Part 1: Entangled
Angela, Sera, and Leah, with her dog, were having breakfast at the Loeb Boathouse in Central Park New York. It was a bit of a rainy Tuesday morning and business was light (no problem getting nice table for four under the patio, with the fourth chair empty. Half of the tables were empty due to the weather).
Angela was having the Eggs Benedict with salmon instead of bacon. Sera was having Quiche. Leah was having Banana French toast. All three were having coffee. Leah's dog was under her chair gnawing on a bottle (he'd eaten two pigeons on the walk over and had found a tasty glass bottle. Growing Hel hounds need their minerals).
He growled a soft "Entrails" statement in contentment while snorting some flames to burn off the paper label.
"Don't look now, but we have an admirer of sorts. She feels like a person of... power" whispered Sera.
Behind Leah, few tables away, a solitary blond dressed in a very tight and revealing pair of short shorts, a black top with a boob window, black gloves, and long black boots was staring intently at them. Her table had a tea pot, a basket of breads (croissant, muffin, and a biscuits) and some fruit.
Leah did not turn around, but she did whisper a question.
"Not currently" replied Angela after taking a bite of her croissant. "But the day is young".
"Good, I hate having breakfast interfered with". Sighed Leah.
"I don't think she's so much staring at us as staring at you and your dog". Mused Sera.
"He does get attention, mostly the negative kind. I thought New York would be more... blasé about such things. Folks act like they've never seen a Hel hound before". Sniffed Leah.
"She's coming over" Sera mentioned as she took a sip of her coffee.
All three women slightly tensed, just in case.
A very attractive blond came even with their table.
"I'm sorry to intrude, but I really like your dog".
Literally the first time Leah had been told that by anybody (Angela and Sera found the mutt to be rather annoying). Fido would eat anything, his urine could take the paint off a fire hydrant, he liked to curse, and he breathed fire.
Leah raised her head and turned to her right. She looked the blond in the eye and froze. So did the blond.
The blond... her eyes were blue. Not light blue, a darker blue that was piercing. Blue eyes to get lost in. Leah was mesmerized.
So was the blond. Leah had hazel eyes, with a hint of green. Soft and deep and...
A long pause happened as they looked at each other (meanwhile Angela and Sera exchanged questioning glances).
The blond stepped back a pace, then nibbled her lower lip in indecision. Then went for it.
"Do you like dancing"?
"Yes...." Leah slowly replied.
"Do you like to dance the Tango"?
"Yes...." Leah again replied. Actually she had no idea what the Tango was but no was so not a word she wanted to say right now.
"Would you... like to dance the Tango with me tonight at 7:30 at Argentinean's"? A high end Tango dance club.
"...yes..." Leah again replied.
"I'll... I'll be wearing red". The blond turned and fled, and five steps later she was gone as well (teleported away).
"What the heck was that?" asked Sera.
"I... I felt as if... I knew her... from... I'm not sure... but..." Leah replied while shaking her head.
"Well, you were right about the power" commented Angela while moping up some hollandaise sauce with the last of her croissant.
"What the Hel is Tango?" Leah Demanded.
"A dance. It has many variations" Sera replied as she briefly lectured.
"Mostly consisting of rapid and intense leg movements while the two dancers press their hips and chests to each other while also making dramatic flourishes and gestures. Very passionate dance that originated in the country of Argentina. Also considered very... erotic when taken to the extreme".
"Could you two please take Fido for the day. I... I need to go learn this dance before tonight". And with that Leah ran off leaving a rather surprised Angela and a grinning Sera.
"They don't even know each other's names" Angela chuckled.
A boat drifted by on the lake with one person in it (yes the restaurant is on the lake in Central Park). Mike Scott's I Know she's in the building could just barely be heard from the person's cell phone (it was their ring tone for their significant other).
I know she's in the building
I can feel it in my guts
Somewhere within these four walls
is the woman that I love
The sweetest wild adventure
hangs within my grasp
She's eternal, she's alive
and I've found her at last
Well, Lord Grise thought I'd be a scenario troll if I didn't continue (I not quite sure what that actually is). I had been dwelling on the basics for this story for a few months before I wrote chapter one, but it took the latest issue of Angela queen of Hel comic to set the premise. Then, after I wrote chapter one, I of course started thinking what might be. So I decided to continue even if Marvel never goes in this direction again.
I've always considered a good Tango to be sexual foreplay on the dance floor. For those who don't know, go Google or Bing some sexy Tango dances as it is rather important to understand the dance for this story.
Some of the words in this story are taken from Mike Scott's song She is so Beautiful, and My dark side. Better words then I could write.
Part 2: Moths to flames
Leah had spent a frantic day in New York learning the basics of the Tango. The dance was very physical and takes a long time to master (but Leah being who she was, was able to get the basics down rather well). The dance was... athletic and... promising... and frightening in its potential intimacy. It was unlike any dance Leah had ever done (Hel wasn't really the big dancing center in the cosmos).
Then Leah had purchased an appropriate dress for the event. She selected a tight green and black dress with a little black sexy Fedora. She had green silk gloves, nylons, and green dancing shoes.
Leah arrived at Argentinean's promptly at 7:30pm. The club was dark and built around the large dance floor. There were scattered bars on the walls.
Leah looked for the blonde, looking for red. There... she was over there.
The blonde was leaning against a bar looking over the crowd. She was wearing a tight red silky dress with stockings and a red silk scarf around her neck. Her long hair was done up in a bun with two small red chopsticks in the bun. Her arms were bare. She has on red dancing shoes (low heels). She was unadorned by any jewelry.
Her eyes locked onto Leah like a tiger spotting prey. She immediately left the bar and walked to Leah. They met right by the dance floor and just stared at each other. The blonde spoke first.
"I'm... glad you came".
Leah had thought of a thousand things to say but now her mind was an utter blank.
The blonde went right to it. "Shall we dance"?
"Do you wish to lead or be... led"?
Leah somewhat recovered her wits. "I am content to be led for the moment. I believe you are more familiar with this... dance then I".
"I wish..." whispered the blonde as they walked onto the dance floor.
The music began, it was a classic tango song with violin.
The blonde grasped Leah's right hand with her left hand, firmly held Leah's back with her right hand, and pulled her into blonde's chest. Leah's left arm went around the blonde's neck. They were hip to hip, breast to breast. Their faces but an inch apart. The blonde lead the dance. She was firm and authoritative.
They danced up and down the floor. They twirled. They pranced. There were dramatic leg moves, sweeping flourishes and high kicks. And in the nature of the dance they were tight against each other most of the time while staring intensely into each other's eyes. Hips swaying and feet flying at times.
Leah threw herself into the dance and it was everything that Sera said it could be.
All too soon it was over.
They separated, both breathing heavily from the exertions of the dance and slightly damp with sweat.
"You are a novice at this". The blonde observed.
"Yes... The dance was unknown to me before today" whispered Leah.
The blonde's eyebrows rose in surprise.
"You are very good... considering... Now you lead me".
The music resumed and again they danced, but Leah was in charge this time. They were more hesitant as Leah was uncertain at times, but it was just as intense. Leah clutched the blonde to herself and just went with it.
Back and forth the next five dances went. Each taking it in turn to lead. By the end they were damp and flushed when they took a break and sat down at a table.
The blonde ordered a bottle of red wine, the conversation was stilted in that it was non existent. They just stared at each other while waiting for the wine.
The wine arrived, it was a deep burgundy and fragrant vintage. The waiter filled both classes half way and then left.
"Why... why do you feel so... right"? Asked the blonde as she drained her glass.
"I ask the same of you" replied Leah as she likewise consumed her wine.
"I... I don't know. It's like you... you're... somebody I... knew... once... and was unknowingly searching for".
The blonde continued.
"You're so... beautiful. I've got no words to describe... The way you makes me feel inside. If I was a bird flying solo. As free and as light as a dove... I lay my wings down in a moment for but a touch of your love".
Leah gazed upon her, thoughts blazing in her mind.
She is so beautiful. All my road is before me.
Yet she's the most beautiful soul I ever have met in this life.
Leah gave voice to her thoughts.
"You are like a like a... song. A ray of light, like... like children praying. Harps and bells and cymbals playing. You move like a wind... And here am I, destroyed. You're so beautiful. I don't know what I'm going to do when I leave. Except grieve".
An expression of confusion swept across the Blonde's face, and a question was given voice by her.
Reality had crashed down on Leah. This... this could never be. Not for Leah. To be associated with Leah could bring this one nothing but harm and that... that was something that Leah did not wish for.
"It... won't work. Can't work. I... I am Leah of Hel, former handmaiden of Hela deposed queen of Hel. I am... dangerous, filled with dark magics. Not for me is... this... this. Having now seen a glimpse of true heaven I... I am undone. No harm would I wish upon you, but I am... am a demon sorceress and no good can come of this for you".
Leah stood to leave, but the blonde grabbed her hand.
"Abide with me but a moment longer".
"I... I can't I..."
The blonde interrupted "What do you see when you gaze upon me"?
"Fire. Fire and passion burning so bright. A flame to my moth".
"As I you Leah... demon sorceress. May I... show you something"?
"Yes, but it will avail you not. What could you possible reveal that could change my desire to shield you from the harm that I am"?
A flash as a teleportation disk took them both. Took them to the hellish realms of Limbo.
They stood upon a high spire of stone, gazing down upon the red and hellish land. The blonde was holding aloft a sword that radiated power, yet filled with hate and rage against the injustice done to its creator and wielder. Words of power were spoken by the blonde.
"I am Illyana Nikolievna Rasputina, ruler of this hell dimension called Limbo! I strove, fought, died, and was remade again only to plumb the depths of abuse and damnation. I regained the soul stolen from me and took my vengeance upon the Elder Gods. Demon sorceress I am and will remain".
" Draw in close Leah of Hel. Take a look at my dark side. I can't show this to anyone. But you my close and... intimate one".
Leah stared in to the blue eyes of this Illyana... stared and... and... had hope.
They kissed with a passion, but it was Leah who took the lead.
It was one Hel of a first date.
Well, the latest Angela Queen of Hel (issue 6) gives me hope. Leah is the Leah from Battleworld (Secret Wars III) and was Illyana's lover. So we have Leah and Illyana 3.0 (who may have no memories of this at all or... does she?). Nice me thinks, likely Marvel is planning a hookup (next issue?) so I've added a short third chapter, in what may be an ongoing story, to set the table as it were.
I kind of thought that this would happen considering the effort Marvel went into creating that back story in the Siege limited series not to mention the fantastic artwork of the two of them together. But that would not be the first time Marvel created a great story potential and never followed up.
Part 3a: Dreams
And then Leah woke up in her bed. It was morning and her alarm radio had gone off ending the dream (Magic Touch by Aerosmith was playing).
Somebody better call a doctor, doctor
Or wake me up with a shove
I'm gonna knock you off you're rocker, rocker
Cause I think I'm in love
I tried to get a message to ya
But you walked the other way
I need your magic touch, don't you know
I got a habit and I can't let go
Feel the fire burnin' slow
You better get it while it's hot now babe
Cause I can't let go
Leah blearily groped for the off button. She finally found it and silenced the infernal machine as she heard the last of the song (she could have sworn that she'd set the radio to that new age station she liked).
You never know what you got
Till they take it away
I'm comin ready or not
Gonna get you someday
Leah lay back in bed and thought upon the dream. It has been nice. Good. She had found Illyana again. But... it had been just a dream.
Her Hel Hound, by the name of Thori, grumbled from the other side of the bed "Dreams are delusions that we want". Great, pop Psychology from a dog. But... an improvement over his prior cursing.
Part 3b: Break Fast
Leah ate her toasted onion bagel (covered in cream cheese and thin sliced Porchetta ham) as she sat at the breakfast table with Sera and Angela. Thori was under the table doing what all dogs learn to do, waiting for something to hit the floor (think of it as a union job for dogs). Table scraps were much better here then in Hel.
"Dreams about her again I take it?" Sera asked while slurping her coffee (lots of cream no sugar).
"Yes... and how did you know?" replied Leah.
"Because you're always moody in the morning whenever you dream of her" answered Angela (Black with sugar).
"This one was... different. We were not on the Wall or in the outer lands. It was... here, in New York and... I danced the Tango with her".
"That sounds nice" Said Sera while giving Angela the eye (hmm need to look up some dance clubs). "I didn't know that you knew the Tango".
"I didn't, but... that's the odd thing. Now I do". Leah demonstrated some Tango dance moves.
Sera's eyes got the far away look as she contemplated this turn of events. "Odd. Do you tend to wake up having learned things"?
"Dimensional alignment?" mused Angela.
"Possible. Another you in another place fell in sync for a moment? We are talking magic and you my dear Leah are rather potent with the stuff. And this is New York, such stuff happens all the time or so I've heard" mused Sera right back.
Leah took another bit, and then offered the remainder to the dog (gone in one bite).
"I miss so much about her. But if I had to pick one thing it would be that... smile she had whenever she was going to do something bad, wicked. To others or...". The remainder of the thought was left unspoken.
"And you continue to detect no sign of her presence?" Sera gently asked.
"No. But... it's odd. I get... flickers from the seeking enchantments. Like... like there are crumbs about but she's not here for some reason. On Battleworld she was from a land called Limbo. I have no idea how that might translate into this reality. Hmmm, in my dream Limbo was... another... locality like... Hel".
"Persevere is my advice" stated Angela.
"Perhaps we might enquire others of her possible ilk? I've heard of a bar that only the learned of magic can access, no idea where it is but if we could locate it we could inquire as to a woman that matched her description. Angela can be quite... persuasive". Sera smirked at saying the last word.
Author's note: Angela Queen of Hel (issue 7) has Leah mentioning Illyana by the name of Magik so I guess it's a given that Marvel will be following up on Leah/Magik (or so I hope). Therefore another chapter is warranted. Secret War's III Siege comic (issues 1-4) has a major role for Leah and a minor but significant role for Illyana (where they were lovers).
We don't really know Leah or Illyana's back-story from Secret Wars III so I kind of made it up (I guess we'll see how close I am if Marvel continues the plot line); after all this version of Illyana could not have been formed to summon the Elder Gods. And the Leah from Battleworld was older then this Leah.
This is my take on Siege and some behind the scenes stuff that must have happened (or so I think). Keep in mind that there were more then a few Illyana's running around Battleworld (just like almost everybody else) but only one Leah that we know of. For section 4e, 4g, and 4h I mostly stole the words directly from the comic with some minor rewrites.
One has to wonder does Illyana remember any of Battleworld? Is any part of Leah's Illyana part of our Illyana? Also does Leah know of the X-Men and that a Magik exists in this world? I've always felt that Magik kind of manipulates media coverage with a don't pay attention to me spell as nobody really appears to focus on her media wise (which means that Leah may not actually realize that a Magik exists, plus the X-Men are currently residing in Limbo).
One issue not yet explained (or so I think) is how the heck is Leah here? I attempt to address at topic in this chapter. This chapter starts right at the end of Angela Queen of Hel Issue 7. Rather a long chapter which should make the Leah/Illyana folks happy (if so post a review, hint hint).
I suppose as this story progresses I'll have more Shield flashbacks.
Hmm, it is surprisingly difficult to write dialog for a dog.
Part 4a: Summary of the Battleworld Siege 1-4 comic from Leah/Illyana perspective (in part for those who have not read it)
The Shield’s purpose is to stop everything that’s south of that point going north of that point. It’s because everything south of the Shield is entirely ungovernable. They don’t pay taxes. They jaywalk. They want to eat you. Being deposited on the Shield is a punishment for a mixture of people who are entirely too battle-hungry or entirely too heroic or just on somebody's shit list as it is a great way to dispose of things. It’s deliberately a Sisyphean task. They can't ever win, they can’t afford to lose.
