Moonlight glows over Tamarind Island where an arctic owl flies silently over a snow hare. The owl swoops down on the hare who hastens to get away, but the owl is faster and strikes the hare, spilling red blood onto the white snow. The owl suddenly transforms into the beautiful goddess Snowbird, one of the most powerful members of Canada’s premiere super heroes, Alpha Flight. ‘Blood of the living! How I crave it!’ cries Narya as she begins to eat the flesh of the hare. No sooner than she swallows the still warm flesh however she is over come once more by excruciating pain which causes the hares sweet blood to turn to bile on her tongue. Narya wonders what kind of goddess she is that craves for food but cannot eat it.
Inside Mansion Alpha, the super heroes stand around the infirmary in their nightclothes, woken from sleep. The handsome Jean-Paul “Northstar” Beaubier and the diminutive Eugene “Puck” Judd hold Snowbird’s husband at bay as he, distressed, asks Dr. Michael “Shaman” Twoyoungmen to tell him what he has done with his wife, or else he will have the law onto him. ‘You are the law, Corporal Thompson’ Northstar dryly remarks. Team leader, Heather “Vindicator” McNeil Hudson reminds Northstar that Thompson’s wife is missing and he is naturally upset before Judd asks Shaman to calm Doug and tell him where Snowbird is.
Arms folded across his chest, the stern doctor informs everyone that Narya awoke shortly after midnight and as she was ravenous with hunger he decided to let her fly forth to feed. Examining the shattered window with Roger “Box” Bochs, Alpha Flight’s ally Madison Jeffries asks Shaman if he couldn’t have opened it first. This revelation only infuriates Thompson more and he angrily asks Michael what kind of doctor he is. Calmly, Shaman informs him that he is both a physician and Sarcee mystic and as such he understands that Snowbird needed sustenance for both physical and spiritual reasons.
Heather walks over to Michael and reminds him that while they are super heroes and used to the unorthodox, Thompson is not. Leaning seductively as always against a table, the flighty Aurora reminds everyone that Thompson is a mere mortal who happens to be married to a goddess. Jean-Paul suggests that since Thompson made his bed they should all let him lie in it. ‘An apt metaphor, eh Aurora?’ asks Judd.
Heather starts to get mad and tells Shaman sternly that Thompson needs some reassurance that Narya is going to be okay, to which Twoyoungmen declares that there is nothing wrong with Snowbird. Thompson doesn’t believe what he is hearing and reminds Shaman of the abdominal cramping and her inability to control her transformations, not to mention the nocturnal cravings. Shaman declares that without medical precedent he can only presume that those aforementioned symptoms are all fairly normal, for a goddess who is going to have a baby!
Alpha Flight look at Shaman, stunned, when Snowbird breaks the silence by entering the infirmary, crying for her mother Nelvanna to help her, she clutches her stomach, and everyone sees she is at least eight months pregnant. Thompson declares that they have only been married two weeks and Northstar reminds everyone that there was no indication she was with child yesterday.
Meanwhile, in New York City’s East River, the Atlantean known as Byrrah swims with a mission. Byrrah thinks to himself that when his people rule the earth once again, the surface dwellers will suffer for polluting their waters in such a foul fashion. Byrrah’s mission is to locate his much-hated cousin, Namor the Sub-Mariner. Byrrah recalls that Atlantis was all aflurry with the news that Namor had joined the Avengers, the cursed half-breed was ever faithful to his father’s race. Byrrah knows that the Atlantean council of elders did once asks him to abdicate the throne, but no one drove Namor away, he actually chose to leave his people for the Avengers.
Namor’s cousin does not look forward to leaving his element to ask entry into the home of the Sub-Mariner, so when he comes across the secret underwater door that leads to the pens below Avengers mansion, he decides to try the entrance. Using his weapon he tries to pry open the Tony Stark designed door that repels intruders and he is knocked back by an electroshock. He boasts that it may be sufficient to stun a surface dweller, it cannot harm a nobleman of Atlantis. Byrrah uses the energy stored in his power pike to cut away at the door. The power pike is useless once the charge contained within it is exhausted so Byrrah leaves it in the river.
As he enters the tunnel, Byrrah discovers that the waters are very black and thus navigation could prove hazardous, however he did come prepared. Byrrah switches on the phosphorescent lamp on his chest plate. Providing him with what little light he needs. As he swims to the surface he wonders why the channel was filled with huge slabs of stones and debris if discarded machines. He reaches the surface and recalls that his people once developed a pill, which enabled the Atlanteans to breathe on land as the surface dwellers did. However it unfortunately turned their skin a pallid pink and also proved to cause cancer. Now they must do with wearing aqua-masks, which are recirculated with a limited salt-water supply.
Byrrah hopes that he will not need to remain on the surface longer than it will be necessary to locate his accursed cousin. As he makes his way to the basement, Byrrah notes that the Avengers submarine pen is also littered with debris and sees no vessels he expected to see, but just crates. Walking across the basement Byrrah wonders if the Avengers may have abandoned this facility when suddenly someone informs Byrrah that that is for the Avengers to know and him to find out.
Byrrah throws his hands up to cover his face, realizing he has been discovered. Dane Whitman, the handsome Black Knight holds his sword in front of him and asks Byrrah if it did not occur to him that he might have set off an alarm when he broke open their door. Byrrah reaches for his own sword and lunging towards Dane he boasts that he has no reason to hide his approach nor does he have any reason to answer to the question. ‘Mercy me! A subsurface swordsman’ jokes Dane, who admits that Byrrah is not that bad, but not good enough, as Dane’s Ebony Sword breaks Byrrah’s sword in half.
Dane trips Byrrah up and as the Atlantean lies on the ground he realizes he just fought the Black Knight, a man whose swordsman ship is acclaimed even in Atlantis. Byrrah boasts that he has a considerable reputation of his own, not noticing the handsome Sub-Mariner come up behind him, and Namor picks Byrrah up and tosses him across the basement into some crates. Namor declares that Byrrah is known across the Seven Seas as a traitor, usurper and assassin. Byrrah tries to plead with his lord/prince/cousin, but Namor is not interested in listening.
The Olympian Avenger, Hercules walks up to Dane as Namor asks then if they hear how the scum of the seas so ingratiatingly addresses one whom he has always envied and undermined, not to mention trying to rob him of the rightful throne of Atlantis. Namor angrily declares that his cousin, stepson to his grandfather, who loved him for so long, even as a child Byrrah sought every opportunity to plot his downfall. Hercules asks Dane if he is listening to Namor, and Dane replies that he is.
Namor tells the Avengers to know the “mighty warrior” Byrrah is and that the acclaim of his prince and people could have been his, had his lust for power let him by deceit and deception to seek by force which he could not win honorably. Namor bets now that Byrrah has come to seek a favor with Namor’s new realms leaders by assassinating Atlantis’ legitimate liege. Byrrah kneels before Namor and declares that he has everything wrong. Byrrah admits that everything Namor called him was true, and declares that if he truly hated him it was because he was not of pure Atlantean stock and therefore Byrrah deemed him unworthy of the throne.
Byrrah informs Namor that another now rules Atlantis, one with none of their ancestral blood at all – the barbarian Attuma! Byrrah declares that Attuma has seized the power and that Namor is the only person capable of saving Atlantis. Namor wonders if this is another of Byrrah’s tricks, but Byrrah professes his sword in Namor’s service. Byrrah tells Namor to slay him with his sword’s broken blade after hearing his story if he still thinks he tells lies. Namor admits that his mind reels and asks what happened to the Triumvirate, the nobles that assumed power after his abdication.
Byrrah replies that High Priest Shakkoth soon turned against Lord Vashti and Thakos and a civil war followed. Byrrah informs Namor that not even a new alliance, comprised of Vashti and Thakos and Namor’s cousin Lord Dara could stop the blood shed, and a desperate plan was hatched. Namor tells Byrrah to him everything of this story, and Byrrah replies that he shall. Informing Namor, Dane and Hercules that the Triumvirate, facing defeat at Shakkoth’s hands, hired Attuma and his barbarian hordes to fight on behalf of Atlantis. Attuma agreed, but only if he was given command of Atlantis’ armies as well as his own. The Triumvirate had to agree.
Byrrah declares that Attuma was very wily as Atlantis’ forces took the brunt of Shakkoth’s attack, and when both sides were decimated, Attuma’s hordes claimed a bloodless victory for their barbarian leader. However when the rebellion was over, the barbarians would not leave, and Attuma convinced the Triumvirate that Atlantis is weak and that they need him and his troops to keep the peace, offering the Triumvirate no choice in the matter. Attuma feared nothing except for the return of his mortal enemy, Namor, and effigies that were set up in the Sub-Mariner’s honor were destroyed. Attuma also declares that all those Atlanteans caught praying for the Sub-Mariner will gain only death.
Byrrah continues his story, informing Namor that Attuma took great lengths to convince the Atlantean people that he had forsaken them, showing them visual images of Namor with the surface-dwelling Avengers, and as time passed it was forgotten that it was the Atlanteans themselves who sought Namor’s abdication. Byrrah declares that in the end it was easy for Attuma to convince the Atlanteans that their prince did not love them, as Attuma had captured a alien female whom he claimed Namor intended to marry, and crown her as the queen of Atlantis.
Namor surges with rage, and fists clenched he asks Byrrah if Attuma had named the female alien. Byrrah declares that Attuma said her name was … Marrina! Byrrah adds that few people actually believe Namor could have loved such a creature, but Namor is enraged and grabbing Byrrah he tells his cousin that if he values his life he should day no more, for he would have had made Marrina his bride and queen. However Marrina fled from him soon after a madman calling himself the Master of the World, who forced her to assume her true hereditary form.
Namor declares that he searched for Marrina but to no avail, and Dane and Hercules try to comfort him, telling him that they will get the other Avengers and that his love will be rescued. With his cousin in tow, Namor heads into the water, reminding the Avengers that Attuma has set a trap for him, baiting it with his beloved and that he must go to her aid. Namor knows that Attuma will turn those who believe Marrina to be a monster against him, or kill him. However if Namor does not take the bait, then Attuma will pronounce him a coward from his own throne. Namor plans to catch the barbarian in his own lair and win back both his kingdom and his beloved, alone.
Byrrah tells Namor to forget his pride as it cost him Atlantis once before. Byrrah suggests that he will not be able to oust Attuma without aid before reminding him that he is an Avenger, who needs his fellow heroes help. Namor boasts that he is the scourge of the Seven Seas and needs no man! Byrrah tells Namor to mark his words, that there will come a day and it will be soon, when he will come to rue those words he just spoke and the accursed arrogance that made him speak them. ‘The day that occurs, Byrrah, shall be Namor’s last’ declares the Sub-Mariner, and by turning his back on his teammates, Namor terminates his membership in the Avengers.
The next day on Tamarind Island, Doug Thompson stands near the dock surrounded by deathly cold waters when Judd walks up beside him and informs him that Narya is resting, adding that she asked after him and smiled when Shaman told her Thompson was resting. Doug asks Puck why Twoyoungmen lied, and Judd informs him that it was because it made Snowbird feel better, thinking he would be beside her if he were awake, to which Judd asks him why he wasn’t beside her.
Doug declares that he is scared to be, and scared of the whole unnatural birth. Judd realizes Narya never told Doug of her own birth, and so he does it for her, informing Thompson that Narya’s father was an archaeologist named Richard Easton, who found a headband when he was scrounging around the North Arctic Circle. Curiosity compelled Easton to put it on, but the say “curiosity killed the cat”, which is when three of the Arctic gods – Hodiak, Nelvanna and the Shaper appeared before Easton. They informed Easton that they needed his seed, and thus the Shaper transformed the withered Nelvanna into a beautiful woman. Not that Easton’s small mind could comprehend what was transpiring Nelvanna informed him that they are trapped and need a Champion to stop the Great Evil which is about to threaten his mortal world. Nelvanna declared that it shall be they who give the world its champion.
Judd adds that Easton disappeared and that some say he was driven mad by his one night of ecstasy. Frowning, Thompson proclaims that it figures he is not the first to be conned by a goddess. Judd is a little taken aback by Thompson’s harsh remark and informs Doug that Nelvanna needed Easton’s humanity. Continuing his story of Narya’s birth, Judd reveals that Nelvanna could not escape the nether-realm, but that her child could, and she came to Dr. Michael Twoyoungmen who knew of Nelvanna’s needs and did what was required of him.
Judd declares that it was Shaman’s greatest test to date, for while as a doctor he had delivered countless babies into the world he had never delivered a demigod. When Narya’s embryo came into sight, Twoyoungmen realized that she was a transmorph and able to assume any shape at will, which is why he had to act quickly and bind her to the land. Narya was born already a child of one year in appearance, and weeks later her astonishing age-acceleration stabilized in what everyone would regard as a human in her mid-twenties. It was then that Narya was introduced to Mac Hudson and his wife Heather, and she became part of the precursor to Alpha Flight.
Concluding his story, Judd declares that it was through Snowbird that Nelvanna tried to bind the Arctic Gods to the Earth from which the Great Beasts had driven them. Doug angrily remarks that by marrying him, Snowbird tried to bind herself to mortality and wonders if she even meant to bind herself to him at all. Judd tells Thompson that Narya does love him. But Doug protests, wondering if any “mere mortal” would have been able to give Snowbird what she wanted – a baby, a second generation immortal, who would bind Snowbird to the Earth so fast that the Gods would never be able to get her back!
Judd asks the distressed Thompson if he thinks the Gods want her, and Thompson reminds Puck that after Snowbird defeated the last of the Great Beasts she said her time on Earth was done. Judd reminds Thompson that she stayed, but Thompson tells Puck that Narya told him she was staying because she sought to know what being normal and human was like, even asking him to teach her to be a woman. Doug declares that he tried, but then she came back to Alpha Flight. ‘To her fellow freaks, where nothing is normal or will ever be’ he declares angrily before mentioning the pregnancy. He calls Judd a midget and tells him that he does not want sympathy, or Alpha Flight’s help, or the baby, but all he wants it his wife back and with that he storms away.
Inside, Narya lies on a sofa with her friends around her as Shaman examines her. Jean-Paul asks his friend if it hurts, to which his sister Aurora reminds him that Snowbird is having a baby not an appendectomy. Heather jokes that Northstar is so nervous anyone would think he was the father. ‘C`est impossible!’ declares Jean-Paul before Jeffries asks Shaman if he needs any help. Twoyoungmen replies that he needs certain equipment that the Canadian government would never have thought to build into Mansion Alpha’s infirmary. Jeffries asks him what the equipment is, and Shaman declares that he needs a sonogram, for scanning fetal development via sound waves.
The quadriplegic Roger Bochs informs Shaman that he knows how to design one and by working in tandem with Madison they should be able to meet his needs. Jeffries touches Bochs on the forehead and Jeffries uses his transmutative powers to build what the sonogram from other bits of machinery. Jeffries declares that he just used Boch’s thoughts as a blueprint for his powers to follow.
Alpha Flight are amazed at the feat of the duo and watch the sonogram as it is placed of Snowbird. Northstar watches the screen and asks if what they see is an image of Snowbird’s child, to which Narya asks if she can see it. Shaman informs everyone that the child is unformed, as was Snowbird when she was delivered. He declares that it will have to be bound to reality and humanity like Snowbird was, but not at this place.
Shaman leaves the room and Heather follows him, asking him why Snowbird cannot give birth in Mansion Alpha, adding that Narya is in no condition to be moved. Twoyoungmen declares that certain children must be born in certain places as he enters his quarters. Heather asks him if what he is saying is that Narya’s child is not going to be human, that it will be more like Snowbird than Thompson. Eavesdropping outside the door, Thompson decides he will have to decide hard what to do now.
Standing in the middle of his room, Shaman tells Heather that she saw the image revealed in the sonogram and reminds her that Snowbird was born in a place of power. Shaman declares that to deliver Narya’s son he must find another such nexus. Thompson makes his presence known when he steps into the room asking Shaman if he really knows it is going to be a son. Shaman replies that he knows mystically not medically. Heather asks Shaman how he cannot be sure if their own Mansion Alpha is not sitting on the place of power.
Though he suspects it is not, Shaman summons Eaglet and informs Heather that there are those who are sure and if it will set her mind at rest he will pose the question to them. The house spirits appear before Shaman who informs Heather that the spirits are animating the materials of which the Mansion was constructed and the island, which it stands. One of the spirits tells Shaman that he has the power to conjure them and implore their aid another reminds him that he cannot command them though, for only his daughter, Talisman – the Binder of Spirits – may do that.
