At the Crooked Market Mad, Jim Jaspers is busy preparing the foods for the dinner party Saturnyne has planned for the combatants.
The Starlight Citadel:
Wolverine looks down a balcony, not looking forward to said party. He and his friends are being fattened up for the slaughter. At least he can’t complain about the booze, he figures. It’ll put the wind in his sails for the nasty piece of business he has to do tonight… at the witch’s stupid party.
Some distance away in a courtyard, members of both groups are mingling. Death addresses Storm. His sister War asks him why he is talking to these mutants. She can smell the fear on them. It must be something else she smells, Storm suggests calmly. Death holds his sister back when she bristles at the perceived insult. War shakes off his arm. Ask her who she fears tomorrow, if she’s still alive! she snarls. Storm chuckles. She’d thought War would be the more artful, but no, it’s him. He’s going to be a problem, isn’t he? She takes the flower decorating her cocktail and playfully tucks it behind Death’s ear, then joins Wolverine on the balcony. He tells her he is not in the mood.
Standing in a corner nursing a drink, Cypher says ‘hi’ when Bei the Bloodmoon passes him. She hisses at him to avert his eyes.
Storm tells Wolverine she knows what he is thinking. Is she gonna talk him out of this? he asks. She tells him not to miss.
Several birds fly out of the building singing it is time to gather in the Hall of Broken Banners. A priestess tells them to take their card. Curious, Magik grabs one and announces she doesn’t know what this Tarot stuff means. Can’t they just point to where her chair of asses is? Pogg ur-Pogg announces he will sit where he sees fit. Gorgon and Magik wonders whether there is a soft spot in his skin. Wolverine points out he has plenty of soft spots, just none that are on the outside.
Saturnyne welcomes her guests to the Hall of Fallen Banners, a splendid hall with a glass floor under which there is water in which mermaids are swimming. Saturnyne warns them that for this evening the rules of parley are observed and there shall be no hostilities until the next morning when the swords are drawn. The contests will take place across the realms of Otherworld. She introduces the swordbearers to her court. Blood will be shed on the morrow, but for now let them appreciate the finer things in life.
Getting a drink, Wolverine figures this is all Braddock’s fault. Captain Avalon is asking for a non-alcoholic drink when Logan accosts him of not pulling his weight. Brian tells him to just say what he has to say. Wolverine replies, if he were in Braddock’s situation, a man who has the favor of the woman who’s deciding their fate, he might be inclined to take one for the team and give the lady what she is clearly after.
Brian coolly retorts he is a married man. Betsy joins her brother and accuses Logan of being a boor, so kindly piss off! He was married once, Logan muses. Tricky business. Do they know who hasn’t been married? Cypher. Neither have Magik or Cable. They have yet to make that very special mistake. And when they are fighting to the death he doesn’t think he’ll watch. He puts his fist against Braddock’s chest. He’ll be watching the guy who could have stopped it… him!
Magik and Gorgon watch their foes and make observations that could be useful for battle, such as War being righthanded. Magik figures the dinosaur, Pogg ur-Pogg, is going to be a problem. Gorgon reminds her every beat has a softness beyond its armor, then adds Death favors his left side. Magik figures Redroot’s shrubbery may hide more eyes. They are puzzled by Isca though. Does she favor her left or right?
Gorgon addresses Isca and tries to make small talk. Isca tells them to spare her the and she will not listen to any whining that the fights won’t be fair. Gorgon smirks he’s never been in a fair fight. They all had to face him. Isca approves of his attitude and replies it’s a pity his island doesn’t have more like him. Magik and Gorgon both offer a toast, then drop their glasses. Isca catches them both easily and states they could have just asked which side she favors. Of course, she is ambidextrous. Their turn, she announces and drops the glasses in front of them. Magik has small teleportation circles appear under the glasses and teleports them into her and Gorgon’s hand. No drop spilled either. Isca chuckles. This will be fun. After she leaves, Illyana asks Gorgon about her soft spots. He doesn’t know. He advises her to kill as many as she can, as fast as she can. He fears that woman’s sword will break them.
Cable points out to Storm that the “bad doggie” - referring to Death - is creeping out on her. She asks Death to dance on the invisible floor over the waters. He notes she doesn’t fear him. Does she desire him? Straight and to the point, she muses. She admires that. He continues that the other swordbearers of her group have tasted death many times in many ways, but not her. He is wrong, Storm replies, she knows death. Dipping her down, he assures her he meant no offense. She replies she has been dancing with him for a long time. First as a child, living on the streets and later as leader of the X-Men, a role that taught her how to sway death. Suddenly she is leading. So, she neither fears nor desires him, but she does know him… and this is as close as she will allow him. She finishes the dance.
Saturnyne bids her guests to sit for the first course. She thanks Jim Jaspers and the Crooked Market for procuring the delicacies
Turning to Wolverine, she points out she senses when a mind is burdened. There is no need to hold his tongue.
He ain’t a man of many words, he replies and gets up, his attention on Saturnyne. His neighbor War uses that and trickles something on his sushi. Logan walks to Saturnyne, stating it doesn’t have to be like that. She can just take what she wants. She doesn’t need to create all this collateral damage.
Haughtily, she tells him he doesn’t understand the reasons for the many changes to come. Why doesn’t she say what she means, he snaps. There is a mountain of death ahead. She smirks, death is the great change and everything dies. Those are some famous last words! he growls as he impales her with his claws.