Home Away From Home

May 17, 2018:

Cyclops wanted an outpost in Limbo. Cyclops gets an outpost in Limbo. Limbo gets a little of Cyclops' blood in return.

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.


NPCs: None.

Mentions: Scion, Phoenix, Iron Man


Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

A little while ago, Cyclops gave the Demon Queen of Limbo a task, and since then he's heard… nothing.

True, said Demon Queen has been a little busy lately, what with attending a wedding, getting kidnapped at that wedding, and trying to find a way to get back at the person responsible for that kidnapping. But even after taking account of all of those excuses, Cyclops is really due an update. And it's not like Illyana hasn't put in the work, this time.

Today, she's finally run out of excuses not to show it off.

A circle of silver-white light deposits the leader of the X-Men and his resident demon sorceress on a wide, flat plateau under an ochre sky that's not found anywhere on Earth. It's warm, and there's just a breath of wind carrying the faint smell of brimstone. The ground underfoot seems to have been formed by long-ago volcanic activity, the soil thin and, in most directions, the vegetation sparse.

It's likely that at least one of those present won't be that interested in the surrounding physical geography, however, because Illyana's stepping disc has deposited them facing the towering curtain wall of a castle that, in terms of design, is around ninety percent gothic and ten percent nightmarish fantasy. The wall is made of blocks of smooth dark stone of irregular size, which nevertheless fit neatly together. Beyond the wall is a soaring central keep, the windows narrow and tall, almost like arrow-slits. Twin towers flank the gatehouse before them, but it's obscured by the forest of twisted, black trees that surround the castle.

Glance once, and though the branches are thick and intertwined there might seem to be a path. Glance again, and it's gone. Glance a third time, and another path may seem to open up among the trees.

Closer still, tall and curving columns rise from the ground, stretching away to either side as if they ring the forest, and the castle at its heart. They look like nothing so much as the ribs of some impossibly huge creature.

"You told me not to recreate the mansion." Illyana Rasputin isn't looking at the dark castle. She's looking at Cyclops, her arms folded. She's not dressed to match the environment, all black skull motif top, shredded black jeans and heavy boots. "What do you think?"

A smile curves her lips, and there's an impish glint in her cold blue eyes. "Be honest."

There is generally never a warning when the younger Rasputin summons. Perhaps it was her upbringing and the ghosts of X-Men past and what if never fully taught her manners or she is simply resilient to custom by her very nature and Russian bred sense of humor. Quite possibly it is just Illyana.

Scott's toothbrush hangs off of his lower lip as the minty foam builds up and his red glasses feel suddenly too narrow to contain the width of his eyes. That disorientation present, his white tanktop, navy-blue boxer briefs and black towel hanging around his neck and shoulders while hair recently mussed and damp from moments ago shower, safely in the residential wing of the X-Mansion. Now he stands in a demonic corrupted plane of existence, the Limbo that is dominion of this particular Sorceress Supreme.

Biting down on the plastic of his toothbrush Scott steels himself against the physical warp, disc hop from where to wherever… the dark castle taken accounting visibly before it appears Illyana is already in conversation with him, no beat, no pause, no surprise. Summers at times wonders if the concept of time is lost on someone who exists beyond…

"Mmrfh…. " A turn of his head and he politely spits, that black towel around his shoulders being used to wipe his mouth. "Good morning, Illyana. Thank you for the heads up…" Sour. Yes. But not angry in any way that she should take serious, this is simply their 'rapport'.

She could claim it's because time gets screwy in Limbo and it didn't occur to her that Scott would be in the middle of his ablutions when she summoned him. She could claim that she's just got finished and she thought he'd want to see the results right away.

But really, it's just Illyana. Attempting to break Scott's composure is a game, and a challenging one. If it wasn't so difficult Illyana would have lost interest already. So really, it's Scott's fault for being the stoic that he is.

When she doesn't even get a flinch, Illyana gives an almost imperceptible shake of her head. She'll have to try harder in future. The smile broadens a touch when Scott offers his 'thanks', and she ignores the tone that accompanies them. "I'd have called ahead, but there's no reception out here." She says, simply for something to say.

