Taking a Sword to a Bear Fight

January 26, 2018:

Illyana asks a favour of Piotr, involving her sword and Dani's Demon Bear.

The Garage - Xavier's Institute - New York City

The garage of Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters is no small
affair. This section of the mansion is capable of storing a large number of
vehicles each inside of their own 'berth'. The berth's have wooden walls
that contain cabinets and drawers, each with tools and parts for their
designated vehicles.
The floors of the garage are a polished granite with in-laid
designs that are their own artistic displays… intricately placed wild
patterns of muted color tones. This, clearly expensive, floor stretches the
many yards of the whole garage.
The ceilings of the garage are a good thirty feet off of the ground
and contain dark cherry wood support beams. There are tall windows along the
walls that stretch up to these high ceilings and some more smaller windows
up there as well. There are also silver chandeliers that hang from the
wooden rafters that supply soft warm lighting.
Multiple large wooden doors can be raised and lowered to allow for
the vehicles entrance into the garage and there are a few large workstations
set aside for cars to be parked at for service.
On one end of the garage is the doorways up into the west wing of
the mansion itself and the far other end of the garage are the wooden
doorways that lead into the horse stables.

Characters

NPCs: Whodka, Piotr's Bamf assistant

Mentions: Moonstar

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Pete's studio takes up one of the bays in the garage. It's cordoned off like any of the other vehicle bays with wooden walls, but it's contents are much less mechanical in nature than most. It's got art supplies bursting from every drawer and cabinet and the floor is covered with either specks of paint, clay or apparently ineffective drop cloths. Currently taking up a large portion of the center of the bay is a metallic sculpture, very industrial and grungy. It appears to be made of metal salvaged from some assortment of vehicles and appliances.

Matching his material du jour, Pete is in full on metal form. It's easier to weld in his metal form since he doesn't have to worry so much about any of the safety equipment. He is wearing a face shield, but mostly because it allows him to see better to get just the right weld lines. There is music playing loudly over the speakers, some raucous Russian punk/pop that doesn't quite drown out the noise of the welding, but would certainly annoy any other occupants of the garage. Thankfully Scott and Pete are usually the only two that work out here and Scott has been occupied with the Blackbird and a thousand other things lately.


In the one small area of Piotr's studio that's relatively clear of instructions a disc of silver-white light pops into existence, and then seems to hesitate uncertainly, as much as a portal to another dimension can convey uncertainty. A voice, probably completely drowned out by the noise of the welding - and by the other noise that Piotr is apparently listening to for pleasure - floats out of the portal.

"What in the name of the abyss are you listening to, brother?"

Heard or not, the voice is followed by a blonde head that appears from the portal and glances around, then at what Piotr's doing, then at the studio's floor. It's the floor that gets the grimace, before Illyana plants an immaculately white-booted foot onto the cleanest spot she can locate and steps fully out of the portal, the glowing disc winking out of existence behind her.
She's dressed almost like a photographic negative of her usual appearance, wearing a brilliant white tabard-style dress and a hooded cloak, together with white gloves and boots, all over a close fitting black base layer. The whole thing is distinctly archaic and vaguely mystical in style. Reaching up, she flicks back her hood and raises her voice to ask, "Have I come at a bad time?"


It's difficult to hear much, but Peter at least pick up that there was someone speaking, so he stops welding and flips up the protective hood. He then notices the portal and turns off the welder, finding an appropriate place to lay down the wand. He takes the hood off and calls out "Whodka! Pause music." Weird does Pete have some fancy AI powered voice command enabled music out here?

*BAMF* No. *BAMF* *CRASH* … silence. Whodka the bamf has managed to stop the music by possibly murdering the little bluetooth speaker. Piotr just shakes his head and says "We will work on that."

No Piotr takes a look at his sister, and narrows his eyes a bit at her outfit. He doesn't ask a question of his own though, just answers hers, "Nyet. I am just in tweaking phase now. Nearly done." He shifts back to his normal human form now and looks for a rag to wipe his hands on.


Illyana's head cants to one side, the long blonde hair now freed from her hood falling past her shoulder as a faint, curious frown takes up residence on her face. The *BAMF* has her head snapping around to pin the diminutive furry creature with her blue gaze, before her lips quirk into a smile at the instant devastation he's managed to cause. Her eyes flick back to her brother.

"Training imps isn't easy." She tells him, so very innocently. "I could give you some tips?" Her smile widens a little, she's probably not serious.

Casting around, Illyana locates a rag and fastidiously pulls off her gloves before touching it, tucking them behind her belt. The rag gets picked up between thumb and forefinger and helpfully passed across. "Good." She tells him, then hesitates slightly. "I look forward to seeing it when it's finished." Enough stalling. "But I need to talk to you."


