Excalibur (4th series) #23

Issue Date: 
November 2021
Story Title: 
In the Service of Lord Doom

Tini Howard (writer), Marcus To (artist), Erick Arciniega (color artist), Virtual Calligraphy's Ariana Maher (letterer), Tom Muller (designer), Mahmud Asrar & Matthew Wilson (cover artists), Dike Ruan & Dave McCaig (variant cover artists), Jonathan Hickman (Head of X), Nick Russell (production), Annalise Bissa & Sarah Brunstad (associate editors), Jordan D White (editor), CB Cebulski (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

Dr Doom arrives at Excalibur's lighthouse, where he demands access to Otherworld, to find something that his ex-lover, Morgan le Fay, had left in the other realm when she was freed from it. Doom plans to access the Krakoan gateway by means of a mutant infant. Captain Britain doesn't like that idea, and eventually agrees to accompany the arrogant Doom to Otherworld – especially because she also doesn't want him stomping around Otherworld causing trouble. Gambit, Rictor and Jubilee accompany her, and they are soon joined by Meggan, who is excited to accompany her friends. But shortly, an assassin attacks them in the Valley of the Wailing Mists. Doom uses this moment to lose his companions and flies on ahead, while Captain Britain assumes the assassin was after Meggan, so Meggan disguises herself for the rest of the journey. Excalibur eventually find Doom at the location of where Morgan's castle once stood – but it's no longer there. No one knows why, so Jubilee uses her fireworks powers to call for the fairies, hoping they will talk to her again, after Meggan determined from the grass that the castle magically disappeared. Doom thinks his companions are talking nonsense, and wonders where Arthur and Modred could be. Captain Britain tells Doom that Merlyn is not their ally, before Jubilee reports that one of the fairies told her the castle was taken away to sell, and suggests they try the Crooked Market. They arrive at the Crooked Market, and Doom and Captain Britain head to speak with the person in charge of the market, leaving the rest of Excalibur to have some fun. The person is charge of the Crooked Market is Mad Jim Jaspers. He does indeed have Morgan's castle – which has been shrunk to miniature size. Back in the market, Gambit is playing a card game with some locals, which ends when the tavern they are in explodes. Jim Jaspers offers to give Doom the castle, in exchange for his, and Latveria's, help should he ever call on it. Captain Britain forbids them to make that deal as it would involve using Krakoan gateways, which she cannot allow. Doom threatens to have his men march through the gates wearing flayed skin of mutants – but their discussion is interrupted by the arrival of a Fury, who blasts Jaspers' office. Jaspers gives Doom the box containing Morgan's castle, and Doom and Captain Britain fly off into the market where they find the rest of Excalibur under attack by more Furies, who keep calling them “Friends of Modred”. Meggan drops her disguise and tries to talk to the Furies, but they open fire on her – thankfully, Captain Britain is able to protect her. The Furies eventually reveal that they follow the command of the Forgemaster Federal, and that he has sworn fealty to Arthur, the King returned. They claim they are not mindless killers, and promise to talk to the Forgemaster Federal about this conflict in their programming, while warning Captain Britain that other Friends of Modred will not be spared. Doom tells Excalibur that he is not impressed with these preposterous delays. Later, once Doom has returned to Earth, he opens the box holding Morgan's castle. What he wanted lies in the castle – Morgan's scrying pool. He writes a cryptic note to Captain Britain about Arthur and Modred. Captain Britain and Meggan reflect on their recent visit to Otherworld. Meggan recalls her own past, and tells Captain Britain that she thinks Friend of Modred might mean “mutant.”

Full Summary: 

Several kilometres off the coast of England lies Krakoan land, called Braddock Isle, where a towering lighthouse stands. There, Betsy Braddock a.k.a. Captain Britain is asleep – but she is resltess. She dreams – dreams about her brothers, Captain Avalon and Monarch, and about Malice being reborn. She dreams of Krakoa's Quiet Council, and of Roma and Merlyn. And she dreams about Coven Akkaba murdering Pete Wisdom. As she dreams, several beams of green energy can be seen speeding towards the lighthouse. 'Ah!... Excalibur, wake up. We have a guest' Betsy calls out to her teammates.

