Appearing in "A True and Terrible Sacrifice"
- Herr Getmann's Traveling Menagerie
- Stan Lee (Cameo)
Synopsis for "A True and Terrible Sacrifice"
In a circus in Winzeldorf, Germany, Jimaine Szardos and her foster brother Kurt Wagner perform a very dangerous trapeze stunt without a net. Suddenly, Jimaine loses the grip of her trapeze and falls down. In the nick of time, Kurt teleports and catches her while the audience cheers - they believe him to be a masked acrobat, wearing a demonic costume.
Kurt takes Jimaine to the backstage area where they kiss. He then tells her that he is thinking about leaving the circus forever. She is shocked about the sudden revelation, but when he asks her to accompany her, she is happy and eager to tell her mum, Margali Szardos. After the show, she visits Margali in her caravan, but before she can explain what she intends to do, Margali bars her from leaving the circus.
The fortune teller reveals that Jimaine is obliged to continue an old family tradition - the "Winding Way" which is traditionally handed down from mother to daughter. She shows her the Soulsword and tells her about the evil demon Belasco. After being hit by the Soulsword, Margali banishes Belasco and Amandi flees into the woods, crying. She is angry about her destiny and jealous of her brother Stephan Szardos who left the circus some time ago. She then decides to leave the circus the next night, regardless of her mother's warnings.
The following morning, Nightcrawler is searching for Jimaine. She is training with Sabu, the master aerialist who was Nightcrawler's teacher. He asks her to take her place in the show tonight during Nightcrawler's final performance, because he would be honored to share the spotlight with his star pupil one last time. Jimaine agrees. Margali watches them in her crystal ball. She is angry that Jimaine ignores her warnings and decides that it's time for a sacrifice in order to hold the coven together.
In the evening, Kurt packs his suitcase. In the meantime, Jimaine is assaulted by Belasco who threatens her. Suddenly, she hears a scream from the circus tent while Belasco tells her that she will face a demonstration of his powers and a warning about the things to come. When Jimaine runs away, Belasco changes back into Margali who used this trick to frighten her daughter.
In the main tent, Jimaine discovers Nightcrawler who is crying over the dead body of Sabu - the trapeze snapped and he couldn't teleport his old master to safety. Shocked, Jimaine realizes that Sabu died in her place.
The day after the funeral, Nightcrawler says good-bye to Jimaine, who decided to stay in the circus and follow her destiny as a sorceress of the Winding Way. They both confess their love and promise to meet again before Nightcrawler leaves for a trip around the world.
- The comic is a "flashback issue" to the Excalibur series, dealing with Nightcrawler's past in the German circus.
- The story was slightly retconned in Nightcrawler Volume 3. Here Nightcrawler doesn't leave the circus voluntarily to explore the world but accepts an offer from a circus in Florida, USA where he is drugged and exhibited in a freak show.
- The introduction states that Winzeldorf is located deep in the Black Forest, Germany. Other comics indicate that Winzeldorf is in the Bavarian Alps or even in the "Black Forest in the Bavarian Alps". Simultaneously, Nightcrawler is considered to be a Bavarian. As a matter of fact, the Black Forest isn't even remotely connected to Bavaria or the Alps region; it is part of the federal state of Baden-Württemberg and belongs to an entirely different geographic region.
- Stan Lee has a guest appearance on the cover. He also introduces the main characters on the first page where he is dressed up as a circus ringmaster.