Blood on the Mountain

September 30, 2018:

Frenzy and Exodus finally find Wanda, dying on the peak of Wundagore… but others seek to take advantage of her moment of weakness now Pietro is gone.

Wundagore Mountain, Transia


NPCs: Magneto, emitted by Pietro; Proto-Nimrod, emitted by Wanda

Mentions: Lorna Dane


Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

For all his outward facade of cold, calm control while on the call with Lorna, once Magneto closed the connection he sent out the command instantly to Exodus and to Frenzy:

Find my children.

To the Brotherhood in New York is sent a different command: Make sure the last one is not taken.

Of the twins, Wanda is the only one currently presenting any hint as to her location. The trace only narrowed it down as far as "Eastern Europe," but Magneto had some guesses of his own.

"Look in Transia," he said, his voice taut as tensile steel. "Look on Wundagore."

Magneto is a paranoid man. He does not believe in coincidences, particularly where anything suggestive of his past is concerned.

Year-round, the peak of Wundagore Mountain is a desolate place inhospitable to life, a cold jagged place of bare rock and killing subzero temperatures. Not to mention what lays beneath.

It is hard to believe anyone could have survived up here for as long as Wanda has now been missing… but stranger things have happened.


Transia holds its breath at night, silent and still.

The forest spreads beyond the limits of Dragorin, tall, sharp bodies like a million spires, conifers peopling the dry, arid soil, surrounding the distant town in a thick, black swathe, light lost within its bramble. The rural Transians and Roma all detest that forest, and call it cursed — the soil grows little, the air makes livestock sick, and on nights just like this, it likes to speak.

They say the first whispers. And on some nights, it cries. Other nights, it screams.

And tonight, it sings.

Wanda Maximoff no longer knows how long she has been here. She no longer thinks such questions. She no longer keeps enough mind to care.

Days spent on that little shelf of rock, so long it has frozen her — clothing and skin — to the ice, she rests on her side, one arm left to dangle down a cliff's drop from Wundagore's mountaintop, and through lashes crusted with frost, she looks down on that same forest.

Too cold to endure, no water to drink, and the air so thin it is not enough to sustain the body — she should be dead. She is alive.

But she is dying.

The wind batters through her dark hair. Wanda no longer feels its chill to be concerned.

"De cind… port dor la inima…" comes her whisper, pared down to the barest crack of her voice. At one point, she was singing for someone — singing some old, Romanian cradle song — but now Wanda has forgotten why, or for whom. The words leave her like ghosts. Her faraway eyes lose their light.


It has been days since Pietro and Wanda went missing. Frenzy, like her namesake, has been in a literal berserker state since then. It doesn't matter that demons currently fall from the sky. All that comes first is them.

The Twins. They always will.

Each day the Bruiser went out to search and with her came a small contingent; those she trusted most. They searched everywhere. Anywhere. And that first night they came home unsuccessful.

The next was the same and Frenzy felt anger.

Then worry.

And today - today all the Bruiser of the Brotherhood feels is defeat.


The intensity of her emotion weighs upon Joanna Cargill. Behind a closed door the woman feels her inhuman strength leave her. The broad expanse of her shoulders droop and her head bows low, as the first Acolyte of the Brotherhood experiences anguish.


She has failed everyone.


That brings forth a terrible urge for a drink - a deep need to drink.

But, before she can take that particular step away from sobriety, Magneto calls.

Find my children.

Seeing him and hearing that command is enough to bring some sensibility back to Frenzy. It allows her to pull her tattered self back around herself and it (once again) kicks her back into motion.

It's what has her reaching out to Exodus whether via communicator or telepathy, whichever is quicker, "We must leave. Now."


It has been a tireless fight, unending. Unyielding, but Exodus has stood his ground blocks from Mutant Town, and has shown the demons exactly where they should not go. Magneto sends his decree, and somewhere over New York, Exodus is in the middle of battling a host of winged creatures that DARE to have destroyed the only remaining shop in the city that could come close to a taste of home. LE CROISSANT GRANDE rests in flames. The heart of Exodus thrums with rage. Holding them all in spheres of bristling telekinetic power, he turns his head as if he were in a room with Magneto himself, as if he can hear that voice.

"Les petite magnets…."The spheres collapse, and demonblood rains down upon the bakery, and an explosion of light illuminates the night sky over the city.

Wherever Frenzy is, she will not be there long. He Who Will Bring The Future appears beside her, eyes blazing, a cascade of energy washing around her but refusing to dissipate, rolling over her in a great wave.


This is his order to the Loyal Acolyte, Frenzy. This is his order before his mind extends outward and across the whole of the world, white, pupil-less gaze rolling back until he finds the most unique mind, a Nexus of Possibility, halfway across the world.


Light blossoms far above the singing forest, even above the mountaintop, psionically ripping both Frenzy and himself to this place where little should live, he looks down upon the mountain.

He sees every victory against those demons crumble to failure.


Exodus and Frenzy begin to drift closer, towards the dying body of Wanda Maximoff. Towards the eyes that show no light but that which is reflected from Exodus' display of raw power. Here in his heart, aching with the precipice of failure so near, he descends upon her as an angel, until his hand can rest upon her head.

Frenzy will witness the miracle of The Exodus, his eyes closed, the very power of his being surging into this, his sacred charge, the Daughter of Magnus. His mission that he cannot fail. Healing, rejuvenating energy rushes forth and brings with it an otherworldly warmth, basking the area around them all in a heated buffer against the deadly chill of this mountainside.



They must find Pietro.

Only Wanda will know the way, and so his mission to save two flows through one, and amidst his call for her to return to them, to come back to the world for the sake of them all, and most of all, her brother, tears streak his cheeks as emotion overwhelms him.


