1963-09-16 - Welcome to the Hellmouth
Summary: A debt is paid, and trouble is found.
Related: In All the Wrong Places
Theme Song: None
logan piotr strange illyana 

It's a quiet crisp fall night in Central Park. As per usual, however, time of day matters little around the park, less so tonight thanks to a full harvest moon. The light from the moon seems to illuminate the park, and drown out the stars — a happy coincidence for those hoping to go for a walk amongst the greenery.

Untoward activity has increased in the park as of late, but this has not discouraged many from walking along the park's banks.

Oddly, however, for some reason, convergence at the park seems particularly apt tonight. Some felt compelled by the night air,and the imminent promise of winter's arrival — albeit in several months time. Others felt a very different compulsion, like the anticipation that they needed to be outside their homes in one of the city's most notorious retreats. Others still just had a draw — a feeling of anticipation that came over them that somehow some way they needed to be here. Right now.

With the moonlit air shimmering upon the park, the vague sound of someone playing a guitar on the lawn. The minor key of the celtic tune accompanies the warm glow of the harvest moon in one gentle pluck after another in a strange ensemble of light and music as a herald to the winds of change themselves.

The centre of Central Park seems to see each of these converge. The passers-by, the curious, the mundane, and even the music shine way to something different. The creek that runs through the park's centre takes a strange iridescent quality thanks to the moonlight overhead. It reflects along the rock embankment adjacent to the waterbed — a display of perfectly flat black stones, shined, polished, and placed with nearly perfect care.


Logan isn't entirely sure why he's here. He's been in the city for a couple of weeks, but mos tof that has been wandering, aimless, lost, trying to forget. To forget the way he shed the blood of one of the only living things he cared about. To forget about the way she'd looked at him, the disdain, the contempt on her face.

He'd been in almost a fugue when he realized he was in the park, leaning against a tree in one of the more forested areas. He's just in a wife-beater, jeans and boots and he feels a strange itch to pop his claws. But he doesn't really know or understand why…


If Piotr was completely honest, he would be happy never returning to Central Park. As new as the place was, it had already been the locale of choice for several incidents the russian would just as readily have never been a part of… and yet. And yet. As infuriating as it was for him to admit… it was an excellent place to draw.

And so Piotr is seated at one of many benches near the center of the park, a light jacket thrown on over his usual t-shirt and jeans his only concession to the cooler weather. Occasionally he glances up from the sketchbook open in his lap to study a passer-by and then his attention drops again.


The moonlight is dazzling tonight in the park. To go from the closeted, close warmth of the Sanctum's Loft to the vast and seemingly-limitless space of Central Park leaves Strange momentarily paused in place, just after stepping from his gate. He glances over his shoulder, making certain that his apprentice has also completely emerged from the circular rift edged in crackling lightning, before he closes it with the fluid gesture of dismissal. The vanishing of the gate returns the color gradient to silvers, blues, and glaringly-lit autumn leaves.

"Illyana, this way, please," Strange says softly as he scans the near surroundings for anyone who saw them arrive in such a…magical manner. No one, such luck today. He's arrived at the edge of the section of forested park where his other not-quite-apprentice and Prince of the Wolves defeated a rogue Ice Giant. "I found the weakness in the weave of reality in a far glade. Everyone was lucky that the Jotun did not break through in a more public place." He can only imagine the chaos that could have come to be. "We'll find the spot once again and you can tell me of your thoughts." Tilting his head towards the shadowed depths of the trees, he leads the way through the first wall of brush and orients himself once he's about a dozen strides in.

But something…something is still wrong. It's the feeling of eyes on your back - the knowledge that something lurks around the corner - that deep breath before the plunge. All of Earth's reality seems to be working up to a shiver and Strange closes his eyes where he stands in a solitary ray of moonlight to further assess this with Mystical senses. Spotlighted as he is, the crimson of the Cloak seems brighter and foreboding against the glade's muted colors.


Illyana's following along obligingly— at least, she's not complaining. The last few dustups with Strange in tow have forced her to recognize that she might indeed be over her head magically speaking. Subdued, yes, but there's no squelching that fire, and she clearly is trying to frame the narrative of their relationship as peers. It shows in how she walks— slightly ahead, hurrying to keep up and ignoring the fact that Strange is the only one who really knows where they're going.

Wearing her leathers and leggings she's at least dressed for work. But when Strange pauses, so does she— eyes hooded and wary, fingers twitching. "I feel it too," she mutters, curling her fingers around an invisible sword's hilt. "Something's amiss. It feels like the Low Place— potential and causality are heavy here."


Logan finds himself drawn to the creek bed, the water trickling around his boots. He kneels and brushes his hands through the rocks at the bottom until he finds a series of perfectly smoothed, flattened rocks. He shifts them aside, unaware of his own actions or what guides them, in a trance.

He reveals a pentagram, impossible letters in an unknown tongue running around the contours and angles of it. Something inside him responds to it, as he traces a finger along the lines…


Piotr's pencil gradually comes to a stop as he finds himself looking up more frequently, and not at those who pass him by. His attention keeps seeking out whoever it is playing the guitar. His brow furrows slightly as he tries to puzzle something out.

After a few more attempts to return to his drawing, he gives up. Piotr rises to his feet, tucking the sketchbook under his arm and the pencil behind his ear before he begins to wander in search of the musician.


His Mystical senses bring an entirely other bombardment of sensations to Strange the moment he slips into the light trance of seeking. Spirits of the forest crawl through the loam and flush through the foliage with quivering anxiety and far above, the stars themselves seem to shiver against the auroral sky, all in hues of depthless-black.

Opening his eyes again, he lets out a slow sigh that fogs in the moonlight around him. He's searching for a familiarity that scratches at the back of his thoughts and leaves his stomach clenching tightly in its utterly-loathsome phantom of memory. His teeth worry at his bottom lip as he turns once again, the Cloak swirling about his form in a flurry of red, and there - through the trees.

The glitter of the fullest autumn moon he's acknowledged for decades from the rippling creek nearby seems to wink at him through the vertical stand of trees and his Mystical compass arrow aligns with it. There's a horrid draw to it, like the sensation of being unable to look away from a desperately-awful accident, and he finds himself taking a step before he can contain himself.

"Illyana, please…stay here a moment." His voice is barely audible above the riffling of the autumn leaves that chatter in a brisk breeze that flutters above them. His extended left hand is spread wide back towards her, a silent caution and command against following him further until he better understands this beacon that leaves him leery and apt to jump at shadows.


"No." Illyana's not arguing with Strange— it's clear she's extremely unnerved and being outside of arm's reach of her only ally discomforts her. In fact, she's reflexively right in his wake, angling herself so she can watch his back as they walk along. "Please," she adds, plaintively.

"Something's…. wrong. I hear a voice," she mutters, flexing her wrists and rolling them. "In my mind. There is … a debt being called," she mutters, boots digging into the soil for traction. "But I'm not sure what, yet. Or who is speaking to me."


The musician sits along the bridge overtop the water, staring at the sky as one might ponder the clouds above. Her red hair — not that of auburn or brunette — flashes like a fiery fury as the light catches it in an odd arrangement of near-flames. But the tune she plucks hardly has purpose. Her jaw tightens and she eyes the sky.

While the guitar echoes through the park, her quiet singing voice dances along lyrical genius. "On either side the river lie~ Long fields of barley and of rye~ That clothe the world and meet the sky;~ And thro' the field the road runs by — " but Piotr's presence has her lowering her head and stop the singing, but the strumming remains. "My grandmother used to sing me a song in gaelic to this tune. Tennyson's Lady of Shalott seems fitting. Somehow." Her jaw tightens.

While Logan has no awareness why he felt so drawn before, a gravelly voice rolls over his mind — a voice also heard in the magical baritone of those so gifted. "The moon is whole, the light awake, so let us make the entire earth shake. Peace be damned, to it goodbye, an appetite for souls I will pacify. So now I take this favour owed. To fire, brimstone, and blood once flowed."


Logan shivers as the power roils over him, almost boiling his blood in the vein. He struggles, for a moment, the willful man beneath trying to resist. But he made a promise and that promise will not be denied.

He pops his claws with his usual *SNIKT* and slashes each of his forearms, kneeling as the blood starts to pour. The cuts are deep, for they have to be, to keep it flowing long enough to do what needs done, soaking through his jeans and spattering onto the creekbed below…


With no magical talent whatsoever, Piotr is oblivious to anyone speaking other than the musician in front of him. He offers her a smile, though there is a perplexed tenseness around his eyes as he does so.

"I have heard it before," Piotr rumbles quietly, moving to stand next to her near the edge of the bridge. "Or… nyet. But I feel like I have. It is odd." He gives the redhead a searching look, taking in the tenseness of her jaw with growing concern. "…are you alright?"

But then, he freezes, the hair on the back of his neck standing up. SNIKT? He knows that sound. Piotr practically lunges forward to cast a searching look over the edge of the bridge and his eyes go wide. "Bohze — Logan?" The musician is forgotten as the large man breaks into a sprint for whatever end of the bridge is closest. He needs to get to Logan. Quickly.


The correction is beginning to leave Strange's lips when he realizes just exactly what Illyana is implying. He pauses once again and turns to face his apprentice, both eyebrows high in concern.

"Someone is speaking to you? Who?" he asks, his voice loud in the oppressive and heavy stillness of the surrounding forest. His focus on her suddenly veers away, his gaze casting about in cardinal points and towards heaven and hell as the rhymed chanting begins. It seems to come from everywhere and from nowhere.

"Oh…by the Vishanti, NO!" The air around the Sorcerer Supreme is momentarily devoid of energy and sucks in tight around him as he calls up the base amount of Mystical energy needed to begin to deal with this…abomination!

He's crossed paths with this…monster before, long ago, in an entirely other dimension. Damn him! The malevolence shadows growing in the atmosphere of the Park around them is warded off by the aura of golden light that gloves his hands and glows about his irises. He spits out the name with deepest hatred from behind clenched teeth:



Illyana grabs the air and her Soulsword responds, the amethyst blade flaring to life in a crackling of mystical powers. Magic lurches and rearranges itself around that slavering black hole, hungering for any latent magical auras and energies that might be consumed.

"Cthon cannot come here. How can he be in our world— on this plane?" she demands, folloing in the snappign wake of Strange's cloak. "Was someone foolish enough to summon him, or is some fool trapped in his clutches?" she asks, fast and light as a deer, the sole of her leather boots digging into the turf with each long stride as she falls along with Strange.

Still, she has not seen Piotr and Logan.


The blood fills in the Pentagram, reaching the brim quickly with rapt efficiency. And as the blood fills, the symbol begins to turn counter-clockwise much like a key would to open a lock. Where it had once seemed like a button, the crunching sound of rock scraping against itself suggests otherwise as it corkscrews downward. Once the blood has reached the top, the star sinks into the rock bed, leaving only the unknown language — now writ in blood — to stick out.

Those along the creek bed or on the bridge can feel the earth beneath them moving. Plates beneath the earth rise, causing rock to crumble beneath feet as the entire creek and its bed lifts. The water drains downwards like someone pulled a very real plug from the bottom of the bath, leaving only increasingly heightened terrain beneath.

Screams across the park emit in an ugly chorus of bedlam as the earth moves, and the world shakes as though something has bidden it. Fire alarms across apartment buildings nearby sound as the earthquake ripples over New York City.

Heat generates as the earth moves, and the distinct scent of smoke and sulphur emit from the world at large. Death, dying, and rot waft from the ground itself as the land draws ten feet into the air. Instability strikes those atop its frame in a shaky ground.

For those below, the entrance looks like a giant cave with a brilliant glow.


Logan flops back, drenched in blood, even as his wounds begin to seal back up. He's sticky and coated in his own gore - enough that it would have killed a mortal man to make such a donation. Still, it was overwhelming even to Logan, his eyes rolled back in his head, fluttering at the edge of consciousness, knees just on the edge of the dark runes as his body falls back…


…and into Colossus' arms. The russian's sketchbook is long gone, lost in his haste to reach Logan, and his skin replaced by organic steel the instant it had become obvious that something Very Wrong was well underway.

Colossus' expression is very grim as he kneels on the ground, one hand bracing himself as the Earth moves as his other arm wraps around Logan's midsection to keep him from falling off the edge of… whatever this is.

"Logan," Colossus rumbles lowly, giving him a worried look. "Are you still in there?"


"Once I find the idiot who decided to play with some ill-discovered script of runes, I'll—" and his snarling statement is cut off as he utters a surprised cry: the Earth beneath him is shaking! In part instinct and part honest-to-Agamotto fright, Strange leaps up from where he's just stepped onto the length of a rotting fallen tree.

The Cloak of Levitation slips into play and keeps his boots from settling on the writhing ground beneath him. Around him, the older growth trees are remaining rooted into the loam around them, but newer trees begin to topple. One particularly weakened old oak groans as it comes crashing towards them; its crown of autumn leaves barely lands short of Strange, who has shifted backwards in mid-air, the whites of his eyes showing, to avoid it. It reveals the now-drained creekbed a dozen yards off and - there! It can't be!

"Illyana, take my hand," he calls down, intending to fly her along with him towards the distant silvery metallic form that is so familiar to them both and the ugly glowing cavern that yawns ominously. He extends his hand down towards her, adding, "And don't poke me with that sword."


"Afraid of a little cut?" Illyana taunts Strange— but she takes his hand and flies along with him, the Cloak easily bearing the two of them aloft. She grunts and twists in surprise at the feel of the world dropping away, but she's tough— she grits her teeth and they soar to the entrance to the hellmouth.

"Piotr!" she exclaims, in surprise. She tugs on Strange's hand and points with her sword. "My brother— and that hairy monster, that's almost certainly Logan," Illy informs Strange. "Or something from the sink trap. Either way, he's an ally. Probably. Don't sneak up on him," she adds, belatedly. As they near the ground, her feet kick for purchase and she dashes to Piotr.

"Piotr! Why are you here? This isn't safe, you should get away!" she informs her hulking older brother, with a fierce protectiveness.


ROLL: Obtuse +rolls 1d2 for a result of: 2


Logan groggily opens his eyes, staring up, "Russkie…" he says weakly. He reaches up, his hand soaked in blood, claws still jutting out of him, "Tell Jean, I didn't…I'm sorry…I'm so damn sorry…" he says, blood bubbling from his lips as he turns the claws on himself, driving them into his belly and causing more blood to flow, spilling down from his gut and creating a red carpet to the rift…


Well, that will teach Colossus to assume Logan is too out of it to be a danger. He swears and both of his hands dart for Logan's wrists to try and stop him short, but the element of surprise is on the Wolverine's side. All he can do is try to prevent further damage. <Sheathe your claws!> Colossus snaps at him more out of fear than anger, his eyes wide. <For God's sake!>

Familiar voices finally hit his ears and Colossus turns his wide-eyed stare towards Strange and Illyana as he, like the ground beneath him and Logan, becomes increasingly covered in the other man's gore. "Help."


Strange comes to an abrupt halt in mid-flight after releasing his grip on Illyana's wrist and hovers there, agog at what he sees before him.

It's clearly Logan's blood (he remembers the cigar-champing pointy-haired man from his brief foray into the Institute's foyer) that's fueling a good amount of the dark magic that has just finished quaking the Earth itself apart to reveal its hellishly-luminescent innards. With a grunt of effort, he flits down and strides quickly to kneel before the rapidly-exsanguinating man lying like a gruesome rag doll near Piotr.

It's hard to tap into the ley lines of Gaia that crisscross beneath the Park with the otherworldly maw of the summoned entrance so nearby, but with perspiration beading on his brow, Strange sheathes his hands in a pale-blue light that should seem very familiar to Illyana. It's the same healing spell he used to both close her bullet wounds and suppress the writhing Darkness within her blood.

"Piotr, keep his hands away from himself…and me," he mutters before plunging his hands down overtop the leaking gashes in Logan's torso. "CHANGA!" he hisses, attempting to force the healing magic down into the man's veins so it can spread to every corner of his body and not only close wounds, but burn out whatever has taken helm of his control.


The musician, having dropped her guitar, clings madly to the bridge as she stares at the mouth of the cavern and its angry emission of red, orange, and yellow. Her face pales, but the tune she'd been strumming has turned to a hum in the back of her throat, like a ghastly pronouncement of things to come.

The hiss at the word tugs something through Logan's mind as the demon Chthon loses his hold upon the mutant. Of course, the hold is also easily given up. For now. The favour is complete, and Logan's purpose has suited the demon well. "Sorcerer Supreme," the voice declares as it's sent from whence it came.

Which, as it turns out, isn't very far.

The red carpet seems to be the dismal reception that the rift longed for. Like celebrities at the Oscars, the glitterati of the underworld test the glowing entrance into the abyss beneath.

The first, tall, cloaked as death with glowing red eyes makes a first step out of the abyss into the world at large. Released from the prison below, the Demon stands at the mouth of the cave upon the precipice of the world itself.

While his eyes glow red, the rest of his face, concealed in shadow, is visibly unknowable, yet beneath the guise those paying attention can be reaped by vile chills sent through his grim smile. Even without being seen, the sharp teeth that draw into a serpentine expression can be felt by would-be victims of the demon's machinations.

But Chthon, even in his corporeal form, is not the most afeared thing to emerge from the mouth of the cavern.

The large, armoured creature (is it a cat? is it an insect) that stalks behind him surpasses the first demon, skulking out to knock the minstrel from her feet. The wind that follows the figure rips over the heightened rock where the cavern lays — gusting as if to clear the way for whatever ugly procession follows behind.


Logan shudders, his skin burning as the demonic entity tears itself free of him, the holes it leaves in his soul nothing that will heal in a mere day. He paid a dear price for the location of his friend, it seems. Strange's magicks mingle with his healing factor, causing him to bleed and contract, but he's still semi-conscious, babbling. Stable, but not yet well, as if he's just burned out an infetion with fever.


Colossus does not need to be told twice — he keeps a firm grip on Logan's wrists and does what he can to keep the man's claws away not only from himself, but from Strange himself. As curious about the spellwork as he is, however, he is… distracted.

He stares past Strange and Illyana towards the monsters that are making their way from the abyss, and Colossus' eyes are no longer wide in fear. They are narrowed in very focused anger. They flick from beast, to beast, to beast, and already his mind is racing to come up with options.


Strange's intense focus on the formerly-bleeding man before him wavers as he pulls his hands back. They shine with moonlit blood momentarily until the fading silver-blue power burns away the ichor from his skin. He's able to take a few breaths to clear his head and gather his wits to him before he's hit with an electrifying wave of apprehension that leaves him stumbling to his feet. Magic, banished moments ago, surrounds him defensively even as his lambent blue gaze lands on the now-occupied entrance to the hellish entrance.

It seems that Chthon's pronunciation of his gods-bestowed title is smeared with mocking sibilance and Strange glowers furiously at the Elder God-in-mortal-guise, his hands now clenched at his sides and smoking with restrained Mystic energy.

"How dare you show your face again?!" he snarls, absolutely ready to throw down with this resurrected long-time foe.


"Stop," Illyana says, tensely— and she puts herself in the front. A half a step ahead of Strange, blade held out in front of her en guarde, and curling, wild magic flickering between her curled fingers in her palm.

A LOT of power.

"Not Chthon. Avatar of him," she says, her tones clipped and cold. "Aspect. Fragment." She points the point of the Soulsword at the demon and lets a bit of the control of the blade slip— the gentle pressure of magic around the park lurches as Illyana starts greedily consuming the ambient forces around them, without making any effort to check the blade's work. "Wrong side of reality, Cthon. You don't get to be here," she says, warningly.


The warning bars something else. "Pity," the avatar replies without really replying — a sound known to minds rather than ears. "I do look forward to the near future when reality will be turned on its head." Whatever the demon means is left to the imaginations of the would-be heroes. Instead, a fragment of darkness tears towards the apprentice. It's power cannot be fully realized thanks to Chthon's limited ability, even with the call from whatever patron has summoned him.

Yet whoever called him to being seems sure enough to have allowed him his own nearly-corporeal existence. Someone seems determined for chaos.

Along the red carpet a series of vampires emerge as a hive rather than multiple separate entities. They skulk towards the minstrel woman as the insect-cat patrols about Central Park hill until with a trumpeting sound, it blows through the wind like a processional at a deadly coronation.


This is all far beyond Colossus' reckoning — above his paygrade, as it were. He knows little of magic and demons. But he does know that whatever is going on, that guitar player is probably far less equipped to survive all of this than even an incapacitated Wolverine.

So, gritting his teeth, Colossus slings Logan over his shoulder and turns away from the showdown between magic-wielders. He's more worried about getting people to safety. "I will need a ride down in a moment," he asides to Strange and, perhaps foolisly, does not wait for a reply before he's bounding off to begin plowing his way through the vampiric horde.

It's kind of novel, not needing to measure his strength. But Colossus needs to at least protect Logan somewhat and make it to the redhead in one piece.


ROLL: Strange +rolls 3d100 for a result of: 106 [3 49 54]


Containment. Dear gods above and below, containment is what they need. Strange has to wrench himself away from his apprentice - he knows, somewhere in the back of his frazzled mind, that she's able to defend herself quite handily, even against the avatar of an Elder God - in order to focus on the behemoth feline-roach demon that's attempting to leave the Park proper.

With another push of willpower, he shoots up into the air so quickly that his Cloak snaps in the movement. Glittering, twinkling white-blue magic congeals in the air around his hands, formed into ritual counter-signs, as he dredges up the spell he needs to cripple or even drop the fleeing demon.

"GLACITRABEM!" He roars, the Word propelling the arctic-tinged spell in a straight line towards the thing's wings. Still - it's a glancing blow, one that rips through part of a translucent pane of skin and leaves frostbite in its wake, and the demon lets out a trumpeting screech as its attention is abruptly turned towards the Sorcerer. Now…it's very mad and very headed towards him, with his impending death reflected in its beady bug eyes.


Illyana doesn't so much as dodge. She simply aligns her Soulsword and that blackness is vacuumed into the blade, like silt up a suction hose. Even stray tendrils of inky chaos are drawn into it, magic lurching around her in a hurricane of force. Grass dies, flowers wilt, the air grows stale and cool— and that is only the periphery of the force's power.

Illyana absorbs it all. The blade goes black, then a beat later— it's amethyst and light again, a glimmering sigil on the 'flat' of the weapon.

Illyana explodes forward into a dead sprint. It's not a long distance from her to Chthon, and her spring legs and incredible aggression give her shocking speed. She clears the gap in all of a second, leaps into the air, and slashes through a C-shaped cut that flickers through the demon.

If there was any doubt about the power of that blade in Strange's mind, it should be lain to rest when Illy's blow causes the demonic avatar to not just bleed, but implode— slashed in half, not only badly wounding the physical vessel, but gutting it of the magic murkily swirling just below the surface.

Illyana slays the hell out of the demon, and what her sword does not outright consume simply blasts into uncontrolled fragments of magic like a thousand bottlerocketrs, petering out into the aether. Ash rains down around the blonde girl who holds the blade at full extension of her arm, end of her stroke— and in another era, it'd be something reminiscent of the work of a man named Kurosawa.


Colossus trudges through the vampiric horde with the hive clawing at metal as he passes, only barely making it to the redhead in time to keep her from becoming the beasties' next meal.

But the horde also doesn't relent so easily. With the promise of a snack, they are on Piotr's heels, clawing for both the addled Logan and the now-shrieking musician — further enraging and goading on the vampires as they nip and claw for their first taste of human blood in, what could be, hundreds of years.

The yellow cat-insect with its missing flesh and skulking image now is no longer looking for an exit from the park, but instead roars loudly to physically butt the good doctor with the large metallic helmet that protects its head.

And as the cat-insect demon gathers wind energy from its surroundings, another figure emerges from the hell mouth. The black apparition, floating like a ghost soars to where both the cat-insect demon and Strange converge, and it reaches out with darkness and mental energy, drawing on the fears of those around and becoming stronger with each imminent scream.

The black psychic force draws on the anxiety of those around like an adrenaline junkie vying for more and more attention. It sucks each and, in one large blow, uses all of these fears to mentally assault Strange with everything it has. Abject horror accumulated from all those within the beings radius is pushed towards Strange's mind in an assault akin to a telepath sharing a specific image. Yet this horror collects and dispenses from everyone else's images in an onslaught of various psychic effects.


For Colossus, the vampires' claws and fangs are barely even enough to qualify as an annoyance. It takes far more than that to pierce his armored hide. Logan and the musician, however… they are not nearly as protected.

"Please forgive the mess," Colossus says quickly to the young woman as, whether she likes it or not, he wraps his free arm around her waist and hitches her up against his hip. She has precisely long enough to latch onto his neck before he's moving at a dead sprint for the edge of the raised earth and, with a mumbled "Be ready to run," takes a flying leap off the side.

Fortunately, the drop is not so large that Strange need take his attention off of his impending murder-by-cockroach-tiger. Colossus lands and immediately lowers the woman to her feet. "Run."


The far and curving approach of the feline-insect demon's flight path allows for Strange to prepare his counter-attack. He can feel his reserves of mortal strength running towards low, but not quite yet - he won't stop until every last one of these damned things are either banished or smoking piles of ash in the wind. It's big though, this particular enemy, and he decides to take a two-pronged approach to its demise.

"Through the deity's might, let the Shields of Seraphim alight!" His voice booms in the thin air of the night and a perfectly spherical globe of transparent violet energy surrounds him in a swirl of magic - just in time to take the brunt of the flying demon's attack. His Shield holds, thanks the gods, and he's first to recover the mental focus between the two combatants. He knows exactly where to send this demon… Dismissing the defensive orb of energy about him, he then gathers its smoky strands into a tightly-drawn point of blinding verdant light between the distance of his two hands, each contorted into gestures of Mystical origin. His eyes literally flash as he calls out in a voice that carries still,

"Ye dark forces that gather,
That die with the dawn -
By the Light within me,
I bid you - BEGONE!!!"

The cat-demon, still reeling and slowly falling in its befuddled flight pattern, lets out a wail that ululates with ear-paining volume as the neon-green strands explode from Strange's fingertips and wrap about it like spider's silk. Its cries are muffled more and more until, with an uncomfortable flexion of reality around it, it is banished - permanently - to a realm far, far from that of Earth.

The Sorcerer Supreme lets his hands drop to his sides as his control on the Cloak falters, allowing him to drop down with jerky stops towards the ground. He steels himself once more as he turns in mid-air, the crimson fabric momentarily wrapping about his legs with grace, and

PAIN. ANGUISH. UTTER AND COMPLETE HORROR. The psychic attack takes him completely off-guard.

The sound that escapes him, from a face contorted in a rictus of absolute and uncontrolled terror, is nearly inhuman. It's gut-churning, animalistic, evincing someone being trapped in a nightmare and unable to escape.

It is also as if a physical blow has been dealt to him by the shadowy ghost-demon. His head whips to one side, a spray of blood flying from his nose, and then, with his eyes rolling up into his head, the Sorcerer Supreme of Earth drops a dozen feet to the earth below. He hits the ground with a sick thud of slack limbs and lies there, half-curled in his crumpled Cloak, and remains still.


Illyana watches everyone go down in surprise. The psychic battering hits her, too, but it seems to roll off the woman— she merely seems discomforted, not ruined as the others seem to percieve. Seems that Limbo's full of some awful things, and if Illyana's the worst of those things…

Strange is too far away to dash to, but… she considers that cape. A spell comes to mind— half formed, nascent, but the framework is there at least, and then Illyana shoves enough power into the spell to simply overcome the lack of efficiency.

Her flight looks less like a big jump than a screaming comet taking her tearing off the ground, and she's fast enough that her blade leaves amethyst whorls of light in her wake. She flies over Strange and aims the tip of her sword square at her target— not the cat, but the shadowy darkness trying to consume her mentor.


The woman shrieks louder as Colossus picks her up along his Logan-blood side, and jumps off the side of a rock to slide down to the ground. Her face blanches at the command, the shock still obviously wearing on her, and she can't seem to find her feet.

On the ground, chaos has been unleashed. People scramble to move about the area as large cracks along the ground of the park have given way for whatever shift happened in such a short amount of time. People run about the area in a disorganized way attempting to negotiate the foray.

Sirens can be heard approaching — someone called emergency services — likely in response to the earth turning to a sharp slant.

The vampires converge on the Colossus-Logan team up (one more aware of the team up than the other). With strength one of them aims to push Colossus backwards with a very precise kick to his chest. The vampires won't be denied. Another grasps for Logan — the smell of blood creating a deep longing within her. Another still tries to lick Logan's blood from Colossus leg. These vampires seemingly act out of instinct than true thought…

The dark being targeting Strange writes back at Illyana, thriving on every feeling of despondency in its near vicinity. It has no voice, no speech, no ability to communicate except through projections provided by those in its wake. And it tries hard to knock that same emotion back through Illyana. Despair, despondency, and fear are the beings bread and butter, yet these things are the only attacks it has. That same darkness floods from its vampiric drain back towards Illyana.

Unconscious on the ground, Strange is unusually vulnerable. Fortunately, the Eye of Agamotto sparks with bright light. The swirl of magic pulls Illyana's master away from this place back to his home: the loft of the Sanctum Sanctorum. His body, while breathing, remains still upon the platform underneath the Anomaly Rue window.


Colossus entirely understands the young woman's shock, but there is no time to indulge it. "Please. Go!"

It's in turning around to check on the source of Strange's unearthly wail that Colossus finds himself swarmed. With an irate roar, he keeps his grip on Logan and starts to throw punches, worrying far less about good form than he is about hitting the vampires as squarely as possible. They are monsters; he isn't concerned about non-lethal force. The more lethal, in this case, the better.

"Illyana!" Colossus shouts, trying not to sound alarmed. "I need to get Logan out of here! We need to regroup!"


Illyana just doesn't /care/. The being blasts her with despondency and malice and pain, and Illyana brushes that psychic assault off like so many gadflies. If it does more than bother her, it doesn't even show. Her blade sinks into that shadowy mass and it is absorbed into her Soulsword like a ballon popping in reverse, sucking into the mighty weapon.

"Da! Am working on it!" Illyana shouts, thinking furiously.

"Vampires," she scowls. Monsters from Belasco's textbooks flicker through her mind. "I can deal with vampires."

She stands protectively over Strange's body until he fully vanishes, clutching at the air and drawing magic into her— using the raw force of the freshly empowered Soulsword to channel light. A lot of light.

A LOT of light. Heat and eldritch flame curls around her fingers and she grits her teeth against the heat seepign past her limited control, turning it up to higher and higher levels— purple flame turns to blue fire, than orange, then yellow light becomes a blazing white font.

"FOSTRATOR!" Illyana bellows, in an humanly large voice, and flings that concentrated light at her brother. It soars over his head and erupts into daylight sun— brilliant sun— desert hot sun, unimpeded by cloud or sky and turning the park momentarily into a blinding flash of midday white light.

Suck on THAT, shadowspawn.


The woman still gapes. She still can't seem to find her feet. Almost as if something is keeping her there. In the spot. Anchored. Without the ability to move. So she just continues to scream.

The heat and sun fly overhead, causing the vampires to turn alight with the vibrancy of the sun. As the light hits them, the hive disintegrates to dust one at a time — torched by the sheer vibrancy of the flash of light.


At least Colossus has a hand available to shield his eyes from the… sun. This may very well be the first time where he's been genuinely happy for his sister's ability to wield magic. He turns in place long enough to shoot Illyana an unmistakably proud smile before his attention returns to the frozen, screaming redhead. And he frowns. "Illyana," he calls uncertainly. <Is she just panicking or is something very, very wrong with her?>


"Do not know." Illyana walks towards the woman and lays her blade on the woman's arm, and with a single stroke undoes any enchantments binding her or holding her in place.

Then, because the woman's still screaming, Illyana considers her with a judicious set of her jaw and then slaps her in the face.

"Stop making that noise!" she barks at the woman, sounding irritable. "Can move arms and legs now. Is only small demonic possession, you cry like wounded cat," she says with a haughty sniff.


The woman continues to scream, but now at least runs away from the scene and unfolding chaos. While no demons are on the heroes' tales at this moment, they certainly have come out from various directions thanks to the large hellmouth now open in the middle of the Park.


Colossus peers after the woman as she finally turns to flee, seeming relieved. <…well, that is an improvement,> he rumbles quietly before he turns back to Illyana, Logan still slung over his shoulder. He frowns thinly and offers her one of his hands. <We should regroup with your mentor. Make sure he is okay. Can you take us there?>


As the trio disappear, opportunity presents itself…

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