A Song To Remember
Roleplaying Log: A Song To Remember
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Dazzler is tormented by the shadows and Angel comes to avenge her.

Other Characters Referenced:
IC Date: August 14, 2019
IC Location:
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 16 Aug 2019 18:31
Rating & Warnings:
NPC & GM Credits: Dani - Shadow emits
Associated Plots

The fall takes the world away. All its light, its sounds, its smells snuff within the void-cold grasp of blackness.

The descent down into the shadow feels like a forever: time loses itself inside that formless, fathomless dark, no way up, no way down, no way out.

And then, just like that… nothingness opens up to a single, looming shape in the distance. The darkness breaks into texture, a cracked, broken, oil-stained concrete walk to the empty, garbage-strewn lot before a great, domed stadium. A cityscape seems to frame it, detailed in this single, spotlight point, where its edges and corners fray and cilia with inky shadows. Within is a picture of decay and desolation, a ghost town, a burnt-open town rained down on with a snow of fire ash.

There are hanging posters, ripped and torn, decorating the stadium, as well as neon signage buzzing with missing letters:

HER FINAL TOUR:

TH DA ZLER

And then, breaking through the post-apocalyptic silence, comes in the distant scream of a thousand voices, as lights flicker to life from within that open-air stadium. The heavy bass line of muffled music aches the concrete, and hums through the litter and shrapnel. Whatever's happened, the show must go on.

———

He doesn't know how long he fell, after the shadows consumed everything. All he knows is that it didn't bother him the way it might most people. For him, a fall is just a fast way to reach the ground.

He's been on the astral plane a few times before. He knows what it means when the urge to shut his mind down and sleep comes. It's a quirk of the place, a trap it lays for uncertain minds. You go to sleep, and you wake up someone else, somewhere else, convinced you're part of whatever dream has come crawling to life from the very back of your unconscious mind.

The astral plane is a place that preys on doubts. If there is one thing that has always been true about Warren Worthington, it is that he has almost never been uncertain in his life.

Something breaks out of the surrounding darkness in a flicker of white, far overhead. It circles over the broken stadium, flitting through the falling ash, dipping the suggestion of a wing in melancholy salute.

He used to fly over so many of her concerts in the past, watching from two miles up, winging away just before they ended so she never knew he was there.

This time, however, he is coming down to find her.

———

The shadows welcome Alison Blaire. They welcome her pain that resides within her heart. Within her soul.

It reaches for her suffering and several more strands of blackness snake towards the woman. They seek to help tease the pain out of her - to stretch out the nightmare that begins to take shape within this darkened place.

While the arrival of Warren doesn't stop the shadows from their torment, it does cause the darkness to turn a sliver of its attention towards the thing that resists its calls.

This unnatural thing.

The thing named Warren Worthington.

Angel.

A low sibilant hiss might be heard, the smallest noises of anger at this man, but truly the shadow's attention is on Alison Blaire; the weak link.

The fragile one.

The one it will subsume into itself.

———

The open stadium bowls with darkness, deep and silent.

And then, just like that, within the nightmare rises a sound — one the world has not heard in nearly a year.

The Dazzler's voice crests over the walls of the stadium and carries far into the air, low, powerful, beautiful, and sad.

Light crackles to life, a spectacle blast that breaks into a million colours, and beneath that pulsing, breathing illumination, the stadium below takes shape — a concert in play, its stage carved out of the heart of it, encircled in a crowd that looks like thousands, screaming, crying, reaching people —

— only it is difficult to make them out, no faces, no textures, only shapes of breathing, seething black.

There is a single figure elevated on the stage.

Alison Blaire — no, the Dazzler — stands high above them all, dressed in her familiar costuming of her lost career. And though her white pantsuit is tattered and torn, and her blue make-up is smeared, she sings for them, sings to them — sings one of her fierce, up-tempo pieces that has her unmatched voice carrying three octaves over that screaming sea of people. Her shaking hands encircle her microphone —

— and her light show flares a thousand burning points in meter with her music. It fills the stadium with a lightning-instant of illumination, and burns away the closest hundreds of her audience, bleeding and charring flesh as young faces twist into grostesque looks of pain. They are quickly replaced by more, reaching hungrily up over the edge of the stage, starved for their idol.

Dazzler's make-up smears worse under her dripping tears, but she does not stop singing. Cannot stop singing.

A step back rings with steel, coming from a chain collared around her throat that manacles her to the stage, a captive show animal not allowed to leave.

The Dazzler, with vacant eyes, lets it happen. Lets the nightmare sing herself down to nothing.

———

Ever since his powers started to come in, Warren Worthington has been able to see much farther and more clearly than any normal human. Even from the great heights at which he circles, he can peer down and see what has become of Alison Blaire as if he were standing right at her side.

He can see the pain on her face. He can see the tears on her face. It makes him angry.

Her voice rises, clear and melancholic, pulled out of her by force, and that makes him angry too.

Now, the thing about the astral plane is that what you are there is very malleable, and your manifestations there often reflect your purest soul, or an expression of how everyone else sees you, or simply a chaotic composite born of your emotions and sentiments of the moment. It is an abstract place, seamed with the sea of the collective unconscious, and often the great pool of human thought makes its way into the mix too.

A long way to say: odd things happen, on the astral plane.

High overhead, the shadows split with a crack, a light to nearly match the Dazzler's pouring from a wound cut through the near-corporeal darkness. A figure comes rushing down in a burst of white feathers, stooping from the sky in that familiar way Warren so often does, a shape which contains no human parts except a few hundred flaming eyes, set in chaotic rows along three linked wheels of spinning fire.

The blazing trinity knot makes a beeline straight for Alison where she stands captive on the stage, gathering mass like a spinning accretion disk, driven by nine white wings set about the whirling concentric wheels.

Angel is in a mood.

———

Light from above and below, but it's the brightness coming from the sky that hurts the shadows the most. For when it brushes against the filaments of bleakness the tendrils actually shrink away in pain, with some of the weaker strands burning away to dust.

It brings a shift from the shadows as it pauses in the torment of Alison Blaire to turn the psychic stink-eye upon that mass of wings, wheels and eyes.

From the ground shadows solidify and lance upward to try and pin all those wings against the darkness that abounds in this place.

And while it attempts to pin Angel's wings, the shadows resume their siren's call to the Dazzler.

Sing.

Sing until all is burnt and ash. Until all life nearby is dead.

———

Even within a nightmare, the Dazzler exists to perform.

She puts on a show for all of that seething, writhing, shadow-ichor, crowned on her stage by the currents of her synaesthetic light — changing in warmth and colour, shapes and bursts braiding in on each other to the lead of her voice. She loses herself to her own music, moving to the bass beat, twirling and lunging forward until the length of that chain pulls tight — tethered to the very limit the shadows allow her to move.

The world certainly lost something the day they turned on the Dazzler; the day she vowed never to sing again. For all her pretty face and her skilled dancing, or even her mutant maestroing of her great sound walls of transcendental light, few come close to her greatest gift of all — her voice. Where before there was silence, now there is no breath of space not filled by the scream of the Dazzler's song — singing now about the last terminus of lost souls, and the pull of life to lose itself into a last jump into the void…

The tempo quickens. The music intensifies. Her light heralds the skies —

Until something breaks through. A greater light, studded in the countless, stretching sails of white wings —

The Dazzler, between notes, starts to look up, starts to recognize something else through her song. Her expression twitches, Alison flickers lashes at that light. Her music hitches a beat… until the shadow surges.

The ichorous hands from the crowd snag her, grabbing her legs — bringing in icy whisperings that wash any twitch of clarity out of her eyes. The Dazzler grabs the mic, and leans back to wail the high note into the bridge —

Her light is a thousand lightning strikes through the ozone, heating, burning, turning on Warren Worthington — turning on herself.

Turning on everything, engulfing the air into a pyroclastic flow of light and sound. There is fire in the sky, and it rains down around the Dazzler, looking on with crying eyes as she sings her entire world to death.

