The next instant, Megan found herself in a dark cave. She gave a little scream before reminding herself that X-Men do not scream. They may occasionally below or roar, but they do not scream like little girls who are afraid of the dark. Megan really did not like being in a cave, and especially not in a dark cave. Why did caves need to so dark anyway? A few torches lining the wall would not have been overtly luxurious. Not to mention handy! Now, all the light Megan could see was provided by eerily glowing mosses and moulds on the cave walls. Controlling her initial panic, Megan looked around and saw nothing, no indication as to why she had ended up in this cave instead of on top of the Hollywood sign in the hills overlooking LA. Deciding to get the hell out of whatever weird caves she had landed in, Megan tried her teleportation spell again: “Sihal Novarum Chinoth!”
In a flash, Megan found herself appearing in the exact same spot she had left from, inside the cave with the glowing walls. A little scared but even more annoyed, Megan decided to go X-Man, and changed into her uniform, the classic black and yellow of the X-Men, but with the kick-ass big boots and sturdy gloves. She then concentrated on her Souldagger, and it appeared in her right hand, surrounded by an aura of purple energy. Just as she as about to start considering her options, boiled down to going left or right, Megan heard some voices and footfalls coming from the distance on her right.
“I’m a bad-ass X-Man, I’m armed and I’m magical!” Megan told herself, “I’m Pixie!” Letting her words sink in and deciding that the feel she was going for did not work with a name like Pixie, Megan slowly walked down the right-hand corridor, Souldagger in hand and ready for what would come. After a few yards Megan could make out a warm yellow glow in the distance, and as she approached it, the glow had the definite color of a fire. The voices became louder as well, although Megan still could not make out what as being said. Finally reaching the end of the corridor, Megan entered a huge round cave with burning braziers, glowing moss, plant life circling the pillars that held up the roof of the cave, and quite a few people standing around. Some of them looked familiar to Megan, but most of them did not. Also, some scared Megan and some of the people totally weirded her out. There was only one person in the crowd Megan actually hated.
Megan recognized the woman she considered her arch-nemesis right away in the crowd. She looked a lot more human now then when she had met her last. There were no fangs, no tail, and no goat-legs. She was also dressed more regularly, wearing normal street clothes. However, the long blond hair, pale skin and horns protruding from the woman’s forehead made her instantly recognizable to Megan. She was Illyana Rasputin, and no matter how much people told her she had come back to her senses, even having a soul now, Megan hated her.
But there were others Megan recognized. The man in the armor with green clothes over them was obviously Doctor Doom. There was also a woman dressed in black lingerie Megan recognized from X-Men files as Selene. Then there was a woman with greenish skin and green curled horns Megan remembered from those same files as Margali Szardos, Nightcrawler’s foster-mom. The man with long black braided hair and a mechanical leg and arm had to be Forge, once an X-Man like Megan. And even her old classmate, Blindfold was there! ”Hey, she’s not an X-Man! Why is she wearing the costume?” Megan thought when she noticed Blindfold was wearing the standard yellow & black.
Now, as frightening as people like Selene and Dr. Doom were, because they were familiar, they did not scare Megan as much as some of the people she didn’t know at all. There was a tall man with red hair and a pentagram on his chest, holding a trident that looked like the devil himself. Then there was a black woman with a snake slithering along her neck and arms. Finally, there were the ones that weren’t human at all, like the monstrosity that looked like a walking mound of garden-waste, the were-wolf like creature and most frightening of all the guy with the burning skull for a head. With over a hundred people in the large cave, Megan decided to stay hidden in the back, away from all these people, until a familiar voice spoke to her.
“Megan? Is that you, child?” the kind warm voice said. Megan looked up and saw Ororo Monroe, AKA Storm of the X-Men standing there. With her smooth black skin, fabulous long white hair, her black uniform and cape and intense blue eyes, Megan always thought of Storm as the prime of example of X-Men-cool. Much more than Miss Frost, who used to call herself White Queen, Storm was regal all by herself, not needing to marry a King like she did to be a Queen.
“Oh… eh… Hi… It’s me, yeah…” Megan said, a little embarrassed to be found hiding by a fellow X-Man.
