The History of Magik
Roleplaying Log: The History of Magik
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Magik and Domino have a talk down in that there Limbo place. Sarcasm runs rampant.

Other Characters Referenced: Colossus, Danielle Moonstar
IC Date: October 18, 2019
IC Location: Limbo
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 19 Oct 2019 00:29
Rating & Warnings: R for language
Scene Soundtrack: [* ]
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

If one were to wonder what any of the X-Men might be up to when not out dealing with a crisis or saving the world they probably wouldn't imagine that it would involve looking through a high power rifle scope while eavesdropping on someone else's conversation.

Today's antics take place in the Big Apple and, fortunately for everyone involved, no shots have been fired yet. From the window of one highrise to the windows of another the albino mercenary lies in wait atop a table which has been slid over for better alignment.

Beside her a smartpad has been set up on a holder showing various camera angles in thumbnail-sized windows while the conversation proper is fed right into her left ear.

"Real catty bunch today, arencha," Neena mutters while the crosshairs drift to follow one of the figures several hundred yards out. Her off-hand comes up to rub at her forehead with a sigh. "I'm not gettin' anything out of these jokers."

So much for today's excitement.

***

There are realities beyond the mundane world that most see. Some are beautiful, peaceful and serene. Others… are not. In one of these less appealing dimensions, a castle rears up against a sky of swirling orange and blood red, always visible from the corner of the eye no matter which way one turns.

Within these stone walls is a hall, the light from the eternally-burning torches that line it not reaching the high ceiling. At one end of the hall is a dais, and upon the dais is an imposing throne, all hard edged stone, and upon that throne is the ruler of this place. With an elbow resting on one of the stone arms, and her fist supporting her chin, while the fingers of her other hand tap a restless beat on the other arm of the throne.

Illyana Rasputin is bored, and most of the other X-Men probably try not to wonder what she gets up to when she's not out dealing with a crisis or saving the world.

Rising from the throne, she crosses to a large, circular pool of liquid that probably isn't water. Sitting on the retaining wall, her fingers trail across the surface, and when the ripples from their passage still, images appear. Most pass without generating a reaction. But one makes her eyes narrow, and a smirk creep across her face. Banishing the image, Illyana almost bounces to her feet, and vanishes in a flash of silver-white light.

As for Domino? Well, there will also be the briefest of flashes of light, and then the image through her scope will be very different. A group of demons in a variety of shapes and sizes, none of which are particularly pleasant, will be centered in her crosshairs. They've caught… something. It has tentacles. And they're about to cook and eat it.

The table has come with her on this little jaunt, although it's now lined up with the remains of an irregularly shaped window in a ruined stone building.

***

It all happens in that moment where Domino's rubbing her forehead, feeling just the slightest quirk in her gut before her eye returns to the lens and—

"What the hell?"

A glance to the pad shows that all of the camera feeds have gone dark, WiFi will only carry data so far across dimensions. Then she notices the space around the table which has come along for this ride. Then the window. ..Then outside.

Eyes roll while an "Illyyyy…" is called out in a tired and -slightly- irritated tone.

The pad gets turned off. The rifle and table are abandoned. Then an unexpected development in this planar shift is discovered in that the albino doesn't feel the sudden need to start wretching upon returning to her feet. A curious glance is given to the resting rifle before a faint "Huh" is voiced. It would seem that the same tricks she employs for long distance shooting also helps in Limbo teleportation.

You learn something new every day.

This is Limbo, isn't it? She has to imagine that most dimensions with red skies probably share very similar themes but this has the Illyana hallmarks all over it. It's kind of a sucker bet that she's the one behind it but it always pays to be sure.

Magik's probably close. Like probably 'standing behind Dom with an amused smirk' close, knowing the bizarre blonde.

"I'm not gonna say you're interrupting important business but a -little- warning would go a long way," she 'suggests' while looking for the other X-Woman.

***

It's an unfortunate side-effect of the life of an X-Man that one day, inevitably, Neena is going to get Shanghaied into a hell dimension by someone who isn't Illyana. But this time her assumption is right on the money.

This is Limbo, Illyana isn't too far away, and that irritated tone? It doesn't prick her conscience even a little. Quite the reverse. Whatever else Illyana has in mind, at least she's no longer bored.

There's the quiet noise of boots crunching through the rough, broken stone underfoot, but Illyana's not trying to sneak up on her somewhat-unwilling guest. The blonde steps around the edge of a still mostly intact wall and cocks her head slightly to one side. Studying Domino's reaction. She's definitely handling Limbo, not to mention Illyana's slightly broken sense of humour, much better than most.

"I thought about sending a familiar with an invitation." She lies with every outward sign of honesty. "But after last time I thought you might shoot first and ask questions later." There is still the hint of the expected smirk on her face. "Maybe next time."

Illyana is looking, if possible, even more goth than usual. She's wearing a black halter top with a complicated arrangement of straps that create an inverted pentagram and a black leather skirt that covers her ankles. And the aforementioned heavy, black boots.

"You wanted to know about this place." Illyana reminds Neena. "Show is much more fun than tell."

Illyana's not the only one who's aware of Neena's arrival, either. A few winged demons have begun circling overhead, and things are moving in the shadows at the edges of the ruin. A cloven hoof can be glimpsed here. A ram's horn there… and other, less pleasant things.

***

Yep. There's Illyana. With the expected smirk. Domino watches the Limboqueen's approach but she isn't looking apprehensive or really all of that miffed about being reality-yanked. For whatever reason she seems to be taking this turn of events quite well, indeed.

When the idea of sending a familiar is voiced a pale hand reaches into a pocket and simply holds up her phone, cocking an eyebrow in a 'really?' expression. "Texts work. I get that you're living in a medieval themed castle and everything but I know you're at least passingly familiar with modern tech. Also might I add that you're looking -really- damn smug for a dead fifteen year old."

The hints of motion and otherworldly life aren't missed but it's almost another point of frustration rather than a sudden jolt of fear. It's enough to have Neena reaching back for her rifle without a second thought. She'll just keep this with her for now, thanks.

"Show is -way- more fun than tell but if you want to keep any of your twisted little friends from losing their heads I'd suggest they respect my personal space."

There's something about Limbo which always has her wishing that she had packed more ammo… Like a Deuce and a Half truck full. The rifle soon gets slung across the merc's back before the majority of her attention returns to Illyana.

"All dressed up for the Halloween dance? Y'know..I've gotta hand it to you. It isn't often that I read someone else's file and have to do a double-take. More than once. Before we start picking apart your Hellhome how's about you fill in some of the blanks here? You're not the first dead girl I've come across but you're definitely more lively-looking than the other."

***

There's just the slightest possibility that Illyana might have brought them out into the wilds - rather than the citadel where the demons are that bit better behaved - to test Domino's reaction if she thought the two of them were really in danger.

If that was the plan, Neena's revelation that she's actually read Illyana's file - and so knows where the true balance of power in Limbo lies - makes it all neatly collapse. Illyana might be expected to be miffed, but instead there's a flash of even, white teeth in a blink and you'll miss it grin.

This round goes to Neena.

"I have space in the castle for a ballroom, but somehow I don't think I'd get many takers." For the Limbo Halloween dance. Naturally, Illyana begins by addressing Domino's least pressing comment first. And all the while, more demons slink closer. Some even seem to slip from the very shadows themselves. But they are all keeping a very precise distance. Not from Neena, from Illyana. "They won't hurt you while I'm here." The blonde says, so very reassuringly, then locks eyes with something a good three feet taller than her, with at least three mouths and an odd number of limbs. She says something in a harsh language that doesn't sound like something she should be able to produce, and the demons begin to disperse, although some of the smaller, less intelligent ones still peer from nooks and crannies amongst the ruins.

Illyana watches the big demon as it leaves for a little longer, eyes hard, then relaxes and walks across to Domino - and boosts herself up to sit on the other woman's abandoned table.

"Illyana Rasputin died at least once." She agrees, picking up the thread of Neena's question as if she hadn't just taken a break to dismiss a horde of demons. "I'm… not exactly her." She's smirking again. "Want me to start at the beginning? I'm starting to wish I'd read my own file now."

***

You can only catch Domino off guard so many times. When it comes to Magik there is a LOT to figure out, any edge which she could get in this particular battle had been well worth the effort. Not that it makes the situation any less strange, that's really quite the opposite in her findings. The further this goes the more odd it becomes.

'Odd' like the creatures which are bleeding out of the shadows and taking form all around the two.

"That's reassuring," she deadpans to being safe so long as -Illy- is here. So if she wasn't then Neena would be mauled in a quarter of a second? "Looks like we're sticking to the buddy system for now."

Maybe later she can work on claiming her place along the pecking order around here. Hopefully before that three mouthed -thing- gets some one on one time with her. When Illyana speaks in a language so far gone from known reality to not exist anywhere on the planet the proverbial ball returns to Magik's court; Dom may very well be staring at her as a creepy feeling worms its way up her spine.

Soon enough this also gets pushed aside as another proper revelation comes to light. "So it's true. You're related to Piotr. That slick metal sonuvabitch never told me he had family at the Institute. I'm guessing this is like a 'good Russkie, bad Russkie' deal, right?" she suggests with motions of hands in reference to how kind and easy-going Colossus had always been. He's downright angelic in comparison!

With Illyana sitting on the table Dom's arms fold together, one of her defensive postures which leaves both hands subtly but conveniently close to the grips of concealed sidearms while she keeps a watchful eye at so many dark nooks where nasties might lunge out of.

"Sure. Let's take it from the top."

***

"Da." Illyana says, her Russian accent - usually so much fainter than Piotr's, if it's even noticeable at all - suddenly and deliberately heavy. "Is my brother." She drops the act, tilting her head to one side, blonde hair falling across one shoulder. Her hands are braced lightly against the edge of the table either side of her, and her dangling legs are swinging slightly.

Honestly, if you leave the outfit and the surroundings out, she doesn't look much like an evil demon queen right now.

"And he's so annoyingly nice that I never got the chance to be the good one." She doesn't sound terribly broken up about that. "But not telling people I even exist? That's got to be a black mark. Finally." There's the definite sense that some sibling teasing might be on the way, the next time Illyana runs into her brother. She seems to be looking forward to it.

Thoughts of revenge are pushed aside when Illyana remembers that Neena is waiting for her to actually give up some of her secrets. And since she knows Dani will probably betray her if she doesn't, she gets on with it.

"Are you sitting comfortably?" Illyana raises a hand and flicks her fingers, and with a grinding of stone upon stone, the rubble behind Domino rearranges itself into a serviceable chair. "Then I'll begin."

"Once upon a time…" She is really leaning into the fairy story aspect, just for the hell of it. "The demon lord Belasco desired to free himself from Limbo, and make a gateway for his masters, the Elder Gods, to enter your world…" Illyana abruptly breaks out of her storyteller pose, and adds, "This would have been a very bad thing, if you hadn't guessed." Again, that flash of a grin, but the amusement is a lot darker, and edged with something that might be pain.

"To make his gateway, he needed a pure soul. He found what he wanted in a little girl, and took her from her brother and his… unusual… friends." Illyana tilts her head the other way.

"Are you with me so far?"

***

"Mmh. Russians. Can't trust 'em but damn if I don't appreciate the accent," Neena says on the side.

A black mark on Colossus, truly the first sign of the impending apocalypse! "To be fair I think there's a lot of things he hasn't told me. You're no stranger to feeling a lack of trust." Not that Dom had ever given Piotr a chance to talk about himself, anyway. If it wasn't related to work then chances are it didn't happen.

Illy nails it with 'annoyingly nice,' though. It's hard to -not- become pals with someone who's so damn forgiving but it really does grate on the nerves after a while.

Aaand speaking of -grating-… The rumble in the floor just about has the albino jumping out of her skin yet again as the castle itself simply serves up a chair, which raises OH SO MANY questions. If Illyana can conjure up a seat then what ELSE could she do? Is it suddenly going to grow thorns while Neena's sitting in it?? They may have reached a point where she doesn't inherently distrust Magik but she absolutely distrusts this newly created seat!

By the time she does come to land it's right on the edge, about an eighth second away from bolting and running should it take on a mind of its own anytime soon.

"This all sounds like the classic 'human sacrifice' angle so far. Belasco is an asshole and you were the unlucky winner in the soul lotto." So the actual Illyana really had died. Or had she been changed? If it isn't Illy's soul in Illy's body then who else would it be? Surely Piotr isn't so nice that he'd allow some random demon to inhabit his younger sister's body…

At the 'with me so far?' Neena rolls one of her hands in a 'keep going' gesture.

***

"When people trust you the next thing is they start worrying about you. Who needs the hassle?" Illyana says with a shrug. There are a few who've bridged the gap between Illyana and most of the rest of the X-Men - but not having people who look too closely at what else she gets up to also has its advantages.

So she makes out she doesn't mind the lack of trust, and changes the subject to something she finds far more intriguing. "So you like my brother's accent. Is there anything else I should know?" Illyana asks the question in a too innocent tone, blue eyes bright and so guileless that it can't be genuine. Honestly, if she thinks she can get dirt on her brother from Neena then storytime might be over already!

Illyana also does a poor job of hiding her satisfaction with Neena's reaction to her instant furniture, and she keeps watching the other woman until she finally decides that she can just about sit on the chair Illyana created for her, before she gets on with her tale. The description of Belasco makes her snort, which seems to surprise her. Despite her antics with the chair, and the theatrics of her presentation, when she's actually telling her story she's very controlled. "You have no idea." Illyana murmurs, before collecting her thoughts and continuing.

"The little girl's brother and his friends tried to rescue her, but…" Illyana spreads her arms out to encompass Limbo, entire. "They failed. The demon lord made the little girl his apprentice, and over seven years he took her soul, a fifth at a time. Once he had all five parts, the little girl would become the gateway he sought, and his dark gods would feast upon the world."

At some point, Illyana stopped looking at Domino. Her eyes are still looking in her direction, but they're unfocused. As if they're looking through her.

"The girl rebelled. She fought the demon lord for what remained of her soul and she banished him from Limbo, taking the realm as her own."

"Isn't that right, S'ym?"

Quite when the huge purple demon with the single horn jutting from his brow arrived isn't clear, but he's leaning comfortably up against a wall, smoking a cigar. Illyana's eyes are clear again, and cold as she stares him down.

"You're the boss." He rumbles, then looks at Domino, grinning around the cigar, and a pair of prominent tusks. "S'ym doesn't get to see many visitors."

***

Interestingly, the next remark which Illyana makes sums up what's been troubling Domino's mind for the last few weeks. It's been a tough situation for her. On one hand she's a firm believer in never trusting anyone else but darnitall if the X-Men hadn't given her something which she thought would never be found again. They gave her somewhere to belong. Sure, it's been rocky as hell and she's not exactly making friends with the others but there -has- been some worry being felt toward them. Which means that she's started to actually TRUST some of them.

It shouldn't be a bad thing. It should be a GOOD thing. But to her it FEELS like a bad thing. That's right up there with being emotionally compromised and—

"-No- there isn't anything else you should know," Dom sighs with another eyeroll. Granted there's plenty more that could be known but absolutely nothing which Neena thinks SHOULD be known. It's none of Illy's business! They're digging into her life here, not Dom's!

"Of course they did" she automatically agrees to the point of others trying to rescue Illyana. It's been a reoccurring theme of late. Someone's in trouble, everyone else comes to their aid. They might even do it for Thurman! But it isn't often to hear about straight-up failure resulting from such an attempt.

It takes a moment to notice that the Limboqueen is looking right through her but Domino knows the vacant stare of a flashback. PTSD, fade to black, 'hello darkness my old friend.' It's an uncomfortable reality which she's had to live through as well. The difference is that her demons are much more metaphorical.

In the next moment Neena is staring at a large purple infernal.

Maybe she's jaded. Maybe she's really that messed up to not immediately flip her shit upon seeing S'ym there acting so nonchalant. Of all of the ways in which she could respond to this craziness the pale lady doesn't skip a beat, motioning toward the demon with an uptick of her chin. "You have any trouble getting those down here?"

The cigar… Because it's a demon smoking a -fucking cigar.- With everything else now unfolding somehow -that's- the point which she latched onto.

It almost makes S'ym seem more normal! Like he's more of a mutant than a demon. He's talking just fine, he's standing upright, he has facial expressions…

And he's smoking a cigar.

Demons don't smoke cigars. They just plain smoke. All fire and brimstone and stuff.

