Please Stop Trying To Die

Summary:
October 26, 2014: Zachary Zatara has found a way to put Keith back to gether- the problem? It requires them to go to Faerie and extract a certain thing. Fortunately, John Constantine knows the way…

Keith's Apartment/Faerie/Titans' Castle


Characters

NPCs

  • Circle of Oroboros Druids
  • A Beast

Mood Music:
The Stolen Child


Keith! Get to the center!

Get to the center, he said. Help us out, he said. Do you know what happens when a soul-fractured person steps into the center of a gigantic magical pentagram? Well, Keith found out. He got stuffed full of magic and then he more or less exploded, and then he became a Redling for just a little while.

And he has no idea how close he came to being killed by a certain Buddha Bird, too. He's been sleeping all day long (actually, since last night), completely exhausted by the ordeal. As the sun begins to set, Keith O'Neil begins to awaken. He is laying on his side, his heartbeat in his ear. Clouded as everyone is when they awaken, and considering the sensory overload that he suffered yesterday, the first coherent thing he says is

"The futon… has a heartbeat…"

Okay, scratch coherent.

"The futon is talking," Gar Logan says from the kitchen, where he's working on a laptop. He closes the lid and grabs a thermos of warm tea, crouching down next to it.

"How you feeling, Mr. Center of Attention?"

There is a tap-tap at the window, because apparently Booster cannot be bothered to come to the apartment door. At least he does not just try to let himself in. He is looking shiny and healthy, and his suit is completely intact despite the amount of damage it took just days before. "Hey there, Keith, just checkin' in on you. I was patrolling and in the neighborhood. If you're … busy doing … you know, stuff, then don't worry about it. Do your stuff."

The pantry door cracks open and the scent of cedar and woodsmoke fills the small apartment, along with the ruddy hues of natural firelight. Constantine steps out of the pantry and shuts the door behind him, looking around, and promptly lights a cigarette up. "Christ, you're still in this dank little apartment?" Constantine asks the air, walking into the living room area. "I'd have thought a man on his dying breaths would have checked into the Skylofts in Vegas for the last days of his life."

Suddenly a top hat appears next to the futon. After a couple of seconds a pillar of smoke shoots out. Once it clears the one and only Zachary Zatara is revealed (who else could it have been?) dressed in full costume. Besides the hat on the floor which he, of course, bends down to pick up and puts carefully back on his hair. "Futon don't talk. Or have heartbeats for that matter."

"But I've been doing some research in that little library Zatanna loves so much and may know how to get you soul back!" He says gesturing to himself. "Well not really. Anyone know how to get to Faerie?"

"Center of attention?" Keith blinks the sleep away from his eyes, trying to make sense of that phrase. "Whatcha talkin' about, Garfield? I feel like an entire mine-full of dwarves just can-canned all over me. How long have I been out of it?"

There's gold at the window. Booster Gold, to be exact, and Keith frowns. "Booster, for cryin' out loud, just come in. Everybody uses my window… jus' come-"

But his expression sours when he smells the stench of cloves. "John Constantine. Have you come to tell me-"

Keith just can't get a word in, as his top-hat wearing friend appears next to the futon.

"Are we having a party and I wasn't notified? What's this about Faerie?"

"Oh, look who's here. Johnny on the Spot," Gar says, staring flatly at Constantine. "Which do you prefer? Box Jelly, Dart Frog, Cone Snail, Blue Ringed Octopus, or Deathstalker Scorpion? Or should I go for something microbial and infestatious?"

He sits next to Keith on the futon, holding the cup of tea for him.

"I know A way into Faerie, but the clove cigarette that walks like a man might know a better one," he says to Zach.

"Well, I was literally only going to stop by for a few seconds. I didn't feel like landing." Booster is, indeed, hovering outside. He opens the window but does not actually come inside, he just folds his arms on the sill. "I didn't want to use my… what do you call it in this era? X-ray I guess. X-ray vision to look into your place, that would be rude. Also I might see stuff I can't unsee. That's happened." Very quietly, he adds to himself. "So much I can't unsee." Then at a normal volume again, "Are you having a party? Your place is totally hopping tonight."

"Oh look, it's the Fantastic Arsehole," Constantine says, puffing a lungeful of cigarette smoke into the air and jutting his chin at Gar. "How about you scamper off to the kitchen and find me a decent cup of tea." He stares down the man for a moment, then looks away and focuses on Keith. Constantine walks up and reaches for Keith's chin, staring at him with a penetrating expression.

"Mm. You're running a bit low in the tank, aren't you? Only a few days left, I'd guess." He straightens and looks at Zachary. "I'm looking for Zatanna," he tells the man, apropros of nothing. "If you see her, tell her to stop dodging my calls."

Constantine grabs a chair and drags it over to Keith's position, dropping into it and crossing his legs, regarding the man. "It sounds like the boy genius here found the same moldy old books I did," Constantine informs Keith. "I can get into Faerie. I need two-" he holds up two fingers, "-people in with me. No more. You know two people willing to risk their lives in order to take a traipse through the land of the Fae with me?"

A dark brow is arched towards Constantine. "Zee tends not to like it when I get involved in her love life…" Zachary glances between the others at the small apartment. "Hey, lookie here. It is a party. A very grim and serious one though." Zachary tilts his head towards Constantine. "You know how to get us into Faerie. Great! As for the people willing to risk their lives…I have been studying up on all things Fae so…" He shrugs his shoulders. "Sure. I'd volunteer."

"A party? Maybe, but it just turned sour," Keith replies to Booster as he eyes Constantine. The nerve of the man… "You are in my house, Constantine. If you insult my guests or my boyfriend again, there's an opium brick I have no compunctions about shoving up your tenderest orifice until you start singing Tiptoe Through the Tulips, capisce?"

Keith pushes himself to a full sitting position. "Just two? No deal, the Titans stick together. You may need two for whatever it is you need to do, but I'm coming along. This is all because of me, I refuse to lay here and soak my tea while others go and risk their necks for me."

"The best part of killing you painfully," Gar says cheerfully to Constantine, "would be when you come back so I can do it over again."