Up at the peak of the mountain, the wind howls with a deafening intensity. Thus it is that the sound of something approaching is not overheard until it is too late, and the familiar roar of Sentinel propulsion thrusters is slashing suddenly through the winds circling the mountain.

It has been days since the Twins went missing. Rumors spread. Things were overheard. Word was passed. And certain powers saw, in this moment of weakness, a chance to finally decapitate the troublesome Brotherhood.

There is no transport vehicle within sight — but the Sentinels must have originated from one. These baseline models cannot fly long distances without requiring a recharge. That is another variable of which to be concerned.

The Sentinels, perhaps ten in total, cannot come straight up to the peak due to the intensity of the winds, but they can be seen circling perhaps two hundred feet below, like a shoal of sharks. MUTANTS DETECTED, they mutter among themselves. THREAT LEVEL: OMEGA. EXTERMINATE.

From high above, a sense of unease cloaks down, like the shadow of an eagle's wings. Something else is closing past, a few hundred feet higher than even the peak of the mountain: a sleeker and more evolved form, though no less robotic…


Dark among darkness, so easily could the dying Wanda Maximoff be missed.

Even to that sudden wink of light, she neither speaks nor stirs. Her unseeing eyes do not flicker. Her voice breaks and gives out, the next, wandering verse of her song lost — but her lips still move. Here and not, there is no reason left for her to cling to life.

The witch waits it out where the Darkchilde exiled her, all alone, to the end.

When Exodus and Frenzy find her, her loose hair and long skirts moving in the icy wind, Wanda does not turn an eye. Her head is cold to the touch. Her eyes flutter.

And his healing power channels through her. Her body reacts with a sharp, shallow inhale — tensing in nervous reflex to energy moving through her blood, repairing what her absent scarlet failed to do. It works. It mends her, closing open lacerations, rearranging her broken ribs, and bringing colour back to her blue skin. Life comes back to her — enough she feels the nip in the air again, and resurrects with renewed shivering. The dying made healthy again.

Exodus' voice calls out for the repaired Scarlet Witch to rise — to return. To join them to collect her missing twin brother. And would she not?

Wanda, healed in body… remains unmoving. Her distant eyes remain cast down, on the dark forest vista below. Her lips still move on their own, not to speak to either of them, but to continue whispering her song.


That dark body SLAMS into the mountain, breathing up a cloud of shattered rock and misted ice, reflecting little as its body melts through the night. Its sharp, grim face plates open up, seething with fiery light — the only light in this place.

"Cite doruri reles grele…" whispers Wanda, vacant, lost, mad. She does not notice.

It detonates a pure, lancing strike of plasma for Exodus and Frenzy both, so hot that all the ice off the mountain convects into a blowing fog.


Prepare yourself.

A phrase she's quite familiar with. She's heard it in so many iterations throughout her life. As mercenary, fighter, Acolyte and now.

The grandiose teleportation flusters the woman for a few seconds, but quickly she shakes it off. Then, like Exodus, her dark brown eyes fall upon the half frozen figure. "No." States Frenzy, her expression turning to something stark and horrible. An emotion that isn't often seen upon the Behemoth's expression.

"We must -" And that's all she's able to say before Exodus is bringing the two closer to Wanda Maximoff, the lost twin.

Having worked with many of mutants, Joanna knows to keep quiet when Exodus reaches out and touches the Scarlet Witch. Then she waits and perhaps, Joanna Cargill, prays. Something she hasn't done since she was a child, but then it's been a long time since she's been so near what some might consider a true angel.

Her silent prayer falter, however, with the arrival of the low-flying Sentinels and their muttered words. Realizing who's come for them, or rather what's, Frenzy's features contort with pure fury. It causes Joanna to speak again, her attention back to the Scarlet Witch, "Wanda, you must rise. You must -"

Get up.

Now the mountain trembles as the last Sentinel makes its appearance. It's heralded by a voice that declares the Scarlet Witch the property of Simon Trask.

Sharply Frenzy recoils, before she shouts, "/NEVER/!" She turns to face where the high-tech Sentinel is and that pivot brings her around to face that incoming lance of energy. Ice melts, fog rises, and the world becomes hazy and murky. Frenzy should be struck by that spear of energy, and in fact was preparing herself for just that, but surprisingly (for Frenzy!) the attack doesn't hit. It instead collides with a shield of power -

"We must get Wanda out." She shouts to Exodus, knowing he'll understand, "She's what matters."

And, in the end, all Acolytes know why they are there. To die if needed. "I will get her down the Mountain."

Gently, now, the Bruiser of the Brotherhood leans down and picks the whispering Wanda up. Compared to Joanna, the Scarlet Witch is small, and carefully like one would hold spun glass, Frenzy tucks the other woman into the crook of one arm. Then with one last look to Exodus, Frenzy steps away, stares down below and jumps.


Hiss much as it gives rise to his soul to see Wanda rejuvenated, brought back from the edge of death, he knows her mind is yet filled with an endless abyss. He can feel it. Some distance from this reality. Some past or future that-


The Exodus whirls, his gaze a burning halo that leaks into the air around his wild hair, cape billowing behind him and golden spires upon his pauldrons reflecting that burgeoning light.

He feels it all.

The ten that circle below, waiting for blood. The Alpha Predator, it's skin repelling his telekinetic senses in a way he has never encountered. This …thing. It incenses Exodus. Enrages him in that moment of dichotomy, for while demons rage over New York, they were not the opposites of the Children of the Atom, but creatures in a skewed parallel.

This was the only Devil they might truly know, a creature that his power seemed unable to fully grasp.

"You dare?"

The whole of the mountaintop lights up as if a new star were being born, energy rippling to illuminate every dark corner this mountain thought to hide.

Energy slams into the shield he erects around them all, crackling in a cacophony of destruction that reflects outward off of that shield as he struggles to hold it in place, shattering the mountainside here or there and sending great rocks tumbling into the waiting, swarming Sentinels below.


The roar echoes into the clouds.

Water vapor hangs in mid air, caught between refreezing and the violent thrum of telekinetic energy.

He sends it towards the creature, water turned into the thinnest of lances, razor sharp and reinforced with his power, every droplet a bullet that's followed behind by dust and fog and a hurricane of debris that he sweeps from the mountain and imbues with his will.


Energy swirls around Joanna and Wanda both, forming a kind of telekinetic armor.


The new star he had formed above his head rises high, and just as the distraction of his debris-attack wanes, he sends it crashing towards his foe, a searing bomb of anger and rage at this thing that claims to own Wanda.




The Bruiser of the Brotherhood leaps from the mountainside, her precious cargo in her arms. Debris rains around them as Exodus confronts the proto-Nimrod above.

While Frenzy has no particular worry even from the shards of rock that fly from the mountainside, fragile Wanda does. The telekinetic armor that plates them both, as such, is supremely helpful in preventing the Scarlet Witch from coming to harm.

Frenzy lands hard, several hundred feet down the mountain on a flattened ledge jutting from the crag's face. The winds are less here, but that means the lurking Sentinels can come fully into play. Two erupt in flames and shrapnel as jagged chunks of rock slam into them before they can course-correct, but that leaves eight Sentinels to descend and land jarringly on the ledge all around Frenzy, seeking to bar her from proceeding any farther down the mountain.

Eight Sentinels — and something else.

A swift VTOL shuttle slices daringly through the thin atmosphere, braving the chaos as it hovers briefly to disgorge some human troops, and then zips off again. Mercenaries, by the look of them, well-armed and well-paid to slip in, retrieve, and extract the asset amidst the fray.

They are some distance away yet, on the far side of the ledge. The more immediate concern are the Sentinels. A few blast at her feet, not aiming FOR her but aiming to force her to move and dodge, while the others reach for her from behind to try to grasp her and bodily separate her from Wanda to ensure the latter's capture.


Wanda's turned, unfocused eyes do not even blink as she is touched. It is hard to say if she notices it at all.

Pulled into Frenzy's arms, she feels as hollow as bird bone — thin and light — and hangs there, no tension to her limbs. The downward entrance of that familiar Sentinel —

— and Frenzy has witnessed it before, that thing, that nightmare what faced the Brotherhood down once and fought them to a stalemate in minutes, effortless and cold —

— Wanda does not see it. Or she just does not care. Pietro Maximoff is gone, and apparently took the last spark of life of his twin sister with him.

In that hurtling jump down, the Witch is silent, and stays that way. Her sightless eyes look straight through this world.

Meanwhile, on the rocky top of Wundagore, the Machine rises to its full, monstrous height. The shield blocks and scatters its plasma trail, splitting it in many ways: it burns holes into the mountain. It knocks off stone shelves and sends tonnage of rock down and down into the dark. The torrent stops, and those face plates close. It looks down coldly on the fury of Exodus.

It absorbs him with the running, calculating patience of a thinking machine. It does not shudder. It does not fear. Its parameters transcend both trappings. Logic demands of it only one certainty:


It steps forward —

— and gets punctured through by bladed rock. The cyclonic debris rains on it, arresting that forward movement as it hitches and buckles, joints folding, suffering down to a knee as it labours silently under that unending barrage. It keeps its eyes on that star. The Machine's plates fan out, rasping and shifting, as its internals evolve in patient calibration. It is learning —

And it is lost in that explosion.

Hundreds and hundreds of feet below and distant, Transians rock from their beds to the distant EXPLOSION on the topmost spire of Wundagore. Light breaches the dark sky in a lightning flare.

And when it fades — the NIMROD Sentinel is still there. The Machine holds, still kneeling, assembling in a slow self-repair… as a field ripples around it.

Telekinetic negation zone. Covering it. It rises in a lurch, the plates if on arm hissing as it mutates into a blade. It careens forward to try to run Exodus through.


The grandeur of Exodus' attack is godlike and while Frenzy might have paused to watch, tonight she doesn't.

Instead the woman falls downward, her body curved around the small form of Wanda Maximoff.

She lands hard upon that shelf and the ledge trembles from the impact. A small cloud of dust and particulates rise upward, even as cracks halo outward from Frenzy's half bowed form. Then the Lieutenant of the Brotherhood straightens.

Her gaze upon those eight Sentinels that block their way.

And behind them where the mercenaries now arrive.

There's a bitter taste of irony upon her tongue. How many times did Frenzy handle this type of mission in her own para-military career? Many with success.

This gives her an understanding of what the Sentinels and the mercs are trying to do here.

Which she cannot let happen.

The Sentinels begin their attacks and the blasts force Frenzy to move. To keep Wanda safe. She pivots upon foot and dodges each blast as best she can. Some get close to hitting her, but the black-haired woman doesn't flinch. Her durability will protect her from most wounds.

It's Wanda that she worries for. Unresponsive to everything. Even so, that doesn't stop Frenzy from setting the woman back upon the ground at an opportune moment. Heavy hands settle upon the other woman's slight shoulders, "I must destroy the Sentinels to clear a way for us to escape.", she explains, and as her words continue Frenzy does something she rarely ever does with the Twins - she speaks sharp and harsh, "You will not die here, but you must wake up. /Awaken now/!"

And while Frenzy would like to wait and see how Wanda reponds she can't. There isn't time. So, while those sharp words linger in the air, Joanna Cargill spins back to face the Sentinels. Then she steps forward, her movements bringing her close to one of the larger cracks she created when she landed. The large zig-zag wound spirals toward the edge of the ledge, where those robots stand.

Frenzy raises one booted foot and stomps down upon the crack. She could stop there, but she doesn't. Her downward movement continues and the woman drops to a crouch as both fists slam just as hard against that same fault line. All her seventy-ton strength combined into a powerful one-two strike.

She's attempting to split the rock apart. To sunder it on that weakened part and to cause the Sentinels to fall. Yes, they can fly, but diversions (even temporary ones) are desperately needed.

All that's needed is the smallest of windows to use; something to get her and Wanda further down the mountain and away from the dangers in front and behind.

And also above.


There before the might of Exodus, in the wake of terrible destruction, the subject of his ire begins to reform itself. A tightness crawls across his jaw, fingers curling into fists as the telekinetic storm he's whipping about fails to come near it. But even that cursory touch had told him the truth of the creature: A power from beyond, a challenge that would take all of his attention.

His attention was needed elsewhere.

The mountain behind the creature folds upward, and then crashes down like a wave, a measure Exodus knows will not defeat this terrible malice. This is time, and he turns to see Frenzy setting Wanda down and trying to buy some of her own. Blazing eyes track the sky to the craft that brought men to this place.


The psychic command he sends to the men is to quite simply pull the pins on any grenades they might be carrying and make running leaps for the sentinels.

As if to help this endeavor, Exodus roars into Frenzy's periphery, cutting through frigid wind to help cut a path, and with a trick he learned from his great Liege, the Master of Magnetism, he takes hold of one of the sentinels with his mind and turns it into a grenade in it's own right, dismantling it and sending shrapnel guided by precise motions to cut into it's fellows.

Seconds tick by.

Precious and deadly.

He can already hear the rock shifting further up the mountain.

"Take her, the armor I have wrapped around you will shield you both from the fall! LEAP, ACOLYTE! CARRY OUR FUTURE TO SAFETY!"


The rock splits beneath half the Sentinels gathered around Frenzy and Wanda, some of them still firing beams. Those misdirected beams slice the mountainside overhead, tumbling rock from its face in a deadly landslide that threatens those still standing upon the ledge — but those Sentinels do fall. It will take them a few moments to fly back up.

The men, stricken by Exodus's command, react in a variety of ways. Some, who actually came equipped to obey, find themselves running for the Sentinels while unwillingly pulling the pins on their grenades. This includes the Sentinels who fell, leading to a harrowing few incidences of men flinging themselves uncontrollably from the shattered edge of the ledge, and erupting in explosions while in freefall.

Other men, without the grenades to obey, run at the four Sentinels that remain on the ledge, flinging themselves somewhat ineffectually against them. Their presence is enough to hamper the machines slightly, and they recoil from their attempts to take Wanda, hunkering down in place against the storm of shrapnel as Exodus demolishes one into a deadly array of airborne scrap.

Two turn, weathering through the storm to fire a wide-radius stunner blast from their chests, saturating Exodus' airspace with powerful electrical discharges. The remaining one focuses upon its target — Wanda, laying upon the ground.

From below, the Sentinels which fell return, shooting back up into the sky and recalculating their trajectories to close back in on that now-precariously small ledge. Their cutting lasers slice through the night, scoring rock and crumbling the ledge's integrity even further. The rock groans treacherously beneath Frenzy and Wanda.


Stone dusts under its metal feet.

The Sentinel steps on and on, with that same, timeless patience of all cold machines, knowing and feeling nothing but the objective of its mission. It reamins the automaton's raison d'etre until it is complete.

Its arm reforms into a blade, sieving to a monofilamented sharpness — another gift from the future, pulled into the reality of here and now. It converges on Exodus —

— as the mutant, in turn, pulls on Wundagore Mountain, and buries the Machine under a landslide of rock. Its forward march only arrests when it is completely erased, covered in fatal tons of rock, and crushed back to silence. Bought time.

Meanwhile, set down, Wanda Maximoff's unfocused, cloudy eyes focus on some point past Frenzy's shoulder. She looks on, far and away, as she's spoken to — begged — ordered to come back to life. Come back to some shadow of the woman she once was.

The Witch does nothing for a beat. The crack of Frenzy's voice meets only shiftless vacancy.

Her blue eyes blink. And then, so low, so soft, and through the distant, thunderous clash of enemy men turned on Sentinel machines, comes Wanda's voice. "He's gone," is all she says. "Let me go."

The rock groans. Her eyes close, accepting it, anticipating it. In that gesture, a truth: Wanda wants to die.

Far above, back on the top of the mountain, that sunken wall of rock shivers. Fine granules of debris fall. Then it splits open, pouring outward in a dozen directions, as the Machine patiently rises back to its monstrous height. The air swims around its body, near translucent — a telekinetic barrier, learned from Exodus, now appropriated as its own.

Its flaring, fiery eyes fix back down on the man.

Its plates fan, and out from the Sentinel erupts a piercing, debilitating sonic blast, fed right at Exodus — aiming to disconnect that psychic call he has forced on the human minds below. It swings for him, one clawed, steel hand opening — attempting to take him by head and throat both in its crushing grasp and try to mulch him right down through mountain rock.


A portion of the ledge shatters under Frenzy's onslaught and with it a handful of Sentinels disappear. That's enough for Frenzy to feel a moment of thankfulness, but she knows she needs to move -

She pivots again, intending to return to Wanda's side. That turn likewise brings the knowledge that Exodus is once again nearby. His actions help pull down more Sentinels, help open the path for their escape.

Almost Frenzy forgot what it's like to work side-by-side with another Acolyte.

