Friday, November 14, 2014
X-men Supreme Issue #108: Civilization No Longer Lost Part 3 PREVIEW!
Halloween might be over, but there's still plenty of horror to go around in the X-men Supreme fanfiction series. Selene, the Black Queen, is on the loose again, seeking to reclaim her birthright. Sinister is by her side, eager to mix her magic with his science in more ways than one. I know X-men is famous for a lot of twisted and complicated romances, but these two are poised to take it to a disturbing level that haunting can sufficiently match. It's not enough for them to corrupt cosmic forces like the Phoenix or expose the dark secrets of Weapon X. They're poised to turn Nova Roma, the hidden kingdom housing the last vestiges of the Roman Republic, into ground zero for their wrath.
Selene already fired the first shot when she abducted Colossus' sister, Illyana. The X-men have been seeking a way to strike back ever since. They've faced plenty of daunting threats throughout this fanfiction series, but none quite like this. Sinister and Selene aren't the kind of threat they can take on with cunning, power, and tactics alone. They need help if they're to have any chance at beating them. This means teaming up with the exceedingly hostile authorities on Nova Roma. It's a common challenge the X-men face. Throughout their history and this fanfiction series, they've had to team up with less-than-cooperative allies. This includes "allies" like the Brotherhood of Mutants. But in making this alliance work, they were able to forge the Genosha treaty that has kept the world from descending into a human/mutant war. Can the X-men do the same with Nova Roma?
I've gone to great lengths to give context to how Nova Roma functions in the X-men Supreme fanfiction series. I've also just begun to explore the characters most associated with it, namely Amara Aquilla. She was among the New Mutants who ushered in a new generation of young mutants for the X-men during an era when the originals had come of age. I've already shown how she has a few traits that set her apart from her comic book counterpart. I've also done the same with Selene and the Seftons, tying their history into that of Nova Roma. That history is instrumental to the conflict the X-men are now facing. It'll be the key to their victory or the site of their doom. The stakes are getting higher and it's about to reach a boiling point. As always, I've prepared an extended preview of the kind of damage that Selene and Sinister have done. So just imagine how much more they can do.
“MY DAUGHTER! SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH HER!”
“THE MUTANTS! THE MOUNTAIN HAS ABANDONED THEM!”
“THE MOUNTAIN HAS ABANDONED US ALL!”
“OUR CITY! OUR REPUBLIC! WE’RE DOOMED!”
It was horrific, hearing so many people lamenting with fear and dread. Even at the heart of the republic, there was no escape. The Nova Roman Senate cowered in the Curia. Their faith no longer rested with the gods. It was the X-men in which all their hopes now resided. If they couldn’t stop the Black Queen, then the last trace Roman glory would be forever lost.
Also seeking refuge in the Curia was Professor Charles Xavier. He, Shaman, and Margali Sefton had to listen to these horrible cries as well. Unlike the Senate, they stayed in the upper levels of the structure, which gave them an unabated view of the city and Mount Anton. This also happened to be the infirmary. There were no doctors or mystics present. Margali was not willing to put her daughter through any more rituals. She was still in a coma and despite all the horrors going on around them, she was Margali’s greatest concerns.
“My precious little girl,” she mused, “So quiet…so lost. I almost envy that she’s not awake to see this madness.”
“That shouldn’t prevent you from trying to treat her,” said Shaman, who never stopped working, “The Nova Roman mystics may have been horribly under-qualified, but one of them gave me the keys to their artifact collection. I found some potent rune stones, a few incantations, and various healing oils. With the right treatment, we may be able to rouse her from this coma.”
Shaman had in his hand a flask of glowing oils. He motioned to pour it over Amanda, who was lying motionless on a special bed. But Margali stopped him, pushing the flask aside and standing protectively over her daughter.
“No Shaman…no more spells. Not now anyways,” said Margali, “I’ve subjected Amanda to so much. She deserves some rest.”
“Margali, do you honestly believe she would care to rest when Selene is on a rampage?”
“She’s my daughter. I’m her mother. I’ll do what I feel is best for her.”
“Just because it feels right doesn’t mean it is right. You of all people should know that,” scorned Shaman.
Margali almost cringed while clinging to her daughter more protectively. Professor Charles Xavier, who had been looking out towards Mount Anton, turned around in his wheelchair and offered a comforting gesture to the desperate mother.
“That’s enough, Shaman. I don’t think you need to remind her,” said Xavier.
“Sorry Charles, but you know I’ve never been comfortable just waiting around for the world to end,” said Shaman.
“The world isn’t ending. Not while my X-men are still out there,” he said strongly, “This whole affair has gone beyond magic. First, I’m told Amanda’s ailment is somehow connected to the power within Mount Anton. Then I’m told that same power is connected to all the mutants here in Nova Roma.”
“You think this is setting a dangerous precedent? Magic mixing with mutation?” said Shaman.
“I can’t imagine two more volatile elements. The confirmation that Selene is working with Sinister opens all sorts of possibilities. Perhaps we’ve only been working with half the story. What if there are mystical elements to mutation? What if there’s a connection between the two that we’re not aware of?”
It was a troubling suggestion. Magic and mutation were complex enough on their own. This was the first time they had to deal with both. The destructive potential was obvious, as indicated by Mount Anton’s current activity. Even if the X-men could somehow put a stop to this, the connection had already been made. Something had to give and there was no telling what form the results would take.
The only one who had a faint idea of the possibilities was Margali Sefton. She didn’t take her eyes off her daughter. She lovingly held onto her lifeless hand, scolding herself with each passing moment for letting it get this bad.
“You’re not the first person to pose that question, Charles. You’re not even the tenth,” said Margali, “Magic and mutation each affect the very fabric of our reality. It’s only natural they have some connection.”
“You sound like you’ve pondered this before,” said Xavier, “Is there anything you can tell us? Something I can relay to my X-men?”
“If I knew, I would have told you at the beginning,” said Margali sadly, “I come from a family of mystics. We’ve never been able to ponder the sciences. I only know that there’s always the potential. One comes from blood. One comes from spirit. I’ve never tried to mix the two, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been tried.”
“Do you know anyone who has?” asked Shaman.
“Besides Selene? No,” she muttered, “The closest I’ve seen is Kurt’s father, Aazel. I’ve always suspected that some of Kurt’s mutant abilities had connections to mystical forces. We already know that when he teleports, he accesses a dimension that is thick with mystical energy. However, most of that is still raw science. The real unknowns are in the spiritual aspects.”
“So you’ve never tried to explore it,” Xavier surmised.
“I wouldn’t know where to begin,” Margali sighed as she gently stroked her daughters face, “Amanda has enough burdening her soul. I chose not to push her any further than I already have. I always figured she and Kurt would just…”
Margali’s words trailed off and her expression shifted. Shaman and Professor Xavier looked at her curiously, worried about her dire state of mind.
“Just what, Margali? What did you figure?” asked Shaman curiously.
“Does it have something to do with Kurt’s heritage?” asked Xavier.
“Amanda…” she said distantly.
“Yes, I know she and Kurt were involved, but…”
“No! I mean something’s happening to Amanda.”
Margali was about to explain when her daughter’s unmoving body did the explaining for her. The strange marks on her body started glowing with such radiance that Margali, Shaman, and the Professor backed off cautiously. Then a powerful green light erupted from her eyes and a mysterious halo surrounded her body. There was no spell or ritual to fuel her this time. It was as if everything was coming completely from within.
“By the spirits! What the hell is going on?” exclaimed Shaman.
“Amanda’s mind…it’s still active,” said Xavier, clutching his temple.
“That’s not all that’s active,” said Margali distantly.
The mysterious green halo continued to intensify. It seemed to emanate from her eyes and chest. As it intensified, the greenish light formed a cloudy glowing mist that hovered just over her body. It remained in place for a few moments. Then as if guided by its own whim, it shot out like a rocket through a nearby window and towards Mount Anton.
Once the glowing mist was gone, everything fell silent. Amanda’s body stopped glowing, her eyes closed, and she went back to being motionless. Xavier was still clutching his temple, trying to make sense of what he just sensed. But being experienced mystics, Shaman and Margali didn’t need telepathy to surmise what had just happened.
“Was that…” Shaman began.
“I have no idea. But it looks like it,” said Margali distantly.
“But that’s impossible!”
“It’s magic, Shaman. Nothing is impossible.”
In addition to this preview, I've also updated my ongoing Superman/Wonder Woman story, "Strangers In Paradise." This story has very different stakes compared to X-men Supreme, but it has been a great exercise in developing new characters. In the same way old threats like Selene and Sinister find a way to torment the X-men, old threats like Ares and Lex Luthor find a way to torment Superman and Wonder Woman and that torment begins in this new chapter.
Exploring new places like Nova Roma and giving characters like Amara and Selene different backgrounds is part of what makes developing the X-men Supreme fanfiction series so much fun and such a challenge. I don't want X-men Supreme to tell the same stories with the same characters. I want these characters to stand apart while still adhering to the core of who they are. These are characters that can only be accessed through X-men Supreme and I want to make them as memorable as possible. Amara Aquilla will be the latest, but she won't be the last. And as I develop these characters, it's very important that people provide feedback so that I know I'm developing them in all the right ways. I know I have a lot of reasons for requesting feedback, but this is an especially important reason because the strength of every X-men story comes from the characters. So please let me know I'm doing these characters justice. Either post your feedback directly in the issue or contact me directly. I would love to chat. Until next time, take care and best wishes. Excelsior!