Shortly: 'Victor Von Doom. In the spirit of ambassadorship, welcome to Braddock Isle' Betsy frowns, arms folded as Doctor Doom and several Doombots stand before her. Her teammates – Jubilee, Remy LeBeau a.k.a. Gambit and Julio Richter a.k.a. Rictor – are awake and have joined her. 'In the spirit of everything else, what the hell are you doing here?' Betsy asks. 'You mutants have short memories' Doom responds, adding that this is not the first time he has sought Excalibur's aid, before noting that Kate Pryde is not here to vouch for his request. 'And this time, I do not ask' he warns them, before explaining that his intelligence tells him that Morgan Le Fay has left Otherworld, and informing Excalibur that he has need of something she left within – and their gate is the only door to the realm. He instructs Betsy Braddock to step aside, but the unimpressed Betsy tells Doom that although he is correct that this is the way to Otherworld, he will not be able to pass through without a mutant guide.

'I had considered that... so I brought a key' Doom reveals, pulling back part of his cloak that covered one of his arms, revealing a small mutant baby, sleeping in his arms. The baby has what appears to be two small horns on its forehead. 'Do you know that you cannot possibly house every mutant on Krakoa? More are born every day' Doom declares. 'Whose kid did you snatch to come here?' Jubilee shouts, waving a finger at Doom. Gambit puts his hand on Jubilee's arm, while Doom tells her that she is so quick to judge. 'You know, he could be my own' Doom points out, while looking down at the child. He states that while the unpredictability of genetics can oft frustrate men of science, anyone can have a mutant child. 'Even I' he boasts, looking back up at Excalibur, before admitting that this one is not his, merely a useful tool to him. 'If you have a mutant child with no parents, remand him to my care. He is a person, not a tool' Betsy quickly tells Doom. But Doom tells Captain Britain that all creatures are tools to him – mutant, man and alien alike.

Bets< tells Doom that that is irrelevant, as the gate is Krakoan, not Latverian, and that it is incredibly dangerous territory. She adds that Excalibur guards the gate. 'The child stays on Krakoa, and we are your guides' Betsy offers. 'DOOM needs no guide' comes  Doom's quick response. Gambit asks Doom if he is sure about that, pointing out that times have changed, and that Otherworld has all new borders. 'You'll want our help' Gambit suggests. Doom's Doombots raise their fists, and large blades suddenly emerge from their wrists. Doom asks Gambit if he is making a foolish attempt at threatening him. 'Is that why they call  him Gambit?' he asks. 'I don't know, are you threatened?' Rictor responds. Rictor tells Doom that it sounds like they have something he wants, and that he can't just walk through a gate with a baby. 'It doesn't work like that' Rictor declares, before asking Doom 'You know magic? I know magic too. Trust me'. Doom suggests that Rictor not speak to him like an equal, before turning to Betsy and stating that his desires are not simple, and that she and her retinue will face grave risk if they accompany him into Avalon. 'I wish to hear no distaste for my work' he adds.

'Risk is what gives weight to duty, is it not?' Betsy asks Doom. Doom tilts his head at Captain Britain and tells her that he heard she was an assassin, that she was a mind taker and a killer. 'Is this nobility an attempt at penance for your past?' he enquires. Hands on hips, Betsy tells Doom that she is through explaining herself, and asks him if he wants to Otherworld or not. Doom tells her to assemble her team, and that he will not wait long. Jubilee holds the mutant baby and offers to find out where the little one belongs. She adds that she will leave Shogo with Kyle while she is at it. 'I don't like the way this started...' Jubilee adds.

Shortly, on Avalon, Otherworld, where Doctor Doom strides down a path, the members of Excalibur following behind him. 'That was pretty nobly handled, Bets. You going full knight on us?' Rictor asks. Betsy tells Ric that Doom certainly responds to it, and that she isn't about to let him arch around her family's kingdom without her eyes on him. Suddenly, 'Hello!' a voice calls out. Gambit and Jubilee look up to the sky, while Betsy smiles as she asks Rictor 'Besides, don't you like big bad men?' Rictor just frowns. 'I caught up!' Meggan Braddock a.k.a. Gloriana exclaims as she flutters over her friends with some wings. 'Meggan! Excellent, I'd hoped you'd join us' Betsy tells her sister-in-law. Meggan remarks that Brian says hello. 'And that you ought to visit STRIKE' Meggan adds. 'Mm' Betsy replies.

