Finale: Reaper's Bite
Roleplaying Log: Finale: Reaper's Bite
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

The finale to the demon bear saga. The X-Men and friends kill the Demon Bear.

Other Characters Referenced:
IC Date: September 14, 2019
IC Location:
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 15 Sep 2019 15:14
Rating & Warnings: Some crunchy bits from the Demon Bear
NPC & GM Credits: Dani
Associated Plots

Before:

"The mission is simple." Comes Dani's voice, "We're going to kill the Demon Bear."

With those words said the Cheyenne woman turned to a project of the Mojave Desert, specifically Death Valley. Even more specific a small town that's been ticked off as a ghost town, population zero, though in reality there are people there.

"We go in hard, but careful. I've a feeling we're going to find victims of the Bear there." Dani looks at everyone then, making sure to meet each of their eyes before ending with, "Thank you for helping me with this."

Now:

While the humidity here is low, the heat is still oppresive. It rises up in great waves of distortion, but one thing is for certain, the warehouse in the middle of the desert surely doesn't belong there and that's the target

*BOOM*

The sound of the front side of the doorway the warehouse imploding is loud in the vastness of the desert, and as those doors fall a siren within the building begins to wail.

Once inside it's pretty clear to all in the X-Group that this warehouse is anything but. It looks more like a high-tech scientific lab set-up. Ther front room the team enters in is bisected by a large line of plastic windows and doors. It cuts the room in half and beyond those crystal clear panes there are several things that can be seen -

First: The standard of Hydra is painted proudly upon one wall.

Second: There is a giant ass bear tethered in the middle of the room by four glowing chains. Beneath the bear looks to be some sort of diagram and for those that know of such thing its a pentacle.

Third: The bear isn't the only thing in the room there are people. A lot of people.

Lastly: There are clearly two types of people within the room Hydra agents and victims. The victims can be found corralled off. Some of them are awake and watchful, while others are simply laid out upon the floor, unmoving. The Hydra agents for their part are all up and about and as the front implodes inward, they turn as one.

There might be a second or two of shock and surprise, but the agents are well-trained and each one reaches for their guns and raises them up.

More than a dozens triggers are depressed at nearly the same instant and from those various guns bullets spit forth. The wave of deadly projectiles pierce through the glass with a loud *shatter*.


Helpfully, Atli decided to go first. You see, she had a plan. She explained it to everyone that she had tried to lure the bear out of hiding earlier, with her dear friend Rocket, and some honey. Unfortunately, Other Things came instead. Oops. As the doors burst open the Goddess of Thunder, helpfully wearing a little 'X' clasp at the shoulder of her cloak now that she is clearly an honorary X-person. No it isn't just cardboard and drawn on in Crayo- okay so maybe it's obliterated in a hail of gunfire because that's exactly what that is.

Hand held up as if to deflect an errant wind, she wades in, spear held to her side as bullets bounce off of her like annoying, hard bits of hail. "Yes, hello!! I understand that a great, multi-headed lizard controls everything you do, and so I will allow you this one moment too-"

It is about then that Atli sees her make-shift X-symbol get obliterated her frown is deep. Her frown is hurt-filled.

"Fool of a lizard-worshipper! Have at thee!" And so Atli Wodendottir does launch her spear at one of the men, fully intent on skewering the poor fool, even as her goat, Toothbender, barrels past, drooling and slobbering and thinking to run right for the bear and power-ram it with his horns into oblivion.

Fool of a goat.

"X-People! Let loose your terrible vengeance as if it were these very fools who destroyed your ancestral washing pond! BYJAPERY!!!"


The bear and the pentacle might be a little much but if one were to look beyond those peculiar oddities they would find the natural habitat of one Neena Thurman. Lots of bad guys. Lots of guns. A whole lot of chaos. How could she say no to a mission like this?

HYDRA's always been real big on their numbers. Cut one head off, yadda yadda. Their ground troops are expendable as hell and they tend to substitute quality with quantity. These guys are likely going to be nicely clumped together, too.

Which is exactly why Domino rigged her assault rifle with a grenade launcher.

*TUK!*

The damage the HYDRA goons have already done to the glass offers a perfect entry point for the explosive projectile lobbed in their direction, exploding with enough force to blow out many of the already well perforated windows.

Amidst this addition to the chaos the albino lady is sliding behind cover then snapping rifle shots right back at the group to cover the others as they join the fray. "Stay low, keep moving!"


Simple missions are a breath of fresh air in this day and age for Warren Worthington — especially ones where he's not taking point. That honor tonight belongs to Dani Moonstar, because it's her demon (literally) to face.

Equally refreshing are missions where the simplicity inheres in the fact that the only directive of said mission is "bust in, take down a threat, and save people." It makes Warren think of when he was younger, and almost every mission had that sort of black-and-white bluntness to it. No moral complications, no difficult questions. No elaborate tactics to get in and out — just knocking down the front door.

Though of course, going straight in the front door, while easy, does also have its downsides.

Case in point: the hail of bullets that immediately greets them as they storm the Hydra warehouse. "I might have known," Warren says, probably mostly to himself since he's already airborne, "it would be Hydra."

At the least they break the glass for him, so he doesn't pull the classic bird move of slamming into it. "Keep them busy," he advises the others, already on his way through towards the corral of victims, "and I'll see about the captives."

With a flurry of white wings, he's already mostly into the airspace of the warehouse proper before this correction comes drifting back: "Atli, it's not a washing pond!"


The floor, it is hit. The youngling who came on the mission apparently has reflexes and takes cover with the agility of a figure skater, but doesn't immediately show a usefulness for the assault.

Red of hair, silent of tongue, Rahne Sinclair has spent most of the flight eyeing Warren out of the corner of her eye. Now most definitely not being the time to address that, it's probably best that she just get out of the way.

She wouldn't have come if she hadn't had known combat abilities though. She waits for orders with wide, frightened eyes, in the quick-release bulletproof vest she requisitioned for this fight alone.

Stay low, keep moving. Don't do what the goddess is doing. Got it. She tries to find an indirect route to the victims, something with cover. "Laird tha' be a lot o' bullets."


A dozen triggers create a gross of projectiles. Automatic weapons are bad enough; automatic weapons behind glass, en masse…?

THEN

"How?" is the first thing Jean Grey wonders. Jean's never met a Demon Bear; she knows what the team knows, what its files know, but she's never experienced the clench of its jaws closing around her soul.

She knows that killing something's never as simple as saying it, though, so she wonders.

Softly, with gold opera gloves clenched in her lap and fiery emeralds locked onto Dani, she wonders.

NOW

Death.

Whether they bounce off of Atli first or not, bullets and glass draw to a brisk, commanding stop while the temperature in the warehouse begins to spike. Once the only things moving ad the X-Men, the HYDRA, and the HYDRA's victims, Phoenix begins to advance, practically strolling with a shimmering palm held forward while her teammates soar and charge.

"You haven't really gotten a chance to get used to this, yet," she says, calm and even and - somehow - perfectly audible to each and every HYDRA despite distance and violence, "but just so we're clear: those things are gonna be useless, so I suggest you drop 'em and make the next few minutes easier on all of us."

The bullets, the glass, it all begins to move once her declaration's out.

Move, and twist. The bullets and glass twist, and turn, and reorient until everything's pointing towards the serpents responsible, just to punctuate the point.


*pTINGtingtingPTINGptingTINGTINGTIN*

"You know, Featherbrain." Comes the voice of one Tony Stark, standing in the middle of the hail of gunfire like it is nothing more than a gentle rain. "I've fought Hydra enough. I figured they would learn by now that bullets don't really work on me. I mean they chip the paint, but then I designed bullet proof paint and they didn't even do that."