He considers for a moment not giving anything to the wizard of smug, but it's probably too late to declare the man outside the rules of guestdom, so instead he stands, gives Constantine a fangy grin, and walks into the kitchen. He considers for a half-second, and gets out the red-and-white loose tea from his stash, and puts it in a warm tea-pot, then pours from the still-hot electric kettle, and waits long enough for the others to talk a bit, then pours a cup 3/4 full, and returns, handing it to John.

It's even got one of those little plates underneath it so Constantine can pour it onto the plate and blow on it to cool it if he wants. Or, simply not burn his fingers. They work for that too.

"Wow. Dudes." Booster holds a hand up, as tensions remain high. "Can we turn the hostility down a little, please?" He finally enters the room, floating in gracefully and then he hovers there, his hair just shy of brushing the ceiling. "I have no idea what you're even talking about or where this place is… I assume it's a congruent reality of some kind." In his experience, this is usually a correct guess. "What is it that needs doing?"

"There we go, that's more like it," Constantine says, accepting the teacup and saucer from Gar. He blows across the surface and takes a sip, then grimaces slightly. "Well, it'll do, anyway."

Constantine doesn't look remotely ruffled by Keith or Gar's threats. "See, this is why I don't like doing volunteer work," Constantine says, smacking his lips loudly. "Everyone decides they know better than me how to run things. I can take as many people into Faerie as you want. You can start a bloody punk band there if you like. But I need two who are committed to risking themselves in a much more perilous place once we're in Faerie. I assume your boyfriend is willing to lay his life down, and it sounds like Mr. Zatanna is volunteer Number Two. As for you, well." He rests his teacup on his knee. "You're nearly a walking corpse and you'd be a liability at best. You're not going into Faerie with me- if you insist on going, it's not going to be on my little ride there."

"Such much hostility~" Zachary sighs, agreeing with Booster. "Constantine is here to help-I think. Even if he has a very unpleasant way of doing so." Zachary crosses his arms over his chest and furrows his brows. "Mr. Zatanna!? In case you haven't noticed, I do not go around wearing fishnets and high heel boots." Zachary sighs. "So Faerie…you sure you want to tag along, Keith? You don't look like you're in any condition to be traveling to different dimensions."

Stubborn Keith is stubborn. "Nearly a corpse. Nearly a corpse. I stopped a goddamned earthquake yesterday, I am fine!" Keith stands up and heads for the dresser to look for his uniform. "If people I care about are going to stick their necks out for me, I am coming along."

Of course, there was nothing he could do about it if Constantine simply decided to just zoom them out and leave him behind. Booster was an asset, as were Gar and Zack. His own sense of being, however, was in flux, no matter how charged he was from yesterday's encounter… he was still very much a corpse-to-be.

Doesn't mean he has to like it, or accept it.

Gar smiles again, or at least shows his teeth some more at John.

"I know it's like asking a banker not to foreclose on a widowed old woman, but I want you to stop with the negative talk to Keith, no matter how much better it makes you feel about yourself. It's unbecoming for the wizard to act like a middle school bully."

He gives Keith a quick hug, and tells him quietly, "I don't think he's able to protect you while we're there, so it's safer not to come with him. He's not easy on his traveling companions, that's why he's making vague yet specific proclamations of death and peril. Trust me on this one, he'd get you killed there."

"Gar is right, Keith." Booster is nodding. Apparently everyone is ganging up against poor Keith in this. "I get it, you don't want other people going into danger for something you feel is your problem. Sometimes you get benched, though, and you just have to accept it." He spreads his hands as he shrugs, and finally drops down to land on his feet. "We're here to help you." Booster rubs his chin and looks thoughtful, before he says, "I was going to get more into a sort of philosophical thing, here, but on second thought, nah. Straight up, Keith, relax and let us do it."

"Well, I'm glad everyone pulled their heads out of their arses," Constantine says, after a moment of awkward silence. He sets his teacup on the floor and gets to his feet with a swirl of his trenchcoat, taking another heavy drag on his cigarette. He looks around the room with a cocked eyebrow. "Two. I can take as many people as feel a burning desire to come along, but I can't guarantee their safety when I have to leave them behind- and Faerie isn't a place you go without a proper escort," he warns. He looks around the room.

"Two days. I'll be here at the stroke of midnight in two days. Anyone who is coming along better be here. Everyone else can stay here and be the goddamn cheer squad for the soon-to-be star of his own funeral." And with that, Constantine makes a beeline towards the pantry door and opens it, once again filling the apartment with the scents and light of a well-appointed mansion.

########################
Two Days Later
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"I still don't like this," Keith objects to Gar rather vehemently. He has been in a downright rotten mood for the past two days- though not outwardly aggressive. "I don't like the idea of you guys having to go into crazyville because of me, and I don't get to help."

He paces, looking at the people gathered in wait for Constantine's appearance. He purses his lips and exhales before finally stopping the wandering.

"Just… you make sure you get back safely, okay?" he says to Gar, and then he looks at the others, "The same goes for the rest of you. Any of you dies in this…"

"And you'll kill us, we know," Gar says, smirking faintly, but not maliciously. He's picked up four random things - a box of straight pins, a dried lavendar flower, a silver earring (circular) and a packet of salt from a fast food place. He's armed, dangerous, and ready.

Although Constantine said he would be taking only two volunteers, Booster Gold shows up anyway. Booster is the sort of guy who does stuff because he thinks it is a good idea to do it; what other people have to say about it might factor into his decisions, but not nearly as much as they'd probably like. Skeets is with him, although he explains to Keith, "He's going to keep you company." Booster does not say that this will make it easier for him to return to this particular place in this specific timeline if he ends up lost, but this is the real truth.

The pantry door opens again and Constantine walks out, still smoking the same cigarette he'd lit up just before vanishing two days ago. In fact, it doesn't look as if he's even changed clothing. "All right, you tossers. Anyone who's going to Faerie, you're with me. Step inside the magic door and into a world of adventure. Touch anything inside, and it's your arse," he informs the group warningly. "You aren't guests, you're just temporary travellers, so comport yourselves appropriate like. House doesn't like uninvited guests." He juts his chin at the open door, which if one steps into, invites a person into a massive Victorian-style study that wouldn't look out of place in the most extravagant of mansions.