Piotr chuckles at the crack about training imps. "So far vodka and chocolate seems to work okay. I believe that is how father toilet trained me, though thankfully that is not an issue for Whodka." His own smile matches hers, even when talking about their deceased father.

Taking the rag from her with a brief nod he raises his eyebrows and says "Da. Of course. Is something wrong?" He has to putter around a bit to get some actual cleaner for his hands and then find a shirt to put on. The white v-neck shirt is likewise stained with paints, oils and finishes from his work. Very little in the studio has escaped some sort of marring.


Illyana wrinkles her nose when Piotr describes his toilet training regimen, but she's still smiling. Her expression is somewhere between 'too much information' and 'this explains a great deal, brother'. Still, there's a preoccupied look in her eyes, and she doesn't pursue the banter as she usually might.

Piotr bustling around his studio to get cleaned up and properly dressed gives Illyana a few more moments to avoid answering his question. Apparently she's not quite done with stalling just yet. "No." She replies, then winces. "Yes." She doesn't seem too happy with that answer either. "Maybe." She's happy with that one least of all, even if it's the closest to the truth. She blows out an annoyed breath and starts again.

"I've had… a feeling." She says, in the careful way that screams it's not just a feeling, and that it came via magic, or Limbo, or any of the other aspects of her life that her brother doesn't approve of. "All this. The snow, the ice, and the damned BEAR. Things are moving, coming together. There's going to be an… ending." She shakes her head, annoyed. "It's hard to put into words." She glances at him, almost surreptitiously, from beneath her bangs. "I need a favour. I need you to do something for me."


Piotr gives her a quizzical look when she at first answers no, considering from her tone and body language is obvious that it's not good news. But he is patient. He lets her work through organizing her thoughts. He is well aware that she is couching her language, shielding something from him. He never knows what and he only half understands the why, but he also doesn't push her on it.

"A feeling" He confirms, prompting her to continue. He is not surprised by the talk of the weather and the bear, knowing she is more involved with it and is at least closer with Dani, than he is. He seems almost confused by her reluctance to ask though, "Of course. Illyana, you know I will help. What can I do?"


Illyana keeps looking at Piotr while not-directly-looking at him until he agrees to help her. She knew he would. Of course he would. He's never been able to say no to her. And still a look of relief flickers momentarily in her eyes after he speaks. She shifts her stance a bit, moving to stand more comfortably, and looks at her brother more openly. "Thanks." She says, rather than answering his question directly, and then takes a deep breath.

"There's going to be a battle. Dani and the bear at the center of it all, but pulling us all in. Well. Most of us. I won't be there." Illyana's expression darkens. "I can't be there. If I am… it'll be worse." How she knows she doesn't say, but she attempts to shake off her dark mood with a smirk. "And this way you'll only have one demon to worry about, right?" The smile doesn't last very long. "I've got some ideas about how I can help in my own way, and you're one of them."

Pausing for a moment, Illyana keeps her eyes locked with Piotr's as she reaches up and draws the Soulsword, seemingly from within her own body. The flawless blade burns with silver-white light, but she easily reverses it in her hands and extends the hilt toward her brother. "You can take this and stab the bear with it. As many times as you like." She's smiling, but her eyes are deadly serious.


Piotr maintains a watchful eye on Illyana, even as she averts her gaze and shifts about. His eyes narrow as he tries to figure out what she is telling him, and possibly more importantly what she is not. He nods slowly showing that he is following her, at least as much as possible. He asks, "Am I allowed to ask what happens if you are there?" He knows that she spares him gory details, not that she needs to, but maybe it is better.

When she draws the sword, he takes a step back and can't help but exclaim softly "Boizhe moi." He still isn't used to her drawing that out and is even more unprepared for her to offer it to him.

But he doesn't hesitate. He reaches out to accept the sword saying "Illyana, you know I don't understand. And I don't need you to tell me everything. I trust you if you say this is the correct way to stop the beast." His sentences are slow, his words carefully chosen. He tries to hide the confusion in his voice. "The blade can kill it..? I do not need magic to wield it?" He always assumed it was like some magically activated thing.. at least until he was able to pick it up the day the bear attacked.


"No." Illyana replies, but there's a faintly playful look in her eyes and in her voice as she says it. "Because you'll tell me that you won't let it happen, and I might believe you." The least-bad outcome is bad enough. The bear drawing forth the Darkchilde again, with all the confusion that would sow. The others are worse.

The sword remains absolutely still in Illyana's hands while she waits for Piotr to accept it, the hilt not wavering a millimeter despite her less than comfortable grip on the blade. When he takes it, Illyana lets her hands drop to her sides, and the tense look fades from her eyes.

