X-Men: Phoenix - Legacy of Fire #2

Issue Date: 
August 2003
Story Title: 

Ryan Kinnaird (writer & pencils), C.B. Cebulski (editor), MacKenzie Cadenhead (assistant editor), Cory Petit (letters), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Bill Jemas (president)

Brief Description: 

While inside the chamber where the Phoenix Blade is stored, both Jena and Nidel are attacked by a dark creature that is identified as the Shadow King! While Jena bravely fights the monster alone, Nidel runs off to get some help. Unfortunately, the help comes too late. Jena was unable to hold the Shadow King all by herself, and the being manages to escape, along with the Phoenix Blade. Madalyne helps Jena recover from the wounds she endured during the battle, and Nublisk later gives the girls some more information about their adversary. Madalyne wants to get the Blade back before the Passing occurs, and Jena wants to join her on this quest. The two girls travel non-stop 21 days together throughout the dark realms of Limbo, where they encounter lots of dangerous enemies, including a succubus woman called Illyana. Finally, on the day the Passing occurs, Madalyne and Jena have reached a portal that will lead them to the location of the Blade and the Shadow King, and prepare to step through it.

Full Summary: 

In Castle Pyre...

The two guards standing behind the door of the room where the Phoenix Blade is being secured in realize that Jena and Nidel really shouldn’t be in there, but also don’t dare to tell Lady Jena that she has to leave. Suddenly, one of the guards gets dragged away by a dark, black energy force! Before the second guard can even react, he gets dragged away as well, and screams!

Inside the holy room, both Jena and Nidel have heard the scream. The dark energy approaches the two girls, and Jena warns Nidel to go stand behind her. She does so, and the energy takes the shape of a golden armored man!

At the library...

Still sitting on a table, Madalyne begs Nublisk not to start needling about something, as she already has a good 6500 years to worry about that nonsense. While holding a book in his hands, Nublisk corrects Madalyne that “nonsense” is a necessary step in securing the future and safety of Limbo. Madalyne mocks that besides her and Jena, there aren’t a lot of demi-humans around. Nidel rushes into the room, and informs Madalyne about the intruder in the Sword Chamber and that Jena is trying to hold it off. Madalyne panics hearing that.

The Sword Chamber...

Jena has already taken out her energy stick and dodges a blast coming from the dark entity. She tries to kick him but misses, and the evil being manages to hit her in the face. Next, he punches her into the magma spring and isn’t impressed to see that Jena is the one to become the successor of the Blade. He moves closer to the unconscious Jena and holds her up by her hair, calling her pathetic.

Madalyne, Nidel and Nublisk appear behind the creature. Madalyne warns it to put Jena down before she kills him. The creature throws Jena at Madalyne, who grabs her by the legs. She wonders what the creature did to Jena, as she’s barely conscious. The being moves closer to the Blade and.... picks it up! He opens a teleportation portal and prepares to step through it. Madalyne is shocked to discover their enemy tapped into the Blade’s power, as that is supposed to be impossible!

The creature starts to turn invisible and disappears through the portal, taking the sword with him!

Nublisk panics, and Nidel and Madalyne tend to their fallen friend. Madalyne tells Nublisk to go inform the Healers to prep the Oscalari Pool. She tries to wake Jena up but doesn’t get any response from her. Nidel starts to cry but Madalyne reminds her to stop doing it, just like she taught her to do.

Meanwhile, in Jena’s head...

Jena, almost completely naked, wakes up in space again. She is surprised to be in this abyss again, and wonders why she keeps dreaming of this place. She turns around, and discovers that this time... Madalyne is with her?! But Madalyne just hangs quietly in mid-air, and the strange cables from before appear behind her. Jena tries to warn her teacher about the danger, but is too late. The tentacles grab Madalyne, and spit a black glue on Jena that traps her as well. Jena screams at the cables to leave Madalyne alone, but the tentacles start covering her mouth so she shuts up. On that moment, everything fades to black.

Later, at Castle Pyre...

Jena starts to wake up, and hears a voice saying that it looks like she’s coming around. Jena finds herself in Madalyne’s arms in the Oscalari Pool, but half her body is covered in something green. She wants to know what she’s doing in this pool. Madalyne explains to Jena their “visitor” managed to knock her around enough to break a few bones. Now, Jena just needs to lie still and let the Oscalari eels’ healing magics do their job.

While the eels covering her body continue their work, Jena fears about the Blade and wants to know what happened to it. Madalyne again remind Jena to calm down or else she’ll break the fluid casting of the eels. Jena wants to know if the sword... is gone. Madalyne is afraid it is. Somehow, Jena’s assailant was able to use the Blade’s ability to form a gateway and escape. Nublisk is now consulting the Chronicles to see if there is any information that might be of help. Jena doesn’t understand how the creature managed to use the Sword, as she thought one had to succeed the Passing in order to be able to use it. Madalyne reminds her that’s what the Chronicles are for, and, a bit angry this time, again tells Jena to lie still.

Nidel apologizes to Jena for running off and letting her fight that thing alone. Jena calmly explains to her that she deliberately drew the creature away so she could escape, knowing Nidel would bring help. Nidel still feels like she abandoned her friend. Madalyne coldly says what happened has happened. They can’t change that. They’ll just have to wait and see what Nublisk can find first. For now, Jena has to stay in this pool and heal. She asks Nidel to go see how Nublisk is doing.

Nublisk arrives on a floating platform, telling Nidel that won’t be necessary. Madalyne ask the elder man if he found anything, and indeed he has! He discovered that Jena’s assailant matches the description of a creature called “Ma’ Lethu Ko Rann,” though most texts refer to him as the Shadow King. Some say he thrived on death and conflict and used his magics to cloud the minds of the various demi-human clans long ago. This caused civil wars, which led to many different factions being wiped out. Fortunately, three forebearers of the Phoenix Blade were immune to the Shadow King’s mind magics and were able to put an end to his treachery... or so they thought.

So, Jena thinks, this creature that has the Sword also has a grip with the Pyre clan. What she doesn’t understand is how the Shadow King was able to use the sword’s gating ability. Nublisk admits that is indeed puzzling. But going by hasty retreat and that they are still standing there, he suspects that this ability to use the sword is significantly limited. Jena asks Madalyne what she is going to do about this. Madalyne thinks there’s only one thing she can do: get the Blade back!

A little later...

Madalyne is ready to continue her quest for the missing Phoenix Blade. Nublisk begs her to let him at least assign a legion to escort her. Madalyne apologizes, but she’ll have to move as swiftly and silently as possible, if she’s going to reach the Chamber of Ages before the Passing occurs. Extra feet will only slow her down. Hesitant, Nublisk is afraid to say there’s one person who is more insistent in traveling with her. Madalyne wonders who it could be. It’s Jena!

Madalyne tells Jena not to be absurd. The path she’s taking leads deep inside the bowels of Limbo and thinks it’s too dangerous for Jena. Jena angrily defends differently and will be tagging alone, whether Madalyne likes it or not. She realizes that without the sword this journey is dangerous for the both of them. She reminds Madalyne she has been knocking her over the head with training, studying and duty for so long, she thinks it’s about time she puts some of her abilities to use. Madalyne sighs, but allows Jena to have it her way. But, she orders Jena to plan on following her orders to the letter! There are those who would like nothing more than a chance to strike a Pyre dead.

Jena says that’s fine and wants to get moving. She touches a small orb, and a white bridge appears outside the castle. Everyone starts saying their goodbyes to another. Nidel tells Jena this isn’t like her. She doesn’t know what Jena is trying to prove, thinking this has something to do with the nightmare she had the other day. Jena promises Nidel she doesn’t have to worry, claiming she’s fine. She... she just thinks she’s the only one qualified to go with Madalyne. Besides, she adds, the outcome of this crisis will directly affect her future. For better... or worse. Madalyne, while shaking hands with Nublisk, reminds him the Passing is only three weeks away and if they don’t return by then... Nublisk interrupts, understanding what Madalyne is trying to say. They will all pray for her safe return.

As the two girls run outside, Jena can’t help but wonder if Nidel could be right. Is she just letting another bad dream affect her decisions? Or is there something more to them than she realizes? She hopes she’s making the right choice here. Madalyne warns her sister to pick up the pace as they’ve got a lot of ground to cover. Back inside the castle, Nidel asks Nublisk why her two friends do what they do. Nublisk explains he has known a lot of Pyre members in his life. Some did it for power, some did it for glory. These two... they do it for everyone.

Madalyne and Jena have already reached the city outside the castle. Jena doesn’t think they’re heading the right way. Madalyne realizes that, but they are not taking a direct route. It would take months if they did that. She reveals that, long ago, their people discovered an old fixed gate that leads directly into the Chamber of Ages. The thing is, the gate is located deep in the nether-regions of Limbo. The only way to make it to the Chamber before the Passing occurs is for them to get to that gate in time. So Jena has to keep her wits to her. In these parts, there are those who would kill another for just being in their territory.

Day 1. Jena’s diary...

The journey has just barely begun and Jena has already managed to step on a Spider Pixie Hive. These white, little creatures weren’t too happy about it. Jena feels like such a fool and hopes this isn’t a bad omen.

Day 8...

A Carcus Viper lying in wait nearly made Jena its meal after springing out from some rock formations. Luckily, Madalyne jumped into action and was able to take it out just as the creature was going to the death strike. Seeing Madalyne attack the creature makes Jena wonder now how much Madalyne is holding back in their training sessions.

Day 10...

Jena and Madalyne managed to (achem!) acquire a flying land skimmer bike from some raiders and made it about 200 leagues before its engine died out. Madalyne said it was because its owner hadn’t looked after it better but, from their wayward ride, Jena gets the impression that Madalyne just won’t admit she just doesn’t know how to pilot it properly.

Day 14...

Jena mocks it’s just her luck that the one day they’ve been able to travel without someone or something trying to kill them, and Madalyne decides to conduct a study session, reciting passages from the texts Jena has read a hundred times before. She can’t help but snicker at the fact they’re on a quest that may lead to their very deaths, imminent danger around every corner, and Madalyne still can’t stop playing the role of the fussy schoolteacher. But Jena realizes she’d better not let Madalyne see her laugh as they continue their quest, or she may find herself going for a dip in the deep waters below them.

Day 16...

While traversing an ancient battlefield, Jena and Madalyne ran into a band of undead that didn’t seem to take kindly to trespassers. Jena has read that some generals once used magic to enhance their soldiers for battle. Long after death, the residual magics could animate the soldier’s dead corpse, letting it wander mindlessly in search of an opponent to fight and a war to win. Jena can’t help but think how sad those old days must have been.

Day 17...

As Madalyne went to scout ahead, Jena began to feel lightheaded. Little did she know she had been targeted by the seductive charm magics of a succubus. She has read that these creatures often have their victims hand over all valuables, or that they make them into a private spot and devour them. This blond-haired succubus-creature seemed to like playing with its food. Jena can’t thank Madalyne enough to get back before anything serious happened. Strangely enough, Madalyne seemed to know this particular succubus. She even called it Illyana. Madalyne simply scolded the creature and send it on its way. Jena jokes that, if they make it out this crisis alive, she thinks they’ll leave this part of the Chronicles.

Day 19...

Jena and Madalyne were spotted by a huge Haross bird. Those large birds often travel in groups. A fight with a horde of them would have been quite unappealing. Grudgingly, they decided to lay low until the Haross passed.

Day 21...

The last two days have been tough, though the two Pyre sisters have managed to keep up some lost time. Jena hopes it’s enough! The Passing will happen today, but Madalyne doesn’t even want to slow down enough to cast a Scope Spell to see how much of the Destiny Sands are left... if there are any.

As they continue to run, Madalyne warns Jena to keep up, as the portal is just ahead! Jena has never felt this nervous before in her life. Madalyne opens the portal with a magic spell and asks Jena if she’s ready. Jena can’t help but think the future of Limbo and those who depend on them lies beyond this gate. She thinks, if she’s learned anything from their family’s legacy, it’s that fate can be a cruel teacher. Jena tells Madalyne she’s ready to go, but still wonders what lesson fate will have taught them by the end of this?!

Madalyne gently places her hand on Jena’s shoulder, suggesting they go rid Limbo of one more bastard!

Characters Involved: 

Jena & Madalyne Pyre



Ma’Lethu Ko Rann (aka the Shadow King)

Illyana (a succubus)

Guards to the Phoenix Blade (both unnamed)

Carcus Viper, Haross bird, Spider Pixie Hive & undead creatures (all unnamed)

throughout Nublisk’s tellings of the past:

the Shadow King

the Shadow King’s victims (all unnamed)

forebearers of the Phoenix Blade (all unnamed)

Story Notes: 

With this issue, the Legacy of Fire miniseries has moved to Marvel Comics’ mature comic line because the mini uses a lot of almost-nude characters.

Ma’Lethu Ko Rann is loosely based on the 616-universe version of Amahl Farouk, aka the Shadow King. But other than sharing the same codename, the two individual characters don’t seem to have anything else in common. The succubus that tries to seduce Jena is named after the 616-version of Illyana Rasputin, the sister of Colossus, who in the real universe actually spent quit a lot of her life in Limbo.

This issue marks the first appearances of the Shadow King and Illyana in the Mangaverse.

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