Hot-rod red and brilliant gold, the Iron Man suit of armor stands simply in the middle of the space left by the now missing wall. Offering both a convient place to hide behind and a massive target. The suit he's picked for this little outing is a sleek one, almost seeming without true edges or plates. The faceplate of the supertech wonder turns towards the gunmen and inside the suit Stark raises an eyebrow. "Also I'm totally calling it a washing pond from now on."
The /crump/ of Neena's grenade launcher makes him smile though as he starts to slowly stalk forwards. Targeting solutions swim before his eyes as shoulder mount mini-launchers pop up for only a moment to send corkscrews of tracking munitions towards a dozen Hydra agents. "Also five will get you 10 someone is gonna say something about 'cut off one head…' they /always/ say that. I mean really it's been how many years. Someone get them a new catchphrase."


The heat doesn't seem to bother Alison Blaire.

Probably a useful by-product of storing and transducing light itself — and all its burning properties — that she arrives ready for combat, wearing her uniformed leather and kevlar without even breaking a sweat.

Any sweat that happens is definitely because of the anxiety of what's to come — and that god damned bear. Alison isn't a fan of it. Not after her recent, involuntary foray into the astral realm… a place she's happy to avoid for the rest of eternity.

Arriving with the others, the ex-Dazzler anoints herself with her churning field of light, her charge shuddering — building — with the close-range sounds of gunfire. Thanks to the telekinesis and efforts of the team, she doesn't need to progress past her guard… and passively lets her field soak the sound.

She considers blinding the agents, but the attack could compromise too many friendlies —

— and, out of the corner of her eye, Alison notices a space goat charging a very familiar, repugnant bear.

"Wait, wait — Atli!" she calls. "We probably don't want to break those chains!"

Whatever the hell they are. Her field doubles in luminescence, and she opens her hands, flaring light in direction of that bear. If it lives in shadow — maybe she can help make it hurt.


The X-People (and honory X-People) slide right on in.

Atli approaches those Hydra agents and it brings an immediate reaction. A half of dozen guns turn towards the Asgardian and while bullets are effectively useless against Atli, that doesn't stop the Hydra agents from continuing to fire. They have a schtick after all.

And while they have a schtick that doesn't mean they're necessarily stupid. Not as Domino begins lobbing grenades, and bullets into them, Atli throws her spear and Tony fires off a variety of mini-missiles. Already half of their immediate force is down upon the ground, but that doesn't stop the other half from continuing to fire at the approaching mutants and metas.

Don't worry, though, a door behind the Demon Bear opens and another two dozen soldiers come through. Their guns are already raised and searching for targets, as soon as they lock on they fire - bullets continue to streak towards Rahne, Dani, Domino, Jean, Dazzler and even Warren flying high as he is.

Then those bullets stop. The glass too and when Jean's voice echoes in the minds of each agent there's an immediate response.

Half of the old force and the newly arrive drop their guns - which is odd, right? - but then their bodies begin to distort. Arms and legs lengthen, fur erupts to cover skin, and variuos were-bred animals now stand ready to fight. Wolves, foxes, cats, and ones that shimmer with scales.

The wolves, foxes and cats, immediately leap from their side of the room and into the other. A wolf goes for Rahne, a cat at Domi, and two foxes at Iron Man.

For Jean Grey, she gains the attention of the three scaled individuals. All three turn their yellowed eyes over to the red-head and try to meet her green-eyed gaze. There's a definite pull from them, a pressure to look at their eyes, it hisses quietly in the background 'look at usss'. /Look at usssss./

Warren wings alight him over to those victims and as soon as the would-be Bear snacks see the winged man a ragged cheer goes up. Most stand up now their hands reaching for the winged man, "SAVE US!"

"HELP US!"

There's a mixture of people in that penned off area, some old, some young, and a lot in-between. While there's caged walls around them there isn't necessarily a 'roof', as Hydra had no thought of a flier coming in to save them.

The Demon Bear, for its part, stays low up until it finds a GOAT hitting it. The impact of said goat slams it backward, but not far. The eldritch chains bind it tight, but with that sharp movement a link within one binding breaks. Alison's warning is too late, as one particular eldritch shackle dissipates from that broken link. With only three shackles tethering it down the Bear immediately rises upward. It's large. Larger than any man and as soon as Alison lights up the area, the Bear turns its gaze to her and squints. Its muzzle crinkles back exposing its blighted teeth and while its expression might be fearsome, there's something else there. A promise. It's going to grab the Songstress again which then causes the Bear's attention to twitch over to Warren. Now that expression turns thunderous and a growl rolls out from its throat, alongside that growl its now free paw slaps at Toothbender, intending to slap the goat away from itself.

The door behind the Demon Bear admits one last person. A man, dressed in dark robes, and his expression is *quite* exasperated and perhaps also a touch fearful. "STOP!" He yells, "Don't break the chains!"

Already his hands move in complex patterns as he tries to weave that fourth chain back into being.


Helpfully waving at the soaring Glorywing and nodding even more helpfully as Dazzler calls out something through the ruckus, she clearly doesn't understand. I mean, why would she keep track of her rampaging space goat, right? Perhaps most helpfully, she gives a thumbs up to Lady Lasersong. To Lord Stark she chances a glance, and to the others, who she knows not very well at all, well. "Verily, I have washed in it many times! It's cool waters doth soothe my skin, and so I lament it's destruction. Again."

Blue-white lightning crackles through the air and reforms as Jarnbjorn, Atli's spear, becomes whole in her hand once more. But it is almost an afterthought. Why? Well, because everything that's been flying through the air and not named Warren Worthington begins to shift. Stopping mid-stride, the Grandaughter of Thor and perhaps more importantly, Great Grandaughter of Odin stops in her tracks, oblivious to the battle as she watches with wide eyes as Lady Firemind strides up beside - and then past her.

Absently Atli reaches out for a nearby, half-destroyed pillar. It might be one that Rahne or Neena is even using for cover, going for a casual lean.

"Yes, hello there, Lady Firemind!" This, to Jean Grey, known Firebird. "I had not realized you were with us, but should have known when I smelled smoldering feathers and unbridled femininity! Verily, I feel as if they have already had several warnings and should probably be met with your furious retribution, and I am not just saying that because I would very much so enjoy seeing you slaughter them with your mind! I promise!" Atli smiles her most cherished smile, beaming at Jean as debris bounces off of her.

Meanwhile, the goat is smacked sidelong after scoring it's ill-fated victory by way of a headbutt, careening sidelong and into one of the new… cat-people?

"Yes, you see! Turning into a were-person is a clear sign of aggression, which should be met with terrible, destructive firebird force!!!"


"It's Hydra, Tony," comes Warren's absent response as he darts through the air, sliding through the hail of gunfire with the adroitness of long practice. "I'm not taking that bet. They'll be saying that same thing until the end of time."

His aerial position gives him a good bird's-eye view of what's going on on the ground, which is a great deal (he dips a wing at the waving Atli)… but the rest appear to have the frontal assault covered, leaving him to turn his attention fully towards the trapped people. They didn't account from people coming in from the top, he thinks with some amusement as he twists in the air and drops neatly down: a white-winged figure descending among upturned faces and hands reaching for salvation.

It's a little too on-point. But on-point imagery happens to him a lot.

"Two at a time," he soothes the people, as he starts to shuttle them free of their confinement. The walls aren't high and he flies fast — he can do this quickly. "When you get clear — RUN. Use the rest of us for cover."

A shuddering crack draws his eye midway through this. He turns his gaze back to find the Bear eyeing himself and Ali balefully. The sentiment seems to be mutual, judging by the way his eyes narrow.


The bullets have stopped. This doesn't mean that things aren't dangerous still, though apparently being the smallest and least threatening member of the team has some benefits. Hydra agents may not particularly care about you nearly as much as the ones who seem, you know, threatening.

Rahne keeps down near the floor, unaware how much of a thank-you she owes Jean for saving her from dying from weight of lead, when she hears something she wishes she wouldn't. It couldn't, it must not be.

She lifts her eyes to see a wolf coming her way, and cringes visibly. Then lowers her head, and sighs.

"Ah, ah be sorry…" she says, then does her party piece. She pops off the vest, then leans forward, and suddenly she's gone. And another wolf, this one smaller than the other, crimson as a sunset, stands in front of the oncoming threat.

And…turns tail and runs, a red leaping bolt that whips past the wolf, its jaws taking a hint of hair from her tailtip. And the chase is on!

Which is ridiculous, she…isn't a fighter. She's never engaged an enemy on a battlefield. Right. But she IS heading for the captives still, at least. Just…a lot faster now!

Fun times.


"Hey, Red." Stark helpfully calls towards Jean. Because of course he does. "I think you have a fan." One armored thumb is hooked in Atli's direction as even more bullets bounce off his armor. He is just about to volley a second round of munitions when suddenly they all /stop/. Telepaths. Always showing off. "Well that seems to be the end of—-"

SUDDENLY LYCANTHROPES!!

"Well!" As two now foxed out Hydra agents fling themselves at the armored man. "This is new!" A pause. "Is this a Hydra thing or a Demon Bear thing? Anyone got any ideas?" He calls out as one arm shoots out to grab each of the lycanthropes by the throat and hold them suspended. He cheats of course by hovering just a bit so they can't get much purchace on the ground.

A flare of engines as he spins in a pirriquite and flings one like a missile at the wolf chasing the now Red Wolf Rahne. "Hey! Warren! You have lycanthropes too!" He calls out oh so helpfully as he continues the spin and flings the other fox at the shapeshifter aiming for Domino.

A longer pause as the man in robes appears and shouts orders. "You know, normally? I hate listening to obvious cultists, but I think he might be onto something with the not breaking the chains thing." A pause. "Isn't that a song?"

A longer pause.

"Oh my god, Ali! Did we just agree on something? Someone write down the date."


"Aaaaand — there goes the chains," narrates Alison, her skin paling, her light field flickering a beat of sorrowful blue.

This probably isn't good.

Though the sound has no bearing on her, no capacity to hurt her with decibels, the background gunfire rakes on her calm — though she trusts infinitely in Jean to handle the redirection of ammunition — and all Alison can do is focus on the charge it gives her. Feeding her photonic field with its deepening, churning energy — its latent charge bears the threat of synasthetic sparks, prisming points of colour from all around her body.

But Alison has almost two decades worth of practice holding her field in check — reining it in. Inhibition is a way of life, and every day is that caution never to unleash it, never to hurt with it —

Save for the darkness that crosses her eyes when she notices that Bear, nearly freed, turn its grotesque attention on her. Panic runs down her for an instant, the memory still fresh from that astral hell — but Alison girds it down. Her hands tighten, light cloaking her closed fists.

"Yeah," she hisses back at it, "I hate you too."

Then the Bear glances toward Warren, and Alison's patience breaks. Not happening. "Hey, ugly! Attention back here!" With one chain holding it, the monster needs some corralling, and she's happy to help — happy to unleash a torrent of light right down on it, trying to flatten the thing down and pin it in place to burn under her power.

"Quips — not — helping — Stark!"


Domino's trigger finger just..sorta..stops moving. Why continue to burn through her ammo and kill people when Phoenix has effectively done more than disarm the opposition but -turn their own weapons against them.-

"Holy shit."

Just when she thought they were down to one primary target (Da Bear!) all of the Hydra goons start turning into animals?! Where there had once been a fairly tidy murderline for the likes of Atli, Iron Man and herself to mow down, now there's small rapid moving targets darting all over the friggin' place.

As well as a CAT coming right at her.

Just like from a few nights ago.

She knows something very, very bad is going to happen if she gets scratched (and WHY did it have to be a CAT?!)

Not that this prevents her from yelling at Atli, "You talk too much!" as she goes -running- past the Asgardian with a power-hungry kitty nipping at the mercenary's heels.

It's going alright..until it isn't. Neena's just getting another grenade loaded when she slips upon Rahne's armored vest which is suddenly -lying on the floor.-

Her arms sweep upward just in time for the pursuing feline to miss her but catch the rifle right out of Dom's hands.

The LyCat and rifle then immediately collide with a werefox flung at them by Iron Man, knocking the kitty one way and the rifle in another.

The gun hasn't stopped sliding before it gets kicked by a charging Toothbender, sending it elsewhere in a mad spin.

Then the trigger on the grenade launcher hits a broken piece of glass..-Just Right.-

The launcher fires.

The cat's just turning around to make another running leap at Domino when it gets beaned in the side of the head by a launched grenade, both stunning the beast and flicking the yet unprimed explosive shell out across the room.

With a loud *PANG!* it ricochets off of one of the cages right near where Warren is rescuing some of the captives.

Then the grenade flies outward into Dazzler's light field where the intense temperature starts to cook the volatile compounds within.

Once free of the field it smacks into the wizard's chest as a hot, partly molten blob of metal.

One which neatly..gently..falls right in between the wizard's feet.

And explodes.


Phoenix nearly gets a whole second of astonished relief when the weapons fall.

But ah, alas— of course half of them are just were-things freeing up encumbrance.

Why wouldn't they be?

"Goddamnit," she quietly exhales. As if the swear were an imperative, the bullets and glass fall when the last syllable leaves her lips; clearly, it's time to move on to Plan A (so named because, while finding a non-violent solution in which the occult fascists quietly surrender and disarm would be wonderful, and is always the first move in a conflict, this is Jean Grey's third time living the superhero life; she knows where to put the bulk of her planning resources) and try to keep things—

— 'terrible force'?
'Furious retribution'?
'Unbridled femininity'?
'Verily'?

Who— actually—

Oh, the woman with the goat and the armor who's beaming through a firefight— of course.

<You're very sweet, but I have a scale for these things,> warmly rings between Atli's ears, <and 'terrible destruction' is, it's on the upper>

(LOOK)

<end.>

(AT)

<I'll keep>

(USSSSSSSSSSSSSSS.)

<you in mind, though,> she finishes in a hollow rattle.

<Promise…………..>

Three forked tongues.

Six yellowed eyes.

Two frozen emeralds with fire swirling through their depths.

The compulsion crept up her spine, along the edges of her psi-shields until it found a seam to drip through to make itself heard, and now— now, Jean Grey's looking at them.

And now, as the fire spiralling up from the base of her consciousness pours through her eyes and flares into the air, they're looking at Phoenix.

"'Look at you'," ripples through the air, warbling, multipled, detuned several times over despite unmoving lips. The flatness of it says everything that needs to be about what Phoenix thinks about the idea.

"At you."

"Alright."

Scales begin unwinding themselves from each basilisk in turn, glistening ribbons dancing through the warehouse as they're peeled free to reveal twitching, blood-slick muscle. Those muscles come next, fibers unrolling from multiple points to form bright red spools next to the glistening bundles already floating above the basilisks. Freshly cleaned bones crumble in a horrible domino effect until the air around the Demon Bear's chamber is thick with white dust.

Hopes and dreams, fears and motivations, loves and hates pour into the Phoenix's gullet so she can swirl them around, let them touch every bit of her palate, savor their unique notes—

— then spit them back out, giving the white cloud an anchor as it separates and solidifies into a frame for hastily woven muscle, which is dutifully rewrapped in scales.

Enough of Jean Grey escaped paralysis to make this a non-lethal experience, but it's still one that leaves searing talon marks on the walls of their beings.


Isn't this how battle always is? Calm until it's not. Chaos for the rest of it.

And right now it's just chaos.

Even with the din of battle drowning out words that doesn't stop Moonstar from hearing Tony's call out. "It's the Bear's." And then, "Don't let their claws touch you! It'll take your soul!" That's the only warning she can give as suddenly a Wolf turns in her direction and jumps!

That doesn't seem to bother Moonstar as she nimbly rolls forward and beyond its reach. As she smoothly rises to her feet a magent bow and arrow are already in her hands. That arrow sinks deep in the back of the Wolf and like a puppet with cut strings it falls. Then her gaze turns right back to the Bear and the Cheyenne begins to push forward.

Toothbender's roll into a cat person causes said cat person to *yowl* in surprise. It literally jumps, spins, and lands upon its feet in that surprise, but then it reaches for the goat, intending to steal its soul.

