Categories > Comics > X-Men > Eternal Flame0 Reviews
Takes place after Ultimate X-men 60. A new force with power similar to the Phoenix begins to manifest in Scott, leading to a confrontation with forces the likes of which the X-men have never faced ...
Chapter 4: Contemplation and Awakening
In the aftermath of the intrusion by Slayer and the abduction of Scott Summers, the X-men needed time to regroup and recover. There were only minor injuries with the exception of their pride, but that could be mended later. Scott was missing and was now captive by some mysterious stranger. His reasons for doing so were still unknown, but Professor Charles Xavier was doing what he could to get some answers.
With Jean now resting from the ordeal and the rest of the team suiting up, the Professor spent the next several hours with Cerebro trying to search for any traces of the mutant warrior or their missing leader. But as he had expected, Slayer had covered his tracks very well.
So instead, the Professor was trying a few 'friendly' contacts. But so far that wasn't much help either.
"A guy in a samurai costume firing off magic mojo and speaking in riddles? Honestly Xavier, I think that big brain of yours is starting to fly south," said General Nick Fury of SHIELD, who was speaking through Cerebro's communications hub via direct video feed.
"General, why would I make this up?" said the Professor, growing more frustrated, "One of my students was abducted! And under our own roof, no less! Say what you will about my character, but I know what I saw and so do my students."
Nick Fury didn't look swayed by the Professor's impassioned words. If anything, he looked outright annoyed. Xavier was not his favorite person in the world to say the least and their history was rocky at best. So naturally, he didn't take this matter all that seriously.
"Look Xavier, I've got my own problems here at SHIELD, but I can assure you that if there was some guy running around like a prop from an anime convention, we'd know about it. And to my knowledge, no database has a record of anyone even close to that description."
"I feared as much," sighed Xavier, "But is it possible to get some assistance? Perhaps Thor would know something about this matter since it pertains to the mystical."
"Professor, as much as I'd like to help, we're a little busy here trying to deal with terrorist, aliens, and mutant uprisings all over the world. We're overextended as it is. And last I checked Thor was busy somewhere with the Fantastic Four."
"But one of my students is missing!" he reiterated in a strong tone, "Does that not warrant any kind of suspicion?"
"Officially...No. But unofficially, I'll have a little chat with Thor when he gets back. Maybe he'll know something, but I doubt it. Until then, you're on your own Xavier."
That was the exact opposite of what he wanted to hear. Scott was missing and in the possession of a warrior who had beaten them all. That didn't leave them at any sort of advantage and without the help of SHIELD or the Ultimates his team would be left handicapped.
"Very well, General Fury. I understand," said the Professor in low tone.
"Good. Then this teleconference is over."
The large projection screens of Cerebro powered down as the link was cut. A heavy feeling of defeat fell over the wheel chair bound man as he rolled himself out, meeting up with Logan who was waiting right outside.
"I take it he didn't listen," he said with a grunt as he walked alongside the Professor.
"No. And I can't say I blame him. Like it or not, what we encountered was anything but ordinary and you know as well as I do that such matters aren't Fury's specialty."
"In laymen's terms, we're shit outta luck," summarized Logan.
"In a matter of speaking, yes," conceded the Professor, "But what about the others? How have they been holding up?"
"With the exception of Jeannie, not too bad. No major bruises, no heavy injuries, not even a broken bone. Just some major soreness and a bunch of mortally wounded egos."
"That's good to hear, I suppose," said Xavier as they entered the hanger area, "But I'm afraid it doesn't lend any answers. Although it does pose a few interesting questions."
The whole team was suited up for combat and clamored around the Professor, expecting to have a location and a name of who this guy was and where he was keeping their friend.
"So what'd he say, Professor?" asked Bobby, all ready in his ice form.
"Nothing too helpful, I'm afraid," reported the Professor, prompting an orchestra of groans.
"Oh man, you've gotta be fucking kidding me!" exclaimed Dazzler, "How could some magic spewing samurai escape what's SUPPOSED to be the most powerful law enforcement service on the face of the planet?!"
