Me in Comic Books:
My Life in Comic Books
Mage War 2003
Inquisition. There are evil mages who have a magic contest every four years, and 2003 is one of those years. And there is a temple full of people who hunt mages. And then there's me, in the crossfire.
- Why me? Well, stuff happens to me... as witness Odin doing my laundry. Some people who call themselves "mages" (even in the modern age) say this makes me a Chaos Mage. And ever since Odin started doing my laundry, I've become the holder of a potent power object.
- What about the mage hunters? The Heid-Ketzel Temple is dedicated to the destruction of magic. They've hunted me twice now, because stuff's been happening to me for a while.
- What about these evil mages? Their contest used to be called the Black Mage Competition. Black is a color of pride for these people, and has nothing to do with skin color, brown or otherwise. Now they call their contest the Black Arts Festival. Really. They even book their awards ceremony in public venues. People show up there looking for art by artists of African ancestry, so the ceremonies have art galleries and make huge amounts of money on the side. But anyway...
This progression doesn't bode well for 2003.
- The contest of 1991 resulted in a few superhero incidents, plus a bit of extra bloodletting during that year of the Great Persian Gulf War.
- The contest of 1995 included massive flooding in New York City and the Bahamas, and caused the United States and United Kingdom governments to organize a major hunt for the perpetrators.
- The contest of 1999 summoned dark alien forces which destroyed the world. Really. We're just lucky we found an alternate universe replacement and moved everyone there. Really.
Speaking of 2003, it's the year I've taken up residence near Chicago with my new roommate Odin. Yeah, that Odin. We're both at home one Sunday afternoon, when robots knock on my balcony door. Actually, they knock right through it. And they're Heid-Ketzel robots. Oh no, not again.
And now there are sirens in the distance. The police must have finally noticed the small legion of flying robots.
- They're one robot that looks different, though. For one thing, it has a faceplate instead of a face. There's a human inside!
- He's a talkative human, too. He calls himself Torquemada, and goes on at length about how the Spanish Inquisition was actually a good thing, because it stopped evil plots like my own to use power objects to warp weather systems across the continent and bring drought upon the Midwest. Huh? (6 February)
- I actually have to interrupt him to make him an offer: if he'll kindly stop by the apartment complex office to explain why he's busting up their property with his robots, I'll take a leave of absence from work and go with him, until his plan ultimately fails like all the Heid-Ketzel plans do. He replies snootily, "I do not bargain with mages."
- He then takes out a scanner, explaining verbosely that he will unearth all my magic objects. He turns up a few hiking sticks, one trenchcoat, one hat, one scroll (but he can't open it, because Death sealed it herself, and it re-sealed after I read it), and my roommate, whom Torquemada promptly and snootily commands to come with him.
- Of course, Odin's response is predictable: "Such as you do not command me." And this time, he's right, because he's Death's property, and I'm the deputy champion of Death. I start filling up with Deathpower to defend him with, which sends Torquemada's magic scanner off the scale.
- Then Torquemada gets himself even deeper in trouble: he seizes Odin and says, "Hold back or this man's dead!" Well, I guess he's right (for most definitions of "or"), because after all, Odin is dead. Odin, who knows this full well, stoically says, "Do your worst." And I take a step closer, just to make sure he does.
- The "worst" turns out to be electro-shock. Boy, what a bad idea for Torquemada. Odin soaks it all up, drains the armor dry, then drains all the robots too. He looks positively godlike now, with all that energy going through him.
- Torquemada stutteringly says, "But... that energy comes from Ley lines! No man could hold it all!" I just grin, in a particularly Deathlike way.
- Then Torquemada pushes a button on his armor - and disappears through a hole in the floor! And the hole disappears too. He must have had remote control of a teleporter; the Heid-Ketzel Temple pioneered those.
There's some time for cleanup afterwards. Some of the robots teleported out at the same time Torquemada did, but some didn't because they'd been toppled and couldn't fall through their teleportals. So there's at least some evidence here that I didn't trash my own apartment. And Odin obligingly disappears, so there's no question about my having an unregistered roommate.
Then I go online and ask my fellow "mages" what the hell is going on. It seems the Black Arts Competition of 2003 got pre-empted by this Torquemada fellow, who joined the Heid-Ketzel Temple, got into a leadership position, rebuilt their robot factories, and decided to start capturing mages before they can raise trouble. He got most of the evil mages in late 2002, then asked himself, "Why stop there?"
Actually I have to admire his initiative; it's about time someone started taking anti-social mages seriously enough to treat them like terrorists. But Torquemada definitely needs a bit of restraint here.
And Odin certainly seems to be acting like a god now. We need to talk. I start...
I'm not sure where to go from here... but we're likely to kick some serious ass when we do.
- "I always expected your enemies to come looking for you, but instead mine did. I'm certainly sorry about that, but it puts our relationship in sort of a problem."
- "Worry not, lad." Surely I'm 40-something years old, but "lad" still sounds right coming from him. "Were I still the liege lord of Valhalla and my enemies invaded, I would expect every warrior there to fight for its defense. Thou art my liege lord in this matter." And he actually kneels down.
- "Then I bid you, rise up and fight beside me as an equal... at the very least." My language gets a bit flowery on occasion too, if normal people aren't around to laugh at me.
- "My liege, I will fight at thy side, but only one may command."
Finster. Not only are there evil mages, there are extradimensional beings (more commonly known as demons) that they make treaties with. When the evil mages disappear, the demons go looking for replacements.
- There's a demon who's offering dominion over Cornwall to any mage who'll fly around it with him. Fortunately a guy named Finster (more accurately, Finisterre John Loring) goes, and he isn't so easily impressed. Because if that's Britain over there, somebody's forgotten about Wales. (9 February)
- He's got my fellow "mages" interested in demons, though. The trouble is, they're already interested in the people who capture people who make deals with demons. If they want to pursue the demons, they'll have to divide their forces.
Balance of Fear. The demons are granting dominion over dreams. One of my old enemies the Countess (more properly, the Contessa Teresa Patricia de Fremontagne) is cashing in on this. Of course, I have some dominion over Death. How well will this protect me? I guess I'll find out soon...
I think I've protected a third of the United States right there.
- There's a veejay on local access TV calling himself "Ellipsis Z", who reads bad poetry while sitting in a river. He's a really big hit, and he says he has a muse. Inspired, I drive to a campground and go to sleep in a river. When I wake up, all the cars have been broken into and have three tires missing. I'm guessing thieves have a muse now too. (17 February)
- I have two places to go on this mission. The first is... I don't know where, but my faithful car Tater will figure it out, because I've stored my tracking power in him. I've equipped him with new tires, but he can still track his old ones.
- This one's easy. Tater takes me to a junkyard in nearby Palatine, Illinois. I ask the junkyard owner to inspect his stock to look for stolen property. He calls some dogs out on me. I shake my walking stick at them... the one Odin blessed. And it turns out to have Thorpower, just like I always used to have. Getting my tires back after that is downright trivial.
- The second mission is to where the Countess lives: Atlantic City, New Jersey. I'm already familiar with the Love Hotel she owns there.
- That takes some advance preparation. I have power over Death, so I find the Countess's dead mother. It seems they didn't get along very well, after the Countess seduced her mom's new husband. I could tell you many more details... but I think I'll save them until I need them.
- In short, I have her mom sign a note... then I place that note upon the bed of the Mistress Suite in the Love Hotel, along with the three tires she had people steal from me. If she wants them that badly, she can keep them. But that's it for vengeance, against me or other people who give a shit about dominion over Dreams.
What about everyone else?
So really, it's back to business as usual.
Me in Comic Books: