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 5: Dark Manifestations
The light from the center of the chamber was still glowing brightly as the X-men and the mutant warrior known as Slayer stood before the demonic figure known as Warlord Xin. His unexpected arrival had changed the stakes of the game and now it was clear that there was more to this than any of them could have imagined.
"It's nice to see you again, Slayer!" said the tyrant of darkness, standing unafraid before his nemesis.
"Wish I could say the same you overgrown jungle wart!" quipped Slayer in response as he withdrew his shining sword, "But this time you're too late! Horus is now within its vessel! You can't tap its power!"
"Oh, but that's where you're wrong, warrior," said Xin with an insidious laugh, "In fact, I think you've just helped me in my quest."
"Helped you?!" exclaimed the mutant warrior, trying to see with his all seeing eye through the darkness and deception of this very evil being, but with little success.
"Indeed...And since you brought along a few friends to the party, I think I'll reward all of you!"
The rumbling picked up and the team of mutants along with the mysterious warrior began to lose their balance again. It was a confusing moment for the X-men, but whatever was going on here it was clearly trouble.
"Whoa! What the hell is going on, here?!" yelled Bobby, practically tripping over his own feet.
"I don't know, comrade," said Piotr, finding this equally confusing, "But whatever it is, I think it's about to get worse."
"Yeah, just our luck!" grunted Alison.
Over with Ororo, however, things were much more chaotic as she kept trying to divert her gaze from the demonic figure. She was shaking her head and gasping in ragged breaths, her eyes not believing what she was seeing. It just wasn't possible. She refused to believe it.
"No! It's not him! It's not him!" she kept repeating over and over again.
"Snap out of it, Ro!" yelled Logan, his claws still drawn and ready for battle, "Come on! Stay with me! I've got a bad feeling about this."
"Wolverine, you don't know the half of it," said Slayer cryptically.
Then, as the rumbling went on, the shadows in the room came to life and out of the darkness arose large humanoid minions that bore armor similar in style to Xin's, but on a smaller scale. With no shortage of shadows, many formed and the team was soon surrounded by large numbers of imposing dark warriors, each of which bore the same red eyes as Xin.
"Now, my minions...Amuse yourselves," he ordered in a casual tone.
"Bring it on asshole! I'm ready for you this time!" yelled Slayer as he lunged forth and tore into the cluster of minions with unparalleled warrior skill.
"X-men, you know what to do!" ordered Logan, who quickly followed suit.
"But...But I..." stammered Ororo, still in a strange state of shock.
"Come on, Ro! Cover us!" yelled Kitty as she was forced to phase through several dark minions that tried to cut her down in size.
"Yeah, just do what Wolverine's always telling us to do and fight!" yelled Warren as he took to the air to avoid being labeled the first human pin cushion with wings.
Still shaking her head in disbelief, Ororo's eyes began to glow as she summoned the full force of her powers and began hitting the oncoming rush of minions with gusts of wind, coupled with a few lightning strikes. But while this and further attacks did disable a few of them, that didn't stop others from coming and swarming their position.
"Dude! These things aren't dying!" yelled Bobby as he kept trying to freeze whoever he could while being forced to dodge those who were lucky enough to get through.
"That's because they can't!" yelled Slayer as he cut through several more minions with his sword, "They're entities of the shadows! They can't exactly die per se!"
"Great...NOW you tell us!" spat Dazzler as she unloaded a barrage of bright light bursts into an oncoming crowd of minions.
The high pitched squeals of dark minions filled the chamber as the fight intensified. Bobby stuck close to Dazzler as they used their distance powers to hold back the oncoming swarm. Kitty and Kurt worked to spread their ranks, luring them out of the center of the area so they wouldn't surround and overwhelm their friends and Piotr worked to cover them the whole time when a few were quick enough to attack. Ororo and Warren stayed in the air with Ororo keeping her powers at full throttle to knock out any guards that came too close while Warren did a few swooping attacks that he had learned from Wolverine. Yet while this was all going on, Jean seemed unusually withdrawn for some reason as if she had fallen into a strange daze.
