Morning Princess!

December 29, 2018:

Backdated to Daring Rescue!- What happens in Limbo after Illyana and Lorna teleport out of the Genoshan Magistrates' compound.

Limbo

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Marcos, Nate

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

When Illyana brings guests to Limbo for longer than the split second it takes to step from here to there, they'll usually find themselves somewhere in her citadel, often in the throne room itself, a large, high-ceilinged stone chamber lit by the flames of eternally burning torches. It's one of the more civilized areas of Limbo, and one that, under normal circumstances, is utterly and absolutely under Illyana's control.

When the signature flare of silver-white light that accompanies Illyana's teleportation dies away this time, however, they're not in her throne room. Or her citadel. Instead, Illyana (and Lorna, on her gurney) appear in the centre of a broad stone dais, the weathered surface inscribed with sigils that are half recognisable and half worn away into unintelligibility. The stone of the dais is darker toward the centre, red-brown stains having apparently seeped into the very stone itself. The dais is ringed by a twisted forest of dead trees, and that's not all.

Illyana leans over the gurney, smirking at Lorna. "You're about to get sober faster than you ever have before." She tells her, as if they hadn't just left the rest of the X-Men and Marcos in the middle of a Genoshan base, facing an uncertain fate. "The morning after is still going to suck, though. Sorry… about… that…" Her words slow as her back stiffens and she looks around. The perimeter of the dais is surrounded by demons in a profusion of forms - none of which are handsome - looking hungrily at the two mutants who have just appeared in the middle of it.

*

The light of teleportation wasn't anymore searingly painful to the green haired woman than the hallway had been. Not with the amount of drugs in her system. She'd been sedated, in some form, since the former Genoshan Magistrates had captured them days ago. They'd been forced to up the dosage as her body grew adjusted at an increasingly faster pace than most humans ever could. That tricky mutant genome had played its hand again in her genetics and the more they pumped into, the more her body fought back. It wasn't on par with a healing factor, but it made the Genoshans nervous.

The sudden movement away from the halls of the unground, the ripping free of the collar from around her neck? It stirred Lorna to a slight form of awareness, vague impressions that she was elsewhere trickled into her hazy state of mind. Her eyebrows furrowed and she blinked back against the sleepiness that pulled at her.

"What..?"

*

Illyana doesn't reply to Lorna directly, instead calling out what sounds like a challenge to the biggest and ugliest demon among the group watching them. The misshapen creature grins back with it's main mouth - and at least two lesser mouths, revealing mismatched but undoubtedly sharp teeth in each, and calls back to Illyana - in English. It speaks with three distinctly different voices, all overlapping.

"Why not speak a language your guest understands, Rasputin? Do you want it to be a surprise when we eat her flesh and take her soul?"

The smirk has gone from Illyana's face, which looks as hard as the stone underfoot. "This is still my realm, demon. You should be cowering in the shadows. Crawl back there now, and you'll live a little longer. I'm busy." There's a wickedly sharp knife in her hand, that wasn't there a moment before.

"Cower? From the Darkchilde, perhaps. But you aren't her."

The demon gestures with the tentacle it has in place of an arm, and the demons start to close in. Illyana curses. This time it sounds like Russian. "That hangover I mentioned?" She tells Lorna, not quite able to mask her tension. "It's going to be worse. A lot worse."

Illyana slices open her own palm, dropping the knife and making a grasping gesture over the cut. Her own blood is pulled from the wound, forming an inverted pentagram over Lorna. "Sorry." Illyana says, and might even mean it. The blood falls - somehow, right INTO Lorna.

Every artery, vein and capillary will burn as the drugs are purged from her system. Mercifully, it only lasts about a second. But it might feel longer.

When Lorna's mind clears, she'll see a ring of demons closing like a noose, and Illyana facing them, Soulsword in her hands, blood dripping from the hilt.

