You Shall Not Pass

January 27, 2018:

While the majority of the heroes took on the Demon Bear, Dani sent Illyana and Rachel off on a separate mission. This is what they got up to.

Westchester County, New York


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Colossus

Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

(OOC note: This is being posted very late and only for the sake of completeness. The scene was never truly finished.)

The battle against the Bear has begun. Almost all who fight against the Bear can be found upon Earth.

Except for two.

Illyana and Rachel were given another mission. To protect the dimensional walls between realms. Dani had the worry that this battle could sunder those bands of energy wide - allowing other things to enter.

And her concern was valid.

It starts a mile beyond the main battle, near a forested area in Westchester County. Where old magic from hundreds of years ago lays dormant. Combine that with all the energy being thrown around and that 'surface tension' between realms weakens. Bends. Until finally it snaps.

There's a shiver within the air, a shimmer, and then the snow parts to show a zig-zag of black lightning lancing from the sky to the ground. Greedy fingers of blackness stretch outward from that lightning bolt as a yawning mouth of darkness suddenly erupts from ground to sky.

It's a doorway. A large doorway. And something within it stirs within the pitch blackness that can be seen within it.

Illyana stands within her throne room in Limbo, dressed in an outfit that she deems appropriate for dealing with magical fallout - a long, hooded white cloak, a white tabard-style dress and white boots and gloves, all over a black base layer. Despite her sorcerous appearance, the Soulsword is nowhere to be seen.

That's back on Earth. In the hands of her brother. What she does today, she'll have to do without it.

Illyana's throne room has also undergone a bit of a makeover. Her scrying pool is empty, the silvery liquid that usually resides within it raised into the air, separated and solidified into dozens of mirrored shards, each reflecting an image of a different area of the Earth, each one changing as they focus upon magical emanations from the real world. All but one. The image on one is fixed on Illyana's brother.

A little sentiment from the demoness? Or maybe she's just keeping an eye on her sword.

When all but that shard suddenly reflects a forest in Westchester, Illyana curses fluently in one of the demonic languages of Limbo and looks over her shoulder at her companion. "I hate it when Dani's right. We're up, come on." Turning sharply away from her suspended mirrors, cloak swirling dramatically behind her, Illyana opens a portal and steps quickly through.

Just in time to see that black lightning hit, and the door open. Staring into the darkness, and the hint of movement within, the fingers of Illyana's left hand clench and relax, just once. Dropping to one knee, she presses that hand through the snow to the frozen ground beneath, armour now encasing that arm. "You're not coming in." She mutters, and silver-white fire begins to curve away from her, trying to encircle the ominous doorway.

For the most part, one Rachel Summers is confused, a little annoyed, a little anxious, and all together worried. Why the hell did Dani send them here. Really? To watch for something that only -may- happen? Is it that much of a threat? What the hell kind of threat is this, anyway? More demon bears? God. That would be awful, but then again, would just Illyana and Rachel be able to handle that!?

Rachel's cocky nature screams, well duh of course, yet there is that little voice in the back of her head that also screams, and look how well you handled the magic side of things the last time you got eaten!

Sooooo… the red head is making the spectical of pacing. A lot of pacing. To and fro. Back and forth. Arms crossed. Not crossed. And woe be for any demon that dares get close, for they will find a heated back slap of telekinetic energy surging towards them. Thankfully, given it is Illyana's throne room, the chance of that is …pretty slim?

Dressed in her costume, complete with leather bomber jacket, Rachel's attention is on Illyana and when the mention of hating it when Dani's right comes up? Well, Rachel's only too ready to go kick some ass.

As soon as Illyana emeges, Rachel's about a second behind the blonde, streaking out of the stepping disc to view the area around them, "What's the plan here?" Cause. Ah Magic??

Yes. Magic.

It's not a fun thing to do deal with, but here the two are. The bastions against whatever may come.

The two all alone.

Perhaps an echo of 'You Shall Not Pass' felt in this moment.

The forest around is quiet, the animals within sensing a much larger and scarier predator nearby. It sits within that door way, waiting. Or perhaps watching the world that just opened before it. After all, this beast isn't stupid. It's a thoughtful sort of predator and its cautious.

The white fire that blazes toward the doorway is considered by the beast, but for now not reacted to. As such, Illyana's eldritch ward wraps around the width of the doorway to synch together behind it. A ward, strong and powerful, blazes upward.

It's good work by the Demoness. It sings of containment, a dam against that dark energy.

And while the dimensions are once again sealed (temporarily) by that ward, both Illyana and Rachel will suddenly feel phantom touches. Around an ankle and wrist, but more importantly their faces as well. A handful of nearly invisible strands of silvery-white thread strive to enwrap the two. The touch of that webbing light, barely there, something that's cloying and that doesn't want to be brushed easily aside.

And it's during that potential distraction that the creature on the otherside flexes its muscles. For Illyana the sense of pressure against her ward is suddenly there.

A thousand fists battering against it. Pushing, shoving, until cracks begin to appear. Hair-line fractures that cause crazed lines to zigzag invisibly upon that wall of magical might.

You Shall Not Pass? Illyana's not feeling that dramatic quite yet.

Besides, Gandalf didn't have a powerful telekinetic redhead backing him up. That's where he went wrong. And speaking of that powerful telekinetic redhead…

"The plan's for you to throw whatever comes through that door right back through it." Illyana risks a quick glance, up and back over her shoulder, to shoot a quick grin toward Rachel. "Preferably without letting it eat me while I'm busy slamming that door shut again." Despite her light tone, Illyana's eyes are back on that yawning, black doorway a second later, watching whatever's inside intently. Her eyes narrow as the twin, curving tracks of sorcerous flame pass either side of the portal. If it wants to stop her, it's going to have to strike soon…

Illyana tenses in her crouch, almost like a sprinter awaiting the starting gun, as the flames draw closer, closer… and then merge, burning high and bright as the warding circle is complete. Illyana drops her head, just for a moment, then climbs to her feet. "So far so good." She tells Rachel, as if she hadn't been worried for an instant.

But then she frowns as something touches her, something she can't quite see and yet which feels… wrong. She reaches up a gloved hand, intending to brush whatever the offending touch is away from her face - and that's as far as she gets as the hammer blows slam into her ward. She hisses as the stress on her ward is transferred, painfully, to her, and she's rocked back a step. Stretching her arms wide, she yells out words of forbiddance and feeds more power into her magical construct, striving to keep what's inside from breaking through.

It begins with a tickle as Rachel draws silent again, watching Illyana do her magic, her work. The red head before this, nods in understanding at Illyana's words. Rachel doesn't mind being the tank in this, the one to keep the sorceress safe from anything that might desire to do her harm. Rachel's good at mass destruction.

The tickle is on her skin, against her nose, forcing Rachel to give her nose a good swipe with the back of her hand. The odd tickling sensation doesn't stop, though, it just hangs around, like a hair that you can't find, whisping against her cheek. Again, Rachel's fingers lift upwards brushing the unseen from her face. Thing is, it never gets better, it just gets worse - like a ghostly hand on her ankle, or wrist, where nothing should be able to get past - given Rachel's in a long sleeved costume and thick nearly knee high boots.

This is enough for Rachel to become slightly on edge, a powerful telekinetic bubble leaping to life around herself, one eye igniting to life with the aura of a fiery bird.

It's probably a good thing, as Illyana suddenly reacts to something that is going on with the strange black magic…thing. "It appears to be getting through." She states in her best stating the obvious, Deanna Troi words.

Illyana's words ring out sharply into the air.

They slam into the wards, into the doorway, they try to force the rent in time and space shut. To close the portal that's open. To lock the beast on the other side away. Back and forth that battle wages for Illyana. She has a foothold at first, something sure, firm, but soon enough the rug is slowly pulled from beneath her. Until she teeters upon the edge of a vast gulf -

Then with a stomach dropping lurch the wards break. Shattering. The energy dying away and the doorway free once more.

From the depths the thing moves. A black, insectoid leg, slithers outward first. Just from the leg the two can tell this creature is going to be large. Half-a-second later a second leg joins it. Then a third and fourth and finally the body of the beast slides out.

It's a cross between large black spider and black crab. The body, legs and eyes scream Spider, whereas the front legs, or arms, end in large jagged pincers. Those claws snap at the air with an audible crack of sound and all twelve of its beady eyes focus first upon Illyana, before they move to Ray. It's Ray that sees the first attack -

One large claw lashes outward with a speed that might be surprising, as it tries to snag her within its grip. A bone crushing grip, should she be caught.

And while the beast is free, more tendrils of web continue to drift through. Where they touch they stick and as they sit upon cloth and skin the vaguest sense of tingling begins. Soon that tingle will turn into the burn and bite of venom.

"No kidding." The words are pushed out between gritted teeth, and this time Illyana doesn't dare to glance away from the doorway when she answers Rachel. Whatever's on the other side is fearsomely strong. Maybe stronger than Illyana.

Even as her wards begin to crack, Illyana's calling out words to strengthen them, the silver flame now shot through with black even as it blazes higher. Her outstretched hands seem to catch light, burning now with the same magical fire, and she takes a moment to steel herself.

And then she clenches her fists, and crosses her arms in front of her. Her fiery ward rushes inwards, slamming into the edges of that dark doorway, striving to push it in on itself - and right out of existence. For the briefest instant, Illyana thinks she feels the doorway buckle under the pressure - but then the inward movement ceases and slowly, inexorably, the doorway pushes back.

Her wards shatter, and Illyana is flung backwards, right off her feet, slamming into the snow a dozen feet from where she was just standing. For a moment she's stunned, as the gossamer webbing drifts down on her, but the first acid sizzle of pain brings her back to herself. Shining silver armour erupts wherever the webbing touches her, seeking to shield her from it, and Illyana scrambles up to her knees, almost falling again as the world tilts around her. The backlash from her shattered spell hasn't left her yet.

She sees the crab-spider-creature, and all that's forgotten. Her two eyes look into its twelve, and although she's on her knees in the snow it sees only defiance in her gaze. And then it looks away. Illyana's a second slow on the uptake as her eyes suddenly widen. "Ray, don't let…!" But the beast is already striking.

Illyana clenches her fist, her gauntlet glowing with power once more. She'll try and get its attention with an arcane bolt, but after that… she misses her sword. She wants to call it to her hand, and knows she can't.

Already with her telekinetic bubble up, Rachel can only watch transfixed as the battle between Illyana's wards and this unknown dimension continues. Honestly; the red head has no real idea what is going on, it just feels bad. It looks terrible, and sure enough - suddenly the shit hits the proverbial fan.

When Illyana is flung backwards, Rachel's immediately attention is to make sure Illyana is okay, turning about to look towards the flung sorceress. "Do…what?"

As the creature emerges from the black maw of darkness beyond, Rachel's back is to the monster, and Illyana's warning comes a bit too late. Once the crab-spider emerges and lashes forward, the claws are quick, and Rachel's just a little too surprised at the speed and what is transpiring, to react faster. The claws snap about her telekinetic bubble, squeezing in tighter and tighter. As the walls of her bubble move closer together, Rachel snaps out of her astonishment and confusion to finally offer the reaction that she was brought for. "Back off!"

Rather than fight the spider-crab's claw, Rachel slams her telekinetic powers outwards, smashing a powerful blow to the monster's eyes, as many as she can hit with every single bit of power that she has available to her, which is NOT inconsiderable. She might be screaming, but it has nothing to do with the fact she's using her powers so harshly, but more, she really catches sight of what the hell it is she's fighting. "I HATE SPIDERS."

The clack of claws is heard, but a similar, albeit softer sound, soon makes itself heard.

The clickety-click of the animal's mandibles. Click-click-click.

Perhaps that signifies its hunger? Or perhaps its eagerness? Or something else altogether, but whatever the case may be the click-clack of its mouth is likewise heard.

As soon as the claw is 'around' Rachel, the beast squeezes. It can see its not touching the woman and yet it encounters a force of resistance. That only makes the Spider squeeze *harder*.

And even as it squeezes Illyana Rasputin throws that arcane bolt at it. The bolts sizzle against its leathery hide. It's enough to draw the attention momentarily off of Rachel, and in that one second of inattention the red-head strikes.

Like a thousand punches those telekinetic jabs hit at the Spider's soft eyeballs. The stalks each eye sits upon immediately retracts, pulling its eyes close to its body, even as it screeches with hurt. Anger. Pain!

How dare these little creatures attack it.

But Ray's attack works, the thing's claw jerks away as it scuttles (as much as a lumbering beast can) backwards and away.

It only takes milliseconds for it to recover and when it does, each eye opens and splits between looking at Illyana and Ray. The anger (this moment) is all for Ray, however.

A claw lashes out to a tree, a giant oak, and with a *snap* the Beast cuts the tree off at the trunk. Then like an impromptu club, it slams the tree at Rachel.

For Illyana, perhaps she'll see movement back at the portal. What comes through this time is much smaller. Perhaps the size of large dogs, though nothing quite so cute. In fact, it looks like this particular beast is possibly a she, as its babies scuttle outward and onto the snowy battlefield.

As powerful as Illyana knows Rachel is, there might still have been a moment when she wondered if she was about to see the redhead bisected by that huge claw. There might have been a sharply indrawn breath when the claw slammed closed.

There's certainly a vicious grin when first her arcane bolt causes it pain, and then Rachel starts screaming her defiance and goes after the creature's eyes. That's nasty enough to have come out of Illyana's own playbook. The sight of the creature retreating is all she needs to get her back on her feet and advancing on the horror. "That's right." Illyana says, her hand glowing with power once more and an unpleasant light in her eyes. "Do you really want to die here?" She draws back her hand, and then… hesitates.

Illyana looks back towards the portal as the first of the smaller creatures come through. "Oh no." Illyana says, but she's smiling. It's not as much an expression of dismay as might be expected. "You did NOT bring your children here. Where it's not SAFE." The glow around Illyana's hand vanishes, and instead she reaches her arm skyward, fingers spread, summoning a portal to Limbo.

And the sky goes black as a storm of bat-like demons pour through, eyes and maws trailing flame, to fall upon the new arrivals.

There is some satisfaction at the pain that Rachel is inflicting upon the spider-crab, especially as the monster lets go of its grip that was getting frighteningly closer to actually squeezing Rachel, versus her telekinetic bubble.

Now free of its grasp, Rachel whips into the air, the fiery bird around her eye bright and large, nearly consuming half of her face with its brilliant aura. As the monster grabs an enormous tree trunk and slams the tree towards her, Rachel's already in the air, and she's quite prepared for whatever this creature is going to send at her.

As quick as the monster is, Rachel's just a little quicker, flying upwards well out of reach of the impending club. In fact, Rachel's annoyance is quite venomous, herself. She's out of reach of the tree, but that doesn't mean the creature is out of reach of her. Rachel's telekinetic powers draw towards the tree trunk, sending a massive amount of energy towards the center of the tree - her intent? To splinter that bark outwards into a million different pieces of dangerous slivers. She, also, sends a quick bubble about Illyana as precaution. No sense in making Illyana a voodoo doll full of bark as well.

It did bring its babies here to this world.

The little beasts scuttle to and fro, their own eyes searching for any tidbits of food. After all, that’s what parents do? They protect and feed their offspring, before shoving them so brutally out the nest.

And this nest proves brutal. Those demon-fiery-bats drop from Illyana’s portal and go to the younger beasts. There’s screeches from the babies, but not necessarily screeches of fear. Their hides are just as thick as the mothers and it’s going to take a few minutes for the fire that flicks around them to make it past that thick skin.

As such, the demons and the spiderlings clash. Claws reach up and snap at the flying demons. Some of the wings are snapped off from the bats and once those wings are free from the bodies, the little spiderlings pause to eat their newly acquired meal.

Mandibles click and crunch as they feast on the parts they secure from the attackers.

Of course that doesn’t stop the fire and the bats from finally breaking through a thick hide here and there. That’s enough to cause those injured babies to shrill a loud and ear-splitting sound.

That sound turns the mother around. It turns her around with that large tree trunk still in its claw and when Rachel reaches out with all her power the tree literally explodes. Shivs of wood go flying outward, arcing toward the ground, the air and finally Mother Spider. Her hide absorbs much of that fall out.

But a few slivers make it to those soft eyes and once again, the eyes prove to be her downfall. Two slivers pierce the orbs and with a screech of her own she finds two of the eyestalks laying limp upon her carapace.

Green ichor drips from those damaged stalks and when it hits the ground the sizzle of acid is heard.

While spiders often receive their webs from their spinnerets this spider is different.

The large pincer-like claws move again, even as it hears the cry of its babies, and feels its own pain.

Those claws clash together and with that movement magic suddenly swells. It’s a crude magic. Almost shamanastic in flavor, and when that magic peaks webbing suddenly spins into existence. Those floating strands are no longer simple onesies and twosies, now its roiling balls of it.

WIth one flick of a claw one clump of is sent to Ray.

With a flick of its second claw the other clump is sent to Illyana.

As those featherlight clumps sail through the air they unravel, forming the crudest of nets. A sticky, sickly, poisonous net that moves to try and wrap around both women.

Illyana has no qualms about going after the spider-creature's young, and her eyes are hard and keen as she watches her demonic flock dive to the attack. Her eyes narrow slightly when the fastest and most eager demons are torn apart by the adolescent spider-creatures, but she doesn't call them off. She's waiting. And as more demonic bats pour through the hole she's opened in the sky, she's rewarded as the demons' numbers finally tell.

The screams of the creature's young are loud enough to be physically painful, but Illyana's unmoved, a savage grin on her lips as she swings around to see if the mother-creature reacts - and she does. Which just goes to show she's a better mother to her children than Illyana is to hers.

As the mother-creature turns back to the doorway to nowhere, shielding its young from repeated dive-bombing, Illyana feels a thrill of triumph. They've won.

And then the spider-demon's web, its parting gift, wraps around her and her body lights up with pain. Where it touches her skin, or even her uniform, it's agonising. Where it touches her armour, impossibly, she can still feel it, although the pain is muted. That armour spreads, now, until only her head is left uncovered, and the pain is brought down to a level that allows her to think once more.

Tearing the webbing from her body with armoured fingers, Illyana casts it aside and takes a staggering step toward the dimensional doorway, just in time to see the last of the spider-things limbs vanish through it. With her enemy fled, the desire for vengeance can only push Illyana so far, and she drops to one knee.

Barely pausing to take a breath, Illyana swiftly re-establishes her warding circle around the portal, although this time her flames seem fitful and erratic. The moment the circle is complete, Illyana slams her hands together and the circle of silver flame contracts to a single, unbearably brilliant point, and then winks out of existence, taking the doorway with it.

Illyana topples over to one side, barely catching herself with an elbow, looking wrung out. "Dani." She says with finality. "OWES us." Still, when she cranes her head around to find Rachel, she's grinning… and then her communicator crackles into life.

"Illyana. I am in terrible place called Seaside Heights. I need return trip. Preferably above the bird woman this time."

Illyana's face is a picture, eyes wide and mouth open in disbelief at her brother's timing. She shakes her head ruefully, and manages not to sound nearly as exhausted as she feels. "Coming right up, brother. Be careful and don't lose my sword!"

It takes a moment's concentration, but Piotr is delivered where he needs to be, and Illyana pushes herself up to her feet, managing to only sway a little bit. "Come on, Ray. Back to Limbo. More work to do." Catching the redhead's look, Illyana grins. "What, you thought this was the only incursion? We couldn't get that lucky."

A disc of brilliant silver-white light spirits them away. Until the battle with the bear is won, the world is still in danger.

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