Two more cat types launch at Atli, who so casually leans against that column. Perhaps its that casualness that caught their attention, but either way their claw-tipped hands reach to slice and rend the skin of the Asgardian.

Rahne finds herself chased! While the Wolfen Hydra agents aren't necessarily full wolf, there's enough wolf in them to have it leap and scurry after the coppery wolf. It's fast, almost as fast as Rahne, and as the two run Rahne might notice what shadows that can be found begin to slither across the floor. If Rahne gets close to one she'll find the bite of winter coming from each dark patch and if she's even closer she'll likewise find the shadow reaching for her, trying to tangle paws up to trip.

While Tony is flying high, as it were, that doesn't stop more Wolves and Foxes from jumping at him. Listen they're just going to try and mob him and weight him down (try being the word) and should they get a purchase on the Iron Man, they surely use their claws to try and open his suit up like a tin can.

If Warren hadn't made strides to calm the people he might have been mobbed, but as it is most of the victims try to be patient. They really do try, but many hands reach out to try and touch him, his wings, just anything to make sure he's real. That they are truly saved. A few begin to openly cry in relief.

The Basilisks pause with their terrible gaze as Jean, no - the Phoenix - speaks. Their minds tremble from those weighted words and before they can do much more than gasp, they feel the wraith of the flamebird. They scream terrible sounds, up until they can't, and then they die. They would have stayed dead too if it weren't for the mercy of the actual woman, and when they find themselves reconstituted all the three can do is collapse. Their minds broken from the cruel death the Phoenix made each experience.

And while the echoes of the Phoenix still linger within the room,, the luck of another finally asserts itself. Domino's grenade launcher and then grenade gleefully ping-pong ball its way around the room, up until it hits the wizard. The robed man steps back from that strike and pause mid-gesture to look down. Upon seeing the grenade there he has one moment to say, "No!", then *BOOM*.

The wizard is no more. Without the wizard there ALL his spells collapse in upon themselves and the eldritch chains that keep the Bear confined fade out of existence.

At the same time the last chain fades Alison unleashes her light upon the Bear. It slams into its head, its body, and while it hunches protectively against the attack. For a moment, at least, then it draws upon its power and it grows. And grows. It grows taller and bigger, its head touches the ceiling of the warehouse and with that it roars.

That sound is an almost physical thing, as a chill begins to fill the air, battling against the heat that lingers from the Phoenix's presence.

And its gaze slides to all there within the warehouse, but its rage and ire are fixated for Dani, for Ali, for Warren.


Rahne…no, Wolfsbane, jumps up onto a crate. Yes, there are crates. She does so in full pelt, full speed pushing her, as another wolf she dares not engage is on her heels. She thinks she can outrun it, eyes the victims, gets THIS CLOSE to deciding to take the hit (she's already damned, what is there to lose?) when a 'crump' sound happens behind her.

Something's changed. The wolf follower is rolling on the floor, having just been hit by one of Tony's little missile packages, and she sends a prayer of thanks in his direction.

To be fair, it probably includes 'please forgive all the other stuff I've heard the press say that he does' somewhere, but hey. It's in her head, and she means well.

Dani, I can see the bear. I'm not engaged…

And she nearly trips over a shadow-wisp, the girl suddenly there as she rolls to avoid with human agility, not even missing a god damned beat as she rolls, slides, and comes up running.

And a memory of not so long ago, Rahne facing off against another bear. Yes. Wolves can kill. Though if Rahne is inside…maybe she should stick to freeing prisoners.


"Hmm, that doesn't sound right." Atli responds to Domino, furrowing her brow. But then the impossible happens. A firebird noticed her.

A FIREBIRD NOTICED HER.

Eyes wide, the voice rings between her ears as raw inspiration, and that is before it turns to the sudden, terrifying, awe-inspiring power that is The Phoenix. Pupils go wide as red light reflects upon the features of the Asgardian, and she takes this as a sign. A sign that this is her time. Her time to impress a firebird. Spoiler alert, probably not much will impress The Phoenix, but certainly her bloodline and the power of that utterly destructive force are often intertwined. And so as Jean reaches out to peel scales away and flay things standing, Atli simply cannot take up this chance to follow suit.

"YAUS!!!" She cries, and lightning dances in her eyes and she whirls on the two creature running at her, a blast of godly lightning lancing out to slam into those furred beings, cooking at them before she wades forward to lash out with her spear to finish them off.

"Lord Stark! That fool of a bear is loose! Quickly, blast it with your Anti-Bear missile!" You see, Atli has grown accustomed to the munitions of Lord Stark, and has learned he always has a missile for everything.

Right? Right.

Of course at some point Toothbender is spun around and goes careening out the warehouse entirely. Which is good for a great many reasons.

"Verily, Lady Firemind, keep singing the song of your people! It doth empower my loins with a fighting spirit yet felt on this mortal realm!"

Probably not anything anyone needed to know but that's also everything she has to say.

Another Fur-Thing enters her gaze, wait, is that a red one?! Is it mocking the visage of Lady Firemind?! HOW DARE!

But then it's gone, and into a crate, and she frowns before turning her lightning on another, more visible target.

Really, Team Laserwingstar had better have some better ideas than Atli Wodendottir, for certainly her ideas are mostly just 'impress firebird' right now.


What was it that Moonstar had said?

-Don't let the bear free.-

And why did she tell Domino this?

Because the thought had -absolutely- crossed her mind.

It's part of the whole probability dance. Doing things which no one else expects. Doing the -wrong- things which somehow end up becoming -right- things. Neena doesn't tend to make a lot of friends this way but she's beaten the odds long enough to be down here today fighting alongside all of these people.

Maybe this will all work out somehow..?

Or maybe she just damned every last one of them.

Either way: "That's not good."

There's a lot of back-tracking away from the growing bear when Neena just happens across her fallen rifle, broken bits of glass crunching beneath combat boots while she brings the gun around and lines it up with the bear. The very very BIG bear.

"Hey Jeeean..can you please do that crazy twisted thing you just did on the lizard dudes with the nasty big rage-a-bear? Except maybe NOT put it back together when you're done?"

Whatever had happened to Alison and Warren on the astral plane is beyond Whitey's knowledge, though she knows enough about what Dani had gone through. This is why Dom starts edging her way toward the Cheyenne, intent on doing..well..SOMETHING to keep the bear from taking her again.

"I maaay have gone and done the thing you told me not to do," Neena deadpans back to Dani. "Tell me you have a solution to this."


In a room full of Hydra agents, lycanthropes, and now a cosmic Phoenix doing a death herald on the psychic plane — Alison keeps her attention forward and keyed on one thing only.

The Demon Bear. She holds her light, the output powerful but always moderated — having always to work with a limited charge, she always needs one thought back on her supply. It's a potent one, today, but her field does not store energy long to transduce it. She needs to be smart.

She needs —

— to widen her eyes as a small, EXPLOSIVE object gets lobbed into her magma-hot photon field. Oh shit. Alison doesn't even have the moment to react, much less consider taking her attack off the Bear —

— but her eyes follow the way the grenade Rube Goldbergs straight toward the robed mage, screaming at them all to not break the chain —

BOOM.

The sound doesn't hurt her — never does, never can — but Alison still startles, stares vacantly at where the mage is no longer alive — and turns an incredulous look at Domino. Fury sparks in her blue eyes, and siphons veins of red all through her light field.

Perhaps, fortunately, there is no time for her to lose her temper on her light being used to indirectly harm

Because the Bear breaks the last chain.

"Oh god!" Alison blurts out. "All eyes on the Bear!"

Because it's growing. No matter what light she spits out at it, it keeps getting bigger, and no no no — "Don't let it touch you —!"

She's not even sure if she can do anything. Not even sure if power within this realm can touch it. But she draws into her bank, and sieves her light into a cutting laser, trying to direct it straight through the belly of that beast.


"I'm!" PUNCH. "A LITTLE!" SMASH. "BUSY HERE!" MAIM. "ATLI!"

Tony Stark is less an Iron Man at the moment and more a flying ball of teeth, claws, angry lycanthropes, and nanite infused metal. One that becomes a furiously spinning ball a few moments after Neena's little 'oops' goes off on the wizard. Intending of course to fling the lycanthropes in every which direction.

Claw marks mar the armor, but even as people might watch the metal itself seems to flow in to repair the damage and he turns that glowing eyes of his helmet towards the Demon Bear. "And I do /not/ have an Anti-Bear missile."

Beatpause.

"I like lasers."

Metal unfolds from the back of the armored suit into a pair of floating autonomous beam weapon systems that suddenly light up with the bright golden light of the positive infused nanites to join beams to Dazzlers.

I mean it might just piss it off but hey. That's still something right.

"The missiles are something else." He adds as a pair of small mini-missiles drop out of the wrist launchers, streaking out to impact the ground near Dazzler.

…they don't explode. Because that would be rude.

They /do/ seem to unfurl…speakers?

Yeah. This'll be fine.


Phoenix (sans 'the') collapses to her hands and knees once there are no minds left to hold her. A vivid veil of sweat-drenched tresses hangs around the panting woman's face while ancient flames spiral into her irises. Limbs outlined in shimmering green and gold tremble in weary syncopation with her breaths, still-wide eyes bounce frantically around the ground, and yet:

There's joy in the air.

And rage, so much rage, a yawning maw echoing with hate, lined with fury, hungry for three X-Men too many. And a chill, a wintry bite invading September, sharp enough to hit bone. And the Bear,
and the Bear,
and the Bear, the hunting void, the towering snarl in the fabric of What Is.

Jean doesn't need to lift her head to know it's looking at her.

"N— not an option," she gasps for Domino. "It's— She'd—"

She'd get a taste of rage unfiltered by the psyche and soul She colonizes, and who knows what She might do then?

To Dani? To Ali? To Warren?

Not Jean, that's for sure.

Burning wings begin to stretch and unfurl from the telepath's spine. There's joy in the air; its horrific origin briefly deepens the kiss of winter clawing at her body, but the sheer improbability of it—

— the raw honesty of it—

— gives her a solid foundation to work from.

"'m not the singer here, lady," she shouts to the Asgardian disaster area, "but I can try to do something about the cold— hug everyone, keep them warm…"

With a taut smile, she lets her consciousness spread to touch those of her teammates, and— as promised—

— she tries to wrap their minds in the warm, sheltering embrace of trust, of love for the woman whose nightmare they're here to slay, of joy for spending another day - even this one, with the guns and the were-things and the Bears - with familiy and friends.

That heat radiates through the warehouse and clashes with the bitter waves rolling off of the Demon Bear is practically a side-effect.


"We've got all kinds of things, Tony," is Warren's patient answer. "Weren't you paying attention all the times you came over to the mansion?"

He doesn't spare too much time for quips, however, busy with freeing the captives as he is. Not much going on fazes him — not even Jean, who he's just used to by now — and not even Domino's bullet which ricochets too-close off the cage bars. Most of the captives, when Warren puts them down, bolt straight for the doors, wanting NO part of any of this.

Most of them.

Not everyone keeps their head when things are all going to hell. In fact, most people don't keep their heads when things are all going to hell. Often, in the chaos and terror of life-and-death situations, people panic and lose their minds completely. Often, they run completely the wrong way, even if they're instructed what to do.

Especially if, like the boy who bolts in abject terror across the floor once Warren puts him down, they're a young child.

There's a few frozen moments where Warren's blue eyes turn to follow the kid as he breaks and runs and makes a beeline straight in front of the rearing, freed Demon Bear. A few moments where there's only time for the sorts of decisions that come from someone's most basic, instinctual nature. Beyond even what Jean's linking them to share, which comes a moment after —

There's a flurry of white wings, as Warren intercepts the panicking boy in his blind run and catches hold of him, interposing himself directly between the kid and the demon.


Chaos' grip continues to hold the warehouse within its tight grasp.

The wolf chasing Rahne finds itself hit by Stark tech.

Atli calls down the lightning and clears the creatures from around herself.

Domino finds herself at Dani's side and with her question, Moonstar says grimly, "I do."

Alison Blaire fires those lasers of her at the Bear and Iron Man joins his attack to her and it strikes the Bear with a hiss and sizzle. The stench of burnt fur fills the room and the Bear roars again, this time with pain, but then the Bear's shape shifts. The furs recedes and in its place only shadow exists. Those shadows gleefully gobble up all the light, all the power, everything!

The heat hits next. Wrapping those in an embrace that's more than just protection, but of friendship and joy too. That warmth hits the cold and fog forms, causing the lines and shapes to become blurred, indistinct and while that haze takes away the sharpeness of the area one thing is for certain a child panics and the Angel responds.

He shields the boy, with body and wings, and the Demon Bear sees. It sees those white wings and a cry of triumphant rage comes from the Bear.

Like a snake it lashes out and down at Warren, but not with paw, or claw, but instead with those blighted teeth. Those yellowed fangs that drip with shadow and disease sink into those glorious white wings of Warren Worthington. As soon as they have a tight grip upon the feathers the Demon Bear straightens up with Warren hanging from its mouth, then the beast shakes its head *hard*. Back and forth and back and forth, tearing further into the feathered limbs, skin and bone and only after it tastes the blood of Warren does the Bear finally toss the man aside, to slam hard into the nearest wall of the warehouse.

Then slowly the gaze of the Bear turns to the group that's left standing.


It happens in just a few instants. All those years, it was only his agility, his skill, and some luck between him and this outcome.

This outcome — which is the crumpling of his wings between demonic fangs, in an explosion of blood and torn white feathers. Many present have seen his wings hurt before, sawn open by the hatred of bigots or shot through on various missions. This is orders of magnitude beyond any of those injuries.

When Warren hits the far wall and crumples, knocked fully out, there isn't much left to suggest the shape of wings. Mostly twisted bone, torn feathers, and splattered blood. What's left of the right wing hangs by literal threads.

At the least, the kid manages to get away in the window of time created by this diversion, scrambling in the right direction this time. Though he will probably be traumatized for life.


Danielle Moonstar's expression shines stark with shock as she stares at Warren, at those damaged wings, the broken feathers, his blood.

She'd stare longer, but some part of her forces herself to pull her gaze away from the mangled form of the Angel. She turns her eyes back to Domino, Moonstar's expression set in stone. When she speaks there's very little emotion only the strident tone of command, "Get Warren out."

"Get him out *now*.

With the directives given, Moonstar turns away from Domino, she turns away from the team and takes a step forward.

Each footfall brings Moonstar closer to the Bear and with each step her form begins to shimmer. Upon her head a winged headdress forms, in her hand a spear, and in those moments the strength of the Valkyrior walks with her.

And then with a leap the woman jumps at the Bear, a scream of promise and rage shouted at its dark form. Her spring takes her right at the Bear and then directly into the voluminous shadows that make up its belly.


It all happens so quickly. The child. The bear. Then—

"Warreeen!" comes her call of warning.

It's too little, too late. The bear snaps down onto Warren's wings and everything begins to change.

"ANGEL!!"

It's the first time Domino has ever called their leader by his codename.

It may also be the last.

"MAN DOWN!"

There isn't any time to debate the order coming from the Cheyenne beside her. Neena's not looking forward to abandoning another teammate who appears to be a high priority target for their enemy, but if Dani has a plan… A quick, hard look flashes back to Moonstar. "Don't do anything stupid."

The sprint back to the fallen Angel is paired with plenty of automatic rifle fire strung out in bursts, the albino barely worries about such pedestrian tasks as aiming prior to pulling the trigger. Those shots still find their marks, and her path toward Warren is soon made clear for her passing. It's like a switch in her mind has gone from 'whimsical crazy' to 'get shit done.' When there's a proper crisis on hand, that's when she's at her best.

A roll over one combatant has her sliding up to Worthington's side and blasting another baddie point-blank in the face before she comes to a rest at his side, reaching out to clasp one of his bloodied hands within her own.

"Stay with me, Warren. I'm getting you out of here."

A quick glance directly at the carnage cements how dire the situation is. Jeezus that's a lot of blood… He's actually -in pieces.- She hasn't had to deal with this kind of extraction in a long time, and never where she had to find a way to drape a nearly severed wing over them both so it doesn't get ripped off and left behind. Plus there's the remaining captives who are no longer going to be air-lifted out of this pit of despair!

"All of you, with me!"

Another roll of the mystical dice are made as Dom hauls Warren along and leads the civilians further -into- the facility. Should any others of the team come to assist, so much the better. One way or another, Warren is getting home.


It is not something Atli sees herself, distracted by the feeling of warmth and love the Lady Firemind has given all of them with her Firebird powers, she is ready to unleash Hel upon the bear herself.

But then she hears the words of Dani, and her head turns to see Glorywing, and her jaw runs slack and her eyes go wide.

"GLORYWING! NO!"

The man was invincible to her. She aspired to be like him day by day. It never occured to her that he might be mortal.

"Danielle!" Her spear is tossed sidelong, so that the Valkyrie might pluck it from the air and use it's magic against the shadow beast. Then, she leaps.

Sliding to a stop next to Domino, she seems terrified to touch him, but as Domino seems prepared to drag him along, she knows she can do better. Cradling his bloodied, broken frame as delicately as she might in her arms she lifts him, careful of what is left of his wings, jaw set and determined not to shed tears while there may yet still be battle.

"Do not worry Fair Glorywing," she whispers. "We'll get you home. I am sure it will all be fine. Just fine."

And then, she follows Domino, intent on seeing this mission done.


The Avengers are a unique bunch really. They are made of of all kinds of people with a multitude of talents in a vast array of fields. If Steve of Bucky where here they could come up with brilliant tactical plan to turn everything around and save the day. If Spidey was here, there would be a quick horrified quip and lots of webs, if Hulk was there there would be…well…smashing. If Jane was there it would be something involving so many portals.

Well you get the idea.

However. Who is here is none of them. Who is there is Tony Stark. Who is old college buddies with the person bleeding out against the wall.

This is why, right on the heels of Domino's 'Don't do anything stupid' comment, a red and gold streak /screams/ past her as Tony Stark does what Tony Stark does best.

…he has a plan of attack guys. Its attack.

In case people were wondering.

Specificly ram the shoulder of a multibillion suit of powered armor containing the world's greatest supergenious(legal status of this moniker pending) into the face of a shadow demon bear thing.

"Bad dog!" Because bears are basically big dogs. Right? "Remember me? You ate my suits. Now you can eat something else."

One arm cocks back as he brings it up, metal flowing into a foot and a half long blade. One that he intends to bring down into the lower jaw of the demon to pin it to the ground. Easier target that way. It might be noted that the strange runework on the newly formed sword is glowing with that same golden glow of those positive energy nanites that not only power Stark but were so very effective against the bear last time.

…he's dabbling again. Forgive him. Or not. I mean its not like he's gonna stop either way.

MEANWHILE!! BECAUSE STARK CAN'T HELP BUT MULTITASK!!

THe speakers around Dazzler begin to thump. At first its soft but the music quickly spikes to a battle appropriate volume. AC/DC of course. Highway to Hell to be exact. Now most people wouldn't be able to feel the specific timbre of the music. The flowing harmonic systems that he's added in there. The crystalline matrices that lace the inside of the supertech with a special form of harmonics, almost imperceptible to the human ear. Combining, increasing, feeding off each other to create more and more powerful waves that seem to be centered on Dazzler as the debris around her beings to hum…

…yeah. This'll be fine.

Just fine.


For a time, Jean Grey's psychic communion works. And on a mind as perpeutally anxious and paranoid as Alison's, it's an anathaema.

The slight shake in her light-anointed hands gentles, and her stance girds itself, bolstered with a rare confidence she does not normally feel. For a woman who always felt on the fringes of things, and was even abandoned by her own mother — this sense of togetherness helps.

Then the rest happens so fast. Seconds, really. Warren shields a child, and the Bear tears the wings right off his body.

Alison's own attack stutters and stops, as she just stands there, quiet, stricken. No cries, no screams, nothing. Domino acts an instant before she can even unlock herself out of the shock, simply staring at all the blood.

Her eyes darken. And up through Jean's psychic link, promising love and cohesion, comes a torrential backlash, straight for the woman to feel:

Pure. Rage.

Gentle, soft-natured, self-restraining Alison Blaire — who holds everything back, everything, especially her ability — lights right up.

It is impossible to see her without visual pain, and too long a look will destroy unguarded, mortal eyes — impossible not to feel the searing heat off her photonic field, which will char flesh that comes too close.

At that instant, Stark's VERY HELPFUL tech nails down around her, and his tempered music surges out of the speakers — though oddly enough, the BOOM of AC/DC is barely heard, absorbed into her the instant it plays, as it kaleidoscopes whorling colour into her field.

Her whited-out eyes turn, taking in Domino and Atli coming to Warren's side, ushering him out. But going with them doesn't ensure an end to this. Not while that THING is still alive.

Dazzler locks eyes on the Bear, though her words direct to the others — Phoenix, Iron Man, Mirage. «Jean… Dani…» "We KILL IT."

The music builds her charge. More and more and more. Worse of all, there seems to be no end of it, no limit to her ability to siphon sound. No end to the searing light that burns from her body like an aurorae. And with a snarl, Alison hurls it all at the monster, braving against all her lifetime of cowardice to try to smash a hand down on it and burn it alive.


The comment of 'bad dog' gets Wolfsbane's attention. Not sure exactly what she did wrong, she's still kind of offput by the whole comment. Not sure if it's speciesist or just rude, but she's willing to overlook it given how little right she has for pride in the first place.

Of course the fact that she's currenly in wolf form is helpful. You don't get many wolves who're sensitive about proper nomenclature.

Angel? Oh, lord… the bear, it…the angel…how do..

Needless to say, the human mind inside the lupine body is stunned. The literal manifestation of a part of the bible who was riding along with her in the ride to get here is now, what's just happened to him, her brain fails to properly register it. But the whimper that comes out of her maw is torn from her heart, directly and without line of sight transfer.

And without fanfare, in the background where nobody would be looking, a wolf adds to the song with a background hymn of pain, the music swelling in a small way, as she prays to the sky, and the unseen stars, with wolfsong sliding wildness into the music.

Because why not, add both God and Nature to the attack, and all she can really do is pray.


Warren's cradled in Marvel Girl's arms with his folded while they escape from his groupies—

— he's curving through rings in the Danger Room; whether he knows it or not, drones abruptly crumple in his wake before they can manage a target lock—

— he's smirking through bouncing bullets from the right side of a telekinetic shutter—

— rapidly vanishing, pulled against his will into the safety of an emergency shuttle along with every other X-Man but one—

— on the Moon, fighting for her life until there's no choice but to trade it for his— for all of her loved ones'—

— bleeding, broken, wingless, dying—

The memories scream through the psyches Jean was guarding. They crash in and out of one, looping and shuffling together without reason, glomming together into a mass hi-gloss mass sapped of whatever emotional resonance they might've contained beyond horror, despair.

Guilt.

Outrage.

Get him out, Moonstar directs.
… with me! Domino shouts.

A wound in the order of things, the Phoenix murmurs between the woman's ears. An infection spreading through that which you hold dearest, She whispers.

The only moving Jean does is pushing burning tresses back and showing the Bear incandescent emeralds.

Your world is rotting, She observes, as gentle as the storm's eye. Dying, unless,

Jean Grey screams, rather than let Her finish Her argument. As her voice reverberates through the warehouse, the split threads of her consciousness coalesce with the Bear as their focus, crashing against the Demon Bear's mind in an insistent bid for entry. If the Phoenix had Her way, the Bear, the Bear's handlers, and anyone, anything too close to them would burn until even the memory of them was ash blowing on the wind—

— but Jean is willing to compromise. Just the Bear will do.

