Do Not Eat The Humans

January 26, 2018:

Blondes in mini-skirts, living tombs and cigar smoking devils is probably a testing point for Scott.

Demonic Limbo

Illyana's part of Limbo known as Othersplace or Demonic Limbo; even as stable as it is, is a bit schizophrenic. The landscape is oddly mutable. Specific landscape features - rocks, boulders, flora, fauna, hills, and so on - tend to sneak off when they're not being watched. The best one can do most of the time is describe the general character of the area you find yourself in and these tend toward one of two extremes.

In many places Illyana's Limbo is a blasted wasteland often (though not uniformly) composed of brown-red rock, parched soil and a very unhealthy looking plants where any can be seen at all. It's the kind of landscape you imagine was been fed a steady diet of bile, hate and neglect for ages on end. On the other extreme, portions of Limbo are almost idyllic primal wilderness replete with soft grasses, tall trees, unearthly flowers and clear babbling watercourses. The divide between the two is often so stark as to be jarring, a line running down across the landscape as if drawn with a straightedge in many places.

Only two features remain constant anywhere in Demonic Limbo. One is the looming citadel in the center, visible from pretty much everywhere. The other is the infernal inhabitants. The closer one gets to the citadel, the more stable one finds both of these.

Characters

NPCs: S'ym, various demons and deceased alternate universe X-Men

Mentions: Moonstar, Scion, Colossus

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

There is a lot of trust exchanged currently between the younger Rasputin and the eldest Summers. Witnessing the Darkchylde firsthand has put Scott in a situation where he's had to shove aside better judgement and open his mind to a whole new genre of what his peers are capable of and might possibly have attached to them. Dani Moonstar's engagement with the Demon Bear a glaring revelation, obviously.

It's a simple text, Scott's used to using the apps as an easy means of communication with some. Just a 'we need to talk, I'm in the garage' was thrown out at Magik.

Scott Summers is currently where he directed, inside the garage with the hangar bay doors wide open, cold air funneling through with flakes of white drifting back and forth. It's chilly but not unbearable. A lot of expenses goes to Xavier's electric bill.

Full regalia of deep blue and yellow X, the cowl drawn back to settle on his shoulders his visor and face visible, dark hair a mess thats not yet combed, routine diagnostics and inventory run being done on the Blackbird. It takes hours when at it alone, lately Piotr has been the one to help him with it, thankfully.


Illyana's phone buzzes, is pulled out and consulted, and then stuffed back in a pocket. Replying would take longer than just turning up, which is what Illyana duly does, walking into the garage within seconds of Scott's summons. There's no sign of a portal but it's likely she cheated to arrive in the corridor right outside.

Unlike Scott, Illyana isn't dressed for business. In fact her look is a bit more conservative than usual, although still all black: A close-fitting sweater, a short denim skirt, tights and, in deference to the unending winter, a pair of thick boots.

Making her way around the big black jet to join the X-Men's leader, Illyana smirks and sketches an ironic salute by way of greeting. "Hi Scott. What can I do for you?"


"Well… " Scott starts out, an exhale and he looks up at the large Shi'ar/Earth tech-hybrid of a ship, "You can take me on a trip." He informs. Gloved hand tapping the vessels hull before hes walking towads Illyana.

"Limbo, I've avoided it as much as I can but you're here, you're a part of this team and you have a rather mysterious arsenal of resources at your disposal, one I know next to nothing about. I'd like to get a full on perspective of it and, see, if you're willing as I believe you are where we can't utilize it as a back up plan." Contingency… a very important word.

"Plus, we're escorting ours through it, not that I don' thave faith in your abilities but I want to doublecheck our routes, make sure everything is going to be okay and secure."


Illyana's gaze follows Scott's hand as he reaches up to give the Blackbird a pat as he mentions a trip. She amuses herself with the notion that he's actually willing to be a passenger while she flies an aircraft, even though she doesn't believe it for a moment.

The blonde Russian doesn't give ground as Scott approaches, though she does shift her weight to one hip and stuffs her hands in the back pockets of her skirt. She nods when he offers clarification, a flicker in her blue eyes that might be mild surprise that he wants another visit, and might even betray that she's a little impressed that he's asking. There's also more than a hint of curiosity when he mentions his plans for her private hell dimension.

