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The Book of Ataniel

The Storyboard of Ataniel Archives: June, Part 4

Name: Jonah Cohen
Plotline: At the Mithril Dagger
Character(s): Carter, Ubert, and Super-Duper Special Guest Stars - Enigma!
Title of Post: Secret Origin (part 1 of 2)
Sent: 12.44 pm - 6/8

A long time ago in Neporris...

The hero looked at the glowing sphere for a long time. Such a small thing. Much like the loss he himself had suffered. So many had suffered and died, to that, what was one man's loss of the love of a woman? But it was his loss, and it hurt him more than any wound. He had done the only thing he thought he could do, and now the cost...

No, in this crazy world, the problems of two little people didn't amount to a hill of beans. No time to think about what the magical object was, or what it could do. Tinkering could wait, now the battle was not yet over. Too painful a reminder, he left the sphere behind, strapped on his armor and returned to the good fight.

It was a fight from which he never returned.

Neporris, a less long time ago...

"Edison! Have you finished cleaning out those old rooms in the basement yet?"

"Not yet, Mr. Slate, sir."

"What are you waiting for, an engraved invitation? Get to it!"

"Yes, sir." Carter Edison, assistant manager at the Motel 3, trudged to the basement, the latest boring, meaningless task in his boring, meaningless life, working at a boring, meaningless inn located in a boring, meaning---

Enough moping! he told himself. Time to just get on with cleaning out the basement. The closets and former rooms down there looked like they hadn't been touched since time immemorial. He had to pry the first door open with a crowbar.

Carter coughed as he entered. The place was buried under dust and cobwebs. Cleaning this one out was a sure road to suffocation. Carter sighed. Then he noticed something.

Cautiously pushing away the layers of dust, the crumbling remains of a now-illegible parchment, he picked up a softly glowing green sphere, a little smaller than a billiard ball. "What the heck is this?" he said. Then, the earth shook.

From somewhere outdoors, he heard a cacophonous roar, the sounds of screaming, and something that sounded like thunder. Absentmindedly dropping the sphere into his pocket, he rushed up the stairs and out into the street. He could hardly believe what he saw.

There was pandemonium in the streets. Many people were fleeing in terror, but many, including Carter were unable to look away. Amidst the wreckage of several buildings, the smoking ruins of the town square, stood almost a dozen extremely unusual individuals.

"You will never stop us, Enigma!" shouted one of them, a red-headed man with a bad bowl-cut. He wore a blue jump-suit, with a devilish-looking symbol on it (as did several of the other strange people). "The mighty magical treasures of the era will be ours! Ours to rule a world! We will leave your charred remains amidst the charred remains of this city as we---"

"Turn the record over, Sunspot," replied another of the strangers. He wore a dark jacket with a large W on the back, a scruffy beard and enormous sunglasses. And he was flying.

Carter was distracted from this incredible sight by shrieks from closer to him. A human-sized bug creature, acid dripping from its fangs, had grabbed an old man and looked --- like it was going to bite his head off!

At the last second, the creature was struck in the back by a quarterstaff. It released the old man, hissed loudly and turned to face its attacker, a woman dressed like a gladiator. "No meals for you today, Pupator," she said. The creature charged her, but she was too fast for it. Carter had never seen anyone who could fight like that. She was incredible. And cute, too.

He was distracted from ogling the gladiator woman when a large tree near him was struck by lightning and all but vaporized. Two other women were fighting nearby. The one who had destroyed the tree - apparently one of the bad guys - wore... well, Carter wasn't certain if those were clothes, or just paint on her body. She had a rack you could have served coffee on and was cackling maniacally, as purplish energy enveloped her hands. "Taste the wrath of Zzzapina!" she shouted. Writhing tendrils of the violet lighting streaked out from her hands and struck a masked, copper haired woman. After seeing what had happened to the tree, Carter expected the poor woman to be eradicated as well. But instead, she just stood there, taking the full brunt of the attack, and glowing brighter by the moment.

"Thanks for the att boost," she said, and with a burst of speed, charged the lightning-bitch and KO'ed her with two punches.

A crumpling sound from behind him got Carter's attention, but too late. Apparently acid from the bug creature had eroded a support column on the building behind him, and he was about to be crushed to death. Then he was tumbling out of the way. Someone had grabbed him and pulled him aside at the last second. "Better get clear, sir," said the dark-haired man.

Carter nodded and tried to find a place away from the chaos. But as he ran down the street, he saw a horrifying sight. Half a dozen children were trapped inside a burning building. He clapped his hand over his mouth - what could he do? What could anyone do?

A hole opened up in the ground inside the building and, gopher-like, a young boy dressed in red and blue poked his head out. "This way, kids! I've dug an escape route. No pushing, please."

The ground rippled like a water bed. Looking up the street, Carter saw a giant - twenty feet tall if he was an inch - with unreal musculature. "Big Bopper crush you!" it said. "Crush all!" To emphasize his point, the giant pounded the roof of a building and the entire thing was pulverized into dust. Surely, not even these strange heroes could stop such a behemoth.

"High-low?" a voice said. Lowering his gaze, Carter saw to other men, surprised he'd missed them, as both of them stood around seven feet tall themselves. The one who had spoken had the head of a goat, the other wore heavy black armor and a faceless mask. The goat man charged down the street (how could someone so big possibly move so fast?) leapt up and head-butted the giant in the stomach. At the same time, the armored man's boots flared, and he flew straight at the giant, smashing him in the jaw. The giant fell over backwards, hitting the ground with a brobdignagean thud.

"You may have bested my minions, but you will never stop the universe-melting powers of Sunspot!" bowl-cut screamed. He held up his hand and fired an orange beam at the flying man. Even from quite a distance away, Carter could feel the heat. But before it could strike the flier, the beam disappeared. And simultaneously reappeared, right behind Sunspot, like it had... warped there, or something. It struck the solar madman in the legs, burning away both of his feet and calves.

"Geez, the pain!" Sunspot screamed. "My legs! Curse you, Enigma-members!"

"I wouldn't try anything else, Sunspot," the flying man said. "I've enveloped your hand in a dimensional sub-pocket of a highly energy-reflective plane. So unless you want to lose an arm, too... Now, where's their last member?"

"Over there," the gladiatoress said, dragging the unconscious insect into the town square. It was then that Carter noticed a tentacled man, who had somehow managed to get trapped in a bear hug by a statue. He lay pinned under its immobile form, and croaked out "I surrender! Please get this this guy off of me. I can't breathe."

Suddenly, the statue turned into a normal (if caped and masked) man with a rather large ass, who stood up and declared "Such are the wages of villainy, no-good-doer!"

The gopher boy popped out of the ground in time to say "Yeah!"

The oddly-garbed heroes dragged the defeated villains into the town square. "Time for us to return them to their dimensio-prison," said the W one. "Marc?" He and the black-haired man who had saved Carter's life held out their hands, and the villains disappeared in a flash of blue light.

A huge cheer went up from the people of Neporris. The heroes waved. "All in a day's work for a super-hero," W said.

One of the town's leading business owners charged out towards the. "Zeut alors! U have zaved Ubert's reztaurante! Ubert iz zo happy! 'e will make you u un tres bien feazt!"

* * * * *

Later that night, Carter saw the heroes walking down the street. "Those were really tasty," the armored man said. "He gave me a great omelet recipe."

"Too bad Kyria couldn't come along."

"She was worried about some paradox issues."

"I think she just wanted to make sure she was there when Penelope has her puppies."

"Look, there it is!"

They walked up to a obelisk that bore an engraving of the town savior. The inscription beneath it read:

The town, Neporris, it was ailin' He saved it for us, his name's Kynvalen

"Kyria really wrote that?"

"Well, one of her earlier iterations."

The man with the big S on his cape took out a small yellow box. "OK, get in everybody." The other all crowded around the monument, struck a pose (the armored guy gave W the bunny ears)and smiled. The yellow box flashed. "Good one!"

Carter walked away. Man, those super-heroes were cool. They could fly, and had incredible strength and could do all kinds of great stuff. They saved people and could actually afford to eat at Ubert's. What a great life they must lead.

"I wish I was a super-hero," he said.

As he walked dejectedly back to the Motel 3, he failed to notice that the green sphere in his pocket had glowed all the brighter, then disappeared.

Name: Evan
Plotline: At the Mithril Dagger
Character(s): Akron the Goblin, Flicker, Kayla
Title of Post: This is a hero...?
Sent: 9.24 pm - 6/8

Kevin and Kayla left Heart to discuss matters of adventure with Rhynwa, and went to finish getting the place ready for the dinner crowd. Kevin was setting out a line of mugs to grab once the drinkers came in, and Kayla went into the back to get a fresh stack of trays. She was only back there for a few moments when the people in the bar heard a scream and curse from the storeroom. "Godammit! Get out of there, you grubby little sneak!"

Flicker looked at Kevin, who was still cleaning the glasses. Kevin just cocked his head over his shoulder, indicating that the Riklandic hero should check it out. Taking his mead back with him, Flicker pushed aside the curtain to the back room, ready for anything. What he saw was almost unusual. Kayla had grabbed a small frying pan, and was brandishing it expertly at a small goblin who was simultaneously scrambling backwards over some boxes of bar nuts while reaching for a saucepan and chewing on a half-cooked chicken. It was wearing what looked to be a battered spittoon on its head, and had a scarred and rusty breastplate. As he moved around the kitchen to cut of its escape, Flicker thought he could make out some mumbling through the chicken carcass.

"Mrg g hrgof! Mg hrfr grhiddng!" the goblin spat out, small bits of gristle hitting the floor as he chewed on the chicken. While Kayla was obviously too upset to appreciate this, Flicker couldn't help but marvel at the goblin's ability to move, defend himself, and eat all at the same time.

"Flicker, get that pan away from him! We need that later for broth! And help me get him out of here!"

Flicker took a quick look at the goblin's stance and decided that Kayla was overreacting just a bit. The goblin wasn't going for his long dagger, and wasn't trying to run away like a thief, so he had to be here for some other reason. No better time like the present to find out what.

"Hon, maybe if you put the frying pan down, he'll put the pan down, and we can hear what he's trying to say." Kayla blinked a couple of times, not having realized that the goblin was trying to talk, and backed up a couple of steps. She didn't drop the frying pan, but she wasn't within arm's reach anymore. The goblin waited a few moments, then decided that the waitress wasn't going to bash his skull in, and put the pan down. Kayla and Flicker then waited for him to take a couple more swallows of chicken before he actually talked to them.

"Tanks dere, buddy. Yer okay by me, although dat dame's a little batty," drawled the goblin, taking two skittish steps back as he said. Kayla gripped the pan tighter and glared. "Yeah, well, you're in my kitchen, eating food you didn't pay for, and ruining food meant for other people!" she yelled, gesturing at the other eight chickens he had let fall on the floor when he grabbed the one in his hands.

The goblin blinked stupidly, "Ya mean I had ta pay for this? I thought food was free for heroes."

Kayla and Flicker looked at each other, then back at the goblin. "What do you mean, 'free for heroes'? Are you saying you're�?"

The goblin grinned a huge, snaggle-fanged, greasy grin, saying, "A hero! Name's Akron, gladtameetcha."

Name: Eric Gasior
Plotline: Coming of Age
Character(s): Alexke
Title of Post: They Went Thataway
Sent: 10.30 pm - 6/8

Alexke ran to the portal remnant and made a pushing gesture. The portal flared up long enough for her to slip through.

"Alexke! Wait!" she hard through the interdimensional distortion. She would have had trouble bringing the others without preparation. It didn't matter since she dumped back to Ataniel almost immediately five feet away."

"I can't follow," she said with effort. "The portal is closing too fast. But I got some information about their trip."

"Where did they go?" Berryn asked.

"They were still moving. I can get direction or a speed, but not both. They went that way." She pointed to the northwest

Name: Jonah Cohen
Plotline: Coming of Age
Character(s): Jimmy D
Sent: 10.55 pm - 6/8

"They went that way."

Jimmy limped towards the rest of the group, now covered in even more mud than Melissandra. Despite the pain that was starting to set in from his injuries, he hadn't really felt anything. The exhileration of winning a fight with some freaky animal crackers had been quite a rush.