A fire builds in the black depths of the Demon Bear, growing and sharpening until it has Jean Grey's dimensions, Jean Grey's face, Jean's burning hair billowing in astral winds, and the Phoenix's flame permeating, pouring from every inch of her body. As soon as the wings - four-fold, gradually lengthening - cohere, she attempts to take flight as rage manifests in roiling flames hungry to catch and spread across psychic plains.


Dani hears her name called out by Domino, by Atli, and with Atli's call out the Cheyenne raises her hand upward and catches the spear the Asgardian sent her way.

Then she and whatever actions she now takes are lost to the darkness.

The Bear, for its part, truly picked the wrong person to attack. Its jostled all the bees and now everyone seeks to sting the demon.

While it snarls a sound of rage as Dani jumps into its shadows, it can barely do anything against the threat she poses. Not when there is a sudden onslaught of attacks to contend with-

Domino's bullets slam into the many heralds that continue to race to scamper about. Some fall, some stay on their feet, all who can continue to fight.

Tony Stark slams right on into the Bear and the Bear's head cracks backwards. If this were a normal animal it'd be dead, but it's anything but. Instead the Bear's head turns right back around and insane eyes focus upon the armored man and while it opens its mouth to bite the man with its blighted teeth, before it can Tony Stark strikes again.

That inscribed sword pierces the Demon Bear's lower jaw and the Bear finds itself caught! Pinned and in pain. It roars its pain, its anger, its own rage! One great paw comes up with a literaly *ton* of force to try and *bat* Tony away from itself.

Along with the more physical pain comes the mental as Jean Grey reaches out towards the Bear in the astral plane. When she arrives upon that psychic plane she finds the Bear there and its form is large. It rises up and spreads across the plane, a great sweeping shadow of wintery cold. A shadow that's angry. Enraged. Its crazed yellow eyes glow sharply against the darkness and within its astral self the blurred form of Moonstar might be seen. She dips this way and that, tearing portions of those shadows away from the Bear and binding them to herself. It's only as the Cheyenne senses the presence of Jean that Dani momentarily pauses.

// Don't burn the souls. I will guide them out. //

A suitable request, what with the hundreds upon hundreds of innocent souls found within the Bear's shadows.

On the more mortal plane gunfire mixes with the song of the wild wolf and the shouts of those within the room - both innocent and not - and the noise only adds to the overall clamor of battle.

The cacophony of sound that will indeed help KILL the Bear.

The light that shines forth from Alison Blaire lashes at the Bear. At the shadows that wreathe its body. The darkness twists and shivers and begins to smoke. The Bear has enough time to roll its eyes in insane anger before her final bomb drops.

All of the power that is the Dazzler's, all of her rage, slams down upon the Bear like a hammer.

And it burns.

Burns.

Shadows begin to melt away to reveal matted fur. The fur singes, smokes and then bursts into flames.

The stench of death rises from the wretched from of the Demon Bear.

And yet, the Bear doesn't roll over. Instead all of its heralds scream in rage and leap for that burning body. To be absorbed by those blazing shadows. To add their power back to the Bear.


Help is soon to show up in the form of Atli. Domino hasn't been properly introduced to this Asgardian yet (or any Asgardian!) but with the strength and care she's exercising in helping 'Glorywing' out Neena is all too happy to leave Warren in Atli's care.

Not that Dom's going anywhere. Her strength comes in providing cover fire, after all.

"The way we came in's too hot, need a Plan B! It's gonna take a -bus- to get everyone out of here…"

Then she shoots out the electronic lock of a nearby door. One which swings open to reveal a motorpool. A motorpool complete with one bigass heavily armored semi. It even looks strong enough to survive the whole damn place falling in upon itself, which..is a distinct possibility tonight.

"…Or…that…" is said in conclusion with the dip of a pale chin.

She needs more able hands. She -has- more able hands in the form of the fleeing captives eagerly trailing behind her, the Asgardian, and their poor broken icon. Gotta do this fast, though. Dazzler's about to dazzle in a way that's unfit for continued survival and Jean is looking about ready to rip the freaking universe a new one.

"Show of hands, who's driven a rig before?" The first hand up gets snap-pointed at. "You, behind the wheel. Anyone medically trained?" Two more hands go up. "You two, follow her to the back," she points to Atli, "do whatever you can." Then to a third person who seems more alert. "You, up front as spotter."

Next it's a matter of climbing into the trailer of the mighty matte black behemoth with the others, finding space where they can let Warren lay down, and finding first-aid supplies. "Let's move it people, this place is going nuclear! Everyone inside!"


Everyone inside. Everyone inside, that instruction Wolfsbane can comprehend. So shortly afterward a small redhead in a simple black onepiece is at the side of the bus, giving Domino a hopeful nod.

The whole situation has overwhelmed her. So much, so very much, she drops the act that she's part of the assault, and instead does something useful. She goes among the survivors, and helps to make sure that they're all in. With a kind word, a quiet pull where needed. She's no heavy hitter.

She is, however, nonthreatening. And if she can help, she does.

"Come oan, then. Et's goana be alright."

Onto the bus. Sit down. Put your head in your lap and kiss …uh..don't finish that.


The onrush of the heralds, and their single-minded trajectory, catches Alison's eye. Not today.

She draws on her charge and vents it explosively, a shockwave of photonic energy — aimed on them as they come too close, and violently send them back before they make communion with the Bear. Violent enough to send them straight through the walls of this place.

Light still streams from the Dazzler, who keeps absorbing as long as those speakers keep playing, and no lick of good will left to hold it back any less than what she is meant to be. What she is supposed to be, since the day she became a mutant, looking less human, and more like a woman-shaped prism, losing definition of her features and detail and humanity to an all-consuming corona of white light.

Alison knows well enough the Bear was once stopped — but that wasn't enough to finish it. It came back, and it will keep coming back, for Dani, now even for Warren, if it's not destroyed once and for all.

With no desire in this moment left to hold back, or even to care, she does what she has never before in her life attempted. Light builds lethally —

— as the Dazzler lets go, and releases her entire charge down on the Bear, bright enough to blind, hot enough to kill.


There is a sickening /crunch/ as Stark meets paw. Armor crumples inward across the arm he raises to protect himself. The tip of that blade /snaps/ off, possibly leaving the creature pinned. The claws leave gouges of discoloration in the helmet as it clips Iron Man's skull just as he ducks enough to not have it taken clean off. He flies not under his own direction into a wall, smashing concrete into powder as half the wall caves in on him.

Dust erupts up in the wake of the destruction, and most sane people would just /stay/ down after that.

Thankfully for everyone involved. This is Stark.

Dust swirls and dissipates as a repulsor blasts screams out from the cloud to smash into the side of the burning creature. Stark slowly sits up from the rubble, one arm twisted and half his faceplate actually missing.

One bright golden yellow eye stares towards the demon as he stands.

"Ow."

Is all he'll say as the armor of the faceplate flows to reform, the twisted and ruined arm shifting around to fix itself. His head leans to one side and then the other as if popping his neck.

…while internally gibbering just how close he came to dying. Because OH GOD THAT REALLY HURT THANK GOD FOR HEALING NANITES.

"HEY!" Now he sees the shadows rushing towards the bear. "THIS IS A NO SNACKING ZONE!!"

Bits blast away from his back to reform into massive floodlights, laced with positive energy the lights focus with a laser like brilliance at the shards rushing for the bear. "You can die now! If you were wondering!"


The Phoenix would burn them regardless. What a small price hundreds, even thousands of souls would be if it meant the end of a thing that shouldn't be— hundreds, thousands of souls that would go on to be recycled and reborn once freed from the darkness.

Warren would go right in there, and—

"Can you hear me?"

Jean splits the difference with taut words and flames that cling to the landscape without burning, clashing with freezing air.

"It's time to go, now," vibrates astral air. A stream of fire lances through her hand. Shafts of blinding light erupt from its core as it forms a dazzling mirror of Moonstar's spear.

"It's time to be anywhere, ANYWHERE but here— and we can help you—" The woman's eyes lid as she lets the tip of the spear touch her forehead. A few tongues of fire curl from its surface as she inhales, only to settle as a heavy sigh rolls over it.

All those memories—

— all those bittersweet reminders of the man she may have just lost because she wasn't there enough

they flow along the spear, tempering, hardening—

— until she's clutching a gleaming length of love tipped with red, raw determination.

"— but you have to trust us," she finishes, low yet loud, eyes snapping open and fixing upon the Bear's.

"You have to know," she whispers in each of their ears, "that if it hurts… it's only because you've been trapped in the dark for so long, and that I'm sorry."

Four wings spread, beat, and launch Phoenix through astral darkness, burning threads rippling out behind from the tips of each. Moonstar rends pieces of its Self away, Dazzler works to scour it from the face of existence in the firebird's stead, and their psychic teammate roars through the void, swooping and spiraling ever nearer in the hopes of driving the spear through its chest.

Of poisoning a colossus driven by hate from within, and giving the souls trapped in its depths a little succor— stinging, painfully antiseptic succor, just as warned, but an upgrade - she hopes - over being imprisoned by rage.


Atli, Domino and Rahne help to get the innocents moving. They carry the wound Angel to safety as the world within this particular warehouse burns.

Tony Stark slams into that wall, but that doesn't stop him from rejoining the fight and once more attacks the Beast. Those blasts eat into the Bear's shadows and flesh, continuing to help burn the demon..

Burn it down (for all of them) to stay alive..

Then so many things happen at once.

Actions that seal the Bear's fate.

The shockwave of energy that Dazzler releases bowls over and explosively jettisons the majority of the heralds through the walls. Most don't make it in. Most don't stand up again either.

Upon the astral plane both Jean Grey and Danielle Moonstar work against the Bear to sunder its power.

For Dani, souls alight to her like bees to the flower. She holds out both hands and filaments of white pull away from the shadows and race up upon her arms. They wrap around the Valkyrie and stay there, a cloak of shining stars. With each soul retreived the Bear's astral self begins to shrink.

Jean Grey's words do indeed reach the Bear. It causes the insane Beast to try and snap at the winged woman. It tries to claw and stab, to stomp and snarl, to rend and tear the Phoenix's astral self apart. It tries to live.

But it won't succeed. It can't.

Not when upon the physical realm Dazzler releases that lethal charge. Not when it hits the Bear full force. Not when at the very moment that its body alights like a whick of a candle, Jean Grey stabs the Demon Bear through its psychic heart. Not when Danielle Moonstar at exactly the same moment as Dazzler and Jean Grey, takes that last soul and then plants the spear Atli so bequeathed her this night.

The Bear finds itself pierced from all sides; by flame, by fire, by light, by rage, by sun-forged metal.

A shudder runs through its physical body and it has enough time to scream a sound of pain, fear, of loss. If it could speak true words it would shout NO!

NO! I want to live!

But it cannot, it has awoken the ire of too many and now their ire slays the Beast.

It dies in a great blast of cold air and as snow begins to fall within the warehouse, the body of the Demon Bear turns to ash and collapses in upon itself. All that remains is a blast shadow of its form against the wall and Danielle Moonstar, shrouded with the souls the Bear had been fed.


There is a clear sense of urgency within the semi. Domino has NO idea of what's going to happen with so much combined power being unleashed on something which is..had been..incredibly powerful in its own right. While the battle reaches a definitive conclusion the big rig is punching through a garage door and escaping out into the desert beyond, though it doesn't get far.

"Wait, hold up!"

Is that -snow?-

The warehouse continues to stand. She didn't give that outcome favorable odds. But the sound of the bear, the last sound that it'll ever make… She knows the sounds of death.

The others did it. They've slain the beast.

Still left with a -most peculiar- sensation of closeness, family, love, or whatever thanks to Phoenix's earlier efforts, Neena taps the comm perched upon her ear. "Talk to me, how're we looking in there? Got a ride waiting outside but it won't stay for long."

Frankly she hates having to wait at all with Warren's horrific injuries but leaving the rest of the team behind isn't a great way to make friends. Besides, if they're done in there then maybe they could help him -here.- Dividing forces always gets a bit sketchy.


Nothing to be done, sitting quietly with Warre…Rahne can't bring herself to call him by that name. No matter what the others call him, he's still something else, to her. Angel. Wingless angel, tattered, fallen, but still good.

For all she's been here since the start, watching, she hasn't truly been more than a cheerleader, so this time when she's sitting on the transport, waiting for help, she does the one thing she's always done so very well.

She sings, stroking Angel's hair softly. Soft voice, soft heart, but with so much on the line, she can't help but try.

Though she knows how little good it'll do. He's so badly hurt, but she offers a tune that's likely sung wrong, but with heart. And to be fair she probably learned the lyrics from listening to the Irish Rovers on the internet.

"A long time ago, when the arth was green, there were more kinds o' animals, then you ever seen. They'd run aroun' free, when th' arth was bein born, come on Angel, dinnae die on us. Ah got more songs, ye gottae hear th' rest."

Oh please, she's trying her best here.


Blinding light and heart-tempered steel leave glowing furrows of nothingness in the Bear's form.

Hateful claws and oppressive jaws rip chunks out of the woman's will.

Hair flutters, blood flies, and emotions clash until their battle's washed away with pure light.

Phoenix's eyes flutter wide open and the woman finally stands. Blood streams down trembling wrists, drips from her fingers, and sizzles into wood and gathering snow in thin, short-lived rivulets.

"Go," she states, flat and distant, staring a thousand yards through snow and formerly Bear-occupied space.

"Now," she implores. If her voice is a little louder, a little sharper, that time, it's not Domino's fault.

It's just that there's Someone Else in her ear right now and she doesn't dare listen too closely.

"I'll manage egress. We can handle clean-up," she assures while little flames lick up and down her spine.


Stark's lights starts to off as the death scream of the Bear echos into nothing. His arms lower to aim at the floor before he breathes a deep sigh. "Take that you magic bastard." A pause. "It was bastard right? That wasn't a girl bear right? I don't want to be wrong there." The man calls as he defaults to his ancient standby when dealing with stress and trauma.

Incessent babbling.

"It's gone now right? Right? No more coming back to screw with peoples heads? No more Hydra doing stupid things with it cause you know…Hydra is /really dumb/." Raising his voice there to shout at whoever is left from the multitude of hydra agents.

He continues to babble even as drones begin to spin off from the armor to make sure the building itself doesn't. You know. Collapse on any of them.

Eyes cut towards Dazzler though, the armored face not really holding much emotion but somehow conveying?

From Stark.

Someone write this day down.


Her light burns through a creature borne of little bit malice and amorphous shadow — the same creature that nearly enslaved her to its nightmares, as it had done to others, as it will do to many more. Whether the monster is truly alive or not, it matters no more to Alison, if it did at all.

It has no place in the order of things. It won't be allowed to survive.

Unsure whether she's feeling everything or nothing all at once, seething with light that she feels something transcendent of human — no more flesh, no more worries — Dazzler screams and empties her full charge, all or nothing, straight into the Bear.

In the wake of that blast (and it veins great, terrible scorch marks all through the building, pocking it through in a thousand trypophobic points of scattered laser light), the beast is ash, and Alison… is sagging to her hands and knees, shivering and cold, looking so anticlimactically human without her light field.

The thought hits her a moment too late. There were people here… she wasn't thinking —

She can't see them. Or remnants of them. No casualties?

"Is it dead?" Alison asks, in a too-small voice. "Are we done?"

Her eyes path those remaining — double-taking on Jean, before lingering only on that look Tony aims on her. She knows it all too well, and her insides twist with a reminder of horror. "Stark. I need a lift to catch up to them. Please."


The souls so carefuly carried back detach from Moonstar and fly off.

Going back to where they belong,, so that soul and body can rejoin once more.

Now comes the reality and to Tony, Dazzler, and Jean. "It's dead."

"We're done."

Then to Domino and Rahne via the comms, "We're on our way."

And with those words said this particular chapter of the Demon Bear is closed firmly shut. Never to be re-opened again.

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