The Order of the Silver Key

Episode 2

No, the Brownies Aren’t On the Rack Next to the Moonpies

Previously, on The Order of the Silver Key…

…Our Heroes gathered together at the offices of Clair De’Lune to discover why souls were disappearing from the afterlife. Clair revealed to them that it was caused by the powers of her wayward daughter Felicity the Younger, who had run off with her disreputable Nazi-cultist-biker-boyfriend Lars. Clair asked Our Heroes to go forth and make things right. They accepted, and off they went to the temporally confused town of Barstow California, which, thanks to Lars and Felicity thought it was the 1970’s. Once there, a Nazi-biker-gang of returned souls under the influence of Lars tried to bring Our Heroes their doom, but found only their own instead. In the aftermath of the battle Our Heroes came to believe that Lars was trying to trick Felicity into reverting the night sky to a stellar alignment that occurred back in 1942 so that he could call a bunch of dead, evil, nasty, deities back to life to terrorize the world. Bad thing, bad thing, bad thing!!!Finally after a hard day of kicking ass, our heroes lived it up with a night on the town before heading off on a road trip to Salt Lake City to pursue their elusive quarry.

Picking up our story we find Our Heroes gassing up their van in the sleepy little town of Spanish Fork Utah. And just to be clear, where in Mormon country now, not central California, so we really do mean gasoline when we say gassing. Even as they leisurely recharge their vehicles fuel capacity, a stranger appears on the scene, literally popping into existence a few yards away, and stalking into the gas-stop’s convince store. Going to pay for the gas he has pumped, Jasper soon encounters this mysterious stranger. Informed he is looking for brownies, Jasper suggests he try over on the third row next to the moonpies. However, it soon becomes apparent to the two men that neither one is a normal mortal, and that these aren’t the brownies he’s looking for. The stranger introduces himself as Adres, and informs jasper that random groups of fey have begun breaking certain promises without suffering the magical consequences that are part and parcel of their nature. This is very disturbing to the fey gods, and as a young fey demigod he Adres has taken upon himself to investigate a particular group of brownies who have come here to the mortal world in violation of a promise. It was either that or stay at home and do household chores with his mom.

Introducing Andres to the rest of the group, except for Peppermint who remains in The Pandora running computations, Jasper explains the temporal reversals to him, and theorized how they might be erasing the promises made by fey in the past, allowing them to get away with things they previously would have been prohibited from doing. Feeling that confirming this would further their understanding of the temporal anomalies, they agree to help Andres track down his brownies, except for Peppermint, who remains in The Pandora running computations. A careful search of the store reveals a hidden stairway in the back of one of the coke freezers. Following it down, they encounter a large brass ball the size of a small man blocking their way. As Andres attempts to bypass it, it transforms into a wind up robot, and attacks. As Lenneth and Andres fight it out with the automaton, Dessy uses her powers of decay to wind down its main spring. Even as this small battle rages within the tunnel’s confines, Portia, an old friend of Magdalyne who works as a fixer for the Sisterhood of the Oracle, showed up to say hi to her old friend. As Portia and Magdalyne finish making-out in the back of the van, its doors fly open to reveal a group of old men with beards, each caring a thick heavy bound Books of Mormon. They loudly remonstrate at the two young women who have been lead down the road of temptation and sin by the influence of a nearby demon. Promising to mend their ways, Magdalyne shoos the demon hunters on their way. Portia then teleports the two to where Lenneth is scrapping the now wound down automaton in order to warn Lilah of the demon hunters on here trail.

With the commotion of the fight having eliminated any chance of a surprise entrance, the group is not surprised to find that the brownies have fled by climbing up their own smokestacks. In this place, they find counterfeit Nvidia boxes being produced by the score. Hammers and forges also stand ideal, with replica computer chips still cooling. Lilah sends her imp minion up the smoke stacks to get a fix on their exit point. As the group exits out into the store from where they came, Lilah transforms her appearance into that of a plain Jane straight arrow young girl, easily fooling the demon hunters. Dessy gets some ribbing for her Goth look, but otherwise makes it out just fine. The all-American boy Jasper, of course, attracts no special notice. Still crunching numbers in the Pandora, Peppermint remains hidden from sight. However, despite the power of his glamour, Andres just doesn’t have the experience necessary with the mortal world to pass for normal. His mannerisms quickly give him away to the demon hunters as being something other than a normal person, and they immediately assume the worst. In an attempt to bluff the men, Lenneth spreads her angel like wings; however, the attempt backfires as the men immediately assume her to be an arch-demoness. Convinced that they have found their infernal quarry, the men throw The Book at Andres, nailing him right between the eyes. (Ok, so they didn’t actually toss it, they just wacked… But give me break! I needed a good pun here!) Lenneth, see this confrontation as a loose/loose proposition, grabs Andres and flies up into the clouds at high speed, allowing the rest of the group to leave unnoticed and unmolested in the van. Once everyone is out of site, Lenneth uses the Rainbow Road to quickly reunite with the van.

With the imp gathered intelligence, Portia kindly teleports the group, except for Peppermint, who remains in The Pandora running computations, to the rooftop where the brownies had escaped to, and tracking once again begins in earnest. The trail leads though an old warehouse containing large metal presses, and lots and lots of hanging chains with hooks on them. Chains that come alive and attack as clawed tentacles once Our Heroes attempt to penetrate the buildings secrets. Quickly regrouping outside, Dessy uses her powers of decay to corrode the chains, which now shatter under Lenneth’s mighty assault. With the treat neutralized, the brownies’ trail is easily picked up, leading into the sewers. No one is particularly happy with heading into the slimy, disgusting, filth-ridden tunnels, but al eventually suck it up and follow. Except for Peppermint, who remains in The Pandora running computations.

Following the brownies through the sewer Our Heroes quickly encountered a scene strait out of Alice in Wonderland: A small door in the side of the tunnel with a table next to it holding a bottle labeled: “drink me.” Before any real argument could begin on whether or not to actually drink the potion, Andres used the power of glamoury to stretch the door to normal size, allowing all to enter the Feywild to continue the search. All that is except for Peppermint, who remained in The Pandora running computations. Once in the Feywild the party stopped to ask a friendly sausage vendor for directions. After exchanging some imitation computer hardware, he happily pointed them towards a tree where he told them to knock for service. Knocking at the tree as instructed, a diminutive brownie popped out of a foot high secret door at its base to inquire what could be done for these new customers. However, noticing Andres the hunter among them, the startled fey beat a hasty retreat back into the tree. This time the power of glamour wouldn’t cut it, and the party was left at the mercy of the “drink me” bottle. Lenneth balked at this, insisting that it was beneath a Valkyrie to reduce her stature so. After much persuasion and not a little haranguing by the others, Lenneth finally gave in, and the party headed down into the base of the tree.

Descending the windy staircase, they encountered yet another big brass ball. Even as her comrades began to strategies on how to bypass the sentry, Lenneth, frustrated with her miniaturization and figuring: “If not by stealth, then by speed,” kicks the ball down the stairs following with a battle cry. It doesn’t take long for her and the ball to bust into the workshop of the surprised brownies, who do little more than gawk at the diminutive Valkyrie glaring at them from behind her halberd. Shifting into the form of a female brownie, Lilah proceeds to hit them with a form of attack from which there is no escape or defense…legalese. The brownies insist that their fake computers are utterly harmless. The circuit boards look identical to the real things, and this Fry’s place that they sell them to doesn’t even care that they don’t work. Not having any of that, Lilah slaps them with an immediate injunction, halting their operation in its track. The frustrated brownies exchange their crafting hammers for quills, penning letters of protest to the fey court in hopes of getting the injunction revoked. Satisfied that the brownies will be too bogged down in legal procedures to cause any trouble for a long, long time, the party has Magdalyne have Portia Trump them back to earth. Before leaving, Our Heroes offer Andres the opportunity to join their quest full time. Still not interested in housework with his mom, Andres happily signs on.

Now back on earth, and back to normal size (joyously for Lenneth), the group decides to act on a bit of information extracted from the brownies that indicates that Lars and Felicity the Younger have already left Salt Lake City to head up to the Salt Flats to the north of the city. Driving well into the night, the group finally nears their target area. Off into the distance, a strange green glow awaits them on the horizon, and Andres can feel the evil radiating off of it. As they close in on it, they realize it’s a radioactive giant. It’s so saturated with radiation, that it’s actually glowing intensely enough that its skeleton is visible inside of it. Deciding that they cannot permit it to rampage its way across Utah, especially since it’s currently in a U.S. Army nuclear weapons depot, they engage the giant.

Dessy uses her powers to accelerate the decay of the radiation-saturated ground by several million years in order to create a nearby safe area to use as a staging area for the groups assault. Hopping to help the party withstand the toxic radiation, Lenneth calls down the power of moonlight, to bath the area in sacred radiance. Unfortunately, the holy moontan does not agree with Lilah’s completion, causing her to revert to her natural form with pale white skin, red hair, blue eyes, large wings, slightly pointy ears, small fangs gracing her mouth, and small horns adorning her forehead. Lilah is a little freaked out to be so revealed in front of the handsome Jasper, but he calmly assures her that just because she looks “different” doesn’t mean that she’s not beautiful.

The assault begins with Lenneth shooting arrows into the giants face while Andres throws his magical spear into its gut. Neither of these actions is particularly effective, so Lenneth decides to take some advice from her father, and hamstrings the giant, bringing it down on its back with a crash. Perturbed at this, the giant rips a ballistic missile out of its silo and chucks it at the group. With the help of Andres’ wind manipulation, Lenneth manages to deflect the missile away from a direct impact on her way to ram her halberd into the giant’s forehead. But incredibly, the missile is somehow armed, and Dessy has to stretch her focus to its limits to halt its timer’s decay rate even as she maintains the safe zone. Magdalyne uses her Trumps to pull Lenneth and Andres out of their exposed positions back into Dessy’s safe zone so they can recover from the radiation and launch new attacks.

As the others battle on, Peppermint is distracted from her computations by the external radiation alarm going off on her control panel. Knowing the wiring to have some defects she’s never gotten around to ironing out, she thumps the thing a few times to get it working properly. After the alarm stubbornly refuses to subside after being thumped, Peppermint actually takes a moment to look at the readings and realizes it isn’t malfunctioning. Wondering just what the heck is going on outside, she immediately Trumps Zarurra, err… I mean Lilah, in order to inquire. Lilah informs her of the battle against the giant, and tells her that the entrance to the Pandora is still in the back of the van… Which Jasper seems to have driven off into the night… Peppermint promptly hands some special radiation absorbing badges to Lilah through the Trump to pass out to the others, and then Trumps Jasper to see what’s up with the van. Once contact is made, Jasper calmly informs her of his plan to ram the ting with the van, and reassures her that bringing down the giant is quite worth his death. Rather put out by the thought of one of her compatriots dying, Peppermint readies the Pandora for a micro jump around Jasper to pull him out of the van and into her Tardis at the last minute. However, she doesn’t take the time to call him back and inform him of this plan.

As Lilah hands out Peppermint’s special radiation absorbing badges, Andres combines their abilities with the power of fey glamour to convince the area around the giant that it isn’t radioactive, greatly helping the attack. Meanwhile, from her position in the sky Lenneth easily divines Jasper’s strategy with the van. Detouring just enough to slice the giant’s elbows in order to forestall its attempt to rise, Lenneth lands on the roof of the van. Tearing it open she has Jasper hold on to her leg so she can yank them both clear at the last moment. Telling him to aim for the crack she has made in its forehead, the two of them rocket towards the giant with every ounce of acceleration the van can muster. Jasper uses the van’s built in weaponry and Lenneth her bow in order to get the giant’s attention, so he will look their way and present his weakened forehead as a target. The plan works, and the van slams through the giant’s cranium like a massive lance. Lenneth pulls the two of them free at the last moment, only to ram into the ceiling of Peppermint’s control room. Good thing she was wearing a helmet.

With the giant dead, Jasper is able to take the time to disarm the nuclear bomb, so Dessy can finally relax. The giant’s body quickly turns to stone, and crumbles. The radioactive material in its body breaks down almost instantaneously after his death even without Dessy’s help. With the entire area’s age accelerated several million years in order to get rid of the radiation contamination, there is nothing growing in it. Andres the nature fey scatters seeds to the wind as Magdalyne, the Kami of Beginnings, blesses the ecosystem’s new beginning. After a quick call from Lenneth to her mother Claire De’Lune, a new van arrives in only a matter of minutes. Darn, but that woman is good… Tired, especially Dessy, yet elated, especially Lenneth, after their bout of giant slaying, the party resolves to crash at the first motel they can find. As long as said motel is next to a bar. They quickly track down a Motel 6 that satisfies their requirements, and after a few strong ones, they all bead down for the night. Lenneth decides to room with Adres in order to “celebrate” her giant slaying, something of a Norse god rite of passage. After helping Lilah settle in, Jasper heads off to his own room, leaving Lilah to another morning with a cold shower. Not satisfied with that outcome, Lilah storms over to Jaspers room, and is not seen again until breakfast.

That’s all for today folks!!! But don’t worry, our heroes’ adventures will continue. Will Lenneth ever come down from her giant slaying high? Will Desdemona recover from exerting herself creating several million years of decay? Will Magdalyne and Portia get back together? Will Peppermint ever finish her calculations? Will anyone take Lenneth’s suggestion to ask the super-grade-tracking-device-bird for assistance? Will Andres have the stamina to survive his night with Lenneth? Will Jasper crash this van too? Did Lilah find the hot water knob? Aren’t you glad I didn’t ask “Will” that last time? For the answers to these questions and more, tune in next time for:

OH NOME! or HERE WE GLOW AGAIN!

...on: THE ORDER OF THE SILVER KEY!!!

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