Time to Collect: Part 1

December 20, 2017:

Illy and Dani discuss Demon Bear without the watchful eye of Scott there.


NPCs: None.


Mood Music: [*\# None.]

Fade In…

It's been a few days since Illyana declared Dani Moonstar hail and hearty.

Or, at least, no longer under the thrall of the Bear.

Hail and Hearty might be pushing things.

Either way, that hasn't stopped Dani from being a busy little bee. Mostly she's been reaching out to those she wronged and apologizing, on top of making plans to defeat the Bear. So. Many. Plans.

It's what brought her outside, to the small horse corral near the stables. Both she and Brightwind are pushing themselves through their paces. A punishing rhythm, which ends with Dani being tossed out of the saddle and landing upon the snow-covered ground.

She rolls as best she can and with her skill the Cheyenne ends upright and, upon her knees. She sits there breathing heavily, bow in hand, quiver upon her back, knife at her hip as snow falls silently around her. Her head stays bowed long enough that Brightwind trots slowly over to his rider. To nose her bare shoulder, a gesture of care and concern in that particular nudge.

While she wears her costume which affords some protection against attacks, the cold pulls at the woman's body, though Dani seems wholly unaware of the freezing temperature.

"You fell off without breaking your neck. Well done."

The words are called across from the wooden post and rail fencing that rings the corral, where Illyana Rasputin stands, her arms folded atop the rail, watching Dani fall off her horse. Unlike her friend, she's not dressed for battle, instead decked out in a rather satanic-themed Christmas sweater, black denim skirt, tights and heavy boots in deference to the snow on the ground. Like Dani, she doesn't seem cold, and she hasn't even been beating herself up to stay warm.

When the blonde demoness saw the note that Dani had left for her, her curse nearly peeled the paint from the walls of her room. After all, the LAST time she got a note from Dani, she came back as a soulless bear-thrall. Illyana's taken a moment to calm down since then.

"Are you going to take a break, or are you determined to undo all my hard work?"

While Dani hears her friend's voice she doesn't acknowledge it for the first few seconds.

Only Brightwind raises his head upward, one blue eye focusing upon the woman dressed so festively.

It's only with those last words of hers that the Cheyenne finally allows a soft snort. "Pretty sure it's undo all your hard work, I think." Comes her rusty voice, even as she pushes herself off of the ground and rises to her feet. There's a faint limp, but nothing terrible as she turns to look at Illyana Rasputin.

"Nice outfit." Is her second response and while her voice still doesn't necessarily sound normal, it sounds better.

Once his rider is up Brightwind forcefully pushes Dani toward Illyana and only after she begins walking walking in that general direction does the winged-stallion move toward the other end of the corral. Giving the two privacy, it seems.

It's only when she's close to Illyana and the fence itself, that Dani chooses to try and meet Illyana's gaze. "How's it going?"

Illyana's gaze switches from Dani to Brightwind as the winged horse eyes her. She shoots him a very level look and flicks her fingers at him in an 'I'm not talking to you' gesture. She knows Brightwind's clever enough to get the message.

And she's not being distracted by a flying horse. She's pretty sure it wasn't him that left the note inviting Illyana out here to talk.

"Typical. No-one's ever grateful when I try to help." Illyana puts a sour note in her voice. Somebody else might have offered sympathy when they heard how rough Dani's voice was, but not Illyana. Besides, she's pretty sure sympathy is the last thing Dani wants.

"Thanks. It's Christmas, I thought I should wear something fitting." She smirks. The ram's skull on the front of her sweater is particularly Christmassy, after all. "If you like this you should see the dress Rachel got me. You'd think I was the one who'd been possessed." Illyana says the words lightly, without a hint that they're meant pointedly. The eyes that are fixed on Dani probably convey that well enough on their own.

The sight of Brightwind pushing Dani in her direction does draw a smirk from the sorceress, however. Definitely smarter than any horse has any right to be. "Great. I love having Scott wonder when I'm going to turn on him and drag the school to hell." Illyana says the words dryly.

"But you know what that feels like, right?"

Another snort is dragged out from Dani Moonstar.

If there was anyone ever good at drawing the woman out it's Illyana.

Even before the Bear there was just something there between the two women that clicked with the two. "You know we appreciate you." She starts, though doesn't necessarily finish. Not when Illyana continues to speak and not when Dani finds it hard to say anything more.

Especially with the last. Knowing how it feels. Scott. Illyana and the Darkchilde.

It brings an expression to Dani's features, something that encapsulates both guilt and pain at the same time.

"I do." Then the Cheyenne reaches out to try and touch Illyana's arm, "Illy." She begins, expression sliding in that serious mien Dani often holds, "For what it's worth I'm sorry for what the Bear offered you. If you had taken it he'd have put your soul together again, then immediately enslaved it. That's what his plan had been from the start. He knew, because of me, that you were a terrible danger to it."

Blue eyes watch Dani's face for a reaction, and when it comes a part of Illyana feels a certain spiteful satisfaction at the pain she sees there. Because of Dani, Scott knows what she really is. Because of Dani, Illyana had to choose between her friends and being whole again. Because of Dani, Illyana had to pull out another's soul, as Belasco had hers.

That part of Illyana feels that a little guilt and pain is the least that Dani owes her, but it's not a part of herself that Illyana's paying much attention to right now.

When Dani reaches for her arm, Illyana doesn't pull away. Doesn't move at all, in fact, as Dani gets that solemn look on her face and starts to speak. Illyana lets her get all the way to the end before she says anything.

"Dani." Illyana begins, her voice almost suspiciously serious. "The bear can't have my soul. Any of it. No matter what it offers me. Because it stole my friend." Illyana pauses, to make sure that's sunk in, then smirks. "You ran off like an idiot and made both our lives difficult. That's all I blame you for, and I intend to collect." She reaches over with her free hand and puts it over the hand Dani has on her arm, giving it a quick squeeze. "You'd better not do it again. I mean it."


It's all anyone seeks when they've wronged a person so deeply that it leaves wounds in both people.

Dani is no different. Even with the hard exterior she often shows the world.

As such, when Illyana allows her to state her apology and even accepts it, Dani drops her gaze for a handful of heartbeats. There might even be a suspicious sheen to her eyes, but if there was it's gone completely when the black-haired woman returns her gaze to Illyana's face.

"I've learned my lesson." She states to all of what Illyana just said. "I just felt - it was my problem - I -" She shakes her head, "I thought I could defeat it on my own and like an idiot I was wrong." Her head tilts toward Illy at the mention of being that idiot, "And now it's stronger than when I officially started this hunt."

The hand-squeeze is returned, before Dani retracts that hand. Neither are the most touchiest of people, but they have their moments. "Collecting I think won't be easy." Remarks the Cheyenne, "There's six souls that reside within the Bear currently. The original victim, the Wolf and the Bird -" And she stops a moment, before self-correcting, "James and Jane and three others. It's feeding off all those souls and is actively looking for more. Or was when I was last with it."

Illyana snorts, loudly. Dani, learn her lesson? She believes Dani about as much as Dani would believe her if she made such a ridiculous statement. Considering her point made, Illyana shrugs. "Maybe it's stronger, but we're still here." Don't be a defeatist, Dani.

A secretive smile plays across Illyana's lips when Dani brings up the difficulties in collecting, and a mischievous gleam enters Illyana's eyes at the same time. "We'll see." She says, complacently.

She hadn't meant she'd be collecting from the bear. Dani has no idea what's in store for her, when all this is over.

Despite her apparent amusement, Illyana listens intently to what Dani has to say about the souls within the bear. "Ray talked to your grandfather. Assuming he knew what he was talking about…?" Illyana tilts her head to one side, making it a question, before continuing. "He said we need to weaken the bear by taking back the souls it's stolen. Doctor Strange has one of the bear's victims at his place." Illyana smiles, a not entirely pleasant expression. "He wouldn't let me experiment, but…" Illyana draws back from the fence, making an exaggerated play of looking at Dani's feet. "Scott hasn't fitted you for the ball and chain yet, so maybe you could talk him around?"

Oh woe for Dani when she realizes just WHO Illyana is going to collect from.


That question of Illyana's earns a nod from Dani and a wince. Her grandfather. Another soul she's going to have to visit, and while the two have a good relationship there are certain questions, hard questions, that need to be asked. And in this, Dani isn't ready. Not yet.

"I can visit him." She states, with the mention of Doctor Strange, even as the mention of Scott brings a twist to her lips. A grimace. "See if anything I might know can help him." Which brings her back to Illyana, "Speaking of such, we definitely need to plan too, but first I need to get cleaned up." Some parts of her costume is caked so heavily with snow ice crystals have formed. It doesn't help that the snow continues to fall.

"I'm sure you can sense it, but the snow that's falling? It's not normal. Can you give me about twenty and we'll meet back at the Mansion? Then you can tell me if what I'm asking is doable or just plan stupid."

A corner of her mouth hitches upward, even as she straightens from the fence, "It all hinges on the souls. If you can free them, then we have a chance."

Illyana, of course, catches the wince when Black Eagle is mentioned. She doesn't say anything, but she's already wondering if there's any way she can be present when Dani has to explain how not only the Sorcerer Supreme, but a former Phoenix host ended up on his doorstep.

Fun for another time, perhaps.

"Are you sure?" Illyana asks innocently, just to be a brat. "You don't need to sign out? Or bring along a chaperone who isn't me to keep an eye on both of us?" Dani might be mostly forgiven, but Illyana's less helpful when it comes to letting her forget. She casts a glance at Dani's outfit when she mentions getting cleaned up. "That happens when you fall off a horse in the snow." She helpfully observes, before giving in and letting Dani off the hook for now.

"Wouldn't it be more fun if it was both?" Illyana asks, apparently entirely serious, and grins evilly. "If it hurts the bear, I'll make it work somehow." Her mind is already turning the problem over as she steps away from the fence, and toward the mansion. She glances back over her shoulder. "Twenty minutes. Don't freeze out here, Dani." And with that, a glowing portal swallows the sorceress.

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