Unopened Mail

October 20, 2018:

Magma finally makes contact with the X-Men. Cyclops briefly mistakes her for a fire demon. Someone at the Xavier Institute really needs to open the mail.

Salem Center - Westchester - New York City

Salem Center is loaded with buildings and activity. Here one can find the
Salem Center City Hall building resting on a large plot of grassy land. It's
a tall four story building, done in a classic Americana style, with red
bricks and white pillars outside of its front staircase. It has a clock
tower resting above the pillars, and the clock plays lovely tunes at
specific hours during the day, loud enough for the whole town to hear them
and know what time it is instantly.

Along the roads in downtown one can find other the Grind Stone Caf, Harry's
Hideaway, and Lost Pond Mall. The main Salem Center Police Department
building can be found here as well, and it's just across the street from
City Hall. Newly paved streets, well maintained gardens and an overall
lovely atmosphere, the New Salem area of Salem Center is a great place for
all citizens of this wealthy town to come and relax.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Magik, Siryn

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

The planemeld taking place in New York has more than it's handful of heroes and would-be do-gooders busy playing relief effort and defending secure locations alongside the DEO, SHIELD and a multitude of other authorities. The X-Men have been no different. The edges of Westchester County and back again have become patrol zones in teams and scheduled under Cyclops, he, also engages in these, no one is exempt and teams is an enforced thing, though currently the blue clad man is alone, his cowl sitting off of his shoulders like a hoodie and a leather jacket sits about his torso overtop his uniform.

It's not chance he is here, often not chance for the man to arrive somewhere this 'out', a frown at the horizon and south towards the city itself and hes resituating his phone, adjusting the screen as he reads through recent updates. It's chill, no clouds but a wind cuts through the sunny below sixty conditions.

By no means is he impatient, hes restless. Eager. There is more than enough chaos to begin setting order to…


It starts small, with what wildlife has stuck around (and not been eaten) since the demons invaded falling silent. For a little while that's all that happens, but then the vibration begins. At first its faint, barely detectable, but once it's started it doesn't stop, just increases slowly but steadily in intensity, now like the rumble of a heavily-trafficked road and still increasing. If it's an earthquake its building unusually slowly, and, if such a thing is possible, the epicenter seems to be getting closer. Finally, the shaking is enough to set off one particularly sensitive car alarm, and as if on cue, the shaking stops. Completely.

There's another long moment of silent stillness and then the surface of an empty, disused parking lot starts to bulge upward, the tufts of grass growing from the cracks in the asphalt first crisping away to nothing as if burned from below, then the asphalt itself fracturing as its forced asunder as a miniature volcanic cone forces itself into the light of day. It stops growing only a few feet above the previous surface level, small lava flows cooling and solidifying in moments, but there's still a orange-red glow emanating from the top.

Finally, a hand that looks to be made from molten rock itself appears above the crater's lip, grabs hold, and pulls. A figure scrambles into view, perching itself on the summit of the tiny mountain it just created. An apparently female figure made of lava, its head crowned with brightly burning flames. It casts about with eyes the colour of fire, seemingly unsure of where it is.


The black and gunmetal silver-blue Honda Rebel Cyclops is perched against rattles in place at the elemental display. A clench of his teeth and he is drawing his cowl back up and thrusting his phone away in to a pocket as the surface burbles upwards, it, considering the ongoing around them right now wouldn't be a shocker in the least if this was not a Limbo demon entry or one of their conjured offshots, which is another issue.

The draw up of cowl over his features also causes that visor over his brow to ignite in a flare of crimson, the hell red glow looking a small thing to the lava presence, yet it's central bead is fixated upon the molten fiery nimbus sheathed figure pouring itself in to the world before him.
No call in for back up yet, his hand clutching the side of his visor and skull, he has learned massive damage destroys or sends these things back and like the other X-Men, he is very capable of this…

"You have less than three seconds to return to your own dimension; this is a protected zone and you are off the reservation."

