Dane Whitman, the current Black Knight confidently holds the reins of his white winged horse Strider, as they fly through the evening skies. His heart beats fast with anticipation, hope, even dread as he considers himself to be on a dangerous mission, because what is more dangerous to anyone than their own heart? As he heads towards his destination, he thinks about Crystal, the woman he believes he loves. Barely had they found one another then they lost each other again. They grew close to each other whilst teamed together in the Avengers but a fellow Avenger, the Eternal Sersi tied Dane with the Gann Josin bond and they jumped through time.
The bond was broken and he returned to the present, only to be told that Crystal had been killed in the battle with Onslaught. He never dreamed he’d never see her again, he always had hope. When the heroes returned, he was told that she was amongst them but as he couldn’t find her, he traveled to Avalon and asked the Lady of the Lake for help, but she denied him.
(flashback, set between Quicksilver #3 and #4)
The Lady of the Lake refuses to help Dane find Crystal because she is married and his affection for her is not honorable. He tells her he’ll find other ways of finding her. He knows that she is married to Quicksilver, but he and Crystal had fallen in love while they were separated. He goes to Avalon’s scrying pool and by the power of the Sword of Light, he finds Crystal, but she is in her husband’s arms. He decides there and then to pursue his heart and set off to find them.
Quicksilver meets Crystal for the first time since he believed she was killed, in a field after he returns from Polemachus. After hugging and saying their hellos, his sister, the Scarlet Witch also arrives and asks Pietro if it is that she is truly home. Another emotional homecoming follows as Pietro has the two women he loves most in the world with him once more. Unfortunately, the reunion is cut short when the Black Knight arrives astride his winged horse and calls Crystal. She turns when she hears his voice and looks excited that he is there too. Quicksilver doesn’t exactly share her enthusiasm and growls upon seeing his rival for his wife’s affections. Dane dismounts and walks up to Crystal, and tells her that he never realized how much he missed her until he lost her. “Now that Sersi’s Gann Josin bond has been broken…”
Crystal stops him mid-sentence. She looks sorrowful as she tells him that their relationship began when she was questioning her marriage to Pietro. Then he was gone, forever she thought. Then she herself was gone and neither he nor Pietro were on the other world. She tells Dane she needs time to sort out her heart, to know what she feels and for whom. She adds that her husband and daughter must have first claim.
Dane appears surprised at this, obviously expecting a better outcome and begins to reply, only to be interrupted by Quicksilver who dashes between him and Crystal, fists clenched. He is angry and tells the Black Knight that he heard his wife, whatever the two of them had, it’s over. He isn’t about to lose her to him, and he is prepared to fight to keep her this time. Wanda puts a gentle hand on his shoulder, asking him to calm down but Pietro continues to have his say. He tells his sister that he stood by and watched while the Black Knight tried to seduce his wife. Now he knows what it really means to lose Crystal, he swears it won’t happen again.
Still holding her brother, Wanda flashes a questioning look to her sister-in-law and just says her name, but it is clear she wants her to sort the situation out before it becomes ugly. With her eyes glued to the floor, Crystal tells Dane that she thinks he should leave, it isn’t the time or the place for discussion and adds that they will talk someday, she promises, just not today. Again, Dane can only utter a resigned “but..” before Pietro takes his wife in his arms and tells her that Luna is waiting for them at the castle. “Castle?” asks Crystal. He tells her it is on the Hudson River, some twenty miles upstate from New York City and that it belongs to the High Evolutionary. It has been their home since they had to leave Wundagore and he has much to tell. The Scarlet Witch offers the Black Knight an annoyed glance as they go their separate ways.
The Black Knight swoops down towards the castle on the Hudson, home of Quicksilver, Crystal and the Knights of Wundagore. Inside the castle, as Bova looks on contentedly, Pietro holds Crystal in his arms and tells her that it is good to feel her next to him again, as there hasn’t been enough time since she came back. Crystal replies that now everything is back the way is should be in New Attilan, he can tell her what’s happened while she was away and how he ended up here in the castle. He tells her it’s not something he likes to think about. When he saw her enter Onslaught it was all Wolverine could do to hold him back from following her.
(flashback, the battle against Onslaught and the following months)
As Crystal enters the energy mass that Onslaught has become to aid her fellow Avengers in containing the energy, Wolverine grabs Quicksilver around the waist and tells him it is over; she’s gone. Pietro feels like a piece of him dies when he sees Onslaught collapse in on itself. Earth’s heroes have once again saved the world from an unspeakable end, but at the cost of the best and brightest of them such as the Avengers and the Fantastic Four. He sees Storm and Jean Grey flying over ground zero as the reality sinks in. He’s lost his wife, his sister and the one man he truly admires; Steve Rogers, Captain America. When he sees Charles Xavier trying to comfort Franklin Richards, he imagines telling Luna that she would never see her mother’s face again - a pain he cannot face.
He leaves Luna in Jarvis’ care (the Avenger’s butler) and spends the next week at the Xavier’s Institute in Salem Center. He can’t bear to be alone. He finds little comfort there as Charles has given sanctuary to his father, the evil Magneto (now Joseph) who is now claiming to have lost all his memories of the pain and suffering he has caused throughout his life. He can’t stomach being near him and when Hercules arrives looking for adventure, he accepts his invitation. It means putting distance between himself and his father and hopes it will help dull the pain of losing her. However he is wrong, and Wolverine’s words come back to haunt him.
Instead of continuing his adventures with Hercules, he tells him to turn their ship around and returns to Avengers Mansion where he is reunited with his daughter, telling Jarvis that the time has come for him to accept his responsibilities. Jarvis asks him where he will go, and Pietro replies him that the only place that has ever felt like home is Wundagore Mountain where he was born. He adds that Luna should grow up knowing who she is, and where she came from. He then journeys to Wundagore and is greeted there by the High Evolutionary and Bova who Luna is excited to see again. Pietro thanks the Evolutionary, and tells him that Bova had saved his life when he was a child. She is as near to a mother as he can remember and prays she can be the same for Luna. The Knights of Wundagore keep Luna entertained and happy in a way he knows he can never do. He loves Luna more than his own life, but it is hard for him to face her; he is unable to look into her eyes and not see Crystal.
He knows the Knights are, despite being genetically evolved animals, kind, gentle and noble beings who give their loyalty and friendship freely. Yet, there are times when he can endure the company of no-one and the pain of his grief drives him to run hard and fast and far, trying to outrun the pain of losing her. It is while he is away that he hears from Bova that the citadel at Wundagore is under attack. He rushes there, only to discover Exodus carrying on Magneto’s work and using his Acolytes. He’s declared the Knights genetic abominations and has come to destroy them, as well as seize the mysterious element that the High Evolutionary is working on called Isotope E. For reasons he still doesn’t understand, the High Evolutionary chooses to retreat from the mountain, leaving his citadel in the hands of Exodus. He chooses Quicksilver to look after the Knights in his stead and disappears with Isotope E.
Still holding Crystal, Pietro tells her that is why he must now leave. He has to find the Knights as they have been missing for days and he has neglected them too long. Crystal strokes his cheek and reminds him that he has neglected her too long, telling him that wherever the Knights are, they can take care of themselves.
Meanwhile, in an unknown location, Lady Ursula, Lady Vermin, Lord Tyger and Lord Gator are being held captive in the most basic of cells. Outside their prison walls, they can hear the howls of Lord Churchill who had been taken away to be interrogated. Lady Ursula, still in her evening dress and with Lady Vermin sat on her shoulder clasps her hands in despair as she listens to Churchill’s pain-filled howls. Lady Vermin tells her that he is a Knight, and he can bear the pain, and if he must he will give his life to protect their lord, the High Evolutionary. Lord Tyger, resting against a wall, arms folded adds, “While we sit here and do nothing, Lady Vermin? It’s unseemly! We too are Knights! We should be on the attack!” Lord Gator is more cautious, telling him that until they know the numbers of their captors and the extent of their abilities, they would be ill-advised to rush into battle. Lady Ursula acknowledges Gator’s clarity, and says that if they act rashly, the humans might kill Lord Churchill. As she speaks, Lady Vermin notices the tiniest of cracks in the cell wall and leaps from Ursula’s shoulder, telling them to fear not, as she believes help may be at hand.
She approaches the crack in the wall and speaks to a fellow rat she has seen inside. She asks her to come out but the rat replies that the big cat (Tyger) will eat her. Lady Vermin assures her that she is under her protection and her help is needed. The other rat replies that it will be an honor to help and asks how she can be of assistance. Lady Vermin says that she must escape from this basement and tells her she will take her place. In Lady Ursula’s hand, she then fastens her blaster onto her new friends’ back so their captors will think it is her. She replies that it is her duty and honor to aid her. Lord Tyger is agreeable, and tells her that her plan has merits. However, he adds, if she isn’t back there in twenty-four hours then he says the rest of them should take action.
Lady Ursula asks him to be quiet as she hears someone approaching the cell. As the door opens, Pyro appears with Lord Churchill and throws him into the cell like a rag doll. Lady Ursula quickly allows Lady Vermin to leave them as the other rat takes Lady Vermin’s position on her shoulder. Pyro says, “This dog is of no use to us!” as Churchill lands with a thud and Lord Tyger immediately has his claws out, ready to attack him before the cloaked Lord Gator places his mighty hands on his shoulders to prevent him doing anything foolhardy, telling him to stand down. Pyro, a desperate man, tells them that the dog refused to give them the information they seek, and perhaps they can make the rat squeal. As Lady Vermin watches from the crack in the wall, seeing her friend about to be tortured, she knows she must find Sir Pietro, as he will know what to do.
Meanwhile, back at the castle, the happy couple are beginning to get tetchy. Crystal says she understands his commitments to the Knights, but he also has a responsibility to herself and Luna; he can’t just go running off. Quicksilver furiously retorts, saying he wasn’t the one who sacrificed his life against Onslaught. He asks Crystal what she was thinking when she rushed into the vortex. Crystal vehemently defends herself, replying that she sacrificed herself to save their daughter, and the world. She adds that the only reason she knew she could is because he would still be around to look after Luna, asking if he thinks she’d throw away her life for nothing. She turns her back and folds her arms as she continues to point out that he is the one who always seems to be running away; from whatever he faces. He doesn’t know the Knights are in danger, and she asks if she isn’t as important as they appear to be.
Pietro calms down, and realizes his wife is right. He places his hands around her shoulders and tells her that of course she is, and promises that now they are back together, he won’t let anything tear them apart again. Crystal cannot meet his gaze as she tells him that she wishes she was as confident as he. Pietro asks what that’s supposed to mean as he thought they were on the right track but she replies that they have a lot to talk about. Quicksilver then turns the conversation towards the Black Knight, asking if what he said earlier about the Sword of Might is the problem. He’s already apologized for that. She replies that it’s not about him, it’s about her and Pietro rushes to face her, asking if she still has feelings for Dane. She finally looks at him and says that to be honest, this is probably the most difficult thing she has had to say to him, but then a knock on the door interrupts her. Pietro asks her to ignore it and tell him what is bothering her but she asks what if it’s the Knights. Bova then arrives and tells Pietro that there is someone at the door. He asks her to send them away as he doesn’t want to be disturbed. Unfortunately for him, the Black Knight, in full uniform appears and tells him he isn’t going anywhere until he’s had the chance to speak to Crystal.
Quicksilver’s face immediately turns to a frown as he points at him and tells him, “I will only say this once Whitman, leave us! My wife and I are in the middle of a very important conversation. She doesn’t wish to speak to you right now!” The Black Knight turns Pietro’s words against him, asking, “Really? Is she your puppet that you speak for her?” Quicksilver is having none of this and slams into Whitman, and almost instantly delivers him far from the castle before immediately returning to Crystal. She is fuming and asks him how he dares not to allow her to speak for herself. Through the window, Bova notices a small speck approaching from high above. Pietro asks Crystal whether she would have told him to go, or to make himself more comfortable but before she can answer, the window is smashed by the forced entry of the Black Knight and his horse, Strider.
“Do you manhandle all your guests in such a fashion, Maximoff? Well, it won’t work with the Black Knight!” Bova is forced to cover herself as shards of glass shatter all around her. Quicksilver tells him he is no guest but an intruder and one that he will deal with. Now squared off against each other, the Knight’s back to the hole where the window used to be, he warns Pietro that he is ill-armed for such an encounter. Crystal realizes the danger and tells Bova to see to Luna. Bova leaves in a hurry, happy to be out of the way. Promptly, Quicksilver dashes off and returns with a sword and shield of his own from elsewhere in the castle and asks Dane if this is better. The Black Knight takes the opportunity to show off himself and makes his armor and weapons disappear for a moment before bringing them back, rhetorically asking Pietro, “Don’t you just love enchanted weapons?”
The inevitable battle begins. As Strider and Crystal stand as innocents in this show of testosterone, Quicksilver makes the first move, sprinting around the room and then stopping before his opponent, telling him that he can take him on at his own game, and he won’t need super-speed to do it. Crystal asks her husband if he has gone mad but he tells her that she needn’t worry, as he’s been studying sword-fighting with Sir Ram and he can hold his own. She replies that isn’t what she meant as Dane tells her not to worry, as he promises he won’t hurt her husband. She thinks that’s not what she meant either as their swords clash with ferocious abandon. They slice, they parry and they stab but neither appears to be gaining the upper hand. Pietro is playing fair and not using his speed to his advantage. With it, the Black Knight would stand little chance.
As she sees them go at each other, Crystal thinks that what she meant was, please don’t start this, both of them, fighting like children; so angry and hot-tempered. This isn’t about her anymore it’s about their stupid male vanity. Did they think that they could win her by beating each other up, that this would win her heart? Didn’t either of them understand? She recalls the pocket dimension created by Franklin Richards and thinks that after she relived her first love with Johnny Storm, she is no longer sure of her heart. Meanwhile, with the fight more of an even playing field, Dane Whitman finally gains the upper hand, slamming his shield down on Pietro’s neck which staggers him as his foe. He tells him his arrogance is once again his downfall, as a few lessons do not make him his equal, or he would have realized a shield can also serve as an offensive weapon. He adds that Pietro has always been poor at hand-to-hand combat, relying on his speed rather than strategy. He holds his sword to Pietro’s throat as Crystal watches nervously and says he has a claim there. He will speak with Crystal and trusts Pietro has no objections.
Suddenly, Bova rushes into the large room carrying a weeping Luna, shouting, “What is wrong with you men? Look what you’ve done! Your fighting has woken Luna!” Quicksilver takes advantage of the distraction and hastily attacks Dane, side-stepping his sword and is about to land a punch on him when suddenly, they are parted by a flash of electricity, created by Crystal who is furious. She tells them both to stop it, and says that while the both of them were so busy fighting over her, none of them bothered to ask her what she wanted. She takes Luna from Bova and cuddles her, adding that now she wants to tell them. As Pietro and Dane look on, she turns and walks away from them both, she says she is taking Luna and returning to New Attilan to stay with her family. She doesn’t want either to follow her. She has much thinking to do, and can’t stay there until she knows what to do. “I love you both, good-bye.”