Krakoa. Some call it home. Some call it paradise. Others call it an open grave... where the dead are resurrected... and the dying have nothing to fear.
In the Healing Gardens, Sean Cassidy a.k.a. Banshee lies on a table, recovering, with bandages around his waist, left arm and left ankle. Some groans can be heard nearby, and Sean frowns as he looks over at another patient in the Healing Gardens, before turning his head away as this other patient – Apocalypse – cries out in pain, as the Healer, Dr Cecilia Reyes and Dr Hank McCoy the Beast tend to his injuries, and try to hold him down while he thrashes about and struggles to sit up. 'He's out of control! We can't hold him down!' Cecilia exclaims, while Apocalypse roars. Nearby, Magneto the Master of Magnetism, Professor Charles Xavier, Lorna Dane a.k.a. Polaris and Hope Summers stand and watch. 'Lorna, if you please' Magneto asks his daughter, who responds with a surge of energy that sends metal bonds up over Apocalypse, holding him down to the table.
Cecilia injects Apocalypse with something and tells him that it is for the pain – that it will help, but won't last. Cecilia admits that she doesn't understand what is happening, as Apocalypse is getting worse – nothing is working. 'We just may need to... accept the situation' she suggests. 'Hope?' Xavier asks. Hope announces that they are cooking another Apocalypse egg now, but they are starting everything from scratch, so it might take a day or two – even longer. Xavier asks about assisting Healer by augmenting his power, to which Hope remarks that she can do that. 'That could just as easily kill him as heal him' the elderly mutant points out. 'And then we're right back at resurrection...and maybe we will have lost more time' the Beast suggests, before asking what the chances are that Apocalypse makes it through. 'Better... than yours. Do it!' Apocalypse utters, gritting his teeth.
Healer stands over Apocalypse and Hope stands behind Healer, using her powers to boost his, which he uses on Apocalypse in an attempt to cure him of the poison coursing through his system. Apocalypse screams, but his appearance is still mutated, the poison having torn part of his skin off, and caused him to blister. 'It was...' Apocalypse utters as he strains to free himself from Polaris' metal bonds. 'He's so strong! I can't hold him!' Polaris calls out as she attempts to keep Apocalypse down. 'We can. Please... continue, Healer' Magneto declares as he uses his power to enhance Polaris', strengthening the bonds. Beast monitors Apocalypse's vitals on a computer, while Apocalypse screams again, then utters 'It was... it was...'. 'What's he saying?' Healer asks, while Hope shushes him and tells him to listen. 'It was... Okkara. The one land' Apocalypse utters.
It was ancient before that word existed, but not yet old in the way they were old. The Twilight Sword of the enemy tore the world asunder, and what was one became two. From the chasm between them – from that dark world – the enemy poured into this world. The living ikons of Okkara – the twin elementals of life – were the first to fall. Thousands – tens of thousands – followed. The broken lands ran red with mutant blood – more would surely have been spilled if not for the One Hundred – one hundred of the greatest champions who took the war to the enemy – one hundred champions and their champion – the White Sword. Apocalypse doesn't know what happened on the other side of that rift, but the horde's numbers dwindled, destroyed by the First Horsemen and the One Hundred Champions. The horde became weak, as the Krakoans became strong.
Then, there was Genesis – stronger than all, strong enough to break the horde, to turn them back and reduce the enemy to peace. When the battle ended, representatives of the Amenthi Daemons – the horde – met with Apocalypse, Genesis, the First Horsemen and a Summoner. Apocalypse tells the horde that they split the world, hurt them, but they have been punished. 'Now you ask to parley' he remarks, instructing the Daemons to speak, but if not, they can expect more of the same. 'There's no avoiding paying for what you've done' Apocalypse points out. One of the Daemons steps forward, holding a gold box, which it places on the ground before Apocalypse. 'That's one way of seeing things. There are others. Open me' the box utters. The Daemon opens the box, and a golden mask emerges, while the wide-eyed Daemon is surprised and steps away, another exclaims 'Annihilation will walk the land. As all gods made men do. Put it on'.
The Daemon sobs as she holds the mask above her face, and begins to cry, before groaning as the mask takes hold around her, then she speaks, 'Now... let me see you with true eyes...' Annihilation utters, gazing upon Apocalypse and the First Horsemen. Annihilation declares that she sees now what all the furor is about – and tells Apocalypse and the others that she could read them if she wanted, even a world away, which is closer than any one world should be to another. 'But there's no need. I know quality when I see it' Annihilation admits, adding that conquest is always best when facing a true test. 'Who is it that seeks out someone at their weakest? And in that spirit, I would like to make an offer – to you strong mutants of great quality' Annihilation remarks. 'So make it' Death tells her.
'If only I could simply... give it to you, but generosity is nowhere to be found in my nature. Sincerity, however, is....' Annihilation states as the Daemon body she is possessing begins to crumble. '... I want you to earn it' Annihilation adds. The Daemons watch in horror, while Apocalypse starts to stand up: 'Allow me, my love' he tells Genesis, but she steps forward, putting a hand on Apocalypse's shoulder, 'No.... They are mine' Genesis announces. One of the Daemons introduces itself as Hoork, a stealer of souls and paragon of death. Hoork boasts that they stole the great horn from the mage, D'Juooi, and burned the last innocent man in Bchk-tel'on alive. 'I will test you' they offer. Another Daemon introduces itself as Dal-Damun and explains that they are the last preacher of dead religion, and the last apostle of a dead maker. They claim that they stole the salvation of his believers when they took the head of their false god, and so they will test her, too.
'You call this a test? That's one way of seeing things... there are others' Genesis responds as two triangle symbols manifest in the air at the command of her hands – and strange vines rise up from the ground and begin to tangle around the two Daemon, who scream. 'I am Genesis. A mutant mother who finds you wanting. Now. You were saying something about having an offer for us?' Genesis declares. Apocalypse wonders what words are whispered into Genesis' mind, but he knows how much more determined she became, how much stronger she seemed – until her sister, Isca the Unbeaten, turned. The idea of a simple end died this day – there will be no clean victory, and it broke them all – Genesis most of all.
Genesis announces that it seems their only choice is sacrifice. 'We know what we must do... so we simply must do it'. She adds that they were born of this land, and that this land will save them. Genesis boasts that they will seal the breach, that Arakko will hold as long as they stand, as long as they breathe. The Horsemen gather around her as she tells Apocalypse to watch them, that they will show him what a mutant does for their people. 'I want to go with you' Apocalypse utters. 'And yet, we both know you can't, my love' Genesis replies as she and Apocalypse kiss. 'You're not strong enough' she reminds him. A portal glows nearby as the Horsemen prepare to leave, and Genesis tells Apocalypse to stay, to use what time they buy him to make this world into something that they can stand against their enemy. 'Judge them, my love... Judge them' Genesis declares. 'So that they – that you – become what we need. See that only the fittest remain' she tells Apocalypse.
'It's... done. It's done' Healer utters as he and Hope step back from Apocalypse, who sits up and Hope announces that he is healed, that he is whole. Polaris, Magneto and Xavier look on, while Apocalypse hangs his head and utters 'Far from it'. He stands up and assures everyone that he is well enough to travel, and that he will return shortly. Xavier asks Apocalypse where he is going, and Apocalypse announces that he needs his sword.
Shortly, in Western Egypt, specifically the Libyan Desert, at the Temple of the Horsemen. A chopper belonging to the X-Men descends, blowing sand up into the air. When the dust clears, Gorgon steps out of the chopper and announces that it is clear, that he can smell it on the wind – and even if he couldn't, he would still know – there is nothing living here. Apocalypse steps out of the chopper and tells Gorgon that he remembers when pyramids were pyres – the fire kissing heaven and its twin inferno, swimming in the night sea – but now, he knows this one is a monument to the living – and it angers him. They approach the entrance to the Temple of the Horsemen and Apocalypse instructs Gorgon to wait behind.
Making his way through the temple, Apocalypse stops and looks down at his reflection in a pool of water, before he walks towards four coffins, each marked in the appearance of each of his First Horsemen – and then smashes them open, each revealing one of four parts that Apocalypse puts together to reassemble his Scarab sword, a deadly almost scythe-shaped blade. When he exits the temple, it collapses behind him. 'Looks like a sharp blade' Gorgon smiles. 'It is... now watch me as I wield it' Apocalypse responds as he steps into the chopper, and they take off under the shine of the sun.