'Keep up, Captain!' Dr Doom calls out as he marches through some woods. The mutant heroes follow Doom, who remarks 'So, the lady Morgan on the throne of Camelot. A shame I did not see it for myself' he adds. 'She wasn't there long and was no conquerer' Betsy responds, informing Doom that Morgan took the throne when Arthur abdicated, and quickly fell to Saturnyne and Apocalypse's forces. 'But you have not returned it to Arthur' Doom remarks. 'He hasn't asked' Betsy explains. 'How knightly of you' Doom mutters. 'I am not Arthur's knight' Betsy points out. 'No, you are not' Doom agrees, before alerting everyone to something up ahead. The group emerges from the forest and finds themselves in a large open field surround by forest and hills, a strange mist filtering through.

'What is this place?' Captain Britain asks. Doom reveals that it is the Valley of the Wailing Mists, and explains that when Morgana was not seated at Camelot, she used to come to her castle here. He adds that it is said only sorcerers dare tread on this land, and announces that what he seeks should be within. Suddenly, the mist parts and an assassin appears, hurling a tentacled-weapon with a large spear towards the heroes. 'Eyes up – we have an assassin!' Captain Britain calls out. While Doom turns and flies away, Captain Britain throws a psi-shield up to block the tentacled-weapon. 'Hey, look out, dude -' Rictor calls out to Doom, who declares that he will do no such thing. 'Do your duty and watch my back, Excalibur. I have a mission' Doom boasts as he disappears within the mist. 'Oh great, he went to pick up his ex-girlfriend's stuff' Jubilee mutters.

Betsy points out that the assassin missed his strike and disappeared into the mist, suggesting that he may be mist himself. 'Between that and the all-leather kit on a sunny day, I'd say our assassin is from Sevalith' Betsy tells her friends. Gambit asks if the assassin could be after Meggan. 'Ain't things tense between the vampires next door and Avalon?' Gambit enquires. Meggan looks shocked and admits that she hadn't considered that. 'I have an idea!' Meggan exclaims as she uses her metamorphic abilities to turn her hair black. 'There! Now I'm just any traveling mutant!' Meggan suggests her transparent wings return, too. 'And a lovely one at that' Gambit tells Meggan, while Betsy remarks that she doesn't think the assassin was after Meggan specifically. 'It's a tense peace – an assassination attempt on the Avalonian court sorceress would be a declaration of war. I think they might be after – what did Meggan say? Any traveling mutant?' Betsy suggests.

'Ah. You lived. Very good' Doom remarks as Excalibur catch up to him. 'Morgana's castle no longer stands on the spot. Why?' Doom enquires. 'If you don't know, we certainly don't' Captain Britain responds. 'Don't mock me, mutant' Doom snaps. 'Captain' Betsy corrects him. 'I allowed you to accompany me because your tender heart feared for one of your mutant whelps. I have come to Excalibur and paid your price. So you will complete my task, or I will summon all of Latveria to relcaim my citizen' Doom declares. Betsy is lost for words, so turns to Rictor and Meggan and asks them if they can offer any information. 'The castle was taken somewhere. The grass says so' Rictor reveals. 'Pardon?' Doom asks. 'Mm-hmm! Magically, it seems. Taken away! The grass doesn't know where' Meggan adds as she sits in a flower bed and touches some of the grass. Jubilee tells everyone that she knows someone they can talk to. 'Ever since we did this before, they like me' she points out as she releases some of her plasma “fireworks” into the air.

Annoyed, Doom clenches a fist and snarls 'I have had enough of these undomesticated peasant magics. Captain Britain. If I must personally break every citizen of Avalon on the rack, I will find this castle!' 'Settle down, dude, it worked' Jubilee casually tells Doom as several small faeries flutter around her. 'Are they helpful?' Betsy asks. 'Maybe!' Jubilee replies. Doom tries to swat some of the faeries away as he mutters 'Morgan gone...Arthur gone...Morgan's castle gone...where sits Merlyn? And Modred?' Jubilee looks concerned as she listens of the faeries, while Betsy asks 'Modred. Arthur's son? Isn't he the darkest possible heir to Camelot, sworn to kill his father and all that?' Doom looks at Captain Britain as he tells her that Modred is usually somewhere around Morgan's schemes, and, more often than not, seeking to unseat his father. 'Well, Merlyn is no ally of ours, lately. You would think if anyone knew where Arthur was... something isn't making sense' Betsy decides.

