|Dates run:||May 26, 2007 - June 4, 2007|
|Run By:||Dex (with Avital, Rossi, Erin)|
|Read the logs:||Voodoo Child|
Part 3 of The Prince of Thieves arc.
"We're going to take away her power. For ever and ever." Candra caressed her cheek. "She was cruel, and silly. She liked to hurt people for the sake of hurting people. You can't trust those people. Amanda, I want you to tell me yes, darling. I want you to help me keep her in where you and that brilliant friend of yours put her. Will you help me?"
Selene's cult finally returns with a sprawling plan in which to get back their property to revive Selene, as well as punishing them for their actions against her. Masterminded by Selene's former student, the plot strikes at the school, the X-Men and X-Force simultaneously, and their very survival becomes in doubt.
Selene has been long dealt with, but her cult still remains, like a cast-off shell once the creature has died. Unfortunately for everyone, there are secrets that still have power, and the shape still exists for someone to take power over it once more.
Candra, a former pupil of Selene, and a powerful bokor sorceress in her own right, embarked on a dangerous plan to seize Selene's power and resources. Manipulating her own fellow cultists into a sham ritual to find Selene, she instead planned to drain the witch's power for her own.
The tools needed rested with the X-Men; a series of magical stones taken from them in Nova Roma. The X-Men are a dangerous foe, far beyond her means alone. But as a student of Selene, cunning and treachery are second nature to Candra, and she developed a complex scheme to get control of everything she wants.
The Games of Papa Ghede
Arcade's rumoured Murderworld does exist. In fact several of them do. They are all secretly built complexes, of varying sizes, hidden all over the world. Lowenstein makes a lucrative business 'renting' the complexes to criminals, corrupt rich, warlords and the like, as a way of dispatching their enemies in a unique style. Whether he or someone else does the kidnapping, the victims awake inside a part of the complex, and are faced with a series of challenges to move through it safely. Many of these challenges have been specially tailored for the specific person, for the sake of irony or revenge. Failing a challenge always ends in a grisly death.
The cult, through Heinrich Klar, hired Arcade to set a trap for some members of the school. They provided some rough information, which Arcade used. However, once he set up the scenario, it was up to the renters to capture the victims. One day in Westchester, Sam Guthrie was convinced to enter a local contest from a new travel agency and won a package vacation to Las Vegas. As part of the promotion, they offered identical packages for sale at discount rates. When Sam won, he convinced some of the students and staff to go.
The first day in Las Vegas, Arcade's people captured those who had gone, drugging them and hustling them into Murderworld. While their absence would normally be noticed within a day or so, the other incidents going on simultaneously serve to distract the mansion from their disappearance right away. Inside Murderworld, they were split up, forced to survive and try and find each other, while solving the lethal puzzles in their individually designed death cells. However, it turned out that they had an unknown ally. Arcade, furious that the cult never told him that kids were going to be involved in the kidnapping, secretly sabotaged his own complex to give them a chance to win.
The kidnappees managed to escape their rooms, only to be regassed and put into the second stages of Murderworld; a giant deadly pinball game, and a twisted circus. Through teamwork and desperate effort, they managed to survive the second stage of traps and into a final maze, in which Arcade provided the final set of hints allowing them to break into the control center, while notifying the mansion of their location through a Jack in the Box sent to the school. The X-Men in the group, plus Tabitha and John, engaged Heinrich's men, defeating them while the younger students, accompanied by Medusa and Monet, escaped from the complex as it exploded around them. Once outside the complex, the members of the West Coast Annex were there to return them to the mansion.
The Road of Kalfu
During one of the normal outings to drive the kids into the city, the van was suddenly and immensely professionally hijacked. New Orleans Guilds| Assassins from the Guild boarded the van, collecting the new hostages, including Amanda and Angelo. Their plan was to hold them against the delivery of the stones.
Fortunately, the Assassins had little information on some of the more unique students in the van, with Crystal initially using her powers to respond before being tranquilized, and allowing Sooraya Qadir to tag along in her sand form, hidden with the vans as the students were split up and taken to a farm in Pennsylvania to serve as hostages to retrieve the stones.
Amanda Sefton and Angelo Espinosa were confronted by the person behind the kidnappings, Belladonna Boudreaux-LeBeau, who had Angelo badly beaten when he attempted to fight his way free. Amanda was separated and eventually shipped off to Selene's apprentice outside of New Orleans. Footage of the beating was shown to the other captives, to ensure their cooperation.
With the help of Sooraya, the five students formed a plan to escape their captivity, eventually succeeding with the help of a cow stampede and the use of their individual powers. Unknowing of the escape, Cain Marko met to exchange the stones with Belladonna, only to discover that she had betrayed them, twisting the wording to not include Amanda in the exchange. Cain then proceeded to pick up the kids and return them to the mansion.
The House of Marinette-Bwa-Chech
X-Force tracked the stones to a massive apartment on the 48th floor of the Baxter Building, a downtown Manhattan building. They were unable to go after them without abandoning Amanda, so they passed the details on to the X-Men. The danger was that the building is right downtown, and houses a great number of wealthy people. As well, there was no actual evidence to tie them to the kidnapping at that point, so wrecking property damage and thumping everyone in sight was not an option. The X-Men needed to smart their way through.
Facing them was a state of the art alarm system, a series of guards both normal and magical, and the need for total restraint. The ritual was extensive, which gave the X-Men team time to formulate an actual plan, based on who was available; with the trap in Las Vegas, the cultists had nicely split the already stretched X-Men to the breaking point.
The X-Men broke in and successfully disrupted the ritual, and were then confronted by the head of the cult: not Dr. Peter Alarune but a powerful business man named Karl Mordo who owns the building. He threatened all manner of legal recourse, and the lives of the hostages if they didn't leave immediately. Surprisingly the X-Men did, after receiving the call that all the hostages were safe.
As the X-Men entered the one elevator, Fred Duncan with ten FBI agents in tow entered the building. It turned out that the Professor was canny enough to register the stones with the Brazilian government as a cultural treasure, and obtained the rights to study them at the institute for a time. The possession by the cult of reportedly stolen artifacts was immensely illegal, and a quick search of the apartment adds up a whole host of weapons and other charges. The entire power structure of the cult was arrested, breaking all the financial backing of the Selene cult permanently.
The Song of Erzulie
Amanda was taken by force back to Candra's home outside of New Orleans, where she was tortured and rescarred with a version of Rack's ritual, designed to specifically use her as a bypass. Once the ritual started with the power flowing to Selene, Candra's ritual was to reverse the chant, pulling Selene's remaining power and shunting it directly to Candra.
When the X-Men disrupted the ritual in Manhattan, Candra's ritual cut out. Belladonna, seeing things going wrong, stated her contract with Candra was complete, and her assassins left the estate ahead of X-Force, who have tracked Amanda down. They hit like a tornado, eventually overcoming Candra's guards and bringing her down.
During the battle, Pete Wisdom killed Candra for her attempts, retrieving Amanda from her captivity.
Trivia and Meta
This was technically kidnapping number six for Kyle Gibney since his arrival at the school.
During the X-Men mission, Logan suggested a new codename for Clarice - Blink.
Voodoo Child tops 62,000 words in total. The banner made specially for advertising and icons were created by Erin.