Disclaimer: Magneto, Exodus, and all related characters belong to Marvel Comics.
You know the drill. They are not mine, and no money is being made.
I am only borrowing them for the story. Note: This will reference events that
were in my last Exodus/Black Knight what if? story "Barbarians at the Gate."
It isn't necessary to have the read the first story in order to understand this one.
It can stand alone. MailMe!
"Awakening" by Karen
A gauntleted fist smacked onto the metal walls which made a tinny
to the man's booted feet pacing the length of the floor. Heed been brooding for
the last five hours and showed no signs of letting up any time soon. He recoiled
from the blow and rocked back on his heels, and held his right hand in his left,
slowly tugging the guantlet off, one finger at a time.
regarded his reflection in the mirror smooth metal walls; silver
length hair, metallic blue eyes, and the crimson armor he wore more and more
often. It had been many years since his appearance had mattered that much to him;
just as long as he projected an image of control, of power, of authority to those
who followed him.
"My kind," Magneto muttered to himself, tossing the helmet onto a nearby
in the center of the room. He stared at the helmet for a few seconds, then turned
his heel thinking about how long he had been banging his head and bending his
will against the invisible wall of fear and hatred that separated man from mutant.
He mentally kicked himself for the feeling of rare nostalgia that swept over him,
like a man with an amputated leg that feels a phantom pain even though the lost
limb is no longer there; he thought back to an event that took place years ago...
Magneto floated through the air in the green halo of a magnetic force bubble
shaping and manipulating the surrounding magnetic fields that he could draw on,
and sources even farther away. He never bothered to look down, three hundred
feet above the surface of the Atlantic Ocean, the sky overcast with clouds, all that
was immaterial. Why bother? he'd asked himself. In a back corner of his mind he
felt the lines of force he pulled into and wrapped around himself. These forces
allowed him to cross miles of air and ocean without even breaking a sweat. Some
part of him wanted to drop the shield and let the wind whip through his hair.
However that would remind him that despite his power, he was still human enough
to feel wind shear and sweat pouring down his back from the amount of pressure
exerted, from the power he was expending. He didn't care. Without any visible
indication of why he chose one particular spot in the ocean as opposed to another,
he hovered in mid-air and reached down with his magnetic powers and found the
USS Leningrad nuclear submarine.
He used his powers to
lock onto it, and sent a magnetic pulse wave through its
computer circuitry to cripple the ship.
Leningrad cut through the frigid waters of the Sargasso Sea. Her
quietly fumed to himself about the inevitable delay caused by bureaucratic
red tape, to get the vessel retrofitted and seaworthy. 'When the Soviet Union
dissolved and gave up all its former territories and there's been nothing but excuses
ever since.' he thought to himself. As far as he was concerned it as was
Mother Russia which he loyally served. With that in mind, he steepled
his fingers in front of him and leaned back in the captain's chair, giving the
operations room and its crew a 360 degree inspection. Then he stood up and walked
over to stand next to the navigator.
"What's our present speed?"
The man looked up, and replied, "Twenty knots, Sir.".
we're picking up an atmospheric disturbance coming from the
on the radar. At a distance of 50 miles and closing," the sonar technician
"Are we under attack?" the captain asked.
technician bent down and scanned the instruments on his control
"It might be some kind up blow-up on the surface. If so we could probably dive
lower and let it blow itself out."
"And if it isn't?" the captain asked.
of a sudden, every electronic system on the ship: from computer
conduits, to the artificial lighting, and the life-support; sparked, shorted, and
began emitting an incoherent babble of electronic squeaks as the entire system
of the technicians threw his up his hands in disgust,
"There's nothing we can do, Sir."
"We're dead in the water," another panicked sailor muttered.
"Captain, you were right! We are under attack!" shouted the sailor manning
Magneto used his powers to yank the vessel up through several meters of water,
until its prow was half in the water and half out of it. The sheer stress being
placed on it, caused the ship's flanks to stave in and poured in gallons of water,
as the crew abandoned ship, clinging to the ship's sides, and then he
watched as they slid into the ocean and disappeared from sight.
Still maintaining his magnetic grip on the vessel, he crunched it, like so
much tinfoil. As he let his hold slop, he watched as the vessel
sank beneath the waves. Then it was all over, except for the shouting....
"I'd like to open up a
discussion," Magneto said by way of greeting as he entered
the common room, where Pietro Maximoff, most often referred to as Quicksilver,
was brooding, staring out the floor-length windows; and for him, found
standing as perfectly still as graven image in stone. "Am I interrupting anything?"
he asked mock seriously.
"Father," Pietro said,
crossing his arms over his chest, "don't take this the wrong
way, but you're the last person I wanted, or needed to be giving me 'fatherly
"Bitter are we?"
Magneto muttered to himself. "Perhaps you need to take your
mind off things, and concentrate of something more pleasant." He walked over
towards a cedar bookcase that leaned up against the far wall between the niche
formed by wall and the floor lamp. He picked up wooden stand carved
along its four sides with scrollwork, which had a marble tabletop, with sixty four
matching black and white squares.
"Chess? Pietro asked. raising one silver eyebrow.
"I trust you are familiar with the game?"
"Are you mocking me?" Pietro demanded, folding his arms across his chest.
"Not at all," he said as he took the game board and its stand and placed it
to the recessed seating unit. He undid a latch on the stand which uncovered a
hidden compartment, and removed a box that held the playing pieces. Without
seeming hurry he removed each piece and placed them in their starting positions.
That done, he took the position directly opposite the black pieces, leaving the
white pieces to him. Once that was done, he waved his hand as a tacit invitation
for Pietro to come over and join him in a game.
"Your move," he invited.
Pietro ground his teeth
and muttered under his breath,
"Might as well humor the 'old man'."
and accordingly took the seat opposite the white pieces.
Randomly choosing one of
the pawns in the front rank, he moved it forward
two spaces, two clear a path for the rook and the knight. He knew enough
about the basics of chess, to know that the most common opening move was
usually the pawn in front of the king, but he was feeling perverse today, and
decided to go for introducing random elements in the game, if the other man
insisted on playing that he simply didn't have the patience to sit still long enough
to deal with it. The other man countered with moving the pawn in front of the
queen one square forward, then leaned back in his chair.
Pietro countered by
moving the his knight to adjacent square where he would be
in position to capture on his next turn.
Magneto responded by
moving pawn in the left-hand corner forward one square,
which put the white bishop, on the verge of capturing his pawn or the black
"At any given point in
the game each piece is working toward a capture.
You must play both defensively and offensively Ask yourself after each of
your opponents moves, "What piece is vulnerable now" And at the same
time, "Where can I move to threaten my opponent?"
"You haven't breathed a word of exactly what you wanted to discuss,"
"As you have no doubt
suspected, more than just playing chess, or discussing
its finer points, I wanted to use the game to illustrate a point."
"Like what?" Pietro demanded.
"More than just a game, from ancient times, many military leaders have
more than just passing fond of this game, because of the inherent for developing
strategy which can then be employed in warfare."
"I figured there was an
ulterior motive, I just couldn't put my finger on when
you would come out with it."
"In the contest between opposing armies the same principles apply using
strategy and tactics as in war. The same foresight and powers of calculation are
necessary for deriving the plans of your opponent."
"And what has this to do with me?"
"Well, I was speaking metaphorically, of course, but I'll let you figure that
Magneto took his attention off the game and glanced at the bank of
monitors that lined the walls, to watch the news report.
"This is Michael Gayern of
the Global News Network. I'm standing on
a plateau in the Swiss Alps, where a day ago, a party of rock climbers came
across a remarkable discovery. It appears to be a man, caught in a state of
suspended animation. What is even more remarkable is that fact that it appears
he hails from several hundred years in the past, if the style, cut and markings of
the tattered uniform of a Knights Templar from the 2nd Crusades is any
Whatever else he may
have added was lost by a rapid-fire static of electrical
"I will check this out personally," Magneto said, holding a black rook
over the game board, and then dropping it with a thud to the ground.
"Why?" Pietro demanded, folding his arms across his chest.
"In chess as in life,
when people cannot figure out what you are doing,
they are kept in a state of terror; they remain uncertain, confused," Magneto
said, then turned on his heel and strode out of the room, his cape fluttering
"I guess, I've never had the patience to learn this game," Pietro said
severely and hurled the carved ivory piece of a rook into the wall, where it
shattered. In a blur of motion, he swept up the broken pieces, discarded it, and
reset the remaining pieces on the marble board, all accomplished in seconds.
'Sometimes I wonder why I even bother any more. I doubt he'd even miss me
if I was gone when he gets back...
Magneto landed on the plateau that lead up to the entrance of the
The entrance was a jagged gash in the stony skin of the mountain,
roughly two meters in height and less than that in width. In flash of atypical
hindsight, he realized that he should have brought a torch or at least a flashlight
along to light the way. As it was, it was fortunate that the news crew had left a
few torches burning in makeshift wall brackets, probably in the event they were
planning on returning to the site.
Their fuel was starting
to run day, but the cracks in the stone of the cave let in
enough of the outside sunlight to see by, and navigated his way carefully.
There were other paths that branched off from the main one, but he ignored them.
He watched where he placed his feet to avoid tripping into the pitted
cracks that pockmarked the cave floor.
It could have been hours that had elapsed, it just a handful of minutes before
came across what had drawn him here. Just inside of a natural crevice that had
been carved into the rock wall by centuries of erosion and cave formation; was a
crystal case which made reminded him briefly of that of all things, it looked similar
to the ancient sarcophagus that the ancient Egyptians had used to entomb their
pharaohs. It seemed to be too much of a coincidence, but he was willing to let
that pass without comment for the moment.
The man inside the
casket, was dressed in the tattered remains of a Knight Templar
uniform: a red surcoat with a white cross, with a white tunic underneath. The
broken shaft of a unmarked sword with a gold basket shaped hilt lay poking out
of the worn leather scabbard that hung from his hip.
He hadn't paid that
much attention to history, but in their own way the Templars
had been as blindingly forsworn to 'cleansing' of undesirables as the Nazis were
centuries later. That was a incident that he cared to dwell on and brushed it aside,
as something immaterial.
Magento dropped to one knee next to the casket. He palmed the
of energy over the top of the glass, and by its faint light he could that the encased
inside was breathing, shallowly, but the slow rise and fall of his chest indicated
that he was alive. Breaking the glass seemed as good a place to start as any.
enough light to see by. In flash of hindsight, it occurred to him that it would have
been easier to carry a torch along, but it was too late to do anything about that
now. With his free hand, he curled it into a fist and smashed through the glass
casket. To his surprise, his hand went right through like it was made of water and
The man sat bolt
upright, staring around in bewilderment, as if confused to
find himself there. It was just as well, Magneto thought, that were no overhanging
stalagmites otherwise he would have hit his head, and it would have drawn blood.
He stepped out of the
casket, glass shard crunching underneath the worn soles of
his black boots, the leather cracked and muddy. His skin was pale as the underside
of a fish's belly and of his pupils black eyes were dilated, he looked like death
"Not surprising, I
suppose, " Magneto muttered aloud to himself while doing some
mental calculations, 'considering that about eight hundred years have passed while
he's been sealed up in this ravine." Out loud, he remarked: "Welcome back to the
land of the living,'" with a tight-lipped ironic smile.
"Are you an angel or a demon?" the man asked.
slight thinning of the lips was all he allowed himself in terms of a
it was enough. "To answer your. question, son, I've been called worse, but
let me assure, I am neither of those. You may call me Magneto.
Do you have a name?"
had a name once, but it was long ago. I doubt that has much meaning
to anyone but me Benet du Paris. What year is it?"
"If you must know, it's the 20th century," Magneto replied.
"I owe you my life."
"Let's get out of here. And we'll discuss just how you will be able
repay the debt, shall we?" Magneto invited.
is oddly familiar. He squinted in the brittle afternoon sunlight, as
eyes slowly adjusted from the darkness of the ravine.
"What do you recall of your life before you were sealed up in there?"
"It was shortly after one of the most disastrous wars fought by the
Templar in Outremer, at the Horns of Hattin?" Benet mused, cocking his head to
one side as it thinking something through. He brushed tendrils of raven black
hair away from his eyes. As he did so he looked down at a strand that he had
unnoticed, caught between thumb and forefinger of his left hand. It reminded him
of his best friend, Eobar Barrington's ebony blade and his mind drifted back...
to Jerusalem, the knights called Outremer.
"Benet you will be granted power like you've never dreamed, but in
to keep the power you must take the head of your closest friend with his own
ebony blade," Shareed said.
"Why must I kill Eobar?"
Benet was drunk on
power and hefted the ebony blade, holding it out parallel to
the floor. The cold hilt rubbed against his flushed and skin, for a moment breaking
him out the feverish trance he had fallen into. He flinched from the what he
perceived as the look of jealousy and hatred on Eobar's face.
Suddenly he felt an overwhelming urge to kill and slashed wildly at him.
Shareed tossed Eobar a
blade that had once belonged to Benet and broken by the
Scarab. Eobar was too preoccupied fending off Benet's wilder swings to concern
himself with how the blade had been made whole again. They circled one
another as Shareed shrieked madly at the sight of blood gushing from the cut on
his upper arm. When Eobar slipped on the beaten earth floor of the chamber,
Benet used the opening in Eobar's guard to him to his knees. He raised the ebony
blade above his head, the muscles in his arms quivering with inheld strain. As he
was just about toe deliver the coup de grace, he looked down at Eobar's face.
"I am not afraid to die," he whispered, the words rattling in his throat.
Almost every fibre of
his being told him he wanted to keep the power that
was offered, but he heard that final whispered declaration and something in the
back of his mind snapped; he couldn't do it. He flung the sword away, then
whirled around to confront Shareed. "I deny you! I will not succumb to
temptation! I will not kill Eobar!"
Shareed muttered, as the planes of his face began melting
like candle wax, his body stretched and elongated, underneath a tall man
was revealed with cat-slit eyes and black hair. With a snap of his fingers the
chamber, the mountains disappeared, and the two men lost consciousness.
"So, you didn't kill
him?" Magneto remarked, after listening to Benet rattle
off the events that led up to his confinement in the ravine. "Why not."
couldn't. Because it would have been giving into temptation.
And that was exactly what En Sabh Nur wanted," Benet replied.
"As your first act of
loyalty, I will require a demonstration of your power,"
Magneto said. "Concentrate. In fact, shut out all external stimuli and just focus
on your power."
Benet felt again the
same energy coursing through his veins; as wave of
dizziness swept over him, that if not for the other silver haired man standing next
to him hadn't steadied with the tight grip on his arm, that he would have been
swept over the edge of the plateau and gone crashing down the mountain's side.
He felt less and less reluctance not to allow the power full rein. The white hot
energy played about his clenched fists and from a source deep inside of him it
lanced out of hands like a seeking searchlight for a target, which streaked across
the intervening space and pierced through the center of a peak. For a few
heart stopping seconds the light was too glaringly bright to look at it, as the entire
area was filled with an ear piercing white hot noise that threatened to burst their
eardrums. When it subsided somewhat, it blasted the side of the peak.
At the start, a slab
broke off the main mass, fracturing into bits and pieces.
Gaining speed, the descending mass of ice and snow broke up into a river of
flowing snow, generating a cloud of snow dust roiling around in every direction.
