14075/Savage Land: Epilogue is not Ending

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Savage Land: Epilogue is not Ending
Date of Scene: 15 February 2023
Location: Savage Land - Lemurian Tourney Field
Synopsis: Hailed as heroes, the 'Knights of Xavier' enjoy a Lemurian tourney feast, several prevailing on the dino-jousting lists of honor. Tales are told, songs are sung, and they enjoy their victory... before turning to the task of Sauron. As frustrating as ever in the face of interrogation, answering every question with misdirections, they at last concede to use the best tool at their disposal, and delve into his mind for answers. They get a few, and perhaps a few more questions. As well as the company of one Dr. Karl Lykos.
Cast of Characters: Jean Grey, Emma Frost, Rogue, Tabitha Smith, Ororo Munroe, Rahne Sinclair, Iara Dos Santos, Negasonic

Jean Grey has posed:
Last Time on X-Men:


Alongside their Pteron and Aerian allies, under the banner of Queen Leanne of Lemuria, the X-men stormed the volcanic Pteron roost and confronted Sauron, who had brought the other dinosaur-people under his influence. Without access to their powers, the battle seemed all but lost, until with the aid of Leanne's heirloom amulet and a bit of stolen cosmic know-how, they were able to shut down (at least temporarily) the ancient alien computer core powered by the volcano, one of a network of such devices that seem to serve in maintaining the unique habitat of the Savage Lands. It was this device that disrupted some of their abilities, negating threats to the 'stability' of this strange nature preserve.

With their powers returned, Sauron was swiftly brought to his knees.

Though Phangor called for taking his head as a trophy, calmer (and more telepathically capable!) minds prevailed, and he was taken prisoner by the alliance, which soon set sail back for Lemuria. With one usurper down, Queen Leanne was set upon regaining her own throne... a task that would prove easier than suspected. Betrayed by the prophecy which had led him to send the X-Men against her in the first place, only to now see them standing by her side, the Queen's uncle fled rather than fight. Leanne re-entered to the applause of her people, who have since likewise treated the X-Men as her champions. Sauron has languished in the dungeons, under heavy guard (and blindfold!).

Since then, there's been opportunity to rest and recover from the difficulties of the journey, for the injured to receive medical care, and for everyone to bask in the anachronistic luxury of the Lemurian royal palace. Feasts and celebrations have been ongoing, each seemingly more lavish than the last. Tonight, the scene opens on the closing of one such event: Leanne has hosted a tournament throughout the day, with various contests of strength and skill interspersed with lively entertainments. And yet more food and wine. The closing event is the joust, conducted on the back of agile, almost ostrich-like dinosaurs. By the ensuing cheers, it is a popular event!

The Queen oversees the event from her royal box, Aerian paramour at her side, and her champions as her guests. Aside from those who have joined in the events, that is.

"Ready?" she calls, voice raised high. "Begin!" Trumpets blare, and the first competitors charge.

Emma Frost has posed:
Emma Frost sits, a number of bruises on her still. She's wearing a fine dress to replace the multiple ones that she's lost in the various skirmishes since, and has taken it upon herself to just lean back over while musing to herself. What to do with Sauron? If they take him back wiht them, they risk his escape once again no matter his containment.

But if they leave him here there's the same risk. Emma muses over to herself.. <<Jean, do you think that we might just simply shut down functions of his brain?>> The parts of Sauron do have to reside somewhere in there. And nothing like a bit of psychic surgery to remove extraneous anad threatening personality bits. They've done this routine too many times for Emma's care. But still, ti's the sort of thing they decide as a group. Emma goes to gaze uon the exhibition and the melee distantly, drinking some local wine.

Rogue has posed:
Previously on X-MEN: Jean had sacrificed herself to give Rogue some of her direct memories. She thusly ended up in a coma for the heroic efforts too, because hey... Rogue has some control, but not total control, of her mutation.

Once they were back at the fantasy castle place, Jean got setup in a medical recovery room, and Rogue spent all the time sitting with her, and reading her books she'd chosen from the local library offerings.

She picked out a bunch of bawdy tales of adult offerings, and read them to Jean throughout the day, and in to the night, until the redhead woke up. Rogue, as it was, was reading one of the books with her chin on Jean's bedside, just speaking about some steamy romantic stuff when the redhead finally woke up with a sudden return.

"You made it back." The Belle had told her with a grin before filling her in on everything that had gone down, and was still going down. With the Phoenix back in action though, the romance novels were put back where they were pulled from, and now Rogue was with the others, observing the festivities...

Tabitha Smith has posed:
There's been some time. Sauron is beat and there's much recouperation. And wow does the celebration last. And somehow tabby missed most of it while getting weird lemurian medical care.

This includes setting of her broken arm, and effectively having her face beaten back into shape like someone was fixing a dented fender.
5rThere was more swearing than a Scorcerse and Tarantino collaberation ever could hope.

Most of the rest is still a work in progress. The swelling had all gone down but she still looks like she went twelve round and no everyone keeps yelling at her when she forgets that her arm is not healed properly.

Really, really good Lemurian painkillers.

This lets her stay with the rest of the X-men and her friends most nights so she can actually keep up with what celebrations happen and then the logistics of doing more real stuff.

She might not be dino jousting, but with her booms back, and some time maybe alone booming rocks and empty space. They at least had some fireworks here and there at night.

Ororo Munroe has posed:
It is only Ororo's super powers that keep the accumulation of good cheer, alcohol and food from accumulating in fat rolls around her middle. As it is, she has had to let out the gold chain that hangs so charmingly around her slender hips.

She lolls back in her chair, brushing at a flake of saw dust still clinging to the crest of her white hair, after three earlier contests of strength. The last she had given away to a local champion, leaving the prix chevalier and his village cheering merrily for themselves. They had bested one of the strangers and would treasure the memory.

Sauron's name floats in her thoughts marring her good cheer. <<Emma, Jean, have you decided what you will do with him?>> It's no longer necessary to say the name.