The faeries communicating with Jubilee suddenly vanish. '$#%&!' Jubilee exclaims, telling them to go, before walking over to Doom and Betsy and informing them that the faeries said someone took the castle to sell it. She doesn't know who or how, and suggests they check out the Crooked Market. Doom raises his arms and declares that he will not be daunted by nonsense and fairy magic, and that if Morgan's castle has been taken to the market to sell, he will simply take the market. 'Where in Avalon are such deals made?' he enquires. Unimpressed, Captain Britain folds her arms and reminds Doom that she told him Otherworld has changed, and Avalon is now but a  sliver of what Otherworld has become.

Shortly, on the High Street of the Crooked Market, where Excalibur and Doom make their way past various citizens and marketplace stalls. Doom declares that he does not handle money and that he will waste no time questioning shopkeepers and ne'er-do'wells like some common adventurer. 'I will speak to the Market's chairperson immediately' Doom announces. Betsy laughs and informs Doom that those demands will not get him far around here, as the people here don't listen to much – but they do listen to her. 'This is unfamiliar territory for you, and you'll need Captain Britain as an escort so you don't get swindled' Betsy adds, suggesting Doom stay close to her. 'What about the rest of us?' Gambit calls out. Doom keeps walking, but Betsy turns back to her teammates and shrugs. 'He doesn't care' Jubilee remarks, before shouting 'Do you, you big metal loser?'

Meggan smiles and tells her friends that if she is here incognito, then she wants to go shopping. 'With what money?' Rictor asks her. 'I get de five-finger discount' Gambit points out. Gambit puts an arm around Rictor's shoulder and tells him to come on, and to look at the nightlife around them. 'Where are we going first?' Jubilee asks, while Meggan grins as Gambit points out that they have to get a little cash. He leads his friends down some stairs, where some drunk people are sitting against in an alleyway. 'I don't see an ATM in there' Jubilee calls out, to which Gambit just laughs.

Soon, in one of the buildings adjacent to the Crooked Market, Dr Doom remarks that the tenor of this place has changed. 'What do you know? You've never been here' Captain Britain replies. 'Indeed. And still I can sense the restlessness that lingers around people undergoing change' Doom explains. Captain Britain opens a door to one of the rooms in the building as Doom tells her that now the roads between nations are open to Avalon, and, by extent, the Earth, she has placed her mutants in another powerful position. 'See that you can defend it' he suggests to her. 'Ah, do come in' a voice calls out from within the room. '... James Jaspers? The reality-bending mutant? You are the chairperson here? Absurd!' Doom declares as he sees Mad Jim Jaspers sitting behind a large desk, the room lined with floor-to-ceiling shelves of books. 'Mm, yes – very shocking, innit?' Mad Jim Jaspers replies, before remarking that he was told Captain Britain wanted a meeting with him right away. 'And that I have to take it?' he asks.

Captain Britain tells Jaspers that, thankfully, she wants nothing from him, as she is only here as an escort. 'You remember him from your former home reality, Victor Von Doom?' Captain Britain asks, while Doom declares that he seeks something that may have come through Jaspers' market. 'Oh, yeeees. I remember you' Jaspers replies casually. He turns to face Doom, 'A sorcerer. But you sorcerers have to do all sorts of work to move reality about. Sounds exhausting. I only know your name because...if I recall my gossip correctly – and I buy only the best – you boast a previous entanglement with the recently absent Miss Morgan Le Fay?' Mad Jim Jaspers remarks. 'And like any broken heart when left behind, you likely left something at her place' Jaspers adds, looking up at Doom, who stands in front of the smaller man and looks down at him. 'What know you of gossip about me?' Doom snaps, grabbing Mad Jim by his collar. 'Come off it! You should be flattered!' Jaspers grins.

Doom looks puzzled as suddenly, all he is holding is a feather duster, while Jaspers is on top of a ladder leaning against a bookcase, he searches for something. 'Secrets about you sell well, even here. It means you're somebody' Jaspers explains, before telling Doom that he is in luck. 'Good old Jim doesn't believe in profiting off of someone's name without kicking a little back'. Jaspers locates a small box, hidden behind some books as he tells Doom that everything that is sold in his market makes him money. 'Secrets – or shall we say, details – of Morgan's affairs with her Latverian lover have made Jim a pretty penny' Jaspers smiles. He climbs down the ladder and holds the box out, claiming that he is happy to help Doctor Doom.

