Crimson Dawn is a world beyond the shadows of the world. Its theme is mostly based on ethnic Chinese culture. The buildings are apparently made up from metal. A place here called Ebony Vain contains the elixir. The elixir was guarded by a Proctor because of its extreme powers.
Crimson Dawn is well known for its capability to heal anyone even with superhuman abilities. However, it leaves a red mark near the eyes of those people who have been healed. The most notable character who was healed in Crimson Dawn was the X-Man, Psylocke who have been brought to be healed after being brutally attacked by Sabretooth leading to her coma.
Many centuries ago, this dimension was overrun by the barbarian Li-Tzu Ch’eng. A group of monks prayed that the kingdom would be spared the endless bloodshed, but the Ming dynasty ended anyway. Frustrated that their prayers hadn’t been answered, Xiandu and three of his friends, Ra’al, Barak and A’yin, went down the darkest road they would ever travel. In the pitch of night they were initiated into a covenant that promised to repel ’s oppressors. However Xiandu underestimated the might of the Crimson Dawn, and only learned that his friends had been corrupted by it in the night they killed him. In the instant his life ended, Barak, A’yin and Ra’al found themselves transformed into the Dragons of the Crimson Dawn. Xiandu’s spirit remained on Earth, wandering around to await their inevitable escape from the Crimson realm.
In the present day, Psylocke was almost fatally wounded when Sabretooth escaped from the mansion. As she hovered on the brink between life and death, happened to know of a magical elixir that could possibly restore her. He and Archangel went to ’s to find the Crimson Dawn, and Dr. Strange, sensing their intent, joined their quest, which brought them to a Chinese restaurant.
Over the following months it became quite clear that the experience changed Betsy more than on a skin-deep level. She grew much colder and distanced herself from her lover and their friends. Even when she manifested the ability to shadow-port, Psylocke didn’t bother much nor tell anyone, one day startling the X-Men by teleporting into the mansion without warning. Just like them, Betsy understood that something was amiss with her, but she couldn’t bring herself to talk with anyone about her concerns. When she found herself under attack by a group of Undercloaks, she managed to fight them off all on her own, and did keep the battle secret, not even telling despite the dark warriors having attacked her in his penthouse.
Around the same time, The Dragons of the Crimson Dawn managed to journey to the Wildways, another Magical dimension, the home of Spiral when not serving Mojo. They needed the woman to help then teleport to Earth, but when Spiral refused to aid them, she was threatened with torture that was even beyond her Body Shoppe’s capabilities and she reluctantly accepted to join them and received the mark of the Crimson Dawn. Actually Spiral thought she could outsmart the Dragons at one point, but the Crimson Dawn’s influence was too strong and she had no choice but to release them on Earth, namely in London, where they surprise attacked Captain Britain. They took him prisoner to their native, where they wanted to channel his powers into breaching the dimensional wall to the Crimson Dawn, thus enslaving Earth.
However, Spiral alerted Excalibur to the Dragons’ plan, and teleported the team. Another one trying to spoil the plan was Xiandu’s spirit, who told Meggan, the only one to sense him, of the importance of the location, as it was a nexus of power. The spirit revealed to Meggan that not only her abilities but also her love for Brain was needed to rescue him and stop the two worlds from merging into one. While the rest of Excalibur temporarily held the Dragons of the Crimson Dawn at bay, Meggan helped Brian redirect the power flow, releasing it safely into the atmosphere. While Brian survived, he was Captain no more, his powers gone. The Dragons left by melting into the shadows, vowing that one day they would succeed and rule Earth.
With the dimensional walls already weakened, another creature could break through from the Crimson Dawn, the demon Kuragari. He hunted down Tar, and magically wrested control over Tar’s servants from him, only proceeding to kill him to become the next Proctor of the Crimson Dawn. Gomurr found his old rival’s body, and gave him a decent burial. Knowing that Kuragari would come after Psylocke next, he tried to warn her and , but he happened to be too late. In the meantime, the two X-Men had once again been attacked by Undercloaks, this time leaving behind a strange ring. By the time Gomurr arrived, Betsy, somehow attracted to the piece of jewelry, was already wearing it on her finger, thus allowing Kuragari to abduct her to the Crimson Dawn realm.
Apparently one can not take from the elixir without giving something in return, and as Psylocke’s debt had never been paid, Kuragari now thought to force her into becoming his bride. She tried to resist as hard as she could, but by the time arrived, sent after her by Gomurr, Betsy had already been transformed into a shadow creature. While Betsy left with Kuragari, had to face an entire army of Undercloaks. Back on Earth, Tar’s spirit visited Gomurr, thanking him for the burial and explaining that their past years of enmity had only served one purpose – training lessons for Gomurr to become the rightful next Proctor.
Accepting the mantle passed on to him, Gomurr too crossed over to the Crimson Realm and helped . In order to release Betsy from the Dawn’s hold, sacrificed an unknown amount of his own life-force to pay the debt. Now free of Kuragari’s influence, Betsy’s darkened skin vanished and together they managed to drive Kuragari away. While the lovers returned home, Gomurr remained behind in his new home.
With Psylocke dead, it might seem that the X-Men will no longer be confronted with any threats originating from the Crimson Dawn, but there are in fact four other X-Men having some possible connection to the place and the Elixir. For one there is who sacrificed part of his own life-force and left it in the Ebony Vein. Next there is Jean Grey, who underwent a strange power-swap with Psylocke shortly before her death. Betsy’s shadowy astral form, for example, had been transferred to Jean, though instead of the Crimson Dawn mark, she wore a symbol over her eye. Since Betsy’s death, however, Jean was not shown in this form, so the power swap’s effects might have worn off. Then there is Rogue, who carries the psychic imprints of all people she ever absorbed, including Betsy’s. Last but not least, Wolverine’s backstory with Gomurr and how he learned of the Crimson Dawn has yet to be revealed.
Further changes awaited Psylocke, as when she found herself tricked by the Shadow King into creating a psionic energy wave that temporarily disabled all psionic abilities on a world-wide scale, she manifested another ability thanks to the Crimson Dawn. Actually the Shadow King had torn apart Betsy’s astral self, leaving her twisted and disfigured. Betsy, though, rebuild herself in a new black form and found that this shadow astral self was nearly impossible to be detected, eventually defeating the Shadow King.
Spiral’s status too has not been cleared up, possibly she was able to get rid of the Crimson Dawn’s influence in the meantime, however she has not appeared since. While there was a Spiral in Exiles #18-19, this could easily be an alternate reality version of her (despite Mojo’s claim of there only being one Mojoverse) or a time-traveling past self.