With someone who understands the importance of the Twins and Magneto in general.

The movement of the remaining Sentinels brings Frenzy back to the present. The crackle of electricity carries within the airspace and it causes Frenzy to lunge back to Wanda, to put herself in the path of that electrical discharge. The bite and hiss of the stunner causes the Bruiser to stumble and drop momentarily to a knee.

But then Wanda's words are heard and Exodus' as well. It spurs her onward. She rises back to her feet and once again, Wanda finds herself picked up.

Only once the Witch is safely tucked in her arms does Frenzy run again. She goes for the newly made edge of the stone shelf and leaps, just as Exodus commands.

She jumps and aims to take herself and her cargo further down the mountainside.


There is a fury of motion, a surge of power and Exodus throws shields into place around Frenzy and Wanda and himself, his power focused on protecting them all against the sudden return and terrible onslaught, and where he can a bolt of telekinetic fire born of particulate igniting with the friction of his mind lances out at a Mark IV here and there.

As much as Exodus has always been a one man army, a living weapon of mass destruction, he has his limits. He hears it rise, hears the Mark X come for him, and turns.

When a creature can take his power for his own, it harrows him to his core and ebbs the flow of power that surges in his veins. Another had taken from him in this way, utterly immune to his abilities. He was the one who had stoked them all those centuries ago in the lost realm of the God-Pharaoh known as En Sabah Nur.

The scream ripples in his mind, and he struggles to keep hold of those he had commanded to fight for the side of the righteous.

He falters, and they will all come to terms with their precarious position, holding onto hovering sentinels in the frigid chill of the mountain.

He gains some defense again the scream in the moments after, his barriers realigning, all he has to do is-


Head, throat, and upper body takes pinning claws through and through. Blood sprays a moment before Exodus is powered into rock and worse, and should be but a smear by the time the sentinel is done with him. Tatters of his cape and pauldrons dot the landscape.

Somewhere, a pouch spills open and half a croissant falls out.

Where did it all go wrong?

"Go and protect my daughters. Make of my son something worth bearing my blood. I wish you to serve them, Exodus." This was his voice. The only voice that mattered. The voice of Magneto. "And do you know how we serve our children? We know what is best for them when they are weak."

Eyes fly open, burning with light. In the memory of his duty, the Exodus is not broken.

Mangled, his body reacts much like the Mark X, a power not wholly his own charging forth from within to knit his body back together, and though he remains skewered, this power keeps him alive, keeps him focused.

"He's gone," is all Wanda says. "Let me go."

Eyes roll back.

His mind shrieks across the astral plane and beyond, a bulldozer of psionic force that cuts between the barriers of realms, riding a thread that may be diminished but can never be broken. Often, Exodus speaks of being a bridge from a dark past to a bright future.

Now, he seeks to become one most literal, joining the twins. Across impossibility. Across dimensions. Even if for a moment, to prove to Wanda Maximoff that she will never be alone.

"N—now f-iend…see what is wrought, when the future comes for you!!"


Frenzy leaps out into open space. The four hovering Sentinels turn immediately in the air to follow her down; the three still on the ledge are a little later, needing to lurch to the edge. Two of them are outright destroyed by Exodus's telekinetic fire, exploding in a rain of shrapnel that takes out many of the men still throwing themselves against their steel heels. The last one makes it over the edge just in time.

Here the side of Wundagore is sheer, and it is a long drop down to the next area of the mountain that juts out. It is a wide, flat plain, much more open than the previous ledge on which they battled… but with much less cover, and with no chance of breaking pieces of it off in order to alter the terrain to one's favor. If not for Frenzy's durability and Exodus's telekinetic barrier, they would be nothing but smears of blood and bone amidst the scree.

There is only a moment to recover before the remaining Sentinels come screaming down, landing all around. Their programmed directive is unchanged and they will pursue it until they are nothing but scrap: capture the Scarlet Witch, and all her power.

Four Sentinels in front of Frenzy approach in a rough, inexorable semi-circle. They fire their stunners, in rapid sequence, seeking to pound the Acolyte's resistance into the ground until she is forced to drop or part with Wanda to prevent the Witch's own death.

At that point, the last one, behind her, fires with a pinpoint laser capable of ripping through steel.

Exodus reaches out. He feels for Wanda's mind… and then he feels for her other half. Her twin brother. He seeks to join them back together, if only for a moment, if only to instill a sense of hope…

He reaches… and once his power crosses into the domain of Limbo-over-Earth, it falters. He finds only dead air on Pietro's end. The psychic trail leading to the mind of Quicksilver flutters in tatters, like a frayed rope in a high wind.

Thousands of miles and an ocean distant, at the side of a sister who is not his own, a tall, lean figure, swathed completely in black armor, does not move.


That electric barrage is enough to falter Frenzy, felling her to one knee — not yet broken, but suffering its pain.

At her back, Wanda Maximoff still does not move. Her turned eyes reflect the hollow, empty place she now resides. "Leave, Joanna," she says, her voice more a plea now than anything. "Let it happen. I can't help you. Without him…"

Her words chase into silence, no more strength to carry them. No more forward momentum from her broken mind. She goes silent, distant, and vacant.

The witch hangs bonelessly as she is again collected back up, uncaring what may happen to her. Do they not know that one half cannot survive alone?

Even as the Sentinels converge on Frenzy, encircling her with their flaring eyes and unrelenting steel limbs, Wanda gazes up at the starry sky. Tears run from her blue eyes. She lost her twin. She lost her scarlet. What is left for her, but one mercy left in this terrible lifetime? Why not let her die in the one place that ever felt home to her?

"Joanna —" she begs, on the cusp of that laser blast.

