The name was matter-of-fact, the timbre of his voice graveled with age and use. He stood straight, hands clasped behind his back, milky blue eyes tilted upwards.
"I'm glad you could join me, Erik," he said quietly. Patrons of the arts flitted past them and the large painting they were standing under. Both sets of eyes seemed glued, roaming over the careful strokes, studying some secret in the mixed colors.
"Something's happened," Xavier finally sighed.
"Yes, something has." Fingers brushed his cleanly shaven chin. "Kevin Ford has disappeared."
"Kevin?" The worried note in his voice was startling after so much quiet observance. "Wither?"
"Yes. Gone." Erik breathed deeply. "He left... with a few... parting gifts." The words were carefully chosen.
"What has happened, Erik?" Now he was urgent, eyes torn from the painting Magneto still refused to deviate his attention from.
Erik's eyes closed, head bowing, a slow sigh escaping him. "I was hoping you could tell me, Charles."
"I sensed something," he explained. "Something...disturbing."
"Charles," Erik shook his head, "surely you must have sensed something more."
"You know that I cannot see clearly into that place." Xavier looked back to the painting. "Surely you must have seen more, Erik."
"I saw nothing, Charles." A hand covered his eyes. "Nothing at all. One night he was there, and the next, Wither was gone."
"There was...something else." Erik glanced, finally, in Charles' direction, and his old friend saw something in his his eyes that had not been there for a very long time: fear. "The Savage Land has been laid to waste, Charles."
The air rushed out of him; the blood drained from his face. "Wither?"
"We must find him." Despite the firmness of the words, his voice was a low whisper. "How bad is it, Erik?"
"It was...devastation." The word was quiet, heavy, and it lingered in the air between them. "Everything for miles is dead, decayed. Pietro found a Tyranousaur that looked like it had been found in Montana."
"How many dead?"
Erik paused. "Twenty-nine."
His lips thinned. Xavier turned away, looking blankly into space. "I will use Cerebro, Erik. We will find him. We will stop this."