|Dates run:||August 4, 2014|
|Read the logs:||Darkness Within|
"Not Tandy," Sue realized as she scooted backwards along the temple floor till her back collided with Namor's leg, "Their master, Dweller."
Tandy Bowen's greatest nightmare returns and seeks her out once again.
Spite, D’spayre’s younger but more serious sister, returns from the demon realm and is not happy that her sister hasn’t made any headway to getting their master – the Dweller in the Darkness - free. Spite has the ingredients needed to perform the ritual. They have done this many times over the course of the centuries, but it has always ended up in failure. They always had the wrong type of blood and the wrong type of mutant to hold their master.
The ritual to free the Dweller requires two things: the blood of royalty, and the energy of someone who is “gifted” in some form. In the years before mutants were common (as they’ve only been commonplace since the 1980s), “gifted” meant those who were seers or witches or otherwise possessed of otherworldly talents. In the past four generations, they have taken to using mutants.
They have done this many times over the course of the centuries, but it has always ended up in failure. They always had the wrong type of blood and the wrong type of mutant to hold their master. This time D’spayre mentions Nathan, a loyal companion who has recently woke up from his coma. His power might be what they need. They make a plan to break Nathan out from the hospital he is currently in.
Meanwhile, Nathan has awakened from a long coma. He is in a local hospital, under guard, still weakened from the effects of being unconscious for almost two years and from Tandy’s draining. SHIELD is making plans to put Nathan on trial and locking him up for being a traitor, murderer, and kidnapper. Nathan claims he was under the enchantment of the demon but most of his pleas go unheard.
SHIELD is making plans to put Nathan on trial and locking him up for being a traitor, murderer, and kidnapper. Nathan claims he was under the enchantment of the demon and while this is being investigated by SWORD, SHIELD’s occult branch, there are those who doubt the story and think it is just part of a potential insanity plea. SWORD, meanwhile, has spoken to those individuals who were involved in Nathan's crimes, with varying levels of cooperation.
When it comes time to move him from the hospital to the Vault, (via prison van with two guards in the back with him and one driving), D’spayre and Spite take action and abduct Nathan during transit. The driver goes mad from D’Spayre’s fear powers and one guard, driven into a rage by Spite, kills the other before being knocked unconscious by Nathan. Having be alerted after the prison van is found on the roadside and following a debrief of the remaining guard, SHIELD is put on alert and starts using their resources to locate the two demons and a wanted man.
D’spayre, Spite, a minor noble from Denmark, and Nathan do the ritual but it fails. First the royal blood isn’t strong enough and second, Nathan is too old – the ritual only ages him more. Spite told her sister that it wouldn’t work and that they need a stronger body and that she got the wrong blood again (even if it was she who kidnapped the royal). D’spayre has a new plan and they ditch Nathan in Paris, where he is picked up by local authorities and SHIELD is made aware of his location.
Nathan is questioned by SHIELD authorities and feeling betrayed by the “woman” he loved and realising he's looking at a potential death penalty, manages to cut a deal with SHIELD - all of the information he has on D'Sparye, Spite and the Dweller and their plans, in return for life without parole in the Vault. SHIELD then sends SWORD agents to Europe to the location of where Nathan says where the demons have been hanging out. Coordinating with the local officers of Italy they devise a plan to go in and take them down.
Agent Brand, with her established ruthless ambition and dislike of Xavier's 'renegade' team, decides that SWORD can handle the situation and sends her people to Italy without consulting or warning the X-Men or Xavier or Kane. There is, however, the possibility of them finding about Nathan’s escape through other channels, in order for them to warn Sue and Tandy.
While this is all going on, Tandy and Sue have been enjoying their vacation in Europe as their graduation present for at least two weeks now. When the X-Men receive news of Nathan's escape, they send a message to both girls requesting they return home. Nathan's escape and recapture happens within a day, and with Brand withholding information about the demon element, there is less urgency and the girls are left to come home themselves instead of a team being sent for them.
The girls are enroute to the airport in Germany when Spite comes for them, using her malice powers to turn Sue and Tandy against each other. The two girls fight and knock each other unconscious, for Spite to collect.
Meanwhile, D’spayre has found out that a noble from the Attlian Royal Blood Line – the only one they haven’t tried yet - is studying in New York without bodyguards and he will be very easily picked up. D’spayre goes there personally and takes Namor from class at the same time Tandy and Sue are taken by Spite.
D’spayre goes back to the base to complete the ritual, only to have SWORD and other local law enforcement arrive after tracking the heightened supernatural activity. Spite returns with Namor, and D’Spayre and her sister use their powers to overwhelm the police and the two SWORD agents, who are kept as prisoners alongside Namor and Sue. The ritual is completed and Dweller is awakened inside Tandy. The demonic ritual is strong enough to be felt by other magic wielders in the area.
(Fortunately for Namor, the ritual doesn't require that much blood. He's slightly weakened, and his wound is tended by Sue when he is returned to the other captives.)
Back in NY, Amanda receives information from the European members of the Occult Network about strong demonic activity just outside Poveglia Island, in the Venetian Lagoon, Italy. She instructs her contacts to monitor the situation, but not engage, until X-Force can come up with a plan.
The Dweller, in possession of Tandy and needing more fear, goes to the prisoners but is stopped by Sue projecting a forcefield. The Dweller's fear powers backfire in this case - instead of weakening Sue, fear makes her shield stronger, being her instinctive defensive reaction. It wears her out, but saves the group from becoming his next snack but Dweller leaves them locked up in the chamber and goes to the surface.
The surviving group manages to break free from their bonds as soon as the demons leave and go to the surface only to find themselves sealed inside. They start looking around for a way out but the chamber, built only for the ritual and now, without the Dweller's presence to keep it together, is falling apart.
A staff near the ritual table (previously used in the ritual) starts to react to Namor when he backs up near it. When he grabs it instinctively, the staff sends out a magical blue pulse and everyone in the chamber is teleported to another chamber - the chamber from the She Sells Sea Shells plot. The staff floats in the air but doesn’t do anything else. Sue doesn’t want to leave it behind takes the Staff with her up to the surface where they are now in NYC.
Namor and Sue manage to escape the chaos and from SWORD and make their way to the Brownstone where they find Amanda, Nico, Wanda, Billy and Topaz already there for their class.
Amanda had been in contact with some of her magical network over in Europe about a large amount of demonic activity that seems to be growing. Sue fills in the rest with what had happened and shows them the staff and mentions the SWORD involvement. The lights in the city start to flicker and the power goes out. The Dweller has made it to New York.
Another demon portal is opened at the Empire State Building and those in the immediate surrounds are affected with mind-numbing fear. Those unable to withstand the fear become Shades, humanoid looking shadows. They have mass and they can be damaged/killed by stabbing them. If stabbed in their shadow form, they will disappear into a poof a smoke. These Shades are the tortured souls of those taken by the Dweller and made into his servants. Those who are in within a block of the Empire State Building become infected with fear, with the Dweller using their fear to become stronger. No destruction per say but more people are trapped in their own nightmares/fears.
SWORD and SHIELD are already there and engaging. They had pinpointed where the Dweller and his two demon daughters were heading from their own resources and the information Nathan provided. The magic users (Nico, Amanda and her students) arrive on the scene shortly afterwards and with a plan to use a sealing spell to lock away Dweller and close the portal before it gets any bigger. When they are in sight, Topaz senses Tandy is still there trapped inside her own head. Using the channelling spell on Amanda's back as a focus and Topaz as a conductor, the other magic users are able to channel their powers through her and into Tan. Wanda provides protection while the ritual is going on. Tan is able to break free and the portal begins to close.
The magic users continue to channel their power as Tan and part of Dweller become separated. He becomes a black sludge-like substance.
Tandy attempts to move away but ends up in the portal’s pull as the Dweller is pulled in. Namor gets in close to grab Tandy and pull her to safety as the portal finally closes. The remaining Shades regain their former human state with the departure of the Dweller. Spite is killed off by the magic users and D’spayre is thought to have gone through the portal with her master.
Trivia and Meta
- Tandy has Dweller's memories along with a mark on her shoulder that she is his avatar.
- The Empire State Building is now the new location of the prison for Dweller and his daughter.
The events of this plot still occurred in Phase 2, but specifics, such as which characters were involved, remain fuzzy for the purposes of not breaking the world. ;)