Her voice fragments. Her eyes roll back. From his distant perch, up on the top of Wundagore Mountain, and crushed under the closing hand of the NIMROD — Exodus reaches out.

His psychic hand takes hers, and pulls her mind from this world to its transcendental nexus. There, Wanda opens her reluctant eyes, and sees — sees truly what she has only ever felt vaguely, with her witch's sight. Probability spreads around her, and she knows its infinite hands — sees the countless Pietros she has sensed in limitless iterations over the expanding multiverse. She has felt them before, and even if they are not hers, she loves them just as well. But. But —

Exodus pulls on the bridge between the Maximoff Twins, and Wanda weighs down one end. She turns her astral head, for a moment hopeful, for a moment wanting Exodus's unimaginable power to do what hers was too weak to accomplish. Tears stinging her eyes, she looks down the highway of her own soul —

And sees the emptiness that was Pietro Maximoff. Lost. Gone. Taken.

Her astral body drops to its knees, folding in, breathless to give voice to her bottomless pain. In this life, still in Frenzy's arms as the Sentinels close in, Wanda weeps.

And then, a new, unseen force pushes in to try to sever the connection. It is tainted. It is wrong. It is cold. It is the Machine, learning Exodus as it bears him cruelly down, leeching psychic power without a true mind of its own, and feels like a dead, empty sickness in the astral realm. It reflects his power back, mirrored and adapted and replicated, to shut the bridge down.

Its hand slowly closes like a vice, turn after turn, adding pressure on flesh and bone as its negation does slowly on thought.

SUCCUMB, it orders.


"No." Comes Frenzy's return to Wanda's plea to let go. To allow it to happen. "Never."
Then the two fall and the drop downward is long and punctuated with the sounds and lights from the battle above.

It's almost like Fourth of July, only far more deadly.

For a second time this evening Frenzy lands down upon the ground and even with the telekinetic shield (and her durability) enwrapping her (and Wanda), the Bruiser feels the landing deep within her bones. Her booted feet actually sink a few inches into the surface of the ground, which says something to the length they fell.

Frenzy doesn't linger long, however. She knows what's right behind her. Sentinels. Those damnable robots.

She gets a step, possibly two, before she finds herself encircled. "I'm getting real tired of this." Growls Joanna Cargill, but then the first discharge hits.

It crackles against skin and form.

Then a second and a third.

Each hit is met with a grunt from the Acolyte and a grimace of pain.

Her name, her real name, spoken by Wanda pulls a response from Frenzy. "No -" She can hear the plea in Wanda's voice again and the Acolyte grits out, "You.will.survive."

Though perhaps not Frenzy. Not as the last stunner hits and it momentarily spasms Frenzy's muscles. It's what causes the Scarlet Witch to drop from her protective hold and what leaves Frenzy wide-open for that laser to slash downward, into her.

From the angel of attack the laser enters high upon her back and exits low upon her abdomen. It tears through flesh, muscle and bone, but only her own.

And while there's a shout of agony from her, the wound itself doesn't bleed, as the laser cauterizes as it injures.

The First Acolyte of the Brotherhood drops to her knees from shock and pain. A hand rises upward to cover the hole at her belly and she stays cowed like that for several seconds. Then with a sideways look to Wanda, Frenzy pulls together every scrap of strength she has and lurches to her feet.

Acolytes don't quit.

"You can't have her." Gasps out Frenzy, and with another forceful stomp the ground cracks and a chunk of earth leaps upward into the woman's waiting hands. She throws it, with as much force as she can, and staggers a step forward.



It crushes into the mind of Exodus, for if he cannot contact Pietro, so bolstered by the will of his Liege and Frenzy both, then it must be true. He must be gone.

The light goes out in his eyes, for it is his nightmare come to fruition. The claws of the creature dig deep, and Exodus finds his strength sapped and his mind overcome by the creature that echoes in his psyche. Here at the end, he looks back upon his failures and a tingle tear slips free from the corner of one eye.

There is a terrible squelch as flesh fails, as his body caves in. The creature wins as it finds his heart and digs through, leaving a soundless gasp as the very last thing Exodus should have ever left on this world.


It is another time. The sand burns hot against his skin. He looks up, beaten and bloodied, and the battered and felled low. That voice echoes in his mind, the voice of his Maker, and it tells him the very same thing. But then, as now, a life was on the line. Bennet du Paris had no friends for all of his life, save one.

Apocalypse had told him to succumb.

Exodus refused, and the Black Knight survived the wrath of the inescapable.

Exodus screams again, as that same command that came from the mouth of a False God tries to destroy his mind. Instead, he powers towards that black void as a white-hot knife, and his body begins to burn in the creature's grasp.

Power ripples through the ground itself, rock suddenly jutting upward and outward to spear those sentinels harassing Frenzy, crippling and crumpling, taking from NIMROD his allies, for as this creature copies the power of Exodus, it will find his power comes at a price.

On the Isle of Genosha, in a castle made of metal, is a man who leads people who believes in Exodus through and through. It is this power he draws upon, while seeking to dam in NIMROD's connection with all the sentinels the world over. It will show the creature isolation. It will show him loneliness.

Then it will show NIMROD the center of the sun, as he pulls that power inward and seeks to teleport them both eight light-minutes away and into the heart of a fiery oblivion.


Pulled from that astral handhold, and lost from Frenzy's arms, Wanda comes to — resurrected back to this world with the shock of falling, and the burn of the cold earth.

She skids away, tangled on the forest floor — among its loam and pine needles — and looking up where the only breaks in the dark are the blinding plasma strikes directed on Frenzy, the ambient firelight of gunfire, and up, up, lost among the top of the mountain — the glow of a distant, unknown battle.