*

There was the dull vague awareness that Illyana? Someone blonde, she thought was over her and talking and there was a lot of something she didn't get. Then? Then there was pain. Coursing, searing, blinding pain. All over. Completely and utterly blaring out anything else that made sense. Up or down. Left or right. Her entire body was on fire and burning up. It hurt in ways that she had never known she could feel pain.

From her head to her toes, everything was on fire. Every cell burned. Every nerve ending screamed. She screamed.

With her pain came the out pouring of magnetic force in a sudden wave from her. Her powers had been pent up for days and suddenly released in a shock wave all around her to match the violence of her awakening.

It was a good thing she wasn't in New York..

And then she was awake. Aware. Painfully and horribly aware. She wasn't on Earth anymore. The lack of the magnetic fields was a sharp, stabbing pain in the back of her skull, a void where it should be. No.. no, that wasn't it. That was never painful. She'd been without it before.. she was..

Green eyes blinked and a pained sound escaped from her as she dragged herself to sit up, her throat was sore and dry, as if she'd been screaming. Maybe she had been. Pain brought tears to her eyes as her head throbbed and she reached up to press her hands against her temples.

*

Well that worked. For a given value of 'worked'.

The Soulsword isn't exactly metal - or even exactly a physical object - but even the Soulsword has a nice little corona of sparks and miniature ball lightning as the magnetic tsunami blows past Illyana. The demons have it worse. The metal of Limbo isn't exactly iron - but that's splitting hairs in the presence of the mistress of magnetism. Some of the demons have crude metal plates of armour. They go blasting back through their fellows like cannonballs, causing about as much damage. Others have metal adornments, some even crudely hammered into their bodies to make them look uglier and more threatening. Those are ripped away in welters of demon blood, adding to the chaos and confusion. Even those brandishing metal weapons suddenly find them whipping back and forth as if possessed, and in a number of cases burying themselves into other demons before they can be brought under control.

Illyana's eyes are fixed on the demon who'd set himself up as the leader, who'd challenged her. She grins, an expression that wouldn't look out of place on a shark. "Morning, Lorna." She says. "Help me kill some demons and I'll buy you breakfast when I get you back home." Finally, she looks back over her shoulder - and only then frowns.

Typically, it's not the fact that Lorna has her head in her hands that's bothering Illyana, or the obvious discomfort her spell left her in. Peeling her blood-slick hand from the hilt of her sword, Illyana makes a swift, complicated gesture in the air. "But you can't do it dressed like THAT." Since Limbo isn't wholly under Illyana's control right now, what Lorna gets involves a lot of black, a lot of leather, spikes, chains and so on - but it's got to be better than a hospital gown, right?

*

Slowly, the green haired woman stood from the gurney, her head pounding like the worst hangover she'd ever suffered in her life. Her leg, the one she'd been shot through, crumbled under her weight and she was left floating on her own magnetic waves to keep balance. A grunt of effort followed, her teeth gritted as she forced back the urge to groan in pain. Everything ached. Her head and her leg, now that she remembered being shot, throbbed.

But at least there weren't any more drugs in her system. Green eyed gaze flickered around her as Illyana spoke and she froze as her hospital gown vanished. Only to reappear as a leather jumpsuit of black and metal chains. A skull at her throat. She hooked an eyebrow upwards, and waved her hands over the chains, her powers turning them green as she reformed them to make her usual headband, with more spiked points to it, with a shrug.

"Can't say I disagree with the choices.Thanks." She grumbled, and Lorna turned her gaze back to the demons that lingered around them.

"Sure why not? I feel like I need a few jugs of coffee. And someone to fill me in on what the hell's been going on."

*

The demons thought they'd hit the jackpot. Illyana, on her own, separated from her armies that are still rampaging across Limbo. Kill her, claim lordship over Limbo. And eat Lorna for dessert. Things are suddenly not going their way. A few of the smaller, more cowardly - or perhaps smarter - demons, have started to slink away into the shadows of the dead forest, but the big ugly thing with the tentacles and the too many mouths is swiftly restoring order - by the usual demonic expedient of shouting at his minions and hitting enough of them that the rest fall into line.

Still, the two mutants have a few seconds before they're fighting for their lives. Illyana uses them to inspect Lorna's alterations to her Limbo-produced outfit with a critical eye. "It's definitely you." She says, judiciously, and then flashes what looks like an honest grin at her guest. "Here we go." She sounds almost like she's looking forward to it, as the demons come at them in a rush.

The Soulsword flashes, and a terminally enthusiastic lesser demon's head goes flying. "You and Marcos got taken." Illyana calls to Lorna over the din of battle. She's actually going to multi-task during the fight. "By Genoshans. Some of them still don't like you, Princess." A truly evil grin over her shoulder, even as an eldritch bolt leaps from her palm, causing a demon covered in suppurating sores and boils to… burst, all over its compatriots. "We came to… UFF!" Something with huge shoulders and a face in its torso rams into Illyana, sending her flying backwards, thumping to the stone and skidding a few feet. "Rescue you." She manages to force out, scrambling up again. She takes a breath. "Nate said something about a robot octopus, but I never believe a word he says." She adds, before wading back into the melee.

*

Lorna had spent weeks in Mutant Town fighting off demons. She knew their ploys, the way they fought, the ways in which they behaved. At least then those ones had learned to not cross the line into Mutant Town. They'd sought easier prey, prey that didn't skewer them through with metal spikes or fling fistfulls of metal shavings at them that in turn burrowed into their skin and ripped them apart from the inside.

Polaris, the green haired mutant, had become her own fearful image. Her father's manipulation of magnetism, his anger and his paranoia, had been her own for a few short weeks. But she had kept Mutant Town alive. Had kept it powered, supplied and safe..

A horde of demons trying to kill her and Illyana? It would've been nice if she had a few cars to throw around, but she'd make do.

There was metal of a sort, on most of the demon's armor and she made use of that. She flung her hands out before her, floating up higher into the air to give herself space as she flung demons into each other, turned their armor on themselves and threw out blasts of pure electro-magnetic power at those that flew directly at her. She snarled, her features twisted in anger and pain as slowly everything from the past week or so came flooding back to her.

"Marcos' father sold us out. The Magistrates shot him. They were after my baby." She gritted her teeth, hands curled out before her as she smashed demon into demon repeatedly.

"Score one for my paranoia."

*

For a few seconds, Illyana's Soulsword flashes left and right, burning bright and pure in the corrupted half-light of Limbo, and wherever the blade darts, pieces of demons go flying. But there are a lot of demons, and eventually enough of them get a clue to rush her as one, and she vanishes beneath of heaving pile of fangs, talons, tentacles, scales, and pretty much anything else that's ever been used to make a low budget horror movie.

The howls, roars and grunts of triumph are a little premature. The pile of demons is blasted apart by a dome of coruscating sorcerous power, revealing Illyana, on one knee, the Soulsword plunged into the ground beside her, her soul armour manifesting around her arm and shoulder - and small horns poking through her bangs. As she lifts her head and looks around at the devastation - quite a lot of it wrought by her air support, but who's keeping score - her smile certainly has an element of fang to it as well.

Pushing herself back to her feet, Illyana watches the demons begin to break. One or two turn, and then there's a rush for the tree-line. They simply can't stand up to what Lorna is doing to them. "Always trust your paranoia." Illyana calls up to her, no longer even actively helping, instead leaning on her sword, her arms folded comfortably over the crossguard. "They're always out to get you." Her eyes are scanning the fleeing demons, looking, searching…

"That one, please!" Illyana calls, her arm straight out, finger pointed at the demon who started this whole mess.

*

A small grunt of effort followed another barrage of magnetic blasts of green at the demons as Illyana was covered below her and reappeared beneath her in all her shinning glory. The green haired mutant threw out her hands, her finger tips out stretched before they curled inwards with her powers looping through the fleeing demons to throw them as high into the air as she could manage, before she let them fall back to the ground without any assistance. "Marcos thinks it's unhealthy for me to trust it. Thought I was crazy for sending our daughter away without knowing where she was.." She sighed and shook her head.

Her figure lowered into the air as the rest fled and she kept her hold on the large one as Illyana requested. Her lips twisted into a scowl that highlighted just how much of a strain this all was on her. Lorna's head pounded, as did the rest of her body, and for all that she'd spent the last few days in a drugged sleep.. she was exhausted.

"What do you want me to do with him?"

*

"How often are you right and how often is Marcos right?" Illyana asks. Logan's told her that her penance should be helping people, but it's pretty obvious she still needs to work on empathy. "I can start keeping score, if you like?" She needs to work on her empathy a lot. "Look at it this way: They got you, they got him, they didn't get the kid. And that meant you lived long enough for us to find you." Finally, a sliver of something that might be a developing sense of empathy metaphorically taps Illyana on the shoulder, and she grimaces. "OK, so YOU don't have the kid either… I'm not good at this." The last is almost a growl, but she said it loud enough for Lorna to hear. Is it half an apology for being so blunt? Maybe a quarter.

"Drop him here." Illyana switches to a topic she understands, and as soon as the demon is dropped in front of her, she slices off his tentacle-arm with the Soulsword. It's done without warning and is almost shockingly fast. The mystical brand that cauterises the wound comes next, and Illyana says nothing until the demon stops screaming. "This is my realm." She tells it, evenly. "The Darkchilde's realm. She walks where she will, and far worse than death walks with her for those who challenge her. Tell your friends." With a wave of her hand, a portal appears beneath the demon, and it plummets through. An agonised howl and a cloud of steam burst up through the portal before it closes, and Illyana nods in satisfaction, blonde hair swaying with the sharp, precise movement of her head.

"Thanks." Illyana says, reaching a hand up to brush her hair back into place, and frowning as she touches her horns. "Hells." She mutters, concentrating hard, and resumes a fully human appearance. She looks up at Lorna, an almost guilty look in her eyes swiftly hidden, and says briskly, "We should go and see what sort of mess Nate's made of rescuing Marcos." She seems about to leave it at that, then adds, "What I said before? Trust your paranoia. But remember… they might be out to get you, but… we… will always come and GET you."

It's about as close to 'I owe you, for this and a whole lot more' as Illyana is likely to get.

*

Lorna accepted Illyana's blunt and off skewed question as matter of fact. It was the way the blonde acted and in all honesty.. it was refreshing. Illyana never looked at her and judged her to be slipping 'too far' or that she was too likely to become like her father. Perhaps that was a poor unit of measure, a woman that had quite literally lost her soul and had taken over New York City couldn't be the best character witness.. but it helped.

Lorna pulled the demon back to them like a magnetic yo-yo, her lips twisted into a faint grimace as the pressure in her head continued to throb painfully. She was going to down a bunch of pain killers and sleep off the rest of this.. whatever 'this' was.

The green haired mutant made a face at the abrupt violence from Illyana, the bloody removal of a limb so suddenly was.. well.. sudden. It was a good thing the magnokinetic wasn't squeamish when it came to blood and gore. Not that she had anything in her stomach to begin with.

"Hey you promised me breakfast. The others can handle the rescue on their own, I'm sure.." She muttered.

*

There are people - probably a lot of people - who wouldn't let Illyana pretend that her dignity was still intact, who would take her bluntness and apparently lack of concern as an affront, and most importantly, wouldn't let her escape after trying to say something nice. Fortunately, Lorna seems to be one of those few people who recognises when Illyana is trying and lets her get away with the mess she makes of it.

"I did." Illyana takes the offered escape route without hesitation. "Besides." She adds, deliberately checking her equipment. "You fried our comms gear, so we'd just be in the way." And for thanks, she'll even find a way to blame Lorna. "But my offer's still good." She banishes the Soulsword and her armour to wherever they lurk when not on her person, and walks over to Lorna, summoning a portal in front of them. "Come on." She says, looking back, the light from the portal silhouetting her, apart from oddly bright blue eyes. "Let's go home."

A moment later, and this corner of Limbo is empty once more.

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