"I don't know, Alison. But Fury told me that he had no knowledge of him and I whole heartedly believe him."
"Vhat makes you say zhat, Herr Professor?" asked Kurt curiously, "Last I checked, ve aren't exactly on SHIELD's A-list."
"Yeah, for all we know they could be covering something up like that Weapon X mess," said Ororo, sounding a bit more militant.
"It's plausible, but doubtful," replied the Professor, "I know Fury to be a lot of things, but I hardly believe that he would go so far as to condone abduction, no matter how much he dislikes us."
"Then who could be behind this?" asked Piotr, "If it's not SHIELD or Weapon X, who could have sent that strange warrior?"
"Hey, maybe it was those Fenris guys who kidnapped Rogue!" exclaimed Bobby.
"Ha! You wish," muttered Kitty, earning her a scold from the Iceman.
"I understand your suspicions, Iceman. But no, I highly doubt they would be behind this. Fenris is just a corporation out for money and power and after our last encounter I highly doubt they would want anything to do with us."
"So where does that leave us?" inquired Warren.
"Where do ya think? Square fuckin' one," answered Wolverine bluntly.
It wasn't very uplifting, but this ordeal was unlike anything they had faced before. One of their own was gone, SHIELD wasn't going to help, and they had no information on who was behind this. Needless to say, this didn't leave the team with many options.
"So what's our next move, Professor?" asked Ororo.
"That's just it. I'm not sure," said the Professor with a sigh, "I have no information on who this intruder is or where he's escaped to. I've called all the possible allies I can think of and we still have nothing to go on."
"So that's it? We're on our own?" said Bobby, not feeling to confident about this predicament.
"Unfortunately, yes. For now, all we can do is keep an eye on Cerebro for any signs of mutant spikes. I doubt we'll find a trace of that warrior, but hopefully Scott will show up. And only then will we be able to..."
"That's not acceptable, Professor! And you damn well know it!" came a sudden voice from the entranceway adjacent to the Cerebro corridor.
The Professor and the others were met with the appearance of a very irked Jean Grey. Clearly, she was angry, frustrated, and anxious about this whole mess. And giving her powers, that was not a good thing. But Phoenix or no Phoenix, she wasn't about to just keel over when the man she loved was missing.
"Jean! What are you doing out of the infirmary?" exclaimed Xavier, sensing her instability.
"I'm fine, Professor! Just dandy!" she spat in response, "My boyfriend's out there missing and you expect me to just hole up in some bed?!"
Jean's whole body suddenly flashed in a fiery burst of Phoenix flames, causing everybody to take a weary step back.
"Jean," said Ororo in a calm tone, "Maybe you should..."
"I'm fine, damn it!" she yelled, causing more flames to erupt, "I'm just a little angry about my boyfriend being abducted while we just sit here waiting for our piss to dry!"
"Whoa there, Jean! Take it easy!" said Kitty, remembering all too well how she had nearly lost control like this during the whole Mojo affair.
"Yes...Listen to her, Jean," said the Professor, using his psychic powers to send calming sensations to the young redhead's mind, "Remain calm. We WILL find Scott. But you'll be no good to him in this current state. You must remain strong!"
With those words echoing through her mind, Jean took a few deep breaths and reasserted control over her being. It took some effort, but the flames died down and she regained her sense of balance. While she wasn't sure what that warrior did to her, it had seriously affected the Phoenix, leaving her all the more shaken about what was going on here.
"You're...You're right," she said, still breathing hard, "I'm sorry, I just..."
"Hey, it's okay," said Ororo as she stood by her friend's side, "I know how rough it can when you fear for a loved one's safety."
"Yeah, and look how that ended," muttered Bobby under his breath, remembering what happened with Beast.
Professor Charles Xavier was at a loss. Dealing with Scott's abduction was hard enough, but dealing with Jean's volatile powers as well was more than his team could handle. She was clearly concerned for Scott, but it was the impact that had been left on her psyche that was really beginning to worry him.
"So what exactly is our, plan?" asked Jean, finally feeling calm enough to be serious.
"For now, we can only go on what we know," said the Professor.