Zachary Zatara places a reassuring hand on Keith's shoulder. "We'll be fine." Zachary raises a brow looking at Gar's 'equipment'. All he brought was a top hat and a wand (like always). "Here's Constantine, now!" He says as the pantry door opens. He eyes this 'magic' door. "So you just step right in and you're in the Faerie?" He questions suspiciously.

"Right," Keith says, and his expression softens a little, though he does not give Constantine anything but an ice-cold stare, after the things he said. He leans over and gives Gar a kiss, "For good luck," He says, hugging Gar close.

He looks at Booster and Zach over Gar's shoulder. And to you two, good luck as well. And I'm sorry. For everything."

He steps back, sliding his hands into his jacket pockets.

Gar steps through the door.

"Invited. By Johnny boy. And the open door," Gar says to the house.

If it has a problem with that, well, it could always toss John to the Wolf and bring back its original keeper. Or was this one owned by the three witches? In any case. Gar doesn't fondle things. He's done the Ali Ad 'Din trip through the caves before. He won't even take a candy from the dish of solidified, dust-covered Guest Candy that nobody ever touches. It might have been butterscotch, or hard peppermints, once upon a time. Or something even more ominous.

Catching the glare Keith gives to Constantine, Booster turns his back to the door and very quietly says to Keith, "He doesn't have to help. But he is." It's a touch reproachful, but followed by a pat to the shoulder. When he turns around again, he cheerfully says to Constantine, "The house has an AI? Awesome. By the way," he drops into a more conversational tone, "I know you can only take two. That's cool. If it's a transportation issue, I can probably make it back by myself." Maybe. This is an untested theory, but Booster seems pretty confident.

"AI? The 'ell is that?" Constantine asks Booster, looking baffled. "Just don't touch anything, all right?" he says, making a 'stop' gesture around waist level. Once everyone's through the door, he rolls his eyes at Keith, shoulders to the entrance to the larder, and then stumps through the doorway.

The door closes, and John looks at everyone. "Right. We're coming into the realms of Faerie. First rule, like your grandmum's house- don't touch anything. Don't /eat/ anything," he admonishes everyone. "Don't make any deals or tell anything here your full name. Words have power in Faerie and you could easily end up trapped in here forever." He fishes in an umbrella stand and hands everyone a piece of quarter-inch rebar. "There. This is the only real weapon mortals have against the Fae- good iron or steel. It's the only thing that can really hurt them. If you get your back against a wall, hit them with these."

Constantine opens the door behind him and rolls out of it, stopping a few paces onto surprisingly lush, ankle-deep grass. They appear to be in a forest, a forest on scale with dense sequoia. Everything seems to be a shade of green, and a mist floats on the air, with tiny sparklers of light floating hither and yon.

"Welcome to the Inner Lands of the Summer Court," he proclaims, stopping with his hands in his coat pockets. "We're not far from our destination. C'mon you lot," he says, tilting his head away from everyone. "Let's get walking."

Zachary examines the piece of rebar twirling it in his hand before nodding. "Right, right. The boring list of rules…Let's get going!" Zachary seems to be very relaxed about this. He is a stage performer and so his confidence is pretty legendary.

As he walks through the magical door, his eyes widen, but while he totally is still a rookie when it comes to this superhero business, he has been to a handful of strange dimensions and is not too shocked. "That's a neat little door you got there, John." He states as he starts to follow the leader.

No sooner are the others gone than reality distorts near Keith and a very familiar looking figure steps through. "Mmmm… odd… I thought I sensed a great deal of magic here." The Old Wolf looks a bit puzzled. Keith shouldn't be throwing off that much…

"Wait… Keith… are you okay? You look near tears."

"You just missed it," Keith says, quickly brushing something off his face with the sleeve of his turtleneck. "Constantine just took Gar, Zach and Booster over to Faerie to…"

Pause. "You know… the son-of-a-bitch didn't really say what he was going to do, except that he needed two people willing to risk their lives for me." He wanted to kick something. Ideally, Constantine.

"Oh yes, he doesn't have to help me, but he has to or otherwise I die and the Cait Sidhe becomes his problem." He stomps over to the kitchen to grab some tea. "Booster apparently likes to think the best of everybody. I, naturally, can't go because apparently I'm a walking corpse and three seconds close to death! HAH!" He slams down the kettle, water flies here and there.

Meanwhile, back in Summer… Since the rules of the quest demand it, Gar places the sprig of lavendar flower on the table for the House - because you always bring a present when you come to a new house - and then follows Constantine's path out to the Land of Summer. Given that it's been getting downright wintery, this is kind of pleasant.

He follows, pulling his awareness of the life-web closer to his conscious focus. The kinds of things that live here are ever-so-different from the animals of the solid Earth.

Upon taking the length of rebar, Booster inspects it. As he bends it like a pipe cleaner, so he can wear it around his fist as makeshift brass (iron) knuckles, he says, "No eating, no touching, no full names. Got it." He, too, has been to a few odd dimensions but this does nothing to dampen his enthusiasm once he sets foot on that grass. "Wow, this is awesome! I've never seen this many uh… these…" He gestures to the forest. "Trees. Wow. Trees are amazing."

Back in Keith's place, Skeets bobs around like a benign golden balloon. He drifts along following Keith around, says, "Hello, sir," to Fenris, and then remarks to Keith, "If the Cait does show up, at least you're here to deal with it, sir."

Constantine starts walking along, looking left and right. The wizard seems a good deal more on edge than the rest of the group, his hands in his pockets as if he's grabbing a weapon. He leads the group at a swift walk, nearly a jog in places, approaching what looks like a pristine little white gazebo at the base of a hill. It looks like a small chapel, sans the steeple or any iconic markings.

"All right, kids," Constantine grimaces. "This is the Chapel Perilous." He fishes in his breast pocket and produces a pair of tiny, delicate looking glass spheres, holding them in his open palm. They start levitating and floating immediately, and Constantine's face relaxes into something incredibly zen and unfocused.

"I can only protect two. And when you go in there, you have to be absolutely focused. Empty your minds, and think only of Keith- of how he needs your help. Only the worthy can enter here, and I don't think the Fae would count us worthy." He steps up to the Chapel's archway and waits for the 'volunteers' to step up next to him.

Zachary steps to Constantine's side and thoroughly examines the small chapel. Something about this Chapel Perilous is starting to give him the 'heebie jeebies'. He takes a deep breath and his grip on the rebar in hand gets tigher. "You know, you could at least try and do a better job explaining what we're about to get ourselves into."

Fenris cants his head, sensing. "Ah. John Constantine. Yes we've met. He's helping you then?" The Old Wolf frowns a bit. "Where on earth is he taking… no, don't answer that." Fenris senses outward, silent for a long minute. "Ah. Faerie."

Eyes cut back to Keith. "What's he done to upset you?"

Gar does "focus" really well. He sets his mind on the purpose, exactly what's needed. He doesn't consider his own worth - nor the Fae's assessment thereof. He only knows he will do what is necessary to get the information they need to have to allow Keith and the Cait Sidhe to return to oneness. Neither of them is whole, and they need to be rejoined; they need to know how to accomplish that, and to find the tools to do it with. And knowing that, Gar takes the small celluloid box of pins from his pocket and places it on the ground. He will not take cold iron into the heart of the Fae chapel.

"Helping me with all the willingness of an oyster in lime juice," Keith mutters, drinking his tea. It is very hard to drink tea aggressively, but by golly he is giving a good try of it.

"Nothing, Fenris. He's right, in a way, and it pisses me off. Mostly because of the way he said it. The man is a douchewaffle steeped in cockwater." He just has that effect on him, yaknow?

"I wish I could help, that's all. This is all because of me. Do you know how mortifying, how humilliating this is? My boyfriend and two friends are going to go through who-knows-what Tim Burtonesque crap, and it's my fault. Ungh!" sip. Sip. Sip. Grrrr. Sip.

"Awesome!" opines Booster, looking around the chapel. "Don't worry about me, dude, I have my own protection." He points fingerguns at Constantine and smiles brightly. He seems to be completely confident about his own abilities. "Keep these guys covered, I'm just here as backup. It's all cool." He shuts his eyes for a moment, chin downwards, looking very serious taking a slow breath. He considers Keith a friend, at this point; but this is not about friendship. This is about helping someone who needs help. Then, he exhales and straightens up. With a cheerful expression on his features once more, he says, "Let's do this thing."

Constantine just shakes his head at Booster's overwhelming optimism. "Whatever, mate. I just hope we don't end up with all of Faerie crashing this party."

With that, Constantine starts walking into the Chapel, holding the little orbiting meditiation balls over his palm, trenchcoat shuffling around his knees with each pace.

The Chapel looks more like a meditation room- no pews, just lots of small stone blocks and pillows for the Fae to sit upon. Constantine exhales slowly, eyes lidded, walking into the center of the Chapel.

On the altar are two swords, but instead of being made of steel, they're made of glass- recurved in a style both lethally jagged and somehow artistic at once.

"One blade each," Constantine says in a studied monotone. "Only one person can hold a blade, and one person can only bear one blade at a time. Get them and let us leave," he commands, keeping himself as centered as possible while the others do the heavy lifting.

Gar has valid reason to be here. He inclines his head in respect to the sanctity of the place, but does not look away from the swords, and he walks forward to the sword on the right.

"By need of one of Faerie I claim this," he says, and picks up the sword — if it doesn't do the Sword in the Stone trick and fight back. But if it does, he will still use all his strength to take it.

Fenris suddenly looks… elsewhere. "Keith we need to go. Now." He tears open a Way in an awful hurry. "No time to lose."

There's a tingle of magic outside the chaple. Just a whiff of something… wild.

Booster follows the others into the chapel, and although he looks interested, he does not touch anything; he is alert in case anything actually does rush in to attack the others. "If anyone objects, we'll just explain. I'm sure they'll understand." As far as he is concerned, this is logical. They are doing this to help someone, after all, therefore there is no flaw in their motive. He approaches the altar but turns away from it, his hands slightly raised, as if he were ready to deflect anyone who might want to thwart them in this task.

Zachary focuses before entering the chapel because Keith is his friend and he doesn't want to screw things up. "Remember: when in doubt; speak backwards." He reminds mostly just himself.

When he does enter the chapel, he takes a good look around even spinning around to get a full view of the place until his eyes fall on the alter with the glass swords. He does exactly what Constantine asks and picks up the one on the left seeing as Gar has claimed the other.

Zachary turns his head to look at Booster. "This is the Fae, we are talking about. I highly doubt they will be that forgiving.

A dozen plus coweled figures appear with cracks of lightning. They are all holding rather odd lookng wooden vougles that crackle with elemental energies. "The Brightcutters." One of them says. It's impossible to tell which one. "Leave them and your deaths will be swift."

Fenris all but shoves Keith through the way. He knows what's coming. In Fae, overlooking the chapel and the druids in front of it the God-Wolf's Way opens and he steps through. "Damn. They're here." He unwraps a scarf from his neck, red silk. "Here. I'd say don't bleed on it but… it'll be fine if you do."

The mug Keith was sipping from crashes to the ground and shatters as he is pushed through Fenris' Way without warning—

He's never been in faerie, obviously, but there are faint memories that are not his own that deal with this place. They are dead memories, through, impressions that can't be revived to acquire full detail. He just know that 'he' has been here, and that must be-

"Them?" Keith all but hisses. He would hiss, but his throat is the wrong shape for it.

He is also unarmed. Not that it matters… "Charge on three?" he would grab something- a tree branch, for example, but one thing he does remember is to NEVER harm anything in Faerie if you can avoid it. Even rocks could have spirits inside, and they would not appreciate being thrown.

"Bollocks," Constantine snarls. He pushes past the three men in the Chapel with him to the entrance, making the glass spheres vanish into his breast pocket. He stalks out a few paces onto the small verandah of the Chapel and jams a hand in a jacket pocket, staring daggers out at the Fae. He starts speaking in a tongue that sounds like it might have some influences in Gaelic- or influenced it.

"I am John Constantine," the man declares in a booming voice. "I have come for the Brightdaggers. You're going to let us walk out of here with them, unmolested. Or I am prepared to rain a hell upon you the like of which you've never seen. And if you know my name, you know what I magic I can wrought over your heads. Do you really want to risk my wrath?" he says, staring down the small army of the Fae.

Gar… changes. The sword may or may not change with him. If not it stays in his hand; he's still green, but not strictly human. He's a centaur, but not strictly equine; the tail has a lion's tuft and the hooves are those of a stag, and his forehead carries a lance that, in this place, probably DOES carry magic.

"Stand aside," he growls.

"Okay, but you should always give someone a chance to be reasonable," Booster remarks to Zachary, in a reasonable tone of voice. When the figures show up, however, Booster floats up about a foot off of the ground, and a translucent, faintly golden sphere appears around Zach and Gar. While he has no doubt they can take care of themselves, this is a special situation; they are bearing the special glass swords, after all. His voice remains on the quiet side, as it's meant for his companions, and not the beings who have appeared. "Constantine, can you get them home from here? I mean we're not here to fight, are we? We're here to secure these weapons."

"Still want to try to be reasonable?" Zachary remarks to Booster though not harshly. Zachary does nothing but glares at the coweled figures, his grip on his sword growing stronger. He doesn't plan on letting go of the glass swords. "I suggest you listen to Constantine. No one needs to get hurt." Would a spell be appropriate right about now? They haven't attacked yet so maybe they might be able to leave this unscathed. Or not. Either way they'll figure out soon.

The figure, whichever it is, laughs, a low, distubring not quite human tone. "We are the Circle Orboros. Keepers of the Devourer Worm. We know your name John Constantine. And yours as well little Redling. The Brightblades are not yours to wield. Lay them down or face the fury of the Beast of All Shapes."

"Just don't forget to give me my scarf back when you're done." Fenris murmurs as the druids level elmentally charged weapons at the little circle of friends by the chapel.

It has been observed by some that Keith O'Neil possesses the preservation instincts of a ferret on pixie styx. This is generally not mentioned to Keith, because those people also notice that the young man also possesses the aggressivity of a Honey Badger when provoked. The ambush of the druids is one such provocation. Since Fenris' way brought them to a vantage point and not the midst of the confrontation, Keith has the advantage of not being in sight of the druids right away, which he uses to charge at them from the side, leaving the protective shelter of the foliage.

His leather jacket was shredded at the Zoo, so he borrowed Gar's Black And Edgy Leather Jacket Of Evil until he could replace it. This jacket is now grasped in Keith's left hand, Fenris' red scard in his right hand.

"Beast of All Shapes? That's my guy you're talking about there, show some respect!" the shout comes just as he's about to make impact with the nearest druid. One carrying one of those voulges.

Keith's Sifu taught him the ways of Kung Fu- the Tiger Style, to be precise, one of the most explosive and aggressive styles out there. But he also taught him to fight dirty, because Keith grew up in Morrisannia in a time when just walking back from school could get you ambushed by people who would beat you to paste just for a pair of knock-off sneakers. That's where the jacket comes in, because Keith throws that jacket at the druid's face to shut him out of the world. This is required because Keith's second and third moves are to deliver a tiger kick to the man's most tender bits, followed by an attempt to grab the voulge off his hands… because procuring a weapon is very important.

Gar is going to regret the loss of that jacket, at some point, but for the moment, he's a bit confused about the "Beast of All Shapes" declaration … Gar is, to the best of his knowledge, the Red's current primary contender for that role. But these antediluvian goobers might be thinking "Beast of Many Backs" and just getting it wrong, or they could, ugh, be thinking of something Elderish Goddish, or at least shoggothy. Not something that the Summer Court is going to be overjoyed to have these flatulent druids dragging into their pristine temple. So Gar, as he has taken the shape of a centaur-unicorn, is perfectly willing to fight them. But not with the glass sword he has acquired from the temple. THAT, he's gotten for a very specific reason, and he doesn't intend to use it for any other purpose.

Zachary lowers the glass sword a little and loosens his grip. "…Vorpal?" He says as suddenly Keith starts fighting one of the hooded druids which throws him off slightly. He could fight with his newly acquired weapon, but he doesn't want to risk the sword in any way and would probably only end up hurting himself…since he has no idea how to use a sword. It can't be that hard, right? He's willing to fight and just waits for the opportunity to do that thing, Zataras love to do so much.

Booster Gold seemed intent on not picking a fight if it could be avoided. However, blows have been exchanged, and that changes everything. "Keith!" he exclaims, in a tone of voice one might use if their roommate just dropped a soda on the new carpet.

Then, Booster flies forward, so fast that he looks like a meteor. A meteor someone has hurled instead of a ball, because this is something like bowling, since Booster is barelling at the group of sinister figures with his arms straight out to his sides, clearly intending to clothes-line as many of them as he can. Booster always loves attention, but in this case he's seeking it so he can keep it off of the others, who have a lot more to protect right now.

Fenris hops down from the rise. Literally. In a single leap. Sword in hand. A few of the druids turn. One lets out a blast of lightning at Keith. Another at Fenris. The one aimed at Fenris hits.

Zapping a Fenris with lightning reminds him of home.

This makes him angry.

This is unwise.

With a snarl, Fenris begins to swell and deform, sword dropping away as he becomes the Destroyer Wolf.

Fortunately for Zach, he has a fellow magician by his side to back him up in doing that thing that the Zataras do be-

Wait. Where is John Constantine?

The Green One and Zach may notice that the door to the Chapel Perilous slams shut, perhaps with a hint of the wizard's coat peeking through right before the doors slam closed.

Looks like you're on your own, Titans.

Keith, in the meantime, is twirling that voulge like there is no tomorrow, its elementally-charged tip slicing at the druids who were too slow to get away.

Unfortunately, he is not lightning proof. Fortunately for him, the voulge he is carrying is attuned to that element, so although he gets blasted, a good amount of the spell- which would have killed him- is absorbed by the weapon. He is dazed, though, badly, and staggers to one knee, keeping the voulge in his hands so he can use it for balance.

