When Megan opened her eyes again to see what was happening now, she was very surprised to find herself staring at the sun as she stood atop the letter Y of the giant Hollywood sign in the hills overlooking Los Angles. Almost losing her balance, Megan instinctively spread her wings and flew up.

“Woo-hooo! Made it! Pixie’s come to LA, people! Yeah!!!” she shouted. Just after landing at the base of the letters, Megan realized she was wearing her X-Men uniform. Only then did Megan realize what had happened, as the memory of her time spent in the cave with all the crazy magic-people forced itself to the forefront of her mind.

“Oh my God!!! That whole deal in the caves! The Fish-Handies! That was all real!!!!” Megan cried out, before realizing that she was talking to herself. Then Megan became unusually rational, and realized that those floating heads had charged her with a murder-investigation! Her! Little Megan Gwynn! She couldn’t believe why she was chosen. There were so many people there, most of which probably understood what was going on. And here she was, one of three people, the term being used loosely, charged with finding out who killed Dr. Strange. How incredibly, ridiculously, spectacularly, awesomely, majestically COOL was that? Again, Megan spread her wings and flew up into the smog-filled air hanging over Los Angeles.

All of her life Megan had felt she was destined for something, although she didn’t have a clue what. She did know however that her life just had to be more than living in a small mining village without a mine in Wales. She knew that there had to be more over the horizon than swooning over local boys and hoping for a job behind the counter of a local shop. Like so many girls, Megan could not imagine anything more boring than growing to adulthood, but all the time she also felt that there would be more in store for her than boredom and small town life. So her mother left her with her dad before she could talk. And her father dying… Yeah, sure that was a tragedy, too. But Megan never gave up. She kept dreaming about something fabulous just around the corner.

When she hit puberty, rather late, and started sprouting wings and waking up amid glittering dust, her grandparents who raised her weren’t freaked. Well, actually they were, but that was before they found out they were freaking because of the dust. They were actually very supportive of Megan, and encouraged her to try out her beautiful wings. As long as nobody saw, of course. Keeping up appearances was not just grandma’s favorite TV-show; it was a way of life for them. But they were never ashamed of her. To them, Megan was their little Pixie, and they were always very concerned for her.

Megan knew that, in a way, contacting Xavier’s and letting her go to America was the hardest thing her grandparents ever did. Yet they did it anyway, because they loved her so much. When she went away, grandma gave her a bicycle helmet to wear when flying, so she would be safe. How sweet was that? Not very cool, but still, Sweet! For a long time Megan wore that helmet, and trained her heart out at Xavier’s. She was so proud to be one of the students there, so proud! It was like a dream come true, a destiny fulfilled.

That, of course, was before she got sucked into hell. Megan went to Limbo, and got part of her soul ripped out by Illyana Rasputin, a soulless demonic bitch that used to be an X-Man in training, to help safe the day. And she did save the day. Megan was awarded membership in the X-Men after that, as a reward for getting her soul ripped apart and becoming magical. No matter how much Megan moped about losing part of her soul, or how much she hated Illyana for doing it to her, Megan secretly loved knowing a spell. After all, she was a mutant at a mutant-school where people could blow stuff up with their minds, could rip trees out of the ground, could blast things with their eyes, and there she was: Pixie. As much as she had loved her grandparents calling her that, it wasn’t exactly going to make her a fearsome, kick-ass X-Man, was it?

So enter Dark Pixie! Dark, brooding, missing her soul, magical, mysterious, goth, and yippie-yay, developing a female physique. Okay, next to Miss Frost she looked like a boy with identity issues, but still, she was only 18. Anything could still happen! But, back to Dark Pixie. Of with the helmet (Sorry Gran), enter the tight t-shirts! And the silver jewelry, and the black make-up, and the music… Well, not the music… I mean, really, who can dance to Evanescence? But, a little darkness goes a long way! There was stabbing a girl-sentinel with her Souldagger, killing an honest-to-God-I-want-to-scream-run-for-your-life demon, and beating an X-Men villain (so he was a New Mutants villain, who’s keeping score?). There was also fighting aliens, and… Life was just to good to be true, as far as Megan was concerned.

And now this! The world’s master-magician is dead (okay, so that is of course not a good thing), but the magic-god-guys choose her to investigate! Yes! Yes! Yes! Megan was totally out of her mind with joy about her morbid task, flying around in swirling patterns and wanting to touch the sun, and when she finally grew tired, she landed near the letters again. Taking a can of red Bull from her bag, she relaxed and it finally dawned on her that she had not one clue about how to proceed. All she knew was that Dr. Strange was dead, murdered and his soul had passed on. And that was it. Nobody knew anything else about it. In Megan’s mind, her triumphant “Pixie does it again”-song changed abruptly to the “Megan is clueless”-lament.

********

Ian McNee was a Sorcerer of great ability. All his life, his natural aptitude for the magical had guided him along to his one goal: becoming the Sorcerer Supreme. So when he made a play for it and attacked Dr. Strange, for no other reason then to claim his title, he failed. Several years later, Ian was still a young man, but a little wiser, and he no longer sought a title. He had recently completed a quest that brought him the Cornerstones of Creation, and put him in conflict with one of the nastiest being in all the worlds. That put Ian in a firm position as one of the good guys, and as one of those good guys, devoting himself to Oshtur of the Vishanti, Ian felt obliged to investigate the broken nature of magic in the world. Although he had been told that the gathering of the Cornerstones had restored some of the defects of the broken magical nature of reality, Ian knew there was still a very long way to go.

When Ian got up out of his bed, his longish blond hair was a tangled mess. He wandered through his house to the bathroom, where he threw several splashes of water on his thin unshaven face. Feeling around the sink, he found a brush and combed his hair. Then he stumbled back to his bedroom and got dressed, feeling every item of clothing to know it was the item he wanted. Dressed and somewhat presentable, Ian then took a pair of red glasses from his nightstand, and put them on. He opened his eyes, and looked into the mirror, saying: “Good morning, McNee! May you be blessed on this day of the Feast of Ostara”

The time was twelve in the afternoon, and Ian went down to his store, on the ground floor of his home. Here, he sold mostly new-age nonsense and other stuff to interested pretentious parties, and a few real things to those who knew better. His shop was called “Corner-Store on Creation”, and while it would never make Ian wealthy, it did pay the bills and the occasional indulgence. After all, there had never been any money in being a good guy. After three cups of disgusting coffee (wizards make potions, not beverages), Ian opened up his shop. It was a wonderful day outside, sunny and bright, befitting the day of Oshtur of The Airs. Yet somehow, Ian was bothered, on edge and troubled today.

During his quest for the Cornerstones, Ian had met with the Ancient Witch Morgan Le Fey, who had promised him they would meet on the Feast of Ostara, make love and talk about The Dark Man. The fact that he had no idea what The Dark Man even was bothered Ian a great deal. Although he no longer pursued Strange’s mantle, he knew he was next in line. He should be aware of what or whom he was, considering the power he wielded and the gifts of magic he now possessed. He conjured an image of the place where he held the Cornerstones, the four items sacred to the Elder Gods of the Earth. One by one, they appeared to him: The Bone Sword sacred to Oshtur, The Ebony Rose, sacred to Gaea, the Serpent Crown, sacred to Set and a page from The Darkhold, sacred to Chthon. He knew they were safe, in the care of the Ancient Egyptian Sorceress Ashake, but still, one could never be to careful these days. It had taken most of Ian and Ashake’s power to keep the Cornerstones from being taken by Chthon as he was banished, and both of them were still paying the price.

Still not at ease, Ian decided to consult his prized possession, The First Tarot. It was a deck of Tarot-cards that displayed the arch-types of the Major Arcana as real people, the persons that made the magic of this plane of existence. Ian draped a black silken scarf over the counter in his store, and drew four cards, concentrating on the Arcana. The first he drew was the Empress, personified as always by Morgan Le Fey. Ian chuckled at this card, as it told him what he already knew, that she would come, and sex would be involved. The second card was the Hierophant, personified by Modred The Mystic. Did he indicate the information he would receive, or was he perhaps The Dark Man. Modred, the medieval Wizard that sold his soul to Chthon for love was ever a tricky one, even for someone as powerful as Ian.

The third card caused Ian to let out a gasp. It was the magician, and while it had always shown Dr. Strange, only showing Ian himself once, the face was now gone! There was no Magician, as far as the First Tarot was concerned. Ian took it as a sign that magic was more broken then ever. First The Fool had become faceless, and now the Magician! It was clear to Ian that he was going to close his shop today, to work on the mystery of the missing Magician. Almost as an afterthought, Ian turned his fourth and final card. When he saw the card lying face-up, he was shocked. The card was that of The Fool, the card that had to bring renewal and beginnings, the unknown. The Fool had a face once more, and its face was that of a girl. A young woman. With black eyes, and pink hair.