Image

October 01, 2018:

Lorna is contacted — Wanda has been found. Exodus brings her briefly to Genosha, where she has Thoughts on her father's methods in caring for her mad sister. Magneto emitted by Pietro.

The Spire, Genosha

Characters

NPCs: Magneto

Mentions: Wanda Maximoff

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

It has been a few days since Lorna first learned Pietro and Wanda were missing, and contacted their father on Genosha. In all those days there has been no further word from him. Not about any developments, nor updates on what might be going on. Typical. Even the people temporarily assigned to look after her, in the event whatever was behind this wasn't quite done yet, don't actually talk to her about anything going on. They're not authorized for that.

Eventually a message finally comes to her. It is typically overblown, and informs her to stand by. Her father will speak to her when he is ready.

As Lorna might expect, it is some time before Magneto actually gets around to calling her. The mechanism is the same as before, though this time the 'viewport' of the portal is a lot smaller, the focus narrowed in on her father's face. There's little indication of his surroundings.

"Your sister is with me," is his unhurried preamble. He looks cool as ever. "It will be some time before she is fit to leave."

*

True to her word, Lorna had stayed in Mutant Town. She had even migrated from the refined building that Emma had given her permission to use, after all, it wasn't completed yet and having dozens of Brotherhood or X-men members coming around to visit and or check in on her wasn't a viable option as of yet. Thus, the Community Center had become her base of operations, as well as a shelter for those that had lost their homes to the chaos of the various demons. With the military blockade and the stubborn nature of many of the city's mutants, it was time to grind it heels and put up a defense. Which had been easy when there were so many burned out remains of cars and scrap metal around to reinforce the building. In her own way, Lorna had made a structure not all too dissimilar to her father's Spire, simply without the ego or refinement added onto it.

When the message came through to her, she was out on the streets, and took her time getting back. After all, if her father actually meant to contact her, it wasn't going to be immediately. She supposed she should count her blessings that the time difference didn't make such an issue. Not with New York slathered in twilight and smothered in demonic skies.

The portal opened up to her tiny room that she'd carved out of steel, hung through with salvaged Christmas lights that ran on generators. She'd gotten creative. Her arms crossed as she shifted on the bench like bed, her figure leaning forward toward the portal. "What do you mean 'fit to leave?' Is she hurt? What happened? Where was she? What about Pietro?" Her voice came out in a hurried rush, her hands closing into fists beneath her crossed arms. The leather of her jacket creaking with her movement.

*

Magneto's cool blue eyes do not seem surprised at her surroundings, nor does he ask what she has been up to. It is guaranteed he already knows, and that if her behavior displeased him in any way he would likely have already done something about it. Perhaps privately he would prefer that these displaced mutants simply come to Genosha instead of struggling on beneath the heel of human oppression, but in the absence of that, the fact they are being looked after seems to suffice for him.

He seems less copacetic at her stream of questions. A faint frown haunts his features.

"Some have reported seeing your brother, here and there, but he remains under whatever thrall has caught him," he says. "You can extrapolate from there, can you not? She is physically unharmed, but she is not stable. If you think yourself capable of changing that, it is a simple matter to convey you to and from Genosha, but I have my doubts. She has been left to your brother's coddling far too long."

His mouth thins. "I will see this nonsense resolved."

*

The green haired woman was on her feet before her father even finished his sentence, unruffled by his narrowed, cold, blue eyes nor by the frown that graced his features. She didn't interrupt him, but her response was on the tip of her tongue the entire time. There was barely a breath between her response and his. Green eyes met his through the portal, even as her frame hummed with a visible anger on the electromagnetic spectrum.

The fact that Pietro was alive wasn't a surprise, more of a stubborn confirmation that she'd refused to accept otherwise.

"Thrall? What? Where?" Her gaze flickered up to the doorway that separated her from the rest of the remaining mutant population. Desperate to pin down the other members of her father's network and demand answers.

Her focus was a flitting thing, torn between desperately wanting to see Wanda herself and wanting to find Pietro to help Wanda return to herself. A hiss of an exhaled breath between her teeth followed as her weight shifted upon her feet. She could visit Wanda. She could try. Maybe Wanda would know more than their father let on. Perhaps she might talk to her. It was a slim hope.

"No one in our family is stable." She snapped, defensive tone ringing in her voice, "We're a smattering of PTSD, bipolar disorder, and too much damn power. Yes, I want to come to Genosha to see my sister."

*

Without warning there is an explosion of power in Lorna's tiny room, blue-white energy washing over her with enough power to… maybe ruffle her hair a bit. The sound of it is an eerie wail that echoes in the mind as astral and psionic power wash away. Standing next to her, bathed in the glory of his power, Exodus holds his cape in one hand to keep it close, and his other reaches for the Heir to Magnus to take her by the shoulder. It appears she will have little choice in the matter as the blazing eyes of the living bridge to the bright future flare once more.

It feels impossible, as space and time bend in another explosion of power that will deposit them both before Magneto. Where it might be disorienting, Exodus extends his mind into Lorna's, not to examine her thoughts or invade her mind, but to guard her against effects of being pulled through space and time. As the halo fades, his reinforcing presence retracts, and Exodus dips his head in deference to his lord, Magneto.

"Your daughter, my liege. I have also informed those working in defense of Mutant Town of her absence, as not to raise alarm."

Though his accent has been lost to absorbing languages from others, it still has the passion and power of someone who does not speak unless it to convey and command emotion.

"Tell me what else I might do for you, and I shall see it done!"

*

"Of course a thrall," Magneto says, sounding somewhat cross. "I would not credit even your brother with behaving so foolishly on his own. It is some part of whatever is transpiring in New York. Mark that."

If anything, Magneto seems more irritated at his son shaming the family image by getting himself taken off the playing board, than anything else. Oh, of course, it could be spun the other way, as a necessary decapitation of the leader of an organization which could have presented meaningful opposition, but Magneto always looks on the pessimistic side of things. Especially when it comes to his only son.

As far as Lorna's snappishness? Her father does not even seem to hear it, or willfully ignores it. He only glances to his left at the important part — her final statement — in a silent command.

The result soon appears beside Lorna, conveying her to Genosha in all haste. Magneto has one word for Exodus's prompt obedience: "Good."

He turns, already making his way up a flight of steps, expecting both of them to follow. Lorna would finally recognize where they are: high up in the Spire, near its top, where the Master of Magnetism keeps his private chambers and the chambers of his blood and his trusted. Fittingly, most of them stand empty the majority of the time: his family despise him half the time, and he has almost no one he trusts.

What more might Exodus do for him?

"Attend," is Magneto's brief command. "I will soon need you to return her. I will have at least one presence in the city to gauge the level of threat." He speaks easily, as if Lorna's obedience as his proxy were a foregone conclusion. "We are far, but these things have a way of spreading, and many of our people yet remain there."

*

The whiplash of difference between her father's power plays left Lorna wheeling in the after affects. From making her wait seemingly ages to call, to instantly yanking her from New York to Genosha. Her stomach churned as the magnetic fields snapped back into being in her head, from one part of the world to another, her sense of direction whirling where magnetic North was no longer the strongest point of reference in her mind's eye.

Exodus's support was the sole reason she didn't find herself tumbling to the ground face forward at her father's feet. The brightness of the Spire was near blinding after having spent days in the half-light of New York. Her eyes watered, and she sneezed painfully as a result, rubbing her heels against her eyes as she bit back the urge to curse. It took almost an embarrassing amount of time for that to solve itself, enough that the heat of the tropics invaded her bones and prickled against her skin beneath her leather jacket. With a creak she shucked it off, throwing it down as she stepped after her father's departing presence. "Then I'll find him if he's in New York somewhere. If our tracers can't find his tracks, but there are rumors, then someone has to be able to track him by scent at the very least." She pursed her lips, jaw tight and her chin held up as she stalked passed old rooms that she'd once called home for most of her pregnancy. Old memories haunting her every step, memories that had once been of hope, but had since turned to ash on her tongue.

As her father continued about her return and maintaining a presence in the city, her green eyebrows shot upwards. "You think there's a chance it'll spread?"

*

"As you wish."

Exodus is nothing if not attentive, and steps just to the side as to remain audience to them both, his gaze falling upon Lorna as if it is on her to somehow live up to the honor of being in Magneto's presence, but a look deeper would find the slightest concern at the corner of his mouth, and the edge of his eyes. He worries for Pietro as does she, for it was his mission.