Booster is bowling. That means the sphere that Changeling was riding has gone *pop* at the door. He reaches down, picking up the box of pins, and in one smooth movement, he's running along the ground with some kind of creepy unicorn-centaur blur of hooves … it takes but a breath for him to reach, and one-handedly pick up, one of these wretched druids. His horn… touches the druid, and there's a sound like a temple bell, and the druid is purified … whether of his evil, or of having blood, Gar doesn't necessarily know. He just knows it smelled vile and needed to be cleansed.

Zachary can't say he is used to the environment of Faerie, mostly staying in cities like Gotham and New York City. There's no lampposts which he can use to tie these cursed druids up. After a moment of consideration, he decides that trees work just as well…maybe.

"Dounb ruo seof yb seert!" He exclaims. The words fall from his lips easily enough, but echo in the air. The trees surrounding the druids shift slightly before the thick branches start to grow and extend, wrapping around some of the hooded figures while keeping them bound in it's grasp.

Booster pulls upwards and turns after his fly-through, ending up behind the druids. He is glowing now, pointing to the figures who are not yet secured. In a grand but scolding tone, he tells them, "Okay, you dudes had a chance to do this the easy way and you were dicks about it instead. Here's your last offer." Extending one arm he points at them in an accusatory manner. "Give it up, or I am going to throw you, the collective 'you', into low orbit. You won't like it there. Do not test me on this."

A pair of the druids go down from Keith's clever redirection. Boostr's bowling for Druids knocks a couple more down and another gets, er, exsanguinated. It's ugly. Fenris is now a huuuuuge black wolf but as trees begin to cover the scene, plant life growing everywhere, someonthing else beings to force its way through. It's huge. And it's not at all clear what it is other than four legs, fur, teeth and snapping jaws. A beast of all shapes indeed? Or just… a lesser example of it. It's the size of a tank. And it looks pissed at Booster and Gar in particular.

Keith slowly stands up, pushing himself to a standing position with the voulge… and stares at as the aforementioned beast of myriad shapes.

Alright, this was not good. He is panting heavily, his heartbeat banging hard in his ears from being electrocuted. But the beast was a danger, a massive danger, and something of this size needs teamwork.

And teamwork begins with a distraction.

"Hey, you stupid creature!" Keith shouts, hefting the pole cleaver in his hands. "You're wasting your time with them. Kill me, and the Cait goes free forever. Or are you too stupid to understand, a big old swine like you?"

His hands clench around the shaft, eyes narrow.

Something in the back of Gar's head is angry again; the Parliament of Bones and Limbs does not approve of that thing. It's an affront to the Red, of course.

It may not actually BE animal, in any meaningful way; it might well be exactly that Outsider kind of thing that nobody wants in the universe … nobody that has any sense at all. But we've already established that these druids are not all there in the 'has common sense' realm. It might just be something they've stolen and corrupted; they like to do that.

Gar notes that the druids themselves have moved away from him; that's fine. He notes that the nasty thing is corrupt (not that it's useful knowing that) but corruption is something he can work on.

Well. Let's see what happens.

Changeling-centacorn in forest green, runs up the side of this alleged beast, climbing with suddenly spiked hooves, and bows a greeting, jabbing in with the Unicorn Touch…

After Zachary makes a complicated hand gesture to make sure the overgrown trees stay in place, he turns to focus on the huge furry beast. "Again with the reasoning, Booster? I think we've pasted the point of negotiations." His tone isn't partiularly harsh, just amused.

As for the huge furry beast he points his wand towards it and summons swirling golden sphere that spins around the wand. Whispering what sounds like another spell, the sphere turns into a comet of sorts and Zachary hurls it towards the ugly thing's head hoping it won't notice because of the distraction Keith offers.

"Yeah. That's right. You see what you get." Booster addresses some of the druids that have been clobbered. He is reaching for a conscious one, although not to throw him into low orbit; he was actually bluffing about that. He has no idea if this place even has an atmospheric border, so it would be too much guesswork to judge that kind of throw accurately. The Man of Gold hesitates, then, as the gigantic creature stomps in. "Whoah." He looks a little taken aback. "That looks like something from the Deadlands." He then notes to Zachary, "It never hurts to try. Sometimes people surrender — Keith, please stop trying to die!" Booster is flying up, one arm pulled back, his rebar wrapped fist ready to punch, but he hesitates. He is curious to see if Changeling's tactic will work.

The Beast, whatever it is, snarls and begins to bleed when Gar touches it. The blood itself just burns and spawns some kind of leaching, razortoothed grub. Gar's swarming in them in fairly short order. It rocks back, snarling from attacks on it by Zachary and Booster… there's an annoying thing with a voulge over to his left. That gets a cursory swat from it before Fenris, glowing with power, lunges in and tackles it. "Do not let it grow!"

What the god-wolf means quickly becomes apparent as the Devourer begins to absorb the ambiant magic and swell.

"This is not good-" Keith gahs, as a swat is aimed at him but he manages to roll away from it.

Okay, okay, okay, think. You used to be ceiling cat, once.

He felt a stirring again- that thing was absorbing magic. The way he did, over at the Zoo.

He gets an idea. "Zachary, get that crap off Changeling, 'ling, try to blind him! Booster- try to squash it under the largest boulders you can find- immobilize it as bad as you can-"

He twirls the voulge and ends with it blade-forward. The voulge was magical, the beast was sucking magic… he could, technically, absorb magic because his soul was a diminishing husk of its former self, desperate for the magic that it had once kept it alive. "Keep it from growing? Aye aye, sir." And he charges forward, aiming for the creature's side. If he can plunge the blade into the creature and hold on to the voulge… maybe he can get some absorbing too- perhaps steal some of the magic the beast so ravenously craves? Engage it in a tug-of-war for power, to buy his friends time to get rid of it.

OR at least that's the plan. Maybe. Okay, so this was NOT following Booster's advice… but it was the best plan he had.

Oh, now this is something truly noxious. Unicorns are supposed to be immune to rotgrub-type-things, but they're biting like blackflies. Fine. Mythologicals it is — Gar erupts in spines … the box of iron straight pins disappears somehow, as the metal spines begin bursting grubworms, and then Gar determines that it's absorbing the Fae magic.

Back in the days of his youth, his adoptive Mom showed him a great movie. A wizard was fighting an old witch in a transformation spell. The witch turned into a giant dragon, devouring magic and generally being nasty in all sorts of ways. Gar learned the lesson from the wizard though.

He vanishes — the sword goes wherever his clothes go, someplace ELSE, because Gar is currently a swarm of biting nematodes. If that doesn't spread well, he can become a colonizing planarian, if that doesn't work, amoeba or plasmodia or giardiasis… there are millions of microbial parasites; the devouring worm can itself be devoured.

A glance is given to Keith as he starts to order them around and Zachary moves to do as he is told. "Ytsan burg-gniht teg ff-" The spell is stopped when Gar turns into a swarm of parasites. "Okay…I'll try blinding him then. Emit ot ylf!" Zachary exclaims as he shoots himself into the air maneuvering until he's facing the huge beast.

He knows he isn't able to blind him. At least directly. So he does the next best thing and blinds him indirectly outstretching his hand, but not before closing his eyes. "Ralos eralf!" Suddenly a bright light is emitted in front of Zach. It's definitely enough to at least stun the beast. Though the bright light may or may not blind some others that are close by.

"So gross," opines Booster, seeing the things crawling all over Gar. He slaps his hand to his forehead when it seems Keith is determined to continue endangering himself. But, Keith is an adult, after all, and in charge of his own decisions. However, Booster points out, "Constantine told us not to touch anything!" What if the boulders have emotions? If this creature needs to be clobbered and pinned down, though, he can help with that.

Flying up several feet, Booster turns and dives fast, arms extended, so he can aim a bunker busting punch with his rebar'd fist at the enormous creature's head. "If we need to contain it in a small space, I can trap it in a forcefield… but then you guys won't be able to touch it!"

Keith is going to have a difficult time skewering the Beast and not Fenris for a long moment as the great wolf tries to hold the Beast down. Gar is gone, not clear where from the thrashing unless you saw him transform. This time Zach's binding takes and there's a roar of pain as Booster slams it solidly in the head.

For a long moment nothing material seems to happen… and then the creature begins to wither. It sickens and shrinks, the action of a long wasting disease in minutes. Magic begins to pour out of it.

Right into the nearest person without most of a soul.

"Wait, where did Chageling go?" Keith looks around as the monster begins to wither, and everybody seems accounted for, and then a little lightbulb goes off and he grins. "Well, I'd be-"

~Magic~ begins to flow into him. At first, he doesn't really notice it much, but -"a monkey's uncle!" the moment he finishes the phrase, his words turn into purple fog- and then monkeys, which scamper away from him.

Oh shit- he nearly says it, but considering what just happened, it might not be a good idea. This was Faerie, a world where reality was in flux and subject to the whims of creatures capable of changing the definitions between 'objective' and 'subjective.' Anything he says could come into being. Oh crap, indeed.

His red hair suddenly is crowned with flowers- not because they appear, but because he sprouts, and the same thing happens along his arms- gardenias. They appear attached to his skin, but in a few minutes they will simply detach and fall to the ground. His soul is trying to absorb as much magic as it can, but there is more of it than it is accustomed to handle in one go since the separation, and so random castings of it are released into the nearby air. Conscious of this, Keith begins to back track, even back off, away from his comrades lest he toad them.

Decay is a messy messy process, and it helps speed things to have the right animals participate. The best ones for the job are dermestid beetles; they are MUCH faster and tidier than fly larvae. There's a sudden green surging sort of bubbling under the skin of the monster beast, a sort of 'nomnomcrunchcrunch' noise, then the ripples vanish as the skin sags down around the bones, what there are of them … a single large scorpion crawls out the hole poked earlier by a certain centaur-unicorn, and its green carapace glints in the sun like glass before it changes again. It clicks twice at Keith, with a jaunty wave of its poisonous tail, and then it stands up as a green human.

Gar walks across the corpse and looks for the nearest druid, blade held out to his side.

Zachary lowers to ground gracfully while making sure that his there is some distance between the withering beast and himself. It may look dead, but Zachary isn't so sure. "…Keith?" Zachary looks at the other man curiously, but he doesn't come much closer as he senses the mystical overload he is going through.

Instead he looks down to his head realizing he must of dropped the glass sword when he went for his wand. "Etativel drows ot em!" And the sword flies over to his hand. He turns to any of the druids remaining. "Give it up, Circle Orboros. Your Beast of All Shapes seems to be dying." Is he speaking too soon? Probably.

"Oh, man. Gross!" Booster backs away from the mouldering beast-corpse, and when Gar does his thing, his horrible, horrible thing, he adds, "I think I'm going to hurl." He does not, however. He just floats up into the air, still looking faintly horrified.

Fenris picks himself up painfully. The tangle with even an echo of the Beast of All Shapes (the one not green and a proponent of all things Keith) has left him rather injured. He's limping a bit as the remaining druids begin to fade. "You have faced but an echo." That odd voice intones. "When the Devouror comes in earnest, there shall be no stopping it. Enjoy your victory. It shall be as short lived as your friend."

Then they're gone.

Keith walks over to Fenris, seeing how he can support him in any way, when the druid speaks his peace.

"Screw you and leave us alone, you pompous asses!" Keith's outburst is accompanied by a swing of the voulge… and a discharge of magic. If Zachary was weirded out before, now he has reasons to be aghast as Keith's ears elongate and turn fuzzy and brown (in fact, he turns fuzzy and brown all over)- yes, those are wild ass ears. A tail protrudes from over his waistband. His teeth might have grown a little. "Oh fu—"

And, with an incredible show of restraint, he clamps a fuzzy hand over his mouth.

"Aaah, ya mudda eats combat boots," Gar retorts at the Droods. Because Keith seems to be doing fine … except for a minor side effect or two.

Well. That's something you don't see every day, Bottom!

"Fenris. You're looking doomy. Good job, Titans, Boomer. Once more we have temporarily thwarted the craven foe and they have escaped to regroup. And I got to have an unexpected lunch. Keith, I love you but don't say anything else until you've had a chance to let more of the chaos fade."

A glare is sent to the fleeing Circle Orboros as they depart. Zachary watches Keith with wide eyes. "Oh God…It's the Titans Tower all over again." But this time it's just Keith and not all of Staten Island. Zachary looks to the others in the group noticing a missing magician. "Is Constantine still in the chapel?" Not that he has any plans on going back in there.

"I don't want to rain on our victory parade, but…" Booster seems to be over his horror, now. "If Constantine isn't here, how do we get back? I mean… how'd you guys even get here?" he wonders, gesturing to Fenris and Keith. "Can we go back that way? Or can…" he trails off and just gestures at Keith in a vague manner. "Can… Keith use this thing that's going on now, can he use that to get us out of here?"

"It's taking me some effort to not simply vanish…" Fenris magic takes him away to safety when he's badly injured. Which he is now that people can get a good look at him. Chewed, clawed, burned and punctured. He doesn't have any control over it and he's trying to get a grip on himself enough to open a Way, but doesn't have it.

Keith smirks at what Gar says, and leans over to give him a kiss. On the cheek. Until Gar has a chance to brush his teeth- because although what he did was seven shades of awesome- yeah. He is about to say something when the question of Constantine is raised, but he thinks better of speaking and looks over to the Chapel.

Those doors are closed. The Chapel is enormous as it is, and the front doors are easily half of the front facade. Booster's super-strength might be able to move something that large, but in Faerie those doors will not be moved by any muscle but the will of a wizard with the right bit of knowledge and the right incantation. Or by a member of the Seelie court.

He shrugs and looks at his team. If this were Weird Al's "Jackson Park Express," they would immediatelly and instinctively understand that his gesture means "Well, it looks like we can't get in, 'cause the guy with the key is inside, so we'd better hope that he knows how to handle himself, 'cause we have to get back before fairies come by to see what this mess is all about." Keith has very expressive shoulders. But because this is not that song, his shrug could probably come across any number of ways from "Beats me" to "Let the fucker rot." Eloquence is not necessarily a prerequisite of expressiveness, after all.

Seeing Fenris' wounds, he unwraps the scarf around his arm and then, trying to find the largest wound, proceeds to wrap the scarf around it, completely forgetting the request of trying not to bleed on it.

Booster's suggestion, though, does make him think, especially since Fenris seems too weak to take them without compromising himself. He raises a finger as to say "I can do it!" Of course, a schoolteacher might take that for "Miss Ottovordemgentschenfelde? I really gotta pee, can I go?"

Now, he had to think of the right thing to say. "Take us home" was, at first, a good idea. But then it hits him- home, whose home? WOuld they end up in Fenris' home? And where was that, anyways? Asgard? They weren't dressed for Asgard. He doesn't even know if they could even exist there. He wishes briefly that he could brush up on his Norse mythology, because that would be an excellent way of knowing. Maybe he could get one of those books at the library in the castle? And if that didn't have enough, he could probably get it from the Gotham Library, the one that has those amazing lion statues in the front that look more-or-less like that time when Gar transformed himself into a lion to show him how, sometimes, his hair would stay long after transforming, something that made him look like he was sixteen. His own hair was getting kind of long (and flowery, he noticed), maybe it was time to go to the barber? Or, if this flower thing didn't stop, maybe a gardener? Speaking of which, he probably should remind Gar to call a landscaper to consult in order to bring the courtyard back into health over at the Castle…

Anyways. That wouldn't do at all. He had to be specific. So, he had to specify which home! Brilliant

"Take us to my home!

There is a swirl of magic and—

They're in the courtyard of the Titans' castle. And Keith slaps his forehead, suddenly realizing that yes, he thought of the Castle now as his home rather than his apartment.

Fu-fiddlededee!" Keith corrects himself halfway through the curse. A very strange creature appears out of thin air, half fiddle, half… other things, and scampers away.

The courtyard of Titans Castle is dominated by two things: a big tree with a number of different fruit branches grafted into place, none of them bearing anything at this late time of the season, and a rather overgrown blackberry bramble (Himalayan, evil, and not something that is much beloved anywhere except the Himalayas.) There are glass walls revealing the interior of the castle, which has three very large circular tower-rooms. Lights are flickering on inside.

"Awesome," Gar says. "Fenris, Booster, welcome to Titans Castle. You're welcome to stay in a guest room here, Fenris. You too, if you want, Booster."

He goes over and taps a sequence on a glass plate and one of the doors (to the kitchen) opens so that they can go inside.

When the reach the Titans Castle through Keith's new weird magicial powers, Zachary slaps a hand on his forehand. "Ugh…I've had enough of magic for one day." And this is coming from a Zatara. He sighs and slowly lifts himself into the air. He's exhausted as he should be with all the ~magic~ that he used in just a short period of time so he doesn't teleport to Shadowcrest. He just goes off to find his room.

Booster looks up and around as they are transported back to their proper dimension. He takes a step back, saying, "Nice digs. I appreciate the offer, but I need to get home… I have a small pile of scripts to read through so I can be ready for rehearsal in the morning. But…" He hovers into the air, "If I can do anything to help put Keith back together again, you guys, let me know."

Keith reaches into his pocket and takes out his phone. He is not going to speak, so instead he types on his texty messagy thing.

Thing is, Keith was so accustomed to his old, barely-modern cell phone with the awkward keyboard, that he has gotten into the habit of texting like a fourteen year old girl on twitter. He holds up the screen to Fenris:

«U R Injrd. Stay here. Gar can fix U. As 4 magic swrds, can U keep them safe afr U get better? Droods wont come 2 U if U have them until we know wht 2 do with thm»

And as Booster makes his offer, he walks over to the man and gives him a hug. He can't say anything, without turning him into a frog or a Disco singer or something worse, so he just lets that do the talking, and he gives Zachary a fleeting one too before he ducks out for the night.

Then he'll just stay near Gar, ready to help with healing their ally, though he won't go to bed when Gar does.

He's going to stay up and wait for the ears to go away, and the fur, and the flowers. And then he will try to speak and if nothing weird materializes, he will crawl into bed with Gar.

Because the last thing he needs is to sleep-talk, as he often does, and turn himself or his boyfriend into something awkward.

"Sure… I'll be happy to watch after the… bright… blades…" Fenris suddenly collapses forward and his form begins to shimmer. It goes transparent after a moment and a second after that…

He's not there at all.


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