Monday, January 23, 2017

Evil has standards (super people)

[Ok, first off, this is entirely unrelated to the plot-line I've had a string of posts on involving Corv and Enzie.  Different heroes, different villains, probably a different part of the world.]

Kelley and Dee dropped from the conveniently sized air duct into the main chamber of Doctor Galvah's lair.  Various henchpeople took notice and activated their staves, ordinary walking-sticks transforming into conduits for crackling orange energy.

Aspirant looked up from his book.  There was a hint of annoyance on his face, as if Kelley and Dee were nothing more than a distraction from what he had been doing: reading a book while leaning so far back in his chair that it balanced precariously on two legs and was only kept from flipping backward because his legs were braced under the table in front of him.

Aspirant slowly lowered his chair so all four legs were on the ground, then stood up, marked his place in the book and closed it, set the book on the table, and focused his attention on Kelley.

Purple energy engulfed his hands.  Unlike the staves, it didn't crackle.  It flowed, it licked, it even occasionally flickered, but it did not crackle.

Kelley said to Dee --quietly, as though it weren't the case that everyone in the room already knew her one-note never-changing game-plan-- "Distract the mooks while I take care of Aspirant.  The doctor can wait until we've dealt with the immediate threats."

Dee nodded and said, "Got it," for good measure.

With the usual pre-fight activities over, Doctor Galvah sighed.  Then she said, "Well stop them, of course."

With that the fight commenced.  Aspirant and Kelley knew their parts well, and so they met halfway between where they'd started.  Then the dance began for them.  While others fought prominently with blows and blocks, their fights were always about dodges, feints, the occasional handspring, and generally both sides failing to land a blow.  Once a connection was finally made, it always meant the end of the fight was near.

Dee and the henches had an entirely different style of combat.  The henches lacked the practice and magic needed to fight like Aspirant or Kelley.  They tried to land hits without the subterfuge of frequent feints, they blocked rather than dodged, and they never engaged in acrobatics.

Dee used a mixture of fighting and running like Hell.  Fighting to get their attention or, if she had too much of their attention, make an opening to get away; running like Hell to not get the shit kicked out of her.

It usually worked well.  She could fight well enough and long enough to make the necessary openings to run like Hell, she could run fast enough to stay ahead, and pace herself enough to make sure that attention stayed focused on her, rather than risk loosing attention when she gained too much of a lead.

It usually worked.  Today something was off.  Maybe it was the particular arrangement of random junk in the lair, maybe it was because she was a bit tired from the start, maybe the henches were just having a good day.  Maybe it was nothing but random chance.

Whatever the reason she was finding her running continually cut off, forcing her to fight for longer than she was comfortable, especially against crackling magic sticks, and she was increasingly on the defensive, and increasingly forced into the open, away from obstacles she could use to her advantage.

In fact the obstacles that were at hand all seemed to be conspiring to work to her disadvantage.

A high blow was so hard that her block hurt her arms, she'd used both, and forced her to take a step back.  Something on the floor made that step back fail, and she ended up in a backwards spin that left her on the floor.

Before she could even think about getting back up, she felt someone walk into her and fall on her.  From the opposite direction as the henches.  That meant it was either Aspirant or Kelley.

Dee knew this would be bad either way.

Kelley roughly got off of her, and then shouted, "Damn it, Dee, why are you always so utterly useless!?"

All activity in the lair stopped.  The henches fell silent.  Doctor Galvah's shouted orders ceased.  Aspirant let his arms drop to his sides and the purple light that danced around them shut down.

Everyone evil was staring, many wide-eyed, at the heroes.  As for the side of good, Kelley stood over Dee glowering at her.  Dee scrambled into a sitting position and looked up at Kelley.

Dee said, "Sorry," in a small voice.

"Sorry doesn't cut it when you screw everything up," Kelley said.  "We've been doing this how long,? and you still managed to fuck up the simplest task.  Distract them," Kelley pointed at the henches, "and keep them away from me so I can beat Aspirant.

"I don't know what the Hell is wrong with you, but you're a sorry excuse for a sidekick.  I don't even know why I've kept you around this long.  Maybe it was because I had pity on you for being a friendless loser, but I--"

"Enough!" Doctor Galvah shouted.  She punched a few buttons and the evil device of the week powered down.  Then she started walking away from her usual position, protected from the fighting by being well behind the fray, and toward Kelley and Dee.

Doctor Galvah made eye contact with Kelley and said, "You are no longer welcome here."

"What!?" Kelley shouted.

"Get out, Kelley," Aspirant said.

"I was never welcome here to begin with," Kelly said, loudly, to Doctor Galvah, "and I'm not leaving until I've stopped you from taking over the world."

"With what?" Doctor Galvah asked.  "I came up with that, she pointed with a thumb to the evil device of the week, "while daydreaming and I only built it because insomnia is incredibly boring and I had nothing better to do last night.  It could never take over the world."

"Just before the fight I got word from the pharmacy, doc," one of the henches said.  "Your prescription came through and your sleeping medication should be ready for pick up by noon."

"Thank god," Doctor Galvah said.  Then she returned her attention to her Kelley.  "I invited you here today because I worry that if I always wait until I actually have a viable take-over-the-world scheme you'd have too much time to spend on self-improvement and it would be harder to beat you when it counted.

