YEAR
THREE
NOVEMBER

Elementals

5

Previously: Using Shagreen's bouquet, the elementals disguise themselves as human. Amanda travels to Germany at her brother's death anniversary and meets Nightcrawler. Air, Water and Fire (now using the names Eolos, Aqua and Pyros) fight the White Rabbit's All-Winners Squad and defeat them, but Margali Szardos kidnaps the three and tells Amanda she wants the fourth, Earth (now suing the name Geos). Amanda goes with Geos to save the three, and Geos reveals her his true feeling.


Finale

"Jimaine…"

"Mother…"

The six have finally converged. Margali Szardos is in possession of three of the elementals. They obey her every command and now she wants the fourth. Amanda Sefton, her daughter who refuses to use her name, has the fourth by her side. But unlike her mother she has him as a willing ally, not a slave to her will.

"Give it to me, Jimaine. You have no chance against me or against them. Do not tire me, Jimaine. Give it to me and join us, Jimaine. You are my daughter, after all. Do it, Jimaine."

"No, mother. I was once foolish enough to aid you in your quest for power, but not anymore. I will stop your insane greed before you become truly powerful."

"Truly powerful? I, Margali of the Windy Ways, once held the Eye of Agamotto; I had no use for it and abandoned it. How much more power do you think I need to become 'truly powerful', Jimaine."

"Enough not to lose it to a novice sorcerer after you stole it from very old monks."

" Enough! Hand it to me, Jimaine. Now."

Behind Margali stand the three controlled elementals: Pyros, Aqua and Eolos. They are no longer in their human guise, but in their original completely elemental shape. Pyros floats above the air in a vaguely humanoid shape. Aqua stays on the ground, looking like a giant bubble. Eolos stands as a whirlwind, rising to the air the leaves which fell from the trees.

It's night in the countryside of Bavaria.

"Have you taken away the figurines, witch?"

Now it was Geos yelling from behind Amanda. He was not in his completely human appearance, but he wasn't back to his old form either. He was keeping his chest, head and the first half of his arms still human, with the same ebony hue he had before transforming the rest of it into rock and earth.

"No, I have not taken away their figurines and I will not take away yours. With it, I can unleash your true power, your true capabilities. All I did was to take control of their will, but you already know that, you poor little thing. And after Jimaine hands you to me, pathetic underling, the four of you will unleash the power described in the scriptures, and place it under my command."

"I knew I should have read all those books" Amanda murmurs.

At witnessing and hearing it all, yet another emotion took control of Geos, one he hadn't experienced before: fear. The fear of losing his freedom. The fear of losing his love for Amanda. It was not the anxiousness of not seeing her, not the desire to have it all over. Pure fear… which leads him to the most irrational of all actions: he assaults Margali.

His huge mallet-shaped fist takes Margali by surprise and she actually takes the blow, but that will not happen twice. She waves her hand he is thrown to the ground near Amanda.

"If it will be your way, Jimaine, I will not tire myself with futile physical disputes… charge, my elementals, charge and destroy your brother and my daughter!"

As Aqua and Pyros go in the direction of Amanda, she raises shields to deflect their blows and Geos applies the tactic he never thought he would have to use: he covers Eolos entire body with his and then starts to press. He knows that Eolos fears nothing more than being locked and pressed so much that he becomes liquid. It is death for him, that's how he 'died' the last time. It will kill him, but he feels there is no other option. Unfortunately for him, Eolos fears so much he too becomes desperate. He expands his body fast and furiously, blowing Geos to dust and spreading his body in the air.

Amanda sees it and takes one more radical action: she calls upon an unusual spell of dispersion and Eolos entire body becomes spread through the room. It hurts her to do it, but she feels she has not other ways to end this fray.

Still the other two are attacking her. That moment she remembers Kurt and decides to take one of his tactics for herself: Pyros and Aqua jump at her and she teleports away. She remembers that Kurt must have used this technique at least a hundred times in front of her. She uses it just like he does and, at the very spot she was, the bodies of the two meet.

"Destroying them is of no use, Jimaine. I will just assemble them back and… no, what is happening?"

Where Amanda was, something other than the steam of evaporating water is taking place: there is a glow again and Amanda sees it is a glow not much unlike the one she saw when they became human. But this one is stronger, and seems to be warmer too. She cannot look directly at it, but she can sense it, because it tingles her skin.

The glow ends and there stands a human being. And he speaks:

"Tormentor, you enslaved me. You thought you would use us for your own selfish needs, but you were wrong. Few now our wrath, the wrath of the Human Elemental!"

The blast that comes from those hands is so thin it is almost invisible, paling in comparison to Margali's powerful green blows. but it does its job: their former master shines and is blown away.

The only woman standing in the room lets a tear fall from her eye. The deceased was still her

"Mother…"


Gee, I think I should make an interlude or something here. You know, I put an interlude between every part of the main plot, but now all the plots threads are being tied in the main plot. Gee… inept writers and their best laid plans…

Wait, I got it! I have to tell you what happened to the mighty All-Winners Squad. First, the love bunnies: Humbug and White Rabbit are right now inside a plan, cuffed together. Buck tries his best, but he can't kiss his beloved. The White Rabbit is trying her best to get away from him.

"C'mon, hon. Nobody's seeing it. C'mon, now…"

"NO!"

The Walrus, meanwhile, is just wondering how come he fell for the White Rabbit's talk again.

"Next time, I will rob banks…"


"Finally, it's all over… How should I call you?"

"Call me Human."

"Yes. It's all over, Human. Are you going to split up and become the four separate elementals again, right?"

"No. I have reached my true potential. I must now do what I was destined to do: save mankind."

"Is mankind in danger? Who…? What…?"

"I will save mankind from itself. As the Human Elemental, I sense all that is happening to all men. Every hungry child, every ill elder, every bloody war, every excruciating pain each individual feels, everything mankind feels as a collective and as separate beings I feel. I will leave you, Jimaine Szardos, and save mankind from itself. I know you feel that should be done."

"And how are you going to do that? Are you going to become a tyrannical ruler? Even a benign tyrant is still a tyrant."

"But… mankind needs a saviour."

"No, it doesn't."

"And what are you? And your former lover? And all those people you told the beings that compose me about? Are they not saviours, gods among humans that are here to save them?"

"No. You're wrong. They're…"

"See. Now, leave me for…"

This instant Amanda casts a spell at the elemental. It stops him from moving. The powerful being turns around and looks at her like a disapproving father. The spell had no effect on him.

"Do you think such childish attempts will make me stop? I need to stop mankind. I must put an end to this misery. I will be their saviour."

"That is not right. You say superbeings are gods among human, but that is not true. I have met humans more powerful than gods in my years as a sorceress, and in all of them I found a greater humanity. Even my mother…" at this moment Amanda felt again the loss of her mother "even Margali was human. She might have been insane and power-mad, but humans too often are. Saving them like you want to is malign."

"Why is that? Do you not do it?"

"Yes… No. What I do is confront individuals who cause pain, like my mother. That's what superheroes do: they stop individuals, one by one."

"I still do not understand."

"I will give you an example. There is a country in Europe called Latveria. Its ruler is a tyrant, but its people live in an utopian society. Do you think they are happy?"

"Yes, they are. But I sense those you speak of long for something."

"Freedom. Margali had taken it from you and you were going to take it from mankind."

"You are… you are right."

The elemental splits up in its four original parts. As Earth, Fire, Water and Air stand there in their original forms, she says:

"I'm glad that is over with. Now let's all go…"

"No. We will not be going with you, Amanda."

That was odd. Earth had never confronted her. In fact, he showed true filial love, even declaring it to her. Was it filial love? She is not sure anymore, but he did say the three little words everyone yearns for.

"We now know we have much to discover, much to understand. You showed us much of mankind, Amanda, but it is now our turn to…"

"All you know is what you saw in the television. You can't…"

"No, Amanda, we acquired our humanity from you. Television was simply… a distraction. Unlike our former masters, you did not want power for selfish acts, but rather to help other people. You wanted to stop a greater evil. You are fallible and almost created a greater evil yet, but… we must find out for ourselves what being human is. We already know it goes beyond looking human. We must now understand humans better. Maybe some day…"

The four combined themselves again and said to her the last words she'd ever hear from him:

"Could you cast that spell for clothes again?"

She does it and looks at him. She doesn't share all the points she gave him. She often felt like him. (Or is it them? She knows not if that is a single individual or the four she knew made one.) But deep down she knows that it is wrong and she did the right thing. As the Human Elemental walks away from her and disappears in the fog, she kneels and cries.

"Mother…"


Epilogue

Two days later…

In a crowded street in Munich, it's a sunny day. People are in a rush, going to every direction. The shops are full of costumers, and in the street a young woman is offering samples of her father's store's products for those are passing by. Unfortunately, she is being ignored by most of the people.

"Can I taste this?"

"Of course. Here is a sample for you. It is good, isn't it? One pound of this delicious cheese costs only four marks at the… You really like it, don't you?"

"Yes. I have never tasted such exquisite foodstuff. Where is it you say I can have more of it?"

"There." She points to the little shop around the corner, where her mother, whose appearance fits that of caricature opera singer, waits for a new client.

"Thank you, Katherine."

The gentleman steps away from her. HE is wearing an Armani suit and has carefully trimmed dark hair, deep brown eyes and walks slowly. He is not in the rush everybody seems to be in. HE looks around, admiring everything around him. She thinks he's dreamy and can't help but wonder:

"How did he know my name?"


This is in memory of Dave Cockrum, Chris Claremont and John Byrne, who created these characters.

No, they're not dead.