Rahne Sinclair has posed:
Rahne isn't being lavished with royal favour. Not for lack of Leanne offering, but she's just not really suited to sit around and be pampered. Leave that for Emma and Tabby, both of which could use some pampering.

Rahne is down on the sand, trying to mount an ostrich. She's done fairly well thus far, her helper a nice cat lad who's been trying desperately to get the ostrich (Gallimimus really) to hold still, but Rahne has only barely managed to get seated.

There are a few places on the ground where she's measured her length already, mostly by falling off. But she's insisted on showing how the X-Men stand up against these mighty warriors. And if that means just engaging in combat ONE DAMN TIME she'll make it happen.

She's even got on a layer of armour, which is definitely going to be needed when her turn comes up. She looks determined though. Natural agility and all that.

Iara Dos Santos has posed:
    Iara probably scared a few of the X-Men with how weak and catatonic she was after Sauron drained her, completely unconscious through the victory and had to be carried back out of the caves. She slept through the next day in a bed near Jean and Tabby's, until finally waking up, deliriously saying "Ugh, I died didn't I? Stupid fucking..." and then rambling in portugese. Once she got some food in her and a swim to moisten her scales, she started doing a lot better, and now, some time later, she's back to her old self again.

     Iara participated in several feats of strength in the festivities, though she got disqualified from the wrestling competition for biting she did take top spot in a sort of caber toss-like competition with carved giant bones. Now, at the joust, she cheers from the sidelines, her teeth tearing a chunk out of what one would assume was a turkey leg if it wasn't so overly large, shouting "YEAH! HIT 'IM IN THE FACE!" with a mouthful of meat. Truly a paradise.

    Rather than her bumblebee x-men uniform, today she seems to be wearing a sabertooth tiger skin bikini-style top, a big leather belt and matching thick skirt split over one leg that would make Conan proud, and several bracelets, anklets and accessories made out of leather, teeth and bone, along with the medal around her neck from the competition earlier. With a second bite she's already almost halfway finished with her dino leg, soon yelling "C'MONNNNNN!!!" as one of the jousting ostriches has a false start.

Jean Grey has posed:
Jean is not dino-jousting, or competing in general, leaving that for those tougher in body and younger at heart. Perhaps it is because she is still recovering, although under Rogue's... unique care, she has seemed to bounce back well enough, quite taking to their hard-earned fantasy-styled vacation in royal luxury. For the tourney, her fancy olden time-y gown is (not surprisingly) a deep forest green, with ample gold accents.

Since she's not competing, she instead takes the opportunity to cheer on various 'Knights of Xavier' in their own trials (Iara's prior win gets a big cheer! As does Ororo's ultimate very sportswomanly concession), from her vantage point sitting between Rogue and the Queen, while engaging with Leanne on various topics. And of course, plotting what to do with their 'guest.' <<It's possible,>> she thinks back at Emma. <<Though I'm a little worried for how Lykos will take it, underneath it all. Sauron's mind has never been easy.>>

Maybe the hypnosis, even if a more limited cousin to their powers, speaks to a kind of mentral strength. <<The hope has been that without the opportunity to feed, he'd revert. But we don't have a firm timeline on that.>>

When Rahne makes her appearance, she gives a mighty cheer. "Go Rahne! Woo!"

The Lemurians are nothing if not polite and sporting, so she is matched in a lesser division against one of their recruits, a brown-haired young woman, equally new to the lanky dino mount. She waits for Rahne to settle, and then holds her padded-tipped, penant-flying lance up in a salute, before preparing for the clash.

As Ororo joins the conversation, she thinks back. <<What I want is to get him changed back as quickly as we can, because... he's probably the only person who has any idea of half the stuff that's going on here. Or what happened to Tanya. If the two of them were so close, her disappearance can't be a coincidence in all of this.>>

Emma Frost has posed:
Emma Frost would go to break into applause, Emma goes to insert herself into the telepathic conversation going on with Ororo and Jean. <<I think that we should shut him down. But we do need to take things from him tof igure out what's up. I'd personally say that we shut down the Sauron part of his personality for now.. But that might also wipe out part of his knwoledge. But we can't expect Sauron to willingly cooperate and we'll be in for a fight if we try and force him to outright telepathically. And he'll betray us at first chance. And I presume he still has some more operatives within the castle that will try and free him the longer we wait>>

Rogue has posed:
Rogue is dressed in a crimson and leather outfit, short ankle boots, a crimson red dress, with a brown leather bodice and gloves of black with leather ties. Her dark hair is curled and voluminously styled, with her white bangs braided in two braids that frame her face. She's not been participating in any of the contests, not boasting about her strength to anyone, nor even attempting to flaunt herself, like she might normally be expected to.

Nope, the green eyed gal is just watching from the royal balcony with her legs crossed and her hands resting in her lap. She looks from person to person around her as people mingle, discuss and bare witness to what is unfolding out on the fields.

Rogue does smile at the sight of Rahne though, but just silently cheers for her for now.

Ororo Munroe has posed:
Half her attention on the pennants flying below, Ororo replies, <<Interesting that they haven't already made the attempt. There is no reasoning with him. We can be reasonable though and approach him non-aggressively. We can tell him that his actions will determine a lot of his subsequent treatment.>> She sends the equivalent of a mental shrug, <<We, of course, will be the bad guys, forcing him to take extreme measures.>>

Grinning suddenly, Ororo joins Iara in cheering the X-Team on. When Rahne comes onto the field, she stands to clap, giving an earsplitting whistle before subsiding regally into her seat and twitching her white gown back into order.

Negasonic has posed:
    Ellie is absolutely going to be dino-jousting. Hell the whole damn time she has been down here in the savage lands she has been grumbling about the distinct lack of dino-riding.

    Not continiously mind you. Often enough, in a soft sullen sort of mutter, especially wnen things were sticky or awful. Which was honestly fairly often.

    Now though the time has finally come. A chance to ride dinosaurs. Also not dinosaurs that really want to eat her. So this is fantastic.