Scrambling up to her side, Wanda's eyes blink away their despairing tears, and focus — and she sees.

"Joanna," she begs the name again, low and aggrieved, just to see it — see the hole burnt through Frenzy. It is hard to push up against the undertow that wants to weigh her down — despair, hopelessness, the acceptance of the void — but the smell of burnt, cooking flesh brings Wanda back. She lost Pietro. Now she's going to lose everyone else. "Joanna, stop!"

She tries to call the scarlet back. It doesn't listen. Why would it?

So weak. She was always weak. She could never control it. She could never control herself. It was always Pietro, even from the start. She funnelled the power, held it, channelled it forward, but he was always its will.

The Sentinels face Frenzy against her one-woman Alamo, their arms outstretched, pointing forward the sights of their weapons. They charge with the hum of electricity.

Wanda screams in horror.

And the machines — detonate. The loosened, landslide off Wundagore trembles to life around them, bolstered by Exodus's power, pulling to life a thousand stones that cut themselves bladed edges. They puncture through the machines in countless places, severing metal limbs, husking open metal bodies, and cooling the glow from machine eyes before their heads roll free from their bodies. They hit the ground in crackling weights.

Far above, the NIMROD knows. Its eyes flicker as every last one of its metal allies offline. Even if a machine cannot feel — it can still retaliate.

Its other clawed hand fans its plates, and reforms into a blade. It tries to sink it straight through Exodus's stomach. Its face opens, the macabre robot features peeling away, opening up for that nuclear-hot glow of its core. It will melt the mutant in its crucible —

Light anoints the cap of Wundagore Mountain, beautiful and terrible and so bright it flickers blue into the night sky. Then, the portal flickers like a lightning strike. And it is gone.

And they are gone.

And it is here, now, occupying space and time in the heartbeat of life itself, within the very core that created its flesh masters. The NIMROD burns in the core of the sun, existing among fatal nuclear reaction, its borrowed, telekinetic shield holding it for moments before it begins to slough away and fade.

For the NIMROD's power to duplicate and adapt powers, it lacks the heart of what makes Exodus. It does not know faith to make itself stronger. It cannot feel hope and let it become ascendence.

Its shield breaks. Its plates twist and melt. Its claws strain, even now, to hold on to Exodus, and fulfil its mission.

MU-t-t-t-tttAaNt, it commands. MU-US-US-MUST BE—

The Sun's fires pull it apart, and cook it down, atom to atom.

A silence falls over the Transian forest.

Wanda stirs amidst the rubble, moving finally on her own, forgetting the tears still-running from her eyes. No longer as vacant as she was before. "Joanna, are you —"

Splitting the night, gunfire tuns on them. More specifically, on Frenzy, to hit her again, straight through her cauterized wound.

Trask's army is en route, surrounding them, persevering with its surviving men even after the machines have fallen. And in preparation to handle the Brotherhood's top lieutenant, they have brought anti-materiel rifles, loading ammunition meant to puncture through tanks.

Ready for her.

The report of gunfire comes so loud, so constant, that it is an imminent reality: they will not stop firing until Joanna until the mutant is dead.

Or until —

A wall of scarlet opens up. Not so fast to stop that first shot, but to try to shield the rest — it comes from Wanda, from her upraised hands, from her burning-red eyes, as she pulls the last threads of her stuttering, faltering power to yield to her.

It is not perfect. Not like before. Not enough to cover both of them, not enough to do anything but hold Frenzy safe in a cage of red, as Wanda provides cover.

"Not you too," she says, with shaking hands, turning her head to look back on the Transian forest. Gritting her teeth, she strains — and with her bending fingers, begins to open her own flickering vortex in spacetime, rearranging reality to open to somewhere else —

Familiar to Frenzy. The heat and light of Genosha.

There are tears in Wanda's eyes, in that last look she gives her friend. "Goodbye —"

Her fingers spread, the gesture no doubt to send Frenzy through. Her fingers begin to curl —

— bullets hit her scarlet. They ricochet. One punctures Wanda straight through. She falters, hits the ground, and goes still.


Those Sentinels halt in place as rock spears upwards to impale them through their backs at Exodus's will. They are not destroyed, however, and their systems whir and strain as they push doggedly forward, working themselves off those impaling spurs of rock bit by bit. They reach forward, malevolent — until they all explode in a rain of metal and ceramic.

But that still leaves the humans. Humans — both the survivors who rappelled donw from up above, and fresh replacements from the returned VTOL shuttle — who smell imminent victory now that the Witch's defenders are faltering. Humans, who use their weight of numbers to bridge the gap between themselves and their mutant betters. Gunfire slashes the air.

The scarlet portal, at first unnoticed by them, spins and hisses. Its localized rearrangement of reality causes unexpected richochets as bullets encounter that warp. One bullet ricochets through Wanda herself, because Pietro was not there to snatch it from the air for her.

Another ricochet pings through the portal itself and is gone. A small thing, easily missed in all the chaos…

And a moment later, a familiar figure tears through the portal on magnetic currents, rage radiating from every line of him until the power coming off him seems to visibly smoke.

Every last piece of metal on the mountain stands to attention. The destroyed Sentinels shake and fly apart, torn into even smaller pieces, disassembled in a violent eruption into unrecognizable clouds of components in an ornate mechanical vivisection. A vast force propels all those pieces away, crushing them into the face of the mountain. The unforgiving rock face — and something else, something more powerful, something operating at a molecular level — grinds them into no more than dust that blows away in the wind.

Through the blowing rain of ground steel, fury is naked on Magneto's austere old face.