"Jean! Yo Jean! What's going on with you, girl?" yelled Kitty over the chaotic noise.
"Yeah, keep it together Jean!" said Kurt as he saw the somewhat withdrawn young woman staring aimlessly at the altar, guarded only by a telekinetic shield, "Ve need you!"
Yet the redhead didn't respond. It was as if she hadn't even heard them. All she could focus on now was the altar and the great power simmering within it.
"Horus...Scott...My love," she said in a tone that sounded both like Jean Grey and someone else entirely.
Near the altar, however, Slayer and Wolverine were handling some of the stiffest resistance. Warlord Xin didn't seem at all bothered by this. He just kept walking casually up to the altar as if it were a stroll through the park on a Sunday afternoon.
"You're not gonna win this time, Xin!" yelled Slayer as he shook off several more minions, "That power is useless to you now!"
"Ah, but that's where you're mistaken my most pestilent enemy," said Warlord Xin with an insidious grin, "For I now have everything I need right here!"
Then, as he stepped up to the stone podium, the dark warlord picked up the small amber figurine that Slayer had used in the ritual. And as he held it in his hand, his sinister red eyes flashed, for he had gotten what he had come here for. And surprisingly, it had been easier than he had anticipated.
"What the..." said the mutant warrior, confused by the sinister being's actions.
"Time to make some preparations of my own," he said as he turned to look over the ongoing battle still raging before him, "As much as I enjoy war, I'm afraid I cannot stay. Thanks again, Slayer! I appreciate your help! Now my minions...Paint these walls with their blood! I don't wish to have any further impediments for what I have planned."
And with a quick flick of his wrist, the demonic figure disappeared into a veil of darkness, leaving behind his shadow army to finish the job.
"No!" yelled Slayer as he sliced through three more minions that had been holding him back, "Xin! Get back here you cowardly piece of shit! I'm not done with you!"
But Slayer's angry words had no affect as Warlord Xin disappeared into the darkness, taking the amber figurine with him. Letting out a grunt of frustration, Slayer practically shattered the stone podium with his fists, feeling enraged that he had been used by this evil manifestation.
"That son of a bitch!" he yelled, clenching his fists in a rage, "Why did he take that thing? It's useless now unless..."
But before he could finish his thoughts he was abruptly reminded that there was still a rather serious fight going on.
"Uh...Warrior man? We could really use your help here!" said Bobby, who was beginning to struggle with the increasing numbers they were facing from the dark minions.
"Yeah, get off your ass and do something about these things! They won't stop coming!" yelled Dazzler, who was really on her last nerve.
Turning back towards the young team of mutants he had unfortunately dragged into this, Slayer let out another frustrated grunt, for this was definitely not going as he had planned. He was about to jump back into the fight and help, when suddenly, his gaze fell upon the still withdrawn Jean Grey.
"Ms Grey?" he said as he watched her approach the altar.
She didn't respond to his words as he watched her focus on the still glowing pool of light that had inundated the area where Scott Summers had been chained to. The look on her face was one of intrigue, arousal, and passion...Something that even Slayer hadn't seen coming. He took a step back as he watched her approach the now shattered stone podium, not knowing what to expect.
"Scott," she said, her voice strong, yet steady, "I can...I can feel you."
"Jean!" yelled Slayer, trying to snap her out of this state.
Then, before Jean could have time to ignore his words, the light in the center began to pulsate in strange flashes. And through Slayer's all seeing eye, he saw exactly what was happening and quickly motioned to take cover.
"Oh Shit..." he said as he leapt off the altar, "Uh, guys? I think you should get down for this!"
"Huh? What the hell are you..." but Logan didn't get a chance to finish as he and the others were suddenly drawn to the intense light that was now radiating in all directions.
Something was brewing inside that altar...Something with intense power the likes of which they hadn't seen since the Phoenix. It was swirling in a miniature tornado of fire and bright yellow light. And from all this blinding fury, the young team of mutants were able to make out a familiar figure.
"Scott!" yelled Ororo as she saw her friend through the intense brightness.
But as soon as the figure became clearer, a booming voice sounded through the chaotic flashes that now bathed the room.
"No...There is no more of this Scott that you speak of. This mortal vessel has assumed its role. And now we are finally united! The son of light...The power of raw, unabated destruction...The splendor and glory of creation! I AM HORUS!!!"
Suddenly, all the gathering fire and light surrounding the figure stopped swirling and focused entirely on the now hovering form of Scott Summers. And in a blinding burst of intense light, the minions of Warlord Xin were fried into nothingness as the X-men and the mutant warrior known as Slayer took cover.
"Mien Gott!" gasped Kurt as he and the others watched in amazement as a primal power older than Earth itself manifested right before their very eyes.
"Scott! Scott, what's going on? What's happening?!" yelled Piotr, trying to reach the man who he believed was still inside all that light.
"Stay down, big guy!" urged Warren as he kept the Russian Colossus from getting up from his position, "There's no telling what this...Thing is going to do!"
"That THING is still, Scott!" yelled Kitty over the noise, "We have to save him!"
"I don't know, kid. Looks like he's kind of beyond savin' at this point," said Wolverine, trying to draw everybody away from the blinding light.
Finally, as the chaotic power began to settle, a deafening, bird-like cry that resembled that of a falcon echoed throughout the room, causing everybody to cover their ears. Yet despite the chaos, Jean Grey remained remarkably calm, still fixated on the glowing form before her. And from this sight, her body became engulfed in flames...The tell-tale sign of the Phoenix.
"Horus...Yes! It IS you!"
When the deafening cries died down, the light surrounding the altar vanished and hovering them before them was a new version of Scott Summers. He bore a strange new getup, his whole body was covered in a skin tight, dark red body suit with the yellow image of a falcon on his chest. There were also armor like pads on his shoulders and muscles, giving off a distinctive masculine feel. Every last one of his muscles was accentuated, making him look so strong and powerful. He still had his ruby quartz glasses. Only now, they were glowing brightly, as if to show the penetrating gaze of a living, breathing cosmic force.
"At long last I am whole again! The power of creation and destruction...All within the palm of my hand!"
This seemed to excite the Phoenix as she reached out to him as if it was sensing and experiencing the exhilaration right along with him.
"Yes. I can feel it too...The power of the cosmos."
"Ah Phoenix. At long last, I see you. I feel you."
Having seen enough, Slayer sprang into action, knowing now was definitely not the time for something like this to go down.
"Okay you two, time to cool your jets!"
Then, with the symbols atop his hands glowing brightly with mystical energy, Slayer began to cast a spell that would hopefully ward off any further complications, at least temporarily. His whole body shimmered with intense power, his being now glowing a dark purplish color as he summoned as much mystical energy as he could from this room that was so thick of it to begin with.
"Look into my eye, Horus!" yelled Slayer, suddenly diverting the attention of the cosmic entity, "Look into the eye that sees no lies! Hear me from one mortal vessel of the divine to another...And sleep."
Slayer's actions had an immediate effect on the entity as he hit it with a shroud of mystical energy that resembled a thick, bluish mist. And after a few tense moments, the halo of fire and simmering power residing within the young man faded along with the strange new outfit, causing him to revert back to his previous, bear chested form. And once the powerful force subsided, Scott Summers let out a groan and collapsed to the ground.
"Ugh," groaned Slayer as he finished the spell, which had drained more of his energy than he had expected, "Containment spells suck ass."
While the mutant warrior caught his breath, Jean Grey managed to come around as the shroud of mist put the Phoenix as bay as well. It took a moment for her to shake her head clear and reassert control, but as soon as she did her attention quickly focused on her unconscious boyfriend.
"Huh? What the...Scott!"
Quickly running towards his side, Jean took his limp form in her arms, relieved that he was still alive. Soon, the others swarmed around him as well, temporarily ignoring Slayer as they were quickly drawn to their friend.
"Scott! Hey Scott!" said Warren as he looked down at his unconscious form, "Is he okay?"
Jean hesitated to answer that, for she was still reeling from what just happened. But despite this, she kept her cool and kept holding her boyfriend securely in her arms.
"He's alive," she said bluntly.
"Guess that's one positive we can count," made Bobby, "But what the hell was that thing?"
"Yes, Horus I think it was called," said Piotr, the booming voice still echoing in his ringing ears.
Jean tensed up as upon hearing that name, causing her to take a few gasps of air. But still, she held it together, even if it was becoming increasingly difficult.
"Hey, forget that Horus crap! What about that crazy looking guy in all the armor?!" exclaimed Alison in response, "Who the hell was he?!"
"That...Was Warlord Xin," said Ororo, her voice shuttering as he spoke that name.
"Yeah, that much I got," replied the former punk rocker, "But what the fuck was he doing here?! And moreover, what the fuck is all this shit about?!"
"Can't say I know the answer to that, kid," said Logan with a disgruntled look, "But I think I know someone who does."
Everybody's eyes were now on Slayer, who was still recovering from the fatigue induced by the spell. He wasn't too keen of being leered at, but given the circumstances he could hardly blame them. He did kidnap their friend after all. And besides, how could they possibly know the kind of forces they were up against?
"Okay, pal! Playtime is over!" said Bobby, trying to sound tough, "I think you owe us all a few answers. Now are you going to come clean or are we going to have to put you on ice?"
Slayer just rolled his eyes. He was in a bad enough mood as it was and he didn't need something like this. But, like it or not, these guys were now a part of this and they deserved to know the truth.
"Easy Iceman, like I've said before I don't wish to fight you guys," said the mutant warrior, once again returning to his feet, "You can lay down your arms. I'm not an enemy. I'm an ally."
"Yeah, you sure did a good job of showing that," muttered Kitty.
"Well I'm sorry, but I was in a bit of a hurry," reasoned Slayer, "As you can probably see now, there are some very dark forces at work here...Warlord Xin being one of them."
"But how is that possible?!" exclaimed Ororo, sounding outright hysterical, "Warlord Xin is just a myth! A folktale! A freakin' ghost story! He's not supposed to be REAL!"
"Storm..." said Kurt, trying to get her to calm down, but with little effect.
"Yeah, I know. Big shocker, isn't it? A myth being reality," said Slayer, sounding almost exasperated when he said that, as if it was of little surprise to him, "But yes, that was him...The dark lord of the forbidden jungle in the flesh. He's a guy I've been dealing with for some time now. But at the moment, he's only second in our line of worries. Right now, we need to get your friend back to the institute."
"Wow, hold up here, pal!" said Logan, getting right up in Jack's face with a threatening gesture, "First off, there ain't no WE! And second, you ain't coming back with us to the mansion! After the shit you pulled last time, I'll hunt you down and cut off every one of your limbs if you even get within a hundred miles of the place!"
"Funny coming from a guy who once tried to infiltrate it himself," quipped Slayer in response.
That hit Logan harder than he expected, for he hadn't anticipated his knowledge of such past deeds. But whoever this guy was, he seemed to know a lot more than he let on.
"Ooh...Major burn dude," said Bobby, who couldn't help but laugh.
"Shut up, popsicle!" growled Logan in response, "Either way, you ain't comin' and that's final!"
"Fine! If that's the way you want it, you can go ahead and try to contain the cosmic scale power your friend now possesses on your own!" scoffed Slayer, growing obviously annoyed with this feral man's attitude, "But when Warlord Xin comes knocking again, don't come crying to me when he..."
Suddenly, before the mutant warrior could finish, the team's communication links went off and they began to hear the frantic voice of the Professor from the other end.
"X-men! X-men, do you read?" said the Professor through a thick level of static, "Come in, X-men! The signal is getting weak and..."
"We're here Professor," answered Jean, still dazed from it all, "We've got Scott. And he's alright for the most part, but..."
Jean couldn't complete her train of thought as her eyes fell upon her unconscious boyfriend again. She couldn't stop thinking back to what had happened with the Phoenix and how she had been overcome this...This feeling when Horus manifested. However, she set that aside for now as more pressing matters needed her attention.
"Is anybody hurt?" asked Xavier, the signal finally clearing up.
"For the most part, no. There ain't any big injuries," reported Logan.
"Depends on your definition," muttered Alison as she rubbed a small, yet festering wound on her elbow.
"What about Scott?" he went on to ask, "The energy readings on Cerebro went through the roof. The whole system nearly crashed."
"Can't say that surprises me," muttered Logan, "But as for One-eye, I ain't exactly sure."
There was a heavy silence over the line as Xavier found looked at the strange readings that seemed too impossible to be real. The only other time he had seen such strong energy spikes was with the Phoenix and he knew all too well how dangerous that was.
"What's our next move, Professor?" asked Jean, who was still holding an unconscious Scott in her arms.
"For now, just bring him home. I'll set up the infirmary and give Moria MacTaggart a call. With any luck, we should be able to..."
Then suddenly, Slayer cut in. Reaching forth and grabbing the small circular communicator with an X in the center that Bobby was holding, he made sure that his voice was known.
"Hey!" yelled Bobby, upon feeling the mutant warrior's actions.
"Professor Charles Xavier..." he said into the small device, ignoring the younger man's scorn.
"Who is this?" replied the Professor.
"My name is Jack Robinson, but most people know me as Slayer. I'm the one who abducted your friend."
His sudden interjection had surprised Xavier, but nevertheless he kept a calm poise. As uncomfortable as it was talking to someone who had broken into his school and taken one of his students, he knew full well that whoever this man was, he knew more than anybody at this point.
"Slayer..." he found himself saying over the com-link, "What's going on? Why did you take Scott?"
"It's...Complicated Professor," said Slayer in an awkward tone, "But you have my sincerest apologies for causing any sort of disruption with your school. I was just in a big hurry to stop a very evil force from getting his hands on the power that Scott wielded. And obviously, it didn't exactly go as planned."
"Yeah...Obviously," made Kitty, still not trusting this man any more than the others.
There was another silence over the line as Professor Xavier took a moment to digest this. He may have been in the dark, but he knew enough to understand that this was big. Looking back at the energy readings, he began to reconsider his previous views towards whoever this man was. After all, what choice did he have?
"Sir..." said Slayer, trying to sound respectful despite the situation, "I know this is all a big mess. And I guess I'm partially to blame for it. But just give me chance and I'll explain everything. Let me come back with your friends and I'll help you deal with this!"
"Come back?!" exclaimed Logan, once again getting up in Jack's face, "You're even crazier than I thought, bub! What makes you think that we're gonna let you..."
"Logan, stand down!" ordered the Professor upon hearing his outbursts, "I repeat, stand down!"
"What?!" replied a very shocked Logan, still just itching to whip out his claws.
"Professor..." said Warren, sounding very weary of what the Professor was implying, "You can't honestly think that this guy could..."
"Hey, I just helped you guys fight off Xin and stopped Horus from turning us all to cosmic dust! I think I deserve the benefit of the doubt here!" shot Slayer in response.
"Keep talking Mr. Samurai! Unless you want a fully fried retina!" yelled an angry Dazzler in response, a swirl of rainbow colored lights once again surrounding her body.
"Oh please, do we really have to do this again?" replied the young warrior, not looking all that threatened.
"I wouldn't speak, Mr. Slayer," said Piotr in his imposing, strongman tone, "You're in no position to..."
"EVERYBODY SHUT UP!" yelled Jean, her body suddenly glowing again with the fires of the Phoenix.
This effectively silenced everybody, replacing their apprehension with anxiety as they watched the fiery halo swirl about the very irked Jean Grey, still holding her boyfriend's unconscious form in her arms.
"Jean..." began Ororo as she approached her friend.
"I'm fine!" she spat before she could say another word, "Now like it or not team, we need this guy! He knows a few things that we don't! And if we're going to get through this, we're going to have to stop fighting and start cooperating before one of us goes nuclear!"
"Yeah, namely you," muttered Alison under her breath.
"Miss Grey..." began Jack, carefully approaching the bewildered young woman.
"Don't push it, pal!" yelled Jean, shooting him a menacing glare, "Just because we need you doesn't mean I trust you! I should fry your brains for what you did! But you've got some serious explaining to do and you better start talking!"
"As much as I'd like to avoid the part about my brains, I know what's at stake here," said Slayer in a serious tone, "But whether or not you want to believe me is irrelevant because there's a very powerful force out there that's now working against you. And if you don't let me help then your boyfriend's nightmares are going to be least of your worries."
His words were strong and resonated deeply. Yet they remained apprehensive, not trusting this armor clad young man in the slightest. But in the end, they knew this wasn't their decision, so they left it up to Xavier.
"So vhat's your call, Herr Professor?" asked Kurt through the com-link, "Vhat do you vant us to do?"
The Professor gave this matter some thought. With no other leads to go on, there weren't too many options. And bearing that in mind, he let out a deep sigh as made his choice.
"Okay...Slayer can come," he said, leaving no further room for argument, "There will be no more fighting at this point. For now, we must focus on whatever this new threat."
"Thank you, Professor Xavier. I'm honored by your choice," replied Slayer, despite some of the glares he was still receiving.
"Skip the formalities, pal," growled Jean, "Let's just get this shit over with so I can kick you in the nuts when it's over."
"I wish it were that simple, Jean," said the mutant warrior with a sigh, "But after you hear what I have to say, our little squabble will be the last thing on your minds."
In the thick bush of the unforgiving Congo jungle, the dark shadows that made up the vast forces of Warlord Xin converged on an abandoned temple complex. The dark lord himself was standing in the core of what looked like a ceremonial chamber. His minions were swirling about like mindless zombies, watching eagerly as their lord continued with his grandest plan. He looked poised for triumph as he firmly held the amber relic he had taken from Egypt, his red eyes glowing a sinister red as he took in the sight before him.
"The temple of creation and destruction..." said the demonic lord in a sinister tone, "Lost from the consciousness of man for centuries, but not from Warlord Xin."
Gazing upon the elaborate engravings which dotted every wall, many of which involved not one but two fiery birds, Warlord Xin stood ready to begin with the final phase of his plan. And upon a brilliantly decorated stone podium, he placed the amber relic in a small slot right next to a second figure that bore uncannily similar, although feminine features.
Suddenly, both figures began to glow in a fiery halo. Warlord Xin then proceeded to put a mysterious crystal skull onto a miniature pedestal in between the two figures. And as soon as it was in place, it began to draw the power of the mysterious statues, filling the whole area with a strong, ominous glow.
"At last, the final key is in place! The chi skull is ready!" he proclaimed, his seething tone echoing through the ancient walls, "The power is almost mine!"
As if on cue, the surrounding area within the chamber lit up as dormant torches came to life with blue and purple flames. And in the center of the room, a large pentagram surrounding it mystic symbolism that resembled that of Latin, Persian, Sub-Saharan African, and Egyptian hieroglyphs came to life and began to glow in a fiery red halo. Yet Xin wasn't done just yet.
"Now there is but one final piece."
Suddenly, the shadows around him came alive and out of the darkness, three imposing looking minions which bore features even deadlier than the rest of the surrounding beings formed before the dark lord and bowed in a show of loyalty.
"You know your target and you know your task," he told him as he raised his hand in a show of unyielding power and determination, "Bring me the vessel of Horus. Our time is short and we must act. This pitiful world is poised to crumble at my hands! Soon, the greatest of cosmic powers shall be mine to yield! And a world of darkness shall soon succumb to the ultimate might of Warlord Xin!"
AN: Looks like things just keep getting worse and worse for the X-men. But at least now they'll get some answers. They may be on the ropes now, but the stakes are getting higher now that Warlord Xin is setting his plan into motion! Stay tuned to see what the dark lord has planned next! And don't forget about Scott and this Horus creature! There's still more to come so in the meantime, I urge you all to REVIEW! Send your feedback via email or post it on the fanfiction website! Thank you all very much for reading and I wish everybody the best!
THE SHADOWS ARE ARISING! HURRY UP AND REVIEW BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE!