Archive for the ‘Writings’ Category

Friday the 13th: Jason in Time (Movie Pitch) Pt. 1

August 13, 2022

Cast of Characters:

From Earlier Films:

Jason Reborn – After the events of Jason Goes to Hell in 2003, Jason has once again clawed his way to the land of the living thanks to Freddy Krueger

Uber Jason – The killer Jason Voorhees whose undead body merged with nanotechnology to become even more of an apex predator. 

Creighton Duke – The bounty hunter who helped kill Jason the last time. He barely survived his injuries from his last fight with Jason.

Ginny Fields – One of the original survivors of Jason back in 1984. She has since followed her dream of becoming a child psychologist.

Jessica Kimble – One of the two last blood relations to Jason Voorhees and survivor of Jason’s last known rampage.

KM-14 – An android from the future who fought Jason and barely survived. She is dedicated to stopping the threat of Nanotech Jason.

Reggie Winter – Fought a copycat Jason alongside Tommy but is ready to tackle the real thing.

Rowan LaFontaine – A scientist from the 21st century who was stabbed by Jason and frozen only to be defrosted in the future to face Jason. She is dedicated to stopping Jason.

Tina Rogers née Shepard – A young woman with psychic powers who once defeated Jason. 

Tommy Jarvis – He was a troubled young man who had encountered Jason twice but failed to kill him. Probably the foremost expert in surviving Jason Voorhees since most others are dead

New Characters:

Agent Renata Dario – An FBI agent investigating the Crystal Lake site after alerts went off.

Billy Campbell – A local interested in getting rid of Jason to avenge the dead who are not acknowledged as much. He believes that Jason is a sickness.

Officer Owen Argento – A security officer from the future tasked with disposing of Jason’s body in the sun. 

The year 2455 – On a Ship in Deep Space – Interior

KM-14 and Rowan LaFontaine have assisted in the effort on Earth 2 to clean up what was left of the remains of Jason Voorhees. They convinced the government of the severity of the situation by showing footage of Jason’s attack on their ship. Rowan insisted on accompanying the disposal mission to dump Jason into a nearby star. KM-14 accompanied her just in case things got out of hand again. While en route, a space anomaly causes power on the ship to fluctuate including the containment field around Jason’s remains. Rowan and KM-14 rush to that area. As they work with Owen Argento to assess the risk, the anomaly further activates and that section of the ship is completely destroyed.

The year 2006 – Crystal Lake – Exterior

The serene surface of the lake is disturbed by bubbling and then a large hand reaches above the surface. 

The year 2006 -Blairstown, NJ  – Exterior

Tommy Jarvis arrives at the house of Tina and Nick Rogers.  Tina is sitting out on the porch. He asks if she was expecting him but she simply smiles and says it is a nice day  She offers him some lemonade. Tommy is there because Tina would not answer his messages. She simply ignored them. She is done with Jason. Tommy points out that she gave Jason the toughest fight of anybody else. He thinks that Jason is back. They have a responsibility to end him. She refuses. Tommy asks her to at least reach out and see if Jason is back. Tina states that doing so might draw Jason to her. Tommy points out that she and Nick could have moved far away from Crystal Lake but they settled nearby. Tina relents and reaches out with her mind and confirms that Jason is back but she feels something is very wrong. Tommy asks if he is back at Crystal Lake. Tina says yes… and no. She cannot make sense of what she feels and that troubles her.  Tommy pleads with her to go to Crystal Lake with him. He has some people for her to meet. If 

The year 2006 – A secluded beach in New Jersey – Exterior

Rowan wakes up and stumbles to her feet in an unknown place, her vision blurry at first. The ruins of the spaceship section are half on the sand and half in the water. She searches for the others and finds Owen and pulls him out of the water. Thankfully, he did not drown. The two of them find KM and are able to reactivate her. She informs them that they are on Earth and not Earth 2. They are startled to find out that they have appeared in 2006. Owen marvels that this is what Earth looked like when it was still livable. They find that Jason’s containment field is empty. Rowan knows where Jason would go

A gym in Crystal Lake – Interior

Tina arrives and walks into a gym full of faces familiar to fans of the franchise. Creighton, Tommy, Jessica, Ginny, and Reggie have all been seen before. Billy is a new face. They settle into a circle of chairs. One by one, they talk about their experiences with Jason as the audience sees brief clips of the events of Friday the 13th Parts 1 and 2, The Final Chapter, A New Beginning, Jason Lives, and Jason Goes to Hell. Tommy fills in bits he has learned from Part 3 and Jason Takes Manhattan. He mentions that a fence has been erected around the whole area after a recent incident (referring to the conclusion of Freddy vs. Jason). Tommy introduces Billy who is a local and is there to represent the town of Crystal Lake, unofficially of course. Billy says that he’s got two others he plans to bring along.

A small town in New Jersey – Exterior

The time travelers have obtained clothes of the time and are walking down the street. They talk about making as few changes in the timeline as possible. Owen points out that the cat may already be out of the bag since Uber Jason won’t be concerned about the timeline. Besides that, they need to get to Crystal Lake. Rowan relents and they have KM steal a truck from a nearby lot. They drive off toward Crystal Lake.

Camp Crystal Lake – Exterior

Tina and Tommy get through the fence and arrive at Camp Crystal Lake. They sit and talk for a moment as they contemplate the dilapidated buildings of Camp Crystal Lake (with graffiti saying Camp Blood) and all of the memories there. Tina points out that there must have been good memories before Jason. Tommy says that if they remove Jason, there will be nothing standing in the way of the good memories coming back. The curse of Crystal Lake will be over. Tina reveals that she is a bit rusty with her powers. Tommy assures her that it will be alright but that he’s counting on her.

Everybody else pulls up in two cars. They climb out of the car and Tommy gives a pep talk as de facto leader. They all have what it takes for a final confrontation with Jason. 

Somewhere in New Jersey – Exterior

A group of teens is having a party in a clearing. Two young lovers walk off into the woods and the guy blindfolds the girl. [The film audience is vicariously blindfolded] After a few beats she hears a horrible scream. She lifts the blindfold to see her boyfriend impaled on a tree branch next to her. She screams and looks around wildly and sees red eyes light up in the shadows. Cut to her running into the clearing when she is hit behind by a thrown machete. Uber Jason strides into the clearing and starts to slaughter teens as they try and flee. The violence is sudden, chaotic, and gory. There are no survivors.

Camp Crystal Lake – Exterior

The support group is walking along the trail. Renata shouts at them to freeze and announces herself as an FBI agent. They are a highly suspicious and well-armed group in a site deemed off-limits by the FBI. Tommy admits that she is right but points out that it is off-limits because of Jason. Renata brushes this aside. Tina says that Jason is back. Renata blurts out that Jason Voorhees is dead. Tina insists that he is back and Jessica backs her up. Tommy asks Renata what she is doing at the camp. Not that it is their business but she is there to check on several tripped motion sensors. Isaiah jokes that this was a fast response. Renata states that, unless the group had been down by the water, it was not them. Everybody looks at each other and Renata runs off toward the lake telling the group to stay put. Tommy says there’s no chance of that and Creighton helps rally the group toward the lake.

Renata finds Jason Reborn standing by the lake, staring out at the still water. She tells him to freeze and stand down. He turns as the others arrive. Renata is annoyed but also a little grateful. They aim their weapons at Jason but he approaches anyway. Renata gives a warning but Tommy’s crew just starts firing. The battle begins and the group is terrorized by an absolutely feral Jason Voorhees. Tommy calls on Tina to put a stop to it but her powers falter. Ginny, Reggie, and Billy’s two friends are killed in the battle.  As things look grim, a truck plows into Jason but the impact merely staggers him. Owen and KM pop out and fire their weapons at Jason. The energy weapons kick up a lot of smoke which allows Jason to disappear. The others are stunned but they are beckoned into and onto the truck. At the last moment, Owen is stabbed from behind by Jason and the rest of the group drives away.

Camp Crystal Lake – Camp Lodge Interior

Tommy points out that Jason is smarter than he looks and will have retreated temporarily to regroup and assess the new threat. They barely made a scratch and Jason could have easily killed them all. They take a moment to mourn those who did die. The group realizes that the newcomers have disappeared.

In another room, Rowan and KM talk again about being in the past and that they have to be careful. Rowan knows that the group fails to end Jason because of the incident that led to her being frozen in the first place. She laments that they have to deal with two Jasons now. Their priority target remains Uber Jason. KM does not like the odds of success.

They are interrupted by Tommy and Jessica who ask them to join the group. They are grateful for the rescue but suspicious of these newcomers. Tommy reveals that most people there are survivors of Jason. Rowan says that applies to her and KM as well. Owen was just along for the ride. 

Renata has no idea what she has gotten into. The others tell her the basic story of Jason. He was a kid who died in the lake, he rose again as an adult zombie, and each time he falls, he rises again even more powerful. Renata claims that the FBI destroyed Jason. Jessica walks her through his resurrection. He is way more powerful than the government could ever know. Rowan blurts out that the government will know about it but is able to play it off as a plan to let the government know the entire truth about Jason. The group agrees but Tommy insists that it won’t be necessary if they do their job right. Rowan hides her reaction, knowing that they will not succeed.

Tommy pulls Tina aside and asks her what went wrong out there. Tina tells him again that she is rusty as she abandoned her powers after fighting Jason last time. Tommy tells her that they need her badly, more than he thought. Jessica overhears and interrupts and yells at Tommy for hinging his plan entirely on Tina. She points out that the mystic dagger combined with her blood is supposed to be the only thing that really works. Tommy points out that only 3 years have passed but Tommy put Jason down for five. Jessica points out that Tommy also brought Jason back too. Tina yells at them to stop and a surge of power goes through the room. Tommy and Jessica smile and Tommy says that they might have a chance after all.

Creighton bursts in to tell them that Renata has run off. Renata’s FBI backup has arrived and she went off with them to track down Jason. KM is able to alter some old camp radio equipment so that they can listen to FBI communications.

Poor Unfortunate Souls: Endgame Pt. 7

August 6, 2022

Genie had provided everybody with a feast fit for royalty which made sense as many of them were royalty. They all ate and tried to remain in good spirits with the fight of their lives ahead of them. In the meantime, the fairies had set about building and enchanting armaments for the group. They all assembled before the portal where everything was laid out on a table. Flora floated over to the table and stood resolute.

“Aurora, step forward, my child,” Flora said and Aurora stepped forward. “You have inherited the Sword of Truth and the Shield of Virtue.” Fauna and Merryweather held them out and Aurora gratefully took them. Light swirled around her and new armor formed on her body. It had red, blue, and green accents. She stepped back into line.

“Aladdin, step forward,” Flora said and Alladin stepped forward. “A simple weapon but trusty in its familiarity. She handed him the familiar scimitar which he had been forced to pick up so many times. He hefted it and swung it a bit before stepping back into place.

“Jasmine, step forward,” Flora said and Jasmine stepped forward. “The simplest of weapons but perhaps the most useful.” She handed Jasmine a long wooden staff which reminded Jasmine of that piece of wood she had used once to vault from roof to roof. She returned to stand with Aladdin.

“Esmerelda, step forward,” Flora said and Esmerelda happily made her way forward. “Rather unwieldy weapons but we trust you.” She handed over a pair of chain whips.

“Have you ever seen me twirl ribbons?” Esmerelda asked. “This will be very similar.”

“Merrida, step forward,” Flora said and Merrida stepped forward. “Yours was an easy request and I know it will feel personal to you.” She held up a carefully crafted wooden bow with accents reminiscent of a bear. Merrida gripped her new bow and instantly leather armor formed over her body complete with a quiver of brand new arrows. She stepped back.to stand with the others.

“Flynn Rider, step forward,” Flora said.

“Eugene, actually,” he said as he stepped up. “You know what? It’s fine. The worlds are about to end, call me anything you want.”

“An ax from the Snuggly Duckling,” Flora said. “Swing true.”

“Thanks!” Flynn said and carried the ax away.

“Rapunzel, step forward,” Flora said and Rapunzel stepped forward. “Your request was strange but far be it from us to second guess a champion.” She held up a frying pan that shimmered with power and had the familiar symbol of her flower. Rapunzel took it with a grateful smile.

“I guess that’s not just for cooking,” Tiana said.

“It’s served me well in the past,” Rapunzel said with a shrug.

“Great, I saw it earlier and wanted one for myself,” Tiana said. “I’ve had to deal with unruly customers that way.”

Tiana stepped forward and received a very similar skillet, emblazoned with the symbol of a frog. She smirked and flipped it and caught it again.

“Naveen, step forward,” Flora said and Naveen stepped forward eagerly. “This was the most peculiar request but if it will help, we were happy to try our best.” She handed Naveen a rifle.

“Um, Naveen darling,” Tiana said. “These people don’t know what a gun is. Do you think it’s wise to show them?”

“Desperate times, Tiana,” Naveen said. “I’m sure nothing bad will come of this.”

“I hope you’re right,” Tiana said. She trusted her husband but did she trust the civilizations of the other worlds? That was a problem for later.

“Anna, step forward,” Flora said and Anna proudly stepped forward with her trademark smile. “A sword in the style of your homeland. It is short but foes who underestimate it do so at their peril, just like you Anna.” Anna took hold of the sword with the Arendelle seal on its hilt. She also grabbed a shield similar to the one Mattias used. She got a metal helmet as well.

“I’m fine with my ice powers,” Elsa said. “But thank you for the offer.”

“Similarly, I suppose I can transform and use my claws,” Adam said. “I’ve come to terms with that.” Belle squeezed his hand encouragingly and he squeezed hers back.

“Last but not least, Belle, please step forward,” Flora said. Belle stepped forward.

“I made this one,” Enchantress said.

“You helped,” Godmother said.

Belle picked up a book bound with leather and iron. She looked around at all of the confused faces and she smiled.

“It’s a book of spells,” Belle said. “A book is the most powerful thing in any world.”

Adam smiled and put his arm around Belle. “My clever wife,” he said.

“I suppose we’re ready,” Jasmine said.

The portal opened and it looked different than before. They could not see the other side and there was a sinister purple-black aura coming off of it. The group gathered their courage.

“Let’s go,” Aurora said.

The Harvest

July 30, 2022

The lonely hawk flew along the city walls, zig-zagging as it looked for a good perch. This part of the city was still mostly abandoned after the giant attack. Average citizens had no reason to frequent what were now ruins. Engineers and builders frequented the area but they did not have a large enough workforce to be everywhere. So it was that just like with other unused spaces, criminals moved in to use them. None of the criminals installed anything permanent but the area was perfect for uninterrupted secret meetings.

If the workers and criminals in the area bothered to look up, the hawk would have been fairly unremarkable. Some birds of prey did stray near the city and helped curb the rodent problem, especially in the damaged parts far from the hunting grounds of any feral cats. The part that was rather remarkable was that this hawk had a passenger. A tiny mouse clung to the bird’s neck feathers, managing to stay on even with the crosswinds up that high. The hawk made big swooping circles but finally came in for a landing in the remains of what must have been a wizard’s tower.

The mouse chittered and smoothed its fur before jumping off of the hawk. As it walked away, the mouse slowly transformed into the elven form of Becka. As she attained her normal form, she shivered and shook off the feeling of the magical transformation. She did not look pleased.

“That was weird,” she said. “That was really weird. I’m not sure if I hated it or liked it. My head is still spinning.”

The hawk shimmered and was instantly replaced by the form of the young druid Joshua. The young halfling was smug and gave a half-hearted shrug.

“That’s probably the effect of your intellect dropping to that of a mouse and then going back up,” Joshua said. “Though, in your case, it’s probably not that great of a difference.” He was perched a bit on top of a broken-down bit of wall. They were mostly enclosed in the top of the tower, giving them a bit of privacy.

“Watch your tongue, boy,” Becka said, her eyes narrowing with annoyance and the early rumblings of anger. “You know who and what I am.” She smoothed her cloak and tossed her auburn hair, an arrogant habit she had. She was a little more relaxed, sure that they would probably not be spotted anytime soon.

“Oh I know,” Joshua said with a smile. “The Harvest. The Coming Winter. The Butcher of Khull. I know all of your names and the reputation that comes with them.” 

“So you know that I could kill you in any number of ways,” Becka said. “I killed with a table leg. Ten soldiers with a table leg.” She gripped the hilt of her saber with a somewhat haughty expression.

Joshua nodded. “I’ve heard the stories,” he said. “I also know that you only kill criminals or enemy combatants. I am neither. You hired me to get you across the city.”

Becka’s eyes narrowed again. “Because you picked my pocket,” she said. “Which makes you a criminal. I also thought you would point me towards a shortcut through the sewers.”

“Sewers? Not ideal. You know what goes into the sewers, right?” Joshua asked with a smile. “Learning how to be a fish is kind of weird too. Fish are also somehow more stupid than mice.”

“We don’t have to be fish,” Becka said. “Do you ever just walk anywhere?”

“Ugh, not if I can help it,” Joshua said. “It takes forever. Look how quickly we flew.”

“Not exactly stealthy or safe,” Becka said.

“Look, we could sit around here discussing my methods or you could get on with the killing,” Joshua said.

“You’re not needed here,” Becka said, pulling out her bow to assemble it.”You can go.”

There was a long silence and then Joshua spoke. “Oh, what’s your exit strategy then?” Joshua asks.

Becka barely flinched. It was subtle but Joshua spotted it. “I’ll figure it out,” she said softly.

“Maybe I want to stick around,” Joshua said. “I’ve never seen an assassination before.”

“Suit yourself,” Becka said with a shrug. “If you get in my way, I will take you down.” She pulled out her quiver of arrows.

“Noted,” Joshua said and pulled out an apple to eat.

Poor Unfortunate Souls: Endgame Pt. 6

July 23, 2022

Genie had conjured up a large table for everybody to sit at in the morning. Enchantress was a bit annoyed that Jasmine had sent so many people home already but Godmother had insisted that this was fate and she believed that they had who they needed. Enchantress had retorted that it was hard to believe in fate when their aspects of Chaos and Hope both existed. Jasmine eventually asked Genie to physically separate the two as their bickering escalated. Everybody filtered in and settled into their impromptu council meeting. They did not have an army but there were thirteen people, five fairies, and one genie at the table. It was nothing to sneeze at.

“You disappeared last night, Enchantress,” Belle said. “We let it go since we were so tired but now you will have to explain what you were up to.”

“I am as transparent as a window and open as a book,” Enchantress said. “I took the liberty of taking Yzma to her cell alongside Gothel. I then interrogated both of them.” Enchantress was just as smug as ever and her self-satisfaction unnerved everybody.

“Did you harm them?” Adam asked, folding his arms across his chest. He had let people around him get hurt, physically and emotionally and he was not about to let that happen again. Not without a fight.

“Really?” Enchantress asked. “These two may have been the most incompetent of this little coven but they did try to kill you just like Maleficent and Ursula. You would still show them mercy?” Her tone was playful and Godmother rolled her eyes, knowing the truth almost all at once.

“We don’t want to hurt people,” Tiana said. “If we have hurt people, it was to protect ourselves or stop them from doing something unspeakable.”

“Agreed,” Elsa said. “We do not torture people. I for one am working on being a better person, not sinking to new depths.” She still felt guilty about hurting her sister twice in her life and nearly destroying her own kingdom. She really was trying to do better moving forward.

“Relax,” Enchantress said. “I did not hurt even a hair on their heads. That almost never elicits true information anyway. They also were mostly left in the dark and would not have been able to scream their truth even under extreme duress.”

“Then your interrogation was a waste of time?” Aurora asked. Early on, she had tried to interrogate Ursula’s mind-controlled minions to no effect. Thankfully, Ursula’s death had freed them of their curse.

“I wouldn’t say that,” Enchantress said. “There are magicks one can use to bring a mind to an awareness of things they may have ignored or forgotten previously. Between the two of them, they had the information I needed. All of this was done without harm or any undue invasion of privacy. I know each of your codes of honor.”

“What information is that?” Godmother asked, her eyes narrowing as she asked.

“Why, the location of the final battle, of course,” Enchantress said. “We needed access. Those two were there but did not remember it. I combined their scraps of recollection. I can now open up a portal to the final battleground.”

“Where?” Godmother asked. “Where is it?” If she was asking that, there was no reason for concern for the witches. Godmother would have ended her truce with Enchantress even over the harm of the wicked.

“I could withhold it but as another sign of my loyalty, I will divulge the location,” Enchantress said. She was a born entertainer with an audience of one. Herself. “The final witch and her master are in a place called Bald Mountain.”

“We know witches,” Merida said. “But what manner of creature is this ‘master’?” She had indeed had a lot of experience with witches and distrusted all of this. She wanted to be ready for whatever was next.

“Chernabog is a being of pure dark magic that is linked to vast forces of darkness,” Godmother said. “What you saw with Maleficent and Ursula pale in comparison to the devils that Chernobog can unleash. If it becomes powerful enough to traverse the worlds, it will break reality as we know it.”

“Chernobog has to be linked to a mortal soul,” Enchantress said. “It has latched on to this evil queen, Grimhilde. If you take out Grimhilde, Chernobog will follow.”

“There isn’t another way?” Tiana asked, hesitant to kill anybody. She was a chef, not a killer.

“I’m afraid not,” Godmother said. “It’s too late for Grimhilde.”

“If it makes you feel any better,” Enchantress said. “She was killed once before. This is what she did with her second chance.”

Nobody looked happy about this but there were some nods. Second chances were important but so was the fabric of reality. This was a difficult thing to put on mortal shoulders.

“When do we leave?” Aurora asked.

“That’s the major hitch in the plan,” Enchantress said. “Chernobog knew what a threat fairies and other magical beings could be and banished most of us to this prison or elsewhere. We are barred from Bald Mountain.”

“Does that include me too?” Genie asked. “I’m ready to kick butt and chew bubble gum and I’m all out of bubble gum.”

“Sadly, you too, Genie,” Godmother said. “We will not be able to help.”

“Sorry, buddy,” Genie said to Aladdin.

“It’s ok, Genie,” Aladdin said. “Jasmine and I have beaten the odds before. You taught me that I can do anything if I trust in myself.”

“Aww, Al,” Genie said and hugged Jasmine and Aladdin.

“Then we’re on our own,” Belle said.

“No,” Anna said. “We’re in this together. We’re going to save all of our worlds.”

“We gear up and move out after another meal,” Aurora said. “Consult with Flora if you need weapons and armor. We can end this quick and go home safe and sound.”

Butcherbirds

July 16, 2022

Mouse crept out from behind the crates they had been hiding behind. As the smallest member of the Butcherbirds, the halfling was the perfect lookout. Mouse always had their blanket draped around them. Very few people had actually seen anything but Mouse’s eyes and they had often been disregarded as a pile of rags by most people. This was by design. Mouse crept below the window and looked for signs of life. Nobody was about so Mouse pulled out a whistle and blew on it before flouncing against the wall and acting like detritus. There was a long beat of silence.

Dinah strutted into the alleyway and then reached up and cinched the band of cloth holding her matted hair up and out of her face. She looked up at the window and used her hands to measure things and do some calculations in her head. She checked the gear tucked into the silk tied around her waist. She sighed softly.

“This isn’t a fashion show, D,” Griffin said. “Can we just get on with it?” He crept out of hiding, looking up and down the alleyway with his one good eye. His constant paranoia could be annoying but it did keep them safe. He fidgeted with a dagger, flipping it every few moments. It was his most prized possession. He was the fighter, the scrapper, the leader.

“You’re such a dingus, Giffin,” Dinah said. “This should be at least a little fun, right? If it’s not fun, we should go straight to an orphanage.”

“You’re just a lot, you know?” Griffin said. “Stop being all girly.”

“I’m an artist,” Dinah said. “And things need to be perfect if this bird is going to fly.”

“Whatever,” Griffin said. “Come on, Five. The coast is clear. You didn’t fall asleep again?”

A large mound of trash started to move as Five crawled out of it. His green-gray skin was splattered with dirt and grime from all sorts of things that were best not thought of. He seemed unbothered by the mess decorating him. He grunted.

“Gods, you smell so bad!” Griffin said. “This plan did not hinge on you hiding in garbage. We could have put you in a crate, big guy.”

“I don’t know, I think he might smell better than usual,” Dinah said. “Ready to go Five?”

Five grunted and nodded. He was non-verbal and nobody knew why. They had guessed that it might have something to do with one of his tusks being broken but nobody wanted to press the half-orc on the issue to confirm. Five was the muscle of the team which meant that he was less sneaky than the rest of the Butcherbirds but just as welcome. He had earned their trust and a place in their weird little family. Five had moved under the window and cupped his hands together. Dinah nodded and ran at Five, jumping into his cupped hands so that Five could launch her up toward the window. 

Dinah’s slight half-elven frame made her lighter than most and she shot up and landed gracefully on the windowsill. She braced her legs and pulled out her crowbar and shoved it under the window. She stomped on the crowbar and she heard the window’s lock break. Just like they thought, the place was too old to have good security. She tucked her crowbar away and opened the window slowly. She attached an anchor and dropped a rope below. Griffin climbed up and shut the window. Five and Mouse would shuffle off somewhere in earshot in case they were needed.

“So what do we have here?” Griffin asked. “There had better be something worth it in here.”

“Plenty,” Dinah said. “I mean, there has to be. It’s old.”

A familiar bird landed on a chair nearby and stared at the two child thieves.

“Oh no,” Griffin said. “What are you doing here?”

“Be nice,” Dinah said. “He’s one of us.”

“He keeps going off on his own,” Griffin said. “He keeps screwing things up.”

At that, the bird promptly turned back into a young boy. The problem was that he was still perched on top of the chair and that chair tipped over and dumped the boy face first onto the floor. He instantly sprang back to his feet and tried not to show how much that hurt.

“I do not screw things up,” Kant said. “I might have made a few mistakes but I’m here to help.”

Griffin sighed. “Fine,” he said. “Less magic, more thievery. Don’t touch anything troublesome. We’re only stealing the good stuff.”

“Which means stuff we can eat, use, or sell,” Dinah said.

“Got it,” Kant said. He could not really control his magic too well. It was innate magic that came from his blood. He had been abandoned in the streets as a toddler so he did not remember where that blood had come from. His wild magic often misfired at inappropriate times but he meant well. When his magic worked, it worked well for the Butcherbirds.

The three thieves set about looking for the best things to take with them.

Poor Unfortunate Souls: Endgame Pt. 5

July 9, 2022

Aurora set down her sword and took a deep breath before she started to unstrap her armor. She could not remember when she last removed her armor. It felt like weeks but it was probably only two days. Always being battle-ready took its toll and while the armor had mostly prevented physical scars, it did not protect her from the mental and emotional ones. She knew that she had gotten tougher but even the strongest person had their limits. She had definitely reached hers several times but she still had survived. She set one of her gauntlets next to her sword and flexed her fingers.

“Aurora?” the unmistakable voice of Fauna echoed through the chamber. “Is that you?”

Aurora smiled and turned to face the three fairies who had always been there for her. “Am I that hard to recognize under this armor?” she asked.

“We’d never fail to recognize you,” Merryweather said. “You are our sweet Aurora.” Her adorable smile warmed Aurora’s heart. That smile had helped her through some hard times.

“I’ve learned to be less than sweet when I need to be,” Aurora said. “I’m not sure that’s what you had in mind for me.”

All three fairies instantly rushed to hug her all at once, enveloping her with their love. It instantly brought another smile to her face as she hugged them back. 

“All we ever meant for you is to live and be happy,” Flora said. “We could never be disappointed in you, child. Well, not so much of a child now.”

“Besides, we approved of Prince Phillip riding to slay the dragon,” Fauna said. “It would be hypocritical of us to judge you for protecting yourself and others even with violence.”

“Hear, hear!” Merryweather called out. “Seeing you combine beauty with strength is a blessing that we would have gifted you if we could. I think our only objection is the poor state of your armor. We could have made much better armor.”

“In fact, we will,” Flora said. “We’ll design you and the team new armor.”

“Without arguing over the colors?” Aurora asked with a sly smile. “Again?”

“I beg you pardon?” Fauna asked.

“I’m sure we can take any design input that your heroes have to offer,” Flora said, putting a hand on Fauna’s shoulder. Merryweather put a hand on Fauna’s other shoulder. “That should cut down on any arguments.”

“Good,” Aurora said with a smile. “We could always use better equipment.”

“Speaking of better equipment,” Flora said. “We gave Phillip the Sword of Truth and the Shield of Virtue. We can give it to you now.”

“I’m honored,” Aurora said.

*               *                 *

“My princess!” Naveen shouted as he ran across the hall. He was his typically theatrical self, louder than life. It made Tiana smile.

“Naveen!” Tiana shouted as they embraced and kissed for more than a moment. It was like heaven, angels sang.

“It’s so good to see you safe again, my love,” Naveen said. “And just as beautiful as ever!”

“Mmm hmm,” Tiana said “What have I told you about doubting me and the excessive sweet talk?”

“Doubting you is foolish because you are an unstoppable Queen,” Naveen said. “Sweet talking you too much makes you nervous that I have an ulterior motive. There is no ulterior motive. I’m just so glad to see you again.”

“So you behaved yourself this time?” Tiana asked with a smirk.

“More than that,” Naveen said. “In fact, I fought honorably to liberate this place.”

“My love, forgive me if I say that sounds surprising,” Tiana said. “You’re not much of a fighter.” She smiled at him to let him know that this was only slight criticism.

Of course, it was Naveen so he deflected easily. “I’m a much better musician for sure,” he said. “It was difficult but I would climb mountains and ford rivers just to see you again. What are a few swords?”

Tiana gasped. “You’re not hurt are you?” she asked, stepping back to inspect Naveen who returned the favor. 

“No,” Naveen said. “Are you?” There was uncharacteristic fear in his eyes

Tiana shook her head. “I found some good new friends who protected me,” she said.

“I found the same,” Naveen said. They both relaxed, knowing that they were both well and truly safe.  “But it will be good to return home together.”

Tiana shook her head and placed a hand on Naveen’s chest. “Not yet,” she said. “There’s one more threat on the horizon. We can’t abandon them all now.”

Naveen nodded. “Whatever you want, Tiana,” he said. “I am by your side no matter what. I will walk through fire with you.”

“Well, hopefully, it won’t come to that,” Tiana said. “We’ll be back in the Big Easy before you know it and I’ll cook you a whole plate of beignets. We’ll get back to the restaurant and our family.” 

“When you say it, I believe it,” Naveen said. “What’s next?”

“We dig a little deeper and fight one last battle,” Tiana said.

The Mirror Pt. 2

July 2, 2022

“A deal?” Kerzi asked. “What kind of deal are we making?” She kept her distance, standing on the opposite side of the wizard’s laboratory from her exact double. Well, not exact but very close. The differences became more apparent the longer Kerzi watched but an outside observer probably would not notice those differences. But Kerzi knew herself.

The Other Kerzi shrugged and smiled, trying to act nonchalant. “Nothing major, at least not for now,” she said. “Just a deal that keeps you from trapping me here somehow. I want your word on that.” She was acting neutral but there was a slight tinge of fear behind her eyes when she had mentioned being trapped.

“What do I get out of this deal?” Kerzi asked. “I mean, this was my face first. Now I have to share it with you. I’m not accustomed to giving away anything for free.” Kerzi had not let go of her knives and she flexed her grip to make sure her wrists did not get too tense.

“I can sympathize with that,” The Other Kerzi said. She stayed far out of the range of Kerzi’s knives. She had no weapons that Kerzi could see but that meant nothing. Kerzi had faced many unarmed opponents that were quite formidable.

“Can you?” Kerzi asked. “You’ve only been alive for only a few moments, right? How can you sympathize? How can you talk? How can you think?” She was still mystified by what was happening. Magic was not her specialty and this whole thing was still ringing alarm bells.

“I can’t pretend to know how this works completely but I sense that I got some of my faculties from you and some from,” The Other Kerzi said, pausing for effect. “Somewhere else.”

“Somewhere else, huh?” Kerzi asked. “What are you?” 

“I’d love to know that myself,” The Other Kerzi said. “Perhaps you can help me explore that question.”

“You still haven’t told me what I get from helping you,” Kerzi said. “I’m no hero. I’m a mercenary at best.”

“And the solving of magical mysteries isn’t profitable?” The Other Kerzi asked with more than a little mockery in her voice. “For starters, I can help you find the artifact you were sent here for. I can help you carry plenty of other things away from this place. We can be a team.”

“Splitting my pay in half?” Kerzi asked. “That sounds like an excellent deal for me.”

The Other Kerzi sighed. “How about a seventy-thirty split?” she asked. “Hells, I don’t even need much. I’ll take what scrolls I can carry as payment for this job and a few scraps of food. If I help raise your income, we renegotiate my pay.”

“You are not good at bargaining,” Kerzi said, almost with pity.

“I’m desperate,” The Other Kerzi said. “I don’t want my life to end just as it begins.”

“If we’re going to make a deal, you should have a name,” Kerzi said. “I will not allow you to introduce yourself as Kerzi. That’s me. Bad enough you have my face.”

“But it’s such a pretty face,” The Other Kerzi said. “I have no name. As you said, I was born moments ago.”

“Well, if you’re a reflection of me then why not Izrek?” Kerzi asked.

“A little clumsy,” The Other Kerzi said. “Call me Izzy.”

“I guess that works,” Kerzi said. “I suppose you’ve managed to present an attractive deal. Attractive enough.”

Izzy walked to the center of the room and stuck her hand out. “Shake on it?” she asked. “No tricks. I’m your partner. You can introduce me as your twin sister if you’d like.”

Kerzi walked up cautiously. She thought long and hard about it. “I guess that’s as good a story as any,” she said. She reached out to shake Izzy’s hand. “Deal.”

Kerzi flinched, half-expecting to find herself tricked into the mirror but there was her twin, smiling at her. What had she gotten herself into?

Poor Unfortunate Souls: Endgame Pt. 4

June 25, 2022

Rapunzel all but leaped into Eugene’s arms with a shout. The princess had never really been shy about expressing herself, especially when it came to Eugene. Thankfully, Flynn was physically able to catch her and she had a very light frame. He swept her up in his arms and pulled her close for a kiss.

“Oh my goodness, Eugene!” Rapunzel said. “It feels like I haven’t seen you forever. I’ve got so much to tell you.”

“The eternal optimist,” Eugene said. “I wasn’t as sure that I would ever see you again but I kept going just in case. I’m glad to be proven wrong.”

“I like proving you wrong,” Rapunzel said. “And I’ll always find my way back to you. I promise. You know how important promises are to me.”

“I do,” Eugene said. “One of the many reasons why I proposed. Your honesty and loyalty has really rubbed off on me.”

“Oh?” Rapunzel asked. “Have you been well-behaved?”

“Yes,” Eugene said. “But I didn’t have much choice. I was imprisoned by a witch.”

“Really!?” Rapunzel asked and stepped back to examine him. “Did she hurt you?”

“Not really. She was a very incompetent witch,” Eugene said. “She caught me off guard when I ended up in Hawaii.”

“Hawaii?” Rapunzel asked. “I like the name. Speaking of witches, Gothel is here.”

“Gothel?” Eugene asked. “Last time I saw her, she stabbed me.”

“I remember,” Rapunzel said. “She’s locked up in a cell, though. Everybody knows who and what she is so there’s nobody for her to manipulate here.”

“Have you seen her?” Eugene asked.

“No,” Rapunzel said. “I haven’t visited.”

“Do you want to visit?” Eugene asked. He stroked her cheek with his hand and she closed her eyes and pressed her cheek into his palm.

“No,” Rapunzel said. “I don’t think I want to revisit that chapter of my life. Besides, my hair is coming back in and she’s obsessed with it.”

“I was going to ask about that,” Eugene said. “Any explanation?”

“None,” Rapunzel said with a shrug. “As for Gothel, let the others deal with her. If I have to deal with her, I’ll cross that bridge then.”

“We will,” Eugene said. “Together.”

*         *          *

“Anna!” Elsa shouted. “There you are! I was so worried.”

“I wasn’t,” Anna said. “Ok well, I was a little bit. It got really bad there for a bit but I always have faith that we’ll find each other again. We’ve been through so much already. The long separation, the blizzard of Arendelle, the elemental spirits, the Enchanted Forest, the Jotunn, the flood, everything and we’re still standing.”

“I remember all of that, of course,” Elsa said. “But I like being there to protect you.”

“I should remind you that I’m a queen now too and that I can take care of myself,” Anna said. “But I also do like it when you protect me. I like being with you.”

“I never thought we’d be in this strange place,” Elsa said. “So far from home. I sent Mattias back to Arendelle to check on things.”

“I hope he’s alright,” Anna said. “I hope Kristoff is alright too. All of our friends and family are nowhere in sight.”

“I have a feeling that I would know if something permanent happened to Olaf,” Elsa said. “Kristoff can take care of himself usually and when he can’t, he has Sven.”

“True,” Anna said. “I’m sure he’s fine. I do wish the Grand Pabbie was here, though.”

“We seem to be in good hands with the fairies,” Elsa said. “They seem wise enough.”

“I never thought I’d see a real fairy,” Rapunzel said. “It was amazing.”

“The way our lives have gone, I thought it was pretty much inevitable that we would get around to fairies,” Elsa said.

Anna laughed. “I guess you’re right,” she said. “We seem to attract magic.”

“At least, I do,” Elsa said, a guilty look crossing her face

“Don’t go blaming yourself,” Anna said. “We’re in this together.”

Undead Reckoning Pt. 14

June 18, 2022

“Who are you?!” Talbot asked of the mystery woman. It came out louder than he had meant to but as he watched her, he imagined how she had been in the dream. Dying in bloody agony.

“You forget your manners, Sergeant Hawkwing,” Lord Blackrance said. “Perhaps you should sit down. You look a bit pale. We can get you some tea if you’d like.”

“Don’t try and change the subject, Blackrance,” Talbot said. “Who is she? Who are you, miss?” He kept seeing blood pouring from the gaping wound in her chest. He remembered holding her in his arms. He remembered her voice.

The woman looked both curious and amused but spoke calmly. “Please sit down, Mr. Hawkwing,” she said. “I will try my best to explain what may have happened.”

Talbot found a chair and sat down. His mind was racing as he imagined so many questions and possibilities.”

“Tea, Sergeant?” Lord Blackrance asked. “Perhaps something stronger considering your sudden fright?”

Talbot nodded. “Yes, Lord Blackrance, maybe we ought to go right on to coffee,” he said. “I suddenly feel very tired.”

Lord Blackrance gestured and Titus hurried off, presumably to fetch Talbot’s coffee. Blackrance sat back in his chair as if he was watching a stage play.

“Well, Mr. Hawkwing, do we know each other?” The woman asked, her eyes studying him. Talbot suddenly got the feeling that she studied people a lot with those eyes.

“I would answer with a no,” Talbot said. “I don’t even know your name but I have seen your face before. I have also heard your voice” 

“And where did you see my face and hear my voice?” The woman asked. She did not look entirely surprised. She was definitely a cool customer.

“I saw you in a dream,” Talbot said slowly, watching the woman’s face. “On the train ride here when I dozed off. When I saw you in the dream you -” 

The woman held up a hand and cut Talbot off before he could continue. “Please do not tell me what happened in the dream,” she said. “I’d rather not know. I already know too much. My name is Kare Coldlight and I am a seer. What you experienced was most likely an aftereffect of my abilities. When my abilities have touched on somebody, they can be entangled with my soul and I suppose that can come up in dreams. There is still a lot that I don’t know about my particular abilities. I apologize, Mr. Hawkwing.”

“It’s just Talbot,” Talbot said. “But thank you for not calling me Sergeant. I suppose that does explain things and I don’t need an apology, I guess. Why did you foresee me?”

“It’s not just you,” Kara said, glancing at Lord Blackrance. “It’s the others too. It’s everybody.”

There were footsteps on the stairs and Talbot saw that the dinner companions from the night before were coming downstairs. All of them were foreseen by Kara Coldlight, Talbot surmised. Things were starting to make a bit more sense but there were still a lot of questions.

“Yes, well, let me explain,” Blackrance said. “All of you, gather close. I want to thank you all for making the journey here. As you may have guessed, my name is Lord Callum Blackrance and I am the benefactor who has summoned you here. Some of you I have met before but others I know only through your reputations. You were all chosen through the gifts of Kara Coldlight, a seer in my employ.” He gestured toward Kara. “This is her.” Kara bowed her head as a greeting.

“When I have a wrong that needs righting, I call on Kara to seek out the best candidates with her second sight. She has chosen all of you.”

Poor Unfortunate Souls: Endgame Pt. 3

June 11, 2022

The portal opened, Enchantress beckoned, and everybody came through. Aurora came through first with her hand on her sword hilt as usual but relaxed when it seemed that everything was safe and calm for the moment. Jasmine was impressed that she walked right up to Jasmine and shook her hand as clearly, she was in charge. Aladdin was standing next to her but he did really exude royalty. This armor-clad woman exuded a lot of royalty.

“Thank you for your hospitality,” she said. “My name is Princess Aurora and I will do my best to use this sword to safeguard our cause and wellbeing.”

“Thank you,” Jasmine said. “I am Queen Jasmine, ruler of this land. Your oath is unnecessary but welcome. This scruffy man is my consort and husband Aladdin.”

“Nice to meet you,” Aladdin said a little too casually but Jasmine let it slide, of course. There would be time and energy for manners and etiquette later. Besides, that smile of his was impossible to be mad at for long.

Aurora turned as Adam, Belle, Tiana, Esmerelda, and Eugene walked through the portal together. Jasmine was relieved that none of them looked monstrous. Perhaps this would all work out after all. She reapplied her best smile.

“Welcome to Agrabah!” She called out. “All who come in peace are welcome. It is unfortunate that I am hosting you in this recently seized enemy fortress instead of the palace. It is hard to be so generous to guests here but we make do. We will find somewhere for you to sleep in private before we get to the matter at hand.” Jasmine turned toward Enchantress. “We have time to rest before, right?” But Enchantress was no longer there. Godmother looked just as startled.

“I will go find her,” Godmother said. “I’m sure there must be time to rest before the final battle.” Godmother vanished in a shower of sparkles. Somehow, the sparkles seemed as frustrated as Godmother’s face had been.

“She’s a lot to handle,” Belle said. “But I am pretty sure she means well this time.”

“Um, where is our prisoner?” Adam asked. “She was right here.” Yzma had been in chains among them. Enchantress had insisted and now the bony old witch had disappeared. She did not seem extraordinarily bright so it was a surprise that she had vanished.

“And I thought I was sneaky,” Eugene said, rubbing his chin in thought.

“Do you think she escaped?” Adam asked. “Is that even possible?”

“I don’t think so,” Eugene said. “I think we were robbed. I would know. I mean, I used to know. I mean, I know how that feels.” 

“I’m wondering if this is another thing to ask Enchantress,” Jasmine said. “That list is growing. I’m not exactly pleased.”

“Neither are we,” Adam said. “We’ll corner her later.”

Belle turned and looked at Jasmine and her cheeks blushed with embarrassment. “Oh!” she said sheepishly. “I’m sorry. We haven’t introduced ourselves. I’m Belle. Queen Belle, I guess.”

“Um,” Adam said softly.

“Is that not correct, dear?” Belle asked.

“To be determined,” Adam said. “We haven’t had time to investigate our status. Regardless, my name is Adam and I’m Belle’s husband.”

“All of this royal stuff can be kind of hard to navigate,” Aladdin said. “I still struggle and we both understand.”

“We do,” Jasmine said. “We really do.”

Esmerelda started to juggle and dance a bit to lighten the mood. “Esmerelda, of the Romani people, entertainer extraordinaire and voice of the people,” Esmerelda said as an introduction.. “At your service.”

“Wow,” Jasmine said. “You remind me a bit of Genie. You two should meet. Or maybe that might be too chaotic.” 

Aladdin looked over at Eugene. “And you’re a thief, right?” he asked.

Jasmine gasped. “Aladdin!” she said. “You can’t just say that!”

Eugene was startled and his eyes went wide. “Thief? That’s a hell of an accusation,” he said. “I’d be offended if it weren’t so accurate. Former thief. Now a prince. People call me Flynn Rider.” Jasmine relaxed and Aladdin smiled triumphantly.

“I was a thief too,” Aladdin said reassuringly. “I’m glad you also got the chance to turn it around, Eugene.”

“I’m trying,” Eugene said. “For example, my real name is Eugene. I’m still a prince, though.”

“Nice to meet you, Eugene,” Aladdin said. “We’ll have a lot to talk about.”

“Well, I guess I’m a princess too but I’m more of a restauranteur,” Tiana said. “Tiana is my name and Tiana’s Palace is my restaurant. If you point me to the kitchen, I can whip something up.”

“That’s not necessary,” Jasmine said. “You all probably need a rest. Leave the hospitality up to me and my people.”

“I’ll cook the victory feast then,” Tiana said.

“It’s a deal,” Jasmine said. “I like that optimism. Let’s get you all settled.”


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