***

Illyana's too innocent to be innocent look dissolves when Neena decides she's not going to provide any sordid details, replaced by something a little more knowing. For now, Illyana's disappointed, but only for now. There will be other times… and her brother is a much easier nut to crack. Illyana's not admitting defeat quite yet.

S'ym, though, is much more direct than the Illyana. And he's standing well within the exclusion zone that all the other demons observe around Illyana. "S'ym has his ways." The gravelly voice replies, as the blank, glowing yellow eyes in the brutish purple face continue to size up Domino. The tip of the cigar glows as the demon takes a long draw on it, then takes out the cigar to lazily blow a smoke ring. "Even though the boss likes to keep the gates closed." He taps ash from the end of the cigar, and finally looks over at Illyana. "S'ym likes this one. Stronger than most you bring here." The demon grins, horribly. "Not screaming, yet."

If Illyana's eyes were cold before, they are positively glacial now. "Don't push your luck, demon." Her voice is flat and hard, and although S'ym makes a grumbling noise deep in his throat, he subsides. Illyana's still looking at him as she addresses Neena. "S'ym has been here longer than I have. Maybe he was here before Belasco. I tell myself he still has his uses, but sometimes…" The sky, never still and peaceful, is boiling again, Illyana's eyes seem to be lit from within, and every line of her body is screaming tension.

S'ym takes a ponderous step back, and vanishes into the gathering gloom.

"Still sure you wanted to hear this story?"

Illyana's eyes are normal and blue again. She seems back to normal. Or what she shows the world is normal.

***

It may be a small victory for Domino to hang onto some more of her secrets for now. There's little doubt that Illyana could find methods of getting some more information but such tactics might be rather frowned upon by the others.

For now the majority of Dom's attention remains with S'ym who seems to prefer talking about himself in the third person. Ego perhaps, or a twisted sense of sarcasm? Or hey, maybe they do things differently down here. (No kidding.)

"They also keep 'em closed pretty tight up high from what I hear," she suggests. Not that she believed in heaven any more than hell but -one- of them turned out to be pretty freaking real!

"You're way more cuddly looking than the N'Garai but if you want to hear screaming then show me twelve hours of vacation photos."

Illyana's transformation is still one half curious and one half creepy as shit. She's all fine and good then suddenly the sky is boiling and her demeanor goes dark as pitch and sometimes she starts speaking in an infernal language and it's just a -little- much. The thought keeps returning to Neena's mind that Magik here is supposed to be -fifteen.- Yeah, no.

"Let's..try to stay focused here," Neena suggests with a 'keeping it level' showing of hands. Before the sky starts to bleed and the ground turns to quicksand or whatever the heck might happen depending upon the queen's mood.

"Look. You pulled me down here without any fanfare. We both got this party started. I'm not about to cut this off at the knees." As if to prove her point she rests the rifle beside the chair then scoots back into it, one leg crossing over the other with arms resting upon chair arms. "We're goin' whole hog here, girl."

***

Before S'ym goes? Just before he slinks back into the shadows? Those glowing yellow eyes turn to Domino again, and he bares his tusks in another grin. The last thing to be seen is a last flare of reddish light from the end of his cigar.

Maybe he appreciated being compared favourably to a N'Garai?

Maybe he's still hoping that there's screaming to come.

S'ym is, after all, a demon.

Illyana's eyes are more guarded than before, as she waits for Neena's answer, and she's slower to resume her story than before. She doesn't seem quite so open since S'ym's visit. Since she looked into a past that's not entirely hers, but close enough. She's just too stubborn to stop.

"I hope you weren't looking for a happy ending, then."

Illyana's smile is dark, but there's a light in her eyes. Neena's not going to get all of the truth. That was never going to happen. But if she wants to go a little further down the rabbit hole? Illyana draws a breath and continues.

"The girl returned to the world that was once her home, with the weapon she had forged from her soul." Illyana reaches a hand toward her chest, makes a grasping motion - and draws that shining silver longsword that was so effective against the N'Garai right out of herself, barely interrupting the flow of her words. "Seven years had passed for her, less than seven seconds for her brother and his friends."

Well, that explains some of the age difference.

"But the girl wasn't truly free. Three fifths of her soul had been lost, and the darkness followed her." Illyana's looking at the sword resting in her lap now. "There came a time when the gates of Limbo were open wide, and only the girl could close them. The price was to cease to be. She paid it." Illyana looks back up at Domino, her eyes now flat gold.

"But Belasco wasn't done with her yet."

***

Either Domino's not taking the threat of S'ym seriously or she doesn't know when to quit. With the demon's grin she smirks back with a "See you 'round, cowboy." It's not like she's going to wind up in Limbo without Illyana or something…

Eh, she'd be snarky with the Devil itself if given the opportunity. She's done it before while being tortured.

Illy seems to be going through some changes over there and not all of them are for the better. Not looking for a happy ending? "You're the one who started this off like a fairy tale. Now you're gonna hurt my feelings."

Neena can just -feel- Danielle's scowl here.

Oh, and Magik can draw a giant sword right out of her chest. In case this situation hadn't been strange enough! What does one say to a stunt like that, honestly? Giving a low whistle seems passingly acceptable but it's more as a means of trying to push back any feelings of ..what, shock? Things are, as usual, getting way over Neena's head around here. The least she can do is retain some of her pride and not look like a gawking tourist at every plot twist.

"So much for 'lucky number seven.'"

A few new questions quickly pop into mind. Where are the other three fifths of her soul, and does any of that matter since she had apparently died? And if she died then how did she come back to become ..this? Dom's still no closer to understanding who or WHAT Magik here actually is but the story's not over.

The merc leans sideways in the stone chair, chin propped upon fingertips while an elbow rests against the armrest. It all sounds like the plot to some dark psychological movie. She can follow the general idea but it's difficult to place into the realm of having actually happened, and happened to the woman who is telling the tale. Domino's lost plenty and had so much taken away from her but anything resembling a soul had never come into play. Until recently she figured that was all new-age BS, anyway.

"And bad meets worse," comes her oh-so-eloquently summed up thoughts.

***

Dani probably would scowl. Illyana does not. In fact, the irreverence seems to ground Illyana a bit. Draw her back into the moment. Make this a story she's telling once more, rather than one she's re-living. It's a small thing, but it's probably for the best that Neena's ticket out of Limbo has a firm grasp on the here and now again.

"Have you decided which one I am yet?"

The question is accompanied by a smile, and it may be a trick of the light but her canines look a little sharper than they did a moment ago. Either Illyana is playing her favourite game of push Neena's buttons to see what happens… or she's slipping… or she just doesn't care that she's looking less human than she usually appears.

"Belasco couldn't accept that his apprentice had died, for without her soul he couldn't open the way for his Elder Gods. He took back Limbo, and with black magic he recreated her body, her mind, and her memories. But he couldn't give me a soul."

Illyana lets that hang for a long moment, then deliberately closes her hand around the hilt of the sword that's still resting across her legs. It flares bright and pure, then vanishes. And Illyana's as human in appearance as she ever was.

"I defeated him and took back this place. And my - her - soul."

"And before you ask, Dani knows. I don't know if she thinks about it. I think most of them prefer not to think about it."

The more fantastic and unbelievable Illyana's tale had become, the darker and more serious her tone had come. But now she smirks, as if she's adding the punchline to a joke.

"Now's the point where I say that because you know all my secrets you can never leave."

All her secrets? Not even close.

***

The golden eyes, the pointed teeth, small pieces of an alarmingly complex puzzle which all settle into play to create an equally disturbing picture. It's all starting to come together but Domino can't honestly admit that it's starting to make sense.

"There's an awful lot of power-playing going on here. So Little Illy dies with less than half of her soul, Big Bad Bela rebuilds her, she rebels against her creatorsomething we happen to have in commonand you managed to get back ..some of..-all- of her soul?" She's a little fuzzy on this one. There's five pieces of a soul to keep track of and their ultimate destinations aren't clearly defined.

At least Magik doesn't have to run herself through with the sword to make it go away. That might have been awkward.

"I gather that it's a long-standing tradition with the X-Men to sweep morally questionable subjects under the rug and pretend that they don't exist. Anyway, congratulations on officially being the most interesting X-Person I've met. Being a mutant isn't exciting enough anymore, you know? It needs a little inter-dimensional seasoning with a side of possession and betrayal."

Wait, what? Okay, that HAS to be a joke.

"You wouldn't enjoy the competition," Neena suggests with a thin, lopsided grin of her own.

Although it -is- a troubling thought that it wouldn't take Illy an ounce of effort to effectively banish someone down here forever.

Hopefully Magik doesn't take that as an actual challenge to her position down here or today's plans may have to change some more.

***

Illyana's eyes have been watching Neena - or staring into her past - or staring down demons - but when Neena mentions they have something in common they sharpen on the other woman. Illyana's not so absorbed in her own drama as to miss that. "If that's something else I shouldn't know, we're going to fall out. Next time it's your turn." Illyana's nice enough not to demand the story now, but it's clearly a promise.

"But her soul? Not all of it. Just the bits he took when she - I - was a child. What died with me - her - is out of reach. Of him and me both. It's better that way." She seems absolutely certain of that. Being the conduit for the Elder Gods to eat the Earth is definitely not on her to-do list.

The comment about the X-Men, though? That gets a quiet snicker, because it's all too true. "I'll try to keep things interesting. The N'Garai were a good warm up." Betrayal, though?

"Who says I'm staying?" Illyana's leaning back a bit on the table, hands braced behind her. It's not really the most comfortable perch to relax on, but she's doing her best. And she's wearing an evil grin and sounds almost cheerful. "S'ym likes you, you'll do fine."

Illyana waits for a long second then shakes her head. "It was worth a try." The job offer? Surely not. Attempting to wind Neena up? Always, it seems.

***

Ouch. Domino's just backed herself into a backstory corner and something tells her Illyana won't take 'no' for an answer. "So long as you keep taking me to such lovely places" she fires back with a smile that's all sweet, though in the back of her mind she's attempting to will Magik into forgetting about the subject altogether.

Alright, so the final answer is that Illyana Rasputin is two-fifths of a person in a crunchy infernal shell. That'll do for Domino. "I've heard of running off half-cocked but you're more of a forty-percenter," she continues to tease.

Magik's history has a lot of power-play but the act of discussing it has had its share of back and forth moments for sarcasm. The next one goes back to Illy when she suggests not staying and leaving the albino alone with the purple guy who Neena is only now starting to think about calling Barney just to push her luck -that much further.-

"Heeeey now…" comes in a warning note. "It's considered a party foul to invite someone into your home then leave them to eternal damnation."

Maybe she would 'do fine.' She's not so anxious to find out!

In fact… Now seems like a great time to get up out of the temporary chair before it up and decides to not let her go.

"Now..I'm not sure if this could be considered a -good- thing but I keep getting this odd and somewhat unsettling feeling that you and I are able to work well together. Crazy, I know. And if this is the caliber of crazy that we'd be working with going forward then consider me on call for demon hunting."

Not only does it keep her from killing humans and putting more pressure on the rest of the team but it lets her do what it is that she's been made to do out of sight and out of mind. No one cares if a bunch of demons get slaughtered, right? It's practically a community service!

Besides, 'I was out helping Magik' sounds way better than 'I just murdered two dozen mobsters over a misunderstanding.'

***

One of the benefits of being not entirely human is that Illyana's mind is proof against even the more powerful telepaths. And since Domino isn't a telepath at all, the chances of Illyana conveniently forgetting that she has a secret to prise out of Domino is approximately nil.

This little experiment in uncharacteristic openness might have gone better than Illyana honestly expected, but she's not going to stand for Neena holding out on her in return!

"I told you before." Illyana says, "From here, we can go anywhere you want. Just pick the place you want to talk." She shuts down that loophole in the most friendly tone she can manage.

"On a good day." Is all Illyana says about the forty percent crack. Sometimes that's how it feels.

There's a snap of fingers and a rueful shake of her head, as Illyana somehow manages to 'miss' the warning in Domino's voice. "So that's where I've been going wrong." The way that Domino prudently vacates the seat Illyana made from her doesn't go unnoticed, and Illyana slides down from the table, which sinks into a silvery stepping disc behind her, presumably to be returned from whence it came.

Then Domino says something that Illyana wasn't expecting, and which makes the sorceress fold her arms and give the other woman a long look. "The N'Garai, then all this, and you want more?" Illyana gives it a second and then nods. "All right. Deal." She hesitates. Oddly, this is the bit she seems to be struggling with. "And you're not wrong. We do work well together."

"We probably both need a drink."

***

They can go anywhere that they want to. It's certainly a compelling offer. It might also seem a bit odd that out of all of the places Domino could go to..she's really interested in seeing more of Limbo. She's already traveled the globe. Made a lot of powerful enemies along the way. Taken on all manner of jobs. Caused all sorts of chaos. There are very few places on Earth which would surprise her or leave her with a sense of wonder.

Being able to explore a whole other dimension is a -completely- different game. Yeah—it may be called Limbo and cause nausea going to and from it and there may be a million and one things trying to swallow her soul but it's different and exciting and it's like being able to set foot on another planet. Who wouldn't want to have that kind of experience?

She's always been an adrenaline junkie. The setting isn't going to get in the way of her hunt for the next big thrill.

"No wonder S'ym is so well behaved. You've been keeping him well fed."

The disappearance of the table seems like a sign that this conversation is reaching its end, prompting a retrieval of the rifle to leave hanging off the back of a shoulder. Though to Illyana's hesitation with the albino's offer some further explanation is offered.

"Do you know what it's like to be a weapon when there isn't a war? Maybe you do, I honestly don't know. Thing is, when I'm working with the X-kids I have to put the training wheels on. We may be the same species but we really aren't all that compatible. If there's a situation where I might be able to do something -good- when I go get my violence on then yeah, I'm gonna gravitate toward it." A somewhat helpless looking shrug comes into play. "I'm just trying to make the best use of available resources."

"And hell yeah I need a drink."

***

"Not as well as he'd like." Since Domino absorbed pretty much everything Illyana told her without batting an eye, the blonde sorceress has added S'ym to the acceptable topics of conversation list. "About the only thing he told you that was entirely true is that there aren't many visitors." S'ym is a demon. Trying to undermine Illyana as his ruler is second nature. Seems he miscalculated with Domino.

Illyana, for all her attempts to push Neena's buttons, does actually listen when the other woman speaks. And not because she's given up some of her own secrets and instinctively wants to level the playing field. Well. Not entirely.

A half-smile is curving her lips, and she shakes her head. "There's always a war. I rule this place because it's not safe to let anyone else do it. S'ym wants it. If he thought he could take me, he'd try. If not him, N'astirh. If not N'astirh…" Illyana shrugs. "It's in the nature of demons to want to be king of the hill. Even the smallest of them. I keep them in, and I try to keep things like them from breaking through. Even with all the hate and stupidity… Earth is the place I need to visit to remind me what I want to be. But I don't really fit there, either. Not any more. Time… doesn't move the same way here."

They're really coming at the problem from two completely different directions, but somehow there's enough overlap in the middle that it seems to work, at least for now. Who knows how long that will last.

"All right. But not here." A ruin, in a broken land. Limbo can do better. Or at least, it can do more dramatic. There's a flash of light as a portal swallows the two of them up.

It's warmer where they materialise. Mostly because they're on an island, or possibly a mesa, flat topped and steep sided, rising above a sea of lava that extends in all directions. Other, smaller islands of the same type are visible, rippling slightly in the heat haze. It looks appropriately infernal.

Incongrously, there's also an iron table sitting in the centre of the island, and on the table are a number of bottles that, probably thankfully, don't look like they were produced locally.

"You won't need to keep one hand on your gun here." Illyana hadn't mentioned it until now. "Unless you're still thinking of shooting me."

***

Demons will be demons. Domino's going to mark that down under 'problems I'm glad to not have.'

Soon Illyana says something which almost makes the albino's earlier point about -wanting- to do more around here. In Limbo the war never ends, ergo people like her would always have something to do! Even if it turns out being a weekly skirmish over the throne or some other oddity.

Soon enough she's getting to witness a much more Hellish-themed setting. A lake (ocean?) of lava and somehow they're able to survive on a plateau with an iron table in the middle which seems like it'd be really bad for keeping drinks cold. She's going to go ahead and avoid making any physical contact with it.

"What a great place to visit during winter," she idly thinks aloud. "Wait until the snowbirds hear about this one."

Nevermind that they're surrounded by lava. Nevermind that Illyana is the only person who could get Neena off of this island, let alone out of this dimension. With her remark about Dom still thinking about shooting her there's a subtle upward tick of a blackened brow.

"The thought had crossed my mind."

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