Previously, on The Order of the Silver Key…
…Our Heroes met Adres of The Feywild in the sleepy little town of Spanish Fork Utah, where he was chasing after some mischievous brownies. It seems that the temporal reversions had alleviated them of certain promises, and they were capitalizing on their newfound freedom to forge imitation computers. No one was noticing, however as they were selling them to Fry’s, where no one really expected them to work anyway. After slapping them with an injunction, Our Heroes, now joined by Adres, followed up a bit if info overheard by the brownies and bypassed Salt Lake City for the Salt flats north of it. There they found a glowing radioactive giant tearing up a military ordinance facility. After Jasper obtained them the proper clearance, they did some old-fashioned Viking giant slaying, which made Lenneth really happy. After the fight the minions of Claire De’Lune dropped off another van for our heroes, the previous one not having survived the impact with the giant’s head after Jasper and Lenneth converted it into a javelin. Exhausted after a hard day’s work, the group crashed at the nearest Motel 6 with a bar next-door.
Picking up our story we find Our Heroes now in route to Four Corners, hot on the trail of Lars and Felicity the Younger. After spending a vigorous night with Lenneth, Adres has vanished. After having last been seen in the vicinity of Jasper’s room the previous evening, Lilah is observed to be in a very good mood at breakfast. It is also noted by all that her behavior towards jasper has shifted towards the softer side of her feminine nature. Dessy, who has known her a long time and never seen her like this is particularly noticing. Along the way, Our Heroes stopped by a roadside attraction, “The Thing,” in order for Peppermint to do a little sightseeing, and to give the others a chance to stretch their legs and, in one case, wings. It is soon discovered that Lars and Felicity the younger had themselves been here not more than 15 minutes past! But unbeknownst to Our Heroes, a portal to the resting place of an imprisoned death titian with a grudge against Dessy’s father lurks in this otherwise unassuming tourist trap. Sensing a strange corruption to the natural processes of decay within the tent housing “The Thing,” Dessy tries to cal her dad for his advice, but he is in a meeting and his minions are unwilling to disturb it, even for her. Leaving a “call me back” message with them, she decides to continue investigating. Entering the tent with Jasper and Lilah in tow, the three of them discover that “The Thing” is little more than one’s own reflection distorted by a carnival mirror. Unperturbed by what the other perceive as the paltriness of the attraction, Peppermint is already here exuberantly snapping away with her camera. However, spurred by her deific senses, Dessy is certain that there is something far more interesting behind the mirror than the mortal proprietor is aware. Growing impatient with the delays as the rest of the group discusses how to proceed with the investigation, Lilah simply walks up, and pulls the mirror out of the wall to see what’s behind it. Unfortunately, this is highly effective, and nasty, foul smelling, oily, humanoid things with no faces and tooth-filled maws on their hands spill out, along with a deep and horrible voice that exalts in the opportunity to revenge itself on the daughter of the one who imprisoned it.
The creatures are filled with decay, rot, and despair, and waste no time in taking out their frustrations at their state on the party. Lilah manages to make friends with one, by draining away all of its despair. She was only looking for a quick meal, but it’s happy to share and goes up to nuzzle on her. The rest of the party members attempt various forms of dismemberment upon the creatures, but only really succeed in getting oily goo on themselves. Dessy engages the thing that was behind ‘The Thing’ (bet you can’t say, “The thing behind ‘The Thing,’” three times fast) directly, using her powers to reverse decay. This is indeed effective, and the thing is shocked and dismayed that the daughter of Hades should posses life-giving abilities. Its outburst confirms Dessy as its suspected target, and she gives back a shout of her own, proclaiming its foolishness at not accounting for her being the daughter of Persephone.
Meanwhile, the tantalizing scent of battle draws Lenneth to her friends’ predicament like a moth to the flames. Hacking and slicing through the minions of the thing, she soon finds a very effective means of dispatching them: decapitation. With Lenneth Hacking up the possession and Dessy keeping the thing behind “The Thing” busy, Jasper decides to try to reseal the portal by reinstalling the mirror. The thing behind “The Thing” fights back, attempting to melt its way through, burning his hands. Tired of this fawning half-thing leaning on her, Lilah guts it. However, all this does is to get goo on her hands. Strangely, the critter isn’t bothered by its disembowelment in the least. Lenneth happily demonstrates the proper method of disposal for Lilah, and slices off its head. Having been freed of her pesky dance partner by Lenneth, Peppermint does some tricky techno-voodoo based on what Dessy is doing to cause feedback around the mirror, and reverse the energy flow to reseal the portal. This works beautifully, but the reversing energies cause the superheated mirror to freeze, adding sever frostbite to the third degree burns on Jaspers hands. Peppermint administers some medicative spray guaranteed to heal him in only a matter of minutes while Lilah croons over him.
Since Jasper clearly cannot drive with his hands all torn up, Peppermint offers her services in that department. They are declined. Lenneth is instead elected driver. With the Valkyrie-speed-demon-of-the-skies behind the wheel, the customized van with the supped-up formula-1 engine rockets down the two-lane highway with the accelerator slammed into the floor, ducking and weaving across and around both lanes, oncoming traffic, and the two shoulders.
The Good News: Lenneth has the skills, reflexes, and nerve necessary to pull this off superbly.
The Bad News: Now matter how well done, the State Police simply do not approve of this kind of driving.
With an irritated huff, Lenneth complies with the demanding nature of the blinking red light in her mirror, and pulls the van over while relief wars with irritation amongst her passengers at this interruption by mortal the authorities. Once the van is stopped, Jasper gets out and heads back towards the cop car in order to handle things in his identity as a federal agent. However, as he is showing his badge to the lead officer and beginning his explanation, five more officers pile out of the back of the cruiser like clowns out of a clown-car, two of them with heavy machine guns. Even as he watches, the cops morph before his eyes into green-skinned demons with sharp teeth, and razor sharp blades protruding out of their arms. Before he can shout out a warning, the demon in front of him slices open Jasper’s stomach. Fortunately, Lenneth’s trained and always combat alert ears have heard and recognized the sound of the machinegun bolts being drawn back, and she has already given warning to the others, exited the van, and arrived at its rear. Witnessing Jasper stager back from the wound, she launches in to slice the head off of her comrade’s tormentor. Seeing the whirlwind of Valkyric frenzy bearing down upon his throat, the demon concentrates on an all out defense, desperately raising his arm-blades into a position to parry. Undaunted by her targets stiff resistance, Lenneth launches into a furious assault upon her foe. The demon succeeds at preventing Lenneth from landing a serious blow to either his torso or head, but at the cost of his limbs.
Throwing open the back doors of the van to investigate Lenneth’s warning, Lilah and the three others behold the situation in its entirety. Magdalyne and Dessy pull Jasper back into the van, Peppermint heads into its ‘cockpit’ to prepare for escape and to see what devilish defenses have been built into it, and Lilah, seeing Jasper’s wounds, flies into a rage and, reverting to her demon form, pounces on the nearest one not flailing under Lenneth’s sword-strokes. Finishing off the limbless one before her, Lenneth turns her attention to the two attempting to flank her. Their tactics are sound, but the skilled Valkyrie is up to the challenge. Two daemons in the rear keep up a steady heavy machinegun barrage on her, but the mortal weapons, no matter how heavy, are no challenge to Lenneth’s mystic armor, forged by the skill of the greatest of the Asguardian Dwarfs. Realizing that the demands of this particular melee is beyond her, Dessy settles for call Gueist, and sicking him on them, and he bounds into combat with gleeful malevolence. The demons are considerably less than thrilled by this turn of events. About this time, Peppermint finds the oil slick button, and, pressing it, dousing all of the combatants in slippery, flammable goo. Lilah is so intent upon her target, that she doesn’t even notice the damage to her perm.
As Lenneth deals with her flankers and Gueist tears into his newest chew toy, Lilah unleashes savage, clawing, frenzy upon her demon’s face. This is like a cross between a girly catfight and a sword fight, but with the added power Lilah has amassed from feeding off the despair of the decay creatures, the cat is wining! Although she is taking some cuts, Lilah is able to divert her siphoned power into strengthening her own physique so that they aren’t too bad. The demon has no such power reserves, and is quickly coming to resemble a scratching post. About this time Peppermint puts the van in gear, and peels out down the road to get the rest of the party away from the nasty things that want to kill them all. As a parting gift to the demons, she lights the oil slick. Being hell-spawned, Gueist and Lilah are immune to fire, and fortunately for Lenneth she has already taken to the air. The demons, however, have neither advantage, and they burn…quite prodigiously in fact. Not one to let a raging inferno get in the way of a good fight, Lenneth readies her bow, and sends forth combat grade blasts of sacred moonlight at her foes. The demons like the holy light even less than the fire, and with the help of Gueist’s fangs and Lilah’s claws, there is soon nothing left of the hapless things.
After careening down the road for a bit, Peppermint decides to head back and do a high-speed pick-up of those that have been left behind. After all, they can all fly right? So she whips the van around at high speed, and bolts back towards the fight. However, as bears down upon the site, she can see Gueist and Lilah triumphantly striding out of the flames along with Lenneth hovering nearby. A suitable application of the breaking mechanism allows her to screech to a halt before careening right into the exuberantly bounding-up Guest. This is a very good thing for her and the others, as in a crash the smart money would have been on the dog rather than the van. After a little bit of medical attention, Jasper insists he is well enough to drive, thank you very much, and the expedition is once again off to Four Corners.
Arriving in Four Corners, Our Heroes discover that it has been sent back to the 1950’s. Adjusting their wardrobe accordingly, they head off to the local malt shop to see what’s going on around town. Jasper and Lilah going hand in hand. At the malt shop, Magdalyne and Dessy order up, while Lenneth trolls for a local to show her a good time, and Lilah and Jasper find their own booth. Peppermint notices a scientist related to William Shatner sitting in a private booth and talking with the local law enforcement about the “Recent visitors. Who clearly must. Come from the. Future. How else. Can one. Explain. How incredibly. Advanced. Their vehicles. Are.” Insinuating herself into their discussion, Peppermint convinces them to show her these vehicles in the impound lot. Magdalyne and Dessy will trail Peppermint at a discreet distance to keep an eye on her, while Lenneth will get her new boy toy to show her around the town for a discreet look around, and Lilah and Jasper will head off to the police station to see what they can do for the surely very confused modern tourists who are being held there.
The division of labor works well. Lilah and Jasper do indeed find incarcerated 21st century tourists in the local jail. While the sheriff and his second are out being distracted by Peppermint, Lilah, in an attempt to secure the prisoners release, launches into a ferocious assault upon the lone deputy using the most deadly weapon known to modern man: legalese. Lenneth’s time is not wasted either. Upon arriving at the Four Corners themselves under tow of her escort, a giant worm demon erupts from the ground, and tries to eat them both. Realizing that this thing, whatever it is, is almost certainly more than she can handle alone, Lenneth focuses on getting herself and the mortal clear, but is forced to discard her fasad in order to do so. Likewise, Magdalyne’s and Dessy’s tasking proves to be equally warranted, as Peppermint has already gotten into trouble. A gigantic thing resembling a skinned dog with the beak and talons of a bird has shown up at the impound lot, and shot out a serrated tongue of all things to slice open her skull, and extract her brain. Having been examining the 2000+ year model cars in the 1950’s impound lot with her scanner-ma-bob, Peppermint tries her best at the old, turn your tricorder into a bomb bit (Wait… Isn’t that supposed to be phaser into a bomb bit? Oh well…) and chucks it at the giant-dog-demon thing. However, it bats it away and into a car, the gas tank of which adds quite a bit to the explosion that follows. This attracts the attention of the rest of the party members, who speed to the rescue. This is a very good thing, as on her flight in, Lenneth notices several more of the gigantic-dog-demon things converging on the battle site. Un-desirous of seeing her compatriots mobbed by the things, Lenneth strives to intervene. She swops down behind it and rams her halberd into the back of its skull, and piths it. The gigantic-dog-demon responds by exploding, which tosses her back into the air.
Back at the impound, a hastily summoned Gueist manages to knock Peppermints’ assailant off of her. Even though the gigantic-dog-demon is considerably larger than the mastiff sized three-headed puppy, Guest appears to be a very equal match to the thing, even possibly a shade tougher. Jasper and Lilah soon arrive on the scene. Lilah tries to paralyze one with despair, but thing is totally incapable of feeling any emotions at all. Jasper lines up a shot with one of the approaching things, and has Magdalyne steady his aim for a good opening shot. Dessy tries to use her death powers to tell one to die, but it resists her. Lilah tries to feed Dessy energy to increase her power, but not only is the thing ready for this, it is able to draw off the energy from Lilah through Dessy, draining Lilah considerably. Dessy senses what is happening, and cuts the connection, but Lilah is left weakened and woozy.
Lenneth, meanwhile, regains control, and , having had a blast with the first exploding creature (figuratively as well as literally in this case,) decides it would be great fun to do it again. For her next target she picks one that is sneaking up to ambush the dazed Lilah. This time she has to approach from the front, and the thing manages to deflect her strike from the roof of its mouth to the neck at the shoulder. Peppermint wildly pushes buttons on various pieces of her technical ensemble in an effort to find some type of effective means of dealing with these things. Jasper, with Magdalyne’s help, loses his shot. He hits his target in the testicles (Sorry folks, I know we just upped our rating from PG13 to R, but it had to be done), and it explodes. Weakened and extremely hungry, Lilah pounces on the nearby deputy, latches on, incites carnal passion within him, and proceeds to feed on him like a vampire for sustenance. The deputy reacts in typical carnal fashion for this assault by such an extremely beautiful and seductive woman. Jasper reacts by punching the deputy in the face, and firing of his next shot into another set of balls. Lilah is PISSED at losing her meal thus. Although thwarted in her attempted pithing, Lenneth is happy with a piece of the thing’s neck, and proceeds to saw it off even as it grabs her and its hand begins to melt through her mystic armor. The head falls off, the creature does NOT die, and its hand continues to melt through her armor. In exasperation, she asks jasper what the secret of his success is. Upon receiving the answer, she promptly converts her halberd into its bow form, and shoots it in the balls. This time, the explosion slams her through a wall, or two, and she doesn’t quite come through this unscathed (a few broken ribs and a little internal bleeding.) However, in true valkyrie fashion, she announces that she’s “OK,” and ready to keep going.
By this time, however, the exploding balls have reminded Peppermint that she has fought similar creatures before. Dusting off an old trick, she modifies a sonic probe to send out a vibration pulse at the proper sympathetic frequency, the results are more spectacular than the Fourth of July, and there are no more left. In order to deal with all of the curious townspeople, Peppermint pulls out several pair of sunglasses for her group, and a flashy-thing for said townspeople. Jasper and Lilah go off to “discuss” his overly possessive behavior. When the group opens up the van to climb back in, Jasper and Lilah give them an eyeful from the couch in the back… Afterwards, Lilah’s attitude towards Jasper becomes one of irritated indifference. When Lenneth and Dessy speak to her about this, she claims to have gotten everything she wanted from jasper, and is done with him, especially considering his overly possessive behavior.
Once the group is back together, and all…calmed down, Lenneth informs the others about the giant-demon-worm-thingy. This initiates several phone calls home. Peppermint makes a long distance call out of The Burl with the assistance of the Ravannis to her bo, Finder. She asks him to do the analysis on some data regarding the gigantic-dog-demon things with the aim to figure out how she could encounter them both inside and outside The Burl, unaware that one among the group already possesses the knowledge she seeks. Lenneth contacts her normal font of wisdom, aka her father Hod, in order to find out more information about the giant-demon-worm-thingy. He informs her that that’s pretty much what it is. It’s highly intelligent, and is something that would normally have been eaten by the Midguard Serpent except that The Serpent perished during Ragnerok. The best way he knows of to kill one is to shove something really explosive down its gullet. Dessy is also interested in gaining intelligence on the thing, and calls her own source, aka dad. This time, when Dessy calls her father to check in, she gets through. The bad news is that it has been over a month since her last call, and it appears that, realizing they were being perused, Felicity and Lars dumped a temporal anomaly behind them on Our Heroes, causing them to fall behind. The good news is that Hades is able to confirm the identity of the thing behind ‘The Thing’ as a titan, whom he had helped his brother Zeus lock up millennia ago. This explains why it never occurred to it that Dessy might have healing abilities, as it was locked away before Persephone was born. He gives her much the same information as Hod gave Lenneth, but also informs Dessy that he will pay the giant-demon-worm-thingy handsomely to leave her and her friends alone. Oh, and once she’s done dealing with it, why doesn’t she invite her friends to come and see him. They can gain entrance to his realm from the nearby Carlsbad Caverns.
That’s all for today folks!!! But don’t worry, our heroes’ adventures will continue. Will Lenneth add a giant-demon-worm-thingy to her kill list, or will Dessy manage to bargain with it? Will Peppermint ever find the answers to her questions regarding dog-demon spread? Will Jasper ever figure out the female mind? Is Lilah really dropping him like a bad habit? Will Magdalyne have to draw her a new non-sexy trump of jasper? Will anyone take Lenneth’s suggestion to ask the super-grade-tracking-device-bird for assistance? For the answers to these questions and more, tune in next time for:
|THINGS NOT TO DO WHEN YOU’RE SPELUNKING!||or||DOG-DEMON GONE IT!|
...on: THE ORDER OF THE SILVER KEY!!!