attacking Nate), Demonspine tosses himself into a backflip *away*. At the same time, his spinetail whips out, suddenly increasing in length in order to hopefully wrap around the creature's neck…

And send it flying over the top of Native American fellow, into a nearby wall. At least, that is the intention.

Well, being surrounded by two sides is slightly better than being surrounded by three sides. At least Nate can throw himself down and roll out of the way, hopefully while both demon thralls crash on each other, since they were so keen to stand at each side of him.

The roll makes him end at the side of a parked sedan, which happens to be very convenient as he grabs the vehicle, lifts it with a grunt and sends it flying to the demon pair. Or a single demon, if Kenth grabbed the other.

Kenth's intentions prove true, as his tail wraps around the neck of one of the thralls. The being (because it's truly no longer human) goes flying over his head and into the wall with a solid sounding thump. For now, the demon-born thrall doesn't move, it just lays upon the sidewalk twitching.

When Nate rolls away, the lone thrall follows his movements with a jerky head-twitch. And once the mutant finds himself 'blocked' by the sedan, the last thrall (for Nate) will crouch and then pounce after him. It's not quite pouncing upon Nate, just doing an odd hop-like walk towards the man. That hop-like gait affords Nate just enough time to heft that car (with a grunt) and fling it at the demon. While the demon sees the car coming, there is very little time for it to move. As such, the thrall and the car both go splat when the weight of steel and plastic lands upon it.

The last thrall, the one tangling with X, is dispatched much like the others. Though perhaps with much less showmanship, as X-23 simply buries both sets of claws upon her hands into the things chest. Demon-changed beings apparently have a heart much like humans, as the thing falls limp.

Kenth remains crouched upon the ground, dark metallic spines covering his head, neck, arms — wherever bare flesh is exposed — and the tail sways in the air, its arrowhead tip focused upon the thrall it had just thrown into a wall.

When there are no more adamantium blades slashing, or sedans flying and squishing, Kenth creeps back to that wall… and abruptly stabs the twitching creature in the chest with his tail.

Just for good measure.

Turning about, he lifts his chin and remarks in a deeper, augmented voice: "We think this demon-lord needs to die. Quickly — yeah, and painfully. But we will settle for quickly, if nothing else. Are you two okay?"

Nate seems alright, so he nods distractedly to Kenth. His attention is on the remaining thrall, the one that was stunned by his punch. He uses telekinesis to wrap the crashed sedan bumper around her torso to make sure the demon can't escape. Maybe the police can do something for her, or otherwise he will let Illyana know. "I'm fine," he finally replies, glancing at Laura, "does this have to be with the poisoning the other day?"

The police likely won't be able to do anything for the thrall. Perhaps not even Illyana, the souls of the victims are no more, consumed by the demon-seedlings that were implanted within.

Laura shakes the blood off her claws, careful to remove all traces, lest the demon-seedling resides within. Once her claws are clean they'll retract with a soft SNIKT of sound.

Her gaze will go to Kenth and then Nate, as she dutifully trots over to Nate and his captured thrall. While the thing is now awake it doesn't offer up any sort of words, just hisses, jerks and snapping of pointed teeth. The woman's eyes are different as well, showing blackness, versus pupil, iris or the whites of her eyes. A lengthy look will be given to that woman, before Laura stops near Nate.

"Yes." Laura states flatly, to both Kenth's question, as well as Nate's question. "A friend .." And there's only the slightest of hesitancy to her voice when Laura earmarks Illyana as a friend, ".. is currently working to find the demon. Once found we will kill it."

"We have some experience," continues Kenth in that Other voice as he, more or less, prowls forward. "In tracking demons — but not lordlings. Help… would be nice." It takes a few minutes more for his body to slowly revert to something a little more 'normal'.

Kenth stands back up.

"We don't believe those students just *happened* to summon a lord — we're thinking the lord… orchestrated it, probably from the very start. Tell your friend if she can't find the lord, follow the seedlings — there'll be more."

While he talks, the tail appears to go for a little 'wander, but on a leash' — swaying from side to side as the arrow-shaped tip on it examines Nate with apparent curiosity.

"Stop that!" hisses Kenth at the metallic appendage. "Sorry. I can't seem to take it anywhere."

"Yeah, but time is not the same for her than for us," comments Nate. "She might skip several months, wouldn't be the first time. Finding that guy by other means would be good, too. Can you track them to the source, Laura?" He eyes the wandering metal tail warily, "hey, what's that? Some kind of robot thing?"

If Illyana were here, she'd likely agree (or not she is fickle) that the Demon Lord likely orchestrated his prison escape. It's just too convenient of a thing that the spell the college youngster picked out was strong enough to summon such a creature.

For Laura, her gaze flicks to the tail, when it goes a-wandering. She may not understand that a demon spirit is housed within that metallic appendage, but she understands some sort of predator is. Like speaks to like, after all.

It's only with Nate's question that Laura's gaze will turn away from the tail and back towards the mutant. A frown begins to tug her lips downward as she considers his question and her answer. Her nostrils will flare slightly as she picks up the thralls scent and she'll even take a step away from the two, as she considers the trail they've left behind. "It is unlikely. There are too many scents mixing with theirs. The trail is disrupted." For Nate's last question, that's enough to bring the slim assassin back towards the two, X-23's gaze turning back towards Kenth and that tail.

Kenth agrees.

"Nothing's ever simple when it comes to demons — especially the lordlings." At least his voice is back to normal. As his spinetail sinks downward into a more 'docile' position, the young man to whom it is attached lets out a breath and puts his hands on his hips.

"It's… complicated. There're a couple Elders I know who'd say the spine — tail, whatever — is possessed, or that *I'm* possessed with an evil spirit. Hmph. And I got another friend who'd say, 'it's demonsteel — a quasi-sentient, intuitive metal implant'… For me, it's a pain in the ass."

The tail's head immediately comes up, and then angles around to 'look' at Kenth. The tri-pincers snap at him. "Fine," says he, putting his hands up. "*Some* of the time. Happy? And don't stare at people, it's… just plain creepy."

The tail sinks back down again.

Nate tilts his head, then nods. The Spine is not the weirdest thing he has seen this month, but it probably gets into the top 3. "Cops are cominc," he comments. "And this time I am not up to give explanations. Some wizard did it, and they should get occult consultants already. Want to come grab some lunch, Mouse?" He asks Laura. Nothing like some demon-fighting to make him hungry.

Yes, Laura can likewise hear the cops, as her head tilts to the side, the sirens easily heard by her sensitive ears.

"We can." She finally states at the mention of lunch and with one last look at Kenth, Laura will add. "Keep the phone with you. I will contact you later."

Then the imprisoned thrall will be left at the crime scene as all three stealthily sneak away, two for lunch and two more off to do whatever a demon-infused tail and human do.

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