Fall of the Last Legion

October 23, 2018:

An incomplete log, taking place during the Inferno plot. Magma, trying to hold the line against the demons, meets an old friend. It's a shame the Darkchilde isn't feeling very friendly.

A road junction on the edge of demon-infested New York


NPCs: None.



Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

After putting so much effort into getting OUT of the demon-infested New York, one might be forgiven for wondering what Amara Aquilla is doing right back there again. As it so happens, a few things have changed:

She’s now properly equipped with a uniform that can withstand the searing heat of her Magma form, a communication device that actually functions in case she needs to call for backup, and rather than fighting running battles with demons whenever she happened upon them – or they happened upon her – she’s now taking her turn on the X-Men’s patrol schedule, trying to keep the safe zones clear of demons and guiding refugees through the lines to safety.

Those are all fine rationalisations, but the truth is a lot simpler. Someone finally gave her a straight answer about what happened to Illyana, and when that answer was that she was last seen fighting a building-sized dragon and apparently lost, Amara simply cannot cower behind the walls of the Xavier Institute. A friend is out there, somewhere, and while fighting her way through a demon invasion might be just a little bit beyond Magma’s capabilities, she’ll be damned if she’s going to hide.

A commandeered city bus that’s not much more than a collection of dented metal and smashed windows has just lurched through the road junction that Amara’s holding and clattered off down the road behind her. She doesn’t turn around to watch it go, all her attention is on what’s following it. The surface of the road beneath her booted feet has basically ceased to exist already, the asphalt replaced by a smooth sheet of solidified lava that extends forty or fifty feet around her. This isn’t her first engagement of the day.

As the smaller, faster demons chasing the bus come into range, Amara gestures with her right arm in a wide arc, flames blasting from her hand to create a semicircular wall of fire across the line of the demons advance. Some plunge through, and burn. Amara, in a sleeveless jumpsuit of orange and black, crowned by flame and with fire licking up her arms, does not. She looks through her leaping flames, but she doesn’t see the approach of the next demon to challenge her. She feels it.

It’s a hideous amalgamation of bull and the Gods only know what, and it shakes the ground as it charges her, bellowing as the flames touch its hide but failing to slow it. “COME ON THEN, MONSTER!” Amara yells, an almost comically tiny figure in its path – and rips open the ground right in front of the charging creature. As it topples in, a victim of its own momentum, Amara fills the chasm with lava and stands, feet planted, fists clenched, waiting for it to climb out of her trap.

Illyana is lost. At least what was once Illyana Rasputina is lost. Now only the Darkchilde remains and currently she is in the foulest of moods. Her Knight has been taken and she herself was trapped within a void by the Witch. The Scarlet Witch. And she must die for that, but first - The death throes of her demons are constantly felt throughout the days and the nights, and each lost life is like a pinprick against the Darkchilde's skin. And while typically ignored this particular time it's not. Not when she realizes how those swaths of demons have died. Burnt by lava. Living lava. The Darkchilde recalls only one person who handles lava in such a manner. A former friend. Amara Aquilla. Magma. A talon tipped hand touches the faceted surface of her scrying crystal, "Find her.", commands the Darkchilde and ever dutiful the crystal reaches outward and focuses upon the part of the city that Amara can be found in. It hones in on Magma as she shouts a challenge at the demon-like-bull. Hearing Amara's defiance causes a small smirk to tip the Demonesses mouth upward, "Same as always." Murmurs the Darkchilde, and for now she watches. To see how Amara defeats this particular demon.

Same as always? Well, you know what they say, you can take the girl out of ancient Rome but you can’t take the ancient Roman out of the girl. Amara, Legion of one though she is right now, is still determined to hold her little section of the border against the encroaching darkness.

And woe betide any bull-ish demon that tries to cross it.

The demon’s bellowing challenge becomes a howl of surprised outrage when the ground at its feet collapses in on itself and the demon finds itself falling. That howl itself turns into something close to a scream as molten rock pours down from above, dousing the bull-creature, scalding it, and threatening to drown it.

When it climbs from the pit its fur, already patchy and diseased-looking, has been burned off completely, and the hide beneath is either angry red or charred black. And it’s beyond furious. A hoof scrapes against the ground, and then the demon is rocketing toward the young woman who’s just caused it so much pain.

Amara doesn’t move, as if she’s been shocked into immobility, mesmerised by the bull-beast’s charge. As it closes in, it seems that she’ll be ground into paste beneath its hooves. But she’s just picking her moment.

With less than a dozen feet separating them, the ground erupts with a shattering roar of displaced stone. This time, instead of falling away, a pillar of rock thrusts upwards, throwing the demon-bull high into the air. Amara flares into her magma-form and raises her arms, twin streams of lava blasting from her hands, the molten rock splashing against the creature and rapidly solidifying.

She takes a step to one side as gravity takes its course, and a ball of volcanic rock slams back to earth with bone-shattering force.

“If your shade can hear me in the pit of Tartarus, tell your masters that this world will not be theirs.”

The words ring hollow to Amara’s ears. The demons seem infinite in number, and the heroes are not.

The two fight; the Legionnaire and the Bull. But only one survives. Perhaps the one seen as the 'unlikely' victor, but there it is. Amara stands triumphant. Her words are stated and whether they're hollow, or not, they elicit a response. It comes in the form of soft claps. A slow ponderous sound as the woman that now stands behind Amara offers that vague adulation. "It already is mine, Amara Aquilla. You, and the rest of your ilk, are too late to save what's already been lost." And when Amara turns she'll find Illyana Rasputina there, or at least something that has the familiar look of her once friend. Now horns sprout from her forehead in a demonic circlet, her eyes a blood red and she has hooves and a spade-tipped tail. Her form is covered by familiar silver armor as well, Eldritch armor. It glows faintly in the dim light and it covers all but face, tail and hooves.

Naturally, as soon as Amara feels that moment of self-doubt, there’s a demon waiting to exploit it.

She’s still looking at the ruins of the bull-demon when the mocking applause starts up behind her, and she can’t help but jump at the unexpected sound. Her boots scrape against fragments of shattered rock as she whirls around, fire beginning to curl from her hair and crawl up her arms as she turns to face…

“Illyana?” It’s as much question as name, and it comes unbidden to Amara’s lips as she takes in the Darkchilde in all her demonic splendour. The ominous words only add to her unease, a trickle of something she won’t admit is fear worming its way into her soul.

She’d wanted to find Illyana. She’d come out here in what she’d thought was the vain hope of doing so. She’s realising she might soon have cause to regret getting what she wanted.

With an effort, Amara lets go of the power boiling inside her. The flames fade from her hands, from around her hair. But she doesn’t take her eyes off Illyana. “Someone told me you’d been eaten by a dragon.” She says, exaggerating and deliberately not challenging Illyana’s words. “I’m glad they were wrong.”

Amara’s eyes are still blue, whether Illyana’s are or not, and they stay watchfully on the demonic figure before her. Searching for a hint that it’s still her friend she’s talking to.

Even as the Darkchilde there's still clear signs of Illyana herself. Her hair continues to shine bright and blond, and the locks are as straight as a pin. The rest, however, is harder to see. Her eyes burn with a coldness that goes beyond anything she's ever shown to those she called friend or family. While her lips are twisted into an expression it's more of a sneer than playful smirk. "Yes, they were quite wrong." She agrees and then she starts to move. It's a casual sort of walk, as she idly begins to circle the other woman. "How long shall we play this game?" She asks, her red eyes never leaving Amara's face, even as her tone drops to something close to mocking. "You and I both know how this will end."

Were they wrong? Amara has to wonder, as she turns her head to keep the Darkchilde in view as she circles, like some great predator toying with something small and defenceless.

Because those aren't the eyes of an Illyana who's let her demonic side out to play. They're the eyes of a demon wearing an Illyana-suit.

Amara can't turn her neck any further, and allowing the Darkchilde out of her sight seems… unwise. She starts to turn on the spot, knowing that the Darkchilde's forcing her to react, to admit that the demon has the upper hand. She knows it, but it still chips away at her confidence.

Amara forces a smile of her own, in the face of the Darkchilde's mockery. "We'll play until you win, or get bored. Isn't that how you always play your games, sorceress?" The title is just that, not an insult as it might be from some. Amara's never had a problem with that aspect of Illyana.

"Whose game is all this, Illyana?" Amara sweeps an arm out to encompass the demon-infested city. "Not all yours, I think." I hope, she doesn't say, but it's obvious enough in her eyes.

"Do you really want to play it to the end?"

Sorceress. A title of hers, yes. Though perhaps now the title should be Demoness. The Darkchilde continues to circle, only stopping when Amara finally has to turn to continue to face her. When the other women turns she'll find Illyana at a standstill. "At least you understand, Legionnaire." If they're going to use titles. "And for now, you have yet to bore me." Then comes the more serious question by Amara, he expected questions and the Darkchilde allows a noise of pity to escape her. "Wrong question." A hand raises upward and when it slashes down an axe of incredible size appears within her hand. The sharpened edge of the axe slams into the earth and cracks fan outward. Those rifts continue to grow and as they stretch greedy fingers toward Amara, the water vapor within the air suddenly freezes. Snowflakes fall as icy fingers reach for the fiery woman. "Shall we try again?"

Amara never found Illyana’s contrary nature to be one of her most endearing character traits, and that hasn’t changed with her transformation into a demonic mockery of her one-time friend. As soon as Amara’s forced to turn, she finds Illyana has stopped. Once again, it’s Amara’s strings that are being pulled.

And there’s not even a hint of an answering smile on the Darkchilde’s face.

If only that was all Amara had to worry about. Her shoulders tense as her question is dismissed, and all doubt that she’s on very thin ice is dispelled. But even then, she’s not quite expecting the power of the Darkchilde’s response.

Blue eyes widen and are swallowed by flame as that axe appears, and Amara jerks a step back as it comes crashing down. She can’t stop the reaction, any more than she can stop the fire that catches at her hair, or the molten glow that’s radiating from her skin. At least her bond with the Earth prevents the shock of the axe blow from knocking her from her feet.

And just like that, the Darkchilde wins another round.

Amara reaches through the ground beneath her, seeking to keep the patch she’s standing on intact, but then the temperature plummets and the snow comes. Mere frozen water would flash to steam if it got near her, and she can burn hot as the core of the Earth itself if she so wishes.

So why can she already feel the cold?

The taunting voice of the Darkchilde sets her teeth on edge, and Amara’s temper flares, her halo of flame burning hotter and brighter. “Why not? We’re having so much fun.” The sarcasm is clear in her voice now. Appealing to Illyana’s better nature isn’t going to work. It was ever thus.

Amara smiles. She can’t quite pull off the Darkchilde’s mocking tone, but she does her best.

“Why haven’t you won yet?”

Aaaaaaand that's as far as we got. It's probably safe to say Amara's day didn't improve much!

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