“I see you have chosen caution over curiosity. A wise decision, perhaps, although I fear it takes a lot more than hiding to escape the notice of some of these people” Ororo said.
“Hmm… Maybe… I guess you’re right” Megan answered.
“Do you have any idea what all this means?” Ororo asked.
“I don’t know… Most of this stuff… These people… Well, they’re magic, aren’t they?”
“I had come to the same conclusion. Which begs the question why I am included here. I am no magician or witch”
“Weird. But… What were you doing? I mean… I teleported myself here… With magic and stuff” Megan said, unable to suppress her pride at saying she used her magic spell.
“I was… I was sitting in the Blackbird, our private jet. I blinked my eyes, and here I was”
“I tried to teleport out… But it didn’t work…” Megan said.
“Whoever has gathered us all here, must be of tremendous power, then” Ororo remarked.
The magical gathering, consisting of a virtual Who’s Who of mystics, monsters, wizards, witches and demons, was about to find out just how powerful those responsible for the gathering were. A bright light appeared in the center of the cave, and shined so bright that no one could bear to look at it. When the intensity of the light had lessened somewhat, those who looked saw a vision of three floating heads. One looked like a magnificent woman with greenish hair and glowing green eyes, the second looked like a red-skinned bald man with green eyes that looked like pools of energy and the third head was that of a tiger, with flames for eyes. All those present seemed to be in awe of the vision, including Ororo.
“What’s that?” Megan asked.
“Hush child! Do you not sense the power and majesty of these beings?” Ororo berated Megan.
“Oh… Oh sure… Yeah, very majestic, yeah!” Megan corrected herself, but not sensing all that much.
“We are The Vishanti,” the floating heads announced, “We are Oshtur, Agamotto and Hoggoth, the principality of mystic power that provides, nourishes, guides and channels magic. Many of you have called on us, some of you have fought for us, others of you have defied us, but al respect us”
Utter silence reigned throughout the cave, as Megan decided to shelf the question she was about to ask Orooro for the moment.
“We now call on you to honor us and our power in this time of dire need. You, who have heeded our call will grant us your knowledge and insight”
Megan found herself wondering which call she ever heeded that was made by a bunch of floating heads, and why they hadn’t bothered to wait for an answer to their call before snatching her.
“At this time, it is known to us that Stephen Strange is dead. He was slain in such a manner that nothing of his essence remains in these plains we know. How this came to pass, what has happened and who is responsible is unknown to us. We the undying Vishanti are in the dark”
“Oh my god!” Megan thought, “That’s terrible! And… Who will tutor me in three years now?”
“You will choose from your number three who will investigate this affair” the three heads spoke, and then disappeared in as bright a flash of light as the one they had appeared in.
The entire place was immediately abuzz like a crowded bar on a Saturday night. The bombshell the Vishanti had just dropped on the mystical gathering had been one of epic proportions. Megan could hear some things being shouted, such as Dr. Doom defying the will of the three heads, Ghost-rider condemning the killer to hell, other’s calling for the naming of a new Sorcerer Supreme, and still other’s lamenting the broken nature of magic.
“Well, so that’s like a magic who-dun-it? Right?” Megan asked Ororo.
“It’s much more than that. I’ve talked to Stephen Strange. I consider him a friend. From what I know, he was the single most powerful magician this universe had, and if somebody managed to kill him… To utterly destroy him, without these magic-gods even knowing….” Ororo said.
“That would be bad, right?” Megan asked.
“Very bad, child” Ororo answered.
Megan listened to the crown once more. It seemed that Doom and Ghost-rider were about to get it on, when a flash of light announced the return of the three floating heads.
“The choices have been made” the Vishanti spoke.
“Great Vishanti! No choice has been made!” Dr. Doom called out.
“The choices have been made. You will all return now from this place outside time to the second you were taken from. Only those who have been silently chosen, on character, not by reputation or power, will remember this. Find who is responsible for the death of Stephen Strange, and you will be rewarded” the Vishanti spoke, and then disappeared in a sea of light that was even brighter than the previous ones.