For as far back as he can remember, Der Jahrmarkt was Kurt Wagner’s home. It was a small one-ring travelling family circus and it was wonderful. Wherever they went, they made people laugh and gasp and cheer. Perhaps they weren’t the greatest show on the planet, but they had fund - and so did their audience. Kurt remembers being at the forefront of a spectacle taking place in the ring, with scantily-clad men and women performing astonishing acrobatics, and the audience goes crazy.
Kurt recalls his mother - Margali Szardos, who gave him, a foundling, a home. He grew up at the circus, it didn’t matter that he looked strange - in a circus, strange is normal. What mattered was that he felt loved. Kurt played with Amanda, who was another rescue, as Margali watched over them with another man, a man who trained them in the skill of acrobatics. Amanda became Kurt’s best friend, and together, they learned their craft - until the day came for Amanda to make her debut in the ring.
‘Wish me luck, Elf!’ Amanda exclaims as she hugs Kurt and kisses him on the cheek. ‘You don’t need luck. You’re the best’ Kurt smiles. Amanda has held a very special place in Kurt’s heart ever since.
Winzeldorf, a small town, high in the mountains of Bavaria. The sun is rising over the quaint village, nestled on two sides of a river, which appears orange under the glow of the rising sun. A bright light glistens down one of the cobblestone streets, and from it, a portal opens, and Kurt “Nightcrawler” Wagner falls through, accompanied by several of the little blue Bamfs, and the glamorous Amanda Sefton. Kurt examines his surroundings and tells Amanda that her spell brought them right back to where his life with the X-Men began. ‘Why am I not surprised? Fate has a wicked sense of humor’ he points out. Amanda reminds Kurt that this is the carnival’s off-season home, so where better to start looking for Margali? They peer down the street, as Kurt remarks ‘Where indeed?’ and explains that he no longer believes in coincidences.
Kurt holds up a portable device, and crouches down amongst the Bamfs, reminding Amanda that Trimega attacked with speed, power and tech, so she had no chance to defend herself, and if not for himand the Bamfs, she would have been taken. ‘We caught him by surprise. Next time, I doubt we’ll be so lucky’ Kurt adds. An image appears, projected from the device, it is Margali, and Kurt tells the Bamfs that they need to find her fast. Another image - of Trimega, who Kurt tells the Bamfs to keep their eyes peeled for him. Some of the Bamfs teleport away, while Kurt and Amanda start to walk down the street, the remaining Bamfs scampering around their feet. ‘Nice little army of minions you’ve got there’ Amanda remarks. ‘And I only had to die to get them’ Kurt replies.
Shortly, Kurt and Amanda are sitting at a table on the sidewalk. Other patrons at the café are seated nearby, and the locals go about their business. ‘So, is this how you deal with fear?’ Amanda asks Kurt. ‘No, hunger’ he tells her, adding that the town hasn’t changed, although there are fewer pitchforks than he remembers. Amanda assures Kurt that thanks to her illusion spell, all people will see when they look at the two of them are people like themselves. Indeed, the illusion depicts Amanda and Kurt in civilian clothing, and Kurt appears as a human, while the Bamfs are nowhere to be seen. Amanda remarks that it hasn’t really been that long since Charles Xavier recruited Kurt, to which Kurt replies that it seems like a lifetime. Amanda realizes Kurt isn’t himself, and asks if something is wrong. ‘Not really. I’m just… remembering’ he replies.
Amanda’s debut on the trapeze: she stands on the tall platform, so beautiful - the audience loves her. So does Kurt, as he looks up at her, excitedly, while Margali and the older man watch from the sidelines. Amanda had trained so hard for this moment, and she leaps off the platform as the trapeze swings down towards her - she grabs it, but then - it snaps! There is no net and Amanda is very high up - the fall will kill her. Unless… he does it - Kurt teleports into the air, and grabs Amanda, telling her to relax, that he has her. ‘Kurt? What’re you doing?’ Amanda gasps. ‘Saving you’ Kurt replies as he teleports them both to the opposite podium.
Kurt didn’t think about what he was doing - it simply happened - and the audience was stunned. But Kurt and Amanda don’t care, and they kiss. When they pull away they see that the crowd is cheering. ‘They must think my rescue was part of the show!’ Kurt suggests. Amanda asks him how he did it, but Kurt tells her that he doesn’t know. ‘Can you do it again?’ Amanda enquires. ‘The way they’re all cheering - I sure hope so’ Kurt smiles, as he and Amanda wave down to the crowd - marking Kurt’s beginning as Nightcrawler.
‘You’re smiling’ Amanda tells Kurt. ‘Remembering - your opening night on the trapeze’ Kurt grins back. ‘You saved me, Elf’ Amanda recalls. ‘I’ll always save you, Witch’ Kurt assures Amanda. Leaning across the table, he takes her hand and stares into Amanda’s eyes. The Bamfs are under the table, one of them eats a biscuit, and they look up as Amanda pulls away from Kurt, asking him why he didn’t give her the chance to do the same. ‘The life I chose wasn’t for you - we both knew that’ Kurt remarks, to which Amanda tells him that doesn’t mean she wouldn’t come when she was needed. ‘It’s not like I knew what was going to happen’ Kurt points out. Amanda tells Kurt that she loves him, that she should have had the chance to at least try and save him. ‘Who knows? Perhaps that’s why I’m back? To give us another chance?’ Kurt suggests, when suddenly, the other little Bamfs return.
‘Oh, for goodness sake! Your little doppelgangers certainly know how to spoil a mood!’ Amanda declares. ‘They mean well’ Kurt tells Amanda. ‘And I have a temper’ Amanda replies. Kurt assures Amanda that the Bamfs like that passion in her. ‘So do I’ he adds, while Amanda asks if there is any word on Margali. Kurt crouches down as the Bamfs gather around him, and he tells Amanda that there is no sign of her - nor Trimega, but what they have found is Der Jahrmarkt. Kurt suggests to Amanda that they should check it out, as perhaps someone at Der Jahrmarkt will have word of Margali. Amanda hangs her head and tells Kurt that she will follow his lead, then. ‘Is there a problem?’ Kurt asks. ‘Can’t answer. Casting a spell’ Amanda replies as she avoids the question, surrounding herself, Kurt and the Bamfs in a brilliant light, she teleports them all to the circus.
‘It hasn’t changed’ Kurt remarks as he examines the circus surroundings. A large big top tent, and several smaller tents and caravans. ‘Wish it had’ Amanda mutters, to which Kurt asks her what is wrong. Amanda reveals that there was an argument between her and Margali, and that things were said - the kind that can’t be taken back, even if you wanted to. ‘Thing is, I don’t’ Amanda admits. Suddenly, a large burst of flame roars towards Kurt and Amanda. ‘Look out!’ Kurt tells Amanda, grabbing her and pushing her to safety.
The Bamfs are knocked aside with them, when suddenly, a large fists slams into Nightcrawler. ‘Who are you? Why you come here?’ a large, muscular man asks as he lumbers towards where Nightcrawler landed. Kurt looks up and sees Haus looming over him. Kurt thinks of Haus as a walking battering ram, with fists that can shatter skyscrapers. Even though the Almighty blessed Haus with the strength of a titan, his brain never grew beyond that of an innocent child. Kurt recalls that when he and Amanda were growing up, Haus was their friend.
Apparently, things have changed. Amanda sees Haus reach down to grab Kurt, so she calls out to Kurt, telling him not to worry - but as she raises a hand to cast a spell, ‘Do nothing, girl!’ a short-haired woman snarls as she extends her arm, wrapping it around Amanda like a snake. ‘Haus, I’ve restrained this one! Get the other!’ the woman calls out. Kurt looks over and sees the woman who has snared Amanda - it is Gummi, which is German for “rubber”. The woman’s body stretches as several Bamfs race over to her, and Kurt remembers that Gummi can stretch herself almost without limit, to an extent that rivals Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four, and Gummi was also their friend. She is also wicked dangerous in a fight - as the Bamfs quickly learn when she grabs one of them by their tail, and uses the Bamf against the others, swinging the small creature, slamming it into the others, while a wide-eyed Amanda watches.
Haus, meanwhile, has picked Kurt up and slammed him into the ground. ‘It’s me!’ Kurt calls out, realizing that if Haus lands a solid hit, his new life wil be over before it has barely begun. ‘Strange thing is, I’m almost tempted. But if I do that…what will happen to Amanda?’ Kurt thinks to himself. He gets to his feet and realizes that the performers are acting like he is a monster. Kurt has to fi nd out why - starting with the natural leader here, their fire-starter, Feuer. As Feuer appears behind Kurt, other circus workers start to look over at the commotion, and although Feuer’s first shot caught Kurt and Amanda by surprise, it won’t happen again, as Kurt teleports just before Feuer breathes more fire at him. Kurt appears behind Feuer and grabs him, ‘It’s me, Kurt Wagner! We’re friends, man - what ar eyou doing?’ Kurt asks. ‘Kurt Wagner’s dead!’ Feuer exclaims.
Feuer’s body starts to get hot as flames appear on him, causing Kurt to leap away. ‘OW!’ Kurt shouts, while Feuer fires beams of flame from his eyes, boasting ‘We won’t let you sully his memory!’ Kurt teleports again, and dodges the fire beams, which strike Haus as he was running towards Kurt. He is huge, but not invulnerable, and his cream tells how much the eyebeams hurt. Haus responds like any child, by trying to make the pain go away. Slamming his fists onto the ground, he knocks crates and cars over. Feuer leaps into the air, while Gummi is knocked off-balance by the impact. She loses her hold over the Bamf. Kurt knows that he has to find a way to stop this, before someone really gets hurt. He looks over at the Bamfs and sees that they are trying their hardest against Gummi, but they literally cannot get a grip on her. She grins as they try and attack her, but she just starts to wrap them up in her coils, like Amanda.
Kurt teleports over to Gummi and realizes that she expects him to be no different. ‘You are no match for me, demon’ Gummi declares. ‘Fool! D’you think you can hurt me!’ she asks as Kurt wraps his arms around her, ‘Not me, no’ he tells her as he teleports himself, Gummi and the still-trapped Amanda away, ‘It’s all in the timing’ Kurt thinks to himself, and he re-appears right in front of Haus, who raises a fist - and brings it down to strike Kurt, who makes another quick teleport, escaping the blow, which instead slams into Gummi’s face, causing her body to convulse, she spins out of control, and loses her hold over Amanda and the Bamfs. ‘My hero’ Amanda smiles as Kurt re-appears. Teleporting to her, he grabs her and they land, ‘You mean that?’ Kurt asks. ‘Yeah right, be real, Elf’ Amanda tells him as they look over and see that Gummi has fallen on Feuer, the two are tangled together.
‘Now what?’ Amanda asks. Kurt tells her that they appeal to their friend, and he turns to Haus. ‘You hurt Haus! Haus will hurt you - bad!’ the strongman declares. ‘Haus - no!’ Kurt calls out. ‘Look at us, you know us. It is Amanda and Kurt. We three have been friends. All our lives. Why would you hurt your friends?’ Kurt smiles, while Amanda waves at Haus. ‘Haus - knows you’ Haus realizes, suddenly claming down, he then boasts that he is happy as his friends have come home, and he wraps his large arms around the two. ‘Being squished here’ Amanda complains. ‘Give him his moment. You’ll be fine - I promise’ Kurt assures Amanda.
Shortly, Kurt, Amanda, the Bamfs and the circus performers are in a tent. Kurt and Feuer are having something to drink, while Haus smiles as the Bamfs climb over his body, and Amanda uses her powers to untangle Gummi. ‘You were dead, Kurt’ Feuer remarks. ‘I’m an X-Man. For us, it seems, that trick hardly ever works’ Kurt replies. ‘For a man of faith like you - that must be hard. I’m truly sorry, my friend’ Feuer tells Kurt.
Kurt announces that it isn’t always their place to comprehend the will of the almighty, as theirs is to follow where his path leads and hope for the best. Feuer enquires as to what brings Kurt here, and Kurt explains that they are looking or Margali. He asks Feuer if he can help them. Amanda raises her arms, ‘Enough of this foolishness, Margali! Stop playing your stupid games! Show yourself - now - or Kurt and I are gone!’ Amanda calls out.
The green-skinned, ram-horned Margali Szardos calmly steps out from behind a curtain. ‘Such tone. Such words. I remember, child, when you and Kurt used to call me Mother’ Margali declares. ‘Yeah? I remember when you used to deserve it’ Amanda retorts. Margali is quick to claim that she doesn’t know what Amanda and Kurt are talking about. ‘I walk the Winding Way - I have no trick with automatons’ she reminds them.
Kurt informs Margali that the Trimega came for Amanda, so they wanted to make sure it didn’t come for her, also. Feuer reminds Kurt that Winzeldorf is their home, that they live here in peace. ‘You guys save creation. We just make kids laugh’ Gummi points out. Amanda creates an illusion of Trimega so that everyone knows what he looks like, and explains that he was pretty determined. ‘You sure he doesn’t look familiar?’ she asks. ‘Cool - blaster boy!’ Haus exclaims. ‘No, Haus. This isn’t one of your toys’ Feuer assures his friend.
Feuer then tells Amanada that he is sorry - they don’t know what Trimega is. ‘How about you, Margali?’ Amanda asks, frowning. ‘Child, I told you -’ Margali begins, when suddenly, Haus is struck from behind by a blast, knocking him over and sending the Bamfs flying through the air. ‘That - hurt!’ Haus exclaims. ‘I’m sorry, my friends. It appears we’ve led our adversary right to you!’ Kurt gasps as he and the others step back in the tent as Trimega moves towards them. ‘So this time we stomp him, right, Elf?’ Amanda asks. But Trimega lumbers forward and exclaims: ‘Bold words, little witch-girl - and false hope. Trimega has come for you. All who try to stop him - SHALL DIE!’