He was keeping tabs on the search. How could he not? He has Acolytes with a dizzying array of powers available to him at his fingertips, and it was a simple matter to have one of them with the appropriate abilities place a trace on Frenzy and Exodus's movements. To monitor them remotely, in glimpses, as they worked. This latest update came to him not five minutes ago — the two of them beleaguered atop Wundagore, having found his daughter — and he was about to demand a more in-depth report of what exactly was happening when one came to him in unexpected fashion. A portal, ripped through reality, in the very courtyard of the Spire where he stood.

Why to Genosha? Perhaps Wanda simply thinks it is the safest refuge for Joanna Cargill, who has been faithful to the last and does not deserve death for her charge's loss of will to live. Perhaps in the end, dying and frightened children still instinctively reach even for the parents who have failed them.

Whatever the reason, through that portal, Magneto saw everything. He saw a human fire a bullet into his daughter's flesh.

The judgment for this crime is stamped in the look of death shrouded on his face.

Men falter, recognize him, and start to turn to run. The VTOL craft turns to flee, too. Magneto sweeps his hand to the right, and the vehicle dashes against the mountainside in an eruption of flame.

"Not this time," is the only thing he has to say.

He reaches forward, palm up, fingers clawed, and with exacting care he bids the bullet back out again. It slides free of Wanda, dripping his daughter's blood. The projectile hangs briefly in the air.

Magneto opens his hand. It lances forward, ten times faster and harder than any rifle could have fired it, and within five seconds it has blown apart the heads of every last human on the mountainside.

A flat silence falls, after.

Magneto drifts down to stand beside his daughter's crumpled form. He stoops, gathering her into his arms, though the rage still churns so fiercely in him that any tenderness there might have been to the gesture is drowned out. He looks down at Frenzy after, battered and pierced through, bloody and ravaged.

"Get up," he commands. "And follow."


Frenzy continues to fight.

It's all she knows to do.

No matter that the price is going to be high.

Those anti-tank bullets have the potential for incredible damage under normal circumstances, and while the three mutants here aren't so normal, the first round tears through Frenzy's just acquired wound.

That's enough to cause the woman to scream something so full of pain. A sound she's probably never made in front of Pietro or Wanda, but tonight she has no choice.

And when the bullets cease to continue their deluge upon her Joanna Cargill collapses.

She lays upon the ground, her eyes closed, and even with her sight blocked the light from the Witch's shield bleeds through.

It's what has her wheezing, ".. Wanda .."

She'd say more, but she can't. Not until the Scarlet Witch brings forth the portal which forces Frenzy to open her eyes.

Get yourself through. That's what Frenzy was going to say, but her words aren't quick enough. The bullets tear through the air again and hit the red wall, they ricochet. Right into Wanda.

For Joanna Cargill her world stops - her heart stutters and she pulls upon every shred of her strength and pushes herself from the ground.

She only gets to a raised elbow before spilled blood calls to blood and Magneto arrives.

Unblinking, Frenzy watches the Master of Magnetism reach out and destroy everything. Mutely Joanna Cargill watches and silently she can't help but admire the beauty in his destruction.

In his rage.

And when he turns a look upon her and orders her to get up, to follow, Frenzy obeys.

She lurches to her feet and sways.

"Yes, sire. I follow." Comes her rasp of an answer and doggedly the woman follows.


In the star that feeds life to this entire solar system, Exodus commits another to death. He hears it's last words, transmitted through plasma, revels in it's destruction, for he does not simply cast down some demon from another realm, nor the mind of a madman, but his own demon that has haunted him for almost a thousand years. Here he would stay for as long as the sun would have him, if not for a sudden, ripping call to his psyche.

The sun will no miss his passing, but none on Genosha will fail to notice the brilliant light of it's angel's return. Crimson skin shows nothing of the sun's caress, a rippling physic covered in a sheen of telekinetic power, with a blazing halo around him. But for all his majesty in that moment, his dichotomy shows through as he falls to his knees, his tattered breeches and disheveled hair making him, suddenly, look like a beggar.

And he does beg, for his Lord's forgiveness, and channels every ounce of his power, drawn from the awe of the mutants who had turned to look at this tower when crimson and bright white flashed from it's windows.

The energy will fall upon them all, upon Frenzy, mending bones and skin and dissolving leftover bullets away to nothing, upon Wanda, sealing wounds and surging her with a burgeoning light, and finally upon Lord Magneto himself.

A power that layers upon his rage to know the full extent of it, to feel it's siren call.

And Exodus does, drawing upon that endless wellspring of Magnet Fury, regenerating, rejuvenating his clothing, right down to his cape and pauldrons and shirt.

And even his pouch.

And his beloved Croissant.

Retribution fills his mind and he turns his head to look at some unseen enemy, washing his presence over the mindscape with a single message for Trask and his foolish lackeys.



Magneto does not even turn to see if Frenzy obeys. Her obedience is expected. If she cannot walk to follow him, he expects her to crawl.

He himself does not stop until he is back through the portal, back under the heat and sweltering sun of Genosha. Ten seconds away, and so much changed even in so small a time. All beginning and ending with the bundle in his arms.

Not even the return of Exodus brings him to lift his gaze from Wanda's face. That, too, is expected, as is the other mutant's obeisance at his feet. Healing cloaks down promptly over them all, save Magneto; Exodus wishes only to touch on his Lord's rage, to feel its extent.

What Exodus will feel is akin to being back in the heart of the sun.

Presently, Magneto finally lifts his head, even as his Acolytes gather. His expression is a lock, control regained. "See to it that mountain is wiped clean of all that transpired," he says, cold once more. He allows an Acolyte to take Wanda from him. "See the Scarlet Witch to a room. Open a line to Polaris and bid her wait for my word. I will speak to her… soon enough."

He turns, deep strides already carrying him away. "There is still much to be done."

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