Residents of the Ars Goetia, Part II

Eliphas Levi's Pentagram, figure of the microc...

What could go wrong?

The “Demons” of medieval tomes were mostly the creation of fevered would -be demonologists and “scholars”. While they might be loosely based on a few genuine mythological fragments, those tattered threads are pretty thoroughly lost in a sea of wild conjecture. For our purposes this is good; it provides a lot of room for turning them into creatures that can play an interesting role in various games.

Part One included Andromalius (the Judge), Beleth (the Berserker), and Bifrons (the psychopomp). To continue with part II, we have…

MALTHUS (Mal-Thus) The Earl Of Slaughter, Armorer Of The Abyss.

  • Favored Form: A slim, languid, effeminate fop, carrying a rapier, dripping with gems and jewelry, and wearing exquisite silken clothing – often a near-parody of a high-ranking officers military uniform. He takes care never to appear before a given individual twice in the same outfit. Some people call his outfits and appearance “ridiculous”. HE calls them “bait”.
  • Major Powers: Grandmaster Psionic (Disruption and Vamparism), Powershaping (Conjuration and Battle Magic), Master Strategist, Tactician, and Military Engineer. Despite his utter brilliance as a general, putting Malthus in charge of a military force somehow always results in a very high casualty rate (most infamously, the legendary “morning calisthenics massacre”)- but he does get things done. If it’s needed he will conjure up his own troops, fortifications, and arsenals, but he prefers not to waste his time and genius on matters of simple logistics.
  • Sacrifices: Malthus prefers human sacrifices, dying violently and in pain. He will quite cheerfully collect his own sacrifices if the summoner doesn’t get them ready for him – although he quite willing to count casualties among any troops placed under his command as sacrifices. Luckily, he can be somewhat placated (at enormous expense and far less effectively) with an assortment of new outfits and various luxuries – gems, silks, fine wines, and the best of foods.
  • Ritual: Summoning Malthus requires setting up a magical circle – and a substantial lump of opium to be burned as incense.
  • Basic Nature: Malthus is a master general, and he knows it very well. He will want to take charge, snap orders at all and sundry, and lay around languidly and be waited on. Unlike many of the other creatures of the Ars Goetia, Malthus has embraced the darkness, simply because it gives him more chances to exercise his supreme skills in the arts of war and attracts great heroes to meet in battle. He does not see his troops – or his opponents – as people, but as pawns.
  • Combat Skill: Malthus is insanely dangerous in battle. He has enormous personal strength, as well as being very, very, skilled with virtually all weapons. He will, however, normally spare noncombatants; children can grow up to be worthy opponents, and older noncombatants can produce and care for more children – giving Malthus more people to kill or to lead into battle to die demonstrating his supreme brilliance later on.

OROBAS (Or’-O-Bas) “The Prince Of Steeds”

  • Favored Form : Orabas most often appears as a powerful black stallion with a crimson (or actively flaming) mane and tail, but sometimes appears in the form of other steeds – although always in a similar color scheme. He speaks in the inhuman voice of whatever creature he appears to be. Regardless of his form, he will be equipped for war, with silver barding and tack – although he wears no bridle.
  • Major Powers : Basic Powershaping (Counterspells, Divination, and Enchantment), Lesser Psionic (Beastmastery, Healing, Belamourment – and Exokinetic Fields). As befits a mighty steed, Orobas possesses great Physical Strength, Toughness, and Speed.
  • Sacrifices : None.
  • Ritual : A complex summoning circle. Orobas is of little use unless bound, a rite that requires a silver bridle and several minutes. It also requires providing Orobas with the summoners true name and reason for calling him forth – information that Orobas will freely share with any other summoner.
  • Basic Nature : Once bound, Orobas is a faithful retainer and will do his best to serve and obey the summoner and to answer his or her questions – giving him something of a reputation as an oracle. While Orabus is a most superior mount, keeping him bound will gradually drain the summoners vitality – inflicting (1D6) points of damage each day which can only be regained via rest and time, and not at all while Orabas is kept bound. Orabus views his office and purpose as to be a faithful retainer of whoever his current “master” is – a powerful steed and wise advisor. He does not feel that it is the business of a war-steed to question it’s master – and so turns a complete blind eye to the summoners moral status, and to the nature of the deeds he is called on to assist (no doubt the reason for his current status). Orabas might carry a heroic master through storm, flood, and the very fires of hell to rescue a single child – while for another he would crush a dozen beneath his blood-soaked hooves. As a part of his service he will hold a master’s secrets in absolute security – unless asked about them by another master, in which case that aspect of himself will cheerfully tell it’s master whatever he wants to know.
  • Combat Skill : He’s a war-steed, and – within that basic limitation – is extraordinarily competent.

STOLAS (Sto-Las”) “The Prince Of Carrion Crows, Bard of Chaos”

  • Favored Form : A huge raven with silver talons and red-golden eyes. Stolas “prefers” to speak in riddles, snatches of song, and doggerel nonsense. He often sends a minor aspect of himself to answer a summons, instead of coming in person. Such raven-familiars can grant a summoner various minor powers – usually translation or very minor powershaping abilities (as always, in a particular field or fields).
  • Major Powers : A master Spy and Thief, Stolas also possesses Powershaping (Air, Sound, and Illusion), and possesses the ability to speak and read all languages, a talent he may share with his summoner if he desires. Stolas is a notable musician – and may be a true master. He can produce a wide variety of bardic effects.
  • Sacrifices : Stolas favors original music, elder texts, weird snippets of knowledge, and concerts. What he finds acceptable seems to be a matter of whim. The summoner usually needs to negotiate.
  • Ritual : An elaborate circle, incense, and a full set of ceremonial gear is needed to summon Stolas – unless the summoner is capable of performing the far faster Song Of Summoning on woodwinds or harp. Stolas will teach a summoner the song on request, but a proper performance requires considerable skill and personal tutoring from Stolas; books, recordings, and similar methods are not sufficient to learn the subtle personalization that makes it work. He’ll also teach summoners about music and herbs on request.
  • Basic Nature : Stolas is a rogue, a trickster, and quite unreliable… Everything he does should be taken with a grain (several grains?) of salt. Even when bound to a summoner, he cannot be prevented from dragging everyone in the vicinity into baroque entanglements, twisting answers to questions that do not involve music or herbs, and generally making mischief.
  • Combat Skill : Stolas’s talons apparently possess some curious venomous or disruptive property – making them unexpectedly dangerous to both living beings and magical constructs.

Residents of the Ars Goetia

Illustration from The Goetia: The Lesser Key o...

It's best to double-check that before starting!

When it comes to source material, it’s hard to get much more authentic than going medieval – and the list of “demons” in the Ars Goetia offers quite a lot of inspiration.

Of course, when you read that list you don’t find a lot of game-style “demons”. You don’t find much in the way of berserk killing machines, of evil for the sake of evil, or of random torment. You find pursuers of thieves, teachers, healers, seers, war-leaders – and even war-steeds.  A list of entities who… wound up on the wrong side of heaven for one reason or another – apparently rarely for direct rebellion – and who were cast out.

There are a lot of reasons why someone can wind up on the wrong side of a war and still be a decent enough person. Traditionally, quite a few of these entities were serving their summoners in pursuit of their own redemption – even if they’re not very good at it and have massive blind spots.

For game purposes, most of these entities can be treated as Conceptual Spirits – entities that embody immortal ideas, and so can be in many places at the same time. The summoning rituals open the way for them to manifest – and the more powerful the summoner, the more powerful the manifestation.

They’re relatively easy to summon – at least as far as games in settings where magic works are concerned – but there is always a price…

ANDROMALIUS (An’Dro-Mali~Us) “The Earl Of Justice”

  • Favored Form : A stern and fearsome man attired in the clothing of a judge. He occasionally appears with, or sends in his place, one or more terrible black hounds – in reality merely embodied fractions of his own energy and immaterial essence. He has been known to leave one of these “creatures” with a summoner.
  • Major Powers : Grandmaster Psionic (Psychic Senses and Heightened Talents), Powershaping (Nymic Magic and Transformations – only when embodied), Spell Imbuement (Only in living creatures, maximum of seven). He will often bestow a set of carefully-tailored spells to allow a summoner to enact judgement on the guilty.
  • Sacrifices : None required when the summoner is acting in pursuit of justice, otherwise he may require some quest – always in pursuit of justice – in return for his aid. He will also always tell the summoner something about himself or something he’s done that he would really rather not know – most often revealing the undesirable or unjust results of the summoners own past actions.
  • Ritual : Circle, scribed with an oaken rod.
  • Basic Nature : Vengeful and merciless. Andromalius tends to use his “summoners” as agents in carrying out his eye-for-an-eye judgements. It is probably this lack of mercy that put him on the wrong side of the greater celestial powers.
  • Combat Skill : Master of the “Soft” martial arts.

BELETH (Bel-eth) “The Mad King”

  • Favored Form : A handsome and powerfully built man riding a mighty war-stallion, usually accompanied by martial music. He occasionally simply sends the horse-fraction of his energies, in which case things can get “uncomfortable” for the offering (see below) – unless the “summoner” has a mare – and some splendid tack – ready (which is very, VERY, wise). The horse can be ridden, and is a useful and obedient mount – at least as long as you do a lot of fighting.
  • Major Powers : Master Psionic (Telepathic Powers), Powershaping (Winter and Summer magics), Hypercharisma and Hypermasculinity.
  • Sacrifices : Beleth requires the, er, attentions and companionship of a pretty girl while he’s present. He will leave her psychically bound to the summoner as a personal slave when he leaves (this can actually be very very useful if he arrives in horse-form and is offered a mare). If such an “offering” is not forthcoming, he can occasionally be placated by a supply of expensive weapons, armor, and masculine accouterments.
  • Ritual : Beleth can be summoned through the use of an enruned ring – and an invocation – but it is a very good idea to have inscribed either a protective circle or a containment circle first.
  • Basic Nature : Lustful, hot-tempered – and far too easily enraged. Beleth often arrives in a fury, and can be extremely dangerous if defied. He’s more than a little nuts. Unfortunately for him, he sees nothing wrong in his behavior; is not a mighty warrior entitled to such small indulgences?
  • Combat Skill : Beleth is competent with virtually any weapon but primarily relies on sheer strength and his immense personal vitality. The horse is a powerful steed, although it does have a pesky tendency to teleport right into the middle of combat.

BIFRONS (Bi-Frons) “The Earl Of The Dead”

  • Favored Form : Either an insubstantial minotaur with eyes full of stars or a slim, naked, boy. He is very hard for most people to see at all either way.
  • Major Powers : Navigator, Caravan Master, and Inter-dimensional Traveler, Powershaper (Necromancy and Mindsending), and Cultural Adaption. Bifrons is a wanderer of the empyrean plane, and is capable of taking people on a guided tour through almost any afterlife.
  • Sacrifices : If not placed with the gift of some means of transport (Horse, boat, car, plane, whatever) Bifrons has an annoying tendency to drop off those who travel with him in an inconvenient location. Summoners who simply want him to use his necromantic or tutoring talents on their behalf may either undertake a “brief” empyrean combat/quest or placate him with simple cash – although, unless things have changed recently, Bifrons does not take paper money, credit cards, checks, or letters of credit. He insists on gold and silver coins.
  • Ritual : The summoning circle must be drawn in the earth, either outside or in some public place – such as an inn. The summons also requires mold from a graveyard, and all negotiations must be completed within seven minutes – or Bifrons will travel elsewhere.
  • Basic Nature : Irritating. Bifrons is a know-it- all, and delights in telling endless stories about his travels elsewhere – and how they were so much more interesting and dramatic then whatever is going on at the moment in his summoner’s life.

The Storm Diaries of David Mayseren, Fits the Eighth and Ninth

Water tower - Gödöllő from above

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After Thursdays utter exhaustion, David didn’t wake up for hours, by which time he was quite ready for his Friday-morning breakfast.

Lestat, however, had left a message; While he had no ill-will about it, he was looking into finding some way to get rid of the light-spell. It was making his unlife very difficult…

The Warlocks Personal Timeline:

13 (Wednesday): Between Orcs and “Ogres” robbing a convenience store, whining dogs, and a visit from Lestat, David only got about four hours sleep, and was up at dawn with things to do; “Stealing” an alien scoutship from a secret government organization, a trip around the moon, grocery shopping, getting and repairing a car, visiting a hospital to heal people (and appearing for a television interview), obtaining a drivers license, being taken to Washington, leading a mass escape from Department-X and briefing the upper government on the situation, binding and fixing Robert – and working on magical gadgetry… Too jittery to sleep, Wednesday segued straight on into

14 (Thursday): “Hunting” with Robert led to getting the Sanctum set up with facilities for everyone, trying to inventory it’s rooms, a dark dream (and phone calls) from the far future, and various global cataclysms. Using power “borrowed” from the Rift-Realm, David unleashed a variety of unthinkably potent spells (With incalculable ramifications) in a desperate attempt to hold the world together. Pestered by reporters, he then retreated into studying his new-and-improved sanctum, setting some elementals free, administering mental therapy to Robert and Solamon, dealing with his family, copying Solamon’s powers – and lending out them to the Rift-Realm – before discovering that there were two alien battle fleets on the way, and that the huge asteroid was apparently a “planet-eater”. Their inability to contact the aliens led to a salvage / rescue expedition to the orbiting alien ships, the loss of Azrael, a bit of investigation of his mysterious bond with Robert, and negotiations with the “blue guy” aliens, just before the power overload of casting global spells caught up to David like a steamroller…

What the hell am I going to do about that asteroid / ship? I couldn’t touch it WITH all that extra power!

Maybe somebody at breakfast will have an idea.

So what’s on the preview channel? AN ATOMIC BLAST!? IN SEVEN HOURS?

WHY!?!?

Who’d… There are a bunch of cold-war fellows who’d like to start a war to stir up national loyalties and to help keep things together politically, but they’d prefer a conventional one?

I take it you’ve been busy while I’ve been asleep?

There are too damn many launch buttons!.. If it isn’t going to be a human being, who else has access?

There are three self-aware computer systems and they all have nuclear access?

Great. Just Great. Jus – WHAT WAS THAT?!? Something hit you?

The rocky mountains elemental felt something hit it? Must’ve been one hell of an impact for a mountain range to feel it!

I suppose we’d better look into it.

Investigating the shock led to a crash-landed spaceship. It was spider-shaped, as big as several aircraft carriers put together, and severely damaged. It proved to be full of long-deactivated robotic aliens…

No wonder the mountains felt it… Through one peak and practically buried in another. There really shouldn’t be anything left of it at all!

I wonder what it’s made of?

Yet another (crashlanded) alien spaceship – possibly with yet another alien race onboard.

“Yet Another”. Has the world gone that mad, or is it just me?

*******************************************************

There isn’t time for patient exploration!!! I’m just going to have to get some of the systems up and running and try to get something out of their computers. There doesn’t seem to be anything left in the way of a crew – and we’ve still got an atomic war on the way!

Has ANYBODY here got ANYTHING on that?

You’ve narrowed it down to one of the three sentient computer systems? You can’t get locations on them? Why not? They’re better at hacking then you are?

I suppose that makes sense.

Well, these are sentient computer aliens… Maybe if I wake them up, they can help out.

So that’s insane?

Have you been paying attention recently?

OK, the system’s up…

I think you’ve been down a long time fellows. As far as I can tell, you drifted into the solar system out of deep space.

What happened to the enemy? The Traitors-To-Life who wished to plunder living worlds?

Would this (showing them the planetoid) be them?

Yes? But it looks like it’s been millennia? What an amazing coincidence… You think so too? It seems that there’s a lot that kind of thing going around.

Let’s see what I can do in the way of repairing, and repowering, your systems and crew.

You don’t think that that’s possible? What’s magic?

Well, you don’t understand how I got you fixed up do you?

I didn’t think so.

The Warlock spent the next hour or two fixing up – and powering up – the crew. They came in many sizes, with a large variety of tools and weapons, and with a somewhat simple-minded (if helpful, brave, polite, and overly boy- scoutish) selection of personalities. Just the bunch of people you’d trust with being cosmic guardians… Nice, reliable, computer-minds which could easily be checked, reproduced, and repaired coupled with enormous physical power – and eternal readiness.

It made him wonder who’d originally designed them.

Sadly, they didn’t have any better luck with earth’s computers then the others had been having. Tired, David was just taking a breather when the mayor called…

Weird. They’re not very good at using it, but their power supply seems to be magical somehow… Dammit! I wish the professor hadn’t tried that earring on. Where does the energy come FROM!? How can I have – generate? – nearly as much power as this kind of ship? How can my body handle that kind of power? What if it can’t? How can everyone have OVERLOOKED this kind of thing!? I’ve left traces across the entire world! Even if the power was weak, Lestat, Solamon, and the Seer, have been around for quite a while! Twenty minutes ago I was exhausted. Now I feel fine. What am I becoming?

I don’t know enough physics.

I wonder if there’s anyone who does?

The mayor again? What about? There’s some maniac on one of the water towers with a bunch of hostages and he’s demanding me? An old oriental man with weird powers?

Oh shit.

And I was just wishing for the Professor… NO. That COULDN’T be possible. Besides… I wanted him SANE.

Hey, is there anyone else you’d like to mention that you gave out my number to? The Mayor, the Governor (Now a dog), the President, and the Ruler Of Kenya (?!?). Oh never mind…

The professor seemed to have gone entirely through insanity – and was somewhere out on it’s other side. He acted like an advanced Alzheimers patient. There was no connection between his ravings and reality at all.

Unfortunately, he still possessed both his powers, and the occult artifacts he’d collected under the power of the earring. David and the others dodged or parried random blasts, and pulled hostages out, until the Professor decided to fly the water tower to the moon.

Good god… He really is hopelessly out of his mind. I’d hoped he might be reachable.

No, you can’t bill me for the water tower! I wasn’t the one who took it away! You called ME remember? Why don’t you send the bill to Dr. Genos? He’s responsible for the damages from the Lizard and the sewers too…

I shouldn’t have mentioned the Lizard. Here he comes again… Trying to jump on top of us.