"Two." Apparently Scott thinks shes another demonic invader…


The heat coming off the burning figure is intense, her skin glowing yellow shot through with threads of orange, so bright that someone without the advantage of a ruby quartz visor would probably find it hard to look at her, and the heat haze around her body makes even that image seem to ripple and swim. The heat is already lessening, however, and the fiery glow of her body begins to dim, the orange becoming more pronounced, some red starting to seep into the mix.

All of that goes out the window when that commanding voice cracks through the air. She flares up again, going painfully bright, the halo of fire around its head blazing like the sun. The figure whirls around, dropping into a combative stance, the fingers of her right hand clenching - and suddenly dripping with lava as her arm goes back in a throwing motion…

The figure stumbles, almost falling back into her volcanic crater as she gets a good look at the man who's threatening her. Burning eyes widen and her jaw drops - which probably looks like the mouth of hell opening up, and so less than reassuring - but that 'Two' gets her attention. "Cyclops?" The voice is very clearly surprised, very clearly human, and speaks clear, American English, albeit flavoured with an accent that's not easy to place.

Arms are hurriedly raised towards the X-Men's leader, palms out in an entreaty to stop, although since those palms are still glowing, and gobbets of lava are still dropping from one of them to sizzle against the ground, again probably not reassuring. "Don't fire! It's me!"

The figure's shoulder's hunch, and although it's hard to tell she might be wincing. As well she might if she's expecting to eat an optic blast in the next second.


Scott has every single member of the team profiled, detailed and memorized to the point of 'near stalker'. It is somewhere in his job description to know strengths, limits and capabilities but considering the span its been and what is transpiring, one cannot blame the man for not considering Amara initially as who she really is.

The bursting flare has him lunging to the side, assuming hes about to be attacked while his forearm shields his visor high and he is about to fire a return shot when her voice cuts through. Catching him immediately off guard enough he stammers, "MMagma?"

"Holy… I almost… " The man straightens from the half stance and rushes towards her but remains just back enough to stay out of heat proximity, "Are you all right?" It is hard to tell in that form after all, the blaze and her general appearance….


She's sure the optic blast is coming, and holds that tensed up position for another couple of seconds when it doesn't, just in case. At least she kept her eyes open. Being taken down by her own leader would have been bad enough, but no free-born daughter of Nova Roma could have held her head up among the shades of her ancestors in the underworld if she'd let death take her with her eyes closed!

When she hears Cyclops speak the name the X-Men gave her, Amara sags, her arms dropping to her sides, her glow fading to surly oranges and reds, her facial features becoming more recognizable and the flames around her head starting to at least resemble her hair. "Blessed Minerva." She says, under her breath, as she picks her way down her small volcano to meet Cyclops halfway. The heat is still rolling off her, but it's no longer like standing unprotected before a blast furnace.

"I'm…" Fine, she was about to say, but really… "No. My plane nearly crashed, I've been fighting demons for what feels like days, and…" Her eyes search Cyclops' inscrutable visor. "You had no idea at all I was coming back, did you?" Her voice is filled with resignation.


Cyclops straightens up so he is squinting past the red to watch Amara, not a first time for tricks to be thrown out but it would be different, Magma would be a stretch and his mind is rather safeguarded by more means than his own defenses.

"I admittedly had zero clue. We're scattered in all directions tackling what fallout we can with Limbo and you're one of the last I expected to show." He wants to say /no offense/ but doesn't.

"Was someone supposed to inform me?" Cyclops questions while watching her collect herself and tame the aura of volcanic heat.

At least its a lot warmer now. He's from Alaska and has to admit, its getting cold fast. Fortunately not Demon Bear fast but fast enough….

"How many days you been back in the States? I'm going to assume you seen whats happening and came to help. We need it."


Somewhere, SOMEWHERE, there is a letter addressed to Professor Charles Xavier, care of Ms Illyana Rasputina, at the Xavier Institute. It's on the finest quality vellum, written in the finest Roman calligraphy, and begins 'I bid you greetings in the year 2,770 since the founding of Rome'. It's signed Lucius Antonius Aquilla, and explains that Amara will be returning to the US as Nova Roma's envoy and entreats the X-Men's aid. There's also a hand-written note from Amara begging Illyana to come and get her before her father changes his mind and marries her off for a political alliance.

It's 50/50 on whether Illyana didn't bother to open it or just decided to leave Amara in the lurch, as far as Amara herself is concerned. In any case, it seems it never got to the person it was meant for.

"I wish I was surprised." Amara says, still with that tone of resignation in her voice but it seems that she's starting to find some humour in the situation. Or she simply hasn't slept enough since arriving and her perspective is completely skewed. Maybe that's why she very briefly considers accepting the heroic role that Cyclops seems to have mapped out for her, but her sense of personal honour won't allow it. "I was as surprised to see demons falling from the skies as you were to see me just now." She admits. "There was a letter…" She begins, then shakes her head. "It doesn't matter. I'm here now, and I'm yours if you want me." With that finally out of the way, Amara asks the question that's been on her mind ever since she saw the first demon in New York.

"Where IS Illyana, and what happened to cause all of… this?"


The influx of Charles mail these days has created a rather sizable folder mess thats left to the likes of Jean Grey, Scott, Ororo and other trusted senior members to sort. Summers himself had seen it, or heard of it from his present response. The spread of the team may have something to do with that and general exhaustion on several fronts, Brotherhood menace, Trask, Extremis, Golconda cultists… Scott himself can hardly keep track right now.

The jacket Cyclops has about his shoulders is taken off and he clears his throat, full stopping in any closer approach to extend a long arm, that coat hanging from the end of it while he politely looks to the left and high, or so it is assumed. The visors don't offer much in the way of telling where his line of sight or focus is truly directed.
It's a delayed response, as if it just now came to his knowledge shes in the buff under that flamed transformation.

"The letter is likely in good hands, I promise and you weren't forgotten. Just a pleasant… surprise." He forces a quick smile. "Want, need. You're one of us." Scott adds quickly.


When Cyclops starts to shrug out of his jacket rather than answer her question, Amara's sure that he's stalling. Either Illyana's doing something that Cyclops doesn't want her to know about… or something's happened to her one-time friend that Cyclops doesn't want to share here. Amara's mind can't help but go to the worst possible implications of that. Demons everywhere, Illyana nowhere to be found - is she even still alive?

Then Amara realises that Scott has another motive for removing his jacket, as he offers it to her, and she silently thanks the whole pantheon of Roman Gods that no-one can see her blush in her Magma form. "…thank you." She says, in as neutral a tone as she can manage, and reaches out to take the jacket, her fingers, then hand, then whole forearm turning back into pale-skinned flesh as she does so. She turns and shrugs into the jacket with quick efficiency, zipping it up to her neck before turning around once more to face Cyclops. Now she's unquestionably Amara Aquilla, although there's still a bit more colour in her cheeks than usual. "Thank you." She says again, the jacket almost comically oversized for her frame, and she has to fight to get a hand free of the over-long sleeve so she can do something about her hair. "I did have luggage." She explains, and glances toward the city, and the general direction of the airport. "So much for that." She says, almost to herself, before facing Cyclops again. "I'm going to need a uniform." She tells him, blue eyes looking him unflinchingly in the visor.

She CAN make the ground swallow her up, and its an effort of will not to.


Scott's evade of Illyana very likely intentional as he's often not one to misguide or not divulge intel thats important to tasks at hand.

A click of his tongue against the back of his teeth accompanied with a thoughtful sound escapes the tall X-Man, "Anytime." He says quickly and politely. As soon as she is decent he lets his attention divert from the surroundings back to her again, "We'll get what we can replaced. The rest of the team has plenty you can borrow meanwhile, martial law and the evactuation is making even getting food hard." Fortunately they're stockpiled being a school and combat ready bunker.
The pinch of added color gets a faded almost nonexsistant ssmile to appear on Scott, "I only brought the bike. You're not going to enjoy this ride too much… We're not far at least."

"I'll get you home, see what we can do outfit wise because… yeah, you're not wrong." Swallowing he walks over to the bike and unclasps a helmet.

"What do you know so far? About whats… going on?" /How much does he have to fill her in/ Its not his intention to be curt or quick with her, those who know Scott know this is his eager and happy to have her present again. Its just his way.


Amara gives a swift nod to acknowledge Cyclops' summary of the current situation. She might be the daughter of the First Senator of Nova Roma, but she's not about to make a fuss about wearing borrowed clothes. Particularly since her alternatives are few and Cyclops will be wanting his jacket back before long.

Oddly, she smiles when he lets her know that the trip back won't be all that pleasant. "There aren't any direct flights from Nova Roma." She reminds him. "I had to hike out of the mountains and the jungle just to get to the river… and even when I got to the airport, I had to fly coach." She STILL hasn't let that one go. She shrugs in the depths of his jacket. "I can take it." She's just going to brazen it out and not think about riding a motorcycle behind the leader of the X-Men wearing nothing but his coat. That's all there is to it.

Amara starts to follow him to the bike, picking her way barefoot across the ground, but her steps slow and she looks back at her tiny volcano. There's a grinding sound, the ground shakes for a few seconds, and while saying the old parking lot is as good as new would be a stretch, at least it's flat once again. And there's no convenient tunnel for demons to pop up from. She nods to herself in quiet satisfaction, then realises Cyclops is talking to her. She walks quickly to join him at the bike. "Almost nothing. I had a phone when I landed but someone cut off my account while I was away. And the phone booth I found tried to eat me." That didn't end well for the phone booth, at least. "I ran into Theresa Cassidy, and we tried to help where we could, but…" Another muffled shrug from within the jacket. "I saw Limbo demons everywhere, and everyone I spoke to knew less than I did."

Again, she looks Cyclops in the visor. "I'm not an idiot. This is about Illyana. I'd ask you again but you might take your jacket back." She stuffs her hands into the jackets pockets in unconscious emphasis. "So… take me home and let me get dressed first?"


"That sounds like a blast until you mentioned coach." Scott teases and rights the Honda, stand kicked out as he hold it in place. "I'll try to make this as comfortable as possible." His own cheeks may be hitting a tinge of color if not for the chill redness already there.

"You're about where we are. Magik is the source and we're limited right now on contact options… we'll talk about it more when we're not in open air."

Settling down he awaits her to join him and then presses that helmet in to her torso, the visor he wears enough for him at the moment.

"You're not wrong. I will want the jacket back before long… and I don't recall ever being told by a woman to take her home and let her get dressed." As soon as that leaves his mouth hes shaking his head, "Hold on tight and keep your head down, please. If we can we'll stop to get you clothing before. Again, I'm sorry for being unprepared." Saying sorry… a new one for him but right now, hes not sure what else to say.

"Wait, you were cut off? That's another story I want to hear as soon as we're someplace warmer and more secure."


There's a sharply indrawn breath from Amara when Scott confirms… OK not quite her worst fear regarding Illyana, but it was definitely in the top three. That she's apparently not dead is the only positive she can take from his words. But the thought of Illyana having allowed this? Allowed Limbo on Earth? Either willingly or not?

Amara has questions, but they're going to have to wait. She takes the offered helmet without a word. She about to put it on when Cyclops makes that comment, and she pauses, helmet in her hands, half-raised. She looks surprised, her cheeks coloring again, but then begins to smile. What a difference a little time makes. She's only ever known Cyclops as a distant and unflappable leader, and the realisation that he's at least as uncomfortable about this situation as she is… that's unexpected. "And to think I was always taught that the barbarians beyond the city lived to strip Nova Roman women of our… dignity and ride off with us to the Gods knew where." Is she making that up? She's not going to admit it if she is. "You aren't living down to your reputation, Cyclops." She puts the helmet on quickly. When she was here before, she wouldn't have dreamed of attempting to banter with him. But the alternative is letting on just how uncomfortable she is, and that's simply not acceptable.

Arranging herself and the oversized coat in any way properly behind him on the bike is a challenge, but she makes the best of it, and the ride back to the Institute. This too shall pass.


"I'll take that as a compliment." Scott states before the trace of the bikes tail light streaks out behind them.

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