None of that comes through in her voice when she answers, after a barely noticeable hesitation. "Sure." She says casually. "I haven't had time to clean up, so you'll just have to take it as it comes." There's a slightly mischievous tone when she says that, and then a circle of light forms on the floor around both herself and Scott and spirits them away.

Where it deposits them is somewhere very different than where they left. It's a lot warmer, for a start, and it's open to the sky. Well. A sky, because the burnt orange colour doesn't look much like Earth's atmosphere. Despite that, the air is breathable. Underfoot is a wide, square expanse of worn flagstones, many cracked and uneven, surrounded by stone walls. It's one of the lesser courtyards in Illyana's citadel, but what's perhaps most noticeable is the cage of faintly glowing silver bars in the center of it, enclosing a pair of silver-white portals. It's the transfer point in Limbo between the X-Men's headquarters and Carrion Cove on Genosha.

And this time, Illyana and Scott are standing outside the protective cage.

A stone slab, only a couple of feet high, has been set up outside the cage. Most of the sigils scratched into it make the eyes or the brain hurt to look at them, but the final row reads "DO NOT EAT THE HUMANS".

Illyana looks around, as if to make sure everything's how she left it. "Secure enough?" She asks lightly.


"I remember Bobby's room when we were younger, a mess is no… " The light formation has Scott bracing himself for the teleportation and the spike to senses of 'one-place-to-the-next' in an instant, the next place not at all Earth any longer, the coloration immediately altering the hues of his visor and adapting them, it's not a first time seeing it for him so the initial intake isn't as long a requirement.

Several breaths can be counted before Scott nods his head, his barings acquired it would appear, "Okay. That cage does keep the locals out? No problems with it yet?" As if studying the integrety of it he's walking over to touch the construct. Likely wrapped in all kinds of 'magic' he doesn't understand or she had some army of demons just craft it, really his mind swims at the possibilities enough so he to decide he doesn't have the imagination to fathom it.


The courtyard was empty when Illyana and Scott arrived. It doesn't stay that way for long. In the darkness of one of the archways leading deeper into the citadel, eyes appear, catching the anaemic daylight of limbo and glittering, though the physical form of whatever owns those eyes remains hidden in the shadows. With a scraping of claws on stone, a handful of imps alight atop one of the walls, peering curiously at the figures below.

Illyana ignores them all, extracting her hands from her pockets and strolling after Scott as he moves to inspect the cage. His question makes her smile. "It keeps the locals out." She confirms. "And there won't be any problems with it as long as I rule Limbo." She's fairly sure that Scott doesn't understand quite the degree of control she has over this realm, but she's willing to make allowances.

A shadow falls across the courtyard as something large and vaguely reptilian flaps ponderously across the sky overhead, before lazily turning away. In the sudden dimness Illyana's blue eyes seem unnaturally bright. "So what did you have in mind for my home, Scott?"


"Good… " Scott murmurs. He is aware of the attention being given them, perhaps why he's quietly talking under his breath in a string of words she won't hear without ears like Kurt or Hank.

"As long as? Thats not an electorial thing that could be passed off at any point these… locals decide they want someone, new, right?"

The cage doesn't have his interest anymore, he's looking at her and then the arrivals, "Am I that transparent?" Scott questions, "I suppose I am."

It's a rake of his fingers through his hair that brings pause first, it's longer than he usually has it, messy enough to fall over some of his visor, a haircut is due when time allows, "Haven. A safe haven. We're at that point again, we can't keep everyone safe and the Demon Bear has proven that, HYDRA years ago made is amplify our security, we considered other options, I have been for years… Limbo, well, it's on the list of possibles now but I have to know more, have to see more and you, you have to be willing, it is your home. I am not just trying to lay claim or take liberties… pissing you or your brother off are not in my 'to-do' list."


As Scott talks, a few more demons appear to watch with interest. Most are small, like the imps, but one or two are larger and appear more intelligent. The looks they direct toward Scott are intensely curious. The glances they steal toward Illyana are fearful. None step foot, hoof or claw onto the stones of the courtyard.

Scott's line of questioning remains to Illyana's liking, for where she was smiling before, now she grins and shakes her head. "Limbo's not a democracy. I wasn't voted in." Her tone becomes a bit more serious. "There are plenty of beings here who'd like to rule in hell. But they'd have to take it from me, and they still remember me taking it from the last guy." Illyana's skating close to topics she doesn't tend to share, but she's at least trying to keep her end of the bargain with Scott.

She doesn't answer Scott's question about being transparent. Not verbally. But she does cross her arms and tilt her head to one side, suggesting that she really doesn't need to.

Scott's idea, when it comes, seems to banish Illyana's air of amusement, and she frowns. "You're going to have to work harder than that to piss me off." Illyana says, in an echo of her earlier tone, then drops the attempt. "Limbo isn't exactly safe." Illyana feels compelled to point out. "Everything here would happily kill you, eat you, or worse. Nothing can get in there…" Illyana gestures toward the cage. "…because I won't let it. But if someone opened the door from the inside, or one of the students stuck an arm out to bait a demon…" Illyana shakes her head, turning and taking a few steps away from the cage. She stands pensively for a few seconds, then looks back at Scott.

"You wanted to see more?" She says, and another disc of light swallows them.
This time when they reappear, it's on a star-shaped balcony projecting from the wall of the citadel, high above the wilds of Limbo, and they're alone once more. Illyana boosts herself up to sit on the parapet facing Scott. "There are things I can do, to make it safer. Not safe. But safer. And you need to know… staying here for too long isn't always healthy." She keeps her eyes on his visor. "What do you want to see?"


"Give me time. I'm only setting the groundwork in pissing people off." Scott says, the demons are one by one looked at, so many, so different, it is likely impossible to document them unless you're Illyana or her 'officers', maybe even then.

A least the man has the benefit of his visor, eye contact tends to go one way for him but with these, can they see past the ruby lens? Feels like it with some.

"You frighten me more and more, does this make you some sort of tyrannical Hell Queen?" It's a guess, a shot in the dark and a joke on his part.

"Yeah, show me more." Words barely leaving his mouth and they're elsewhere, the balcony, his hands grasping the rails to steady the momentary disorientation, "Safer, thats ideal." It takes him a second, he's not looking at her just yet, around her, at the surroundings before meeting the look, "Not healthy prolonged beyond ending up demon-chow? I imagine there could be some adverse psychological and emotional impact as well, this isn't Earth, that holds it's own implications.. or do you mean something more?"


"To answer your question." Illyana says, conversationally, while Scott regains his balance. "Yes." She flashes him a quick grin, but it doesn't quite reach her eyes this time. "Queen, ruler…" The grin broadens a little more. "Goddess, take your pick."

Once Scott's steady again, Illyana slips down from the parapet and turns around, leaning her arms on it as she looks out over her domain. "I mean something more. You're thinking about this place like its… another planet, with aliens that look like something out of our nightmares. It's not. I'm not the devil." She glances back at him with that impish smirk of hers. "But this place doesn't just look like hell. If you let it, if you stay here long enough, Limbo will take a piece of you, and you'll take a piece of it when you leave."

Illyana looks out over the wilds once more, thoughtfully, before speaking again. "I can create somewhere and ward it. Make it safe enough. If you want me to." Illyana abruptly straightens and walks inside, into the gloom. "But there's something you should see first." As she vanishes into shadow, torches flare into life, lighting a huge, stone chamber with a vaulted ceiling and a large throne at one end. Illyana doesn't make for it, instead stopping once more and seeming to stare into the distance. Finally she grimaces as she comes to a decision, and apparently it's not one she likes the taste of. She pivots and walks over to a large, raised pool of liquid that probably isn't water, looking back over her shoulder when she reaches the edge. "I owe someone else a secret." She tells him, sounding disgusted, and reaches down to brush her fingers against the surface of the pool.

Whatever she sees seems to make her smile, just a little, before she straightens up again. With a wave of her hand, a portal flares into existence, but this time it doesn't sweep Illyana and Scott away. This time it brings someone to them.


"Goddess, huh?" Not at all as humble as Storm. Scott cannot help a smile though, faint of course. Limbo atmosphere is serious, a pressure, a tense that has him standing taller and speaking with his business tone.

"No means to counter that or protect against it?" The thought makes him wonder if hes lost anything to it, "Exposure effects take how long to settle in and start to show?" Logic application, some concern to note.

As Illyana speaks on of safe enough and warding he nods, some of his questions answered, "I wonder though, if our definition of safe is in the same ballpark." Very unlikely.

Hesitant Scott follows after Magik, no questions and not even a groan of 'what next' just a quiet observation and trail after. At best his mouth opens then clamps shut, jaw tight. Awaiting the unknown. At least Limbo and conversations with it's Queen keep him nicely drawn. A very minor carb burn for later workouts to leap off of.


Today is laundry day. It's the one day of the week that one Rachel Summers takes to clean every bit of clothing she has. Every bit. It leaves her, thus, in a pair of hole ridden sweat pants and an over sized t-shirt who's logo has long since faded into nothing more than a reminder of what it once was. Well loved, and from the looks a one time shirt gained from a Lila Cheney concert, it hangs well past her hips, several sizes too big for the red-head. Shoes do not grace her feet, instead, she wears a pair of fuzzy socks.

As the stepping disc suddenly appears beneath her, Rachel's first thought is fairly mild. "What the…" Thankfully, she was not putting away any unmentionables, and instead in her hand is a towel. Thankfully though, Rachel does have her towel with her, for in truth, when you adventure anywhere, it is best to have your towel with you.

Slinging the towel over her shoulder, Rachel turns, expecting to find just Illyana there, in fact, her voice echoes out, "You could have at least let me ch.." And then her gaze falls on Scott, and the words are literally choked out, ending up sounding a bit like. "Ch*gurgle*, gasp.." And followed by a round of coughing, which Rachel at least has the presence of mind to cover her mouth with her towel to avoid spraying anyone with spittle.


The problem with Scott's questions isn't that they aren't relevant or important, because they're both. The problem is with reducing the effects of Limbo upon the human soul to a scientific certainty. That's why she doesn't answer directly, at least not yet. She needs to show and not tell.

Scott does get a swift, amused glance when he suggests their definitions of safety differ. Illyana was worried he wasn't learning, but he is.

As the light from the stepping disc she just used to Shanghai Rachel fades, revealing the redhead in all her glory, Illyana can't help but smirk despite the dark turn she knows her little tour of Limbo is about to take. Compared to Cyclops in his uniform, her outfit of black sweater, skirt and boots is distinctly casual, but it's not a patch on Rachel's. "Yep. I could." Illyana confirms, putting on a bright tone. "But where would be the fun in that?" She even spreads her hands to her sides for effect, as if she's looking for Scott's support. They drop to her sides when Rachel begins to choke. "Breathe, Ray. He's not going to put you on report for being improperly dressed." Illyana pauses, shrugs, and adds, "Probably."

Taking a step back and turning so that she can face both members of the Summers family, the mask of levity drops from Illyana's face as if it was never there. "I need to show you both something you're not going to enjoy seeing. Scott, you need to know and Ray…" Illyana looks toward the redhead and holds her gaze for a second before continuing. "I think I owe you a secret." Or two, or three, her conscience tells her, and Illyana resolves not to listen to it.

"Anyone want to back out?"


"The fun? The fun in that is not having to explain to fellow members of our team why they're sprouting tails, hooves or suddenly craving unbaptized children with their eggs and coffee in the morni… " Maybe a tad overdramatic there and his response to the young demoness is cut off by the appearance of Rachel, the red visor tips to the side politely, having ceased seeing anything beyond his alter-daughter and the Lila Cheney shirt, "Some warning next time, Illyana."

Flat and casual tone, he tips his gaze back, leveled on Rachel's face, "Hey, kiddo… uh Ray. Apparently you're joining us for Illyana's show and tell time." There isn't much humor in there but he also isn't being cross.

"No backing out. Carry on, please. We're full disclosure here and I did ask to see everything you are willing to share." Piqued curiosity of course and never one to back down from the unknown. A Hitchhiker's Guide somewhere in his train of thought overlooked for leader-mode.


The death glare that is offered towards Illyana is, perhaps, one of the best Rachel has ever offered. Eyes of emerald narrowed, mouth twisted down, piercing daggers sent towards the blonde with an intensity that could rival any red-head in existence. Composing herself, Rachel tries her best to make a bad situation, err… okay. Her powers of telekinesis and the fine minute detail she has access to comes in handy in such events. Her form is swiftly covered in a bright red glow, and after the glow fades, she's dressed in costume, at least up and to her feet, which still possess the fuzzy socks. Rachel can only do so much with what she has, and she doesn't have a lot to work with here.

"You could at least get me my boots, Yana." Rachel finally states, her voice calm and collected. Turning to face Scott, Rachel offers a wry. "Didn't expect to see you here, ..Scott." And yes, she does pause over the entire name thing, still, because Rachel, at heart, is still that little girl seeking and desiring to call Scott 'dad'. It's pitiful, but Rachel.

When everything gets 'down to business', Rachel simply doesn't have time to be awkward in front of her 'father'. Her left brow idly arches upwards, confusion written in her gaze. What the hell is going on here? Show and tell? Deeming this not the time for questions, given the seriousness of Illyana's comment, Rachel simply inclines her head. "Lead on, Illyana."


But where would be the fun in that? Illyana could almost reply to Scott, again, when he asks for warning in future, but she doesn't. She's finding herself less inclined to lighten the mood, the closer she gets to what she's chosen to reveal.

She's about to discover whether opening up - letting these two have a glimpse of the truth - was one of her worse mistakes.

With that on her mind, Rachel's death glare is sadly wasted. It deserves either the look of hurt, angelic innocence that would suit Illyana's outward appearance, or the guiltless grin that would fit the devil that lives inside. She gets neither, just holds the glare. She needs Rachel here and that's all there is to it. She only cracks a smile when Ray pulls her incomplete change, and complains about it.

"Fine." Illyana says, glancing at Ray's feet with a smirk. "Pretty sure S'ym will like the outfit either way." She adds, even as a small stepping disc delivers the redhead's boots, one of which flops over onto its side from the disturbance.

Once the awkward Summers reunion has run its course and neither one chooses the easy way out, Illyana nods, a hint of resignation in the movement. "You did." Illyana addresses Scott. "You might want to remember that. Follow me."

The demoness turns and walks through an archway that might not have been there a moment before. She leads them through twisting corridors and down winding stairs, the stonework becoming dustier and rougher, the torches that spontaneously ignite spaced further apart. Chittering things flee into the darkness as they pass, or watch sullenly from gaps between the stones of the walls. Finally, Illyana's pace slackens, and she steps aside, gesturing for the others to continue around a curve in the passageway.

Beyond the curve, a skeleton lies sprawled in the dust. A skeleton that gleams in the flickering light, as if it were made of metal and not bone. A skeleton with claws. And beyond the skeleton, embedded in the wall, the organic steel form of a very, very dead Piotr Rasputin, his chest torn open.

"The X-Men came here before." Illyana says from the darkness behind them, her voice hollow. "I couldn't protect them then. I can try again. But you needed to see what happens if I fail."


Scott's aware the awkwardness involved around his 'kids', it's replayed each and everytime they bump in to one another after some time, Nate he's grown more used to than Rachel but theres not that same sense of warmth possessed there.
"Likewise, it's not a bad thing though." A spike of optimism and a gloved hand reaches over to give her forearm a squeeze before falling away and he begins to fall in step behind Illyana again.

"S'ym, you keep bringing him up towards my daughter. Do I have to ask or is this just you being… you." There is some protective paternal showing up, it slips, it does that from time to time. "Then again, dating Peter, right?" Thats a question / accusation out of the blue and fired over his shoulder, not looking back.

It's absolute and utter silence that falls upon Scott once they enter that corridor, that unliving monument, he recognizes Wolverine's corpse, Colossus osmium bones… This is akin to what he was shown by Dani, only it wasn't done by his own hand this time.

Swallowing his broad shoulders square off visibly, a hand reaching out to touch the wall beside her brothers embedded form, just shy of the ribcage.

Still not talking. Absorbing, compartmentalizing…


An epic eyeroll is given to Illyana about S'ym, as Rachel struggles with her boots, standing on one foot, and then the other to put them on. She could do this the easy way, but she's about as befuddled as one can get right now. The gloved hand to her forearm is quite appreciated, as Rachel finishes with her boots and offers Scott a smile that is - genuine and almost carefree. It's just not really the time for it.

Silent, for the most part, Rachel draws through the maze of corridors that Illyana leads them through. About to respond to Scott that Illyana is being just Illyana, Rachel instead has to quickly fix that particular misconception about her and Peter. "Actually, Dad, Piotr and I are just good friends." Really there isn't anything else to say about that, the date was - awkward, and the two both agreed that it's far more a 'just friends' thing, then anything else.

Of course, all that fades when Rachel's gaze falls onto the two dead X-Men. Her eyes travel towards Illyana, then, Rachel knows enough about Illyana to know - this couldn't be easy to reveal. A failure to save the X-Men, and from her tone, something that she's kept inside for a long time now. In all, though, Rachel's seen enough death, she's watched Piotr get blown into nothing, she's been the reason her family died. She gets it. Just on impulse, more than anything else, Rachel's hand reaches outwards and falls onto Illyana's shoulder, offering /her/ a brief squeeze. A kind of 'hey, I get it'.

Letting her hand swiftly fall afterwards, Rachel's expression is - dark. "They failed, not you, Illyana. Whatever dimension, or time, or whatever they were from, this world was new, and you're not alone in any fight."


An opportunity to tease Rachel, and my extension Scott, about S'ym's alleged interest in the redhead? Surely Illyana can't let that pass. And yet, she stays silent. Scott, providing an opening to tease Rachel about her date-not-date with Piotr? When Illyana could fake outrage, and ask what's wrong with him, or guilt-trip Rachel with entirely invented stories of her broken-hearted brother? How can Illyana resist? And yet, she does.

Illyana doesn't even look back at the duo following her, all the way to the X-Men's makeshift crypt.

The demon sorceress doesn't approach the bodies more closely, even as Scott reaches out toward the corpse that both is and is not her brother. It's only when Rachel reaches out to her that she moves, and for Illyana, who always presents a facade of unconcern, the movement is perhaps unexpected.

When the hand arrives on her shoulder, she flinches and goes utterly still, as motionless as her dead brother. She doesn't turn to look at Rachel when the other woman speaks, continues staring straight ahead. Finally she says. "This isn't the worst of it. Do you want to see?" Her voice is controlled and carefully neutral.


"Thats fine." Scott says quietly, "Either way you couldn't go wrong. He's a great man." He's not looking at either of them, just on the side of numb sounding.

/They failed/ has Cyclops a touch angry at first but that bleeds off near as quick as it struck home. A kneejerk at 'pride' and his loved ones thats not intended and misdirected, he is cool headed enough to know thats Rachel isn't intending harm on memories, no, shes encouraging Illyana and cut of a different clothe than the typical modern day 'Xer' of this reality and time.

The glove leaves the wall and Scott turns around, a stony mask worn, "Might as well, I mean, yeah, show us, Illyana. You're not going to carry this burden alone. We're… family." A glance cast to Rachel, he waits for her to proceed. He can't help feeling the spread of cold emotion, something he is embracing to steel himself for what lies beyond. That safe and honed place in his mind, poured in to where all emotion goes when it starts to become too much. It's an effective tactic for Scott, he's got great nerves and an impressive amount of self-discipline.


Sorry Scott, Rachel feels that touch of anger - as fleeting as it may be. She masks the disappointment in herself with her own calm reserve. The truth is, Rachel does view it as their failure. She has to, the other way around is far too devastating for someone who's been through it - just as Illyana has. Ray's calm reserve remains on her features, as the red-head falls silent then, letting Scott talk, and Illyana answer.

Really, Rachel would much rather simply state, 'to what end? Why continue? To shock us? Not happening. To show your own failure? Give me a break.' All of these Rachel would love to offer, but she is not the one seeking information about Limbo and to an extension, Illyana. Rachel said her peace, and she'll go along - quietly now.

Rachel's jaw tightens, eyes growing cold and unresponsive. Whatever is 'worse' - has to be bad, given Illyana just showed the remains of /Colossus/, Illyana's -brother-. The only question that begs to be asked right now, is if Illyana is the queen of her domain, why the hell is she keeping this depressing shit around still? A reminder? A crypt? And here Rachel thought herself a wrecked mess about keeping hold of the past. Jesus Illyana. As a side note, Rachel said nothing, did nothing, and simply stands there, arms at her side.


Illyana finally breaks from her statue-like immobility, head turning to look Scott in the visor again when he makes his choice. "You asked for it." She tells him, her lips twisting into a smile that's anything but genuine. She's not surprised that Rachel doesn't speak again, and takes her silence for acquiescence.

Light flares, in the dimness of the catacombs beneath the citadel, and the three of them are returned to the throne room. Or at least, that's how it seems at first glance. At second, the room is subtly different, the architecture more twisted and unsettling, screaming demonic faces in the stonework, smoky braziers rather than torches lighting the area now.

Limbo reflects its master. And when what they're about to see took place, Limbo's master wasn't Illyana.

"They were the lucky ones. They were already dead." Illyana says quietly, almost to herself, as figures materialise from the shadows. A corrupted, demonic caricature of Nightcrawler, a sword in each hand and one in his tail, facing off against a Shadowcat whose eyes are those of a great predatory cat, and who moves like one too. And in the background, Illyana herself.

Not more than nine years old.

The fight is swift and brutal, and ends when 'Kitty' phases 'Kurt's' ankle into the floor, and then stabs him through the back. The combatants fade, and then the room returns to its prior appearance.

"You see?" Illyana asks, "Limbo taints even the best of us, if you give it half a chance."


"Hang back if you need to, Ray. It is all right, shes keeping this around for a reason… " A morbid memorial, a reminder, self-torment, could be any or all of the above but, seeing it is something hes prepared himself for.

"I see." Scott replies with a hoarse croak, "You watched this?" It's not at Kitty and Kurt that he has a moment, it's seeing the young girl. The mirrored Illyana. The man actually walking over to kneel down where she was as if he was about to give her a hug but he doesn't, his knuckles just grinding at the flooring where she stood. The man's got a soft spot for children, if anything can make him lose his cool it's the plight of the young and defenseless. Hard as it is to imagine either of those two with him ever being such, "Illyana, Rachel might be right. If you're keeping this around to torture youself… it might be time to consider a change. If it helps you by showing us more… do it."
Initially the man came here with his usual intentions, strategy, combat plans, contingency options, an analysis of their potential resources. It has definitely turned in to something else


As Illyana makes her 'threat', Rachel's expression and silence carries on. Though she can't help but once again arch a single brow upwards, before drawing back into neutral state. Dramatic much?

The different throne room is given a once over, as Rachel adjusts to the differences. This is not Illyana's throne room, and the decor is quite rediculous and over the top. Illyana has a finer balance of horror versus decor, and this room shows someone is trying to over come something. (In Rachel's opinion.)

Scott's words does cause a slight from Rachel. She's not sure whether to smile at the fatherly attitude, or wonder if it's just Scott being the fabulous leader that she knows him to be. Regardless, she does appreciate that, "Thank you."

The scene is played out, and Rachel blanches a great deal at the sight. Kurt. Kitty. Brutal. A test? Some kind of test, some kind of gladitorial thing, or maybe, just something to cause the young Illyana pain. Regardless, Rachel's stomach churns at this. She knew Illyana had it bad, but to watch those she cared about become corrupted shells of their former selves? Killing each other? Christ.

Rachel's gaze flickers about the room, looking for their keeper, the one that caused this. When that 'thing' isn't immediately seen, Rachel takes in a deep breath and lets it out slowly, "Is it Limbo, or is it the one that is in control that creates the corruption?" Remember, this is Rachel, former hound, she was not in control of herself, and her world was hell. How different is it for Illyana?


Illyana doesn't give any impression of having heard Scott's offer to let Rachel off the hook. She certainly doesn't leave her behind. If she knows the redhead at all, she knows she won't back out now.

"I watched it and I couldn't stop it." Illyana confirms. Her voice isn't hoarse, it's level. Her expression is carefully neutral. Everything about her is controlled, right at this moment. Some animation only returns when Scott suggests she might want to show them more. For a moment, Illyana's eyes widen, a flash of something dangerously close to fear visible in them for a split second - and then she snorts and shakes her head, and suddenly she's the Illyana they're used to again.

"No thanks. I showed you this much so you'd know the risks of using this place as a bolthole, not because I wanted you to see it." Her words are offhand, almost dismissive - and if she was telling the truth she'd never have involved Rachel.

Whose question makes Illyana smile, a bitter edge to the expression. "You'd have to ask a philosopher or a theologian." Her smile widens to show teeth. "If either of them would survive a trip to this place. Besides, Limbo's already in me. It belongs to me, and I belong to it." She looks back toward Scott. "Seen enough?"


Scott hears Rachel's remark about who or what inspires the corruption, it's added to his list of possible concerns already.

A huff and he stands to his impressive long-limbed height, "I'm sorry you had to go through all of this. We won't allow that again, not alone." A low exhale, a motion of his uniform sheathed hand back the way they came or where he believes that to be, "If you insist, Illyana."

"I'd like more details in the near future but for now this, this is plenty enough."

"We're done then. Lets go to someplace more… colorful." Less horrid, less mind-breaking and depressing.


"You're considering using Limbo as a safe haven?" Rachel's voice holds a note of understanding now. So /this/ is what this is all about. Well, that clears up a lot of things in Rachel's head. She'd be the first to offer her opinion of that. One being, it'd have to be a very temporary safe haven, and two, Illyana would have to ward it up really really good.

"Which is why I'm asking." Rachel offers soon after Illyana's comment on Limbo being a part of her. "I can't pretend to understand all this, but what I do know - whether or not you like it, I do trust you, Illyana." And Rachel doesn't have any doubts in her mind, her tone, or her expression. As Scott states going elsewhere? Rachel's agreeing quickly. "But Dad's right, going somewhere else is good. Besides, I need to finish laundry." Which Illyana owes Rachel a well used and loved Lila Cheney t-shirt now. Seriously. Well loved. The sweat pants are okay to be parted with.


A number of less than helpful responses race through Illyana's mind when Scott makes his well-intentioned promise. It's not your choice, she doesn't say. You couldn't help me if you wanted to, she doesn't say either. You'd die too, again it doesn't pass her lips. It's all true, but not an argument she wants to have right now.

Instead, she just offers a nod of her head, and then smiles faintly, a flicker of surprise in her eyes when he speaks again. That he wants to come back, after what he saw on this trip.

And as for Rachel? Illyana's lips twist into a smirk. "Then you're a terrible judge of character." Illyana tells the redhead tartly, before summoning a pair of stepping discs to whisk the two back to where she found them. She waits until the circles of silver-white light have formed around their feet before she adds, "I'll catch up later."

And then she's alone. "That could have gone worse." She says, under her breath, but she's not sure she believes it. She sighs, and raises her voice. "You can come out now, S'ym."

The hulking purple demon moves out from the shadows of her throne, seeming to expand as he does so. "Didn't tell them how Cat and Ororo died, boss babe." He rumbles. "S'ym remembers." He grins at her around his ever-present cigar.

"I remember, too." Illyana tells him, eyes narrowing. "And unless you want me here all the time, watching you, they will never find out." Her words are hard, and S'ym grumbles but subsides.

Illyana walks toward her throne and gets as far as resting a hand on one of it's blocky stone arms, then hesitates and turns away. "Don't follow me, S'ym." She warns the demon, and stalks back into the catacombs, back to where the remains of the X-Men lie.

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