    Not that she will admit how pleased she is by this turn of events. Leave that to the telepaths and empaths to figure out. Nope she just looks fairly nonpulsed as she waits armored up and all for her turn to joust on a dino. For the moment being supportive of Rahne "You got this Rahne!"

    She is wearing her Knights of X gear still, cleaned up, smelling better then the jungle adventure, but the armor woven into it is good enough for her mood.

Tabitha Smith has posed:
Being a telepath herself, Tabby chimes in. <<You wanna have an in on working chicken brain, treat him like a junkie. One of the hostile, rolling people on the street for a fix types.>> she's seen that plenty in her hobo past life. <<Make him so desperate for a fix either he changes back on his own with the lack of energy, or turns into the on their knees in a back alley for a fix type of addict.>>

At least Tabby started her self medication last year and keeps it to weed.

Most of the time, pain meds from a forgotton era are a new thing for her.

There's a quick pause to cheer Rahne and her jousting. "Rock!" she yells aloud! The blonde managed to find more leathers. avoiding anything more princess-ish, Tabby switched skrts for breeches along with a long coat in a soft yellowish tan leather dino hide with some more reddish boots. She did get stuck with that corsetry compacting her waist in a matching tone. So they use dino bones instead of whale.

It was easier getting Rahne into her armor, even with both hands kinda functional.

Tabby couldn't squeeze into any of it, so Wolfsbane gets her extra protections.

Rahne Sinclair has posed:
Ms Sinclair looks for all the world like a squire, hoping to one day be a knight. She's never worn armour like this before, but if she'd passed up the chance to do so she'd never have forgiven herself. Taking up her lance, which settles into place and needs a few adjustments from her helping guy, Rahne turns her beastie to face her opponent.

She squares off, then salutes the lady that she's up against, but suddenly has to stop her ostrich from sidestepping away from Iara's shout!

To be fair, the other lady also needed to control her own beast. It's still fair. Animals are scared of predators. They know this, and allowances are made.

Rahne gives everyone a wave, then focuses. It's her turn, and the pennant drops. The ostriches launch themselves forward, and the two dino-riders' eyes narrow, as the world reduces to just the target afore them.

If Ellie wants to ride, there are folks who will help her to mount. Though in ten seconds we might want to rethink that idea.

Iara Dos Santos has posed:
     Shark-Girl stands as she waves with her half-eaten dino leg to Rahne, saying "HEY! RAHNE! YOU CAN DO THIS! KNOCK HER BLOCK OFF!" from the front row, standing up and putting a grey, webbed foot on the front barrier between the crowd and the stands. She soon sits back down once she's certain she's been seen, elbowing Storm with a triangular-toothed grin as she takes a third bite of the dino leg, complete with exaggerated motions of her head from how her tremendous jaws can shred and swallow that meat, the grin never leaving her face.

    "So the X-Men come here often?" the south american asks the african, "Seriously, this place is awesome. I feel like I fit in here. If something ever happens and we have to flee the school, I vote we set up shop here for our new base..."

Jean Grey has posed:
<<Sauron's degree of rationality is limited. We can negotiate with him, maybe, but it's always going to be... he'll want things we can't give him, he'll be unreasoanble for the very sake of it,>> Jean considers. <<So I don't know how much we can bargain. Maybe Tabby's right, and we can leverage him a bit, or trick him. Or we can just try and rip out what his lizard brain knows in one go, maybe, and then hope to get the rest from the human half?>>

Of course, at some junction, with all this mental-talk, the actual conversation in the booth has died out. Asidef rom the occasional whoop or cheer for the riders below. So Leanne can't help but look over in curiouity. "You have all fallen rather silent. Does something trouble you?" She may not have telepathy, but she does seem to possess a certain wisdom, precisely what one might wish of a Queen. "No doubt, what comes after this. When we have finished celebrating, then we must take up our causes again. I must-" and she reaches out to touch the white-feathered arm of her counterpart on her other side, "-lend my aid to the Aerians in rescuing them from their own tyrant, their own version of your Sauron. And you must deal with the monster locked up below, and decide, then, if you will fight with us, or have other business in this realm, or return to your own world." She pauses for a little drama, before emphasizing, "Or am I wrong?"

She's pretty close!

"Whatever your decision, I offer you what aid I can. Lemuria's strength, Lemuria's justice, they are at your disposal." In speaking such, she touches her hand to the amulet that again adorns her neck, now that it no longer serves as Rogue's alien 2-way authentication wi-fi dongle.

On the field below, they ride! Though Rahne's opponent is not entirely new to the sport, it is clear that she does not have the steely nerves that come with practice and repetition. Indeed, if one had to guess, perhaps this is her first such public contest. And so while she holds to the basics of the technique, leading her thin-necked mount into a rapid gallop, there is hesitation and doubt. A waggle of her lance tip as it is held ahead...

Rahne, on the other hand? She has faced Sauron and other terrors. She conquers any doubt here, and though the moment of impact may be hard to catch by eye, she feels only a light deflection off her shield while the impact of her own weapon vibrates back to her arm.

And when the dust settles, her opponent lays dismounted. "Woooo!" calls Jean, forgetting Sauron for a moment.

Ellie is up next, put against an Aerian. A bit more experienced a warrior, perhaps, but... as a wing-having person, not much used to riding on land-creatures. He's doing this for fun and sport, like everyone else. "How curious," he remarks, having settled atop his beast. He too gives her a salute. "Good luck to you, m'lady!" A non-meme use of the title... how quaint.

Emma Frost has posed:
Emma Frost would sigh over and lean back <<We have no reason to trust him to negotiate with us. He's still going to move to backstab us and stall us at earliest oppotunity. And on something technical.. Well.. He has all the reason to try and use that opportunity to sabotage us and regain control of the machiens, particularly when he's the only one that knows how to work them>> She would muse.
    <<So anything we get from him is going to be used to lead us into a trap or lead us astray. We have no reason to trust anything he gives us even with bargaining with him. He's a rather intelligent individual.. And simply as he hasn't triggered tehm doesn't mean he doesn't have assets.>>

Rogue has posed:
"We do need t'probably find a way to reach the rest of our people back home." Rogue quietly chimes in after staring out at the field. "We need ta check in, an' let folks know what's been goin' on here if at all possible. I'd say that would be a bit more important for us, than just spendin' a bunch more time movin' on to the next problems 'round this place..."

She says that right before Rahne's victory and it is then that Rogue applauds with her gloved hands, now shouting out a 'Killer Rahne!' cheer for her friend, before settling back in to her chair, only to notice a new drink being given to her by a small shorty servant of the Queen's court.

This garners a grin from Rogue as she accepts the drink with a quiet 'thank you', and a smile for the one who delivered it. She hoists the cup up, gives it an occular patdown, then takes a testing sip of its contents... "Mmmm." She approves.

Negasonic has posed:
    Oh right, she is totally next after Rahne. Ellie ends up scrambling with an attendants help up and onto the dinosaur. This is definitely not quite like a motorcycle or a horse. Both of which she has tried at the mansion. Closer to Horse if they are scaled and feathery and... yeah okay not that much like a horse. Still with help she manages to get up onto it and also grips a lance. "Someone better be recording this...and then deleting it if I end up looking stupid..." she glances to Tabby over yonder.

    At Rahne's victory Ellie actually loses her cool. Especially when Rahne makes it look easy like that, she rocks up a bit fists in the air. "Go Rahne!!" then leans back and looks very briefly sheepish at her actual enthusiasm for all of this. Stoic. Think Stoic thoughts Ellie.

    "Bruh." is the reply to the nice Aerian at his milady comment, it is just reflexive and it takes her a moment to realize he is probably just being actually chivalrous or something. "Uh .. right... good luck to you too." as she grips heer own lance and gives him a bit of a salute in return.

    Focus. Stoic. Don't fall off this thing. Put the tip into the other guy the way they explained. Don't fall off. Using a blast shield and blast would be cheating though funny but don't do it.

    Away she goes.

Ororo Munroe has posed:
Ororo takes the elbowing with good grace, returning the question with a warm smile for the valiant Brazilian. "I can't say it is on our regular itinerary." She looks out over the varied crowd, then back at Iara.

"I understand the attraction. It's maybe one of the few 'untamed' places on earth. But it would never sustain prolonged attention from the outside, even well-meaning attention."

When the telepathic conversation resumes, she gazes out at the tournee with an abstract look to her pale eyes. << I do not like to say there is no hope. But you are both right. Force may be our only alternative. Still, he doesn't hold all the power. We have communicated with the machines and could do it again.">>

Nodding at the Queen's astute observation, "That is likely our last task, Your Majesty. It will not be easy. But we have the strength and the wisdom," she glances between Jean and Emma, "to deal with him, I think. That is my hope."

Tabitha Smith has posed:
Tabby mostly seems focussed on the jousting and how Rahne is doing on her mount. It is mostly her focus after all and friends gotta cheer friends. <<Someone make a note to remind be to see if I can still control my energy when someone else absorbs it and not just while it's floating in the air. Feels like it would be really handy to make use of right now. The Tabby Giveth. The tabby Taketh Away!>> she laments. <<Otherwise actualy feeding the Cluckwit might be a bad idea. He might not let go.>> she points out the dangers.

at least she's not volunteering for the doing something dangerous and stupid this time. <<Also, how do we, between the three telepaths and change we have here, not have the oomph and range and control. I mean back home, I expect the Professor, the Cuckoos, Rachel, the rest of the mind talky motley, all plugged into a Cerebro bucket trying to call us.>> she points out or wishfully thinks.

Ellie gets a grin. "Can't video, flat batteries. Don't have a power converter to charge from me to devices." she laments. "But you tottally won't fail, because the cameras are running and there's no evidence of success when you brag back home." she adds and grins.

Rahne Sinclair has posed:
Rahne tears off her helmet and is off of her ostrich as soon as she can be. It takes a bit of help, but she manages it. Her shattered lance is tossed aside, and she leaves her noble steed (?) to the nice cat guy's care. She rushes back, dropping to her knees beside her downed opponent. That impact was solid, and she's desperate to ensure that the young warrior is alright.

A moment later she's helping the lady to her feet. Someone else will explain the difference between real combats to the death and practice, but if anything she's glad that this one got the chance to learn the difference now, when her opponent isn't going to finish her off. It might save her life someday.

Unfortunately the downed woman is not feeling well, and she shrugs Rahne's sympathy off. She stomps off, leaving the wolf-girl behind. It's a learning period for anyone, your first loss. But then, Rahne notices the cheers. And raises her fist to the sky.

And then it's Ellie's turn, and she gets the McQuack out of the way. There's drinks to be had, apparently, so she gives Iara a fistbump and a smile. And then hugs the bigger lady because she is WIRED right now. "GO ELLIE!"

Iara Dos Santos has posed:
     Iara can only give a bemoaning "Ugh, maaaaaan..." as Storm points out how much harm having their base here would be, "Well okay, but I plan on taking vacations here when I can, for sure..."

     Soon, though, Rahne has knocked her opponent off their mount and is walking up to the stands for a fistbump... and then a hug! Iara's face lights up as she sees those arms go wide, and she picks up and hugs the shorter scottish girl to her chest tightly, swinging her from side to side before letting her back down, saying "You did great, Rahne! I was worried your uh... your lance was gonna go wide but you got 'er smack dab on target!" An eloquent breakdown to be sure.

     Iara makes room on the bench for Rahne if she's done, giving a deep exhale as she tries to not overdo all her yelling, but soon she's back at it as she goes "Alright! You're next, Ellie! Smack 'em good and hard, no mercy!" down the field to where Negasonic Teenage Warhead is readying for her run.

Jean Grey has posed:
The X-Men still have their standard communicators, but any attempt to get a signal to the Blackbird comes across quite faint and disorted. Maybe it's the distance. Maybe it's another aspect of whatever alien technology maintains this place. Of course, radios are magic, as far as Leanne is concerned, but she has a more practical offer to answer Rogue, making good on her promise of aid: "The mount I rode against Sauron, though injured in the fight, the Aerians traveled with several more, and have camped them here. They would make for a faster trip back to the high plateau, avoiding the climb entirely. You are free to use them, if you like."

Fast Travel unlocked: Ka-Zar's Refuge <-> Zarhan-Lemuria!

And Jean finds that she has to agree with Rogue. "As much as we're happy to help you, she's right, we've been gone a while, so we really should check in with our own people. And there are... outside authorities, that have claim over Sauron, as well." Presumably, Lemuria isn't going to fight extradition. "We should debrief Sauron, and then head back to, uh, our own vehicle. I don't trust flying it further in, with whatever 'rules' there are to this place, set by the amulet-makers." Seems as good enough name for them, for Leanne's consumption. "Some of us can fly, but the mounts will help the rest. Once we make it there, we should be able to make the round trip pretty quickly, if your quest to the Aerians isn't happening too soon. Because I am interested in getting the whole story."

Then it's back to Sauron talk. <<He'll almost certainly want to bargain for a meal, so... that's a tough call. I'm hesitant to let him, but we've got enough control over the situation that we should be able to do it without him getting free. But I'd only take a volunteer for it. Several of you have felt just how... bad it hits.>>

On the field, Rahne plays quite the squire. Her foe isn't injured, save perhaps in her pride. Still, even if it stings, her squad of other trainees is waiting on the sidelines, and while the crowd cheers Rahne on, they all more quietly cheer their friend, helping her back to their area. She'll be fine!

Ellie's contest proves less traditional in its execution and outcome. First, it's two newcomers. Second, well, we have to say it again: bird man. Though Ellie is new to the sport, she is, as noted, familiar with things like horses and motorcycles. To this guy, the entire situation seems quite strange. His mount's gait is awkward as he struggles a bit with the reins, although eventually he gets it under control. Finally, the two are on a path toward one another, with the Aerian leaning in, wings drawn close to prevent any added drag against the wind.

And then there's a crack, as the two hit! It's not as decisive as Rahne's, with each getting contact against each other. But she keeps a better position in the saddle, where the bird man slides off to one side, hanging precariously in his saddle. It looks like he might fall... and then his wings start flapping, a bit chaotically, to keep him upright! He manages, but by the time they've traveled the full length of the list and come to a stop, the judges are already huddled in discussion.

"Point: Dame Negasonic of Xavier!" Apparently 'flap to hold on' is ruled against him.

In this fashion, the games continue for some time. The jousters may continue, though each will eventually eventually fall to Lemurian knights, far more seasoned in the sport. All the same, their legend is apparently already well-founded, to have earned victories on the field of honor as outsiders. Tales shall be told, songs sung. Indeed, for the finale, they HAVE several bards and troubadours, already armed with compositions about the heroism of their Queen and her new companions. And Tabitha...

...Tabitha has fireworks.

Emma Frost has posed:
Emma goes to muse over <<I don't trust Sauron to bargain at any level. He'll try to sabotage at any point. I'd almost rather if it's stable us seal off the complex until we can bring in someone that can look over it. Forge could probably sort through it. I'd rather not risk him doing something convoluted as a backstab and dthis mess tos tart over again>> But she'll go along with the consensus.

<<And let's not have a talk voer as to who's going to be proferred up as the treat just yet. I'ms ure that we can engage in the group dynamics of offering ourselves up for sacrifice sot he others don't have to soon enough. You'll all get your chance>>

Oh yes, that was how the ruotine went. As the shows would go on, Emma would applaud along wiht the rest.

Ororo Munroe has posed:
Ororo swallows her distaste at providing Sauron a snack, and rebels at the idea of one them being tendered as a meal. <<He would only stand to gain while one of ours suffer. Must we? It should be someone with great control, otherwise...">>

She shakes her head, then adds wryly, <<You know I will do it to protect the young ones.>>

Rogue has posed:
Rogue just sips her new drink, shakes her head, and glances down at her dress, brushing a gloved hand over her stomach and down the top of her leg through her fancy dress. "I could just fly back to the Bird on my own. Now that I got my full strength back, it'd not even take me that long. Ain't no reason t'have everyone jump on some avian thing, an' make them make the trek." She says, glancing over to Storm and Jean for confirmation of that idea.

Through the rest of the event though, Rogue cheers for Ellie next, smiling big and proud there, before she just settles in and observes what may come. At the celebratory singing and barding, Rogue is up on her feet and milling about, likely sipping more drinks to get a bit more snockered on whatever it is they're giving her in the goblet loads.

Tabitha Smith has posed:
<<We'll draw straws. Two lots, someone to dangle tidbits. The other can have a sledgehammer to break his wings and kneecaps so he doesn't fly off.>> Tabitha grins.

Yes there will be fireworks after. Lots of pretty multi colored fireworks. Shaped too when she managed to get some of the local friendly coats of arms and sigils showing up in brief flashes of plasma flame.

She's getting to show off what she can do to the locals.. Sometimes that spotlight just needs to be lept in. Plus, letting off that steam.

And she gets to fly with help on one of the avian mounts herself. Get on up, pump out the BOOM's, fly back down, let the BOOM's BOOM!

Negasonic has posed:
    Dang Rahne made that look easy. It was not easy. Still. She didn't get sent flying. Even if the bird guy basically was flying to stay on.

    She doesn't seem mad about it though, she got the point, even if she was called Dame Negasonic of Xavier. Dame. Sigh. "Bruh." is muttered again, just under her breath.

    Match done she heads over to Rahne for a fistbump, the non-exploding kind. "We rock!" with a grin she can't quite manage to sullen away.

    She does keep going though until defeated and bruised by a more seasoned competitor later. Owch.

Rahne Sinclair has posed:
Rahne would normally be the first to volunteer her life force, but that requires that she have heard the conversation to this point. Which she has not. Once she's let down from Iara's grasp, she looks around and tries to catch up. Leaning over to the shark girl, she whispers, "Wot did ah miss?"

But she'll catch on eventually. There's drinks to be had, and some nice little snacks. And she bumps fists with her fellow joust-er, smiling at Ellie. Good job kid. Haircut buddies!

You know, she's been thinking of growing hers out. Pigtails are adult looking, right?

Iara Dos Santos has posed:
    Iara cheers for Ellie as she wins against the bird man, shouting "YEAH! NEGASONIC TEENAGE WIN-HEAD!" before giving her a similar hug to Rahne's if allowed.

    Iara finally listens in on the though-speak long enough to try to think <<So... I don't think I'll be too much help in the interrogation, so I have like... two options, whichever you folks think will be better. I could be good cop, as the fellow beast of the mesozoic era and... ugh, well, part of that idea probably won't work but I'd still want to try but the other option is I could be drained for him. We've already shown I can survive a direct drain with him not holding back, even if I probably only lived because he had better things to do than to make sure I was dead, so him draining me to get a taste and have him go crazy for a fix probably won't hurt me. Unless he drains powers and it makes him strong enough to escape? That would be bad.>>

Jean Grey has posed:
The Lemurians are decidedly impressed by Tabitha's show. There are not just oohs and ahs, but outright gasps and exclamations of pure awe. So many booms.

"I don't know that I want to fly the Blackbird further into the valley," Jean answers Rogue. "What if those alien computers decide it 'doesn't belong'?" She frowns at the thought. "If you mean to just get back and radio home, yeah I'm sure that'd be the fastest answer. But eventually we gotta drag dino-breath back to jail. And I can't see letting him fly under his own power."

After the end of the competitions, and the songs, and the fireworks, Leanne rises, giving a short speech. Lemurian honor, strength and justice, a renewed promise to serve her people, that sort of thing. It goes over well, and everyone seems in high spirits.

When she eventually departs, it is with instructions that she will arrange for a heavy guard to accompany them on their mission to the dungeons below, to settle the outstanding 'justice' part of that pledge.

As for various plans? Jean has to ultimately give in to Emma on this one. <<She's right. We can't really plan too far ahead without seeing how he reacts. But all of that, well, we'll keep it on the table.>> Including whatever Iara's 'plan A' is, perhaps!



Time enough has passed to finish feasting, to shed armor (and perhaps fancy dresses), and reconvene at the lowest level of the castle. Jean brings everyone, because it doesn't seem like backup can hurt. That said, seeing the dino-man in his cell, surrounded by a squadron of Lemurians in gleaming armor, and all the X-Men? He somehow looks a lot less threatening.

And maybe not just metaphorically. In the few days without a 'meal,' he looks physically, well, less. They've also affixed an appropriately Medieval looking device to his head, locking a mask over his eyes. No contact, no hypnosis.

"Ohhhhh, I hear guests?" comes the familiar, still rather screech-y voice, as he hears them enter. "Hmmm. To what does Sauron own the pleasure? Are you here to mock and threaten? So bold, when you are afraid to even look me in the eye!"

Jean begins with a fairly even and honest answer: "We're just here to ask some questions. They may be things we both have an interest in, so I don't see a reason this has to be difficult. We know something happened to Tanya Anderssen. Did you take her? Was it someone else? We're trying to figure out what happened, before we arrived."

Maybe, maybe he'll just be helpful?

SCREEEEEEECH. "Do not lie to us! We know you did something! You seek to shift the blame to Sauron, but Sauron would not harm her!"

Emma Frost has posed:
Emma Frost would be along with Jean, and then over with the others she would go, "And what would we ever blame you for, Sauron? Do you think that we weould actually harm someone that had done nothing wrong?" Emma's playing 'good cop' here for a moment. They're the heroes, they wouldn't try and brutalize him for something like him protecting someone, would they?

She adds a telepathic tone of sincerity to her voice to broadcast it around. Pressing to Sauron's brain might not go well, but hopefully adding a light empathic nudge over to her words might help them slip down. If they couldn't badger, beat, or bargain with him hopefully they could psychologically manipulate him.

Of all the things going beyond brute force and baser desires, they had to manipulate him the old fashioned way. Sigh. The things she did..

Emma glances over to Storm, a light gesture of her deferring to Ororo's decision on how to approach this.

Ororo Munroe has posed:
True to form, Sauron wedges himself into denial and self-pity. Ororo takes an audible breath through her nose. In quiet tones, <<We did no harm to her. And, only report what we found. We hoped you knew, it's a mystery that we thought you could shed light on.>> Her pale eyes shift between Jean, Rogue and Emma with an unspoken question.

Tabitha Smith has posed:
For now, in the basement, dungeon whatever they call the place they're holding Sauron and his cell. tabitah for now waits out in the hall. With Jean and Emma doing the interrogation, she keeps herself mind linked in to help boost what oomph the two experienced telepaths already have.

They should be able to shield anyone from Sauron's mesmerizing gaze or bring them out of the funk if it's not too late. How long have the guards been on this shift after alll? "We should show the locals how to make a good barbecue marinade and then let them eat Sauron if he doesn't give anything up." she ponders to anyone out with her. A little too loudly. "Like the Stormtroopers after the Battle of Endor! You know the Ewoks were eating human jerky for months after the rebels lefts." she adds.

Rogue has posed:
Rogue had told Jean that she wouldn't move the Bird's position, but that it was best for her to just get out there, check on it, check back home, and then make it back as soon as possible, and that's what Rogue did. She missed Tabi's fireworks show, and didn't see the group head inside, or eventually down to the cellar, though, as she'd already left and was gone for a good two hours...

By the time she's back though, Rogue is wearing her leather jacket again with the red and black X-logos on the shoulders. She's gotten a new uniform out of the Blackbird too, back to her old self, green and gold, tall boots, and her aviators on that she'd left back in the SR-77 when they'd first arrived.

She's escorted down to where the others are now, and she catches some of what Jean is saying when she swaggers in on the perimeter of the group...

Rogue stuffs her hands in the pockets of her bomber jacket, and just eyes Sauron from behind her Cool Girl Shades.

Iara Dos Santos has posed:
     Iara looks a little forlorn at Tabby's suggestion for some reason, saying "I dunno, I've kinda been trying not to eat things that talk now that I've gotten better at controling my frenzy..." as she puts her hands on her hips, studying Sauron's restraints. "I mean, I still could and would if they were like, super evil or I was starving or something but like, the power trip of eating a person kinda wears off after the..." she blinks as she trails off, and then squints as she looks at the ceiling and counts on her fingers...

     "But anyways, hey, um, Sauron, I'm here, Shark-Girl, fellow prehistoric predator? Big fan of the idea of turning people into dinosaurs but disagree on your methodology, if you could give us some straight answers maybe we can help you find your uh... Tanya Anderssen."

     She suppresses her urge to say that gay answers would also suffice, but she thinks it, which the telepaths might still catch.

Negasonic has posed:
    Ellie is feeling good, if bruised. She got to ride dinosaurs. Eat. Celebrate. Get cleaned up from all of the above. Good night.

    Unfortunate they have to basically nightcap it with Sauron. Still she is not going to let his screeching and whining ruin her dinoriding adventure by gods. She just crosses her arms and leans up against the wall and keeps her gaze at the floor. She is here for backup not for interrogating dino-mutant-villains honestly.

Jean Grey has posed:
Although he cannot look her in the eyes, Sauron's head nonetheless turns toward Emma, his long beak thrust toward her, aggressive in its form alone. "Hee. Oh yes. You are the noble ones. Never to hurt a fly." His tone drips of sarcasm, which is... something, coming from a dinosaur-man. "No, no, I know what you are like. You all studied under HIM. And those TWO, they were birds of a feather, hee. Such know-it-alls. But they did not know as much as they thought. And their arrogance... it is easy to do harm, when you think you know everything. Just like you. You do not even know what you did, how you caused all this."

Jean does a slightly uncomfortable side-glance between Emma and Ororo here, before turning her attention back. "But I promise you, we didn't harm her. We'll help you find h-"

"LIES!" Sauron screeches. "You will not help Sauron." The talk of BBQ'ing him from the hallway may not help their case. "Not now, that you have him in your grasp! You will starve him, weaken him, try and kill him, as you have before. Lock him away forever, perhaps. But WE are stronger than that." His head sweeps around, as if 'looking' at each of them, despite the blinders. There is a considerable cunning to his high-pitched voice, a tone of childish delight at a witheld secret. "And we know something you do not. A terrible, more important secret. And we know that you are useless. We can tell you where she is, but why? You cannot help her. You are too weak."

Screeech. "You NEED Sauron. Like THEY need Sauron, hee, hee. We are very popular, now." In this last, his manner is almost preening, and he flexes his wings, as if trying to spread them wide, although his chains restrict his movement considerably. "Yes. Everyone wants us. But Sauron will not help you, just for you to starve him to death."

Iara's prehistoric-to-prehistoric understanding? Well, there is something to it. "Yes... all three of us, we are throwbacks, in a way. Curious. Curious." Three who now? Again, he 'looks' to her, despite the effort still bringing only darkness. "Fine. Sauron will tell you: the birds have her. Isn't that easy? Hee. But they only have her because they desire US. It is a trap, you see? But Sauron is too smart for this. Sauron came, but bid his time. Grew his army. You have ruined that. And perhaps... now you will all die, heeeee. She knows enough, even without us. Things we left with her."

Emma Frost has posed:
Emma Frost would take a moment to glance back over at Jean, Ororo, and Tabitha <<This is why I was encouraging the partial lobotomization to pull what we could from him. Still, I do loathe leaving affairs unfinished. We still do have those whom were from the missing facility, what exactly all this ruckus in the Savage Land has been started over.>> From the ruined Arctic base they came to and everything that has followed.

<<Much as it loathes me, we can't leave unfinished business. Sauron won't bargain wtih us and I'm not going to offer up anyone for him to feed upon, nor take the chance on him sabotaging us>> Emma is clearly in favor of 'telepathic brute force' in the exchange. But still, she will go with the consensus. But her total disturst of Sauron is apparent. She has no remote faith that he will do anything to help them and it means they have to play damage control on his next operation anyways.

Rogue has posed:
While the Dinosaur dork keeps blabbering on, Rogue raises her sunglasses up to the top of her forehead over the green bandana she's wearing around her head. She glances over at her friends, then over to the winged Sauron in his clattering chains.

"Christ." Rogue says in her thick voice, naturally husky and southern flavored. "Don't you ever just drop the god damn bullshit?" She asks him. "I mean seriously. You're done, you're beat, and you're still spitting out nonsensical horse shit. We're here t'help people, even your dumb ass. Stop bein' a damn dick about it, an' let us help you, before we haul your weirdo ass off t'some government-sponsored prison where they'll do endless experiments on you t'figure out 'where it all went wrong'."

Ororo Munroe has posed:
Looking grim, Ororo gives Emma several quick nods as if to say, be done with it. She stares back at Rogue in her cool glasses with a faint smile, then shrugs glumly at Jean. <<I see no other alternative to starving him out except force. I can freeze him in place.">>

Negasonic has posed:
    Ellie looks up and smirks at Rogue's cut the bullshit dialogue. God she was thinking it and thank the gods Rogue was there to deliver. "So much this." she mutters in agreement. "Though it may be quicker just to do what Ororo said... god so fracking annoying. Like the files don't even do justice how annoying...."

Tabitha Smith has posed:
Finally Tabby chimes in, on the psyhic part of the interrogation. <<So, like marinading and feeding him to the birds might still be an option.>> she chimes in in the mind link <<Totally. Bargaining chip.>> she ponders but whether he's telling the truth is a different matter.

"Some assholes will say anything to get out of torture. We're not all nice girls here." she states as Rogue chimes in. <<So, everyone remember to pack spare clothes on the plane. These leathers chafe.>> she adds mentally to everyone.

"Look, of course he's full of it. This is a guy that took a scaly fetish way too far. Dude wants to just bang a dinosaur. He could have stopped there but noo, gotta rub his kink in all our faces, or DNA!" So much venom in Tabby's voice.

Iara Dos Santos has posed:
     Iara... does try the comradery angle. She leans against the bars, sticking her shark nose through them, saying "Okay! Okay, so that's a start. We're throwbacks. Back to where things were cooler and had more teeth. Like Rock and Roll and Lord of the Rings, sometimes the classics can't be beat." The telepaths can now hear Iara praying in her head that Sauron doesn't ask her to name more than three hobbits or any dwarves that aren't Gimli. Also, she feels oddly called out by Tabby's taunting, especially after her soiree with Phangor.

     "But that's the thing..." she say after Tabby, "Some people ARE into that. I've seen it online, some people wanna be dinosaurs! I mean hell, I love being a giant shark, there's gotta be other people like me out there..." She sighs as she says "So hey, Sauron, what if we, y'know, first work together to get Tanya back, and then if that works out, maybe we can get you to your hobbies in productive, consenting ways? Maybe?" She's probably flubbed that last line, but it's worth a shot.

Jean Grey has posed:
There's no simple consensus. Perhaps that is the likely outcome of any such discussion: if there were an obvious, right answer, then of course they'd all come to it. It's just never that easy.

"You're right about one thing." Jean squares her shoulders. The responsibility falls to her, to pronounce the 'sentence.' "We are here to kill 'him.' It would have been nice if we could have talked, because maybe there's something useful in there. But there' no, zero chance we're letting you out of that cage as is. We'll talk to the other guy, thanks."

Again, she does a back and forth between Ororo and Emma. <<We'll do what we can this way. I don't know what information we can get out, or if we can surgery him into transforming back. But if there's too much... resistance, I'm pulling the plug. We'll wait him out instead. I'd rather wait for Lykos, than get him back now with scrambled eggs for brains. 'Roro? I don't think we need to physically freeze him in place, but if you bring his temperature down, maybe that will help.>> Tabitha gets looped in on the back-end: <<You're boost and backup, if anyone needs a tag-in.>>

After the little psychic huddle, she lifts one hand to her temple in the classic gesture, the only indication that she's about to start... anything.

Sauron? He just screeches and rages in his cage. "No! You need us! You will fail at this! She will make you pay!" His... girlfriend, the Antarctic researcher? That seems a stretch. Definitely a missing piece, still.

As before, the only non-ranting answer he has for Iara. She's getting through on some level, but, well, only enough it seems to be 'clued in' on the doom that awaits her: "Yes, it would be better. You understand. But you see... she had the same idea. And she will do the same to all of us!" Turn... all of them into dinosaurs? He's already a dinosaur. 2+2 doesn't quite add up here.

Iara Dos Santos has posed:
     Iara pounds her fist on one of the bars of the cage, saying "Come on, Sauron! I'm a big dumb shark, don't give me your Gollum riddles, explain it to me like uh... shit... like uh... Like Frodo would explain it to Sam! And don't hold anything back, what is Tanya up to!? I can help you, and by you I mean both of you, not just Karl!"

Tabitha Smith has posed:
Tabby gives a VERY pointed frown at Iara. "You didn't force it on people without consent. You didn't inflict some of the worst pain we every experienced in twisting out bodies. That's what separates assholes like him from people just doing things with permission." she states flatly. "You wanna see me in scales is one thing. Making it happen is a diferent thing. We're talking the R word." she states and makes sure she's facing the door.

Over the link she sends an acknowledgment and keeps her telepathic energy linked in for that boost part of the plan. No kill like mental over kill.

The ranting from Sauron gets a frown. "I don't think he meant Iara." she ponders and shudders. <<So expect Tanya is like in on this?>> she posits to the mind link while the others work.

Jean Grey has posed:
Moments later, the temperature starts to drop, an icy chill creeping through the cell. Ororo's control means that the phenomenon is quite concentrated; they see the condensation freeze in the cell, even as things remain comfortable just outside of it. Wild.

"Pft, a little cold... what do you think that will... NO! STAY OUT!" Sauron starts to panic, as he feels the first brushes of mental contact, trhashing in his chains.

The journey into his mind isn't a happy one. It's a dark and savage place, like a dark jungle in both the metaphorical sense and in its astral representation. It is filled with among the rawest, most primitive natural instincts, drawn from millions of years in the past, yet honed with the intelligence of stand-out member a highly evolved species. Dinosaur supremacy is among the least disturbing of his thoughts.

Like a jungle, it is also hard to navigate, to get a sense of cause and effect, of sequence. There are flashes, mixed and twisted. Visions of the woman from the photograph, just as she appeared in it... years prior. Of the research station at Tierra del Fuego, already ransacked. A sole black feather, held between two talons.

The rest is mostly violence. Blood and terror. Survival of the fittest. And then... something very strange. It is almost a holy vision, a gleaming, almost angelic winged figure, a woman suspended in the sky, shrouded by a halo of light. Winged warriors surround her, several holding a human woman aloft. Tanya again. Older.

The angel holds an object, cylindrical, beckons the captive to receive it. A scroll, yet not with ancient text, but modern formulae, scribbled down its surface. The ink bleeds away, as something strange, something unfamiliar shocks his psyche:

Fear. Defeat. He is driven away.

The rest they know. He conquers an army, studies the strange machine, prepares for war... only to have the X-Men take it all away. A second defeat. The pain and humiliation of it radiates out, rips at the seams of his mind.

And Jean pulls them back. "I think that's-"

Enough. But it's not all. The chains in the cell no longer hold their prisoner. Instead, crumpled in their midst, a human form curls upon the cold stone floor, fetal, weeping. "I- someone get him some clothes," Jean breathes, before rushing to the cell door, "And open the cell. Carefully. We need the Doctor to stay with us, this time.."