Inferno's End

December 04, 2018:

Backdated to late October. An unlikely trio formed by Doctor Strange, Magdalena and Polaris confront the Darkchylde and fight to restore Illyana's soul. Part 1: As The Sun Sets. Part 2: Toward The Sunrise.

Stark's Tower, Manhattan.

Characters

NPCs: S'ym

Mentions: Magneto

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

Dawns in New York are not what they used to be. The broken sky gives everything a red glow that is not the kind of tone a dawn over the sea should have. Not that it matters, since it is cloudy and about to rain.

What the pale light reveals is not pretty anyway. The East End has been demon territory for weeks, and they seem to like broken glass, fire and shiny trinkets. So the streets around Stark Tower show many burned husks of vehicles, a pavement covered with glass and ransacked shops. Here and there gangs of roaming demons bicker with each other over baubles or territory. Many go to hide in their lairs, preferring the night for prowling, or perhaps somewhat afraid of army raids.

Strange and his companions are just in front of the building, hiding behind concealing spells. He has the two missing bloodstones, but Darkedge also dislikes sunlight, so he delivered and left. Lorna has the Soulsword, and Illyana probably can feel it close. "I don't think we are going to be able to stay hidden for long. She will have wards of all flavors."


"How can it take all night to find my sword?"

The voice is female, although not quite human - a forked tongue and fangs contributing to that impression - and impatient.

"I virtually delivered her to his door. What's taking her so long?"

It's not the first time the ill-tempered complaint has been made this night, and as usual, there's no reply from the few demons still scattered around the makeshift throne room in what used to be Stark Tower. Those with the intelligence to comprehend English also had the intelligence to make themselves scarce hours before, and even the more terminally stupid of their breed are starting to edge toward the exits as the Darkchilde's temper rises.

There's a scrape of talons against stone, and then the harsh sound of hooves on the floor - interrupted by the yelp of an unfortunate demon who wasn't quick enough to scurry out of the way and got kicked against the nearest wall for its trouble - as the Darkchilde rises moodily from her throne and stalks over to the tall windows, to look out at the city once more.

Dawn is breaking, and with it the last strands of the Darkchilde's patience. With a curl of her lip, she turns away and reaches out a hand, summoning her scrying crystal. But then, she pauses, her head cocked slightly to one side, her eyes slightly narrowed. She feels it, but she waits a moment to be sure, and then she smiles. The scrying crystal is banished, no longer needed.

"Soon, now."

The words are said almost silently, with the faintest hint of longing.

Behind the Darkchilde, at the edge of the room, in the very darkest shadows, a small, fiery light flares briefly in the darkness. Like the tip of a cigar.


Vivienne was doing her honest, level best to be inconspicuous. And that was not an easy thing, given how close they were to Illyana and her demonic forces. She was probably thinking small as a mouse thoughts, as she waited behind the shields she knew Strange had erected around them, even if she could not see them herself. "So, how do we plan to play this? I go and make a distraction while you get in there? Or do we sneak thief our way in and hope that our cover lasts long enough to get close to her and do what needs to be done?"


This was well beyond Lorna's expertise in anything. Holding a stronghold? She could do that. Fighting demons? Check. Holding a magical sword that had literally a part of her friend's soul in it and going back to said soulless friend without anything clear to do on her end? Absolutely the worst. The green haired woman shifted her grip on the sword wrapped in her coat, green eyes flickering back toward Strange.

"So, you want me to make sure she gets this back, but then what exactly? Should I just stroll in there? Because throwing it out there, I'd really rather not become one of her mindless puppets. Just saying. She's expecting me." A rough exhale followed her words and she turned her gaze back to the remains of Stark Tower before them.


"To be honest I was expected her to scry for the sword," admits Strange, knowing Illyana is not the most patient person at her best. As a demon she will be even less. It is something she needs to work on, if she has a chance.

"We go in," decides the sorcerer, whose patience has also been grinded by weeks of demons rampaging over HIS city. "We might come under attack, but I think we have more than enough power to deal with servant demons," he boldly walks across the street and into the lobby of Stark's Tower.


After sensing the sword, the Darkchilde returned to her throne… for a handful of seconds, as she drummed clawed fingertips on the stone arm, before her indolent pose became unbearable and she flung herself upright once more and began to pace.

The sword is within reach. She'll teleport down there and take it from… no. No. There's more to be gained if something is freely given than if it's taken by force. Didn't Belasco teach her that?

Belasco. That name gives her pause, just for a moment. Is that what she wants? She casts her mind back, remembering the moments where her soul was sliced away. The memories are there, with crystal clarity, and she should feel… something?

She feels nothing. And even in the lightless pit where her soul should be, she knows something is amiss.

Her head snaps up, sharply, the moment of introspection broken. Like a spider sensing a touch at the edge of its web, she feels it. Lorna has entered her sanctuary. Lorna, and her Soulsword. And… she frowns. She feels nothing else, nothing but the green-haired magnetokinetic and the blazing mystical beacon that is the sword. She feels nothing… but an /absence/.

The Darkchilde doesn't even try to break the too-perfect spell of concealment. She knows who it must be. No one else has the skill, the power, the /arrogance/ to do this. With but a thought, an image of the Darkchilde forms in front of Lorna, and shakes its head.

"He's much too old for you, Lorna. Come on up. I'll make sure your friends don't get bored waiting for you."

The floor and walls of the lobby erupt as limbs of all kinds push their way into reality. Giant skeletal arms, huge crablike claws, slime-dripping tentacles, all reach blindly towards the good Doctor and his companions.

Only Lorna is left alone.


Vivienne nodded, allowing Strange to take the lead. She was, in this instance, only a soldier, and the sorcerer knew their foe much more keenly than she did. Perhaps not as well as Lorna, but Lorna already had her part to play. Still, she did take a moment to look towards the green-haired mutant. "I think, in the end, Ms. Dane, your task will be the most difficult. It will be you, I think, who will be the one who will have to convince her to take up the mantle of the woman she once was. We are only delivering the parts of herself that she has cut away."

Vivienne fell silent, as the projection appeared, moving to stand just in front and to the right of Strange, putting herself between him and it. If the demon could sense something, let it be her, and not the man who was cloaking them. The eruption of the hands and limbs reaching towards them, brought her a step forward, placing her between Strange and Lorna, so that she could move as soon as the sorcerer gave her her orders.


Well, this was going oh so well. Give the sword to Illyana. But don't get killed or taken over or turned into a demon play thing. Gotcha. The green haired magnokinetic grimaced, her lips twisting into a scowl not unlike her father's as she stepped over the thresh hold of the tower after the wizard and company. Which is when everything quite literally went to hell, or was it Limbo?

Either way, the jarring and sudden cacophony of sound was deafening in the large, echoing space. Lorna's grip on the sword tightened and magnetic fields blasted to life all around her protectively… Only for nothing to happen to her.

She blinked, her gaze sweeping to land upon the blonde demoness before and she frowned, her eyebrows furrowing faintly at the ..joke? Still the projection was still there.. It's a good thing that Strange had told her that he could handle such chaos and attacks, otherwise she'd be tempted to help out. Now? Now was the game plan, such as it was.. she supposed. With a backwards glance, the green haired woman squared her shoulders and stepped onwards, to follow the projection deeper into the tower.

"Wouldn't that make him, like way too old for you too?" She shot back.


This time Strange underestimated the Darkchilde. Illyana didn't focus in the sword and took a second to peer deeper, too much for his concealment spells. But she also made a mistake. That projection she used can be used to pin her down.

"I think know, disciple," states Strange, warding a large gripping hand with a shield of light. "You have been skipping your lessons. Here is one:_ Do not use your personal energy for that kind of projection, or this can happen." This being a bright flash of light, and an unpleasant shock as the older sorcerer 'pulls' from her magics and shoots a displacement spell through it. Directly to her throne room and through her wards - because it is -her- magic.

It is not the most pleasant way to teleport, but it is effective.


A joke? Of course, a joke! The sword is almost within her grasp, and Lorna's given her the opportunity to show her teacher just how much she's outgrown his tutelage. It's more than enough to flip the Darkchilde's capricious temper from impatient anger to playfulness… with an edge of spite, of course. The image chuckles. "He's really not my type."

As the demonic appendages reach hungrily for Strange and Magdalena, the image of the Darkchilde favours each of them, in turn, with a fang-filled smile, and takes a step backwards, beckoning to Lorna as she does so. So confident that she's already won.

So overconfident. She's barely paying attention to strange until, high above, she feels his magic grab on to hers. "Stephen you…" The word she speaks is literally and figuratively a curse, and is spoken in a demonic tongue. It hurts the ears just to hear it, and it's very uncomplimentary. The Darkchilde tries to break the connection, but it's too late. Pain lances through her and for a moment she reels back, regaining her footing to stare with balefully glowing eyes at not just Lorna, but the others too.

"It didn't have to be like this." She tells them, hellfire beginning to burn in her hands. "You could have given me what was mine." She raises her hands, and chains of flame materialise, moving like living things, trying to snare - and burn - the Doctor and the Magdalena.

Again, Lorna is left untouched.

"Give me the sword, and it ends."


Fire was best fought with fire, and Vivienne knew what she had been brought here to do. As the flames rushed towards them, she raised the Spear, one hand gripping it tightly, the left, while the right hand her palm down along the blade, opening her skin, her blood running from her palm like water…or wine. The ancient artifact erupted into brilliant light, flames dancing along the spear head, limning down towards her hands as she raised the weapon to draw a shield before herself and Strange. Into the intonation of demonic syllables came her clear, bright voice; faith, and hope, and yes, perhaps a bit of love in the ringing latin words she offered as a prayer against the darkness. "It did not have to be like this."


As they're teleported, roughly, to where Illyana was perched in her throne room, Lorna stumbled, catching herself and lifting her frame up into the air rather than to trip and fall with a sword in her grip. She made a face, flying higher as Illyana glowered at her and the small company the green haired mutant had suddenly found herself in. "You know, you're sounding an awful lot like my dad, and that's really not a compliment Illyana. Seriously. You need to really need to reconsider that whole perching at the highest room of the tallest tower with minions thing. It's been done. A lot."

She had time to quip after all, magic wasn't her strong suit, and floating there above the chaos of flames and magic being swung about, the sword clutched in her grip, held tightly to her chest.

"But for the record, still planning to give you the sword and all. If you'd like to cut it out with the flames and magic fire!"


"Indeed, we do came bearing gifts," remarks Strange, gesturing to ward off the chains. But Vivienne is faster. "Magdalena, not to sound ungrateful, but I really don't need a bodyguard against raw magic," he offers a smile to the young paladin, though.

Then to Illyana. "See, we found these," he shows the Darkchylde the bloodstones, walking forward. "They are yours, aren't they? By the Vishanti, so careless of you to have lost them." By the Vishanti, indeed, he is drawing extra-dimensional power now. "And the rite is unstable in this continuum, they can still be shattered."


The light from the spear, so bright, so pure, in the dimness of the tower. Illyana hisses, glowing eyes narrowing. "Too late now." She tells the Magdalena, and snaps her taloned fingers.

The tall windows blow in, in a storm of glass shards, and a swirling mass of bat-like, winged demons surge into the throne room, eyes and maws glowing with hellish light. They scream as they near the Magdalena, but they don't stop, diving toward her, talons outstretched.

Despite the cacophony of shattering glass and screeching demons, the Darkchilde's voice carries easily to all with the time to listen, because she wishes it so. In the centre of her power, that's enough. She sounds… amused. "But were else would I find this view?" She asks, stretching her arms out to encompass the shattered windows and the shattered city, as if it truly were a vista of beauty. The amusement drops from her voice as Lorna clutches the sword to her. "You betrayed me. You brought the Sorcerer Supreme and… her… into my home. Give. Me. The. Sword."

And then Strange doesn't just change the game, he kicks over the board. The hellfire-shrouded chains vanish, the demons flee screaming for the windows, and suddenly all is silence. "And what do you ask in return, Stephen? My kingdom? My submission? What?"
Seemingly unnoticed, or beneath her notice, a large shape moves in the shadows, keeping away from the light of the spear, circling the room.


"You may not need divine intervention against raw magic, but you also don't bring a knife to a gunfight." Magdalena twisted, as the windows shattered, turning to launch herself into a different arena, one she was much more familiar with, as she leapt to engage the demons, leaving Illyana to be dealt with by Strange and Lorna. The Spear danced and spun as she moved, her blood flying in droplets, landing like acid, one that was both psychic and physical, on any bit of demonic skin they touched. Another prayer left her lips, as her hand exploded into light, brilliant enough to make her bones visible through her skin, darkened only in the center of her palm, where the Magdalena's own version of stigmata had been driven into her flesh when she had taken up the mantle.

And just as soon as the fight had begun, it was done, and the demons retreated. There was no look of victory in her face, though, as Vivienne turned to survey the room, beginning to pace in a circle around the demon queen. And who could blame her? She was, at the end of all things, a demon hunter.


"Not those things, dear lady, what would I do with a kingdom?" Replies Strange, shaking his head. Then he speaks into Magdalena's mind « be ready to do your soul-calling, Vivianne. It is now or never ».

"As I said, we came with gifts. Your sword, and your bloodstones - your soul," then he raises his voice, clenching both bloodstones in his fist. "And by Oshtur the Omnipotent, be this bleak spell broken by her Hand."

White light. Too pale to be sunlight. Blazes from his hand. The stones crack open and the sorcerer attempts to push the soul shards into Illyana before they flee into a higher real. He does hate soul-magic *so* much.

"The sword, Polaris, now!" He manages to shout.


So many gifts, she's being offered. Or perhaps not gifts. Gifts don't come with so many strings attached. Perhaps she's supposed to be dazzled, and not see the strings? Or the Magdalena as she begins to stalk her. The Darkchilde doesn't look in Vivienne's direction, but suddenly there's an excessively over-sized axe in her hand, the dark metal blade jagged and stained with… well, what it's stained with probably doesn't bear close inspection. It's just a reminder that, despite the pretty baubles on show, she recognises the danger from the one who didn't come bearing gifts.

The demon queen smirks, an oddly, familiarly human expression, at Strange's professed lack of interest in her domain. "Be even more smug than usual, I imagine." She tells him, her tone dismissive… but if her eyes had any visible pupils, they might linger on those bloodstones for just a moment before her gaze turns to Lorna. This time, she doesn't hesitate for an instant. "I swear that I will not harm you or compel you in mind, body or spirit if you return the sword to me." The words are spoken clearly and without equivocation, and a hand reaches out expectantly. Strange is speaking again, but the Darkchilde's eyes are on the sword.

Then the bloodstones shatter, and the Darkchilde is twisting around to face Strange. "What have you DONE?!" She shrieks, the huge axe dropping to the floor as her hands come up, weaving a counterspell that does nothing to impede the soul-energy as it floods into her. She can't protect herself against the very essence of her own being.

Light and warmth explodes within that dark, frozen chasm deep within her, and the Darkchilde staggers back a step, and then another, and then her legs go out from under her and she crashes to hands and knees, her very form seeming to flow and distort, flickering from demonic to something far more human and then back again.


Vivienne gave no visible reaction to the voice in her head, no indication that she acknowledged or intended to act on am order that no one could hear but her. She simply moved, as the soul orbs shattered, the Spear still held high, the flames, the radiance of its light shattered any attempt that the Darkchylde might make at summoning darkness to protect herself. Even the axe, held at first and them dropped with a sharp, ringing sound to the ground went almost entirely unheeded. Strange might well hate soul magic, but she was the Daughter of the Son. Souls were her stock and trade. To banish them when that was necessary, but beyond that, before that, to save them when she could.

As Vivienne moved, the hand not holding the Spear lowered, shining its light, which brought Truth, even to the darkest heart, over the form of the fallen woman. "They call you the Darkchylde. But you were Illyana Rasputina once. You can be again. See where the Darkchylde has brought you, Illyana. See the pain and destruction that it goaded you to. And then, see the woman you are, not what the world has brought you to, but who you were born to be. Find that woman again. Let go of the dark, and become the light. Your friends are here. The mentor who cares for you, and seeks always to help you find your way. The woman who loves you, who has risked her own life to save you. They both need you, Illyana Rasputina. Come back to them." As for herself, Vivienne made no comment. This fight was not hers, not in a real sense. She was only the vessel.


The flashes of light, the chaos ringing through the room was like a boom in Lorna's mind and she plunged her mind deeper into the magnetic fields as a sort of buffer, wrapping herself tightly in what she knew were her strengths. Her barrier buzzed, with green highlights of eletrostatic around her and she lowered herself down as Illyana rapid fire swore to do her no harm. A cautious manner to her frame and figure, in the way she gripped the bundled up sword with care to her chest, green eyed gaze never lifting from the blonde demoness as she stalked forward, smirking with her weapon.

Which lasted for all of a beat when Strange shouted and eye searing light followed. Lorna closed her eyes, turning her focus entirely to the magnetic fields to lead her forward to Illyana rather than to be blinded. Everything left a path in the streams and currents of those fields, and Lorna was straining to tune herself to its shape and form as she stepped through the chaos toward the staggering woman as she crashed to her knees.

When she'd sensed she was close enough, Lorna flung her jacket away, opening her eyes with a furrow of her brows and squinting against the magically charged air, holding out the sword before her. She knelt, sliding against the floor to put herself beside the trembling woman and Vivienne. She didn't know what that other woman was doing, magic was beyond her.. but handing Illyana the sword? That she could do. Or try at least. As she twisted the sword in her grip and made to press to the blonde's hand, hoping that would be enough.


Darkness, no matter how complete, cannot survive this light. A taloned hand comes up in a futile attempt to block out the light and blank, glowing eyes are screwed tightly closed against it, denying it, but the Darkchilde's greatest enemy is already behind her defences. The remaining shards of Illyana's corrupted soul, back where they belong.

Her eyes open. They're blue. Human. And in the pitiless light, they see. Not just the corruption of the tower around her, but every action she's taken since she took the only decision she felt she could, to trade her soul to keep the Elder Gods from the Earth. She'd thought it a calculated risk. She'd thought she'd be in control. She'd been so, so wrong. Everything she'd tried to prevent, brought to Earth, by her own hand. The fact that it's only New York that suffered and not the whole world is no comfort.

Illyana Rasputin, still on her knees, throws back her head and screams in horror at what she's become. She truly is the daughter of Belasco. She truly is damned.

The scream goes on for longer than should be possible, even if she was determined to scream her throat raw. Another reminder that, even as the aspect of the Darkchilde fully fades, she's something not quite human. Finally, though, her head drops forward, and there's a quiet sizzle as tears fall, burning into the floor. Possibly that brings something more than pure horror into her mind. The understanding that she can't even cry properly. The word she speaks is quiet, dragged from her damaged throat.

"No."

The Soulsword, for all Lorna's efforts, had been ignored until this moment. Illyana's movement is sudden, jerky, and fast. The hilt is in her hand, and she surges to her feet. She's human, again, though now encased in shining silver armour. The Soulsword is held above her head, shining near as bright as the light from Magdalena's spear. "NOT LIKE THIS!" The shout is defiant, and outside the shattered windows, light blazes as portals open, and demons begin falling upwards. First one or two, then dozens, then all of them, dragged from the streets and the buildings. But that's not enough. The corruption of Limbo merging with the mortal realm must be cleansed, and there's only one place for it to go.

Into Illyana.

Silver armour begins to corrode as she draws all the darkness and evil that's seeped into New York back into herself. First, it's just discoloration, then the plates begin to dull, then even rust, as the corruption eats away at her. Illyana herself isn't immune, her golden hair losing its lustre, her skin turning almost grey. She's not going to stop.


Strange stumbles forward when his spell ends. It was not the usual way to channel Oshtur power and he will certainly pay for it later. But it seems to have worked. Illyana recovers the human form, which is some degree reflects the state of her soul.

Tiredly, he comes closer, "Illyana, calm down, now we must…" oh? No? He doesn't realize what she is doing at first, but he sees the demons leaving. "Wait, do not try this alone. I have set artifacts over the city so we can rebuild the fabric or reality safely. WAIT!" She is not just pulling Limbo, he realizes, she is absorbing the dark energy into herself. "You are not ready to do something like this. Stop!" His hands raise, and he draws energy to stop her, hesitating only to calculate how much power he needs to overcome the Soulsword resistance.


Vivienne lowered her hand, the light that spread from her palm fading. It had done what it was intended to do, though the Spear remained raised. It bathed Illyana, Lorna, and now Strange as he approached in its light. Rather than stepping back from Illyana, Vivienne reached for her, her voice not surprisingly, gentle, as she spoke to the woman who was, even now, recalling all that she believed she was, all that she had called into being back to herself. "The demons, and all of the darkness that came with them must be returned to Limbo, Illyana. That is where they belong. Not inside of you. I will help you, if I may. We all will. You do not have to bear this burden alone. You saved the world, now it is our turn to save you." She did not glance towards Strange or Lorna,, but her words, now, seemed to be directed to both of them, "I can open a door to that place, if you can help her channel the darkness there."


Lorna wasn't sure what she exactly expected. Flashes of light. Check. She now thoroughly understood that magic was some flashy light show. Though as the demons started to drift upwards under Illyana's command, and that her friend was no longer a demoness, and was human.. To follow everything else that was happening, or what was going on was now, once again, beyond her. She pursed her lips, squinting against the brilliance of magic as it glowed and as the two magic users tried to prevent whatever it was that Illyana was doing.

The green haired mutant stepped back, confusion written on her expression, but she knew the sounds of weeping. The sounds of self-loathing that came from the blonde woman as the silver armor began to corrode away from its once brilliant state.

"Illyana! What are you doing?"


A pair of almost comically oversized purple-skinned hands close around Strange's upraised arms, surrounding them from the wrist almost as far as the elbow in the kind of implacable grip that speaks of massive strength. The huge hands squeeze, just a bit, and move apart, just a bit, as if to suggest that crushing Strange's arms to jelly or simply ripping them off are distinct possibilities, should the owner of those hands feel like it.

There's the smell of a pungent cigar, and a voice, deep and gravelly, rumbles from behind the Sorcerer Supreme.

"The boss knows what she's doing. Don't get in her way."

Dwarfing Strange is a huge purple demon. Claws, tusks, tail, the lot. And ludicrously, it's wearing a black leather waistcoat and smoking a cigar, which it's grinning around. It seems to be enjoying the show.

"That goes for all of you. Unless you want to see if S'ym's new friend can cast magic without his arms." Said arms are pulled even further apart. "S'ym would like to see that." The last is added in an almost thoughtful tone.

As for Illyana, herself? It's as if she can't hear what's being said, or see the intervention of her independently-minded lieutenant. Her whole focus is on sucking the evil she brought back out of the fabric of New York.


After forty years fighting against demons and malevolent sorcerers one would say Strange should be ready for… chain-smoking giant purple demons ambushes. But no, the doctor thought it was over, he relaxed.

In his defense it has been a tough past month. And he is quite exhausted.

"Your 'boss' is at least twenty years too young to know what she is doing, demon," replies Strange, surprisingly calm about this. "But the answer is yes, I can. Not that you are going to see it," he mutters a simple word and vanishes, teleporting behind S'ym. "And you, begone!" he blasts the purple demon with a bolt of light.

Which should have punched a hole though the demon's chest. But S'ym is no minor demon, he is as strong and tough as Colossus himself, and he actually remains standing. "Flames of Faltine, I have no time for you. Madgalena, if you would."


Vivienne, for her part, had no idea who this demon was, or if he was someone that Illyana actually cared about. But that was really besides the point, wasn't it? The demon had threatened Strange, had threatened all of them. And that was enough, when Strange spoke, to launch her into action. Whatever Illyana was doing, she could not, it seemed, though she had set her on it, help the woman walk that path, but she could drive back the cigar-smoking demon. She sprang forward, the flames from the spear licking down her hands as she charged the purple-skinned demon, "You should not have gotten in ours."


"S'ym knows." The giant purple demon replies. "Makes it exciting." S'ym's looking at Illyana as he speaks, and Strange's mystical escape trick catches him unawares, leaving him grasping at empty air. He snarls, starts to turn and is pushed forward half a step by the arcane bolt that Strange sends his way. He looks over his shoulder. Not at the sorcerer, but trying to get a look at the neatly burned hole in the back of his waistcoat and the charred hide beneath. He doesn't seem hurt, but when his gaze shifts to Strange, he does seem irritated. "S'ym should skin YOU to replace that!" He growls, fists bunching as he swings around to face the Sorcerer Supreme.

But of course, Strange isn't alone, and S'ym can sense the danger from the Magdalena. The Darkchilde's discarded axe is snatched from the ground in one meaty paw - it actually seems in scale, in his grip - and he sets himself to receive the charge, violence heavy in the air.

A moment before battle can be joined, S'ym is suddenly falling, seemingly right through the floor, into a glowing portal that opens at his feet. In less than a second, he's gone, and the portal snaps shut.

"He was right about one thing." The voice is rough and exhausted. "I had to do that on my own." Illyana Rasputin looks like hell. Blood has leaked from the edges of her eyes, which are themselves sunken and shadowed, and her armour is a jagged collection of rust that looks like it's about to fall off her frame. "Thank you." She says, hanging on by a thread in more ways than one. "All of you." For a moment, she seems to defeated for anything except honesty, but then a flicker of the old Illyana comes through.

"But you." She tells Lorna, with the faintest hint of a smirk. "Don't make deals with demons. And as for you two…" It's no good. She can't keep it up. "Don't waste time on something that can't be saved." Her eyes slide away from the others, a portal opens, and she steps through.


A blink, and Lorna touched back down more solidly to the floor, her boots making echo'ing hollow noises in the sudden vacuum of sound that followed Illyana… being.. Illyana? Lorna wasn't sure. She exhaled a huffs of a breath, reaching up to drag her fingers through green locks as she turned her green eyed gaze to Strange and company. She stared for a beat, two. "So what the hell? Is she.. saved? Did we do it? Is that it?" She asked, tilting her head to the side as she arms crossed and she flicked a gaze around the 'throne' room.

"Because seriously.. is she gonna clean up after herself, or is this on us?"


Strange attempts to maneuver around S'ym, a shield of swirling light forming between himself and the big demon. Trying to reach the Queen of Limbo. But it is too late.

"Illyana, wait…" he starts, "there is much you still don't know, and so much you can still learn. Do not lose hope," but the sorceress is gone. Along with Limbo and its demons. He almost follows right then, but a glance through the shattered windows of the tower stops him.

It is dawning over New York. A true dawn for the first time in weeks. The city looks like a battlefield. There is so much to do, and he is still a doctor, even if much of his magic is spent. He looks back at Vivienne and Lorna and sighs. "The city is free, and she is still alive and can be found. I suppose we should be satisfied for now, thank you for your help."


The sudden opening of a portal beneath the feet of the demon nearly caught Vivienne in its grip, and she barely skidded to a halt in time to stop herself from tumbling in after the demon. The spear fell from its high guard, still alight, but not burning as brightly, as she caught herself, turning to face Illyana, listening to the woman's words, watching her step through into..wherever she was banishing herself. She almost moved to try to follow, but Lorna's word brought her up short. "She saw what she had become, and she has, I think, damned herself for it. That battle, I cannot help her with. I brought her as far as I could, but my part in this war is done. I will stay and make certain that all she put wrong," likely meaning the demons and portals, "has been mended. But the battle ahead of her. That is one only the ones who love her can fight." Vivienne glanced to Strange, and nodded, "I did what I could, but the worst road lies ahead."

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