The Order of the Silver Key

Episode O
A Saga Begins (Well, Continues with the next generation actualy)

Previously, on The Order of the Silver Key…

… A lot of genealogy happened. In the interests of time allotment, entertainment considerations, and a simple desire not to be boring, we’ll stick with the highlights rather than giving you folks at home the entire sordid list. After all, this involves Greek deities, and the sheer number and scope of their orgies and the subsequent conceptions make even Lara Ravanni look like a teetotaler.

Speaking of Lara Ravanni… Despite his vow to never be fooled or manipulated again, the newly wise deity Hod of Valhalla simply couldn’t resist the charming machinations of the beautiful and seductive Mana. It was right after Ragnarok, and she was so bereft and vulnerable after the years of long, hard fighting and just needed someone to comfort her for a bit… And it was really hard to say “no” to an insanely beautiful goddess when she was dressed (so to speak) like that…! Yes folks, we know he’s blind, but really, how necessary are eyes when she’s pressing it up against you like that…

So! Nine months later comes Lenneth, a true Norse goddess of incredible beauty and with few peers in the arts of battle. Trained in the arts of combat by both her mother and her uncle Vili-Pelor, her battle skills are impeccable. Already accepted into the ranks of the Valkiries, Lenneth now seeks to earn her place as an equal among the gods as the Goddess of Moonlight. Her hobbies include: swordplay, listening to heavy metal, the horizontal mambo, and playing tag with supersonic fighter jets and their really freaked out pilots.

And speaking of sly seductive, people and returning to our earlier comment about Greeks… we give you: Hades! Sly, debonair, sexy, moody, and lives in a cave! But hey, he’s charming and seductive enough when he wants to be. Enough so to get into the pants/dress/toga/or whatever it is that is the latest winter fashion in Tartarus of his beloved girlfriend Persephone, despite having kidnapped this flower goddess and locking her in a cave away from the sun, rain, and flowers for six months out of the year… But seriously folks, he really does love her, he just needs some…ah…space away from that really ticked off mother-in-law of his…

Anyway, out of this torrid mess arises our next heroin: Desdemona call me “Dessy” the little hellion. Her hobbies include: [Deleted by the Censors], [Deleted by the Censors], and [Deleted by the Censors]. HEY!!! That last one was actually clean you <bleep> <bleep>. Blast it! You <bleeeeeeeeeeeep>!!! ARGH!!!

Moving on…

Going straight to the plain just sly… We come to Mr. Cifer and his…relationship…with Lilith. The two of them [The following section has been deleted at the request of a coalition of multiple beings who feel it is outside all conceivable bounds of decency to put into print the details surrounding the conception and birth of one Lilah Morningstar by the beings know as Mr. Cifer and Lilith. After hearing the testimony of one Howard Stern, who admitted to feeling noxious after hearing the tale, and would not himself be willing to repeat it, the judges were forced to comply with the request and enforce this gag order]

Lilah is your typical rebellious teenage deific lawyer, who just wants to settle down with a nice guy and stick it to her dad, by disrupting as many of his schemes as she can get her own claws into. Unfortunately, this is probably playing right into his hands anyway… but a girl’s gotta try something!!! And really folks, her dad’s not such a bad guy once you get to know him. He doesn’t bite (he has minions for that) and contrary to the rumors, he’s never stolen a single soul. He does buy them though. Good rates, with bonus perks, and one wish thrown in on top. Any one interested should call: [this phone number has been removed pending the resolution of litigation brought by Miss Lilah Morningstar, Attorney at Law, against the sponsoring advertiser, Mr. Cifer.]

And on to our next contestant… Before there was John Wayne, well actually after there was John Wayne, well more like because there was John Wayne, Ben Cartwright, and a host of others… There came into being one Cowboy Bob, who embodied truth, justice, and the American Way. Naturally, the fellow was prime husband material and got himself snatched up by a good wife, and had many wonderful children with her. Fine strapping young lads, and pretty young lasses, who attracted worthy spouses of their own. One of these young fellows was his son Adam Roberts, who married Princess Renette (“Red”) of The Vale. Their son, Jasper, looks to feature heavily in our current tale. He is tall, buff, and handsome. His hobbies include: herding cattle, protecting the land, standing up for the weak, and being respectful of women. Heck, he’s everything a girl could want. (But will Lilah be able to believe it?)

