Disclaimer: See Prologue
Sam Guthrie rolled out of his bed in the X-Mansion, and landed
with a thump on the floor. Ah don't wanna get up! he
thought to himself. But I gotta. Dr. McCoy's lettin' us
talk to Illyana today. He and Doc MacTaggert've had her cooped
up in the lab for days. An' when she's not there, Kitty and
Peter've got her. But darn it, the rest of us wanna know what's
He picked himself up off the floor, wrapped a towel around
his waist, and headed for the showers.
As he was using the urinal, Sam heard someone else come into
the men's room. He glanced over to the right as Bobby stepped
up to the urinal next to him. "Morning, Sam," Bobby
mumbled sleepily to him. He had major bed head. It was evident
that he'd just woken up too. "What's going on?"
Sam always hated when someone talked to him while he was
peeing, but he was a country boy, and not all that shy. "Nothin'
much, Bobby. Just drainin' the ole lizard and hittin' the
shower. How about you?" Sam shook himself off and walked
into the huge open shower.
"Pretty much the same," Bobby said, following him
groggily into the shower.
Sam hung his towel on a hook and turned the water on. He
stood back waiting for it to heat up. "We finally get
to see Illyana today. The Docs said she's in perfect health
and they're releasin' her today. Kitty said she wanted to
see the New Mutants this morning." Sam laughed as he
stepped under the water. "Kitty said she had quite a
time explaining to Illyana about what happened to the New
Mutants and about X-Force. But that was just the least of
it. Peter had to tell her about their brother and parents.
They said it nearly broke her heart."
Bobby was under a showerhead across from Sam. "Yeah,
I'll bet," Bobby told him. "But I'm glad she's alright.
She was pretty banged up when Rogue and I found her a few
days ago. She's just lucky we were out at the lake, or no
one would have ever found her."
Sam noticed that Bobby was looking at him strangely, but
he didn't really think anything about it. Bobby had been a
little distant the last few days, and he was a little weird
at times anyway. "That's what the rumors goin' round
are sayin'," Sam said. "You should hear the tales
Jubilee's spinnin'." He laughed out loud while washing
himself. "Accordin' to Jubilee, you, Rogue, and her were
out at the lake, when the demons of hell started to rain down
on the three of you. In the middle of it all, a girl fell
out of the air, and Jubilee had to save her from drownin'
while fightin' off demons. After she saved the girl she had
to pull you and Rogue's fat outta the fire, and fight her
way back to the mansion, draggin' all of you behind."
"That's a load of bull," Bobby told him. "It
didn't happen anything like that. Illyana fell out of one
of her stepping disks, and landed right on top of Rogue. The
two of them fell in and I drug ‘em out. No big deal. End of
story. And Jubilee was nowhere to be found!"
"Ah know, and so does everyone else. Heck, half the
mansion saw her standin' around at the door. It's just Jubilee.
She's gotta be the center of attention all the time."
Bobby looked like he was coming up with a million ways to
torture Jubilee. Suddenly his face lit up. ‘He musta figured
out what he's gonna do to her,' Sam thought.
"I know it. But she's going to get it this time,"
Bobby said shaking a finger at Sam. "Boy is she going
to get it," he laughed.
Sam felt sorry for Jubilee.
The guys quickly finished up their showers, dried off, and
went back to their respective rooms.
Sam pulled on a tee shirt and boxer briefs and decided on
a flannel shirt and jeans to go over it, since it was cold
A few members of X-Force and old members of the New Mutants
who had known Illyana were gathered in War Room. When Sam
walked in almost everyone was already there.
Professor X sat near the head of the table. While he already
knew all about Illyana, he had come to help his former students,
and offer advice, if asked for. Across from him were Jimmy
and Theresa. The two had never really been New Mutants, but
each had meet Illyana before-- Jimmy as a Hellion, and Theresa
while on Muir Island and as a Fallen Angel. Next to them were
Rahne and Dani, two of the original New Mutants. Ric was sitting
next to the girls, but appeared to be in his own little world.
He, like Tabitha, had only really met Illyana as a child.
Roberto was sitting on the same side as the Professor, but
near the end of the table, with two empty seats between him
and the Prof. It was evident that the seats were for Sam and
Everyone was engaged in small talk as he took the seat next
to the Professor. "How much longer ‘til ‘yana's supposed
to be here?" he asked him.
"It shouldn't be long now," the Professor said.
"Kitty asked us to meet them here at 10:00." The
clock on the wall read 9:58.
When the clock read straight up 10:00 a blinding flash of
light filled the room. As suddenly as it had appeared, it
was gone. In its place stood Kitty, Lockheed, and a tall blonde
haired girl, who was barely recognizable as Illyana.
Almost everything about her had changed. She looked the same
... but totally different. Her face seemed to be at peace,
where once they had been full of conflict. The parts of armor
that she wore were smooth, where they had once been rough.
Her whole body language had changed. In the past Illyana's
body would be constantly tense and on guard. Like she was
waiting for a surprise attack. Now it was calm and relaxed.
As Illyana looked on her past friends she smiled. No one
in the room had ever seen Illyana smile normally in all the
time they had known her.
"My friends," she addressed the group. "It
is wonderful to see you again!"
Tabitha ran into the room just as things were getting started.
"Sorry I'm late!" She said as she grabbed the empty
chair by Sam. The Professor frowned at her. "Drake froze
all of Jubilee's doors and windows shut. Then, when we were
both taking a shower, he froze the bathroom on us again!"
A few grins spread across the room. "After that, Drake's
finally getting what he deserves. Let's just say, he won't
be able to wear underwear for awhile!"
From the front of the room Kitty and Illyana were laughing
The Professor cleared his throat to get the girls' attention.
"Girls, while this is quite amusing, I think everyone
here has many questions they would like to have cleared up.
Kitty tried to stop giggling. "Sure thing Prof.,"
Illyana moved her hands in an intricate pattern in the air.
The lights in the room dimmed. Out of nothingness an image
formed. It was a scene most of the people in the room would
The image was downtown Manhattan, and demons were running
rampant. The members of the New Mutants and X-Terminators
were fighting for their lives, and to close the demon portal
and stop the invasion from Limbo. So far they had had little
luck in doing so.
"This is the night of the Inferno," Illyana told
them. "This was the night I embraced my demon side and
became the Darkchylde, supreme demon lord of Limbo."
The scene in the air changed to show Illyana in her full demon
glory, her Soul Sword held high above her. Rahne cringed back
at the scene. It was evident that she was reliving one of
her worst nightmares.
"It is also the night I sacrificed myself to save Earth
from my demon hordes." This time the scene was one of
Illyana throwing her sword into the huge portal in the air.
When contact was made the portal sucked the demons back into
itself. Illyana appeared to be sucked into it as well.
On the ground Colossus was shown peeling Illyana's armor
open. From within, he pulled out a younger version of Illyana.
"That was the Illyana you all saw in Limbo. One of my
last acts was to save the child from the hell that I had to
endure. But that child who later died of the Legacy Virus
was not me, she was not the Illyana you had known."
Looks of confusion crossed everyone's face. "What are
ye talkin' about? I held ye after yuir brother pulled ye from
that wicked armor," Rahne told her.
Illyana smiled at Rahne. "I know you did, Rahne. And
I thank you for your courage and conviction that day. Without
it I would surely be still be the monster you saw. But that
child was not me. When the X-Men first came to Limbo they
met doubles of themselves, twisted by the evil there. Those
other X-Men had become trapped, while their Illyana had somehow
been freed. But when our X-Men went, I was trapped while they
went free. The child you saved was that other Illyana. You
saved her from the hell that awaited me."
Dani spoke up. "So, where have you been all this time?"
Illyana waved her hand again. The scene was once again that
of the portal pulling the demons back to Limbo. It pulled
in close to the demon Illyana. She was evidently panicking,
casting about for something to stop her from going into the
portal. At the last instant a small stepping disk formed,
right in her path.
"I gathered every last bit of my strength and formed
a portal, blindly," Illyana explained. "I had no
idea where or when it would bring me. I just tried for someplace
As Illyana appeared to fall into the disk, the scene changed
to the lake, earlier in the week. The events played themselves
out just as Bobby had told Sam earlier. Illyana fell on top
of Rogue and landed in the lake. Bobby saved the two women
and brought them into the mansion. Illyana was no longer a
demon though, she was a normal girl, but badly hurt. "Somehow
I had turned back completely human, for the first time in
Yet again the scene changed, this time to the med-lab. Everyone
could get a better look at the condition Illyana was in after
her ordeal. She was hooked up to several IV's and medical
monitors. Her body was bruised and battered. The Soul Sword
appeared out of thin air above her. They all watched as the
medical equipment unhooked itself and the unconscious girl
reached out for the sword. When her hands connected to it
a blinding flash filled the War Room. As everyone's vision
cleared they saw Illyana as she was today. Fully healed and
the demons of her past exorcised.
"Um, Illyana," Sam said. "Just what in tarnation
did we just see?"
Kitty laughed at Sam's colloquialism. "You saw my redemption,"
Illyana told him. "You witnessed the external manifestation
of my internal war." She grinned at the confused looks
everyone wore. "When I acted selflessly in defense of
the world my magikal powers started to shift away from the
Black Arts. For the first time I had done something that was
truly selfless. I would gain nothing from doing it. In fact,
as you saw, I was going to be sent back to Limbo, my own personal
Hell. This act led to my redemption. I could finally break
free of the evil influences that had corrupted my soul as
a child, and I did. I cast away the darkness inside of me,
and embraced the light."
Rahne was openly weeping tears of joy. "Yuir no longer
the unholy Darkchylde?" she asked.
Illyana walked to the Scottish girl and embraced her. "No,
Rahne. The Darkchylde is gone forever." Illyana was crying
with her. "At long last I am truly FREE!"
Jimmy interrupted the girls. "But doesn't Limbo have
the power to corrupt you again? Isn't your mutant power connected
Illyana grinned at Jimmy. "That problem has been taken
care of," she told him.
She left Rahne's embrace and approached the front of the
room and stood next to Kitty. "I am going to take you
all on a small trip." Illyana grinned as shining circles
enveloped everyone in the room.
When the circles disappeared everyone had been transported
to the middle of a forest glade.
"Everyone, welcome to Limbo," Illyana said.
The glade that the group had been transported to was no ordinary
clearing. Flowers were in full bloom everywhere. Small fairy
creatures flew through the air, sending sparkling trails of
dust behind them. Lockheed flew in the air after them, playing
a game of chase. A small babbling brook flowed through the
edge of the clearing.
The group was fascinated by the changes in Limbo. "This
sure isn't the nightmare realm Illyana sent the Hellions to
a few times, that's for sure," Jimmy said.
"No," Illyana said. "There have been more
than a few changes since my metamorphosis." Out of the
forest stepped a small gnome smoking a long corncob pipe.
"And here comes one of the most pleasant ones."
The gnome bowed when he reached Illyana. "G'day mistress,"
his deep bass voice said. "How are you and your friends
this fine day? Is there anything I can do for you?"
Illyana bent down to speak the gnome. "We are doing
absolutely wonderful, S'ym," she told him. "Just
set up everything like we discussed earlier."
When Illyana said the gnome's name most of the group's jaws
"Th ... That...," Sam stuttered. "You mean
ta tell me, that's S'ym?!?"
Kitty was laughing so hard at his reaction that tears were
coming from her eyes.
The small gnome walked over to Sam. "H'llo Mr. Guithre.
It's a pleasure to see you again," he told Sam. "I
do hope you've gotten on well over the years."
Sam was too flabbergasted to answer.
Illyana took Sam's hand in her own. "I told you, Sam.
Limbo has been taken care of." S'ym headed off into the
Roberto was still confused. "What happened to this place?"
he asked. "This is nothing like Limbo."
"'berto, Limbo is a reflection of Illyana's soul,"
Kitty explained. "Ever since she became its Mistress
it has been a part of her. For years the rulers of Limbo have
been weak and had little control over it. But once Illyana
reappeared back in the time stream it became hers again."
At this point Illyana interrupted. "And once my soul
was cleansed of evil, so was Limbo. Its inhabitants became
as pure as I am. The evil taint has been washed away. So,
as you can see, I am no longer in danger of being corrupted
Dani spoke up from the ground. She and Rahne were sitting
in the flowers. "What do you plan to do now, Illyana?
Are you going to join an X-Team?"
With a gesture and some muttered words Illyana caused a few
chairs of flowers to grow from the earth. She and Kitty took
their seats while everyone else stared in amazement. Slowly
a few others sat down. Rahne and Dani stayed on the ground.
"Actually," Illyana told them, "I don't plan
on joining any group."
"Well, Lass," Theresa said, "We'd be honored
to have ye join up with us."
"Thank you, Siryn. You don't know how much that means
to me," Illyana said to her. "But I plan on studying
with Dr. Strange." Lockheed chased a rather large fairy
into the gathering. "There is a lot I don't know about
my magikal powers, and he has asked me to become his Disciple.
It seems my cleansing made a big splash in the magikal world,
if you will. He was immediately aware of my transformation
and came to speak with me soon after."
"Wow," Ric said. He remembered the time X-Force
required the assistance of the Sorcerer Supreme with Shatterstar.
"That's pretty big time in the magic game."
"Yes, it is," Illyana answered. "He has evidently
been keeping an eye on me for years. Ever since we met when
Rahne and ‘berto were possessed with Cloak and Dagger's powers.
At the time, he didn't feel that I was ready for his teachings.
He felt that I had to confront the turmoil in my soul on my
own. But now that the evil is gone he wishes to teach me further."
"When do ya start this training, or whatever it is?"
"Whenever I am ready," Illyana answered. "But
I will probably do so in a few days. I need some time to rest
and reacquaint myself with my family and friends."
Illyana stood from her chair. It immediately flowed back
into the ground. "But, just because I am not joining
you, do not think I won't be there for you." From out
of the palm of her hand grew her Soul Sword. Her armor enveloped
her body, and she took on a warrior's stance. "If ever
you need me, I will know, and all of my power will be at your
The others were taken aback by this display of power. They
knew that Illyana meant it, and would fight for them to her
"But enough of this!" Illyana pulled the sword
back in, and the armor disappeared. "Let's relax, talk
and have some fun. I had S'ym set up lunch for us in the forest,
and I intend to catch up on everything I missed!"
The group wandered into the forest to spend the day with
a lost friend who had come home. For the first time in her
life Illyana could relax and be herself around the people
she grew up with. She was finally able to accept their friendship,
and return it without fear of the consequences.
Illyana knew that her life would not be all goodness and
light, and that dark days would come. But she knew she no
longer had to face them alone.
I'd like to say thanks to everyone whose
read this and stuck with me. Major thanks to Luba, she's been
great. It's been fun, even though it's taken much longer to
write this than intended. And this is not the end of my writing.
More will follow at some point. Please feel free to send me
feedback. I respond to all of it.
-- Brian Newberry
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