1964-09-25 - The Goatipede
Summary: Loki, Kai, and Strange encounter badness in Central Park.
Related: If there are no related logs, put 'None', — please don't leave blank!
Theme Song: None
loki strange kai 

It's a normal evening in Central Park.

…or is it? The sky above the city is cloudy and there's the scent of petrichor, of the risk of rain on the wind. Not many folks out, but there's no lingering shadow of melancholy or malaise to be found. Simply a cooler, pre-autumnal night where the breeze whisks pre-fallen leaves along the sidewalks with scratchy jumps and bumps. The lamps in the Park glow strongly with their golden light, casting it where they can, and even walking beyond these cones of brightness, one can still see.

Across an expanse of field, something will easily catch the eye of anyone paying half a brain-cell of attention, much less tingle along the scalp of anyone with Mystical inclinations: a sudden Gate, crackling with golden energy, and while the sudden thundering of hooves can be heard, only the flash of a crimson Cloak can be seen departing the aperture after a shadowy figure. A spitting, snarling…bleating sound? — can be heard and then a bolt of blue-fire explodes in the stillness, illuminating something out of a child's creative nightmares.

Is it a goat? Is it a…millipede? A goat-ipede. Whatever it is, there are too many knobbly, cloven legs and pinscers doubled where a mouth should be and black, buggy eyes with a horizontal bar of bright yellow in the middle of the faceted bulges. It seems that this creature is taking the combined efforts of the crimson Cloak and none other than Strange himself, apparently astride a phantasmal beast with flashing eyes like fiery garnets and a ringing cry part equine, part draw of nails down a chalkboard.

He could probably use some help, even if he won't admit it aloud.

Kai is walking in the park because it's great exercise. What with the Hellmouth and things coming out of it once in awhile to fight with. Besides, Loki's shop is nearby, and he likes to go there around closing time to see if his sweet baboo is free yet for the walk back to his place, then their place. No dog tonight. He's waiting at home. "So then I told the cop until you habeas my corpus you got nothing on me, man," he's telling Loki, some tale from his day of being a ne'er do well.

Then there is the flash of a Gate, thundering hooves, a goatipede, that flash of a red cloak. "It's Strange!" he says, then does what he almost always does, and why he can't stay out of trouble: he runs toward the mayhem.

Loki was out and about with Kai, as is fairly usual. In fact, he was quite ready to cause some significant trouble this evening, maybe open a gate of his own and let out a few fire giants just to give Thor something to do. And then? There's a demon goat-bug? How's he supposed to top demon goat-bug! Truly, the only way that he can is if he defeats it,and then doesn't tell anyone about it. "Odin's beard, would you look at that." Kai gets a lead of a few steps while Loki puts on his horns and leathers, through a little magical outfit-conjuring. "Don't kill it before I get there." then softer, "and be careful

Both the Elf and the Asgardian Mage ping on Strange's radar and even as he pitches another fastball of white-fire towards the goat-ipede, distracting it from taking a shred from the hem of the crimson Cloak, he's looking over his shoulder. His eyes, flashing nearly silvery-violet about their irises, narrow and then he shakes his head, turning attention back to the scrum.

Keep it at bay, he commands the flitting relic, with absolutely faith in its abilities, and then turns his mount towards the approaching duo. The thunder of hooves follow and he rounds his way about the back of both Loki and Kai, pulling the steed to a snorting, frothing, frisking and angry halt.

"It's some sort of anomalous creature," he shouts overtop the goat-ipede's angry cries, checking the horse-like mount again. Beneath the rising swirl of thick shadowy smoke, a dual-horned iron-dipped skeleton can be seen, though no normal horse bares canines towards the two men before being checked once again by invisible reins. The two horns align in vertical stack along the skull, one longer than the other, both between the equid's ears. …a war-unicorn?

"A practitioner in another dimension was attempting experiments. It's proofed against everything but fire magic and even that's only annoying it further." The sharp, flat clackclackclack signals the creature's pinscers going after the Cloak, which darts away and…did it just form a portion of its material to flip the bird? Oh my. "If anyone's got blades, I'll keep pissing it off and you stab it. Its hide isn't impervious to steel, from what I've seen." Indeed, there's a freely-oozing rend along the…eleventh shoulder-blade of the goat-ipede, the color of the inchor a pale-mint and smelling strongly of…rennet.

|ROLL| Kai +rolls 1d20 for: 14

|ROLL| Loki +rolls 1d20 for: 12

|ROLL| Strange +rolls 1d20 for: 14

Kai taps his pendant with fingers from both hands and it comes undone, unfurling into a pair of daggers. The elf? He looks excited. Yes! Adventure! "Catch me if you can," he calls back to Loki and goes headlong for the thing, cackling. He either has high faith in his own abilities or in Loki, because he just doesn't seem afraid.

As he approaches the goatipede, he hits the ground and slides, baseball style, trying to get a slice at its underside on the way by. He scores a cut, though it's far from fatal, and though he doesn't get trampled, it's only by the skin of his teeth. His shirt gets rent at the sleeve.

"What about arrows?!" Loki calls to Strange, as his hands swirl and he summons up a bow. The bow looks old…the sort of old that seeps into wood and darkens it, and polishes it, and makes it vibrate like a violin. The bow is something special, no doubt.

Strange watches the Elf run helter-skelter into battle and puts two fingers to his lips. A sharp whistle and the crimson Cloak is quick to attempt to snap at the goat-ipede's bulbous eye. Indeed, Kai barely misses being trampled by unearthly-strong cloven hooves and the creature skitters about, its hind end traveling like railcars threatening to come off the paralleled lines of track. He's annoyed it, well done!

"Yes, your highness, arrows will work." The bow is beautiful, indeed lacquered with age and good care, and he can sense the aura of power around it. A relic worthy of an Asgardian prince. The Sorcerer would be jealous, but he has no archery skills. It would be wasted in his trembling hands. "Pepper that son of a bitch!" It's a suggestion heeded as he releases the demonic mount to charge back into the fray. Its own cloven hooves do fine work of kicking and driving down with merciless force on parts of the goat-ipede, leaving literal indents in the hide that simply won't tear but for a lucky sharp-edged impact. It jumps vertically, a pronk out of harm's way that nearly throws Strange, but he has a firm grip on the phantasmal mane, and they land safely again only to leap away in an arc that would clear a twelve-foot hedge with ease.

A well-placed arrow takes the goat-ipede in one of its bulbous eyes and it bleat-shrieks, now half-blinded and flailing about, churning up the grass into mud beneath it.

"Aw, man!" Kai cries out as Loki gives the goatipede an arrow in the eye. No fair, being better in combat than him. He'll have the goatipede killed before Kai even gets to have fun! And by 'fun' one might mean getting trampled to death. He darts back from the flailing thing, darting with impossible fleetness of foot. He ducks in for a stab, darts out of reach just in time, and again and again. Who knew the elf was so good with a pair of knives? For all that he's bouncing about, his strikes are quite precise: he's going for tender places between segments.

|ROLL| Strange +rolls 1d20 for: 7

|ROLL| Kai +rolls 1d20 for: 15

The crimson Cloak has become Kai's shadow per Strange's bidding, preventing sneak attacks where the goat-ipede might land a lucky kick or perhaps throw its weight firmly into his path to trip him up or knock the wind from him. The Prince continues to aim with unerring precision and the creature's disturbing body begins to take on aspects of porcupine, prickled with arrows.

With a particularly enraged bleat-screech, it wheels upon the Sorcerer, charging by again on his spectral mount, and snickersnaps at the man, throwing its weight forwards like a striking snake. A quick forearm thrown up and fast few Words allows the creature to slam against an orange-hued Mystical shield, but the sparks are vibrant things, thrown off like Roman candles, and even as the creature curls in on itself, somewhat dazed, Strange can be seen to shake his arm, as if the impact numbed it momentarily.

"Kai, go!" The man shouts, even as he wheels the war-unicorn on a dime and it bolts back towards the middle of the disturbing creature like a barrel-horse. This is a moment to strike with those bright daggers, while it's stunned!

|ROLL| Kai +rolls 1d20 for: 11

Kai, beatnik and artist, proto-hippy and tender heart, moves like a deadly little predator. He lunges for the front of the goatipede, slashing down one side of its neck, then whirling around under its head to plant the second dagger in its throat. He ducks an incoming arrow with a giddy laugh. He trusts his love implicitly not to hit anything he doesn't mean to. "Blind him!" he calls out to Loki, though it might not need to come to that. The elf's daggers have cut deep, and the thing bleeds. Oh how it bleeds.

|ROLL| Strange +rolls 1d20 for: 11

|ROLL| Strange +rolls 1d20 for: 12

The goat-iepede now has two sucking wounds to sport as well as the various gashes and dents upon its nasty hair-speckled hide. The next arrow flies like a death-song, wind whistling through its fletching, and embeds itself in the creature's other eye.

Another gargling cry from the blinded thing and its kobbly legs thrash about even as the segments dance in agony. Kai takes a glancing blow to his hip, presumably a solid point to take such impact, and the wicked pinscers clackclackclack on empty air as the thing misses entirely.

Strange recalls the crimson Cloak to his shoulders and there it mantles, draping across the back of his nebulous, dark-nova steed with its silvery canines and coals for eyes. He raises his hand and the spindlings of a deeply-purple banishment spell begin to wind into being about his scarred fingers.

"Keep it busy," he shouts, "the incantation takes a minute to gain power!!!" The war-unicorn rears and he needs must calm it. By the gods, the thing is thirsting for literal blood, even if it smells like the inside of a goat's stomach and then worse yet again.

"What do you think I'm doing?" Kai calls back. The thing shrieks as the arrow imbeds in its other eye, and Kai oofs as he's hipchecked, but he keeps his feet. Until the thrashing beast catches him again, and he goes tumbling, but it's into a practiced roll, then he's back of his feet, knives at the ready to slash and slash. Half of his fighting skill comes from the daggers themselves, but he doesn't need to tell anyone that.

"Here, goatipede," he calls to the thing, now blind, to try to draw it over. To keep it occupied. "Think you'll just come to this dimension, huh? Too bad, it's already taken." Just follow the sound of his taunting voice. Slash slash. He gets in some good blows amidst the taunting.

|ROLL| Strange +rolls 1d20 for: 8

|ROLL| Strange +rolls 1d20 for: 3

|ROLL| Kai +rolls 1d20 for: 8

The goat-ipede can hear well enough. Kai's yelling draws its attention and the ears…attennae…stalk-ears? — they flick towards him. It rushes at him, spilling nasty ichor in its wake, and then comes the zipping drag of an arrow across its nose. It skewers the tender lobe of cartilege between nostils and now the goat-ipede wears an arrow for a bullring. It rears back, multiple legs carving at the air, and exposes its tender underside.

Behind and beyond Kai, Strange is muttering himself with increasing volume. Beneath him, the war-unicorn sidles, but remains calm enough this time around not to disturb the casting happening above it. Its ragged ears lay back flat still and it grinds the unseen bit between teeth, all bad temper and anger.

"…many of legs and soured hide,
Sorcery that won't abide,
I command thee, hence, begone,
Afore the gloaming bright of dawn!"

The spell flies home to hit the goat-ipede's rumpled hide with a backsplash of fantastic proportions, but even as the cat's-cradle winds about it, there's time for one last suicidal lunge at Kai!

Kai cries out in glee as Loki gives the goatipede a bullring with an arrow. That's his baby! Then he hears Strange chanting. It's not that he doesn't have faith in his friend's considerable magic to dispatch the beast, it's just that in his experience, if it's not one thing it's another. So the goatipede doesn't quite get the drop on him when it makes one last lunge. Kai whips around and plants both blades in the beast's chest as it rises for its lunge. Take tha—ack! The creature drags Kai a good ten feet while the elf twists and writhes to dislodge his knives. Then he goes bouncing off to the side to land solidly on his stomach. Erf.

A creaky complaint escapes from punctured lungs; the bubbling is fierce at the wound-sites. Even as the thing begins to topple to one side, defeated, the banishment spell takes total effect. In a blinding flash of ultraviolet light, the creature's body takes on a solid brightness and then subsumes into an impossibly small pocket of space.

POP. Some lingering sparkler-winks of spell-powers, and then…ringing silence. Kai will have a good smear of mud along his front and on whatever places on his body which impacted the ground. It looks like a rugby team wearing ice skates decided to play and it ended in a massive kerfuffle. No one's going to be able to explain that nasty smell, however.

The war-unicorn saunters over, no longer tempted by the chaotic thrashing of the goat-ipede, and Strange brings it up short of the Elf. He then laughs, the sound abrupt and relieved by tone. "The elves of Alfheim are sturdy things indeed. Though, Kai, were you my apprentice, we'd have a discussion about the safety of distance and weighing risk versus gain." He eyebrows at the Elf and it detracts nothing from his grin. He's high on the results of their success, no doubt. His mount's glowing eyes consider Kai. Is it edible?

Kai looks up, and he grins crookedly. "Pony," he says. The he gets to his feet, groaning, and he cleans off his knives on his chinos. "I'm no good at a distance," he says. "Unless I'm throwing an illusion, or there's ample water nearby, or the thing's distracted by moonlight." All very valid tactics tossed aside in favor of going for it. He brings his daggers together and turns them in an intricate pattern, causing them to collapse into a crescent moon pendant once again hanging harmlessly from his neck. Dwarven make, if Strange has an eye for such things. "So what was that all about?"

The war-unicorn considers the Elf as if he were a pastry on a plate that it can't have just yet. Must wait for the master to say 'go'. Too bad that's never happening, but the creature can hope. Hope springs eternal.