Inside the avalanche the dense core picked up even more snow as it accelerated
in strength and speed, propelling a blast before it. They watched it descend
down the mountain slope, tearing trees and shrubs loose format their moorings in
the rock; seemingly not even impeded by the the steel snow bridges that had been
designed to stabilize snow packs before they built into monster slides.
For a few seconds,
Benet truly thought that the avalanche would
go on forever, but at the half-way point, the tumult of ice and snow ran out of
steam, and blew itself out.
"I believe this would
be considered rather ironic, but under the circumstances,"
Magneto began," I think you will require a new name, on more appropriate for the
times." nodding his head in tacit approval of the outcome of 'test.'
"What did you have in
mind, my lord?" Benet asked, wiping sweat from his brow,
feeling as wrung out as horse that had been run to ground and was on its last legs.
"Bring me your sword,"
Magneto said, turning his attention from the aborted
avalanche to the sword in his scabbard.
Benet nodded and pulled
the sword from the scabbard, the leather crinkling
with age, the cold metal hilt clinking along his side. He handed it to Magneto.
"Kneel," he said.
Benet knelt, his head
bowed. The position was familiar because he had sworn
similar oaths when he was inducted into the knightly order of the Templars. In the
back of his mind, it occurred to him, that it could be considered the close of a
circle. because he had been drifting in a endless fog for the last eight hundred
years, while the world spun on without him. That was finally coming to an end.
Perhaps the time of the Templars had passed them by, that was part of his
life that no longer had any meaning. With a certain kind of tradition with the
ceremony of dubbing him with a new name. Like Magneto had said, there was a
balance and symmetry to it.
Magneto lifted the sword and held it parallel to the ground, then it occurred
him that he didn't know how to go about conducting this kind of knighting
ceremony. In the back of his mind, he wondered that the man kneeling in front
of him had far more experience with knighting ceremonies than he did, but he
felt that it was something that needed to be done. Turning the blade around to
to its blunt edge rather than the cutting edge, he tightened his grip around the
gold basket shaped hilt, and sucked in deep lungful of the crisp mountain air.
That done, he lightly tapped Benet three times on both the left and right shoulder
in three successive taps. "Henceforth, Exodus shall the name you are known by.
Let it be so." Then dropped the sword to the ground.
"My Lord," the man now
called Exodus whispered. "I am honored to serve
you. May I be worthy of your trust."
"Get off your
knees, Exodus. I require hard work from my followers, not
"Now that's done, I
think you should discard your sword, symbolic of severing
the ties to your old life, the irony wasn't lost on the newly dubbed Exodus.
"Oddly enough, that's
the same thing En Sabh Nur said, when ordered
me to take Eobar's head," Exodus remarked. "I suppose this would
be considered a rather belated twist of fate, that centuries later since I am cutting
all ties to my old life by discarding the sword, in a symbolic fashion rather
than by shedding the blood of man who was my friend and fellow knight."
slowly slid the sword from its sheath, tearing the leather even further than
already was. He held it parallel to the ground for a moment, staring at the notched
cutting edge. Magneto watched as flickering emotions flashed across the other
man's face. The newly dubbed Exodus turned the sword over and over in his
hands, then with an angry heave of his arm, threw the sword down the ravine side
They followed the sword's tumbling descent as it spiralled down the
with slightly less momentum than the avalanche had moments earlier.
"One thing I do not understand, why is it necessary in this time, to adopt
alias, as it were?"
"Because, as I explained, you and are I not alone. There are others like
those gifted with strange and unusual abilities. We're called mutants.
I know that you have concept of what that word means, or what has happened
in the last eight hundred years, but the balance of power has shifted.
And those with power, are feared, hated, and misunderstood."
"You are working to change all that?" Exodus asked.
"Yes." Magneto nodded.
"Now, I think it's time we left this place.
"And for what it's worth, I think this is just the beginning of great things."