"Do not worry for your brother. Even now my mind scours the world and beyond looking for that which would dare touch the Scion of Magnus, the first Heir to the Atom, he who would one day rule! And when I find the creature responsible, it will know only bitter, unending defeat."
Even as he speaks, his cape billows behind him, the lights seem to flicker, and an oddly shaped object in a pouch at his belt wobbles, just a bit.

"I feel your growing loss, Lorna, Heir to the World, but do not let it consume you."

*

"You would do better to find your brother, and put a stop to all this," Magneto concurs, already walking away. He expects his blood to have the strength to recover quickly, and follow. "I will deal with your sister here."

Her question on whether he thinks it will spread draws a glance over his shoulder. "In my experience, carelessness is always punished, Lorna. There is always a chance for things of this nature to erupt into a much larger issue. I will let nothing threaten what I have built here."

He turns his back again, saying nothing as Exodus offers some words to his daughter. It is not a long climb before they reach the top floor of the Spire. Magneto's long strides carry them past lavish, well-appointed rooms, some of them chambers in which Lorna herself stayed while she resided here. He stops at none of them.

Instead, he keeps walking, to the end of the hall, until the beautiful rooms are all behind them. One room is left in front of them. Something about it looms suddenly in Lorna's awareness' as they draw closer.

Metal. A vast amount of it. This room has been transformed into a steel box with ceiling, floor, and walls wrought of metal over two feet thick. It is unthinkingly heavy, and the steel cage is moored intricately into the surrounding room in a way only Magneto could decipher quickly, but Lorna can feel in her sense that it is designed to detach easily, to be flung free of the Spire, in the event of —

In the event of what?

"If she is not awake," Magneto says, as if nothing were amiss, "then you had best return another time. She is difficult enough even when she is not exhausting herself."

*

A twist of her lips played over her expression as Lorna stalked after her father, steel toed boots thumping on rich, plush carpet and polished wooden floors beneath her feet. The Spire was as she remembered it not a month ago. Part of her wished to remain, to be in Genosha. It sang in her veins and in her dreams. An idealized vision of what she'd fought for, built after her father's image.

But duties demanded her else where, her brother needed to be found, their people needed protection, and she had to help fight for Genosha's standing abroad. The list stretched forever onward in a never ending cycle of loss and pain inter-sprinkled with vague breaks.

Exodus' words brought her attention flickering away from the figure of her father ahead, green eyed gaze sliding over toward him as he tried to comfort her. Which was more than she could say her father had attempted. "Can you confirm if he's in New York?" She had grown use to the flowery language of some of the Acolytes, used to their worship and their praise. Calling her 'princess' and treating her like Magneto's second coming. It no longer made her blink, and she had a feeling that trying to argue the point with the finely cloaked man would not be productive either.

The steel room ahead stole whatever else might have snapped from her lips at her father. The inclination broke as another world's memory of Wanda living in Magneto's tower clashed with the present. A surging need pushed her steps faster, trying to move beyond her father toward the steel enclosed space. She didn't particularly seem inclined to wait for her father to check on Wanda or not.

*

Hiss they approach the metal box, Exodus once more reaches out for Lorna, a hand on her shoulder to still her forward progress. In his gaze is a firm understanding of what lays beyond, better than most, for he has touched Wanda's mind in this state.

It is not an experience he would recommend to others.

"She sleeps, Lorna. And it is best she gets her rest. As for your brother.." His eyes narrow just a bit, and he looks sidelong for a brief moment that ends in a small nod. As he speaks, it is with a soft tone, eager to put her at some ease, despite the situation.

"Yes, but only briefly. I suspect he can feel when I seek him out, and has measures to evade me. Pressing the matter might damage his mind, and so I do not. A flicker of him, here and there, but yes, most recently in New York, The Great Apple. A City on the Edge of Oblivion as Hell itself seeks retribution for what they have done to our kind."

Yes, Exodus is certain this is divine justice. Mostly because the demons can't make much headway into Mutant Town. Woe, is their wrath terrible, and he is just happy watching it overwhelm the Humans.

"We will search for him together. I will stay in New York once we return."

*

Magneto turns slightly as Lorna suddenly rushes forward, overwhelmed both by concern and a sudden strange sense of deja vu — a memory from another world. In how many planes of existence does Wanda go mad? In how many does her father need to become her last warden, faced with terrible choices regarding his daughter?

He watches his youngest daughter's distress a moment, and the way Exodus reaches to comfort her with hand and words alike. His blue eyes study the interaction as if it were something foreign — or perhaps, more accurately, as if it rang too similar to some faint memory — some dormant impulse within himself. He thought it dead. He is terrified that it is not dead. He will not have it all happen again.

No.

"Lorna." He does not touch her physically, but there is a certain way his magnetic powers tangle with her own in passing, like linked fingers, that is familiar. He calmed her this way, months ago, when her panic stirred her powers recklessly. Controlled her, too — but control and comfort are the same thing to Magneto. "Your sister is not in any condition for excitement."

He does not move from in front of that locked door. "As I taught you, months ago," he says, "Now I must teach her. She must learn to exist past her madness." It would be nice to trust that this was a wholly benevolent move… but perhaps Magneto sees in this an opportunity to make Wanda, in her turn, in his own image.

"You both have your tasks," he says, that brief moment gone back into his cool austerity. Except — "My son is still captive, and I cannot leave this country after how far I have come."

*

The youngest child of Magneto twisted under Exodus' gentle grip as he reached out to stop her. Her cheeks flushed hot, anger mixed with the sudden knot of fear and worry that hadn't been there before. She had little clue why the thought of Wanda sealed away inside a metal chamber at the top of a tower sent her into a near panic, but it did. The vague feeling of wrongness permeated her mind and wouldn't let go so easily.

"I want to see my sister, get out of my way." She ground out between clenched teeth. Her temper a roiling thing that was likely to lash out at anyone and anything that prevented what she wanted from happening. The comfort was slapped down with a green eyed glare, as hot as molten steel where as her father's burned with hoarfrost. The news that Pietro was confirmed to be in New York was shelved. Noted. And promptly set aside as she made to try to shove passed again. Only to find her father stepping into her path, magnetically. His physical presence meant little in that moment, off to the side as it was, but the caress of his polarity against her own snapped her focus and held it firmly as if he'd settled his hands upon her shoulders. A ripple of magnetic power ran down her spine and through her feet, a shuddering inhale and exhale followed as she swallowed the bile and panic that tightened her throat and stole her breath.

Her hands clenched and unclenched with her breathing slow and steady. When she opened her eyes and turned her gaze upon her father again, her expression was pinched and held taut like a string. A hand rose and fell as she pointed at her father. "If she says something is wrong, it's wrong. Don't call her mad. Don't ignore her. Tell her that I'm going to bring Pietro home." Her hand fell, her expression trembling from the thickness of emotion that swelled in her chest and threatened to overwhelm her. It vibrated through the magnetic fields around her, but did not break her control.

"She likes plants, you can't keep her in there all the time. You have to let her outside." Memories of Wanda's confidence with the simple ways of plants, of her offer to walk among those in Genosha struck like a pang and her throat closed.

*

"She will have everything she needs here."

This is Exodus' reassurance, despite the anger that flares in Lorna like some electromagnetic flare. He can feel it, the roiling of that field against his telekinetic presence, and he tilts his chin upward to weather her glare with a soldier's intention. "Lament not for Wanda, for she has walked back from death itself more times then you could know. She will find her way back from this. But you are needed elsewhere, and the greatest cure for Wanda's condition may only be here brother. Come, Lorna…"

His hand extends, a clear invitation. He will not force her to go. Or rather, he would wish to have her simply agree that finding Pietro will fix many of their problems.

"..join me in this quest, one to reunite the Children of Magnus under a unified banner and purpose. Let us show the world that should any dare meddle in the blood of Lord Magneto, they will suffer a price so great that victory will turn to stale defeat in their mouths."

And truly Exodus can think of nothing less palatable than a stale Croissant, and would not wish to taste that kind of defeat himself. His hand hangs out there for Lorna, and he prepares to whisk them away once she, hopefully, sees the light.

*

Perhaps it's cheating, just a bit, for him to match their magnetic fields in such a way to impose calm on Lorna. It certainly calls into question whether she calms because she wants to, finds it soothing… or calms because that power knots hers in place.

Regardless, it seems to have the desired effect, though that fire still burns fiercely in Lorna on her sister's behalf. Magneto regards her demands and her pointed finger quite coolly. "I do not plan to ignore her," he says, his voice faintly sharp, "in the least. Your message will be conveyed to her…"

He rests a hand briefly on the steel of the door, and for a moment he looks pensive. "But I will use my judgment on what is wrong or not, what she may or may not have, and when she may leave. She will harm herself with anything I give to her now… and she is a danger not only to herself, but to everyone around her. I will not gamble lives on her sanity while it is still so tenuous."

