Back at home, the Mexican government had wasted little time in complaining about the mess in Mexico City – and about Darius in particular. Since the databases pointed to Ranko and the Mandate, word got back to them pretty quickly. Darius reacted… oddly. He took it as a formal challenge to a “Gentleman’s game of Siege!”, headed down to the northern border of Panama and started fortifying it. All of it. Digging a moat – or a new canal – straight across the Isthmus. Evidently Darius’s earthly geography was still a little vague. Despite the efforts of the Panamanian police, shamans, and – later – military to dissuade him. It was only 110 miles across, and throwing up his wall and moat would only take Darius a day or so.
Not nearly enough time for any real legal or governmental complications – and he wasn’t really doing much of anything that would attract superheroes after he was persuaded to add enough bridges to let people in and out. Mexico did send the Avatars down, but they saw no reason to start a pointless fight in someone else’s country.
After a while, Ranko gave up and took some of the kids out to see Mexico City, while the White Necromancer tried to discourage Darius. Whether for good or ill, his attempts had little success until Darius – cutting through the hills – uncovered an ancient series of crypts. One of the creations of the Ru’Kahl Death Cult of 99,000 years ago. The people who’d exterminated human life in the Americas. The people who’d sealed the last survivors in cells and coffins warded against spirits. The people who’d created a reserve of mad souls, trapped in the primal darkness for a hundred thousand years, and left a guardian – Malingith. He, she, or it didn’t react well to being disturbed.
Meanwhile, in Mexico City, Ranko was trying to explain the concept of “street children” – and of NOT being able to give all of them a home – to the kids from the orphanage (thanks to the millenia-old availability of reliable-and-easy contraceptive charms and considerably greater prosperity there are a lot fewer street children on Earth-Emergence than on Earth-Proper – but there are always some). They didn’t take it well, and insisted on doing what they could for everyone. It was almost a relief when the White Necromancer called about Malingith.
Down at the border, things were a mess. Nobody was quite sure who’d started calling for assistance first, but the Darkspawn, Demons, insane Undead, and superheroes from Wyldstrike and the Guardians (after the White Necromancer got trapped in a crypt and caught a bad case of the worlds catchiest tune the group had started calling for help) had started piling up. While Wildstrike, Warp, and Yeoman were actually helpful for once, the Voice, Mara, Changeling, and Timewalker demonstrated their fine mastery of teenage overkill. Still, they eventually managed to drive off Malingith. Unfortunately, he took the undamaged sections of his tunnel complex – and an unknown number of trapped, tormented, spirits – with him into the dark realms. Still, everyone managed to get out before the tunnels sealed themselves.
And then there was another magical disturbance. Someone using personal energies – it felt like an adolescent male – to cast a global spell bestowing immunity to the Darkmage’s demon-cultist-transformation effect. The same signature as the spell that blocked the amulet-transformation effect. At least this one didn’t propagate back in time. Whoever-it-was seemed to be on the right side (as well as incredibly powerful), but he was also impossibly arrogant and reckless.
It took some doing, as well as a lot of record searching,but they eventually managed to pin it down to Alaska – and the old Mandate Records had a few cryptic references to a powerful mage up there. They borrowed a plane from the Chauffeur, took along Arthur (one of the Horse-boys who wanted an outing), had a few minor accidents along the way, and investigated a bit. It looked like there were some creatures with tremendous amounts of personal energy hanging out at a… quasi-colonial mansion (?) behind a veil of illusion and anti-detection. They decided to pay a call, found that the Elder Shaman was busy right now – and that the place kept re-arranging its floor plan pretty much at random. They stayed for dinner – and were a bit appalled at what their detection spells said about some of the staff. Who employed walking fusion bombs?