belledonna • tansy

“Uh oh.”

It might not have been so explicitly said - surely not as explicitly said as never letting anything escape the confines as the hellish landscape that was Limbo - but there had been some duty attached to governance; some duty to the ruler of such a realm, whoever that might have been at the time; and in the twist and turn of magical energies that had been ever-prevalent in San Francisco, Henry knew something had happened, and that something wasn’t good when it seemed to shake at his very core of being even from such a distant point as San Francisco had been.

A fire was never just a fire - not in San Francisco - and, books set aside for feet on the ground, Henry knew it as soon as he found himself near the water-drenched rubble that had been the remains of Nathan Prior’s apartment in Oakland. It kept his approach distance, Henry standing on the outskirts of whatever trap had been laid to rip that missing energy of Madelyne’s from one place and into another - another that, his knowledge of Limbo only ever-growing, would rip and tear and gnash into weakened flesh if it meant taking up the Soulsword and taking control - with care not to step into it himself.

Though there had been intent to traverse the veil to see what was going on with his own two eyes, it was best to be smart about it. The last thing he needed to do was be ripped into a potentially dangerous situation against a foe he didn’t know and magic that, as of yet, he hadn’t readily put a finger on the source of. Whoever it was, Henry at least knew it had to be powerful - at least powerful enough to rip the Goblin Queen herself into the very realm she ruled.

His trip into Limbo was a quick one, an immediate crossing through a portal spun of his own hands landing sneakered feet on the dilapidated hardwood of the headquarters he had built for himself in a district ripe with his influence. From the creatures slithering about the sewers to the amphibious-looking creatures from unknown abysses, he had expected it to be safe, but then again, the last time he had stepped foot into such eldritch realms, it hadn’t been because of a downed queen.

The first rock of the foundation had almost gone unnoticed, a whisper amiss the roar of demonic footsteps throughout the drowned city, and the second had been an ignorable attempt to storm the metaphorical gates, but that hadn’t been the problem - not the immediate one.

In the coil of familiar darkness, a shadowed figured took to view as if forged by the very Darkforce that Henry called upon for any number of things - any number of misdeeds that had plagued the residents of San Francisco from time to time - forcing Henry into a defensive posture in reaction to such an intrusion. Magic had been the one thing keeping this point of control in place; magic had been the one thing to build it; and now, magic was the one thing he was sure that, when weld by someone who knew what they were doing with it, could be its undoing.

Perhaps even his.


“And who are you supposed to be?” Henry asked, perhaps in no position to be asking such a thing, but there had been some ownership stake claimed to his slice of Limbo and, so long as Madelyne was still alive, so long as she hadn’t fallen to the horde, it was still his to control.

Still, the demon remained silent as he seemed to set his gaze on Henry, not quite an intruder - not in the way Blackheart had been - but serving no good purpose to the plot laid out by his agreement with Stryfe; not when he could have found a means to rally his own against the hordes that wanted nothing more than to strip her of the sword and her power.

“Hey! Are you listening?”

All it had taken was a hand, lifted into the air, to throw Henry back and through what would have been the glass face of the clocktower had it not been for the quick thinking to rip open a portal that, ultimately, had landed him on the ground - not that he wanted to be there, glancing around the nooks and crannies of the ominous cobblestone street, hints of a prior flood found in the lingering seaweed on the ground and small puddles of water that had remained amiss the cracks, and the overwhelming presence of danger ripening the air in the abominations that had risen, presumably to stake their claim to the throne.

“Oh no! No! We are not doing this right now!” Henry shouted, the ground shaking under his feet as the heaviest of otherworldly battlements came out of the woodwork to the crescendo of stomping beasts and the incessant tap of pointed limbs, chittering across the stone as the dimensional boundaries found themselves open for armies - armies that Henry, against his usual judgement which found use for their presence, wanted to keep in the dimensions they were ripped from. No spill over. No break in the veils between dimensions. No trouble - not that it was easy to stop when it was already on his doorstep.

It was just by the skin of his own teeth that he had ripped a portal open in time to avoid being crushed under the gigantic hoof of one such beast, crashing down onto the wood planking once more as if nothing more than a ragdoll against the sudden jolts and drops from one location to another. He was hoisted up by the darkened claw of the intruder to what was, what had been, his realm, silently admonishing his lack of height to keep his feet from kicking at thin air as he was brought up to a face-to-face level.

Really, did he have to be so short?

Still, it was hardly a problem, Henry reaching up to attempt to pry the demon’s fingers away from his shirt, already attempting to block out the influence of whispering minds amiss the shake of an unstable tower that seemed ready to bend at every corner, stretch at even joint, and break apart with the weight of the creatures that descended upon it, their webs blocking out the starless sky into something far darker than the intended leader of the eldritch bodies could have ever conjured without a stable foothold in the Darkforce dimension; but that’s just what this was, wasn’t it? This creature, this demon so unfamiliar to Henry and especially to his counterpart, had been just as ready to wield it as Henry had been.

“They aren’t yours anymore,” the demon commented, the bristling of his skin against a creature far more foul, far more evil, than he could perhaps ever be a secondary worry to the sudden launch down into the creaking wood planks and through the floors below until he had hit the ground.

It was silent by the time he had come to again, even in part, digging his fingers into the ground as what had been his safety net receded, the black, tar-like ooze that had once shielded him sinking into the ground around him.