Yes, Michael, I’m very tired of the Lizard! You have a way to get rid of him?! FINE!

Well, I suppose he can’t claw himself out of a deep space parking orbit, but he might suffocate (Even if he does seem fairly unkillable). After all, he didn’t get a choice about being this way…

I guess you’re right; he’s an uncontrollable monster who keeps destroying buildings and killing people – but I still wish we could’ve cured him.

OhShit! We’ve still got a nuclear war coming up…

We still haven’t got anything on which system, or on where!

Waitaminute… Sentient computer systems. Whatever- it-was that was in MY computer certainly seemed like it was sentient! Of course, it wasn’t hooked up to a modem or anything – but it might have gotten around that.

It’s time to drop in on my apartment again… I hope that there aren’t any left-over Dept-X guys there.

There weren’t. There was, however, a glowing ball of blue light where his computer used to be, his creepy roommate had cleaned out (And hocked) most of his stuff – and something REALLY seemed to be “wrong” about him.

God he’s being evasive – and he’s hocked all my stuff! There’s no time for this kind of dancing around… I’ll run a quick probe.

He’s been getting off by strangling his lovers while he’s inside them? He’s killed three so far? That’s even sicker then I thought!. I’ll just show the other fellow what he was in for…

That ran him off quick enough.

How did I do that? I’ve got no time for explanations now, just gimme the pawn-shop slips. Right. As for you, you’ve murdered three people and I’ve no time. You’re a dog…

I’ll drop him off at the pound on the way.

Oh hell. Here. I’ll pay for his veterinary work. That should give him a fair chance at getting adopted. I’ll even throw in a spell to make him a good dog…

We’ve got less then four hours now guys… Whatever- it-is that downloaded itself into / through my computer seems to be a bit defensive – and to have spread out thru the university systems – but it’s reasonable enough and doesn’t want to wreck it’s own technological basis. It also says that there’s one in Kenya, but it seems to be limited to the “local” systems the Russians put in, and it’s busy sorting out what, why, and where it is, as well as in learning to communicate, and “growing up”. There’s one in China too – but it’s located in a single command computer and is obsessed with “Destroying those hideous organic life forms”.

Anybody wanna make one guess at which one it is?

So. There’s no time to be diplomatic, and we can’t get too close or it’ll launch everything it’s got – instead of spending a few hours trying for more.

You guys are detection-shielded and can easily blow it up from orbit before it has time to launch?

Blowing it up turned out to be pretty simple… One of the computer-aliens mounted an orbital cannon. There were some complications as Michael used his armor (Hey! I could fly through the core of the sun in this stuff – at FTL speeds!) to pull out the people, but there was a lot of property damage.

The Chinese Government would be mad as hell. David called the president and warned him, and told him to send in the diplomats… The TV said that that put the major chances of war off for nearly forty-eight hours.

Forty-eight hours? Well, it’s better then three…

Desrae? Where are you getting all these kids? Out of fatal accidents?

WHAT?!?

Oh… You mean out of accidents where they would’ve died if you hadn’t intervened. So why not take them to their parents? Most of them are orphans? You’ve found that if you’re in the “immediate vicinity” when someone dies you can gather all the energy you need without any need to suck it out of them? (Errrrr…) So-you-go-thru really-fast-and-pull-out-who-you-can-and-absorb-what-you- need-from-the-rest. Well – they can stay for a while IF we’ve got room and IF the sanctum is safe enough for some wandering children…

There are all kinds of weird accidents and things these days? The average death rate is up nearly 15%?

How are you getting there anyway? One of the smaller aliens is acting as a shuttle for you?

Cosmic robotic boy scouts. Riiiigggghhhhht…

You (Haven) can take care of them easily? You’ve got several entire planets and a microverse “in the basement” anyway? You have lots of food, and have laid in the “Nice Wizard” set of parameters for the servants and such? Most of the seven previous ultra-powerful wizard-masters who are not a part of you were fairly nice people? Only one of them was REALLY nasty? Number four? He’s the one who merged fifty billion or so people into a “living world” of tormented spirits?

WHAT KIND OF PLANET?!?

IN THE BASEMENT!?!?!

“I shouldn’t go there. It’s too strong to do much of anything about?”

“Even the really powerful magi couldn’t do anything?”

SHIT!

So what are the others like? One planet of sentient plants which were too nice and passive for their own good out in the wider universe, one which was simply a great spot to live/vacation, and a micro-universe which has a contract to do your small-scale cleaning/dusting, and any required nano-operations?

Yes kids, it’s OK, there’s lots of space for you. Am I the Warlock? Like in the comic book?

Lemme see that!

Geez… This thing is almost entirely accurate! Only the stuff which went on behind shields – or was “edited out” for being overly x-rated – isn’t in here. Just the way to keep a secret.

What’s all this stuff about companion rings?

Hey, waitaminute, this came out last month and still covers everything up thru that mess with the professor?

“Robert seems somewhat subdued”. Yeah, fight… You mind if I hang onto this for a but kid? No problem, you can just buy another copy?

Oh, bugger.

I think I ought to talk to the author – very soon.

Huh. It may be a waste of time – but I’d still like to have SOME way to conceal my identity. Maybe there’s something in the mystic artifact collection?

A little carving of a dog in Onyx that “chases away” light magic for up to 12 hours a day? That’ll do… At least the light-spell doesn’t seem to affect the inside of the sanctum.

We might want to keep an eye on what the professor’s up to on the moon? Why? It’s a dead world isn’t it?

It’s a large egg with a lot of space debris built up on it?

ARRRGGGGHHHHH!

David spent the next few moments attempting to find some way of expressing himself…

He eventually settled on stomping in a circle while waving his arms and yelling at the universe…

Eric was rather pleased. Evidently his sixteen year old son was still “in there someplace” – despite those (rather incredible) powers…

WHERE’S THAT BEDAMMED “COMIC BOOK”?!?!? WHAT COMIC BOOK?

Nobody else remembers it? OK; it’s either my way of expressing Timewalker’s pre- and post-cognitive powers, or something’s going on – or I’m under even more stress then I thought…

Hey… Robert was manipulated. I wonder how many of the others were manipulated into joining up? Lets see;

Solamon wasn’t… Somehow I feel like I’ve known him “forever” (I wonder why?), but he hasn’t been hauled in magically.

Desrae’s entire family was manipulated into being in the area, but she was just “steered” a bit… I suppose that whoever-it-was felt that her looks alone could get us to accept her.

God she’s lovely.

Errr… I wonder how many people that’s been the last thought for? I mean… She’s sucking peoples life out. Maybe they don’t really need it any more at that point, but what if they do? Is she just doing a little psychic scavenging, or is she actually eating people’s spirits? How many might’ve gotten to a hospital and lived if she hadn’t sucked them dry?

Why am I thinking of colorful poisonous things?

She’s awfully instinctive, and her instincts lead to    something like Lestat. She’s bonded with a demon. She didn’t want a cure.

A nice normal night out is beginning to sound better and better… I may feel differently when I’m actually looking at her, but I’m not entirely sure that I really want to get her into my bed.

OK; I’ve got a planet of horror in the basement that none of the prior magi could do anything about, there’s a planet-eater in orbit, and a nuclear war is coming up day after tomorrow…

Great.

Well, it looks like Haven lets me tap into the power of the prior “occupants”. Perhaps I ought to try and find out something about who they were, and what they could do.

Even if that’s not what’s going on it’d be very nice to know what they tried to do about that nasty “world”.

The library seems like a good bet.

It’s always the second door on the left?! No matter where I am at the moment?

Well, I wanted a wizard’s sanctum.

The library was huge, and strange, and filled with a lot of seriously odd volumes – even if you didn’t count the ones that were carefully locked away because if you let them out they got up to things… David found out a lot, but his basic research project rapidly turned into an all-nighter…

He hardly even noticed.

So… Haven’s current form is nothing like it really is. It originated in a universe so alien that actually knowing much of anything about it would drive me crazy. Most of the prior owners were fairly minor mages, but a couple were pretty powerful. The first two weren’t very “human”, the second was the son of the first, the third was female, the fourth was the nasty one and, as a mage of the twelfth circle he was sightly more powerful then I am (I’d class as a mage of the fifth circle, but I’ve got major “innate talents”?), the fifth was primarily a ritualist, the sixth was of the fifteenth circle (and was a LOT more powerful then I am since he had some talents too), but used a less flexible branch of magic, and had no luck dealing with the “planet of torment”. His books of magic are filed under FE.6 thru…

ENOUGH ALREADY!

At least it looks like the chances of coming up with something new to try are fairly good.

OK, so what’s everybody got on the “Planet-Eater”?!? If you’ve seen them before you ought to know something!

They (Or possibly IT) are essentially vampires? It/they usually hang around the heavily populated areas of the galaxy (So why is it here?) sucking the life out of planets… Massive fleets and firepower can chase it away sometimes, but most of the time it leaves a dead world, with seriously unstable hyperspace/subspace interfaces, behind…

THAT’S ABSURD! For something that size? It’s almost a hundred kilometers across! The bioenergy of a planet is NOTHING in comparison to the kind of energy needs a “vampire” like that would have!

You think it taps into hyperspace through the “local life forms”, and hibernates while traveling between star systems?

Well, it’d explain why it was immune to my spells… Whatever-it-is that powers “magic”, it seems to have an opposing force which powers “vampires”.

The mayor of Cincinnati is calling?

Why?!?

Because she’s heard that I’m a superhero and the local national guard forces can’t stop the football team?

WHY NOT?!?

Because they’ve turned into giant tiger-creatures?!? Just like their mascot? There’s nearly 120 of them?

I’ll try to do something as soon as I can, OK? There are quite a few other emergencies going on…

I think I’ve got an idea… I’ve got a planet-eater on one hand – and a planet of evil and pain which tries to suck in anything which comes near it on the other.

Maybe I can arrange an introduction.

Nobody has any idea what might happen?.. We’d need a computer capable of analyzing magical energy to get any kind of an idea?

Well, that ball-of-blue-light which got into my computer seemed to understand magic. I’ll call and ask it!

It’s beyond calculation? Or at least beyond what you understand? Drat. Well, I haven’t been sending myself any warnings about the idea…

Maybe I can think of a way to do it.

So. What am I going to do about the one-hundred-and- twenty giant tiger-creatures?

The faint, psychic, whisper came from somewhere… A thought out of the future? A suggestion from impatient fate? An idea which would have occurred much earlier if he hadn’t been under such stress?

“Why don’t you send a few people from the group that you’ve been collecting?”

Who cared where it came from? It was a GOOD idea.

Oh for gods sake. Haven? Can you find someplace to put them? Good.

Michael? You carried the Lizard into orbit and collected 300 people in sixteen microseconds, could you put them there?

You’d like some help because they’re too big for you to use both kinds of acceleration at once? Maybe Robert?

I dunno… I don’t think I want to send Robert into the middle of a bunch of giant cats. Not just yet. He hasn’t even fully adjusted to being… Anyway.

Who else have we got?

Ratman and THE VOICE only show up when they want to, Azrael, The Professor, Ebonflame, and Timewalker, are all out of it at the moment and it’s not really Desrae’s kind of job…

Who does that leave? The Changeling and the Commander? (God. The Changeling’s talents are a hell of a lot like Robert’s. Is he going to need a leash too? At least HIS wolf-spirit is safely external. Come to think of it, is that thing a real animal at all? That’s another thing I’m going to have to look into).

Well… We need the Commander to talk to that fleet. I know you might need more help, but will Changeling do to start with?

OK then.

*******************************************************

Who is it now, Oh Cell Foe? Julia?

Hell yeah, put her on!

So, she’d like to make it Fisherman’s Wharf? That’s fine with me… My chemistry partner from last semester turned into a small dog and ran away? (Oh hell. That would be a Zarkonian. If one of them took his place, Jason’s almost certainly dead. Poor bastard). Yeah, that’s very very strange all right (True enough. Why the hell would they impersonate a minor college student?)… I’ll come by and pick you up tomorrow evening unless something goes very wrong…

Second Call? From a very old supercomputer? (Huh? I thought those were new?!?) It’s under the ocean, upside down, it just woke up and it’s disoriented – and it wants to know if it should begin the cyrogenic revivals? The continental layout has shifted enough to alter the base parameters for the revival sequences?!? (What cyrogenic revivals? The CONTINENTS have shifted? WHY IS IT ASKING ME?)

Errr… Why not wait a day or so? Will it actually matter any?

Not really, anybody who wasn’t going to make it died a long time ago and you’re already eons overdue anyway? You’re bringing the other computers online for now?

The TV is prelisting a special report “Return Of The Atlanteans; The Revival Of A Pre-Ice-Ages Civilization” for two days from now? Now that’s an OLD computer…

I wonder if this would be before or after the atomic war it’s predicting for the same time period?

If we’re still around I’ll deal with it then.

I wish I could talk to Solamon.

Maybe I can! He’s not very firmly anchored in time, so maybe I can get in contact with a sane aspect of him with a mirror-spell, even if his present aspect is sort of out-to-lunch…

Solamon apparently used the transtemporal link David established to minimize the timeripple resulting from a temporal overlap – and popped out of the mirror to hand David a cerebral augmenter, and to ask David to install it in his (present) brain… The timelords would still notice the ripple of course, but they would have yelled a lot more about a full-scale shift. Besides; they were approaching a critical historical nexus. It was no time to be having a mental overload.

Along the way David “discovered” that “Cell Foe” was an extraordinarily powerful linking focus (You just had to dial some appropriate coordinates) – and that the TV did something similar for divination… Both had actual spirits (With a definite “familiar” feel) although most of the other devices which he’d inadvertently enchanted were simply constructs.

Hey… If somebody can cast destiny spells to try to make all possible disasters happen at once, why can’t I try to make sure I succeed at something? Or at least to limit the things which can go wrong?

If I use mirror-magic to amplify my power…

I’ll need to take a lot of precautions…

God. Maybe I can actually do this.

David spent much of the morning taking precautions – shielding spells, destiny spells, personal enhancements and amplifications, gathering “components” – and trying to tap into any latent powers he could… If anything went wrong, he wanted it to affect him – and not the rest of the world. This was, after all, his idea.

That afternoon, the orbit of the world-eater brought it nearly overhead – and David opened a gateway between it and the pocket-realm “basement” which held the hellworld. He’d faced it away from the earth, and shielded it all he could…

Deep in space there were terrible psychic screams…

The worldeater tried desperately to pull away as the overwhelming power of the hellworld locked on to it’s essence and began dragging it through in pieces like an object being consumed by a black hole. While some small fragments did break away, most of the “asteroids” mass, and power, was dragged through the gateway.

Moments later, as the stone, metal, and annihilating energies of the word-eater rained down, it was the turn of the hellworld to scream. It’s convulsions – and the clash of opposing energies – began to tear it’s fragile pocket-realm apart… Reality convulsed, and shuddered towards catastrophe.

Lord Warlock? We have a class-1 emergency situation. Unless the “hellworld” pocket dimension is disconnected from the basic sanctum nexus within 2.3 minutes a total containment failure can be expected to occur. The most likely result is the destruction of this solar system.

WHAT?!?

SHIT!!!

Sohowdowecutitloose? Fromthemaincontrolroom? Where’s that?

YOU CAN’T TELL ME THAT BECAUSE OF YOUR OLD SECURITY RESTRICTIONS?!?

AAAARGH!

OH NEVER MIND! I’LL FIND IT MYSELF!

David drew on the talent he’d copied from Timewalker and stepped out of time. That ought to give him plenty of subjective “time” to look…

It took thirteen hours to find the control room. By that time David had had to have Solamon show him how to “rest” out of time – and how to maintain the effect for so long.

It turned out to be a big cross-shaped room, full of levers.

Haven seemed to “tilt” for a moment or two as it compensated for the mass differences…

It couldn’t say exactly what had happened in the hellrealm – but it hadn’t been doing well.

RIGHT.

Hey. My divinations about a possible battle between the world-eater and the cosmic boy scouts gave them about 50-50 chance.

If they haven’t noticed it already, I think I’ll let them know that they’ll probably never get a better time to attack.

Sadly, that “trouble-detection” system had picked up some information which David could have done without… It seemed that the psychic storm his tactic had created had killed nearly a thousand telepathically-sensitive people. Fortunately, Solamon knew what to say…

Oh GOD. I’ve killed 987 people. Come to think of it, I’ve committed genocide by transformation and mutilated a roommate and a friend…

Some of his friends stepped in to help with the angst.

David… It ate planets. Out of nearly six billion people, plus however many were on the other worlds that it would’ve eaten, there were less then a thousand that you couldn’t save. The Zarkonians made a habit of genocide. As for Robert and your roommate… they’re getting off pretty easy for multiple murderers. You’re doing pretty well – and, if you’re worried, it will be easy enough to make sure that your idiot roommate gets adopted before he gets put to sleep.

Warlocks Personal Timeline:

15 (Friday):    Atomic clouds in the forecast lead to tracking sentient computers, and to earning a first-aid merit badge for helping out the crash-landed Paracosmic Boy Scouts. With lunch came The Amazing Dao and his Water Tower, Interplanetary Ballistic Lizards, transforming a murderous roommate into a dog – David even paid for his veterinary work – and blasting a launching site in China. Meanwhile, Desrae’s child rescue operation led to a bit of exploration in the sanctum, a world of horror, and a night ransacking the library in search of explanations, all of which led into Saturday…

Sadly, with the first phase of the Chaos Storm complete, scheduling changes, and the loss of too many players, meant that the campaign had to close down after a mere thirty or forty sessions. Still, the Catastrophic Destiny spell had served it’s purpose: within two weeks of gaining their superhuman abilities a number of formidable heroes had been forged into a team, had learned to use their powers effectively, had learned to make tough decisions – and had gathered and used the resources that let them defeat the planet-eater before it could devour the newly-vulnerable Earth. Stopping a nuclear war had merely been a bonus…

Most likely the next few weeks of game time – and thirty or so sessions – would have been devoted to dealing with alien fleets and cultures, Zarkonian attempts to make the Warlock stop his transformation-plague (not that he could), the recipients of those mysterious “companion rings”, legal issues, soothing Robert’s school, assorted supervillains, new races appearing, other dimensions, and all the other complications of the rise of magic.

It really is too bad that it never proved possible to continue.

The Storm Diaries of David Mayseren, Fit the Sixth and Seventh

Some hours later, it was just after midnight, they’d finally gotten back to their proper time (and so were free to act again without risk of temporal paradox) – and the most urgent situation on their plate was the giant hostage situation at the stadium. The police had already tried to get involved – but only by negotiations. That left it up to the Guardians.

OK… We’re invisible, we’re here, and what are we going to do? We’ve only got about six hours till dawn now.

No, we are NOT simply attacking! Not with 80,000 people there as hostages! Why do you think the police haven’t tried it?

Well, there’s only so many places to hide a bomb in a stadium. Maybe we can find it if we circle around in the place with a detection spell running…

No luck. SHIT.

Maybe there isn’t one?

At least we got a good look at their thugs… Sets of three with pistols, communications gear – and assault rifles.

Well, I can screw up the weaponry pretty easy.

So lets go talk to the supervillains…

The ensuing hour was mostly devoted to conversation between “The Voices” (Warlock, TimeWalker, and Ratman) – and various villains and thugs… It didn’t get very far – although it did reveal that the martial artist could still “see” them to some extent. Unfortunately, no one was willing to tell them who was in charge, or to talk it out…

It did let Warlock screw up their radio-detonators, as well as confusing a lot of thugs.

Great. Just great. None of these people will tell me who the real boss is!

Maybe I can look into someone’s mind?

Shielded.

Damn.

Waitaminute… They’re all shielded just alike? It responds to my probe, but they don’t seem to notice…

So who’s doing it? (“I’LL FIND OUT!”)

Whaaa? Oh. It’s THE VOICE again… No, we’re not trying to infringe on your gig! Can you trace back to whatever’s powering these shields?

Come to think of it, I’ll break the spells on them. Maybe they’re all being compelled somehow?

Just protective/escape stuff… Oh well, good riddance anyway. Neat spells though. I doubt that I could do them – even if it they were my type of magic…

THE VOICE traced the mental beams back to a cloaked spaceship hovering overhead – and blocked them. Warlock and the others decided to go for it, while at least part of the enemy defenses were down…

Warlock decided to try some voice-amplification and “command” magics as he became visible in the center of the arena… “THIS IS THE WARLOCK! I HAVE DISABLED THE THUG’S CONVENTIONAL WEAPONRY, AND WE WILL RESTRAIN THE PARANORMALS! PLEASE REMAIN CALM AND EXIT THE ARENA IN AN ORDERLY FASHION!”

DAMMIT! How come nobody ever does what they’re told?

Meanwhile, Ratman was blasting away at the martial-artist type, TimeWalker was busy evading some sort of “smart”, target-seeking, energy blast (of vast power), and the Warlock was finding that that superstrong fellow was increasing his mass somehow, and was rapidly overloading the levitation spell he’d used on him…

At least all the normal people are getting out, but it’s turning into a riot! Oh well, most of the serious injuries are to the thugs…

DAMMIT! Nothing seems to work on that energy blast!

Well, that’s a cute way to handle it. Drag it right into the hyperstrong fellow. Maybe if I incapacitate the energy-manipulating fellow directly?

Timewalker popped out… I guess he’ll be OK. He’s certainly out of my reach anyway…

So it’s fucking rude to apply a weight-spell there! It worked didn’t it?

Ratman?! You didn’t exactly have to vaporize him!!!

We’re gonna have a real serious talk about this!

I’d better make sure that the two surviving “supervillains” stay unconscious.

After that, Warlock settled down to healing all the people who’d gotten hurt in the stadium exodus – while Michael and Robert showed up to collect the villains.

Given their abilities, they certainly knew that the police wouldn’t be able to handle them.

When the police got there, they were most insistent about everybody filling out a report before vanishing.

OK… That’s the last of them… Now what?

Bloody police. They’re enough cameras in the place, I’d’ve thought that they could have watched on TV – if 80,000 bedamned eye witnesses weren’t enough for them.

Oh boy… TV. Dozens of reporters here to broadcast the game.

I think we just put on another show here.

Just great… It’s what, 11:00? Time to get back to the sanctum anyway.

I missed morning classes too. What am I gonna do about these Department-X people? They’re gonna wreck my life! (If some super-powered maniac doesn’t do it first!).

Warlocks Personal Timeline:

11 (Monday):    An early-morning “convenience store” robbery reveals the presence of a mind-controlling guy and an FBI investigator of the paranormal. Immersion in Desrae’s psi-field leads everyone to oversleep, whereupon a Department-X helicopter tries to kidnap Warlock (Leading to an encounter with an explosive bus, a mass rescue, the appearance of THE VOICE, an encounter with The Commander, and blowing up a building). Meanwhile, Robert was attacked by the Order Of The Firehawk, Desrae smashed her car while being kidnaped by an ogre – and the junior thug was snatched by the mutagenic slimes and attacked by poison-blowgun wielding rats. Warlock wound up having to explain to his mother, tricking the ogres to go after Desrae through the dimensional gates they’d been guarding, and gating them all back…

12 (Tuesday): Warned of an investigation, and with his items demanding constitutional rights, David spent the next few hours arranging conveniences and setting up a phony death for Robert, finding out that some of his enemies knew who he was, and were out to grab him, going to Ratman’s rescue against the slime and sewer-things, dealing with Dr Carlson and Dr Genos (again), creating a simulacrum to walk into the kidnapping attempt, rescuing people from a massive automobile accident, dealing with the kidnappers and Lestat (Desrae’s elder-vampire Sire), transforming and interrogating surviving agents, hiding his family, being threatened by Master Dao, and fighting an ancient lich-ninja. Afterwards, the Mayor called about an odd situation (Revealing that Cell Foe had been giving out his telephone number), David got a date for Saturday night, they timejumped back to fight a gang and rescue a kidnaped girl, encountered a hyper- fast alien, debated with David’s home computer, talked to his roommate, and fought a selection of supervillains who’d taken a football stadium and crowd hostage…

Is there anything else I’ve got to do this afternoon? Maybe call that shapeshifting fellow… It’s pretty unfair of Dr Genos to keep him locked up that way!

Well, that was a waste of time. He won’t trust me, he’ll only trust the “Daddy” who locked him in a cell. He doesn’t even want a book!

Oh fine, I’ll pipe in cable TV and put it under his control… At least that’ll give him something to look at.

I give up. Enough is enough. I’m going to take a nap.

Oh come on… I’ve barely gotten my eyes closed!

So what is it now, oh TV???? Orcs robbing a liquor store?????? On the “Video game preview channel”??????

ORCS?

ALRIGHT ALREADY! I’LL GO!

Jeez… Anybody?… Everybody’s asleep but Solamon. No – Desrae’s not here at all. Probably gone clubbing. Not available anyway…

Right. Lets pop over to the place.

So why isn’t anybody here? Oh. Right. The “Preview Channel. We’ll give `em a few minutes…

God. It really is Orcs. With a two-headed ogre.

You’re here, and you’ve conquered the place because you haven’t met any opposition yet?

The ensuing brawl was fairly short – and rather one sided… It did lead to David discovering that he was evidently better protected then he’d thought. It also led to turning a bunch of sleeping orcs and a two-headed ogre over to the police.

That would liven things up down at the station. The report basically read “I’ve got no idea!”.

Great. ANOTHER set of alien invaders. From another dimension this time. An AD&D Dimension. Just what we needed…

Blast Gary Gygax anyway.

Uhrrr… Oh, please. It’s two in the morning. It was midnight when I finally got to bed! Who is it this time?

LESTAT?! Ohshit… Better go out and see him. He’s not exactly a friend (I mean, for Christ’s sake, He/It eats people – even if he does seem to stick to the bad guys), but he’s sort of an ally… Solamon? You want to be moral support? Lestat makes me nervous.

Lestat was mostly interested in where Desrae was, and how she was doing – although he also seemed interested when he saw that David was actually a mage and fey – not simply someone using gadgets… He didn’t want to come in. Too many manitou. David would have offered him a snack – but apparently he was far past the point where he could just drain off a little psychic energy.

Maybe I need less sleep then I did before – but I’m still going back to bed for a few hours…

What’s that whining? Oh, FINE. I’ll fill up the dog food dishes, so shut up!

Jeez… It’s nearly dawn, and nothing urgent is going on. I actually got to wake up by myself.

The world is probably setting me up for something.

OK, so what have we been keeping on hold?

<<<LET-US-GO-AND-GET-A-SPACESHIP>>>

Alright, already, Mr Commander! TURN IT DOWN. Yeah, that’s right, I can yell in your head too… We’ll try to get one, OK?

They’re operated telepathically – but you’ve got to get inside and touch the panel to attune it? Hm. Maybe I can use mirror-magic to work up enough of a link for that.

Damn. It’s psi-shielded – so we can’t just grab it remotely… We’ll have to go and get it in person.

Yes, Robert – you can come. Just wait a minute, and I’ll put a disguise spell on you. You’re wanted by the police, remember? We’re trying to pretend you’re dead if you haven’t forgotten…

Yes Michael… I realize that you have no intention of missing out on a genuine spaceship!

Between mirror-scrying and telepathy, it was fairly easy to get a layout on the base and it’s security. It was tight – but fairly conventional…

Nothing Timewalker and Warlock couldn’t bypass or set off all at once.

Of course, that left getting everyone in there with the ship to leave – but setting off the fire alarm was reasonably effective… Everybody who was actually in the ship left – save for a pesky master sergeant, some sort of psychic guardian – and apparently on loan from Department-X.

He issued a lot of threats… It seemed that aliens (of one kind and another) had made attempts to steal the ship several times before. After some useless debate, the group managed to dump him through the floor, and got into the control room…

What do you mean It’s not responding?! You start to train your pilots in infancy – and you’ve been opening up new channels, and using your telepathy in new ways, and it no longer recognizes your mind-patterns? WELL, WE’VE GOT TO GET OUT OF HERE!

Stupid ship! I command you; LISTEN TO HIM… AUGH!

Forcibly attuned by David’s technomantic spell, the ship took off – at about six gravities – and without the compensation fields in place…

OOOFFF! OW! Waitaminute… Why aren’t I hurt? Are any of the rest of you… Never mind. Two guys who can take a fall from orbit, two in battle armor, and a werewolf. If I’m not hurt, they’re fine.

So where are we… We’re past the Moon? The drive engaged as soon as we left the atmosphere?

ARE YOU NUTS!?!

We are NOT going to meet your mothership out beyond Pluto! I don’t have a few weeks, my spell on the ship will wear off one hell of a lot sooner then that – and if you’re going to insist, I’m getting out!

I’ll FUCKING WELL WALK!

I DON’T HAVE TO BE REASONABLE, I’M SIXTEEN!

What would your mother ship do about the Zarkonians anyway? Blow-up-the-infected-cities? NO. We’ll handle the problem ourselves…

Turn this thing around. We’ll park it in the cave. I’ll get the elementals to enlarge the garage a bit…

We don’t want to get tracked… You’ve got a screen engaged? I’ll make a few diversion-spells and shields of my own…

Hi Dad! Where’ve I been? Err… I’veBeenOutStealing AnAlienSpacecraftFromASecretGovernmentProjectBecauseIt BelongsToThesePeople… What was that you were saying about the gear those agents had? It’s very advanced?

Perhaps wisely, Eric decided not to think very hard about spaceships and such… It was like Timewalker’s tricks. It made his head hurt.

I’m sorry Dad… I’m trying to get everything back to normal for you as fast as I can – but it might be a week or so.

I don’t think mothers life was ever quite as normal as you think it was anyway… Here. I’ll have the TV show you…

Food? There ought to be food. I stocked the place with quite a lot of groceries. So where’s… ROBERT! Go get yourself a deer or something! I’ll just make a shopping run. At least those agents had plenty of cash on them. About eight thousand total…

Well, I think it’s honest enough. They’ve probably blocked off my bank account by now.

See? Hmmm… I think I’ll shop someplace well away from this ATM.

Hey! I know where I can get a car! I’ll just buy a total wreck and fix it up like I did Desrae’s!

Sure, a hundred’s OK! (What the hell, it’s not like it was my money).

Cool. I’ve got a Corvette. Looks a little odd somehow… Timewalker? I used your specs… You’re afraid you got it a little off? They won’t actually be making this model until 2012? Oh, never mind. I’ll just say it’s a concept car or a rebuild or something.

10:00 and still nothing’s happened. Maybe Wednesday is superheroes day off…

There’s a special on me on channel nine? Now that’s sort of cool – but they don’t seem to be sure if I’m a good guy. We need some good publicity.

I think I know how to get some… I was planning to do it anyway as soon as things calmed down – but maybe it’d be a good idea to make a hospital stop right now. I ought to be able to heal quite a few people…

David decided to visit the big, “general”, hospital first. It had the highest percentage of charity cases. He hit the burn wards, the spinal cases – and children in general… He stayed a little over an hour – which was more then long enough to attract a media circus.

He answered a few questions while he was working…

It was magic – or something like it. He was masked because there were too many people after him already. He was stopping because he only had so much power – and he’d heal more people tomorrow if he could.

Then somebody started offering to pay an awful lot – up to 100,000 $ – for an interview.

TimeWalker said he could arrange enough time for it – if they had some independently powered equipment.

They did.

While the interviewer rapidly figured out that “The Warlock” wasn’t very old, and asked a lot of questions about who he was, they did get out a certain amount of information on Department-X, various supervillains and menaces, about what his abilities were – and how short of experience he was in using them.

You’d better broadcast this before someone tries to confiscate the tape. Yeah, I meant it about the people after me… Where to send the money? Err… <Azrael? Ask Ratman which is the the best of the charity-groups that take care of the street kids… He says that the Donavan Foundation is the best? Thanks> Send it to the Donavan Foundation for Homeless Children…

Yes, I’m serious!

I don’t really need it… No, I’m not independently wealthy! But a motorcycle suit doesn’t really cost all that much!

I think I’ll hit the DMV, and get my license, after lunch. I’ve got a car to use now…

Well, that was easy. I’ve got my license. I’ve got a sports car – and I’ve got a date Saturday…

All is COOL with the world.

I did promise… There’s a plane out at 2:00. I’ll just send the simulacrum… I’ll bet a buck that those Department-X idiots are stupid enough to jump on somebody that’s coming in voluntarily.

No takers?

They did… On the plane no less. (“Jeez, guys! Do you have the slightest idea how dangerous – and stupid – this is?”). David blocked their power-damper handcuffs (If only because they were interfering with the link), but let them chain “him” up…

He spent the trip making a terrible, childish, pest of himself… Sadly, none of the ones he could “read” knew very much.

In Washington, they drove around (In their new pink sedan) until they decided he’d gone to sleep, and then into (another) secret base hidden under the decorative pools of the Washington Monument…

David nearly laughed himself to death…

They promptly got him out (Despite his transferring all the chains to the agents “escorting” him), and tried to stuff him into a cell; a nasty, uncomfortable, cell in a long line of other locked cells.

He let them shove in an illusion and went wandering about…

Stupid asses. I was being cooperative, but can they go along with that? Nooooo. I think I’ll just shield myself against the alarm systems and go looking around a bit… They’ll have a hell of a time gassing, detecting, or stopping, a wooden golem in any case.

Huh. Lots of people. Bastards.

And they’re running all their security systems thru a computer too. Let’s just clear out that gas, set off all the alarms, open up the cell doors – and announce an exodus…

It went fairly well… Apparently all of the agents who were capable of dealing with Warlock were still on the way back from the west coast. With a little bit of magical backup, the other prisoners were quite capable of pulling off a mass escape. Unfortunately, this was just a holding center. Outside of a few items (Payroll list, the locations of two bases (The Northern Rockies in Canada and Key West), they usually transferred people too – and the locations a few random agents had in their heads), there wasn’t much information to be had.

Still, that left him in Washington.

He went to see that guy who’d given him his ID back in the helicopter. He wasn’t in – but his wife was not inclined to believe what her husband did for a living. Warlock told her all about it – and gave her the power to detect lies to boot…

Huh. Serves him right… That’s an idea though. Who else should I tell?

They’re supposed to be in charge of restraining the government… I think I’ll start off with the Supreme Court Justices.

He did. He gave telepathic data-dumps, and some basic psi-shields, to Justices, Senators, Representatives, and so on… He stayed away from the ones with shields, as they might either have already been influenced by Dep- X, or be alien infiltrators – but he still got quite a few of them…

Bugger. About 40% of them have shields of one kind or another. Well, at least the databurst and shields are pretty quick spells… I’ve gotten a couple of hundred in the last four hours. 11:00 (or 2 AM in Washington). The President’s got a shield… Still, he’s in charge. It might be worth a shot anyway.

Maybe I should try hitting a few reporters or something first. Just to make sure they talk about it…

David spent the next two hours visiting hospitals – that would attract some reporters, and do some good as well. It did… He fed them quite a bit about Department X.

Well, that should get the story out tomorrow. A few destiny spells will ensure it. The doctors and reporters had certainly gotten excited enough – and asked enough questions.

I think I’m about out of things to do here… Might be a good idea to stash the simulacrum someplace. Who knows when it might be useful again? It’s a root. I’ll just sink it in the ground someplace and put concealment spells on it. Maybe a preservation charm too. There are plenty of parks around here.

“Back Home” David found out about the guys from the Order of the Firehawk.

Robert? Let me get this straight… You’ve – killed – another – eight – people.

The game master called for a brief discussion with Robert’s player at this point. The player felt that removing the excessive violence from the character would spoil the fun – and therefore wasn’t willing to take the “control spells” (with their lack of an in-game effect) as an excuse to have the character change – or to role-play a character who wanted to be violent but was being restrained.

The rest of the players – and the game master – felt that a massacre specialist simply didn’t fit into a superhero game and the group had stretched toleration as far as they possibly could; if the character wasn’t going to change, he was going to have to be either brought under control or jailed.

Since the player still wasn’t willing to change Robert’s behavior, and didn’t want to play a jailed character, he made another character – and Robert was demoted from “character” to “pet” with every control mechanism and aggression-reducing effect stacked on him that the group could come up with.

Right… More binding spells. Commands, links, and restraining spells. Damp his adrenalin, reduce hostility, tone down aggressiveness… Everything-I-can-think-of-spells. Reinforced. There. That ought to do it… <Go on to bed Robert, I’ll see you in the morning>

Dammit. That’s what I thought last time! Maybe… That won’t work. Caging him would kill him. I’ll try a mirror divination and see if there’s anything else I can do that’ll restrain him… OK, I can make a quick restraining talisman for him to wear easily enough, so what else can I…

That’s SICK! I can’t do that to him, he’s a person, not a dog! He trusts me! He’s – He’s… He’s killed more then thirty people. Even if it’s not entirely his fault. The mirror says that this’ll help keep him from killing any more.

Oh God.

Maybe I can help him regenerate after he calms down… At least I can make sure that he doesn’t feel it, that he’ll never know.

Oh God. He trusts me.

David was sick several times – but he managed to do the job. He carefully added sensitive but functionless lumps of fatty tissue to simulate the original organs, blocked regeneration, made sure that Robert’s personal scent wouldn’t change, healed the incision, rebalanced Robert’s hormones – and cleaned up… With any luck, the boy would never realize that he’d been neutered.

Afterwards, David got to work preparing some of the magical gadgets he’d been meaning to make. Running on nerves, he was still up when everybody else started to wake up – including Robert, who turned out to be a lot calmer and more docile then he’d been before…

Oh God. If he realizes what I’ve done when he wakes up, he’ll kill me – and I couldn’t blame him. What else needs doing around here? There must be something! Lots of things. Anything is better then thinking about the fact that I’m a monster…

Hi, Robert! (GUILT)    HowAreYouFeelingToday? (GUILT) OK? A little bored? (GUILT!) HowAboutWeGoOutHunting? You’d like that wouldn’t you? (Oh hell… I feel like there’s a neon sign proclaiming “The Warlock Mutilated Me!” over him. At least he doesn’t seem to realize what I’ve done… What am I going to do if someone else does?).

COOL! An insulation-spell allows me to touch Desrae without blowing up! I wonder if I can throw a booster spell on myself to make myself more attractive to her? It’s worth a try! At least Robert’s not competing any longer… (GUILTGUILTGUILT!) I can’t believe I thought that… How could I be such a bastard…

Still running on nervous energy – and half giddy with fatigue – David spent the next few hours getting a lab set up for his older sister, finding equipment for his father – and getting his little brother set up with some writing equipment and a place to work. He even tried to inventory the rooms, given that there seemed to be far more then he’d ever requested… Workroom, garage, the personal apartments, kitchen, living room, library and computer room, several labs (Electronics, biochemical, and a machine shop), the kennels, service area, Robert’s meat locker, and one large cavern with a lot of greenery and a pool for swimming in… The storage closet with the guns seemed to be quietly turning into an armory.

Rather impressive considering that he’d just set up a basic magical workroom and storage area last week. All he’d really intended was a place to put a big mirror and work on enchanting a few things…

On one of his peripatetic trips through – the third time he’d asked Cathrin if there was something else he could get for her – she quietly tranquilized him and put him to bed. She recognized overstress when she saw it, especially in somebody she knew as well as David – and she’d gotten enough readings on his current metabolism and energy-balance to pull it off…

Now you’re sure there’s nothing else… Hey! That’s not fair! Just because I’m a little on edge, that’s no reason to tranq – tranq – tranquilize… (Thud)

(Terrible discomfort… Light? He was… Strapped to an ice-cold table? David tried to break free, both physically and magically, almost reflexively – but nothing happened. The straps were enchanted somehow. Something like the Earring. He suddenly became aware that he was cut off from his allies, somewhere where reality itself felt – warped – on an operating table, under a blinding light, and that he was being slowly vivisected – by his Mother, Sister, and Robert (Who was gleefully returning David’s treatment of him). They said they were sorry – but that they needed the data, they had to know how his powers worked, and there wasn’t enough time to be gentle. They, and their scientific friends, were “wondering how long he could actually survive this”.

David realized that no ordinary drugs could possibly knock him out about the time Timewalker materialized to pull him into a timebubble.

Things were getting really weird when someone poured enough water on him to wake him up.

GAAAH! <Gasp/Rattle/Thrash/Gurgle!>

Holy Christ!

Bad dream? At least it looked that way?

Yeah, you could say that.

You could say that the tax laws are a little complex too. Hmm… That was one hell of a powerful dream. What the hell is that whispering? (No, Michael. It’s nothing to do with your armor’s sound system, even if you can’t turn it off… Hmm… Technomancy didn’t work. Maybe a command-spell? HA! Gotcha! Technomancy didn’t work because the armor’s alive somehow! Alive somehow… Uh, Michael? Are you sure you want to keep on wearing it?).

Timewalker? You’re the psychologist… What do you think of this? Sounds a bit outre’, but you think that it sounds like some kind of warning? Maybe to look out for Department-X, for mother’s connections, for people/ aliens pretending to be my family, for my family, or…

NEVER MIND!

Wait-a-minute-here… That was way too detailed for a simple dream – and a warning has to come from somebody.

Right, Oh Mirror, WHO’S BEEN FUCKING WITH MY HEAD?!?

I Have? From the far future? (Geez. Centuries, and I don’t look more then a year or so older…) WHY?!?

I don’t want to answer that question?

DAMMIT! When I get to be me-then I must remember to kick myself for being such a pain in the rear for me-now and… TimeWalker? Do you ever get over the headaches?

What is it Cathrin? You’d like some information? I don’t have much… The spirits say I’m “Fey”. I think that means I’ve got a really powerful, self-generating, field on the mystic energy level.

I wish I knew what that meant too!

There isn’t much about the Fey on file? What “File”? In the “RACEMIND”?!? Geez, now THAT’s gotta be a handy talent to have. It’s only things that have been known to a LOT of people? Still…

Now who’s calling, Oh Cell Foe? ME?!? I’m trapped in an interdimensional vortex, and I’m calling myself to see if any of me remember how I got out of it? I can’t tell myself about any of this because it’s against the rules of the Timelords?

I can hang up on myself if I bloody well want too!

About then things really started coming unglued. All the major faults decided to let go simultaneously. The spirits “in” the sanctum said to get outside fast. They wouldn’t be able to hold the walls… Plus, by the way, there was someone outside waiting to see the Warlock.

Shockwaves? OH GREAT!

Master Equinox? What the hell?!? YouCan’tInterfereDirectlyButYouDon’tWantTheWorldTearingItselfToBitsSince You’dGoTooSoYou’reGoingToChannelYourPowerThruMeButIMust NeverTellAnyoneThat?

OK ALREADY!

So What’s??? There’s a giant asteroid coming towards earth and the crustal-plate elementals are hitting each other?!?! YOU IDIOTS!!! COOPERATE AND HOLD THE PLANET TOGETHER! (Geez! They seriously MEANT it when they said they’d lend me some more power… OK!)    Next we’ll need a really big kinetic damping spell. Maybe I can get the Solar Elementals (If any) to zap it – since it seems to be shielded against my touching it directly… WHY THE HELL IS ALL OF THIS HAPPENING AT ONCE!

Waitaminute…

Good God… That’s one hell of a big destiny spell. It’s trying to force every possible earthly catastrophe to happen at once?!?! NO!

Even with all the extra power – and every arcane trick that David could think of – it soon became obvious that David was losing. The best he could do without burning himself out was to moderate their effects… There’ would be widespread disaster, but it’d be manageable – especially if he could hold onto the power for a bit, and use some spells to help everybody out.

The way things had been going – and the way TimeWalker talked – he couldn’t afford to be unconscious for long.

OK; While he had all the power, it was time for some serious – planetary-scale – spellcasting… A long-term “All-Revealing Light of Truth” spell (To let people see those pesky shapeshifters), a status-check spell (There were monsters in Tokoyo, the Elementals were fixing the crust, the asteroid would probably stop {?? – A ship or something??}, and there had been a lot of damage and many casualties), a massive repair spell, an equally-massive healing/revival spell, a failed attempt to enchant himself “Against that pest’s destiny spells!”, one to pull his mother out if/when she needed it (Apparently she did not at the moment… Whatever was going on with mother was looking odder and odder), a self-enhancement spell on himself (It mostly went physical for some reason), some basic Dimensional Barriers (To stop mass troop shifts – as in those stupid orcs), an attempt to get rid of/cure the Filoviruses (Ebola, Marburg, etc. Sadly, some utter bastard apparently blocked it), Creating a Really Great Wizards Sanctum, Locating (And collecting any that just happened to be accessible and/or laying around loose) any mystic artifacts which happened to be about, an attempt to stop the Crimson Bangle (Effectiveness unknown as of yet), an attempt at getting some background information on magical beings (Resulting in a sort of survey course in Paranormal Zoology), setting up an effective trouble warning/location system in the sanctum, creating a kind of arcane, contagious, “plague” to force the Zarkonians to shift (Fairly permanently) into non-sentient shapes, Legalizing and Distributing Pot (Considering the level of tension and chaos it seemed like a good idea – even if he hadn’t been a college kid from California), “Announcing Himself” (And letting everyone know that they shouldn’t count on this sort of thing; the circumstances had been somewhat unique), and Re-Stabilizing the Global Weather Patterns – which is when the power boost got withdrawn. Still, most of the things he’d done would last for many years to come – if not for decades or centuries.

God. What a RUSH.

Whaa??? Oh. Channel Nine. Look, I’m sorry, I’m busy, and I’m very tired at the moment! Maybe I’ll have time to talk to you later, OK?

OK, so if they won’t go away I’ll just go invisible. That ought to discourage them…

So where’s the sanctum? There it is. Everybody must be inside… Cell Foe says that “Haven” says hello? It seems to be alive, sentient, from some alien dimension, to have links like both Desrae and I (Good God…), and it’s surprised/angry/indignant that it could be dragged here and bound – as well as extremely confused about what these carbon-based things here are? Huh. Why do I have the feeling that it may be decades before I have a good idea of what all it is I’ve just done?

How did you guys get bound into statues anyway? The Sanctum did it? Just a minute and I’ll turn you loose.

Weird. The Sanctum seems to amplify my power vastly – as well as providing some new ones… At least it cut those elementals loose easily enough.

Oh God. All-revealing light. Robert.

Robert? Oh God. Don’t look at me like that! I had to! (God. He feels utterly betrayed… He’s going catatonic on me? It’s my spell after all, maybe I can keep his brain from really registering the information. Not good, but adequate for the moment. God. Everyone else is going to see it too. What am I going to tell them?

It’ll have to be the truth. I seem to have inadvertantly banned lying…

Michael put up the most arguement. The aliens could see both the power and the berserker tendencies. They’d have executed him, and everyone else could see the need for restraints, as well as the fact that David would’ve rather done almost anything else…

Caithrin? Why are you trying to sneak up on me with a needle? (Must be embarrasing to see yourself sneaking around that way on the TV…).

By the way, it looks like I’ve just abolished lying, at least for the next ten years or so.

Yes, I know just how big a mess that’s going to make in a lot of ways! I dunno how I’m going to maintain my “secret identity”…

(With the memories of an especially unpleasant dream going through his head, David put a little more “force” – and pain – behind his look then he’d really intended)

SO WHY ARE YOU TRYING TO SNEAK UP AND DRUG ME?!?

You’re not sure what I’m becoming and it might be very dangerous and it might need curing and… What if it was dangerous to the population at large?

Look… I don’t think any of that kind of thing will work on me anymore – and I don’t think I could be “cured” at the moment without it killing me.

As for the population at large, if I wasn’t this way right now, most of them would ALREADY be dead.

Lets go and see what’s happened to the Sanctum, OK?

The sanctum was WEIRD… It had it’s own, multiplex, consciousness, bizarre servants from alien worlds – and any amount of other weirdness. Unfortunately, there was little time to look around; one of the first things the group ran across was that “trouble-warning” system that David had tried to set up… Like most of those spells, the consequences were far beyond his understanding. It seemed to have a limited projective function. It showed the Warlock a few things that he hadn’t entirely wanted to know…

What is it they say? “No good deed goes unpunished?” That “light-of-truth” business is a bit out of control; Global riots. A lot of old lies are showing up as fakes – like most of the foundations of the major power bases worldwide. Revolutions, replacement, etcetera. At least Department-X seems to have blown apart… It looks like most of the major governments have been lying. Everyone always thought so – but now they KNOW.

At least it’s only people and politics – and not the planetary crust this time.

Master Equinox dropped by momentarily with a message – it seemed that David shouldn’t expect much help for a bit; One of the rift-realms greatest – and maddest – magi was making trouble; He’d made it two tiers further “up” then anyone else, was WAY more powerful – and didn’t care WHAT he was wrecking. He supported the no-intervention idea – even if it killed everyone… The rift-realm had too many worldgates. It was naturally unstable. While David’s goodwill was helping “hold the place together”, he didn’t think that David could really help much… Power in the realm was derived from a mix of raw magic, knowledge, intuition, creativity, and accomplishment… David was strong on the creativity and intuition bit, but he’d only been at this a few weeks. The rift-realm let mages surpass all ordinary limits (Although it did tend to make them a bit nutty).

Well… Hell. They helped ME. There really ought to be something I can do – but I just don’t have that kind of power!

I need a lever.

The rift-realm is devoted to pure magic…

Hey, Solamon!

Solamon was getting awfully fuzzy… Something about the light-spell was breaking down the mental “barriers” that kept him from being overwhelmed by his memories… Still, David copied his powers into a psychic matrix of mirror-magic and loaned them to “his” side in the rift- realm. They were different enough from magic that they might be some help. While he was at it, he copied them for himself too – and tried to help Solamon. On the plus side, the light spell didn’t reach into the sanctum and Michael now knew how to work his armor…

About then, the Commander telepathically “announced” that “THE FLEET WILL BE ARRIVING SHORTLY”.

WAIT A MINUTE! Which fleet? YOUR fleet?!?!? The one that was going to “Blow up the infected cities?”

You’re not going to try do that because “We’ve found an effective countermeasure”? The fleet’s coming in as fast as it can because you’re fighting the infiltration too, and you need to get a hold of the countermeasure as quickly as possible in case you can’t keep the “planet-eater” from destroying the earth?

PLANET-EATER?!?!?!?! That Asteroid? You’ve seen them before? This planet’s strategically valuable enough now to make it worth a try at stopping it, but you’ve never been able to before?!

Did you try hard?

I thought you were out of touch?!? You are, but you used a top-priority emergency signal and you’re sure that they’ll listen to you when they arrive?

What happens if they don’t?

SHITSHITSHIT!

David, completely overloaded for the moment, dithered briefly, and unconsciously elected to focus on a few of the more comprehensible and immediate problems, such as Robert, the ex-agents, and trying to get the Commander in touch wth the fleet while everybody still had some time to prepare if he couldn’t talk them around…

RIGHT.

Now waitaminute. Why should Robert feel so betrayed? He’s only been with us a few days… He knew we didn’t trust him to begin with, and one of the first things we did was bind him to obedience! OK, it’s a rotten thing to do to someone – but betrayed enough to go catatonic? How did a murderous werewolf I’ve hardly met, and don’t especially trust, suddenly become a “friend” I can feel such guilt over? He’s murdered thirty people. A couple of months – hell, LIFE – without sex hormones isn’t all that high a penalty!

It’s not even an unreasonable precaution.

Ahhh… Somebody’s laid a bunch of destiny spells, and a deep bond, to shove us together… I’m “Pack Leader”. He doesn’t want to fight. So. Somebody HAS been setting us up.

Now if only I could be sure that it wasn’t me.

The ex-agents were simple. They were fine. They were even beginning to adjust to being dogs. It seemed that they’d been conditioned to accept their circumstances, and obey orders, from an early age…

They’d also done enough seriously rotten things over their years as agents that David felt very little guilt about keeping them the way they were.

That left finding some way to get in touch with that stupid fleet… The easiest way would be to enhance the Commander’s telepathic range.

So. About this fleet… The scoutship we took mounts an amplifier doesn’t it? Maybe if I step it up, you can get in touch with the fleet…

Nope. Drat. Maybe with more telepaths and a bigger amplifier to work with? We can salvage those big ships up in orbit now – and they ought to have both aboard.

The salvage expedition was a definite success. There were six “blue guy” refugees aboard (The Zarkonians had tested and taken away almost everyone… It seemed that most of them were Zarkonians and had forgotten – or never known – it) and lots of large ships available… They took a medium-size cargo/medical ship (Only about 1/2 a mile long) and stuck it under the ocean, secured most of the others – and made sure that all of them were “infected” with the metamorphosis -plague…

On the other hand, the ships instruments showed that there were at least two alien battle fleets on the way. It also helped confirm the identity of the world-eater.

Azrael began to collapse on the way back. It seemed that he’d been a Zarkonian – without knowing it – and the plague-spell was taking effect. His telepathy and basic self-image had hidden the early effects… David tried – but the spell was too powerful- and too far along – for him to do more then make him comfortable… Checking on everybody else revealed that the supervillain with the energy-manipulating powers was also “going dog”. David spent some time transferring his powers into an amulet. It might come in handy later on… A dolphin might have been better (They had similar mental patterns) – but he didn’t happen to know any…

The super-strong-and-tough guy was just a mercenary. He could stay where he was for the moment.

The commander and cohorts got through to the fleet. It was fighting another fleet and a single ship (It didn’t have much of a chance – but it had a hot pilot and a wide field of fire… Given the rest of the confusion it was doing pretty well). They’d make it – but it looked like it was going to be an extended fight.

