Excalibur (4th series) #15

Issue Date: 
January 2021
Story Title: 
X of Swords, Chapter 21

Tini Howard (writer), Mahmud Asrar & Stefano Caselli  (artists), Sunny Gho & Rachelle Rosenberg (colorr artists), Virtual Calligraphy's Clayton Cowles (letterer), Tom Muller (designer), Lenil Francis Yu & Sunny Gho (cover artists), Iban Coello & Jesus Aburtov (variant cover artists), Jonathan Hickman (Head of X), Jay Bowen & Nick Russell (production), Annalise Bissa (assistant editor), Jordan D White (editor), CB Cebulski (editor-in-chief)

X-Men created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Brief Description: 

The Starlight Citadel is under assault by the Amenthi daemons that swarm across Otherworld. A battle rages with the remaining Champions of Krakoa – Apocalypse, Wolverine, Storm, Magik, Captain Avalon and Cypher – all that is left to prevent the forces of evil from breaking through Otherworld and onto Krakoa. During the chaos, Apocalypse and his wife, Genesis, who wears the Annihilation mask, prepare to do battle, until Storm takes Genesis out with a blast of lightning. The Champions of Krakoa make an escape under the cover of dark cloud, while the Champions of Arakko prepare themselves to take out their enemies – however Bei, the wife of Cypher, leaves her comrades. Saturnyne returns to her citadel where she collects the shards of Betsy Braddock and begins to put her back together, like a puzzle. The Champions of Krakoa continue to fight another wave of daemons, and when Bei arrives to join them. Apocalypse is about to kill her, but Cypher leaps to defend her. Bei reveals another ability when she releases a sonic scream that blasts Apocalypse backwards, then Bei takes Cypher and runs away. The Krakoans are desperately outnumbered and surrounded by the daemons, when Jubilee arrives to assist them with an army of Green Priestesses at her side. Bei and Cypher stop running away from the battle and Cypher tries to tell his wife to take him back to his friends, and asks her to return to Krakoa with him when the battle is over. They return to the battle, just as the Champions of Arakko arrive. Darkness falls around the Krakoans as Genesis reveals how she nurtured the daemons of Amenth and her plans for Krakoa. Saturnyne looks shocked as she completes the puzzle of the shards of Betsy Braddock, and elsewhere, the Captain Britain Corps is revived.

Full Summary: 

The Starlight Citadel, where several White Priestesses run down a corridor. In another room, a fish-like attendant called Ryl places a box on a table. The contents of the box begin to rattle, and the attendant looks up at a window, concerned, she sees several horrible monsters gazing in at her.

Outside, a war rages, with the Champions of Krakoa facing off against a massive horde of Amenthi Daemons. Storm a.k.a. Ororo Munroe strikes the horde with lightning as she hovers over the battleground. Illyana Rasputin a.k.a. Magik takes on her opponents with her Soulsword, while Brian Braddock a.k.a. Captain Avalon knocks a creature backwards. Wolverine a.k.a. Logan skewers one of the creatures as Doug Ramsey a.k.a. Cypher kicks a daemon to the ground.

'I am the birth mother of death-bringers' Genesis a.k.a. Annihilation, the wife of Apocalypse, announces as she turns to face her husband. She tells him that when their children were young, she knew how fierce they would become, and explains that a mother's love is such that it was her honor to put her body into their tiny mouths to feed them, knowing they would grow sharp teeth to bite, knowing she would not sate their hunger for long – knowing their need would only bow to blood. Genesis tells Apocalypse that she has had to endure these beasts, the squalling fruit of their union, and that from her own body she has mothered them through sickness and excrement and fits and rage – and that now, after all these slights, she must suffer the shame of Apocalypse's tears. 'I will feed them on this realm and yours!' Genesis screeches as she raises her sword towards Apocalypse – only to be struck down by a powerful bolt of lightning, causing her to scream.

Wolverine and Captain Avalon grab Apocalypse and try to move him, as Captain Avalon warns him that Annihilation has summoned reinforcements. 'We are outnumbered – we must move now -' he begins, but Apocalypse snaps 'Do not touch me, human' as he shakes Captain Avalon off of him and knocks Wolverine aside, declaring that he will not run from his wife. 'Are you nuts? Buddy, I would totally run from my wife!' Cypher calls out. 'You deign to speak to me of love, you child, you simpering -' Apocalypse snaps, turning to Cypher, he raises a fist as if to punch him, but Storm comes between them and tells Apocalypse that Genesis will not be stunned for long, and her storm cloud will not rage forever, so they need to move now, while the army is routed. The heroes then flee under the cover of a large cloud. 

Nearby, members of the Champions of Arakko are gathered – War, White Sword, Bei the Blood Moon, Isca the Unbeaten and Pogg Ur-Pogg, who snarls 'Stupid! Stupid, stupid, stupid -' but Isca interrupts him, telling him to shut up, and that although it is chaos, he is not making it any better. 'He speaks true' White Sword states though. 'This is not the fight I swore my men to. This is foolish' he points out. Isca asks him what is the matter, whether he is scared he can't repeat his previous record. 'How many of your precious knights had to die before you stopped that blind old lunatic?' she asks. White Sword tells Isca that the Goron was a worthy competitor, and that his men who died were worthy, too. 'We'll sing of them as we drink to our victory' he declares. 'You think you get to decide if your losses are worthy or not? Battles don't keep count. Soldiers do' War explains.

White Sword calls out to his men, and the champions gather around him as he instructs them to march. 'We didn't come for a battle. We came for a fight. And we won' White Sword remarks as he leads his men away. 'You're leaving? You coward! Where's your bloodlust? Don't you want to kill these mutant fools? Drink later! On their island, while it burns!' Isca calls out to him, but White Sword doesn't respond. War declares that the fires of war will swallow this land, and that they must make a decision or face getting caught in the flames. 'They are down to what, half a dozen? Decision made. Let's hunt them for sport' Isca announces. Suddenly, Bei the Blood Moon turns and runs, shoving her blade through several daemons as she moves past them. 'What is she doing?' Isca asks. 'That specific foolishness so precious to mortals. She's choosing love over war!' War explains.

At the Starlight Citadel, rain pours down over several White Priestesses who rush past Shogo the dragon. 'Launch the siege defenses! Moonward escadrille, to the perimeter! Now!' one of them shouts. They gather around Opal Luna Saturnyne and raise their shields around her to protect her from the rain. 'This way, my lady. Your study has been prepared' one of the priestesses reports. 'Dreadful weather for a siege' Saturnyne mutters. 'Keep up, dear' she remarks, turning to Shogo, who follows her inside. Shogo looks out the window and makes a strange noise, to which Saturnyne warns him not to defy her. 'It's not safe for little boys to do that' she declares, folding her arms. Saturnyne leads Shogo into the study and tells him to quit sulking, as they don't have the time for it.

Ryl is in the study and turns to Saturnyne while holding the box. 'Yes, the box. Give it here' Saturnyne snaps as she yanks the box from Ryl's arms. Saturnyne opens the box and tips the contents onto the floor – the shards of the slain Betsy Braddock. The shards clatter onto the floor as Saturnyne announces that there is much work to be done if they want to defend the citadel before things get any worse, while looking at the shards. 

Back outside, the Champions of Krakoa continue to defend themselves against the daemon horde. Wolverine tells the others that with Apocalypse's old lady off their tail, he is tired of running, so he thinks they should hold the line and take on the wave. Captain Avalon shoves his sword through one of the daemons, while Magik takes a large swipe with her sword, cutting several down as she asks 'Yeah? How'd that work out for Gorgon?' 'Or Betsy?' Captain Avalon asks. 'Or Rockslide?' Cypher adds. As he pulls his blood-drenched claws from another daemon, Logan replies 'Fair 'nuff. We lost too many to be reckless'. A massive booming noise can be heard, and Apocalypse tells his companions that they are vastly outnumbered, and that to leap into battle mindlessly now would be inviting a great defeat. 'Now you're concerned about that?' Captain Avalon asks. 'Betsy died for this stupid contest! We listened to the rules, and now they're all thrown away! She could have lived! Did you ever think about how this would end?' Captain Avalon asks, frowning.

Apocalypse looks down at Captain Avalon and states that he thought about this every night for thousands of years – a million nights. He adds that no matter what battle he had won that day, what greater mystery he had unlocked and no matter how many supple bodies lay beside him in his bed at night – he is always thinking about how this ends. Suddenly, 'Look out!' Captain Avalon begins as he notices a blade hurled towards them – Apocalypse grabs the blade by its handle, while Bei lunges at Captain Avalon, pushing him to the ground. 'You dare -' Apocalypse begins, turning to Bei. 'Don't!' Cypher calls out as he rushes over and throws himself over Bei's body. 'Don't. Please. She's my wife!' he reminds Apocalypse.

Storm drops down to the ground and points out that they are in desperate need of numbers, and suggests that Bei might want to join their side. 'Is that so, Bei? Do you wish to aid our beloved and his compatriots?' Apocalypse asks, clenching his fist. Cypher tells Apocalypse 'Of course she wants to help. You guys don't know her at all' before Bei puts her hands over Cypher's ears, confusing him. He starts to ask her what she is doing, but Bei releases a powerful sonic blast that knocks Apocalypse, Wolverine and Magik backwards. Bei then picks Cypher up and begins to run, carrying him over her shoulder. 'No, Bei! Let me go – we need to help them!' Cypher pleads, while Magik looks up and calls out to Doug as he is carried away.

Back in the Starlight Citadel, Shogo makes a noise, but Saturnyne, sitting on the floor, glass of wine at her side as she starts to assemble the shards of Betsy Braddock, tells him not to make her get up from her seat. 'Come help me with this mosaic here. I could use an eye in the sky for a better look' Saturnyne tells the dragon as she sips her wine. Saturnyne asks Shogo what he thinks, and remarks that she thinks it will be the perfect addition to the room. Shogo snorts and flames flicker from his snout. Saturnyne looks up at him and tells him to put that away. 'No dragonfire' she snaps. 'Especially not in here. You start melting realities in this building and you'll be in big trouble' Saturnyne informs Shogo, before telling him that if he really wants to let loose some dragonfire, then they could talk about it.

'Do you see where she took Douglas?' someone telepathically reaches out to Storm. 'I don't' Storm responds as she hovers over the battlefield, rain pouring down around her. Storm flies over to her companions as they continue to battle the horde. She reports that the thunderhead is weakening, and that they are running out of time before nothing holds the armies of Amenth back from them. 'I see endless waves of them' Storm warns her copanions. 'We've gotta find him!' Magik declares as she teleports off an arm of one of the horde. 'That may not be possible, Magik' Apocalypse reports. 'Oh, #$%& you! I'm not going to die for your family drama and leave Cypher to the mercy of his wife!' Magik snaps back. 'Illyana, please!' Storm calls out. Wolverine skewers one of the daemons while Captain Avalon raises his sword against another. Storm announces that they will endeavor to leave no one behind, but points out that they must remain as one. 'To be scattered means certain death for us all!' she exclaims.

As Storm, Magik, Wolverine, Apocalypse and Captain Avaloln are surrounded by the Amenthi daemons, Storm and Apocalypse speak to each other in Krakoan, while one of the daemons utters 'Sweet to fight over the last Krakoan flesh!' But, as the horde move in closer to the Champions of Krakoa, dozens of them are struck down by arrows. 'My God' Captain Avalon utters. 'Well, I'll be damned' Logan smiles as a bright light glows above, and Wolverine looks up to see Jubilee dropping down towards him, blasting her “fireworks” at the daemons, while dozens of Green Priestesses shoot more arrows at the horde. 'Jubilee? Hell're you doing here? You were supposed to go home to Krakoa where it's safe, kiddo!' Logan declares. 'Without Shogo? Are you crazy? Looks like the Priestesses of the Green and I showed up just in time' Jubilee exclaims.

Captain Avalon turns to one of the Priestesses and asks if Saturnyne sent them. 'She does not send us anywhere. But we will fight to protect the Citadel' one of them explains. 'Your friend Jubilee said the raging storm meant her friends were fighting for it too' the priestess adds. The heroes beginb to run as Jubilee tells them that they need to get to the Citadel, as they are not going to survive this if they don't get Shogo's help. 'Shogo! That's right! He's a dragon. We have a motherfreaking dragon in that tower!' Magik exclaims, to which Jubilee points out that they just have to get to him. 'And what, bail on the ground? I get the feeling we're the last thing holding the line down here' Wolverine adds. Captain Avalon slices his way through a daemon as he agrees with Logan and states that the armies are circling. He reminds his allies that if the citadel falls, then so do a great many realities. 'We have already lost so much' he utters.

'That citadel? Is not my citadel. But that kid? That's my son' Jubilee declares. One of the priestesses tells Jubilee that they will make the decision for her: 'We are bound to defend the citadel and must leave you here'. Jubilee agrees that she will stay here, and the priestess tells her that this is where they part. 'We must defend our home, and you must defend yours' the priestess states. As the others battle on, Jubilee tells the priestess 'If anything happens to me down here...he likes you guys so much already...' her voice trails off, and the priestess tells Jubilee that it would be an honor, before she joins the others and flies off towards the citadel. Jubilee joins the others and tells them to hurry up and finish this. 'I miss my kid' she frowns.

Elsewhere, Bei carries Cypher up a slope, despite him asking her to put him down. He assures Bei that he is not going to lay hands on her in anything less than a loving manner. 'But you have got to put me down!' he exclaims. Bei then drops Cypher to the ground: 'Ow!' Cypher calls out. He looks up at his wife and tells her that they have to go back – back to his friends – as they are already way outnumbered. 'But you can come help us!' he suggests. Bei drops her blade to the ground, and Cypher asks 'What else am I gonna do! Go with you? I can't live where you live! I'll die! I can't even eat the bagels from the tree on Krakoa. They make my throat itch' Cypher explains. He stands up and asks Bei to take him back to his friends. Cypher wraps his arms around Bei and tells her that she doesn't have to leave him there, that she can come with him, back to Krakoa and stay at his place. 'We're married, aren't we?' he asks. Cypher tells Bei that she is already his hero, but that if they go back there, she will be Krakoa's hero, too – and that can't hurt. He remarks that his friends will love her. 'They're gonna love you because...I, um...Aaaahh!' Cypher screams when he sees a vulture-type bird eating the remains of a daemon. Cypher smiles and adds 'You know what? I'll tell you that when we get home'.

Near the Starlight Citadel, the Green Priestesses hold back the daemons. 'Send them back to Hell!' one of them calls out as the priestesses fire another arrage of arrows. 'Hell, yeah! I think they're slowing the demon guys down!' Magik calls out. But Captain Avalon states that he has a bad feeling. 'As well you should' Apocalypse remarks. Storm asks what the army is doing, and points out that she can see clear across the battlefield, which doesn't seem right. 'Douglas!' Storm utters as she sees Bei carrying Cypher on her shoulders, running towards them. 'Don't shoot! We're friendly, I promise!' Cypher calls out. In her native language, Bei announces that she comes in peace, and tells the Krakoans that she will fight alongside the man she has chosen as her beloved. 'We must steel ourselves for our final confrontation' she adds. 'Oh, I hope you were saying something good...' Cypher remarks.

As Wolverine, Storm, Magik, Jubilee, Apocalypse, Captain Avalon, Cypher and Bei are surrounded by the horde, Wolverine tells his allies that it looks like someone came to get their asses kicked. 'There she is!' Isca calls out, motioning to where Bei is gathered with the Krakoans. The horde part so that the Arakkii Champions, along with the Horsemen called Pestilence and Famine, can move closer to the Krakoans. 'How embarassing, Bei. To get caught on the losing team' Isca tells her. 'How embarassing, Isca. To march with so many and yet be so alone' Bei replies in her own language. 'You smell like puke' Magik frowns at Pestilence, who touches her chin. 'And a great many other things, I assure you' Pestilence grins. Annihilation steps forward and tells Pestilence not to play any more  games. 'It is clear that we have won. And it is time for our spoils' she boasts. Annihilation declares that she wants this land, then Avalon, then Krakoa to burn like Dryador did. 'Then I want to feast on the ashes and dream of the future: my next lover, my next brood, my next conquest'. Darkness begins to surround the champions as Annihilation tells them that she wants to erase their names so that they are simply another failed experiment – and all that will ever be remembered of Krakoa and the great nation of mutants will be how easily they let themselves be played like pawns.

Elsewhere... the Majestrix's work was nearly done – and so the call was sent to each reality, ancient and infant alike. And when the citadel calls, Captain Britain must answer. Betsy Braddock looks up from where she is forging a weapon. At the same time, Saturnyne places the last shard of the shattered Betsy in place. In these shattered pieces lay the last of what had been the Starlight Sword, stolen from a deserving man by a determined woman. A large swan floating on a lake looks up at a brilliant light and suddenly takes flight. Surely with this spell, she would correct the wrongs that had been done to her. Surely, while her castle rocked around her, she would not also have her heart besieged – but when the citadel calls, Captain Britain must answer. '... No' Saturnyne gasps as she looks at the completed mosaic of Captain Britain, put back together from the shattered shards.  The sword was in the hand of Betsy Braddock...and there it would remain. 'No...' Saturnyne declares as she makes a fist and slams it into the mosaic's face. Now and forever. 'NO!' Saturnyne shrieks, as Captain Britain is surrounded by several other members of the Captain Britain Corps… all of them versions of Elizabeth Braddock.

Characters Involved: 

Apocalypse, Captain Avalon, Cypher, Magik, Storm, Wolverine (all Champions of Krakoa)




Opal Luna Saturnyne


Annihilation/Genesis, Bei the Blood Moon, Isca the Unbeaten, Pogg Ur-Pogg, War, White Sword (all Champions of Arakko)

Famine, Petilence (both First Horsemen)


Captain Britain II/Betsy Braddock, Captain Amphibian, Captain Baboon, Violet Swan and others (all Captain Britain Corps)



White Priestesses

Green Priestesses


Amenthi Daemons

White Sword's champions


Story Notes: 

This issue follows X-Men (5th series) #15 and  the storyline concludes in X of Swords: Destruction #1.

Gorgon was killed in Cable (4th series) #6.

This issue contains a one-page text-only guide to a Love Spell, including the procedure and a warning about the spell.

Written By: