the nice thing about her father deciding to go ahead with a surprise marriage was being able to twist his arm easily into watching the house for a few hours. it was going to be a task awaiting her, even if if she wanted, blinking the whole thing into existence wasn't all that hard.

witch work, good witch work, took time. so molly settles herself on the leyline from days before, when she and the horror had sacrificed the necessary goat. the leyline hummed with the power it had been infused with, making her skin tingle with the power of it. if she opened her mouth, Molly was very sure she could taste it on her tongue.

she crosses her legs beneath her, places her hands on her knees. inhales, deeply.

carefully she begins her work, separating her powers one by one: the phoenix; the goblin force; the demonic power of the spirit of vengeance. the first and last aren't necessary, but borrowing a small piece from both helps. what is most necessary is the goblin force, the yawning maw of boundless magic.

breathe in. breathe out.

breathe in: the goblin force rising in her, from her core, that magical well she had bargained for so foolishly as madelyne in one life and had purposely grabbed by the throat and made hers in this one. the magic rises in her, filling her belly then spreading through the rest of her, it's proper vessel.

breathe out: skin turning pink, horns protruding from her head, legs shaping into goat hooves, fangs starting to protrude, tail sprouting in full, the taste of the arcane on her tongue.

her hands and eyes glow with power, and her mind begins to spin outward working with the magic, forcing her intent into the the world. not just a building, not just a structure. infusing it with power, with will.

will to what? to be a stronghold. to withstand attack, to house magic.

how much to withstand? how much magic to house? which magic to house? scores of it. able to withstand the assault of anyone as powerful as ad her five times over. to take in light magic, dark magic, demonic, angelic, from any wellspring. connecting any and all.

to be a place to connect. a place to plan, to learn, to give, and to take. but within that not anything just simple on the face. give it complexities, inner workings to challenge witches, to make sure that if it was breached, it wouldn't be easy to do so. force them to work to dismantle it, to give others time to repel them.

the magic twists, calls upon her own power and draws from the leyline. reality shifts, pushes, pulls, distorts.

molly concentrates. infuses her will, forces it.

i can never be denied.

the air crackles, reality as it was groans and with a savage push from her, finally completely conforms to not just the goblin force, but her will, to her might.

heat washes over her. coolness comes rushing after leaving her with gooseflesh in its wake.

molly opens her eyes and her smile is wide when she sees she is no longer surrounded by forest: instead it is the perfect place for her. more than an occult shop, more than a fortress.

she settles back into her more human form, looking at what she knew was the lobby, with glossy hardwood floors, a high vaulted ceiling and a wall aligned with more alchemical needs and potions than a mortal eye could count. madelyne is clearly in approval with her, hoof tracing over the magic circle beneath them.

now, to gather a coven.

the second time it happens, she can smell ozone this time, sharp in her nostrils in the middle of the yard of her house, as if a thunderstorm were on the horizon. the smell is the only warning she has coming. maddy isn't sure if the warning is through the magic or through the phoenix itself, flaring up in defense or some other sense adorned in he or molly.

she should have known that one push wasn't going to be enough for someone truly determined to see something through. it wouldn't have stopped her from a second try, so of course whoever this was would have the same thought no matter the consequences. her fingers tighten on the door knob in front of her, shoulders tensing as the real attack comes, striking from behind at her defenses. it feels like an arcing of pure power, trying to slice into her mind, focused in a way no amateur would ever wield power like this. there is skill, there is intent, and there is will.

they would not be denied by her.

madelyne doesn't know who (or perhaps, what) it is that pushes against her enough to make her body jolt forward from the force behind it all, doesn't know who would be attempting to turn her eye toward them. the options that flitter in her head from jean to betsy braddock to emma frost, they're all options. yet none of them are this brazen, this stupid, even at their most annoying. what she does know is that this person doesn't know who she is if they think that she is going to bend this easily.

she can feel the door knob break in her fist, the shards of it digging into her palm as she opens her own well of power. it doesn't entirely matter if she is drawing from the goblyn force or the phoenix, only that she meets this other power with more ferocity than before. she gives her retaliation no real emotion behind it, only seeking to demonstrate just how deep her own power went, how far she would go to protect herself at any cost. she lets it grow and grow, until it finally crests and descends on the thing attacking her mind.

her power descends, sweeping the intruder in it. there is the distinct feeling of surprise, of pain--

--and at the last moment in a move she knows is desperate, is deliberate it's intention, an image flashes before her. a man with skin made of alabaster, a forehead adorned with a red diamond, grinning at her.

a white hot flash of rage ignites inside of her, flashing outward over the thing still trying to taunt her. immediately, madelyne knows what she's done, as the lights on the porch pop loudly, as several in the house ignite, and her phone starts to warp in her pocket. when it's over, she's digging her own claws into her palms hard enough to break skin, blood seeping down her wrist, staining the porch below.

she knows what she did all those months ago. she knew what it felt like to see him looking fearful as she obliterated him from the inside out. she knows that this is manipulation, a trick to unsteady her. the only question was this: who was doing it? and to what end did they have in mind?

no matter what, they had succeeded in their goal of making her pay attention. madelyne planned to make them regret that.