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 goin' on!
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
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,"
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 out again.
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 Tab.
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
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
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
"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 hard.
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.," she said.
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 never forget.
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
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 safe."
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 months."
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 to it?"
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 dropped.
"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 forest.
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 by Limbo."
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
"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?" Sam
"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 side."
The others were taken aback by this display of power. They knew that
Illyana meant it, and would fight for them to her dying breath.
"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
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
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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