'Wait – what's in here? I can't just let you bring this to Morgan' Captain Britain announces as she steps between Jaspers and Doom. 'You agreed to escort me, Captain' Doom reminds her. 'How do I know you aren't going to just take whatever this is and run it back to the woman empowering my enemies?' Captain Britain asks. 'Unless... she wouldn't speak to you anyway. Your ex-girl won't answer your call, Victor?' Captain Britain smirks. 'Careful, Braddock' Doom responds. 'I will not be so hesitant to take you to task for what you say here when our mission is complete' Doom warns her. 'Helloooo? Do you want the box?' Jaspers calls out. 'You must be mistaken. I seek a palace -' Doom starts to reply, but Jaspers interrupts him, informing him that this is all that's left of Morgan's things, and that he can take it or leave it. 'Take your sentimental things then, Doom – they're why you came' Captain Britain suggests, before telling Doom and Jaspers that while they discuss matters, he has companions to check in on. 'Ah, stay, dearie. Your team is doing just fine. I've seen to it' Jaspers responds.

Elsewhere in the Crooked Market, Gambit is seated at a table with several others, playing some form of card game – various forms of money and other treasures in the middle of the table. 'So, the name of the game is Arcana? I can figure this out. I sat at a few tables in my time' Gambit smiles, before holding up some oddly-shaped dice and asking Meggan to blow on them for him. Leaning against the back of Gambit's chair, Meggan does as he requests.

Jubilee, who stands nearby, frowns and mutters 'You didn't want to ask me? Fairies like me now. That means I'm lucky'. 'Well, Meggan is a fairy. So gimme dat luck!' Gambit grins as he tosses the dice across the table. When the dice settle, he looks up at Meggan and asks her what the symbols on the three dice mean. Meggan informs Gambit that he threw Uath, Getal and Oir, which, if she remembers her Irish, is murder, gold and the fear of being chased by a pack of hounds. 'You just told them you've come to feast on their riches' Meggan explains.

Meggan grins while Gambit smiles as he looks at his cards and tells the others at the table to hold on, and not to get mad at him. 'I ain't won nothing yet' Gambit adds. 'Can I get anyone a light...?' Jubilee asks, holding up two fingers. Gambit looks through his cards and tells the other players that he isn't sure if he got the rules right, when suddenly, a card slips out of his sleeve. He places it on the table. 'That's how you do it, yeah? XXXI! Full Arcana? Do I get the pot?' Gambit asks as “the world” card stares up at the other players. 'That's not one of our cards' an elf with an eye-patch tells the others as he opens his eye-patch and remarks that he can see the magic on it. 'It's a Saturnyne-make. You're a cheater and a thief' the elf declares. 'So it's true what they say about witchbr-' a muscular male begins, scowling, before he is interrupted by an explosion.

Back in Mad Jim Jaspers' office: 'Oooohoohoo! He's mad! I didn't say you could have it!' Jaspers exclaims as he dodges a large vase which Doom hurls at him. The vase smashes against the bookcase, while Doom shouts 'I asked you what you wanted for it, and you give me riddles!' Jaspers reminds Doom that he said it is his job to tell him. 'I don't name the price, love. I can have anything I want. You have to tell me what I want for it. You have to come up with something good' Jaspers explains. 'I do not even know yet if that box is what I seek, you gibbering old man' Doom points out, before turning to Captain Britain and asking her if she cannot simply behead Jaspers. 'Not anymore, unfortunately – I'm sort of a peacekeeper these days...' Captain Britain responds while gazing out a window.

Doom looks at Jaspers and warns him 'Mock me again, James. Know that I will use all of the science and magic within my grasp to match through that gate with all of Latveria at my back!' Jaspers tips his hat as he asks 'Is that so?' and states that he thinks that is what he wants. 'What?' Doom asks. 'All of Latveria. Here. If I decide to cross you. Or just call you up for help' Jaspers explains. 'You're joking. I am no man's to command' Doom responds. 'No deal, Jim' Captain Britain adds. Captain Britain steps between Jaspers and Doom and declares that she cannot allow them to make deals that promise the use of Krakoan gates. 'No. Find something else, Doom' Captain Britain tells him. 'Now you command me so?' Doom asks, annoyed. 'Don't make me repeat myself!' Captain Britain exclaims.

