'Although I'm a witch... I confess the Witches' Road isn't a path I've walked too often' Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. the Scarlet Witch thinks to herself as she stands in a swamp-like landscape. The ghost of Agatha Harkness hovering over her, and a woman wearing a red gypsy costume stands several feet away. Wanda admits to herself that the Witches' Road scares her – but, fearful or not, here she stands upon it today in search of a great evil p the witch who cast the wasting curse that crippled Ireland. She looks at the woman standing before her, who asks '...do I know you? You look familiar'.
Wanda questions whether this woman is a vision, an illusion meant to challenge her fragile sanity. 'I'm not sure, it does seem as if -' Wanda starts to reply, while Agatha warns her to be careful what she says. 'I'm Wanda' Wanda announces, knowing that she has never met this woman before. 'And yet, I'm certain – that it's my mother who stands before me' Wanda tells herself, as the other woman announces that she is known by man names, but most notable, the Scarlet Witch.
'Agatha?' Wanda asks, and the ghost informs Wanda that it is her mother – her real, true mother. 'She's so beautiful' Wanda utters. 'Yes, she was. With a bright, golden soul' Agatha replies, before Wanda asks Agatha why she never told her. 'Quite simply, my dear... it wasn't your time to know' Agatha explains, as the woman calling herself the Scarlet Witch introduces herself again, this time as Natalya Maximoff.
'Natalya... you said I look familiar. Does that mean you know who I am?' Wanda asks. Agatha warns her again, that time is vague on the Witches' Road, and that if this is Wanda's mother from an earlier era, foreknowledge given here might change events in the future, while if Natalya is a ghost, shocking her with the truth unknown will bring harm to her. Agatha suggests to Wanda that she treat Natalya as a stranger. 'Why does it seem like I've already met you, Wanda?' Natalya asks, adding that she can tell Wanda is important. 'But – you're more than that to me...aren't you?' Natalya asks.
'I'm your – I'm -' Wanda starts to say, while Agatha tries to stop her. 'A relative. A distant relative – my name is Maximoff, too, and our people travel – so perhaps at one time long ago we were...family' Wanda explains. 'I don't know why I'm here...certainly no idea why you are...but I know I have to protect you from something. A threat you won't be able to defeat yourself' Natalya explains, admitting that even that she doesn't completely understand, as she can sense that Wanda is a mighty witch in her own right. 'You know where you are, of course' Natalya adds. The two woman start to walk side by side, as Wanda replies that she is on the Witches' Road, the plane of existence where only those such as they can tread. 'Yes, but there are forks in the road...some lead to light and others to darkness' Natalya remarks, before Wanda asks her if the world knows about her. 'I've never heard of another Scarlet Witch before' Wanda tells her.
Natalya is surprised by the question, and points out that Wanda is Roma, like her, so she knows how distrusted they are, and as witches, too, they are doubly feared. 'I operate from the shadows' Natalya reveals, adding that there are some who know of her – Ulysses Bloodstone and his colleague the Eternal called Makkari, but to most of Europe, where she operates, she is but a myth, a whisper.
Natalya asks why she has such intense feelings towards Wanda, who smiles and tells Natalya that she is happy, too. 'Meeting y-' she starts to say, before Natalya interrupts her, warning Wanda to stand back, as she senses a presence, a mulo of some kind. Natalya raises a hand and fiery energy glows around it. 'Come out, creature! Monster! Whatever foulness you are!' she orders, and a large hairy being with goat like horns steps out of the shadows, growling as Natalya exclaims 'Come out and face the Scarlet Witch!' the creature looms over Natalya, who exclaims that it is a Mahrime Beast, and unleashes a surge of energy, which wraps around the creature like a snake.
The creature struggles to break free, but Natalya Maximoff's power restrains it, and she warns the creature that they are not done, as the first hex was just to weaken it, and this one will end it. She casts an incantation, and releases more magic towards the horrid creature, who recoils backwards, then vanishes. 'Amazing' Wanda utters as she watches Natalya Maximoff in action.
'There. It's done' Natalya announces. 'And now it's up to you' she tells Wanda, warning her to be careful, for there is greater danger than this ahead. 'And y- oh. How sad... how silly. It's only as I fade from you that I sense who you are...' Natalya remarks as she starts to vanish as well. She gazes at Wanda and tells her that although, in her time, she has met no man, Wanda is yet to even be born. '...my rinkini chikni – yes. You, my beautiful daught-' Natalya utters, before she completely fades form view, leaving Wanda to stare at the spot where the mysterious other “Scarlet Witch” was only moments ago standing.
'Oh, Agatha – that was my mother – I... I wanted to speak...' Wanda tells Agatha, who floats alongside her as they travel down the dark swampy path. Agatha informs Wanda that Natalya's spirit is eternal. 'I promise you, you'll get the chance to chat at the campfire and eat roast hedgehog or whatever much you people call fine dining'. Wanda ignores that comment, and as she touches a thorny branch along the path, remarks that Natalya called herself the Scarlet Witch. 'Did you think you were the first?' Agatha asks her. 'Honestly, I never thought about it' Wanda admits, adding that it came into her head fully formed, the moment she realized her powers – she knew she was the Scarlet Witch. 'As was the case with your mother, and her mother before her' Agatha explains, before reminding Wanda that she now has a task at hand, and suggests to her that she keep that in mind. 'Yes, Agatha. You're right, of course... you mean bitch' Wanda replies, smiling at Agatha. 'I love you too, my dear' Agatha responds, before informing Wanda that something troubles her, as the monster her mother fought was a phooka – Irish again, and she is guessing that Wanda's mother came to fight it instead of Wanda because it was summoned here by a time-lost spell.
'Meaning?' Wanda asks. Agatha explains that it means time used as a lock, an added defense so the spell can't be undone by someone in the present – a magical “booby trap” only an ancient witch would know such a thing – and Irish. Agatha declares that there is only one person she can think of who has these traits, not a witch, but a warlock. 'But I thought he was...' Agatha's voice trails off, while Wanda points out that the briars of the path are certainly changing into something a male's energy would craft. 'Behold! A vision awaits us!' Wanda exclaims as they see a battle playing out before them. A figure in a green suit is standing nearby, 'Ah, aye. M'family's barny with the Wizards of Tuatha de Danann. Pretty picture, eh?' the Emerald Warlock remarks. 'Delightful' Wanda frowns. 'Declan! Declan Dane. Oh, I hoped I was wrong a moment ago when I thought you might be behind this' Agatha declares as she faces the Emerald Warlock, adding that he looks the same as she remembers. 'N'you look dead, Agatha, me ol' darlin'. Still, pleasure to see you too' the Emerald Warlock responds. Agatha points out that she didn't say it was a pleasure to see him, at least not until she knows why he is behind this.
Energy glows around Wanda's hand as she forms a hex, 'So this is all your doing...Declan Dane, the Emerald Warlock' she declares, adding that she has long heard of him, and remarking that she is surprised it has taken this long for their paths to cross. 'Took both of us being on the Witches' Road for it to happen tho', eh? Fate, I call it' the Emerald Warlock replies, adding that would be, if he hadn't been avoiding the Scarlet Witch like the plague until he was sure he was up to the task of meeting her.
'So it wasn't fate, but design' the Scarlet Witch remarks, standing before the Emerald Warlock. 'Aye' he confirms, adding that he had been keeping the Scarlet Witch at arm's length until hr had amassed enough power to easily defeat her, but he kept his ehe on her though, and reveals that he was right under her nose – the man at the pub in Ireland, Sean – or Sully as he was called – that was Declan. Wanda suddenly looks uneasy, and remarks that she feels pain. She asks the Emerald Warlock what he is doing to her. 'Why, ain't it obcious, Wanda Maximoff? With you aging minute by moment... I'm killing you' Declan announces, as Wanda's form starts to wither rapidly. 'WANDA!' Agatha screams, but she can't help, as Declan has trapped her in a mystic sphere. 'So it's just you 'n me, sweetheart' Declan grins.
The Emerald Warlock tells Wanda that it breaks his heart to see her age so, but that is how she is destined to go, so it is the way of it. 'What is this all about! Why... me? Why Ireland?' Wanda asks. The Emerald Warlock reminds Wanda that she saw what happened back in the day, explains that is his mother, the great dark warrior sorceress Carman, being defeated by the four mages who called themselves the Tuatha de Danann. 'This, back when we tried ta' conquer Ireland'. The four Tuatha de Danann appear as images, and the Emerald Warlock explains that they captured his mother and exiled he and his brothers across the sea, to America, although it wasn't called that back then, and his mother died of a broken heart in County Wexford where they had her imprisoned, and he and his brothers were the Dub N'dother, and he went by Dian back then until he chose a better name for himself. The Emerald Warlock remarks that he loves power, having it, he always has, so early on when they were in the new land, he killed his brothers and took what powers they had as his own, and in the time away, as he grew in power, so the Tuatha de Danann spread their seed throughout the world.
The Emerald Warlock continues, explaining that he wanted to make Ireland pay. 'But the way things worked – the spell of banishment -' he begins, as Wanda realizes that he couldn't return to Ireland until all the Tuatha de Danann bloodlines were ended. 'Oh, you worked that out, eh? Well, from all my observations, I figured ya for a smart girl, so I shouldn't be surprised' the Emerald Warlock declares, his eyes glow green and he grins as he declares that in a nutshell, he just finished off the mages' bloodlines, the last one, a scared wee fella, from Africa. 'But him dying – that gave me Ireland'. He adds that he used the power he had to drain Ireland of its energy and worth, made it pay. Wanda's hunched form points out that the country had no part in his exile, it was the wizards. 'IT WAS ALL OF IT!' the Emerald Warlock shouts as a large green image of himself appears above his physical form. Declan warns Wanda that she had made him angry, and claims that he doesn't like showing that side of himself. 'All right, you hate Ireland, I get that. So why didn't you try to stop me in Ireland when you had the chance... when you were in the guise of Sully?' Wanda asks.
The Emerald Warlock admits that he has asked himself that same thing, and supposes that he was a bit taken with Wanda, as she is so powerful and yet so broken and flawed, too. 'I suppose I wanted to see what y'were capable of' he explains.
'Fine!' Wanda retorts, asking the Emerald Warlock why he is trying to kill her. The Emerald Warlock's eyes glow green once more and he tells Wanda that is because she is good and he is bad – as simple as Shakespeare. He adds that with Wanda dead, he will curse Ireland all over again. The Emerald Warlock explains that their powers come at a cost, at least for a white witch like Wanda. 'Your powers have taken years off your life' he points out as Wanda's aged form sits before him. 'Aging your soul, more accurately, when you look in the mirror, must be a disgusting thing, I imagine' he adds, to which Wanda announces that she has gotten used to it. 'Well, you won't have to – not now that I'm draining you of ye power. Soon, m'dear, you'll be as dead as Ireland... and I'll be all the stronger' the Emerald Warlock boasts.
Wanda starts to cough, and tells the Emerald Warlock that he is right, the cost of using her powers means her destiny is to die young – but not today. Suddenly, she reverts back from the frail, elderly form to her true self, pink energy glows around her as she gets to her feet and points out that the Emerald Warlock certainly likes to talk. 'Well, whether I like it or not, I am Irish' the Emerald Warlock remarks, before asking Wanda how she is doing this, how she is young again. More pink energy crackles around the Scarlet Witch and she tells the Emerald Warlock that as she recalls the legend of Carman, they are actually Greek, but decides to let that one slide. 'The thing is...as we talked or you talked – we've also both walked a good way. Or rather...I led you' Wanda points out, announcing that there was a fork in the path, and that Declan didn't notice them taking it. She tells him that they were in the realm of Cernunnos, the Celtic diety, male, one of the few with any true power. 'But look around now. The thorns of that place are no more!' Wanda exclaims as her pink energy approaches the Emerald Warlock's green energy.
Wanda informs the Emerald Warlock that she has led him to the world of the mother goddess – Cerridwen, Oya, Nicneven – she could go on, but she is sure he knows the list himself. Wanda declares that it is here that she is strong, any female witch who knows how to walk the pathways is, whereas in this place, man, even an immortal one like the Emerald Warlock, is helpless. 'And it's me who has taken your power!' Wanda announces, as the Emerald Warlock looks horrified, 'It was all an illusion, Dane' Wanda tells him. 'No...' the horrified Emerald Warlock utters. 'No! I won't be denied. I... I am the EMERALD WARLOCK!' he booms as the green form that hovered over him infuses Dane with power, which he casts towards the Scarlet Witch in spectacular display. 'And I am the SCARLET WITCH' Wanda responds calmly, as she stands her ground, untouched by the Emerald Warlock's aggressive power, her pink energies crackling around her. 'Not a scratch on you, eh. Not a line on your pretty face' the Emerald Warlock remarks. 'Clever girl' he tells Wanda. He smirks and tells Wanda that one thing he noticed all these years that Wanda has been in the world is that she has never had someone she would call an archenemy. 'Well, you do now' the Emerald Warlock scowls, before he vanishes, leaving Wanda to watch his green glow disappear on the Witches' Road.
'So you just let Dane escape' Agatha remarks to Wanda as she floats alongside her as Wanda walks through Dublin Airport. 'Well, it's not like I had a whole lot of control over the matter' Wanda points out. 'Women's realm or not, he's still the “Emerald Warlock”...as he likes to yell at the top of his lungs, apparently'. Wanda adds that even defeated in the Goddess Realm he still retained some power. They stop at a window, and Wanda points out that when they do finally have some kind of true magic battle or arch-encounter, as they inevitably will, there is no forgone conclusion as to who will be the victor. 'The one thing I do know...we talked about the myths of Ireland and how so many of them are real' Wanda adds. 'Yes' Agatha tells her. 'Banshees' Wanda remarks. 'Female spirits akin to fairies, but far darker. Their screams fortell death' Agatha explains, while Wanda points out that they are said to sometimes take the form of hares, stoars and hooded crows. 'Look' she tells Agatha, as outside, hovering over the airport, a countless number of crows. 'I cannot hear its scream...' Wanda begins. '...but I feel that death draws close'.