But now, seconds later, that had changed, as Chloe was missing. Concern was suddenly the only thing he felt. Is this what he meant? The worry about your teamates in danger? That whole armchair metaphor...

Then Alexke had tried to leap through the portal, that, for all anyone knew, led to Hell or something. Dag, but the kid was either foolhardy or had balls of brass. Then again, maybe she knew what she was doing, as she popped out a second later, and somehow had divined which direction the bad guys had taken Chloe. Note to self: nice trick, ask her how she did that.

"Hey, hold still a sec, Jimmy." It was Berryn. The young priest placed a hand on Jimmy and said: "Great Arawn, please stop the blood from leaking out of the side of this man's head. Thank you very much. Amen." Jimmy felt a strange sensation, somehow... better. He touched his head and found that Arawn had indeed stopped it from bleeding.

"Thanks, dude. Healing spells rock! Look, Alexke, if you're sure they went over there, can't we follow? I mean, this sucker's pretty fast," he said, patting the Trade Carriage. "And can't this thing fly?"

There was a groan from next to him. "Oh yeah." He dragged the bound highwayman over a couple feet. "We could also see if big bird here knows where his buddies may have taken her."

Name: Lora Redish
Plotline: Coming of Age
Character(s): Sashami and some unhelpful NPCs
Title of Post: No, you don't get a free Trade Carriage out of this, kids
Sent: 9.24 am - 6/9

"Don't look at me," said the eagle-headed captive. "If we had dimensional portals at our disposal, we would have kicked your asses. Nice lasso work, by the way."

"He looked like he had a human head to me," the stagecoach driver contributed. "Dressed all in black. Ripped cloak."

"Probably our assassin 'friend' from before," Alderon surmised. "But... why Chloe? I mean, why not Rissa? No offense," he added in Rissa's direction, with guilty haste. "I just thought this was all about her and her amulet."

"Maybe he wanted his ring back," suggested Thalia. "She had it last."

"No time to lose, then! After them!" cried Sashami.

The stagecoach driver coughed. "I'm sorry, missy, but this is a public stagecoach, and I ain't no adventurer. This route goes to Edimon, nowhere else. 'Preciate your help stoppin' them varmints from gettin' away with all my mail, but I can't go flyin' off through the forest with you lookin' for interdimensional assassins, you understand."

"Edimon's northwest of here anyway, and the assassin's passport was what led us here in the first place," said Thalia. "Let's go there... whoever kidnapped Chloe, maybe we can get some clues about him there."

Behind them, through the rain, a pair of magical lights sparked to life like eyes, watched them go in silence and then whizzed off through the trees.

Name: Jonah Cohen
Plotline: Coming of Age
Character(s): Jimmy D and the Silver Bullets
Title of Post: Let the Hot Pursuit Begin
Sent: 12.58 pm - 6/9

The bird-headed highwayman was packed in the boot, ready to be turned over to Dalencian authorities, and the Trade Carriage was moving again. Jimmy wondered if he was the only one too wired to sleep.

Alderon had his hand on Berryn's shoulder. "Don't worry, man," the pirate said. "We'll get her back. Heck, Chloe's probably captured him and is gonna ask what took us so long when we get there. It takes more than one wussy I-scamper-from-every-fight hitman to deal with a Paris." Some of the veteran members of the Silver Bullets nodded assent.

Jimmy checked out the extending billy club he'd scavenged from the brigand. Nice blunt weapon - concealable, good reach, good surprise factor (as he himself had discovered) and the smoothest spring-action he'd ever seen. He futilely attempted to wipe some mud from his face, at least. A large green hand shyly passed him back his bandana.

"Thanks, Melissandra."

"I'll memorize Cantrip for tomorrow," Thalia offered. "I can use that to help you clean up."

This was incredible. He'd known everyone here for about two hours, and already they were fighting together, offering to cast spells for him and he was worrying about a woman he scarcely knew. It felt really good, he admitted to himself, to not be alone.

"Look," he said, "I've never been to Edimon, and I know it's a really big town, so it may take some time, but I'm pretty sure I can trace that fake passport."

Back to the June Archives, Part 5

'Does the moon look bigger to you tonight?'

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