Doom grabs Captain Britain by her chin and tells her that she is as formidable as she is beautiful. 'The world knows Doom needs no bride...but should I indulge myself someday, I might consider a woman like you. But do not forget who I am' Doom declares, before stating that he does not need Captain Britain's assistance to outfit his men in the flayed skin of mutant soldiers and have them march through the gates with pillaged Krakoan fruits dripping down their chins. Captain Britain raises her psi-sword and knocks Doom's hand away from her:' Get your box and let's go before you start a real war, Victor' Captain Britain snaps. 'Oh, I would love -' Doom begins, when suddenly, a shadowy figure appears at the window. Red eyes glow, and energy shines around the figure's front as it states: 'In the name of the Forgemaster Federal and the Furies of the eternal Everforge: Surrender, Captain Britain and all friends of Modred – or die'.

'A Fury? “Friends of Modred”?' Captain Britain utters, before Doom asks her where her diplomatic immunity is. An instant later, the Fury unleashes powerful energy which blasts through into the building. 'Identifying target: Captain Britain... updating files...' the Fury announces. Captain Britain and Doom are unharmed by the blast, and Captain Britain turns to Jaspers and asks him if this is one of his. 'I'm afraid that's a foreign matter' Jaspers replies, adding that he only made the one Fury – the rest got out of hand on their own. 'Where are Morgan's things?' Doom declares. Jaspers hands Doom the box and tells him that he accepts his deal. 'Now get out' Jaspers adds. '... very well...' Doom agrees, before he and Captain Britain take flight. 'Come along, Victor, if you'd like to get out of here alive!' Captain Britain calls out. Jaspers looks around at the destruction and complains that it will take him an hour to fix this place.

'I do not fear someone's lesser automatons. My own Doombots -' Doom starts to say, but Captain Britain interrupts him: 'This is a Fury' she exclaims, explaining that they hunt superhumans, taking a bit of every one they have ever bested. 'Whatever you do – don't hit him with any sort of energy you don't want him to throw right back at you' Captain Britain explains. 'They roam freely?' Doom asks. 'Well, there's an entire nation of them...' Captain Britain starts to reply, before they hear a Fury call out 'Locking on...'.

Elsewhere in the Crooked Market, 'Betsy! Where are you?' Rictor shouts as he, Gambit, Meggan and Jubilee run from several Furies who fly above them. '$#%&! I went to the bathroom for one second. You think this is Doom losing it?' Rictor asks. One of the Furies locks onto them and calls them “Friends of Modred”. 'Eyes up!' Meggan calls out to her friends. One of the Furies announces that they serve the Forgemaster and the Forgemaster's command. 'The Forgemaster has sworn his allegiance to Arthur. All friends of Modred must die!' the Fury calls out, firing a blast towards Meggan, who dodges it. 'Modred?' she asks, while Jubilee rushes over to Meggan and aims her fireworks towards the Fury, asking 'Hey! Does the Forgemaster like getting hit in the face?' The Fury starts to absorb the plasma energies, while Meggan warns Jubilee not to do that. 'Plasmatic blasts. Improved' the Fury states as it re-directs the energies towards Jubilee.

Meggan grabs Jubilee and tells her that they need to hurry and meet up with Doom and Betsy, as they won't stand a chance against these things if they are not together. 'Why do they keep calling us Friends of Modred?' Rictor asks as he runs from the Furies. 'Sounds like some fairy-tale $#%&' he adds, before asking Meggan what she knows. 'I have my fears...' Meggan responds, before urging everyone to hurry. At that moment, Betsy and Doom arrive. 'Excalibur! Are you all right?' Captain Britain calls out to her teammates. Jubilee tells her that they are fine, before asking if they can go now. Captain Britain tells Meggan that the Furies are shouting about Modred and asks her if she knows why. 'I won't let them threaten us!' Meggan replies, as she drops her dark-haired disguise, returning to her true form, she flies up to the Furies, announcing herself as Gloriana, Sorceress of Avalon. 'If you attack us, you strike against the throne itself!' Meggan exclaims.