And now, for our final victim – err… I mean heroin (at least at this point…) we give you: Peppermint!! No, not a piece of red and white bangle candy, she’s a Time Lord folks, one of the sole Survivors of the Time Wars. (Yes, we know it’s a paradox to be part of a group of sole survivors, but that is readily explainable by the application of the temporal coefficient to the [the following portion of our program has been cut by the announcer himself as A) He does not desire to bore his audience with overly explained technical details, and B) cannot pronounce two thirds of the words required to continue this explanation.]) Little is known about her people and linage, and like all of the other inhabitants of the planet Gallifrey, she’s not talking. Unlike the rest of our heroes, Peppermint is not a native to the Burl. How, exactly, she got here and her true motives remain unknown. At least for now… Her hobbies include: Being moody and depressed over the destruction of her race and home world, cramming more techno-babble into 30 seconds of dialog than there are in an entire episode of Star Trek, avoiding giving direct answers to questions by spouting out high-level math, and delivering furious rants against the vile, corrupt, manipulative, deceiving, meddlesome, odious, despicable, horrible, no-good Princess Solace of The Rahnian Sphere whom she absolutely HATES!!!.

And now that we have introduced our cast for this upcoming drama which we are presenting to you… ON WITH THE SHOW!!!

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Episode 1
Lost Souls

Previously, on The Order of the Silver Key…

…Hod was seduced! Cowboy Bob rode off into the sunset! Persephone was kidnapped! Mr. Cifer did something…hinky with Lilith! Lenneth, Jasper, Desdemona, and Lilah were born! And the mysterious Peppermint entered The Burl.

Picking up our story we greet Lenneth, who is…instructing…one of her new Einherjar in…proper Valhallan etiquette. Until he disappears from her arms that is. It is soon discovered that souls are vanishing out from under Hel’s nose as well. She is pissed. Hod calls upon Lenneth to escort him to a meeting with Clair De’Lune to see what can be discovered about this phenomenon.

Even as Valhalla searches for answers for its missing conscripts, down in the realm of Tartarus Hades’ accountants are furiously poring over their figures. It seems that there are souls missing, and their lord is most displeased. It doesn’t help that they seem to lose a soul or two more every time they redo the count. Knowing that Clair De’Lune is one of the most well connected deities on earth, he sends his daughter Desdemona to contact her in Las Vegas for information. Never having really hung around on the mortal world much, Dessy decides to hook up with her old friend Lilah Morningstar, who is quite knowledgeable in the ways of mortals.

Meanwhile, on the other side of hell… Miss. Morningstar is on her way out of the blighted realm after having to see to an unpleasant, yet necessary, business meeting. On her way out she pauses, hearing the voice of her father coming out of an open office door she had just passed. We won’t go into what was happening in that room (trust us folks, the audio track Lilah got was disturbing enough, and her poor imp servitor whom she did send in for a view, was scared for life by what he saw despite the fact that he was a daemon), but after his… “companion” left Lilah went in to “say hi” to “dear old” dad. He had bird. A noisy bird. A bird he wanted Lilah to take to Clair De’Lune where, he said, it would be needed as a super-grade tracking device. Lilah was less than thrilled to be confronted with a quest from her father, and even less willing. But Mr. Cifer informed her that if she didn’t do this, then thousands of souls, and quite probably the entire world, would be destroyed. Now even less thrilled, but slightly more willing, Lilah took the bird. The noisy bird.

So Lilah soon found herself on the Las Vegas streets, where Dessy soon found her. Dessy was pleased to find that Lilah was heading to see Clair De’Lune as well, and tagged along. Lilah was just pleased to have some company other than the bird, as it was noisy, annoying, and noisy. After having to speak to her father, Lilah was fast reaching her annoyance quotient, and she thumped the cage to try and silence the bird. The bird continued to be noisy.

Soon everyone arrived at the offices of Clair De’Lune. But before things could get started, introductions had to be made. Lenneth had already met Jasper Roberts, and greeted him. Jasper also made his introductions to the two new women even as Right Said Fred played in the background. While everyone else was dressed in at least casual business attire, the newly introduced Pemperment was dressed down in jeans and a geeky T-shirt, proclaiming by her general bearing: “I’m the programmer, and I’m so valuable I can wear whatever I want and get away with it.” No one much cared anyway. Peppermint immediately took to the bird, and began to speak with it in its own language. It was unhappy. Lilah had thumped it, it had been stolen from its rightful owner, Lilah had thumped it, it was homesick, lonely, and Lilah had thumped it. One other was introduced by Miss. De’Lune, Magdalyne Tel’Mal’Edge of The Vale, The Kami of Beginnings, whom had been brought in to bless the start of the quest. Lenneth was a little nervous to have one of her bloodline involved considering the trouble her brother had unleashed upon The Burl, but her mother assured her that Magdalyne had her full confidence.

And so commenced the briefing. It seems that an evil Nazi-biker-cultist named Lars had seduced and then absconded with Clair’s daughter Felicity (named for her grandmother). Felicity the Younger is a young goddess just beginning to come into her powers. Her newest manifested power allowed her to turn back the clock in local areas. Under Lars’ “guidance,” Felicity was wreaking havoc with this talent, likely blissfully unaware of the problems she was causing. Clair asked the assembled young ladies and Jasper if they would track down Felicity, and see if they couldn’t get her to be a bit more responsible in the use of her powers, and to please call her mother every once in a while. If they could get her to see what a rotten no-good, low-down, dirty, scumbag her boyfriend was, why that would be good too. The challenge was that one of Felicity’s talents was the ability to go unnoticed, so they would have to track her down by following the path of the temporal disturbances left in her wake.

So it was off to sunny Barstow California, where weird things were happening. But before everyone left, Magdalyne offered to make everyone a set of Trump Cards of the various group members, which where cards that would allow the holder to mentally communicate with the individual depicted on them. This was agreed to be a good idea, but Lilah did arrange for a special…pose… for Jasper in her set before Magdalyne left for a fast time area to complete her work in a timely manner. Lenneth and Peppermint preferred there own means of transport, while the rest traveled in a private jet provided by Clair.

Once in Barstow, they discovered it had been transformed back to the 1970’s. Any people that were alive during this time period were returned to their state at that time, even those that had since died. This was what was pulling souls away from the various underworlds. For those that were still there at the time of the reset, they were transformed back to their previous state, their memories erased. For those that where there then, but living somewhere else now, duplicates were created. All of these things were deemed bad, and Our Heroes set off to find the origin point of the anomaly.

Find it they did. It appears that Lars and Felicity had been sharing a romantic picnic just outside of Barstow, and Lilah, Goddess of Passion, was able to sense that all this had resulted from Felicity trying to allow them to “stay in the moment” at Lars’ suggestion. Even as they concluded their investigation into the area, A Nazi-biker-gang of returned souls arrived to terminate anyone who might be following Lars. Dessy summoned her puppy (he’s only the size of a horse after all, it’ll be a while until he reaches daddy Cerberus’ size,) Guiest. Mind the three heads folks. Together, Guiest and Lenneth charged the incoming motorcycle gang, bullets pinning off them uselessly as they streaked at their incoming victims. Lenneth got to them first, several died. Guiest arrived soon after, and more were returned to the underworld. Lilah turned the passion of half a dozen of them to despair, and they rode off into the sunset to go be depressed. Jasper shot guns out of hands, and Dessy, Goddess of Decay, caused the tires on several of them to deteriorate and fall apart, wrecking several of them. However, she caught a bullet in her shoulder for her trouble. It hurt. A lot. This angered her, so she told one to die, and he did. However, she was still seriously wounded, and was forced to call Guiest back to guard her. Lenneth was fed up at this point, so she did a mach four flyby over the group, slicing down their ranks with her Halberd, snagging their leader of his bike even as she left a sonic boom in her wake as a parting gift for those still on their bikes. Approximately six survived this on their bikes. Three more were quickly picked off, the remaining three headed for Lilah, who appeared to be a soft target.

Lenneth landed near her to assist, but she was having problems of her own. It seemed that the leader, who she was trying to save for interrogation, was not human and dark and painful magic was spreading up the hand she had grasped him with and into her arm. Dropping him and breaking contact didn’t stop it, so she hit him in the face. It knocked out the caster, but didn’t stop the spell’s progression. So she hit his face again, smashing his head to pulp, but still the spell didn’t stop. This was upsetting to Lenneth.

Realizing the peril facing Lilah, Magdalyne, who had wisely stayed back, used her Trump of Lilah to pull her out of the way of the three incoming bikers. Cheated of their prey, with only the horrible flying chick that had taken out over half their number in a single swoop standing before them looking really pissed, they chose to flee for their lives. They were permitted to do so. Jasper rendered first aid to several of the surviving bikers so they would remain as surviving bikers. Realizing that the spell on her was one of rot, Lenneth went to see Dessy, who was able to reverse it. After seeing to Dessy’s wound, Lilah decided to interrogate one of the lightly wounded individuals while Jasper was distracted with his triage. Straddling the hapless fellow, Lilah kept his “attention” on her even as she “pumped” him for information. When she had all she wanted from him, she took her true form as a demoness, tore his throat out with her teeth, and consumed his soul. Lenneth though the teeth thing was a little disgusting, preferring a blade for such work.

One of the other surviving returned souls also turned out to be something other than human, and after Jasper’s first aid treatment, he was put to question. He didn’t have enough information to answer all of the questions asked him (the leader might have, but Lenneth hadn’t been able to think of any other way to stop his magic at the time), but he knew enough for them to form a basic theory. It seemed to Our Heroes that Lars was trying to trick Felicity to resetting the time back to 1942, to a stellar alignment that would allow him to summon some island where he could resurrect some really nasty ancient dead deities so they could do nasty horrible things to everyone and everything. This was bad. Jasper insisted that the survivors be allowed to be so, and that they be turned into the proper authorities to be processed back into the underworld, rather than sent there directly by the group right away. The others yielded to him on this. There was also a dispute on whether or not Peppermint should return the town to normal, as this would have the effect of “killing” the several duplicate people that had been created in the process. After a bit of indecisive debate, it was decided to leave the fate of Barstow in the hands of The Warden Gods, and to continue tracking Lars and his wayward girlfriend…

…After a night on the town of course. While Peppermint crunched data to pinpoint a trail, the rest of the group crashed a bar, and with the help of Lilah and Jasper even the normally shy Dessy and Magdalyne got into the spirit of the party. Lenneth, Dessy, and their dates had an extra special time, but Magdalyne chose moderation. As did Jasper, leaving Lilah to take a cold shower.

The next morning, Peppermint was bullied into introducing her “mode of transportation,” her Tardis, The Pandora, which revealed her as a Time Lord. Peppermint initially wanted to just use The Pandora to just jump to the next temporal anomaly, but it was quickly realized that their quarry was actively shifting through different layers of time, and even with Peppermint’s nifty gadgets and excellent math skills it would still be all too easy to miss Lars and Felicity. The only sure way to catch up to them was to physically follow their wake. This meant a road trip to Salt Lake City. The supersonic Lenneth groaned at being condemned to the slow crawl of ground transportation….

That’s all for today folks!!! But don’t worry, our heroes’ adventures will continue. Will Lenneth escape terminal boredom? Will Lilah get into Jasper’s pants? Will Desdemona be able to find suitable chew toys for Guiest outside of battle? Will Jasper escape Lilah’s clutches, or does he even want to? Will Magdalyne get used to the amorous escapades of her traveling companions? Will Peppermint succeed in tracking down Lars & Felicity the Younger? Will anyone take Lenneth’s suggestion to ask the super-grade-tracking-device-bird for assistance? Will I ever stop asking “Will?” For the answers to these questions and more, tune in next time for:

ROAD TRIP OF TEDIUM or HIGHWAY TO HELL

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

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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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Episode 3
When Ancient Things Attack

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!!!

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