"Yeah, there's a stretch," muttered Logan.
"Yeah, what exactly do we know, Professor?" asked Piotr, "You said it yourself, we know nothing of this man who abducted Scott."
"Not entirely, Colossus," said the Professor, as he began to ponder this matter more critically, "Think about it...What did we learn during our fight with him?"
"Well for one, we learned that he could kick our collective asses," said Alison, still rubbing her eyes from the effects of the blinding reflective move he had pulled.
"Yes, but aside from that I think there's more to it," Xavier continued.
"Vhat do you mean?" asked Kurt curiously.
"Well for one, as skilled as this man was, he went out of his way to ensure that he didn't harm any of us any more than he needed to. That alone says he wasn't here to fight."
"Yeah, come to think of it he did keep trying to talk us out of fighting," recalled Warren.
"But we just HAD to ignore him," groaned Bobby.
"Indeed, but it just goes to show that he's wasn't acting out of sheer belligerence. He had clear a reason for being here."
"Yeah...Scott, to be precise," said Jean, that detail sticking out the most for her, "He wanted him and no one else. We were just in the way."
"Exactly! And in addition, he took Scott alive. He didn't hurt him. He just neutralized him."
"What makes that so special?" scoffed Logan.
"Easy Wolverine, he wanted him unharmed," reasoned Colossus.
"Which is reason enough to believe that wherever they are now, Scott is still alive and well," said the Professor assertively.
Such words did offer some hope to the team. Thinking back to how the warrior carried himself, it really did seem as though he didn't want to hurt anybody. It was a curious matter, but it didn't bring them any closer to finding him.
"Is that all, Professor?" inquired Ororo.
"At the moment...Yes," said Xavier, much to the team's dismay, "But given that this intruder seemed to be in such a great hurry, it's logical to assume that he'll make his move soon. So from this moment on, I ask that you all remain on standby."
"Even us?" asked Warren, knowing that they were still on probation.
"Yes, even you two," said Xavier, "Because I have a feeling that we'll need to act in full force should we..."
Then, before the Professor could finish, an alarm went off from back down the hall in the main chamber of Cerebro. Everybody was startled out of their disheartened states, not expecting to hear that noise so soon. And from the sound of it, something major had just come up.
"Professor!" said Kurt over the noise, "Vhat's going on?"
"It appears that Cerebro has picked up Scott's signature," said the Professor as he quickly wheeled himself back down the hall with the others following close behind.
"Scott?" exclaimed Jean, "So soon?"
"Let us hope so, Marvel Girl. But be ready to move, X-men. Something tells me that we may not have a lot of time to act."
Scott Summers wasn't sure where he was or what was going on. He was in a state between consciousness and unconsciousness...Between the world of reality and dreams. His memory was fuzzy, his body was paralyzed, and his whole mind was reeling.
Then suddenly, a cold bucket of water was splashed over his face, abruptly waking him from his dazed state.
"Time to get up, Mr. Summers," came an unfamiliar voice, "We've got work to do."
Still feeling his ruby quartz visor on his face, Scott opened his eyes and got a glimpse of the mysterious figure hovering over him. It took a moment for his vision to clear, but when he saw who it was the memories came rushing back to him.
"Bingo," said Slayer as he stood before the woozy young man, "Sorry for the wake up call, but we're kind of strapped for time here so we best get started."
"Started? With what?" said a still drowsy Scott.
"Why...The ritual, of course."
Scott didn't like the sound of that as he was bolted back to reality. But as soon as he tried to get up off the hard floor, he realized that both his wrists and feet were bound by metal shackles. Looking around, he saw that he was in some sort of temple complex. There was a large opening above him and a circular pentagram on the stone floor that he was lying on. All around him, he saw what looked to be Egyptian hieroglyphics and numerous torches illuminating the area in an eerie glow.
It was not a comforting scene, but what made his predicament all the more worrisome was the fact that whatever this place was, it seemed to be an altar or sacrificial chamber of sorts. And he was right in the center of it.
"Err! Damn it! What's going on here?! What is this?!" demanded Scott as he struggled with the shackles.
"Relax, Scott. It'll all be over soon," said Slayer in a calm tone as he lit a few more torches on the side and stood before a stone pedestal, "You're going to be okay. You just have to trust me on this."
"Trust you? Trust you?! You've got me chained to the damn floor!" yelled Scott.
"I'm afraid that it's a necessary measure, my friend," said Slayer as he ran his hands over a few engravings in the stone, causing them to glow a mysterious bluish color, "I know it's uncomfortable. But don't worry, it won't be for long."
Scott kept on struggling, but the more he tried the more he wore himself out. Slayer was pushing himself to work a little faster as he saw Scott's growing agitation. While he could hardly blame him, this ritual had to be done. And if he didn't go through with it, then somebody much worse would.
"Err! My friends will come for me!" yelled Scott in a fury.
"I know. They're already on their way," said Slayer ominously.
"What?! But how do you..."
"Easy, I can see them," said the mutant warrior as he looked back at the young man with his glowing all seeing eye, "At the moment, we're in an old temple that I had to raise from the sands in southern Egypt. Nobody knows about it, but it's got no psychic shielding so naturally you're buddies are on their way, which means that I'll just have to work faster. So please, stop struggling. You're going to need your strength."
Scott was growing very anxious about where this was leading. His heart rate went through the roof as he watched the mysterious mutant warrior walk over to him and paint a strange, bird-like symbol on his bear chest. Bearing only the bottom half of his uniform, his tracer and communicator were gone and he was at this man's mercy. But regardless of his predicament, he couldn't help but be a little curious.
"What are you doing? Why am I here?" asked Scott, sounding a bit calmer as he struggled to keep his thoughts in order.
"There's...No real easy way to answer that question, Scott. But I'll try," said Slayer as he returned to the stone podium, "Just answer me this, have you been having any strange dreams lately?"
His eyes widened and a cold feeling fell over him as he looked back into the penetrating gaze of the mutant warrior. He didn't want to believe that there was anything significant about those dreams, but now he knew that was not the case.
"How...How did you know about that?!" he demanded.
"I saw that too," said Slayer, the mark over his eye glowing a bright yellow once again, "My all seeing eye can see pretty much anything regardless of distance, time, or obscurity. And you're current predicament is no exception. In fact, I got my first glimpse of it last night, so don't think I've been asleep at the wheel here. I'm just trying to make sure that what happens next doesn't lead to the end of all life on Earth."
Scott wasn't sure what to make of this, but he found his thoughts drifting back to his most recent dream where he was hovering over charred fields of death and hearing that mysterious, yet powerful voice call out to him. But Slayer wasn't done yet.
"I know about the things you've been dreaming, Scott. I know about the voice, the power, and the destruction that you bore witness to with your mind's eye. And I'm sorry to be the one to have to tell you this, but...Those dreams aren't exactly dreams, per se."
"Yeah, somehow I figured," muttered Scott, not feeling much better about it, "So then what are they?"
"Visions," answered Slayer in an ominous tone, "Visions of something that has been dwelling within you since the day you were born."
"Visions? Visions of what?!" demanded Scott.
Slayer knew this was going to be hard for Scott to believe, but given the powers at work here this kid deserved to know the truth even if it bordered the realm of impossibility.
"Think about it, Scott Summers," said Slayer as he cast an enigmatic gaze upon the young man, "Think back to those dreams. In them, everything is full of fire, destruction, and raw, unabated power. Forces that the human mind can't even begin to contemplate rest within the palm of your hand, all guided by nothing more than your own whim."
Scott grew entranced by such words. As impossible as it seemed, he knew he was right. The vivid way he described the unparalleled power was just too accurate. It sent a chill up and down his spine, but at the same time it heightened his curiosity, for maybe this guy could finally give him some answers.
"But...What is it?" asked Scott intently..
"Not what...Who," replied Slayer cryptically, "In those visions, I know you also heard a voice...One that you've never heard before, yet you feel you know deep down."
"Voice...But...How do you know all this?!" said Scott, who was seriously beginning to freak out here.
"I told you, Scott. I can see it. I can see all of it. There isn't a lot I can't see with the power I wield. You see, like you I am a mutant. I have the power to tap physical and metaphysical energy. Hence, I am not only very strong, but I also have great aptitude in the mystic arts. And it's that knowledge which has led me to you."
Slayer diverted the young man's attention to the ancient hieroglyphs on the walls. They all looked relatively fresh for ancient text, but being buried in the sand must have preserved it. But what intrigued him more was the subject matter of these strange pictograms, many of which seemed to center around a fiery bird.
"In the days of Ancient Egypt, there were a plethora of gods and goddesses that were worshipped from the old kingdom all the way up to the Roman era," explained Slayer as he ran his hands over some of the ancient text, "But among all those gods who made up the vast mythology of the Nile, there was on God at the center of it all. It was known as Re, the God of the sun. To the ancients, it embodied the fundamental power of life. However, this power was but a force. The Egyptians believed that such power could manifest in a conscious form. And the form for this power came through the son of Re, a fiery falcon deity named Horus."
Scott's whole body tensed at the sound of that name. He wasn't exactly sure why, but he felt some sort of strange connection to it. Eager to know more, he listened on.
"Horus embodied Re's power of creation and destruction," continued the mutant warrior, "He was manifested in a part man, part falcon form. He wielded the ability to create, destroy, and nurture the cosmos as he saw fit. His power was derived from the life giving power of the sun, not at all unlike your photoconcussive blasts. And in the ancient world, Horus garnered a great deal of reverence amongst the Egyptians and many other ancient cultures."
"I still don't see what this has to do with me or my visions," said Scott, who just wanted answers.
"Oh, it has everything to do with your visions, Scott. You see, in the mythology of the ancient world, people believed that gods could manifest in mortal vessels. A figure that best embodies the spirit of the god connects with the entity on a deep metaphysical level that extends to the mind, body, and soul of the being. And in this very temple, the Egyptians conducted rituals based on the premise that one day...A mortal man would enter this world and manifest the power of Horus. And even though it's taken thousands of years, that day has finally come. Because that being...Is you, Scott Summers."
Scott's eyes widened underneath his ruby quartz glasses and started to struggle with his chains again. This was crazy. He wasn't a vessel for some ancient god. He was just some kid. Granted, he was a kid who bore some unique talents, but what Slayer was talking about was ludicrous. There's no way it could be true...Could it?
"You're crazy! You're fucking crazy!" spat Scott, trying hard to break free, "You think I'm some shell for a god?!"
"Is it really so hard to believe, Scott?" said Jack, laughing somewhat as he returned to the altar, "After the dreams you've had and the feelings you've felt...Oh, and who can forget that little incident in the danger room."
"Because this thing is a part of you, Scott. It's more a part of you than you could possibly imagine. It's been brewing inside you...A link with this divine consciousness. A part of it has already manifested. How else does a guy survive being thrown off a cliff and stranded in a gorge for three weeks straight?"
Scott was silenced as the memories of the Savage Land came rushing back to him. Logan had left him for dead just so he could steal Jean again, but somehow he survived. He almost went mad. His memory of the whole affair was fuzzy, but somehow he managed to heal from it with no ill effects. Even Magneto's doctors were surprised.
It had always been a mystery to him. But it was finally starting to make sense.
"Horus saved you. A part of it merged with you when you were on the verge of death. How else do you think you healed so quickly? And how else could you have pulled off that danger room stunt. But you shouldn't feel alone. After all, isn't your girlfriend, Jean Grey, a vessel of the same kind for the Phoenix?"
The mere mention of Jean and the power of the Phoenix struck a chord with him since he had seen first hand how it affected her. It allowed her to disintegrate an entire nuclear power plant, fry the Hellfire Club, and even kill two anti-mutant soldiers from Weapon X. He had witnessed such powr the knowledge there was more than one force like that didn't sit well with him to say the least.
"The Phoenix..." Scott found himself repeating, that word having a deeper meaning now.
"Yes, and believe it or not, she's a part of this too...A big part," said the mutant warrior as he gathered the final supplies, "But that's a story for another time. Right now, we have to proceed."
"Proceed? With what? What the hell are you going to do to me?!"
"Relax Scott, I'm not going to do anything that isn't going to happen on it's own," coaxed Slayer as he took out what looked to be a brilliantly carved figurine of Horus, "You're visions are just a sign and eventually you will manifest the full power of Horus in the same way Jean Grey manifested the power of the Phoenix. But unfortunately, we're going to have to rush that manifestation."
"Rush it?! Why?" yelled Scott, now struggling once more.
"Because if you don't, then somebody MUCH worse will and we can't allow it to happen. So in that case we're going to have to speed things up. The power of Horus must manifest in its proper body. And with this ritual, I'm going to make sure it happens before it's too late."
"No!" grunted Scott, still fighting to break free.
Slayer ignored his frantic struggling and placed the amber figurine in a special slot. Suddenly, it started to glow and Scott could feel a cold wind blowing through the massive chamber. His heart rate shot up and his breathing became ragged. He could feel something deep inside him starting to grow. The fire, the power, the destruction...It was coming to him.
"Don't worry, Scott. It'll all be over soon," said Slayer as his hands began to glow along with the figurine, "You're friends are almost here, so I'll have to act fast. Just try to relax. Let the power of Horus come to you."
"No! I won't!" struggled Scott, his whole body beginning to shutter violently.
Ignoring his words, Slayer began a mysterious chant in a language Scott had never heard before. The circular area where he was chained to was beginning to glow a fiery yellow and everything around him was now burning with the great power of the ancients.
Then he heard it...That deep, powerful voice calling out to him. Only this time, it was so close that he could feel it's breath on his face. And as much as he struggled to fight it, a part of him couldn't help but embrace it.
"Scott...It is time."
"Yes...Horus. I can feel you. I...I...AHHHHHHHH!"
Not far from the temple, the X-jet towards the powerful signature that the Professor had given them. Everybody minus the Professor was present for this one, even Warren and Dazzler. They were still on probation, but against a force like this they would need all the help they could get.
Jean was also there much to the dismay of the Professor. He didn't like the idea of her partaking in a mission like this in her volatile state. But nothing he said would stop her from saving her boyfriend, even if it meant dealing with the Phoenix again.
"How much further to this place?" asked Bobby, looking out through the window and seeing nothing but desert, "All I see out there is sand, sand, and more sand."
"Cool your jets, Iceman. We're almost there," grunted Logan, who was trying to fly the plane that only Scott and the late Hank McCoy had been capable of handling.
"We better be because I've got a very bad feeling about this," said Ororo, who was forced to hang onto her seat as they hit a little turbulence that Logan was unable to avoid.
"That makes two of us, Ro," said Jean, suddenly clutching her head.
"You okay, Jeannie?" asked Kitty, who was sitting next to the distraught redhead.
"I'm...Not sure, Kitty," she replied, "I...Argh!"
Suddenly, her body flashed in the fires of the Phoenix, causing her to let out a pained groan that drew everybody's attention. They knew that she was in a volatile state, but now was NOT the time to have her Phoenix powers act up again.
"Wow there! Take it easy Lady Exorcist!" said Dazzler, "We don't need you going critical on us now."
"No...It's not that, I..."
Suddenly, the expression on her face changed. Her body was still glowing, but it was as if she was sensing something that the others couldn't. It wasn't causing her pain or discomfort, but it definitely had an effect her.
'I...I can feel it! So powerful...So strong,' she thought as she was struck with something that went beyond human understanding.
"Jean! Jeannie!" yelled Logan.
"Come on, Jean! Snap out of it!" urged Piotr.
But she remained in this state, dazed yet focused on what she was sensing. It was hitting not just her, but the Phoenix as well. And through it, she managed to make out a single name.
"HEY JEAN!" yelled Bobby, finally jolting the redhead out of her state.
The glowing around her body stopped, but she could still feel it in her head. This vast power was drawing near and Scott was at the center of it all.
"Jean..." said Kurt, growing increasingly weary of his friend.
"He's just up ahead!" she said, no longer sounding dazed, "I can feel him! Something's happening! Logan, take the jet down!"
"With pleasure," he grunted, having had enough of flying this crazy thing as he descended to the sandy desert below, "Hold onto your butts! Looks like we may hit a dust storm!"
The visibility outside dropped to zero as the X-jet plowed through a thick cloud of sand and dust. Everybody held on, feeling several jolts and shutters from all around the plane. And when the sight before them cleared up, they got their first glimpse of the mysterious temple where their friend was currently trapped.
"Mien Gott!" said Kurt as he and the others took in the site before them.
"Wow! Where the hell did this place come from? Professor, are you getting this?" asked Ororo through the com link.
"Yes, I'm sensing it through Cerebro," reported the Professor, who was back at the mansion using all the computing power at his disposal to guide his team, "And near as I can tell, this area was supposed to be desert wasteland."
"Well looks like somebody did a little renovating," said Logan as he landed the plane and killed the engines, "Come on guys! Let's go pay Mr. Samurai a visit! Something tells me that when we find Cyke, he'll be right there waiting!"
"Great," said Angel in a rather pessimistic tone, "Maybe this time, we can put up more of a fight."
As they all stepped out, they got a clear view of the true size of the temple. Compared to other ancient structures that they saw on post cards and documentaries, this thing looked brand new. But what made it stand out the most was a swirling circle of fire radiating from the top. And knowing their luck, that's exactly where they would find Scott.
"Dude, did we just stumble into an Indiana Jones movie or something?" commented Bobby.
"Looks like it, Iceboy," said Dazzler, not looking too impressed despite the impressive grandeur of the structure.
"Then strap on your cowboy hats and grab your whips, kiddies! Cause we're goin' in!" grunted Logan, eager for a rematch with the young warrior who had bested him.
As they all made their way in, Jean hesitated for some reason. She stood there transfixed on the circle of fire above the temple, feeling as though it was calling out to her. She could still sense this great power that was focusing itself on Scott. The Phoenix force was greatly stirred by this, but the urgings of her friends kept her from contemplating it any further.
"Come on, Jean! Let's go!" yelled Ororo, who led the back with Logan by her side, "We have to get Scott out of there!"
"Scott...Yes," she said, still somewhat dazed, "My love. Scott...Horus."
"JEAN!" yelled Piotr, grabbing her arm and forcibly breaking her current state.
It took a moment for her to collect her thoughts, but she managed to get a hold of herself and followed the others.
"I'm coming! I'm coming!" she shouted as she took to the air with her telekinetic powers and caught up with them.
Halfway around the world, Professor Charles Xavier was also sensing something very powerful from this mysterious temple. It was a power not unlike the Phoenix, but this one was different. This was an entirely different entity. Only now, it seemed focused on Scott Summers. And whatever it was, it was beginning to manifest.
"What in God's name?" said the Professor as he watched the readings on Cerebro spike tremendously, "What is happening? What's going on out there?"
The good Professor didn't have an answer to that just yet, but something told him that he was going to find out soon enough.
As the X-men made their way through the core of the temple, Slayer was almost done with the ritual. His chant had been going on for what felt like an eternity for Scott, but whatever it was doing he was beginning to feel the impact of it.
The fire around his body was growing more intese. The power that he felt so connected to was beginning to overtake him. Through his obstructed vision, he could see it so clearly, the divine fires of the immortal deity. It was so beautiful, so powerful, and it was all focused on him.
"Horus..." said Scott, his body beginning to contort strangely as he was overcome by this strange power.
"Let there be no more barriers!" chanted Slayer, no longer speaking in an unknown tongue, "May the severed link reconnect! May the great power find its proper host! The power of Horus...Son of creation and destruction...Manifes in its rightful mortal vessel! The power of Horus...ARISE!"
And through the exposed top of the temple, the ring of fire took its final shape. And right before Scott's eyes, he saw it. It was the immortal bird he was so connected to on a level he couldn't even begin to comprehend. And at long last, it was finally going to join him. After eons of dormancy, the immortal power of Horus had finally found its home.
"Scott...It's time. Embrace me. Come to me. Let us unite!"
Then, in a brilliant glow of fiery flames, the immortal entity merged with its mortal vessel. The sound of Scott's cries echoed all throughout the room, quickly reaching the minds and ears of his teammates who were just outside the chamber.
"No...Scott!" said Kitty, worried that they were too late.
"My love," said Jean, her voice suddenly shifting again, "I...I feel you."
But she didn't have time to contemplate this any further as Wolverine drove them forward.
"Come on!" he yelled, "Let's get him out of there!"
The light was still shining brightly in the circular layout of the area where Scott was lying. The great power that had linked up with him was attaining its final form and on the altar Slayer was still standing strong, looking tired from having spent so much mystical energy, yet accomplished in that he had done what was necessary to ensure the power was in its proper place.
"Hey pal!" yelled Dazzler as they all entered the chamber in full force, "Step away from the pit or you're diving head first into it!"
As he turned around to face the X-men, the mutant warrior didn't look all that surprised. He knew he was probably going to have to deal with them again, but as usual time was against him. And if he couldn't reason with them, then he'd have no choice but to fight them again.
"X-men...It's okay," he said, holding his hands up in a peaceable manner, "Please, let's not fight. We need to act quickly! The power of Horus must be..."
"Enough talkin' bub! We're not going anywhere until we get some answers!" yelled Wolverine in response, "Just what the hell did you do?!"
"I merely sped up what was already beginning to manifest in your friend," answered Slayer as he stepped down from the altar and tried to maintain a non-violent tone, "Your friend, Scott Summers, is the rightful vessel of a great power that is at great risk."
"Vessel? Power? What are you talking about?" said Piotr in his full metal form, ready to tear into this man if need be.
"Don't you see, X-men? I'm doing this to protect your friend! Not hurt him!" said Slayer, showing obvious signs of frustration.
"Protect him? You call this protecting him?!" yelled Bobby, "You abduct him and bring him to this creepy place only to put him through some weird sacrifice and you say that this is a safeguard of sorts?!"
"Yeah, just what are you protecting him from, anyways?!" demanded Kitty.
Suddenly, before Slayer could give them his answer, a powerful rumble shook the entire temple down to its very core. It was enough to make many of them lose their balance. The old stone structure showed signs of strain from whatever it was that had descended upon them, but before anybody could even get back up, it began to manifest right before their eyes.
"Oh shit! It's him! He's here!" said Slayer in a dreaded tone.
"Him? Him who?!" demanded Logan.
"The very being I was trying to protect your friend from...Warlord Xin."
Then, like a scene taken right out of a horror movie, all the shadows around them came to life and converged on a single spot. And through the mini cyclone of darkness and shadows a tall, dark, demonic figure took shape. He bore black armor all over his body, looking like a cross between a medieval knight and jungle warrior from the Congo. In his hand, he had an oversized sword that looked bigger than a full grown human. However, the most striking feature about this being that sent waves of chills down the spines of the young team of mutants were his sinister, glowing red eyes.
And for some, those eyes were immediately recognized much to their horror.
"Oh God no...No!" gasped Ororo, falling back towards the altar as she stared at the being before her in disbelief, "It...It can't be! It's not possible!"
"Pitiful mortals," said the demonic figure in a low, sinister tone, "I appreciate you doing the dirty work for me, Slayer. But now I think Warlord Xin shall take it from here!"
AN: Well things sure are messy now, aren't they? Not only is there a new super powered entity in town, but there's also a new villain on the block! Yes folks, a new OC from slickboy is here...And his name is Warlord Xin! He's just one of the many enemies of Slayer and you'll learn more about him soon enough! And don't forget about Scott! Now he's a medium for Horus. It's sure to create quite a stir and you'll just have to stay tuned to see how it intensifies! But in the meantime, I urge you all to REVIEW! Send them to me via email or post them on the fanfiction website! Thank you all very much for reading and I wish you all the best!
WARLORD XIN ORDERS YOU! REVIEW!!!