The Furies respond by raising their weapons: 'Lady Gloriana of Avalon... Friend of Modred' one of them states. 'You dare!' Meggan gasps. Just as the energies crackle from one of the Fury's weapons, Captain Britain leaps between the Fury and Meggan, using her psi-shield to block the attack. 'I've got you, Megs!' Betsy calls out, while Meggan warns Betsy to look out. Doom calls out to Captain Britian, too, while Captain Britain battles one of the Furies directly. 'I speak now as Captain Britain: whatever quarrel you have with me and mine is irrelevant. Once, you may have been wild killers, but you are now citizens of Otherworld, and I am the hand of the Citadel. If you make war with me and mine, you will be fighting the very axle upon which Otherworld turns' she warns the Fury, her sword holding strong against the Fury itself. The Fury starts to process Captain Britain’s words, before stating that they follow the Forgemaster Federal, and that he has sworn fealty to Arthur, the King returned.

'What?' Captain Britain asks, before the Fury announces that they are no longer mindless killers, and that they have earned the right to be citizens of Otherworld, so they follow the Citadel law until better laws present. The Furies begin to fly away as the Fury speaking to Captain Britain informs her that they will discuss the conflicting programming with the Forgemaster Federal, but warns her that other friends of Modred will not be spared. 'There's that term again...' Betsy utters, while Doom, clutching Morgan's box, complains about these “preposterous delays” and tells Excalibur that he is not pleased. He then informs them that they are released from their duty to him, and that he will take his leave.

Later, back on Earth, where Doom stands outside Excalibur's lighthouse. He looks into Morgan's box – inside it is Morgan's castle, reduced to a tiny size. Doom looks at it and laughs. He pens a letter to Betsy, in which he writes that he commends her for the level-headed way she handled his request. He admits that this Otherworld is indeed very new, and notes that the tension thrums through the streets of the market, and that the places where those nations meet are tense. He adds that he has not doubt it will get much worse before it abates, and then reveals that Mad Jim's gift to him was more generous than it appeared. He explains in his letter that within Morgan's palace lay a scrying pool, and while the waters of Otherworld are of little use to him, he understands they contain many mysteries for those who can read them, and informs Captain Britain that the answers she seeks regarding Arthur and Modred, as to what separates them, he believes is within – and seems to be a well-guarded secret.

That night, Betsy and Meggan are sitting on a sofa in a room with some candles lit, they look out over the waters around the Lighthouse, while Betsy pours some water into a dish. Meggan informs Betsy that when she was  little, no one knew she was a mutant – she was just a changeling, fairy-touched. 'Aren't you both?' Betsy asks. Meggan confirms that she is, both of Otherworld, and a mutant with a real x-gene, just like her. Only, people didn't know what an x-gene was when she was little – they just thought she was evil. 'If someone didn't know what a mutant was, what sort of cursed would they believe we were?' Meggan asks, watching as the water falls into the dish, before explaining that she thinks Arthur cast his son out because he is one of them. 'I think Friend of Modred means mutant' Meggan utters, as Betsy looks into the water and sees an image of Arthur casting Modred out of his kingdom....

Characters Involved: 

Captain Britain II, Gambit, Jubilee, Rictor (all Excalibur)

Mad Jim Jaspers

Doctor Doom
Unnamed child
Sevalith assassin
Citizens of Otherworld

in Betsy's dream:
Pete Wisdom
Reuben Brousseau & Marianna Stern (both Coven Akkaba)

Captain Avalon

Roma Regina


Emma Frost, Magneto, Mr Sinister, Mystique, Nightcrawler, Kate Pryde, Storm, Professor X (all Quiet Council)

(in watery image)
King Arthur

Story Notes: 

Doctor Doom sought the original Excalibur team's aid in Excalibur (1st series) #37-39.

Although she appears wearing her recently-donned red gown costume on the cover to this issue, Meggan only wears her classic green costume in the issue itself.

When Meggan catches up to Excalibur on page 4, she is shown flying with pixie-like wings. Meggan can fly without the need for any wings.

Members of STRIKE were resurrected at the end of Excalibur (4th series) #22.

This issue includes two brief text-only pages of information, one detailing the tensions that have risen in market dealings and another on Modred, the son of Arthur.

Written By: