11789/Pieces of Mind: Sanctuary's End (X-Men)

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Pieces of Mind: Sanctuary's End (X-Men)
Date of Scene: 04 July 2022
Location: X-Mansion - Charles' Office
Synopsis: A group of X-men and associated discuss what to do about the Shadow King's claim on Charles.
Cast of Characters: Charles Xavier, Emma Frost, Sprite, Jean Grey, Tabitha Smith, Illyana Rasputina

Charles Xavier has posed:
In the Astral Plane, the sanctuary is a blacked, pulsing ichor, as the shields around it clash and shove each other. That alone is proof that Charles is still active in some way: there's a battle over the sanctuary there, and Shadow hasn't won. It's just sitting on top, surrounding a core.


Mid-afternoon of Sunday, a number of those whom Xavier had previously been in teepathic contact with had a brief but perhaps rather harrowing experience.

Through that subtle, back thread of a link, something else moved, unfurled... A dark, hideous awareness moved along those connections, like a disgusting slug crawling along a shimmering thread, to see what was at the other end of those links.

And so it is that many got their first real direct brush with Shadow, as it stared at them with soulless, amused mental gaze, and then sundered the connection, breaking the link entirely. It's isolating Charles down slowly.


Now, in the Xavier's mansion, key heroes gather, and some decisions need to be made. Will the group bargain with the Shadow, and what it demanded, when he asked for his 'stolen' thing to be returned to him? Is there another path? Or do they leave Charles to fight alone?

Emma Frost has posed:
Emma Frost is there, going to review some notes while reviewing her memories. "There was a stroke of luck. The possessed boy that was being used to rend souls from bodies was.. Captured. His mental state is purportedly quite horrid. But hopefully that's one less option our.. Adversary has t hand now. And perhaps if the child can be repaired, then there's a way to get the souls back into their bodies."

And now the true issue of the night. How they're going to deal with Charles' attacker and hopefully free him.

Sprite has posed:
Sprite arrived with Emma, brought in by her to this matter. She looks about the mansion, more curious than anything, definitely the outsider here. "So this enemy we're supposed to be fighting, do we know anything conclusive about it?"

She's at least paying a /modicum/ of attention to their purpose. Just that as much or more attention is also being paid to the mansion and to those who have assembled here.

Jean Grey has posed:
Jean has organized a meeting, in this case using Charles' office rather than her own. The physical locale might not matter too much, but there's a certain feeling of proximity there, a symbolic connection.

"We still need to figure out what all of this is about," is her own lead-in suggestion. "The entity was quite emphatic when I first encountered it, and it doesn't seem like the tune has changed. If we could find out what it thinks was stolen then that might suggest some sort of approach... whether to get that thing and actually return it or not. At the very least, it would give us a bit of context, some idea of the motivations involved here."

Despite the location, she's not sitting, pacing the edges of the room, her gaze idly passing over various keepsakes the Professor has collected, all so familiar, things that have become indelible parts of the scenery, and of her own memory, considering how long she's known the man. "There's still so much about his life he's never told me, never shared. All those things that came /before/ the school, before the ideas that led to it, even."

Tabitha Smith has posed:
While there has been investigation into the whole problem and Tabby had found out some interesting things about her powers. Like that damn latent telepathy she got stuck with for a week.

So gathering with the others, the blonde keeps herself in some comfier clothes than a uniform for now. Yellow denim jeans and a red leather jacket that might have been from one of her X-Uniforms. A hint of pink ringer tee collar under where the jacket isn't zipped all the way. Red lace up boots on her feet add a little height with the wedgeheel while yellow laces keep them on her feet. A belt and choker in matching spiky red leather cinch around waistband and neck while her cate eye frames in red and yellow lenses sit on herb nose.

In her arms she cradles a helmet. Yellow primarily and pink trim but the shape and design is pretty clearly that of someone the X-men are very familiar with.


"I kinda get the feeling whatever it wants, we really shouldn't let it have the thing." she ponders aloud with a small shrug of her shoulders.

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
Sometimes a good old message will do when a telepathic uplink isn't usually possible. No smut needed to add to the dimensional counterweight already buried in Illyana Rasputina's psyche. She sits perched on the edge of a table, knee almost propped against the arm of a chair. The reassurance presence of a small ice-blue octahedron scampers around her palm eagerly, poking at her thumb pad with a slender appendage tipped in a teensy-tiny crystal. She looks sidelong to Emma under the fringe of her bangs, ignoring the thrilled hop from the enchanted object she carries. "What do you know about what was stolen from it. Anything?"

The usual heavy Russian lilt to her words is peculiarly absent, but that's the state of affairs when the doors are closed and general student body not listening. "In general, Tabitha is right. You deprive the being already committing heinous acts of its target. Of course, nothing stops us from dangling what he wants or making a trade with a simulacrum. A convincing simulacrum."

Emma Frost has posed:
Emma Frost would give a low nod at Illyana and then Tabitha, "We have no remote reason to expect this thing to play along. It's toying with us. Even if it does get something, we have no expectation that it will keep up it's end of hte bargain. It's a monster and this is a game. I see no reason why it would honor it's end. Even if we could try and arrange a forcible trade.. Then we've given a monster something ot make it even worse and it's slippery enough to fin da loophole."

She would nod at Illyana's suggestion. "Possible. And likely our only way."

Sprite has posed:
"If we need a simulacrum of something, that I can provide." Sprite offers. Her voice is slightly annoyed, as she makes the offer, and looks back to Emma. "You said this was going to be a battle." Something is bothering her, that much is plain, though she doesn't enumerate it.

Jean Grey has posed:
"If it's some artifact of unimaginable power, no, probably not," Jean agrees with Tabitha (and thus with Illyana, transitively!) although her tone suggests this to be the less likely outcome in her mind. "But if it's some Rosebud-esque icon of history and memory, some symbol of an old argument or feud with a figure from his past? Then maybe we need to consider it, or at least approach all this from the position that we don't really understand what's happening. That we don't know the whole picture, at ALL. Charles is a very private man... and sometimes still a pretty stubborn one. I'm usually the first to lionize him, heck it's practically my job, carrying forth his vision..."

She turns from her pacing circuit and looks back toward the middle of the room. "But he has a lot of history. With Erik," her eyes flick to the helmet, arching an eyebrow, "Moira, and others. All people who've been involved, fighting these same fights since long before anyone here was born. No one lives their life without picking up baggage, and a life like his..." Her focus turns to the table-perching Russian.

"Is this anything you could, I don't know, attempt some sort of divination for? Telepathically, we're limited, because it's there -with- him, so going and trying to find the information in Charles means facing it down. That will be the final option, but it's not where I want to start if we have other options."

Tabitha Smith has posed:
The explosive mutant nods her head with a big smile as Illyana and the Emma agrees with her. Tabby throwing the bucket to a nearby seat to bounce on cusions and show it's pretty much just good for cosplay and maybe a just something Tabby has been using as a focus on her own attempts at mental defenses.

There's a fold of her arms and a scrunch of her features as she listens to those with a bit more oomph in the matter than Tabitha. "Poke the hornets' nest? See what buzzes out find out what keeps it out. Then lead it into something that might at least knock it out or freeze it." she ponders the goals.

"Gonna have to make sure like we do this, no blow back on anyone else." she states and looks over at a candle flickering in the room.

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
"Da." The crisp reply to Jean cleaves the inquiry in two. Illyana keeps holding her hand up gamely for the little glowing die to perambulate up to the tip of her middle finger. Its legs cling tight as it falls upside-down, possibly attracted by the light shining off her ring. "Here is Charles' dream, it makes for a good enough connection to work with. If this is a game, we can talk about changing the rules or the target. But I need to better understand what failed and what worked to give good advice." Her dark lips scrunch up into a half-frowning moue. On her, the effect is rather severe.

She rises up off the table, grabbing a notepad marked by a prancing Sylveon in the corner. Don't ask why. She pulls a pen from one of her buns and scribbles a few lines, all upside down.

The helmet bouncing around follows the leapfrogging of thoughts to a conclusion. The roll nearer to Sprite kicks something to the forefront. "Hello. I don't know you yet." This is not a bad thing, by her dry tone. "I am Illyana. You know Piotr, maybe? My older brother." She flips the notepad right-side up and points it away from the candle at Jean. "Seem about right to you?"

                       You're being magically watched.                        
                                Are you aware?                                
                   Safe to talk? Talk about trip to Monaco.                  
                     Not safe? Talk about trip to Boston.                    

Sprite has posed:
Sprite looks over to Illyana, and shakes her head. "She brought me." She points to Emma. "Blame her. She just said that you had some major enemy to fight, and asked for my help."

As Emma asks, she seems almost a bit scornful. "I can create whatever you'd like, if I know what it is I'm creating. I don't know this Charles, so you'd have to send me the information. As for...whatever's on the other side of that? Not without knowing what it is, or opening a portal to where it is."

Emma Frost has posed:
Emma Frost would look troubled, "Jean, this thing sent in a soul to use as a kamikaze to try and collapse the haven. I'd hardly call it something that would settle for a personal momento. But very well." She would look down at Sprite ever so thoughtfully. "Wait. YOu could make something.." She would just smile.

"Could you make something that for all intents and purposes would be Charles?" Emma's just tapping her chin. "A realistic enough thing that we could if we baited the thing or lure dit out to investigate.. It would seem like we've already extracted him. That gets it fully after us and we can fight it at a location of our choosing if we must. While it laso means that Charles is left alone with whatever passive defenses the thing has left on him."

She would nod at Ilyana and Tabitha. Then at Jean, "I know you're connected with Charles.. Could you pass yourself off as him? At least enough for a full on fake? If the thing thinks that Charles' is already free, then it's not going to bother to self destruct anything left over. It will just care about revenge on us or withdrawing to it's next scheme and to lick it's wounds. Which lets us fight it, chase it to the astral realm.. or if Ms. Rasputin is able to fully trap it and obliterate it."

She would point at the candle, "ANd tha'ts the way to contact our.. Associate that's been helping. Tabitha's on the best terms with him. At least for now he's said to refer to him as Kels."

Then she goes to take in what Illyana is speaking over and gives a nod. "He's been.. Helpful so far. At least in sharing information. And Kels, this is Illyana Rasputina." Emma is being up front on thigns to the Russian as well. And as Illyana speaks on advise.. Then Emma purposes her lips once more.

"Sprite? If we were to give you a connection could you give us a.. Fully clear perspective on our conversatioanl compatriot?" She means the magic being through the flame. "I feel something face to face metaphorically will be much better."

Emma Frost has posed:
Emma Frost goes to smile over at Illyana, "And I do enjoy Boston, Such a pretentious city that knwos exactly what it is."

Charles Xavier has posed:
The candle doesn't seem to respond or react in particular during most of the discission, but then when a keyword (probably the name of the mage, 'Kels' is mentioned,) the flame starts to grow, turning more orange. Small runes light up along the candle surface as a plump little fire elemental begins to manifest on the wick of the magical candle. It has large eyes, which open and blink with a sort of grumpy 'why did you wake me' emote to it. It doesn't speak, just appears, as a little magic flame creature, to be seeing why it was mentioned.

Tabitha Smith has posed:
"Kels seems cool. I'm probably on better terms with the flame than the guy we've been talking to but the same way Rogue's pup is friendly if you sneak him bacon or beef jerky! But he's been cool." Tabby points out with a grin and lets a little wisp of plasma flame ignite in an outstretched hand palm up. The woman's psionic control of her own biolelectricity keeping it from exploding or even making a noise.

Sprite gets a smile too. "I'm Tabby! Boom-Boom when I'm all uniformed up." she offers as The flkame sparks a little brighter and to make sure Kel's can more easily articulate she increases the flame a little more so the elemental can feed while it's awake now. "Sorry about that." she apologises with a goofy wince of an expression to go with it.

Jean Grey has posed:
"Hey, Charles Foster Kane /really/ wanted that sled. Probably would have been a heck of a lot less of a dickhead if he never lost it in the first place. So you never know."

Jean shakes her head, however, as if to brush off the whole idea. "I think we're talking past each other. The idea here is mostly just about understanding the situation, so we're not flailing around blind. What about the kid you captured. Any info there?"

And then there is Illyana's whole routine. Magic. Leaning back on a low sideboard cabinet, Jean's hands are at her sides behind her, gripping the edge. Although the woman is from the naive days of her youth where she could still enjoy a pedestrian, even purely mortal perspective on the nature of the universe... the 'rules you don't understand are functionally as good as none at all' of magical doings can still be a /lot/. She watches the scribling, expression vacant, and even turns her head a little to try and make out the writing, before it is properly oriented for her benefit.

"I think uh, that these two went on a trip and brought that back," she explains to Illyana, although notably does NOT include any directive as whether it's safe or not. Because she frankly doesn't know!

"I can't see how a fake is going to fool this thing," she finally declares. "Even if it looks perfect, and even if I put on a pretty good recreation of Charles' psyche. Because it's already there with him, already knows him. So it would look like there were suddenly two of him. Kind of hard not to take as a fraud."

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
The paranoia instilled by long experience in a twenty-ish year-old Hell Lord -- by far, the youngest -- in conjunction with the current conversation topics probably account for the admittedly mild precautions. The exceptionally pale hue of Illyana's eyes stays fixed in its frosty shade, only minimally glowing. "Kels means 'tusks.'" The sharp edge of that smirk isn't going anywhere to touch the oblique, sharp planes of her face or the way the little blue dice runs up her arm in a desperate scrabble to hide behind her blonde hair. Oh, it's all very double-standards around there if she is questioning the flame popping out from the candle. Her eyes narrow as Tabitha offers the candle food. "Than the guy you've been talking to, Tabitha?"

For someone who always talks about Tabby, the narrow distinction has its own volumes.

She crosses her arms after tossing the pen and paper back on to the table. The slope of her shoulders to her legs draws a casual diagonal line supported mostly against her upper thighs. "Let us reset to your questions, Jean. What does this being think was stolen? You have the host it used. We need to consider if something else is stolen, if it can be returned? Can you share its demands?" A pause, then she asks lightly, "You want me to divine for what, specifically? You can write it down, maybe that is clearer." She nudges the pad of paper for whomever wants it. All the while, the subtle drag on the ambient energy around Westchester siphons into her, a small top-off of a ridiculous battery.

Charles Xavier has posed:
"Hi," pipes the small fire elemental from the candle. "Kels, yes. Hrrrmmm, two things," it says. The little fiery entity appears to be a magical manifestation of some sort, that someone is using to speak to the women. How much it can see or what awareness it has is rough to determine exactly, but probably is aware of just the immediate room - if that.

"I'm the one that captured and still have the young 'host,' in magical isolation to block Astral connection. He has an ability to force and mentally grapple minds out of their bodies, but no finesse. I don't /want/ to keep him prisoner, he's suffering from the isolating wards somehow, but he's pretty damaged."

"He does seem bent on fixing the wrongs that were done through him. Perhaps his power could be useful; you mentioned needing to force a soul out of another that the Shadow has taken over? Well, that's his ability, as we've seen." The elemental lifts his little flame-like arm-limbs in a shrug, fire mouth downturned. "But.... I won't give him to you if I feel you're going to harm him, either," says the elemental, firm but calm.

Emma Frost has posed:
Emma Frost would glance over at Illyana and gives a low nod at Tabitha. Then she goes to speak quietly to Sprite and Tabitha. "I think that you two will work quite well together." Her tone is quiet. "And your combinations wil lbe quite effective." Sending an image to the two to quickly showcase Sprite's ability to make illusions and for Tabitha to detonate -everything-. All the better to have some lovely, lovely traps for.
    As Kels speaks, Emma goes to purse her lips and glances over to Jean, "That might be something we could aid with. Or SHIELD could. If we can figure out how to start sorting the souls back to the bodies.. It's one small problem of our great many juggling act fixed."

Sprite has posed:
Sprite listens to the discussion, picking up some of the backstory by hearing it. Unfortunately, she isn't the healer for the Eternals; she's got no special means to help this isolated boy.

"If it's just a fight, I'm not concerned." Sprite tells Emma. "But it seems like all this discussion is on strategies to avoid a fight, other than taking one to your enemy. I mean discussion of souls is outside my specialty. But it seems like there's enough power gathered here to win a battle."

Tabitha Smith has posed:
"It's amazing what you can find at a good day spa!" Tabby states with a more goofy grin. The blonde keeps her demeanor cheery and playful. "Really wanna try for a mud bath and pedicure next time though."

"Well, the thing about bullshitting is making sure that you believe the lie. So whatever the thing is. It's real, it's tangible. The whole real imitation schtick. You get everyone on the same wave length and we're golden." Tabby explains putting some of her past life skills on the streets to work. "No extra anticipation or anxiety about it. No thinking "C'mon, take it, take take it!" type stuff. Nice easy smooth transaction.

Illyana gets a grin. "Names have like power and meaning. Things do sinking in. Someone once told me Tabitha means in Hebrew, Beauty, Grace, and is like old Aramaic for Gazelle." which probably does account for all the times she's run away in her life.

The instruction to work with Sprite gets a grin. There is a small detonation. A tiny little marble of a sphere of light popping with as much noise as a cap gun. The X-Women know she can go way bigger but. "Figure while I can blow things up great or slag them. I'm the battery. So what we might be doing is creating somethiong to blow up in our mark's face. Like a dye pack of extra BOOM!" she states with a grin. "So we're on ringer duty? To put it in crime movie terms."

Jean Grey has posed:
Now perched in her own way, Jean continues to observe, attention drifting from Illyana's familiar preculiarities to the novel one of a talking candle. Talking fire she kind of knows, at least!

"Examining his mind could be valuable, if he's not in a condition where it would do him any harm," Jean suggests, while seemingly conceding the restriction that the flame gives them, protective as it seems. "To see how exactly the two got in touch in the first place, how he was taken over, maybe sort out some of the origin of this entity. I know that Charles has a lot of old ghosts, but this still seems like a big one. And maybe one that he was fighting off - without sharing any of the details of that effort - for a long time." There's a touch of annoyance there, her tone almost chastising the absent figure, her own mentor, for that overabundance of caution. "Playing the martyr, as it turns out. He should have gotten our help sooner."

She pushes from the edge now, feet touching down again. "And after we see what he remembers, then maybe, yes," and now she's addressing the flame directly, "see if he could help us free our friend. But only if he seems up to it, physically, mentally... both in terms of his own strenght, and that there's no chance of lingering influence from the entity. If there is, we can't let him loose again. That may very well be what it wants."

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
Illyana can deliver a practically unblinking stare whenever she likes, and make statues seem expressive or overdramatic. Her bystanders might not clue in right away that she inflicts that opaque stare. That's really their problem and less hers. Golden fringe in the way helping to blunt the impact hasn't changed that she resides on a war footing, at the ready to unleash magic or a pointy sword. Some days they're the same thing.

The soul shard inserted among her own shattered window counsels firmly against haste. An audience of psychics at least can't hear that, or her reprisals against doing things the succinct way.

"I'll try a postcognition spell. It would not go through his memories. I need two foci. One of you," she nods at Emma or Jean, "solidifying the corruption from the boy or the adversary reaching out. A small amount from your psyches or auras. Charles is the second, and we already have that."

Emma Frost has posed:
Emma Frost would nod over at Illyana, "I'm ready for it. If something happens.." Emma would look at Jean, "Then you're the one with the best chance o fhelping Charles through all of this. And I would like to think I can handle roughhousing a litlte more mentally." She would volunteer herself up.
    "And Charles, taking something on himself unnecessarily and seeing it as his own burdern? Whomever would have ever thought?" The joke is there, in normal Emma tones. She goes to take a seat on a chair, and then presuming that Jean won't stop her or someone else would, she would go to open up her mind.

AFTER a large gulp of a very expensive wine straight from the bottle without coming up for air.

Charles Xavier has posed:
"If I force-contain the boy - who is named Earl Paulson by the way, not just 'boy'--, I am not better than the Shadow, am I?" asks the elemental speaking for Kels asks, irritated. "From one prison into another, is what it looks like to /him/. He says he watched everything the Shadow did in his body. If your aim is to heal him, I'll allow you to see him, but he should be freed. I won't be a villain in this, kidnapping tortured kids. And it sounds like some of you are mentally in contact with the Shadow, and could lead him right to him?"

The elemental looks towards Tabitha, and snares some of the boom-energy she released, trying to eat it like a big chip. Tasty energy is helping it have more presence in the room.

Tabitha Smith has posed:
"A straight fight would be nice. But yeah sneaky is how you win this stuff." Tabby agrees and accepts the way things are going. She knows that glare from Illyana well enough.

She still keeps on feeding the elemental to allow it and Kel's to maintain their presence. "There's a difference between a kidnapping type restraint, a funsies with people you're into consentually type restraint, and a medical for their actual own good cause if they move while being treated they'll mess the whole thing up and set their health back to zero type restraint." Tabby explains as if the people in the room don't already know what she's on about. "So yeah. Earl's in traction. This is kinda a mystical MRI?" she states while letting her power fuel the flame, and then the flame elemental.

"You two got this!" Tabby encourages Emma and Illyana with a grin.

Jean Grey has posed:
"Some of the people he ejected the last time around died," Jean offers in an even tone, staring down the flickering candle as if it were the person on the other side. "Or rather, they got to watch their own bodies wither and rot. It may have happened against his will, but the chance of it happening -again- is not something to risk casually. So there have to be precautions. That's not prison, or villainy, it's -responsibility-."

And it doesn't sound like the woman is in much of the negotiating mood!

"But, this place exists to help people. So we'll do everything we can for him, once we know there's no further danger. And we have a lot of people well-trained to help. So that's the deal, and I think it's a fair one."

From the fire... back to the frying pan? She looks away from the flames toward Emma, valiant volunteer for tribute. "I don't think it should come to that, but alright, if you're comfortable doing it." Which is a thumbs-up on this portion of the plan from her. Not a literal one. Illyana is too cool for such things, and so she only gets a very adult and serious hint of a nod.

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
Illyana summarily kicks the chair out of the way, her apparent unremarkable way of saying 'the show's about to begin.' It might seem to wobble, falling forward, and then rocks right back.

The act of casting a spell is rather easy. Doing it properly is another matter. The elemental hanging out there earns a frost-girded look through bitterly pale lashes, and she proceeds to draw a circle with her booted toe between the desk and the chair. Some of the energy drained off the leylines all along flows out invisibly from her, springing up into a warding circle complete with inscribed Dzongkha runes. When it snaps into place, the ward contains her under a ring of magic to go with the psychic invisibility. Her hands spin the spell, candlelight and witchfire sparkling on a remarkably and rather flashy blue stone set into a ring that wasn't there before. Or maybe it was. For full on five minutes, she pulls at the fabric of Emma's mindscape, teasing out the blackened smut from the White Queen's latticed aura. Her black-barbed crown takes shape on her forehead, and steel-blue lines spiral around the circle's margins until pointing unerringly in one direction. She does not incant; unlike Doctor Strange, it would be awfully strange to verbally invoke herself. What's she supposed to say, "Currents of Illyana?" or "Limbonic Bands of Magik?" How contrived!

They can hold their conversation while she floats cross-legged in her ritual. It's not a fast process even for her, though being Miss Limbo helps. Eventually the truth blooms where they can see. Again, it's a few minutes until this happens. Translucent images plucked from the timestream run before her, blurred to rewind or speed up, then slowing right down to reveal a deeply angry man. Lips curled in arrogant disdain. Malice shivering in the impression. Soft words dripping threats in a faraway city spill together. A rough image forms of two of them facing one another, mostly seen from Charles' perspective, with Illyana presumably behind his shoulder observing it all. "Is this the man who robbed Professor Xavier?" she quips on an ancient commercial. The world is in slow motion around them, people suspended in the amber of what has been, what may be. All sense of the mortal is burning out, her eyes that surreal blue flame of her portals, a warning that whatever here is human is barely skin-deep

Charles Xavier has posed:
"Hm," says the elemental to Jean, smiling a little into her firm insistance. Perhaps the mage was just doing an annoying wizard thing, to get a response he was looking for?

Wizards and their tests.

"All right, I'll extend trust. I hope you will do me that favor as well. MY containment is too much a paralysis prison, as anything less on my end would let the Shadow return. If you are able to do better, then it's best to move Earl. I'll bring him into a neutral area..." But then the elemental trails off, observing the ritual at hand, and not doing something to intrude or interrupt.

Emma Frost has posed:
This is always strange. A telepath acting purely as a medium. Emma's just being hte projector, sharing thoughts amongst the group and being a conduit for things. She's silent, the pleasant buzz from the alcohol helping her feel rather relaxed. She's focused now, keeping herself calm and tranquil. Thoughtful, purposeful and considering.

Even as she goes to let images be plucked from minds, translating them over from one form to another. Flicking them along in transit. IT's all too simple for her to just shut off large swathes of her brain so as to not disrupt things.

Emma gives a nod over to Jean distractedly as she would listen to the other woman's musing. "It's fair. We'll do what we can until we've exhausted waht's reasonable. And amongst us as was said we have enough firepower to at least stalemate an elder god for awhile. So even if simply by pointing us in the general direction of something and letting us run rampant can resolve at least some things."

Emma, with a pleasant buzz.

Tabitha Smith has posed:
Tabby listens to the description of what happens to those bodies and scrunches her fatures up. "Like so much eww Jean. Is stopping more body ick on the list of things to try and prevent just in case?" comes the query from the Boomie one.

There's more reassuring to kels through the flame elemental being placated with plasma snacks. "If it comes to it, we can pick Earl up from wherever and do what we can to make things comfortable for him. You're doing what you can Kels and while you might not like it. It's saving him from worse fates!" Tabby points out with maybe a little extra in the flame she feeds. The woman's tone trying to be warm and enmcouraging. Earl didn't ask for any of it and Kel's seems to not be a fan of the methoiid used to keep the kid as safe as is currently possible.

"Can astral entities crap themselves? We can test it. Who says science and mysticism have to stay separate? Let's find out together!" she adds in as best an aproximation of Henry McCoy's voice and tone as possible.

Jean Grey has posed:
In that way, Wizards are like kids. Always testing! At least Jean is pretty used to dealing with kids...

"Certainly. We need to work together to deal with this. And in our custody, we can watch for any intrusion on his mind directly, without having to hold him immobile. We have several powerful psychics. And on the chance the entity would overpower us all, we have various options for physical containment. Or magical. Our friend here can take him to another dimension, if it's really necessary." This may all come off as a bit of a flex. And maybe it's not wholly unintentional. They are the X-Men, and they're not ammateurs at any of this. Plus, between them, they've got a lot of options. "Assuming it goes well, there's even people here to keep him company."

The playback from Xavier's perspective is a spectacle all its own. "Interesting," she remarks first. "The recreation, I mean. I wasn't expecting that it would be so visual. This is a lot like viewing a memory directly." Tradecraft is fun. But there's more important things. She steps closer, by reflex, but then pauses. There's no real depth to explore here, she can't move around the space of her own accord. "Anyone know where this is? Or recognize the other man? It's nothing that jumps out to me, but Charles has always been guarded with his stories..."

Charles Xavier has posed:
"The language -- writing on the sign there -- that is Arabic," supplies Kels. But he then answers Tabitha: "There is a magical site of ice in the Bronx; a good leyline to mask this. I'll create a folded space on the second floor."

The flame starts to reduce. "I'll expect you." Still, though, it is observant in a mild way -- because there's interesting things in the room, and it's almost a requirement for magic users to have curiosity -- but he's doing something else, so they don't have his full focus now.

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
"Da, mostly everything shows up. That is where that smut and darkness originates from. Your adversary." She nods at Xavier's companion. "Tracks no further than this." Illyana sketches the broader strokes of magic, filling in a landscape under a warmer sun than New York by summer. A younger man, not the professor of today or probably her childhood, not that this stretch is at all far. Seconds trickle by as the darker man in a proper suit confronts Charles over something. Their words sound scraped from a soundtrack, then twinkle back into sharp detail when a cup of tea is overturned. The needle skips ahead, the scene becoming one where the adversary's body language shouts -- hostile, something trailing into other realms and times. Their clashes bend and diverge around a table, the burning lights cracked in places as though the film was poorly edited together. It skips over a key second here and there, as the two men confront one another. When Charles comes out the better, the vibrating hatred is thick enough to serve with a drizzle of hot fudge in a bowl. The second replays itself over, that last instant of victory when the blonde forces it back.

Who doesn't like a satisfying victory kicking a bad guy into the dirt? Her smirk is tight, though she relies on someone like Jean or Tabitha to remember what they're seeing.

"He hates Charles." The flat statement holds no real emotional impression, all sharp, prickly fact. Another instance, the men in different clothes and older plays out. The seething, bitter moves in a 12-dimensional game of chess, all in technicolour. "He lost, you see. Someone always used to winning doesn't take well to a better competitor. He acts like that old Tanya figure-skater, waiting in the dark with his pipe to take Charles down and take the gold." Time roars past around them all, projected in a succession from inviting Piotr into the school to graduating classes, patching up knees, new teachers, Shi'ar attacks, a fabrication until everything crystallizes on a black tincture spilled faintly across a desk. "He eroded the greater man. Small attacks. Minor ones. Small bits chipped away until he got the upper hand." Her eyes are blank portals, but she clearly can listen to the others. It's just harder to participate in a few conversations at once while looking through years of a man's life in an accelerated stream. "We could do a very bad thing and go /back/ to that moment, maybe, but you cannot interfere. You can be hidden and look. No matter how tempting to just stab him."

Emma Frost has posed:
And Emma watches. Fascinating. "So it's personal. Which explains all why he's not just killing Charles while he has the chance or simply fully puppeting him and using him to go on a rampage. It's all a game and it's about making him.. Or us suffer. Which explains why Charles is likely still alive." Emma's thoughtful and analytical now as she would rest her palm on her hands, while acting as a conduit. She would skim over it. Then Emma goes to hold up a hand now as she plays back the memories. In the literal sense as she makes illusions of them as the group sees them.

With the powers pulled, Emma waves her hand like she's pressing a 'forward' button on a video. The memory goes forwards some. Then reverses. Emma goes to slowly twirl around and enhance a few things, then let it play back.

"It's about making Charles suffer each small thing until it all comes crashing down and face his weakness and failures. All very.." Emma's thoughtful. "We can use this. It makes him acting in extreme pettiness and personal rage and animosity.. It makes things emotionally predictable." As much as dealing with beings of such age and likely power can be.

She would look at Jean, her eyes flickering. "What then might we promise it for something to hurt Charles more? That.. Is what it will likely want." Emma doesn't dignify calling the Shadow King by a name. Or anything. It's just a thing.

"That's something that will interest it a great deal."

Tabitha Smith has posed:
The Blonde of BOOM watches the mystical display and tries her best to place the where and whos but "We'll grab him soon as you're ready." she states and it'll probably need to be by van to make sure the trip is safe and comfortable for Earl.

Recovering the boy moving higher up on the To Do list

There is a smirk at Illyana's phrasing but the fact that she isn't giggling at what her friend said shows the amount of restraint and serious business Tabitha has for the situation. There's some major concentration in Boom-Boom's head and that little smile soon looks more like scrunched up brows.

"Grudges usually always are personal. This ain't like with the Professor and Magneto. This guy is is the sort I'd stick Magneto's actual helmet up his rear and expect it to work!" she adds. This is the guy that messed up the man that gave her a home and a life away from the streets.

Illyana Rasputina has posed:
"Fatally personal. Charles is the better person. He cannot tolerate this, and will conquer or destroy to prove it. We can do more than use it, we can inoculate against it, da? What was stolen?" Illyana flicks her gaze in the fading flame's direction but it's all moot when her pupils have been consumed by her eldritch workings. "Earl. A victory. A few things. I will review it again to see we do not miss anything." Not like they can box up her memories and so must rely on their own, dangerous as those are.

The swivel of her hand unstirs the spell and time fades away, holes eaten into it until the weave dissipates into so many sparkles. She absorbs the motes, still behind the warding circle floating as one does. "There is a chance to bolster Charles by giving him hope, though it still offers that monster more to feed on. Still."

Her teeth are bared slightly by that smirk. "Fat bugs burst the hardest when skewered. I have a good skewer to await."

The crown vanishes and it's back to her unjewelled self, even if her identification -- wherever she has it -- officially carries the mantle the rings do.

Jean Grey has posed:
"Mmm, right, see? Old rival." There's no satisfaction, no smug 'I told you so' in this from Jean, just a sense of confirmation of what she suspected, but couldn't confirm. That the past tends to come back to roost, especially when one has as _much_ past as Xavier and his contemporaries. In fact, the realization causes her to breathe out, as if she'd been holding something in, and run her hands back through her hair. Something aired of the past, but not a happy story. Another ghost.

She pushes on. "A lot of countries speak Arabic, so it doesn't exactly narrow things down, but there are some options. I know he did work in Israel, in Haifa I think. And he found Ororo in Cairo. Could be part of one of those trips, maybe." She herself is grasping at the little shadowy tidbits of the past, not with magic like Illyana, but in the mundane way, of trying to imagine a life from the component parts, to fill out a puzzle from a small collection of pieces. "He has some old records here, so I'll take a look through those, too, at least with this maybe I can narrow it down rather than trying to page through whole decades."

Recovered from whatever stray thoughts and worries, re-invigorated or at least snapped from the mental funk, she looks over to the shrinking flame, and then back between the others. "Guess we should go pick Earl up." It's a bit of a 'that's that' sort of way of saying it, which, in the moment, pushes aside the larger lingering worry. They'll have to come BACK to that one.

Emma Frost has posed:
Emma Frost would nod, "We have some things to work on. We can save Charles and the boy.. Well, hopefully we can save him as well. And perhaps see if we can't do some things over in reverse." Emma would slowly smile over and then move to speak over, "Illyana, do you have a few moments? I'm wondering if you might do a personal project if we have a viable method of removing and then imprisoning the thing."

Emma then goes to murmur something over to Illyana that sounds like 'Chamber Pot' while she's rather smug. Things have been productive. They have some things to followup on, some plans.. And they've got the potential to work together.