1963-08-03 - Mutually Assured Detonation
Summary: Loki leads the way into Muspelheim for diplomatic negotiations.
Related: A Game of Two Halves
Theme Song: The Prodigy - Firestarter
louis rogue crystal clea illyana strange 

The witching hour is aptly named as the moon hangs high in the sky and only a few wisps of clouds drift past. It's still hot, the summer still hammering on New York and the rains from yesterday leaves Central Park feeling muggy. Dark puddles still mark the sidewalks along the path and cast curious reflections of the small ripple in reality that floats just a few feet off of the overpass bridge in the middle of the park.

It was here that the group of 'heroes' gathered to discuss their plan of attack in dealing with the intrusion of Muspelheim. Plans were hatched, decisions were made, and a declaration of action might have been overheard. To gather at this hour, at this location, where the ripple is weak… and to break it once again to follow it back to Muspelheim.

Standing there on the bridge in front of that shimmer, Professor Louis King seems to shimmer with eldritch energy as he holds his arms out. From afar he's mostly invisible, at most a silhouette that flickers like a heat mirage, but in the immediate area those around him can see him and the magic that he works. His two companions stand at the ready as he works, the three of them having been here for no more than fifteen minutes so far. That small ripple in reality seems to shake and twist with each of his movements as he makes ready to take the conflict to Muspelheim.


"You're not ready!"

"You can't stop me!"

"I forbid it!"

"I don't care!"

Illyana and Strange had quite the heated blowup— Illyana grating her teeth at the psychic discord from Limbo, and Strange telling her in no uncertain terms she wasn't allowed to simply teleport herself back home.

The entire argument had been obviated by the simple expedient of Illyana walking to the front door of the Sanctum, opening it, and … walking out.

In hindsight, physical locks might have been prudent.

She stops on the sidewalk outside the Sanctum, clenching her hands into fists, then turns and glowers at Strange. "Well? You coming? I know you're gonna follow me anyway, so we might as well go together."

Thus begins Illyana's foray into her first Real Adventure. She and Strange *blip* to Limbo, pick up the magical auras of the Fire Giants that had been trying to sneak into her demesne, and then *blip* to Manhattan.

Well, first to Las Vegas, because Illyana had the wrong mental image of the Statue of Liberty. Then to New York. After a few more attempts, *blipping* back and forth from Limbo to Earth, they'd managed to land in Central Park. At that point, Illyana had been forced to cede the matter to Strange's expertise— quite grudgingly— to track the origin of the Fire Giants.

This time, it was a portal spell from Strange's fingers instead of one of Illyana's stepping stones, and the Sorcerers Supreme land in Muspelheim, unknowingly not far from 'Louis' and his crew.

"Oh my GOD it's hot," Illyana complains instantly. "Is it supposed to be this warm?" she asks Strange, already sounding vexed by the heat. She hops from bare foot to bare foot, still wearing her only garment— a rough, shapeless brown dress that comes to mid knee.


For the purpose of venturing into a foreign kingdom, but traveling through New York City, Crystal has come to a compromise between her action suit and her usual housewife skirts. Instead, she wears a pair of high-waisted wide-leg trousers with a blouse tucked in as she watches the magic in process.

She's quiet, standing to one side. Magic isn't something she has the first clue about, but diplomacy is something she's familiar with. Clearly she has an optimistic view of how this might be ending.


Clea was somehow relieved to hear that it was fire giants smashing into this dimension. That may be a strange thing to say, but she has anticipated and thought that things might be far - far worse.

'I don't know what benefit my abilities will be to this world,' Clea thought after slipping out of the apartment she is being comped by the beneficence of the kind, caring Hellfire Club, 'or if I can oppose the Fire Giants of storied Muspelheim… but perhaps some other will come, and be the one I seek!'

She thinks this while zipping between skyscrapers in the middle of the night. The open space of Central Park is familiar to her, and flight is of trivial ease - so, she roosts on the ledge of a building, looking downwards as the wind whips at her hair. Not too high up - certainly well off the ground, though. She frowns on reflex as she sees someone in a burlap sack of a dress.


In nature, looks can be deceiving to oft disastrous results. Nature slays with a smile and steps over the rotting flesh and bones. The pretty serpent banded in red, yellow, and black could be a venomous coral snake or the harmless scarlet king snake. Red and yellow kill a fellow. Red and black, venom lack. And the tall maiden of some twenty years wears all those colours, draw your own conclusions. A dreamy bohemian standing on an iridescent pathway clearly means about as much threat as a sleepy kitten inebriated on catnip again. Subtle tells give away a degree of attention registered square upon Louis, every fine shift of his posture and expression charted by a keen cartographic apprentice. Intensely focused verdant eyes track his motions, identifying at a tacit level who plays witness and sentry on this celestial excursion. Scarlett, for those who know her, evidently stumbled through Central Park in the wake of her professor. King snake. Really.


"It is the realm of the Fire Demons, what did you expect? Swamp coolers everywhere?" Strange replies as he pulls at the collar of his vest. Illyana's voiced aloud his inner thoughts. The place is sweltering! Fire pits belch smoke and flickering flame all around them and he can see, at a far distance, a shimmering lake of lava.

"First things first," he mutters. It's a simple spell, one he learned not long after graduating from the Ancient One's tutelage, and it takes less than three seconds of gesturing. He begins at his throat and works down his Chakras.

His normal garb of storm-blue leather doesn't change in looks, but gains a cooling circulation of air between its cloth and his skin. The effect is immediate and he sighs in relief. Glancing over at Illyana, who is still wearing that very…singular dress and nothing on her feet, he purses his lips. With a minor will of effort, he casts the same spell with a few adjustments and her dress becomes something else entirely. It seems much more comfortable given the heated atmosphere of Muspelheim.


The field of illusion ripples, then disappears with a short snap of movement that reveals Loki standing there, the façade of Louis King slipping away as the armor of an Asgardian appears, all green and black with silvered plate. It's down there in the middle of Central Park, the lights of his hands shining and flashing, calling like a beacon to the world on one side and the other. (And to someone like Clea who totally wants to sneak a ride.)

He holds up his hands as he looks to one side, towards Crystal, and then in turn to Rogue. "When we transition you will be protected from the atmosphere of Muspelheim. However, be wary. If I am struck unconscious then the spell will fail and you will only have a limited time to return to the corridor." A pause, then he asks. "Are you ready?"

He holds for their agreement, then focuses the energy in his hands, lifting them higher as the flashes of light grow faster and faster. Then, a few heartbeats later the Asgardian and those who stand near him flicker from one world. And then to another.

The first thing that hits them, of course, is the heat. Blazing, burning, intense even when protected. There are mountains. Burning. There are rivers. Burning. There are tall castles. Also burning. And there are giants distantly. With hair that's burning.

Behind them the corridor remains, shimmering against the heat-hazed backdrop.


"Eyaaugh!" Illyana hops and does an interesting sort of sideways pirouette at the alien sensation of /clothing/ manifesting against her. "Some warning, next time!" she growls at Strange, before looking down at her outfit.

Black leggings, black long sleeves, calf-high yellow boots, and … some kind of heavy brocade cloak? It's stiff to the touch, like it's built on a framework. The cowl sticks up high behind her head in a grand arch, framing her features. It's joined from collarbone to knee, and almost drags on the ground, and it's covered in complex mystic sigils and inkvine embroidery.

"…This is somehow worse than my other dress," Illyana tells Strange, giving him a flat and disapproving look.


Clea, at least, sees that all pretense is shorn.

She flits downwards when Loki reveals himself - and smiles, as if to say, 'I /knew/ something was up!' But she resists the urge to call him "Professor," just because that might be rude. She smiles, tangentially, to the other women with him.

Then: INWARD! To the realm of the Fire Giants!

Her eyes narrow against the heat. "Whew!" Clea remarks, cheerfully. She doesn't seem to be sweating. "It lives up to its reputation. — Your sorceries will guard us?" she asks the Asgardian with a sudden burst of… well, you know. Concern. After all, 'Helen' was having energy problems before.


The veiled look given to Loki speaks volumes. For all her slightly clouded gaze, Scarlett evinces little, if any, surprise by the transformation or the instructions given to her. A firm, brief nod acknowledges her assent to his decree, interrupted only by the softest of verbal responses. "I will evacuate you in such circumstances." Wisdom, the wiser course of valor, she knows not in this strange country. All things are meant to be learned in their course, and a brief smile aside to Crystal and Clea in solidarity or curiosity will not survive the transition to Muspelheim. A check over her shoulder ascertains relative angles and distance to the portal. The lurid vermilion glow radiating from the realm's very bones suits her all too well with that foxfire coloration, embedding a thousand copper and gold darts until she probably looks like a humanoid denizen.


"I can handle flame for some time." Crystal nods to the warning, letting out a slow breath as she prepares herself.

And then they're in the land of flame, and on second thought, this really doesn't feel nice.

"I may have underestimated the heat," she admits, clearing her throat and falling in closer with the others. Better conserve her strength. She blinks at Clea's arrival, looking to Loki with a curious arch of her brow. Not the first attractive woman to randomly appear around the man, after all.


"If you don't like it, you can change it yourself," Strange replies. He's not offended at all by her grumping. In fact, he has to turn away to hide his smile. Call his move childish, but it satiates his ego for now. "It gives you presence," he adds over his shoulder before he takes a good long look at the realm before him.

Everything is bathed in crimson light from the eternally-burning fires. It all seems to be a variation on the theme of red, orange, yellow, and burnt-brown shadows. But wait - he frowns as he sees a disturbance in the near distance. It's foreign against the general atmosphere of the world, especially with how it glitters like prismatic starlight.

It's the ensuing subtle wave of power that expands towards them both that makes him hiss and draw up tall. It's magic, very similar to his own, but different somehow, in the same way that both ice and peppermint are cold.

"Illyana," he murmurs, motioning towards her. "Stay close. Visitors."


The tall man in green and black appears with a trio of others. He turns and looks towards them, then cocks an eyebrow at Clea. His brow furrows for the barest of moments as a few pieces fall into place and then he addresses her. "My Lady, the Enchantress spoke highly of you," Exactly who that may be she might not know, but he uses that title for now. "If you have the barest of concern about the safety of the world we come from, then I suggest you stand by Crystalia til we return,"

With a nod to indicate Crystal, Loki turns away, taking a few strides to stand atop a rocky outcropping (that's on fire) that gives them a good place from which to observe the lay of the land. The sky hangs an ominous red over them (also on fire), and it's in that moment that he espies Illyana and Strange.

A jovial smile is offered to the two of them, even though Loki makes no movement to descend quite yet. Turning his head to the side he tells Rogue and Crystal. "Out time is short. As we planned, I shall gain the attention of the giants and bring them here. You strike when they are vulnerable. Make ready."

Then, unless there are objections he draws his sword and brandishes it in a casual salute in Illyana's and Strange's direction. No time to explain, unfortunately.

Then suddenly there's an abrupt CRASH of lightning that seems to immolate the god of mischief, thunder roils and crackles, a foreign thing in such a place. And then, standing there in Loki's stead, is The Mighty Thor. Though not the Thor any of them may have met. But a Thor in full battle armor, holding Mjolnir and abruptly leaping up to take flight.

Distantly they will hear, "Ho, vile creatures of Muspelheim, it is I, Thor!" And the words trail off as the distance grows greater.


Illyana focuses on Strange, eyes narrowed, and then ponders, thinking hard to recall the precise gesture he'd made.

It takes her two tries, but when Strange turns to address her again, her outfit's changed— the boots are cuffed instead of slipons, and the brocaded … gown … cloak … thing is replaced with a short, daringly flirty skirt over her black leggings, a yellow belt, and a diving vest with subtly flared shoulders.

"That's better, she mutters. At his warning, though, she casts her blue eyes left and right, darting towards Strange and instinctually putting her back to him. Her hands curl in the air, and a sharp of glass coruscating with violet energy appears in her hands.

"Hey. Hey, that's the guy who game to Limbo looking for you," Illyana says, tugging on Strange's sleeve. "That— woah," she says, as he changes his appearance. "He didn't do THAT."


Both Scarlet and Crystal get brief smiles from Clea. Clea does not, in turn, seem more than somewhat concerned at the words of - well! Of LOKI. As they come to a landing, she takes a deep breath of the superheated air, and tells the two of them, "I'll help as I can. I fear your skills may be beyond mine - but I can weave a spell or two myself." Before she can possibly humble-boast about her skills, Loki -

Becomes Thor.

"Oh that's the man from the automat," Clea says irrelevantly. Her eyes turn then towards —

Two figures! "Ah — at least we have allies in this quest," Clea says aloud. The part of Clea that is 'visiting another dimension' (as opposed to 'anticipating death by Fire Giant attack') abstractly approves of Illyana's shift in garb. (She herself has reverted to classic form, purple leggings and top. Why mess with success? She made it breathable.)

"What is your intention?" she asks the other two women who rode in on the Loki Express. "I'm at your disposal."


Crystal tilts her head slightly at the show from Loki, but she can tell the lightning isn't real. She could feel real lightning. Which means that it must be an illusion. Very interesting.

"Well, I suppose my companion would have the answer to that," she says at Clea's question, looking to Rogue. "What do you need in order to be able to get the information from them?" she asks quietly of Rogue as they wait in the trap.


Scarlett flings her arm up a split second before lightning ricochets off the stone floor and blasts apart the other Odinson, one replacing the other in the violent incandescence. Afterimages sear themselves on her retinas in the ozone halo engulfing her at such close proximity, and the ionized burst ought to send the lithe young woman tumbling back off her feet onto the rough igneous basalt… as far as any fire giant is concerned, anyways.

She instead remains where she is but for a moment, gaze tracing upwards after the departing figure of Thor. "Let's see if we can manage a handshake or the kiss of peace," she murmurs to the Inhuman woman and Clea, giving the violet attire of the latter a sidelong look. "Concealment might give us an advantage, if we can take one by surprise. Is that something you can manage? Otherwise keep them off balance if push comes to shove. And if you hear a crack, that's probably me."


Strange's head snaps quickly to look down at her. "He came looking for /me/ in Limbo? When were you going to tell me this?!" The sharp CRACK-KOOM of the lightning and thunder interrupts his beginning tirade and he flinches, holding out both hands to ward off any incoming attacks.

His jaw hangs open slightly as he watches the hammer-wielding man leap off towards the absolutely gigantic fire-haired giants. It doesn't seem like the best way to approach such dangerous beings, but perhaps the man knows something about this realm that he doesn't.


Strange's head snaps quickly to look down at her. "He came looking for /me/ in Limbo? When were you going to tell me this?!" The sharp CRACK-KOOM of the lightning and thunder interrupts his beginning tirade and he flinches, holding out both hands to ward off any incoming attacks.

His jaw hangs open slightly as he watches the hammer-wielding man leap off towards the absolutely gigantic fire-haired giants. It doesn't seem like the best way to approach such dangerous beings, but perhaps the man knows something about this realm that he doesn't.

Strange doesn't like that. He should know /everything/ about this place. With a sharp sigh and thought, he rises up off the superheated earth by about two feet.

"Illyana, we need to speak with this man if that's the case. Follow me, we'll talk with his comrades first."

Hot dust spins in his wake as he leans forwards and flies across the distance towards the small group. They appear to be women, all of them, and more than one of them radiates power. He stops short, perhaps a dozen feet away, and settles slowly and carefully on the nearest un-melted boulder. His cape undulates and wraps around his legs in the moving hot air.

"Greetings. We mean no harm," he adds with a little nod. "Who is the man that just leapt away?"


"I'unno. Later? I've been busy. Being /grounded/," Illy says, a bit pointedly. She breaks into a jog alongside Strange, but when he takes off flying, she rolls her eyes and puts her head down and starts running flat-out to keep up with him.

She arrives after Strange a bit unceremoniously, panting, and drops the point of her sword into the ground for some balance. "Showoff," she mutters at him.

"Speak for yourself, I'm perfectly okay with hurting people," she adds, at the end of Strange's little 'we come in peace' statement.


"Concealment? Well, there's one thing that would not draw notice in this realm, I think," Clea says, forking her fingers ahead of them - and there is an apparent rise in the ground and a surge of flames! Heat comes off them. It is not dreadful, but it will probably veil them from sight.

But not from the direction whence comes — STRANGE! And his blonde tagalong. Clea gives Illyana a second look, but her hands go down to her hips as she rests her attention on Dr. Strange. "A moment," she says, forking her hand ahead again — and the flames ripple forwards, surging. Now he too is veiled. Sort of. If you don't look super close.

Clea THEN gives Illyana a third look, this one somewhat more reproachful. "I cannot answer you in great detail, I fear. I am aiding a friend of a friend, who is - well, the one you saw over there. These others, though -" She looks now promptingly towards Crystal and Rogue!


Distantly they can see flickers of energy burst forth from the flying figure and suddenly a group of a dozen Fire Giants are set upon. They're far across a lava lake, on a rocky arch that serves as a bridge. The roar of alarm that goes up from the beings causes the valley to shake and the skies to crackle with the sounds of molten rock grinding over like.

One of the giants hauls back a blazing spear and sends it flying, only to have it blasted out of existence. A second lick of fire and energy blazes down and sends that one giant tumbling over the side of the arch into the lava… not that it'll kill it.

As quickly as 'Thor' lashes out at the giants, they lash back with spears and balls of fire sent hurtling. And for a time it's a chaotic give and take of violence that ends with 'Thor' landing heavily seemingly wounded. He turns and starts to run back up the slope of the hill that leads back towards the portal. At times as he rushes from cover to cover, the giants hot on his heels, he seems to flicker. One moment Thor darts behind a boulder, the next he emerges from another. Yet the giants continue their pursuit of the Asgardian…

And about now they're getting closer and closer. Almost time for the ambush to spring. One of the giants seems decidedly in command, taller than the others, with more metal jewelry and armor. It is he who leads the attack.


"Fire giants! I /knew/ it!" Illyana hisses, grabbing her sword in both hands. "I've been wanting to kick someone's ass for WEEKS," she says, bobbling on her toes. "C'mon, beardy! Let's get them!" She swings her sword back over her head, forgetting she's partially in FRONT of Strange, and manages to clobber him right in the shoulder with the weapon. More worrisomely, she hits him right in the epicenter of his binding magics and undoes the ties that keep his emergency recall spell from triggering.

Illyana completely fails to notice the shock of energy that floods her sword, and with a 'HIYYAAAA!' the tiny blonde girl starts sprinting towards the field of battle, sword overhead and a gleeful, violent expression on her face. It's a bit unnerving, mostly because the giants are literally twice her size and she is /completely/ unintimidated by them.


"I'm Scarlett and be welcome." Acknowledgment and introduction interlace together with a particular quality of southern courtesy. The redhead dips her chin to Strange and Illyana, both sorcerers managed while the hot-blooded forces engage in their gleeful wrath as 'Thor' declares a state of war. "Alas, duty calls."

Dust stirred in a turbulent devil acknowledges Scarlett leaving the ground, a sweeping parabola inverted to gain altitude and velocity. Feverish light plays off her, bent through Clea's illusion if it can be sustained at a distance. Overhead the choleric heavens burn in a sickly miasma that makes the Venusian atmosphere, capable of melting lead like an Easy-Bake oven, positively delightful by comparison. The airborne bohemian rotates on a diagonal axis, arrowing for the hurled spears and flames on an erratic arc for her initial passes. Whatever else, speed favours her trajectory slicing through the advancing mass of giants, causing a general sense of chaos from being struck in the rearguard. She pulls up in a pirouette and, at the peak of the arc, drops hands first back towards the most ostentatiously dressed eldjotnar.


Clea looks aghast at Illyana calling someone 'beardy.' If she'd talked like that she would have been thrown to the Mindless Ones. YOUTH THESE DAYS.

Clea's hands contort as she puts her focus on that illusion, aiming to keep it rolling in the face of Scarlet's strain - her teeth set and her eyes narrow, as she murmurs words to herself, a supportive mantra — childish, really, she thinks, but every little bit helps…!


The incoming Fire Giants are enough to divert Strange's attention from the women standing before him and also from what his apprentice did once she arrived beside him. He has enough time to utter a splintered incantation, part of a Word, before his eyes widen; he sees the Soulsword arcing back towards him and isn't able to get up even a forearm to deflect it. Not that it would matter. The weapon immediately slices through his ward and into his aura.

Muspelheim dissolves around him in some fractured, nausea-inducing swirl that triggers his vertigo worse than he has felt in years. He knows that he's being wrenched from the realm and that it's all based on the Soulsword's severing of the control on his teleportation spell.

He lands with a lung-clenching whuft on the dusty flat ground of Someplace Clearly Not Muspelheim and lies there as he attempts to breathe. He drags aside his cape woozily as he gasps for air and then grips at his spinning head. No one is around to hear his guttural dry heaves and muttered curses. The quiet expletives seem to echo like mocking whispers all around him. It takes some effort, but he pushes himself up on one hip. He looks around him, eyes half-shuttered as he wipes his mouth on his sleeve.

Limbo. She's sent him to Limbo.



"Or there's that." Crystal blinks as Illyana goes charging in, followed by Rogue. "I believe our goal is to get information out of one of them." She smiles faintly back to Clea, shoulders rising in a slight shrug. "The more circumspect, the better. Excuse me a moment, please."

With those polite words, she turns back toward the attack, spreading her hands in front of herself to force a wall of ice up behind the attacking giants to cut off their retreat. Building it here, though, is incredibly difficult. In just a few seconds she's panting, fighting not to go to one knee.


Strange has left.


There is a flash of motion, a flicker of light and wavering ripples, and out from that rough ground emerges not Thor, and not just Loki. But three Lokis that seem to phase into being each coming from a separate path out of that rocky terrain. He's still running full tilt, however, all three of him. Yet as he reaches that outcropping he had been perched upon before, past the other heroes, the three become one and he leaps upon a tall boulder.

"At them!" He shouts as he spins around, blue sword flashing out and sending a quartet of ice spheres that crash to the ground and explode into shrapnel amongst the charging squad of fire giants.

There is a loud roar as one goes down, clutching at its abdomen as ice shards slice through it. Another bellows angrily while it draws back a spear to throw. The leader and his ten remaining soldiers all seem focused on Loki and haven't even spotted the other heroes yet.


The three fire giants facing off with Illyana look… a little perplexed. She's so /tiny/. The little blonde girl in black and yellow is screaming her head like a lunatic going down a waterslide, but the tenor of her voice is more like a Valkyrie on the warpath than a girl mustering her courage. Uncertainty shifts to confusion, then, to wariness— but too late, because by the time they realize she's serious about the fight, she explodes over the last thirty yards with a flickering magical momentum and slashes one Fire Giant across the belly.

Mortal steel might not have wounded it, and Asgardian uru might have spilled flaming guts onto the dry earth below. But Illyana's sword hits the giant, a creature of magic, in its very being. Red light explodes from the giant and arcs into the purple sword, which consumes the monster's living being until it collapses to the ground in an empty, withering black husk.
% The other giants flinch in shock at the gory ending of their brother and roll their shoulders forward, trying to bring weapons to defensive bear. Illyana grins at them, then with an earsplitting shout, charges into the fray again.

Tiny. But /fierce/.


"Save one, please!" Crystal calls after Illyana when the girl makes the creature disappear. "Motes of…ash don't talk." She even manages to maintain some courtesies, despite the fact that she's leaning hard on one knee, trying to catch her breath. Even the elements are strange here.

Bracing herself, she reaches out a hand to add earth to the mix, trusting it more than ice in this climate. Stone crashes through the dirt, climbing around the most decorated opponent. Partly it's to hold him still. It might also partly be to keep Illyana's sword from getting him.


Take a volatile situation, and add the bloodsong of a released blonde horror in the paroxysm of ferocious joy. Sprinkle icy restraint to two parts emerald, one triumphant trickster, and the gloves are literally off. The wind ruffles around Loki, one of them at least, his sword cutting through the tight vortex left in Scarlett's wake as she swings past to intercept the semi-imprisoned opponent receiving Crystal's attentions. The leader of the eldjotnar patrol enters his own kind of dance with death, he just doesn't quite know it yet.

Long, graceful fingers splay wide, arms extended in front of her as Scarlett swan dives at reckless speeds within an illusory cocoon. The flame-crowned girl drops out of near-orbit directly behind the vast, huge creature so much larger and broader than herself they might resemble a blocky planet capturing a satellite. She slams into the fire giant's back, bare palms colliding with that frustrating spot between shoulder blades where even a creature with disproportionately long arms can't reach. Her hands press to his unearthly hot flesh, and the unshackled faultlines within her being align with agonizing hunger to absorb his essence. Every seal breaks on greedy channels seizing everything they can reap from a fertile country. Illy's got her sword. Scarlett is the sword's second cousin.

Flames erupt in ghostly wisps upon her fair skin, dancing off her hair, and her eyes turn every bit as primal and inchoate as the energy ripped out of the fire giant. The two of them are locked together by tidal forces: if he stumbles at the shockwave or collapses under ice, the bohemian goes with him, faithless shadow in the worst of violations.


The giants are in battle rage, roaring, seething forward, lava hissing and sizzling along their limbs and their weapons. They fix their spears forward as they charge towards the image of Loki standing atop that rocky outcropping.

And suddenly Illyana is amongst them, blade cleaving as she slices through the tall creatures, ichor flashing from their wounds and then disappearing as the soul sword banishes it from existence. One of the giants goes down on a knee and then tumbles over on its side, spear skittering out of its grip. Another wails as it Achilles tendon is caught on the backswing, causing it to collapse and grasp at its leg howling.

Rock surges up and around the leader at the head of the charge, slowing his footsteps as he rails, stomping forward angrily, each step sending miniature shockwaves out. It brandishes a brass scimitar in its hand, lifting it up as it gets closer. Stone clings to its ankles now, its step slowing as it tries to pull one leg up… then the other… slower now. Then it's stuck.

And that's when Rogue flashes out of the sky, getting a clean shot on the leader with it bound in place. She slams into it at speed, breaking it free of its bonds and carrying it aloft.

Once that creature is secured, Loki's voice lifts as he shouts, "To the corridor. Fly!"

It's in that moment that he leaps from the outcropping, dropping like a stone and landing /heavily/ with his sword extended. A wave of force seems to coalesce around him, to swirl and then focus through the blade of the sword, then fires forth with a palpable _womp_ that recoils something fierce. Yet it sends off that wave of pure energy straight from Loki into the mass of the remaining giants, launching them heavily into the air and then letting them crash back to earth like so much detritus.


Illy fights like a madwoman, and that blade whips around in crackling arcs of searing amethyst energy, killing the giants in a much more brutal fashion than mere swordsmanship— her magical blade snuffing out their very life essences. Killing them at the most fundamental level, destroying the very fabric of their being, the magical forces binding them together as much as flesh or sinew does.

When Rogue drops that one giant to the ground, Illyana doesn't so much see Rogue absorbing the giant as she does see the woman crashing into a creature four times her size. So Illyana lunges forward and stabs the giant in the head with her sword, but trips and falls, pratfalling into Rogue and then stumbling a bit artlessly into the hot sand and dust, rolling a dozen feet down a mild slope.

"Ow! Ow! Ow!"


Loki calls the retreat, and Crystal is all too eager to comply. Whether she's running from the giants or from bloodthirsty young sorceresses may be up for grabs, though. A few running steps, and then she's quite literally flying, propelled by heated winds toward the portal back to a world that isn't an inferno.


Exact figures for a fire giant's mass and weight are lacking, but Scarlett clings like a burr to that Muspelheimer Hamilton. Her poisoned touch reaps its wanton due. Only a shout penetrates the primal maelstrom detonating within her psyche, a glittering tether to reality snapping her back into the moment. Fragments of self revolve around the command, and her burning eyes alight upon the Asgardian, the sorceresses behind and around him. The searing arc of a faint smile curves her lips into an expression of intense focus rather than wanton self-destruction. Dancing flames coalesce around her hair, harmlessly discharged. Fly, vala, fly. The mantra on her lips forms words without sound. Seizing the gaudy decorations, Scarlett half-lifts, half-drags her prey without totally losing the physical connection. Borrowed strength compounded with her own native endurance helps to haul the incapacitated jotun in the direction of the portal. It dwarfs her by a magnitude and yet even a mountain face descends with a few pebbles.


The force wave still has the rest of the giants staggered, the few that are stirring. It gives them a window of opportunity to withdraw and one that most of them capitalize on. Rogue makes her way to escape, Crystal as well. That leaves only the Ruler of Limbo who just fell down the slope, blazing rocks and sizzling sand chasing after her as if the very realm of Muspelheim rejected her tread.

For a moment she might see a fire giant that had fallen earlier start to raise itself up on its hands and knees, its smoldering eyes fixed on the girl from the demon realm. Its lip twists into a hateful sneer as it reaches a hand out slowly to try and find its spear, its only thought at the moment to plant the tip of that weapon in the gut of the girl.

But then another blast of force sends that giant smashing and bouncing down the hillside off over the side of a ridge to fall far, until it lands into a pool of lava with a 'bloop'.

Loki extends his hand to Illyana, offering her help up as he says idly. "Could not let Strange's prize pupil burn, now could I?"

After that it's a clear path to the corridor, to departure, and then safety.

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