Demon Bear: The Fall: Scott and Illyana

November 17, 2017:

Scott and Illyana find themselves in the Bear's Shadow. All facades are dropped.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

The solidity of the world is lost.

All that remains is darkness, the chill of winter and the vague sense of falling.

Up is down, down is up and let's not talk about sideways. Over and over the two tumble, neither near one another or far away.

Words if shouted aren't heard, they simply reverb back to the person yelling and the darkness dampens all.

Until it doesn't.

Both land with perhaps a bone jarring thud and when both become aware of their surrounds they'll find them vastly different.

For Scott, he finds himself in a heavily wooded area. The smell of smoke and fire line the air heavily. If he's spent enough time within the more wilder areas of Xavier's property, he'll find the forested areas around him familiar. He's a mile out from the outermost reach of the Mansion's 'backyard'.

Within the trees familiar things can be seen, crows, with beady red-eyes. They watch him in an unflinching manner.

For Illyana when she arrives upon terra firma she'll find herself in a similar setting; albeit a hellishly red desert. Something from within Limbo itself. Cracks line the hard-packed sand and beyond the hot wind, that rolls around the area, there's little else for her to see or hear.

For both, decisions must be made. Stay put or move.


Scott has never been one for inaction unless it serves some strategic purpose. A moment ago he was witnessing the appearance of Dani Moonstar as some sort of 'Evil' self and battling off the Demon Bear as it destroyed their home and now he is transported up, around, through and out in to… the woods, just outside of the mansion. It's been a home for him the majority of his life he recognizes it within several blinks and the attempted gathering of his barings, "Hello?" He questions the air, spins on a heel and then picks up in a quick run back towards the mansion proper. Disoriented he assumes he has only been teleported away not outright put /elsewheres/. Onward.


Diving into the bear's shadow hadn't been top of Illyana's list of plans. In fact, she'd tasked Rachel with making sure she didn't repeat that particular unpleasant experience.

But Rachel wasn't around when the bear came back, and after Scott got pulled in… well, Illyana just had to improvise.

This time, the icy cold and the sense of falling isn't a surprise. Like before, Illyana's eldrich armour remains in place about her body, the soul-steel doing what it can to protect her from the unnatural chill. This time, though, there's no Belasco appearing to torment her, so Illyana reaches out with her more arcane senses, seeking for Scott… and not finding him. She's reduced to yelling for him and hearing her shouts bounce back to her when things suddenly change.

Illyana hits the dirt with a thud, letting out an 'oof' as most of her breath is knocked from her body. Rolling over, she sits up and looks around with suspicious eyes. "There's no place like home, huh?" She says under her breath, then scrambles up to one knee. Her left hand flexes, in its finely-wrought armoured gauntlet, but as much as she wishes it were in her hand the demoness needs the Soulsword where it is. Instead, she places a hand palm down above the sand and whispers a few words from a dead language. She's hoping the sand will vitrify and give her a scrying glass of sorts.


Scott runs. His footfalls echo throughout the wooded area, whether lightly placed, or not, and as he zips past tree after tree something changes.

It's a scent within the air. That burning. He's heading towards it as he draws closer to the edge of the woods and beyond.

However, before he can exit the woods his next turn reveals a body. Or the feet and legs of someone. The rest is hidden behind a tree. When he rounds that tree he'll find Nate Grey. Body still and cooling. Dead.

His form bruised and battered and with puncture wounds that pierce through the protective layers of his armored costume.

For Illyana, the ground refuses to obey her at first. It resists that call of transmutation. It resists her commands, until suddenly with a rush the sand becomes something akin to crystal, or glass and forms a surface to scry through.

Darkness roils and seethes within that reflective surface, and before the demoness can remove her hands, something from beyond the physical divid reaches upward and at her. It's quite familiar - blighted ivory claws. They're reaching for her through the gateway she provided.


A stump leaped and a tree bypassed Scott is unmindful of his breathing, the burning scent now mingling with death has panic and adrenaline pushing him onward slowing only to stare down at the corpse upon the ground, a cold spike thrusts through the X-Man's heart and his teeth grit, white on white grinds together audibly. Not again. The quick look shows the puncture wounds, the expression, it doesn't take a doctor to know the young man is gone.

A flare of red from behind his glasses begins to ignite up and his run is now accompanied by a tracer, his pace picking up as he crashes through shrubbery the blood rushing throuh his veins as legs and arms pump.

«Can anyone here me?» A telepathic shout. Not actually telepathy as he doesn't have that but a loud thought, intended for the telepaths of the team who normally keep 'mindful' of such things.

The static of Cyclop's comms tested next, "Anyone on this?" The ragged breathing making his words come out clipped unlike the quick telepathic attempts.


Illyana's expression twists as the sand defies her, eyes narrowing to angry slits as she repeats her incantation, her words harsh and threatening this time. If this doesn't work, if she's not able to fashion a reflective surface, it's going to make the task of finding Scott a great deal harder.

When the sand finally fuses into crystal, the treacherous feeling of relief that runs through her is almost her undoing. She leans closer, eagerly - and her eyes go wide in shocked surprise when the giant claw reaches out for her. Illyana rears up - too late.

With an unpleasant squeal, the bear's claws score dark lines across the shining metal of Illyana's armour, the glancing blow throwing her to one side. Her left hand closes into a tight fist to keep her from pulling the Soulsword into this world. She'd like nothing more than to summon the blade and slice through the bear's wrist - instead she slams an armoured heel down, hard, on the crystal surface she created, aiming to smash it and then scramble away.

Just to add to Illyana's concerns, there's a sudden roar of static in her ear, and then a voice. Distorted, cutting out, but still unmistakably that of Cyclops. "Bad time!" Illyana snaps, breathlessly and on reflex, before she has the presence of mind to remember just why she's here. "Scott!" It's almost a yell, and there's a hint of something that sounds suspiciously like relief in her voice. "Don't trust ANYTHING in here! Where are you?"


The comms come to life. Static-filled, but there.

The warning from Illyana might cut out and fade occasionally, but there's enough of her words to allow Scott to understand what she's trying to say.

In fact, her last words coincide with Scott coming upon another body. A woman's body - but wait, what was that? Was there a glimpse of blonde hair seconds before? Only now it's green. Definitely green. Lorna Dane. Dead, much like Nate, with similar wounds upon her body, one hand reaching out towards a figure not too far away.

Marcos.

The two lovers dead before they could even reach each other's hands.

Those ever watchful crows continue to look down upon the man. It's only after Illyana has responded over the comm that several of the birds take flight. Their wings rustling against the branches as they kite upward to the sky above.

The claws rend and spend their fury upon Illyana's soul armor and while she's quick enough to shatter that mirror, the bear isn't so easily stopped.

Bits of shadows rise up from those shattered shards and as they appear within the same realm as Illyana, those motes of darkness coalesce into a familiar form.

The Bear.

Or, at least, a portion of it. The form is definitely smaller, but still larger than Illyana herself and the visage is familiar. Blackened teeth are already exposed in a silent snarl and as soon as the Bear is fully corporeal it immediately attacks the Demoness.

The closest paw is lashes out at the woman, attempting to hook those claws into her legs and ankles. TO trip, to yank, to pull toward it.


The headcount grows for Scott as he sees Polaris and Eclipse. A jolt of muscle through his jaw and he practices restraint, it helps not having an immediate target to actually unleash on as well.

"D- Trust- Thing- Here- Where-" About enough to piece what Illyana is trying to convey. The relief is shared knowing he is not out here alone but hes also not entirely sure this is not 'reality'.
"I'm finding our people dead." Though, technically Lorna is 'former' and Marcos isn't one of them yet. Nate is, however.

"We have to hurry back to the mansion and stop this…. " A pause as crows take flight. Now he has a target at least. Impulse is to fire but he restrains just a moment to watch them. A tick.


Illyana experiences a brief, vicious thrill as the mirror shatters under her heel. If there was any justice in this dimension, there'd be a severed paw flopping to the sand, staining the desert even more red with its life blood, and a severely pissed off demon bear somewhere else entirely.

Illyana's not that lucky.

She's only managed to scrabble back a little way when her eyes catch movement from the shards of crystal. About to reply to Scott's fragmented transmission, she freezes, not yet back to her feet, propped up by her hands behind her, as she watches the bear begin to take shape. "I'm really starting to hate you." She tells it, venomously, then scrambles to her feet.

She's almost there when a claw reaches out and scythes her legs out from under her. Crashing back to the sand, Illyana has barely time to take a breath before her ankle is grabbed and she's being pulled across the sand. Teeth bared, she raises her knee and kicks repeatedly at the bear's paw with her free foot, while her fingers claw at the sand for purchase.

It's not working. Illyana flings a hand forward, toward the bear, fingers clawed, and yells out the words of a spell. Witchfire flares at her fingertips and leaps toward the bear's muzzle.


The watchful eye(s) of Scott can see the crows arrow toward the Mansion. Their black bodies shining briefly in the weak autumn nearly winter sun.

For him, once he starts moving, he'll find no other bodies. Instead he'll continue through the forest and onward, quite easily stepping back into the 'backyard' of the Mansion. From there, he'll see the fight as he last left it. The crows, the shadow Bear that's slicing through the roof and the side of the building. Destruction is being rained down upon the X-Mansion and a quick look at the area around will show the lack of any other X-Men around.

Well, beyond the bodies back in the woods.

It's only Scott and the Bear, and sensing a disturbance, the Bear begins to slowly pivot upon a hind-foot toward Scott.

When Illyana voices her displeasure, her hatred, at the Bear it only offers a chuff of amusement. Something that almost sounds like a ghost of laughter, but that sound soon quiets as the beast pulls Illyana closer. The kicking of her free foot against its paw barely seems to bother it, and really, it's only when that witchfire leaps between the two does the Bear finally react.

A roar of pain is heard when that magical fire alights upon the Bear's muzzle and with a lash, the Bear drops Illyana's foot and shakes its great head. That movement causes the image of the beast to shift, showing for a brief moment that Illyana doesn't fight the actual bear, but Danielle Moonstar herself.

That glimpse is brief, however, for as soon as the burn fades the Bear is turning right back around - eyes enraged.


"Magik?" Scott hisses in to the comms, "I'm at the mansion again, where are you?" Entirely clueless to her plight right now beyond having seen those crows. They're separated for now but not for long if Cyclops has his way. "We need to regroup. Look for the light show."
"You bastard. You killed good men and women."
A hand reaches up and grips those glasses curling over them. The death, the bodies, the destruction, its enough to say inhibitors are not necessary. A bright shine of red illumination and abruptly it splashes out, no ruby lens filtering it this time and Cyclops gazes up, meets the Bear's visage with his own. It's what he does after all; the ultimate stare. The top portions of the mansion may get caught in this but the Demon Bear has already made certain those are in ruin as it is. Red skies for all.


The bear understands her. And it's laughing at her. Wonderful.

It does make the bear's roar of outraged pain sound all the sweeter to Illyana. She smiles - her teeth looking just slightly sharper than usual as she does - and then the smile's wiped off her face as the bear flings her aside. For at least the third time, Illyana thumps to the ground. This time she allows her momentum to roll her over, away from the bear, then pushes herself up to a crouch. Her head takes a moment to stop spinning, but it's not disorientation that shows Dani Moonstar standing in the bear's place. "Bear's not a good look on you, Dani. I told you we weren't done." She really should sound sorry for throwing witchfire in a friend's face. She really doesn't.

Illyana's left hand opens, reaching for something that isn't there - and Scott's voice in her ear arrests the motion. "I'll find you." She replies. "Don't listen to anyone who isn't me." She won't see his light show, she knows that much, but she doesn't have time to explain. Not now that she's facing an aspect of the bear once more. Illyana pushes up to her feet and starts running, summoning a portal dead ahead of her.

Last time she tried this it didn't work, but this time she's not trying to escape, just move within the bear's shadowy realm. She focuses on the mansion, on Scott, and throws herself through.


For all of Illyana's words, Dani doesn't overtly react to them. Instead the woman retains the humanity that Illyana is used to seeing, with only the bear-skin cloak obscuring the majority of her form and features from the other woman.

It's only as Illyana calls that portal to this particular plan, where physics isn't necessarily in play, that Danielle Moonstar moves. Her form blurs and in a blink of an eye, Illyana finds her progress halted. It's stopped by a hard grip upon the woman's gauntleted hand. The hand that holds her is Danielle's and with a snarl, the Cheyenne says, "You wish to see Scott." She states in a rather rhetorical question, "Fine. Then let us go." And with a twist that portal of Illyana's is slaved to Dani's will and shut down with a wink of light.

Then Illyana will find the world shifting, going from red, to green and brown. A familiar sight. The Mansion, with the Bear above it.

Then the world turns ruby red. Like blood covering their eyes, only it's not coming from them, but Scott. That beam of focused energy cuts into the Bear and the monster roars. With it's roar the form of the Bear shrinks. Down it goes, growing smaller and with each foot lost, the shadows of the Bear's torso shifts and move. With each twitch a body is expelled from it.

Dead bodies. Their forms damaged in a familiar way to Scott Summers. Cut and bisected in half, sometimes worse.

X-23. Emma Frost. Rachel Summers. Logan. Piotr. Betsy. They all fall. The last one to be revealed is Jean Grey.

For Illyana, she'll find herself within Scott's 'reality', but unable to affect it. To be heard within it. Not even her comm can pierce this displacement.

Dani stands next to Illyana now, her hand no longer around the demoness' wrist, instead just a witness to both Scott and Illyana's reactions.


Scott does not relent on the unleash of his optic blast, not at first. Not as the figures of X-Men begin to peel free of the smited Bear, it's as though he's in a state of shock or just powering through for a 'greater good'. Grit. One could say and then it starts to become too familiar, each body that rends in pieces hosting a face, memories, a name, their voices all known to him and he cries out. The world around him suddenly darkens, that cold clutch over his heart tightens and despair fills him. Scott shrinks to his knees and his hands fold up over his eyes, fingers splayed out in a curl as if he cannot close them to stop himself.

Years of fostering strength, of becoming a man of sheer unbreakable will and resolve crumble as his loved ones are incinerated by his mutant gift. The splay of his hands over his face project beams out in all directions until he'll close his eyes hands still over his face cupping it.

No words for this, no longer a vocalized cry just his own muffled tortured noises.


Dani was fast, when Illyana briefly dueled with her in the real world.

She wasn't this fast.

Illyana's shoulder is wrenched as she's suddenly brought to a halt by Dani's hand, sporting a grip that's far stronger than it has any right to be. In response, Illyana's armour seems to shine brighter around that hand and forearm, as if lit by a cold white light from within. Reacting to the bear's malevolent presence. Illyana hopes the contact burns.

The demoness swings around as best she can with her arm pinned, trying to rip it free from Dani's grip with a notable lack of success, power dancing across her other hand once more as she prepares to snarl a spell right back in Dani's face…

And then, with another wrench, they're elsewhere. Illyana's off balance, and not just physically. Having control of one of her portal torn away from her twists something inside her painfully. It's not enough to distract her from the scene that plays out before her.

She yells, instinctively, when Scott cuts loose with his power, but she knows immediately that she won't be heard. Sensing that, in some indefinable way, she's not really there. Not entirely. And then it starts raining bodies.

Illyana watches, as if entranced. She knows what the bear's doing to Scott. What it nearly succeeded in doing to Rachel. If she was someone else, her heart might break for Scott. She might truly be mesmerised by the sight before her. Instead, her right fist comes around in a tight, vicious arc aimed for Dani's jaw, with as much force as she can put behind it.

That force is more than just human. Illyana's tired of playing games. Tired of being one step behind Dani every time they've danced. The fingers curled into her palm are taloned, the silvery armour is more baroque than smooth, her eyes are flat gold, and on her brow, peeking through her bangs? The tips of a pair of horns.


The Bear continues to shrink and before too long it disappears. All that's left are bodies; teammates and crows alike, both seen in various states of death, whether Scott Summers looks up or not.

A solitude settles around the area and man, with only the chill breeze of autumn alluding to any movement nearby. The scents of smoke and fire continues to hang heavily within the air, even with the sharp scent of snow and winter intertwined with the breeze. Flames begin to lick outward from the Mansion itself, the red-orange glow flickering brightly against the monochrome-wash that's upon the area.

Illyana swings around and cold-clocks Dani quite efficiently. It's enough to fling the woman backward and to the ground, her own body now dropping with its own heavy thud. She sits there for a minute, her head low, then Danielle Moonstar looks up. The angle of her head is enough to chase the shadows away from the overhang of the bear-cowl she wears.

Amusement colors the depths of those once friendly eyes, even as blood oozes from a split-lip.

That amused gaze takes in the beginnings of horns, the sheen of her eyes and the change in Illyana's armor. She understands what that entails and so, with careful movements the black-haired woman rises back to her feet, limbs loose - perhaps a subtle reflection of Illyana's fairness and tension. "He'll survive." Is what Dani finally says, "The bear only plays with him. To sow doubt, chaos, pain, to keep those that would save Danielle Moonstar unbalanced, but you -" Continues the Cheyenne, as she cants a sly look to her friend, "You it likes. You it wants to help. Shall I tell you its offer? Or shall we fight more and waste this opportunity for reforging what was sundered so cruelly from you."


Scott remains with slumped shoulders, knees folded and hands over his face splayed out. The sounds around him are muted, muffled, he is reliving the cries of his family, friends, students, loved ones, the X-Men.

He is forcing himself through shock, trying to regain control despite the talons of pain clenching his heart, that cold brutal despair. Hopelessness. No, he has never been one to just give in, even when he thought Jean dead and gone he still didn't completely fold. He left the X-Men, needed his time but he didn't give up.

One hand tests, moves away from his eyes and he slowly opens them, Illyanas words earlier… they're in there somewhere, 'trust nothing' no, maybe, it feels dreamlike and a weakness has set in that he knows is all emotional, mental. This can't be real? Bargain, no, skip that part of grief. The X-Man is processing.

Even daring to try and look up fully now, to gaze at what remains of those who he believes he just 'blasted' might still be for all he knows… maybe…

As it stands he is useless to aid Illyana right now. The man is too caught up in his own nightmare and trying to discern reality from illusion.


The feel of her armoured fist connecting cleanly with Dani's jaw prompts a nasty rush of satisfaction in Illyana. And it's not only the demonic part of Illyana's soul that's happy to have finally struck back in a way that the bear hasn't been able to dodge, shrug off or simply ignore.

But it is that part of her that clamors for her to keep going, to call the Soulsword to her hand and drive it through Dani where she sits… and not because she thinks it might banish the bear's malign influence.

Illyana's left hand flexes restlessly, but stills when Dani looks up, those golden, faintly glowing eyes of her narrowing when she sees that the bear's still laughing at her. She follows Dani with her eyes as the other woman stands, not giving any ground. The bear's intentions toward Scott don't get much of a response, but she does tilt her head a little when she herself is mentioned. A silent invitation to continue.

Illyana listens, and as she does so a faint smile appears on her lips, the expression a little more human than the rest of her appearance. "I can tell it likes me. The fact that it keeps trying to rip out my spleen is a dead giveaway." She snorts, dismissively, but… her eyes narrow again, in curiosity this time. "I told a friend to laugh in the bear's face next time it came calling. It'd be rude not to at least hear it's sales pitch. After all, I /love/ what it's done for you." The words are fairly dripping with sarcasm, but there's something else there, too. A hint that Illyana's intrigued.


Silent, or at least with a whisper of sound, snow begins to fall. Early, yes, but the area around Scott is cold enough to support it. It falls upon the torn apart bodies that litter the grounds of the Mansion.

The greedy fingers of the fires continue to curl upward at the ripped walls and eventually black smoke begins to rise.

How far the fire goes is hard to say, but eventually it'll consume the Mansion itself.

And while Scott tries to pull himself together the world continues to move and eventually the faint sound of howling might be heard in the distance. Is it simply a wolf? Or a warning of more to come.

Whether Dani sees that grasping hand of Illyana's, or knows the other woman is closer to her more feral side or not, is unclear. Or perhaps, the Bear enslaved Danielle Moonstar doesn't care. Either way, there doesn't seem to be much reaction to Illyana's lethal look, or air, nor to her sarcastic words. No -Illyana-, or -Yana-, just that sly look still upon the black-haired woman's face.

When there's a natural break within the two's conversation, Dani brings one hand upward, palm likewise up. Within her palm a familiar sight greets Illyana's golden eyes, a medallion. A specific medallion that holds three red bloodstones. With her other hand Dani opens the locket and reveals those gleaming stones within. "You live with darkness in yourself. Blackness that the Bear can take away - to take away the hold these stones have upon you."


Reality or not Scott has to make himself stand, a hand slides down after pushing his glasses back on. His eyes remain closed though as he cants his head and listens to the sounds of the wolf? Unsure and unwilling to try and see he inhales, exhales, repeats until he calms himself. Steels his heart at what could be loss or simply a massive mindgame. He is of no use to anyone dead and others yet breath, Illyana is here somewhere as is Dani.

Scott taps the comms with a fingertip, his voice hoarse a moment, "We're still in this." He manages. Ignoring the sensation of a 'leaking face' tears he didn't even realize he shed are now being tasted in his mouth.


Illyana can't help her instinctive reaction. As much as she might want to keep her eyes locked with Dani's, watching for any move the other woman might make against her, as soon as the bloodstone medallion is revealed her eyes focus on it, hungrily.

But it's the second time the bear's shown her the medallion. Belasco, taunting her with it before, was a lie. Odds are, this is a lie too. But if it's not… Dani holds her soul in her hand. And through her, the bear does, too.

Into that frozen moment of indecision comes Scott's voice, and the lack of its usual strength and conviction comes as a jolt to Illyana. Part of her had almost forgotten why she came here. Illyana reaches slowly up to tap her own comms. "I'm still here. We'll get out of this." Her voice is almost normal, but not quite. Her sharper than usual teeth are partly to blame. Very deliberately, she lets go of the transmit control and forces her eyes back up to meet Dani's.

"If that was real." She says, evenly. "The bear wouldn't need to bargain with me. Prove it."


'We'll get out of this.'

Words meant to bolster, to give courage, and perhaps they do, but that doesn't stop the things that happen next.

For Scott, it turns into shadows moving. They twist and turn, shiver and shudder, and from the depths comes a familiar sight. Or perhaps a known sight. Brightwind steps from the depths of blackness and he himself is change.

Black coat, mane and tail. Only his eyes are a bloody-red counterpoint to his current darkness.

Wings flare to push a strong gust of wind toward Scott Summers. With that 'breeze' the temperature around Scott begins to plummet. The snow begins to pick up speed.

For Illyana and Dani, where they stand it neither snows, nor feels cold. It's relatively nice, though not for long. Not for Illyana at least.

A soft tsk might be heard from Dani, a sound of disapproval, of perhaps sadness or concern, as she says, "Always you take the hard way, Yana. So stubborn." And with those words said, Dani's hand curls around the Beatrix Medallion. Greedy fingers of shadows stretch out from the soul-less woman and dip to the brightness that each bloodstone holds. Those slivers of darkness sink within one jewel-like stone and slowly, the luster of the stone begins to dim.

As the carmine hue fades, Illyana will feel two different sensations simultaneously -

There's a sense of something akin to a missing piecing being put back in place. A snap and a click, as that portion of Illyana Rasputin's soul is pulled from the stone and shunted back to the woman. With that small bit of her soul back in place the sense of pain and rage, and so much anger, lessens within the woman - like a blanket smothering a fire. With that rage and anger being swept away, so too will Illyana find that core part of herself that sings with magic, with darkness, with magical might, beginning to fade away.


Illyana expects nothing to happen, when she calls Dani-Bear's bluff. Or she expects more vague promises about what might be hers if she accepts the bear's offer, followed by vague threats of consequences if she doesn't. She even smiles, when Dani-Bear berates her for being stubborn. Here it comes, she thinks. And there's even a shadow-picture show to accompany it…

She's shocked beyond reason when the bear actually delivers on its promise. Something deep inside her howls in fear and denial, but the silent scream fades as the part of her that made it is pushed out, and the Illyana that should have been rushes in to take its place.

Illyana actually physically staggers, catching herself before she falls to the ground. The silvery armour around her suddenly feels wrong, constrictive, heavy… but a moment later that feeling, too, begins to fade. Illyana brings her hands up in front of her, almost in wonder, as the silvery armour melts away from them. The fingers revealed are strong, the tips sporting claws, but even as she watches these shift and change, the claws becoming nails, the fingers shrinking to their normal proportions. She reaches a hand up to her brow, urgently, and feels only bony nubs where her horns were. For a heartbreaking moment, it's wonderful.

But then Illyana sees Dani, her friend, caught in the grip of something as evil as she, until a moment before, was. Hears Scott's voice, tense and determined. There's a part of Illyana that might be selfish enough to ignore Scott's voice. Turn away from Dani and leave her to the darkness. But it's that part of her that's fading away, and the Illyana that's replacing it could never betray her friends.

Illyana smiles, "I like the hard way." She tells Dani-Bear. "It means I make my own choices." Her smile broadens. "You're not going to like this one." With regret, but without hesitation, she wraps herself in the fading darkness of her soul, raises her right arm and bites down on her wrist, hard, until she tastes blood. Spitting it to the ground, she cries out dark words of power, and the blood moves.