Where Scott spat out the toothpaste, there's a disturbance in the dirt, and something that looks like a flayed mole sticks its snout up into the air, followed by the rest of it. It sniffs at the small puddle of toothpaste and sputum seeping into the ground, then looks up at Scott and hisses, before burrowing away once more. Illyana affects not to notice.

"Want the tour?" She offers, so very pleasantly. "And want me to do something about… that?" She asks, unfolding her arms to gesture vaguely at Scott's rather less than tour-appropriate attire.

"No reception may end up a serious problem. Do you know how much time some of our team spend absorbed in their phones?" Scott's towel stops rubbing at his mouth and he slowly composes himself, lifting his head up and away from observing the offended mole-creature.

"Yes, the tour. Eagerly and… " A look down, a short glance then he nods, "Please." He manages before his toes curl in to Limbo turf.

"I was beginning to worry admittedly. We have a lot to catch up on."

"Stark mentioned dimensional wifi last time I talked to him." Illyana smirks. "Before he invited me over for drinks. Want me to take him up on the offer? See what he can do for us?" Of course, the real question there is whether the leader of the X-Men trusts Iron Man.

"No problem." Illyana replies, and makes a complicated gesture with both hands. Light flares all around Cyclops, and when it fades his outfit has shifted. There's also considerably more of it. Black leather boots with thick soles and silver eyelets are now laced securely up his ankles, while black leather trousers are secured by a belt with an inverted silver pentagram for a buckle. There's a sleeveless black tank top with the words 'THE BOSS' in white letters covering his upper body, and over it all is a black leather biker jacket with a charcoal grey 'X' slanting across the front.

Illyana gives a small, satisfied nod and says absolutely nothing about her (or Limbo's?) fashion choices.

"This way, then." She says, and turns to walk between the closest pair of ribs. As she passes, a spiderweb of red light flickers uncertainly across their surface, before fading away. There's no such display when Scott passes.

"Don't tell me you had doubts?" Illyana throws back over her shoulder as she approaches the treeline, the branches seeming thicker than ever and the bark rough, almost sharp. She doesn't slow, and with a reluctant creaking the trees bend away from her, making room for her to pass. She turns around and waits for Scott to join her.

"I've had a lot going on." There's a faintly defensive note in her voice as she says it.

Scott's attire has him silent at it, only a rise of one dark brow above his shades. No indication of approval or otherwise as he starts to follow after Illyana.

"Stark puts on a good public face, I'm not sure how cozy I want to get with him outside of that." Scott manages, "You're a grown woman, I imagine if you wanted to get to know Tony Stark more you're very much entitled. If you happen to figure out what side of the political and moral fence he swings towards, I'd like to think you'd give me some input."

"Doubts about this, no, doubts in regards to your loyalty, we discussed that one already. My worry for once didn't have anything to do with trust, everyone who dealt with Sinister and his Marauders were fairly upset, especially Lorna and Eclipse. You haven't exactly given me anything as to what transpired on your behalf and it is very much unlike you to be the last one to tell me what went down." Scott is apparently admitting he's found Magik to be one of his most reliable and trusted, in more or less words than usual.

"We all do." Scott remarks. "We're team though, we keep in touch and stay on the same page. Life for us hinges on communication."

"No, we're not just a team. We are family." A correction to himself.

Illyana shoots Scott a very prim 'what do you take me for?' look when he suggests she wants to get to know Stark better, but it's undermined by the smirk she doesn't quite banish. She contents herself with a nod of agreement to close off that subject for the time being.

Once Scott's joined her at the edge of the apparently mobile forest, Illyana folds her arms again. As dressings down go, it's mild, but the folded arms are another symptom of Illyana's sudden defensiveness. Scott's final point seems to make it across the barriers she's throwing up, however.

"If you're looking to be my big brother, you're going to have to job-share with Piotr." It's a throwaway comment, but she hesitates after she's said it.

"Anyway, I'm fine." The others might have been upset, but she's made of sterner stuff. Right? "But if you want to know why I haven't been running around telling everyone what happened, ask Nate." It's spoken in a sour tone, and she's not putting it on as much as Scott was earlier. There's some genuine irritation behind her words. "I don't know what you've heard from the others, but we were all stuck in some kind of… communal hallucination. For a while, I wasn't me." Illyana's expression darkens some. "Nate preferred what he thought I was. What I thought I was. And now he's making me his project." Illyana snorts quietly to herself at the very idea. "Don't join in." She tells him, and turns to walk on through the trees.

There's very little warning before they reach the other side. One moment the trees are as thick as ever, and then they're standing on a thin strip of land before a dry moat. A bridge of stone arcs out over the moat, the other end terminating before the gates of the castle itself. Illyana looks back at Scott.

"You know how you were just talking about whether you trust me or not?" She asks. "You might need to decide very soon." With that said, she starts across the bridge.

"I have zero intention of stepping in to Peter's sibling turf." Scott insists, "I have enough children and an Alex to be concerned with." Though, where his brother is after the ordeal around Lorna is a mystery to him. There has been an odd schism for some since that event.

"Fine, typical Illyana fine, X-Men fine or I don't care to talk about it, fine? These are all vastly differing things."

"Ask Nate." Scott echoes, "I prefer your updates over his, there is generally less emotional confliction or bias."

"Communal hallucination, the House of M is what people have been insisting, I know. I was there somehow, an odd fugue state that kept overcoming me and releasing."

"It wasn't real. If he continues to push let me know or Jean. He might just be having more of his alter-dimensional trauma episodes again, after the thing with Madelyne in Genosha he still hasn't gotten a proper psychic-psychotherapy session and clearance, a lot of us haven't. I imagine the entire team is overdue."

Jean Grey is about to be very busy, especially with Charles still on his social media televised walkabout.

"Don't join in?" A questioning glance after her then it sinks in, "No. You're safe there. I have far too much to worry about with the team itself than worrying whether or not you're keeping your shit together, I look around me and I think… whatever damage is being done recently, likely is something your skin can deflect." A hitch in his step, "That doesn't mean you're not allowed to be human time to time, just uh… take advantage of the options you do have, thats all I encourage. I respect you too much as a soldier to make you my pet project. Besides, that sounds an awful lot like more of Peter's turf, you do know your brother even without the mutation active can pick up a horse right?"

All Scott got when he tried to pin down Illyana's definition of 'fine' was a smug smile that invited him to take his pick. Which kind of suggests that however fine Illyana might or might not be, the House of M hasn't dented what makes Illyana fundamentally Illyana.

The smug smile might be replaced by a smug grin for a moment or two when Scott rates her reports above Nate's, too.

The only thing that gives her pause is the suggestion of psychic-psychotherapy sessions. Those draw a frown, and finally an answer to Scott's question. "I'm whatever kind of fine doesn't involve probing my brain." She tells him, firmly, before that smile starts to creep back onto her face. "Besides, there's a few things neither of us want Jean to see, right?" Like Scott's brush with the Darkchilde, and probably the corpses of not-Colossus and not-Wolverine that Illyana keeps in the catacombs of her citadel.

"You'd be surprised how often that's no help at all." Illyana remarks about Piotr's horse-lifting talents, but she seems satisfied that she's not about to get double teamed by two generations of the Summers-Grey family.

Illyana halts before the gates, which up close appear to be black, fire-hardened and iron-bound wood. She runs a hand across the surface almost fondly before spinning around to face Scott.

"Last chance to back out before I hand over the keys."

Despite her words, there's nothing resembling a keyhole anywhere on either gate.

"Ultimately your choice. You want to refuse the therapy, you can. " No one is ever forced unless they have ended up a confirmed threat and 'not' themselves.

"Jean's a big girl. She's seen far worse things than we can likely fathom." Though, the same could be said for Magik of course. Scott isn't making that a competition though, more to he's just expressing she's not about to deter the team, a team full of iron willed and ungodly hopeful sorts. The mean well, the X-Men, they always do…

"Enough with the drama, you know I'm ready." Scott insists, smiling at Illyana, once on a course, he's set and this is the course. "Lets see what you've accomplished."

Bet me. That's what's written on Illyana's expression when Scott talks about Jean's previous experience. The demon sorceress knows she might be selling the redhead short, after all she's never experienced eating a star and destroying a solar system, but that's not something she wants to put to the test.

Particularly because in her limited experience with Jean in the field, the telepath has been a bit more squeamish about the ends justifying the means than Illyana would prefer. But all of that's something for Illyana to avoid in the future. As for right now…

"The drama's not quite over yet, Scott." Illyana says, and now the smile that's hardly left her lips since she pulled Scott into her realm is entirely absent. "Sorry." She adds, and even seems like she means it. She reaches behind her and pulls out a knife that definitely wasn't jammed into the back of her jeans a moment or two ago. The blade is sharp, curved, and etched with sigils that seem to flow across the metal like water as Limbo's diffuse light hits it.

"You wanted me to make you somewhere you could take the X-Men to be safe." Illyana says, taking a slow step toward Scott. "Limbo's perfect. No-one on Earth can get you here. But I can. This place isn't just mine, it's part of me. I built this for you, but right now it's still mine. If things go wrong…" Just for a moment she stumbles over her words, perhaps the faintest flicker of fear tripping her up, but then she shrugs.

"If things go wrong, slamming the door in my face won't help, unless this place is part of you, too. I'm willing to make it yours. If you trust me enough, put out your hand."

Illyana halts, just outside arm's reach. Waiting.

"If and when things go wrong. We'll stand firm like we always have." Scott's typical stoic demeanor remains, solid in his conviction always. He has taken a stance and made a promise to Illyana and won't be shaken so easily.

There is hesitation in extending his hand but it is not due to a lack of trust, more as though he wants to question the nature of these things but just up and relents instead, his hand out, fingers open with palm displayed.

"I am not keen on public displays of affection, even in front of Limbo Demons." He jokes, off key and randomly with the intention to lighten some of the severity around Illyana, the atmosphere of Limbo itself and his usual expected portfolio.

Illyana watches Scott's face intently, but the glasses make getting a read on him damnably difficult at the best of times. She's not going to get any advance warning of whatever decision he makes, and that's unsettling. It's not a feeling she enjoys.

Illyana doesn't react to Scott's reassuring words, just waits. When he finally puts out his hand something about her posture seems to relax, as if a moment of jeopardy has passed.

"Then I won't lick the blade when I'm done." She tells him, her canines seeming unusually sharp when she grins at him. It's probably a trick of Limbo's odd light. Stepping forward, she reaches out to take hold of his hand from below in a surprisingly firm grip with one hand, while the other draws the blade across his palm.

The knife is so sharp that he won't even feel the cut, even as blood wells from his palm. Illyana speaks a few sharp, commanding words, and the blood rises, from the cut and from where it stains the knife blade, forming a red sphere in the air between them. The knife itself vanishes as suddenly as it arrived, and Illyana runs her thumb down the wound in Scott's palm, which seals without a blemish.

"I won't leave you any hard to explain marks." She tells him, perhaps making her own attempt to lighten the mood, and then with a flick of her hand sends the blood-drop to splatter against the gates.

The blood soaks into the fire-blackened wood as if it's thirsty, and then begins to spread out in thin lines, almost like veins through the wood. There's not nearly enough blood, but the veins reach across the doors and then extend into the stonework at either side, spreading out in a widening web before finally fading away.

Illyana looks back at Scott. "Make it open the gates for you."

"I went to Limbo. That's all the explanation I ever need for anything most days."

Scott doesn't even flinch at the slice, hand just remaining there until it looks as though she is complete. The wound of course would not hurt initially, not until it became a open thing that gets bumped but that is curbed by her sorcery. A thumb of his own brushing over where it was before he's staring at her then the gate itself, "Do I clap?" He asks, a faint smile visible before he both wills and tells it, "Open sesame."

Not that beyond this doorway there is a treasure of forty thieves.

"Now I see why no-one wants to visit. You blame me every time you get beaten up." She seems happy to play along while Scott tries to keep the mood light. Better than thinking about Scott being the second X-Man she's used Limbo magic on for their own good since the incident with the bear.

Once she's finished, Illyana steps pointedly aside so that she's not between Scott and the gates. It's clearly all on him, now. But she does smirk. "If you think it'll help." She tells him. Unhelpfully.

In truth, the gates don't respond to clapping, or to Scott's words. Only to his will, which he has in abundance. They swing smoothly inward. The arched passageway beyond is in shadow at first, but as the castle responds to the first touch of its new master's will, blocks of quartz-like crystal in the walls begin to glow, casting a steady illumination.

Illyana's citadel is all rough tone and flaming torches and braziers, but she inherited that. This is her starting from scratch, and shaping Limbo to fit her conception of Scott's requirements. It's a lot cleaner and brighter.

With the gates open, Illyana steps forward and leads the way inside, through the thick walls, and beneath the murder holes in the ceiling above. When they emerge into what passes for daylight again, what's revealed is perhaps surprising. Yes, there's a darkly looming central keep rising above them, and buildings built into the inner sides of the walls, but the wide space between those walls is laid to Limbo's best approximation of grass, and there's a large well over to one side.

Illyana lets her steps slow, and begins pointing things out. "The water's safe to drink. I made sure of it. And there's plenty of it. There's room for the team in the central keep, but I thought… if we need to use this place, you'll want to take the students with us, and maybe others too. So I over-built on accommodation." She gestures to the long, low buildings built into the walls. "They'll need fitting out, but there's plenty of room." She seems to be unconsciously warming to the role of tour guide as she approaches the doors to the central tower. "The interesting bits are in here."

"Not every time." Scott responds.

"If it comes to the students having to join us we're in a serious pickle." A consideration of his words, "The extra rooms can always find use though, I'd prefer it is only the hardened members and students or the ones who have no where else to turn. That's really the most thought on residents I have given, this is a contingency. We have been assaulted way too much, far too often and right now there is a one of hell of a storm looming overhead."

Scott stops before the 'interesting bits' door and stares at it, he doesn't clap to joke this time only asserts the thought of them opening. Mainly to test, inside to outside right? Some part of him feels strange in allowing the rapport of psyche and open mind with anything Limbo but he's also making a point to prove he trusts Illyana. Something he doubts many have tried.

"Now you tell me." Illyana replies, a not entirely feigned note of wryness in her tone. Building all this took a lot out of her, and to learn she's over-done it… it's almost funny.

If over-doing it hadn't been accompanied by growing horns and fangs when she wasn't expecting it, anyway.

"I'm not charging rent by the square foot, so it doesn't matter anyway." She shrugs. "Maybe Piotr needs another studio?" She's not serious, but the idea of Piotr earnestly painting Limbo landscapes makes her smile, even though she knows he's going to be a hard sell on this whole idea.

As Scott goes silent, Illyana half turns to watch him stare the door down, a half-smile on her lips that appears genuine. As the doors obediently swing soundlessly open, Illyana covers any suggestion that she's pleased by regretfully commenting, "I knew I should have made the hinges creak ominously."

As before, once the doors are open, blocks of crystal set in the walls begin to glow, bathing the interior in a clean, diffuse light. "After you." Illyana offers, with possibly the faintest hint of anticipation filtering into her voice.

"The less ominous the better, honestly." Scott missed her humor beat or he's just being himself again, "We want the team to forget they're in Limbo while here, to some extent." A lack of awareness is not always a good thing…

"Comfort. Security." The man murmurs.

"Thanks." He steps in to the crystal entry, a curious glance at the attractive young 'goth' before doing so, as if he's expecting some sort of joke trap next. Only because he is over critical and caught her anticipation hint, even briefly.

Illyana almost reminds Scott for a second time today that he specifically told her not to recreate the mansion brick for brick, but bites her tongue. After building this, she's not sure she could have recreated the mansion without some gargoyles creeping into the architecture, at the very least.

The idea of comfort and security just begs to be addressed, however. Illyana raises an index finger to point upwards, at the ochre sky where a few thin clouds the colour of dried blood are flitting past. "If you want me to do something about the sky, it's going to cost you extra." She tells him, deadpan.
The look he gives her before stepping inside makes Illyana spread her hands innocently, before dropping them to her sides and following him in.

There is not, Scott may be disappointed to discover, a concealed pit trap awaiting him just inside the door. Instead there's more smooth stonework, broken by arched portals leading off into other areas of the keep. Through one a spiral staircase can be seen, rising to the next level and also descending, hinting at unseen levels below ground. "Bedrooms are upstairs." Illyana remarks, before ducking through one of the arches.

On the other side is a circular room with what seems to be a disc of quicksilver floating unsupported in the middle. "Recreating Cerebro was a bit beyond me." She confesses, then reaches out to touch the silvery surface, sending ripples across it. When they still, the Xavier Mansion is displayed, a window on the real world. "Will this do?"

"The sky is fine. They need to be aware still where they are… " Scott stares forward, "Am I being too vague?"

"The team should be able to forget they're in Limbo without… getting too comfortable with it and forgetting. This will be a shock for them mentally and physically at length, it still has to be familiar enough not to fray their nerves or start to impact psyche for too long." Or souls, or other things Limbo may influence…

"Cerebro is a special case. I suspect time comes we'll find an alternate approach there." The silvery construct gets a curious look and approach,
"Explain it to me."

"This is a scrying thing or does it have specifics it can trace?"

Scott might be worrying that he's being vague, but despite any problems he might be having with putting what he wants into words, it's clear enough to Illyana. Know you're safe, but don't let your guard down. Be in Limbo, but don't let Limbo in.

She's not sure how possible that's going to be. Damnation is an insidious thing, and they may have already taken the first step by building this place. She's warned him of the dangers before, so for now she keeps her own counsel.

"It's a 'scrying thing'" Illyana confirms, with something that sounds suspiciously like a quiet snicker at the terminology her fearless leader is using. She lets her hand drop away from the construct and the image of the mansion fades into blank silver once more. "Touch it, tell it what you want to see, and you'll see it. It'll work best if you have a connection to what you want to see." Illyana wrinkles her nose a bit. "You don't have a magical bone in your body, so if you want much more than that you'll need me around. Still, better than nothing, right?"

"It is. Do we get ESPN on it?" Scott jokes and then steps back, arms folding over his chest as he looks around. Quiet for a few seconds before he smiles at Illyana, "You've done well, Illy."

"This will be a better auxiliary outpost then the one we set up in Australia."

"Easier to reach too. We may need to bring in some power generators and try to connect up some equipment, certain things I rely on our tech for that I'd rather not have you taxing your uh magic on. I need to pull some strings or talk to Cable about more efficient sources. I wish Forge wasn't staying off grid."

"The Danger Room… " He ventures to ask.

Illyana snorts. "Who needs ESPN?" She says, derisively, and waves a hand at the silvery scrying construct. The surface ripples, again, and an image forms, again… but this time it's not the mansion.

It's Yankee Stadium.

"And you don't even have to sit through the commercials." She tells him, before letting the image fade again. She's showing off, of course, ready for anything Scott might throw at her… except perhaps actual praise. That seems to give her a moment's pause, and her eyes sharpen on him suspiciously before she decides he probably means it.

"In Australia you had sand and kangaroos to deal with. This has got to be an improvement." Illyana is Very Bad at taking honestly meant praise, it seems. She moves on swiftly. "I tapped a magma chamber for heat. Mostly so no-one complained about cold baths. But it's there if Cable wants to play with it."

Suggesting that she's being messing around with dangerous things while being light on the specifics. This is much firmer ground for the demon sorceress.

"If you want danger, you can always lead field trips outside the walls?" She suggests, but then becomes a bit more serious. "I have a couple of ideas. Let me show you something else, first."

Scott chuckles at the viewer. "That is… useful." He remarks.

"I'd rather have more control over the simulations we employ than just sending our team outside." No point in trying to discern humor in the back and forth, "Show away." He waits. Taking this bit by bit and making mental note where he can. The senior X-Men will also be sent through very soon to give their own appraisals, possible requests also. Scott cannot think of everything.

"If you do bring the students here you know half of them will want to go out there anyway." Seriously, when has look but don't touch ever worked with kids? She pauses. "Probably Nate will, too." Since he's the patron saint of good choices. Still, she meant it. She has ideas. But there's another stop on the tour due.

Walking back out of the portal, she crosses to the spiral staircase and moves swiftly and lightly down the stairs. Reaching a landing, she takes it and steps into another chamber. It's fairly large, with a vaulted ceiling, and hexagonal. In the centre of each wall is an arched portal, the one they entered through, another that glows with silver-white light and four more that stand empty, opening onto blank walls.

Just in case Scott doesn't realise what he's looking at, Illyana explains. "That one." She points at the glowing portal. "You've already seen. It leads to the mansion's sub-levels. I moved it here." Stepping into the centre of the chamber, she turns to face him. "Where else do you want a backdoor to?"

She seems very pleased with herself, it has to be said.

"I'll get back to you on the backdoors to anywhere. That one works for now. Until we security clear Australia we're staying away from it." Scott's chin lifts up and he lets out a thoughtful sound, "There are reasons why Students wont be here immediately. Trained and vetted X-Men, they're experienced and old enough to know the risks. I assume your pets and the locals won't completely devour them for stomping around. We'll come up with some rules as this plays out."

This is all great, it works out very well for us. Food is a question, simple things… We're not here to colonize just we need a just in case solid for us."

"The 'locals' can't pass the circle of bones. It's warded against them. Outside the circle, all bets are off unless I'm around. If someone wants to go for a walk, it's on them." The warning is delivered in an appropriately serious tone. "S'ym knows you, and a couple of the others. He doesn't want to get on my bad side. That might buy you a little protection if I'm not around. But…" She shrugs. "He's a demon." Illyana looks at Scott for a long moment. "This is going to be temptation, for all of them. I hope you know that."

Warning delivered, Illyana's serious mien shifts to something a bit more playful when the subject of food is brought up. She flicks her fingers, and then there's a hard red apple in them. She tosses it to Scott, the look in her eyes daring him to take a bite. "I can make things grow here." When she's not just creating them from thin air. "But what grows here… grows here. You might want to import some stuff while we still can."

"I figured." Scott says, "Considering encounters we have had with the likes of the Demon Bear recently, I suspect the laws of magic and protection are… subjective." A roll of his shoulder and he looks at the apple, snagging it from the air. "That is good but we can't keep relying on you for everything here. Remember, you just said, if I'm not around. But then, this entire plan hinges mostly on you."

A look at the apple and he takes a bite out of it, just one. Hungry isn't a thing right now. "We'll see about growing things then and where that goes."
"At least we have options, that's what I care about. I think I have seen enough for now. I'll be able to come and get acquainted without you through the portal, right? Not that I don't enjoy your company I just want to make sure."

He doesn't comment on S'ym. He doesn't care for the demon.

"Even the best plans have one flaw." If Scott wasn't going to say it in so many words, Illyana might as well. She manufactures a sweet smile to show she's not taking it personally. "You're safe, physically, here. Whether I'm here or not." She looks suddenly thoughtful and tilts her head to one side, considering. "Unless I'm dead." She smirks. "Don't stick around here if that happens." She seems to find the morbid turn the conversation's taken amusing.

The crunch as Scott bites into the apple gets a look of approval. It even tastes like an apple, and there's not a demonic worm or anything similar inside to make him regret taking that bite.

Illyana nods when Scott makes it clear the tour is drawing to a close. "The portal's open. Anyone can come and go as they please." As if she's going to prove it, Illyana walks to the glowing portal, then looks back. "Welcome to owning a slice of hell, Scott Summers." She grins. "Hope you survive the experience." She steps through, and with a flash of light she's gone.

"If you're dead then we have serious issues on hand, yeah." Scott agrees. The apple he hurls at what he assumes is a trashbin hidden off to the side.

"Then I'll start clearing team members for entry, you'll get a list of them as they make the cut. Everyone needs to get familiar with the environment to make sure they're all safe. No unaccounted for issues."

The survive the experience jab gets a look after the grinning blonde, Scott's brows both rise up but he fires one back after her…

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