———

There are moments where Warren is so unmistakably, endearingly avian in his mannerisms that one wonders whether 'Angel' even fits him as an appellation. Then there are moments like these — moments which remind that not only did he pick Angel for a title, the first iteration of it made sure to include the 'avenging' part.

Warren Worthington crashes straight into Alison Blaire's manifested nightmare in a eruption of seraphic heat and flaming light. Here in the astral plane, conviction is all that matters, and in these moments Angel has just that — in spades. At seeing her condition, his is a level of anger beyond mere two-winged, tame manifestations, limited and peaceful and comprehensible by mortal eyes as something resembling 'human.' This is the kind of anger that pulls straight from all the stories of unknowable angels sent to kill on behalf of their god, and the astral shape responds.

Wreathed in streaming fire, the electrum-cloud of whirling white wings and spinning wheels plunges towards the stage. Fifteen years of learning to fly are put fully to the test as the entire nightmare turns on him, both shadows and the captive Alison's spearing light alike, and Angel performs in his own way: threading the needle, so many countless times, on all the attempts to impale him through.

His wings pull in, all nine of them, to bullet him faster down through the gauntlet. Her multicolored storm of light paints synaesthetic rainbows across his white feathers. A few shards of darkness and forks of light, quicker than the rest, clip two of the wings on his left, and he lists slightly but does not stop or avert his focus.

His many flaming eyes are fixed only on Alison. Her song intensifies, soaring, wrenched out of her painfully — as if by so many turns of the torture rack — and Warren just gets angrier that someone else is pulling back out what has long since become only his.

He drops on her like a comet — or rather, on the chain tethering her to her forced performance. A single pressing need rings throughout his entire being, at that exact moment in time — a need for hands and a means to break that chain — and the astral form responds; that central trinity knot freezes at the last moment, its linked wheels locking, and the entire construct shatters geometrically down into the much more familiar shape of Warren. Warren — two-handing a flaming sword straight down towards the links binding Alison to her stage.

———

The Dazzler sings and everything burns and the shadows rejoice.

The shadows rise up ready to take the soul that Alison Blaire offers so willingly. It reaches out with tendrils of greed and seconds before they can touch Dazzler, an Avenging Angel appears.

Righteous light and flame are the foes of darkness. The sword that Warren slams down upon the chain easily shatters those dark and frozen links.

With the sound of snapping metal and crackling of ice, the darkness that surrounds Alison Blaire recedes some. It weakens and allows for more true sight to be found.

The shadows themselves boil and roil with pain, with surprise, and then finally rage. How dare this falling star come down here and break its hold on Alison Blaire.

How dare he!

That rage fuels the darkness and once again it rises up, this time for both Warren and Alison.

The rising tide of blackness and bleakness coalesces into rough humanoid forms - harsh caricatures of the Dazzler's fan. Their jagged slashes of mouths open wide as they howl, "DaZzLer! WE'rE your BigGest FaNs! StaY wiTh us *forEveR*!"
The rest of the shadows start a sibilant chant, "SING SING SING!"

As to Warren, with his armor, wings and sword, those shadows find few fears to prey upon but that doesn't stop them from trying. From lashing out against him.

Shadows wisp out from the crowd and then fly sharply upward. It's only as those shadows descend sharply downward that their forms finally resolve into recognizable creatures.

Birds. Bluejays to be specific, but in this realm they hold none of the brightly colored plumage. It's all sharp talons and beaks of onyx, and feathers of black.

A half a dozen of these shadow jays dive bomb the bright eagle within their midst.

———

And willingly, so willingly, the Dazzler offers her soul.

There is no resistance. There is no denial. In its place, there is only a single, glaring weak point, eroded away by years of neglect, abuse, and self-estrangement: supplicated before the Demon Bear, Alison Blaire offers her one truth:

She deserves this.

She looks down on that shadow-ichor audience, and she deserves their attentions. She deserves their greed. She deserves their thousand selfish hands seeking to rip her apart. She deserves this punishment, because she is theirs to use, abuse, and destroy. No one else has ever wanted her, save them. No one could love Alison Blaire, the broken daughter, the failed teammate, the liar, the coward.

Her rolling tears spread her smearing make-up, spidering legs of blue down her cheeks. Through them, the Dazzler sings forward her avowal to stay: her voice rakes the heavens in crystal-sharp top notes that carry decades of rejection and grief. She can only dance as much as those pulling, coveting hands allow, as if it'd like to drag her into the audience — throttling her on the length of that too-tight chain.

They love her again, even after she hurt them. Even after she burned them. They still love her, and she belongs to them. She'll never leave them again…

SING, commands the shadow, and Dazzler buckles like a marionette pinioned on invisible strings, head thrown back as she cries her light down in nuclear fire.

Then something drops from the sky — a disparate arrow of light that burns even more brightly than her photonic storm — cracks down in a lightning-hit of power, and severs that ink-black chain asunder.

Her next note breaks, and Alison trips, tumbling down to hands and knees on the stage, whipping her head up and seeing — Warren, here, shadow on his face cast off his fiery sword. She seems to look through him for that instant, until that vacancy blinks out of her eyes. She looks on him in a moment of clarity, stricken. "Warren?" she blurts, her voice rough from song. Her expression falls. "You can't be here. It'll take you —"

SING SING SING, scream her misshapen, distorted fans.

Alison can only struggle a heartbeat, and then they have her again, hypnotized back to that thrall, a begging look on her face — an offer for the nightmare to rip the heart from her chest once and for all, and kill the guilt forever. Her eyes glaze over, and the Dazzler is back, rising with one mournful note. She reaches one hand down toward the sea of people, idol desperate to touch fingertips with her fans. Let them have her. Let them devour her until there's nothing left…

————

In a place like this, thought and belief are everything. If you see yourself as an avenging angel — feel that furious conviction down to your bones — so will you become one.

Right now, Warren is more than mad enough for that… and behind him, he's got fifteen years of quietly (and not so quietly) identifying with the creatures whose appearance he shares. Of those first errant five students Xavier selected, Warren was always the most fearlessly arrogant and the most impulsive in rushing to the protection of others, and this place is well equipped to enable all of that brash valiance.

Cloaked in nine white wings and armored in draping white, Angel rises after cleaving through the chain, flaming sword in hand. Alison looks up, momentarily freed from her thrall, looks under the shadowing cowl, recognizes him —

— and warns him away. He can't be here. It'll take him too.

Warren laughs, but his eyes don't share the humor. "It can try."

A moment later, just like that, the shadow has her again, and the broken chain slithers across the stage as The Dazzler rises vacantly to try to give her fans her heart. Warren stomps down on the chain as it streaks past, braking her; it's the quickest way to stop her when he himself is now under attack, the darkness rising balefully to take its ire out on his astral flesh. The sword flashes, cutting through those misshapen 'fans' as they reach for him and Alison alike, but the darkness seems to know what bothers him, in turn, judging by the form it takes next.

There are not many things Warren truly fears. There are things which bother him though, things which remind him of those hard first few years with his wings, when he was still so confused and uncertain what was happening to his body. Those were the years when he was fledging, learning flight like a baby bird, and those were the years when he would sometimes be attacked midair by angry birds mistaking him for an eagle near their nests.

It's the memory of the vulnerability he felt at that age which angers him, more than anything else — he despises weakness in himself. The sword sweeps in an arc towards the attacking birds of darkness, even as — with his free hand — he reaches to catch hold of Alison's broken chain and pull her closer. Back away from the writhing sea of the audience.

"We have to go!" he urges, looping the chain once, twice about his hand, and then another few times about his wrist. She won't be drawn away while he is here. "Ali, stay here, with me. You can't give them anything more."

———

The Dazzler once again sings and the shadows shriek with happiness.%rA discordant howl against Alison Blaire's beautiful voice.

The shadow fans move in time with her song, jerking in a spastic limbed dance to its rhythm. Along with their dance they continue to scream and howl -

'We love you! We love you! Die with us! Die for us!"

And if Alison Blaire were alone those words might actually hold true, come true, but she's not alone. Warren is here and he's quick to slash at those fans and their shadow-wide grins and grasping hands. With each touch of his sword the would-be fans disintegrate to dust.

The same occurs with the shadow jays as Warren strikes out with that sword of his. A touch and the birds disappear in a flash of flame and light.

And while Warren urges Ali not to give the shadows anything more, to stay there with him, the blackness continues to try to exert their will upon her, "Stay with us! Stay with us! Don't leave us! You belong to us!"

———

The arrogance out of Warren Worthington, calcified within three short words —

Alison slips him an indescribable look, and then loses herself, her half-lidded eyes and peaceful face lured back by the screams of her fans.

And inside moments, the music has her again, the despair has her again — it has her again, the nightmare, ratifying and fulfilling every one of Alison Blaire's desires for self-destruction.

Her voice lends itself back to the sky, braiding seamlessly with every building note: her song is reaching its climax, creeping key change to key change until she's wailing octaves higher, screaming for the nightmare every ounce of her bitterness, resentment, guilt, and self-hate. Alison Blaire, the unwanted daughter, the fallen idol, the selfish mutant — how does she deserve any future but this?

There is no life for her but here, but this, wills the nightmare, and she cannot argue. They love her. They love her, and in exchange, she burned them. She deserves to die for them…

Her lights strobe the sea of her disfigured fans, their twisting faces changing under the pulse-beat of illumination, and the charged hues of reds, blues, whites colour Alison a thousane different ways, her despairing face, her crying eyes, and the forward reach of her hand, begging to touch them —

Something stomps down onto her broken chain, and winches her still. It stops her, as the Dazzler still pulls, drawn inexorably forward by that mindless thrall. It strangles her, and breaks her song, as her voice cuts into a gasp.

Then Warren's voice.

It cuts through the music, and her eyes flutter, looking down on her audience — and seeing their grotesque, dilapidated faces, with curling smiles eeling up through their eyes. Repulsed into clarity, she looks away, and sees — Warren, with nine brilliant wings, cutting down shadows with a sword made of fire.

Her voice, no longer lost in song, feels paralyzed, the words leaden in her throat. "Warren —" Alison begs. "Please. Please! Before it —"

Her light rains fire all around them. The shadow audience calls. She leans toward them —

Then Alison staggers back when Warren bridles her chain around his wrist. She begs him with her blue eyes, trying to blink the enticing haze away, until she lifts shaking hands to cover her ears, to block the music away for precious seconds. "They need me, Warren! I deserve this! I always deserved this!" Her light reflects against the lenses of her eyes. "What good could I ever give you?"

———

The arrogance out of Warren Worthington may be the one thing keeping the shadows at bay at this moment.

It certainly keeps him resistant to the howls and enticements of the shadow-crowd, as the sea of disfigured faces shrieks up for The Dazzler to stay. Warren brakes her abruptly from throwing herself into their mass, gathering up her broken chain a moment later for extra insurance, even as his flaming sword chases the cold darkness away.

The restricting chain stops her unparalleled voice. The shadows, angered at the interruption, shriek louder, and for a moment of clarity Alison sees them for what they are. And she asks him what good she could ever give him.

"Should I list what you already have?" he asks, his voice dry. "We don't have a lot of time for that right this moment."

He shakes his head to her cry that they need her. "People need a lot of things they don't deserve," he says harshly. "But you? You never deserved even half of what happened to you. You've always given everyone — everything — and they've always repaid you by throwing you away when it suited them."

He winds the chain another turn tighter about his wrist, pulling her closer until he can lean down to look into her face. "You don't belong to them," he says.

He drags her forward into his arms, picking her up in that familiar way that asks no permission and expects no refusal. Turning, he opens his wings, lunging to take flight to escape this hellish concert hall.

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