As for the sword itself, it doesn't change. Except that it does. Where before the blade was long and slim, perfectly sized for Illyana's height, reach and build, now the blade is broader. Heavier. The hilt thicker and longer to accommodate Piotr's far larger hands. There was no moment of transition. The Soulsword simply fits him now. The look on Illyana's face is satisfied, even approving.

"This is the best I can do." Illyana hedges. "Stopping the beast is going to be up to Dani and the rest of you." Normally she's happy to deliver unnerving news. She seems less so this time. "Creatures of magic, sorcery, demons… that sword can destroy them all." She shoots Piotr a fond grin in answer to his confusion. "It's my soul, brother. You've never needed magic to touch that."


As much as Piotr is looking at Illyana's face, searching for some answer as to why, even he can't help but be distracted by the sword. His eyebrows shoot up as it is just different than a moment ago. He moves it in a careful slow arch, feeling it's weight and balance. He is not the best swordsman, but he is also not unfamiliar with wielding at least a normal steel sword. This is obviously similar and yet worlds apart.

When she speaks, he looks back and can't help but press. "Are you in danger from this bear? It is unlike you to not want to cut it's head off yourself." He isn't trying to taunt her, but he is curious about the lack of explanation. Not that he usually gets one from her. "It is your soul?" He tries to clarify. He knows there is some part of her soul involved in it, hence the name, but is it all of it? "So I should probably take good care of it then, nyet?"

Here he moves the sword over his shoulder, where it would sit in a back sheath. He 'draws' it forward, nodding to himself in agreement about the movement.


Illyana shakes her head. "No more than anyone else and less than some." With the sword handed off to Piotr, her impish sense of humour is staging a comeback, for better or for worse. "It's tried to get its hooks in me twice now and come up short both times. It probably doesn't want to be my friend any more." It's clearly a notion that pleases her. "I'll take winning over revenge, this time." She adds with a shrug.

"I'd appreciate it. It's the best bit." Illyana replies drolly. "Don't let anyone else borrow it." The list of people who could even touch the sword is vanishingly short, but she doesn't want to take any chances with her brother's noted generosity.

She follows Piotr's movements with her eyes, and gives a small nod. "Don't be afraid of breaking it. You can't. Trust yourself and the bear will have no power over you, except that you choose to give it." Abruptly, Illyana pulls a face and then grins. "I sound like a bad rip-off of Star Wars." She grumbles to herself, shaking her head. She steps forward and reaches up, resting her hand on her brother's shoulder. "Thank you for this. I am sorry it has to be you."


"I am surprised it has hooks left if it tried twice." Pete sounds almost sorry for the bear if it was dump enough to try to come after Illyana twice, but not really. He understands what a terrible threat it is, especially if it merits Illyana entrusting the soul sword to him. "I will of course guard it .." He was going to say something dumb like with is life but he ammends "Carefully."

"I do not intend to give it any power over me, nor any mercy. I have heard how it has poorly treated and used you, Danielle and others." He then tilts his head and asks "Does Danielle know this is your plan?" Piotr knows that she is back and assumes that she will be the one leading the charge so to speak.


Illyana's eyes narrowed dangerously just before Piotr amended what he was about to say. "Better." She tells him in an almost teasing tone. She doesn't want her brother dying for her.

Once was enough.

Illyana's grin turns nasty with anticipation as Piotr declares his lack of mercy for the bear - but then the expression drops off her face when he asks his question. "Um." Illyana temporises, which is probably all the answer he needs. She links her hands behind her back in a possibly unconscious show of innocence. "She'll find out." Illyana offers, a little hopefully, before sighing. "She's another one who'll try to talk me out of doing something for their own good." Illyana fixes Piotr with a sly look. "At least I haven't left you the sword and no instructions this time… but I should get going. There are other things I need to do, and… we don't have very long."

A stepping disc opens around Illyana's feet, and she points at the sword. "Don't. Lose. It." She says emphatically, and with a grin and a flash of light, she's gone.


Maybe it's because he's distracted by the sword and mentally planning how to use it. Maybe it's because he's trying to remember how it works on non-demon or magical targets. Either way Piotr is too distracted to catch on that Illyana is planning something else that Dani would likely stop. He agrees, "It will not leave my hands." with his normal solemn tone to her imploring him not to lose it.

It takes a few moments after she is gone for him to catch back up. His concerned older brother alarm pings and his face turns into a scowl. If she is leaving the sword, it likely means that is because she is going to be too busy doing something else to attack the bear. Probably something he would also try to stop her from doing. He stands alone (except for Whodka on a nearby stool) in the studio, holding the sword and wonders aloud:

"Snowflake… what are you planning?"

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