The stepup worked? You got in touch with them – and they’re willing to listen? Well, that’s one less worry on the list…

Momentarily dizzy with relief, David turned away. The room kept on turning even after he stopped – and promptly faded away into blackness. Even the energies of faerie and supernatural imperatives eventually give way before the kind of fatigue throwing massive twenty-first level global spells generates…

The Storm Diaries of David Mayseren, Fits the Fourth and Fifth

  • Monday’s Child is Fair of Face.
  • Tuesday’s Child is Full of Grace.
  • Wednesday we’ll be lucky if we ever get to…

Whaaaaa? Was that ringing? At (Urrr… 5:00 in the morning? Grrrr…). Phone. Who in hell…

You need some more power? Electrical and Magical? So does the TV? It wants a satellite dish and cable access as well? I did a very sloppy job on enchanting all of you? Oh, fine – but the cable access will have to wait a bit. Is there anything else? Can I go back to sleep now?

So Michael’s calling… Why isn’t he here? He was thirsty – and we haven’t got running water? So why is he…

You’re at the little convenience store a few blocks outside the park entrance and the place is being robbed? By a gang of about 30 people? Heavily armed? They’re shooting at you, you’ve got the force field up – and you just got the comlinks figured out?

Solaman? You teleport… Could you pop over to (Er, map, map… Here), and check on Michael? There’s some kind of big robbery going on.

(–Pop–)

(Yawn… God, I’m tired… That ought to…)

Waitaminute… Why in the name of god would thirty people be trying to rob a convenience store? That’d be overkill for a major bank!

Oh hell. We’d better go look.

(–Yawn–)

Meanwhile, Solaman had stepped out of time, and hiked over to the place… The store was packed with people, all of them armed, all of them looking a bit blank – and all of them shooting at Michael/Xenomorph. They didn’t seem to have anything else in common…

They also didn’t pay much attention to his attempts to settle things down – until he moved out of time and took away all the guns.

They promptly fell unconscious.

Zarquan’s Quickie Mart?????

Well… I guess it does have the virtue of being a bit hard to forget. Now what…

Now that’s weird… All kinds of different people. Even an FBI agent. Azrael? None of them remember anything about this? Their memories just go blank earlier this evening?

Great. Mind-controlled. Nobody here but victims. We’ll never be able to get that through to the police. Timewalker? Could you scatter them around in some safe places to wake up? Good. Hm… Just leave the FBI guy. He was looking for paranormal phenomena… Here’s one for him. I’ll leave a note.

The police were not happy with Warlock’s rapid-fire “explanation”… On the other hand, it looked like the word was gradually getting around. Warlock only had to wipe away a few memories – of them spotting Robert Lee making himself a hoagie. (He was kind of wanted.)

Back at the sanctum, the TV had a show for Micheal; “The Family Channel”. His mother, on a plane, worried about him, and dealing with some highjackers along the way. It seemed that somebody named “Lothar” had heard about him and his friends?

That didn’t seem like her at all.

Monday, everybody overslept… Sealed away from any other disturbance, Desrae’s enhanced psychic field – and simple exhaustion – led everyone to sleep both deeply, and late… They didn’t wake up until fairly late in the afternoon.

Michael finally managed to get out of his armor – and settled down to doing a lot of eating and drinking.

Warlock went home to see his mother… She’d wanted to see him about something.

Desrae and the junior thug went clubbing… He saw a great opportunity to do some sponging.

Timewalker decided to stay in the sanctum and monitor things a bit. He wanted to get a little more famalier with this timezone before he went out.

The TV decided to help him out. This would get very weird later on. Azrael stayed “home” as well.

Robert went hunting…

On the way home a weird helicopter appeared just in front of Warlock, some sort of invisible binding field grabbed ahold of him and started dragging him in – and an overly-amplified voice started telling him to “come along quietly”…
He was not inclined to do so.

Whaaa!?! HEY! LEGGO! I will not come along quietly! (Probably some of Dr Genos’s guys again). Maybe I can force the helicopter down if I reduce the air pressure around the rotors…

Cool.

So I’ll crash too? We’ll all crash together then… (Drat. They aren’t going for it – and there’s no room to push the descent rate enough to scare `em. At least we’ll be on the ground.)

Actually, the helicopter never touched down… It’d landed on the top of a speeding bus.

A buncha guys in business suits and dark glasses?!?

No, I don’t believe you’re from the government! The Government would start off with identification!

If this is an arrest, what am I being charged with? “National security”!?!?

Look, can’t you go bother somebody else? Go arrest the Seer. He’s a bad guy – and I don’t have time right now!

I’m wanted for questioning? So what is it you want to know? (Maybe about the alien invasion?)

You haven’t got your instruments here? (Oh No. I’m not about to disappear into some sort of lab/prison! It almost sounds like they want to vivisect me! Don’t know what this fellow can do, but they’re holding onto me somehow…)

During the ensuing debate, one of the agents seemed to deduce that Warlock wasn’t very old, Warlock spray- painted everything pink, shut down every technological item in the helicopter, grounded out “whatever-it-was” that was holding him – and got handed an FBI ID to check out. Of course, anybody could fake an ID…

<Timewalker? Could you come and help me? I’m being kidnapped… Where? Well, look for the pink helicopter parked in the street.

OK, so I painted it.>

About then, David realized that they were on top of a bus, rather then on the ground, a spirit calling itself “The Voice” (Of truth, justice, rationality – and whatever) put in an appearance and threatened to tie the rotor blades in a bow – unless the pilots took it away RIGHT NOW – and Timewalker showed up…

With the solitary agent who seemed to have personal powers entangled in a psychic struggle with The Voice, Warlock and Timewalker tried to simply leave. This did not work out; trying to get the driver to stop the bus revealed that he was afraid to slow down – someone had threatened to blow up the bus if he did…

You’ve got to be kidding. A secret government group tries to grab me, and I force their helicopter down on top of a bus that’s rigged to explode? So where’s the bomb?

Someone’s made the bus itself into some kind of explosive somehow? That’s RIDICULOUS!

OK. Fine. Wecanhandlethis. Lets put the passengers in the helicopter… Timewalker? You know how to drive this thing? Great! (Look – We have to put everybody on your helicopter because this bus is rigged to explode. Yes, I KNOW that’s absurd!!! It’s been going like this for days now, it’swhyIhaven’tanytime, JUST TAKE THEM!)

Well, I’m not the one who’s spent the last ten minutes fighting a mental duel with a belligerent sprite!

Not enough room? I’ll have to bail out and use the feather-fall spell on the last few… Jeez, why are you trailing along? How do I do this? How the hell should I know! I’ve only been at this for a couple of days!

OK… We need a big empty field or something. DAMN. Nothing within a reasonable distance. Maybe a nice, big, condemned building to crash it into? One they’re going to blow up anyway? There. About six miles away. Head for it…

Timewalker shunted himself, and the entire bus, about five minutes forward in time. It would give the others time to find a route and to clear the way. “The Voice” turned into a huge (And extremely silly-looking” pixie” type thing, Warlock threw in some siren-spells, and that FBI agent used some gadget that turned all the traffic lights green…

Warlock went on ahead… The place wasn’t actually scheduled to be demolished until tomorrow; there might be somebody inside. Besides, some illusion-signs would help Timewalker find the place…

Three street children? Oh fuck! No time. {Sleep} I’ll drop them off down the block… Anybody else? On the top floor? Damn!

Up on the top floor, Warlock found someone who knew that the place was due to go, but who seemed less then familiar with a lot of ordinary things, and who seemed to “flicker” slightly at the edges of your vision…

Warlock tried to haul him out of there FAST – and got stopped in his tracks by a telepathic override.

Weird. What’s a bus? A bus is kinda like those cars down there, but – NEVER MIND! We’ve gotta get out of – HEY! How’d he… He seemed to change as I came in… Maybe a Zarkonian? Nah. It seemed more like they way Azrael makes my eyes water when he pulls that…

Hey! Azrael! If this is one of your guys, tell him to stop fooling around, we’ve gotta get out of here!

What’s that? Lessee. You’re glad you’re not alone, but sorry it’s not a girl – and you’re annoyed that he outranks you?

WE’LL TALK ABOUT IT LATER!

Despite the Warlock’s shielding spells, the mass of the building, and Thorn/”The Voice” growing to 50 feet tall and using his body to contain the blast, there were some serious injuries – and quite a lot of damage to the surrounding buildings.

They spent some time cleaning up… Warlock healed people, The Voice (Who seemed to be basically an earth elemental with a human mindprint) propped up and fixed buildings – and Timewalker went back to the sanctum to keep an eye on everybody…

Warlock and the police (when they showed up) kindof ignored each other until everybody had been patched up – at which point one of the senior officers at the scene told him to “Just get out of here… GO AWAY”. The FBI guy was still hanging around – although he was still a bit nonplused about Thorn/The Voice turning back into a tiny sprite, and going off to try and figure out who’d rigged the bus… He decided to simply give Warlock a plane ticket, and tell him that if he didn’t come in for an interview within two and a half weeks he’d come and get him anyway. Sadly, Thorn’s expedition simply led to the city bus terminal.

Elsewhere, Robert had been targeted by the Order Of The Firehawk – apparently some group which hunted down supernatural beings. Unfortunately, the seemed to feel that all supernatural beings were malevolent, and used silver knives that could turn their own powers against them.

Whether fortunately or unfortunately, they weren’t really ready for Mr Robert Lee, or for Timewalker, who went to his assistance. It wasn’t easy – especially after Robert went berserk and it turned into a massacre. Even a bunch of highly skilled archer-warriors were no match for a martial-artist werewolf, although they did manage to temporarily overload Timewalker’s abilities.

That meant he couldn’t intervene when an Ogre grabbed Desrae out of her car (Which got totaled), or when a suction tube made from slime sucked the thug (Desrae had refused to associate with him any longer) into the sewer system…

Desrae, rather worried about Mask, started draining the ogre – but it didn’t seem to have much effect. It hauled her off to a cave anyway; to meet it’s brothers and get tied up… “Pret-ty La-dy”…

The thug was confronted with talking mutant rats, and their slime-controlling “king”, his servants and their various minor talents, and a lot of rats with blowguns and poisoned darts. He managed to avoid being dinner – but had no idea what to do when the surviving rats started to surrender and worship him… They were afraid of the alligator-men, and wanted him to protect them. He wound up taking a nap in the slime (He was exhausted…) – and it promptly started mutating him into a giant rat…

He was very unhappy about it when he woke up.

Hi Mom! What’s up? Schools doing all right… You were worried about me? Why?

One of your colleagues saw my name on a list??? For possible investigation by a special department??? Sort of like the “X-Files”??? (Oh boy…)

I’m not on the top, and she’ll try to get me off the list – but those are bad people to get involved with?

I “haven’t been doing anything that might get their attention somehow?”

Errr…

David, have you been up to something?

Errr… Those would be the guys in the helicopter, with all the weird gear? (“Yes… WAITAMINUTE! They tried to pick you up already? What could’ve got their attention that fast… and you got away?! HOW? You’re not an alien or anything… I know – I was there!”

Well; It started with the dragon showing up for the game… (No I haven’t been taking anything funny – and I haven’t been playing the games too much… And it’s not flashbacks or anything!)

See?

Mrs Mayseren got the whole story… She found it a bit hard to believe – especially the bit about the bus and the explosion – and the vampire and werewolf. She told him to try not to get into trouble – and left for the airport back to the east coast in a great hurry.

In the meantime, Desrae had used her power to “turn into a mist” to escape the ogres – but took the wrong exit from their transdimensional cave, and wound up in an alternate world. She took refuge from the sun in a hollow tree – and used her link with Mask to call on her allies for help – before she slipped into her daylight slumbers…

Mask went and got the Warlock – and Thorn, who’d used his tracking powers to locate one of those interesting people he’d seen… Tracing Desrae proved pretty easy. The great big footprints were a dead giveaway.

What do you want Mask? We’ve got to go save Desrae? Don’t tell her you got killed? (WHAT?)

The ogres took her?

Ogres… Only four hit dice. Right. Waitaminute. They grabbed a vampiress?

No, I’m not good to eat… I taste awful… Where’s Desrae? The pretty lady? She turned into a cloud and left? Through one of the doors?

Oh boy…

Good Lord. This place is some sort of nexus! A gate to other worlds. Desrae must have gone through one of them. Great. Maybe if I anchor myself here, and then follow her, I’ll be able to pull us both back through. It’s worth a try…

Cool. Weird, but cool. Now where… You can track people Voice, where’d she go? Sunlight isn’t good for vampiresses…

We should “look out for the things that eat Ogres”? They come out after dark? With any luck, we’ll be out of here then… Thank you uh… Mr Tree.

Warlock and the Voice waited out the afternoon – woke up Desrae – and got the hell out… Even with Issilor’s ring, Warlock could barely manage it; despite Desrae’s apparently limitless confidence (“You’re a mage aren’t you? Just poof us there!”)… It was a very good thing that he’d thought to leave an anchor.

Meanwhile, Timewalker had recovered – and was back to watching the TV – Robert had eaten a deer, and gone back to sleep, and the Junior Thug had woken up and gone to deal with the alligator men – as well as to find a way out. He killed a lot of subsapient alligator-things, but couldn’t find an exit. “The slime” didn’t want to let him go…

Great! We’re back… So what’s wrong now? Your BMW got totaled? I’ll see what I can do with it… Maybe a series of repair spells?

Cool. She nearly kissed me. It might’ve been worth the explosion…

I’ve got to figure out that insulating spell.

What’s been happening to the thug? I’ve just gotta see it on the TV? It’s funny as hell?

Well – It fits him.
I suppose we’ll have to go and get him back… What if we can’t change him back? Do we really want to wind up associated with “RATMAN”? He was bad enough before!

Meanwhile, Desrae’s thirteen-year-old kid sister, and Robert’s young cousin, had gotten pretty curious about what was going on…

Remember; Shapeshifting runs in families.

Amd so do the psychic potentials which allow people to survive becoming vampires…

Robert’s still asleep? Good!!! At least he hasn’t gotten into any trouble. Desrae? Asleep again? But she just slept for… Oh. Sunrise. Tuesday morning… I think I’ve got “Dimension Lag” or something. At least I took a nap while I was waiting for sunset under that talking tree…

So: Mother called to say something about some sort of an investigative team, and wants to be called back. The TV wants to talk to me. The phone and some of the other objects want recognition and rights for sentient objects written into the constitution (OK, next time I have a chance to amend the constitution I’ll take care of it), and my home computer wants to discuss a business contract with me – and says I should bring a mainframe?

Not to mention that we’ve gotta go and rescue Ratman.

Urghhhh…

It’s too early to call mother… and the TV doesn’t seem to be too talkative at the moment. Solamon left a note saying that we shouldn’t try to go after “Ratman” for a few hours… Well, it’s not like there’s nothing else to do around here.

Besides… I think I might have a way to get those pesty ninja guys off Robert’s back; what if I can make the people who hired them think he’s dead?

Warlock spent the next few hours arranging; running water, waste disposal, electricity, a remote cable and satellite connection (He tapped into the rangers), and various other necessities for his sanctum. He also used some protein mush, magic, and Robert’s regenerative abilities to grow and tan a “spare skin” – a bit of “evidence” of Robert’s “death” to send to his school…

What’s up Michael? You think that my powers include something that really attracts girls? (Cool!)    Because Julia told you she wanted to go out on a date with me, and asked you to have me call her, she’s free Saturday night?

At least there won’t be an explosion…

Mother should be in her office by now!

The phone call was… odd. There was this low buzz in the background, the voice sounded a little off, her tone was far too emotional, somebody tried to trace it back (Cell Foe diverted that to the bottom of the Marinas Trench somehow), “she” sounded rather like a man – and kept trying to find out exactly where he was. She said there was some sort of investigation going on – and that she’d fly back and see him personally at 5:00.

Well… SHIT!

OK… Presuming that that really wasn’t Mother, all that interest in exactly where I was sort of indicates that somebody’s after me – and that they could get there fast. If they’re tapping mom’s line, they’re probably keeping an eye on the house. I could try to warn Dad, but I’m not even sure that there’s a threat, much less what it might be, it might do more harm then good, and I’d have to try to explain what was… and that mother’s a secret FBI agent… and how I knew… and try to get him to believe what’s been going on (Hah. I’ve been living it, and I don’t believe what’s been going on), and…

TOO FUCKING MANY IF/MAYBE/BUTS!

SHITSHITSHIT!

Maybe Timewalker will get back… I think maybe my best option otherwise is simply to be an “unsuspecting kid” and just show up… I’ve got help nearby, and it might be nothing much…

Damn.

Well, at least it’s late enough to go after Ratman.

Yeech.

Down in the tunnels, Ratman had found the Alligator King – and engaged him in conversation… He seemed to have been a stockbroker before the slime got him – and he didn’t really want to fight – even though something was making him feel like he ought to. They decided to combine their power over the slime, and to try to escape instead. If they couldn’t do it alone, they could try to recruit the Slug King and the Bat King as well. Back on the surface, Robert, David, and Azrael, had picked up a diagram of the sewer system and were on their way…

Ok, this is where he got sucked down. Right in the middle of the street. How very inconvenient. You don’t like the look of it either, Azrael? Well, you can keep us in touch from here – and that way you can field stray questions…

Well – a few “Men At Work” illusions ought to cover it. Yes, Robert – I’ll keep it out of your fur. A good slimeshield spell seems like a fine idea anyway…

(Disgusting… It looks like a big throat!)

Huh. Shut tight. Robert? Would you? Yeeech… Slime all over the street. (Sorry Azrael! How was I supposed to know that the sewer could vomit?). This way… Boy his this stuff got a weird aura to it.

There you are! So what’s with this fellow? You both want out? Fine – but I think we’ve gotta do something about this slime stuff…

After a brief discussion the the group went looking for the Slug King – and the center of the slime… It was a very nasty trip. They also had to evade talking, poisonous, guard-slugs, cleaner-slugs smoothing slime, and random garbage… At the center was a big, clean, and somewhat overheated room cut into the bedrock. It was occupied by a lot of equipment – and a man in a suit sitting behind a desk.

OH GREAT! The first guy who recognizes me, and it’s a guy who lives in the sewers!

Yes, hitting you is definitely an option! It kindof depends on what you say and do, so WHAT’S GOING ON!?

You were running an experiment on the slime-stuff – but Hardin Inc. refused to mass-produce it because all the test animals died within a month, even if they did show signs of vastly boosted intelligence. You got an offer of funding, you took it, got set up down here, and went to work with some “suggestions” from your backer; Dr Genos. (OH, NO!) It got away from you, sealed you in, and left you with nothing to do but watch TV and try to figure out what was going on. You have a phone, but it only connects to Dr Genos – and you’ve been reluctant to call him until you understand what’s going on.

Well, THE SLIME-STUFF HAS BEEN SNATCHING PEOPLE OFF THE CITY STREETS, you IDIOT! HAVE YOU GOT AN ANTIDOTE?

It’s only stays out of here because of the heater and the dehumidifier??? You have a counteragent – but the stuff has changed a lot? Give it to me, and I’ll try to enhance it…

Enhanced, the counteragent worked – on individuals. Not an infested sewer system… Warlock called in the other people who’d been mutated, and treated them (There were sixteen) – while Dr. Carlson raved at Dr Genos… Unfortunately, they couldn’t think of any way to handle the slime – and it would just keep grabbing people until they got rid of it. At least they could clear it out of the exit corridor and get the victims out.

Interrupting Dr. Carlson revealed that Dr Genos had a countermeasure – but it’d kill most of the creatures who’d been exposed. He was willing to improve it – but he wanted something in return; An opportunity to run a few tests on Mr Robert Lee. A full scan of a natural shifter could be quite helpful to his experiments. It took him a few minutes… Apparently the slime wasn’t exactly what he’d given Carlson any more – and getting enough of his new counter ready would take a few days.

OH NO! I’M NOT GONNA LET SOME GUY POKE AT ME UNLESS YOU’RE THERE TO KEEP AN EYE ON HIM!

“I don’t like it much either Robert – but I haven’t any other ideas! Has anybody got another idea on how to get rid of the stuff without wrecking the city? No? Hell…”

They told him all right – and he sent around a lab-in-a-truck and a sampling team… David knocked Robert out for the bits that would’ve been painful, and it only took a few hours…

“Don’t worry about it Robert. I’ll watch them”. Hm. Some neat Technology. At least ten years ahead on the computer stuff… Some “Psi-Based Technology”? How on earth would that work? Ahh. Thought so. Trying to scan at me too. That wasn’t part of the deal – so he’s got nothing to complain about if I block and erase it…

Actually, the tests were fairly straightforward, if repetitious. They wanted to run most of them at every step in his shapeshifting process… Fortunately, they were done about noon – just in time for them to attend a massive car pileup. Whether luckily or unluckily, at least one guy with a videocamera was around.

It took him almost half an hour to get everyone out and healed… At least the illusion-disguise he’d put on Robert was still running. He was very helpful about lifting smashed cars.

The police just cooperated. They were even obliging enough to keep the reporters out of the way.

(Non Igni!) ShiftThatCarWorstCasesFirst! OhGod, Half HisFrontRibcageIsShearedOff. TryAnyway… Nobody’sDead Yet. MaybeICanKeepItThatWayIfIKeepSnuffingFires…

Next? Aren’t any more? (Whew!) Good. Look, fellows, I just don’t have any good answers for you! Err, Well, it’s like this…

David tried to explain a few things – and then made the mistake of mentioning the slime. He’d thought that it might be a good idea to get out a warning until Dr. Genos had it cleared up, but the reporter’s were a bit torn… It’d be a great story – but people would panic and others would rush down to see… The second reporter looked at his torn colleague – smiled a bit, made some comment about reporting responsibly, and magically wiped the first one’s memory of that bit… “Being reporters doesn’t necessarily make our judgement any better then yours Warlock”.

Urr… Right. I’ve gotta be going.

12:30. About four hours until I’ve gotta walk into something-or-other…

Wait a minute… I’ve got an idea. I’ll need a few ingredients though… One of those “occult speciality” shops has gotta have a mandrake root… I’ll send in a simulacrum!

Along the way, David had to stop for cash, two pig- faced green demon-things popped in, said “Damn! Wrong Continent!”, and vanished again – and Michael tried to practice sneaking up on David and Robert, but couldn’t get the sound effects generator to turn off…

The Professor called – to announce; “I remember who you are… I have a lot to do right now – but someday I’ll be back!” (“Why?”) “VENGEANCE! (Click)”. Azrael and the Commander pestered David into scrying for a ship, and Warlock settled down to constructing a simulacrum he could channel a part of his power through…

Huh. Vengeance? For what?

Oh great… There’s one handy, but it’s in the navy construction yard, stuffed into warehouse 36. Great. Even if we manage to grab it somehow, we’ll piss off a major department of the government!

Cool. The Simulacrum bit worked! (For that matter, so did the extra memory chips I put in the phone. How did it manage to do a voice comparison anyway?) It’s a bit clumsy though…

Robert? Would you play reserve? Thanks…

Something’s bloody wrong. Dad’s nervous, he’s trying to get me to go away, and somebodies shoving something into his back. Let’s try and pull them out… Joseph’s upstairs? In his room? Why don’t I take him down for Pizza?

A dozen of those agent guys with weird weaponry? But they said they’d wait a week! (I think it’s stun stuff – but I bet this would REALLY hurt if I was really there). Well – lets collapse… Maybe they’ll haul “me” inside so I can see what’s going on…

Dammit! That one recognized that it’s a fake – and blew the head off it (Owww! Fuck! Not real, but Still. Bother. Now I can’t see… Maybe a scrying spell?).

Now who’s this? He’s smoking in the sunlight and his clothes are centuries out of date… Seems to fit the description of the guy who “sired” Desrae… Hell. He seems concerned. Maybe a darkness spell? Thanks, but it won’t work? You tried that sort of thing centuries ago, and it doesn’t work for you? OK… Yes, I know I’ve looked better! Maybe I can regrow the head… That’s a lot better. Yes, I’ve got family inside… You’ll distract the agents while I get them out? Deal!

Holy God! How can anything more that fast? He was through the door so fast I couldn’t even see him move!

David went through his brother’s window just as the screaming started downstairs…

There’s some fucking bastard ready to shoot Joseph? He’s only ten! <Corpus Humanis Mutis Corpus Canis!>

Don’t growl at Me, or I’ll leave you at the pound!
<Leash>    Yeah, “Whimper” is about right, asshole…

No, we haven’t time for you to write about this!

Warlock headed downstairs invisibly. “Lestat” had already killed eight men – and was moving too fast for the three remaining to hit… Eric was in shock. David threw some protective spells on him – but even warping time didn’t let him spellcast fast enough to drop more then two of them before Lestat killed the third and left in a blur…

Holy God! Dad?!? He’s OK… In shock a bit, but OK. God. The place is a massacre zone… Not as much blood as I would have thought. Lestat must have drunk a lot of it…

God.

Robert? Could you escort them back to the sanctum? I’ve got to clean this up a bit… “Just Vanished” is a lot better then “Slaughtered”… No, I didn’t do it, and I’m not proud of it!

Police? Hell! I’m not quite finished yet! <Forget!> <You don’t see anything!> Good… It worked. I guess the commotion was loud enough to reach the neighbors.

Right… That’s everything. No bullets, no bullet holes, no blood, no bodies – lots of odd gear, but I’m taking that along to check out… Along with the two I managed to KO (Plus the dog). The shield-spells and the rock should block any tracers…

But what the hell am I going to do with the agents?

I’ll just keep them asleep for a while… I’ve got to try and locate Andrea and Cathrin… They might be in danger as well.

Can’t find mother… Maybe she’s just out of range. Washington’s quite a stretch. Cathrin’s at work at the University… I can just call her.

Cathrin? It’s David… Look, we’ve got something of a family emergency… I can’t come over because of the security? How about I meet you in the parking lot? As soon as you can.

It took 26 minutes. Cathrin wanted to know what was wrong… She was being followed by a pair of agents, and so David told her he’d explain on the way…

He told her about the snatch attempt, and that he had Eric and Joseph hidden in Fern Park (Where’s that? If this as another one of your practical jokes, I’m gonna kill you David!).

“If this is one of my jokes, I’ll kill me!.. Those agent-guys are following us… Turn here!” David threw an illusion on their car and a passing car…

There. They’ll follow that one. “David? How did you do that?” I cast an illusion-spell, I’ll explain later – just turn into the park and drive up to that wall…

“You’re sure you haven’t been playing those fantasy games too much David? Do you think you’re Batman?” “No – look, I’ll explain in a moment, OK?”

Back at the Sanctum, Eric was recovered, and it was time for explanations. Fortunately, Eric had seen some of the film from the studio and wreck on the news. That made it a lot easier… Unfortunately, the proceedings were interrupted by the T.V.; It seemed that a trio of “Supervillians” had taken over the football arena, and were holding everybody hostage… One football player and a cameraman were already dead. They had a bomb – and wanted a lot of cash, and the release of six paranormals from secret federal detention. They were giving the authorities till dawn.

It looked like one semi-metallic brick, one energy- projector, and a martial-artist type (At least according to “Champions”…). There might be somebody off-camera giving orders as well…

Great. Just great. Well – we’ve got all night to do that. I’m gonna interogate the dog first…

Stubborn, huh? Desrae?

About 1200 agents and lots of cash? SHIT. No… It wasn’t me. You ran into an elder vampire. Yes, they’re nasty. Lots of trained (if very low-powered) psychics? “Q” determined my identity, and put a high priority on me? They’ve been tracking power-bloodlines for generations? Great. I’ve gotta set up some remote entrances for the sanctum…

So why aren’t you surprised about this Joseph? You want me to read your book; Man Into Magus; The Life Of A Teenager (!?!) A lot of your writing turns out to be about someone you know, even if you never know who?

I can’t find mother… If you get anything on her, please let me know about it, OK?

About that time, the special ninja squad (Based out of Los Angeles?) showed up to get Robert… There was a big fight with the ancient lich-ninja who could find the sanctum. The group won, but only managed to banish him… They did get some of his gear though.

Right. I’ve no time… They’re all gonna wake up as dogs. Desrae can question and drain them a bit. Hell. They were willing to shoot at Joseph, they bloody well deserve to be dogs. I’ll make myself a kennel!

Warlock is getting a bit stressed out here…

Right… So now we’ve got some cages.

Now who’s calling…? My computer? But… I haven’t even been back to the loft! How could my computer get enchanted?

It doesn’t like my roommate… It thinks he’s a bad guy because he feels creepy (OK, I can’t disagree with that), he wears black tights (?????), and he keeps odd hours. Er, well, I suppose we’ll look into it… (Why are all my appliances buggy?). You still need a mainframe?

So what else is going on? (Besides the mass hostage situation… Arghhh… What the hell are we going to do about that?). The TV has a show about a girl Ratman knows? She’s been kidnapped by a gang? About an hour ago? (Oh great). Last, but not least, the city Mayor is calling??? (HOW’D SHE GET MY NUMBER? You’ve – been – giving – it – out… ToEveryOneYouThoughtOughtToHave It. AAAAAGGGGHHHHH!!!! YouThoughtIt’dBeOKSinceYou’reAutomaticallyDivertingAllAttempts ToTraceIt?!? ARRRGH! NeverMindNoTime! Put her on, oh “Cell Foe” (I begin to wonder if it’s serious about that!).

Everything out-of-the-ordinary that happened in the city went over the mayor’s desk – and there had been a lot of it over the last few weeks. Enough to convince her that, if her city had suddenly acquired a “superhero”, it might be worth going along with it…

Especially with whatever weirdness was going on out at the air force training center… Lights and noises, guards who acted semi-hypnotized, and a complete refusal to talk to the city police – or even to her – was just a “bit” out of place for a basic training camp…

The next call was from Julia… She had a couple of concert tickets for Saturday night, and she’d like David to go with her…

Pick her up Saturday night? Where am I going to get a car?

Oh, never mind! I’ll come up with something if I’m still alive by then! It’s only Tuesday…

Michael seems to have accidently teleported himself somewhere? Oh great! I don’t think he’s hurt, but it may take him quite awhile to get back… We’ll have to go without him this time.

All right already! We’ll got after Sarah first. It shouldn’t take too long, it’s just a gang…

Huh. Can’t find her now? Could be shielded somehow – or she might be dead. Damn.

We could go back and look? (Yes, Dad – he’s a time-traveler… Yes, I know that makes no sense! You seem pretty pale… Uhmmm… There’s a bed over there, OK?)

Leave us some margin… About an hour and a half?

Huh… Everything seems sort of stiff and sticky… Maybe something to do with being temporally displaced?

OK, she’s been snatched into this huge “warehouse”. It’s heavily guarded, belongs to the “Bloods”, and has only two entrances?

So we’re not just talking punks here. We’re talking major criminal organization… Just great. We need a diversion? How about an illusory drive-by while Ratman blows the door in?

Watch out, they’ve got automatic weapons and combat training?

Ratman? Do you think you could mention things like that a little in advance from now on?

WHAT THE FUCK!?!?!?!?!?!?

Please tell me that that one guard-punk didn’t just take off down the street fast enough to be trailing a sonic boom?

Please tell me that?

Well, it’s not like we’re going to catch him! Let’s get on with the normal punks…

Actually, dealing with thirty or forty punks wasn’t all that hard (Especially with the amount of confusion an illusory “Aliens/Predator” assault motif spread). What complicated things was that they’d been running a private roman-style arena – and had been snatching any necessary “volunteers” from among the street people.

They’d also been making tapes. Unfortunately, none of their “productions” were on the premises. Weapons and such, yes, but no tapes.

TimeWalker fixed that readily… It was easy enough for him to go and do some personal filming…

Then they called the cops.

What a look. Surely they can’t really be swallowing this “Predator” bit? It’s only a movie! Well, it makes for confusion anyway… Let’s go with the gag.

No! You can’t just swipe the guns and drugs and stuff! It’s evidence, we’re the good guys – and we don’t need any more guns anyway!

I bet he sprouts whiskers again inside a week, just on force of personality…

Hello? Yes, I’d like to report a drive-by, murder, kidnapping, drug possession, conspiracy, and quite a few other things… Could you send someone around? Here’s the address…

It took the police almost half an hour to respond – but it was hard to blame them, given the area… They were a bit bothered to find that the Warlock and company had called them – but had to admit that it served as a great reason for a search. They didn’t need TimeWalker to turn up any more evidence though… The videotapes, the drugs, the setup, and the weapons, were plenty…

I HATE this sticky feeling… Let’s get back to the time when we’re supposed to be, and maybe it’ll go away. We can check out my roommate…

WaitASec… I’ll shield Sarah against my scrying and the TV’s first… A few hours should do. That way we won’t interfere with our own decision to jump back and look for her… No paradoxes please… OK.

Well, he seems normal enough… (Shaddup Solamon!!! You can’t just ask people if they’re villains and peer into their closets! Yes, I agree, he gives me a creepy feeling – but he’s always done that! He’s a creep, it doesn’t make him a supervillain!).

OK; You need a mainframe to run your sentience core on, and you want some “metals” from the “Spirit Realm” to bring your magical powers online, and you want some crystals to bring your psychic powers online – and you need more power, and a bigger drive, and a…

Spirit Realm? Matrix Crystal? Sentience Coding?

You can’t be moved because the “access location” is important? My enhancement spells are much too limited to be of any real help?

What in the name of God are you?

Unfortunately, David didn’t manage to find out before fatigue caught up with him and he had to crash for a couple of hours.

Next up: Wednesday!

The Storm Diaries of David Mayseren, Fit the Third

Fight using Kadhara

Image via Wikipedia

And on the second day of the Chaos Storm, things got even screwier, and the characters spake onto the game master, “why us?!”. Once again, far, FAR, more time (several weekly sessions) went by in the real world than in the game…

About a week ago, Robert Lee, a fifteen-year-old martial arts student, had been sitting in the garden and thinking about what jerks the guys from a rival school were, when the full moon rose.

The next day he woke up naked on the school steps – and the rival school had been massacred. The ensuing complications forced him to leave Bangkok very, very quickly. He hopped a freighter “in disguise” as a big wolfish mutt. If he could make it back to the American west coast, maybe his father, Adrian, could help him – even if the man was a survivalist loony. This was just too weird…

OK, so this flight business is a great way to avoid the traffic snarls… I wouldn’t have thought that acquiring a decent set of prospecting gear would be so hard. It is California after all, you’d think they’d stock that kind of thing just for the tourists.

Oops.

Sorry man, I didn’t mean to land on… What are you doing with that phone booth? And with the guy inside? You’re desperate, you’re hungry, and you keep losing all your clothes when you turn into a dog?

Oh bloody HELL.

Look kid… Put his wallet back, I’ll heal him up, and you’re coming with me… (Sorry officer, but It’ll be better if I deal with this. Who am I? Why, I’m The Warlock! Stop snickering! Yes I’m serious!)

Well, that’ll make him take me a bit more seriously next time… I got nice and high before kicking in the invisibility spell. Jeez… Strong, tough, and shapeshifting. The kid couldn’t be a Zarkonian could he?

Nah… What would be the point?

I’m not gonna set him down though. If I keep him levitated, there’s no way he can hurt anybody – and he does seem to have some awfully violent tendencies.

I’ll call the professor… Good Lord. He’s eaten up all the steak in the freezer ALREADY. I’ll have to go and pick up some hamburger or something.

Now THAT’S an AURA. A giant wolf?!

I don’t BELIEVE it. I’ve found a werewolf. NOW what am I going to do?

At about this point, Adrian Lee parked his helicopter in the street outside and started banging… Well, Robert had called him – and Adrian had implanted a radio tracker before he sent him off. Some sort of government job he stole. Stuck itself to the stomach lining. David and The Professor eventually managed to get rid of him… Seeing his son shapeshifting was enough to set off all kinds of paranoia. Still, what were they going to do with Robert? However unintentionally, the child was violent, dangerous, and had killed at least twenty people in Bangkok. Putting him in one of Dr. Genos’s cells seemed a bit much – but the juvenile authorities would never be able to handle him.

Now that’s strength… I’m not sticking my arm near him again. I’d like to keep it attached! He doesn’t have any idea what he’s capable of does he? Wait just a minute… Wasn’t there something about Bangkok a few days ago in the newspaper?

KILLED TWENTY PROFESSIONAL MARTIAL ARTS STUDENTS?!?!

We can’t just let him go… I don’t think he really deserves to die – but… Hmm.

Control. He needs control – or at least we do. If he cooperates, maybe I can work a binding spell on him somehow. It’s worth a try.

Cool.

Having settled that, The Professor sent them out to get the boy some clothes… Preferably, at the rate he seemed to run through them, some cheap ones.

Meanwhile, Desrae was learning to adjust to her new status as a vampiress. Quarreling with her father was just the start of it… Still, adapting to a new role wasn’t much trouble for a theater arts major.

Unfortunately for them both, (As faerie and vampire), She and David bumped into each other at the mall. It was proving difficult to find anything which satisfied Robert – except army surplus. Survivalists…

Now Isn’t that Desrae? From college? The one taking acting courses… God, she’s lovely.

(Slip… Bump… BOOM)

Whaaaaat the FUCK!?!?!

OWWW!

Good thing I can work some healing magic… So what the – the – I can’t think of anything obscene enough – was THAT?!?

The ensuing discussion had to be put off until after they evaded mall security and some would-be protectors (AKA about one-half of the the local male population). Both David and Desrae could see that each others auras were extremely weird…

Besides – the energy flares which started going off whenever they got too close to each other made it just a bit obvious tat something weird was going on… The professor found meeting her very, very, interesting…

At least she only needed to drain some C’hi energy, not blood.

Great. Just great… The most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen. Bright, lovely, pleasant, and with a lot in common with me – and if we get too near each other we explode.

This really sucks.

Just to top the cake, on the television, they found THE CRIMSON EARRING (OK, so he claimed it was “the Crimson Seer”), had taken a studio hostage – and wanted Warlock to come and engage in a “test” of their mystic skills…

Just great. What skills? I’m running on guesswork here… He’s only giving me/us an hour. I guess we’ll just have to go…

So where is this place? Well… Hell. I’ll call and ask. Where’s the phone book?

What’s that Azrael? All of your ships are still in orbit – but they might have shuttled down? It’ll have to wait… We’ve got an immediate problem.

Hell. That’s sixty miles away. With traffic like it is every saturday night? We’ll never make it… Put the guy on. Maybe we can talk him into waiting.

Yes, I know it would be a lot faster if you had one of your ships Azrael… We’ll try to get you one, OK?

OK, so that’s not going to work. There’s got to be some way… Ebonflame? You teleport… Can you carry other people with you? You think so? Let’s go for it guys…

The trip through the dimension of darkness wasn’t a pleasant one… The “place” seemed to be the domain of primal nightmares. Azrael went down instantly. Master Dao poured power into his psi-shields – but the effort left him dazed.

Warlock, still too young for his mind to have fully sealed away the childhood fear of the dark, was warded only by his instinctive solar spell. Primordial night poured through the open gateways of his consciousness.

And passed. Unlike his elders, the Warlock had yet to forget how to fully awaken, to find the world fresh and new and full of wonders.

Unfortunately, the strain of taking the other three through his portal knocked out Ebonflame as well. That left David and the Professor to deal with “The Crimson (Whatever)”

Uhhh… (gasp… pant…) Gotta remember not to do that anymore… Fuck… Is that what happened to the kids he swallowed up?

Well, there he is. At least he doesn’t seem to have brought any thugs. The studio audience doesn’t even seem to be taking it too seriously. They seem to think it’s some sort of publicity stunt.

Thank god we beat the cops here.

<Ahhh… There you are Warlock. Sneaky aren’t you? What’s with the goody-goody bit? As another mage, you surely understand that there are times when… (As he leaned forward, the Seer took a closer look). You’re just a boy! No wonder! You’re still full of totally impractical ideals aren’t you? How long have you been at this? THREE DAYS?!?! Look, I only sacrificed three homeless kids – nobody wanted them anyway – and it was for the greater good…

You haven’t taken philosophy yet?>

The Professor had recovered… The studio had more then enough electrical power to draw on. He channeled it into a massive electrical bolt, beginning a curious combination of an arcane battle and a discussion…

(Warlock) “Cuerennos Invocat, Entra Canis Perdo!” (Seer) “LATIN? Why on earth would you use LATIN?” (Warlock) “Fulimenta Jove!… It seems to work!) The Seer engulfed Master Dao in mystic flames… (Seer) “OK; what the hell are those huge slobbering things?” (Warlock) “If they’re what I called, they’re the hounds of the wild hunt! (Seer) “THEY’RE WHAT?!?! I’ve been trying for years – and I’ve never been able to contact anything like that! Could you call them off? I’d really like to talk about this!” (Warlock) “As far as I know, they’re supposed to be unstoppable!”

It got even more complicated when Michael showed up and started shooting… First with bullets (Look, kid, I was expecting the police – did you really think that I wouldn’t be prepared for bullets?), and then with some sort of plasma beam… (General chorus; Whaaa…?)

(SEER) “Look, can I have your phone number?”

(Warlock) “On TV!?!?”

Meanwhile, the audience was applauding madly – as a variety of binding effects, disruption, flight, mystic energy, and kinetic spells went off. The Seer complained bitterly when the hounds started levitating themselves after him (“What, now dogs are casting spells?”) – and tried to teleport out… David, while he wasn’t really sure what the Seer was up to, tried to stop him. He threw a disruption spell. The resulting wild gate took them both… Master Dao swore in annoyance… Wizards. He’d probably get a call asking for the fare back from Stonehenge or Easter Island or someplace like that.

He scooped up Azrael (Evidently Ebonflame was still someplace in his dimension of darkness) – and went after the earring. It’d seemed so important to the Seer that he’d gone to a lot of trouble to knock it off… It’d gone through the wall into the parking lot.

Unfortunately, an enormously fat fellow in a pickup truck had already picked it up – been compelled to put it on – and was peeling rubber getting out… Master Dao gave chase – and ran straight into a skateboarding teenager who’d just barely dodged the truck. He’d never catch it hauling Azrael… On the other hand, this was the one place in town where an alien napping on a park bench would attract no attention at all – just outside the Sci-Fi channels studios.

Oddly enough, the teenager was using his skateboard – and a handy passing car – to pursue the truck as well. He got there first – and started yelling… Master Dao flipped aboard and tried to grab the earring. It burned his hand off… While he was still in shock, the teenager smashed the back of the drivers head in.

At nearly 90 MPH, this did not work out well… The fat fellow wound up “technically dead”, sustained only by the power of the earring. Dao and the teenager wound up fighting a duel of psychic energies… Dao won, and stashed Azrael and the kid in a hotel room before going back to await an ambulance.

Elsewhere, David opened his eyes – and regretted it very quickly…

Urrgh… Ok. I’m lying on a glowing pathway made of golden light, which drips endlessly into a black void. The sky is purple, and covered with strange flecks and twisty patterns – and the path slopes steeply upwards. There’s the Seer…

Well – I don’t feel dead.

Call it a truce? Sure… We fought and we wound up here. I’m not about to try it again at the moment. Up or down? Up I think…

OK, so it’s clicheic. Look at this place. Have you got any better ideas?

Why did I interfere with your spell? Didn’t I have any idea how dangerous that was?

No I didn’t… And as for “why”, well, we were kind of fighting, so I figured that whatever you were doing would probably be bad for us.

The Seer groaned.

It was a long way to the gate… Just an extension of the path really. With bars of blue light. Warlock and the Seer spent a few minutes tinkering, but didn’t get very far before that fellow in the black-and-white outfit showed up again. This time he stuck around long enough to talk;

It seemed that this was the “Path Of Ascension” – a way of initiation into the higher magics. Most mages didn’t come here until they’d had a century or more of self-teaching – and they might spend many centuries more here, learning, in the realm of mages at the bottom of the path.

“Magic” wasn’t something you did – it was something you lived.

He asked how Warlock and the Seer had gotten there, and listened to their stories – the Seer’s tale of a tower in an ancient cave, the books and relics it contained, and of his years of study.

Of Warlock putting on Issilor’s ring last week, and the ensuing confusion…

WAITAMINUTE! You know about this ring? Who’s this “Issilor” guy? What do you mean he must be dead “Or I wouldn’t be wearing his ring”.

He’s the only mage who ever completed his Ascension and got out? How long does this stuff take anyway? I gotta get home by Thursday, or mother will have a fit!

“Your arrival was an accident child… I think that I can send you back. Perhaps you will return when you have outlived your ties to the outer world…”

(POOF!) Oops… Police again. Would-be interviewers and “we’d like you to answer a few questions”… Look, guys, I really haven’t any answers for you! Which way did Master Dao go? Through the parking lot? I’ll never get through this mess…

Hey! I can levitate without casting a spell! Maybe it’s some side effect of taking a walk on that path… That place had been incredibly overcharged with magic. It was made of the stuff. Now where? I’ll try another mirror spell.

OK, the Professor’s in the hospital (OW! That must hurt unbelievably… Maybe we can regenerate his hand somehow?). Still, he’s fine for the moment…

Where’s Azrael?

Well, perhaps you could… WHY AM I ARGUING WITH A HOTEL DOOR!!! Come to think of it… HOW AM I ARGUING WITH A HOTEL DOOR! SHUT UP AND LET ME IN! (How??? Oh. Am I radiating that much magic? Can’t bind it in. Hey! Maybe I can shunt it to the workshop I was setting up! It might even be useful there…)

Cool.

Azrael?… He’s way out. Maybe I can work a mind- healing spell? Huh… I can, but not a very good one. Oh well, it worked. So who’s this guy? No idea? Lets wake him up and find out why Dao flattened him.

So that’s why. He’s a nasty little thug with power. He wants his skateboard. Never mind. I’ll conjure him one and put a tracer spell on him (in case we want him later). Let’s get out of here…

It’s a door. It can’t have much of a mind. Just zap it would you Azrael?

Warlock and Azrael flew… The junior thug decided to hitch a ride in a Porsche and visit the hospital as well. Who knows why… Once there, he started looking for things to steal, but at least his skidding, spark-throwing arrival made a good diversion from Warlock and Azrael dropping in.

Dao was in surgery to get his stump neatened up. They were having trouble anesthetizing him… He kept using his powers to block the drugs.

A member of the surgical team then proceeded to use his pocket-watch to knock out everyone else and turned into a janitor. It didn’t work on Dao – but, this turn of events did leave him throughly confused…

When Warlock and Azrael showed up, he decided to go and check on the fat fellow in ICU instead.

Up in ICU, the doctors were puzzled. The fellow had no heartbeat, no blood pressure, and a wrecked brain – but he was still breathing and refused to die…

Unable to get the earring off, Warlock and the others decided to try and patch him up so he could do it. That idea left them with a virtually invulnerable “earring-powered” zombie on the rampage. Warlock repaired the walls – and most of the patients – on the way out.

Look at that loon skidding in… I’ll add a display of sparks. That ought to divert anybody who might spot us landing…

OK; the surgical team is unconscious, and the patient is awake. Aren’t you getting a bit overenthused about this knocking people unconscious bit professor? It was the janitor? With a pocket watch?

Maybe I should try the mindhealing spell on him.

So where’s the earring? (Shut up! I don’t talk to surgical tables! I’d better work on that power shunt a bit more…)

Look, why don’t you quit arguing, let us in, and go sound the alarm or something?

Yuck… So what’s wrong? He’s had a massive heart attack, a broken skull, brain damage, various injuries – and his heart quit beating twenty minutes ago? He’s still breathing though…

Hell. I’ll try. It’s not like I could hurt him…

Oops.

Well that was a lousy idea… Sorry about the wall. I’ll fix it… Hell. I’ll heal everybody while I’m at it.

How are we going to stop that thing? We can’t just let it smash it’s way through a hospital… Well, just blast the earring loose again! All together now…

PROFESSOR! DON’T!… OHSHIT!

Overcome by curiosity, Dao tried on the earring. It promptly took him over – and teleported him away.

This was not good.

Oh boy… Maybe I can get hold of the Seer? After all, it’s his earring. Maybe he knows how to…

Blocked. DAMN

OK, so where’s the Professor? He’s crawling down a crevice in a cave – someplace where there’s a blizzard overhead. Can’t see a thing – but it feels like a long ways off.

Damn. I don’t think I can do anything.

I’m not even sure I ought to.

Maybe I can do something with that big mirror I was working on enchanting… I can’t get into the workroom because it thinks I’m the wrong person? I think maybe that I channeled too much power into it.

Now my phone is talking to me. OK – telephones are supposed to do that – but not by themselves. I’ve got to find a way to cut off the rest of that mana leak… It says that Michael is calling. Caller ID. How very convenient! I’d been meaning to get back to him anyway.

So what’s up? You’re calling youself “Xenomorph”, and you’d like to meet me at the pizza place? You’ve found your powers? (Oh boy… SO WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?)

Let me get this straight… You “found” a secret US government base in a sub-basement of that condemned old office building you were using as your base – and it was full of alien technology and a bunch of GI stuff – and a bunch of records dating back more then twenty years.

(What, are we living on a planet or a swiss cheese? I mean, if you count the little workroom I set up in a cave back behind the house (on the edge of Fern Park) that makes three secret underground bases in less then a week…)

So you moved all the stuff to your new secret base, and put the armor on. You haven’t got it all figured out just yet, but some of it’s systems are really easy to use? Especially the flight, camouflage, and weapons systems?

WATCH WHERE YOU POINT THAT THING!!! JEEZ!!!

Look, Michael, lets just have some pizza, OK? Just don’t push that button again…

How come I can see the armor if nobody else can? It doesn’t work on strong minds? Weird.

Meanwhile, the “junior thug” had decided to go back to the hotel room… It wasn’t often he had a room. It talked to him… It (The consciousness of the room???) could feel where Warlock/”Father” had sent most of the power, and it wanted to be moved there… Otherwise, it would run out – and die – in a week or so.

Well, why not? Besides – if “Warlock” could simply conjure stuff up, he’d be a truly handy guy to know…

So. A map, a compass bearing, and a range estimate. Right on the edge of… Fern Park? Well, he guessed it wasn’t too unreasonable… Nobody ever went there. It was just a bunch of little mountain valleys and woods. It wasn’t even all that pretty compared to some of the NICE parks around…

OK; Off to Fern Park.

Unfortunately, the place turned out to have another visitor… The Lizard. Now eighteen feet tall and more annoyed then ever.

The ensuing conversation didn’t go well… Neither did the fight. He wound up on the run, trying to hide, and calling 911… (Would this be Fire, Ambulance, or Police? “YES!”).

Back at the professor’s place, Robert had finished cleaning out the refrigerator and pantry – and was looking for more. Desrae had woken up from her “afternoon nap” as well. Evidently even the little sunlight she got crossing the parking lot, and indirectly through the car windows, was enough to severely “tire” a vampiress…

Hrrrmmm… I’ve got to find somplace for Robert to stay… He can’t stay at the professors when the man’s disappeared.

Hey Michael – wanna meet a werewolf?

You guess your armor’s tough enough? It’s not like that, he’s got some control.

Back at the professors, there was some confusion… Geez… You’ve eaten everything already? Wasn’t there a chest freezer in the laundry room? (God. I hope his appetite tapers off pretty soon. Where can he possibly be putting it all?). Good… There is. Have a ham…

Desrae? We sort of defeated the Seer, The professor has been possessed by an earring and vanished – and we probably ought to clear out of his place, just in case he comes back as a megavillian. Besides – who wants to try and explain his disappearance?

At about that point, the TV came on – first with a smiley face (on every channel), then with a short film featuring the fight with the Seer (with everyone given full credit) – and then a scene with The Lizard on the rampage in the park…

Oh boy… I wonder how many things I’ve accidently empowered lately? Great. The Lizard again. Couldn’t Dr Genos hang onto him for twenty-four hours? He’s gotten too big for Ebonflame to swallow him again…

Well – who wants to fight the Lizard? Yes, Robert, I know you want to…

Well… I’ll work a shielding darkness spell around you, OK? You’ll have to drive anyway – you’re the only one here with a car and a licence.

Well, that’s a familiar-looking skateboard. Where’s the little thug? Ah. There he is. Flying by overhead headed for the bay. Looks like he’s been fighting the Lizard…

OK, maybe he’s worth something. At least he’s still alive…

So I’ll catch him… What’s with people falling out of the sky around here?

GAAAH! Where did you materialize from your armoured nastiness? (Isn’t it getting a bit crowded in the back seat with three?).

Your – name – is – Solamon – Riser – and – you – call – yourself – “Timewalker” – and – we’re – going – to – invite – you – to – join – in – a – few – months – and you – thought – that – you’d – drop – by – early – and – avoid – the – rush. Here’s – the – invitation – I – wrote.

Riiiggggghhhhhhtttttt…….

The TV is calling me through my talking cell phone. It says to “Look out above you!”???

Whaaaa???

The Lizard is jumping on us? Just step on the gas. He can’t steer while he’s in the air… Robert jumped out? Why?

Now what? We’re barely staying ahead… Maybe I can transform him?

Cool.

Why a dog you ask?

Well… He was chasing the car.

Hey Robert! What are you going to do with him when you catch him?

About then, this glowing blue portal opened up, and a lot of Dr Genos’s guys in power armor came out. They were looking for the Lizard.

They were sort of surprised (and extremely relieved), to find a big mutt with the Lizard’s energy signature.

It still wasn’t easy to put him out. There’d been some sort of accident when they were trying to put him in cyrostasis… He’d just been too dangerous to leave loose.

They thought that Robert was “one of their’s” for a moment or two – (“How did He get loose!?!”) – but were easy enough to straighten out…

While they were taking the unconscious (he fainted) park ranger back to his post, the guy in white and black showed up again, smiled – and put Warlock’s power-flow back under control…

Now what? Him again? What’s he want now?

Well – That solves that problem anyway. Dammit! I’m tired of not having a name for this guy…

From now on, I’m gonna call him “Equinox”… Maybe “Master Equinox”- He does seem to be a master mage…

Anyway, from now on he’s got a name.

After a bit more confusion involving Mask, Desrae’s sentient pet raccoon, the skateboarder’s bag of stolen candy, the gas pedal, and Desrae finding out about her shapeshifting talents while driving on a mountain road at 90 MPH, they managed to stop the car and locate the Warlock’s secret workroom… Desrae was feeling as if she’d “Gotten too much sun”, and a cavern sounded like just the thing…

Besides, his workroom had called to say that it was sorry it hadn’t recognized him before – but his power- aura had been too strong to see through.

Just park it here… I camouflaged the place pretty well and covered the entrance with a sheet of rock – but I ought to be able to spot it’s magical aura…

Cool.

Huh. The rock won’t flow. So how can we… (POP!) Errr… Just touch the wall and it teleports you through guys.

The workroom/base/sanctum seemed to be inhabited by several major spirits now… It seemed that they liked “Squishy Mages” – and there hadn’t been any around for quite some time…

They didn’t like vampires though – but were willing to put up with Desrae as long as she behaved.

Desrae rested… Around sunset, a bunch of japanese ninja types showed up… They were looking for Robert Lee (It seemed that his “school” felt dishonored – and wanted him back for judgement).

Look – guys – he’s a supernatural shapeshifter, and this is a really bad idea.

They didn’t believe it.

Robert (and the Warlock) gave them a demonstration…

They left very quickly, but did say something about “Sending in a special team”.

Well – Hell. At least I can blur the location they remember a bit… Too bad that they’re too many for me to make them forget it entirely.

I wonder if I can get them off his tail somehow?

Maybe fake Robert’s death somehow? But I’d have to convince the school…

Well, I’ll have to think about it.

Hey, Michael! Aren’t you going to take that helmet off?

WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU CAN’T TAKE THE ARMOR OFF!? How are you going to eat?

You don’t seem to need to? Errr… Well – maybe we can figure something out later on.

If things don’t slow down a bit pretty soon, I just may collapse… I don’t think it can keep on. At this rate the world would be absolutely insane within a few months.

Warlock spent much of that night fixing up a mystic garage for Desrae’s sports car, reinforcing his spells on Robert, and gathering up the various mystic effects and devices that he’d accidently left scattered around (Luckily, transferring most of them, or at least their mystic essences, back to his sanctum proved relatively simple – for the most part).

Oh boy… Thank goodness that I don’t seem to need as much sleep as I did before… (Maybe it’s some sort of side effect?)… At least I don’t have class until tuesday… Class… Somebody’s going to take over the professor’s classes… I hope it’s not Pr. Carlson… The man’s a pain in the ass… It’s not fair dammit… I’m sleeping out with the most beautiful girl who I’ve ever seen, and we explode if we get together… Maybe an insulation spell would work… Try it tomorrow…

(Sleep)

The Warlock’s Personal Timeline:

  • -3) (Tuesday):    David finds a (Mysterious) cave.
  • 01 (Friday Night):    David holds his regular friday night game at an atmospheric location – the cave… He arrives early to set things up, and finds an interesting ring with a green stone…
  • 02 (Saturday):    Feeling a bit feverish, he doesn’t get out much – although he does take a few calls about the DRAGON! (???????????!!!!!!!???????????)
  • 03 (Sunday):    The odd stuff begins… Some little lapses of memory about what he’d cleaned and so on could be dismissed – but the weird auras was another matter.
  • 04 (Monday):    David discovers his “sensitivity” to cold iron – and begins to speculate.
  • 05 – 07 (Tuesday – Thursday): David’s increasingly dramatic experiments at last lead him to conclude that he can actually cast spells (unless he just needs some therapy). Of course, he has to work between classes…
  • 08 (Friday):    Deciding to consult with Pr. Willams leads to getting entangled in a bank robbery, police – and several other superhumans… Also, being late for his composition class, Michael discovering David’s new magical skills at the weekly game, and more experiments.
  • 09 (Saturday):    David visits home, sets up a small workshop-cavern in the hills behind the house, tries a few shape-shifting experiments – and then gets called to deal with Azrael, The Lizard, Dr. Genos’s secret base, Michael, Douglas, and THE CRIMSON EARRING… He misses his (special) writing-class workshop.
  • 10 (Sunday): Looking for a “prospecting kit” leads to a Werewolf and Adrian the Survivalist. Shopping for clothes for the werewolf leads to Desrae the vampiress – and a mystic explosion. Meanwhile, the Crimson Seer takes a television studio hostage and demands that the Warlock come to him… This leads to a mystic battle, a visit to the realm of the ascension, Michael’s grand entrance as a superhero, the earring zombie, Professor William getting possessed by said earring – and lunch. After lunch, they have to deal with the Lizard in Fern Park, the Warlock’s sentient sanctum, and the ninja…

Next up: Monday!

The Storm Diaries of David Mayseren, Fit the Second

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With the prologues out of the way, events in the setting began moving into high gear. In the first day of chaos there were actually several sessions…

Back in the city, a short bluish alien crash landed in the Professors back yard. The Professor used the cellular phones and beepers he’d passed around to call everyone in. The ranger had been staying there anyway while they talked – and the darkforce guy just teleported in – but David had to ride his bicycle… Between the neighbors, the fire department, and the police, things got busy, even before David got there, and healed the alien enough to wake him up… He turned out to be a powerful telepath. Out in space, his ship had been boarded by the “Zarkonians” – and he’d ejected to escape… They might already be on this world as well. They were shapechangers.

Finding out that half the “people” around him were shapechangers, that telepathy wasn’t normal, just how primitive this planet was, that he’d probably have to hide because there was no procedure for aliens – and that all of his stuff had apparently burned up in the atmosphere – was quite a series of shocks.

The group had to catch him.

Wow! An Alien! A whole civilized galaxy out there! A galactic war! (Oh bugger)

Errr… I gotta admit it… We have wars with each other.

Wait-a-minute here… An alien. A whole world to land in and it lands in the Professor’s back yard. With news of a possible alien invasion. Just after we all got powers.

Somebody or Something is setting us up.

At about that point there was a feeling of presence behind David. He turned to find that the guy in black and white was back. He pronounced “It has begun” – and vanished again. Once again, nobody else noticed him…

Riiiiight…

The alien jerked. Minds without bodies? How can that be? Is that normal for around here?

Well, while you’re here, you’ve gotta eat. Lets see what we can find… At least if it turns out to poison you, I should be able to counteract it. You used to be a spacefighter pilot? Cool!

Michael showed up about then. It seemed his younger brother, Douglas, had disappeared – and David (and his “companions”) were the only superheroes he knew… HE had decided that this sounded a lot like Champions… The coincidence level – and starting off with a bank being robbed – sounded just like it.

Well – maybe what people believe affects it somehow (“Have you ANY idea just how silly that could be?”) (A bit like this situation maybe?) (“Well… Maybe”).

OK… So you’ve gotta get a look at your orbit slot and see if the Zarkonians managed to take control? No, we really can’t get you there… We’re using chemical rockets, remember? How about a telescope? Sears ought to have some… You can telepathically disguise yourself? Cool.

They took a bus.

David, Michael, and the Alien went shopping… It was not a good time, as some scaly green reptile-man began tearing up downtown. The Professor put out an emergency call. Evidently, he thought that “THIS WAS A JOB FOR C.H.A.O.S! (Certain Heroes Acting On Standby… or Crackpot Heroes Awaiting Opposing Supervillians or any of several other versions the others had proposed…).

At Sears, David was a bit puzzled… Taking the bus didn’t seem like a viable option. Hey – maybe he could turn himself into a dragon and carry everybody! Well – evidently not. Drat… That would’ve been so cool. Oh well, time for the fly spells again. An invisibility charm too perhaps.

Damn. He really would’ve liked being a dragon for a while.

Downtown, Shadowmaster/Nightman/Ebonfire/Nightmare/Darkstar/Batman/Whatever (He hadn’t quite decided yet) had arrived… Mr Green-and-Scaly was busy punching big holes in walls, terrorizing the populace, and making a big mess. There were casualties already, and trying to blast him unconscious simply made him get bigger… He threw things – including a four-year-old child.

Whatever-his-name was tried to cushion the impact – but the kid simply got swallowed up into the darkness. How to get him back?

Master Dao and Mr Ranger / “The Changeling” were up next… They eventually managed to dump him way out in the bay – although it seemed almost impossible to hurt him.

Unfortunately, he was swimming back.

Back downtown, David and company had arrived..

Good Lord… There’s nothing I can do for him… His brains are (ulp…) smeared across the sidewalk… At least I can heal most of them… He went that way? Good. We’ve gotta stop him somehow.

Back at the shore, Mr Multiname had managed to pull the kid back out… The boy was throughly dead – and he felt… stronger? He took the idea that he might have just – consumed – a dying child – and pushed it firmly away.

Jeez… I don’t think there’s anything I can do to actually hurt him – and I don’t know if I’m up to transforming the thing – maybe a confusion spell?

It had some effect – at least it gave Mr Darkness a chance to… swallow him up?! What was that about? Was it… David got a look at the child’s body… Oh.

Back downtown, “Master Dao and The Changeling” were going down the hole. They wanted to know where “The Lizard” had come from. It turned out to be a heavily- guarded secret, underground, laboratory/base…

So you’ve… eaten him. Now what? Find out where he came from? Sounds like a decent idea to me…

Like, this place is for real? I’ve gotta start paying attention to those conspiracy theorists. At least the guards are easy enough to knock out…

Hey! An arsenal! And some prototype suits of power armor… Somehow, looking at those, picking up a suit of kevlar armor and a few handguns isn’t really all that comforting… Still, it’ll be handy for Michael.

The first set of guys in power armor were in a room full of electronic gear. Mr Darkness turned The Lizard loose on them. They died. David was a bit sick… It wasn’t easy to catch The Lizard again either.

They went on to confront the head of security, and got his boss on the phone. Master Dao looked through the files; they had four real nasties – and a bunch of failures. David was outraged.

I might’ve known… The place belongs to “Dr Genos” – a brilliant geneticist. Of course. Well, if any of his little experiments are sensible, I’m going to make damn sure he lets them go! At least we’ve got most of the layout – and I’ve taken a peek at the nasty cases in the files.

Oh great. There are another twenty or thirty guards out there – and we’ve just set off all the alarms. Their going to be waiting in ambush for us. Maybe if I whip up an illusion of the Lizard getting loose again.

They all “chased The (Illusory) Lizard” into the main security room… This didn’t entirely go over – but they wound up calling a truce until they could put Mr Lizard back into a reinforced cell… David (AKA; “The Warlock”), insisted on using his mirror magic to talk to the four “successful” experiments in their cells…

The plant master got to talk to more plants. The shapeshifter/were got a mental vacation – if he wanted it – and the Acidic blob didn’t communicate well.

Master Dao decided that he might have to “reign in” David’s idealism a bit. Sixteen-year-olds were like that.

Jeez… All these guys got a good look at us – and got a bunch of film records as well. Not good. Maybe I can use a little darkness magic to blur things a bit. Cool. It actually worked.

NOW what? Oh great… The armies coming down… At least the security guys seem confident that they won’t find anything. (Fool “Ebonflame”. Where else would it be but down the tunnel?).

So how can we hurry up that stupid cell ? Hold the pieces in place? Fine…

It’s still bulging? Good lord! Let’s get the hell out of here.

Whaddya mean we have to swim? You don’t know where the reasonable exits are ? What a stupid design for a secret base…

Jeez, I’d’ve thought that you’d kindof have to tell the security guys where the doors are… How can they do their job without knowing?

You’ve gotta watch it Michael! Think about how hard you’d have splattered if you hadn’t been over water when the flying spell ran out!

Look, kids – we’re superheroes, OK?

Back downtown, the military had been called out and the situation was turning into a riot. Master Dao and “Ebonflame” tried to calm everyone. Demonic clouds of darkness and weird Chinese guys with bizarre powers do not make for calm – especially with their tactics. At least “Ebonflame” avoided getting caught, while Master Dao escaped with his usual aplomb – and then confused a cat. Meanwhile, David and the alien went shopping.

So the military is out dealing with the riot. Good. Dao and Ebonflame simply seem to be making it worse. Weird guys doing bizarre things after they had a fight with a monster-lizard-thinge in the street just do not induce calm.

Never mind. I don’t think I’ve got the power left to deal with a riot (Maybe it’s an endurance battery?) and I’ve got to get our resident alien a telescope. A good thing that it’s easy to prompt a telepath about things.

At least they let the professor go… I’m not sure “Crackpot” is the best reputation for a superhero, but I guess it’ll have to do.

Back at home, the Professor had to explain the hole in his yard to the guys from the gas company.

Darn it… Looks like I do have to worry about just how much power I’ve got left, and I still have to look for Douglas.

Maybe I can manage a simple scrying spell?

<Michael? Could you Fax me a picture of Douglas? In a minute? You’ve got a hot date?> (Odd – Michael never has a date. He couldn’t get a date to save his life… He’s a total geek. Hey! Maybe I can do something about that. Never mind. I’ll try the picture under a mirror or something. That ought to be a good focus…

He’s chained up? In an underground chamber? Ohshit. This is serious! Now who? Huh. “The Crimson Earring” I guess… Great. Grabbed by a loon… OHSHIT! He sees something? HE”S BLOCKING ME? ANOTHER MAGE?!? Probably higher level too. The odds on spotting someone using a scrying spell aren’t so hot. Great… I’ll need the others.

Come to think of it, I’ll also need some clues.

“The Crimson Earring”… Probably The Yellow Claws brother-in-law.

Phooey.

OK… For the moment we’re gonna be “The Guardians”

Michael’s not in but is answering the phone? How is he…? Ah. Extension cords. Now how did Douglas… He was snatched from in front of the school!? A bunch of other kids saw it!? Along with a teacher’s aide? The police are already involved then.

So what are you up to? Seeing if you’re an “super- inventor”? You guess not? (I’ve just gotta find some way to divert this boy…)

OK – so how can we get a copy of the police report? Your mothers got one? Well, Mr. Ebonflame ought to be able to swipe it easily enough…

Three nearby witnesses… All about nine. Azrael? You think you can get more out of their heads then the police did? Probably?

Right. That’s the kid’s house. Are we close enough?

Well – how was I supposed to know that you normally read the thoughts of opposing spacefighter pilots?

Well, the car’s plate number is helpful. Now if we only knew somebody who could run it for us… You can get it? Now THAT’s handy. Maybe you’re a super-hacker Michael…

From a mansion in a ritzy, private, neighborhood you say? Well, that fits – in a sick kind of way… Where else would THE CRIMSON EARRING (In a deep ominous tone here guys) alias JACOB EMERSON (Hell. Even the earring bit sounds better then that) hang out?

You’re coming Michael? I suppose I’d insist if it was my little brother… Bring your pistol and kevlar vest then.

So; There’s a storm coming, my ring’s emitting lots of bright green flames – and the spectacle has already caused a five-car pileup. MR. Ebonflame has gone into balrog mode and is pulling people out… Could we get any more conspicious guys? Hire a band maybe? (I guess it’s mostly my fault – unless it’s “my” ring’s fault – but still).

Well – we could always just ask “Mr Emerson” to let us use his phone to dial 911. Let’s just head in fast guys…

The butler doesn’t find anyone (except Michael) too abnormal.

This must be the place.

So where are the frightened minds Azrael?

The ensuing high-speed “tour” of the house required very little time. They just went through things… The servants got out of the way or got stunned, and the kids and other prisoners got turned over to the cops out near the accident scene. Confronted with this bunch of unknown factors, THE CRIMSON EARRING decided to bug out. Michael rescued Douglas – and a news helicopter got some fine footage of our heroes battling disappearing thugs and rescuing kids from the altars on the roof.

Miserable bastard… No, I don’t think shooting him is actually going to do any good Michael. Go ahead and try it if you want. The bastards been kidnapping, and evidently sacrificing, little kids… At least we got Douglas out of that ritual room. (Hush kids… You’re safe now).

What the hell are all these specks-of-blue-light-in -a-cloud up here?

Oh great… The professors trying to explain things to the police again. What do you want to bet that they soon dedicate an entire wing at the Los Angeles Mental Hospital to him? Let’s get out the back guys…

No, I don’t think I can handle too many more spells at the moment… Let’s just wait until they’re looking the other way, OK?

A good thing I disguised the car – but I don’t know how to drive the thing – and the professors got the keys anyway.

Now that’s a handy talent to have Michael… Where did you learn to hotwire and drive a – never mind, I’m not sure I want to know. At least you’re still invisible…

Come to think of it. that may attract attention all by itself. Oh well – I’ll just shut off their engines.

Now let me get this straight… OK; Morning. I get up. Things go to hell.

Maybe I should try to put the pieces together a bit better then that. Morning. One week since (I think) I got my powers… I visit home, talk to Dad and Joseph, and go out back to practice a bit. An alien crashlands in the professors backyard with news of a potential space invasion. Michael’s little brother disappears. We go out to get a telescope and a lizard-monster escapes from Dr. Genos’s secret laboratory and goes on the rampage. We defeat the lizard, haul him back down to Dr. Genos, talk to some of his other experiments, take a minisub- marine out, catch Michael when he comes falling out of the sky, get named by some kids, get tangled up with a riot and the military – and then get back to looking for Douglas (Michael’s kid brother), who turns out to have been kidnapped by the “Crimson Earring”. We trace him, convince Michael that he’s not a superhero, run off to the rescue, cause an automobile accident, and battle the minions of the Crimson Earring (who escapes).

Then we drive off with an invisible chauffeur – and have to evade the police. Meanwhile, I missed another writing class.

This job better have a damn good vacation plan.

I need some cash. Come to think of it, I also need some gold. Magic rings and such always seem to be made of gold… Maybe just because it’s easy to work and it doesn’t tarnish or anything – but I’m not gonna fly in the face of tradition on three days experience.

OK. I’ll go prospecting in the morning. Of course, with my current luck, I’ll probably find a secret army missile base or the ring of the Nibelungs or something like that… At least a basic kit is cheap enough. I can get one in the morning.