Shaman proclaims that he will burn many offerings on their altars if they tell him whether or not this house is suited to serve as the birthplace for Snowbird’s child. One spirit replies that it must be purified, as there is death in it. Heather is stunned to learn there is death in Mansion Alpha and wonders what the spirits mean, she realizes that they do not know much about their new home other than the fact that someone called Gilded Lily died here, but will someone else die here soon?
Shaman announces that the birth must take place somewhere else as he thought. He tells the house spirits that seeks to know only one more thing: ‘Are you answering me truthfully?’ A grinning spirit remarks that that would be telling, The giggling house spirits leave Shaman’s room and Heather declares that she doesn’t understand why they laughed at him and why he couldn’t make them tell him what he wanted to know. Shaman informs Heather that that would require more power then he could ever wish to possess. Power such as his daughter Elizabeth wields as Talisman. Vindicator asks Shaman if what he is saying is that to command the spirits like Talisman does – Shaman cuts his old friend off and declares that he would have to surrender his humanity as Elizabeth did.
Shaman tells Heather that Elizabeth still blames him for turning her into Talisman as well as for her mother’s death and failing her trusts in both instances. Hesitantly, Heather reminds Michael that she has seen how cold and unfeeling her foster sister has become, before adding that she likes him human. Shaman agrees before levitating himself into the air and declaring that since the spirits of the house are feeling ill disposed to aid him he must seek the aid of another. Turning to Eaglet, much to Heather’s amusement, Michael tells the bird to fly between the worlds. Shaman declares that Eaglet is the helm of the Sarcee familiar between Earth.
Just then, a portal opens up and Nelvanna, Hodiak and the Shaper appear before Twoyoungmen. Nelvanna tells Shaman to tell them what he wants, to which he replies he seeks the location of a place of power, so that he who delivered her daughter, Narya, to safety, may now deliver her daughter’s son. Nelvanna tells Shaman that Snowbird rejected them and turned her back on her immortal heritage, chosen a mortal to mate with. Shaman reminds the goddess that she herself did the same, to which Hodiak declares that Nelvanna mating with a mortal was to avert a great evil. Nelvanna declares that her daughter’s motives were selfish, human motives. The Shaper declares that as Snowbird turned her back on them they turn their backs on her rather than aid her in her folly.
With that, the Gods vanish and Heather stares up at where they were, for that was the first time she had ever seen them. Shaman informs Heather that it was Narya’s mother Nelvanna, Grandfather Hodiak and the nameless Shaper of life, adding that this land used to belong to them until man ceased to believe in them. As the Gods will not help them, Shaman realizes that he must ask another. Vindicator wonders whom he could consult about something like this. ‘Why a fellow physician of course’ smiles Shaman.
With that, Eaglet passes through the roof of Mansion Alpha and flashes like a mystic flare in Canada’s sky. Shaman declares that the summon has been sent, to which Heather asks will know what it means. Shaman informs her that the person who he has felt burning in the world since he first became aware of mystical matters, one who has more experience with the super natural then any other mortal on Earth, a man who Shaman has never met, but knows he will come, if he is able, because he understands the need behind the call. He is the Master of the Mystics Arts, otherwise known as Doctor Strange!
The astral form of Stephen Strange appears before Twoyoungmen and informs him that he has watched him from afar ever since he assumed the mantle of Shaman again, adding that the world will have need of Shaman’s magic. Dr. Strange asks Shaman how he may aid him in this astral form, and Shaman replies that he is seeking a place of power in which to safely deliver an infant. Strange realizes this would be no ordinary child, and declares that he senses a place of power thousands of miles away. Strange informs Shaman that by traveling on the Astral Plane he could reach it in time and Shaman declares he will ask the wind spirits to carry Vindicator and himself. ‘If its in the mood’ mumbles Heather.
The wind spirit appears before Twoyoungmen and tells him that it bears no malice towards him and that it in fact has nothing but good will for him. The wind spirit then proceeds to carry Michael and Heather to their destination, following Stephen Strange. In the air, Strange declares that his Eye of Agomotto shall guide them. Heather “hmmphs” that she could get there in no time under her battle suits own power if she wanted to, but knows that this is Shaman’s show, and wonders if he probably didn’t feel like being carried in the presence of a fellow mystic. Heather just hopes that Shaman and Doctor Strange know what they are doing.
Strange asks Shaman is his senses perceive what his do, and points to the place of power! Shaman replies that he does, adding that it is very near to the place of self-awareness where he delivered Snowbird herself, he declares that he should have thought to look here first. Strange declares that there is power in this place, but also something unsettling, some elusive sense of evil. Shaman declares that it must be because it is an icy wasteland, one of many in all of Canada. He adds that he knows now where Snowbird’s baby must be delivered, and Strange yields to Shaman’s knowledge of it because it is Shaman’s land. They return home via the wind.
Once Shaman and Vindicator are safely deposited back in Mansion Alpha, Strange declares he must take leave to tend to his own pressing matters, and hopes that he has been of some use to the Alphans. Shaman declares that he has, and Heather waves goodbye. Sitting on a chair, Heather comments on how they traveled a thousand miles and back in less than a minute. Shaman declares that they must now prepare for Snowbird to travel by more conventional methods, which is exactly when Jean-Paul flies into the room and informs Shaman that he needs to hurry, for they have a small problem at the wharf!
Vindicator, Shaman, Northstar, Aurora, Puck and Jeffries have assembled at the wharf where Thompson’s seaplane is moored, and the find him holding Narya up with one hand and a shot gun in the other, pointed at them should they make a move to try and take her away from him. Thompson declares that he is taking Narya away from ‘this nuthouse’ to a proper hospital with real doctors. Shaman steps forward and warns Thompson than a normal obstetrician would have no more idea of how to deliver the life force gestating within Snowbird than they would trying to rope a whirlwind.
Doug calls Shaman a liar when Twoyoungmen tells him to think of the welfare of Snowbird and not of his own blind prejudices. He declares that they in Alpha Flight are different from “ordinary” mortals such as himself, but that does not mean they love Narya any less than he does, nor that they are incapable of taking care of their own. Doug just shouts that Narya wants to be normal and he wants her and the baby to be normal. Aurora declares that the safety of Snowbird and the baby can only be assured if he lets Shaman help, and with that she uses her super speed to snatch the shotgun from him.
Thompson declares that no one can move that fast, but Aurora just tells him he should see her brother run one day – or rather try and see him run. The foolish Thompson still fights Alpha Flight, declaring that it is his child and not theirs. Shaman tells Thompson that he has no right to do this as he will condemn both Snowbird and the baby, Aurora backs Shaman up by telling Thompson that the decision has been taken out of his hands. Vindicator steps forward and declares that as leader it shall be she who decides what is to be done. Judd tells Heather that he didn’t think that Alpha Flight worked that way, to which Jean-Paul declares that it is the way most groups work, which is just one of the reasons he has preferred to work solo in the past.
Heather declares that this needs to be a joint decision between Snowbird and Thompson. Doug declares that Snowbird is in no shape to make such a decision. He adds that he can see they all care for her but that Narya married him to have a normal life. Angrily, Doug asks if they want him to trust Shaman, the man whose own daughter blames him for her mother’s death as well as her own current “inhuman” state. He adds that Shaman cannot even command his precious spirits, but beg them, and he asks again if Alpha want to trust him to “form” his child.
Looking down at Snowbird though Doug admits that Shaman did not do such a bad job with her and tells Twoyoungmen that he better know what he is doing. Taking Snowbird in his arms, Shaman informs her that they must fly her now to a place of power, and Snowbird replies that she is ready. Aurora tells Thompson that she believes he will find he made the right decision. Alpha Flight and Thompson are soon onboard the Omnijet, which flies towards the ice-locked shoreline of the far-distant Beechy Island.
On Beechy Island, power does indeed emanate from within the circle of stones, but the power that was sensed by Shaman and Dr. Strange is also capable of disguising its true nature, so that which was perceived as good power, might actually be wholly and irredeemably evil…. Smiling beneath the ice, a creature, a man thinks to himself that for too long he has lain in the icy embrace of the earth, but soon death will release him, and Pestilence will live again!