Writhing, separating, three spheres of red liquid rise from the ground, and as Illyana grins through bloody teeth, they merge with the bloodstones in the medallion Dani holds. "I'm never going to forgive you for this." Illyana says, sadly, and then she begins to change.

Her eyes glow gold, as her mouth fills with fangs and curling rams' horns rise from her brow. She grows taller, stronger, her legs joined differently now, hooves replacing her feet. A spade tipped tail lashes behind her, and the Darkchilde grins at Dani. "Try to bargain with me now." It says, in a voice that's no longer truly human.

A pentagram of red, angry flame bursts into life around the Darkchilde, as if to cast Dani-Bear aside. Turning, she looks to Scott, and the nothingness that separates them. Hooking her taloned fingers in the empty air, she TEARS.


The thing that was once Dani watches Illyana. She can see the tragedy within the other woman, that stagger-step backwards, the almost fall.

The momentary joy when demon is replaced with human.

All of it.

And when Illyana chooses to break the hold Dani has upon the Medallion, the black-haired woman smiles.

"Forgiveness is for the weak." Dani states simply, as she watches the demoness reassert control over herself, her magic and the scenario that's currently playing out between all three here.

So held against their will.

When the pentagram of red flares to life Dani takes a single step away, backwards from the woman. Her form dissipates within the dark shadows that always linger near the cowled woman.

Illyana's talons rip easily through the barrier that separates her from Scott and when that occurs the vision before both shift. Gone is the school, the fire, the dead bodies, gone is the winged-horse and smoke that rises into the air. All that remains is a shifting mass of shadows. A world devoid of light beyond what Illyana makes with her own magics.

And while Danielle Moonstar is no longer seen, her voice can be heard, as it reverbs outward from the darkness that sits all around. "Choices." States the disembodied voice, "We all have to make them and then we must contend with the consequences they bring. Once your soul was sundered against your will - when you were too weak to fight back, but now, this very moment, you made a choice."

"You chose to be the monster that is seen this moment. The blackness that resides in you willingly taken back up. Ask yourself - was it truly to save yourself and Scott, or was it something else. Think on that, Child of Darkness, and remember."

"Now. Leave."


Vision impaired Scott is relying upon the rest of his senses. No nightmare of a horse is stamping the life out of him right now and the voices of Evil Dani and Darkchilde are audible now, not just through comms that barrier broken and allowing the ability to hear once more. He forces himself to venture eyes open and faces away from them, the ruby quartz working and he realizes his mind is now free of it's outside influence.

Now Scott's senses are joined by familiar crimson hued sight and he is staring openly at what was/is Illyana. A curl of his lips as if he about to speak but only a grimace happens, no words. Remaining solid even as Moonstar begins her dialogue.

"Illyana." Scott does finally speak making sure to clearly use her name. "We need to leave here. Not of her will now but ours. Can you take us home?"


The Darkchilde feels reality, or what passes for it in this shadow-realm, give way beneath her claws. Her will against the bear's, and hers is the stronger. As it should be. She stalks through the tear, into the shadows and darkness, and with a contemptuous flick of her fingers a ball of ever-burning flame appears at her shoulder, to light the space around her.

Not that she needs it, to find what she's looking for. To find /who/ she's looking for. She can taste his soul. A long, forked tongue flickers out to run across razor-tipped teeth and then vanishes back inside her maw. Her head turns unerringly toward Scott and she takes a single stride toward him before the voice of Dani Moonstar is heard, seemingly all around her. She raises her head like a predator seeking prey. "I'll remember." She says, making it a promise. "You should, too. And regret it." Her tone's turned dark and ugly by the end, but she stiffens as another voice calls a name.

Her name?

The Darkchilde's fangs grind against one another for a moment as something like sanity reasserts itself. "Yes." She says, although she's not sure if she's confirming her name or answering Scott's question. She reaches out a hand and grabs Scott's arm. "Don't let go." She tells him, in a pale echo of her usual irreverence, and grins terribly.

There's a blaze of silver-white light, and a portal swallows them. Last time she was here, she couldn't use a portal to escape. This time, she left an anchor back in the real world. A piece of her soul, still right where she left it.

When the light fades, Illyana can be seen, arrayed in silver armour but fully human once more, with one hand clamped around the hilt of the Soulsword, still embedded in the floor of the Institute. She stares at it for a long, frozen moment, breathing hard, then raises her head to look at Scott. "Home sweet home?" She asks, and the question is clear in her voice.

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