"You have worn out that invitation," Doctor Galvah said to Kelley, now as close to face to face with her as she could be without stepping on Dee.  "Get out of my home.  Assholes are not welcome here."

Kelley looked down at Dee, who was still sitting; staring up at her --in what looked to be some level of shock.  Then she looked back to Galvah, then to the henches.  They started taking up fighting stances.  Then she looked to Aspirant.

Aspirant said, "Go, now," settled into a fighting stance of his own, and made the purple magic return to encase his fists.

Kelley was still a moment, then looked down at Dee and said, "You're fired," before spinning around and running out of the lair.

After a door closed, with a woosh, behind Kelley, Dee finally registered that she was now alone in a a lair with a villain, the villain's magical fighter, and a whole lot of henchpeople.

She looked around in fear, but found that, while everyone looked tense, no one was prepared for combat anymore.  The purple had again receded from Aspirant's hands.  The staves of the hench people were no longer crackling with orange energy.  Doctor Galvah was directly behind her, so she wasn't sure what was going on there.

Aspirant offered Dee a hand.

Dee just looked at it.

"It doesn't bite without the magic," Aspirant said.

Dee took the offered hand and allowed herself to be helped to her feet.

"Correct me if I'm wrong, kid," Aspirant said, "but isn't that the first time you fucked up in a year and a half?"

"I haven't been keeping track," Dee said softly.

"Well, Kelley screws up all the time," Aspirant said, "and usually a lot worse than falling over backward, so I wouldn't put too much stock in what she said today."

"Have you had food?" Doctor Galvah asked.

"Um, what?" Dee said.

"Breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses, whatever," Doctor Galvah said.  "If you're hungry, the kitchen is this way.

Dee followed, it seemed the path of least resistance.

"I'm not going to pretend I know how you feel," Aspirant said, falling into step beside her, "but I have had similar experiences.  However bad things seem right now, it will get better.  You just have to hold on until it does."

Dee had a sudden thought, and let, "I'm not going to be a villain," slip out without considering if it was a good thing to say.

"I'm not giving my recruitment speech," Aspirant said.

"Though we do have cookies," Doctor Galvah said.

"Just make sure you tell us about any food allergies so we can make sure we don't poison you," Aspirant said.  "We've got good options for anyone, but they're very definitely different options depending on your individual needs."

"Why are you being nice to me?" Dee asked.

"Seems like what you need right now," Aspirant said.

"Because we're decent human beings," Doctor Galvah said.

"We can focus on making the world better on a global scale, to which world domination is a first step, later," Aspirant said.  "We wouldn't exactly be qualified to run the world if we didn't recognize that the people in it matter.

"You matter," Aspirant said.  "That's all the reason that there ever need be."

When they reached the kitchen Dee was stunned by the scope of the dark side's cookie supply.



John Dee and Edward Kelley are the originators of Enochian magic and mythos, an angelic system.  In that world view the trinity was part of a slightly larger construct.  One person larger.  The fourth person was not, in fact, Steve.  Rather it was the divine feminine who was known as Galvah.

As with any decent Hero-Villain nemesis relationship, everyone's on the same page.  Kelley and Dee are adherents to a modified Encohian system, Doctor Galvah's inventions are always at least as much Encohian-esque magic as they are technology.  Usually more so.

Aspirant considered the handle "Seeker" but decided it was too sectarian.


The henchpeople's staves are all made of found, rather than carved, wood.  The kind of makeshift walking-stick you often locate or create on a hike through a wooded area.  They get their magical energy from various sigils and scripts carved into them.  The carvings aren't designed to be particularly visible, so from a distance the staves just look like tree bits with various amounts of bark (some are stripped, some have all the original bark.)

The use of staves supposedly comes from Galvah having learned great mysteries of the universe when she was a shepherd who used found materials rather than a traditional crook.  This is a lie.  She was a goatherd.

Whenever she finds herself herding goats now (generally to help a friend from the old days) she brings a pool cue to be her staff.  She is adamant, however, that a pool cue would not be a good magical conduit unless it were used for the purposes of herding Caprinae over a period of years.

Apparently she believes that any Caprinae will do.  Except Markhor.  It is still a mystery why markhor would not, in fact, lead to the correct properties in manufactured sticks.  Given that they're a wild species, investigation into the matter will likely not be forthcoming.

Galvah's own pool cue is in fact carved with appropriate marks, but --since she's a non-combatant-- whether it would work as a magical conduit like the henches' staves has never come up in public.  If she has tested it in private, she has not shared the results.

Really, she finds the whole question of pool cues beside the point since any naturally occurring staff sized branch that's sturdy enough will work even when it has not been used to herd anything.  The only requirement is that the branch have died a natural death rather than having been cut off of the tree by humans (or, one supposes, flying beavers.)


  1. Nice!

    (Also, I appreciated the explanation at the end. I knew who the original Dee and Kelley were, but not enough about what they actually *did* to spot Galvah or the rest of it.)

    1. I'd have gotten Dee and Kelley separately, but putting them in such proximity made my mind jump to the actor who played Dr. McCoy.

    2. Giant Bunnies are coming to destroy us!