1963-08-09 - Piotr's Adventures in Limboland
Summary: Poor Piotr! Little did he know he'd end up cleaning up Limbo for Illy and Scarlett.
Related: N/A
Theme Song: Kanye West - Stronger
piotr rogue illyana 

There hadn't been much discussion about it. Illyana had made two stops— first to collect Scarlett, because the girl was near her in the dorms, and then a quick walk through the boys' hall to collect Piotr. Both explanations had been… fairly prefunctory:

"There's trouble in Limbo."

Wearing her skirt and leggings, and that yellow vest, she's got at least summoning her clothing down pat, but she doesn't even bother to pack a lunch or take any gear with her. She gives both of them five minutes to ready themselves, then waits for them downstairs in the school's library with an impatient air, tap-tap-tapping her foot in consternation and in time with the rhythm of the radio playing some of the new Beatles' music.

It's also just past sunrise. Illyana and Limbo are not respectors of time, it seems.


Does Scarlett actually sleep? She does. Summer means a break from Columbia's grueling routine, and the girl who has shifted to a largely nocturnal lifestyle catches slumber at hours after dawn. On this particular day, daybreak catches her awake, peering over several books and meditating cross-legged on the floor. Actually a foot above the floor, but who is counting?

It takes less than five minutes to appear at the designated spot. The bohemian knows what a go bag is, and she has one. When she descends the steps, it's in boots that climb over her calves and wearing tough gloves, her favourite green and white-trimmed cloak obtained from a closet. Can't go anywhere without that, even if it barely constitutes a uniform at this stage.

A few sundries are tucked into that bag, notably food. Never know if the old rules of the underworld apply.


When he makes his way into the library as requested, Piotr looks awfully awake for the hour. Really, 'just past sunrise' is not at all an unusual time for him to be up, and he really only needed to hear 'there's trouble' to dismiss any remaining drowsiness from his mind.

He may have glossed over the where.

He doesn't have much in the way of a wardrobe, even after so long in America, so it's a very casually-dressed Piotr who approaches the pair, a small amount of surprise on his features. He hadn't expected two.

"Good morning," Piotr rumbles, casting a brief look towards the radio. What an odd sound. "Trouble, you said?"


"Yes. S'ym contacted me," Illyana explains, adjusting the cuffed leather gloves on her wrists. "Between stings from the wasps, he let me know the Fire Giants were mucking around near the High Place," she says. "High Place is… basically the border from Otherplace to Limbo. I need to take care of them personally. Sets a bad example for the demons if they have to deal with an invasion force themselves."

She grabs Rogue's shirt in one hard grip, Piotr's in the other, and marches them forward two steps. On the first step, a flickering yellow circle of light springs from the floor near their feet, and on the second step… everyone's in Limbo. Just like that. It's a world that literally defies description— one might be inclined to say there's a strong purple ovure, but there's no sense of cardinal directions, no sun hanging in the sky— in fact, there are places where what should be sky is just… more terrain, curving to improbable heights and angles. Even up and down don't really have much relevance— feet just seem to stick to whatever someone wills them to stick to.

The circle of light fades and Illy looks around, then jabs a hand in one direction. "There. See where that band of yellow interferes with the purple? That's where the grotto is. We'll fly there, I don't feel like walking."

She levitates into the air and soars off a few paces, then turns at looks at Piotr and Rogue quizzically. "You two can fly, right?"


A two year stint at the Institute so far still never prepares a girl for all the oddities. Not when someone can literally open a doorway to her own realm and return as some kind of sovereign. That alone wrests a laugh from the flame-tressed bohemian, though in her defense, Scarlett offers a friendly wave to Piotr. "She dragged you along too, I see? Good morning!" The light traces of a southern accent weave among her refined manner of speaking; take New York sophistication and paint with Savannah or Charleston for the desired effect. Though one might hear a trace - faint, but present - that could be mistaken as vaguely English.

As soon as they fall through that yellow portal into another world, her lips part and she drinks in all the details with the full range of her senses. Sight and hearing absorb as much as they can, and she tries to hone that nascent spark of awareness somewhere in the back of conscious thought. Maybe she feels something. Maybe something feels her.

"Flight will not be a problem." The answer comes smoothly enough. "Would you like me to offer a lift?" This, offered to Piotr, is made almost off-handed, a glimmer of her surreal green eyes passing over him. "It should be fairly stable unless I didn't take into account air density or something unexpected."


Piotr gives Scarlett a broad smile and a polite bob of his head in greeting. "I would not say 'dragged,' necessarily," he says lightly, clasping his hands behind his back and settling in. Ah, that's a familiar posture — not Piotr so much as Colossus, waiting to be briefed.

There is a slight knit to his brow that betrays the fact that, while Piotr is listening attentively to Illyana, roughly 85% of what she's saying makes little to no sense to him. At all. He makes a surprised noise when she grabs his shirt but allows himself to be dragged along — okay, now he would say it — onto the disk, and then… Limbo. Which does very little to wipe the very perplexed expression off the big man's face.

"…if you would be so kind," Piotr replies to Scarlett, blinking owlishly and offering her his hands. "Spasiba."


Illyana doesn't so much 'fly' as she just… seems to make herself go where she wants. There's no comedic flapping of arms and she has a stomach-lurching disregard for staying true to her horizontal pitch. She leads them on at a shocking velocity, and lands neatly atop an outcropping of rock.

Don't look back at where they just came from— it's at least two miles furthur away than it feels, and visibly at the wrong angle relative to their current notional sense of 'down'.

"Piotr, I need you to go into that ravine and make sure none of them sneak through that way," Illyana tells her brother, pointing at a pass. "They're big and dumb and I imagine they don't have a very good sense of moving here. Scarlett, you and I will take the high passes. If they decide to go over the hills instead of under them, we can catch them swiftly." She waits for Scarlett to drop Piotr off, then blasts off towards a tall ridge perhaps a half a mile or so away, subjectively.


Piotr may be aware of Scarlett's general nature. Students talk. They talk about the redhead at Columbia who jams in Greenwich Village and they whisper, when they think no one hears, that she has a god-cursed soul. It's true. Only the other crazy girl, part of Team Redhead, dares touch her much. Jean and Scarlett, both messed up in very different ways. But it stands to reason her gloved hands are offered. "To make this easiest, I should hold you across the chest. Like so," she demonstrates a loose embrace. "May I? You can move around as much as you need, but I ask you not touch my face for your own sake."

How her innate powers as a soul thief work here might be best not to explore. She is a patient creature, however, and waits for the Russian to find his footing or bearing while she floats a foot off the ground to make it easier for Piotr to decide how he might wish to stand. Certainly nothing about her build indicates great strength.

As soon as he's ready, however, that proves a lie. They reach the mountain top, he's off loaded, and then she goes tearing after Illyana to the next with a considerable degree of joyous ease. A general arcing trajectory bring the pair closer at a healthy speed unless Limbo's erstwhile lady tries to kick it up to 200 knots straight off.


If nothing else, Piotr is a very accomodating man. All Scarlett needs to do is express a preference; he simply nods and turns, lifting his arms so that she has a clear path around his chest. "Of course. I will be careful," he promises, his tone serious. They have been at the Institute for about the same length of time and, regardless of what he may or may not have heard, he knows by now to simply accept what others tell him about what is safe about themselves. It is simplest.

He tries not to watch their surroundings too much during transit. 'Disorienting' would be putting it far too kindly. He can't even feel relief when his feet touch down onto seemingly solid ground again, but he tries, first offering Scarlett a grateful smile before he turns his attention to Illyana. Stop the big, dumb monsters from sneaking through the ravine? "This, I can do."

As she departs, Piotr turns on his heel and begins to lumber his way towards the ravine, a glimmer of silver rippling across his form until he is fully encased in his armor. It seems prudent.


Illyana and Rogue swoop off to intercept the Fire Giants, and, sure enough— a solid score of them are busily force-marching across the wastelands where living things either eke out a miserable existence or grow wildly out of control, depending on local energy flows.

"There— I can see them," Illy tells Rogue, pointing a finger. "They're coming near that fungal oasis. There's a very toxic trapvine that grows in the area. We can attack and drive them into the plant life— they'll kill the giants for us. Make sure you leave them plenty of room to retreat."

She nods at Scarlett and then whips out low and to the side, skimming along the dunetops. She gains speed as she accelerates and at the last possible moment, whips her Soulsword into existence and bursts /through/ a dune, taking the giants by surprise. Her Soulsword maims three of them with one huge swipe, and she hits the ground with a skid of her yellow boots, sending up a spray of rock and dust.


Why on earth does the idea of fire-giants force marching across Limbo sound so incredibly amusing? Could it be the idea of them standing on a craggy peak upside down over their unit, spying from afar and complaining bitterly about Thor? The thunder god is probably being cursed from one horizon to the other, and the one in between. Don't forget the one over there, either. A twitch of amused laughter would no doubt be a terrible choice right about now.

Scarlett floats with considerable ease through the upper atmosphere, and takes in what constitutes a foreign environment. "I could probably curse at them in their own language. I think I remember enough of it," she murmurs, a degree of uncertainty present there. Woe to that poisonous trapvine that tries to grab her, if it has any degree of sentience. She pulls her hood over her hair and then rotates on a tight spiral, skidding on a parabola arc not a little like she used in Muspelheim. The difference here: she doesn't have to worry about toxic clouds trying to scorch her, so her approach can be particularly steep. While Illyana goes sideways, she veers high and plays a game of giant bowling. Targeting the smallest of them means the greatest likelihood her velocity will shove him into the rest and domino effect them towards the nasty fungal mire.


Three giants go down hard, wounded savagely by Illyana's flaming Soulsword. The weapon of magic would not do them a lick of harm if they were mortals, but as creatures of magic, formed from the Aether, the shard of light in her hands does them savage wounds. It attacks them at the most fundamental level, weakening them. In this rare case, what little mortality they have in that shell of muscle and sinew protects them, rather than being a weakness. Striking limbs wounds them but likely won't kill them.

So Illyana gets close again and slashes with that blade in a screaming fury of action, swift and brutal and unrelenting despite her tiny stature. The blade whips in bright purple arcs, and when she strikes a head or the torso it can do its real work— hitting the core of their very beings and slaying them on the spot. Her blade grows brighter with every bit of magic it absorbs.

The Queen of Limbo flings an imperious hand out and rocks explode from the ground as she lifts a fifty-meter length of the tableu and flings it violently sideways, cutting off the escape of the giants and tossing several into the edges of the fungal growth. Caught between a rock and strange yellow lichen, two giants immediately flee into the fungal forest, seeking cover.


No shriek originates from the hellfire missile plowing through the children of Muspelheim. Oh, how well she knows them at a deep, awful level and there may be some portion of Scarlett's mind that yearns once more to dissolve into the embrace of something so powerful, seizing its life force. Then again, such a voice is quiet, a whisper in a typhoon, and very easily ignored in the heat of the moment. Instead she shoves the chosen giant back through his kindred, knocking a wide path through their orderly arrangement. Shouts and complaints originate around her and they seize at her, one huge mailed fist snapping hold of her sylvan cloak.

This could potentially end very badly. The flying girl pirouettes as the tug on her clavicle all she needs to know, and the sudden rotation might just strangle her without a care. The clasps are meant to tear free if need be. Unfortunately for the giant, who snarls and reaches out, the woman who contends with him isn't weak.

Oh no. She needs nearly no momentum at all to leap straight for his face, throwing all of her strength into crashing into the great red figure and toppling him over or spinning him around on a tight circle. He can swat at her all he likes, but the other giants don't exactly care to slash or punch at his face. Others who have been knocked down still have to get up.


Illyana is not a big woman. She's smaller than Scarlett, and lacks that superhuman strength to really go toe to toe with threats to her person.

At least, that's true on Earth. One giant comes down at Illy with a giant rock in hand, trying to crush her— and Illyana punches the rock into pieces with her fist and a sharp shout of focus, then punches the Fire giant in the chest with bone-cracking force. She steps forward as the creature backpedals in pain, and slams her glowing sword into the creature's chest. Fire leaks aroudn the edges of the mystical wound, the creature hemhorraging energy that's sucked into her weapon.

She eyes the skies overhead, then makes a curled gesture with her fingers that ends in a slash of her palm. Thick hail materializes out of nowhere, in a tight twenty-yard wide band not far from Scarlett. Instead of clumped ice, it's razor shards of snowflakes that descend from the heavens. Yowling and screaming in pain, more of the giants swarm into the forest, trying to take shelter under gigantic mushroom deathcaps.


Scarlett's superhuman strength makes her something rather unexpected, especially for those big creatures anticipating a small bug will be capable of crushing with a palm. Not this one.

The girl only has the gifts she's stolen, those she contains. There is a certain joy for her to spiral and fly through the air, and dodge and duck the punches thrown at her. One to her side is likely to send her spiralling midair, laughing in delight. She floats over the space in the grass and fungi, far too high in the air for the plants to reach for her. Another lunges at Scarlett, and she almost playfully calls out in the fragments of the language vaguely remembered: "Quench yourself, ice giant! No flame today!"

OK: it sounds relatively ugly and it doesn't constitute a pretty grasp of grammar, but it works. They come tearing after her, and she almost delightfully bobs along like a demented will-o-wisp.


Piotr's at least got a fairly straightforward fight ahead of him— five giant creatures easily fifteen feet tall, and literally leaking red flames from their eyes and ears and cracks in their skin.

No, wait— fifty dark grey animals come bounding down from the cliffside in an almost military formation. They almost look like panthers, but with over-long legs, and long pinchers coming off their shoulders.

The demons spot the Fire Giants, and the Giants spot the demons, and with a scream the two sides rush at each other from both sides of the ravine, with Piotr caught squarely between them!

Illyana whips her sword around one handed, fighting like it's a scimitar to smack away chunks of her adversary's fingers and hands as he draws over-close. She dodges out of the way of an explosive tackle and strikes his spine with her sword, leaving him on the ground and screaming in paralyzed agony.

"Scarlett! I must check on Piotr!" Illyana shouts at the redhead. "Keep to the plan!"

She looks skywards at Piotr's position on the other side of a curve, and explodes towards him with frightful acceleration, a yellow-haired comet trailing amethyst energy.


The heights of the heavens open themselves to the handmaiden of chaos. She wreaks havoc by merely reversing herself away from the eldjotnar she dances with, striking the ground with both feet. A leap casts her into a tumble to dodge a heavy fist swinging over the location her head occupied. Scarlett is nothing if not unearthly quick, guided by some unseen force to drop into dizzying backbends and lash out with her feet in a doubled kick.

Something cracks. A guttural howl pours out from the teetering giant. Not strong enough in its own right to knock him over, and she has her own torn clothes and bruises to contend with. But the redhead rises from the deep crouch, calling back, "Go!"

The gloves remain on when she slams up into the air, a scintillating puff of dust thrown around her. She cannot hear the demons, only those who struggle with their slower wits and hammer-blow arms to catch her. Giants snarl in the language of Muspelheim, the realm of fire and magma, and she snarls back at them in some echo of that. For all the profanity they spew, it could be a horrid war ballad giving praise to the gods of war.

Flames are hurled her way along with a spear, and the latter she can dodge by spinning aside, covering her face. A brief dip out of sight behind a ridge could bode poorly. Two giants race after her. Somewhere stirs a hungry plant.

Two giants do not race back.


It might come as a surprise to some, but standing down a quintet of Fire Giants is actually not the most intimidating thing that Piotr has ever done. Metallic hands ball up into fists at his sides and he plants his feet, squaring his shoulders as he prepares to stand firm and prevent their way through the ravine — and then he catches the motion out of the corner of his eye. Dozens of… monsters, Piotr supposes. Rushing towards him, and towards the giants beyond.

Colossus sets his jaw. Alright. This just became more intimidating.

"I should have asked which monsters not to hit," Colossus says to himself in a sour tone, quickly adjusting his stance to try and keep both onrushing groups from being entirely behind him. Whichever group is unlucky enough to pick a fight with him first, well… they'll be the first he hits back.


The giant and demons converge on Piotr simultaneously, and it turns into a grand melee instantly. Demons crash into fire giants in twos and threes, fighting like a pack and not in a stand up fight— swarming under and through and over one another, snapping and tearing and biting at the giants to great effect.

Illyana crashes into the melee and slays one demon with a snap of her sword when it lunges for her, the great beast simply evaporating into dust as she undoes it with a stroke of her longsword.

"Piotr! Fight clear!" she barks at her brother, then explodes into a hurricane of motion as she flies across the gap between them, channeling her sword into a lance of pure energy that drives a path ahead of her as she flies to rally to her brother.

"Ware the darklings, they've a taste for blood and they don't see allies well," she tells her metal kin, landing next to him.


No giant particularly wants to have a girl land on his shoulder, even if she weighs near to nothing. The suffering creature slashed by the Soulsword clutches its pained wounds. His wounds seize under a glaze of pleasure that strikes from nowhere, out of sync with Limbo's unprepared nature. The sharp exchange lasts only for a few seconds, enough to jar the mind from its locked pattern of revenge and hate.

No giant wants that girl to bend over, and whisper, "Best regards from Asgard."

Neither does he want to have a solid little hand pat his head like some kind of docile reindeer. "No doubt the prince takes issue with your violation here. Be sure to tell that to your superiors." He may understand her and he may not, though the burning fiery eyes meet burning eyes set in a human face.

Any martial force understands what that means, being spared to bear the message. Before the fire giant can swipe his arm and knock her away, Scarlett takes to the air at a breakneck speed. It might mistake her reaching cruising speeds as summoning the thunder. The air compresses around her in a ring and cracks as she breaks the sound barrier, vibrations roaring through mountain and corpse alike.

Then it's over towards Illyana's violet trail.


It is not the most joyous occasion, having what amounts to two packs of wild animals attacking one another with his own self caught in the middle. Still: a part of Piotr had to admit that, after the week he has had, the opportunity to simply cut loose was almost welcome.

As flame-dripping fists and gnashing teeth ring off of his armored flesh, the Colossus lands one thundering blow after another. He is by no means in a frenzy such as those Logan can fall into — he's in control and aware of what he is doing — he's just also taking advantage of the fact that these creatures are not human by any stretch of the imagination, and the designation of 'demon' does not leave him feeling a need to hold back.

Even so, 'fight clear' is all that he needs to hear. Colossus seizes a creature by the scruff and pivots on his heel, hurling it back towards the rest of its pack before he simply lowers his shoulder and charges for a better position.

"Do not worry," Colossus rumbles to Illyana, glancing down at her with a broad smile. His shirt is in tatters and smoldering in a few places, care of the giants, yet he doesn't even sound winded. "I am not easy man to make bleed."


The last of the fire giants in the forest are consumed by the trapvines— they'll be eaten and digested, their blood vastly expanding the size of the fungal forest. Circle of life, and all that.

Illyana and Piotr make short work of the remaining fire giants, slashing, crushing, punching, and the demonkin around them swarm all of the giants like a great mob, ignoring the slash of axe and sword in order to draw as much giant blood as possible.

"Stop!" Illyana calls at Piotr, as he squares off with the last of them— a meager runt, one that had hung back to the rear of the pack. She flies over to them, alighting with a dainty step, and rather casually slashes down a prowling darkling eying a potential meal. "This one lives," Illyana declares, stepping towards the Giant. She slams her Soulsword into the ground between the giant's thighs, and leans on the hilt to stare at him with burning eyes.

"Go back and tell your masters that Limbo is barred to them. Come through my realms again, I'll ensure that all the netherworld screams in rage the moment any giant steps upon our soil. And I'll hang you up to dry and use your blood to feed my orchards. Got it?"


War needs its valkyrie to harvest the worthy warriors for Valhalla.

Strife needs its battlecrow to serenade the changing fortunes of combat.

Conflict needs its messenger to witness the victorious end at night.

No real blood on her fists, Scarlett hangs suspended like a gem sweeping on Esscher-dreamt arcs and angles above Piotr and Illyana. The Soviet siblings have their wordless guardian rotating on high, cutting increasingly acute angles relative to their ground, though that could simply be due to the shifting stuff of the plane.

She weaves her route in tighter figure-eights and cuts away again, ensuring no thundercrow crests over the horizon, no wendigo jaunts past a ridge while the Queen of Limbo utters threats she means to keep.


His fist is drawn back, ready to land a fierce blow — but the call comes to stop and, without hesitation, Colossus lowers his arm and takes a step back. Illyana may be his baby sister, but in this place, she is the one calling the shots.

Piotr does not try to look intimidating as he stands at his sister's right hand, but it's difficult for him to look otherwise. Especially when, upon realizing that a small fire has caught on what little remains of his left sleeve, he just kind of… ignores it. Dismissed as unimportant.

Instead, he casts a look up(?)wards, bringing one hand up to shield his eyes. Checking to make sure — ah. Piotr allows himself a relieved smile when he catches sight of Scarlett cruising past. Good.


The giant looks at the firey comet overhead, the colossal metal man scowling at him, and the petite slip of nothing with a sword made of fire.

He swallows.

"Yus… yus. I tell," he assures Illyana. It's a serious blow to his pride that he concedes to her— fire giants would almost prefer to die in battle. "I go. I go, and tell."

"Good. Run fast, little man," Illyana tells him, withdrawing her sword and resting it negligently across her shoulders, ignoring the crackling purple fire limning the blade. "I loose my darklings in an hour, and they're still hungry. You might just make it to the High Place, and if you do, you /might/ find a safe transit back home to Muspelheim. If not— well. I suppose silence serves as well as a warning of terror."

"Go," she says, with a jerk of her chin, and the giant scrapes off with a great flailing of limbs.

"So! I am hungry," Illyana says, turning to Piotr and waving Scarlett down. "Let us return to the mansion, and see what is in the pantry."


The unwavering shadow drawing circuits eventually drops out of the sky adjacent to the young woman and her much, much bigger brother. One moment, Scarlett rides the air. The next, she stands on her feet, tugging her cloak around her. It will most definitely require some attention from a good weaver or seamstress, depending on the time period and skills required, though it serviceably conceals her.

More importantly, boots and gloves stand up to the turbulent service demanded of them. "This looks thoroughly managed," she murmurs, her dulcet voice a touch gravelled and crackling much like the fire giant. The one she sapped a sip of life force from still has a few lingering effects. Nonetheless, all is well enough with the redhead.

"Ready for a lift?" she asks Piotr, open her arms to her sides in a welcoming gesture.


Piotr waits until the retreating giant is out of sight before he turns his smile on Illyana, his eyebrows creeping up his forehead. "You are very good at this," he notes, and only now does he absently reach up to smother the flame on his shoulder under one massive palm. "I do not know how to feel about this."

He chuckles to Scarlett and bobs his head once, stepping closer to her. "We should feed her before her mood gets bad," Piotr says wisely, turning and raising his arms so that she can, once again, grasp him around the chest. There's just significantly less shirt covering him now. "…ah. If I am too heavy this way, say so."


"We can walk home from here," Illyana tells them, shaking her head before Rogue and Piotr get too comfortable. "Others need the High Place or the Low Place, but this is my home. I can leave anywhere I wish." She steps forward, gripping sleeves, and takes two steps— and it works just like it did before. Yellow disc, one pace, and the Mansion appears around the three of them.

She glances at the clock. "It's noon. I suppose that makes it lunchtime," she says, doing the arithmatic in her head.


Precisely how heavy is a fully metal Piotr? Probably not at the upper limit of Scarlett's ability, though her arms wrap around him and she briefly tips forward. "That's solid!" A sound of appreciation breaks from her lips, delight popping in a bubble of surprise before she sinks down onto her heels and dares elevate the Russian artist with actual effort.

Up he goes.

Down he goes, when the disk forms out of energy. "Another time," the redhead murmurs, sotto voce, secretive to absolutely no one at all.

"The kitchen ought to be at full speed. Maybe we can whip up something worthy to eat, for a good bit of exercise always makes me hungry." A faint shrug follows, ebullient as it comes.


"Is kind of fun, being the one lifted up for change," Piotr says in an amused voice, even as Scarlett sets him back on his feet. Another time indeed. The thought doesn't appear to bother him in the slightest.

One step, two step, and… the library. Piotr can't supress a bit of a grunt and touches a hand to his forehead, his lips pulled back into a thin line. That… is disorienting. Almost as disorienting as Illyana's report of the time.

"Noon? Already?" Piotr echoes, blinking in surprise as he allows the armor encasing his form to melt away into nothing. This is perplexing.


"Da. Time is not consistent with Limbo. I do not… totally understand it yet," Illyana admits, with a mumble. "It is not cooperate all the time. Thirteen years can be a few eyeblinks." She jerks her chin to the kitchens, her Soulsword vanishing to wherever it goes when dispelled.

"Let's eat," she says, and with a high toss of her head, marches towards the kitchens for a hot meal.

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