Egypt, Eyalet, the sixteenth century:
A popular merchant has only one son as family. The boy is kind, loving and has a special gift, mental powers he uses to protect those weaker than him, making his father proud.
However, the plague comes to the market and kills the father. The boy finds his gift of no use. With plague comes a bigger predator, who promises him adventure and never being alone again. The boy accepts. And so it was that Amahl Farouk came to meet the Shadow King…
The Akademikos habitat:
Danielle Moonstar and Xi’an Coy Manh are sharing a table. Dani asks Xi’an when was the last time she slept. She dodges the question, laughing when was the last time any of them slept? Danie insists: since when has Xi’an had those nightmares? Since before Otherworld, Karma admits. It’s partly about what happened there but, being trapped in Cosmar’s nightmare sphere, it feels like something inside of her activated. She can’t remember when she wakes up, but it makes her feel scared to sleep. She berates herself. They are stronger than ever, they can’t die, and here she is, too scared to sleep.
Dani reminds her they both know there are thing worse than death. She offers her hand. Shan asked for help. Let her. Karma announces she is ready.
Dani manifests her dream, as Shan narrates. It always begins the same way. They are surround by the horde, back to back, fighting desperately. When she touched the mind of the Arakkii, she fought. It was cold and hard like a blade but, in the dream, it’s different. It’s like she stuck her mind in a fire. There is so much hate and it’s all for her.
The face of the Arakkii transform, showing a Vietnamese looking young man. Karma knows him but can’t remember why. Dani muses she feels a pull, like someone is interfering with their connection. She can almost feel her fear.
She breaks off the connection. Karma admits she feels like she is losing her mind. Dani promises they will get to the ground of this.
Magik enters and Warlock wheedles after her. Illyana sternly reminds him of the rules. No talking to her in the morning, until she has had her coffee. She grabs a large container of coffee and orders him to bother Doug. Warlock sadly admits he doesn’t want to bother Doug or Bei while they are being happy together.
Illyana changes the subject and asks what they just interrupted. Secrets don’t make friends. When Shan doesn’t answer, Dani retorts that stuff makes Magik paranoid. She might want to tone it down. When Magik keeps on asking, Dani orders her to drop it. Karma gets up and announces she forgot something in her room. She doesn’t want to make them late.
Dani and Warlock both glare at Illyana, who doesn’t know what’s going on. Rahne joins them and reveals Xi’an is having trouble sleeping. She sometimes hears her crying at night. Dani is using her powers to try to help her process everything. She does it for Rahne too, when it gets too much. Surprisingly, Illyana replies that is nothing to be ashamed of, they all have their demons. Some of them more literally, but that’s true. Rahne fist-bumps Illyana. They both know what it’s like to live with shame and guilt. You can’t magic that away.
There is a loud knock. It’s James Proudstar, in very skimpy training pants, who reminds them their groups are waiting for them. They might get bored at each other if they don’t hurry.
Rahne whispers to Illyana that she can’t believe he is wearing that. Illyana shouldn’t have lied about the uniform. Insulted, James points out it moves well and is much more breathable than his old one. The four women join him.
Soon, the kids are training. Fauna is on the run but leads his hunters into a trap, where his teammates, the Ferals – Nature Girl, Anole and Scout - are waiting. The Elementals, Petra, Sprite, Rain Boy and Dust, join the battle. Fauna taunts that he sees Sprite’s underpants when she flies above him. How dare he? she shrieks. Chastened, he replies he was just trying to trash-talk, like Anole said. Nature Girl uses Sprite’s distraction to bind her with some vines.
In the meantime, Petra uses her earthmoving powers to hold off Anole, Scout and Dust’s attack. Rain Boy takes out Anole.
The New Mutants applaud them and tell them to circle up. Mirage opens that they have all come a long way in the use and refinement of their powers. They should be proud. Magik agrees. They believe they are ready for the next stage: Synergy with their fellow mutants. The kids look at them questioningly. The New Mutants order them to pay attention as they form two teams: Magik, Wolfsbane and Mirage against Karma, Warlock and Warpath.
One example of synergy is Mirage working with Magik to have Dani’s protection range extended via Magik’s teleportation circles. Another is Magik / Wolfsbane: one wolf falls into her teleportation circle, five wolves come out.
Warpath and Warlock team up to form a psychically shielded, strength-enhancing armor, though they find the other team has them surrounded.
The session over, the kids consider this awesome. The New Mutants explain they will shake up their groups, have them work with different mutants to work with different power sets.
Scout asks what happens if the synergy makes things more dangerous. A good question, Rahne replies, but belonging to the old way. Resurrection allows them to explore more fully who they are as individuals and a people. But what happens if someone like her dies? Scout insists. Not understanding, Rahne replies she would be resurrected. Scout demands, how come Evan hasn’t been resurrected yet, or Madelyne Pryor? She heard Havok say they weren’t going to bring her back because she is a clone. Why would that matter? It shouldn’t, Illyana agrees.
Another student suggests, maybe, it’s because the Goblin Queen hurt people. Scout shoots back so did like a bunch of people here. Mr. Sinister is on the Council! Illyana ruffles her hair. She’ll tell her what she told Havok: Madelyne was actively harmful to mutants and humans alike. There aren’t many laws, but she broke the ones they have. And Evan could still be in the resurrection queue, ok? She dismisses the kids. Scout clearly doesn’t believe her.
Later a group of youngsters - Anole, Rain Boy, Cosmar and No Girl – make their way through the wilderness to a certain destination. Along the way, when Rain Boy teases Cosmar with a horror story, she briefly loses control of her powers and warps him. Anole tries to comfort her but she is frustrated with her powers and the danger they pose. Rain Boy, who is clearly smitten with her, assures her she is getting better at controlling them. Martha use Anole’s body to order them to stop flirting.
They reach a cave and enter. They grow more nervous and wonder if they should have come. The man sitting at the fire there, Amahl Farouk, assures them he has been waiting for them. The kids gush they have so much to tell him. He assures them he loves hearing stories and promises they have all the time in the world…