Issue 1: Leah and Brand talking at night on the wall. Illyana is apparently a Hel-Ranger under command of Leah and is Leah's lover. Illyana has been missing south of the wall for one week now, apparently lost in the wastelands beyond the wall. Leah resolves to go south of the wall in search of her destiny and her love. She appears to be going to lead a small party of additional Hel -Rangers we never really see other then shadows.
Issue 2: Opens with Leah and Brand discussing Illyana's first day on the wall and the utter defeat of an invading zombie army. Apparently Illyana is in a class all her own when it comes to magic practitioners on the wall. She has a giant four armed metallic colossus with a wolf's head (not her actual brother but apparently some form of golem). Leah and Illyana are riding the colossus into battle and achieving total victory as magic bolts blast from various teleportation portals. They end up having a passionate kiss in the heat of battle. This is a shown on a fantastic two page drawing.
Issue 3: The wall is about to be overcome when Illyana and Leah return from the wastelands, while riding a now two armed and fully human giant steel Colossus that looks just like Illyana's brother (whom I assume is long dead). They are also leading a massive horde of zombies. Leah and Illyana had planned to leave the wall (they eloped). Illyana left first to establish a realm in the south. Using her powers she took over an area of the wasteland and control of the zombies there (after all zombies are just minor demons in many ways). Illyana is dressed in her silver armor and holding her soul sword. Leah and Illyana proceed to slaughter a giant techno zombie horde. Lesson one is never trust your demon queens. Lesson two is always cherish your demon queens. After the battle they head south to return to their new realm. They are not seen again.
Issue 4: No Illyana or Leah. Shied fails and the hordes invade north of the wall.
Part 4b: Cruising down the highway of life
Leah was driving her newly bought restored Thunderbird convertible. It was cherry red, had light brown leather seats and a modern stereo system. The top was down and so was the pedal as Leah speed down the highway.
Thori, Leah's Hel hound (but rather the size of a large puppy at this stage), was in the passenger seat wearing black sunglasses and doing with all dogs do; his tongue was out and he his head and noise in the slip stream sniffing the flow of odors.
Ahh doggie bliss. Think of it as speed reading for dogs.
Leah was also wearing black sun shades and was wearing her green silk robe. Her black hair was done up in a bun with black chopsticks, and the ends of the hair was franticly waging in the slip stream.
The stereo had been blasting away. A new song began to play, it was Domino Part One - In The Glow Of The Night by Genesis
The grey of evening fills the room,
There's no need to look outside,
To see or feel the rain.
Then I reach across to touch her,
But I know that she's not there.
Rain keeps running down the window pane.
Time is running out for me.
Can't you see what you are doing to me?
Can't you see what you have done?
As I try to pass another long and sleepless night,
A hundred crazy voices call my name,
As I try to pass them by,
I almost can believe that she is here,
Here in the glow of the night.
Do you know what you have done?
Do you know what you've begun?
Do you see we shall never be together again?
All of my life.
Leah's eyes got a misty. She so missed Magik. So missed her love.
But... Magik was gone. The seven year dream that the fairy goddess has granted Leah, Angela, Sera, and Thori had shown that. Magik, her Magik, was no more.
Leah pulled into a rest stop and parked the car. This gave her the chance to have a brief cry. A cry at her loss. A cry of sadness as she had now left Sera and Angela, the only two people who knew of her and cared. She parked just as the song ended.
In silence and darkness
We held each other near that night
We prayed it would last forever.
Sadness was somewhat confusing to a young Hel hound. He offered what words of comfort and advice that he was capable of.
"The scent of your prey is gone and hunger for it fills your soul. Find new prey".
Leah turned and gave Thori a sad look. "It's more complicated then that. I want her and she's gone".
Thori was surprisingly observant in his response, and a bit crude. "Balls. Life is a journey, not a destination".
Leah sighed and thought upon her love and Battleworld.
Part 4c: Another brick in the wall
"We're getting a special prisoner delivery" announced Abigail Brand (Female leader of the Shield) to Leah (Brand's second in command, female leader of the Hel Rangers, and head honcho on dealing with magic centric attacks upon Doom's shield). Brand continued.
"Multiple Thors will be bringing her. Apparently she's made quite the ruckus. Sheriff Strange and even Almighty Doom himself got involved".
Leah commented "Multiple Thors you say. She sounds promising".
Brand and Leah was in Brand's office going over the daily summaries and beyond the shield intelligence reports. Brand had taken over from Nick Fury four months ago when Nick had vanished in the hell that existed beyond the shield when he had led a scouting team that had never returned. Damn Fury and his lead from the front attitude. Of course Brand led the same way but nobody felt the need to point that contradiction out to Brand.
"Who?" asked Leah while sipping her morning herbal tea.
"Some sorceress by the name of Illyana Rasputin (A.K.A Magik). Ex Baroness of the demon dominion Limbo; not much news ever comes out of there so it was news to me that she even existed or was the Baroness. Apparently she'd slaughtered the former Barron Belasco and told God Doom, and the Thors, just where to shove it when the Thors arrived to reprimand her for going against Doom's will. The prison rumor mill says that Belasco was crafting her into some kind of tool or weapon and apparently she disagreed with what he was doing to her and finally gained the power to express her extreme... displeasure. Displeasure with him and all who had harmed her".
"Magik? Rather arrogant choice of a name don't you think"? Replied Leah with a mild snort of derision. So many mortals took such presumptions names like Sorcerer Supreme, Ultimate (fill in the blank), or Wonder man; Hell they'd even briefly had some guy called Super Man before some green glowing robot had eaten him.
"Ordinarily I'd say yes, but apparently it was the nickname given to her so... very encouraging when the name is not self selected. We're always short on magic practitioners and even more shorthanded then usual since the last Dr. Strange got fried".
Leah's face showed no grief. "Live by the grope, die by the grope. The man was a massive lecher and it was just a matter of time before he accosted the wrong woman".
Brand drained her coffee cup, then continued. "Looks like she's scheduled to be here an hour before the latest projected zombie attack so I guess we'll find out just how magic Magik really is. I want you there with me so you can examine her, the magical one's always make me nervous".
Part 4d: First sight
Brand observed the incoming prisoner transfer with Leah. If this Magik was any good then her plan was to add her to the Hel Rangers under Leah's command. They were standing atop the shield wall as they observed the Thors fly in and land.
Impressive. Six Thors to bring one prisoner, plus a giant four armed steel metal humanoid wolf headed golem that was very... imposing; looked like it was over twenty five feet tall. Brand supposed it was either her pet or servant (the magical one's always tended to have odd pets).
The prisoner was bound in silver chains and a silver helmet that fully enclosed her head with only an air hole for her mouth. The helmet had the seal of Doom stamped upon it. She was dressed in a tight outfit of short shorts, long boots, an open armed top, and long gloves; all of which were black. Long blonde hair protruded from beneath the helmet.
The lead Thor was a black female storm goddess who went by the name of Storm. Three of the Thors were human male. One Thor had a horse like head. One was a giant humanoid frog (know as the thunder toad). Thors were Doom's police, enforcers, and private army.
Brand wished yet again that some Thors would be assigned to the Shield; they could really use more magical might. But, as always, such requests were ignored. The female Thor spoke.
"Be carful of this one. She is willful, deceitfully, disobedient, and a killer".
Brand snickered as she replied. "Storm, you just described most of the contingent on the Shield. The remainder are discards from various Baronies and those who refuse to...".
Leah finished with a sour expression. "Kneel to Doom".
Storm eyed Brand and Leah with a slightly irritated expression. "Still, be carful. Doom expects use from such... refuse before they expire. Even those who refuse to serve... shall serve".
Storm gestured with her hammer and two Thors gripped Magik at the shoulders while one behind her unlocked the shackles and two more stood guard with hammers drawn and aimed.
The chains were removed and then the helmet was unlocked and removed. Storm produced a small scroll and read the sentence.
"Illyana Rasputin, deposed ruler of Limbo. You are herby sentenced to serve Doom on the Shield until you die. No more will you be able to teleport to where you desire.
Your ability to move at will is now restricted, by the power and will of the Lord God Doom, to the Shield and the lands south of the Shield. This mercy is granted so you may serve Doom's will in the only manner left to you".
The prisoner shook her head to shake loose her bunched up hair, blinked her blue eyes against the sudden light and proclaimed with a sarcastic and acid tone.
"I'd say go to hell, but we just came from one. Curse you. Curse the Thors. And curse your monstrous evil god".
Five of the six Thors flew off, leaving just Storm who walked behind Illyana as she replied. "We are well rid of you demon. He who stands last stands victorious. Doom stands, you do not".
Storm then kicked Illyana's behind her knees and she fell to her hands and knees. The golem snarled but held its ground; it had learned that attempts to protect its mistress from the instruments of Doom resulted in harm to its mistress.
The Thors had not liked Illyana, she disparaged their God and the Thors. And more then a few Thors had been on the receiving end of Illyana in the operation that had taken her down.
Storm declared with a sneer in both her voice and on her face "Ahhh, so the demon learns to kneel at last. Greet your new companions demon. Behold! I present the latest Shield maiden, use her well and hard until she is no more. Such is the will of Doom".
With that Storm flew off.
"Bastards" declared Leah with venom in her voice as she watched Storm fly away.
Leah then offered a hand to the kneeling Illyana while casting a mild reveal spell to examine their new Shield-Maiden. Best to see just what the latest exile was.
Illyana took the hand and raised her head while she cast her own reveal spell. Best to see just what the latest tormentor was.
Maybe it was because they were both demons in their own way, magical and potent. Both condemned to the Shield as they refused to serve an evil god. The spells apparently interacted and revealed more then they would normally have.
Leah learned: Pain and suffering had been this one's lot for many years. Abuse and a maze of choices, all of which were always the wrong choices. Family and friends had all had died over the years, just tools to her shaping. Soul corrupted, three fifths replaced by magic and evil. Forged and shaped into a magical creature to serve Belasco until the day he learned that the blade had grown stronger then the smith and he died on the anvil of her forging. He and his cadre died screaming, just like her loved ones had. She felt like tainted sunshine, defiled yet warming.
Illyana learned: Queen sired. An existence of obligation, loss and pain. All that had been held dear was gone. Raised to rule but betrayed and cast down. Beloved lost and gone. Offered a chance to be but a servant of Doom, a slave to his will. An offer refused and in the venom of that rejection a sentence to the Shield. She tasted of wine turned to vinegar and yet... sweetness remained concealed deep within; a vintage of sublime potential.
Their eyes met and... both of their eyes widened in shock.
The two reveal spells intertwined like lovers, continuing to share and reveal.
Illyana gazed into green hazel eyes and saw so much of what she desired. Things had had been denied her and things she felt could never be. She'd lost so much, friends, loved ones, innocence itself. But now. Now... Now something long dead awoke in her heart.
Leah stared into endless blue eyes and was lost. She was perfect. All Leah had ever longed for without knowing what she longed for. A balm for the burns and ravages on her soul.
Leah helped Illyana to her feet, but they kept staring at each other while continuing to hold hands. They wanted to stop the spells, they were each learning so much that was so painful, so... revealing. But the intimacy of the moment was unbreakable. They were learning exactly who the other was, and that knowledge and understanding left them no choices. They knew that they were... perfect for each other.
Knew and were bound.
Brand found the whole thing amusing as she watched the two of them focus only upon each other. She had no inkling of what was being forged as she watched.
The reveling spells continued to show them both so much about each other. Ying and Yang. Not opposites but complimentary entities. They fit together, it was as simple as that.
Brand finally broke the silence. "The zombies are about to attack. Look at each other later love birds".
Little did Brand know that she had just declared just what they had already become.
True love at first sight. Oh so rare. But when magic is in the air? Well... things happen.
"So what's giant metallic wolf boy's story"? Asked Brand.
Part 4e: Blood and ruin (or) Girls just wana have fun
Ok, this is going better then usual thought Brand as she observed the decimation of the zombie attack from the top of the Shield wall.
It turned out that Illyana had created the metal colossus golem years ago in the image of her slain brother. She's recently... enhanced him in stature and power after she had slain Belasco and taken over Limbo (the golem had been her enforcer). The Thors had rather disliked the Colossus as it had wiped the floor with several them before finally being subdued by both squad of Thors and Sheriff Strange (lightning mostly just tickled it).
Leah and Illyana were both standing on the back of the giant steel wolf man golem as it slaughtered its way though a vast zombie hoard while Illyana had the reins to the bit that was between the golem's mouth. The Golem was like a bloody chain saw against the hordes. They had their arms entwined as Leah slew zombies with her sword and her magics while Magik... well...
Leah had been the strongest current magic user at the Shield. Strongest until Magik.
Mystic portals kept opening across the battle field and arcane power blasted forth and fried all that came near. It was a rout. The most decisive zombie defeat Brand had yet seen.
Illyana Rasputin had arrived and was making a big impact. Brand hated fighting the Deadlands most of all. Science she could understand. But the monsters slouching towards the Shield powered by Doom-knows-what eldritch nonsense? Brand hated that.
It was why Brand needed as many magical specialists as possible. Leah was great by herself but this blonde from Limbo really know what to do about the un-dead; which was manly removing the "un".
One had to wonder just what the now dead Belasco had been crafting and why? Likely some plot against Doom. Can't argue with the results thought Brand but Belasco must not have been very bright about some things. Don't create a magical weapon with a grudge against you is kind of a good rule to follow.
Brand chuckled to herself about a little magical warrior axiom. No matter how great the wizard, a dagger between the shoulder blades will cramp his style.
Brand felt an optimism that she had not had for quite some time. It was a first impression, but she liked Illyana. But apparently not as well as Leah liked Illyana.
Illyana and Leah sitting on a metallic colossus K-I-S-S-I-N-G. Definitely the strangest first date Brand had ever seen.
Illyana moved into Leah's quarters that night.
Part 4f: Discussions (Two weeks later)
Brand and Leah were once again in Brand's office. Brand was enjoying her breakfast while Leah, as always, was having tea. Leah had not yet had breakfast with Illyana, who it turns out is not a morning person. Illyana was sleeping in as no significant attacks were currently happening that morning.
Illyana had had some time to settle in. She was a great edition to the defenses of the Shield, but like so many who came to the Shield, she had problems fitting in with others.
"She's not made any friends yet, apart from you. In fact she's going out of her way to reject attempts at friendship". Brand stated with a sigh while eating a slice of pancake.
Leah blew a bit on her tea to cool it before taking a sip. "Friendship is problematic to her. It was a weapon used against her for so long. Have no friends, have no potential hostages. She lost everybody she knew and loved. She is very entrenched in her defense mechanisms and a few weeks is nothing against most of a lifetime spent in abuse and trauma. And... well... she's killed more then a few friends so again some rather entrenched avoidance mechanisms".
Brand gestured with her fork. "You don't appear to be on the avoid list".
Leah smiled. "We are... bound. Our reveal spells revealed too much. We... we fit. Two sides of a coin. We both recognize it and are helpless to do anything but love each other".
"Any new insights into our mysterious demon queen that you care to share"?
"She... she cries sometimes at night as she holds me. She has deep feelings that she almost never acknowledges or expresses. That bastard Belasco used everything she had to shape and distort her since she was six. She was greatly harmed and it will take much to move past that. Many who are condemned to the Shield have their own sagas of abuse, she is just more... extreme in the travails then most".
Band poured some additional syrup on her pancakes. "I have to say, she's a wild one".
Leah blushed at the comment.
Band got a wicked and mischievous glint in her eye. "I was referring to the battlefield, not the bedroom. Although from your blush I take it she is vigorous upon that field of combat as well".
Leah gave a small and content smile "As you say. She is wild. I am... pleased".
Brand mused out loud as she chewed. "Others do like her. I for one, the Kitty Pride, Lockheed, heck even the endless Summers. She interacts well, just doesn't respond to any social attempts that do not involve you".
"The Kitty Pride rather disturbs her though she does not show it. She killed a Kitty Pryde, a very close friend of her's, in a struggle to the death. It was years ago but she has never forgiven herself or moved past that event. She does find Lockheed... nice".
"Why is she so strong in magic? She's the strongest magic user we've ever had".
A look a sadness passed over Leah's face. "She lost... much of herself in her reshaping. Both involuntary and voluntary. Parts of her soul and her humanity. She was human once. But... she's now... well... a demon. And other things were done as well. Her nickname is very descriptive. Magik is... in part magic now. She likely would have been a strong sorceress, but now she is partial merged into the very fabric of magic and this world. This is in part due to her mutant ability to teleport and in part due to the creation of her sword ".
"I see you've added her and her golem to the scouting rangers".
Leah and Illyana were lounging naked in bed. The sheets were on the floor and they were covered in sweat from their exertions. They now lay next to each other relaxing in the afterglow. Leah as on the right side of the bed and Illyana lay next to her on her left side. Illyana's right hand was between Leah's legs gently toying with her, causing slight groans of pleasure to slip from Leah's lips.
"Stop that" Leah murmured with a sigh of contentment as her left hand gently moved Illyana's right hand from between Leah's legs to around Leah's shoulders. Illyana's hand promptly cupped Leah's right breast.
"No" Illyana murmured back as she stroked a nipple.
"You're insatiable" teased Leah.
"Bah, I can't believe you can say that. I distinctly recall you pinning me to the bed for at least an hour and ravaged me".
"Mmmm" Leah rebutted as she snuggled into Illyana.
"Mmmmm" Illyana replied back.
After a prolonged cuddle Illyana shifted topics.
"Have you decided our course of action my love"?
"Meaning your plans for the south?" Leah answered.
Leah shifted and now looked Illyana eye to eye.
"What will you do if I say my role is here"?
Illyana smiled as she stared into Leah eyes.
"Follow and obey the orders of my commander. Where you lead I shall follow".
Leah's right hand now moved between Illyana's legs.
"Oh, so now you're willing to do what you're told".
Illyana smiled a wicked smile and her hand also moved between Leah's legs. "Did you not command me to assault your person regardless of your cries of no more? Did I not follow your orders to the letter my commander"?
"Yessss..." Leah groaned. Illyana gave a gasp of pleasure as well.
"The decision is yours my love" Illyana whispered as she started to nibble at Leah's nipples.
Leah grabbed Illyana's head with both hands and forced it lower, much lower. South as it were. Illyana began to hum and lick driving Leah wild.
Leah answered. "We will go south my love. We will not serve Doom. You will find a place to call our own".
No more words were spoken, apart from pleas of no more from one to the other, pleas that each ignored from the other.
"Yes, her ability to range far and wide will be a great asset to us. Much will be learned about the South that has been hidden".
Only later did Brad realize that us meant Illyana and Leah, not the Shield.
Part 4g: Illyana vanishes south of the wall (Three weeks later)
Illyana was gone.
Missing on a long range solo scouting mission in the wastelands with her golem. Illyana had been on several prior solo missions.
Determining just what was out there and disrupting the enemy was an important function of the Hel-Rangers. It was supposed to have only been a three day mission, but such things tended to slide a day or two. But never more then three days and now it was a week. More then a few days and the rangers never returned as rangers, if they returned at all.
Leah was putting on a brave face but Brand could tell that it was eating away at her.
Later that evening, after defeating yet another attack of giant ant men, Brand and Leah took a walk on the wall. Leah had informed Brand that she planned on venturing into the wastelands in pursuit of Magik.
Brand was trying to talk Leah out of it. Trying and failing.
Brand grumbled "Giant ant-men zombies. I really hate those guys".
Brand continued "I think I drink more since taking over from Fury. That's not a good sign".
Leah dismissed Brand's concerns "Perhaps you're just thirsty. You are doing his job and doing it well. The last six months have proven that you're as good as he ever was".
Leah and Brand reached a massive gun turret and sat down with their backs to the side of the turret.
Leah finished "And you never know. Maybe he'll come back. I could even find him...".
Brand was having none of that talk "If he's out there, he's dead".
Leah disagreed "Always the optimist. You hope he's dead".
"Better then any of the alternatives. And I don't want any of them to happen to you".
"I am Leah, Hel-Ranger and Shield-Maiden. Do you expect me to stay here when Illyana is out there"?
"I do. She's been missing a week. She's gone. You don't want to find her".
"After what happened with McCoy, I understand your fear but...".
"If you understood, you wouldn't have mentioned it".
"I regret speaking. We're to part. If these prove to be our last words, let them not be harsh ones". Leah stood up.
Brand bowed her head to the inevitable. "You were the best second I ever had".
Leah had a slight smile "I would hope so... but I've never had any desire to be anyone's second. That's why I'm on the Wall. And now, I will find my destiny and my love in this hell, Magik is out there, one way or another we will be together".
Leah left in search of Illyana.
Part 4h Return
Leah and Illyana returned to the wall right when the Shield was about to fall. The two of them were on the back of Illyana's golem. They were leading a vast horde of zombies under their control.
It was their plan that they had crafted over the last month. They would not serve in Doom's heaven. They realized, as sorceresses, that they could leave and rule in the hell of the deadlands.
Not the whole waste, but with preparation and planning, they could hold a subdomain and control all the zombies in there; after all zombies are just a form of low level demon.
They hadn't disappeared. They hadn't been killed. They'd eloped.
Better to rule in Hel as Leah said.
Leah and Magik saved them all. Paid their debts.
And then they left... Returned to the realm they had created. They would not serve the will of an evil god.
One day later the Shield fell and then shortly after that so did Doom.
Part 4i The Fall
Reality was coming apart at the seams. The will of Doom was failing as the power of Doom was transferred to Richards. Omnipotent does not mean Omnipresent. Much would be swept away and lost.
The most affected regions were those south of the Shield. Everything crumbled.
Only the locality where Illyana was persevered for a short time. Illyana and Leah stood together and said their goodbyes while the world ended. Behind them, roughly fifty feet away, was Illyana's golem.
They clutched at each other in a tight embrace, chins on each others shoulders, as the world ended. Leah had her eyes closed and a smile of contentment, this was a good death; in the arms of the one she loved.
Illyana's eyes were open and her expression hard and angry. She grimaced and came to a decision. Behind Leah a series of teleportation disks sprang into existence. They were vertically oriented in a circle, but one disk was horizontally orientated on the ground. Bolts of cosmic forces sprang from the vertical disks and formed a circle of power.
Illyana broke the embrace from a surprised Leah as she pushed herself away from Leah. Before Leah could say anything a teleportation disk flickered under Leah's feet and now Leah was standing in the center disk surrounded by the cosmic bolts.
Leah screamed in denial at Illyana "NO! What are you doing Illyana"?!
"What you would do if our roles were reversed my love!" Illyana screamed back as she raised her arms and conjured all of her power and might.
Doom's binding upon Illyana's relocation abilities had fallen just as he had fallen. But Illyana was bound to Battleworld due to how she had been shaped to this reality, and this reality was being reshaped as another took Doom's spot. She could not flee the storm. But now she could possibly allow Leah to escape it.
A teleportation disk spring into existence above Leah and the full might of Illyana's power was unleashed. Leah vanished with a last screaming "NO"! that lingering in the air. Gone like a bottle desperately thrown into a surging storm.
Illyana dropped her arms. It was done, for better or for worse.
Illyana wept in pain and anguish and grief.
"Goodbye my love. Live I pray. Be! As I cannot".
Illyana's golem now approached her. It was the splitting image of her dead brother, other then being over thirty feet tall. She'd never told anybody, but the metal body of her dead brother had been a component in its making. She had needed a warrior to aid her in survival, and in part she had tried to return her brother to life but had only achieved the golem. She had named it Colossus in memory of her brother.
Colossus lower its left hand and Illyana stepped onto the palm. Colossus raised his hand and brought Illyana up until their heads were at the same height. Illyana spoke.
"Goodbye my Colossus. I... I loved you as well. You are all that is left of what I once was".
Colossus smiled and spoke for the first and last time.
"Farewell my mistress. You were kind to me. I...". A look of confusion crossed the metal giant's face as it struggled to find words.
"I do not understand this thought I have, but... Goodbye little snowflake".
Illyana smiled and yet more tears streamed down her face. "Goodbye shadow of my brother".
Reality swirled and collapsed. Doom's creation was gone, and so was this Illyana.
Part 4j Unforgettable
Leah sighed again and gave Thori a nice scratch on the head. Thori gave one more piece of advice.
"You desire what was. Focus on what can be. Was is gone".
"I know Thori. I just miss her so.. She caste me out in a desperate attempt to save me. I would have died for her and she for me. Now... now I suppose I must live without her. I just wish... I had some token of her or some... something to remember her by. I loved her so much. For so long I was so angry that I'd survived and she was gone. I don’t know if I will ever forgive her for saving me and not being able to save herself. Unfair I suppose but… I so miss her. Her lips, her soft murmurs, her eyes of endless blue. The warmth of her body by mine. And that smile that promised... such wicked things. I want to grab her and shake her in my rage. Shake her and... ravage her one last time as we ravaged one another".
A new song began to play on the stereo. It was Unforgettable by Nat King.
That's what you are,
Tho' near or far.
Like a song of love that clings to me,
How the thought of you does things to me.
Has someone been more...
In every way,
And forever more
That's how you'll stay.
Leah stared at the stereo and then softly sang along. Somehow she knew the words although she had never heard this song before.
That's why, darling, it's incredible
That someone so unforgettable
Thinks that I am
Leah wiped away her tears as Thori licked a few away himself. She gave voice to her fears and moved on, just as Illyana would have wanted her too.
"Goodbye Magik. My Love".
She put the car in gear and recommenced her drive.
A new song began to play. It was Destination Unknown by Marietta Her (from the Top Gun soundtrack)
I see life and it's passin' right before my eyes
And the past is the past don't regret it, time to realize
I need to walk on the wire just to catch my breath,
I don't know how or where but I'm goin' it's all that I have left
It don't matter where it takes me
Long as I can keep this feeling runnin' through, my soul
Never took this road before -- destination unknown
Oh oh oh ohohoh -- destination unknown
Won't be coming back this way gotta go it alone
Oh oh oh ohohoh -- destination unknown