"Idiocy," opines the Sorcerer, in the sharply derisive manner that he keeps for such judgment upon matters. "Someone decided to experiment and when it got out of hand, it was clearly the best answer to release it upon the Park." He mutters something under his breath even as he runs a hand through his hair, momentarily mussing it out of place. "The wards alerted me to its presence, thank gods, before it got too far. I was in another dimension entirely." He pats the smoky mount's shoulder with fondness and it side-steps beneath him, glowing eyes never shuttered by a blink. Those scissored canines are impressive, gleaming dully in the ambient light from posts and from high-rise buildings around the Park. "She's from the other dimension. Before you ask, I'm not keeping her." Oh, so the war-unicorn's a mare unicorn. "And no, this one doesn't like virgins. She eats them." How counter to the usual tales.

Strange considers the pendant and gives Kai a particularly knowing smirk. "If I'm not mistaken, however, that's Anduvin's work, the Runesmith. His work is…impeccable."

Big pony. Kai's memories of the Hunt are fresh enough he's not going to draw too close to it or try to pet it. He's not a complete idiot. Just let the pony have a wide berth. Still, he says, "Oh, then I guess I'm safe." Still not pushing it, though.

Kai holds up the pendant, which is rather secure in this state, not likely to unfold on its own. "Isn't it great? He does the grooviest work. He's the best, as far as I'm concerned." He lets the pendant drop and looks to Strange. "You know him?" His curls are askew. His sleeve is torn, he's muddy.

Indeed — upon a more pointed sniffing of air about Kai, the war-unicorn confirms the Elf's sentiments and whuffles, calming in totality. No prey nearby. A shame. She's hungry. Perhaps she'll find someone to gnaw on in her home dimension once this is all said and done. The soft clink of the unseen bit against the unforgiving edges of her teeth can be heard beneath Strange's reply.

"I met the Dvergr in passing, at an Asgardian fete celebrating the turn of seasons. I found him good company. I should speak with him again about his work. He is counted as a master of Nidavellir. It would be an honor to have a machination of his in the Sanctum." The Sorcerer looks properly pensive in the shadowy night, the point of light to be found brightest in his eyes still; his blood is inundated with the Mystical Arts and shall remain for some time still, akin to adrenaline. "What I would ask of him, I'm not certain as of yet."

"Oh, you absolutely should," Kai says, and he eyes the unicorn as she settles down. Great, she's given him another reason to swagger about his sordid past (and present, but never mind that). "Ask him for something long-distance, like a ball you can throw that turns into a big spiky thing. That way next time you're being chased by a goatipede (forever dubbed), you can just huck the ball at it."

Strange laughs. A perfect name for the ridiculously terrible creature. No doubt he'll call it the same when explaining his latest adventures to the Witch at home.

"I was thinking something more…noble." His lips quirk deeper for the word choice, and yes, there are the dimples. "Perhaps something that remains aloft and can carry the effects of a spell of choice. I'll consider." He swings a leg over the gentle rounding of the war-unicorn's rump and dismounts with clear experience in having ridden before. The creature spits out what bridle he had upon her and it considers Kai for one more passing second — absolutely sure you're not edible, Elf? — before the Sorcerer places a scarred hand against the flat of her cheek, turning her head aside and away. "Get. Go home," and even as she turns to canter away, he's swatting the smokey hide for good measure. She seems to melt away into the shadows of the trees themselves and then — poof, gone. The silver-templed man sighs. "I like them, but they're awfully persnickity, those creatures." He means the war-unicorns.

"What's more noble than a ball that turns into spikes?" Kai says. Then he nods slowly as he considers Strange's thoughts. "Oh yeah, I guess you could go that route." He eyes the war-unicorn. Pony, don't even. Kai's pull date goes back centuries. Just trot off. "Yeah," he says, rubbing the back of his neck, "I too know what it's like to be the keeper of a deadly beast who could eat my friends at any moment. It's our shared burden."

Strange nods, the lingering glow of his gaze meaning that he's making absolutely certain that said virgin-devourer is truly back in her own dimension. Yep, gone for certain, and he relaxes a measure.

"And what a burden. Still, no one got injured and I'm sure that the local police can come up with some creative reasoning for this…mess." He waves dismissively towards the mire of wet dirt and torn grass. There's a charred spot or two, where the fire-bolts either deflected or hit home and spattered. None of Loki's arrow missed their targets — at least, none that the Sorcerer can find immediately. "I appreciate your assistance, Kai. Please let the Prince know his aim is impressive." With a final grin, he nods to Kai and then opens a Gate to the Sanctum. The crimson Cloak swirls as he turns and strides through the sparkling rift. It drops shut behind him and leaves the Elf to return to his Prince. He'll probably need a bath. That mud is a little smelly in the end.

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