He will not gamble Genosha on her sanity. There is a reason for the construction of her cage.

Magneto is silent a moment. Then his hand drops, and he turns back towards the two. "Perhaps once she is calmer, Exodus will see to your return, and you may see her," he says, in a tone that suggests the matter is closed. "Heed his words. For now, he will see you home."

That, too, is not up for negotiation.

*

Between Exodus and Magneto together, they almost formed the typical response one might expect from a parent toward a child. Almost. If one were reading a book from the perspective of kings and queens and how best to raise an heir via retainer that is. Far from the modern ideals of parenting books and media. Magneto's magnetic fields had always been a bond between parent and child, one inexplicable and yet always there. She knew where he was through the shared bond of the magnetic fields far above. He was a lodestar, another pole beyond the two standard. They calmed her when his words failed to do so. Or at least, typically they did.

Her shoulders loosened faintly at Exodus' reassurances, but that anger still roiled in her gaze. She didn't trust her father to do right by Wanda, he didn't know the her half sister. Didn't know any of his children. Not personally, how could he, when he'd barely spent any time with them? And without Pietro there to stand by Wanda's side, Lorna felt bound to try her best where she could.

Which is why as she nearly took Exodus' hand with a huff of a breath, Magneto's words struck another angry chord and caused her to halt in the motion. Even as he turned his back to press a hand against the wall of steel and turned back toward the two and made it clear she was dismissed. "Your judgement is crap. I know her better than you. I've seen her, spoke to her, been there for her and Pietro when they let me. Put your damn ego aside for once and actually listen to my suggestions." She hissed, glaring at her father once more.

"But whatever, I'm just your only working pawn these day. Gee, happy birthday Lorna. Love you too, Dad." She reached out for Exodus' hand, gripping it fast in her own then. Her glare lingering on her father.

*

Perhaps that is all Magneto does see his three children as, in the end: heirs to represent him, in their own respective ways. Lieutenants and weapons in his lifelong war, to be raised at a distance by the hands of his sworn retainers. Or perhaps he leaves them to others to raise because he still remembers, with horrific clarity despite the many decades, what happened the last time he raised a child.

Perhaps Magneto himself does not even know which it is. Perhaps he thinks on it, as he rests a hand on the door barricading in his second child.

He is aware, dimly, of having angered Lorna — of her heated words. He'll win her back, he thinks. Later. Now, in these trying times, he needs her to be angry and hard and strong. She will survive the coming fires, that way.

His hand drops, and he turns back towards them.

"Enough, Lorna. Put your anger to more practical use. Neither your brother nor your sister benefit from time wasted upon your sarcasm or your self-indulgences." Spoken softly, with an impersonal calm that states simple fact. With him, a quiet tone of voice is not indicative of weakness or lack of intensity. Quite the opposite. Wise men take notice when he shouts; wiser men take notice when he does not.

He holds in that sternness… and then his aspect softens. Marginally. "I will do all I can for her here. Trust that, if nothing else. Trust that I know far more about her than you would guess." His blue eyes meet hers. "You are both in the image of your mothers."

That seems to be all he has to say — for now.

She is taken back, shortly after.

The rest of Lorna's birthday passes much like any other day. No calls from her siblings — one is lost, the other mad. No calls from mother — she's dead. Only that familiar fight with her father, with whom she has had increasing friction ever since she left Genosha and his constant eye. He's an international terrorist, probably a dictator-king by now no matter what he says. Why would there be anything from him?

Yet the next day, when she returns to her room after stepping out, there is something sitting on her pillow that was not there when she left. Maybe someone was listening after all.

It is a simple necklace, made of steel. The pendant is a small oval, unusually light even for its size. Her senses tell her it is because it is hollow. This suggests that it is a locket; but there are no seams, no place where it opens. It is one continuous piece, as smooth as an egg… designed especially for her powers.

When she parts the metal and folds it open with her magnetic powers, she will find a small picture within. It is a picture of her daughter as she must look now, several months older than she last saw her.

There is no note, but it is safer for there not to be one, and there is no need besides.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License