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Season Notes: violence, magical coercion
A strange group of people huddled together in a darkened park. Each wore a distinct costume, too different to be called a uniform but clearly meant to be part of a set.
Each had their face obscured by a helmet, dark glasses, or in one case, magic.
And they all stared at a phone. The phone displayed a scene from a nightmare. An evil sorcerer’s castle straight out of an old Conan flick. In front of it stood the sorcerer themself, Lord MourningDagger. They were surrounded by monsters, grey fumbles and pink not-ostriches. But that wasn’t what held the team’s attention.
Kneeling with MourningDagger’s hand on the back of his neck was the man they knew only as ‘Mentor.’ A man who they had ‘captured,’ slowly learned to trust, and tried to free from his horrible curse.
A man they had hoped would be their teacher and guide. Someone to help them understand the magic powers they’d been ‘gifted’ with after MourningDagger had appeared.
Salem, called Speed, was in a rage. Her outfit looked like an idealized version of a runner’s tracksuit. “No. Fuck no. How the hell did we let this happen?”
“He’ll get out again,” Blade, called Heals, assured himself. “He got out once, and that was before we freed him.”
Quickmoon, called Sword, shook eir head, “How do we know it worked? He could really be trapped.”
“Then we’re the ones who are fucked,” growled Mobb, called Guns, “He knows too much. If he’s still under the curse, he’ll tell MourningDagger everything. They’ll know who we are.”
“Enough.” The calm, confident voice held a timber that no human voice could. Which was to be expected. Astaroth, called Frontman was the only one whose face was visible — sort of. A golden shimmer surrounded his head, making it impossible to identify him, but you could still the outline and general shape of his face. In fights, his shout could knock over enemies from yards away. And when he wasn’t shouting, he could still be heard across an entire city.
I know, because I was there. When MourningDagger first attacked, I’d been separated from my parents. I’d fled with everyone else and heard Frontman when he challenged MourningDagger. Not challenged them, mocked them. Called them out for the bully they were.
Frontman — the whole team became my heroes that day. I mean, they were everyone’s heroes. The whole world’s. But for a scrawny kid who was constantly being bullied and shoved around, hearing the biggest evil I’d ever even heard of called out for a meaningless bully and put in their place — yeah, I worshiped the ground they walked on.
Anyway, yeah. Astaroth shut the argument down and got them all huddled together. A minute later they had poofed how they do, and I had no idea if I’d ever get a chance to see them again. They never saw me where I had huddled under the trees to try and get some sleep.
They went back to their new hideout and hadn’t even put their bags down before Salem started in on how they had to go rescue him — Mentor, I mean. Mobb got in her face about it.
“One, we don’t know what happened. For all we know, he was playing us the whole time. Two, even if he was captured he is one man and we have a whole fucking planet to save somehow. And–” she raised her voice to yell over Salem’s objections, “three, we don’t have the first clue how to rescue him even if we wanted to.”
Blade was in between them in a moment which was —
No, I wasn’t there. I know because they told me. They never wanted to talk about any of the fighting — watch it on YouTube they’d tell me. But the rest of it? All the little shit like learning how to use their powers and live together. And him. Especially anything involving him, they loved to talk about. And they still called him that. Even after they gave him the title and called him Mentor to other folks, when it was just us, they’d say ‘him’ in that tone they had. No matter what else he became later, he was always just… him.
So, Blade stepped between Salem and Mobb to keep a real fight from breaking out. Which was good because it might have, but no one wanted to fight Jargon Man. Partly because he always got back at them later. Mostly because he was the only one who didn’t have fighting magic. They didn’t realize it themselves at the time, but they treated him with kid gloves. They did it even out of uniform when none of them had magic.
With Blade between them, Salem and Mobb yelled at each other. They might have gone on for a while, but while they were distracted, Quickmoon de-magicked and turned on the TV. By then, CSPAN had a sub-network dedicated to showing the castle and the wards around it 24/7. Quickmoon flipped to that and caught the tail end of the action. MourningDagger was walking back into the castle, with Mentor and a few other goons following behind.
“We need more information,” ey said. “Blade? The full video has to be somewhere, right?”
“Right,” Blade nodded. “I’ll find it.”
Astaroth moved to stand with Quickmoon, watching Mentor disappear into the castle. “If your loophole worked, he’ll get himself out. We need a way for him to find us when he does. ‘Moon, you seemed to understand him best.”
“I’ll think about it.”
“And,” Astaroth continued, “If the loophole didn’t take, then he’ll be back to playing barrack’s lawyer, right?”
“Yeah,” Mobb said slowly. “Yeah, that’s it. If he wants out, we don’t need to rescue him. Just get him an opportunity.” She was nodding, excited. “Hard to lawyer without the rule book, but some stuff is obvious. Blade, he gave you a good bit of intel, right?”
Salem was smiling. “We should get all that shit written down anyway. It’ll help us fight MourningDagger. We got some notebooks in the supplies. I’ll them out.”
“And I’ll monitor the news,” Astaroth said. “We have a plan, let’s get to it.
“I don’t think MourningDagger is going to leave us alone for long.”